Not a Mirage...

The Macks' Journey to the Oasis

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Life handed me Lemons?

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)
  



I realize that I have been extremely slow about writing lately. The less that I write, the less willing I am to write; the more that it begins to feel like something that I have to do. It has become a chore. Let me explain.

I have not felt well for months. I have been suffering with debilitating fatigue, headaches, muscle pain and a menagerie of other symptoms. As it turns out, I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroidism. (let's call him Mr. Moto)

I did not want to write, because I thought that I wouldn't be able to write anything worthy of reading~ only complaints about how crummy I feel. Who wants to read that? So...there was silence...FROM ME...crazy, I know.


And then I got to thinkin'.


First off, that the main reason that I write is for me anyway. I enjoy writing. It helps me to sort out how I'm feeling about things. Sometimes it helps me to see more clearly what God is trying to do in me. Usually, it helps me to see that it is not about me. Secondly, I thought, in fact I know, that many of my friends are also dealing with illness, uncertainties about the future, financial hardships, and a general feeling of "hey! what are you up to God???" in their lives.


I am not alone.  


You are not alone.


What an awesome truth that is.


As "Mr. Moto" tries to get the best of me, I will try to muster up what energy is needed to write. I will say, today I feel crummy...but this is what I think that God is trying to teach me. I will say, whew! I have some energy today and look what I was able to accomplish! I will lament that I could bearly get out of bed today, and I felt as though I was utterly useless to bring God any glory, but my prayer life is growing like crazy! (which brings God glory...right?)

So, Mr. Moto, I will not let you destroy me. I will welcome you in my life trusting fully that you are part of God's plan for me. I don't like you, but I can embrace you as a part of my journey.


I can acknowledge that God can and does use pain to bring about His purposes in my life....and I can sip slowly my ice-cold glass of lemonade. Mmmmm...




     

Have you not known? Have you not heard?


The Lord is the everlasting God,


the Creator of the ends of the earth.


He does not faint or grow weary;


his understanding is unsearchable.


He gives power to the faint,


and to him who has no might he increases strength.


Even youths shall faint and be weary,


and young men shall fall exhausted;


but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;


they shall mount up with wings like eagles;


they shall run and not be weary;


they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31




~posted by Kelli

Assimilation?

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Now that jet-lag has dissapated some (and golly, it's no joke!), I will be posting both entries from my journal during and personal reflexions since my trip to India. The trip was amazing...I believe that I left a part of myself in India. I fell in love with the people, the music, the spicy food, and, I'm not gonna lie, even the bathroom breaks :) !  


My heart was broken to have to leave...to leave a place with such a need, not only a physical need but an enormous spiritual need. How do you assimilate back into your life and culture, when you feel like you've left yourself there? This is the question that haunts me...the issue that wakes me up at night and drives me to my knees for the people of India. The need. I've never seen such desperation and want. The sad thing is that the need is directed the wrong way. They don't even realize that they need a Savior above all other needs. This drives me to pray. This makes me petition the throne of God to send harvesters. People who will put their hands to the plough and harvest for the Kingdom. People who will commit to pray, even if they can't "go" for the harvest.

As you look at these photos, will you pray for God to do a mighty thing in the lives of those who are in the pictures? Would you be drawn to remember them when you enjoy the things of life that they will most likely never have?



 These ladies are the only Christians in their families. Pray that they will remain faithful and courageous as they follow the Lord. Pray that their witness will be a tool in drawing their families to salvation!





The first village that we visited. We prayed for them, shared care bags (with personal items, candy and coloring sheets) with them, and planted mango trees for them. Please pray for a woman and her newborn (no pics of her, sorry) that we prayed for here. The woman was sick...maybe gall bladder problems...with no access to good medical care. Pray for healing and for safety and protection of the infant. The mortality rate is so high in India, that they don't even name their babies until they are one-year old. 




We visited homes and planted mango trees in their yards. This gave us a great opportunity to pray for them while asking God to "bless the tree and the family".  It also opened doors for us to share the Gospel with people. Our little team of five was blessed to see six people pray to receive Christ during these visits. 



This is a Hindu family that prayed to receive Christ. The WHOLE FAMILY!!! There is a pastor in the village who will help them in their new relationship with the Lord. EXCITED!



This muslim family allowed us to pray for them but not share Christ with them. The young man has been having health problems~ loss of weight, and throat pain resulting in not being able to eat. We were able to get him into the medical clinic that we were hosting. It is probable that he has either severe thyroid issues or even cancer. Please pray for him as he follows up with doctors in India. Pray, ultimately, for his salvation!





more to come...
~posted by Kelli

Chronicles of India

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

 


What Are We Up To?

 


 

 

After all that has happened over the last year and a half, what might be seen as failures or closed doors, are all proving to work out to His glory. We remain unsure why our call to Vanuatu didn't seem to end up the way that we had hoped, and we are still unsure what the future holds for us (is any one of us sure?). We are confident in this, though~ we wouldn't have seen him work like he has over the past six months if we were headed to Vanuatu~ let me explain...

 

When the final door seemed slammed on us for Vanuatu, I had an opportunity to go to India with the choir at our church. I was stubborn and didn't think that I could go. How could I? I had spent a year asking people to financially support our endeavor to Vanuatu to no avail. I couldn't possibly ask people for money, and there was no way our family could afford the trip. I will spare you all of the details~ they are miraculous, though! Through several different people, the money for the trip was completely provided and exceeded! I never had to ask anyone for a dime!



 

So now, I  am preparing for the trip. A group of 60+ will be traveling to India to perform concerts for up to 5,000 people a night. We will also provide medical clinics to those in need, visit orphanages, plant a mango tree "farm", and visit villages and leper colonies. We will be sharing the love of Christ with those who don't have the comforts that we have in a very practical way.



 

The date that we are leaving is January 18 (Next Friday). Our return date is January 28.


 

Would you pray for our trip?

 

  1. Pray that God would be glorified through our efforts.
  2. Pray that people would come to know the risen Savior and be set free from the slavery of sin.
  3. Pray for the health of those on the trip (flu season is upon us and we also must be cautious of food and germs in India).
  4. Pray for safe travel (It is a long flight!)
  5. Pray that God would give us all eyes and hearts for people around the world who do not know Him.

 

 

 

People have asked me why I would go to India? So many look at it as an impoverished place that is no place to visit. Well, my answer is...I am not going to visit India. I am going to minister to the people of India.


 

I can't wait to give you an update when I get back!!!


~posted by Kelli

My "Yes" is on the Table

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)



When I first heard that the choir from our church would be taking a trip to India in January, I thought that I would be on my way to Vanuatu by then. I certainly wouldn't go. But then, as God confirmed to us that Vanuatu wouldn't be our destination (at least any time soon), the door was opened for other things.


Those who know me well know that my favorite thing to do is to sing. I sing in the shower, I belt it out during worship at church, and sing (much to my children's horror) loudly in my car (often with raised hands). It shouldn't be surprising then, that a trip with the choir could be my next step.


So, I sat there. I sat in choir week after week listening to our director's plea for volunteers to go. My mind was made up. I was not going to India. I mean, how could I? I would never be able to afford the trip. I would NEVER ask people to give so that I could go. After all, I had been asking for support for Vanuatu for over a year and then had to swallow every ounce of my pride to say that it was the wrong path for us. My heels were dug into the sand...and I would not be moved.

I did commit to pray about it, though. God, in all of His glory and with a very large sense of humor, gave me an answer. And yet, I would not be moved.


Wednesday night at choir, the man from Global Hope India got up to speak. He showed us a map of all of the unreached people in the world. Out of 2.9 BILLION people who are unreached by the Gospel, over 1 billion of them live in India. So, with tears running down my cheeks, and with the question in my heart, "How can I go?", I realized that the better question is, "How can I NOT go?"

I got home after the thirty minute ride home and sobbing most of the way, to find my husband waiting for me. He looked at me, and I burst out, "God wants me to go to India!"

To which Dennis replied, "Is that all? I thought that you were going to tell me that you have a brain tumor! If God wants you to go on that trip, then you should go!"  

I have wondered why all of this should have unsettled me so much. I mean, it's not a brain tumor! The fact is, after examining my heart, I am terrified. I am far beyond scared to put my "yes" out there again. What if God doesn't want me? What if I spin my wheels and none of this comes to fruition? And, what if God does want to completely get rid of my pride by having me ask people again for money??

And then I hear it so clearly...almost an audible voice...saying LISTEN TO ME, KELLI. You have been listening to the wrong voice. LISTEN TO ME.



I can think of a million reasons why I cannot go to India.
But I can think of over one billion reasons why I should. 



For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

 

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"

Romans 10:13-15


~posted by Kelli


We Are Hypocrites

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)



Someone from a Muslim-dominant country once told me that the majority of muslims that he knew never read the Koran. They don't know what it says. They practice a belief system based on tradition, not on the actual belief itself. I remember thinking how hypocritical that is. How can you say that you believe something and never spend time reading the very book that teaches you about the essence of the belief?

And then there was conviction...

I recently heard somewhere that very few Christians read their Bible on a daily basis. In fact, the majority of Christians stated that the only time they read the Bible is during the Sunday morning worship service. I read through polls that suggested between 16-25% of professing Christians read their Bible "on a regular basis" (which I'm not certain what "regular basis" means). Reasons given were lack of time, lack of understanding, and allowing the "professionals" to read it to them.

This astounds me~ and yet, in many ways, it does not.

Many of the presentations that we gave while trying to raise our support were met with little enthusiasm for the Bibleless. Try as we might, we couldn't generate a passion for the need. After reading these statitics, it sheds a little light on why.

Christians, in general, don't really care about the people around this world living without God's Word, because we don't value it like we should.

In theory, yes. We say that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. It is God-breathed. It is His very words spoken to us. But then how do we apply that knowledge?

Do we read it?
Do we "hide your words in our heart, so that we might not sin against Thee"? Do we use it to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ"?



 If we say that we believe something and don't follow it with action to support that belief, then we are hypocrites.



I don't write this to heap guilt on your head. I am equally guilty for not spending time in His Word like I ought. I also know fully that our salvation is not about what we do or even our good works, but  about what God has done for us. Reading your Bible is not what makes you right with God. Reading your Bible is how you know God. By reading the Bible, we begin to understand who God is, what He has done for us, who we are in Him, and how we are to live. We fall into a deeper love with Him as we go.

"The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." Psalm 119:130


 "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105



We desire to be Christians for more than traditions sake, don't we?


The words, "The word of the Lord came to" Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Samuel are written in the Bible multiple times (really, you should google it). Over and over, the Word of the Lord came to those people.


We are blessed to have the Word of the Lord at our disposal all of the time.


Forgive us, Lord, for taking your Word for granted. Spur in us a desire to know You more. Draw us near to You, Father. Help us to be able to say along with the Psalmist,


"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"



~posted by Kelli


LOOK!

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)




"I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm one Sunday morning, when I was going to a place of worship. When I could go no farther, I turned down a court and come to a little Primitive Methodist chapel. In that chapel there might have been a dozen or fifteen people. The minister did not come that morning; snowed up, I suppose. A poor man, a shoemaker, a tailor, something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach.

Now it is well that ministers should be instructed, but this man was really stupid, as you would say. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had nothing else to say. The text was "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter.

 

There was I thought, a gleam of hope for me in the text. He began thus "My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says 'Look.' Now that does not take a great deal of effort. It ain't lifting your feet or your finger, it is just 'look.' Well, a man need not go to college to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool and yet you can look. A man need not be worth a thousand a year to look. Anyone can look; a child can look. But this is what the text says. Then it says 'Look unto Me.'" "Ay," said he, in broad Essex, "many of ye are looking to yourselves. No use looking there. You'll never find comfort in yourselves. Some look to God, the Father. No, look to Him by and by. Jesus Christ says, 'Look unto Me.' Some of you say, 'I must wait the Spirit a working.' You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. It runs: 'Look unto Me.'"

Then the good man followed up his text in this way: "Look unto Me; I am sweating great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hanging on the cross. Look! I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend and sit at the Father's right hand O! look to Me!" When he had got about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I dare say, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger, He then said, "Young man, you look very miserable." Well I did, but I have not been accustomed to having remarks made on my personal appearance from the pulpit before. However, it was a good blow struck. He continued:

 

"And you will always be miserable in life, and miserable in death if you do not obey my text. But if you obey now, this moment you will be saved."

Then he shouted as only a Primitive Methodist can: "Young man, look to Jesus Christ!" I did "look."

 

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun: I could have risen that moment and sung with enthusiasm of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me that before. TRUST CHRIST, AND YOU SHALL BE SAVED.

Remember, dear brother, if you give your whole soul to the charge committed to you, it does not matter much about its appearing to be a somewhat small and insignificant affair, for as much skill may be displayed in the manufacture of a very tiny watch as in the construction of the town clock; in fact, a minute article may become the object of greater wonder than another of larger dimensions. Quality is a far more precious thing than quantity."

 

—C. H. Spurgeon




 

My pastor shared this yesterday at church...I don't think that I had ever heard it before, and I love it so much that I want to share it with you! It is a part of Charles Spurgeon's testimony. I love that he, one of the greatest preachers of all time, was saved during such a simple sermon by such a simple man. Proof, I'd say, that God does all of the saving~ he just chooses to use man in that work, which is unbelievably awesome! This gives me hope that when I stumble and bumble while sharing my faith, God can use even me!

 



I desperately pray for my friends and family members who have not "looked" yet into the glory of God. If you are reading this and you do not know Christ, pleaseplease  look at Jesus.


He has done everything necessary to save you...it is finished...

trust Him and you will be saved.



~posted by Kelli






My Sister Mandy

Posted on August 14, 2012 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)



I remember every thing about that day, though I have tried many times to forget. It lives in my memory when many other more pleasant memories have long since been forgotten.

The day started with a phone call from my mother. She said that Mandy, my nineteen year-old sister, had not come home the night before. She told me that there was a dress laid out on her bed and that she had left a note. I knew immediately that Mandy was dead. I knew because during the night, at exactly 12:53, I jumped straight up in my bed after being awakened by nothing. And yet, there was a horrible fear that something was wrong. Dennis went to check on Caleb and Hannah, who were found quietly sleeping in their beds. I slept fitfully the rest of the night. Until my mother called.  

I called Dennis at work and he came home to stay with our little ones. I drove the forty-five minute drive to my family's house. I found my mom distraught and wondering what to do. I told her that we needed to call the police. We did that. We spent time calling her friends to ask if they knew where she was. Nothing. I didn't tell my mom that I already knew that she was gone.

We spent the rest of the morning awkwardly watching t.v. shows and speaking very little. Late in the morning, we received a phone call from the police asking for a better description of Mandy. They asked specific questions about her tattoos.

Several hours later, a police car showed up at the house. Two detectives walked up to the door. We let them in. They asked strange questions about our health....where is this leading? I wondered. Then the words came that I will never forget-  Mandy had been found dead, with a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

That moment changed every thing. Our family would never be the same.

The police asked if they should stay to deliver the news to my father when he came home from work. We told them that the second he got home and saw the car, he would know. No, we would tell him ourselves. The moment that stands out in my mind the most from that day, the moment that I have tried to banish from my memory so many times, was seeing my father crushed from the words that came out of my mouth, they found her.

The story of her death, the despair that drove her to it --all of those horrors-- can overshadow her life. Suicide is the most awful way to die. It leaves everyone with feelings of guilt. What could we have done differently? Was there anyone who could have helped her? None of that matters now.

It has been seventeen years ago today, since Mandy left this world. I won't let the horror of her death define her. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. I remember her in better times. I remember the way that she loved my two little ones. I remember her artsy side~ how she painted her little truck with flowers and peace signs. I remember the way that, I think, she looked up to me. I wish that she could have held on longer. Maybe, as time went by, she would have fallen in love, gotten married, had little ones of her own...maybe God would have drawn her back to Him.  

I know as a firm believer that God causes all things to work to the good of those who love Him, that He has a plan and a purpose even in this. Seventeen years later, I can still say that I am unsure of what that purpose could be. I do know this~ Mandy has made me love those around me better. Her death taught me that just because someone is smiling on the outside doesn't mean that they aren't dying on the inside. Listen to people. Love them. Hold them tightly and sometimes give them space. Know that these moments are precious and we aren't promised tomorrow. Know what to say and what not to say. And forgive...

God showed me what I can do that week. I never really thought that I was strong. I was given just enough strength to get through it...to handle all of the arrangements, to speak at her funeral, and to even sing at her graveside. He comforted me with a peace that really does pass all understanding. I couldn't have coped without Him. I learned more of who He is...He passed by and gave me a glimpse of His glory, and I am thankful.

I am unsure if I will see Mandy again. God only knows if the faith that she professed in him as a young girl was saving faith. I'd like to think that she will be in Heaven when I get there.








I can have confidence in this though, and it brings me unending comfort, there will be no more tears in Heaven...I long for that day.


~posted by Kelli


"Writing is easy. All you do is sit at a typewriter and open a vein." Red Smith







No longer valuable??

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (1)



I have been going over and over in my mind what I could possibly find to blog about. The thought that continues to haunt me is that now that we are not going overseas, I have nothing valuable to say. No one will want to read anything that I write. I am not significant anymore. 


While reading my Bible lately, my heart seems pressed to read many of Paul's epistles. I always find it funny how whatever particular thing that I need in my life, or trial or joy that I am facing, God shows me in His Word exactly what He wants me to see. Kind of like when you're newly in love, every song on the radio seems to speak to you. This is sort of like that, I guess. I find that every sermon and the majority of passages that I read have application in my given situation. I really have seen this time and time again...and it can't just be coincidence. His Word is living and active, now isn't it?


So, it's not surprising that I have been reading passage after passage on how Paul yearned to be with a certain body of believers but was unable to. I'm certainly not suffering for my beliefs, having been thrown in jail, like Paul. I can learn, however, from his experience. He was put in jail on more than one occasion. He never seemed to lament about it, though. In fact, he found contentment and purpose in every situation that he faced. He used that time to write letters to churches-- letters that were inspired by God-- letters that are, perhaps, some of the most treasured pieces of Scripture. Then there is the story of the jailer. This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible ~ yeah, I know, I say that a lot. :)  Read what Paul was doing after being put in jail.


About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.


When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.


But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here."


And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"


And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."


And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
Acts 16:25-34



Now, I am just a simple girl who loves Jesus. I can't tell you what the greek word is for this or that. I may not adequately argue all of the elements of my faith. I make no claims of being theologically trained...but... what I do see is this, though~ Paul believed whole-heartedly that God was in control in every situation. He made the choice to use every circumstance and every situation to the glory of God. When he was in jail, when he was being beaten, when he was deserted on a island...no time was "wasted time". I don't think that he was sitting around wondering what's next for me??  He went where God led him, even if it was to stay right where he was and be used there. He listened. He followed and sometimes he remained.



And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:6-10  



When tempted to believe the lie that I am not significant, I am thankful that God points me to His truth. He shows me the life of Paul. He shows me that I can be content in every situation. He shows me that, not only can I be content, I can be used by Him. I may not know what is next, and God may not give me a vision of a man urging us to come to him (although that would be fantastic if He did!), but I am useful. Not because of any thing that I have done, but because of who I am in Christ.


I know that I am not the only one who is dissatisfied with their current situation. Perhaps you are in a job that you hate. Perhaps you are in a place where you are not supposed to be. Perhaps you are in a church that is lackluster in their faith...no growth, no mission, no life. Perhaps you, like us, know that you are called to full time ministry and can't figure out what it is or the door to something special has been closed.

I do not know where your "Macedonia" is.
Right now, I don't know where mine is either.

But I know that Paul wouldn't just sit here lamenting. He would pray and sing hymns of praise to God.



And so will I.


~posted by Kelli



What Do I Do Now??

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (1)


It's such a strange feeling. After pursuing something for so long, and believing that it was the right thing, I am on the cusp of the unknown. Who knows where I will be a year from now? I thought that I knew. Today, we begin a new journey. We are no longer missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Today marks the end, or rather the beginning, of a new place.  


Many have asked what we are going to do now? Our answer to that question is that we have no clue. If I am to be completely transparent (and you know that I can't be anything other than transparent), I will say that for the first time in a year and a half, we are at peace. Sometimes wanting to control things myself, I would love to know what is next...but for now, a huge weight seems to have lifted off of us.

Knowing that we did the right thing, knowing that we were obedient to God's direction even though it was extremely difficult, lifts a burden so heavy that we can do nothing but praise Him through our pain! That's what we are going to do now~ we are going to praise God. We are going to thank Him for His direction, even though we don't understand. We are going to thank Him for being in control, even when we might want to be. We are going to thank Him for not sending us to Vanuatu right now, because He must have something better.

One by one, we watch as our teammates leave for their assignment. We read their newsletters about how they are selling all of their belongings, saying their goodbyes, and following the road that God has set before them. Our dear friends who will be going to Vanuatu are getting close to leaving. They are packing up and heading to Dallas for training in the upcoming months. They are doing what we thought we would be doing.


Although it is painful to watch, we have such a love for them, for the Nations, and for God, that we can rejoice even now. Our desire is to see God glorified~ to see His name be made famous~ whether it is by us directly or not. We cannot wait to see how God uses our friends! We may not be with them, but we are on our knees on their behalf and trust that He will do a mighty work in Vanuatu!








As for us and NOW, we will run the race set before us with great endurance. We will hold fast to our faith, believing fully that trials only come to increase our faith and give us a deeper appreciation of our salvation...we look to the future when we will one day see Him face to face. All of our earthly sorrows will be a forgotten shadow when we stand in His prescence. I delight in knowing that whether I am a servant of the King as an "occupation" or a servant of the King as a layman, I am a servant of the King. What greater joy is there than that?  


In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 
1Peter 1:6-7



~posted by Kelli

Pulling Weeds

Posted on July 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)


We saw this sign while hiking up a mountain last year. I thought that it was hilarious that my family took me hiking on my birthday to a place where I might die. This sign reminds me, though, that we are to follow God's path for us. The hazards of life are far less when we listen to the Father and go the way that He is directing us.

What do you do when your "yes!" is on the table, when your "Here am I Lord, send me" seems to be rejected? For over a year now we have poured ourselves into the journey to Vanuatu with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Really, it's been far longer than that. Like I mentioned in my "Waiting" post, I have felt called into missions for twenty-two years. The last ten years have been spent going to college and then seminary in preparations for it.  What should we think when the workers are few, and we were willing to be "workers"...only to find out that this is not the work we will be doing?


As I sit at the thresh-hold of a closed door, what is my take-home from this? Dennis and I could think that we have been spinning our wheels and that the effort has been in vain. We pursued something- something great, even- and it has failed. Like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, we could wallow in our self-misery and give up. We could grow a root of bitterness directed toward God for not providing for it. We could dwell on the family members and friends who never joined in our efforts.


But we won't.


We will look back at all of the ways that God has walked us through pain before. We will focus on His goodness and the truth that He desires the best for us, even when it comes through pain. We will serve Him daily, counting it as a privilege to do so. And after the pain lasts through the night, we will look for the joy that comes in the morning.

We know that God redirects. I am comforted by stories of Philip and Paul having ways shut to them and then God's redirection to something better. We know that God has something better for us. We can't imagine what it will be.

A friend sent these words of comfort to us after hearing our news: 
"Situations like this always remind me of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunich in Acts 8. God told Philip to get on the road to Gaza but Gaza wasn't the destination God had for him. God had something else along the way, the Eunich. His destination was actually what was supposed to happen on the road. God's leading was true and Philip's obedience was glorifying. The destination just wasn't what was expected. God's words are always true and your obedience was glorifying. The destination just wasn't what you thought."





Leading up to our house is a pathway. Three days ago, Dennis was bent over pulling weeds that have overgrown. He said that those weeds are a metaphor for our life right now. There have been too many busy days looking toward the future, and we have not taken care of our garden. Just like weeds, issues seem to pop up overnight. Whether it is bad attitudes that have developed in our children or neglect of own relationship with Christ, busyness left unchecked can lead to unwanted growth. Instead of the lovely fruit of the Spirit, we are left with weeds which become chaff.

Sometimes we concentrate more on doing something great for God than on God Himself. The ministry is not the mission. God's glory is the mission.


That is the take-home lesson for me.



While I am devestated that we will not be going to Vanuatu at this time, there is a weight so heavy that has been taken off of us. There had been glimpses of redirection almost since we started this journey. We didn't want to see them. Looking back, we were trying to make something fit that just wasn't right. We tried and tried~ you saw it in my many posts~ to find peace during the journey. Peace wouldn't be found in going to Vanuatu, because God doesn't want us there right now. Do we want what we want more than what God wants? No...we want God to be glorified.

Success in a believer's life is not measured in "making our dreams come true". Success comes from living this life yielded to seek His glory. When we want something so bad and realize that it is not what God wants, our obedience can bring Him glory. We follow Him. We serve Him. His "dreams" become our dreams...because He is the mission.

Funny, the name of our website is Not a Mirage.  It was a play on the fact that we were headed to Vanuatu, which in the world's view is an oasis~ a paradise. The real oasis, though, is God. He is the ultimate destination.


The journey that we are on is still pointed in that direction.






~posted by Kelli






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Please pray that God will direct our next steps and show us clearly where He would have us serve.

Please pray for Caleb's health issues. We would ask that you pray for good to come out of chronic illness. We want God to receive glory through sickness!

Please pray that God will grow our family tighter together and closer to Him while we wait.

Pray Pray Pray for the people around the world who are still waiting for The Word to be brought to them!! And pray that we, as believers, would see the urgency in this!

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