Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Father's Heart

This was also a part of my lesson's from the Lord on suffering. Please please please take the time to watch this. It is in 3 parts that are about 10 minutes each. It is worth your time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What were you expecting?

This sermon was linked on the Livesay's blog last week and was part of God's multi-media presentation to me. It is powerful. I hope you get the time to watch it. Click on the link below and on the right click on recent sermons, then click on the January 13th sermon titled 'What were you expecting'.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Choose Pain?

This post has been rolling around in my head for weeks now. I'm just not sure I can verbalize it. I mentioned a while back that I was getting that familiar feeling that God was preparing me for something. This time instead of anticipation I was apprehensive. For the past several weeks God has presented a running theme in my life. It has been quite the multi-media event. It has come to me in the form of sermons, emails, chats with friends, books I'm reading, links on blogs, etc etc. The theme is "A Life of Chosen Suffering". I have long acknowledged that the Christian walk will be marked by suffering, and that much of our testimony about the faithfulness of God is seen in how we respond. When Jay first started having trouble with his hip I was just plain mad - for about a year. Then I was sad and hopeless - for about a year. Right around year 4 of his relentless and debilitating pain was, I think, the first time that we both realized we had been seeing it all wrong. We had searched endlessly for a doctor to tell us what was wrong, and more importantly, how to FIX IT. When at last we were broken and realized, that like Paul's thorn, this trial might be more about allowing God's strength to shine rather than the doctors, we were able to see a light. Not a light at the end of the tunnel, but a light in the midst of the oppressive darkness that had been our life. BUT, that suffering was not CHOSEN. To this day it remains, and not of our choosing. Yet, I hope we have been able to point people to the Lord because of it.

"All experiences of suffering in the path of Christian obedience, whether from persecution or sickness or accident, have this in common: They all threaten our faith in the goodness of God and tempt us to leave the path of obedience. Therefore, every triumph of faith and all perseverance of obedience are testimonies to the goodness of God and the preciousness of Christ - whether the enemy is sickness, Satan, sin or sabotage."

John Piper--Desiring God

So, what of the idea of CHOOSING suffering? Should we be like the masochistic monks who walk the streets flogging themselves? Um, yeah, not so much. Because the whole point of the suffering is that people see Christ in our lives. If you do that, they just see a weirdo. The goal is that in OUR suffering OTHERS can benefit. Paul's missionary journeys were frought with danger and pain. It was worth it to him to show Christ to the Gentiles. If you live in the U.S. and have the ability to read this blog then you are extremely wealthy and pampered by all worldly standards. How then, can we suffer - by our own choice - for the sake of Christ? In a recent sermon on missions our pastor mentioned the prophet Haggai going to the Israelites and telling them it was time to rebuild the temple. When I went back later and read the first chapter it seemed to me a scathing reproach for my life.

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord. Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified says the Lord. You looked for much and behold it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast and all their labors."

--Haggai 1:2-11

I haven't exactly fleshed this out yet. I know that I have been far too consumed with my own house. I know that I have neglected the house of the Lord. How that knowledge will change me is yet to be seen, but I am atleast now aware of my shortcomings and ready to be used by the Lord. I am in fact, ready to choose to suffer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Where did this baby faced little toothless thing go???? Man, how time flies...

Happy Birthday my beautiful blue eyed angel! From the moment God blessed us with your presence you have been such a joy. Your cheerful spirit, love for life and love for the Lord are infectious. I am honored to be your Mom! Thank you for your tender heart and sweet and compassionate spirit. God will surely use them in a big way, as he already has(:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Jay's Alma Mater

Jay marched in this band for 4 years. He is so proud of Band Co! Go Keydets(:

Fave Color-Purple

What Your Favorite Color Purple Says About You:

Intuitive --- Seeking --- Creative
Kind --- Self-Sacrificing --- Growth Oriented
Strong --- Very Wise --- Rare

Friday, January 11, 2008


I feel better now. I think I just needed to let myself have that. I kept waiting for it to feel better and thinking I was silly for feeling that way. It is much more therapeautic to acknowledge it, feel it, cry over it, and THEN move on(: Plus, Vanessa is going to be in Haiti tomorrow and promised to get me lots of pictures and video of him. I can't wait to see how he is doing! Thanks for all the encouragement. It was sweet and dearly appreciated. Now I am off to bed.

Just sad

Lately I have sort of gotten the bug to add a child to our family. When that happens I always start praying, and try to weed out any thoughts or ideas about it that are not from God. This time I realized that I don't want another child in our lives, I want the one that left already. I miss him so much. Every time I would think of adopting my thoughts would always return to him. He's way too special to be easily replaced. Don't misunderstand. I know he is happy and healthy where he is and I know things are the way they should be. BUT that doesn't make it hurt any less. His memory comes to me all day long. When we are in the car I remember him singing and dancing to the music. When we are watching Dora I remember the way he would say "oh man!" and get up to start dancing with the music. D has this thing where he assigns a family member to each person in a show or movie. Yesterday he was watching Toy Story 2 and he was Buzz lightyear, G was Woody, Daddy was Bullseye and I was Jesse, and then he assigned Berny to the penguin. Then later he asked me if Berny was on vacation. I said no, that he was home. This kind of thing happens at least 5 or 6 times a day. I'm pretty sure he thinks his little play buddy is coming back still. Every time I take D to school I remember how he begged to go too, and I remember the sheer joy on his face when I took him in one day and he plopped himself right down in a chair and started playing. He looked up at me as if to say, "now, this is what I'm talkin about!" I remember him proudly walking in the costume parade. He was one of about three kids who actually waved and smiled. When I put D to bed at night I remember him reading along with "If You Give A Mouse a Cookie" and I remember him praying. I remember his silly, gravely little laugh amd I remember how he would come to my bed in the mornings for snuggle time. I remember the time he covered the entire downstairs hallway wall with pencil drawings, and the look of surprise on his face that I was NOT impressed. I remember the way he pouted when he didn't get his way, but then couldn't help but laugh if you teased him. I remember him joining in the screaming frenzy when Jay walked in the door from work and how Jay would have to fight through the melee of kids to get to him because he couldn't shove his way to the front. After all this remembering I get sad wondering if HE remembers anything. It seems silly to even post this. It's all just selfishness. I think of Sarah who sent Christella back only to have her pass away, and I realize that I have endured nothing compared to her. But it feels good to get it out, and to remind all you who read this what an amazing little man he is. I know God has big things planned for him. He is one of those truly special souls that is rare and precious, and I am so very grateful that I get to be a small part of his life. All is well and as it should be, but it's still.....just sad.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Sweet" Sixteen

Please read this and pass it on to anyone who may be interested. It is a link to a blog of a woman who has lived in Haiti and ministered to kids at an orphanage. She knows them well and loves them dearly. They are running out of time. These kids deserve a chance!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Future??

I would like to be a long term planner. I enjoy knowing what is on the horizon and I DO NOT like surprises - unless they involve parties or presents! Oddly, apparently God knows this about me and chooses to keep me in the dark when it comes to what I will be doing next year, next decade, or sometimes even next week. It used to annoy me. I would ask Him nicely to give me a hint, but He would have none of it. Then I would beg and whine and He would get more firm by asking, "do you trust Me?". So, at that point anything other than letting it go into His hands would be faithless disobedience. I'd like to say I never went there, but alas, I am one of His most strong willed children. I am sure of it.

So recently I was wondering what my "calling" was. You know, like what big, huge, earth shattering thing was God going to do with my life next. I get that way sometimes when I look around at what others are doing for the Lord. It's really dumb, and ultimately is rooted in pride. I recognize this - so please don't feel the need to point it out(: Anyway, God showed me a few things once I was quiet for more than ten seconds. First, I am called to serve my family. THEY are my mission field. I need to spend more time figuring out ways to make them feel cherished and adored. I need to pray for wisdom in how to be good wife and mother. On a practical note I have always always always struggled with cooking. I HATED having to think up what was for dinner every night and often would just call Jay and have him pick something up. One of my new years resolutions was to figure out a way to make healthy and yummy meals for my family, shop with a menu to avoid over spending, and keep eating out to a minimum. Someone had emailed me this website - - and wonder of wonders it is working! I love the feeling of making dinner for my family. It is quite new for me, and the family seems happy.

On a broader scale, there are things that EVERY Christian is called to. And so I started looking up verses with the phrase "to this you were called" or something like it. This is by no means an exhaustive list and doesn't cover everything we are asked to do, it is just a part of what our walk with the Lord should encompass. They are, in no particular order:

Suffering - 1Peter 2:21
Freedom - Galatians 5:13
Guarding the gospel - 2 Timothy 1:9
Perseverance - 1Timothy 6:12
Repentance - Luke 5:32
For God's Purposes - 2 Timothy 1:9, Romans 8:28
Glory - 2 Thessalonians 2:14

This is just scratching the surface people! So, if God never revealed another single thing about my "calling", or what my future holds should this not be enough to tide me over??? And maybe, just maybe God wants me to grasp these things a little more fully BEFORE He tries adding anything to my plate! What a patient and loving Father I have.

Since ice cream is my all time fave snack I did the quiz- I'm strawberry(:

You are Strawberry Ice Cream

A bit shy and sensitive, you are sweet to the core.
You often find yourself on the outside looking in.
Insightful and pensive, you really understand how the world works.

You are most compatible with chocolate chip ice cream.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


From yesterday as I was getting ready to go out to dinner:
"what you doin Mom"
"Just fixing my hair"

....."is boken?"

Friday, January 4, 2008

Awesome News

I keep meaning to tell you all that D's brothers have a family! If you go back to my June 1st post you will see how I struggled with whether they were meant to be in our family. For quite a while I thought they were, but God never confirmed it through Jay so I have to trust it was not meant to be. Their adoptive family wants to maintain contact with us, so I am grateful that we will get to see them and love on them. I am so happy that D can have that relationship with them as he grows. They will have a wonderful Christian family which is what I prayed for them. Thank you Lord! Although they will not be our blessings, which will be our loss, I look forward to seeing how much they bless the Van Etten family!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Can I be honest for a minute? I mean really brutally honest? OK, here it is. The truth. I am scared to go back to Haiti. When Berny came to us last summer and caused us to cancel our trip I took a secret sigh of relief. I am not scared of being kidnapped at gunpoint or malaria or "Haitian happiness". I am scared that one of two things will happen. 1.) I will fall in love again. I will not want to leave. The ache in my heart that I once felt will return and I will again feel out of place in my own home, town, country. I will again walk around wondering where to be and what to be doing, in a haze of atrophied guilt. I will vascilate between joy in anticipation of when I can go next, and frustration that it will never be enough. OR 2.) I will feel nothing beyond, "wasn't it nice to see our friends". I will come home happily.

I am not sure which would be worse. I'm in a funny place right now. God is teaching me about contentment and He is showing me how far I have to go in so many areas. I have a feeling, that is familiar, that He is preparing me for something. I usually like it because I start to wonder what new adventure He has for me. This time, for some reason, I feel hesitant. I recognize that as a lack of faith, and I am seeking forgiveness and boldness.
"He who calls you is faithful. HE will surely do it."
1Thessalonians 5:24