Thursday, June 30, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Welcome

5-minute-friday-1 (1)

Rocky Mt. National Park 013


Home signs.  I remember the one my mama made when I came home from college or the collective sign for all of my family to give when I came home from that semester of study abroad.

And I remember the ‘Welcome Home’ sign from the hospital that the Florida Family I love and kept my son when daughter was born hung for our newly expanded family.

Welcome Home.  The words of Heaven to the mama gone Home, the grandparents, the Mema of many I love so little ago received.

And Welcome rests herself in peace in my heart when all of Earth’s ‘welcome homes’ from those who now are gone or who I’ve left behind somehow merge in a Home and a longing for the welcome that will have no end.

I think of it most when I read of the every tear wiped away in Revelations…this is the no bitter only sweet welcome. And I don’t think I can wait for THAT DAY.

But the waiting and the welcomes to come are the stuff of where I live now.  The welcomes of the little loves running with whole selves after a day away.  The welcomes of those who are new friends at this training are calling for my whole heart and the teams to receive us in country when we move overseas.  And the ones, the many, I don’t yet know who are waiting to welcome me/us when they become His provision for the journey for the season until all of the welcomes crescendo in the great Wedding Feast…

These are the welcoming promises and I open my heart to them.



Monday, June 27, 2011

A Day in the Life…Overseas Training

the world

photo credit

We begin the day not unsimilar to the many who get their kids off to day care on their way to work.  Except, very thankfully, we are able to have our little loves at the same place we are while we undergo our training.

But the usual hurriedness greets us—if only I could learn and grow and discipline myself to wake up and focus on Him…but, who am I kidding?, the flurry of out-the-door can disrupt even the deepest serenityWinking smile

Then we begin to open ourselves up to realities that seem surreal to many of us.  Though we’ve done much of the uprooting and traveling and communicating the vision of the call overseas, now we are asked to take a microscope and look at the minutia of what that life will be.

Today it was…

Rest…Sabbath.  Ahhhhh….learning the Rest of God.  Essential to ANYTHING TRUE for the LONG HAUL!

Gaining Awareness in how deeply contextualized our sharing of the Gospel, of our Savior, is.  How we can think we are talking about the same things but really each person’s core is hidden below layers of which the outer is often what speaks the words…and then add communication across languages.  Heart Lesson:  I need a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know a Jesus who is:

 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. ~Ephesians 1:17-23

and makes a way through me to make Himself known among the nations!

As an American, even when I think I’m helping someone to improve their living situation, if it’s not a matter of life of death, I may actually be offending them because my value of ‘progress’ is blinding me to their value of ‘compliance’ or contentment with things as they are, instead of needing to improve everything! (you know I agree with you, progress is good, but is it more important than loving someone cross-culturally?)

And ending the day with some post-dinner role playing.  Helping students in our ministry facing very real cultural, familial, religious dilemmas—like what it is to lead a new believer through a growth in conscience that may ultimately take him away from all practice of his family’s traditional religion or somehow to respectfully enter for the purpose of winning them.  Any journey will be lonely and while they may come to believe as he does, they may also very well disown him. 

I broke down in tears as I imagined the above and being face-to-face with a new believer who may lose all he’s held most dear to follow Jesus:

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

~Matthew 10: 37-39

And having now just gotten the kids to bed, I will prepare my ‘Life Map’…Life Story to be shared with some new dear friends who I already love and who already love me and who want to hear it…though the telling will take a part of me…

And that was just today…we’ve been developing a language plan for us and an education plan for our children (that includes their language plan), are being led into the stripping bare, laying down our false selves and so much more that is this journey.

Truly a BLESSING…truly taking all of us, but isn’t that always the case with the worthy journey?

Praise You, Great God of this Whole Wide World:

  • That for that Day, YOU are gathering from every ‘kindred, tribe and tongue’ and so we (all) go.
  • That we are a part of this plan, in this place, and with so many walking similar paths.
  • That YOU are the only Anchor that will sustain.
  • That YOU are the River we must plant by.
  • That YOU are the ONE who goes before.
  • That YOU make a way to love the FAR in Your Name that Honors Your Name!
  • That there will be hard journeys for those we love along the way.
  • That they may lose all…ALL they’ve ever loved to follow YOU.
  • That we can trust YOU to write their story…and it is good.
  • For all that this past week has been:
    • For the aching hearts I love and my own.
    • For the missing so much and ONLY YOU can uphold.
    • For the beloved twin who’s lost two mothers.
    • For the beloved brother who’s lost two mothers.
    • For the 11 nieces and nephews that have no blood grandma’s.
    • For YOU who writes each of their stories and it is good.
    • For getting sick on Friday…
    • For a clear path to enter into the webcast Memorial Service on Saturday
    • For how the being sick gave me peace about not being there.
    • For priceless hubby nursing me and son with a fever.
    • For how son had changes in his day care here and they were hard.
    • For the reminders that you write his story and it is good.
    • For YOU, eyes on YOU.
    • For celebrating being better by going to Rocky Mountain National Park.
    • For beauty…too much to take in.
    • For putt-putt the precious loves loved with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop.
    • For drives up mountains that caused panic for this fear of heights woman.
    • For YOU. Your peace. and the reminders that I am weak.
    • For making it to snow and loving to play in it.
    • For beauty in my heart gazing at the snow caps…
    • For baby girl konking out on the way home
    • For son learning to be thankful and getting to help himSmile
  • For Your Gifts RAINING DOWN…
  • For a giddy heart to end this IN GREAT JOY
  • For the END only being the BEGINNING!






Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grief and Wonder…Five Minutes (actually a little more)

end of Florida, on the road, Father's Day 010

This has been a difficult week for me, for my family.  We all lost someone very dear to us, a grandmother to many, a mother to many (a surrogate one to me after my own mother’s death), a mother-in-love to my twin sister and brother who married into her family.  For over twenty years she has given my family love and truly our families have become so intertwined with sharing 11 grandchildren, nieces, nephews…She lost her battle with cancer last Monday in the middle of the day—the same kind of cancer that took our mama a little over nine years ago.  My heart has been raw and hurt and I haven’t wanted to really talk with anyone about it and the people I want to love through it are across the country and I can’t do what my heart desperately wants to do as I am in the midst of intensive overseas training.

I know very little, but I DO KNOW that we ‘do not grieve as those who have no hope’!  Our dear friend, mother, grandmother is in the Arms of Jesus, the Only One Worthy to surrender her life unto.  In the pain of grief and the mystery of all that is not right in the here and now, we LONG FOR HOME!!!  We say the hard eucharisteo and thank Him that this is HIM!:

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

~Hebrews 2: 9-10

And so now, to five minutes on




oh wonder…a love that will not let me go…

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That from Thine ocean depths it's flow
May richer, fuller be.

oh wonder…only You.  in the midst of grief and face of doubts and why’s and anger at the pain speak mystery.

you stand above what we CANNOT understand about this world wracked with pain and you speak LOVE.  You speak a love that is full of mystery.  A God who would leave His heavenly riches and be HUMILIATED, tasting death for us—saying ‘yes’ to the suffering.  Choosing it, for you could surely have rejected it, but YOU choose it that you might taste the sting we will never have to…

You are WONDER.  There is a mystery beheld in the midst of tears that blur our vision and shroud our hearts in raw pain and yet the glimmers of Your goodness…you.  A God who speaks to us from Eternity’s riches through a suffering in the frailty of where we walk and places His balm of love on the deep pain only He can touch.  only He can heal.  This IS YOU!  You are the Only One who has the words of Life, Life Itself and so where else can we go…though we hurt and question Your ways, no heart that sees can deny a Suffering Savior who tastes death that all our days forever and ever might be lived with every tear wiped away and joy eternal, love all-embracing and full as our Only Vision.

This is WONDER…Beholding You.


and also linking this with a ministry friend, Laura, at Beholding Glory

Beholding Glory


Sunday, June 19, 2011

‘Silences Guards the Fire Within’

“First, silence makes us pilgrims.

Secondly, Silence guards the fire within.

Thirdly, Silence teaches us to speak.”

~Henri Nouwen, ‘The Way of the Heart’

end of Florida, on the road, Father's Day 007

Whether you are new here or an old friend, you can imagine, given the title of this blog, that this quote about silence guarding the fire within would get my blood pumping.

Thus, reinforcing the vastness of this world, its UNSEEN mysteries, this life and journey we all walk, and supremely the infinite reality of God Eternal Everlasting…leaving me hushed.

More quotes from this highly recommended book, Nouwen’s ‘The Way of the Heart’:

(The Desert Fathers) ‘knew that every conversation tended to interest them in this world, to make them in heart less of strangers here and more of citizens.’ on silence making us pilgrims, p. 43-44

Silence guards the inner heat of religious emotions. The inner heat is the life of the Holy Spirit within us.  Thus, silence is the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive. on silence guarding the fire within, p. 45

‘Ideas of value always shun verbosity…timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.’ quoting Diadochus, p. 45

What needs to be guarded is the life of the Spirit within us. Especially we who want to witness to the presence of God’s Spirit in the world. p. 47

Our first and foremost task is faithfully to care for the inward fire so that when it is really needed it can offer warmth and light to lost travelers. p. 47

A word with power is a word that comes out of silence.  A word that bears fruit is a word that emerges from the silence and returns to it…A word that is not rooted in silence is a weak, powerless word that sounds like a ‘clashing cymbal or a booming gong’ (I Cor. 13:1)… the silence from which the word comes forth is not emptiness and absence, but fullness and presence, not the human silence of embarrassment, shame, or guilt but the divine silence in which love rests secure. ~on silence teaching us to speak, pp. 48-49

So, friends, I choose silence (anew) to train my heart as a pilgrim.  To guard this fire within.  And to learn to speak out of the richness; the fullness, of God.

Use it on Monday

Thank you Lord of ALL THAT IS…

  • for silence; a humbling vastness that beckons this would-be pilgrim
  • for YOU; infinite, rich, full—worth every moment of silence
  • for a call to a radically different life in this clamoring, confusing, world
  • for the promise that YOU ARE AT WORK
  • for all you are doing here in our training:
    • for directed teaching to this unique journey we walk
    • for many who have gone before and come to meet with us
    • for the beauty of a community of nomads who really understand
    • for sadness and grief in the leaving as the slowing has occurred
    • for helping hubby see lots of stuff this whole-picture woman has been processing
    • for his heart to care for all of us
    • for the acute realness of the leaving and living overseas that are coming
    • for sweet community and a heart struggling to seek it, as the time is so short here…
    • for son praying at the dinner table ‘thanks we could give our house (in Florida) back’ simply out-of-the-blue…the reminder of  what his little heart is processing
    • for baby girl going right into the lap of child care workers day #3 and on!
  • for a very Happy Father’s Day
    • for an earthly father who has showed me long and hard the sweetness of Abba love~all the more precious for how rare it is…
    • for a husband to witness doing the same for our own little lambs
    • for a great day together
    • for a tired arm from hand-whipping cream for a special Father’s Day treat
    • for mango cheesecake made!
    • for freezer section yummy sweet potato fries!
    • for a date to process and usher in this sweet celebratory day
  • for Carolyn leading us in thankfulness and the discipline so quickly stirring
  • for too many more to count!!!





Thursday, June 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Home…




Mouth gaped open when I saw what Lisa-Jo had chosen for the theme this week…

Home.  What is Home?  The word I chose for this year’s theme knowing that I would need to see the things UNSEEN that are our true Home.

Here I am. In the middle of the in-between when ‘homeless’ and ‘nomad’ are pretty distinct realities.  Though I know I am not poor and have all of my needs met, there is no physical location or place that is truly a home for us.

‘Colorado home’ is where we give 100% of ourselves to our family and the ministry through its training.  There is love and joy and life and all that is good here, so there is most definitely ‘home’.

But, you know, as do I that the idealist has to face the elements of reality, as I am learning daily of the identity I step all the further into as we move overseas and live this life sold out to Him…there is not a deep breath rest that I can nest and call a place home that I cling to steel fisted, no.  This is not what it is to live as a called one.  It is rather the ever clearer fixing of eyes, soul, all of self upon an UNSEEN reality that is Home.  Forever, one day, face-to-face with the Greatest of Loves…and in the now, the in between, lots of lostness that causes hearts and eyes to be trained towards where our feet are walking…our every kind of feet—the soul feet and the physical feet.  A Reality only He, the Unchanging One can pull us into safe and secure.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Living Mystery: Guest Post at Life Overseas


Know that we are doing well at our overseas training.  Like drinking from the proverbial fire hydrant, but all so poignant and directed to the core of our hearts shoring up for this massive step.

I have much to share and will do so more when I can...which, I'm not sure when that will be;)

In the meantime, visit Laura's blog:  Life Overseas (I know many of you already do!).  She asked me to guest post on some of what this journey has been and I waxed poetic and inspirational (surprising, I know) and ever-the-idealist of this missionary life.

But, I stand beside it in integrity of heart:  by His Beautiful Grace my Savior be All the Glory!!

The Living Mystery:  Majoring in Things Unseen

With love and thanks for all of your rich and deep support...I've already shared with many here about the joy my blogging community has brought in the midst of so much change.  That sweet constant of life shared on these, our blog homes...Bless You All So!!!  Abby:)

Linking this with Emily's Imperfect Prose

Monday, June 6, 2011

Have I run well?

Leaving Florida...last shots 010Leaving Florida...last shots 014

This is the question I am asking as I take my last evening walk and dive into an evening of final packing.  The finish line is in sight and faithful has meant packing well for longer than I want and I know that there is so much more I could have done right here, in this neighborhood, to be a light.

Grace covers what is done and must take what I know and live in fervent prayer for the many here who need Him.  For the neighbor’s on the one side who make Kingdom Hall their Sunday home and who are gentle and kind and warm and who we love and are loved by.  Will they ever see Him for Who He is?  Please, Lord, Oh Please reveal Yourself to them…

For the neighbors on the other side who believe in Allah.  What I hear as we break bread this evening I walk still hurting my heart.  I know they believe their way is THE WAY.  And as my husband shares that so do we and one of us is wrong, she clarifies how they see it:  Your Jesus didn’t get it right, there were many mistakes and that’s why Muhammed had to come—to fix them.  Heart is breaking and I needed to hear it like that from her.  It really is all about Him.  The Savior Unique and True is the One in question.  Believing He is less than all He said and lived is what every other way believes in the end.

Sunday morning it was about that living-it-all for Him.  My husband is bold, but I’m still too shy, too often.  We are a great team, but I long to live it all more.  The sermon was powerful ending with the reality that until our hearts are in ‘anguish’ over the realities of the brokenness and the far-from-Him that pervade our world, we have not really known His heart.  I needed to hear this.  I am so, so thankful for a chance for this heart to break for what remains so, so broken in this world I leave physically today. 

Lord Jesus, may I carry this anguish in my heart and remain faithful, laboring in prayer, and living fully knowing that in the end You divide and where You are not Lord there is no true fellowship. No eternity.

These are hard words for our age, for these last days, but they are necessary words to come from anguishing hearts to bleed out into a world that needs us bold.  clear.  His.

This week, Lord, I thank you simply, fully that

  • In the end, We receive our heart’s delight—You.
  • Face-to-Face with Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
  • Face-to-Face with the desire of our hearts…
  • A chance to have my heart broken before I leave this place.
  • Those who seek You with all of their hearts…find You.
  • There is still light…Bring them Home, Lord…reveal Yourself to this World while it is still light.
  • A thousand mercies times a thousand in this season where many, many hands have fallen from Heaven and lifted us up!!
  • the BEST yet to come…


{This is the day we leave this house. Pack up this computer.  We’ll be on the road to our overseas training and settling in there the rest of the week.  I don’t know when I’ll get to post an update, but I will when I can.  Traveling cross country with two little ones.  We’d appreciate your prayers and for those of you faithful readers not yet on our E-mail Prayer Update List, send me an e-mail at aalleman_03 (at) yahoo (dot) com and I’ll add you!}

Use it on Monday




Thursday, June 2, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Every Day…

Dad & Marie, Fall Retreat, etc 285


22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (niv)

Every Day…


Mercies are new.  Faithfulness Great.  Vast. Full. Incomprehensible.  An All that is in above and through so beyond, the most oblivious still drown in it.

A good God that meets His sweet children through days of mind numbing packing and purging and knowing that none of the stuff matters, but He does.  So whether half of what is shipped is not really necessary or should have been pitched, His faithfulness covers the frivolous, superfluous, the can’t-think-straight-to-make-a-better-choice.

Every day there are reminders of love so great and grief and trial and triumph and hope so real.  Loved ones walking through terminal cancer that is hitting close to home, too close a second time…two mama’s.  And faithfulness and her river of new mercies cover yet again in the unspeakable and unshakable that oaks of righteousness know as the sun, and rain, and sky and all that is that sustains life both now and forevermore.

Mercies you can trust to be new each day for the runners…the ones who have run from His Great Love.  The ones so hurt by loss that they don’t know where to begin and their grief is mixed up with teenage rebellion and anger, enough to make the world go round and incredible hurt.

Always and ever staking all that is or ever will be on the best of mercies giving unconditionally flowing from the Greatest of Hands…embracing it all…oh, embracing it all.



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