Wednesday, May 12, 2010

All In His Time...

Trevan Noah - 5 {and a half years} old

Well, here I am.  Just 2 weeks away from my Fund raising Deadline for RWANDA.  The people who I thought would support me, have surprisingly not been my biggest fans!  Others have blessed me beyond measure!  God's timing - perfect.

I still have a little over $2400 to go and also need money for immunizations.  I will keep my faith.  This is God's Project - therefor he will provide all my needs.

I have been met with some opposition and a lot of curiosity as to the "why" we are going.  I thought this would be an appropriate time to "share" with all of you as to the "why" - here is my letter...

“Life isn’t how many years you live, but what you do with the life you are given.”

Dearest Friends and Family.

I know how busy our lives are and that time is precious, so I will try to keep this brief, yet; I have so much to share with you!

It is my prayer that when you receive this letter you are afforded the opportunity to pause, take a moment and really read it.

Some of you receiving this letter have known me since I was a child. Others, have shared special moments in my life, moments that have helped shape who I have become.
Yet, some of you I have never met, yet our paths have crossed by divine appointment. I am learning that God puts everyone in your life for a purpose. Nothing He does is by accident.

Trenton and I are traveling to Rwanda, Africa in July on a Mission Trip. It is not by chance that we are going, and the Lord already knows the work that will be done for His glory.

You see a few short years ago I thought of myself as just an ordinary wife and mother to 4 boys. I had known the Lord my whole life. I had tried to follow a good path, strayed away and then come back again. I had not done anything that I had thought was "special". I had no real "ah-ha" moments in my Christian walk. I told the women in my small group that I "had NO testimony." I was bothered by this as I took my first mission trip to the Indian Reservations in South Dakota. I had nothing to really "share" with these people. I was just me - no one special - someone without a testimony. Oh, how I wished I had a testimony!

I now know that you need to be very careful what you wish for.

A short time later the Lord gave me a testimony.

I lost a business that I had worked very hard to build and a friend in that process. It was painful and stretched me beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I learned humility, grace, understanding and forgiveness - some of which have taken me to this day to refine. During this painful time my son, Taylor was involved in a skateboarding accident that left him with a brain injury. While dealing with the turmoil of losing the business and my livelihood I was in the throes of taking care of a mentally impaired son that already struggled with drug addiction. Things went from bad to worse as I found myself slipping into a depression. I wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear. The days and months stretched on with nothing positive to offer. Taylor's addiction and violent outbursts grew severe.

Then two days before my 20th wedding anniversary I received the phone call that catapulted our lives into a downward spiral that was unthinkable. My husband had been involved in a roll over collision and nearly lost his arm. After several surgeries, he was unable to work. Not only was I forced to "come out of myself" to care for him, but I had to care for Taylor and my other three boys. I had no time to wallow in self-pity, no time to be depressed. The only thing I could cling to was HOPE. I could feel myself slipping away as I wondered who I really was. "Who am I becoming?" and "Why God?" were questions that I seeked answers for.  Our situation perplexed me.

With my husband unable to work we found ourselves being evicted from our home. Nearly everything we owned had to be sold, given away or placed in storage. Material possessions quickly lost their "value" as we fought to just hang on to the promise that tomorrow could bring. We had no idea where we would live. I moved through life on "auto-pilot" taking care of details with energy that could have only come from above. I never dreamed that I would become "homeless".  I thought of "homeless" people as helpless. 
Is this what we had become?

God provided. Strangers came together and put us up in a beautiful hotel that became our home for months. As we lived in 400 square foot of space not knowing at times where Taylor was because he had become addicted to drugs and alcohol we continued to HOPE and pray. I knew that the Lord had a plan. It was so hard to know what that plan was and to wait on His timing, but we had no other choice. We were blessed immeasurably by countless people who offered prayers, financial support and gifts. God's presence was very present in our day-to-day lives.

Through our trials we were blessed.

A year ago this month we were able to move into a small apartment in Irvine, CA. We moved here so that Turner could receive Special Education for his Autism Spectrum Disorder and diagnosis of Aspbergers. Over the past year while remaining hopeful and faithful that the Lord had a plan, Stace lost the job that he got as we moved from the Hotel. Taylor battled with drug addiction, mental illness, depression and alcoholism. His behavior grew worse each week and at times I did not know how we would go on. He was hospitalized 8 times within a year - trying to take his life or overdosing on drugs or alcohol. He would have such violent outbursts that the police had to be called countless times. Our family was traumatized time and again by his violence.

We felt like we were walking on egg shells and prisoner in our own home. We had to result to putting him in a homeless shelter, only to have him return a few weeks later after leaving and being attacked on the streets. He was arrested 3 times and help was not in sight.

On my birthday, the 16th of April I experienced a miracle.

We had one door then another slammed in our faces in an effort to get Taylor help. We had been scammed out of $2500 by a con artist posing to run a Christian REHAB facility. We were told after he was sentenced by the courts to REHAB that there was a 12 week waiting list which we placed him on. Twelve long weeks went by and as he was on formal probation he still abused drugs and alcohol without result . I received a phone call on the 15th telling me that he was being released from jail and had no where they could place him. He did not qualify for a homeless shelter due to his violence. He did not qualify for REHAB because of his mental illness. He was hopeless.

I ripped my heart out before God and told him this was HIS, not mine - as I was done. I could not handle this any longer. I had spent 4 hours on the phone as each person told me that they could offer nothing. I was told the court had no record of him being sentenced to REHAB. I was told by his social worker she had hit a brick wall and had nothing to offer. The Phoenix House told me that they do not accept Medi-Cal and that they did not even have him on the waiting list. I lost myself that day.  I gave up on trying to control my destiny and I totally surrendered to God.

Crying and spent I laid crumpled on the floor a total mess with my 5 year old helplessly looking on.

I then received a phone call minutes later that Taylor could be placed in the PHOENIX HOUSE REHAB the next morning.

It was nothing short of a full-fledged miracle.

My hope, my faithfulness and my perseverance - had all paid off. He had heard my cries and He answered, He did not leave me, nor forsake me.

You see my friend, THIS is why Trenton and I are going to RWANDA .

I now have a testimony. I am indebted to God.

I have to tell those who have lost their will and feel helpless, that their situation is not HOPELESS.

Total surrender is nothing that can be taught - it is a state of mind. Being brought to your knees before the one who is most high and letting go - is indescribable. I am far from perfect and make mistakes each day. What gets me through is knowing that I have hope and grace and a new fresh start each time the sun rises. Our God is a loving and forgiving God. He made us for a purpose. He made us to love Him.

Our lives are so far from perfect and at times I feel broken. God heals my broken heart, He holds it in the palm of His hand, he gives me the strength to go on. Trenton and I needed $8000 to travel to Rwanda. We have raised all but $2600. Our deadline is MAY 26th to have our additional funds!

You may have already donated to our trip financially and for that I am so grateful.

What I am asking is for you to pray and ask God how He wants you to help us.
We want you to be a part of this incredible experience whether it be through financial support or prayer support.

Below I have outlined some of our needs. I ask that you pray and let the Lord lead you. This is much bigger than you, much bigger than me.

God has brought us together to do great things for the greater glory of His kingdom. I feel honored to have you in our lives and would be so touched if you decided to embark on this journey with us!

God already knows what will happen and how this trip will touch the lives of so many. I hope that by sharing with you, some of what we have lived through, your life will be touched in a positive way.

It is my prayer that you too learn how to be satisfied with what you once thought could bring no satisfaction. I pray that you can find happiness in things that were once taken for granted. I pray that you find peace in solitude that at one time you may have thought to be loneliness. I pray you can find it in your heart to love the unlovable and find hope in the hopelessness. I pray that you too, will find the deep peace in living simply so that others can simply live. These are my prayers for you.

It is my hope that spending this time with my son, Trenton; that we can form a bond and a foundation that can not be broken. Please pray for blessings on this wish.

If you feel led to support us financially - here are our needs:

You can make a tax-deductible donation by sending a check made out to:
SADDLEBACK CHURCH with only the TRIP ID in the memo - Trip #6547
Please mail it to me:
Janean Lindner
51 Southbrook
Irvine, CA  92604

Trenton and I still need around $600 for Travel Immunizations. 

We also need financial support for necessities and expenses.
If you wish to support us personally - you can send a check made out to:
Janean Lindner

Many thanks to however you choose to bless us on our Mission!!
If you feel led to support us in Prayer - here are some requests:
Pray that we raise all necessary funds to go on the trip.
Pray for our family's finances.
Pray for our health, and Janean's continued weight loss.
(I am down 10 pounds with 10 to go before our trip)
Pray for our family as we prepare to leave - all the logistics of Stace caring for the little guys while we are gone.
Pray for Taylor's success in REHAB.
Pray for our team as we will face attacks from the enemy.
Pray for God's will in all of our lives.

Blessings -
Janean and Trenton Lindner