Sunday, January 8, 2012

Enlarged Heart for the New Year

The Sun at 12:00 noon in December 2011, taken from my deck. 
This is as high as the sun gets in December.
"I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart." Psalm 119:32

Our hearts have been enlarged this past year and a half.  We've been through some very trying times learning to survive the hardships of a severe climate and a new community after a strange move.  We have been challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Spiritually we have soared.  We've come together as a family should and functioned like a team.  We have come to an understanding that every one of us in this little Gerhardt family unit is valuable.  Each one, even the littlest, is of extreme importance in making this family work, and function, and love and laugh and live together in victory.  It's so amazing and so imperfect and so wildly crazy at times, but in our weakness, God shows himself so strong!  His power to love and forgive and work with us over and over and over again is beyond reason!

We stand here now, with our hearts thoroughly enlarged for the work that God has been preparing us to do in Fairbanks, Alaska.  I never would have chose this city or location.  All my precious extended family lives in the beautiful lush and prosperous Willamette Valley:  Enjoying fresh fruit year round and each other's wonderful company, I might add.

I'm a country girl that despises city life.  I don't like life in the fast lane and the only shopping I really like to do involves the grocery, fabric, and second hand store when necessary.  I don't like anything that a city has to offer besides the convenience of ready to eat chocolate and fresh produce in the middle of Winter.  I like being at home with my family and neighbors; except that my neighbors in Fairbanks want to be left alone.  My home is not exactly a comforting place and I now go to the city several times a week.  I fight traffic and hoards of people in the grocery store and long lines at the post office and every where else I go.  I am not anywhere near my dream location.  (Which doesn't even exist now, I might add.) 

SO what am I doing here?  I'm here because God has placed a burden equally on not only my husbands shoulders, but my own.  Fairbanks has many hurting people dwelling in it without Jesus Christ.  Fairbanks has 21 public elementary schools and the surrounding population is 80,000.  There is not one club in any of the schools.  There is not any club well established that operates year round with full support from community and churches.  Many people aren't even aware of C.E.F. and what it can do for its community. 

There's a huge military presence due to several large bases and much of the population comes and goes.  For the population that does remain, life is difficult.  Winter's are long, there's a lot of tiredness, and depression.  People here need to live for something greater then themselves and their own desires.  Little children are fast growing up without hearing the gospel, let alone a Bible story and applicable lesson to their daily life.  The need here is so great! 

Pray with Mike and I and our family that God would use us and those around us and the local committee to really pull together as a team and get the work growing and useful to this community.  Our vision is to see the work of CEF thrive, not just barely survive.  It's possible with a united team effort.  We need families to catch the vision of ministering to other families.  We need to wake up and use our resources diligently and with discipline because time is short.  Each of us has been given something.  I often feel inadequate because I do not bring in an income.  However, I can write.  I can host, yes, even with a lowly outhouse and unfinished cabin.  I can pray.  I can encourage.  I can e-mail, make phone calls, and write more letter's to the editor.   First and foremost, I must be noble and right in my duties as Wife and Mother before I can attempt anything else.  I don't have to be perfect, thank the LORD!  I just need to be committed and do my best at these things that God sets in my path. 

What a long written piece.... it's my enlarged heart.  I lay it open, because I want people to see the truth about where I'm at.  I hope to inspire others to get involved with CEF because it's so simple and easy to do and the need here in Fairbanks is so great.

I know a lot of people are reading this who don't live in Fairbanks.  Perhaps there's a local CEF work that you could get involved in.  They need you and your family to get the job done.  It's time we pull together to reach children that may not hear about Jesus any other way!

This is my prayer and hope for the new Year.  It's big, but not impossible.  We just need to take the next logical step of obedience.  Who walks with me?  Do I walk alone?  Sometimes.  Do I get carried in the arms of Jesus?  Yes, all the time.  Why would I want it any other way? 

Hop in, if you're not already there.  Jesus' arms are for eternity and His strength never ends and His love never subsides and His forgiveness is all powerful and lasts forever.  Why not let him be your all in all today?

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