Author: Beth
•Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Hello dear friends,

This is just a note to let you know that posting for the next few months will be done at our Africa blog:

Lord willing, I will return on September 8, 2010 and look forward to catching up on life here once again.

Until then, may the Lord bless you and make His face shine upon you!

Author: Beth
•Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Last night, there was a thunderstorm.

One of those earth-shattering, window-pounding, thunder-rolling, intense kinds. I could feel the vibes from the thunder as I watched the rain come down in torrents from the black night sky. The lightening cut across the sky, giving a brief moment of reality to the shuddering, dark world below. It was intense. It was beautiful.

At 2 a.m., that thunderstorm was a perfect time for reflection. There is nothing quite like reviewing your own life when you have a visible reminder of the Almighty's power ringing in your ears.

The truth is... it's been raining. On the inside too.

Life isn't what I would have imagined it to be five years ago. Or even five months ago. Or even five weeks ago. Nearly everything that I know has been tested in some form. Tested for authenticity. For truth. For lasting hope. Who knew that this life after college would shake my very identity, causing me to run to Jesus with all the questions that can't be found in books? Who knew that working three jobs would show me so much of God's directing hand and rest for a weary heart? Who knew that taking on a new job to help an elderly couple would show me so much of Christ's sacrificial love and would strengthen my perspective of marriage forever? Who knew that having one of my best friends (my brother) move would just multiply the places that I call home? Who knew that linking arms with my girls, cooking food, worshiping with my whole heart would bring the Bride of Christ alive in a whole new way? Who knew that the unanswered prayers and the shattered dreams would produce such hope? Who knew that every tear that I've cried would be kept for something precious? Who knew.... except the Master of the storm?

But even the storms mean something beautiful is happening. This kind of "life" rain means many things.

It means growing. The hand of Abba Father is never quite as visible as it is when the rain comes. All the stretching that comes shows JUST HOW involved Jesus is in that moment. JC Ryle once wrote: "The Christian who is always at a standstill, to all appearance the same man, with the same little faults, and weaknesses, and besetting sins, and petty infirmities, is seldom the Christian who does much good. The man who shakes and stirs minds, and sets the world thinking, is the believer who is continually improving and going forward. Men think there is life and reality when they see growth." It's true. God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

Rain also means grace. Sometimes the flash floods come. The lightening strikes. Rain becomes uncertain and painful. But when I hear the thunder and feel the pounding rain, I'm reminded to look up and run into His presence. I remember who I was and, by the grace of God, what He has made me now because of His glorious gospel (Acts 3:19). Sometimes the mistakes hurt - and the pieces that have to be picked up have lasting consequences. But Jesus steps in and reminds me that He took that guilt and that shame. His love is unconditional and yes, He delights in me. Because of that, the rain is healing. Refreshing.

[I will praise You in this storm, Jesus...]

As I said earlier, life isn't what I thought it would be. I can plan my way, but the hand of Almighty God has the final say. When it comes to the thunderstorms of life, there are always ripple effects... sometimes they are seen, often they are unseen. This is where I need your prayers, your support, and your kindred battle spirit for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Next week, the "rain" will take on a different form -- falling from an African sky.

As some of you have heard, Laurie Filson and I are headed for Sudan next Wednesday for the summer. Although the trip has been planned in fast-forward motion (with only a month and a half to prepare), it is a result of many months of active prayer as God has been preparing our hearts to do more short-term international work. It has required much faith and dependence upon the Lord, knowing that His ways and timing is always perfect... and that He, as Jehovah Jireh, will provide for all of our needs. As the two of us prepare for this new season of growth and grace, I wanted to outline some of the details here for you as all of us continue in this advancement of His Kingdom together.

Our purpose for going is primarily to "lift up the hands" of some fellow laborers within the family of Christ. Cush4Christ is a mission outreach through the Reformed Presbyterian Church. This team has been living and serving in the region since 2006 in an effort to see Christ-exalting churches planted and people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Due to some recent transitions, the team consists of the Ward Family (Vince, Julie, Samuel -6, Zakari -4, Amina -2) and the Faris Family (Daniel, Natalie, Samuel -2, and baby on the way!). They asked if we could come to help with some domestic life responsibilities, field projects, teaching English, and hopefully throw in a few other experiences along the way. :) If the last year has been any indication, it is a thrilling and a humbling thing that God chooses to allow us to be the "hands and feet" in service to Him - wherever we are on the this globe. I look forward to going, and I look forward to being back at home again.

It will be intense. It will be beautiful. It will be totally and completely a God-thing.

Prayers are craved.

[More information will be coming shortly on how to stay connected while we are gone. For now, feel free to talk to me personally or email me at emagnuson87[at]sbcglobal[dot]net)]

Tonight, the world is at peace. The lumunous moon casts a soft glow as the refreshing smell of a past rain wafts through the darkness. The thunderstorm lingers in my mind, but there is nothing but stillness and quietness. Following the Master of the storm, wherever He leads, brings ultimate peace.

It is time to be still and know that He is God.

Author: Beth
•Monday, June 21, 2010

[...I loved him first, he held me first
And a place in my heart will always be his.
From the first breath I breathed,
When he first laid eyes on me,
I knew the love of a father runs deep...]

Thanks for loving me, Dad.
You are my real-life hero.