welcome to us 

Saturday is for sharing – a yummy breakfast. a walk. a good conversation. a fun game. an afternoon nap. a table for two. a slow dance under the stars…

and today I want to share with you a few photographs. We are husband+wife, daddy+mommy, & three little men – our sons – our children –

welcome to the new us. welcome to our family.

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unspecified“Joy shared is joy multiplied” – Tyler, our fearless and loving leader

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“You have filled our hearts with joy” – David, in the Psalms

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“Come to me, little children” – Jesus

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“I sing over you” – God our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer

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“Children are a gift, a blessing, a heritage from the Lord. Happy is the man whose quiver is full.” – Psalm 127:3-5

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“May these boys abound in brotherly love” – my prayer for them

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“My son, listen to your momma’s instruction, and live” – Proverbs 1:8

“I’d rather do nothing with you than something with anyone else”

>>> photographs . amy free photography <<<

 

 

on a name

He had been quiet for a while.

I had been listening… and though some say that it’s through suffering the Lord speaks the loudest, in waiting, in my experience, He is very quiet.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

We walked into Jubala, all four of us, for a pre-supper afternoon treat. We wanted to relax. We wanted to enjoy the best cup of coffee we know. We wanted to watch our little lives run around in the sun.

I don’t know the exact time frame. I just remember it had been a while.

There on the wall, in hand lettering on a huge canvas created by a friend, hung these words

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I looked closer, reading carefully.

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HE gives and gives and gives again.

It was like a whisper. a Really Pretty one.

I knew. I knew that I knew – this is a word from the Lord.

“One day – this side of heaven – I will give again – to you.” — It’s only because of Him and from Him and through Him. It’s not because of me or something I did or earned or… no.

I waited and listened and listened and waited some more. He was quiet. He was near, I knew that. But He was quiet.

Friend, it was a long time. When you’re waiting, a minute feels like a long time. Months feel like eternity. And with the anniversary of a year of waiting,…

I wanted to wait well. I wasn’t always sure what that looked like. Sitting still? Doing a project? Praying like I was talking my head off? I wanted Him to speak. to come. to answer. to move.

Most of all I wanted Him. I waited like the watchman waits for the morning. Any sign. Any glimpse. Is that You, Lord?

In the waiting, I would remember His whisper. “I give again.”

I learned about Annie Johnson Flint. She’s a woman who exemplarily lived out her faith in the living God. This hymn, one of her many, sings:

  1. He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again

Sometimes I drove myself mad. Other times I cried. In the afternoon, I might sleep. There were days when I would whisper back, “I cannot do this anymore.” And He would respond, “You are right. But I can.”

So I put my face to the Lord’s like a flint. I was gonna get Him. I was gonna see the Lord. I held Him to His Promise, because He says He is The Faithful One. He is The Promise Keeper. Not because He owed me, or I did something, or I had earned…

“While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me.”

Eventually, I rested. I was like Jacob, who demanding the Lord bless him, after wrestling with the Lord, could say, I have seen the Lord face to face and my life was spared… and the limp was a blessing, and the new name was the gift, and seeing the Lord was really the only thing that Jacob had wanted all along.

I wrote in my journal:

“I know Good wins. I hold my breath, baited breath – eyes fixed – I want to make sure Good wins.

God, win.

In the moment of wrestling all goes silent. Still battling – still baited breath – warring. waiting. watching.

God win.

Here I am right before the battle ends. Right before the Victor conquers. Come on. Come through.

GOD WIN.”

I stopped crying. I knew He was coming. I sat up, alert. I could almost see Him.

It was the end of February, cold, and there was a morning I – by some miracle… – got a good long time in the warm sunshine in the Word. My boys were sleeping, from what I remember, and I just sat there with the Word pouring into my heart, the sun pouring into the windows. He was speaking again.

(I want to pause and say that there is so much more that I could write to share with you, there are so many ways I could write this post, and perhaps I will write more at another time, but suffice it to say, Our God is a Great God, in the biggest of big ways and in the every-little-jot-and-tittle ways… He has done great things, and with the same heart that John ends his gospel,

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” )

I read through the story of Joseph, found in the book of Genesis. I decided to look up what the name of Joseph meant.

Right at the top:

“May Jehovah add,/increase // to add, to increase, to repeat // means to add, increase or do again”

— to give again —

O LORD.

I nearly fell through the floor.

I knew it. I didn’t know when… but I knew. He was going to do it again.

Jehovah – the Holy God, the unchanging, eternal, self existent God – came to me, in His Word… “the I am that I am” promised to me (little me, little little me) that HE would keep His covenant, because, after all, He is THE Covenant-Keeping God.

And this Jehovah, The Lord of All, was promising little us our Joseph. The Lord was promising another boy. The Lord was promising that we would see life in the land of the living.

And there is just something so scary and so heavy and so messy about holding God to His Word – except that He commands that we do it and His character says we can – because He is The Faithful One who Keeps His Promises. because He is I am that I am.

I wrote down the words in the my journal, I read through the Scripture again, and I stared Him straight in the face and I said

– You are scary and You are Good. and I will not let go, I will not stop waiting, I will not stop praying and holding You to Your Promise until you answer me, bless me, re-name me, re-make me. give me all that You are and all that You promise.

And on that spring March morning when I held the positive pregnancy test in my hand, early morning, fully awake, I was quiet.

The Lord had spoken.

I limped upstairs, silently, and showed Tyler the test.

On that hot summer morning, sitting in the ultrasound room, when we looked at each other’s blue eyes, we smiled —“another boy” we silently nodded at each other

Joseph Haddon

Of course.

Not because we had done anything or earned anything… no….

But because He is Faithful and Good, Scary and Sovereign. He is the God who remembers, who removes reproach, who comes, who gives again. He is Jehovah. He is the God of Life.

“Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, ‘God has taken away my reproach.’ And she called his name Joseph, saying, ‘May the LORD add to me another son!'” (Genesis 30:22-24 ESV)

Psalm 46:10 / Psalm 27:13-14 / Psalm 73:28 / Psalm 130: 6 / Psalm 145:13 / 1 Corinthians 1:9 /  Hebrews 6:13-18 / 2 Peter 3:9 / Romans 5:8 / Genesis 32:22-32 / Hebrews 12:2 / John 21:25 / Genesis 30:22-24; Genesis 35:24; Genesis 37-50 / Exodus 3:14 / Revelation 3:12 / Isaiah 42:5 / Job 33:4

I am excited to share with you soon where the name Haddon comes from, too… there’s another good story. And that weighty Genesis scripture…. there are stories upon stories here. Praise the Lord.

 

 

on a quiet time

A friend asked me the other day if there was a certain devotion book that I recommended – she’s a mom of two little boys like I am – and she remarked that the ones she has recently tried are either way too basic or way too intense.

She’s a godly girl with a good-thinking mind and she has lived some real life… and now she’s living the life of a wife, homemaker, and mom of two young (infant and toddler) sons.

And I know exactly what she’s talking about – nobody needs trite (there’s no time for that). At the same time, nobody needs tedious and too-much (there’s no time for that either).

So I really thought through her question and wanted to answer honestly – she asked if there was a devotion book I recommended – which means she wants to know if there is one I have used, or currently use, that I like and would share with a friend.

Truly, through this season – first trimester pregnancy, sick with life and living with two littles,  and then through the summer-travel season – my quiet time has looked nothing like it did at the beginning of 2016. My time at the beginning of this year was rich with bible study, reading scripture, reading rich discipleship and theological books, not to mention all of the time spent readying for our church’s mom’s retreat, for which I was the speaker.

Once I entered into the first trimester of pregnancy, my quiet time consisted of reading “The Daily Light.” This takes about five minutes and can be done on an iPhone app, laying in bed. Or, sometimes I would read it out loud to the boys at the breakfast table, after choking down my daily scrambled eggs.

When we traveled this summer, it looked about the same, maybe some more scripture from wherever the Lord showed me, and it also looked like intentionally engaging the Lord during the worship sets when Tyler played.

I have a friend who talks about enjoying the rich seasons and stewarding them for the times in your life where you will need to draw from the reservoir, and goodness, if parenting littles all day long isn’t that time, I don’t know what is. The well is necessary. And so is the bucket. So is the cup. The Living Water is what we are after, well-full, bucket-full, cup-full.

We are after a satisfying drink of the Living Water.

I need Him. I need The Word. The Living Water. I need to engage in prayer with Him. I need to drink daily.

What does this look like for me right now?,… in this season – this season that I am home, that summer is slowing, that I am in the full-swing of the second trimester of pregnancy, that I am preparing for autumn…

Right now I like to take time in the morning to read one psalm (usually the one that corresponds with the date on the calendar), to read one or two pages/chapters in “Keep a Quiet Heart” By Elisabeth Elliot, and to journal whatever the Lord speaks to me, whatever my response, or prayer. Sometimes that’s one sentence. Sometimes it’s several paragraphs.

Yesterday morning, He gave me this time before the boys woke up. Today, it was after breakfast. I let them go play in the other room; I stayed at the table, and when they would come in, I would request that they ‘give mommy her quiet time with Jesus.” Tomorrow I do  not know how the Lord will set the table, draw the water, give me time with Him. I look forward to seeing how He will!

I have a couple of books that I am reading through right now; my goal each day is to read chapter from each book. The books vary – one is on marriage, one is on raising children, one is just for fun, and the last book is from the library, super-practical, and a simple read. If I don’t “meet my goal” – no big deal. Providence didn’t have that as part of my day.

For all of life, including your quiet time, the key is to be in constant close communion with the Lord.

I think of quiet time like breakfast with a friend. You’ve gotta eat breakfast. Some mornings it’s bacon and eggs and pancakes and fruit and hot coffee and donuts all on a clean white table cloth. Other mornings it’s eggs and toast. Some mornings it’s a Clif bar. But it’s breakfast and you eat it and it’s sustenance. Eat your breakfast. Spend time with the Lord.Whatever meal He sets for you, enjoy it. Don’t worry if it’s not what you expected, or think it should be. Eat with Him.

 

“I want to go home”

It was only 9:30 in the morning, but we were all already tired.

For the last month, we’ve been traveling for a good bit of the summer, in and out of towns, hotels, friends’ homes, and we are showing some wear.

We stood in the line to order. Through tears of frustration, exhaustion, and hunger, my son told his daddy, “I want to go home.”

Steaming coffee sat on our table, untouched, as we sympathized with our son.

The kind waitress placed our meal on the table in front of us – fresh blue berry waffles, hot, topped with fresh whipped cream.

We dipped our waffle in the warm syrup, each bite filling our mouths with the delicious gift.

I rubbed his back. I began.

“You know,baby, sometimes momma gets homesick too. I want to go home. Did you know – that longing is our hearts heavy for heaven?”

I asked him what he loves about home. We talked as we ate.  His own bed. Playing with his own toys. The sunshine on the wooden floors. The back yard freedom. Riding with daddy + brother through the neighborhood on his bike.

“All of those Good things you love about home – heaven will hold those things. God who is all Good will have all Good things in His Home, in the home He’s readying for all who are His.”

— I’m not talking ‘take your stuff behind the hearse.’ When you ready your home for your child, you make his bed, complete with his favorite candy on the pillow. You cook his favorite meal. For your daughter you might set out a new dress for her or have special gifts waiting in her chair.

So just think…”How much more will your Heavenly Daddy…” —

“Baby, when you’re homesick, your heart is heavy with heaven. Let the hope of Heaven heal your heart. Let heaven satisfy your sickness.”

All of the good gifts here point to the Good Gift in Heaven.

We finished our waffles. We finished our talk. Our tummies were full, our hearts filled with dreams of Reality, of longing for Home.

‘He’s preparing a home, a special place for all of those who are His’

Afterward, we drove over to the park. Playing and running did a world of wonders. It’s amazing how our great God gives us small tangibles – waffles and playground sand – to show us just how much He loves us, and just a little glimpse of what Home is like.

for your leaking, cracked soul

I want to chronicle for myself and encourage you with these precious, life-giving Words of Truth. —

Daily Light on the Daily Path : December 31

Evening

(LINK)

“A great deal of land remains to be conquered.” — Josh 13:1 NET

Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me.

“So then, be perfect.”—Make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love.

And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight.

“Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” God has revealed these to us by the Spirit.

Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God.—You will see a king in his splendor; you will see a wide land.

Phil 3:12, Matt 5:48, 2 Pet 1:5-7, Phil 1:9, 1 Cor 2:9-10, Heb 4:9, Isa 33:17

He is the Come Through God.

* “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”

Psalm 31.24

* “Waiting with hope is very difficult, but true patience is expressed when we must even wait for hope. I will have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.” -George Matheson

* “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon is, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22

We wait IN hope. 

We wait FOR the Lord. 

We are helped and protected BY the Lord. 

We rejoice IN the Lord. 

We trust IN His name. 

And as we hope in God, may his unfailing love rest on us. 

Circumstances will fail. People will fail. Dreams will fail. We will fail.

But Love?” Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8

Praying that simple, yet utterly profound truth – Love never fails- would sink down into all the cracks and crevices of my life and yours.

AMEN.

two excellent articles on leaky souls :

the glory of God in the sight of eternity

the rest is not our business 

Love Comes from God

I love February – it’s short and it’s sweet and it’s the connection to spring – and it’s the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Now, I know sometimes V-Day get’s a bad rap : it’s the holiday that digs up the dregs of love gone by, love gone wrong, love gone gone gone. It’s a Hallmark-holiday – one created by the card company to get consumers to, well, consume, and feel guilty and loveless if they do not participate. It’s a holiday that has everyone going around measuring how much they love and how much they are loved, and often, the measurement comes up short.

So, I get it. And that seems pretty pitiful to me, too.

However, I like to see the big 1-4 as a day – and February as an entire month – where we celebrate the lavish love of the Lord. for us, to us, on us, over us… His steadfast love that has endured for generations and will extend throughout all of eternity. I think the minute we will our minds to turn from ourselves and to turn to the Lord we will fall head over heels in love with Him. And He is Love.

God is Love.

Love is from God.

God loves us.

Girlfriend, (because I am thinking if you’re reading my blog, you’re most likely a girl), this reality is stunning.

God is Love – not, sometimes He loves. But He is Love – Love is His very nature. He cannot help Himself but exude Love. And for all of creation, He defines, describes, and demonstrates Love.

Love is from God. – All of the love we have, all of the love we give, all of the love we experience and express is from and through God.

God loves us. – Ok, this is just so crazy! God. Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign is also Loving Savior, Father, and Redeemer. His loves bends towards us. His love is directed to His creation, the crown of His creation, us – little humans! and little sinners, at that! And He loves US. So much so and in this great way that He died for us. And then was raised, and now intercedes on our behalf as He sits at the right hand of the Throne of God.

I mean, this is too much!

So, this February – this Valentine’s Day – let’s lift our eyes and look to the Lover of our Souls and live in His love for us, live out His love from Him.

the end of january is (finally) here

so i have heard some place that this week of january is the most depressing week of the year. and you might say, huh? or heck yeh it is… because you know. for me it’s been like any other week, and mostly good, thank the Lord.

one reason i speculate that this week can be depressing is because so many people left the holidays in a huff, said see you folks later! (family, friends, all of the people that are so close to us, close enough to send us into a temper tantrum like a 2 year old with their glances and responses against whatever we are for), packed up, and with a pen and paper, made mighty high resolutions for yourself. not all out spite, and some honest to goodness good resolutions, but then it’s cold and dark and well – January – and you realize that you’re only 3 weeks into the new year and have already failed in all of your high and mighty. OR you made great resolutions and you have kept them. Shoot, you’re already five pounds lighter. But, you’re not any happier or any more satisfied.

Now, like I said, for me, it’s been a pretty good week -we’ve had some fun; we’ve had some not so fun, and I recently sliced open the top of my middle finger on my right hand, so it’s funny and it’s seriously annoying – but I started this new year about half way through January without any resolutions, so maybe that’s why. I was sort of “meh” to the whole hype of 2015, which maybe isn’t good, or maybe it is… I was just happy for a new day, cold as it was, and happy that the Lord had gotten me to the day, and beyond that His mercies are new for the day. And I also feel like I’m in a holding pattern in my life – diligence is what is required, a steadfastness, a holding firm – and in that way, I don’t exactly know what or how to feel….

but I don’t take depression lightly, so here are a few links to a few beloved blog posts that I pray encourage your soul… because depressed or not, we all need encouragement.

 

http://solideogloria-emily.blogspot.com/2015/01/let-us-hope.html – y’all, this is my favorite blog that I actually consistenly read right now, and this is a fabulous post on HOPE.

http://www.toshowthemjesus.com/2015/why-we-must-read-like-bereans/ – read. if you have one resolution, read. and she tells you how and why. and that the Bible is to be your book of books, because it is THE book of books.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Lamentations+3&version=MSG – Lamentations 3 in the Message. Need some encouragement; this will do it for you.

Also the film and book, Unbroken.

“It is this deep confidence about your future that frees you from the fear and greed that kill love and make you into a cookie-cutter human who has to have security and safety and ease and comfort….Our confidence comes from Christ–what He did perfectly on the cross and at the resurrection, what He is doing now for us in heaven, and what He will do for us at the 2nd coming and to all eternity…All we ever hope for is owing to Christ.  We receive it not by earning it or meriting it, but by banking on it…We need to ponder the superiority of Christ as our great reward over all that the world has to offer.  If we don’t, we will love the world like everyone else and live like everyone else.  Everything the world has to offer, God is better and more abiding.  There is no comparison.  God wins–every time.”  – also this quote from a good ole man, John Piper. Take that to heart!

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. It is like hiding the talent in a napkin and for much the same reason ‘I knew thee that thou wert a hard man.’  Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.

and one more, a hymn, and as if that was not enough download for you, all of the above links, quotes, and scripture, let this hymn sink deep into your soul.

He Giveth More Grace by Annie J. Flint

  1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

He gives and gives and gives again…. so this year, depressed, or meh, or happy happy happy, open your hands, sweet child, lift your face to your Daddy, and receive His good gifts.