First of all, a tiny logistical update. Joel left yesterday to go to Manaus...one of our bases in the Amazon (the southern part of the Amazon). Really excited for him. We've lived here for 3 3/4 years and he's only been able to visit one base just briefly. There is a plane there that is needing some maintenance so he caught a ride with a plane on its way to Boa Vista and will be catching a ride back with a different plane coming down from Boa Vista (at the northern part of the Amazon region). Not sure when that will be, but hopefully within the week. The kids and I are fine...can I just shout from the rooftops how much easier something like this is now than when I had four 4 and under?!? :) Whew. So, we are doing well, but just pray for us all as we are separated...for safety and health and nothing major to go wrong with the house or car or anything like that and...you know what to pray for. ;)
A couple of posts ago I wrote about how I was entering into a time of separation. I knew that I was desperately needing that...desperately. So I began to pray about what that should look like and then I realized that it was Carnaval time here in Brazil (same as Mardi Gras). Which meant that Lent was arriving.
Growing up we never observed Lent. I didn't know anyone who did...that was 'for the Catholics' and there were really none of those in my small town, so I didn't rub shoulders with Lent-observers. Later as I moved around to several different places and met all kinds of people, I met many Protestants who definitely observed Lent. And why not? We observe Advent, why not Lent?
So, every now and then I would do a little something for Lent...nothing major, but something.
Of course it is my desire to always focus my kids on Jesus, no matter what season it is. But, certain seasons lend itself to even deeper focus, so I've always wanted to really commemorate Advent and Lent more at some point with them. This was the year to start...they are really at the age to understand and it was just a perfect time to introduce this family tradition.
And, I was desperate to meet with God in a really concentrated way.
So, quickly...what we are doing with the kids is this. It's fun, it's simple, and they really learn a lot. The enemy is not liking this. Literally the week Lent started, Joel started having to stay at work until the kids' bedtime practically every night. He's been swamped...and now he's not here at all. Not that that's the enemy's doing, but he's getting a kick out of it not working out the way we'd planned. We wanted to do it as a family, but I've determined to do it no matter what...even if Joel's not here. So, we are working through that and they love it.
As for me...I'm just in awe of how incredible this time has been. And I'm only on Day 11!!
What does this time look like for me? Well, I wake early and am going through two Bible studies.
1) A Call to Die by David Nasser (which I see is now in its 11th printing and has a new cover...I have this 'old' black copy). I got this book and actually started doing it the first time on March 23, 2000 (it's written in the front of the book). I wasn't even married yet...Joel and I weren't even together. Funny to think about. I met Nasser when my friend was working as his manager. They came through the D/FW area and he spoke at a conference and I met them over there (ironically, I hitched a ride with Joel and his friends who were all going camping over there). He gave me a copy of this book (which was brand new at the time) and let me just say...it is really, really good. And is hitting me in the gut once again, 11 years later, albeit in different areas.
2) Every Thursday morning we have an English-speaking ladies' Bible study here at my house. Right now we are doing One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously, again...God is just speaking straight to me each and every day. That link is for the book...and then you can purchase the video sessions for just 4.99 each. Or, honestly...when googling for this link I saw one site (a google site) that had the whole book online. Not sure how that works legally or ethically, but I'm sure if you just can't afford it and are needing some freedom in your life, Priscilla might not mind. You might want to ask her first though. ;)
Along with those two things, a sweet friend of mine pointed me to their Kairos ministry at their church...who has made available online teachings. Kairos is a freedom ministry and they have them all over...another friend of mine goes to a Kairos in Nashville. But I had no idea that I could access them online. So, I was thrilled to hear that and these teachings are SOOOOO INCREDIBLE. Really, you should listen.
I'm also fasting. 1) Sugar...as in the regular thing that we think of as sugar. But then also the things that really turn to sugar as soon as they enter your body anyway...grains/breads and fruits...all of them. I am using honey though...to sweeten my hot tea when I have it. 2) Internet. More specifically, I do not check Facebook or my email until after the kids' bedtime every day. I am occasionally still on the internet during the day, but only when I need a recipe or am using the computer for homeschool. It's been a significant difference. And just be aware...if you have a question for me or need to get in touch with me, I will not 'see you' until after 8pm (my time) every night. Fasting just brings a whole wonderful level of discipline, focus, and sound mind...and frees up more time to spend that concentrated time with God.
So, doing those things and spending lots of time with God. So refreshing and just what I needed. I'm already walking in a new level of freedom and peace and sound mind. And that is being made evident in my life daily.
This post has gotten really long, so I will save more for later. There are so many exciting things to tell.