Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'll have to settle...

We had such a fun loooooong Memorial Day weekend.  We do not have a pool. However, we are blessed to be considered family and enjoy the pool privileges by two dear families.  We take advantage of it all summer long.  Plus, daddy being off work was a HUGE to come later.

Yesterday was the start to our week.  So after my kids were up and going for the day, I went to get my shower and spend some quiet (MUST HAVE) moments in God's Word.

I must admit I just wasn't feeling it.

I wanted my time with God to be cut and dry.  I wanted Him to speak a desperately needed word over my heart.

He chose not to.

Instead He spoke something that I didn't quite get.  And let me just say...that is His business. He doesn't waste anything. 

The scripture was out of John and it left me scratching my head.  Sometimes this happens to me.  I try not to get bothered that I can't quite capture the application of God's words.  Instead I try to trust that He will help me understand it in His time and when I am ready.

It also helps me to really understand that my God has everything figured out even if I don't.  AND He isn't bothered by my questions...

A dear friend gave me a quote one time that I have never forgotten.  We could all use a healthier perspective on the BIG-ness of God.  "If God were small enough to understand, He would not be big enough to worship."

In truth this makes me happy.  I like knowing that He has options and possibilities I have never even dreamed of before.  Don't you?

Anyway, back to my scripture reading....I walked away a little bummed that my expectations weren't met.  I had wanted something to carry me through the day.  Instead I pondered the different things that the scripture could possibly mean or not. 

As days often passed by quickly.

I had fixed the kids dinner plates and called them to come eat.  As Zeke and Ava began to sing their prayer to God....He spoke to me.

I hear in the background.

God is great.  God is good.
Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hands we all are fed.
Thank you, Lord, for daily bread.  Amen.

God settled upon me with the first two phrases, "God is great.  God is good."

It is a declaration of what we know to be true.  Not what we always feel.....

Right there in my green kitchen He quieted me with His love.  If you have experienced it then you know.  Nothing had changed but everything had changed.  His presence was near.  He interrupted my routine with the reality of Himself.

Regardless of my questions, circumstances, fretting, or disappointment, the truth remains that He is great and good.  Nothing changes that.

My puzzling questions over my morning's scripture just faded away.  He is great.  He is good.

He will work it out.

That may mean that my questions go unanswered for a while.

But I can still KNOW His greatness and His goodness.  I'll settle for that instead.

Speaking of His goodness I am happily celebrating 14 years of marriage to Shep today.

I would say yes all over again.

I would choose to love, honor, and cherish him all over again.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Unexpected. Faith tucked into a wall....

I saw a scripture that has always fascinated me the other day.  It wasn't until I saw it again that I remembered my fascination.

1 John 21:25 says, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."

Does that grip anyone else?

I mean I have read the accounts in God's Word of pretty spectacular things.  Raising the dead, the lame leaping to their feet, a leper's spots vanish, a mute mouth speaking, eyes blinded since birth opened to a radiant world, and heart's finding their Savior all come to mind easily when I think of Jesus' ministry on this Earth.

But what about all that isn't written down?

Could your mind just begin to fill in the blanks.....

If He is infinitely more than all we can imagine then I bet we couldn't really begin to guess ALL that He did here.

But it is exciting to know that there is no containing Him.  My soul finds great solace in that.

I ask Him frequently to encourage me.

He knows my heart.  He knows my thoughts. He knows my feeble attempt at a big faith.

I happen to believe that Caroline's healing will be another story that would go into the books that should be written of what Jesus has done.  Maybe that is the real point of this keep a written account.

  He has never stopped healing....and He doesn't just stop with physical handicaps and disabilities.  He heals our minds and hearts.  Those, I have found, are the most important of all. 

Anyway, back to asking Him to encourage me....

I ask often.  He answers.  Sometimes that very day something will happen.  Then, sometimes, he does something totally UNEXPECTED.

Wednesday night I received a call from a friend.  She just wanted to let me know that her parents had recently taken a trip to the Holy Land.  (These people know me and know our story second hand.  They just happen to adhere to big faith too.) Upon visiting the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, this woman had written my Caroline's name on a piece of paper and stuck it inside that ancient wall....fulling asking and believing for her healing. 

Now it is one thing for me to step out and offer an act of faith for my child.  But, it is huge deal for someone who barely knows me to feel prompted to act on their faith for my child.

Pretty amazing.  Utterly encouraging.

Without any prior knowledge on my part, God answered my prayer for encouragement through a person who loves Him and doesn't know me well at all.

THAT is just how incredible He is to us!

Right Jerusalem there is a little piece of paper stuck into a crevice of the massive Wailing Wall with Caroline's name on it.

Just the thought gives me chills.  Not that proximity means anything...but I love knowing that her name is there.  On His turf somehow.  Makes me smile.

If THAT weren't special and sacred on its own....I am blown away at the faith and obedience of a woman who was willing to place it there...full of faith. 

I never would have thought that God would answer my prayer for encouragement in such a wild and out-of the way way.

But, then again, He cannot be contained.  Amen and Amen!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

4 Fun!!!!

 I didn't know that little boys loved to sleep with 10 or more hot wheels in their beds.
 I didn't know that little boys could easily go from eating on a plate to thinking it would make a great frisbee.
 I didn't know that little boys think of people in two categories: good guys or bad guys.  Always thinking like a super hero...
 I didn't have a clue that this little boy would be hilarious.  He tells us tall tales most days...imagined from somewhere.  He loves to wrestle and snuggle.  He could eat potato chips at every meal...or any good ol' carbohydrate. 
 He might thank me 5 times for making his dinner.  He also gets his words confused still...and I love it.  One of his phrases he uses often is, "I very don't want to"  or "I very need that, Mommy."
 Mommy rocks but Daddy is almost always better.  Ava can be his best pal or his arch enemy.  Caroline just gets his love.
This is our boy.  Four years old and full of life. He is good-natured, inquisitive, smart, funny, mischievous, tender, kind, and stubborn.  We absolutely recognize that he is a gift from God Almighty.  We have been entrusted to raise him to love and honor God.

We pray daily for God's direction as we do our best to live for Christ both in private and in public.  His faith will be shaped greatly by our actions and influence.

Parenting is a sacred task indeed.

You are truly a delight to us Zeke!  Happy Birthday!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Breaking it down...

Anytime God brings a scripture across my path more than once in two days by two different people who happen to be talking about two different things...well, I revisit it again on my own to try and break down what my Lord might be trying to say to me.

Matthew 22:37-39 "Jesus replied, ' You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ' Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Being raised as a church girl, this piece of scripture rolls of my tongue pretty easily.

But do I live it?
Do I really even know what it is asking of me?

I looked up heart, soul, and mind on my computer.  Here is breaking it down...

Do I love Him with my reasoning?
Do I love Him with what I think?
Do I love Him with what I feel?
Do I love Him with what I will?
Do I love Him with my perceptions?
Do I love Him with my judgements?
Do I love Him with my passion?

It becomes rehearsed to say that we should love our Lord with our heart, soul and mind.  But these questions aren't as practiced to me. 

Somehow I want my reasoning, my thoughts, my feelings, my will, my perceptions, my judgements, and my passions to remain my own. 

Yet these are the very things at the core of our heart, mind, and soul. 

He wants us to love Him with these.  The hard things.

We might think we are pleasing Him with vague generalities.  "Yes, Lord, I love you with all my heart."  But He knows...He loves if we really love Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul or not.  

Kind of makes me wish I hadn't broken this one down at all.....

Friday, May 18, 2012

We forget

Today is the last day of school for my girls.

Summertime is here.

I have not held back from voicing the nagging fears and insecurities I have about summer.  But...I press on.  God is good in spite of what I dread or fear.

So today I didn't wait until the end of the day to break open my bible.  I started the day out right.  (This has nothing to do with me.  Andrea didn't want to....but the Holy Spirit inside me won this time.)

As  I read my devotion I knew the Author of those ancient words wanted to remind me of something....because I do forget.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 says, "we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."

See.  We forget don't we?

Do you have hardships?
Are you suffering?
Are you under great pressure that is far beyond your own ability to endure?
Do you despair of even your life?

He allows blistering circumstances to gently pursue us and remind us that we cannot and must not rely on ourselves...but upon Him.

After all, He raises the dead.

Don't you love it that the writer of these verses included those 3 little powerful words?  Almost like a tag on the end....a reminder of sorts.

Maybe the writer needed to remind himself.

He could have stopped three words before that and no one would have missed a thing.

But I forget too.

And  I am so glad he added them to the end of the phrase. 

Not only do I need to rely on Him but I need to KNOW he raises the dead!

Not past tense either.

He still does.

He delights to bring life anywhere His Presence goes.  He is life.

Don't forget and be encouraged....He raises the dead!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Divine Nature

As I sit here in a few moments of semi-quiet (Caroline is sweetly making noises in the other room while she watches Curious George from her wheelchair and Zeke and Ava are playing in the basement) I am thankful for it.

The semi-quiet, I mean.

It does my soul some good to have moments, actual sequential moments, where I can hear myself think.

Just an hour ago I had all but lost my mind.

You moms will understand.
Former moms of little ones will nod in remembrance.
Future warned.

I found out earlier this afternoon that Zeke has chicken pox.  (He has already had the first booster but not the second one b/c he isn't 4 yet.  Mild case.  No fever.  No other symptoms. Just bumps and itching.)
Ava had picked a certain movie to watch that she loved.  The other two hated it.
Zeke spent his time bringing loud toys in the living room to annoy and interrupt. 
Caroline also kicked and pitched a fit because she didn't like the movie choice either.  While kicking her feet relentlessly, she managed to snag her toenail and pull a piece off.  That made her cry harder.  Only after I bandaged her up did I notice the streaks of red blood from her toenail on my carpet.  Nice.
 About that same time I  realize it is past time for Caroline's feed.  Meanwhile, Zeke and Ava have decided that they are about to die of starvation....

I did what any mother would do.

I removed them from my sight.

Ava went to her room.  Zeke went to his.

It was time to attack my afternoon one decision at a time.

I turned off the television.
I fed Caroline.
I cleaned the blood from the carpet.
I got dinner ready.

After the kids ate their dinner I gave them the option to go play in the basement.  They happily agreed...probably hoping that I wouldn't make them go back to their rooms.

Then I looked at Caroline and told her that I was gonna spend some time in God's Word.

Unfortunately, I had waited til late in the day to approach the throne of grace.  But He is always there.

The text was from 2 Peter 1:4  " may be partakers of the divine nature..." (NKJV)

The circumstances this afternoon have set up the perfect storm for me to focus inwardly.  When chaos swirls about me,  I cave in.  I become this little island unto myself.  I get bitter fast.  I start griping, complaining, and self-pity has won its cause.

God's Word spoke hope into this mother's afternoon.  It always does.

It powerfully reminded me that I get to partake of His divine nature.  Listen to the words in my devotion..

"We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, 'Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle.'  And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus!  And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him.  Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult?  Why shouldn't they be!  If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God's riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision.  No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests.  It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges~always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied.  The there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives."   -My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Just because my day proved difficult did not have to mean a defeat of my nature. 

His divine nature is mine for the taking.

Talk about a trade-off.

He is willing to take my foul attitude, self-pity, aggravation, and bitterness.  But He doesn't stop there y'all.  He gives back.  He lets us partake.  He lets us trade up.  In exchange for my crap...I get His glory.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of his who called us by his own glory and goodness."   2 Peter 1:3

Monday, May 14, 2012

They make me a momma

 On June 11, 2002 the title of "mom" was added to my identity.  I had long since been a daughter, sister, and friend.  I had been walking newly in the role of "wife" for a few years.  But in all of these relationships I was mainly responsible for myself and my own actions.  It wasn't until I held Caroline that I felt the weight of true responsibility.
 I held this little life in my hands.  I instantly felt love.  I instantly wanted to nurture and protect. 
 Ava and Zeke came along three and six years later and those same feelings were there.  Probably even more so because I was older and maybe a bit more mature.
 I am not a great mom.  I wouldn't even say I am a good mom.  But...I am a trying mom.  I desire for my kids to see an authentic woman who loves the Lord with all of her heart.  I pray that they see me on my knees in prayer, carrying my scripture cards around, and loving my time in God's Holy Word.  I don't necessarily want to hide my mistakes but show that God redeems our frailties.  I hope to teach them about grace, mercy, kindness, discipline, perseverance, humility, forgiveness and above all else, love.
 I pray that they see me being crazy for their daddy.  I hope they hear me building him up and supporting him always.  I desire that they learn about marriage from watching us work at our own.  I believe they will thrive in the security of their parents being in love. 
 This "mom" thing is so hard.  I don't think I will ever have it down.  But each day is an opportunity to enjoy, cherish, and take seriously the lives of those entrusted in my care.  Each one holds such special gifts and qualities that are unique just to them.  I love watching God shape and mold them as they grow.  My job is to direct them to Jesus every time I can.  When they experience joy...praise Him.  When they experience Him.  When they experience doubt...believe Him.  When they experience loss...cry to Him.  When they experience victory...give glory to Him.  When they lose their way...turn back to Him.  When they give in to sin...repent to Him.  When decisions need to be made...ask Him.

Last of all, I want to thank this awesome lady.  God allowed her to be my momma.  For  the past 34 years she has given me wisdom, encouragement, boundaries, and a trail-blazing hunger for God.  She is in ministry to God through mentoring women.  She saw a great need in the church for those women who were babies in Christ to have someone more mature in the Lord to walk with them.  She has written and designed a program that does this very thing.  She didn't just write it and stand back to let others organize.  She gets in there and mentors several women at a time.  Investing in lives....letting the power of Christ move, change, redeem, and restore them for His glory.
Before she ever mentored a single woman ....she was entrusted with me....a little woman in training.  She has lived out her faith fiercely every single day.  She is not perfect and she has messed up plenty of times.  But she is real and relevant with Jesus.  I adore her and admire her so much.  And...she is my biggest fan!

If anyone reading this blog would love to know more about my mom's ministry...please check out her link. Many churches are realizing the importance of mentoring and would love to know more about how to implement it.  She is amazing at what she does.  I will include it here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


This is the third attempt at trying to write this post.

I have typed and deleted the past two segments.  I didn't like what I had to say.  It seemed as though I was going completely around the point to try to explain myself.   The truth is...I am simply a bit depressed about summer.


That wasn't so bad.

The reason I dread summer is because I can't do the things I want to do.

Well, that isn't exactly true either.  But I can't do things the way I want to do them.

I have to live a life adjusted.

For anyone who lives day in and day out with a severely disabled person...I bet you understand.  Or maybe you don't.  But....I write to be real.  Like it or not.  This is me. 

There is never ever ever a day when my family can do something on a whim.

We always have to plan and think about how our plans will include Caroline. 

Summertime just intensifies this rule.

Getting out and doing things with 3 kids is difficult on a good day.  But getting out and doing anything when one of those precious children can't talk, walk, sit, speak, or eat makes everything so hard I don't even want to try.

I am not going to ramble on and on like I want to about feeding tubes, diapers, wipes, wheelchairs, and carrying around a very long-legged almost 10 year old.  But, without judgement, please pray for me.

God is so sweet and faithful.  He has graciously surrounded me with help and fun for the past 9 summers and I know He will do the same again.

The enemy just wants to bait the hook and let me bite.  He knows that if he can get me to dread then I will begin to doubt.  When doubt enters the scene faith begins to falter.
I know better than to give into doubt and dread.  My God has been too faithful.  But, in the raw moments, a heart has to exhale.

I have learned that God is pleased to handle my heart when I am honest before Him and myself.

Hebrews 4: 13  "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of  him to whom we must give account."

Monday, May 7, 2012

My zit and some sweet little feet..

Usually my blogs are heavy in subject matter.  Today I decided to take a little detour from that...

Enjoy it because if you have followed for very long you know that I can't stay away from the heavy stuff for long.  (My mom and I tease one another that we analyze~ til we paralyze.)

I felt Ava's little eyes penetrating into a deep gaze on my face this past Saturday.  I said nothing but waited for her to speak.  Finally she asked, "Mommy, what is that?"  By "that" she was pointing to a gargantuan size zit that had popped up seemingly overnight.  

I replied, "It is a zit, Ava."

That seemed to satisfy her interest for the moment.

The next day my blemish seemed bigger and darker in color (as they often do when all the junk has been squeezed out for the umpteenth time).  I caught her looking at it several times during the day but she said nothing.  I was impressed with her resolve to hold back....although I see we have some work to do when it comes to staring.

She could no longer hold back in the late afternoon as we got ready to head back to church.

"Mommy, I don't like your zit.  It looks like those things that are on Nanny McPhee's face." 

Well, if you haven't seen Nanny McPhee (the movie) then you don't know that Ava is referring to the enormous hairy warts that the character has on her face. 

Nice to know that my zit resembles a huge, hairy wart.

Today I got a few moments with Zeke in our hammock swing.  He, too, noticed my big zit but it didn't seem to offend him the way it did his sister.

He and I snuggled together and I caught myself studying this little boy.... this little man in the making.

He and his daddy are the only two fellas that can make me swoon.  But they can.

I looked at his buzzed light brown hair...his green eyes...and then my eyes landed on those chubby feet.  I thought about how those feet have changed so much just shy of four years.  I remember when he found his feet and tried to eat his toes as a baby.  I remember watching him crawl and and push to stand.  Now it seems like he never stands still.  And then I wondered where those feet would end up taking him in the future.

(uh oh...I promised not to get heavy here......)

I prayed that his feet would follow Christ Jesus every single day of his life.

How much pain would we avoid if we just followed the One who knows how to lead us into righteousness and away from sin that so easily entangles?

Then God gave me a sweet thought of the way He looks at me.  How He delights to see my growth in the same way I see my little Zeke's.  

I am His child after all.

And He has seen me when I didn't use my feet at all. 

He remembers when I first starting finding my way...
He strengthened me to crawl, pull up, and stand upon His Word.
He guides my footsteps upon His path...for He lights my way.
He now urges my feet to go after the broken and hurting and show them the way to Him.

Psalm 17:5 "My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Our Duty to Darkness

I have never really liked the dark.

Ever since I was a little girl I would swear to you that bad things lurked in the shadows.  Even now that I am all grown up...I am not so sure that I was wrong.

We live, move, work, play, and see in the physical realm.  BUT the Bible I believe in teaches just as emphatically about a spiritual realm that exists.  A realm where good and evil do battle.  Unfortunately our eyes aren't adjusted to see all of it for now.  But that doesn't mean it isn't very real.

Ephesians 6:10 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

I think that is pretty clear. 

Did you notice the word "dark"?  It describes this world that we find ourselves living in. I would bet you are like me and prefer not to think of our world as dark.  But that doesn't change the fact that it is. Despite blue skies, colorful flowers, green trees, turquoise waters, and views that inspire....this world is dark.

As believers in Christ Jesus we have a duty to this darkness.


Our Savior is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 Jn. 1:5)

God has recently been answering a prayer of mine.  I find myself surrounded in a bubble of people just like me.  They think like me.  They worship like me.  They hold to the same truths as me.  They have very similar goals to my own.  They strive to live in God's light and obey His will.  (Not knocking these folks at all...these people are vital in my growth with Christ.  They spur me on in the faith.  They provide accountability, protection, and encouragement.)

So I have begun to pray, "Lord, I know the darkness is out there.  But I keep myself surrounded by light.  I like it this way.  But, I am not lighting up anyone's darkness.  I don't even know people personally living in darkness.  Will you give me opportunities to bring Your light into someone's darkness?"

Dangerous prayer people, but one I believe He delights to answer.

The opportunities have come and now I have a choice.  Do I fear this darkness and continue to blend my light with the light of others?


Do I dare throw cowardice off and go to battle with His light?

God has some awesome things in His Word to say about darkness and light. I am depending on these words as I enter dark places...

-Even in darkness light dawns for the upright...Ps. 112:4
-He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom; and broke away their chains. Ps. 107:14
-Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  Ps. 139:12
-I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42: 6-7
-For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves...Colossians 1:13

There are so many more verses that speak of God as light.  I just highlighted a few that I am claiming in my current circumstances.

I don't know about you but if you belong to Jesus Christ then you may be able to remember the days before you knew Him personally.  The days without hope.  The days of darkness.

I have been gloriously rescued, graciously loved, relentlessly pursued and lavishly restored in His Light.

Let's take that and run.

Those sitting in the darkness are waiting.....