Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Ebb and Flow of Marriage and How it Reflects the Cross


The union of biblical marriage is a covenant union that is suppose to reflect the relationship of Christ and His church to the world. Only with one man and one woman can the complete image of God be reflected because He made us different in His image and together we make a more complete picture.

Yet the representation of Christ and His church or His bride is the other picture marriage represents. Ephesians five tells us how a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. I ponder this. That is a huge command. Christ loved His bride to the death. He left the perfect union of the Trinity, the perfect dance of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, to pursue His people, His bride. He left that union and put on flesh. He willingly came limiting Himself to be like us to live the perfect sinless life we could never live. To trade places with us by being the perfect sacrifice. This is love. Unselfish, get nothing in return, lay down your life for another love. When we had nothing to offer He pursues us. He loves us. He never lets us go. How can a mere man do this in his marriage? How can he be that picture of love to his wife to reflect this beautiful picture to a dying world?

Then in Ephesians it says the wife is to submit to her husband. This is her role in marriage to reflect Christ and His church to the world. This too is difficult. Again, it is like Jesus giving everything up for us. He submits perfectly to the Father, He does not argue but does His mission submitting to even death on the cross. He is the perfect example of denial of self for another and that is perfect submission. He fully trusts the Father and His plan. He submits to it. There is perfect love and submission in this relationship. Marriage is the earthly tool to reflect this to a dying world. But how?

When my husband is not loving me well it makes me so sad. However, I can chose to run to the cross. I run to the only One who can love me perfectly and rest in His perfect love for me. I pray for my husband that he can learn to love better. Only by looking at Christ and seeing His example and meditating on His love for us can you love well. I pray for His relationship with Christ. I trust God will move in my husbands heart but in the meantime let the Lover of my soul fill that void. My husband was never meant to.

When my husband loves me well and it is blissful, I turn my eyes to Christ in thanksgiving! For this love I receive from him is only a sweet glimpse of the the greater love Christ has for me. For a brief moment I get to experience a glimpse of that love through my husband and I am grateful. I pray and ask God not to allow me to make my husband into an idol. Again, he is not meant to fill that deeper void that only God and His great love can fill.

When I think of love and submission I am in awe of Christ and how He did these both perfectly. When in marriage we do them well we get to walk in His shoes a bit. Only can we do these things well when we are confident of His amazing and unstoppable love for us. It is easier to love well or submit when we know we are fully loved. Again, I am in awe of God and His great plan for biblical marriage. How He uses sinners like me to reflect Himself to the world. We will not do it perfectly but we are hopeful in the One who is perfect who by laying His life down made us perfect in this not yet but coming soon kind of way.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Bone Weary Season of Motherhood

I have a friend who often times looks at me and tells me I need to get some sleep. She can see it on my face. I am bone weary in this season most of the time. But sleep is not what will fix this. There is more.

I feel as if this season has me pouring out my life like a drink offering. I am being poured out--dry. In these seasons it is so hard to refill because you cannot pour out what you have not filled up. Like my lap top, it gets its charge and works diligently for me until that final drop of electric charge is done then it shuts off. This is me.

Yet I keep pushing this body of mine and if I cannot find rest I will malfunction. Like today. I almost ran away from home. Poured out dry like a desert floor. I feel as if I cannot do anymore. Simple requests start to send me over the edge. This should not be the case. I need REST.

Jesus is the perfect example of an older brother to follow. He poured out His life like this. He became tired. He left and got alone with the Father. I must do this, even if I have to put a towel over my head like Susanna Wesley. I cannot imagine having all the kids she had but when you factor special needs into account it actually ups the ratio for me.

I need to learn to rest. To run to Jesus and sit in His presence. To soak in His word even if everyone around me is screaming. I have an invitation to come away with Him and I will take it. It is that only way for my survival. Boundaries with my kids must be put in place too so I can take that life saving time so I can be filled up to pour it forth again.

The hardest part of this season is living in this continual grief. If you have a special needs child I think traveling through the grief process is continual. Grief is exhausting. The death of dreams and normalcy continually pop up like a jack in the box. You anticipate it but they suddenly pop up and catch you off guard so you grieve.

Yet as Paul, we can "be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." We can remember God has a plan greater than we think or imagine. He is a good Father and only gives good gifts to His children. So we sit in trust and soak in His presence. Then we move forward again, pour out, fill up. Remember the importance of filling up. Take time to worship God. Get alone. Talk to a friend. Do something you enjoy. Take a walk. And most importantly it is a season. It to will pass.

If you are in a weary season too, learn to rest in HIM. Let us pray for one another in this season.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two Years with Isaiah (God Saves)

I cannot believe how our life has been flipped upside down with the addition of this little boy! It still all seems like a crazy blur but I love it! I would not change a thing! Adoption has changed all our lives completely in hard ways but in good ways. This little boy that God so loved and had in mind for our family has rocked our world in ways we did not know we could be rocked.

We named him God saves, but see, God used him to save us in many ways. When you live life day by day you start to just fall into complacency. It just happens and he woke us up. 

I asked our little guy what he loves most about each of us and he says,
"That we love him and hug him." He is so cute!

I know that moving forward it may be hard. I still see delays in him. I know the reality of adoption and its brokenness. He knows he has living birth parents and loves them but keeps telling me he has lived with us his entire life. We both know that is not true but perhaps it is a way for him to adjust at his age. He has much life to know the truth and walk in it.

My absolute favorite thing is watching him grow spiritually. He is concerned about his sin toward others when at first he could care less. He loves God and sees how important God is to us. He fits in so perfectly with us, like he was meant for us all along. I do not know how it will all look as he interacts with all of his family, birth or adoptive, but I feel positive about it. I don't think it can hurt anyone to be loved by so many. As long as we can keep his best interest at heart.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Prayer is Important - Don't Be As Unwise to Battle Without It


I was at a seminar today that was intended to engage the faith community to partner with the efforts they were discussing. The sad part about this entire presentation is that the key element of any Christian work was missing. Sure we did pray as we opened as most Christian gatherings do but this critical element in the battle against this beast was neglected.

We are fooled if we think we can take on an enemy that has existed from the very beginning by our plan. We must be praying people before we set out to take on any enemy. I was saddened by this. Also, we must absolutely see all of our efforts in the light of the gospel. We do battle and take on the enemy because he is assaulting the glory of God.

The topic was the problem with slavery in our day and age. There are 27 million people trapped in some kind of slavery. It is very prevalent in most of our backyards if you live in America. Education is needed but mobilizing God's people to pray and fight in the power of the gospel are the key factors we must keep at the forefront.

Here is a great quote that resignated with me when thinking of fighting any battle but seriously includes the battle against modern day slavery;

"Pray is critical because every piece of Christian armor is useless without it. Prayer is like oil. Just as every part of an engine is useless without oil, so every part of Christian warfare is vain without prayer. Fighting Satan without prayer is like David fighting Goliath in Saul's armor. The armor doesn't fit, and it is ineffective against the blows of the enemy." ~Joel Beeke

We do need to do something about this huge problem of slavery. We do need to fight but let us not be ignorant to move ahead taking on an enemy who is wiser and stronger than us. Let us pray. Let us seriously pray Scriptures and pour our hearts out until there is no air left. God hears our prayers. He will activate the armor to work. He will move mountains but not by our effort by His effort and through our prayers.

Let us wake up church to the horrible things happening all around us. Let us pray. Let us have eyes to see the hurting and walk alongside them. Let us move as He directs and guides. Let us clothe ourselves with His armor so we can properly fight. Let us pray!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Posting at Comfort in the Midst of Chaos Today


I love this ministry that encourages families that have children with special needs. You must check them out if you have not already. You can find them here.

I am posting about a heavy heart laced with weighty grace. Here is a preview:
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

For I am the Lord, your God,

    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" (Isaiah 43b-43:3a, NLT).
My life often feels like a puzzle with a missing piece. Things appear to be fitting in place like the beautiful box picture but then something happens and a piece is missing again. Smooth sailing takes a back seat for another day. It is disturbing. It is a heaviness my heart feels like it cannot take. READ MORE.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some Thoughts on the Limited TV Decision


I know this really sounds ridiculous because it is happening so soon after our decision to cut Disney Channel and most television but my kids have actually been very polite and caring toward one another the past two days. It has been incredible; almost miraculous. I don't know if I was just letting too much junk into their hearts or what? It does seem to correlate. What we are doing different:

1-We have had some extensive conversations about God and family. What God says about our hearts, minds and attitudes and why it even matters. This has been fruitful.

2-We have been praying more for their hearts and minds; praying more fervently and urgently.

3-I am helping them rediscover their strengths, talents and abilities. They are finding their creative selves again through this. Just yesterday they drew, produced a cooking show, made up board games, practiced photography, read, helped one another accomplish goals, made me a fun coupon book, and so much more.

Their attitudes have changed! It is almost too hard to believe for now and I am still skeptical but I do think clearing the garbage from entering their minds has helped.

I did not realize how much it was hurting them and here is why I believe it was actually assaulting their minds.

When we watch television we are either active observers or passive observers. Walt Disney himself knew this. When producers make good television shows or movies they make shows that provide passive observers an escape. It is a form of enjoyable leisure. There is nothing wrong with this unless, of course, all you do is watch television; everything in moderation.

This can become a problem with passive observers, who make up the majority of people. If you are a passive observer you do not usually see the agendas seeping into programming. It is information your brain is processing and it goes into your heart. Everything does. It has the power to influence. Why do you think comedies make you laugh? And are you  not in a better mood after watching one? Then after a tragedy, you are typically sad. That is one reason why I do not make a habit of watching the  news. It is so depressing. They focus on the sad or bad stories most of the time. I often feel bad after watching and at times I am tempted to doubt God's sovereignty.

Now I am an active watcher so as I process the incoming information I am always trying to figure out what the producers angle is? What is their agenda? What messages are they trying to get across? You can learn a lot about writers and producers this way. I am looking at motivations all of the time. I know it is weird. I thought this was normal and how everyone watched programs.

Because I am an active observer there are not many things that influence me. Take that ability and match it up with the large arsenal of God's word and it guards me sufficiently. However, these young hearts I have been given charge over do not have this same arsenal of God's word grounded in them yet. They also are probably passive observers. And the one with autism is trying to figure out social interaction in this world too easily takes this information in as a "how to behave in the world" lesson.

Naturally, I can only conclude that taking out the poison, though so soon, has caused their hearts to heal some. They are able to refocus on God and His ways. They are free to love and that not be strange. They can be friends. What an amazing outcome thus far. Really they did not watch too much television in the first place, however the qualities of the shows were poor. We still watch some things at times. We just are choosing to really guard hearts based on how each one is made. It is almost embarrassing to admit it took me this long to see it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some Wisdom From Habakkuk


About 40 years after Jonah prophesied to the Ninevites (or Assyrians) telling them to repent and they did (atleast for that day) but it was short lived repentance. They are at it again. Their power and wickedness has overthrown much land which included the Northern Kingdom of the Israelites. The Israelites in the Northern Kingdom were taken into captivity and dispersed all over in various places where the Assyrians ruled.

It was a hard time for God's people. Yet before it happened to them they were not without warnings! God warned them over and over. They had His word and priests even prophets but they did not listen. They chose to persist in sin. They again, broke God's heart. He had to discipline them. God loves us so much He will not allow us to remain in our sin. Even so before the foundation of the world was laid God knew that Jesus would need to make the once and for all sacrifice for our sin. This plan was in place at the proper time which we get to look back on.

Let us learn from our past. May we heed God's warning and instruction. May we walk like people who are loved. Those that know they are delighted in run toward the things that please God. Let us be that kind of people.

 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NIV)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Disney Channel Portrayed Content that Helped Us Cancel Our Cable

                                                         Picture taken from

Tonight, we were viewing the on-demand episode of Good Luck Charlie titled, Down a Tree. It is scheduled to air next Sunday the 26th at the regular viewing time. It started out like every other show but side swiped us when Charlie had a play date with a friend who had two mommies. They try to make light of it introducing it as normal. Also it does go into how long the couple has been together and when they adopted their child. Things that I don't even know about the other kids best friends parents like the Wentzes.

This makes me think that it is sneaking an agenda into the show and on to the channel. It happens subtlety, they sneak in the agenda quietly a little at a time so that these things push the limit. This was the last evidence we needed to make the call to cut off the cable.

I know it should not have taken me by surprise as it did, especially in light of the newer series on abc family called The Fosters that features a lesbian couple who are foster parents. Yet I felt I could trust Disney. I thought Disney was different. Especially in light of this family friendly show of Good Luck Charlie, a large family who love one another and strive to help one another. There are shows on the Disney channel that I do not let my children watch but many are not horrible.

Yet none of the shows on the Disney channel push my family closer to Christ. This should not surprise me because Disney is of the world. My husband and I have been seeing this for some time but this show pushed us over the top.

The media has the power to influence our thoughts. Most of the media is of the world. Of what benefit is it to watch these things? How many things on cable really point us toward Christ? We found it lacking.

Homosexuality is not an accepted lifestyle. It is not normal. It is not what God created. It should not be made to look normal before my young children. This is not because I hate those who practice this lifestyle. It is because I love them too much to let this issue go. I want them to know there is a better way. My heart breaks over the world's view on this topic these days.

Why does it matter anyway?
The point of marriage is to reflect an image of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5). This cannot be done in a same sex marriage. A same sex marriage is not fruitful. Each sex has been given specific roles to play that will complement one another well while bringing God great glory. The biblical instruction for marriage is for our good. And any violation to marriage purity is sin.

I don't want my kids to see living in sin as normal. It is for the world but not for those who belong to God. We have been given power through the Holy Spirit to rise above habitual sin. It breaks God's heart and broke Jesus body literally. That is enough for me to see that if something is not pointing me to God then it is not worth watching.

Invisible Illness in the Church

Here we are again on another Sunday morning. I am typing this through much trouble. As I type, I battle a backwards E shaped disco ball shining object in my field of vision. Sound strange? Not for me. Sometimes it is too much but at other times I have learned to compensate. What I am experiencing is a migraine aura. If you get them you understand, otherwise it is hard to comprehend entirely.

Prior to this visual field disruption, which I need to leave me before I can drive us to church, I am struggling with the pain from the air that surrounds me. I am feeling like it is pressing down on me and squeezing me. Almost like a million minuscule paper cuts at one time. I am having to keep all of my skin covered today, except my face, which will help with that some.

Add the pressure of sinus pain in and then that pretty sums up my morning. It is only 8:10am. Who knows what the rest of the day holds! I don't write this to make you feel sorry for me or to even complain. I am so thankful to be reminded often that I was not made for this world. My eternity is in Heaven and oh how joyous it will be to see Him face to face and shed this skin!

I write this because there are many around you suffering from invisible illnesses. We are not usually the type who complain much or even talk about it much. It is sadly part of our lives. We pray for it to leave us but until He takes it away we are stuck here. We are people with MS, Lyme, ALS, Autism, migraine, Lupus, fibromyalgia, depression, mental illness, and many other illnesses.

The frustration with these illnesses is that they are randomly activated. No one can know for certain when they will just decide to show themselves. Then when they do no one around you really knows it is happening or understands it. So when I do not reach out to shake your hand or cringe at the hug you may try to give me please understand I do desire to respond kindly but it hurts to bad today.

What can you do? Just respond kindly when someone refuses. Know people are struggling with different things and it is not against you or even about you. Ask those you know who deal with invisible illness how they have been feeling because they will not usually say unless asked. They just accept it is part of them and know this world despises weakness so they learn to not talk about it. See how you can help them.

If you struggle with invisible illness, know God sees you! He knows the great sacrifice you make when you do the things you do like going to church when you are suffering physically or mentally. This is my go to verse:
 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9.

It is clear to me in this condition that anything I do is in His strength. I have none. He amazes me when He carries me in this way. Also, give yourself permission to rest. It is ok when you just stay home and rest. God knows your heart and sacrifice even when others may not.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day One of Simplifying - Journey to Simplicity

I am taking a break at the halfway point of office organization. This room has our school stuff, which is overflowing since we home school, home papers of necessity, which are magnanimous, various computer, gaming, and other randomness. There is probably too much stuff in this one space but it is the only location for it in this house. Throwing out, giving away, and selling unnecessary items is a must. Especially if we want to move forward to our goal of simplifying and serving the nations.

The problem with this is that it is tiring! And my younger children are not the most helpful when it comes to these type of situations. I tend to be a referee or mediator much of the time distracting me from the goal of simplifying. It is a non-stop roller coaster.

Though the fun parts of this work are those precious finds that take time to go through like old pictures and papers that the children made. They are fun to look and reminisce at.

I must remind myself that this is not a sprint kind of process but a marathon. It will take time. My husband reminds me that we are in this together. We are a team. We are one. I am thankful for his strength. God uses him to infuse strength into my weary bones. I am thankful for him.

The journey has just begun and to get through it is to keep the main goal my focus. We can do this in HIM!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Strange Faith Filled Journey - Follow it This Year

"Wind's in the east, mist coming in, like something is brewing about to begin." This little quote from Marry Poppins is what I have been thinking about today. Change has been coming for quite some time but it was birthed in prayer. In prayer, change that you think God is stirring in your heart is exciting but then comes the time when faith has to hit your feet and you must walk in it; this is the scary yet exciting part.

The prayer period continues but walking this thing out is the next step. God is birthing something that we (Tony and I) can not tell you yet. We will inform as we can tell more, of course, but for now there are a few things we are doing in faith.

Last year we started getting our house ready to sell. We are almost there. Yet, a little debt was also acquired to get these things ready. We need to pay this off and earn enough for a few ministry related trips coming up for us. Again, we will say what we can when we know and we can.

I am so appalled by how much stuff we own! A friend and I have been talking about the need to simplify. In March it will be two years since we had the house fire. I realized then that I need very little to be okay, yet I look at all of this stuff. It is crazy to me! I, along with my friend, will be strategic on how to sell unneeded items. This is a must! We will challenge one another in this. I know this part will be painful yet comical.

I will give things away to others who need them.
I will be having garage sales with my friend.
I will be posting items for sale on various media outlets like Facebook or Amazon.

Really I do not need that much!

We have such a desire for women to be refreshed in their relationship with the Lord so we will also be using this for the ministry purposes of offering small retreats in order to do this. I am excited about serving women in this way! I hope you help us by spreading the word as we have more information available. 

I have been also feeling a desire to help those in poverty. Because of this I have partnered with Trades of Hope. This organization is amazing and helps so many people by empowering them so they can stay out of poverty and provide for their families. By supporting this ministry and selling their products I also can make a little income to put back into this ministry of refreshing others and mission trips our family has coming in the near future.

This blog will take on a new look in order to help you navigate this stuff easier. I really hope you will partner with us in prayer! God used your prayers to help so much in our adoption adventure! Of course we would not refuse a financial partnership either for these things but I cannot even tell you enough to give you a clear conscience about that yet! Buy from Trades of Hope, Buy our ebooks from Amazon, or buy our well used stuff we post to sell. This will help. Spread the word about it. That will help. We must partner with one another in the gospel. I appreciate any help you can give. Mostly I just ask for some faithful prayer partners because the things we are sensing are crazy dreams and we need clear direction and wisdom. 

The other challenge and step is for us to learn Arabic. We do not fully know why but we are being faithful. I know God will show us the fruit of this. I am actually seeing a little fruit because I have made some Arabic speaking friends this year. 

So for now this is vague and where we stand. When you wonder why I am selling so much and trying to earn income in these various ventures for our ministry it all boils down to these things. As we know more we will share. Our one need now is this; Prayer Partners.

If you can agree to partner with us in prayer for this year I would like to know. Please send me a message. I can send you regular prayer updates. I really need your help. We are excited at what God is doing!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Broken System - Part Four, Our Response

When you live with a broken system of childcare you must step in and do something. We are all in this together. We must let our hearts break for the things that break God's heart. Children hurting and neglected would qualify here.

Everyone has a part to play. For us it was bringing a boy into our home to help a family out. This boy was in a very bad condition and the immediate need was to relieve this. After this was taken care of a plan was drawn that would clarify the things that a family needs to properly raise children. Many resources were available and we walked this path with the family.

After a long period of time the family proved not able to do the things that were needed to give their children a safe environment. Because children need permanency we adopted our little guy to make this a possibility. This does not relieve the situation though all together. The birth family still  needs people to walk along with them and help them as they can reach their full God-given potential.

This is tricky though, when people refuse to walk the recovery road you cannot force them. It puts you in a position to care for them but not enable them. In our situation we communicate and pray for them. We visit with them and they know their children are well cared for. We also have an opportunity to visit together with them. We pray for them hoping and cheering them on to be what they can be. We wait until they decide to live up to it.

That is just the basics of our story. Many of us can identify families who just  need extra encouragement. We can all speak life into situations we see around us. We can encourage the weary mom. We can offer to walk alongside them on a hard path. We can all pray for them. The fact is we must all be intentional. Being intentional in loving others around us well is what repairs a broken system. People helping people is key. May the Lord give us eyes to see and do what we can. He has given us all different abilities and different opportunities to help. What can you do?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: The Global War on Christians by John L. Allen Jr.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. It is written full of facts of the reality of the true persecutions that take place toward Christians around the world and I know this book alone is not exhaustive of all cases. It is eye opening and helps the reader get a good grasp on the world around them regarding how Christians in general are viewed.

The author also helps the reader understand some of the reasons behind certain kinds of persecutions and myths regarding these as well. It is a book that we need to really see to be awaken from our slumber in the west. We do take for granted our freedom of religion. It is hard to see beyond ourselves but there are so many others out there sharing their faith in difficult circumstances.

This book discusses in detail the top twenty countries that it is hardest to be a Christian. It discusses certain reasons for this based on the culture. I think most Christians should read this book just to get an insight into other places around the world and how Christianity is viewed. It is helpful indeed.

The author then ends by explaining what can be done. I do highly recommend this book.

You can get a copy on Amazon here.

DVD Review: Restless by Jennie Allen

I received a copy of this DVD set at no cost from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

This is an interesting review because I have viewed the 8 session video lessons alone without the aid of the study guide or book. My review can only be based on this information. I do know my appetite is whetted for more after viewing. It seems that the study that accompanies this will be helpful to those who desire to see God in the mundane of life. The book appears to focus more specifically on the life of Joseph, though the video is more application to the viewers everyday life.

I have to be honest, I like Jennie Allen. I am thrilled to see her desire to lead women in making a difference in our generation with our specific God-given strengths, talents and abilities. This video is made with a fresh, contemporary style that makes it interesting and easy to watch. There is a small group of women who are viewing the authors teaching. At the beginning of each session there is a question that several women try to answer regarding their lives based on the following lesson (Again, having the study guide would have helped here I believe). There are eight sessions lasting about 20 minutes each. Jennie's teaching is passionate and clear about making Jesus the center of our lives. It is good material that will spurn your walk forward in the Lord.

I believe this would be beneficial to do alongside a small group of women with the use of the study guide or book. It would be a good starting point for further discussion as to how these topics relate individually to the women in the group, in turn those women can encourage one another accordingly to be all they are meant to be in HIM.

The book and DVD's are available to order from Amazon tomorrow, January 7th here.
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