Wednesday, December 11, 2013


this year we are trying a new thing as a family and celebrating advent with candles and all. now, we don't have a wreath, but we have pretty homemade candles the boys made me last year for christmas, and we light them as we are going through a family advent plan once a week leading up to christmas eve.

i have done advent bible reading plans for each day of december in the past, and got a lot out of it centering my heart on Jesus during a time that could either be full of worship for His coming and anticipation of His second coming or full of stress and pressure. this year i wanted to do something that involved the kids in centering our hearts as a family.

advent simply means coming or waiting. we celebrate Jesus' first coming. we wait for Jesus' second coming. if christmas becomes about gifts, or traditions, or stuff (either in the having or the lack), we have really missed the point.

with all that i have been through this past year, i wait and eagerly anticipate His second coming more than ever. this is not escapism. this is what Jesus told the apostles to preach to all the world - that there is forgiveness for sin with repentance, and to have faith in the day when He will come again and make all things right. so, i set my gaze and my hopes this christmas on true hope - His return.

bless you and your family this season!

oh come, oh come Emmanuel!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

what is hope?

i hear a lot of talk these days about hope. our president ran on the theme of "hope" and "change." the church has picked up the baton, not to be outdone by the political rhetoric, and shouts out, "there is hope in Jesus! you can have hope!"

the only problem is, both the world and the church seem to promise that this hope is anchored in our circumstances changing and somehow life getting better, easier, and more secure now, or at least very soon.

i like the sound of this as much as anyone else. i have had a hard year and a half, quite possibly the hardest of my entire life. there were prayers that i prayed that weren't answered the way i had hoped. and if i am not careful, i could easily slip into accusation against God for being the One to cause "hope deferred that makes the heart sick." i had wanted horrible circumstances to change now, and had even come to the Lord asking for that change.

but the danger of the message that hope is anchored in change of circumstances, and linking that to hope in God, is when things don't change, when the worst possible outcome of a terrible situation comes true, our faith is left shaken.

true biblical Hope is so different than the insecure ground of just desiring our circumstances to change.

praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. in this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. these have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 peter 1:3-9

our Hope is always to be anchored in the return of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. our living Hope is not that things will change now, but that He is resurrected and will resurrect our bodies too and give us an inheritance that will never be taken away. sometimes circumstances do get better. sometimes miracles do happen. these are meant to point us to the day when He restores all things that were lost or taken, and that day is when He returns. these wonderful answers to prayer are never to anchor our hope in now. the bible is clear that all our Hope is to be placed in our beautiful Savior coming for us. maybe our misplaced hope is the reason why the Spirit and the bride are not calling out in a unified cry, "come!"

so if you are battling fear right now, if you feel like your hands are not cut out for the task before you, and your knees maybe giving out from under you from all the pressure and pain in your life, listen carefully to what i have to say:

be strong.

do not fear.

your God will come.

He will come with vengeance.

With divine retribution He will come to save you.
(isaiah 35:4-5)

this you can count on.

in this world we will suffer great tribulations. we will be wronged by other people, we will experience grief and heartache, and we will feel loss in the deepest sense of the word.

right now, you may be experiencing more pain that you even thought possible, crying more tears than you thought humanly possible to cry. He will not leave you as an orphan. He promised He would come back and make the wrong things right, and He will. not only will be return all that was stolen, but He will even raise up the bodies that sickness, disease, and death sought to destroy. every wrong will be made right. 

we cry out for God to do the miracles now, and rejoice when they do come. but regardless of if they come now or not, we keep our Hope set on His return.

and He. will. come.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

simple woman's daybook 10.9.13

for today:

outside my window... it is a beautiful fall day. the trees are just starting to turn their warm red and golden tones, but still have patches of green intermingled. the wind is biting though. i had a dream last night that the wind was going to stay. let's hope that isn't a God dream.

i am thinking... about so many things. i haven't blogged for so long. i am sorry friends. it has been one of those seasons when i just needed to step back and be silent. i needed to write in the paper journal sitting by my bed. i needed to process without any friends reading over my shoulder. i have missed this space though.

i am thankful... for the Lord's faithful provision towards us. we had a very hard couple months - some of our hardest since we started living on missionary support 4 years ago. i have to say that i had very hard days when i wanted to doubt the Lord's ability to provide for us. so immature of me. He still came through, even with my threatening doubts, and has been so merciful and kind to even take care of the things on my heart. i am so thankful today that His goodness has nothing to do with me. He is who He is and i get to benefit from that reality.

remembering... my dad. i have been remembering him a lot. so much of him that i am missing right now.

from the learning rooms... we have survived our 1st month of homeschooling. it has been quite the adventure. with 5 kids, i just have the littlest 2 along for the ride without doing any specific activities for them besides their own drawing pads. i just can't plan and manage one more thing right now. we are making it. i have so much more in my heart i wish we could do, but i think we are at least learning and becoming closer to each other, which is good.

from the kitchen... even though this is my favorite season for the kitchen, i haven't been motivated to cook or bake much. i have made granola for an easy breakfast lately. i love honey, maple syrup, molasses, good butter, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and big chunks of coconut in mine.
i am wearing... a light grey short sleeved turtleneck chunky sweater, dark jeans, gray sweater boots, and my hair up in a back knot.

i am creating... some christmas gifts. if i am going to do homemade, i better get started or it just won't get done.

i am going... to go on a date with my hubby tonight. i love time with him one on one. i am such a quality time person, even more now with 5 kids than i was before kids. i am sure glad that i still like him as a friend even after being married 11.5 years.

i am reading... through isaiah again, and picked back up my intense isaiah study. i was about halfway through, so i am about done reviewing what i had done before and about to start in on going deep in the rest of the book. i just love this book. so rich. so deep. so full of hope.

i am hoping... that i can participate in the annual turkey trot here. i got out of the rhythm of running for several reasons, and am trying to get back into it with the cooler weather.

i am hearing... matt gilman's last set at the international house of prayer. did you know you can download your favorite sets now? i am so happy about that. this set is on july 3rd, 2013 if you want to look it up and listen to it yourself. so full of hope.

around the house...we are trying to switch out clothing sizes and seasons for the boys. one thing i am thankful for is i have been able to hold onto clothes that the older boys have grown out of to pass on. just a lot of work to go through the closets for 5 little boys to see what fits and what is the right season.
one of my favorite things... is the color of the trees during autumn. just gets me every year.

pondering... eternity. i mean, really, i am. i think the more i experience the pain of this age, the more i want to anchor my heart in the time when He wipes every tear away. there is so much that is so hard to understand right now. there is so much injustice that happens. there is so much loss and grief. i don't think it is escapism to long for Jesus' return even more when bad things happen. He is the Promised Seed that will reverse the curse of death forever, and take away all grief and pain.

a few plans for the rest of the week: we have a homeschool co-op we are part of on thursdays. it feels like a lot of work, since i have to mobilize all the troops to get there are also teach writing to a class full of kindergarteners and 1st graders. but my kids really enjoy it, so we do it. it has been worth it so far.

picture for the day:

go here to 5 minutes for faith to read a post i wrote a couple months ago and haven't been about to share here yet. it is on my thoughts on heaven anchoring my heart right now.

i am linked up with other lovely ladies at the simple woman's daybook.  


Friday, August 2, 2013

simple woman's daybook 8.2.13

for today:

outside my window... blue skies, a hot sun, and a light breeze blowing through the green leaves of the giant oak tree in the middle of our front yard (which saves us so much on energy costs in the hot summer months!).

i am thinking... about our new adventure of homeschooling that lies right around the corner! i am just starting to get excited about it, but still feel so not ready.

i am thankful... for the very full summer we have had with so much activities and laughing together. we have not been bored at all.

remembering... that it has been a month since i last blogged. sorry friends! wondering how this blogging adventure will mesh with the upcoming homeschooling adventure.

from the learning rooms... we joined in our library's summer reading program. the boys have loved earning prizes for reading. we read all of the original winnie the pooh stories out loud together this summer, and is was quite bonding to share a little of my childhood literature with my kids. you will find us quoting a. a. milne a lot around here now. :)

from the kitchen... i really try to not use the oven in the summer here. we frequently have days that are between 105-115... so adding oven heat inside just is no fun. we have eaten lots of salads, tons of stone fruit (that means peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, apriums, plouts, and cherries), and bbqing a lot to keep the heat of cooking outside. we also have been in this kick of this awesome yellow curry dish that i make on the stove top - not quite as much heat as the oven - and i crave it now. we are eating it about once a week. i took 3 different yellow curry ideas and made up my own version, which changes based on what is in our veggie box. let me tell you one thing: turnips are a surprise favorite in curry.
i am wearing... just some running shorts and a light weight cotton shirt. did i just go running? no. i wish! i haven't been able to get myself out of bed early enough to run before bill takes off for our prayer room in the mornings. i would be running at like 4:30-5am to make that happen, and that just is not happening folks.

i am creating... a pair of knit socks for myself. i made bill a pair of socks for christmas, and in this in between time of making gifts, i thought i would work on a little something for me.

i am going... to my son's t-ball game tonight. he is 5 and it is his first sport that he has played. he has spent lots of time watching his older brothers play sports, so it is especially fun for him to be the athlete this time.

i am reading... the book of the revelation of Jesus again in my bible time. it has been about a year since i last read it, and i felt the Lord prompting my heart that it was a good time to crack it open again.  

i am hoping... to participate in some local short races in about a month. which means... i need to find a time when it isn't too hot to run again.

i am hearing... the sounds of piano practice. music to this music mama's ears.

around the house... is a big old mess. i am serious. we had to do some work on our bathroom because we inherited a mold/moisture problem (our house was built in the 50's). we had to tear out some of the dry wall, put in a super duper bathroom fan, paint on some hard core mold and rust treatments... so it is truly a mess that has leaked out into almost every room of the house, as any house renovation seems to do.
one of my favorite things... is going swimming with my boys. 3 of the 5 are fully swimmers and the other two are quite eager. we have tried to be by water almost every day this summer.

pondering... how to make more hours in a day...

a few plans for the rest of the week: well, we have t-ball and then we hope to take the boys fishing up at mt. shasta for a family fishing day tomorrow. hopefully we can get some swimming in some time too. :)

picture for the day:

go here to 5 minutes for faith to read the story behind this picture. i usually share with you all when i write over there, but it has been so busy i never shared the link here.

i am linked up with other lovely ladies at the simple woman's daybook.  


Monday, June 24, 2013

a couple thoughts for a monday morning

do not call conspiracy
everything that these people call
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
the Lord Almighty is the One you are to regard as holy,
He is the One you are to fear,
He is the One you are to dread,
and He will be a sanctuary...
isaiah 8:12-14

here are a short couple thoughts for a monday morning. mondays are the mornings when i work on our family finances. i never planned on being the finance person in our family... it just worked out that way. if i had the choice, i would be completely ignorant of our finances and not have to continually be faced with how much we need God to move in our lives in this very practical way. but, God had a different plan than mine. as i have said in the past, i am on a journey to learn how to live by faith and not fear in regard to money.

finances are a really small thing in the grand scheme of what we have opportunity to dread and fear. there is so much that clamors for our mental and heart energy. so many things are saying, "look over here! fear me! panic! grasp for control of your life! i am worth your attention!" but no matter what we are facing, even if it is death itself, we do not have to fear what is before us. that is the way of those who don't know Him.

we are to fear the Lord Almighty alone. He is the One we are to fear. He is the One we are to dread. why? because our entire life now and for all eternity is in His hands, and it is His mercy we need to find life. these trials now are a drop in the bucket compared to an eternity with or without Him. no man holds my ultimate destiny - not even if they could make my life here really miserable or even kill me. only God is in ultimate control, and no man, disease, calamity, or type of lack can snatch us from His hand.

He will be a place of safety to those who trust in Him.

i know that i need this place of safety. i am sure that you are needing it too. let us once again let go of fear of anything else but Him and find that rest and safe place in the only One who is deserving of our fear and attention.

still counting gifts to 1000...

892 - 914:

892. beautiful weather.

893. being the featured blog here.

894. You can quiet my noisy thoughts.

895. my husband who really is a very involved dad. i couldn't do this 5 kid thing without him.

896. lots of opportunities to swim this summer with the kids.

897. having the kids around more with school out.

898. homemade strawberry chocolate chip ice cream.

899. selling lots of stuff as i clean out the house and simplify.

900. fresh summer produce.

901. so many friends having babies right now!

902. God doesn't measure my success the way i try to measure my success.

903. learning this imperfect parenting thing and meeting the mercy of God along the way.

904. picking blackberries and making jam.

905. creative ideas in the kitchen.

906. running a couple miles at a time... alone.

907. finding a letter from my dad to me when i was born in his office - reading it in his own handwriting and hearing his voice speak to me in my head. a true gift from heaven.

908. heaven is for real.

909. lots of time in the prayer room with our kids on these summer mornings.

910. tomatoes ripening in my very small garden this year.

911. living by truly breath-taking beautiful lakes.

912. new contacts after wearing my glasses that don't fit right for a week straight. so thankful to be able to see even out of the corner of my eye.

913. several days this june that it is cool enough to use my oven! fresh baked cookies...

914. turning off the a/c in june! unheard of... yay for open windows and lower temperatures.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

if you haven't liked this facebook page, you can in the upper right of this post.  you can also follow this blog or subscribe in a reader.  i would love to keep in better touch with you! 

please leave a link to your list of gifts in the comments and i will come visit your blog as well!  i love to give thanks together.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

for the times when you feel like you've really blown it

lake pic

we were sitting in the car driving back from a lovely summer afternoon at the lake. i gazed out the car window at the rolling hills, lush evergreens, and aqua skies that where sprinkled with fluffy white clouds. my heart pounded and i opened my mouth in a confession, looking out of the corner of my eye at my husband who was driving, "so...iI lost it with the kids this morning. again. and it was all over a lost library book. it's not how i wanted the morning to go."
my eyes looked down at my sandy tanned toes as my heart felt like a ton of bricks filled with a bit of shame and a lot of regret. "when am i ever going to get victory in this area? when am i going to stop having outburst of anger at my kids? i just want to be a good mom... 
click here to read the rest as i share over at 5 minutes for faith about a place of brokenness in my own life. i hope it can encourage you in your own areas of brokenness.


Friday, June 21, 2013

if you ever had a doubt about what God feels about marriage... or what He feels about you

imagine a beautiful woman who just can't stop straying from her husband. the husband is deeply committed and loves her faithfully, but she is so wrapped up in affairs away from home. she even has had children that most people suspect belong to someone else because they don't look like their "father."

imagine this woman hasn't cheated on her husband once, or even twice... but again and again and again. she is more caught up in what everyone else can offer her that she is unaware of what her husband wants to provide for her as security and family. she longs to be noticed and desired - to be the one who turns everyone's head when she walks by. she is insecure, afraid, and damaged from her youth, hiding behind this so-called power and independence. in reality, she is afraid to let her husband into the deep parts of her heart, so she hurts the one who loves her most.

unfortunately, i have known many marriages to fall apart lately because one spouse or the other was unfaithful. sometimes the one who is unfaithful refuses to come back. but even when the unfaithful spouse claims to want to work it out, the husband or wife who have been violated in the covenant often can't get past the pain of the waywardness of the one they loved. a betrayal on the most intimate level is excruciating and devasting, and often we wonder what God's opinion is on the whole matter.

as i wrote in my controversial post on divorce, God has a definite view of divorce in the bible. as i mention there - i am most interested, however, in His view on marriage. marriage is meant to be a picture of His relationship to the people of israel, and really all humanity. His nature is unchanging, so we know how He is towards them doesn't change towards any of us. God longed for people to know His heart and faithful nature, so He called a man named hosea to be a prophet who did the unthinkable - he lived out a prophetic picture of what God intended marriage to be and what He was trying to say to His own wayward people.

it is a powerful message if we can soften our hearts enough to really get it. it is the most beautiful love story, more beautiful than anything fairy tales or hollywood could dream up. it is a story with betrayal, pain, real brokenness, honor, courage, undeserved forgiveness, and redeeming love. it is the lowest point of humanity and the highest point of God colliding. it is a story that could forever change the way you relate to both your spouse and God Himself.

God told hosea that He would make it miserable for His bride to persist in her unfaithfulness. He would basically corner her in her sin - thorns on one side, a wall on another. He would allow the sin she insisted on to become painful and unenjoyable. He would make it very difficult for her to go back to her path of sin easily; very difficult to persist in her unfaithfulness. maybe when it was so difficult to get to the other lovers, she would turn back to her Husband; if not out of love, out of no other option.

"therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns,
and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths.
she will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them;
and she will seek them, but will not find them.
then she will say, 'i will go back to my first husband,
for it was better for me then than now!'
for she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain,
the new wine and the oil,
and lavished on her silver and gold,  
which they used for baal."

you see, she did not know that all of her provision came from Him. she thought she was making a way for herself. she thought the things, and the men, she gave herself to was making her life more full. she thought that she could exist without her Husband.

"I will also put an end to all her gaiety,
her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths
and all her festal assemblies.
I will destroy her vines and fig trees,
of which she said, 'these are my wages
which my lovers have given me.'
and I will make them a forest,
and the beasts of the field will devour them.
"I will punish her for the days of the baals
when she used to offer sacrifices to them
and adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry,
and follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me," declares the Lord. 

and so sin would become unenjoyable. ever had something that should be so fun be so miserable because you knew it was wrong? the parties would cease. the profit from the wayward ways would dry up. instead of feeling like a well of provision, her lifestyle would prove to be a trap that she could not climb out of on her own.

can you hear the emotion of God in these words? in reading them aloud i envision tears streaming down the face of the Husband as He slowly and softly lets the words tumble out of His mouth - "so. that. she. forgot. Me..." what painful betrayal. what heartache. if you ever wondered what God thought... or even more, felt about the betrayal of a spouse, you don't have to wonder anymore. He is devastated my friend. He weeps. He has very real emotion, very real grief, very real jealous zeal.

but the part of the story that really grabs my heart is what comes next. the crazy jealous husband makes sense. the fierce emotion that rages when unfaithfulness is discovered, clouding all vision but obsession with the other lovers is something we as humans can relate with whether we have been there ourselves or not. but the tender mercy and absolute kindness that the Lord flows into in the midst of utter pain of rejection is something my feeble attempt at mercy cannot quite wrap my mind around. His response is completely other than anyone or anything i have ever know. the emotion drips off the words of the page and softens even the heart that has built stoney cold walls of protection all around.

"therefore, behold, I will allure her,
bring her into the wilderness
and speak kindly to her.
then I will give her her vineyards from there,
and the valley of achor as a door of hope.
and she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
as in the day when she came up from the land of egypt.
it will come about in that day," declares the Lord,
"that you will call Me Ishi (my husband)
and will no longer call Me Baali. (master)
"for I will remove the names of the baals from her mouth,
so that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
in that day I will also make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field,
the birds of the sky
and the creeping things of the ground.
and I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
and will make them lie down in safety.
"I will betroth you to Me forever;
yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
in lovingkindness and in compassion,
and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
then you will know the LORD."

in the depths of pain, gazing upon the wretchedness of human depravity, the Lord responds in compassion and allures the one He loves to Himself.

i have heard the wilderness spoken of in many christian circles as that time of barrenness or when God is far off. my friends, the wilderness is the place of encounter! it is the place where the wayward bride is won back - His kindness is what leads to repentance. the wilderness is where she sees a door of hope. hope - that which she obviously lacked if she felt the compulsion to look for love in all the wrong places. the wilderness is where He teaches her to sing again. the wilderness is where her eyes are opened that the Man she once thought of as a cruel Master was really the tender Husband who desired her unlike any of the other lovers ever could.

and the promises that God lays out to israel, the wayward wife who we still haven't seen come back to Him up unto this point of history, are glorious. He says He has made promises to all creation that are tied to her restoration of love to Him. He says that war and unrest will literally cease. He promises betrothal that has both true justice uncompromised, while overflowing with compassion and lovingkindness. and what gets me is He says she will be faithful. the woman who has the town's reputation for unfaithfulness with one day be faithful as He is faithful... and she will know her Husband.

"it will come about in that day that I will respond," declares the Lord.
 "I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth,
and the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil,
and they will respond to jezreel.
I will sow her for Myself in the land.
I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion,
and I will say to those who were not My people,
'You are My people!'
and they will say, 'You are my God!'" 

and the beautiful crazy thing that gets thrown on the end this passionate poem is a promise of hope for those of us who are not part of the people called israel... those of us who are just as unfaithful and broken and searching, but weren't the descendants of isaac that He originally chose. He said He will have compassion on us too! we were not His, but He will call us His and we will respond that He is ours. in the midst of the beautiful heart-wrenching love story, He reaches out to the one watching in the distant shadows and says, I love you too. come to Me.

and hosea, the hebrew prophet who bore the same name as Jesus who he forshadowed - salvation is from the Lord - had a commission from the Lord: go get your wife back. even when she left with no plan to return, he was to go and take her back as his own.

then the Lord said to me, "go again, love a woman, who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord love the sons of israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."
so i bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley.

fifteen shekels of silver, a homer, and a half of barley is the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver.

30 pieces of silver.

if you ever had a doubt about what God feels about marriage, what God feels about wayward israel (who still do not serve Him or walk in their calling as a people - the whole northern kingdom still scattered across the earth), or what God feels about you, hear me now: in the deepest darkness of human depravity, He was willing to go buy back the one He desired from the beginning.

taking on the likeness of humanity, He humbled Himself to the point of death, death on a cross. for a mere 30 pieces of silver He exchanged His life for the one who desired another and wouldn't, couldn't, be faithful to Him.

this type of love could change a life, a whole people group, forever. He didn't love israel when she was the good wife at home raising the kids, cooking the dinner, adoring her husband... in the worst deception and unfaithful betrayal, when she was unwilling to come back and even show the signs of a repentant heart, He chased after her - running out of the heavenly throne room, down into a dirty stable filled with animals and poop, and up the hill to calvary to the worst death imaginable to
get. her. back. as. His. own.

and this picture of God's union to His people is what marriage was always supposed to be a picture of - a faithful, self-sacrificing yes, even if the other half is saying no. it is redeeming love. it is union with the heart of the Beloved whether we are the one who was betrayed showing mercy or who is the redeemed betrayer. it is forgiveness, kindness, the mercy that draws us unto our Husband forever.

"the heart won in kindness is won forever." allen hood

blog button charis

*selections quoted from hosea chapters 2 and 3

Thursday, June 13, 2013

what i am waiting for

a shoot will come up from the stump of jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him - 
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - 
and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes,
or decide by what He hears with His ears;
but with righteousness He will judge the needy,
with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth;
with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
righteousness will be His belt
and faithfulness the sash around His waist.

the wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
the cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
the infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
they will neither harm nor destroy 
on My holy mountain, 
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

in that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious. in that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of His people from assyria, from lower egypt, from upper egypt, from cush, from elam, from babylonia, from hamath and from the islands of the sea. 

He will raise a banner for the nations
and gather the exiles of israel;
He will assemble the scattered people of judah
from the four quarters of the earth.
ephraim's jealousy will vanish,
and judah's enemies will be cut off;
ephraim will not be jealous of judah,
nor judah hostile toward ephraim.
they will swoop down on the slopes of philistia 
to the west;
together they will plunder the people to the east.
they will lay hands on edom and moab,
and the ammonites will be subject to them.
the Lord will dry up
the gulf of the egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind He will sweep His hand 
over the euphrates river.
He will break it up into seven streams
so that men can cross over in sandals.
there will be a highway for the remnant of His
that is left from assyria,
as there was for israel,
when they came up from egypt.
isaiah 11

this is the day i am waiting for. when we just begin to believe that it is really real... wow! what hope. what an amazing time it will be when He is here again. His place of rest will be glorious...


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

just thinking out loud

good morning friends. i am just going to use the next few moments to process some stuff i am reading in romans "out loud."

let love be without hypocrisy. 
abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
be devoted to one another in brotherly love; 
give preference to one another in honor; 
not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 
contributing to the needs of the saints, 
practicing hospitality.
bless those who persecute you; 
bless and do not curse. 
rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
be of the same mind toward one another; 
do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. 
do not be wise in your own estimation.
never pay back evil for evil to anyone. 
respect what is right in the sight of all men.
if possible, so far as it depends on you, 
be at peace with all men.
never take your own revenge, beloved, 
but leave room for the wrath of God, 
for it is written, "vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 
"but if your enemy is hungry, feed him, 
and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; 
or in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 
do not be overcome by evil, 
but overcome evil with good.  
romans 12:9-21

you know when you are reading and suddenly your heart slows down on one passage? well, this happened with this one. here are some small thoughts...

we are called to love each other, and as we all know our love is supposed to look like the love of the One we are following. i have heard many call evil "good" and good "evil" in the name of "love," but that isn't love. He never did that. He was consistent and completely and wholly righteous - loving what is right in the sight of the Father. He loved broken people, and then urged them to go and stop sinning - caring for them in both the moment and for their eternity.

"be devoted... give preference... serving the Lord..." servanthood. i find it so interesting that the current trend in churches is to distance ourselves from being a servant. somehow we try to treat being friends of God as entirely different from being servants of God. there is no difference. Jesus served His friends... He served His enemies... He served the ones who were about to betray Him... He served those sent to kill Him... i don't see any separation of servant and friend in Him. in Him, i see it looking like the same thing - if you are a friend, you serve. that is how you even know you are a friend. being a servant is really unto Him, no matter who it is in front of us that we are serving. sure that means we may get walked all over at times; but if we can view it as actually serving the Lord instead of having something to gain in the relationship we are serving in, it will give so much more perspective when our serving may go seemingly unnoticed or with little immediate fruit.

"persevering in hope..." too much to go into on this one. all i will say is if He isn't our Hope, with a capital H, then we are chasing the wind. hope isn't just our personal dreams, it is the Hope that He will return. when Hope in Him is the anchor, we won't be so easily swayed to and fro. i have some "small h" hopes like everyone else. if i try to anchor myself in these, i am sure to be disappointed. He is the One who will never disappoint because He really will come make all the wrong things right.

tribulation, persecution, revenge, enemies - interesting how it is so easy to think we would be faithful if there was a gun to our heads, but we struggle so much with someone simply mistreated us (totally talking to myself here!). sooooo easy to want to make sure the other person makes it right, instead of letting God be the One who makes it right (and that might not be until the Day of the Lord). my guess is most of us aren't anchored enough in the fact that there will be a day when we all stand before Him to give an account for our own lives- the day that He will make all wrong things right - the reality of both eternal reward and eternal punishment. i think if i, myself, could really believe that He will one day judge, then i would be much quicker to forgive. don't i want mercy for both myself and others? but somehow i get so wrapped up in the here and now... i am sure a lot of you do as well. 

one other part that stood out huge to me:
"be of the same mind toward one another; 
do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly."
i think so often we are trying to get in good with the people we think will benefit our own cause, be it they have some sort of influence in leadership or popularity or money, and we ignore those who we consider "lowly." i know i felt convicted when i read this part. it is so easy to think others do this, but each one of us do it. it is easy to even follow and comment more on the "popular" blogs in our particular niche. we all want to feel "important." but that is "being wise in our own estimation." 

last thought - "contributing to the needs of the saints - practicing hospitality." i think sometimes walking in love like Jesus can be so simple that we overlook it for something more grand and noticeable. we all have something to give to help our friend and brother in Christ -  maybe it is $5. maybe it is some extra rice and beans we have in our pantry that we didn't think would be exciting enough to share. maybe it is just an invitation to come over and share a cup of coffee or tea for an hour or two. maybe it is watching the kids of a mom who seems overwhelmed for an hour while she grocery shops alone. what is the need in front of me that may seem so simple i wouldn't think of helping with it? hospitality doesn't have to mean a spotless house and a 5 course meal on pretty dishes. i think so often we look at our own lack and tell ourselves we don't have anything to give to our friends in need because we can't give big exciting looking things. sometimes people are in such need themselves that it is easy to think that someone else should be doing this, and they get disappointed in the "church," instead of realizing it is a call to action for themselves to pour out. we all have something to give towards someone else's need. we all can welcome someone else into our heart and home.

anything in this passage that is speaking to you right now?


Friday, May 24, 2013

it all depends on your point of view

word for the day:  view


it was breath-taking. really. and as i looked at the water rushing down, out of the side of that jagged rock, i wondered on God's creation.

the roar of Your waterfalls... as deep cries out to deep...

that roar reverberated inside, like the soul's response to the vibrations of a tuning fork. i can feel His voice in the rushing roar. i can drink in His beauty with wonder at the details in His creation.

when He told moses to strike the rock and the water would pour forth... then He told him to speak to the rock and water would spill out... did it happen to look at all like this view?

i see beauty spill forth from the cracks in the rock, and He sees beauty spill forth from the cracks in my heart. what we see as broken, He sees as opportunity for beauty - for His creation to vibrate to the rhythms of His roar.

i guess it all depends on whose point of view you are looking from - ours or His.

and though i seem to think myself the expert on my life and my heart, perhaps i should trust the Creator to bring forth the rushing waters if He sees it fit.


if you want to join in, the instructions are below.

5 minute friday rules:
1. write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. link back here and invite others to join in.
3. please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

if you write a 5 minute friday, let me know -  i would love to visit your blog and read what comes spilling out when writing against the clock!  

if you haven't liked this facebook page, you can in the upper right of this post.  you can also follow this blog or subscribe in a reader.  i would love to keep in better touch with you! 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

when you feel painfully alone

there are painful times in life when it seems that all we can do is grasp for some sort of encouragement to get us through the present moment. these times can either be full of a flood of excess emotion or the opposite absence of emotion. both are a sign of a heart in intense pain. it can be hard to tell which way is up, and time is blurry and abstract. it can be hard to have vision for the current day, let alone the grand scheme of life.

if you aren't in a time of life like this right now, chances are you have been or will be in not too terribly long. as believers, how are we to navigate through these dark nights of the soul when all our hearts want to do is shut down?

come and visit me at 5 minutes for faith to read more. i would love your feedback on how you have walked through one of these seasons.

thanks friends!

Monday, May 20, 2013

simple thanks

such a simple post today - simply counting my blessings from God. when things get tough or even just overly busy, i need to take time to tell Him all the things i am thankful for so that my heart realigns. i want to overflow in thankfulness and gratitude to Him. my life is really so so blessed if i can have eyes to see it.

still counting gifts to 1000...

867 - 891:

867. the Cross is enough for all of my sin.

868. i do not have the pressure of being "good enough" - He died for me at my worst state.

869. having energy today after a couple days of feeling out of it - i take the simple gift of energy for granted so often.

870. beautiful sunny day.

871. a building for our house of prayer! it has been a long time coming... so glad!

872. God is completely trustworthy.

873. He is my Provider, not man.

874. the story of the book of hosea.

875. we have memorized the 1st 71 verses of psalms as a family - only by the grace of God.

876. monday mornings at starbucks, with coffee, my bible, excellencies of Christ teachings, and my knitting needles.

877. colorful self-striping yarns.

878. the hope of something that has yet to be.

879.being able to run 2 miles at a time without knee pain.

880. reading the book of romans.

881. beautiful days that i don't need to run the ac, but can open the windows.

882. learning the way of simplicity.

883. my back pain is getting less and my sleep is getting better as i have been exercising.

884. small tomatoes starting to grow.

885. the piles are shrinking!

886. selling things here and there - a couple dollars at a time adding up and clearing out the unneeded things from my life.

887. fresh fruit season.

888. peaches!

889. God knows what is coming when i don't, so i can trust Him to give me the grace to deal with each trial and each hurdle.

890. my sweet boys. i love them so much. they fill my heart.

891. my patient husband who has stuck with me this long.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

if you haven't liked this facebook page, you can in the upper right of this post.  you can also follow this blog or subscribe in a reader.  i would love to keep in better touch with you! 

please leave a link to your list of gifts in the comments and i will come visit your blog as well!  i love to give thanks together.


Friday, May 17, 2013

what kind of song that will be!

word for the day:  song

 photo by heather armstrong

our God is a God who loves music. have you ever heard the theory that creation was made during a song? i don't know if that is true, but i just love the thought of it. singing creation into being...

right now, surrounding Him on all sides in the heavenly throne room, Jesus has song. they could just be worshiping Him with words or with prostration, but it specifically says there is song. God could have created heaven however He wanted to, and He chose to have the heavenly beings sing to His Son day and night, without ceasing. i wonder what kind of melodies and harmonies they have come up with after singing together for such a long time. i bet it is just breath-taking.

i started studying the book of isaiah a couple years ago, and i was struck by this one messianic passage speaking of Jesus return, and how those from the coast lands would make their way to jerusalem to greet Him singing. maybe it is because i have lived my whole life in california, or maybe it is because of the hard earned music degree i hold, or maybe it just vibrates that chord in me that loves a good song. i just imagine those of us over here on the california coast journeying to jerusalem to see our God who has finally drawn near forever with a joyful song in our mouths and i wonder what the words will be that we are singing. i can hear the laughter in my mind already and the dancing... oh the dancing! i have never been able to stop thinking about that passage when i think about His return.


if you want to join in, the instructions are below.

5 minute friday rules:
1. write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. link back here and invite others to join in.
3. please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

if you write a 5 minute friday, let me know -  i would love to visit your blog and read what comes spilling out when writing against the clock!  


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

a confession

want to know a little confession? i personally avoid reading one of the all-time favorite books of the bible.


i have this inside rebel who doesn't want the commentary in my head of every sermon i have ever heard, coming at the same verse from various differing, often opposing angles, to crowd out the simple understanding of what is written. so i just avoid reading those books of the bible that are widely preached on.

i know. silly. 

well, i just finished up a 5 month study of the gospels and i felt the Holy Spirit urging me, romans. i tried to ignore it. at the same time i felt this fascination and deeper appreciate of the grace by which we are saved. i have been very aware that there is deep brokenness in me that can never earn my way into salvation, no matter how hard i might try. i had to face the facts - i needed a fresh reading of romans and to ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me through it louder than all the other voices in my head.

so here i am, reading romans and going against my inner rebel.

can i tell you that it is encouraging me so much? how could reading about abraham's faith not be encouraging? for "in hope against hope he believed..." and he was "fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform."

now i don't know what that does to your soul, but it bring mine to life! i have read the accounts of abraham in genesis, and this guy seemed to doubt the promises of God. this man cowered to the fear of death, giving his own wife to another man in some effort to save his life. he tried to make God's promise happen through the only way it made sense to him. he lied. he compromised. he made a big mess that caused conflict in the relationships around him.

and yet, God saw that glimmer of faith inside of him, He saw the desire to believe and obey - that only could be there if God Himself put it there - and He said, well done my son.

though we desire to obey God and really walk the way Jesus walked, not loving our lives unto death, we will mess up. we will lie. we will compromise. we will make big messes. but God sees down into our deepest parts to the desire He put in us to believe against all hope that He would be faithful and see us through this mess. He sees this desire deep inside to believe that God is good and is who He says He is, even when it is dark and cloudy and it is hard to make sense of how He will fulfill His word to us. God sees and He credits our faith - our trust - in Him as righteousness.

...and He is pleased with us.
as much as i desire to walk in holiness and devotion to Jesus, may i never put my hope in something i am able to give Him. may i only put my hope in the One who gave everything for me. may i come out on the other side of this mess leaning on my Beloved One.

it is because of my mess ups and failures that i believe. it is because all the sums of my worst days doesn't disqualify me for His kingdom, and He is able to take this broken imperfect person and make me into someone He wants to spend forever with. it is because He alone is faithful, even when i try to be faithful and fail again and again, i believe.

how about you? are there books of the bible you often avoid (or am i the only rebel in the bunch!)? 

are you aware lately of your own struggle and weakness to follow Jesus rightly?


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the greatest lesson


i was asked to be a part of a series over at 5 minutes for faith about lessons i learned from my mother. not everyone is a mom who is a reader of this blog (and some are not even women), but every one of us has a mom.

i feel so blessed by the way i have witnessed my mom live her life. please come visit me at 5 minutes for faith to read the greatest lesson i have learned from my mom.

would you consider leaving a comment there letting me know you dropped by? we also are giving away an 8 by 10 print of this beautiful painting "growing in love" by my dear friend gina of silverlakesound! details are at the end of my post on how to win it! 


see you over there in the comments! click here!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

my dearest hosea

my dearest hosea,

today you are one year old. i can't believe my baby boy is already growing up! you are my grace baby... number 5. God gave me the best pregnancy with you, following the worst pregnancy with your brother, and although it wasn't a perfect blissful ride, it was doable. for that i am thankful.

but you were late in coming out. you decided to make your mama wait to meet you! i joked at the time that you were waiting for a name because we didn't even decide on your name until the night of your due date... and you were born 5 days later. the funny thing is, your name wasn't even in our top considerations - it just suddenly felt right that night when your daddy and i were out to dinner and talking about all God was doing with us and teaching us and who we thought you would be... and suddenly we knew that it was who you are.

hosea justus. "salvation." the original name of joshua and then of Jesus, our Messiah who is our promised salvation. the saving Grace that we need so badly. justus... the greek name for justice. and there is just something about the prophet hosea and his demonstration of the undeserved unrelenting love of God... well, now i know how much it fits you and how much i need that constant reminder of His unrelenting love.

your labor and delivery were different than all my others. for one, God decided, for reasons i still don't quite understand, that the perfect time for you to come was during one of my darkest hours. such intense grief and threatening fear, and yet such a thick presence of God that i cannot quite put into words. He met me and carried me through when i didn't think i could do it. He heard my cry and didn't leave me alone.

i am so thankful, my little boy, for your life. you fit our family so well. you are so playful and full of sugar and sweetness and joy. you have the most gentle dove eyes - a lot like how i imagine Jesus' eyes to be (besides the crystal blue color). so much innocence and peace and gentleness in those eyes of yours.

your first year was one of the hardest of my life, but it was your first year. and i just want you to know how much i love you with all of my heart - how thankful i am for you filling my tears with smiles. you are such a good baby and you are my baby.

happy birthday my special little boy. i love you more than my fumbling broken words can describe on a page.


Monday, April 15, 2013

to experience Him anew

it is a simple post today friends.

i have had the old chorus from psalm 51 going over and over again in my head over the past couple days. i am longing for a fresh experience of His mercy on my heart that needs mercy so badly. i am longing for a taste of His love that never fails. i want to feel and know His great compassion towards me. i desire to live from His forgiveness - extending forgiveness towards those around me. then to have my heart come alive! ...not in a boastful power, but in a broken meekness that leans on my Beloved One.

this is my prayer for you as well.
have mercy on me, o God,
according to Your unfailing love;
according to Your great compassion
blot out my transgressions...
create in me a pure heart, o God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me...
the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; 
a broken and contrite heart, 
o God, You will not despise.
                                           psalm 51

still counting gifts to 1000...

848- 866:

848. my 5 wonderful boys.

849. God is not disappointed in me because my weakness doesn't surprise Him

850. my husband is also my friend.

851. i serve a God who is meek and gentle in His dealings with me.

852. the resurrection. so especially thankful for the resurrection.

853. my dad's faith was tested and found to be true.

854. the hope to see my daddy again.

855. the excellencies of Christ teaching by allen hood - stirring a passion in my heart for this amazing man - Jesus my Messiah.

856. time away from my family on monday mornings to spend time with Him.

857. another new beautiful nephew - 3 new nephews added in the past couple months.

858. a beautiful bike riding date with bill - felt like a kid again.

859. the Holy Spirit breathing in me a hunger to know the Word.

860. forgiveness. mercy. the meekness of God toward me. the cleansing of the Holy Spirit like water on my heart.

861. my almost 1 year old baby.

862. fun soccer filled days.

863. hearing my boys confess their sin and experiencing the tenderness of their hearts.

864. friends praying for me in my hard time.

865. all the new life of spring.

866. having real community in my life who stop me and ask how i am doing -who care.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

if you haven't liked this facebook page, you can in the upper right of this post.  you can also follow this blog or subscribe in a reader.  i would love to keep in better touch with you! 

please leave a link to your list of gifts in the comments and i will come visit your blog as well!  i love to give thanks together.


Friday, March 29, 2013

the blog post i didn't want to write

you may have noticed it has been pretty quiet around here the past couple weeks.

this is a post i really do not want to write, but if i don't write it i fear i will avoid blogging in general. it is super long, so we will see if anyone actually makes it through the whole thing. i am writing it more for me really - and a little bit for you to have perspective as my readers of where i am coming from in everything i have written over the past year and will write in the future.

saturday, march 9th was my 11 year anniversary with this wonderful guy.

see how happy we are? no we don't have a perfect marriage (if you didn't know, they don't exist), but as i have pointed to so many times in my marriage series joy in the journey, we have a darn good one.

saturday morning i posted this as my facebook status:

ok, so i used the wrong "to" ... i am a real person for sure.

my husband and i, who haven't had but a couple hours together with no kids since hosea was born almost a year ago, set up a day of dates by arranging 3 different slots of times to get our kids watched with nursing breaks in between. it was like a day away that worked with our very real life of 5 kids 9 and under with one as a baby.

it was nearly magical.

this past year has been a really hard one. the night hosea was born (while i was actually in beginning labor and stopping to breath through contractions while making dinner), i got that horrible phone call no one wants to get. it was my daddy. he needed to tell me that he got some medical results that were not good news. i tried to relax through a contraction that left me breathless as he fumbled to utter the horrible diagnosis with tears mingling through his words. "it's cancer. it's back. it's not good. God is good and we will get through this."

all i could manage to say at first is, "okay... okay... okay..." i frantically tried to sort through my thoughts and ask the questions that were popping up all over. "how bad? what do we do from here? how is mom?" all the while trying to breathe through the contractions that continued to build. i didn't even think to tell him in the moment that i was in labor.

from there the rest of the evening and wee hours of the next morning are a bit of a blur. i did manage to call my mom back, and let her know that it was time to go to the hospital because the baby was coming soon, and that it was up to her if she could handle being there - i understood if it was too hard. she came; i know how hard it was for her, but she was there. the half hour drive to the hospital i read lamentations 3 on my iphone in between contractions starting at the first verses of:
i am the man who has seen affliction 
because of the rod of His wrath.  
He has driven me and made me walk 
in darkness and not in light. 
breathe. connect with the Holy Spirit. where is Jesus in all of this? i breathed, read, cried, and prayed as we drove to the hospital.
He has filled me with bitterness, 
He has made me drunk with wormwood.
He has broken my teeth with gravel; 
He has made me cower in the dust.  
my soul has been rejected from peace; 
i have forgotten happiness. 
so i say, "My strength has perished, 
And so has my hope from the LORD. 
i felt each word so deeply. in both physical and intense emotional pain, i could connect with each word penned so beautifully by the prophet jeremiah. i read, i cried, i breathed, and tried to relax - aching and searching for hope to hold onto while i faced both the immediate trial of birthing my 5th baby, and the impending trial of walking through this fearful diagnosis with my dad.
surely my soul remembers 
and is bowed down within me. 
this i recall to my mind, 
therefore i have hope.  
the LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, 
for His compassions never fail. 
"the LORD is my portion," says my soul, 
"therefore i have hope in Him."  
the LORD is good to those who wait for Him, 
to the person who seeks Him. 
it is good that he waits silently 
for the salvation of the LORD.  
silence. it is interesting that the birthing approach we use centers around silence and letting go to ride over the waves of pain. surrender. silence. waiting. so much was aligning in my life in just moments that all felt unending.
for the Lord will not reject forever, 
for if He causes grief, 
then He will have compassion 
according to His abundant lovingkindness.  
for He does not afflict willingly 
or grieve the sons of men. 
He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men... wow. all that we suffer coming from the curse of death as fruit of the fall... and the picture of the Lord weeping with our weeping, not far from our suffering but oh so near... desiring to take away all the affliction and grief that all men walk through in this life. the Lord waiting for the day when He will take it away forever, wiping away every tear once and for all. 
my eyes pour down unceasingly, 
without stopping,
until the LORD looks down 
and sees from heaven.  
though jeremiah wrote of jerusalem's destruction, i could feel his words describing my own acute pain.  and then i found it - the words that became the anchor to get me through the next hours of labor. the anchor that gave me focus in the time i most needed focus but felt most distracted:
i called on Your name, o LORD, 
out of the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice, "do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief, 
from my cry for help."
You drew near when i called on You; 
You said, "do not fear!" 
and for the next 4 hours til i held my sweet baby in my arms, i said these words in a whisper over and over again: i called on Your name... out of the lowest pit... You have heard my voice... and You drew near when i called... You said do. not. fear!

i will never forget the first time my daddy held hosea (salvation comes from the Lord) justus (justice in greek - the wrong things will be made right).

the way he looked at my hour old baby and the way my baby looked back - no one can ever take those moments away from me. the grief. the uncertainty. the hope. so much intermingled.


the next several months were a roller coaster - conflicting doctor reports, one saying no cancer, another saying contained cancer, the original said cancer throughout the liver... wanting so badly to believe the report of no cancer, and yet my dad started losing weight through the summer and getting fatigued. at one point we were told there was cancer, but that he was an excellent candidate for a transplant. then came the painful news in november, at the end of a ton of tests and appointments prepping for a transplant, that there was too much. the original report on the day of my labor with hosea was indeed correct.

so many people asked me why we hadn't talked about what we were going through. for one it was a confusing time with a lot of conflicting medical reports, and lots of tests and waiting for results. also, my family is pretty private. my dad didn't want it all blasted on facebook, or the entire internet web, which i respect. he shared with those in active close relationship who would pray with us, and with the university he taught at; we were free to share with anyone we would like and i had an amazing core of women who were praying with me. to blog about it openly didn't feel respectful or right. my dad also didn't want to be labeled with the hopeless diagnosis when we had our hope in the Lord.

we did have hope. my dad had a God dream 9.5 years ago of a river of healing - he had confirmations that the word was from God along the way of almost 10 years of health struggles. in the same dream my dad saw the baby my sister is currently pregnant with - what a encouragement of hope! we were praying for a complete miracle of healing, and believed God to sustain my dad's life even in the midst of the medical field offering no hope or solutions. throughout the whole journey my dad constantly reminded us that God is both good and trustworthy. in the midst of my moments of doubt or fear, he did not waiver in his faith and steadfast quiet trust. i don't understand entirely why things turned out the way they did, but i know the Lord is so pleased with my dad's tried and true faith. i guess we wouldn't need to trust God completely if we always had perfect understanding or all the answers. so much falls into the area of trust.

so with all this going on over the past year of our lives, and having 5 wonderful kids filling our hearts, hands, and schedules, it was amazing to get time together. however this time was filled with thoughts of how my dad was doing in the back of my mind and in our conversation throughout our day. it had been an intense couple months, bringing us to the point where we needed to see God's one touch now. we started our anniversary morning with 45 minutes over at my parents' house, and i made my mom promise to message me on my phone if she needed me for anything, even though we were going to be on a day full of dates. she promised.

at the end of a great day, laughter mingled with tears, we were at my cousins' house picking up a couple of our kids to go home for the night. we had set up a group imessage with my mom and siblings a few months back to make communication with my mom and helping her easier. we had been chatting on it some through the evening sharing prayer and verses together. while getting the kids ready to go home, bill handed me my phone saying there was a strange message from my mom. right after a verse that had been shared she wrote, "come now if you can." it was a few minutes of wondering if she meant for all of us to literally come over at 9:48pm or if she was talking about healing coming... i felt the urgency somewhere inside, mostly likely the Holy Spirit, and told bill we just needed to go and left our kids with my cousin. my siblings and i wrote back and forth on our phones quickly making a plan for all of us to get over there, which involved waking and transporting sleeping kids, still with no info of what was going on or what my mom meant.

in all the crazy swirl of emotions, the very little actual information, and my literal freaking out in the car ride to get our younger kids from my brother's house so they could pack up to go to my parents' as well, i cried out for a miracle and for total healing for my dad. the next hour or so is just too raw and personal for me to write out here right now, but in God's mercy we were all in the room with my mom when my dad went to be with the Lord. all of us. the kids were downstairs with one of our best friends ever who had on a movie for them and was putting them back to sleep, my older two in transit over by my dear cousin who was there to support me however i most needed it.

my parents never obtained hospice. my dad never took even a pill of motrin for pain, refusing anything even on the last day. my mom had not once had someone stay the night with her even in the last couple hard weeks. we were praying and hoping and waiting for a miracle, and though i know a lot of people may not understand, this is how we walked through this as a family - our hope and trust only on Him. i do not say that using hospice or pain medication is a lack of trust or hope, i just mean to paint the picture of how life looked in the middle of it. it was very hard and my dad was very weak, but he fully believed and waited on the Lord to touch him. that saturday night, while i was out to dinner for my 11 year anniversary, on our group imessage we decided as a family that my dad's brother would stay the night with my mom in case she needed help. i am so thankful we made that decision and believe it is largely why we were all able to get there in time to be with my mom when my daddy went to be with Jesus. i am so thankful. so so thankful.

we not only prayed for healing up until the last moments, but we prayed for resurrection in the hour or so after his spirit departed. the right people were all there - i just can't express enough how much this meant: both my mom's brothers, my oldest cousin, all three of us kids and spouses, my dad's brother... all in the room, all together, all asking the Lord to do what only He could do. my aunt brought over my grandma, my cousin leah came with my boys, and my uncle's wife came as well... we sat and we cried. and we cried. we called my dad back, and when he didn't come back my mom started to sing.
great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
how Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

great is Thy faithfulness! great is Thy faithfulness!
morning by morning new mercies i see.
all i have needed Thy hand hath provided;
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
in the midst of the greatest sorrow of her life, my mom led us in worship of the One in whom we had put all our hope and all our trust. she led us in the hymn written from lamentations 3.

and in the middle of it all, i heard the Lord, with that still, small, steady voice, whisper loudly in my mind "those who put their hope in the Lord will NEVER be put to shame."

as foolish as we may have looked, as my dad may have looked, putting all our hope in Him and making the decisions to wait for a miracle up until the last moments - believing and trusting in a Good God, there will be no shame. no shame. only a faith tested by fire proven to be true and real and unmoved - a faith like the 3 hebrews who would not bow, but trusted God to deliver them; and yet if He did not, their faith would remain the same.

even in the Holy Spirit's sweet comfort, i am left with so many questions. my most recent post, with almost 650 views in the past couple weeks, is the marriage advice of my parents. the dream from the Lord that got my dad through so many hard years, and the last very hard year, seems only partially fulfilled. my trustworthy Lord took my daddy to be with Him on my anniversary, and only a couple days before my mom's birthday and my sister's 10th anniversary (the day we ended up holding the memorial service to celebrate his life)... only a couple weeks before this miracle baby that he saw in his dream was due to be born.

i do not believe cancer is from the Lord. i do believe it is one of the fruits of the fall and the curse of death that isn't fully reversed until the day Jesus comes back. i do believe God heals and works miracles, neither of which we will need any more when He returns. i do not believe the devil took my dad out - the devil and God are not equals. if my daddy is with Jesus instead of with me, then it was because Jesus decided to take him now; i do not understand why now and not a lot later than now, but i know that nothing can pluck us from His hand. yet even with this, i have so many questions. i think i will probably still have them when i finally get to see my Lord face to face.

but i trust.

               and i believe.

                                    and i have hope.

because He is faithful even when it is hard to understand; there is so much so hard to understand.

and i have to ask, why on my anniversary? why the day i was in labor with my 5th baby, my grace baby whose name is salvation and justice? then why on my happy day of celebrating covenant?

i almost am afraid to write that out because inevitably well meaning people will try to give me their answers. i do not want your answers. in the midst of pain i need the Lord's encounter, not the reasoning of mere mortals, even well meaning mere mortals.

as the words of the poem i posted on facebook, the poem that we quoted in our vows (and were also in my parents' vows as well), the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life... rang truer this march 9th than anytime in all my life. i am so thankful for my husband and that i can love him with

the breath, smiles, tears...
                                          of all my life

my heart aches. i am greatly in need of the Comforter. there are a lot of tears right now, and i am still here waiting for the Lord to save us from this fallen state of this world and bring His perfect justice, maybe waiting for it more eagerly now than ever before. 

wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
at the sound of His roar, sorrows will be no more,
when He bares His teeth, winter meets its death,
and when He shakes His mane, we shall have spring again.

                                                          c.s. lewis

i know and hope in the true Aslan. and i can trust Him. with all my many questions and my hurting heart, i can trust Him - 
for if He causes grief, 
                           then He will have compassion 
according to His abundant lovingkindness. 
                                      for He does not afflict willingly 
                or grieve the sons of men.

i know this is a long post and it is painfully raw. i think it needed to be said now, since out of respect to my dad i didn't share along the way. thank you for your prayers for me and my family - my siblings, my kids, my nieces and nephews, my mom.

daddy, i love you more than any amount of broken, incomplete written language could ever begin to express. every day, even the hardest ones, were all a gift from God to me. i am waiting for our next date together, though a lot longer than i was hoping. thank you for showing me what it looks like to fully lean on my Beloved One and what real faith looks like. i will miss you every day of my life until we meet again, either in heaven or in the air on His return. i love you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...