Wednesday, February 23

What does it mean, exactly?

I've been pondering Jesus' discourse, found in both Matthew and Luke, where he talks about not worrying, and how His Father takes care of the birds, even though they don't save or store up for themselves, and how the Father already knows what we need.

Like food, and clothing. The basics of life.

But that we shouldn't worry about those things, but should FIRST, seek His kingdom.

What does that mean, exactly?

And why doesn't he spell it out? I mean, could Jesus be any more evasive?

Maybe, just maybe, because it looks differently for everybody.

Following His kingdom doesn't mean we all go to some poor country in Africa, live in mud huts and slap at mosquitoes.

Time and time again, as I seek God for answers and struggle with impatience, I hear His voice.

Trust in ME. Follow ME. One step at a time.

If He gave us all the answers, we wouldn't need to trust Him, would we?

If He spelled it all out, why would we need Him?

And truth be told, if we actually saw our lives, all laid out before us, some of us might be tempted to run away, screaming, and refuse to come out from under the covers.

Because for some of us, our lives involve pain. A lot of it. And who would willingly offer to suffer?

He leads us, one step at a time, asking us to place all of our trust in Him, and in nothing else.

Not ourselves.

Not our friends.

Not our church.

Not our bank account.

Not our influence or popularity.

Only HIM.

And so I go down on my knees, once again, and ask Him to show me what His kingdom looks like, for me, and to give me the faith and strength to follow Him.

Monday, February 21

"I have everything I need. Not what I think I need. But what He knows I need. I can trust His love. I can trustwhat He gives. I can trust His provision of this moment." from Ann's blog.

Yes Lord, today I have everything I need.

Ann has offered a challenge, a challenge to think of something we are grateful for, every day.

Every night, as a family, we all go around and list things we are thankful for.

Tonight, my 4 yr old was thankful for church, for Sunday school and for friends.

My 7 yr old, thankful for school and joke books.

My husband, thankful for his wife.

My heart is warmed every time, to hear the sincere thanks pass through their lips.

Me? I am thankful for

snowflakes falling gently down

my kids' begging me to tickle them "just one more time"

love notes I wake up to, written by my husband

friends that encourage me

What are you thankful for today?

And head over to Ann's blog, or read her new book, One Thousand Gifts....

to be refreshed and challenged today.

Thursday, February 17

Oh death, where is your sting?

"Mom, is spring almost here? All the snow is melting," my oldest asks.

I pour the milk and my mind is already flying ahead, planning errands for today and answer, absentmindedly, "Why yes, spring is next month. Although the snow will be gone soon, spring doesn't officially get here until next month."

"Spring means flowers," he states matter-of-factly.

I nod my head, finding food for his lunch and stuffing his lunch box.

"We should plant some flowers, and then when the flowers come up, we can pick some..."

My heart stops. Time stands still. In a moment, I am brought back to that morning, almost 6 years ago, as I held my daughter, looked at her tiny hands, and asked God not to do this thing.

" and bring them to my sister." He smiles, with such innocence, and returns to eating his cereal.

Pain shoots through my heart and the cracks appear once again. Most days I am fine, feel fine, don't give much thought to my babies in heaven.

And then one of my boys will mention her, or ask a question, and it all comes rushing back, and I've never left. But it isn't their words that bring pain...the pain is already there.

And like a giant lake, walled up behind a concrete dam, every thought of her, every time I hear her name passed through another's lips, allows another crack to appear and let the water, the pain, pass through me.

And it's okay.

I am so glad we told our boys about Alaina.

One of the many decisions to be made after losing a child, is how to tell the subsequent children. Or to tell them at all?

But there is no shame in losing a child. Shame is for dark, dirty secrets, and the author is Satan, and there is no place for shame in a child of God.

"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." John the Apostle.

Hiding brings darkness, but openness allows the light to come in, to shine on the hurting places.

Her life is in the open, and our boys can talk about her, ask questions without fear of shame or reprisal. They talk about going to heaven and playing with her. And they know death. They know heaven. They ask me if I cried. Yes, I say simply. I cried for a long time. They wrap their arms around me, compassionate smiles across their faces, and then run off to play.

We have so much to learn from them. "let the children come to me, for such is the kingdom of heaven" -Jesus

Death, and pain, is not something to be feared, to be ashamed of, to hide.

How can we ask questions, not run away, and then hug and hold the person in pain? To comfort them, walk with them? To validate their pain without pat cliches? Then later on, remember that life is more than pain, more than death. We need to remind ourselves, that

Life is about LIVING.

Tuesday, February 15

Smiles and Bellies

I love watching my boys.

I love their energy, their smiles, their infectious laughter. I love how Sebastian's cheeks and belly wiggles as he runs, how Zach sticks out his tongue when in deep concentration, and how Than fearlessly zooms around on his trike.

As I watch their joy spill over into their faces, I glimpse them in the years ahead, men living for God, turning people's hearts to HIM, in the cities and all over the world. They are counter-culture men, fearless and alive with passion.

I bend over and hug my little man, feeling his big belly and hearing his giggle. Ah, such innocence.

Sunday, February 13

Love Letter

Dear hubby,

Hard to believe today is 11 Valentine's Days together. I still remember it, us so young, holding hands. Sitting across from you in a booth, munching on hamburgers and feeling giddy that I was going to be married in 5 short months.

I never would have believed it if someone had told me that over the next 11 years, I would

experience the pain of loss, of holding my baby as she takes her last breaths

feel so alone while laying next to you

cry myself to sleep because of your words and actions

have 10 surgeries in 5 years and feel so physically exhausted

go overseas and think of it as one of the most lonely and difficult times of our marriage

wish I have never been married

stumble my way through grief so heavy, I didn't know how to be a wife and mother

and then I remember how God awakened you, your heart, your passions, your love,
and I remember how

you held my hands in yours, looked me in the eye and asked for my forgiveness

you promised to stand by me, no matter what happens or how long it takes

often you tell me I am beautiful, and my heart melts

I long for you to return home just so we can talk about our day, our dreams, our future together

your love slowly awakens my own again

with tears in your eyes, you told me you love me and that you have never regretted being married to me....

and neither do I.

Yes, there has been disappointment, anger, and deep piercing pain. But I love you. I always have and always will, through all the valleys, fears, dark nights and daunting mountainsides. God is leading us on a grand adventure, and as I take your hand, and we both try to understand what unconditional love is really about, may the next 11 years be better than the first.

I dedicate this song to you, for all you have taught me and sacrificed for me. Let's go dancing in the minefields.

Well I was 19 you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much to young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith
to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos baby
I can dance with you

So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

Thursday, February 10

Going after...THE kingdom

Another great song....spells out beautifully what God has been whispering to me these last few ye first MY kingdom, go after ME, seek ME and you will find ME.

Interestingly enough, this was our passage today for home church. I've been a Christian long enough to know that when God really wants to get your attention, He tells you the same thing, over
and over
and over again.

Through many different people and in various situations.

So I figured out that God wants me to realize that I don't have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from, or if I will run out of clothes. He will take care of my basic necessities.

What He does want from me is to go after His kingdom.

What is His kingdom, exactly? Good question.

This is something I've been wrestling with for a few weeks now, and will continue to wrestle with it. Stay tuned, I plan to post more about my journey with this question.

In the meantime, enjoy this excellent worship song.

We fix our eyes on You, You are God alone
We fix our eyes on You, You’re our only hope
For all we have to lose is our very souls

We fix our eyes on You, You are God alone
We fix our eyes on You, You’re our only hope
For all we have to lose is our very souls

Save us from these comforts
Break us of our need for the familiar
Spare us any joy that’s not of You
And we will worship You
Yeah, we will worship You

Satisfy us, Lord, in Your unfailing love
Satisfy us, Lord, that You would be enough
We have nothing here, let Your kingdom come

Save us from these comforts
Break us of our need for the familiar
Spare us any joy that’s not of You
And we will worship You
Yeah, we will worship You

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Save us from these comforts
Break us of our need for the familiar
Spare us any joy that’s not of You
And we will worship You
Yeah, we will worship You

Friday, February 4

Seek Ye First

Steve and I have been talking this past week, about our dreams, about our future, about our goals for our family, marriage and ourselves. It feels so exhilarating to talk about such things and let your spirit and mind soar with possibilities, always reminding myself of God's promise, He is able to do more that you can ask or imagine!

At times, "reality" comes crashing down. There are so many unknowns. So many. Like, Where will we live? How will we make a living? How will we make it back to Nicaragua? What about schooling for the kids?

It feels so...HEAVY. and I wonder, what happened to my faith?

I am a one moment, filled with such faith and adventure that I feel like anything is possible, and what is there to fear? And then, it all looks so impossible to me, and I can't see my way through the murky waters, grasping at anything that looks like a foothold, desperate for air and wondering what are we doing?

In the middle of all these questions of house, jobs and food, I hear that small, urgent voice ask me...

And why do you worry about such things? Isn't life more than food and clothing?

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.

And so I cling to His promises, and wait.

Coffee Makers and Stoves don't Mix

Can you guess what this is?


Take a closer look.

What happened? you ask.

This is what happens when you leave a coffee MAKER on top of a stove burner, and turn the burner on. Minutes later, voila! You have a lovely mix of burnt black plastic and a ruined burner.

(it wasn't me, but somebody of the male have 4 choices :)

It was bound to happen....a certain male spends three years putting his primitive metal coffee maker on top of the gas burner to get his coffee, so why not the more highly advanced electric type?