Gift of a Handmade Rug

Rosinah's Handmade Rug

Rosinah’s Handmade Rug

A few weeks ago we went to say goodbye to our friends’ parents at the village of Seabe in South Africa. My favorite dearly loved Gogo, Rosinah Mahlaola, presented me with this beautiful round rug that is made out of plastic bags. I can’t imagine how long a project like that takes but it certainly is a wonderful use for those plastic bags that quickly pile up on us. I wish I would have had time for her to teach me how it is done.

At the village of Makumeke we saw children making kites out of sticks and plastic bags. This would be a great craft to do with children on a mission trip especially if you use materials that they have available where they live.

Of course, with Pinterest, I found instructions for making these rugs: It takes 150 plastic bags.

There is so much more you can make with plastic bags: totes, sandals and plastic bag keepers.

Right now as we pack our plastic bags are coming in handy for wrapping breakables.

Do you know of an interesting use for plastic bags?

Book Review: Trusting God Even When Life Hurts

What do we do when things don’t happen as expected? We may be diagnosed with cancer or lose a job we had for many years. In his book “Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts” Jerry Bridges encourages his readers to continue to trust God.

He begins by addressing the question as to whether we can trust God or not. Of course, we should know the answer is that yes we can.  Bridges explains with scripture that God is sovereign over our lives, over other people, the nations and over nature. God loves us and He cares. Bridges writes:

But God does care. God exercises His sovereignty for His glory and the good of His people.

Unfortunately when we face hardships we often forget about God’s glory and how He is working this circumstance for our good and ultimately making us more like His Son Jesus Christ. We may feel God has abandoned us. We may be angry that He ever allowed an event to happen. The author tells us:

Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will. I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it. The act of the will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on the truth.

Some may not agree but the author points out that suffering “probably unites our hearts together in Christ more than any other aspect of fellowship” and that God “has a purpose in every pain He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory.”

This book reminds us of these great truths. I highly recommend it for those who are struggling to understand what God is doing in their life through a difficult circumstance. It is also a helpful read for those who want to minister to and encourage those who are hurting.

What book have you just finished? How did God speak to you through it?

Preparing for the Journey

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There are some things we cannot prepare for:

The unexpected death of a loved one. An emergency evacuation. The devastation of a tornado.

Then there is:

By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed…and he went out, not knowing where he was going. –Hebrews 11:8

Some of us are leaving our homes for the unknown of a new country that God has called us to. Others, like my husband and I, are transitioning from the mission field to return to the states seeking the Lord for where He would have us to go next. Both are places that are hard to prepare for:

What do we pack? What do we leave behind? Where will we be staying?

Questions we all ponder as the date of our own “going out” approaches.

I can’t tell you what to pack or leave behind but I can share what I am learning that is spiritually needed for the journey.

* Trust God. It is only fitting that at this time in our life I am reading “Trusting God” by Jerry Bridges. He shares so many truths that I know in my heart but my mind still doubts. He writes:

If we are to honor God by trusting Him, and if we are to find peace for ourselves, we must come to the place where we can honestly say, “God, I do not have to understand. I will just trust you.”

There are many things we may not understand but we just have to trust in God’s sovereignty and plan.

*Pray. The unexpected and unknown should drive us even more to our knees. We must seek the Lord in true humility acknowledging our fears and weaknesses. We must seek the Lord for His wisdom and guidance. My husband and I often neglect praying together but because of our change in circumstances we are more faithfully seeking the Lord together.

Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. -1 Peter 5:6,7

*Walk by faith. Abraham lived as an alien in a foreign country just as we too are aliens. This world is not our home. We too are seeking a better country…our heavenly one. Our focus must be on the Lord and not our surroundings or circumstances. We must keep serving and being obedient to the call He has placed on our lives.

For we walk by faith not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

May the Lord prepare each of us for what lies ahead as we trust, seek Him and walk by faith in our lives.

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