Monday, July 17, 2017

Lilias Trotter Giveaway Winner!





Announcing the Lilias Trotter Giveaway Winner . . . 

Congratulations Katie A. ! 

Please respond to the e-mail that was sent to you so that I may mail off the giveaway prize to you! 

Thank you to everyone else who entered; I hope that it was fun and and that your interest was piqued to learn more about the life and witness of Lilias Trotter. :-)

If you are interested in purchasing the DVD or the biography about Lilias Trotter's life, you may click on the following links:



Have a blessed week, friends! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

~A Lilias Trotter Giveaway~


One of the most precious gifts that my Mom gave to me growing up was a love and a nurturing of my love for missionary and Christian biographies. Next to the Word of God, the Lord has used His stories of men and women who gave up their "earthly all" to take up their cross and to follow Him in a tremendous way in my life. Filling my mind with accounts of the lives of Oswald Chambers, John Paton, Amy Carmichael, Adoniram Judson, James Fraser, William Tyndale, and many others has fostered in me a yearning to imitate these men and women in a very small way. I am so grateful for the gift of their lives and testimonies! I (truthfully) could never "get into" theological tomes--although I tried to read them! But missionary stories and stories of Christians who walked closely with the Lord--I ate them up and the Lord gave me an insatiable hunger to read about His servants. I'm thankful for this because it taught me by example that one really could follow the Lord wholeheartedly--that through the power of the Holy Spirit, this kind of life of surrender is possible. No one does it perfectly--but each one has the capacity through His power working in and through us to pursue an obedient, surrendered life and to make the most of the time that is given to us. Praise God that He does the work through us as we surrender to Him . . . nothing is impossible for Him. 

Many of you know about my love for the missionary Lilias Trotter and her writings and art. I have wanted to run this giveaway for a while now, in the hopes that it might introduce more of you to this wonderful servant of our Lord and Savior! My prayer is that more people will read her writings and in turn, recommend them to others; may the Lord be glorified through her precious example of faith and obedience. 



Included in this giveaway are:

 ~Lilias Trotter's biography, written by Miriam Huffman Rockness. This wonderful biography details Lilias's life and ministry in a detailed and engaging way. It really challenged and encouraged me. 

The recent documentary made about Lilias Trotter's life entitled Many Beautiful Things. I enjoyed this documentary very much--although it doesn't go into as much detail as the biography, it whets one's appetite to learn more about this obedient servant of God.



~Two beautiful bookmarks made by my precious friend Stephanie. Stephanie blogs over at The Enchanting Rose and if you have never visited her blog, you are missing out on a real treat for the soul! She shares recipes, book reviews, sewing projects, hymn spotlights, as well as other lovely and encouraging topics. I was so blessed by Stephanie's offering these bookmarks for the giveaway; I love the way that she beautifully designed them with flowers and delicate lace. They are so pretty and feminine and perfect for using in the biography of Lilias Trotter or any other book that you are reading! Stephanie also has a wonderful Etsy shop, Rose Petal Blessings, that she continually adds beautiful items to--and she offers free shipping as well! If you have never visited her store, I would encourage you to; you will love it! 




Please enter the giveaway below and share about it with friends! I know that Lilias' Trotter's testimony will bless your life richly. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lilias Trotter~A Life Lived for the Father's Glory and Documentary Thoughts

This post uses affiliate links. 





Many of you who know me know how deeply I have been touched by the life of Lilias Trotter. Her story has spoken to me in ways that few stories have and her influence will be etched in my heart forever. I am indebted to Elisabeth Elliot and Miriam Huffman Rockness and especially to our Lord and Savior for introducing me to her writings and bringing her story across my path. There are people that the Lord uses in each person's life to influence them and to challenge them--Lilias's story has strongly been used of the Lord in mine. 

Take the very hardest thing in your life – the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot.  Just there He can bring your soul into blossom. ~Lilias Trotter




Lilias's life was one that showed forth the sufficiency of Jesus Christ--and also illuminated the joy for me, of surrender. I understood through her life and example, both as a missionary to the Muslims in Algeria as well as her daily walk with the Lord, that the only life really worth living is the life lived out in surrender to the Father's will for one's life. Surrender is the pathway to joy. It may be a very painful, difficult road, but the only way to life and true, lasting peace. 

I thank God for her writings, her example of obedience, and her great love for her "Father's world," and for her Great Father through her art and writings.

I was finally able to watch the recently-released documentary, Many Beautiful Things, about Lilias Trotter's life--and I happily and wholeheartedly recommend it. I liked Many Beautiful Things because I think that it whets one's appetite to read more about Lilias Trotter as well as read her writings. It is definitely by far not a complete glimpse into her life, but provides enough detail to be satisfying, edifying, and encouraging. A lot of the focus in the documentary is given to her struggle to release Art as her main passion--to me, it is more of an artistic interpretation of her life rather than a heavily-detailed fact by fact analysis. Which is why I would encourage people to watch the documentary as well as read the book, A Passion for the Impossibleby Miriam Huffman Rockness for a more in-depth account of Lilias's life. Both are tremendously spiritually encouraging and uplifting. I also loved the little coffee table book, A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter. It is a beautifully illustrated book containing her artwork and quotations. 




Surrender--stillness--a ready welcoming of all stripping, all loss, all that brings us low, low into the Lord's path of humility--a cherishing of every whisper of the Spirit's voice, every touch of the prompting that comes to quicken the hidden life within: that is the way God's human seed-vessels ripen, and Christ becomes "magnified" even through the things that seem against us. ~Lilias Trotter

And as a side note, I would also encourage this beautifully-illustrated and written children's book about Lilias Trotter--my little daughter loves it! This short book depicts Lilias's life for young children and gives them a curiosity about who she was and how she served the Lord in the slums of London as well as in North Africa. It is definitely worth adding to your library. 

If you have never read the writings of Lilias Trotter, they are the best way to get to 'know" her on a deeper, more profound level. Her Parables of the Cross is a beautiful, rich book about walking closely with the Savior through surrender. 


I hope that learning about this beautiful servant of God will encourage you toward a closer walk with our Lord and Savior; I know that her life has touched mine deeply. 



You might find me on these link-ups:

Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday Linkup

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Fun, Creative Children's CD to Prepare for the 4th of July!

This post contains clickable affiliate links. 



Something that I am always on the lookout for are creative, engaging children's-song CDs to listen to in the car. We live in a rural setting, and so we usually have a good distance to drive when we run errands. 

I've taken a number of CDs out of the library, and often, when I find a really good one that I like, I purchase it so that we will be able to listen to it more frequently. The library is such a wonderful resource, and I've found that this is a great way to be careful with what I purchase so that I don't waste money on a CD or a book that I don't care for once I listen to it or read it with my children. 

My Mom recently gave me a cassette tape called Wee Sing America. It was a tape that we listened to when I and my sisters were young! I love the Wee Sing tapes in general. They are tremendously creative, engaging, simple, and entertaining without relying on heavy beats in their music--perfect for young children. I grew up on Wee Sing, and so I was extremely happy when I rediscovered this wonderful tape, especially with the 4th of July so near.



The CD Wee Sing America is available on Amazon--It is loaded full of a number of patriotic songs, including some pioneer songs and early American songs (like "Sweet Betsy from Pike" and "John Henry").

I love the fact that it teaches children the patriotic songs of our country as well as introducing them to some basic educational facts about America. My children, aged 3 and 4, love it. There is one song on the CD that is a little more "upbeat" than I prefer, but I like the fact that the song teaches children the 50 states, and so I try to overlook it.  

This is truly a wonderful CD to add to your collection, especially to take out and listen to around Patriotic holidays. 



I have also been extremely happy with the Wee Sing Bible Songs CD, the Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes CD (incredibly engaging and creative), and Wee Sing Silly Songs, minus one or two that can be skipped (images below). The CDs are accompanied by a songbook, which is a wonderful bonus. 



                                                                                        
                   

If you are looking for a great resource for your children, I strongly recommend these.  




You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday Linkup

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ministry Update and How We Have Been Doing

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

~Frances Ridley Havergal

I noticed this sweet little bunny sitting near my laundry basket of clothing that I had taken off the clothesline. :-)

Dear Friends, 

I wanted to update you all on how we have been doing since we moved recently and how the Lord has been working in our lives. For those of you who have been following the updates about our ministry, you know that we recently moved into the home and property that we eventually would like to convert into a place of rest for the Lord's people. For those of you who haven't been following these updates or who are new here, you may read more about how the Lord has been working in and through our lives in the following blog posts if you would like to--

Flying to A Summer Land
The Gift of Quietness
Grace in the Midwest Wilderness
When you Just Can't Do It
An Impossible Prayer Request
Midwest Ministry update

Please continue to pray for our family as we prepare this property for ministry and especially, as the Lord prepares our hearts for ministry . . . this week, the words of my middle school teacher came to my mind--"Keep the main thing the main thing." Those words have been upon my heart because I have realized afresh how easy it is to get caught up in the details and forget about the most important thing --bringing glory to the Father through a life of submission and trust in Him. 



There is so much to do--so much physical work, and yet, I need to remember that my main focus needs to be upon Jesus Christ--it is easy for me to get busy in the work and forget about Him. And ultimately, my main work is prayer; the outflow of that will be direction in what I need to do moment by moment. Please pray that my focus would be continually upon Him. 

And now, let me share with you a little about how we have been! :-) We have been doing a lot of "clean-up" work in the house and outside. Just a few days ago, I finally finished unpacking boxes and now my husband and I are hoping to begin painting the rooms in the house. 

The attic floor needed to be reinforced and so we had the pleasure of my brother -in-law (who works for an Amish construction company) and two of the brothers who work for the company reinforce the floor with a beautiful wooden beam. I am glad that I no longer need to worry about falling through the floor! :-) This is a great relief to me. :-)

We have also been working outside doing a great deal of raking, weeding and cleanup. It has been so wonderful as the spring came to see the various plants that are breaking through the beautiful soil--my Mom gave me a love for perennials, and so I am enjoying seeing the many perennial flowers that have been planted by the previous person who lived in the house coming up. 


I noticed this little toad while I was working outside. 

We are trying to maintain some wide paths on the property as well; my husband has been working on that and we hope to neaten up the field next to the house a little bit more once the animals are done with their nesting; we'll probably do this in the late Fall. 

And speaking of animals, I have just been amazed by all the little creatures who live "with" us here! Oh, I love it! Sweet little bunnies and toads and all different sorts of beautiful birds and deer and who knows what else! It is so precious to experience the Lord's creation in such a close way and to hear the birds singing at night and in the morning. 


I found this bunny nest in one of the plants in the garden--right near our backdoor! I think that the clothesline bunny may have been born here. 

I have thought on several occasions--if it is so beautiful in this place, imagine how glorious Heaven and the New Earth will be. 

I feel close to the Lord here in the sense that His creation draws me to think about Him and to marvel at His works. Our neighbors have a large field behind our barn and I love to walk along the path with my children and smell the fresh spring air and hear the birds bringing glory to the Father. I have to admit, sometimes, especially when I am wearing my grey woolen sweater, I am tempted to imagine that I am Anne of Green Gables, watching Martin bring in the cows! ;-). Oh, the Lord has been so kind to allow me to taste His beauty in these ways. 



And we want to share this with the Lord's people . . . I am so excited to see how the Lord will work in and through this place. I look back and see His perfect provision for me and for my family throughout my life --and how He used trials and very difficult times to draw me closer to Himself. 

And I know that He is with me here and that He will sustain me. 


Another little bunny peeks out from between these two rocks near the potting shed; he also likes to hide under the rhubarb! :-)


I am also just so grateful to be closer to our church and our precious family in the Lord there. I was reminded again of how thankful I am to the Lord for this church as my little daughter and I recently went to a Mother Daughter Tea that the church held. It was so wonderful to fellowship with the ladies there! Our family has also just been so blessed by the Pastor's sermons and his Spirit-filled emphasis upon the Gospel and love for the lost. We are so thankful to the Lord for His leading us to the church. 

And one more update--we have designated one of the outbuildings on the property the "missionary house"---we are hoping to repair the roof and fix up the inside in the coming years. It is already structurally sound--it just needs to be converted into a place where people can stay. We are very excited about working on that in the near future and I have been collecting things to furnish it, etc. 

I will just leave you with this quote, one that the Lord pressed upon my heart so heavily when I left my beloved New England. And now I see His mercy here and the beauty that He prepared for me --beauty from ashes--


God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.

David Livingstone


Please remember me and my family in your prayers, beloved friends. And please let me know if there is anything that I may pray about for you! 


Even Mr. Pinch, my sister and brother-in-law's elderly pug is enjoying visiting here! :-) Here he is, taking a bath in our kitchen sink. :-)

You might find me on these link-ups:


Strangers and Pilgrims on EarthInspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomWhat Joy is Mine, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Mom's Morning Coffee, Raising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage,  Graced Simplicity, Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog HopTGI Saturdays Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Sharing His Beauty Blog LinkupCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart Party, Oh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday Linkup

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Take the Very Hardest Thing~Becoming a Woman of Strength

I was recently asked to speak at a Ladies Tea that our church held. I thought that I would share the talk that I prepared for that event . . .  I pray that the Lord may use it as an encouragement to you! 

I remember the day clearly. It was dreary and cold and my children and I had just come down into the kitchen for breakfast. My spirits were low. I felt joyless and alone. We had recently moved to Wisconsin from Rhode Island. My husband and I shared a car at that point and I was home each day of the week with my two little children while my husband was at work. I felt discouraged. As David so aptly described it in the Psalms, "my soul was downcast within me." My husband and I had come with our family to Wisconsin out of obedience to a calling that the Lord placed upon our lives. I was absolutely convinced of that. But the day in and day out obedience in a different place where I was struggling to adjust with two very little children was difficult. 

I remember thinking, half-praying in my mind as I stood at the old porcelain sink washing dishes--I don't have the strength for this. I honestly believed that I didn't. I had relocated halfway across the country and I missed my family and friends--I did not know at that point how long it would be before I saw my family again, my husband worked long days, we were on an extremely tight budget and the cold weather did not help my mood. 

Immediately as that thought came to me--that I didn't have the strength--I heard the Lord speak to my heart--"the joy of the Lord is your strength." And this thought came from outside of my downtrodden mood--I knew very clearly that the Spirit of the Lord was communicating with me. 


Immediately, in that moment, the Lord gave me strength. Joy flooded my heart and the day did not seem dreary anymore. The thought kept coming to me --the joy of the Lord is your strength, the joy of the Lord is your strength.  The Lord replaced my unrest and sadness with a peace that passes understanding and a great joy in and though my circumstances. 

The joy of the Lord is our strength. 

That is what I have found over and over again in this past year and a half and throughout my life. That He is my strength and that He is able to give me strength when I feel like I cannot do something or feel something or be something. 

He is my strength--and yours, too---in whatever circumstances we face--

And I don't want to try to pretend to understand completely the circumstances that God has placed you in. Some of you have faced or are facing very difficult roads. I have experienced very dark times in my own life where I felt utterly forsaken and abandoned by God. And I can only say that the Lord Himself must come to you in those circumstances and give you His strength. He will--He is the same God who gave strength to Christ Jesus to face the death of Calvary. He is able to give strength in the darkest place even in the shadow of death.  He will come to you in your circumstances just where you realize that you cannot handle them without Him.

I have found so many times that when I try to produce "strength" in and through my own efforts, I always fail and become discouraged, whereas when I rely upon Jesus Christ and wait upon Him, He supplies me with strength at just the time when I need it. 

We receive strength when we relinquish our own efforts to produce it and allow Him to work out His strength in and though our weakness. He says to us in Philippians 4:13 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. "


The paradox of His strength comes in here--that we know His strength when we humble ourselves in weakness before Him. 

That is where He makes us strong. That is where He fills us. That is where we receive joy and strength to face our circumstances whatever they may be. 

His strength is made perfect in weakness.

The Lord makes each person different, but each one with a capability of knowing His strength in weakness. I have a personality that is naturally reserved and introverted. So when the Lord spoke to me about 16 years ago, calling me to begin a ministry of hospitality to missionaries, pastors and their families, and fellow believers, it was a surprise to me.

That is the reason that we came to Wisconsin--we took a step of faith after many years of prayer and seeking the Lord's will in where He wanted us to begin the ministry He called us to.  We saw His hand in so many countless ways and were convinced of His leading us here.

But coming here was a step that I would not have naturally taken. I am by nature an introverted, quiet person, a creature of habit. I loved New England--loved it-- with its history and haunts, with its charm and feel. I am not a thrill seeker or an adventure-taker. I enjoy eating at the same restaurant, drinking the same flavor of coffee from the same cup day after day, month after month. I used to walk a lot for exercise and I would hesitate to change my familiar route, even for years. I find comfort in routine.

In all honesty, I did not want to come here. I dreaded coming here. 

But I wanted to obey the Lord--more than anything else--and He convinced me that His grace would be sufficient for me here--and it has. 

As believers, as Christian women, we are not limited by our natural capabilities. Instead, the Lord calls us to bring our weakness, our lack, and our shortcomings to Him, so that we may experience His power working through us and the glory may be His and not ours. He loves to work where we cannot see a way, even in ourselves.

I was introduced to the writings of Lilias Trotter through one of Elisabeth Elliots' books years ago. Lilias Trotter was a missionary to the Algiers who was physically weak--initially, Missions boards refused her as a missionary candidate because of her health. She paid her own way and the Lord greatly used her there until her death. Lilias Trotter wrote--Take the very hardest thing in your life – the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot.  Just there He can bring your soul into blossom.”   

Take the very hardest  thing--

Take whatever you struggle with--whatever it is you think that you cannot handle in your life and offer it to Him. Offer it to Him in surrender. And then see what He does as you patiently wait upon Him.. 


It is and has been the stories of missionaries and Christian women like Lilias Trotter, Amy Carmichael, and Susannah Wesley who have been such an encouragement to me in my own life to follow the Lord no matter how inadequate, weak, or helpless I may feel. Feelings come and go--but the strength of the Lord is a continual promise. Take His strength, regardless of your feelings and lean into Him as your strength. You will find Him every time you humble yourself under His mighty hand. And you will be strong in Him.

Take the very hardest thing, and surrender it to the Lord.

Read the word of God, memorize it, learn hymns, read missionary biographies. If you have small children and are unable to find that "quiet" time with the Lord that you crave, listen to sermon tapes or solid ministers on the local Christian radio station. This has been a tremendous help to me, and something that I always remember my Mom doing when my sisters and I were very little. 

This is how we become stronger in the Lord, how we embrace His strength--through immersing ourselves in his Word and promises. We become strong through admitting our weakness and then embracing His strength-- not trying to take the bull by the horns and show everyone how capable we are in our own strength.

He will enable us to do whatever it is that He has called us to do. 

Do you feel weak in any particular area? Good! It is an opportunity to take the Lord's strength. 

Take the hardest thing--and expect God to come through there in your life. 

This is how we become strong women who trust in the Lord--

Strong in difficult, painful marriages . . . 

Strong in the midst of health problems . . . 

Strong when we are faced with an impossible relationship . . . 

Strong in the midst of financial strain. 

Take the hardest thing--and offer it to the Lord in obedience and surrender. 

Remember that the Lord uses weak people who hold onto His strength.

The world tells us that to be strong women we need to assert ourselves, demand our rights, do what makes us feel good, and pursue our dreams and goals selfishly, that we need to be brash and headstrong and in control. 

But this is not real strength. Because strength is not what comes from within ourselves--it is a gift that comes through Someone greater than ourselves--true strength comes from Christ, the One who humbled himself, who laid aside His own rights, who forfeited an earthly crown for a heavenly kingdom, who took the last place and washed the feet of His disciples. 

True strength comes through surrender, through yielding oneself to the will of the Father, not grasping at whatever makes us feel happy and fulfilled in the immediate moment.

True strength comes from Jesus Christ. 

True strength is eyes of steel focused on the glory of the Father, hearts of compassion for a dying world around us, and a face set like flint to do the will of the Father--whatever that may be for your life. It is a strength that the world cannot understand. And--

His strength will crown us with beauty

His strength will clothe us with dignity

His strength will cover us with grace. 

We will be able to laugh at the days to come because we know that He holds them perfectly in His hand. 


I'd like to end with this quote from Elisabeth Elliot because it speaks so wonderfully to this subject-- We are called to be women. The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God's idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be.

May we be clothed with strength and dignity and laugh at the days to come--because He is our strength. 




Saturday, March 18, 2017

How the Lord Answered My Prayer of 16 Years~Ministry Update

For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert
The parched ground shall become a pool,And the thirsty land springs of water;
In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
Isaiah 35:6-7 NKJV


Nothing so clears the vision and lifts up the life, as a decision to move forward in what you know to be entirely the will of God.
~John G. Paton



About a year and a half ago, our family moved from Rhode Island to Wisconsin, obeying our Heavenly Father's leading and calling in our lives to begin a ministry in the Midwest. We came with a minivan packed full to the brim and I came with a very fearful heart, but also with a heart that hoped in my God's precious promises. He went before us. And that first year in the great "wilderness" of Wisconsin was one of the most difficult years of my life, but I would not trade it and the lessons that the Lord taught me through it for anything. 

I missed my family and friends dearly. But I found in my loneliness a Friend in Jesus. I found peace in the quietness of seeking Him. I found rest in depending upon Him alone when there was no one else to turn to. Truly, He gave me grace in the wilderness. 

My husband and I came out here to begin a ministry--people have asked why Wisconsin? Do we have family here? Was it work-related? The very short answer is no. We moved to Wisconsin after years of seeking the Lord and becoming convinced that this was where He wanted us to be--that this was where He wanted us to begin the ministry that He called us to. We moved here in a simple act of obedience to the Lord as He enabled us by His grace--an act of obedience that I struggled with up to the very end when the Lord strongly spoke to me through a Ravi Zacharias sermon and through His Word. I said yes to the Lord through many tears. 

Years before that, I had begun to pray--to pray for the Lord's direction and guidance in my life in regards to this particular calling. I was around 18 years old when the Lord spoke to me--and I never imagined at that point how much time would pass before He accomplished His purpose in this particular area. 

And now I am seeing the fruition of 16 years of waiting in a beautiful and precious answer to prayer. 


My husband and I want to establish a place of rest here--a place where fellow believers can come and have a respite from the world as they seek the Lord, a place for missionaries to stay, a place for pastors to come apart for a time of refreshing, or for any Christian seeking rest and quietness. It needed to be a peaceful place with enough room to house our brothers and sisters. 

When I came here, my heart was burdened with three main concerns. A job for my husband that would provide for our family, a solid Gospel-driven church, and a place, a home, to establish this ministry. 

The Lord mercifully provided a job for my husband in his field just before we moved here and then recently opened up the door for a different job in the same field in response to our prayers for His provision. 

He opened up a place for us to worship Him-- a church that we love and where the Gospel is preached boldly and with compassion. This was another precious answer to prayer.  

But my third concern-- for a place, a home; this prayer went unanswered. I struggled when the time came for our lease to be renewed. We had been here for about a year, living in a rental home that was not the most cost-efficient place to live. We were traveling a good distance to church with two small children and my husband, after the Lord opened up the second job here for him, was commuting about an hour-and-a-half to work each way. 

I felt as though it would be "wiser" to move closer to our church and closer to my husband's job. I prayed and struggled and sought the Lord, earnestly trying to explain to Him why moving at that point would be best . . . 

I heard the Lord's silence. 

We looked at homes to rent in the area where we felt that we should possibly move. We considered purchasing a smaller home, which would be more cost-effective than renting, while we waited for the Lord to open the door for a home for our ministry. 

I felt hesitant, but we continued to explore options. 

The Lord kept stopping us--a house would already be rented or an offer had already been made on a home that we looking at. My husband and I began to think that perhaps the Lord had a different plan in mind and that we were supposed to stay where we were, at least for the time being--but we just could not understand why. We looked at one final house, hoping that maybe the Lord would show us otherwise. 

That night, I read a passage in the devotional Streams in the Desert--


When the cloud remained . . . the Israelites . . . did not set out. (Numbers 9: 19)
This was the ultimate test of obedience. It was relatively easy to fold up their tents when the fleecy cloud slowly gathered over the tabernacle and began to majestically float ahead of the multitude of the Israelites. Change normally seems pleasant, and the people were excited and interested in the route, the scenery, and the habitat of the next stopping place.
Yet having to wait was another story altogether. “When the cloud remained,” however uninviting and sweltering the location, however trying to flesh and blood, however boring and wearisome to those who were impatient, however perilously close their exposure to danger— there was no option but to remain encamped.
The psalmist said, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Ps. 40:1). And what God did for the Old Testament saints, He will do for believers down through the ages, yet He will often keep us waiting. Must we wait when we are face to face with a threatening enemy, surrounded by danger and fear, or below an unstable rock? Would this not be the time to fold our tents and leave? Have we not already suffered to the point of total collapse? Can we not exchange the sweltering heat for “green pastures . . . [and] quiet waters” (Ps. 23: 2)?

When God sends no answer and “the cloud remain[ s],” we must wait. Yet we can do so with the full assurance of God’s provision of manna, water from the rock, shelter, and protection from our enemies. He never keeps us at our post without assuring us of His presence or sending us daily supplies.

Young person, wait— do not be in such a hurry to make a change! Minister, stay at your post! You must wait where you are until the cloud clearly begins to move. Wait for the Lord to give you His good pleasure! He will not be late!

And so, against what I humanly deemed as "wise and prudent," I decided to wait upon the Lord for His direction without actively seeking to move forward until I knew His hand leading; my husband and I committed to this course of seeming "inaction," renewed our lease, and decided to wait again upon the Lord in prayer. 



And interestingly, someone very close to me kept reminding me not to limit the Lord--I honestly was very doubtful that the Lord was going to open the door at that point for a home for us that would be the place for our ministry-there seemed to be too many obstacles and I just didn't see humanly how it could be done . . .   But  this person kept telling me to wait patiently--that I and my husband never knew what the Lord would do and at the same time the Lord continually kept reassuring me through His Word that He was ready to act in His perfect way.

The housing market remained grim. I worried and wondered and fretted and then returned to trusting in the Lord as we waited. Nothing came on the market that was suitable. 

Finally, as the time drew closer to when we would need to make a decision about whether or not to renew our lease again (the 6-month period that we had leased our rental house for was drawing closer to its end again), I believed that the Lord was telling me to seek Him more deliberately in prayer, and I set a side a period of time to do this. During that time, nothing still came on the market. Yet I waited, believing that His hand had led me to wait upon Him earnestly in prayer and so I did . . . 

Right at the end of this time of prayer and seeking the Lord, a house came on the market. I can only attribute what happened next as a miracle from the Lord's hand in direct answer to prayer. The house exactly fit what we were looking for for our ministry. It was set on almost four acres in a peaceful setting. Its outbuildings and layout would perfectly accommodate what we have been called to do.  And in the Lord's perfect mercy, the style of the home is one that I love--an old-fashioned 1890s house that reminds me of my beloved New England. Tears of joy come to me even now as I write this, and now that we realize that the Lord has given us this place for this time, for His purposes I can only say


I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:1-3 NKJV



Furthermore, to add to the Lord's merciful hand in all of these things, the home is located within a much easier commute to my husband's job and near our church. It is in a very rural setting, and yet easily accessible for people to find--I was concerned that we would be "out in the boondocks," in order to find something suitable, but the opposite is the case--we are in a very rural setting, located near a state park , but also in a location that is easy to find and access, which would be helpful for this kind of ministry. It is actually as though this home was made for what the Lord called us to--more than 100 years ago, no less! The Lord never ceases to amaze me and to challenge my "finite" thinking with His infinite plans. For years, I have been fascinated by missionary biographies and stories of the Lord's provision in the lives of people like George Mueller and Hudson Taylor. I have tried to follow their pattern of obedience and trust, although very imperfectly. And now I am again seeing this accomplished in a miraculous and merciful way in my own life. And I praise Him; it is all of grace. 

There were times when I doubted the Lord. There were times when I truly questioned my own sanity--when I questioned whether the Lord had really spoken to us. We had relocated halfway across the United States; some people literally thought that we were crazy, or at best, misled. But I held on to the certainty that the Lord had spoken to us and that He would fulfill His purpose, and He has. At the same time, the Lord held on to me and helped me and strengthened me in my times of discouragement. And He showed me His goodness in a wonderful and miraculous way. He gave us this home. 

Looking back now and writing this, I see that if we had done what seemed "wise" at the time, if we had trusted in our own understanding and ignored the Lord's gentle voice leading us to wait, we would have been locked into another lease or have purchased a home just before the Lord was ready to act and not have been able to move forward into the ministry that He called us to. I have learned through this experience once again, as I have in the past, that it is always better to wait upon the Lord when there is doubt. It is always better to trust in His wisdom, even if it seemingly contradicts the best of human wisdom. His plan may seem like it doesn't make sense, but He is preparing His best for us if we will wait upon Him and receive it. 

And so I praise Him for answered prayer--the answered prayer of 16 years, the prayer that I prayed in a little bedroom in Rhode Island as a teenager. And I pray that He would continue to pour out His grace in my life and make me into a willing vessel to accomplish His purposes. I pray that He will use this place of rest for His glory. And I pray especially that this testimony would strengthen other believers who are in a "waiting" place to hope in the Lord and trust utterly in Him. He is good to those who wait for Him. And they will not be ashamed. 
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Below are the links to other blog posts that I've written detailing our move here and how the Lord has worked His grace through our lives,  if anyone would like to read more about it--

Flying to A Summer Land
The Gift of Quietness
Grace in the Midwest Wilderness
When you Just Can't Do It
An Impossible Prayer Request
Midwest Ministry update




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