Homework

As part of my school I have to do quite a bit of homework. Besides the papers and book reports, I have to do a weekly journal. In this journal I have to do several assignments. One of those assignments is to to summarize the week of lecture. This week we had teaching by Eric and Lisa Spady on: Things that hinder us in love.

Emotions are always neutral; it’s what you do with them that makes them positive or negative. Anger is the number one cause of depression. Women beat themselves up, men beat stuff up. In counseling, let them be angry. Forgiveness isn’t difficult if they are allowed to express the pain. God wants to know how we feel. He loves brutal honesty. That is what He calls intimacy, (expressing) and anger is a form of intimacy.

When you are dealing with trauma be aware that you can divide trauma in two different categories. A-trauma: absence of good things. B-trauma: bad things.
In A-trauma, people experience a lack of something and they wonder ‘why would I gain this in the future when I never had it in the past?’ In B-trauma people experience a bad thing that they can’t escape. The bad thing about that is that often they face it alone and this makes it more traumatizing. When you are traumatized, you will escape. You go in “survival brain mode.” Your brain will only function with the basics. You will shut off: feelings, relationships, worship, art, and beauty. The “survival brain” works on past experiences. Being stressed or overwhelmed can also make your brain go to “survival mode”. When God is trying to communicate with you, you won’t hear or feel Him. That doesn’t mean He isn’t there.  Especially when stressed, feelings come and go. When you feel there is too much going on and you “can’t do it,” you will feel like a failure. When you feel like a failure, you get angry or frustrated. Then comes the blame. This cycle is driven by shame: I am not enough.

You are doing too much if you can’t stop. Ask yourself: What do I need? What is missing in my life? Knowing what you need will reduce the stress. Learn how to waste time, how much time do you need for yourself? Spend two hours of the week on something you enjoy. God will volunteer to meet all your needs, full time. But He meets your needs in His way. Most stress is related to control, so when you are in a situation which is out of your control, accept the situation and receive.  Beauty will make you feel life is manageable.

 

Mommy post

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We used to have one kid, now we have two.
And believe it or not, strangers already say to me: “My goodness, you have your hands full, little mama.”  If we were in the South, I’m sure they would add a little “bless it” at the end, to make it a real zinger.  Zingers aside, I love having two kids.  Sorry if you’d prefer my hands to look a little emptier or a little prettier: I’m totally loving them full.
Ellie amazed us with a beautiful transition to becoming an older sister.  She loves her baby brother completely, and hasn’t shown any signs of jealousy so far.  The worst thing she did was wake up at 3am, singing “Happy Birthday” at the top of her precious little lungs.  We discovered her way of dealing with giant changes in her life is to wake up for a few hours at night.  She is usually happy as a lark, hungry and wanting to chatter.  We had some eventful nights last month.
This was because Adam, our little boy, didn’t get the memo about sleeping.  Or if he did, he misread it as “eating.”  He didn’t have his days and nights mixed up, really; he just didn’t ever seem to sleep much, so neither did we.  It seemed like whenever he did sleep at night, Ellie would take it as her cue to get up for her little nighttime rendezvous in Papa and Mommy’s bed.  One night I heard Ellie calling for “Papa, Papa!” so I gently nudged Hj and whispered, “Ellie’s calling for you.”  He jumped up and said, “I thought it was my wallet!”  Maybe at another stage in life, we could look for some spiritual significance in such a statement but right now we’re just praying we can find the sippy cup in the dark.
The one night when nobody woke us up before midnight, the fire alarm went off.  It took me a long time to wake up and realize there was a noise, a very loud one.  Hj was patting the darkness, hoping to hit the ‘off’ switch.  People started running in the halls and we took that as our cue that all was well, and went right back to sleep.  Yeah, we were pretty tired.  (Thank God, it was a false alarm.)

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Adam is seven weeks old now, and he has figured out that sleeping is fun after all.  He wakes up so full of laughter and joy that his little body can hardly contain it!  If Ellie is in the room, his eyes are on her, but he likes anybody and everybody.  Today at the doctor, he giggled when she did his exam.  She said he’s perfect and I had to agree.  I couldn’t imagine an easier, happier baby and for this, I thank God every day!
Ellie is the only person in our family who thrives on a schedule, bless her little heart.  Hopefully she will not be ruined by our spontaneous lifestyle.  She is actually helping us all to enjoy the familiar rhythms of every day life, so I guess you can say we’re learning from each other.  She loves her little bedtime routines: taking calcium, brushing her teeth, kissing Mommy and Adam, and getting tucked in by Papa, where they have their own little traditions of praying and singing the same Dutch songs.  She loves bedtime, perhaps because she can predict what’s happening next.

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I am really interested in teaching Ellie to read early.  I’ve read some books about teaching your baby to read, but never talked to anyone with experience teaching kids this young.  If you have any experience or interest, please talk to me about it because I’d love to learn more.  Also, if you are exhausted by the toddler(s) in your life, I highly encourage you to pick up an early childhood development or education book at your library, and then read it.  It will remind you that these early years are truly miraculous, and hopefully inspire you to tend diligently the immensely fertile soil of your child’s mind.  It may even ease the trauma of a million questions a day.
In other news, Opa and Oma Fousert are flying in our direction right now!

Living on the Edge

This week the money for our outreach to Indonesia was due. At the beginning of the week we had a Big Conversation about this. (“We” meaning the responsible adults in our family, of course)  While it was far from a fight, it did include lots of healthy tension, as we struggled to find out what in the world our life is supposed to look like right now!  It’s one thing to live completely by faith as an adventurous single person, but it’s quite another to have the Wind blow you hither and yon as a family of four: diapers, strollers and all.  This is the most challenging part of our new lifestyle, by a long shot.
We still don’t know what we believe about missions and money, but we have been asking lots of questions at the dinner table and also on our knees.  We finally decided to just ask God to make a way where there is none and believe that He will give us the resources we need to do His will.
This requires some faith. Not only faith that God will provide, but somewhere, somehow people need to have faith in us too. We are always astounded when people give us money. Like, they believe enough in us to let us use their money in whatever way we choose? It’s kind of stupid.
Last week our Korean neighbors from room 310 begged to babysit for us, so Hj and I could go on a date. As if that wasn’t enough, they handed us an envelope full of money, and commanded we go somewhere really nice. We hardly know these people, and we were just astounded by their generosity.  We cried, they cried, basically everybody cried. They are missionaries, and they know what it means to give until it hurts. We know what it feels like to receive until it hurts. We laid aside the temptation to feel guilty, and Hj planned a marvelous date for the two of us.
This week we have seen foretastes of provision every single day.  A generous gift on the cash app, money mysteriously appearing in our bank account, a package in the mail, an envelope slipped under our door, chocolates and dollars from the Germans– so many promises that we have friends who do indeed believe in us and hear from God for us.  We are so grateful!
Is it just me, or does it seem that in our wrestling with these age-old questions, we are one blog post nearer to asking for money?  Just kidding, we would never do that.

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Seven nations represented in Hj’s class: Finland, Germany, China, Cambodia, Switzerland, USA, the Netherlands

Next step

11244927_854991574572021_9116794366183813556_nThe counseling school is going great. I am learning so much about listening, one on one counseling, identity and much more.
One thing in particular I really liked was the two weeks we had on Restoring The Foundations. The teachers were really good and they combined lecture with practice, which is just what I like. What we practiced was issue focus ministry, where you focus on one issue through 4 steps: sins of the father, ungodly beliefs, spirit/soul hurts and demonic oppression. You have to listen to the Holy Spirit and the one you’re talking to, to figure out what you are dealing with. It is a really powerful ministry.

As part of the school we are going on outreach to Indonesia. Right now it is just me and another student going. The rest of the school is going to Nepal and Cambodia. We were really praying about what to do and I felt God clearly speaking to me about Indonesia. I also felt that I ought to take my family. I am so excited to take what I’m learning to Indonesia and keep on learning. We will be going to Surabaya which is one of the biggest cities in Indonesia and it’s on Java island.  There are several options for us to do while in Indonesia. For example: working with teenagers at risk, transgender people, doing ministry in the slums, counseling young people and visiting the villages. They want to start a counseling school at the place we are going, so we can help them with that as well.
Please pray for us as we still have a lot loose ends that God needs to tie together!

Q-tips

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We have been living in community for about two months now, and if you think I haven’t formed any opinions about it, you’re wrong.  🙂  My main opinion is that it’s for everyone.  Everyone needs to live in community, whether it’s marriage or a YWAM base.  We all need the fun and the refining.

My current dream is to go to a real house, one with couches and a kitchen sink.  I know they say to dream big, but right now I’m satisfied to dream comfortable.  And quiet.  Young people who are on fire for Jesus aren’t always quiet, even late at night, and that’s awesome.   Unless you just (finally) got the baby to sleep.

Right now, we love living in community.  It is healthy like spinach: at first it tastes funny and you don’t think you like it, but the more you mature, the more you discover it’s making you strong and healthy.  After awhile you actually enjoy it, and eventually you put it in your smoothies.

Personally, I have discovered a lot of judgmental layers to my character that were able to hide in the quiet recesses of the Blue Ridge mountains the past few years.  Nowadays, I run into a lot of people who do things really differently than I’m used to, and they believe some stuff that I don’t think they should.  I can speak for both Hj and I when I say, God is showing us a really beautiful, friendly side of Himself here.  It is freeing to love people without filters, judgements or expectations.  It’s also just plain fun.

Jesus is also healing and restoring and renewing us.  Yesterday morning during community worship, God showed me that some of the dark seasons of my life have left me cynical, jaded.  I thought I had a right to feel that way, until the goodness of God smacked me right between the eyes and I repented.  And just like that, I was forgiven.  Amazing, isn’t it?  That God, who has experienced hundreds of years of rejection, seen all the world’s atrocities and tragedies and deceptions, hasn’t a cynical bone in Him?  He still forgives just as freely as He did the first time, and still believes in His people.

We are getting to know some awfully nice folks out here in the west, don’t get me wrong.  It’s a special kind of person who takes a class in counseling, I think, because all of the students in Hj’s school are really amazing.  They are so full of love and compassion, you can’t help but just be yourself with them.  Even with many cultures and nationalities represented, there is freedom to be real and honest.  There is room for everyone’s thoughts and feelings, and they can be shared without condemnation.  It is lovely to see.

I guess I’m just processing, because I don’t know what else this post is about.  Thanks for being part of the process today.  Much love and appreciation (no matter what you believe).