Sunday, January 15, 2017

Beine Family Christmas Letter 2016

December 2016
The newsletter formerly known as the... Beine Banter

Well, the Beine Banter is no more, but several have asked for an update from the Beines. It has
been almost one year since making a major change: leaving Wycliffe Bible Translators, after 28 years of full-time missionary work, to transition to a full-time teaching position as Professor of Intercultural Studies at Moody Bible Institute, Spokane. Beyond much encouraging daily interaction with students (who are the next generation of missionaries), I (Dave) have enjoyed continuing to direct an honors program (my current honors prodigy is studying medical anthropology) and I published a chapter in a missions book this year (https://missionbooks.org/products/detail/controversies-in-mission-ems-24 ). 

During the summer, I enjoyed the opportunity to lead thirteen students on a trip to Vienna, Austria
to study the European refugee crisis in depth. At the end of that trip, I rented a car and visited interns whom I supervise in Italy and Spain. I also visited missionary friends in France, as well as friends and family in Germany. It was a wonderful experience that reminded me of the close student interaction I used to enjoy while directing the summer SIL programs.
2 The Beine Banter
We have suffered Nepal withdrawal this past year, but interactions with our Nepali-speaking neighbors here in Spokane, and continued involvement with the growing South Asian community here, has helped to lessen the pain a bit. We still miss Nepal! I was offered an opportunity to co-teach a medical anthropology course at a university in Kathmandu next Spring... but it conflicts with my teaching schedule here in Spokane, so for now we have no Nepal travel plans on the horizon.

This past year brought more injuries. After an injury-filled 2015 (Nick tore his ACL requiring surgery, Nate tore a ligament in his ankle and Josh broke his arm) we had hoped for a quiet medical year. New Year's Eve (2015) began with Kimberly tearing her meniscus and MCL in her knee while playing broom ball in our backyard with the boys and their friends (she has a mean reputation on the court). Her subsequent visit to the doctor revealed arthritic deterioration in her joints that is more typical of someone decades older than she is. This came as quite a blow to someone who has taken good care of herself and who thrives on exercise; it is probably written in her genes. This reality has been a source of discouragement several times this past year. Early September found Kimberly in the ER with bulging and torn discs in her back, with loss of right leg function that kept her from walking for six days -- likely related to the progressive arthritis.

Our first son has flown the coop. Nick graduated from high school and has begun his first year at the University of Washington. He secured a prestigious ROTC scholarship that is covering his tuition and providing a stipend as well. He also received a generous university grant and several small private scholarships that covered his first year expenses completely. A great start to an expensive endeavor. He wants to study engineering, followed by service in the Air Force. I guess we instilled the traveling bug? As a graduation gift, I took him to Europe. When the Moody excursion in Austria was finished, we rented a car and drove to Italy (we got to watch the European Championship in several countries), the French Riviera (Nick really liked Monte Carlo), Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, Lyon France, Frankfurt Germany, and Salzburg Austria. It was an amazing trip... and a great last father/son opportunity before launching him off.















Nick in a cockpit... not sure if he will compete for the pilot slot yet... and in his sleeping space at college.
3 The Beine Banter
Nate is a junior in high school this year. He is a fantastic scholar and an amazing musician (trombone). He was selected for the prestigious Joel E. Ferris Jazz Orchestra and was invited to perform a piece for a senior composition recital at Whitworth University (quite an honor as a high school student). He is teaching piano lessons and also working for Spokane Parks & Rec. (managing sports leagues). Did I mention that he is highly motivated?! We look forward to seeing where he will go to college; we are in the midst of regular discussions about the options and about how he will pay for the privilege. We are very hopeful for scholarships.




Jake is enjoying a new group of friends as a freshman in high school. He has really grown in his faith this year and is a very mature and helpful young man. He is also quite the scholar and musician. He plays French horn in the concert band and trumpet in the jazz band. He played varsity baseball while in junior high and he hopes to try out for the high school team in the spring. He started working this year, as a dishwasher at a local Chinese restaurant, in preparation for paying for car insurance that will begin in March.

Can you pick out our Jake?  
                                        
                 
Josh began junior high at a new school and is having a very good experience. He is following in his brother’s academic footsteps... and he has a definite passion for music! His electives are both in music: he plays trombone and drums in the regular band as well as in two jazz bands. He often stays after school to practice percussion with the student teacher from a local college. It is nice to see him thriving. Last Spring, he performed in the Spokane Children’s Theater production of Seussical the Musical (he really enjoys acting) and in the Fall he played tackle football, and his team finished strong. He has such a unique combination of interests. 
"I really wish my kids could get motivated"!- Dave


                      (Josh ready for his first junior high concert)

We also managed to get in one final vacation together as a family this summer: we visited Yellowstone National Park, thanks to the kindness of some Wycliffe friends who let us stay in their West Yellowstone cabin for a whole week. We managed to get in over 40 miles of hiking in the Yellowstone back country (the boys did some more strenuous climbing) and we drove the entire park, also making it around the Grand Tetons. What an amazing place! We didnt get much sleep that week, as the boys really enjoyed the crepusculars (animals that are active primarily during twilight) and they talked us into getting up early to reach the park at dawn, as well as staying late in the evening, to see them again at dusk.

SEE PHOTOS BELOW FROM THE FASCINATING YELLOWSTONE PARK and GRAND TETONS...

























During the summer, my sister and her family moved to Spokane from Seattle. It has been really nice having family close by. My parents spent the Christmas holiday with us also. More opportunity to enjoy the gift of family! 
                                (David and bigsister Denisa)

Kimberly served as a chairperson for the Ferris High School Jazz Orchestra Annual Swing Dance and Auction again this year. It was her second year in this position, which is pretty much a full-time job for parts of the Fall. The event raised about $17,000 for the band, which has been such a huge blessing for all of our kids, and for so many more (our band has about 170 students this year). It feels good to give back in this way; funding for the Arts is not as high as it used to be. We have decided that we would not want to live in a world without music.

Kimberly is making plans to return to work in 2017. It will not likely be in medicine, but rather as an editor, hopefully. She is still passionate about medicine, but the American medical system is still dysfunctional enough that she is not yet ready to return to it, having already burned out from its brokenness once.

Perhaps the hardest thing we faced this past year was the loss of a ten-plus year adoption dream. Early October brought the expiry of our final home study in an attempt to adopt a daughter. You may remember the various close calls along the way, but we decided that if it didn’t happen by the time this third home study expired we would accept it as God’s will that we NOT adopt. We had hoped to adopt daughters not granddaughters. It was clearly not God’s plan for us. Kimberly had processed this loss some time ago, but I waited right up until the final hour, so this really hit me hard when the time came. It was a fairly melancholy Fall.

We look forward to 2017 expectantly... with hope and with peace and with joy.  We hope the same for you.

-the Beines

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Healer at Heart

Andrew, Simon, James and John…fishermen.  They knew mending nets, they knew when to go out in the boat and on which side of the boat to throw the net, they knew how to haul in the full net.  And one day, their lives were radically changed.  This man…this God…he came into their little corner of the world and turned it upside down.  He knew them…and still loved them.  He spoke words of life.  He challenged them.  Sometimes, they found themselves at a loss; Jesus’ words could be difficult to understand.  Jesus once asked these men if they wanted to leave him (like the others who were deserting when his words were difficult).  Simon Peter wisely replied, “Lord, to whom would we go?  You have the words that give eternal life.  We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)  

Yet, the way to stick with Jesus was not always obvious.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, things were particularly confusing.  After years of traveling with Jesus and doing all kinds of fascinating and new things, they returned to what they knew: fishing.  Was Jesus disappointed in them?  I don’t think so.  As he stood on the shore, he advised that the men throw their net on the right-hand side of the boat…and they caught 153 large fish!  Oh the thrill!  Jesus must have deeply understood these men.  

But, was Jesus trying to make them great fishermen?  No, and yes!  He understood the fabric of these men: they were fishermen.  And, Jesus assigned them to keep fishing: but for men now.  He took their natural talents and passions and he expanded them for spiritual service.  What did this mean?  From my reading of the Scripture, this meant travel, this meant jail time, this meant persecution, this meant being misunderstood…and this meant hope that does not disappoint, this meant experiencing miracles, this meant seeing lives turned around, this meant healing, this meant contentment, this meant living a challenging life of purpose and satisfaction.  Even if it meant a cruel death at the end this earthly life (just like their Master), it meant the peace and courage to endure, knowing they would inherit eternal life and goodness beyond their wildest imaginations.  These men lived out their earthly lives as fishermen—it was the fabric of who they were—with purposes only fully understood in heaven.

Fast forward many centuries…there was this girl who dreamed of becoming a doctor at the tender age of twelve.  She was a hard worker and she excelled in academics.  She worked many jobs along the way so that she could have the privilege of getting a medical degree.  She thought that she would be a high wage earner one day and leave the class of working poor, where she spent her childhood.  Something wonderful happened along the way in this worldly plan: she met Jesus Christ who convinced her that His way of living was the way that she wanted to live.  So, she finished that medical degree, so that she could go to the ends of the earth and serve people in need (those who experienced a poverty that she had never known).  This was a wonderful experience, working alongside her missionary husband and raising four fun-loving sons.  

Then, one day, everything changed.  The door closed on the “ends-of-the earth” opportunity, and she found herself unable to sustain the practice of medicine as ministry in her home country (while wanting to invest deeply in her husband’s and sons’ lives).  Now, her licensure slips away.  Her search for new work in medicine has yielded nothing, and she believes this to be God’s will for her.  She still loves medicine; healing seems to be the fabric of her being.  

Could it be that God is calling Kimberly not to laboratory tests and prescriptions but to a different kind of healing, with spiritual impact?  Am I healing when I take a friend’s mother to the neurologist?  Am I healing when I listen to and counsel college students?  Am I healing when I care for my neighbor’s children, or walk with a friend through her husband’s alcoholism?  I believe that I was fashioned to bring healing, health, and restoration, as one of God’s many instruments.  The power comes from Him and I let it flow through me in a new domain.  This time, it is not in a societally/worldly recognized format.  But I live to please God, who is Spirit.  And as I do this, the world might not understand.  He has seen fit to notice me, to use me, to bring goodness to this world through me.  May all that He has purposed with my life come to pass, to the praise of His Name!

Our home group is studying some of the writings of Francis of Assisi.  Last night’s passage really captured my attention:
Be careful that you do not adopt the world’s manner when it
comes to being ‘wise.’  The world tells us we must be careful to
see to our own interests first, to plan all that we say and do
cautiously, so that in loving and giving to others we do not give
up anything that is ‘rightfully’ ours.  May God forbid that we
call this ‘wise,’ when it is nothing but worldly and selfish calculation!
As God’s sons and daughters, we should be without the kind of
guile that gives to others only when it will mean a good return in
some way for us.  We should seek, before God, to be His humble
servants, pure in our heart’s desire to give and do, just as He
directs us….
God’s Spirit will come to rest upon you, and upon anyone who
will live this way, enduring to the last the constant temptation to
live for yourself alone (Isaiah 11:2).  The Father has promised
that if we obey His command to love others, He and His Son,
our Lord Jesus, will come and make their home with us and
dwell with us forever (John 14:21-23).  Moreover, we will be seen
and known as children of the heavenly Father because it will be
obvious to all that we are busily, faithfully doing His work and not
seeking our own ends (Matthew 5:45) (A Day in Your Presence,
Devotional Readings Arranged by David Hazard, pp. 41-42)

This passage challenges me at my core.  It begs the question of why I have struggled in letting go of my employment.  Yet, I see that I continue to work in this world.  God provides this work.  I do not look for it.  It comes my way.  And when I respond, through healing service, I am filled with joy.  Thanks be to God!

Finally, I was looking at the Psalms today, and Psalm 84 caught my eye.  Here are some excerpts:
What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD…
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become
a place of refreshing springs…
They will continue to grow stronger…
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand
anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do
what is right.
O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

Next to this Psalm, in my Bible, I found written: “2014.”  I think that year was my “valley of weeping.”  And now I see this valley as a “place of refreshing springs.”

(Much of the above pondering has been fleshed out with the help of a wise and godly counselor.  I am thankful that God has captured this man’s heart and that he shares what he has learned from the Master with people like me.)

Gratefully, a daughter of the King of kings,
full of joy, still a healer at heart,
Kimberly



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peace

Today, as I walked around my neighborhood admiring God’s color scheme for this time of year and feeling the fresh cool air against my face, I found my heart filled with thankfulness for the peace of this time for me.  It seems that my boundaries have closed in a bit (I’m not traveling to Nepal, I’m not commuting to Idaho for work; I am serving my local neighborhood in Spokane) and I find peace.  I guess it was time for me to make my rounds a little closer to home, and I am blessed in this.  There is no lack of need in my very own neighborhood and God has brought students (elementary, high school and college), moms (of biological kids, of foster kids, of adopted kids) and refugees to my door, that I might serve them in their need.  And I cannot fail to mention that it is a privilege and a joy to be my husband’s wife (help-meet) and my sons’ mother….cooking, cleaning, organizing, driving, listening, cheering on, photographing, praying and loving.  

We even had an opportunity recently to rejoice in the baptism of the mom of the infant that we once thought we would adopt; we truly rejoice in the newness of her life and the hope that she has for the future.  She also has a wonderfully supportive church to help her raise up her beautiful children.  So…I have peace in my current work and in the opportunity to say “Yes” to people right in my neighborhood.  Still, I remember those throughout the world who suffer, and I pray that God is scattering His children such that those suffering will find “neighbors” in their corner of the world.  Also, I do miss medicine.  Something stirs in my heart whenever I consider human health.  At the moment, I do not see where practicing medicine fits into my life, but perhaps someday it will.

In this unique time for me, I have had plenty of time to consider what is important in life.  I am sorry to say that too often, I have run around expending much energy trying to serve others as if I were trying to prove something…perhaps my love for my heavenly Father?  Guess what!  He doesn’t seem to want me running myself ragged performing all sorts of antics as evidence of my love for Him.  I sense Him wooing me to His side, that I might hold His hand and walk along with Him.  Sometimes He will help me to do hard things; sometimes He will fill me with His joy just because He loves me.  The critical point for me is that I trust in His sovereignty and that I walk WITH Him, not running ahead and not lagging behind.  This requires the discipline of quieting myself, and all the noise of this world, so that I can invest in what is most important: relationship with God.  Nothing else seems to ring true as a right purpose.  Nothing else seems to make me feel so alive.

His peace sometimes surpasses my understanding.  I simply give thanks.
Kimberly

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Unchanging One

I have been so refreshed by so many things in this time of rest.  We have not experienced a Spring in Spokane for years; I forgot how many trees flower in the Spring in this city.  The beauty is captivating me.  I have found so much Scripture to be an encouragement to me. It is remarkable how timeless is the word of God; thousands of years has not made the words irrelevant.  I find the words of the Bible lead me to hope, to peace, to trust, to appreciation, to joy…to Jesus, the One who loves me beyond my wildest dreams.

As we all know, our experience here on earth is not at all like God (who is the same yesterday, today and forever); I find many things changing.  One of those things in medicine.  I am wrestling with whether or not I should continue to practice medicine.  I feel sad that I do not see a place in the current medical profession where I fit.  The concept of health is something that still excites me, particularly when I think of holistic health (physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, relational health).  Yet, when I am in the midst of working in medicine, I seem to lose sight of that which inspires me (the passion seems to drain away).  I have been trying to understand this.  Recently I stumbled across this article:


               "Excerpted from “How Being a Doctor Became the Most Miserable Profession,” The Daily Beast commentary by Daniela Drake, MD, MBA, April 14, 2014 — By the end of this year, it’s estimated that 300 physicians will commit suicide. While depression amongst physicians is not new—a few years back, it was named the second-most suicidal occupation—the level of sheer unhappiness amongst physicians is on the rise. Simply put, being a doctor has become a miserable and humiliating undertaking.
Not surprisingly, many doctors want out. In fact, physicians are so bummed out that 9 out of 10 doctors would discourage anyone from entering the profession. It’s hard for anyone outside the profession to understand just how rotten the job has become—and what bad news that is for America’s health care system.
Unfortunately, things are only getting worse for most doctors, especially those who still accept health insurance. To make ends  meet, physicians have had to increase the number of patients they see. The end result is that the average face-to-face clinic visit lasts about 12 minutes. Neither patients nor doctors are happy about that. What worries many doctors, however, is that the Affordable Care Act has codified this broken system into law. While forcing everyone to buy health insurance, ACA might have mandated a uniform or streamlined claims procedure that would have gone a long way to improving access to care.
Yet physicians have to go along, constantly trying to improve their “productivity” and patient satisfaction scores—or risk losing their jobs. And now that Medicare payments will be tied to patient satisfaction—this problem will get worse. Doctors need to have the ability to say no. If not, when patients go to see the doctor, they won’t actually have a physician—they’ll have a hostage.
Almost comically, the response of medical leadership—their solution— is to call for more physician testing. In fact, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)—in its own act of hostage-taking—has decided that in addition to being tested every ten years, doctors must comply with new, costly, "two year milestones." In an era when nurse practitioners and physician assistants have shown that they can provide excellent primary care, it’s nonsensical to raise the barriers for physicians to participate. It is  tone deaf. It is punitive. It is wrong. No wonder doctors are suicidal. No wonder young doctors want nothing to do with primary care. But for America’s health to be safeguarded, the wellbeing of America’s caretakers is going to have to start mattering to someone."


I don’t necessarily share all the views of this commentator, and I certainly know some providers who have found a way to rise above it and to serve with joy, but I realized that I might not be the only physician struggling with losing my joy in my profession.  It may take me some time to sort this out, and truly, I am content whatever I am supposed to do.  For now, I am a wife and a mother and a friend and a sister and a neighbor…and a daughter of the Most High King.  That is enough.  And He is good; and I am free to live under the umbrella of His love and goodness; and I am thankful.

So, now you know some of the things rattling around in this brain of mine.  Thanks for listening.

:-) Kimberly

Monday, April 21, 2014

HE MAKES ME LIE DOWN

The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He MAKES ME lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.  (Psalm 23: 1-3a)


This is my current theme.  A year and a half ago, our house burned down…and we started over.  Simple.

In the last year, much has changed: 
Our ministry in Nepal shifted; will we return?  No answer.
I burned out in my job; will I work in medicine again?  No answer.
We attempted two different adoption situations: those children were not ours to raise; will we adopt?  No answer.

We have very few answers.  Dave and I have found time recently to walk and pray on a daily basis.  This is a pure gift.  We do not know where we are going, but we do sense that God has a very specific destination in mind.  We do not know what it is; our small minds struggle to discern God’s plan.  Still PEACE rests upon our souls.

We are not skilled at resting.  Yet, it seems that God has ordained a rest for us.  Particularly Kimberly:  I feel that He has MADE ME lie down in green pastures.  I am accepting this as a gift.  And yet, I find it a discipline to be learned.  I WAIT upon the LORD…for no particular thing or plan, just the small still voice of direction whenever He deems that I should get up from this place where I perceive Him restoring my soul.

For those who don’t know, I was burning out at my job…I was developing physical symptoms that were concerning... and now I am not working.  I was encouraged to seek counsel and a medical evaluation.  So far, the medical tests do not reveal any particular disorder or illness.  I believe I simply became worn out beyond my ability to carry on; I needed rest.  I am finding that rest, and my symptoms are resolving.  I will continue with counsel, seeking to better understand why I sometimes drive myself so hard.

Some things have remained the same: I still live with five great guys: one is a man….the four others are in various stages of becoming men.  There is so much to discuss and to explore at this stage of life, with three teenagers in the house.  It is a blessing to have time to appreciate this stage of life.

So, now you know…
Kimberly

Monday, March 10, 2014

BURN OUT...

not our house…but my spirit…

Exhaustion…less motivation…frustration/cynicism/negative emotions…difficulty focusing…slipping performance (less efficiency).  These are some of the symptoms I have been experiencing.  The diagnosis is fairly elementary: burn out.

I must also consider whether this is depression.  I have found myself crying on my long drives to and from work (not at all characteristic for me).  My observation is that I still find joy in my devotion to my family (providing food, cleaning, chauffeuring, attending kids' activities, etc.) but I think I am burned out in regard to the practice of medicine.  

I also accept that my heart is somewhat sick since the adoption fell through.  "Hope deferred makes the heart sick," the Proverbs proclaim.  I think I am slowly healing.  I definitely accept the outcome of our adoption attempt to be God's will.  As part of the process of accepting this loss, I have tried to STOP HOPING to adopt girls.  After all, what if it is not God's will for our family?  And yet, I am not able to let it go.

So, what shall I do about this burn out and heartache?  First, I am cutting back on my work hours (thankful for the grace of others where I work), and then I am seeking counsel (already from many friends, but also from a professional).  I know that God is good.  We each get our chance to walk through dark places…to hold onto the LORD.  I believe that my brokenness is no surprise to God.  He still has a good grip on my hand; I just cannot see where we are going.

When I saw the picture at the top of this blog today, I remembered the HOPE that I felt right after the fire.  I did not know what I was hoping for…I simply had a strong sense of HOPE, as a gift.  Recently, I have lost my grip on that hope; I do not know where it has gone.  Still, I have known God in our light days, and I will know Him even better in these darker days.

I am so thankful for my faithful family (the five guys I live with, as well as all of our "family" who pray with us and do life with us) as I walk this new terrain in my journey.

Kimberly

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Year of Loss: the enlarging of my heart


It has been some time since I have posted any thoughts on this blog.  The time represents my space for healing.  Healing from what?…from the gaping hole left in my heart where once dwelt a dream of mothering a daughter.  Really, we have had some significant losses in the past year: a house...to fire, a beloved ministry in Nepal…the the winds of change, a baby girl…to a different plan.  We also have lived with a much longer list of gains: a rebuilt house, a different kind of ministry, four sons who are moving toward manhood with integrity, wisdom, love and exuberance, friends to comfort us, friends to exhort us, friends to cry with us, friends to listen, friends who remind us of the magnificence of God and His plan beyond our small understanding.  My theme for the year is: God is the author.  I am not writing the story.  I am a character and the script is not mine to write.  The good news is that I have had a glimpse of the end of the story: there is a bride and a groom at a banquet…joy unending…everything is right, just as the author intended from the beginning of the story.  And I know that this author has thoughts far beyond the greatest story that I ever imagined.  So, I choose to be a cooperative character instead of interrupting the story over and over to make suggestions on how I think the next scene ought to go.

I want to share with you some details of our past year, and then share with you the effect this has had on my heart.

First of all, I want to share that moving back into our "new" old house has been a blessing.  It is interesting to get to the other side of this event and to realize that it was not a major tragedy.  First, we lost no life.  And then we were covered by excellent insurance, and we were blessed by a friend overseeing our re-build, and the restoration and re-building company was trustworthy and did a very good job, and the things that we no longer have were not that important, and most importantly, in our time of need, we were loved and held up by a huge number of people who served us in our time of need.  And now we live in an up-to-date version of the house that we all love.  Ultimately, the loss of our house was actually counted as gain: we discovered how many people truly love us and were willing to love and serve us in our time of need. 

So, what about Nepal?  There are probably some of you who do not know that we plan to stay in Spokane for an extended period of time (maybe 3-5 years).  It was a combination of factors leading to this change.  I, Kimberly, was becoming exhausted with our globe trotting, not so much from the packing and traveling and transitioning, but from the adjustment from elder care in the U.S. to G.P. care in Nepal that included maternity and pediatric work, not to mention the strain of working in a second language (and I only seemed to recall the language in the short time we stayed there, as opposed to making actual progress in speaking better Nepali).  Then there was the strain of planning the curriculum for the kids each year, particularly with the older ones who were beginning to think about preparing for college.  I was feeling all these pressures, and then it seemed that things were shifting in Nepal, which I count as grace from God.  You see, I think that David was willing to come home for the sake of some rest for his exhausted wife (he is more of a nomad who was not ready to change our rhythm), but over our most recent time in Nepal, it became very clear to David that we were supposed to take a break.  Our Nepali partner was called to be a senior pastor at his church; what a wonderful calling!  His installation happened on the day that we were leaving Nepal.  There were many changes going on in the community in Tansen, and unfortunately, I was finding that my tolerance for ongoing change had some limits.  Then, there were the mounting number of churches that now find it too difficult to support us, so we were facing some significant financial changes.  It really seemed that there were multiple signs pointing us toward a change of pace, for a time.  So, we tentatively set that time at 3-5 years and made our transition to Spokane.

One thing that few people knew of was our ceremonial giving back to God this idea of adoption.  We had a drawing of the two girls that we thought we were being led to adopt (it was a composite of multiple dreams); we had names picked out for them; we imagined personalities that they might have.  At the ceremony, around our fire pit in our yard in Tansen, we prayed, cried and burned the drawing, claiming that we did not want anything that God does not want for us.  We were burning up all of our ideas about adoption.  We only wanted God to resurrect whatever might be His will.  We (particularly Kimberly who has had a deep desire for two daughters) found an interesting peace in this process.  We felt quite content to carry on with the work that was right before us.

This brings me to an opportunity to share with you about the ministry that I am a part of in northern Idaho.  I work for a wonderful company that goes to see the elderly in their homes, or in assisted living facilities, or in skilled nursing facilities.  We give very holistic care.  We take care of some very complicated medical needs (some patients come to us on more than 30 medications, with multiple chronic illnesses), we help family members make challenging end-of-life decisions, we provide emotional support in coping with their complex lives, we provide a loving touch for some very lonely patients, we share the good news that God has planned eternal life for those who know Him (and many of our patients are at the end of life), we pray for our patients who desire prayer support, we accept Medicare and Medicaid payment without limiting the percentage of patients with that form of payment (this means that we must do fundraisers to actually pay our bills and make ends meet, this means that we provide on-call coverage through the night without pay, and this means that we learn to check thousands of boxes and complete reams of paperwork in order to have the privilege of loving this sometimes lonely and very needy segment of our population.  The joy in this work is being encouraged by my colleagues who demonstrate to me what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this corner of U.S. life.  I count it a privilege to work with Onsite for Seniors, and I ask you to pray for our company, as the work is not easy, and we must work within a system full of problems, and we serve a population that faces some significant suffering.

So, just as I was getting back to this work among the elderly, a college-aged girl, here in Spokane, saw our book that had been at the adoption agency for quite some time, and she chose us to adopt her baby girl, who was due in about three months.  We were thrilled.  We wondered if this might be some of the reason that we were coming home for a while.  So, we got to know this young pregnant gal, and really liked her.  We were meeting with her regularly and gradually making plans for the adoption.  Some of this preparation was to re-start lactation so that I could breastfeed this baby girl.  I was there at the home delivery of this precious, healthy little girl.  I supported the young mom in the early days after the delivery.  She decided to keep the baby until the courts made the adoption legal.  Still, we made plans to bring this baby home, and we prepared a special place for her (in our home and in our hearts).  Three weeks after her birth, our day in court was finally coming.  But, the birth dad stepped in a couple of days before the court date and said that he did not agree with the adoption.  The end.  The adoption was aborted.  

I am so thankful that this young mom and her precious daughter are surrounded by a supportive church and she is really working hard to make some better decisions for her future.  I will forever love these girls and pray for them.  And…my heart has broken wide open.  The hurt seemed to break something loose inside of me and I found myself completely confused about what I am here for.  I have longed for more children…I do not know why…and I have longed for daughters.  So, I took some time off of work.  I became a stay-at-home mom for a little while, while all of my children are in public school all day.  I had some opportunities to volunteer on some projects at their schools, but mostly I had time to grieve.  And God is sufficient for every season, including the season of grieving.  And my heart is healing.  And I see the privilege of participating in a ministry that very few people chose (holding the hands of those who are passing out of this life) .  I see that when God wants to make more room in your heart for His grace, He breaks it wide open…and expands it.

We are facing these, and other, changes in our life.  We feel a bit like we are on a walk in a mist-shrouded forest.  We keep walking but it is difficult to see where we are going.  The destination is unclear.  The path can seem a little cold and uninviting.  But Dave and I have always loved walks through the forest, and who are we to think that all days will be sunny and warm with a clear destination?  Life has many seasons and all sorts of twists and turns in the journey.  Still, God is THE AUTHOR of all things: this world, my faith, our lives and eternity.  And as for me and my household, we choose to play our part in the story, with eyes wide open to catch glimpses of the author.  As for me this year, I choose to give up the practice of trying to re-write the story; that is not for me.

Thanks for listening!
Kimberly, for the Beines