Sunday, January 30, 2011

On Fear

During our honeymoon/backpacking trip the altitude, low blood sugar and having the body altering (NEVER TAKE THIS STUFF!) birth control pill coursing through my veins all triggered an attack of grand mal seizures. In fact, without being life flown out of the wilderness, I most likely would not have lived on to tell the story.

THe details of that story, in itself, are long and show the hand of God as He whispered to us "It's OK - I know the way. You'll be OK! I know the way!"

Here's the deal - that experience left a scar within my heart that had grown into a large ugly wound of fear. I love to be out in the wilderness - or go skiing - or go running on trails - or mountain biking - but for years, the tape playing in my mind was: "Are you nuts? Do you remember what happened in 1996? What are you doing?"

Fast forward to 2009 - Stud Husband and I decided to tackle some high mountain Sierra trails - real altitude, of 12 to 14 thousand feet high mountain lakes and passes. The entire drive down and 1st day of hiking, I was literally short of breath from gripping fear that 1996 could happen again. I have kids now! We are not just a stones throw from a town in these mountains - we are deep in the wilderness. What am I doing?

But I knew, in my deepest knower, that God does not lead us through the maze of life by fear. That instead, we are to travel this life from victory to victory and ultimately, follow peace. Just because I felt fear, gripping fear at that, does not mean I was not to move forward - on the contrary, fear tends to motivate me to face the giant head on and double check that I am holding on to God's hand tightly as I go.

So one step at a time, I climbed that mountain, both literally and metaphorically - I realized that if I didn't face this head on that this fear monster would only get bigger.

:But God, I am scared!!

Child, that's OK. Do it anyway. Do it scared. But do it.


And the next day when in 1996, the first seizure hit, I was still feeling amazing, athletic, strong. We climbed up to a high mountain lake at nearly 11,000 feet altitude where I realized that this "Monster" lurking and keeping me from the joy of being there had shrunk and was really a mouse sized puny little squeaky voice that had no power over me at all. In fact, when the fullness of knowing that I was higher then I had ever been on a mountain and I was feeling better then ever was fully realized, I knew once and for all , that God had destroyed that Monster.

Check this video out. It beautifully portrays the truth that God knows the way in all of our lives! Fear is not of Him! When we remember that He Has us in the palm of His hand and He is taking us through this life we can watch all the Fear Monsters in our lives shrink down and completely disappear. We walk this life with HIM!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Our next adventures

In 2 years, for our 15th wedding anniversary, how about we take the family on a mission trip to serve others in need as a way to celebrate being a family for 15 years...?”

- Cory, August, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

It's hard to believe that we are on the precipice of celebrating 15 years of marriage, but we are. As a way to commemorate our 15 years together as a family, Cory dreamed, as we hiked in a high-Sierra trail in 2009, that during the summer of our 15th year together, we'd take our entire family to Nicaragua on a mission trip. The trip is being planned through our church, Redmond Community Church for the Mustard Seed Missions, which was started by our friends Michael and Lisa Perkins over 5 years ago.

It is our heart's desire to give our children experiences that will immerse them in what it truly means to give, selflessly, and to recognize the need for Jesus goes beyond our political country boundaries to all people. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America with very little infrastructure or modern conveniences. Families often have little choice but to let their young children scavenge in garbage dumps for food and their daughters to work the streets for money. Unlike in the U.S., there is not a safety net of social services that provides basic needs like food, medical care, and education to people in poverty. By joining efforts with the ongoing ministry that Michael and Lisa have established, we strive to be part of a loving movement that is breaking family cycles and changing legacies. Vocational training for women, feeding and nutritional training programs for the hundreds of people that are living in the Managua city dump, and building projects for homes in major disrepair are just a few of the things we will have the privilege of being part of. Our days there will be jam packed!

The dates of our trip are July 2 – July 10th, 2011. We are very excited for this amazing opportunity! We hope to bring our own special touch to the team through leading worship as well as Julie's understanding of the Spanish language, that will hopefully allow her to connect with the local people at a deeper level. Our children are natural ice breakers as they easily make friends and will be a vital part of the team as they reach out and connect with Nicaraguan children in a way that only other children can do. And finally, Cory, being the talented work horse that he is, plans to put in long hours, building and repairing infrastructure.

We are humbly writing to you to ask you, first and foremost, to please keep us in your prayers over the next months and during the time we are in the country. Specific prayer requests are:

  • Health and safety while in Nicaragua (no malaria or dengue fever please!)

  • That this time of ministry would draw our family closer together and closer to God

  • That our time in Nicaragua would allow us rich connections with the people in Nicaragua

  • That God would open or close doors as He leads to pave the way for us to bring high school students and our family back to Nicaragua in future summers

  • That funds for the trip would be provided for

We are also writing to you to ask you to consider partnering with us financially to make this trip possible. The total cost for the trip is $5000. As I type that number, I truly feel all at once overwhelmed by it and confident that since God Has prompted our hearts to want to go that He will clear all obstacles to making that happen. To help keep track of your support, we are asking that you send any donation through our church. Address the checks to RCC and note “O'Neill Nic trip” in the memo line. Your entire donation will be tax deductible. We will send you a tax statement (and a big smiley thank you note/letter of what we did on the trip ) in time for your April 2012 taxes!

Leave a comment with your email address so I can send you a support letter and address of where to send your donations to. Thank you so much for considering joining us in this new adventure into God's Great Plan!