Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wuv...twu wuv

I have the best husband in the world. 

He is the love of my life.  He is an incredible provider, protector, husband, father, best friend.  He loves me more than I ever deserve.  He loves our children so much, there are no words to accurately express it.

I never thought I would have this.

As a young adult, I never had much self-confidence.  I was filled with doubts and fears and poor decisions.  I was not headed toward the "white-picket-fence" life, that's for sure.  Then as a single mom, I really felt as if my chance had passed.  I was 24 with a child.  I would look around at the guys my age and realize that none of them wanted to take on the baggage of a single mom.  How depressing it was to be an "outsider" amongst my peers!

Then one day, I walked into my new 'temp' job and there he stood.  Wow!  I remember the very first time I saw him.  My heart jumped.  I could see his soul in his eyes.  I was hooked!

One of the first conversations we ever had began with him asking me, "If you woke up tomorrow with no restrictions of time or money, what would you do?  What job would you want?"  That is certainly a great "get-to-know-you", breaking the ice question!  Six months later, we began dating.  Our second date was a family date.  We walked along a mountain river, with my 18 month old son in between us.  I cried.  I knew at that moment that this was my family.  This is what my heart had been longing for for so long.  This man was the answer to so many prayers!  He was all I ever wanted and more than I could ever have imagined!

A year later, we were married.  Two more kids quickly followed.  What an amazing ride it has been!  I often hear people say the first year of their marriage was so difficult.  That was not the case with us.  Don't get me wrong; marriage requires work.  It is not sunshine and roses 24/7/365.  But we choose to assume the best from each other.  We work at loving one another.  We are always talking about the pitfalls of life and marriage and how to avoid them as best we can.

He is my match.  He is my best-friend.  He can make me laugh harder than anyone else.  He is my protector.  I never knew what it felt like to be completely safe before.  I never felt able to let my guard down.  I can with him.  I have with him.  I know that I am safe with him emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.  I cannot explain how wonderful it is to truly feel safe

He is an amazing father.  When he puts the kids to bed, I love to listen-in.  I love to hear him talk with them, pray with them, laugh with them, love on them.  I will never forget the day right after we were married that he put our oldest son to bed.  He had read the book, "Love You Forever" as that night's bedtime story.  He came back downstairs with tears in his eyes, and told me that he just then fully realized that this was his son.  Let me tell you, this mama's heart melted!  Since then, I have watched him become the most incredible father.  The love he has for our three boys is overwhelming.

He is such a giving, self-sacrificial man.  He would literally give us the shirt off his back.  He daily gives us the best as he takes the least.  He always wants me and the boys to have "the big brownie".   I have never seen him take the biggest and best thing for himself.  That is just not who he is. 

This world is full of examples of awful marriages.  We live in a society that sees relationships as disposable.  Our culture encourages infidelity and promiscuity and walking away from your commitments.  Husbands are portrayed as crass, stupid, cave-man like, boyish figures who are good for very little.  Wives are portrayed as materialistic, money-wasting, nagging, annoying, ball-and-chains.  It is perfectly acceptable to "fall out of love", as if it is just a lane on the highway you can weave in and out of. 

But that is not what love is.  Love is a choice.  It is what you do in spite of how you feel.  It is giving when you don't want to.  It is helping when you don't feel like it.  It is always putting others' needs ahead of your own.  It is staying when you want to walk away.  It is never giving up on the other person or on your relationship.  Love is a commitment.  Love is a covenant.

I am so truly blessed to have such an amazing man to do life with.  Someone who is as devoted as I am to this thing called love.  Someone who lifts me up when I am down.  Someone who holds me when I am sad.  Someone who will fight for me when I don't have the strength.  Someone who will forgive me when I mess up oh-so often.  Someone who will not give up on me.  

I have the best husband in the world.

"I found the one my heart loves."  Song of Songs 3:4

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Life seems to have expoded these last two weeks.  So many things around me are changing.  Dear sister-friends are moving far away.  My "circle" is changing dynamics.  God is moving and shaking our lives in many ways. 

It is exciting.
And it is terrifying.

You see, the future I thought was before me has changed considerably, unexpectedly.  I trust God's plan...I do.  But I mourn the future I thought I was going to have.  I am intrigued by new prospects, and deeply saddened at the thought of saying goodbye to what has become so much a part of who I am.

I have taken these last two weeks off from writing anything for various reasons.  My emotions are so jumbled right now...My entire house has been horribly sick...My mental capacity has been greatly diminished.  All in all, I just haven't felt clear about much of anything. 

So much change.
So much still up in the air.

My heart still aches for those sweet children around the world who just want to be loved.  My heart still aches for the children here in America who are abused and neglected.  My heart still aches for the little ones who are fighting for their lives, battling cancers and other life-threatening illnesses.  My heart still aches for the babies who are never given a chance at life.  My heart still aches for the believers around the world who are tortured and harassed and killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  My heart still aches for those who do not know Him and His love.  My heart still aches.

And I am still trying to figure out how I can make a difference.  Don't get me wrong; I am fully committed to teaching and caring for my children.  I feel that is certainly what God wants me to be doing...using my life to raise Godly men to send off into this world so that they can make a difference.  We are in training mode, I am the teacher/trainer and this is absolutely a noble call. 

But, how do I teach my boys to live boldly for the Lord when our daily lives are filled with meeting our own needs and living in such comfort?  How do we live out our faith in a way that really changes something and someone?  If my goal is to raise men who will be bold and strong in Jesus Christ, who will serve Him whole-heartedly, who will affect those around them, then what should I be doing now that teaches them how to do that?  I can read them great stories about amazing servants and missionaries every day, but is that enough? 

Children do retain what they hear.  But what they see and live is what shapes who they are and will become.

These are all the things I have had swirling around in my mind and heart lately.   

Heavy questions.  
Heavy emotions.

As God is completely shaking my world around me--taking treasured things away, giving me new and exciting paths to pursue--I am trying to sort out what it all means in our daily lives.  What steps of obedience do we need to be taking?  When do we need to be still?  When do we need to step out of our "comfort-zone"? 

And to top it all off, with each step of obedience, the enemy is there, attacking us on all sides...trying to distract us and discourage us from living boldly for the Lord.  The enemy does not want us to change our comfortable, ineffective lives.

God is truly moving.  In BIG ways.  In many lives.  All around us.

As my world is changing considerably, I strive to cling to the One who never changes.  

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
Psalm 143:8-10

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One Step

Do you ever feel like spending time with God is a chore?  That you would much rather spend your free time watching some tv, playing around on the internet, reading a book...doing anything but spending that time reading the Bible and in prayer?  Sometimes even cleaning the house seems like a more desirable option!  Time with God can seem like such an obligation.  I know I certainly have felt this way more often than I like to admit.
I have come to the conclusion that on our own, it is impossible to truly love Him and desire to spend time with Him.  We are too human, too selfish, too prideful, too lazy.  Maybe we don't really believe that His promises are for us, that His words are still relevant.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."  Hebrews 11:6

I have been praying for God to help me love Him and desire time with Him and really have faith in Him.  I have asked Him to re-ignite passion for Him and His Word.  Just as the father in Matthew 9 cried out, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"  v24

My prayer is similar:  "Lord, I love you; help my ambivalence." 

I stopped trying to love God in my own strength.  That was impossible.  Instead, I turned to Him and asked for help.  I confessed that I really had no desire to spend time with Him and asked for Him to change that.  And He did.  All I had to do was turn to Him.

"Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."  James 4:8

That is a promise. 

"The Lord is faithful to all his promises..."  Psalm 145:13

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart...for he who promised is faithful."  Hebrews 10:22-23

Take one step toward Him and ask for His help to bring you closer. 

He will. 

He is faithful!

I will leave you with an amazing quote I came across a couple days ago that so accurately illustrates my heart right now.  It is a beautiful prayer. 

It is that first step.

"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.  I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace.  I am ashamed of my lack of desire.  O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. 

Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed.  Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.  Say to my soul, "Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away."  Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long."

A.W. Tozer ~ The Pursuit of God

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Day to day, my world stays pretty much the same:   

Wake up.
Drink LARGE cup of coffee.
Check emails.
Make breakfast.

                                Educate my children.
                                Make lunch.

A little quiet-time for everyone.
More educating.                                                   

                          More cleaning.
                          Make dinner.
                          Read out loud to kids.

Bed-time routine.
Tuck kids in.

                            Watch a little tv.
                            Hang out with hubby.

Read my book.
Go to sleep.


Of course, there are the days we have piano lessons, Community Bible Study, homeschool co-op group, Mom's Night Out, church, grocery shopping, library trips, doctors and dentist appointments and other unplanned interruptions.  But for the most part, that is what my days have looked like for the past few years.  And I am pretty sure that is what my days will continue to look like for quite some time. 

And I LOVE it.  I truly wouldn't trade it for anything.  I enjoy the routine we have settled into. I love my life.  I love my family.  I love my friends.  I love where God has put me.

Sometimes I just sit back and think about where I was 10 years ago, and where I am now.  From uncertainty, confusion, loneliness, depression, and self-centeredness to faith, purpose, love, contentment, joy and service.  God is truly amazing!  And yet, He is so far from being done with me....thankfully.

I am going through another growth-spurt right now.  Do you remember how much growing-pains hurt?  I often have to massage my kids' legs when they are having growing pains.  I will sit next to them on their bed, rub their legs, tell them that there is a good reason for the aches, and pray that God would relieve the pain soon.  They eventually drift off to sleep and are better in the morning.

I am waiting for the morning. 

God is working in me.  He is doing something big in my heart and soul.  It is fantastic.  And it is painful. 

He is reviving my passion for Him, returning me to that first love spoken of in Revelation 2.  God commends the church at Ephesus:

"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.   Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."

I want to be a light in this world.  I want God's light to shine through me.  Jesus tells us that we are the light of this world:

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:14-16

How many times have we as believers read that portion of scripture and taken it to mean we need to lead good lives, free of profanity and excess alcohol, full of smiles and helping little old ladies across the street?  I know I have.  Let your light shine.  Almost makes me want to break out in song... "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."

But, let's take a minute to view that scripture in light of the Revelation passage.  Here God acknowledges the good deeds you do, but says they are worthless without an all-consuming passion for Him.  He actually says that He will "remove the lampstand from its place."  If our hearts are not overwhelmed with love for Him, He will remove the light!  Ouch!

Do you remember when you first accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour?  Do you remember how full of passion and love you were?  How much you wanted to shout to the world and tell everyone about His amazing love and forgiveness?  You actually spent a good deal of time reading His Word and praising Him?  Prayer time was not an obligation, but something you looked forward to?

How long has it been since you felt that way?  Life got in the way.  Schedules got busy.  Kids got sick.  Laundry piled up.  Traffic happened.  People made you angry.  Sleep eluded you.  TV shows got you hooked.  That third glass of wine called your name. 

Little by little, you abandoned that first became lukewarm.

God makes it very clear how he feels about that.

"So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  Revelation 3:16

That is where I have been residing for quite some time.  In the comfortable, cozy lukewarm-ness.  It is safe here.  It is not too challenging.  Here there is no fear of rejection from those around me.  Here there is no urgency to spread God's Word.  Here there is no sorrow over the millions of people who are mistreated, abandoned, starving and on death's doorstep.  Here I can happily pick out new window coverings and get regular pedicures.  In this lukewarm-ness, I don't have to stress myself out with the worries of the others.  Here I can go to church, do all the right things, but never have my heart involved.

Thankfully, He doesn't leave us there with no escape.  

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."  Revelation 3:20

I recently opened that door.  Thus the growing pains.  He is pulling me out of this lukewarm state and setting me on fire again.  And in the process, I am finding my heart is so full of love and sorrow.  Love for Him and His creation.  Sorrow at how we treat Him and His creation.  Those two emotions together are so overwhelming. 

I know this process is necessary.  I know this is growing me spiritually, emotionally, personally.  I am still praying that God would relieve the pain soon, but I wouldn't opt out of this experience for anything in this world.  I feel the fire.  I feel the love.  I feel the passion.  They are building in me day by day.  And I pray that I am never the same.

We know that God makes all things new.  I am learning that this is not a one time deal.  He continues to renew us time and again.  Little by little, growth-spurt after growth-spurt, we are becoming more like Him. 

And I am oh so grateful.

So, while my day-to-day routine hasn't changed for quite some time, I am completely different. 

I know that morning will come.  I also know that there will be other nights.  But if I have learned anything, I have learned that our God is faithful and He will bring me yet another new and glorious morning.

Above all, I know that God is drawing me nearer to Him. 

That makes all the growing pains worth it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Aching Faith

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed with emotion that you feel like you just might burst?  Part of you wants to scream at the top of your lungs and the other part wants to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over your head.  You literally physically ache all over. 

Lately, I am there more often than I am not.

The emotions.  The longing.  The impatience.  They are so hard to handle each day.  But, in a way, it is this experience, these difficult emotions that have brought me so close to God.  I feel Him.  I hear Him.  I see His hands working all around me.  Would I have been able to experience God in this way without experiencing the difficulty?  Probably not.

I find myself turning to the book of Psalms often.  In the past, this book just confused me; David at times seems so bi-polar.  Such as in Psalm 88 where he says, "But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.  Why, O LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me?"  Then the very next Psalm begins with: "I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations."  The entire books seems to be a roller-coaster-ride of emotions, of doubt and praise. 

I get it now.

God continues to show me His unfailing love and faithfulness everywhere--through songs and people and sermons and things I read--even while I am in the midst of the fire.  While it feels like I am not getting an answer to my pleas, He is showing me His love and comfort. 

My heart still aches. 

I am still overwhelmed. 

But I know He is here with me, holding me, working things out in ways I cannot yet see. 

I am confident that He has great plans for me.  And yet, I still cry out to Him.

Never before have the Psalms struck such a chord in me.  I am understanding now that David was not bi-polar.  He was human.   

And so today, I will leave you with a verse that sums up where I am...full of praise and trust in God, even as I cry out to Him with every aching fiber of my being:

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
  your love, O Lord, endures forever --
 do not abandon the works of your hands." 
    ~Psalm 138:8

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


What a gloriously beautiful Colorado day!  Windows open, kids outside, smells of fresh bread baking...

Even if it were a dreary day, I would still be in awe.  Yesterday I witnessed such an amazing thing.  I saw people step up all day long to help someone they don't know, someone they may not have even heard of before yesterday.

People were donating their hard-earned money.  People were praying faithfully.  People were re-posting and forwarding the message.   Just thinking about how much God was able to multiply the efforts.  Patti, the blogger who started this, got over 25 bloggers on board.  Let's just say that each of the bloggers got even 10 people to pass it on.  Those 10 got even more to pass it on.  When all is said and done, our faithfulness to press the "share" tab was multiplied beyond what I could have imagined.

Many times through-out the day yesterday as I checked the totals and checked Facebook, I was brought to tears by the hearts and generosity of my friends. 


I have seen blog fundraisers before...usually with spectacular give-aways.  But this was different.  Everyone who blogged about it, shared it on Facebook, forwarded emails and donated money all did it just for the sake of this little girl.  There was no chance of getting something in return.  You all did it to bring this girl to a loving rescue her from horrific circumstances.  And for that, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude.

As I have said before, this little girl is in my heart.  I cannot wait to see her home with her forever family and watch her grow big and strong... 

There is still time to help.  The process of international adoption is a long and stressful one.  The Abell family still needs your prayers and support.  You can still donate HERE on their blog to the "Chip-In" account to help towards their Dossier.  Again, (from what I understand) they have to submit $7000 with the paperwork before they can even find out if she has been transferred yet.  Can you imagine living in the state of not knowing?

So, I just want to again say THANK YOU!  Seeing people step up for a complete stranger because it's the right thing to do is overwhelming to me.

You guys ROCK!!!