May is the month of celebration – this is the running theme in the book, The Life Giving Home. One of the significant celebrations this month is Mother’s Day – only a week away! And as I celebrate my mom, all of the spiritual mothers in my life, and the reality that I have joined their ranks, I am asking myself this question : What kind of mom do I want to be? … today? for the next season of life while my sons live under my roof? What kind of mom-legacy do I want to give my children? What kind of mom do I want to be remembered as? This question “What kind of mom do I want to be?” motivates me to seek Scripture, to talk it out the Lord, to think back through the models I have been gifted with, including the ultimate example and ideal, Jesus Christ; to think about my own personality and gifts… and to ask the Lord to weave all of these aspects together into an inspiring image of the kind of mom He desires I be and become.
Lessons Learned in April . A List :
1. To remember to do the Life Giving Home live meet up earlier in the month (😏)
2. No, really.
3. When I get to a spot in life where I need to stare the problem in the face and solve it, instead of trying to solve it while engaging my children, which too quickly falls apart with a short tempered, hangry mom (me) and discouraged, terry eyed children(them😥), ask a grandparent to take my boys to Marbles (or really wherever)… and everyone would be MUCH happier + the problem might actually get solved.
4. Recieve all of the grace given to me in Christ,… and share it. generously.
5. I’m gladder than I can speak or know for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. THE monumental event in history means everything to me – is the reason I can realize any of these other lessons and provides the space to be loved, to love others; to give and to recieve forgiveness and grace. He is the Way & He is Freedom. The best way out is through the Cross and as we’ve walked through Easter this year, I’m happier than ever – a serious kind of happy – for the Cross.
“The best way out is always through*”… the CROSS. – *Robert Frost
In one of my all-time favorite movies, Steel Magnolias, one of my all-time favorite characters, Truvy, declares, “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.”*
Ten years ago at the very end of this month, Tyler and I were married. Golly – I remember it like yesterday. And when I think back I tear up and swell with smiles all at the same time. Laughing + crying at the same time is my favorite emotion, like raining and sunshine is my favorite weather – uncontainable, your heart, the sky, smiles and weeps simultaneously. The glory and the gravity of life, overwhelming.
Between days of celebration and sunshine, days of storms, dry spells, quiet snowflakes, flashing thunder, rainy downpours, seasons changing, years passing… all of these days connect and cause and string together the days of sunshine + raining, the moments of weeping celebration.
Nothing is any longer ordinary; all of the mundane works itself into the miracle.
And in the march of time, in the month of March, each day, all thirty-one of them, together. Enjoyed and forgotten; embraced and remembered.
When Tyler and I walked down the aisle to the Doxology, married, I jumped up and hugged him with all of my might. Praise God from whom all blessings flow
… these same words introduce each one of us to the Lord around the table as we hold hands and sing them before we once again sit to eat supper, jump up and down “let me get that for you, honey,” serving each other, enjoying life together, as the sun sets, the stars shine, later that night we settle into sleep, jumping up in the dark to answer the baby alive crying, settling once more, slipping back into bed, warming up with each other,.. time marching on.
And as we look at who we are today – Tyler, stronger, Rachel, much more gracious; Leland, our lion-hearted leader, Grafton, our kind and tender hearted good brother, Strength and Grace our heaven babies who tilt our chins to the sky, Haddon, our abundant gift, who already lives life to the full, hungry and happy and wholly alive (all of us, new creations)… I watch time march on,… I look in the mirror and see happy smile lines wide and cheeks tears have crashed down, one after the other, unstoppable. I see blue eyes that See – see Jesus, fixed on Him, see how Jesus sees, set on things above, see that we see dimly now, but one day, fully! glory and gravity, grace and glory.
I see that time is marching across my face, and I welcome the blessing of a new day, new lines, new wisdom, mercies new every morning.
In the ordinary-ness of life, in the all is a miracle and a grace, in the sunshine and the rain, in the laughing and crying all at the same time, The Lord is ushering His Kingdom into our hearts, ushering us into His Kingdom.
As we walk, as we march, as we are carried into the next day, the next minute, our next emotion, the next season, our next relationships, let us seek first the kingdom of God that we may See Him high and lifted up, our Righteousness, and the rest of these days will be added to us as well…celebrating and connecting and causing our path to lead us straight into Heaven, straight into His holy home.
“May your mundane March realities be the ground in which you plant the seeds of faith, beauty, and hope that sprout into a life mart by the goodness of God.” (100)
I woke up with a feeling of neediness that seemed strapped to my chest. As I unloaded my burden to the Lord, nervous and not sure, He answered me.
Yep, girlfriend, you are needy. And yep, I’ve got you.
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
— We don’t want to admit that we live lowly, but the High and Holy One says He lives with us… and don’t we want to live with Him?
Then I read this
“God has given you so many limitations because he loves you. He wants you to experience as much of his love, in as many ways as possible. And for that to happen, he must provide you a never-ending river of reasons, and an enormous range of diverse ways, to receive and give love.⠀
And this is just what he’s done! He has made you a very limited part of his body, the church, and he places you with other parts that are also very limited in different ways (1 Corinthians 12:18, 27). As the interdependent parts work together, the whole body functions (Romans 12:4–5) and it displays the love of God (John 13:34–35). Your unique strengths and weaknesses are indispensable gifts to this body. Without them the whole body suffers because unique expressions of God’s gracious love will be missed.⠀
If you’re frequently discouraged over your limitations, it’s an indicator that you’re looking at yourself from the wrong perspective, and looking at yourself too much. You’re not seeing what God sees; you’re likely feeling discontent from comparing yourself to other people, other parts of the body.⠀
A wonderful treatment for such discouragement is prayerfully meditating on 1 Corinthians 12 and 13. And also it’s likely time to reframe the question from ‘Why can’t I be more like that?’ to ‘What opportunities is God giving me in my limitations to experience more of his gracious love?’⠀
Because the truth is, you are so limited because you are so loved.”⠀
— Jesus, thank you for loving me.
I heard Him singing this song to and over me… Lord, I need You by Matt Maher
The Lord spoke to me
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.'” – 2 Cor 12:9
Your greatest need, forgiveness + life, was met in the greatest act of history, the Cross, by the greatest person ever, Jesus Christ. I am your Need-Meet.
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.
“Joy shared is joy multiplied” – Tyler, our fearless and loving leader
“You have filled our hearts with joy” – David, in the Psalms
“Come to me, little children” – Jesus
“I sing over you” – God our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer
“Children are a gift, a blessing, a heritage from the Lord. Happy is the man whose quiver is full.” – Psalm 127:3-5
“May these boys abound in brotherly love” – my prayer for them
“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 <<<
With the recent arrival of a newborn, life has changed!, my body has once again changed, and my schedule, too. Plus, it’s the Christmas season, which makes everything exciting & different from the normal.
With all of these changes, my time with the Lord has changed too.
Everyone assumes that with a newborn it’s hard for me to spend any time in the Word. And I know what they’re saying, but for me, it was the last several weeks of pregnancy that were so hard – hard to wake early (I was so tired!); hard to journal (my hands were swollen and numb); hard to take in any more (I was emotionally and mentally “full,” so I meditated and prayed with the scripture I know). And in those last weeks, the Lord was so faithful to me. He upheld me and strengthened me. He fought against and won the self-inflicted guilt about not having a “proper” quiet time. He used Sunday morning sermons to “feed” me all week.
So after bringing Haddon home, I was ready to jump back into my quiet time. I missed Jesus! And my morning time with Him.
Now, I wake at 6A to nurse Haddon… and this is when I spend time with the Lord in His Word.
It’s the Advent + Christmas season, I have focused my quiet time there – at Jesus’ birthday.
My quiet time looks like reading a bible verse or few about Who Jesus Is; today is December 14th and I read John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”
I write it down. I try to memorize it, or refresh my memory. I pray/meditate on the verse. I want the scripture to stick in the forefront of my mind for the day.
Then I read this little book “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas,” edited by Nancy Guthrie. It’s 23 readings from various authors, pastors, theologians on Christmas. The date is the 14th, so I read the 14th chapter.
And in those quiet dark sweet moments in the morning with littlest love in my arms and bible in my lap, I take in His Word. I pray. I’m so glad to meet with Jesus.
Throughout the day I read other little things, and we have moments as a family where we get into the Word. My next blog post will be about family Christmas devotions.
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
I looked closer, reading carefully.
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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In the moment of wrestling all goes silent. Still battling – still baited breath – warring. waiting. watching.
Here I am right before the battle ends. Right before the Victor conquers. Come on. Come through.
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 —
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
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.