Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy times...

really did happen around here this month. And although I am saddened for those of us left behind, I am rejoicing for my aunt, my dad and many other loved ones who will celebrate Christmas with the Holy One.

We went to a Christmas parade early in the month that my nephew was in with his cub scout troop. Unfortunately I didn't get a single unfuzzy picture of him, but we sure had fun while we watched and waited. The kids collected more candy than at halloween.

We also celebrated Elijah's 7th birthday. We had his first sleep over. We had pizza, popcorn and cake {of course}! Elijah and I had a date during the day on his birthday {Burger and strolling at Eastchase by his request}. Here's a cool picture he took:
Miles "helped" me make the cake. And helped me lick the bowl! Yummy!
The cake was decorated to Elijah's specifications.
I can hardly believe he's seven.
Then, just last week, Miles and Ella had their preschool Christmas pageant. Here's Miles with his beloved Miss Sally {I want to hire her at our homeschool!} dressed as a handsome shepherd. He even sang the songs, because he'll do anything for Miss Sally!
Ella on the other hand, loves the spot light. She was too cute on stage with her little friends. It was so precious to hear them sing:

Bells are ringing, Children singing
Christmas is here! Christmas is here!
Happy birthday Jesus! Happy birthday Jesus!
We love you! We love you!

And then to awake the next day to her singing that.

And this last one is here just because I love it. It was taken at Thanksgiving. After the tough year that we've had {with this economy and losing my aunt}, I am amazed and grateful that God gave this wonderful man to me to walk beside. God has brought us through so much, has taught us new lessons, has strengthened our faith, has brought us nearer to Him while promising to never let us go. We are in awe of His great love for us.Read from Romans 8:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whok]"> have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. {28-29}

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? {31-32}

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,m]">neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. {37-39}

We wish all of you a very merry Christmas! "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the sun is peeking out

I am so thankful that the sun has decided to make an appearance this morning. It's been a gloomy several days, in more ways than one. Last Thursday night, I held my aunt's hand as she took her last breath of this life. She was my dad's sister, and although they are now together again, their baby sister is here without them. It's very sad.

Rheba was diagnosed almost 14 years ago with Stage 4 Ovarian cancer. She should not have survived it, but she did. For nine years, she was cancer free and then just before my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she found that her's had returned. So, for four years now, she has fought and had treatment after treatment after treatment. Her cancer numbers were down. She was going to have a break from chemotherapy. Then she had a necessary surgery, that she was expected to recover from. Instead, her body started to shut down. She was just worn out. And her Father started to call her Home.

I'm very grateful to have been able to spend time with her in the hospital, particularly those last two days, which while difficult, also held a distinct beauty. I sang to her, read scripture to her, and told her I loved her. She also rolled her eyes at me several times, which makes me smile now. See, I know there are those that believe we didn't pray hard enough or with enough faith. That if we had, God would have healed Rheba to stay here on earth. I adamantly disagree with that stand. Could God have healed her in the state she was in? Absolutely. She had 14 years more than statistics gave her. The Truth is this: God did heal her, in the most amazing and wonderful way. He called her Home. And by His very hands He healed her as He wiped away her every tear. She is completely and irrevocably healed. And I am praising Him for that. Am I sad? Yes, very. But I am rejoicing for my aunt who will never again fight cancer.

God's word tells us that death is truly a good thing:

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
2 Corinthians 5:1-9

Did you see that? We are confident... and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Seems quite clear to me that the death that so many fear and want to be kept from by (their own) faith or by healing, is actually what we were made for. When we live our lives for Jesus, accepting Him as our Lord, we work to glorify Him while we are here, but the truth is that we don't belong here. Rheba has been "swallowed up by life." I take comfort in that.

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."
C.S. Lewis

So, the sun is peeking out. While the sadness remains, and will remain as I have learned, the Son reminds me of a hope that will not disappoint. The hope of a forever life in our true country.

My friend Jon sang this song with me at the Celebration of Life service we had for Rheba on Monday. Thanks again to Jon, Brandon and Allison for singing with me. I'll never forget it and could never have done it without you.

Friday, December 4, 2009

my first little love isn't so little anymore.

He's 7 today. Seven. Seems kinda old for my baby. Evidently that means he's not a baby anymore, but all you mommas out there know the truth - he'll always be my baby. I just can't tell him so anymore. {That doesn't make it any less true, though!}

We took the day off from school today and after leaving Miles and Ella at preschool, we had a birthday date. Just the two of us. His choice? "Burger King and taking strolls at EastChase." We also managed to throw a few minutes at Books A Million in there, where Elijah befriended a grandmotherly type lady {don't report me, I was right there with him!} and told her of all things his 7th birthday and his favorite books and movies. I seriously need to teach him more about stranger danger. What's the line between preparing them and making them paranoid? And he's so friendly. He reminds me a lot of my dad. He could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. That skill obviously skipped a generation.

While thinking about Elijah's 7 years, and all that has happened and wondering what is to come, I am reminded {gratefully so} of a scripture I found a few days ago:

But as for me, I trust in you, O Lord, I say, "You are my God. My times are in your hand." Psalm 31:14-15

Nothing that will happen in Elijah's future is outside of God's knowing about it. Nothing is even out of His hand. That is a hope that will not disappoint. No matter what.

Father, I praise you for having our times in your hand. Thank you for my Elijah. Thank you for the hope he already has in You. I know you, Who loves my child more than I can fathom {he's your's after all}, will lead him all the way. Hold his heart. I give you praise and glory for all that You are and all that You do. Now and forever. In the worthy name of Jesus.
Elijah's momma

Sunday, November 15, 2009

a light to my path

We've been playing the waiting game around here lately. In a few situations. Just waiting for answers, and if not answers then at the very least a nudge in the right direction. And unfortunately, I am ridiculously human as I try to lean on the Spirit that is within me, so I have had some quite impatient moments. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the daily stuff that I fail to see the important stuff. When I finally take the time, or more often when one of my great friends or my amazing husband make me stop and listen to their Words, I can see it clearer. Oh, He has been paying attention. He is working it all out. Oh, maybe that is our answer, or our little nudge. In His great wisdom, He doesn't make things especially easy for me. This forces me to cling to Him. Call to Him. Wait on Him. I know I write often about waiting on God. I'm sure I always will because even if I ran out of things to wait on Him for, I'd still be waiting for Him.

Since March, my friend Allison and I have been working on memory verses along with many "Siestas" on Beth Moore's blog. Twice monthly we enter a new verse we intend to commit to memory. Before I even got to it today, Allison emailed me just knowing I'd love the verse Beth chose for this time. And love it I do. So it is my #22. I'll just let Beth do the talking for a moment:

I've been thinking here recently how wise our God is. He is far too onto us and our severe cases of Spiritual ADD to often give us a sense of what is going to happen in a particular situation. He knows good and well that, if He'd just tell us how a temporal challenge is going to turn out, we'll take that answer, thank Him so much, and go on with living and give a rare nod His direction. He wants us to desire His attentiveness more than His answer.

Scripture describes God's Word like a lamp to our feet. In other words, God normally - and wisely - shines just enough clear light to help us take the very next step when it's time. Imagine how far you could hold a lamp out in front of you as you walk a dim path in the forest. That's what you're promised as the most normal experience in your believing journey. Don't get me wrong. He tells us volumes about how things will ultimately turn out but, much of the time in our temporal challenges, He simply asks us to trust Him and let Him sustain us and lead us one day at a time. "Give us this day our daily bread."

I love Proverbs 8:34 because it describes the blessed person who has her ear pressed against the door of Heaven. The blessed person who watches daily at His gates. She is the woman who will hear, not only direction for the next step when the time comes but, priceless treasures, promises and truths of all sorts because she's not so distracted with her own answer that she misses the marvels of other revelations.

God is so wise.

"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my door." Proverbs 8:34 NAS

I just love it. I know deep inside that the hardest times of my life so far have been when He especially pours Himself out over me. I am thankful, even for the waiting we are currently involved in. In one situation He is working to humble us and have us depend on Him alone. In another He is working to mature us in our faith and His Word. And in another He is leading us by putting something on our hearts as we seek His will. While we feel his nudging, we wait for the full reveal. Instead of being impatient, I just want to revel in His love. That's hard for me, but I want to try. And as I try He will speak over me "priceless treasures, promises and truths of all sorts." I wouldn't miss that for anything.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

did I sign up for this?

I just returned from the Sixth Annual Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Related Concerns Conference. It was wonderful and difficult. I've known all the symptoms, of course, but to hear them over and over and over for two days was tough. Now, the speakers I heard are all very much advocates of children and adults with ADD/ADHD. I heard physicians, experts in education, adults with the diagnosis and counselors who specialize in the treatment of adults and children. They said things that I already know. But they also showed me what life is like for my son. I wanted to cry, and did when I could. It was so hard. Being a momma is hard.

A high school senior had an interactive computer program to show what it's like to have ADHD on both auditory and visual tasks. As soon as I started the auditory task, which consisted of following directions involving different shapes and colors, my "virtual ADD" made my stomach hurt. I failed the task. I wanted to drive straight home and hug my boy. I still think I may have a touch of ADD, but not like Elijah. Bless him. Now I am left to wonder when and if and how to go about medicating and treating him. I have lots of praying to do. But my mom kept reminding me that the way Elijah is is all he knows, and he's a happy boy. I know God made him wonderfully. But I still cried.

Yesterday morning, as I walked in to the conference, I asked God to show me a true and encouraging picture of Elijah in what I would hear. After lunch He delivered. A counselor who treats these children, and has an obvious heart for them, spoke such encouragement to me. After all the "bad" things I'd heard - symptoms, outcomes, motor vehicle accidents in teens, incarceration as adults (yes, incarceration) - she spoke life to me. She gave the following characteristics of children with ADHD:
  • creative
  • artistic
  • intuitive
  • empathetic
  • visionary
  • inventive
  • sensitive
  • original
  • loving
  • exhuberant - {having unrestrained joy}
  • have the gift of gab
  • think outside the box
  • dramatic
  • intelligent
  • playful
  • passionate
  • spontaneous
Elijah is all over that list. {Talk about wanting to cry for joy.} And I just adore him. I'm just not sure what to do with him.

She also had audience members read many quotes from famous people who live {or lived} with ADD/ADHD. Here are a few that I love:
  • All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. {Picasso}
  • I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. {Picasso}
  • The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. {Albert Einstein}
  • Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. {Michael Jordan}
  • The capacity of man himself is only revealed when, under stress and responsibility, he breaks through his educational shell, and he may then be a splendid surprise to himself no less than to this teachers. {Harvey Cushing}
  • Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. {Benjamin Franklin}
So, I'm left with much to think about and much to pray about. But also with much to be thankful for. My Elijah will face many challenges, but I know his Father will help him find his way.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I was right all along...

While snooping around online for a Halloween treat to make for a little party, I found these. I will not be making them. Now, I will say they are artfully packaged, and I do love Heather Bailey's blog and fabric. I'm just saying, one of the many reasons for my intense dislike of pecans is their uncanny likeness to roaches. I've said it a million times people - pecans look like roaches, and here's the proof! But, hey, if you *heart* pecans and need a Halloween treat, head over to Heather Bailey's blog for this recipe and the printable tags. Someone will love them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I've been reminded...

that even though things are difficult in this season, that I have been "fully persuaded" to believe God. I was on Beth Moore's Living Proof Ministries Blog earlier tonight, working to catch up with the scripture memory challenge. Whew! Procrastination is not a good thing, well, usually it's not. But as I was working, I came across one of the verses Beth chose to memorize, and had I read it two months ago when she posted it, it wouldn't have spoken to me nearly like it did tonight. This is from Romans 4, speaking about Abraham's faith. Like Beth suggested, I'll be changing the "he's" referencing Abraham to "she's" to make this verse personal to me.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Romans 4:20-21

Will I ever truly and consistently not waver during trials and times where I'm tempted to cave in to fear? And I love this one too:

I cry out to God Most High, who fulfills His purpose for me.

Psalm 57:2

I know, I believe wholy, that God is working His purpose out for us in our current situation. We are growing and changing. Now, it may be one step forward and two steps back, mind you, but I'd like to think He sees it for something.

Thanking the One who has given us this day our daily bread.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oh. My. . .

It's as if this song, recorded in 2006, that I've never heard until tonight was written for me. Written for me to hear on this very night. Think I'm crazy? That's fine. But like I keep on telling you: I don't believe in coincidence or chance. This song was sent to me. Tonight. So I could be reminded of His love and how I'll still be standing in Him no matter what. We can't pay that bill? Still standing. No new side jobs come through? Still standing. Not sure when this cloud of money troubles will be lifted? Still standing.

Homeschooling is (very) hard work? Still standing. My son is "gifted" (so they speculate), but unfocused and (bless him!) a bit frustrating to his teacher momma? Still standing. My son and I both have ADD? Still standing, albeit a bit distracted.

I watched my dad die. I'm still standing. I will lose more people that I love. It will be horrible. I'll still be standing.

The devil attacks me. Over and over. Again and again. Still standing.

I get sad. Depressed. Feel lost. Feel alone. Inadequate. Not good enough. Still standing. It's hard loving people so much that it hurts. But I'm still standing.

If I (and you) stand in Him, then no matter what happens to us, when all is said and done, we'll still be standing. Praise Him!

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3

Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
Shadowfeet by Brooke Fraser

Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet
Toward home, a land that I've never seen
I am changing
Less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began
And I have sensed it all along
Fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

There's distraction buzzing in my head
Saying in the shadows it's easier to stay
But I've heard rumours of true reality
Whispers of a well-lit way

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

You make all things new

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And His Glory Appears

You gave me hope, You made me whole at the cross. You took my place, You showed me grace at the cross where you died for me...

a few things before we move on to the good stuff:
1. I love this song.
2. I love my Lord.
3. I wish I could sing like this.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

nap skipping

We let Ella skip her nap today. Crazy, I know. But we'd let the time slip and we were on our bed playing with her and then she happily ran off to play with her biggest brother. She didn't seem tired. We all went on a long walk, and yes, we did see the tree that has a face. And when we got home, it hit. We had one super cranky girl on our hands and it was only 5 pm.

By 7 she was absolutely miserable, as were we, so we both put her in her pajamas. Yes, it took the effort of two adults to undress and pj one very mad little girl. She's a tough one. I had her in my arms, paci already in her mouth (I know, I know) and we were searching for "blankie" all while she was crying "I want my daddy. daddy. I'm not tired. I'm too tired!" Jonathan grabbed her in a hug only a daddy can give, and in the time it took me to get her medicine (ear infection), she was just about totally asleep.

I took her back to her room, sat in the rocker, said her prayer with her, and started a song. She was out before the first line was sung. So for 20 minutes or so I held and rocked my sweet, sleeping girl. Usually I'm so desperate for time to do what I want that I read, pray, sing, go. But tonight I just sat. And rocked. And prayed. I loved feeling the weight of her in my arms. I loved how her little hand held on to my arm. I loved her snoring and paci noises (I know!). I missed being so small that someone can hold you that way. And I no longer regretted letting her skip that nap. Few are the chances to hold that one still, and fewer chances while she's quiet. I loved every minute of it.

Will Ella be skipping her nap tomorrow? Absolutely not. It was so worth it today, but on a Monday I've just got to make more responsible choices for the good of the entire family.

from last spring

And about that paci, she has it only at nap and bedtime - I've been telling her that when she turns 3, it's bye bye paci. Maybe we'll trade it in for something really cool.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

my home

I really don't believe in coincidences anymore. So, when Ella came up to me so sweetly yesterday morning and said, "you my home, mommy..." it had to be God. I mean, she's pretty brilliant *of course* but she had no way of knowing that the night before I was given this Word:

Lord, You have been our home since the beginning. Before the mountains were born and before You created the world, You are God.

You have always been, and you always will be.

Psalm 90:1-2

I very much needed a pick-me-up and Ella delivered just in time. I smiled at how in that moment God was saying to me I see you, I know you, I love you... here's a tiny glimpse of how I feel when you trust Me. Hold on to Me. Trust Me. Always. You are her home for now. I Am your Home for all time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"We will see Poppa...

when we go home, tomorrow," Ella recently said upon seeing "Poppa's office tower," also known as the RSA tower where my dad worked. (7th floor, facing his fave Chris' Hotdogs!) We see the tower anytime we leave our house via the interstate. There it sits, hard to miss in the crowd, not unlike my tall dad. I've really been missing him an even extra amount lately, for various reasons, but mainly because sometimes a girl just needs her dad. I can't think it a coincidence then that Ella has been talking of him often lately, other than the usual office tower sightings. A few weeks ago, after her near daily recognition of the tower, she said "I wanna see 'im. I wanna see Poppa." Me, too baby girl.

So when she said, "We will see Poppa when we go home tomorrow," what I heard was "we will see Poppa when we go Home tomorrow!" And whether tomorrow turns out to be sooner or later, glory to God that on some tomorrow I will see my dad again.Poppa's Princess

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

here comes week four...

of first grade for Elijah and me. We've read from creation to baby Moses in a basket. We've learned all about number bonds and know them well to ten. We've had three spelling tests and one math test. We've done compound words, words with suffixes, similes, descriptive words, a couple paragraphs (with modifications) and a dialog. We are reading Charlotte's Web and waiting to have a movie viewing complete with pig cupcakes and spider cookies when we are done. We've completed a book called Peoples of the World, which Elijah loved, and from which we have one lingering, half-finished assignment. Our attempt at painting with the batik technique. Hmmm... we really should finish those because we started them two weeks ago. Speaking of that, I'm fairly certain Elijah's not the only one with ADD around here. I recently read a list of ADD symptoms in adults. Yikes. It described me. And my dad. Interesting. One symptom is having several projects going on all at once without completing them. Well, I'll show you, adult ADD - we'll finish those paintings tomorrow! Maybe I'll even post a picture for some accountability. Although, my ADD will likely get in the way of that...

So, here we are. At home. Schooling. Put it together and that equals homeschooling. It's funny how I still can't believe God called me to this and that I obeyed. But it is seeming quite normal already. The first week it felt so strange. I'm enjoying the feeling of normalcy, even though and maybe especially because, we most definitely are not normal. I keep reminding myself that God does not desire that we be normal, but transformed and set apart. God doesn't care if people think we are homeschooling weirdos - He just wants us to respond to His call.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying my new way of life is easy. In fact, the past three weeks have been quite difficult. We are, for one thing, in a preschool break, so Miles and Ella have been our companions at home. It's been... challenging, to put it mildly. Start with one ADD but super sweet Elijah, add one apprently ADD and obviously patience-lacking momma, and mix in the two little crazies (who are either fighting over the computer, dressed up as a princess and a knight weilding swords in our school area, or needing any number of kinds of assistance) and you have slightly organized chaos. Thankfully, my little knight and "sister" (as he calls her when they play bad guys) will return to school three mornings a week just after Labor Day. I so adore them (really, I do!), but we need to share their love with their new teachers. And Elijah and I will really get to work then.

Our first week I spent telling God I thought He perhaps had had a lapse in judgement when He called me to this lifestyle. He reminded me that He has never had a lapse in judgement. So I grimaced, likely with my hand on my hip, and told Him "Oh, alright. But you could've called me to something easier." On our fourth school day, God gave me this Word from Isaiah 43:18-19:

The Lord says, "Forget what happened before,
and do not think about the past.
Look at the new thing I am going to do.
It is already happening. Don't you see it?"

This Word is what I'm holding on to right now. I am so thankful for such a specific Word. He was so good to share it with me, right when I need it. To be honest, I don't see it yet. But I do believe Him. He is already doing a new thing. And when my little boy is a big man I know I'll be able to see it. For now, I'll hold on to my sweet Word. My sweet promise. And I'll get up and teach more first grade in the morning. Addition stories, here we come!

Monday, August 17, 2009

catching up

I have been wanting to post on here for a long time, but time has been scarce around here lately. Here are some pictures from our fun summer:

We had a trip to the beach with Meme, Allison, Alinda and most of the cousins in July.

We took in our first Pike Road 4th of July parade... lots of fun! Lots of candy! A few strands of beads. And one poor, patriotic goat.

My sweet, crazy Milesy turned four in June. Hard to believe in some ways. Sad, too, because it's going so quickly but also because the older Miles gets, the longer Dad has been gone. He talks about Dad like he remembers him sometimes, although that's impossible. He was 9 months old when Dad died. He recently said, "I've never met your dad, Mom. Do you think he could come down from heaven and have lunch with us?" That would be so nice.birthday doughnut!

Me with the two just-a-likes! All I did for Miles was carry him in my tummy and give him blue eyes. Other than that he's all daddy.

Poor (sweet) Grandaddy had a tough job on such a hot day! The kids loved it!

They also enjoyed the balloon swords!

It was a fun and busy summer. Now it's school time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

in search of answers

I've been struggling with a bit of confusion lately. Still, there is no grand revelation or wrapping a solution up in a cute little package, but I am ok with that. See, I've decided what I found to be true soon after my dad died is still true. I do not have all the answers. I will not have all the answers. I am owed no answers. They are not mine to have. After all, the Word says "as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)

Lately I've been made more aware of the belief that people who aren't healed of disease (to stay here on Earth, that is) are not healed because there was a lack of faith in the ability of God to do so. I'm here to say I f
ully and totally believe God is able to do all things, anything, create all things, sustain all things, calm a storm, cause a sea to part, save, heal, restore and on and on. I believe the bible to be His inspired Word and that in it we can find proof of miracle after miracle He performed or allowed others to perform. I believe miracles still happen today. I believed He could heal my dad. But honestly, I sensed that He wouldn't. I can't say why I sensed it, but I can say it was not by a lack of faith, but an understanding I received. So, when I could find the words to pray during that time, my prayers were for freedom from the intense pain Dad was in, or the constant nausea, but mostly that God's will would be done. Usually I had no words of my own, so I begged the Spirit to pray for me.

So to know that some would think the reason my dad was not healed to remain alive here is because we didn't believe God could do it, is honestly a bit upsetting to me. Maybe I'm just selfish, or whiny, or maybe I just want some comfort. I've been searching and asking about this. And here's some of what I've found, or rather what God has led me to. It simply cannot be coincidental that as I need some direction on this specific idea I've stumbled on other blogs or have been sent a daily devotional that spoke to this particular wondering.

Look at what a mentor sent my way after I asked her what she thought. Isaiah 57:1-2 says:

Good people pass away;
the godly often die before their time.
But no one seems to care or wonder why.
No one seems to understand
that God is protecting them from the evil to come.
For those who follow godly paths
will rest in peace when they die.

And 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 says this:

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

These passages reaffirm my belief that my dad was healed, he is healed, and in the most thorough way because he's Home. Shouldn't we all "prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord?"

A few days ago I came across this blog. This family delivered a baby who had already passed on to heaven. Here are a few quotes I found there:

"Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to his own home, which snatches us from this place and sets us free from the snares of the world, and restores us to paradise and the kingdom. Anyone who has been in foreign lands longs to return to his own native land... We regard paradise as our native land."
- Cyprian

"When I heard that I was in the wrong place... my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring. I knew now... why I could feel homesick at home."
- G.K. Chesterton

"In the truest sense, Christian pilgrims have the best of both worlds. We have joy whenever this world reminds us of the next, and we take solace whenever it does not."
-C.S. Lewis

"I have a longing for the world above where multitudes sing the great song,
for my soul was never created to love the dust of the earth."
-"Calvary's Anthem" from The Valley of Vision

So I've come full circle, having no definite answers, but knowing again that answers are not mine to have. That what is mine to have is faith, trust, hope, love and a knowing deep within that God has the answers and I'll come to know them if and when He deems it. Allison sent me a great devotional yesterday from Carolina Chapel that said "we cannot always change our circumstances, but we can place ourselves in God’s presence, so that His strength and perspective sustain us. There is a set time for you to question things, to not understand. Just know there is also a set time for your answer to come."

And finally, (as you breathe a sigh of relief that this post might just have an end!), in the April 29th devotional of My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers writes:

"To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sign of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God... Leave the whole thing to Him, it is gloriously uncertain how He will come in, but He will come."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So, we went camping. That's right - I went camping. Hard to believe, I know. I still hardly believe it myself, but the scab on Miles chin and the band-aid tan line on Elijah's forehead are constant reminders of our time spent in the wild.

My fun loving friends, Anita and Dione, somehow recruited my family to go along with theirs' to tent camp at the lake. I was very hesitant. I thought of every reason not to go. The following is the short list: bugs. Heat. Tents. Dirt. The ground - being where I'd sleep. Sunburn. Did I mention bugs? There were only two reasons to go: being with great friends. The boys would love it - especially Miles. As you can tell, Miles and the great friends won out.

Many times since I've become a mother I've had to make decisions I didn't want to make or do things I didn't want to do. It's what a parent does, a good parent anyway, one that is trying. This is something I did for the boys that I didn't want to do. Never, ever have I just yearned for the tent camping experience. Ever. First thing when we arrived we ran into ourbrother-in-law's sweet grandmother, who has been camping for many, many years. She came over to give me encouragement (and offer me a rest on her camper's sofa!) and to tell me about the many fond memories she and her family have of camping. I decided right then that if Nonnie loves camping so much, then I should give liking it an honest try. She reminded me that when our children grow up it's the simple, fun family times that they will remember. It may seem silly, but I don't think it was a coincidence that Nonnie found us. Oh, and I didn't even take her up on the sofa offer!

The boys had so much fun. They made s'mores and then enjoyed totally roasting marshmallow after marshmallow. They had fun around the campfire. They rode a boat, and Elijah even tried out tubing. Miles loved tossing sticks and rocks into the lake. They slept so well in the tent. They played with toads. Miles drug a wagon around simply filling it with rocks, leaves and sticks. They loved it so much.

So, even though I woke up no less than 10 times during the night, I did get some sleep. I will go back, although it may require the cajoling of my friends again. But I'll do it because my boys need to just be outside, in the air, with the toads. One day we'll even take Ella with us. And she'll likely wander around collecting leaves and rocks and putting them in her purse alongside pretend lipstick. Now that I think about it - I'll definitely go back. I wouldn't miss it.

But not without an air mattress.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

He is before all things

Isn't it wonderful that nothing, nothing at all, is a surprise to God? I came across this verse again tonight, and decided to add it to my memory verse list. It is wonderfully comforting to me.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

Did you get that? He is before all things. He was here before all things and He goes before all things and He stands before all things. Know what else? He overcomes before all things. As hard as this life is. As confused as I may become. As scared. As worried. As sad. He is before it all, and knows what I'm about to endure. But if I let Him, He'll hold me together in the meantime. He'll hold me together. He'll hold you together. He holds all things together. Oh, I just fell in love with Him. Again.

I love the place He has brought me to. I'm touching the edge of His garment, and I feel the power of His healing coming over me. I know where He is leading me and I can hear Him if I'm still enough to listen. He has me wanting more. More of Him. More of His Word. More of His leading. More of His voice. More of the comfort of knowing. Knowing in my heart that He is my Father. That I am His daughter. That He loves me. That He will engage with me. That He sings over me. That He wants me to sing to Him. I'm praying that I'm just stepping into this new level of love with Him. That I've just barely gotten a taste, because I want so much more. Sounds a little selfish, doesn't it? I don't think He minds, just in this instance, if His little girl acts a bit selfish.
Psalm 27:14 says that we are to "wait for and hope for and expect the Lord." (Amplified), so surely it's just fine for me to wait for and hope for and expect MORE of Him.

He has rocked my little world in the past year. With wonderful new friendships, deepening old friendships, praising Him in new ways, calling me to teach my Elijah at home. A year ago, had you told me "hey, soon you'll be praising God... on stage... with the praise team... " I would have thought you were crazy. And if you had told me even six months ago, "and also, just so you know, when Elijah's in first grade you'll begin the journey of homeschooling your children." Well, I would've thought you to be certifiably insane. But God knew all of this. Long ago. Nothing surprises Him. And I know, I feel, that when we follow Him down a path that seems difficult we can "wait for and hope for and expect the Lord" and He will "lift [us] up in due time" (I Peter 5:5).

He waits to bless us and wants to bless us. You know what He really wants, though? Us. You and me. To love Him. To listen to Him. To follow Him. To believe Him. To believe His Son.

He has definitely taken me out of my little box lately, but I am so excited that He has. I would've missed out on so much had I gone with my plans instead of His. I can't wait to see all that He has planned for the days to come. And I love that He already knows. He knows what's next. And after that. And how it ends. Oh, wow. I just love Him.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


That's something I find myself asking often. Especially asking God. Really God? Are you sure? I'm not sure. Seriously? And he always says "Yes, I'm sure. Really." This time it took a while for me to relent to what he wants.

You may recall this post, and others preceeding it, where I explored my feelings concerning sending Elijah to kindergarten. I spent so much time worrying, fretting, praying, pleading, wondering, praying more, waiting for the day I'd send him off to big school. To big school all day. Every day. I did not look forward to that day. But through our prayers we knew God led us to this specific school for Elijah. I still know that He did, by the way, but only for him to be there for a time.

God has been working on me since September. I ignored Him on this for most of the school year. But I couldn't ignore Him after Spring Break when Elijah begged not to return to school. All kids do that, right? Probably at some point, but here's what he said, "I don't want to go to school because we have something at home that they don't have and that's joy." So that was the first twinge of wanting to keep him home for real. Oh, I still tried to ignore it, but couldn't for long. A couple weeks later I asked Miles' sweet preschool teacher about her days homeschooling her three boys. I had never mentioned it to her until this day. Her eyes got big and she said, "I can't believe you're asking me this today. Just this morning as I prayed you came to my mind and I thought about how you'd be a perfect homeschool family." Really God? Yes, really.

So then I prayed and waited. Miles' teacher prayed. I had others praying. Jonathan prayed. I felt a definite call was being placed on my heart. I made plans to attend a homeschool conference. And then one Monday when Jonathan came home from work he said, "I was thinking about it today and just got a feeling that it's what we need to do." So there it is. We are going to bring Elijah home for school. He doesn't know yet. He still has three days left in Kindergarten, so we may tell him Thursday night, or maybe sooner.

How can I be so sure and excited about something that never appealed to me before? Never. Well, I found this scripture just after we made the final decision to do it:

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13

That's all that can explain this choice. God has changed my desire to be what He desires. A year ago had someone told me I'd be preparing to homeschool Elijah, I would've thought they were crazy. And now people will think I'm crazy. Ironic, huh? My purpose is not to please people though, it is to please God. If I ignored this call any further it would be nothing but disobedience. Do I expect it will be easy? No, actually I'm pretty scared about it but:

He orchestrates the events of our lives to build us up and bring Himself glory, but that doesn't mean we will always like what He has assigned us to do. We often encounter great challenges as we walk in obedience to God. The greatest challenge of all might just be getting used to the fact that sometimes His assignments are different than the plans we had for ourselves... As we submit to the Lord's plans, we must first allow God to change our perspective, radically realigning our desires with His. from Priscilla Shirer's Preparing to Hear from God

So, as I plan for and await next fall, I will spend much time with God. He'll probably continue to hear me ask "really?" and He'll likely continue to answer with a smile, "Yes. Really." and:

Whether [I] turn to the right or to the left, [my] ears will hear a voice behind [me], saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

So I will ask Him, "Will You be with me, God? Really?" And I will hear an emphatic, "I will, really."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

For the Legacy wall at church...

I remember well how she would wake me up in the mornings. She would sing “Beautiful Dreamer” but because she didn’t know all the words, they were different every day. There was also an original song about how much she loved me that ended with “bunches and bunches, forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.” Now I often tell my own little ones that I love them bunches and bunches, forever and ever. She is my mom and one of my very favorite people and one of my very best friends. The legacy that I remember her beginning to build while I was a girl is one of love: simple, unconditional, never ending, always growing, like I hung the moon love. As a mother myself now, I finally understand that kind of huge, consuming love.

I remember Mom sitting across from me at lunch the very first day we heard the words “pancreatic cancer” as they related to my dad. I remember her saying “How will I ever make it without him. What will I do?” And I honestly didn’t know at the time. He’d always been there. But, now three years later, she’s doing it. She’s making it. Is it easy? Not at all. She misses Dad every single day, but she accepts God’s new mercies. She lets His joy be her strength. And though she may not realize it, she’s teaching me to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:3

One day when she has gone Home, I’ll remember her laugh, her voice, the way she called me her “pookie-girl.” The way she spoiled me even as a grown woman. The way she would always listen. Always. How she was always there. How she supported me no matter what. How she thought I was a good mother. That she thought I had valuable ideas. I’ll remember the songs she sang when I was a girl. I’ll miss her greatly, but I will endure, because that's the legacy she will leave behind one day. One of enduring with God’s joy as my strength. I am so very blessed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kristin is trying to be still and listen...

at least that's what my most recent facebook status update claims. And I am truly trying. Really. I think. It's clear, though, that God knows I'm not too good at it. How amazing is it that the very next day after that facebook post, our bible study video and the upcoming week of homework is about... wait for it... being still.

Now, last week we learned that it takes two steps to serving God coming from two types of power: we must "believe that God has given you the power to serve Him" and the ability of "actually getting up and into action so that this great power can be used." It never occurred to me that this is not just one thing - I have believed God can do what He wills through me, but I've never thought to seek from him the energy to do that to which He has called me. And sometimes He calls us to very difficult things. So with many failings behind me I see - I believed, but didn't have the energy. I never asked for the energy. I've been missing out.

How does that fit in with being still, you may wonder. Well, I believe that God wants me to be still and wait on him. I'm not good at it. But if I ask Him, He will give me the power and discipline to do be able to do it. Priscilla Shirer used the text from John 6 where Jesus feed the 5,000 to reveal what she learned about being still. In verse 10, Jesus tells the disciples to "have the people sit down." From that, she says we can know that we, too, must sit down in the presence of God. First of all, Psalm 46:10 tells us that we can't know He is God until we are still. Until we are still. In John 6:11, Jesus distributed food to those who were seated. She said that He can't fill us up with what we need until we are seated - until we can trust Him.

John 6:10 shows that Jesus had them sit in a grassy place. Priscilla said this was a place of comfort - that this speaks to what we know about Him regardless of our circumstances. That's the green grass. Not greener, mind you. Green. Because things won't always be easy, but He will always be with us. And He sends friends our way to sit with us in the grassy place, or to encourage us to stay seated. The history we have with God and His Word help us to sit and wait on Him in this place.

So, as God is tugging at my heart for me to sit down and be still. As He waits for me to quiet my mind, my emotions, my plans and ambitions and my busyness. As He waits for me to listen. I will pray for the discipline to do so. He has new plans for me. As Priscilla asked in this study a couple weeks ago, "who knows what we miss when we don't change our plans for His?" I don't want to miss out. Do you?

"Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long..." Psalm 25:4-5

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's been a little rough lately with Elijah. Well, actually, this has been going on for two+ years. But it has made for a sometimes unpleasant kindergarten year. He doesn't finish his daily work. Most days. And ever since January we've been getting notes scrawled all over his worksheets from his teacher. My impression, which was based on an email, was that Elijah's teacher just thought he was being defiant. I know that not to be true. He started this not completing work thing back in preschool. And ever since I have wondered about it. So finally, we've been encouraged to have him tested for ADD. As it turns out, she was waiting for us to mention it first due to legal issues. He's certainly not hyper, in fact his teacher says she does not want him more subdued than he is. I'm thankful to find that she's not seeking for him to be medicated, but for him to possibly qualify for modifications if he is diagnosed. I'm not sure why something I've been suspecting has made me sort of sad... but it has. But I know God made Elijah. Just as he is. With attention problems. And a sweet, sweet heart. For a reason.

I recently heard this quote from Max Lucado's book Cure for the Common Life:

Our children are not a blank slate awaiting our pen, but are a written book awaiting our study.

I just had to sit there and let that sink in for a bit. It was so humbling to me. I assume so much responsibility for the lives of my children, and sure, I have a God-given responsibility to care for them. But it's not my place to impose my will on their lives. It's my place to pray for God's will for them. Then I wait for his response. As we are facing this attention issue I can't help but wonder what God will have us do with it. Where will this take us? What challenges will Elijah face if he has ADD? What wisdom will God give me to guide him? What will he teach me through this time? And, if Elijah's not a "blank slate awaiting my pen," then just what role do I take? Encourager? Advocate? Momma bear?

So I am praying. And waiting. And carefully listening. I've gotten several very interesting tugs at my heart. God is changing me. And as I wait, I've discovered a neat little book to read... it's about a little boy named Elijah...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

this is too good to keep to myself

My sweet friend Allison forced a book on me back in November. Yes, she forced it on me, but only because she knew I needed it. You may remember that I wrote about it a while back. I had to force myself to take a break from reading the Twilight series to get to this one, because honestly, I knew Allison was going to get after me about it. So, I put New Moon down and picked up Calm My Anxious Heart. Before I go on let me give thanks to Allison, especially for my very own recently acquired copy of this great book. It's a must read for any woman. There's simply too much covered in it for me to do a description true justice, but I want to share a favorite excerpt to give you a taste. I love this story so much that I'd love for my own story to be much like it one day:
Throughout her life, Mattie cherished and depended on the Word of God, committing to memory many verses from her worn King James Bible. Her life verse was 2 Timothy 1:12: "For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I committed unto him against that day."

As Mattie grew older, her memory faded and details eluded her. Even the beloved faces of her family slipped from recognition. Finally she was confined to bed in a nursing home. When her family and friends would visit Mattie, they would still find her quoting scripture, especially her well-loved life verse. But with the passing of time, even parts of this most special verse began to slip away. "I know whom I have believed, " she would say. "He is able to keep... what I committed... to Him." As Mattie grew weaker, the verse grew even shorter: "What I have committed... to Him."

As Mattie lay dying, her voice became so weak that her family had to strain to hear the whispered words. There was only one word left of her life verse: "Him." Mattie whispered it again as she neared the gates of heaven. "Him... Him... Him." He was all that was left. He was all that she needed. Her life focus was Him. (p. 119)
This book is full of wonderful stories, examples, and best of all scriptures to lead the reader to a deeper level of intimacy and trust in the One who holds it all in his hands. I am so thrilled to have my own copy, because I can tell you for sure, this is one book that I will need and read time and time again.

And speaking of memorizing scripture, Allison and I, and anyone who wants to join us, have big plans involving 24 memory verses, our best friend Beth Moore and a fun reward in January. You'll be reading more about it in the months to come, I'm sure, as well as learning about the scriptures I choose to memorize as I feel led to share them. I love praying God's word to him. No better way to do that than to just hide it in my heart. Psalm 119:11 says: "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

And Isaiah 55:10-11 promises that God's word always accomplishes its purpose:
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I'll end with Mattie's life verse as read in the Message:

But I have no regrets. I couldn't be more sure of my ground—the One I've trusted in can take care of what he's trusted me to do right to the end.

He can be trusted to take care of us "right to the end," when we can call on the only One that matters as we get closer and closer to his presence: "Him... Him... Him!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh, baby, this is nothing new...

is what Dad said to me the last time I cried on him. It was the night we brought him home for hospice care. You can read about it back in October 2007, if you'd like. It's also what I've been hearing him say to me today, only this time it's true. He's been gone three years today, so it isn't anything new anymore. It still hurts, but with time comes a different understanding and more and more acceptance. My sweet friend Allison sent me this scripture earlier today:

"to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."
Isaiah 61:3

I absolutely believe and have seen that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) During Beth Moore's Esther study, she spoke about this verse and emphasized the word work. That God will work for the good, and it will at times be really hard work. Hard to endure, hard to be a part of, maybe even hard for God to put on us, but with our kingdom purpose in mind. I love that there is always something bigger going on than what I can see.

Soon after Dad died I just happened upon the group Watermark. Know I know it was not a coincidence at all, because so many of their songs have come to mean so much to me. Like this one called Mended:

You repair all that we have torn apart and
You unveil a new beginning in our hearts and
We stand grateful for all that has been left behind and
All that goes before us

You've got all things suspended
All things connected
Nothing was forgotten
'Cause your love is perfect
You are our healer
And you know what's broken
And we're not a mystery to you
(to you, oh Lord, to you)

We will dance as you restore the wasted years and
You will sing over all our coming fears and
We'll stand grateful for all that has been left behind and all that goes before us

Lord, you mend the breech
And you break every fetter
You give us your best, when what we thought was better
And you are to be praised
You are to be praised

I am absolutely "grateful for all that has been left behind and all that goes before us." It's not always easy to be, but I am, because I "know and rely on the love God has for us." (1 John 4:16)

Monday, March 16, 2009

good will come

Three years ago yesterday, I brought my dad home for the last time. It was the hardest day of my life up to that point. The seven days that followed were both painful and beautiful. My mom, my brother and I had the honor of making Dad's last days as joyful and comfortable as possible. Much love was given and received. And God was among us, waiting to receive one of his own. 

The three years since we lost Dad have gone both quickly and very slowly. On one hand it seems like he was just here - I can still hear his voice and remember how he smelled when we hugged. On the other hand it seems like it has been forever since that last kiss and whisper in the ear, when I encouraged him to go and rest.

So much change has occurred in me that would not have (yet) if Dad were still here. I've had to do a lot of searching. Praying. Waiting. Hearing. Feeling. At that time, I couldn't imagine how anything good could come of something so very bad. He wasn't ready to go yet, and we weren't ready to let him go. But he loved Jesus and knew he would soon be Home. A nurse had to come to the house and do an interview with Dad one of those days for insurance purposes, and she asked him to write a sentence. When I read what he had written I left the room sobbing, because I just wasn't ready, but now I love to remember what he wrote. He wrote: "Today is the day!" He was going Home. We all wait on that day, don't we?

As for the work that has gone on in me? It's like one of my favorite Sara Groves songs says: "the future feels so hard and I want to go back, but the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned." 

Once again, our Beth Moore study on Esther speaks to me:

God can reverse every negative element in His child's life and turn it into a positive. He doesn't just diffuse the circumstance. He transfuses it... your God cares about you! he wants to show you what He can do with your life and your negative conditions, but He wants you to know without a doubt that He alone is the author of reversals. Wait like a watchman on the wall and when the first sign of reversal comes, don't dream of calling it a coincidence. Raise the roof with praise and ask the One who has begun a good work in you to complete it! He is not only glorified through our suffering. He can also be supremely glorified through our celebrating. (p. 197 of the Esther study)
So, do I still miss me dad? Daily. I'll miss him as long as I'm not with him. But after much time and searching, I've come to a place of acceptance. I celebrate my dad's life. I celebrate the work God has done in me through my dad's death. I pray, I beg, that it will continue and that I'm only just getting a taste of what is to come. 

"...He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God." Psalm 40:2-3

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

what are you waiting for?

It always seems like I am waiting for something. Nap time, bed time, tomorrow, the weekend, spring break, summer break. Time alone, time with my kids, time with just my husband. Time to sew, time to read, time to spend just with God. A time when I will be able to keep my house clean. The next paycheck. A greater need for architects. A better paycheck. A time when we will be able to do more and give more. For people to understand. For the kids to do this or that. For God to do this or that.

Recently, we had a financial situation that we had to wait on. For three weeks we waited. Mostly, I felt peace. I prayed for a remedy to the situation, but mainly for peace during it. God so provided that peace to both of us. We know he is using this time to do a work in us. Now, I can't say I didn't ever feel afraid during those three weeks. At times I felt very afraid. I became impatient. I kept reminding myself that God's timing is different than my own. And then, as part of our Beth Moore Esther study, I discovered a wonderful truth. Now, first of all, it is not coincidence that so many times during this study I have received a specific Word that I needed that very week. God is so good!

What I found out during the time of waiting is this: while we wait for something, God is also waiting with us...

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18 (emphasis mine)

Beth explained that the words "longs" and "wait" in this verse were the exact same word as each other in the Hebrew language. She said that God waits, too, and he longs to give us what we need. It's not a wait without the longing. Without the longing, it would just be passing time. That means that there is a reason for the waiting. I loved hearing this because during those weeks I kept feeling that there was something bigger than what I could see going on. I felt God working on me. On us. A few days ago I thanked God for those weeks of waiting and for being right there, waiting with us. I know that in this precarious economic situation, there is more waiting to come. But I also know that we are learning some things about stewardship that we've been seriously lacking. And about trust. About faith. About wants vs. needs. About what is truly important. About faith. About what God wants from me. He just wants me, by the way. For me to love and believe him. And wait on him.

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next. Amen.

I only recently found out that The Serenity Prayer went on past "and wisdom to know the difference." I just love it. God is not overly interested in our happiness here on earth, but in how we live our lives. He knows that one day we will be happier than we can imagine. Hard times build strength. They bring us to our knees. They bring us to the Father. He longs to help us and loves for us to rely on him. My desire is that I will seek him just as much in the good times as I do in the bad. I just love that he wants to be with me.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5
So, what am I really waiting on? That little nagging feeling I get from time to time that I just don't belong here... is there because I don't. You don't either. We weren't created for this world. I am really waiting for Home. I am smiling at the thought of it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

my cat in the hat

I love myself some Dr. Seuss, so I was excited that Elijah's school has been celebrating his birthday this week. Today he got to dress up as the Cat in the Hat. As soon as he got home he and Miles disappeared for a while and when they returned, Miles had on the hat and Elijah had drawn whiskers and a nose on him. It was too cute. Anybody remember Oh, the Places You'll Go? I still love it!

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

---Dr. Seuss

On to another topic... on the way to church tonight (just the boys were with me), out of the clear blue, my Cat in the Hat tried to get the "cat out of the bag." He asks, without reason or warning, "Momma, how do babies get out of mommas bodies?" What!!?? Stop the car! Are you kidding me?! Are you out of your mind??!! And then I was saved because he saw the star Sirius and suddenly said "look Mom, it's Sirius!" I have never in my life been so happy to talk about a star...I excitedly said, "Where is Sirius?!! Show me! Tell me more about that star!!" And by the grace of God, I was able to avoid that conversation. I am not ready for it. In the words of Beth Moore, "is anybody going where I'm driving?" and I certainly don't want to drive there just yet! My little cat in the hat doesn't need to know things like that!

Monday, March 2, 2009

lift me up

I was working on my Beth Moore Esther study this afternoon when Miles walked in and made my day. That's a bit strange to say since he's been quite the grumpy one today. Evidently he has pink eye in *both* eyes. When we put the medicated drops in his eyes, by the sound of his resistance, you'd think that we were trying to pluck his eyes out or something worse. Then he sits there for about 15 minutes with his eyes closed while continuing to talk about the eye drops with disgust. Let's just say it's been fun. real. fun.

But as I was doing my study today and looking for a Word, I got one from my little grumpy Milesy. He approached me suddenly, wearing a newly donned and very ridiculous looking tobogan and said, "My job is to try to lift you up." What!!?? He repeated it. And then he moved on. Now, I'm sure he thought he was playing some type of super hero strong-man game that I was unaware of and his job was to literally pick me up, but he was the voice of God to me in that moment. I needed a reminder that I don't have to be all things to all people, I don't even have to be all things to my children. God is All things enough for all of us. And he cares enough about me to send a sweet little word through Miles, when I am least expecting it. 1 Peter 5:6 says:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

So, how did Miles do on his task of lifting me up? He couldn't have done any better. With God's help, even a grumpy little Milesy can lift me up "in due time."