20 Years Ago Today

Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you. Luke 8:39 (NKJV)

Twenty years ago on this very day, God called us to the mountains of south-central Montana.  My husband and I had been married ten years, bringing with us our nine-year-old daughter Kallie, our six-year-old son Jacob, and our brand new one-month-old baby Kevin.  

We drove our U-haul truck up the winding, bumpy Boulder Road to a piece of heaven called Camp on the Boulder.  There, my husband was to be the new camp manager.  It took two hours to get from the nearest town of Big Timber to the camp with that U-haul, so I assumed it really was a two-hour drive (though later, in emergency-room runs, I could fly down it in 38 minutes!).  

We drove into the camp and to the cabin designated for us, moving ahead as directed by board members.  Yet no one saw the power lines and the height of the U-haul.  So the very first thing we did was knock out power to our tiny new home.

Volunteers helped unload the truck full of boxes and furniture from our home in Iowa.  Unfortunately, this little mountain cabin did not have the room of our previous spacious house, so boxes were piled to the ceiling. I sat on our sofa, trying to nurse my baby, freezing because the power was out, noticing mice running under the doors.

All the glamour of living in a log cabin in the mountains completely left me.  I burst into tears and wanted to go home.  I wanted to load that U-haul back up before my husband could return it to town.  I wanted to go back to familiar Iowa.  

The closest telephone was next door in the Ranch House, the original cabin from the Hell’s Canyon Dude Ranch that precluded the camp.  This was another scary, unfamiliar building with its dark interior, dust, and almost a century of memories.  But at least it had heat for my baby and me. 

I called my daddy back in Iowa on that phone. We had just spent the previous month with my parents while between jobs and already I missed them.  I cried to my daddy, “I want to come home.”  And guess what my daddy said…

“No,” was his reply. “I’m sorry, Jenny, I can’t let you do that.”  

And so I cried buckets of tears and resolved that I would be stuck there forever:  Be there with the mice running under the doors, be there with the power going out regularly, be there with all the ups and downs of church camp ministry.  And we served Jesus there for almost 12 years before God called us to town, and I cried again because I didn’t want to leave.  

Today, we are still in Montana, and very often I proudly sing, “My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandana…”  so glad to be where “the deer and the antelope play,” thankful for the Big Sky and open places, where, as one pastor pointed out, we’ve been practicing social distancing since 1889.

In 20 years, God has sent so many blessings, that I can’t number them all, but let me try to list a few…

God provided a new home for us. We only had to stay in that old log cabin four summers and then a lovely year-round home was built for us by volunteers at the camp, one that was tight with no mice!

God rescued us from forest fires. I used to know how many times we evacuated because of forest fires, but the number escapes me now.  It was so many that our kids were experts at loading the car with prized pets and possessions.  And each time, God kept us and our camp safe. 

We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Psalm 66:12 (NKJV)

God sent so many wonderful volunteers and camp ministry team members and Nomads over the years with whom we still keep in touch.  What a blessing to know such dear people.

God fulfilled all our prayers for the camp. The ministry that broke our hearts, and often broke our backs, is now owned by the one of the biggest churches in Billings, Montana. God is answering all the prayers we had for it so long ago. It’s a delight to see God using this piece of heaven for His glory.

In 2011, we moved to town where Jesus provided again a beautiful place to live, wonderful people to work for, church family, praying friends, and Awana and youth group leaders for our kids.  And everyday we wake up to the breathtaking view of the Crazy Mountains, the Beartooths and the Absarokas.  Thank you, dearest Jesus.

God watched over our children… with God’s help, we homeschooled, bringing them up to love and know Jesus. Our daughter Kallie earned her bachelors and masters degrees and is now married and the mom of our two dear grandchildren. Our son Jacob also earned his college degree and is now an engineer in California, engaged to be married this summer. Our little baby Kevin we brought to the mountains is now 6′ 4″ (6’6″ during the corona-haircut-crisis) and busy with college classwork and his Campus Crusade for Christ group.

Along the way, after sending three babies to heaven, God heard our prayers and blessed us with our little Joel who is now 8-1/2 years old. Joel is keeping this old homeschool mom busy learning about oceans. Thank you, Lord, for our children!God has allowed me to continue in ministry, writing two books with more on the way (My TEA CUPP Prayers and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers). God has been so good to us these 20 years.  Thank you, dear Father in heaven!   

God is ALWAYS so faithful…providing for all our needs, comforting us in every sorrow, protecting us from evil, healing our bodies, and growing our faith in Him.  Now, with our granddaughter’s cancer, we trust Him to be faithful again.  He provided a camper and we were able to visit her for almost a month and saw her improving day by day.  And so many are praying for little Kennedy…God bless you all!

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Friend, you have a story, too!  I encourage you to write it down. Record how God has been faithful through all your ups and downs.  Put it in an album with photos for your kids and grandkids to read. Point your family to Jesus. Keep telling the story of God’s great love!

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s post, you might also like to read When God Says No and Fires and God’s Faithfulness and  My Sweet Baby Blessing at 45.  

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name. Luke 1:49 (NKJV)

The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad. Psalm 126:3 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

 

 

Bible Mom: Understanding with Ruth

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10 (NKJV)

She was the great-grandmother of King David, the grandmother of Jesse, the mother of Obed, the wife of Boaz, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, a Moabite, a God-seeker, and the only Bible mom to have a book of the Bible named for her.  Who was this great lady?  Ruth.

I can’t think of anyone more worthy to highlight  the “U” part of our TEA CUPP than this marvelous Bible mom.  “U” is for “Understanding our stories,” and here is Ruth’s amazing story in these four short Old Testament chapters.  When we understand our stories, how God is at work in our lives, how Jesus saved us, we can share this testimony with others.  And that’s what our Bibles let us do with Ruth, giving us a glimpse into the life of a godly mom.

How did Ruth end up in Bethlehem?  It all happened in the days of the Judges when God’s people kept turning away from Him.  God sent a famine on the land, so a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi and his two sons moved to Moab.  The two sons married Moabite women, one of whom was Ruth.  Well, Elimelech died and his two sons died, so Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem.  She told her daughters-in-law that they should stay in Moab with their families and remarry.  But Ruth wouldn’t hear of it.  She proclaimed:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)

Back in Bethlehem, Naomi was very sad for she had gone away “full” with a husband and two sons, and had returned “empty.”  But she actually wasn’t empty, for she had a wonderful daughter-in-law, Ruth, who was willing to work hard in the fields and do whatever Naomi said.  A relative named Boaz noticed Ruth’s dedication, blessing her with these words:

The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge. Ruth 2:12 (NKJV)

You will have to read for yourself the courtship and traditions that allowed Ruth to become the wife of this gentleman Boaz.  And once they were married, the Lord blessed them with a son…

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Ruth 4:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the amazing story of Ruth is Ruth 1-4 today. My friend, your story is found in scripture, too!  Whether you have many children like Leah, prayed long for children like Rachel, or are barren like Elizabeth until she was old, you can find a mom like you in scripture.  Your salvation story is here, too, whether you learned early to sit at the feet of Jesus, as did Martha’s sister Mary, or if you had five husbands like the Samaritan woman, you will find a kindred soul, and you will find out how much Jesus loves you!  What lady from the Bible do you relate to today?  Talk to Jesus about her in your prayers.  With whom can you share your story?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

 

 

 

Afraid to Tell

afraid to tellSo they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8 (NKJV)

It happens every spring when I read the Easter story from the book of Mark.  I’m taken back to a time when I said nothing to anyone, because I was afraid.  Perhaps you have a similar story.

We were at a church camp conference in Georgia with the theme, “This is My Story.”  Whenever there was a lull between events, the crowd would launch into a lively rendition of the old hymn.  “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long…”  The song still rings in my heart almost two decades later.

Between singing and game workshops, maintenance manuals, recipe exchanges and all the other information you need to run a church camp, there was a delightful morning Bible study.  I wish I could remember the name of the speaker who led this, an energetic, Asian-American dynamo.  She ran us through the life of Jesus in the book of Mark, because that is Mark’s pace.  She explained to us how most scholars believe the last twelve verses were tacked on later, so Mark 16:8 is really the final verse.  And what does this verse tell us?

So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8 (NKJV)

Who were these people?  Mark 16:1 tells us they were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who brought spices to anoint Jesus’ body.  They didn’t know how they https://www.fertileheart.com/buy-diflucan-online/ would move the big stone that blocked the tomb.  So when they arrived, they were so surprised to see the stone already rolled away.  An angel in the tomb told them, “He is risen!”

Isn’t that the best news of all!  Would you run tell all your friends?  Well, according to Mark, these women were afraid and didn’t tell anyone at first.  I wonder how many of us are like that.  Do we know the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, but are too scared to tell others?

The Bible study speaker challenged me to not be afraid to tell my story.  That very day I wrote my story in my journal.  The next Christmas I sent it out with our Christmas cards.  Today I continue to look for ways to tell others about the love of Jesus, how He saved me by dying on the cross, and that He is risen.  Many days, I’m still afraid, but the Holy Spirit nudges me to share more and more. Are you being nudged, too?

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Mark 16 today.  Celebrate the Good News that Jesus is Risen!  Then find someone to tell the Good News of how Jesus has helped you.

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”  Mark 16:6 (NKJV)

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.