This picture from Christmas morning makes me so happy. If I feel down I just look at this. The kids all sleep over and wait in my room until Mike and I call them down to open presents.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect family. All our families look different. We have gone through hard times like everyone, but God has blessed us so much and redeemed the hard stuff.
Get a picture of the people you love and put it up on your mirror or in your wallet. When you are down look at it and be reminded about what is important in life and who God has blessed you to do life with.
If you think you're not a "home party" person, ask yourself if you're a "help-a-little-girl-out-of-a- brothel-person."
I need to do a whole post one day on why we struggled with God over starting a "home" party, direct sales business. I really thought all of those were pyramid schemes, so surely God would not ask us to use this model. Boy, have I been humbled! God knew this was the best business model to create an "army of marketers" to make the biggest impact in helping women out of slums, sweatshops, the sex industry, and extreme poverty.
But people ask, "Why not make it a ministry that people just volunteer their time and not get paid or just give money to?"
Volunteers are great, but they need to put food on their table and make a living too. And their time is so limited.
So we decided to combine the two to make a win-win situation. Women helping women! A woman in the USA makes a living while helping a woman around the world make a living too. You should see these women we empower light up with pride when I thank them on behalf of a woman in the America for helping them put food on their table too!
It truly is a dignified partnership, which is all these women dream of. They don't want charity, they want an opportunity. They don't want to stand in line and beg for help from the next church or charity so their child can go to school or to the doctor, or even eat!
They want a job so they can be the hero to their child and have pride and dignity in meeting their families needs. Job creation, not charity, is the best way to end poverty.
So Trades of Hope is creating sustainable jobs for both women in the USA and around the world through a business model that took me a while to believe in. :) But now I see God is always right! It's the perfect business model for Trades of Hope to help change the world! (And I support other direct sales companies now that I see how they have paved the way for women everywhere. Direct sales is the new corner store of years past. We can directly help those we love by shopping local. )
OVERWHELMED is my word for this year. Not the normal overwhelmed, but overwhelmed by God's blessings. Here is a throwback picture of our family and others showing how God has added an amazing son and daughter to our growing family.
People would probably not guess, but I have never been very maternal. The kids go to Dad to iron and get stains out and when they are hurt. People ask, "Then how did we get so many kids?" ....and my answer is, "have you seen Mike?! " :)
But the truth is, even though I didn't get that "maternal gene" our kids are my greatest joy and the reason I just cry from the gift we've been given in each of them. I have no idea how we got so many blessings. I wish it for everyone. My heart aches for couples who weren't able to have children or lost children or are estranged from their children, almost so much I won't post about my family of fear of bringing pain.
But I am reminded that it's all perspective and how you choose to look at your life. I have seen people love their animals in a way I never understand until I look at my kids. My goal is to wake up with praise on my lips for all that God has done. So today I praise him for my son- in-law, Ryan Antos and my duaghter-in-law Savannah Wehde. You have added blessing on blessing by becoming our "kids."
What blessing overwhelms you today and puts praise on your lips?
Leave a comment below.
What God's teaching me: Sometimes blessings are hidden in painful places. Apostle Paul thought his ministry was over when he was thrown into prison, but the truth was there was a new ministry in an unlikely place that looked nothing like a "blessing." Yet while in prison, Paul was able to reach the jailer and his whole family for God. Am I willing to endure what doesn't feel like a "blessing" to be used by God in the most unlikely circumstances and places?
Please God, let me be willing to go and endure whatever will further your kingdom even if it doesn't look like the blessings I pray for and seek after. What is God teaching you?