Sunday, May 24, 2009

Such Freedom at an Incredible Cost

Memorial Day

We are a THANKFUL People Today.

12 years ago, this week, God healed our son, Graham of a horrible, death- threatening cancer. God healed him the week of his first Birthday. Our doctor who preformed a previous surgery on little Graham and who had told us to ready ourselves for his death--"You better get talking to the man upstairs" was some of the advice we were given--and did we ever!! and did the family of Christ ever fall to their knees for him ,in our precious families, and all over our area ,and in Washington D.C. and in many far-flung areas in this world, God heard these prayers and answered with an astounding healing. Lab results suddenly showed that an invasive bone cancer sample (taken from a foot long mass in Graham) that only looks ONE specific way, had "metamorphosed" into something entirely different within the lab (!!) and of course, within Graham!! Graham is written up in a prominent medical journal. I wonder how many other miracle patients they have written up in there!! :) Our doctor next reported, "I think I'm beginning to believe that there's really someone up there!"
And is there EVER!!
This Sunday, we celebrated Graham's 13th birthday--his entrance into the manhood years. As Richard and I looked into each other's eyes tonight, we both read, "A young man. 12 years given back. -- Oh, Thank you, Lord for every minute you have given to us." We both are hitting our knees yet again in praise and thanks to our healer. Graham declared today his best birthday, ever. We ask God for many more with him.

And that brings me to our next thanks--related to this day that memorializes Freedom and its cost...

We truly can do the unimaginable. We can drop to our knees in our front yard and worship God freely

In plain sight.

This is absolutely just not the case over vast regions of our world.

The other afternoon, a sweet friend offered to pray for me--on my front steps...Across the world a young woman would sit in prison or in a torture cell for LESS... Another time recently, Ashley and I enjoyed a time with her guitar on the front lawn--singing our favorite praise songs...


In different regions we would have to mouth our praises silently behind closed doors...

Please Make Sure you are familiar with precious believers' work (such as Voice of the Martyrs) that bring persecution of Christians to light. They count on our prayers and advocacy for their freedom. Who would help you if you were jailed for your faith? --The young woman I mentioned above is real. She sits in prison. We write to her. We can freely open one of our many bibles and find encouraging Word to bring Life to her. To perhaps breathe strength into one who is standing firm for our Savior. You too, could encourage fellow believers who suffer in ways we could not imagine. I encourage you to discover Voice of the Martyrs.

"The courage of Martyrs throughout history and today is contagious, challenging us to stand up for Christ in a world increasingly hostile to Him and His people." (VOM newsletter quote)

On Memorial Day, we are thankful people.

Thank you to those who have given of their time, strength, wit, endurance, proximity to loved ones and homeland, and even their very lives to serve us--to stand on the walls -- to ensure that freedom remains strong in our land. We are so grateful for your sacrifice for us.

Thank you to those of you who labor on your knees for us. You Warriors of Word and Prayer. Seeking the Father's heart and searching for Him earnestly. You are the ones who humble your hearts and who God sees and promises:

"However, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, search for me, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear [their prayer] from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their country." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

You are our glue. God sees you and heals our land. He restrains judgement on our land because of YOUR prayers and humble obedience/love to Him.

In our families and Churches and under the tree in our front yard,-- you pray,--you worship.-- You are the faithful remnant in the land. Believers in the One True Living God, the ultimate warrior --for us -- who paid the highest sacrifice for our FREEDOM from sin and death.

And here is a Memorial Day story for you. About courage and true freedom in the face of persecution. (this is an excerpt from James and Betty Robinson's weekly devotional):

The Lord’s Prayer In Hell
by Col. Leo Thorsness

“…deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6:13)

Col. Thorsness tells his story in Surviving Hell: A POW's Journey

On April 30, 1967, LeoThorsness was shot down over North Vietnam. He was held and tortured for six years. Today's devotional comes from Col. Thorsness' memoirs, Surviving Hell.

The first Sunday at the Hanoi Hilton, someone said, "Let's have church service." Good idea, we all agreed. One POW volunteered to lead the service and we started gathering in the other end of the long, rectangular cell. No sooner had we gathered than an English-speaking Vietnamese officer who worked as an interrogator burst into the cell with a dozen armed guards. Ned Shuman, our Senior Ranking Officer, went to the officer and said there would not be a problem, we were just going to have a short church service. The response was unyielding: we were not allowed to gather into groups larger than three persons and absolutely could not have a church service.

During the next few days we all grumbled that we should not have backed down in our intention to have a church service and ought to do it the coming Sunday. Toward the end of the week, Ned stepped forward and said, "Are we really committed to having church Sunday?"

There was a murmuring of the assent throughout the cell. Ned said, "No, I want to know person by person if you are really committed to holding church."

We all knew the implications of our answer. If we went ahead with the plan, some would pay the price -- starting with Ned himself because he was the SRO. He went around the cell pointing to each of us individually.

"Leo, are you committed?"


When the 42nd man said “yes,” it was unanimous. We had 100% commitment to hold church the next Sunday. At that instant, Ned knew he would end up in the torture cells. It was different from previous Sunday. We now had a goal and we were committed. We only needed to develop a plan.

Sunday morning came and we knew they would be watching us again. Once more, we gathered in the far end of the cell. As soon as we moved together, the interrogator and guards burst through the door. Ned stepped forward and said there wouldn't be a problem, we were just going to hold a quiet, 10-minute church service and then we would spread back out in the cell. As expected, they grabbed him and hauled him off for torture.

Our plan unfolded. The second ranking man, the new SRO, stood, walked to the center of the cell and in a clear, firm voice said, "Gentlemen," our signal to stand, "the Lord's Prayer." We got perhaps halfway through the prayer when the guards grabbed the SRO and hauled him out the door.

As planned, the number three SRO stood, walked to the center of the cell and said, "Gentlemen, the Lord's Prayer." We had gotten about to "Thy kingdom come" before the guards grabbed him. Immediately, the number four SRO stood, "Gentlemen, the Lord's Prayer."

I have never heard five or six words from the Lord's Prayer recited so loudly or so reverently. The interrogator was shouting, "Stop, stop!" but we drowned him out. The guards were now hitting POWs with gun butts and the cell was in chaos.

The number five ranking officer was way back in the corner and took his time moving toward the center of the cell. (I was number seven, and not particularly anxious for him to hurry.) But just before he got to the center of the area, the cell became pin-drop quiet.

In Vietnamese, the interrogator spat out something to the guards. They grabbed the number five SRO and they all left, locking the cell door behind them. The number six SRO began, "Gentlemen, the Lord's Prayer." This time we finished it.

Five courageous officers were tortured, but I think they believed it was worth it. From that Sunday on until we came home, we held a church service. We won. They lost. Forty-two men in prison pajamas followed Ned’s lead. I know I will never see a better example of pure, raw leadership or will ever pray with a better sense of the meaning of those words.

This Week
Thank the Lord for the freedom we have to recite His Word without fear and for the brave men and women who continue to fight for this freedom.

“Father, help me to not take our freedom for granted. Be with those who have sacrificed so much to protect our country and our liberty. Intercede on behalf of those who are in harm’s way and bring peace to our world so that everyone can worship openly and freely.”


Hear Col. Thorsness’ story this Monday as he joins James and Betty Robison on LIFE Today. Story used with permission from Encounter Books.

What Freedoms in Christ are you thankful for today?
I'm thankful to write to you!


Summer Time Hello ! :)

School's Out and So We're Livin' Out in the Sunshine These Days!!

Love, Gillian




Oh, Followers of Jesus!! Your prayers have been heard!!
A Message from the Mihnovich family today:

"Do I bring to the moment of birth
and not give delivery?"
says the Lord.
"Do I close up the womb
when I bring delivery?"
says your God.

Isaiah 66:9

Thank you all for your prayers!.....we had an amazing call with our orphanage director today and mountains are moving!!! We know that we can't let our guard down for one second until they are ALL home"


Please keep praying for this precious family group of 4 Ethiopian children--for release--for thier safety. Please CONTINUE to help aid in the labor and delivery of this adoption--your prayers are bringing it forth!! Thank you beloved!!


The Mihnovich's have the blog "Unveiled Faces" to the right of this post.


And another THRILL as well!! Another delivery to Announce!! Sweet WYLIE SHIANE REDINGTON will be joining her family in about a week. WE CAN'T WAIT to huggle, snuggle her--she is a complete dolly!! This family is PRECIOUS and completely dear to us. You will LOVE meeting this adorable, loving family who shines so brightly for Jesus-- Please pay them a visit in thier blog under our blog list (right under the Poppy Dip sign) you will find the Redington's name listed there--you can see little WILEY photos there!!



Monday, May 18, 2009

Every Knee Will Bow

Thank you to Pam, our precious, Godly friend, our buddy in adoption advocacy, and Mother to precious Abby from Ethiopia, for sending me the wonderful article copied below. This article shows the true influence of Jesus on the Earth. His Kingdom and His influence--NOW-- bringing Life to the world He so loves. He is relevant and necessary to ALL...even the atheist!! This article has been pulling wonder and praise from my heart -- I hope it blesses you too.

December 27, 2008

"As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset
Matthew Parris

Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it's Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi.

We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often near a mission.

Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers - in some ways less so - but more open.

This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents, as you do with the big NGOs. But instead I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. “Privately” because the charity is entirely secular and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service.

It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man's place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.

There's long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.

I don't follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.

Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take the initiative, won't take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.

How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds - at the very moment of passing into the new - that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it's there,” he said.

To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It's... well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary's further explanation - that nobody else had climbed it - would stand as a second reason for passivity.

Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.

Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

And I'm afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete."

And so, when Jesus' name is called, the knees of everyone should fall wherever they're residing.

so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,


Philippians 2:10 and 11 -- (International and New American Standard Translations)

{Wesley's Notes on this passage}Wesley's Notes

"2:10 That every knee - That divine honour might be paid in every possible manner by every creature. Might bow - Either with love or trembling. Of those in heaven, earth, under the earth - That is, through the whole universe."

In times where so many are looking for solutions to troubles and so many concerns, there is an answer that fits all problems. We know it. We actually live the "relaxed, expansive life" in the face of any trial, described in the article above. For Jesus brings real strength and answer to every part of our life--we live this every day now. Truly, Jesus is the only "solution" for our world--for our personal lives. He really does transform and brings Life to everything He touches. Like a butterfly breaking out of the confines of its cocoon, so Jesus bursts our lives out of mundane existance and pulls us up and out of clinging,earthy fears. Its something new. Beautiful, soaring life in the midst of anything--oh how I want you to know it!! To have this!! Even the atheist-- yes, ALL of creation must admit Jesus changes and brings Life and Light to dark hearts and places in our world.

Incredible, saving grace.
Available to us all.
Right in front of us.
All that we need.
He is real and here.
For every part of life.

Bow the knee now in love and awe and thanksgiving
or... later in trembling...Oh that you will choose

And for those who know--who soar with me--Oh, that you will tell your world about Jesus NOW and not save your gift to later--when it may be too late for them. NOW is the time for salvation--for your neighbor across the street, for that mother in the pick up line, for the grocery clerk, for summer time friendships, for the child on your heart so far across the world...pray, tell, speak up! So they might share the love and wonder NOW and not the trembling to come.

Please contact me if you want to know more of a saving relationship with Jesus. You are loved and have a God who wants you to know that the punishment for your sins (no matter WHAT they are or how many) are paid for--taken care of by what He did at the cross and in His rising from the dead. He came here to set us free from sin, fear, destruction, death--This is no story--it truly happened. There are many of us who know personally that He continues to brings us Life--real Life--greater than you could ask for or imagine--and this is avaiable every day and is a sure offer for whatever comes in the future.
Our only "solution" to life.
How I want this for you!!

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

Love, Gillian

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

"She is clothed with Strength and Dignity, and she Laughs Without Fear at the Future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness." (Proverbs 31:25 and 26) ~ Happy Mothers' Day to Sweet Grandma Helen ~ a Model of Grace and Love to my Life ~ Light bringer ~ Giver of Tender Care.

"She is Energetic and Strong, a hard worker...She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy." (Proverbs 31:17 +20) ~ Happy Mothers' Day, to Mom! An amazingly loving woman. ~ A joyful influence.

Musical Mimi, Richard's mother, blesses our family with praise songs at the piano.
(if video does not play after pressing the play triangle--please make sure my music is on pause at the bottom of the page and then push the timeline triangle ahead a bit under the video)

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her." (Proverbs 31:10,11,+28) ~ Happy Mothers' Day to my precious, Mom Tucker!! ~ An incredible example to my life of a loving wife and a wonderful mother and friend. ~ The one who poured in with generous, praying love to bring up my tender and Godly husband.

And, We do not have a photo of our precious Grandmother and Great Grandmother, Dommie, available at this posting BUT our Dommie has just celebrated 90 years this year! What a celebration with ALL of her children and thier children and their children :) it was!!
"But a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." (Proverbs 31:30+31)
Happy Mothers' Day to Dommie! ~ She has influenced many generations of family now with her tireless love and service to all. She truly is the anchor of her wonderful family! ~ An example of a true lady and a loving woman.

Each and All of the women above truly embody every verse of Proverbs 31. How very blessed we are to look to such examples of what it means to be a beautiful woman. How we love them!!

Love, Gillian

Small Things , Great Love

"Love Comes--From God."

Recently, within some whirling circumstances, God's been reminding me that He is not found in the whirlwind but in the quiet voice who speaks a simple command. Just Love. Love the Lord God with all your heart. Love your Neighbor as yourself--Everything is included in this. All direction, all command, for all of life--Really.

And there's the sobering reminder as well. If we have not love, what we ARE, what we DO, what we are FOR, what we SAY is declared to be NOTHING --as if we were only a gonging cymbol or a clanging drum--just noise makers. And oh, I don't want that!!

Late this morning, my boys spent an hour and a half beating on a drum set, a set of African drums, and also a kettle drum that we found at a yard sale today. Our home vibrated with the sounds of "clashing" --shaking--much noise!! The walls were just waving with clanging Vibes!! (Kudos to all you parents out there who have purchased drum lessons for thier sons!! or who have had bands in their garages...) But it made me think--what plays in the "garage" of my life---what sounds are coming out of the walls of the home that God has made of my heart? I must be ever asking God to search me show me (Psalm 139) to not let my noise drown out His music in me. Oh, may our lives reverberate with true,real love that comes only from God and not from noisy clanging around.

I love this sister's perspective:

... (a drunk man speaking to her in London)...'Oh after so long, the warmth of a human hand!' " and his face lit up. And his face was different. I only want to say that small things, done in great love, bring joy and peace...
Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him and to keep Him as your own. Wherever God has put you, that is your vocation. It is not what we do but how much love we put into it." (Mother Theresa--My Life For the Poor pg.49)

"But how much love we put into it". So simple. It boils down the essense of life. God's love available to us, in us, and for others through His LIFE in us. What do we KNOW--really? What can we DO--really? What can we do but "put love into it"(His Love)--and then it is SOMETHING--it is REAL--it is LASTING--it comes from God.

"Love comes from God"

Love, Gillian

P.S. Please continue to pray for the Mihnovich children's release and for a covering of protection for them. The video on Tracy's blog to the right of this post--(click on the picture of the hands that has the 4 children's names to see it)--is heart wrenching and eye opening and only a glimpse into these childrens' story and plight.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I might be posting this a bit too late at night thus the weird laughter in my title ;). But its the end of an EXTREMLY BUSY WONDERFUL day with the kiddos and I just needed to share this with you.
We were all sitting reading our devotional book with the little boys, Anderson 8, Jack 5, and Bruik 4. I love this book, The Jesus Storybook Bible. We were actually all sitting in one big "pleather" chair in our family room, all squished up. We have walked through the bible stories until we have reached Moses getting the 10 commandments from God. I love how Sally Lloyd Jones explains the commandments. She says, "The rules showed God's people how to live, and how to be close to Him, and how to be happy. They showed how life worked best...We can do it! Yes! We promise! But they were wrong. They couldn't do it. No matter how hard they tried, they could never keep God's rules all the time. God knew they couldn't and He wanted them to know it too. Only one Person could keep all the rules. And many years later God would send Him--to stand in their place and be perfect for them. Because the rules couldn't save them. Only God could..." Isn't that great? Jesus is in all the stories in this great little book--I LOVE it!!
Earlier in our reading, minutes before, we had stopped for a --TEACHABLE MOMENT :)--I stopped reading as the book mentioned each of the ten commandments --just to drive in the point of what rules are and how they make our life and world a better place. "So what rules do we have in the Tucker home, boys?" Well the rules came so fast and furious and were just so marvelous that I grabbed a pencil nearby and HAD to scribble these down. WARNING these rules were made by LITTLE BOYS--that means--lots of destruction and body parts and things that smell bad...:) I'm reporting them unfiltered (except one or two...) and in the order I received them...

"Do not put your shirt off except when you are wet. (It was VERY wet today we played in the rain puddles and used soaker guns alot)
Don't come in the house when you are soaking wet.
Don't sneak and eat some S'mores or any candy
Don't lick people's ears
Don't pull hair.
Don't show people your boudie
Don't punch the T.V.
Don't watch bad shows.
Don't destroy the computer.
Don't go outside when it is super dark.
Don't destroy the entire house.
Don't bring a crane and let the crane owner destroy our house.
Don't let the dog be wet in the house.
Do not gas at lunch time.
Do not hurt girls.
Don't squirt girls in the eyes.
Don't play with fire in the house.
Don't destroy Mom's necklace or the Ethiopian drums or the planets. (that's not true, Jack! says older bro.) well, you could go outside in a spaceship with a bomb and open the window and throw it out.
Do not throw up on the carpet.
Do not punch people in the teeth.
Do not pee in your pants
Oh! a good one! Do not punch anybody on the pee-pee place!! (Anderson corrects with the anatomically correct word for pee-pee place)
Don't wake Mommy up or anybody in the house while they are sleeping. (from the child who wakes us ALL up each morning!!)
Don't wrestle with Mom, only with Dad.
Don't burp near Mom.
Write down one good rule, Mom! Say, "I love you, Mom"
Do not put a bag over your head.
Don't sleep all day long unless its Saturday or night.
Don't eat furniture.
Don't put peanut butter on your head--or jelly
Oh, here's a good one! A wild forest rule. Do not kill animals with meat unless they are killing you.
Don't lie down in roads.
If fire is in your eye and you only have one eye left then call the fire department and they will bring you to the hospital for a long paper on your eye that's hurting.
And blow you up! (responds another brother)
Do not try to get a speeding ticket.
Do not throw people in the road.
Don't climb super high or hold on to a tiny branch.
Don't put your ear on other people's bottoms.

Why do we need rules, boys?

So the world wouldn't be a filthy, angry place.
So people won't punch glass at each other."

Love, Gillian

Friday, May 1, 2009

Extreme Light

Blessed Friday to you!

Has anyone commented on your "light quotient" recently? A little while back, I was reminded of this, as a neighbor stopped my husband in a local parking lot with a devastating prayer request. "I'm telling this to you, Richard, because I know you are a 'real Christian'". He knew that Richard was a source of God's light. He sensed he desperately needed that light--that it was his only hope in this situation. Previously, this guy had written us off as "crazy" for our heart for adoption, "kinda weird, Y'all", and "you guys are just...different--how do ya do it?" "Your life would drive me nuts!!"(ouch)--Now he was asking for the very thing he had thought was "quirky". We love this neighbor and are AMAZED with how simple, Godly lives matter so much in this world -- so THRILLED he's searching for God's light!! May this be compounded by all of our lives in Him!! Think about how many could be brought to Him!!
Several weekends ago we were having a hot dog roast with a couple friends and neighbors--kids were running around and jumping on the trampoline--a typical happy time. We may have not "looked" all that typical :) about 4 or 5 nationalities of children played in the sandbox--some adopted some not--some with physical challenges--others not. Big families, small families --as I write this--I'm reminding myself of "Go Dog Go"--you know, the children's book that talks of all sorts of dogs, Big Dogs, Little Dogs, Blue Dogs, and Red Dogs all at a (emphasis here please as you read it out loud!)--A DOG PARTY!! We were having a great time. Well, some of our sweet neighbors stepped outside and really were floored--they were just hangin' out at their fence--just taking the scene in. It turns out they knew one of my dearest friends, Heather, at our party and as they visited with her, listen to some of the chat,it went something like this--"This is cool--I mean look at ALL these kids running around. And they are all getting along! Really different but really great, I mean it! Hey, I know your husband, Scott from the hospital (aside--Scott is an amazing pediatric RN and loves Jesus--ALOT--by the way) he is just different--tender--an amazing guy...there's something just so different about him...and how's Richard, Gillian...I mean that guy--he always has a smile on his face--he's a unique guy--(are you sensing a theme here?)
People are watching. And they see. They see the light even if they cannot comprehend it. (John 1:5) And we who love Christ are ever giving off His light--EVEN WHEN WE ARE NOT AWARE OF IT. That so encourages me!! For I would not know where to start to TRY to become a light-producer. NO, its GRACE. Like a little lightening bug, as we become His children, by believing in Jesus, AT THAT POINT we are given this "glow light"--its a part of us--it glows the brightest in the dark. A signal to where life can be found. "And the light that came into the world was the light of life" Light chases away the dark places of our Daddy's world, spotlighting His handiwork and will here. That's an amazing thing. To know that as we stepped foot into God's kingdom by our belief in Jesus, we His light just became a part of us--that it shines "ever brighter and brighter until the full light of day "-- till His return--Its happening RIGHT NOW if you know and love Christ!! Be assured, PLEASE have settled hearts as you hear reports on T.V. about this or that or about fear, or darkness, or unrest--we are children of the Father of the Heavenly Lights--we are citizens of a kingdom of Light. We just do not belong to the dark. I love hearing my little children sing, "Even the darkness is light to you and light is as bright as the dawn." This light in us will draw men to our Father's salvation even as little moths are drawn to our outside house lights. In a way, darkness is an excellent contrast/background to truly see light. He is the darkness chaser and pursuer--He WILL NOT let darkness remain or reign--in our hearts and it will not overcome this world--"take heart, I have overcome the world", He says.--Praise Him!!--Thank Him for His light in you!! Thank Him that He is coming back!! and so look forward to that day--encourage one another with this Truth. Thank Him for his kingdom that has come and is coming in more fullness every day.

Here's a powerful devotional from Voice of the Martyrs this is taken from their Extreme Devotion devotional booklet.

"Faith is the invisible expression of our personal relationship with Christ. The Bible characterizes people's faith as light -- a diffusion of hope that affects everyone around them. Jesus chose this illustration because of light's inability to be restrained. For example, reading by flashlight under the covers, unknown to the average child, is hardly effective in terms of disguising late night activity! Light simply shines by its very nature -- despite our attempts to restrain it. Likewise, tension arises in believers' lives when they must choose to fully express their faith or attempt to muffle it someway. With the reliability of the daily sunrise, those who have affirmed their decision once and for all find shining their light to be second nature."

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord...Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful,then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil...Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (from Ephesians 5)

Shine on, followers of Christ!! Let them ask, "what's so different about that one?"--don't be embarrassed about your light--they need it.
Listen to this powerful Word:

"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness over the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and His glory will be seen upon you.
And nations ahall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult"
Isaiah 60:1-5

Love, Gillian