Saturday, July 30, 2011

Praise God

Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap. 
-Ps. 113:5-7

(I'm sure you get my point in posting this verse, but in case you don't get it, the answer to the question above is this: No one is like our God!  He deserves our love and praise!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

God in the Dark


I am thinking more about light and shadows. An old verse resurrects itself in my mind and I shudder. “Even though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”  God is in the shadows?  I know it is true; I have felt Him there.  But how can the One who IS light also exist in the darkness?  Does He cover His glory?  Hide Himself?  Cloak Himself – His Light – in shadows so we both experience His Presence and the necessary darkness of this world at once?

I do think the darkness is necessary. Shadows serve their purpose. Like flowers that scorch in unshaded sunlight, we begin to spiritually shrivel in a life of untried ease. We forget to drink the Living Water and without noticing, we dry out and burn up. The Old Testament is filled with kings who got fat, happy, and prosperous – and therefore forgot the Lord.

Is God cupping His Almighty Hand over us right now to create protective darkness? Darkness that causes us to cry out and grapple in the night for Him? Is He ensuring that we do not forget Him, our only source of true joy and life and LIGHT?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shadows

I am standing in my sliver of a backyard. That is all I am doing. Just standing. The past two weeks have been rough, and my body feels numb and tremulous. The dog leash I am holding pulls taut and I am shaken from a daze. I have been staring at the grass, where broken light has fallen through tree leaves.

I watch the shadows and light sway upon the grass in unison and think about the recent heart aches and frustrations we have faced. It occurs to me that light looks most beautiful next to shadows. Darkness accentuates the brightness. Difficulties serve as a shadowy frame for the artwork of blessing.

Sickness frames the beauty of health.

Loneliness fuels appreciation for friendship.

Hardship awakens us to recognize ease.

Pain prepares us to welcome joy.

The murder of God’s Son leads to resurrection and victory for all of His children.

Dear God, help us thank You for the shadows.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

Shadows - David Crowder:

Life is full of light and shadow
O the joy and O the sorrow

And yet will He bring
Dark to light
And yet will He bring
Day from night

When shadows fall on us
We will not fear
We will remember

When darkness falls on us
We will not fear
We will remember

When all seems lost
When we're thrown and we're tossed
We'll remember the cost
We're resting in the
Shadow of the cross

With every breath I take
every heart beat
Sunrise and the moon lights
in the dark street
Every glance
every dance
every note of a song
All a gift undeserved
that I shouldn't have known
Every moment I lie
Every moment I covet
I'm deserving to die
I'm earning your judgment
Without the cross there's only condemnation
If Jesus wasn't executed there's no celebration
So in times that are good
in times that are bad
For any time
I've had it all
I will be glad
And I will boast in the cross
I boast in His name
I will boast in the sunshine
boast in His rain
What's my life
if it's not praising You
Another dollar
in my bank account
of vain pursuit, I do
That count my life
as any value or
precious at all
Let me finish my race
let me answer Your call


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sin's Curse Has Lost Its Grip on Me

And as He stands
in victory
Sin’s curse has lost
its grip on me
For I am His
and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life
no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life’s first cry
to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell
no scheme of man
Could ever pluck
me from His hand
Til He returns
or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

(from hymn In Christ Alone)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

God is Still God

Some things have happened and I have not felt much like writing lately. Sometimes words can be healing and artful. Other times, they fall flat. Human words are so… human. Jesus is THE WORD, so how can my mind spout out anything of worth in comparison to that.

I know I’ll get back to writing. I love it. So if you feel like checking back with me every now and then, please do still because I like to think that someone is reading.

My only thought it the meantime? God is God, and He is good, regardless of the storm in your life. We may not always understand how an all-powerful God can both be good and let bad things happen, but lack of understanding is to be expected. We are little dust-people. Of course we do not fully understand an eternal and infinite God. Our inability to fit the pieces together does not make truth any less true. God is good. God is love. Bad things happen. God remains faithful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Never Enough Time

There is never enough time.

It is late at night, but sleep eludes my weary eyes. So I do what any mother would… I go kiss my sleeping girls once more. Amelia’s eyes pop open as I kiss her, and her arms automatically vice-grip my neck, demanding to be held. My heart melts as we ease back into a rocking chair together. Finger in mouth, she sighs with relief to see that she will be rocked, and she instantly closes her eyes. I kiss her repeatedly and run my fingers across her silky baby skin, knowing from my experience with Caroline that these days are far too short.

Time is always limited. Isn’t that a theme of this life? Isn’t that why we’re always in a rush? Babies keep growing, the calendar pages fall, and so much feels wasted.

And then I smile, remembering what Anne Voskamp said about time… that we Christians forget that we have infinite time. That we should be the last ones to believe that time is slipping away, when every tick of the clock brings us one step closer to eternity.

What is it about “eternity” that sounds so comforting? I grapple for thoughts. Jesus is the first thought. I am finally learning to love Him in a way that makes heaven sound like the eternal honeymoon it is. Still, this love often fails to translate into my life lived well here on earth. What can I do today with the knowledge that time is eternal? What is the practical application? How can it help me in a world of count-downs and alarm clocks and deadlines? In a world when eternity seems light years away?

My mind wanders to the worries of my heart. To the troubles of today. Those things that make me want to cry. And God’s Word springs to mind.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Cor. 4:17
My heart protests. My troubles are not light and momentary! I don’t know what troubles the original author was referring to, but they clearly were not as hefty as mine.

Even as I think this, I know I am wrong. I know the original author was referring to troubles like persecution, death, and great hardship. So why did he refer to them as “light and momentary troubles”? I open my Bible to read the surrounding verses.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
When we fix our eyes on the unseen… on the eternal… on the God who saves and promises redemption and healing and renewal and heaven for His children forevermore…

We fix our eyes on eternity.  We fix our eyes on what will be permanent, rather than on the temporal problems we face.  When we can do that, our troubles seem light and momentary. If our lives on earth are only a vapor, how much smaller are our troubles?  Much smaller I am sure.

Yes, on this earth, there is not enough time. Thank You God, there is not enough time on this earth. Eternity approaches.  We are fixing our eyes on it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

She Didn't Go Down That Water Slide

On Sunday afternoon, we celebrated "Jay's" birthday with a trip to the water park. He got to bring a friend, and Amelia got to go to her grandparents' house for a nap.  And Caroline... well, she's only three. How much fun could she have had at a water park?

Oh, isn't that a funny picture. It almost looks like she rode that slide.  Yeah, right! Like we'd let a three year old ride THAT slide!


Oh, (nervous laughter,) don't worry. She climbed the stairs for this great photo-op.  A photo. That's it and that's all.


Hmm. How'd that picture get in there?


That's not my Caroline! That must be some other crazy parent's three year old.


Backwards!? Oh my.


Whose child is that?


Oh.  That's embarassing. I think it is...



Yep. That's my Caroline.
I'm busted.
Another proud moment in my lilfe as a mom.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Snot Kisses Cure All


watching fireworks & sucking M&M's
 I’ve missed my little blog over the past several days! I’ve been off taking a narcissistic roller coaster ride of emotions. I’d like to say that means that I “haven’t been myself” – except I think the problem is the opposite. I’ve been FULL of me… “Christ must increase, but I must decrease.”

It’s amazing how much energy I can waste licking my wounds and dreaming up selfish dreams. Have mercy. I wear me out. Do you ever have one of those friends who tires you with endless, endless, endless crises? I don’t, but I’ve sure been that friend to MYSELF, only I can’t pretend to be busy and take a break from me!

Amelia (aka Ms. America)
I’m thankful that my two girls have no sympathy for a sulking mama and refuse to let me have anything but a good time on their watch. There’s no brooding when these little rays of sunshine burst into the room to demand my smiles and affection. There’s not much like snot-nosed kisses and peeling baby girl laughter to shatter the discontent. And I’ll be honest… when I’m in a truly nasty mood, I even get a chuckle out of them picking on each other. When Caroline is minding her own business, Amelia likes to walk up to Caroline, point her little finger with a pretend-scowl-plus-smirk and shout, “No no!” This sends Caroline into near tears, which makes Amelia laugh and repeat, and the cycle escalates. Oh my. I am evil, aren’t I? Don’t worry. Amelia always offers apology kisses, and Caroline takes them in like medicine for her soul. It’s pretty sweet.

I know I’ve given you quite a bit to think about with this extremely profound post. (Sarcasm). Until next time, mull the lesson over. What was the lesson, you say? Oh right. The lesson. Let me think. Laugh at your children when they fight? No. Avoid drama queen me? No, please don’t! Snot kisses cure all? Hmm… maybe. Yes. That must be the lesson. Snot kisses cure all. Deep, I know.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ready for the Weekend

When my husband sends me pictures of the girls playing in bed with him at 10am on a Friday... while I'm sitting in my cube at work... it really makes me ready for the weekend!!!


How about you? Doing anything fun? We're having a garage sale!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

When I Don't Desire God

I have to say that I feel a bit of a "pit" coming on in my life. Let's hope it's just a little one, but I suppose we never can tell what God has in store.

I feel the darkness settling in as my commitment to Scripture suddenly requires more willpower than zeal, and I find myself talking my soul INTO worship rather than naturally overflowing with it.  Something is up with me.

I just want more of that JOY in Him.

Let's pray for it. Let's work for it. Let's have faith that He will provide it!
"Praying for joy is not the emotional pampering of joyless people. It is preparation for sacrifice." - John Piper, When I Don't Desire God

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Seen and Heard: At the Pool

We took the girls swimming for Independence Day.  A precious little black girl swam up to me, her face contorted with confusion. 

Her: "You have a white baby and a black baby?
Me: "Yes I do!"
Her: "They are both YOUR babies!"
Me: "Yes, these are my two daughters."
Her: "I've never seen THAT before!"
Me: [laughing] Do you have brothers or sisters?
Her: Well, yeah. [a little unsure of herself]  But only black ones!

(She proceeds to point out her brothers from a group of boys playing on the other end of the pool, clarifying that none of the white boys belong to her family.)

Precious, precious, precious! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Praying for a Happy Ending

This is a story about our family, and the boy God brought into our lives.

Once upon a time, there was a mama who was hurting. She was in love with a baby in Africa whose face she had never seen. She and her husband were adopting, and the wait was agonizing.

To pass time during the wait, she read. She read about “the orphan crisis.” She read that many children were enduring an even more difficult wait than hers… children waiting years for parents, for families, for adoption. With no guarantees of a happy ending.

The mama stomped her foot. “We must do something to help orphans NOW! Even while we wait to go to Africa.”

The daddy agreed.

And then they forgot.

Until God caused them to cross the path of an 11 year old boy who lived in an orphanage down the road – although they never let you call it an orphanage. They call it “group home.” Nothing is homey about children raised by ever-changing shifts of staff.

The boy became a dear friend. At least weekly, the boy would spend hours with the family. Sometimes he would spend weekends. They had exciting times and boring times. They had great laughs and great frustrations. Sometimes, they fought. Sometimes, they told each other “I love you”.

The boy turned 12. The mama got her first pictures of her baby in Africa. The boy looked at them and laughed with joy.

The boy grew tall. The mama and daddy left for Africa and came home with their second daughter. The boy hugged the new baby tight.

The boy’s social worker called. “Are you going to adopt him?” The family had been praying for a long time, and knew that the answer was “no.” The mama and daddy hurt.

Had they done the wrong thing to spend time with him? Had they made his life worse and wrongly gotten his hopes up?

The mama and daddy felt a little sick and guilty. The boy continued to visit and continued to smile.

And then, the boy said, “I have a plane ticket. I will cross the country to visit a couple who want me to be their first child. They are in ministry. If it works out, I move there in two months to be adopted.”

The boy was scared. Change is hard, even when it’s good.

The mama got to assure the boy. She got to tell him about the beauty of adoption. That God created it. That He put that exact word and concept in the Bible. That He pursued us and wanted us for His own just like this family was pursing and wanting the boy.  She got to tell him that maybe, God is sending him parents and adoption to give him a picture of how He is pursuing the boy as Father.  The boy swallowed hard and found new courage. He nodded with resolve. He even smiled a little.

Late at night, the mama shook her head in wonder at God’s provision. She had not met the boys needs, yet God had still allowed her to witness the miracle of a boy nearing the beauty of adoption. What grace. The boy will soon turn 13, even before he meets his potential parents. Many argue that 13 is too old to be adopted. God knew better. God made better. God has loving plans.

“I will not leave you as orphans." John 14:18a

Please pray for our friend “Jay”. He will fly to spend a week with his potential family at the start of August. If all goes well, he will have a family at the end of August!

Story is Coming!!!

Okay, I totally did not mean to make this such a cliff-hanger! I have half a post written about our amazing "God story" that I promised to post last week, but I won't finish it until this afternoon.  It is a great one!!! Please check back in because I am SO excited to share it -- I'm just a ditz and didn't finish writing it over the holiday weekend! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Silly Smile Sisters

For those of you who sweetly ask me whether the girls enjoy each other... I think this picture says it all. :)



Friday, July 1, 2011

Stay Tuned...

I have a pretty amazing story to tell you... a God-working-miracles story.  I love this story He has created so much that I don't want to post it right before the holiday weekend when people are so busy and not near computers. So check back in on Tuesday.  I can't wait to tell you all about it!!!!