Monday, 25 November 2013

Never Enough

Foster care in a word is:
humbling.
Now that doesn't say a lot does it?
I mean I could say that about a great many things couldn't I?
Marriage.
Parenting.
Friendships.
Working a job you don't really like.
Having a friend you don't really like.
This list is long and could go on.
And there are these things in our lives that, perhaps, rib us a little more in the area of that great, smallish word:
humility.
 
And as we walk this trodden path through foster care,
I am constantly,
and completely,
being humbled.
And it's hard.
And messy.
And sort of like nothing I've ever experienced before in my life.
 
And as I put my three year old to bed and he says,
"hug n kiss mommy"
I think what we mothers of children think often,
"I am a terrible mother."
Because do you know how many people have asked how in the world we can give
our own children the attention they deserve with
three more children in the house?
And sometimes I don't have an answer.
Because here is the truth sisters:
 
How ever much we give and give, it will never be enough.
 
We will never be enough.
We can never give enough attention.
We can never kiss enough boo-boos.
We can never hug enough.
We can never give enough good night kisses.
We cannot fill what we were not meant to fill.
And you know what?
I used to think that I could.
 
I used to think that I could fill all the empty places...
give enough attention...
tend to every need...
every care...
every want,
desire even.
Really, I did.
And maybe that sounds a little silly to you.
 
But there is something inside of all of us that cries out desperately for
MORE!
More attention.
More affection.
More care.
More concern.
We. Want. More.
 
You would think that if we were filled we wouldn't long for more.
But we do.
I know I do.
 
And last night as the tears rolled off the tip of my nose,
I was reminded of this magnificent truth.
Of course I will never be enough.
Not to 4 children.
Not to 7 children.
Of course I can't fill them up always.
That is not what I was designed to do.
There is only One who is able to do that.
Only One.
 
And I am not He.
I am merely here to point them to Him.
To Jesus.
The One who can give enough attention,
care,
love, and concern.
 
And if I was enough?
What would they need him for?
 
So tonight.
The kids pile on up.
We sing In Christ Alone.
Read the Storybook Bible.
And sing 10,000 Reasons for good measure.
And one boy asks to sing them all again.
And I smile and wink
 at the quiet, handsome boy in the papasan chair.
He smiles back.
He knows He is loved.
And I don't have to be enough.
Because Jesus always will be.
 
 


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Oh, I need You

 
I get off the phone with an acquaintance and they thank me for telling me that we are praying for them. That seriously we are praying for them.
Daily.
 And they say thank you....I NEED IT! My reply? Well, some of us walk around thinking that prayer is something for when your house is set on fire (literally and figuratively) and for others of us it is a ever present reality that we would not survive the next minute with out prayer.
 
But isn't it true?
My very own words convict.
 Oh, how I would learn to live what I speak.
Grace upon grace and it is a slow process isn't it?
 
So here I am again. Taking up a challenge to read the Word, and memorise a little too. And though things are a little hectic, to think of another to bless...outside my immediate family. And to pray.
A lot more.
 
This is not a list. NO, because I could merely whisper the words to "As the Deer" this morning in church, the weight heavy for not being as that deer.
Ever. 
So I certainly do not a list of things to check off. and I can almost be 100% certain you do not either.
 
Rather this is a pleading to the Father to know Him better, to depend on Him alone, to trust in His Son daily...for help to look to him even in the most mundane. Because even if life is smooth sailing for you right now, the storm will come... it's only a matter of time and the ever present reality will again be our need for Jesus: the One who controls the greatest of storms.
 
 


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Overwhelmed

It has been a long while hasn't it dear friends? A forced sabbatical of sorts. More like me not really knowing how to manage time properly. Or perhaps it is the sheer thought of putting pen to paper or typing out what is really going on that is just so very overwhelming that really, the thought of it all gives me writers block.

 Where to start? What to say? And does anyone really care. Thing is, I don't really know. Seriously, I don't know an answer to any of those questions. And maybe there are just parts of our life that I want to keep off of this blogosphere...or maybe not. Again, I just don't know. I keep thinking that it is going to come to me. That I will know exactly what to write and how to explain why in the world we would take in three foster children while having four of our own.

My sister teases me by saying that I will turn out to be the old woman who lived in a shoe. If I believed in modern prophecy, I would call her a prophetess. No, I don't live in a shoe, but sometimes the laundry room does smell a bit like dirty shoes. I have no idea how such small feet can produce such odors, but they sure do!

What I do know for sure is that I love to write. I also know that many of you are encouraged in the Lord by what I pen here. So all fourteen of you that actually read what is written here on a regular basis, I did want to take a "free" moment and say I'm praying about how to continue on here. You see, I'm trying to figure all of this out. And I know that there is no possible way that I will get it all figured out, but there are some things that I just am not willing to give up. So here is to fighting for moments to share my ramblings....so just stay tuned, friends.



Sunday, 21 July 2013

Just Me

I steal a few moments away by myself.
 Alone.
 Just me.
So I drive down to the weekly farmer's market to buy some peaches
and romaine lettuce.
Yes, my mother would be proud.
 
 
 
The seagulls are screeching.
The lake is glistening against the sun's radiance.
I smile and stumble along,
almost feeling out of place with out the
7 tag-a-longs.
(I said almost)
 
 
Just me,
thinking about how special this place is.
And how Good the Lord is.
How faithful He is to provide.
And how really,
I love it here.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Too Long

It's been too long. Me sitting down to plunk away. I did twice last week, I mean. And now that I sit down for a time, while the house is quiet at the same time, I can't find what I wrote. I did save them, both of them I promise that I did, but now they're gone. Poof! Forever, they are in computer land, or wherever they go when you loose something via the Internet. And now? I got nothing....

So, instead of writing, I think I will share some of the last few weeks in pictures for you to enjoy. There is just so much to say...I just don't know where to begin. Remember, as always, God is good, faithful, kind and long suffering. There is always something to be thankful for....


Like the water table...
 
 
 

and the baby who LOVES it.
 
 
 
A boat ride with our sweet Grandmommy...
 
 
 
that helped me see this place we call home...from a different angle.
Love that!
 
 
 
This man. And this boy.
 
 
These ladies.
Thank you Grandmommy for sharing a week with us!
 
 
And, Oh! The cool things you can do with PicMonkey photo shop...
 
 
and then there's the one in a thousand photo that I take that doesn't need it.
Surprise!
 
 
 
Did is say this boy?
Yes?
Yes, yes, I did...
 
 
And these 7 silly kiddos.
 


 
 

 
Family.


Monday, 10 June 2013

The Beauty

Often when I peek through my camera lens I am looking, searching for the beauty. Often times, it seems that for that kind of beauty, I have to look beyond what is right in front of my eyes...beyond what I am tempted to focus on.


And sometimes that beauty is just a glimpse.
 
And right in front of my eyes. All at the same time.
 


And sometimes it's walking right in front of me: water bottle in hand, camera slung over her shoulder. Chatting with my girl.

And if you don't get catch it, right then...you miss it.



This beauty, she came and washed dishes, hugged grand kids, did 35 loads of laundry (at least), brought me coffee in the mornings, told my kids they are special, loved the ones that are called fostered like they were her own, let me borrow her husband for a couple of projects around the house, laughed hard and long, told me what I needed to hear and said, "you are doing well" as I wept before she left.

For this beauty and for these I am thankful:

882. A mom who comes and enters in the mess: takes a deep breath and helps.
883. Realising there is nothing you can ever do to pay your mother back...and knowing she would never want to be.
884. 21st century surgery and one little girl and our BIG God who truly is amazing. Thank you for all of you who prayed for Evi she is doing so well.
885. Jesus. I see him working in our daughter's heart to know what it is to love in an agape like way.
886. travel mercies for our dear friends!
887. the trees! they're budding! finally!!!!
888. the gift of today. And the hope of forever.
889. little boys pushing plastic lawn mowers
890. The man that finally loves my mother for all that she is.


Monday, 3 June 2013

One Year in 40 Seconds

I was watching this video on YouTube today as I was sampling one of Amanda Bennett's Download-N-Go Unit Studies. My kids love them. I love them. And I love that here is actually one thing in this world at we all love (ok maybe there is more like 3 things but that may be pushing it a little) b/c they are actually learning something that they love. So we are all feelin' the love so much  that we might pick out a couple in our spring-like summer up here in the UP to do together.


And as I sat down to plunk away, still I was thinking about this video and how much like this wispy life feels like it is flying by....flying by just like what you see here (cept in the UP, well it would be confusing b/c half the video would be covered in wintry snow) And it is isn't it? That our lives are but a vaper and I am constantly trying to grab hold of something that I can't take hold of. Time keeps going and I keep grasping.

I always thought this was so cleshe' and only something "old" people say, but it is entirely true and I just want to enjoy the whole messy thing.  Oh, how I fail at this. In fact F parenting, really it sneaks up on me more than I would like to admit. But our God? He is so good. And so patient. And so long suffering. Kind, gracious, abounding in mercy He is. And I thank Him today for these gifts:

875. the laundry fairy brought her handy man with her on this visit. What a blessing they both are!
876. the husband who loves my mom for all that she is...finally...
877. for today
878. a praying friend, bringing me meals...still. So thankfull!
879. our washer and dryer
880. the new safe attic/playroom for all the kiddos...
881. a God who cares even that a girl has a Shadow Buddie to take with her this week for heart
surgery

Still memorising part of Eph. 6. Are you with me???!!! Two weeks to memorize Eph. 6:11. I keep telling myself if the 5 year olds can do it...so can I...

Monday, 20 May 2013

Today

Today was that day. You know the one. The one where if there was a grading scale for parenting you would give yourself an F in mothering (or life in general.) And for those of you that are hollering at your computer, "Oh, Kari you're always too hard on yourself!" well, today that is just not true. Today, it just is the plain, ugly truth.

And these days? We all have them don't we?

There were many a time where I thought, "you know they are not going to be here forever...." and then just went on being an F parent. And here is the thing that I have found to be most true when this happens. My focus is myself. My focus is my circumstances. My focus is on what others are doing or not doing. My focus is on what others may think of me. My focus certainly is not Christ. And the brutal, honest truth is that today...this very day... I didn't want it to be.

There must be a reason that many times, I find in the Word, (as I told my daughter today...again) that faith is a fight for joy. It is an ugly battle and that is why we must be armed well according to Ephesians 6. And today, sadly, I just chose not to be.

The very same battle that wages war against my children rages inside of me and you know what? I am thankful for days like today because perhaps I would (or maybe I know I would) go get a big head and such about how easy this all is and forget that the struggle that they are having is just as real in them as it is in me....it's just I'm a little more practised at it.... and yet, I still fail.

Thank you Father that when days like today come, and they will again, that I can come to you because there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you that I can confess that I was an F parent, and ask you to fill me up again for the thousandth time today...and you will. Thank you for your Word. Thank you that I am not left to myself...that I don't have to figure this all our myself, but you have given me a guide in your Word...in your Spirit written Word. Thank you Lord for these blessings too:

866. hard days, good hard days
867. a daughter who says sorry, who desires forgiveness and a mom who needs it too
868. an honest son with a kind heart
869. a visit from my mother and father...soon and very soon
870. a God who places us just where we need to be to get done what we need to get done in the place it needs to get done
871. a tired husband who gives one last kiss goodnight
872. the quiet house, finally quiet....
873. being reminded what a good teacher really is
874. this wonderfully, hard thing called motherhood

Thank you friends, for being patient with me as we are in a busy season of our lives. I do want to let you know that I am putting aside the Fighter Verses for now because I am memorising Eph. 6: 10-18 over the next 16 weeks in the summer with our Sunday School class. Join me if you want. If not I will hunt you down, er I mean that's ok too. ;0) We are starting with Eph. 6:10 and will be memorizing this one for the next 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks...totally doable right????

Sunday, 12 May 2013

She is Called Mother

Sometimes all you can do is open your hands, receive the gift....and say thank you.
Sometimes thank you is all you have to give...and not even in the form of a card.
Just a hug, a meagre smile and a thank you.

A thank you to the friend that showed up weeks before the move.
Told you what to organise where and when.
And then showed up those weeks and packed like a maniac.
And unloaded and unpacked and positioned couches and worked it all out lovely in her mind.
Oh, and she's teaching you to garden.
Oh, and she's homeschooling one...and teaching art too.
But there she is helping you...still.
She is called mother.
And all you have is thank you.

A thank you to the dear one who brought you meals the two days it took you to move in.
And enough to eat later for left overs.
She has been on her knees and prayed for you.
She took your fire and ice boy for a night and kept the littlest one too though she had 3 at home too.
She teaches with her life and her lips.
She is a wonder.
She is called mother.
And all you have is thank you.

A thank you to the one still bringing meals.
Who is a women who knows your inmost battles.
And is after the Lord with her whole heart.
She calls, e-mails, encourages, prays and prays and prays.
Hers are grown.
She has grands.
She is called mother.
And all I have is thank you.

A thank you to those friends and family that check in.
They call though you don't have the time now to call or back.
Those ones that you know pray though you don't talk every single day or often even.
They love.
They support.
They are called mother too, well most of them.
And all you have is thank you.

Oh, and the one who gave you life.
Who remembered that you were life.
And though circumstances were not all that she wanted them to be...
She gave you life anyway.
And she trusted that you were His.
That He would save you in His time.
She waited.
She watched.
She trusted.
She's your mother.
And you can never repay her. Ever.
And thank you just will never be enough.


The weight of grace can be heavy when you believe it must be paid back.
The freedom of grace is humbling when you realise that you never can, nor will, nor even want to.
It is given.
And it is taken.
It is a gift.
Never to be repaid.
 
So today, mother-friends of mine.
Know that I see you.
Your struggle.
Your pain.
Your laughing eyes.
Your love for our Savior.
And though a million thank yous can never be enough.
Jesus is.
He surly is.
 
 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Motherhood and Slippery Fish

Describing motherhood is a bit like catching a slippery fish don't you think? I mean it's hard to get a hold of and certainly hard to describe in words that are adequate. It is a job that I always thought that I was fit for...that is until #1 made her grand entrance and well then it was soon after I realised that changing diapers and holding crying babies at my mom's daycare all those years didn't add up to wisdom. Preparation? Yes. Wisdom? Nope.

And so as we celebrated our fourth turning three at the circus and all that entails, I realise that it is in the letting go of expectations (you know those silly ones we keep hidden in our hearts) that has helped this unprepared girl along the way. Babies cry. They don't sleep. Toddlers whine because they don't get the $15 light up toy. Big ones moan because they have to wait and well, "we NEVER get cotton candy!!"

 And there was a day when I couldn't really enjoy being with them because they were not meeting my expectations of perfection in my head...and maybe my heart a little. Ok, a lot. Yes, those. The ones where we expect babies not the melt down. And to sleep. And not to whine about not getting the outrageous toy that will break in 1.0 sec. flat. Oh, and those biggs....they SHOULD KNOW not to whine too. Yes, those.

Oh, and those expectations? They really are more about me aren't they? When the baby whines and the mother's stare, I think I feel the judgement (or a least that is how it feels doesn't it?)  And no, I'm not saying not to teach, or admonish, or discipline...please hear me because those are most important. Most important! Yes, they are. I am not saying that to enjoy your kids you just need to endure whining and tolerate disobedience. What I am saying is that all too often, I make motherhood about me...instead about Christ. Because truly to enjoy my kids I have to say to myself at least 20 migillion, gazillion (yes, it's a number...Koen says so) times that "but for the Lord, Kari Jo...but for the Lord there go I whining about that new skirt that I want but can't buy right now....etc."

So as this fourth grows up into our mighty warrior, this Momma is too...albeit slower than even he...fighting her way through this battle of faith, clinging to the One who fills her up with his Spirit to walk this wondering, wispy life with these 4 and enjoy it all along the way....

 
859. this gift: our Mighty Warrior
860. 3 years with him
861. waiting for spring. still.
862. 60 degree weather and sunshine. no snow!
863. the peace the passes all understanding. knowing this is just what God has for us now.
864. windy days at the park
865. grace, upon grace, upon grace, upon grace...friends of mine...

And as the weeks have come in gone since the move, as some other changes in our home too, I regretfully confess to you that I am wwwaaayyy behind in our fighter verses, but am committed to picking it up again this week. It is necessary....not just a have to, but necessary. Will you join me this week? Find the verse here, friends and have a lovely week!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Springish

Sitting here, sunshine glowing through the curtain, Wreck It Ralph playing in the background and trying not to freak out about all that needs to get done before move day. So things will be quiet a bit around here for awhile...maybe a few weeks even...but that's good....breaks are good. I do hope your celebration of our risen Lord was lovely. And as spring blows in soft breaths of fresh air (or the hope of spring if you're a Yooper!), dear friends, may the Light of the World shine hard-bright into your hearts, showing you His truth.
 
 
 
And of course this list that keeps. on. growing.:
 
852. a church family willing to always, always help
853. seeing God at work...and the face of people who are just blown. away.
854. celebrating a RISEN Savior
855. a pastor and his wife fixing, serving his flock breakfast
856. empty walls...full boxes
857. kind friends
858. excited for spring...having a hard time waiting....
 
One last thing. Just want to post the link to this weeks verse. I do hope you're taking the time to hide the Word in your hearts. Praying for grace here!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

This Easter Weekend: some thoughts about Jesus

Reading through the Bible is not for the faint of heart. This, a journey of a thousand miles in words no doubt. I think I've said this before. Yes, I'm pretty sure that I have. Then again, I do get to passages like this one in Isaiah 53 and I am reminded...again why I'm doing this. To know God. To know His heart. And to know what is exactly in the Bible though I might not understand every jot and tittle.

 Here are some of the parts of Isaiah 53 verses 5-7.

But He was [h]pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our [i]well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To [j]fall on Him.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

Did you know that at the time of the writing of Isaiah that crucifixion had not even been "invented" yet? Did you know that the word excruciating means, "from the cross"? The cross was such a terrible experience that a word had to be made up to describe it.

And here verses 8 and 9: 
 
By oppression and judgement He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the [k]living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
 
You see there is no such thing as blind faith. If you look at the whole of Scripture, you will find a complete story from the very beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation and the whole of the text points to Jesus! Did you know that According to the Scriptures:
 
~ Isaiah 7:14 says that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 1:23)
 
~ Micah 5:2 states the the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 2:5-6)
 
~ A forerunner would prepare the way for the Messiah according to Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1. (fulfilled in John the Baptist Luke 2:3-6)
 
~ Isaiah also states in chapters 29:18-19 and 34:4-6 that the Messiah will heal the blind and do great Miracles. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 11:5)
 
~The Messiah will humbly present himself riding on a donkey in Zechariah 9:9. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 21:4-5 and John 12:15)
 
~Zechariah 11:12-13 says that the Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt.26:15, 27:9-10)
 
~ The Messiah would die for the sins of everyone is stated in 53: 5-9. (fulfilled in Jesus John 1:29, 1 Cor. 15:3)
 
~The Messiah would rise from the dead and not see decay stated in Psalm 16:10. (fulfilled in Jesus Acts 2: 31-32, 1 Cor. 15:4)
 
Scholars estimate that Jesus fulfilled about 300 Old Testament prophesies. The odds of a person fulfilling just 8 of these prophecies (as seen here by Jesus) that the mathematical probability of this is one in 10 to the 17th power. Now you all know I'm not so good at math, but that is a 10 with 17 zeros. That's a lot of zeros! The equivalent of this would be to fill the state of Texas with silver dollars, mark one of them with an X and then mix thoroughly. The odds of having a blindfolded man pick out the X marked silver dollar is the same as 10 to the 17th power. Jesus didn't just fufill a mere 8, he fulfilled hundreds of them and maybe this is why reading through the Old Testament has firmed up my faith.
 
Yes, there are things that I just don't understand culturally, or even things God has decided to do that I think seem unfair. But at the end of the day the question always is, what do I do with Jesus? Because if he is who he says he is...then that radically changes every. single. thing. in my entire life.
 
Which reminds me of one of CS Lewis' most famous quotes:
 
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
~from Mere Christianity
 
I encourage you, dear readers to look for yourself...to ponder...to question this Easter weekend. Who is this Jesus? Read through Isaiah 53. Read through a gospel book (Matt., Mark, Luke or John) and parallel what was said hundred years before. This is no blind faith!
 
Because there came a time in my life where the very nature of this question was scary because though I had grown up in a Christian family, I merely knew the answers to the most basic questions in my head.  What I didn't have was a changed heart. I didn't know why I thought I believed what I believed. And that is exactly what Jesus came here to do....die a bloody, wretched death on the cross so that we might know life, freedom, and joy in Him....so that he can change our hearts of stone....into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 26:36).
 
 
joy
life
faith
hope
grace
mercy
all
found in the
One
found on the
cross
found in
Him
who rose from the dead
on the third day
proving himself God.
 
Happy Easter, friends.
 
**A special thank you to Pastor Dwight Oswald at Southview Bible Church who basically let me plagiarise a tract that he made. Thank you for grace, Dwight!**
 
 

 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Washing Feet

 
 
John 13: 4-6
so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
 
 
 
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
 
And just let me tell you, this girl, she feels a little like Simon Peter when getting her feet washed. Prideful, then humbled to have someone you love dearly wash your stinky feet. For some reason it is easier to do the washing. I imagine Peter's feelings are magnified by a thousand.
 
 
And for us, it's like a fun game. A picture lesson to remember. Our feelings a mere flash in comparison to His and those he loved that night. All that he knew. The betrayal. The abandonment. And in spite of it all, he bends low and takes the form of the lowest servant.
 
 
And when this girl, she asks, "Whose feet will I wash?" Her momma looks her in the eye and says, "Your brother, Hunter." Her wide eyes tell it all and her mouth hangs open a bit. Because isn't it hard to wash the feet of those whom we have the hardest time...those who are the most different than us?
 
 
But that Hunter boy, he just smiles, like he was made to wash his sister's feet. He doesn't mind a bit. Maybe he's just a boy...maybe, though, it's special grace from him to her.
 
 
And the littlest, he gets a little help from sister. And this is all a little lost in our Western American culture because we drive cars and wear shoes (praise the Lord for shoes!). And still, there is something about bending low...about washing the feet of someone that you love....about serving them in this way, that helps one realise what Jesus was saying here in John:
 
I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. - John 13:14-15
 
Jesus is saying serve one another, as I have served you. What a high, hard and holy calling friends!
 
 
 
**Want some great Easter activities to do with your kiddos like the one shown here today? Jessica over at Our Family for His Glory has put together a plethora of wonderful ideas. Go there and check it out!***
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 25 March 2013

What kind of Love is this?

There are these faint voices that echo with in the direction of my past. They whisper and taunt me to remember who I was. They pop up in dreams and implore me to reconsider who I really am now in light of who I was then. Oh, not to worry, these are not real voices, no I don't need to be locked away somewhere in a padded room. What I hear are merely the soft voices of faded memories I wish I did not have.

As I lie awake this morning not despairing, rather clinging to who I am now...right now in Christ...my mind tumbles around this idea of love and what kind of Love I'm putting my trust in.  What kind of love is true? Is this love any different than what I used to think it was when I was younger and had all the answers?

"I think people really find out what love is after they get married," I tell my Love a few weeks ago, near Valentine's day. He smiles and agrees and tells me that he does love me...now, right now.




So many times people think they fall out of love (as if it's something you fall into in the first place) after they become one and why is that?  I mean it seems so backwards. This thinking that we know what love is after we say, I do. All these swooping feelings wrapping us up daily with this person and we marry, becoming one, and something happens a few years down the rocky road and we think that since those feelings have changed that maybe....just maybe we fell out of it. Love, I mean. Wouldn't love get easier as time goes on?

And believe me, buying into this lie: that love is a feeling and it only feels good, it comes at a high price. Lets just say feelings are not a solid foundation for anything, much less a relationship that is to last a life time. Lets just say that building a solid foundation for anything must start with what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is admirable...these things we are (in Phil. 4) instructed to "think" on...not to feel on. So much of my time is wasted still, thinking on things that are not true. Here is a good example of this from my own life. We will call it the:

"if my husband loved/respected me he would list"
 
~change the baby's diaper more
~wake up with me to feed the baby (as if I'm nursing he can do anything anyway, but look tired)
~do the dishes
~read my mind when I need something from him so I don't have to ask (this ones my very favorite)
~pick up his socks off the floor
~help with the dishes
~read with the kids out of the Bible more
etc.
etc.
etc.

And it could go on....and on. This list of things that at one time or another in my life would make me feel loved by the one I call Love. Oh, but hear me on this one friend would you?

Hear me when I say that my husband could do every. single. thing. right...he could do every. single. thing on that silly list and I would still have this ache inside my heart that would not feel loved.

 
 
Because, my dear readers, love is not something that we fall into and it certainly cannot be filled by another sinner (especially that one that lives with you day in and day out)...it is a gift to be given. And sometimes...sometimes gifts are not well taken care of. Oh, usually at first they are. Usually, they are precious in our eyes, those gifts are at first, but after a good amount of time, many times they just become very familiar.
 
And maybe that is why when Jesus went back home to Nazareth, back to where things were familiar, people just couldn't believe. I mean, this was Jesus. The carpenter's son. Jesus, Mary's son (and we all know what a scandal her pregnancy was right?) They were familiar with him. They didn't, they couldn't see the gift that he was.

And so it is with the love that we give...and give...and give again. It is precious. Then oddly it becomes routine and familiar and we believe that somehow because it doesn't feel the same that perhaps it really was not love in the first place. But I am here to tell you friends, that when you don't feel loving, when it is anger that you feel most of the time....when that mushy, gushy feeling is all but expired two years ago at least....then is your chance to know true love. It is your chance to show true love.

This love says:
 
~if I need help I will ask (even if I think the covenant of marriage magically makes you a mind reader)
~I will pray that my Love become the leader of our home and will diligently read the Word with our children
~realise that, yes, I am nursing so it is pointless to have 2 sloppy, tired adults in the home and napping is a girl's best friend 
~sees socks on the floor as a way to serve and rememeber (like yo momma always told ya) that if socks are my biggest problem, really I have none
~asks for help with things like the dishes, especially from those 4 not-so-little-anymore kids of ours

etc.
etc.
etc.

In every point, in every circumstance that Jesus was in he chose what was hard including and especially, the cross. I mean there are not a whole lot of people in my life that I could choose to die for. And yet, this God-man, he up and died for not only the ones who loved him, but those who vilified him most of all. When you know this kind of love, then you are able to give this kind of love. Perfectly? Never, not this side of heaven, at least. But imperfectly? Yes!

In light of the grand story of Easter and all that kind of love entails, I am reminded that my love is to be a mere reflection of His love. As imperfectly as my love is shown, I do realise that with out knowing His love, I am unable to give the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. 

And this task... it is hard. I do not mean to make light of it because it can be and is terribly hard for many. So as you think on these things this week, please remember what is true...to think on these things, and the feeling may follow. And even if they never do, friends this promise is still forever true: that the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4: 6-9). Amen and Amen!


Here's to naming more of these gracious gifts:

841. a love that never fails
842. a love that is always true
843. a love that always hopes
844. a love that always sees the best in others
845. a love that extends grace always, always
846. a love that overflows that ache in my heart that no man can ever fill
847. the one I call Love: and that great work that the Lord continues to do in his heart
848. and all the time he's been spending in the Word and sharing it with our 4
849. a friend who came twice in a week to help organise and pack and listen and share life with me
850. an unexpected, encouraging e-mail
851. a love that rose again...on the third day...conquering death!

And speaking of gifts....did you all get to see the Compassion gift results??!! Just click here and check it out. It really is pretty AHHHHmazing! I was blown away, truly I was....and excited to see all that was done in Jesus' name.

Oh and one more thing. How is your memorising going? Me? Meh. Which can be translated so-so. But I will continue to press on. Though I miss a week (or two), I will ask for the grace to memorise this week's verse. Will you press with me? This weeks verse, here friends, giving us even more truth to "think on" this week!




Friday, 22 March 2013

So Good: FridayFavs!

Learning to Garden.
Yes, we are excited!
 

With friends.
This is the best way, I think.
 

 
Getting our hands dirty.
Just a little anyway.
 
 
Starting small.
Very small.
This is good too.

 
And this guy.
Finally, all of us
well enough to celebrate his
big day.
 
 
 
With friends
and
a light sabor pull apart cake
some
special presants
and
all the rest of it.

 
So good.
 
 
 

friday favorite things | finding joy

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Honorable Counsellor


We named you Koen and prayed and hoped that you would grow into your name: honorable counsellor. Then you came into this world all screams and me all laughter kissing your Father thinking, "I can't believe I just did that!!!" Accidentally natural. Yes, it happens.

 And I thought soon after, that perhaps, we messed the whole thing up. Maybe the naysayers were right. Maybe we had the "perfect" family...one boy, one girl. Maybe three was too much for me. Maybe there was not enough love in this momma's heart. Maybe we were just too far from home.  You cried and I think I cried more... if that is even possible. And we lived through that whole messy year crying bold, round, drippy tears together in Germany. No family around. No true friends that very first year. Just the 5 of us: one. big. mess. Together.



Oh, and can I just say, son? That for every tear I cried, I have laughed out loud twice as hard. I smile just thinking of that girl those 5 short years ago and think, "Oh, you silly, silly girl!"  There will always be naysayers, but God is bigger, stronger, mightier...so we must look to Him...to His ways. They are always, always, always infinitely better.

It is quite possible that you are just the miracle that this family needed. Two kids into this thing and I thought maybe I knew something and you know what?! A mother always has something to learn and God? He is in the education business. He knew, he knows, just what we need and always gives accordingly. And yes, the very grace necessary at the very moment to deal with that which is given right along side the gift.



You, son are the very music of this family. A bright spot in this very dark world and may your life always point to the brightest spot of all. The One who showers us with goodness and mercy all the days of our lives. Yes, Jesus. May you know him in the most intimate of ways. To know the Honorable Counsellor is the only way to give honorable counsel.


Thank you Father for these gifts:

840. This fire and ice boy of ours named Koen, turned 5 today
841. Birthday lunch at Culvers. Yes, we tried to get him to broaden his horizons to no avail. ;)
842. 5 min. cake in a cup
843. my Love, asking me to read together
844. remembering Who I am in Christ, not a failure though some days feel that way
845. one boy, with his new red DS, SUPER wide eyed with excitement
846. thinking about children growing makes me sad, scared, excited....

And Friends, this weeks verse can be found here pointing us to the one, great Honorable Counsellor.


Friday, 8 March 2013

One. More. Time: FridayFavs!

So as you very well may know,
up in Yooperville,
it does A LOT of
this.
 
 
So we do things
like this.
 
 
Oh, yeah!

 
And doing these things
well, it means that
lunch may be a little late because
that darn tape just won't stick right
And
"Mom, I need your help!!!!"
And
though you think the 8 year old
should be able to do this alone
perhaps, he needs you to show him
one.
more.
time.
 
And alas,
most of us just need
one.
more.
time.
All the time
Like, daily.
 
And
Just so you know.
Sister kept "score."
And
made all the "rules."
Yes, she's good like that.
 
Love them.
All of them.
All the time
 
 
 

friday favorite things | finding joy

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Unfaithful

I'm doing it again.
That thing.
When I say I'm going to do something.
And then I don't.
I think it's called being...
unfaithful.
 
And well, that is something
that I
just don't want to be.
 
And so,
here I am.
Again.
Desiring to be faithful to
memorise God's Word.
 
Because really,
on every basic level
I.
Need.
To.
Just do it.
 
Just take the time.
And do it.
 
It takes time.
But so does checking my email.
And blogging.
And playing Words With Friends.
And watching Downton Abby.
And scrolling through Facebook.
And...
And...
And...
 
And none of these are bad things, really.
But if they are substituting
for what is really necessary.
For what is needed.
And not just wanted.
I will starve
spiritually speaking.
 
And how can I know the
the promises I'm rooted in.
The will of my Father.
The law of Love.
And of Liberty.
How can I know truly,
who He is
if I don't know His
unfailing Word?
 
 
And when will I desire the Word
more than I desire the fleetings
of this world?!
 
Thank you God for
Grace.
Grace, overflowing
and
long-suffering.
Grace.
 
God's
Riches
At
Christ's
Expense.
 
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~Phil 3:12-16
 
 
This weeks verse here, friends.
Join me if you will.
 
And this list keeps building, yes it does!
828. last Upward practise and squirmy, giggling girls
829. sleeping children
830. possibilities
831. looking forward to our move into "town" :)
832. tea with friends soon!
833. a friend's voice mail...always makes me smile...and a bit sad
834. the best is yet to be
835. toothpaste
836. a friend who teaches my kids art, and to garden. thank you!
837. Jordynn's hair is long and lovely
838. My Love snuggling up tight with a little love snoozing away while I plunk away
839. my step-dad, Ron who will be celebrating his b-day this very week. So. ThankFULL for him. :)