Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Parents of Missionaries: Grieving

I've been wanting to write on grieving for a while now, but words have escaped me. Not that I don't know how to describe my feelings, but that it's an area that God has so greatly redeemed, and is likely not the way the average person would think of dealing with such a strong emotion. 

A few weeks ago I was really depressed, having not seen my daughter or her family for over 18 months. We talk nearly weekly, but sometimes the time sneaks by, or the kids don't want to talk, or I can tell how exhausted everyone is. To be honest, I know the value of a good nap, and sometimes I would rather my daughter rest instead of take time to talk with me. No matter how old our kids are, we still feel like their mom. It can be hard for all of us. Maybe we all need naps sometimes. 

Those long days came and went, and we caught up on correspondence, but I felt a bit lost...we were out of sync and I was feeling disconnected from the life she lives there with her husband and our grandkids. It's bad enough to be 3,993 miles away, but to have a time difference, and a pandemic going on, it was as if different layers kept being added between us. Then the rainy season hit there, flooding ensues, mosquito season kicks in, airports shut down and we are all in lock-down, all over the world. 

It's bad enough when you can't go see your kids regularly, but when you can not go because the country's borders are closed, there's a different type of feeling that comes over me. I don't know that I have felt that before.

I have written about being a parent of a missionary (POM) before, and about how being involved with their work helps me to feel connected to their work. Even though it's a "support role" like praying, giving financially, or running a newsletter, you feel as if you are partnering with them. You are a part of their team. 

We have been a part of the work where they are, in the quiet things (prayer and giving) that are SO essential to the work they do there, but I wanted to do more. I was seeing photos of the areas they were working, places hit by tropical storms and flooding rains, and people losing their homes and all that was inside of them, and I wasn't sure how, but I wanted to help, more than giving and praying. I call this "putting wheels on my grief," meaning that I can DO SOMETHING to help, and that DOING helps the grief go away. It's investing more of me actively, not passively (although prayer and giving are not passive, they are still mental, and not physical). 

I remembered a woman I knew several years ago, who pops in and out of my Facebook feed, and how she had organized people to sew dresses for girls around the world. These are not fancy dresses, but sturdy dresses, in areas where poverty keeps them from having many clothes at all. I knew that these people who have been living below the poverty level in a very poor part of the world, and then lost everything to flooding, would benefit from a new dress for their daughters. As I reached out to her to find out more about the group she has put together, God began to put a plan together on how we could make dresses for the girls in my daughter's home country. I didn't know when the borders would open, but I knew that we could have dresses ready to go when they did open.

Oh, I forgot to mention...I can't sew. OK. I can sew by hand, but not a machine, and I'm not a fast sewer by hand, so I knew somehow that God didn't give me this burden for me to learn to sew, but that He would bring sewers together to sew for dresses for the girls there. I would do what He equipped me to do, administrate.

So a few Facebook posts later, and we've got people offering to sew from California, Missouri, Florida, and Kentucky! Oh, and the connection in Missouri has a "stash" of over 100 dresses that are ready to go to a country as soon as the borders are open! WOWZA!

Sometimes we don't know where our next step will lead, or when we will get to take it. As Stormie Omartian says, "He gives me just enough light for the step I'm on." That's all I knew to do, just take one step—just get people sewing dresses. Most of them are made from men's button-up shirts, but some are made from fabric. People were willing to donate both, and sew them as fast as they could, for some unknown time that we would need them. We didn't know when that day would come, but just knowing that there was a need, and that the need was great, and ongoing, was enough for these generous women to rally together. 

So God gave me my wheels, and although I still miss my kids and grands, it's a different feeling...not really grieving...but not easily defined.

And just how God is, as people are finishing dresses and getting them to me, in the midst of drop-offs and mailing things, the borders open, and their sending church has already put a travel time on their calendar...and they will be hand carrying these dresses to my daughter and her family, and helping to distribute them, along with food and bottled water, chlorine and soap, to these simple people who are slowly learning that Jesus loves them so very much.

In the past 6 months, as I've watched from afar as they go out and meet these people where they are, bring them supplies when they can not get to town (and don't have money to buy anything if they could get to town), I've learned one important thing; as Jesus told people who He was, He met their needs. He fed them. He healed them. He saved them from being stoned. He introduced himself to them and shared the truths of the Gospel, but He always met their needs. It's hard for hungry people to listen. 

I'm so glad God is helping them to be fed...spiritually and physically. And I'm grateful for those who are helping us dress them too...in Jesus' name.
...
If you want to learn more about dress-making endeavors for your loved one's mission field, check out the page at Official Page for Dress a Girl Around the World on Facebook.

If you would like to become a part of our ongoing dressmaking project, please email me at marinaskitchentable@gmail.com

Boxes of dresses being prayed for before they begin their long journey to me, then to my daughter...


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Happy Book Birthday!

 Happy Book Birthday to me!

Looking back I get caught up in how my book didn’t launch the way I’d planned or wanted. Unforeseen things kept popping up at the end, but ultimately it was God’s plan, not mine, and I’m ok with that. It was a learning curve with a publisher (and for the publisher too, I believe, one of their first NF books), and none of it was the way I thought it would go. I can liken it to a premature birth!
All in all the book continues to sell, and folks leave reviews (Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads, etc; if you have read it please feel free to leave one!) and mostly I’m blessed to know that it has encouraged people in their walk with God, because THAT is why I wrote it in the first place.
So Happy Book-Birthing Day! 🥳
Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table: A Devotional Memoir https://www.amazon.com/dp/1947523619/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_mwdEDbN7EMPRW
Ps- I *may* be book-prego again, but I have no idea when I am due...hehe, or what format I may go this time. I’m working with color photography and may do an ebook only using iBooks or another non-print platform... If you have any experience or opinions, please let me know!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Stuff...

 Just a short note to remind you that I’m easing off of posting here, and posting MORE over at the new site, MarinaJBromley.

Today I happened to have two posts go live (one on my blog, and one over at Balanced and Beautiful in Christ) on Forgiveness. 

May you be blessed!

M




Thursday, August 13, 2020

Romans 12, Parts 2 and 3: Balanced and Beautiful in Christ

The new posts that I wrote for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ are now live on their Facebook page, and here on my new blog site (subscribe there so you don't miss a thing!).

It's been a crazy few weeks (ok...are we going on several months now??) but I'm grateful that God had me write (and schedule) these several weeks ago. I pray that the words bless you and draw you closer to Himself. 

Blessings,
marina

Monday, August 10, 2020

Romans 12: Recipes for Good Relationship Part 1

 Romans 12 | Part 1

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” - Romans 12:3 NIV
In today’s pendulum of attitudes and emotions, it’s an easy swing from “woe is me” to “worthy is me” and vice versa. I often hear friends (and strangers) say that they have the proper attitude, look, and gifting. As a result, they believe they have a sense of entitlement, which means they deserve accolades and should receive rewards, such as a job, a raise, a perfect relationship, a house, an office, a ministry position, a book deal, etc. Self-confidence is not often lacking.
In contrast, we occasionally notice people giving praise to others, while they tear themselves down as if they have no value in God’s eyes.
We must find the balance between encouraging others in their God-given gifts at our expense and having the confidence to use our own God-given talents.
Paul challenges us to find this healthy medium in the verse above; he wants us not to think “too highly of ourselves” and simultaneously “in accordance with the faith.” We ARE a marvelous work of God, but we are not very useful when we try to do it all on our own, refuse to let others contribute, or do not do anything because we insist we have no value, talent, or gift.
Following this verse, Paul illustrates in verses 4-8 that we are like a body, and we have different roles in our work together, requiring cooperation and encouragement. God created us, intending for us each to do our part to benefit His kingdom. We need to grow as one, so we can move forward with finesse.
Perhaps, we would have liked to have chosen our gifts, or we admire gifts others have received. Many times, we want to sing a solo on stage or head up a high-profile ministry. People rarely rush into prayer ministry, church cleaning, or serving children in Sunday school. It takes people in all of these places to make the church work well. Our value is not in doing what is popular or most seen, but doing the job God has equipped us to do in a way that pleases Him.
Often, we think we don’t need to serve at all, but we forget that God’s Body (THE Church) is not solely in a building, but everywhere, since WE are the body. Our service to God is more than a title or recognition.
Let’s look through the list of gifts in verses 6 through 8 and highlight a few of the “different gifts” we may have “according to the grace given to each one of us” (verse 6):
"If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith." - The Holy Spirit will lead you on this one, but don’t hold back if He gives you a glimpse into the future!
"If it is serving, then serve." - Serving can be as simple as obeying the Holy Spirit’s momentary prompting or mowing your neighbor’s yard. We can help our families, in our churches, or beyond.
"If it is teaching, then teach." - We tend to think of teaching as a career or a ministry. It could be both! You may be educated to teach as a career, but are you willing to share that gift with the church body? You may also teach in your neighborhood or community by helping someone learn to cook, paint, quilt, or use a computer, planting seeds of friendship and faith as you teach.
"If it is to encourage, then give encouragement." - Encouragement can take many forms, such as sending a note, making a call, or visiting someone in a different age and stage of life. You can encourage an elderly person or a young mom. If you don’t know what to say, you can share an inspiring scripture.
"If it is giving, then give generously." - In uncertain times, we tend to hold onto our personal belongings and finances, forgetting that it all comes from God and belongs to Him. If He asks you to give, give generously and without apprehension. Give cheerfully! It may be financial or material goods, such as food or clothing.
"If it is to lead, do it diligently." - Leadership is a gift, and some people do it as a job, while others are placed in leadership positions without ever seeking them. Leaders can be born or trained. God makes leaders in any and every circumstance, and whether it is within a workspace, a ministry, or among friends, leaders influence hearts towards God.
"If it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." - I like how the NLT version rewords “mercy” as “kindness.” Some people are gifted with the ability to express kindness in all circumstances. Their words don’t come out with a convicting voice and harsh words; they're gentle, like a baby’s breath. It makes the receiver of mercy feel loved, nurtured and cared for. As the receiver, you want to do better, because of the giver's cheerfulness.
If you are unsure which gifts you have been given, or if God is still developing them in you, then pray for Him to reveal them. You can take many spiritual gifts quizzes online. Once you know your gifts, practice using them with confidence, knowing that the gift God has imparted to you is just as valuable as the gifts God has given others. Let’s continue to work together in confidence to move the Body of Christ forward!
...
This post first appeared on the Facebook Group page for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ.
©2020 Marina J Bromley, all rights reserved.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Day 7: Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir

We have enjoyed getting started on this month of devotions from my book, Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table. It's a busy time of year, but I'm getting comments, some live views, some private messages...and all of it is good! I know that folks are traveling, getting kids back in school, or schooling them from home unexpectedly, and to be honest, if you are reading this and it blesses you—THAT is my goal!
Enjoy today's devotion, and feel free to chime in if it moves you...or journal it, or hide it in your heart. My prayer is that it moves you a little closer to God's heart as we journey together!
I regret that I will not be able to join in live on Friday, but a family emergency of sorts has come up. I'll check in for prayer requests as I'm able, so be sure to leave them in the comments below. Feel free to check out the other daily posts on our Facebook Group page and join in the community!

Day 7 (Friday, August 7, 2020)
Morning Prayer
Good Morning God! Thank You for Your goodness and kindness this day. Your love and compassion is given with so much generosity, and Your mercy is never-ending. Your creation is so beautiful, as You plan and set days, weeks, months, and seasons into motion. I'm so glad I can trust You with each moment of each day. I love You so much. Amen.

Focus Verse
Hosea 10:12 NLT
I said, 'Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.
...
Some time ago, during a hard season in life, a friend sent me this verse printed up in a frame. It helped carry me through that difficult time, and I started to notice the significance of seasons in our lives, just like He created seasons in nature. There is more than a coincidental thread of gardening in us; preparing the ground, tending and nurturing our hearts and minds, pruning trees, and our lives, to make them more fruitful.
When we became homeowners, I brushed up on gardening and landscaping skills, checking out books from the library, searching online, and visiting the County Extension office to gain knowledge specific to our area. I remember learning about the process of trees losing leaves in autumn (a new process to this Southern California raised girl), and the purpose in it—for the trees to spend their energy growing roots during winter, so they are ready to birth blossoms again in the springtime.
It's easy for me to forget life can be that way, too. We love the new blossoms of spring, the tree's canopy of shade and bright colors of summer, and even the colors of the leaves in fall, but when the trees are bare in winter, I can forget there is a purpose in that as well. My heart wants to hibernate, thinking it's a wasted season, forgetting God can use it to do deep work in me...in us.
I think it's purposeful that we celebrate Thanksgiving at the beginning of our coldest season. To turn our hearts and minds towards God, to give Him thanks, can be the start of growing our spiritual roots deep and strong, carrying us through the hardships of winter and the spiritually dry times of life.
He walks with us through the times of preparing for our season of thanksgiving. Just like we may divide our crowded bulbs or turn the soil in our gardens and fields, we need to allow God to break up the hard ground of our hearts in preparation for the season of regeneration.
Just like the plants in life, I need to have a season of "root growth." I need to have the weeds pulled out; the lies I've believed or allowed to take root in my heart. My soil needs to be amended by good friendships, fellowship, worship, and teaching in God's Word. In order for me to begin my growing season in the spring, I need to start preparing for it in the fall.
God uses illustrations of gardening and farming all throughout the Bible, and it's fitting to describe our lives with God and our journeys with Jesus. No matter what season we are in right now, we need to be sure we are in the Word, nurturing our spirits, preparing our soil for whatever season lies ahead and whatever crop He wants to grow in us.
...
A Prayer
Father, You are The Master Gardener of my life. I know my heart soil can be as hard as clay or stone. I know Your love for me will keep it broken and soft, so that You can add to me what is needed to grow the things You want to grow in my life. Please help me to grow, to rest when I need rest, to allow You to do the hard work of preparing me for whatever lies next. Purge the weeds, amend my soil, and start good seeds that will bear good fruit in Your perfect timing. I need You to be at work in my life, and I realize sometimes the work will be painful, as You pull weeks that may look beautiful to the world, but may have dangerous repercussions in the roots, bringing damage to my other crops. Purify my heart, mind, and spirit. Amen.

Table Talk
Psalm 1, Isaiah 55:10-12, Ephesians 3:14-19
Which season best represents the condition of your heart today? Is there something God is leading you to pray about, or to do, to best be prepared for the next season in life?
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Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir, is available through Amazon and Kindle, and is free on Kindle Unlimited.
©2020 Marina J Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table, all rights reserved.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

New Normals

New Normals: Quiet daytimes. Yard focused living. Planting flowers that love to be cut. Cutting flowers that make me smile. Enjoying the storms. Looking forward and not backwards. Trusting God as He leads us there. Doing all things as unto the Lord, even when it seems like a lot less, knowing He knows, and trusting Him all the same...



#marinaskitchentable #newnormal #frontyardpeople #backyardpeople #backyardgardening #roses #rosesofinstagram #cutflowers #cutroses

This post first appeared at marinajbromley.com

Friday, July 24, 2020

Just Do It

Pick up groceries. Drop off a dinner. Mail the card. Pick up the phone and call. Email a word of encouragement. Wear the mask. Smile with your eyes. Keep the distance. Wave across the street. Pray out loud. Keep a promise. Sing out loud. Say thank you and please. Tip extra big. Ask if you can do anything to help. These are all little things that make a world of difference. Today. Don’t get weary. Don’t complain. Don’t share your opinion. Don’t make it political. Don’t argue. Just do good. Just do it.


#marinaskitchentable

This post first appeared at marinajbromley.com

Friday, May 22, 2020

Counting 1000 Gifts 2020 Continues...

Many of you know that I've been counting 1000 Gifts from God over the past several years, and this year I've been doing it more publicly through Social Media than other years past (when I just journaled it).

You can read my most current post on what I'm grateful for here... and a spoiler alert...many of the things are found growing around my yard!


Friday, May 15, 2020

A Season of Change...

Sometimes changes are spontaneous and catch us off guard, and sometimes we over plan for them. Sometimes we take steps in the right direction, but are just waiting for God to throw a switch to make them stick. Well, this past week a switch got thrown!

I've struggled with making a clean transition away from Marina's Kitchen Table as my home blog place, and in the past changed to a different blog name (my name) with a different blogging platform. It just wasn't for me, and I tried my best for a year to make it work well. It wasn't a good fit.

But now...

Now I've got my blog going at MarinaJBromley and will be regularly posting there. I hope that if you have been following me, you'll join me over there for blog updates. I promise not to ever get spammy with you, and I'll keep my affiliate sponsor ads to a minimum (just KitchenAid and DaySpring, and an occasional book review), and I'll NEVER get political! I promise!

I'd appreciate it if you'd sign up to receive these in your inbox, and am offering a special give-away of a copy of my book, Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table to TWO lucky people in the U.S. who subscribe to the new blog by June 1. (Drawing will be held by random selection, and you must be a public subscriber - otherwise I can't see your name and email to notify you!)

Switching to the new blog site also correlates to a new writing space I've joined! Balanced and Beautiful in Christ is a Facebook Group for Women to be encouraged and inspired in. I'm blessed to get to be a part of their team, sharing NEW devotional material. My first post is up on the new blog site on Friday morning, so you can read it there if you wish (or catch it on the Facebook Group page).

I am continuing to read over at Roy Lessin's Facebook Page Meeting in the Meadow on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, where we are going through his wonderful book, Because of Jesus Today is Your Best Day. You can join us at 10:30 am Central Time as we continue to read and share our prayer requests. JOIN US! If you are wondering if it's for you, or if it's not a good time for you to be online, you can read the posts there, or see the taped version of my reading it. Such encouraging words for all of us, no matter our age or stage.

So much NEW stuff going on, and there's more to come, including a new book in the works, and all the exciting things God is at work doing in me and my simple life. I really hope you will come along and enjoy the journey with me from the front row!

Be blessed, and be well...
Marina

Sunday, May 3, 2020

God's Still In Control

During stressful times I appreciate resources that point me to God, His Word, and anything to keep my eyes on Him. When I saw that Betty Byrd, from Team Expansion, had created a devotional and prayer cycles to remind us that God's Still In Control during this pandemic (and any other time!), I knew that I was going to read it. When I started reading it, I realized that I wanted to share it with others too!

The free study is just 11 days, with 10 prayer cycles leading us through an hour of prayer in 5 minute increments. I'm choosing to write out the scriptures she is bringing to light in the empty pages of my 2019/2020 planner, since it's not getting much use anyways (and I'm actually using the weekly calendar pages from last summer, since they won't ever be used).

I'm including the first day's devotional and prayer cycle here, but please join us on my Facebook blog page HERE (I go LIVE at noon central time M-F), and you can download the FREE study from Team Expansion HERE. On Monday, May 4, will be doing day 4, Calm When Confronting the Storm.

   

Parents of Missionaries: Grieving

I've been wanting to write on grieving for a while now, but words have escaped me. Not that I don't know how to describe my feelings...