Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are you searching for peace?

I’ve only walked with Christ for the last (almost) decade. I spent most of those years searching hard for God’s will and being very confused about how exactly you find it. I have heard (and parroted) the phrase “I prayed and just had a peace about it”. Eventually I came to believe that you should search for God’s will and plan and then wait until you had a peace about it and that is how you would know it was God’s will. I know now that is all wrong.

The truth is, most of what I would point to as an example of things God used to help me grow more like Christ were things that I didn’t feel a peace about. I have never shared the Gospel with someone that I didn’t feel nervous, shaky, and a little nauseous and I have been doing it on a regular basis for nine years. Still no “peaceful feelings”. But is it Biblical? You bet. Am I supposed to do it? Of course! I shudder to think of what the results would have been if I had waited until I felt a peace about it. The decision to forgive has never come out of a peace. It has been hard. It has been accompanied by worry, and a battle against my own pride. On my journey there has been suffering involved at times and let’s be honest: I’m not the courageous type who willingly signs up for that. No, it wasn’t a feeling of peace that paved the way to being more like Christ. And it wasn’t because I saw the big picture or the end result. I NEVER knew what the end result would be. It was obedience to the clear, practical Will of God as He described in the Bible.

I’ve been guilty of saying (numerous times) that I wish God would just show me His will for something in black and white. I am beginning to understand that it’s always found in black and white, and often in red.

The problem is not in how He answers.

The problem is we ask the wrong question.

When we say we are looking for God’s will what do we mean? Are we looking for instructions on how to get through this day in a way that pleases God OR are we asking God to reveal the future to us? One is biblical, and one is turning Almighty God into your personal fortune teller. And I don’t think God is in the business of giving us our horoscope. I confess I have wasted too much time wanting God to reveal to me what He is going to do so that I could try my best to avoid mistakes or avoid anything that might bring unnecessary pain or discomfort. But remember what I said before? Sometimes the things that made me more like Christ WERE uncomfortable. And some of them I would never have chosen on the front end. But I’m so glad He knew better.

So as for me, I am going back to the basics. Today I am going to figure out how Romans 12:2 applies to what I am going to watch or listen to today. And I am going to figure out what God’s Word says about balancing grace and discipline as I try to instill character in these sweet kids. I will make time to read what He actually has to say and I will be thankful for what I have today. We will pick up where we left off on a mountain of paperwork, but I won't ask God how many kids will be in my home next year or what kind of time frame He has in mind. And by all means possible, I will force myself to be kind to that person that is like sandpaper in my life! And as I do that, if I believe that God is sovereign, then I don’t have to worry about messing up God’s long term plans. I am practicing deliberate simplicity and obedience and leaving the big picture to a big God. In THAT I find security, and in that, would you believe .... I find peace.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday's Motivation

Today I want to share a video that should be more than just motivation. No matter who you are or where you came from- this applies to you. Watch it. Share it. Live it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bring Our Children Home

I think you should know about a lady named Cindy Foote. She is a songwriter and an adoptive mama. I wanted to share because I know some of you will really connect with her music. I'm sharing the video for one of her songs from her new EP. It is called "Bring Our Children Home". Can I get an amen? :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Hope That Endures

I have been meaning to come and update my blog to share the good news that Brian got a great new job. This is a praise! Soon I will share more about how God did it better than we could have planned. His ways are definitely better than ours.

Tonight I didn't come to share that news, though. Tonight I came to share some thoughts that are brewing in my mind and emotions that are brewing in my heart. This has been a hard year for my church family. I have never seen so many with cancer. There are other things we all face in life whether it be unemployment, illness, loss, or other problems. God never said there wouldn't be storms. In fact, He said we shouldn't be surprised by it.

This week 3 people I love are having major surgery. One is a baby, and 2 women who light up every room they ever enter will have cancer surgery. After you see such amazing people enduring something like this it begs the question "why"? I feel like the Bible makes it really clear what we should do in those moments when we have those questions and I will share my thoughts on that next time. But for tonight, I just want to offer one tiny piece of that beautiful puzzle because those of you who are walking it should know.

I am convinced God allows it, at least in part, because we see Jesus in your skin. He works in you, but He also works through you. When we suffer and we still hope it confounds people. Why doesn't it crush the Christian the way it does others? Because our Hope is not an ideal or a feeling. Hope is not just some sweet thought or a word we plaster on everything from coffee mugs to wall decor.

Our Hope is a Person, and He never changes.

Once we know Him you can't take Him from us. Hope in our hearts is not always as cute as it appears on coffee mugs. Sometimes it just the raw desire to defiantly cling to God when we don't know where He is taking us- but we know HIM enough to know it is going to be worth it in the end. Sometimes our hope shows in defiant tears that shout "I don't care what you throw at me- HE is mine and you can't ever change that. He loves me, and no circumstance can take what I have in Him". Hope often shines brightest in pain. Why is that? I think it is because His power is PERFECT in our weakness.

So please know, and I think you know who you are- those of you who have suffered and waited patiently for the clouds to move and let some sunshine fall on your weary faces- know that you never looked more like Jesus. You show the lost something they may have never seen before. And you make me want to be brave. You remind me to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when the narrow path looks a little too steep and rocky and quitting seems easier.

When my fickle heart only sees the storm and water and I desperately want back in the boat- my eyes catch yours and your sweet face reminds me to put my eyes back on Jesus and take that next step out into the deeper waters. You are living "Ebenezer stones" (1 Samuel 7:12) reminding the world and other believers that the Lord is powerful, and "thus far, He has helped us".

So shine on, my sweet friends. Keep giving Him the glory and when your arms get tired we will hold them up. I'm humble by the saints around me. I'm so grateful for you and so overwhelmingly privileged by the honor of lifting you up to the One who is our Life, our Abba Father, and always a Hope that remains unchanged.

"Our Hope endures the worst of conditions.
Its more than our optimism, so let the earth quake,
our Hope is unchanged" - Natalie Grant

"So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary." Hebrews 6:18-19 (emphasis mine)

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Parent's Purpose

I work part time in a ministry so I often get the chance to talk to people about Christ. What I have learned from this is that many people don’t know exactly what that means. Many people assume they are a Christian because they went to a Christian church when they were little, because their parents are Christians, or even because they go to church and believe in God.

I heard a powerful message at church yesterday about parenting and it had both Brian and I examining our own parenting and refocusing on our goals. If you had asked me Saturday what my greatest desire for my children would be I would have told you that it was “for them to know Jesus”.

Not anymore.

There are a couple of verses I have been thinking about. Here is one of those verses:

"On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’" - Matthew 7:22-23

So, no, my greatest goal for my children is not for my children to know Jesus. Its for Jesus to know them. That when they stand before God He will not judge them as frauds, or cultural Christians, or hypocrites; that He wouldn’t be able to say that they used Him to make themselves more important or used Him as an accessory to a life full of other “nice” things.

My greatest goal for my children is that when they get to heaven, Christ will look at them and say “that one belongs to Me. He is mine- or she is Mine”. That they will not use Him to make themselves look important, but that they will use their lives to show His importance.

So, no, sweet children, I am not overly concerned that you are unhappy with my decisions all the time. In fact, that is my first clue that I might be doing something right.

And no, darling, I don’t care that everyone else is doing it because I am accountable for being a parent to you and I am not prepared to answer for what “everyone else is doing”.

And yes, I am very proud that you learned all your verses in AWANA. But I am going to want to see you apply that to your life. I want to see you practice kindness and obey your Dad and I because I know that you can’t impress God with your works and you desperately need His grace.

And most of all, PLEASE don’t tell me that you "want to do big things for God"- because this is not about you- its about Him. Just surrender to Him every day and whatever fruit comes out of that is His and His alone.

And what would I say to myself? No, you can’t let up or give in. Being inadequate isn’t a good enough excuse because God isn’t interested in excuses- only replacements. So today, I must get out of the way and let Him do what I can’t. I don’t know how to lead children, teach children, or raise up Godly young men and women. So, my only hope is to surrender to the One who knows how and has done so time and time again.

So if you are a parent and you are tired, don’t give up, or give in, and don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers. I have looked through the Bible and it appears the only kind of person God ever used was the inadequate kind. So, being inadequate is the very thing that qualifies us to be good parents- if we surrender.

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

He Reigns

This is blog post has been a long time in the making. I started this blog to share our journey of adoption with you. That journey has been full of twists and turns but none quite as sharp as the last. I almost closed this blog recently when being transparent got a little harder than I had anticipated. Then, a few of you came with your encouraging words and told me it had blessed you in some way. What can I say? I am a sucker for that. I wear my heart on my sleeve in hopes that if I share my life you might see glimpses of Christ in it. So the following is the raw, honest truth of where we are walking these days. I’m writing because it’s about the journey, not the destination. And if you have discovered, like me, that the journey doesn’t always look the way you planned then I will share a secret with you.

Through thick and thin, He reigns.

When Brian got out of the military he began working with a friend and he planned to become a business partner down the road. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out like they had hoped for reasons beyond either’s control so Brian started looking for another job. For this reason, we decided it was obviously best to put the adoption on hold until he got settled in a more permanent position. Being in limbo is never fun (to put it mildly). I pretty much hate everything about it.
But I can share with you some things I have learned:

1. God provides for His children. It doesn’t matter if you see how He is going to do it- He will.

2. Stability is overrated. No, really. Depending on God is the only way to be sure that you can.

3. Its not as scary as I thought it would be.

4. My husband is the world’s best handyman.

5. He is the world’s best handyman because God equipped Him before he even knew he would use those skills to support his family.

6. Mature Christians can make plans together and if it doesn’t work out- still be like family. This is good to know, because like it or not, we ARE family.

7. God cares about the details. Every stinkin one.

8. You can’t live by emotions because they are fickle, but I recommend laughing both loud and often.

9. God made Brian and I for each other and the purposes He had for us. When we seek God, hard times only bring us closer. This makes me happy. Satan must be pretty ticked off by now. :)

10. Not knowing what the future holds means I am not the one in control. This is a very good thing.

This is not what I thought 2011 would hold. Maybe yours isn’t shaping up to be exactly what you had in mind either, and that’s ok. I hesitate to call this a “trial” because I have been through trials before and this doesn’t compare. I will say this though, these circumstances, though not what I would have chosen may be God’s greatest mercy toward us.

Why do I say that?

This is why we are here folks. Its to be in a relationship with our Maker, to let Him do with us as He pleases, To know Him. To learn to trust Him, to learn to walk with Him. It isn’t about our plans. Its about learning to join Him in His.

Do I still think we will adopt? Absolutely. In fact, throughout the last few months and many pay cuts we haven’t even had to touch our “orphan ransom” that we set aside for the adoption. That’s God, folks. We couldn’t do that on our own. In fact, if you gave me pen and paper I couldn’t explain it. So this is where we are walking.

Its scary, yet exciting. Its outside the status quo and unknown but its not outside God’s will. It takes a lot of focusing on Him just to keep a right attitude. So I give Jesus my frustrations, worries, and bad attitude and He gives me grace and laughter. I don’t know guys, this is looking like exactly what we asked for. I don’t know what the future holds but I can promise you this- when we look back on how things worked out it won’t be because we manipulated circumstances or made our own path.

And it feels a little raw to let you see inside our lives like this, but what have I got to prove to anyone? Its all loss except for this one thing- that I tell you about this Christ. I hope you know Him. I hope you can nod your head and agree that He is trustworthy and dependable because you have been there and seen that its true. And whether you can or not I pray that when we look back in a few weeks, or months, or years you will be able to agree with us on at least one point.

He reigns.

“Oh great and mighty One,
With one desire we come,
That you would reign,
That you would reign in us” – Starfield

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.” –Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jesus is bossy

Ever feel like God is telling you something that doesn't make sense to the world around you? Yeah, me too. Actually, to tell the truth it doesn't usually make sense to me either! I think that is one of the beautiful things about having a relationship with God- is learning to trust Him even when you don't understand where you are headed. In fact, not being able to predict the future is usually a great indicator that you are not in control of it! What a comforting thought to know that the One who is in control has all the facts. Even better, He is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28). Martin Luther King, Jr. once said "faith is taking the first step when you can't see the whole staircase".

The video below is a perfect illustration of this. Beth Moore shares an awesome story of what she would have missed had she not listened and obeyed. I heard this story a few years ago and it has stayed with me since. A friend posted the video today and it was too good not to pass on!!

Be blessed!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday's Motivation

Good morning! I just got back in town after surprising my husband with a weekend away for his 30th birthday. I will post a few pictures later! For now, here is this Monday's motivation.

David Platt wrote the book "Radical". This video is such a good reminder to me that there is a balance to be found. Our relationship with God should be just that- a relationship. It is not a religion. But our security should not lead to complacency.

I hope you are having a good Monday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Man I love these!!!! A couple of days ago I shared a story with you about a boy named Davids who was in desperate need of a family. Well, I am happy to report HE HAS ONE!!! Praise the Lord, Who hears our prayers and answers them! I hope there will be more information coming soon. Lisa, (the mom who hosted him here in the states) posted the update here on her blog.

Thanks for all the prayers. The Lord is so faithful. I will continue to follow this story and hope one day soon we see Davids in a family photo. :) Can you get enough of watching God come to the rescue and answer prayers? I can't!!!

Taste and see that the Lord is good!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To live as an image bearer

I am not a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. This is mostly because I am not a fan of diets, eating healthy, or exercise. Judge if you must. I do have goals. As we enter this new year one of those goals overwhelmingly rises to the top. In 2011 I wish to be poured out like a drink offering to the Lord. Sure, its a lofty goal for a girl like myself. I am plagued by busyness, selfishness, sometimes laziness (although, I think four kids was a good start to curing that last one). The point of the matter is we all battle that "flesh"-- that part of us that wants the world to be about us. We are born with it. Believe me, I have a two-year old. I know.

To help save for the adoption we got rid of cable and got Netflix (only $10 a month). Unfortunately Gavin misunderstood what was meant by "movies on demand". In this house, demanding to watch Diego doesn't fly! As often as I roll my eyes at him, I also wonder if I am looking at what God sees in me. It makes me cringe to thing of it. How often does the same God who tells the sun when to rise and set hear us, mere creatures of his creation, look at Him and say "ummmm, NO." Wow, and I thought Gavin had some nerve.

I posted a short video below that I found to be a great reminder to us all. We are image bearers. And if we are image bearers of Christ then this should be true everywhere we go. So my goal this year is to pursue God with a passion that grows more intense as the months pass. In the end I want to be able to say I poured my life out like a drink offering for the Lord. And I think that starts by living like an image bearer. We need to stop demanding things from a Holy God and get acquainted with the Person whose image we bear.

"Image Bearers" - Matt Chandler