are you Co-Dependent? {5k+1}

 

Are your dreams COMPLETELY dependent on God?

Will your results testify to HIS greatness? or yours???

Most of you know that we are adopting AnnaBelle from China – what you may not know is that we are trusting GOD to pave the way, open the doors & provide the funds for EVERYTHING because He told us He WILL! If we were depending on US in any way, this whole thing would have never left the airport – we aren’t exactly overflowing with ‘green’ in the Kwong house, in case you didn’t know!!

We are people of faith & live our entire lives based on that. We decided to leave every comfort of home/family & security when we came to Hong Kong in 2011. We watched God raise & provide every penny to make that happen. Then we moved across the ocean with nothing but faith to guide us & keep us. It has always been enough. God is MORE than enough. He’s shown HIMSELF to be faithful in providing for our every need & desire over & over again. So each time He guides us in a new direction, no matter how hard or impossible it seems, we trust Him again. It’s a new chance to see Him work His miracles in amazing ways! How can we refuse to follow such a loving & merciful God?! He brings us through to the other side of each & every challenge, even when WE fail Him & when we doubt Him & when we try to run… He is so patient & He waits for us, how can we not wait for Him?! Indeed, His timing & His ways are far greater than ours – so we allow Him to lead.

We are going after God-sized dreams & we expect God-sized results! In this journey we’re making to bring AnnaBelle home, there are MANY mountains we need moved! Most of them are financial, but this week’s trials were more of the paperwork & regulation sort… it turns out that living overseas makes this international adoption ‘business’ a touch more complicated. Go figure. We struggled a bit with the delay & the frustration of missed appointments & added requirement surprises… but in the end, we know that God was not surprised & that He is STILL in control of how/when we are able to complete this process & bring our sweet girl home! We TRUST Him completely. The truth is, this assignment, this calling… it is TOO BIG FOR US ALONE, it is designed that way – so that GOD ALONE will have all the glory for the miracles that come forth from it! We have already seen his miraculous confirmation of this journey, then His opening doors & provision for fees right on time for our recent homestudy visit… NOW we continue to trust him to clear the way for our paperwork & to provide the remaining $18,000 that we still need for all the agency/orphanage/document fees!!! Of course it’s a HUGE dream – because we have a GREAT & MIGHTY GOD who has already promised to complete what He has started!!!

We cannot possibly do this alone – we aren’t meant to – that’s the point… Friends, what has God called you to do that is beyond all your ability? Are you jumping in & trusting Him for the rest? Or are you playing it safe & waving from the shore while someone else carries out your calling? Don’t wait even one minute longer… ask the Lord to show you & He will – seek His face & you will find Him – pray for wisdom & receive it today! God wants to walk WITH you on a miraculous journey of your own – all He asks is that you use it to show others of His great love & saving grace! Will you try it? Will you try trusting this great & loving God? I promise you, HE is the only thing in this life worth being dependent on – HE wants you to be COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON HIM… not co-dependent on yourself. Let Go & Watch God teach you to FLY!

“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself… But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead… For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity (holiness) and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God..”  -2 Corinthians 1:8-9,12

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healing Pain {walking through it, literally}

“No Pain, No Gain!” used to be a phrase I laughed at, until I had another ankle check-up on Fri.  Something strange happened when the Physical Therapist told me I should be able to try walking without the crutches again. I had been hoping he would say that, I’ve been so bored with staying off my feet & my house has turned into a pigsty & we have this Team of helpers arriving… But in that moment I simply could not imagine being able to put the crutches down & walk on my hurting ankle. (Oh ye of little faith, right?!) I didn’t think I really COULD “pick up my mat & go home”. I was scared of how much it would hurt to even try & I feared my ankle was too weak & would crumple under me again…

Then, sensing my hesitation, the Dr. smiled & in his slow & careful English he said, ” Of course, we will do it step by step, not all at once. You will get there over time.” All of a sudden I felt a wave of relief. He knew it was hard to jump right up & back to normal. He wanted to show me ways to strengthen my muscles again & he explained how using them more each day will actually promote the healing process, & not using them simply allows them to get weaker… When I asked how long it should take to be walking normal again his reply was simple, “It depends how willing you are to overcome the pain. The more you practice, the faster it will heal.”

There is truth is his words. Often we would rather stay in our pain, unhealed, simply because we are afraid of the unknown pain that the healing will require. But the reality is, no matter the KIND of healing we need (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.) walking through the pain is often the best & fastest way to heal. For anything that needs healing, there are exercises & training methods that will help. Since Friday, I’ve been using my ankle more & just 24hrs after seeing the Dr. I was walking around the apt. without any crutches! (ok, I KNOW it’s only 680sqft, but I was excited to be up on my own for the first time in 3 weeks!) Today, I walked the journey to & from the subway to get to church & lunch using only one crutch for balance. It was a good day… moving forward, and surprisingly not nearly as much pain as in previous weeks of NOT walking on it!

We can train our mind & exercise spiritual discipline, etc. Since we’re talking about physical pain today – check out what WebMD has to say about Chronic Pain:

Pain Relief: Walking

Walk more: It’s one of the best prescriptions we have to help chronic pain. Daily pain tends to make people less active, and that often makes pain worse. Exercise also releases endorphins — the body’s natural painkillers. Aim to walk — or exercise in other ways — five times a week for 30 minutes a day. Work up to it slowly, adding a few minutes a week. -WebMD

Jesus suffered much pain on the cross, so that each of us may be healed from all things in this life. Our Father God sent His Son Jesus to earth for that very reason. To heal us & restore our relationship with Him… Sometimes the fear of risking pain can keep us from that growth & healing. Sometimes the very pain we’re avoiding is required before the healing can even take place. I’ve learned this lesson many times in regards to spiritual & emotional healing. Now I’m learning to trust God for physical healing. In small things like my ankle… & in big things like our oldest son’s brain lesion. God is faithful. It’s myself I worry about – praying you & I can keep practicing, walking through the pain & allowing God to heal us.

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” -3 John 1:2

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” -1 Peter 2:24

“LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” -Psalm 30:2-3

{Dedicated to our friends Pastor Duane Jordan & Danny Lund, who teach us more than they realize about faith, pain, healing & trust. We thank God for their example!}

-JK

growth for Christmas {a transformed life}

Pain. Fear. Ambulance. Patience. Humility. Hospital. Heroes. Knight. Boredom. Frustration. Disappointment. Peace. Rest. Swelling. Bruising. Quiet. Study. Worship. Lonely. Immobility. Crutches. R.I.C.E. Delegate. Acceptance. Teamwork. Dependance. Creativity. Laughter. Innovation. Decorating. Loud. Messy. Love. Christmas. Courage. Growth. Trust. Shopping. Silly. Antics. Careful. Rehabilitation. Exhausted. Sore. Word. Spirit. God. Husband. Wife. Kids. Family.

HK ambulanceWhat a week. These words are only a few of the moments & feelings we have come through. Last Wed. as we prepared for an afternoon shopping trip & then meeting Dad for a nice dinner out… I fell & sprained my ankle! It was horrible because I couldn’t stand on it & my three boys were at a loss for how to help me… I hated that moment, feeling like I had let them down, scared them & put them in such a hard position. I was afraid it was broken too. Don’t really remember the last time I did anything that hurt that much, other than childbirth & kidney stones I guess. Dr’s called it a ‘severe ankle sprain’ (no break), Mark says it’s like a Grade 2 ‘high ankle sprain’ which is worse than the norm I guess… Turns out you’re NOT supposed to walk on your foot (or your ankle) when it’s fallen asleep! Go figure!

busted ankleNeedless to say, I’ve been laid up on the couch for the last week! It’s been a time of major stretching & growth for our whole family. I’m sure it’s not over yet – since I have one more week of no walking (except with crutches) & likely another 3-6wks of healing to go after I start putting weight on it. In all, I’m proud of my family – we’ve started to really pull together & work as a team. Maybe we’re learning more about what it takes to be a strong family, or maybe everyone else is just finally realizing all that Mom does around here! Ha ha! Now that I can’t get up & just do stuff, they have to HELP ME in addition to all of their responsibilities… what’s more is they have to do all the things I would normally do around here – or be frustrated when it isn’t done! Everyone has to help pick up the slack, but isn’t that the point of a team?? Isn’t that the point of the Body of Christ?? Aren’t we all part of both, this family Kwong & the family of God?! Taking time to talk about it with the kids, so they will actually GET the lesson while they live it, that seems important to me… & yet so hard to do! Seems crazy, since I have no where to go, stuck on the couch! But there is much to do while I sit here, besides icing my ankle. {grin} Like catching up on correcting/grading homework that has been on my desk for weeks, emails & scheduling for the US Team that will be here right after Christmas & helping kids with math! (oh yay, how fun! LOL)

mom on crutchesAs for the personal lessons God has brought for me, I’m praying & working through each of them. From patience & humility to showing my gratefulness & giving grace to others… & allowing my feelings of disappointment over missing out on things/activities that I just can’t go to right now – but then choosing to rest in the Spirit & enjoy the extra time I have to be in the Father’s presence rather than dwell on what was missed! The biggest lesson so far, the one I haven’t ever had many chances to work on, was trusting my 4 guys with taking care of things that are normally totally up to me. Specifically, shopping for Christmas decorations! It took a lot of soul searching to really be ready to “LET GO” of the control on this one, but the only other choice was to not have it done until I can walk well enough to go out on the train again (maybe 3 weeks). Well, we’d already be past Christmas by then, & if not – everything would be sold out anyway, like it was last year when we arrived in Hong Kong, just 9 days before Christmas! This is my favorite time of year, I love to focus on Jesus & the Father’s gift, & family shopping & decorating time is all part of setting the tone… We didn’t have room to bring many decorations with us, & last year we arrived pretty low on funds & too late for buying things – so this was the time I’d waited all year for – to go out & stock up on great decorating treasures (& great deals on prices too!)… Waiting on Mom to heal first was simply NOT an option this week!

door wreathSo… I sent them off with my list & a prayer. Then I called my Gramma & told her how “My plan is to be prepared & at the very least, to say ‘Thank You!’ & NOT CRY no matter what they bring home!!” — But I was worried for nothing! My amazing Husband, my hero, actually called & skyped with me from the store so that I could still help decide on things!!! I was nervous when it sounded like the kids were fighting, but later I found out he got them all Root Beer (very hard to find in Hong Kong) & they were angels the rest of the day! When they came home, the treasures found were just right, they all did a GREAT job!

decorating the treeNow here I am, delegating cleaning, cooking & laundry jobs, as well as explaining where all the decorations should go… It’s beginning to look a ‘little’ like Christmas in here! We’re gearing up for our Home Group Christmas party this Friday. It will be a big TEAM Kwong effort to get the house looking great while Mom is couch-bound. But I’m confident that we can do it! between the shopping adventure & our home-made decor (thanks to Pinterest ideas!), we’ve gotten a lot done already! I can’t wait to be up & running again, but I’m so grateful that God is always growing us & teaching us through every little bump in the road! My family is stronger today & I am going to be able to release them into even more new adventures as we come up on our 1 year mark since moving here… Our next year in Hong Kong is already looking to be even brighter than the first! Can’t wait to see what lessons Jesus has for us in 2013, it’s gonna be epic I’m sure!!

laptop crafting  blue starflakecrafting

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.” -2 Corinthians 3:18

“Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” -2 Corinthians 5:17

-JK

heroes worth knowing… Taylor Morris

There’s nothing more inspiring for a young boy than a hero who saves the day, nothing that captures a little girl’s heart quite the same as a knight in shinning armor. As a mom of three growing boys, I am always on the hunt for hero stories that will grab their attention & spur them on to discover the greatness already in their hearts. Greatness placed there by God, the ultimate hero. The same greatness these boys of mine witness in their Dad’s life and the lives of so many others around them. I wrote about looking to God & others for inspiration last January, you can read that & check out the heroes I highlighted then HERE: your excuse is Invalid

This week I stumbled upon the story of a true modern day hero, Taylor Morris. An American soldier, a warrior, a man refusing to allow his circumstances to keep him down. A man who knows where his hope lies and trusts that with God’s help, he will overcome! But he isn’t the only character in the story, Taylor’s surrounded by an entire team of heroes… His support warriors include family, loved ones, friends & now even strangers across the world that are praying for him, sending encouraging words & simply standing firmly beside him in his journey. Don’t we all need that? Isn’t that why God tells us that it is important to not give up fellowship with believers & to seek out Godly counsel in times of need?!

Taylor was deployed (to Afghanistan I think) with the Navy this last January 2012. (Only 1 month after my family arrived in Hong Kong) He came home early, in May 2012. He was severely wounded in action, resulting in the loss of a portion of ALL FOUR LIMBS. His story, his fight to recover, his ups & downs over the last month in the military hospital have already been an amazing struggle, triumph & above all, truly inspiring… Team Taylor has set up a great site where you can be encouraged by his life, learn how to pray for his recovery/healing & even give towards his expenses as the Lord leads you. In the “Journal” section, Taylor’s family/friends take turns contributing stories for all who want to follow Taylor’s journey. Rather than repost the entire saga, I’ll just let you click over to Taylor’s page below.

Taylor Morris – The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

Do you know my friend Taylor Morris? – a friend’s visit.