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May friendship, encouragement and grace abound!
To read my adoption blogs check out: katelynsfund blog
To read my adoption blogs check out: katelynsfund blog
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Today's the day that I become a grandma. I don't feel like a grandma. I'm not sure what a grandma is supposed to feel like, except for over-the-moon-excited. I remember thinking..."Some day, when I'm really old and I'm a grandma..." but, I don't feel really old. I feel pretty darn good.
Today I get to smell the sweet breath of a new born. Today, I get to experience the tiny grasp of his hand curled around my little finger. Today I get to see one of the most delectable sights on the earth...baby feet. I get to look into the face of a little person who will no doubt, in some way remind me of his momma.
I get to experience a miracle today. A glorious, blessed miracle.
Birth....life....nothing short of a beautiful gift, a miracle from God.
Please, pray for my Kristen, her husband, Brandon and little Ezra - for safe delivery, healthy baby and that grandma will be able to share him.
Monday, May 7, 2012
To sum it up....we planted, we fertilized, we left it alone.
That's a pretty good philosophy regarding those you have been praying salvation for.
You can plant the seed, you can show them the love of Christ, show them you care. You can pray. You can pray that others plant seeds, or perhaps put down a little fertilizer. That's about it.
Once we've sown the winter wheat, growing it isn't our job.
Once you've sown Gospel seeds into another, growing them isn't your job.
The pressure is off of us as we watch the wheat grow and develop wheat heads...we can't control the rain, the lack of rain, the wind, hail, enough sun...or much of anything else. We have to trust God in His perfect design of creation and that He will allow the right elements so that we'll have a good crop, or a crop at all.
The pressure is off you as you wait and pray for that person. Maybe you see absolutely no sign of repentance, growth, or even interest...so you just keep waiting and praying. Trust God's perfect design of that person as He causes the heart to become plowed-up fertile soil ready to receive the Gospel.
You have enough to do without taking on jobs that you weren't meant to take. It's not your job to convict although you might be really good at criticizing and condemning. So take a deep breath, keep praying, hoping and believing....and let the Holy Spirit do it's job.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
We've shared laughter, tears, harsh words, the wonder of life and the mundane moments of the every day. We've experienced weak bank accounts, fevers in the middle of the night, cars that break down, dogs that die, kids that puke on brand-new carpet, countless renovations to the house, the excitement of birth, the stinging sorrow of death and six months alone while the older kids were in college.
We have forged through surgeries, wrinkles, the coming of gray hair, the ache of bodies getting older and the feeling inside that still seems like we are teenagers when you hold me. We look in the mirror and often feel what our bodies are telling us - we are getting older, but in our hearts it seems we are more youthful than ever.
We've argued, been frustrated, you've slept on the couch and I cried myself to sleep. We've come to each others rescue, been each others biggest fan and thought we were blessed beyond belief.
We really get what it means when we said....."for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health...til death do us part," cause those words were tested over and over again.
We've lived apart, while our hearts broke in a million pieces. But those vows weren't going to be broken. God had a plan and if we were only willing to give to Him, our battered and bruised vows...He was going to be faithful to restore and redeem. Redeem He did and we celebrated with another wedding while everyone who attended bawled their eyes out!
We've raised three kids, then just about the time we could take a breath - we adopted! We've dreamed about the day when we would be grandparents and in just a few short days - we will be! I cannot imagine life without you. I cannot imagine lying in bed each night without you there, even if you do snore sometimes. I cannot imagine my floors keeping clean because you always seem to track in after I mop. I cannot imagine another man that I would have rather been married to. You have been my best friend, lover, encourager, cheerleader, secret-keeper, safe place of refuge and my beautiful man. You've challenged me, made me write down transactions in the check books, cleaned up my messes and fixed more things than any one man should have to fix in a life time. I am so grateful for the blessing of being your wife and helpmate!
Happy Anniversary Beloved - Here's to 27 years and God willing - more to come!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
To catch a picture of Luke sitting, chillin,' is rare. To catch Luke sitting still, is almost unheard of. But his sister-in-law, Micala, caught this moment on camera and I love it. Luke loves to fish and he'll wait for a long time for that little red and white bobber to go under the water, indicating something has taken his bait. If his belly is full, the weather is good, his fishing line is in the water and his daddy is near...all is good. Especially if mom is close by too. However, when the fish is reeled in, after the photo ops are done, he'll hand you the pole. Luke doesn't remove fish from the hook, he only entices them on.
Most of Luke's busyness comes from attempts at being a moving target. If you keep dodging, you most likely won't feel the blow of a hand, a fist, or cruel words. His primal survival skills aren't quite on high alert like they used to be, but he's still cautious. You don't move very quickly from being the only one in the world to protect yourself to truly believing others will protect you. It takes time to trust that all is well, even when your dad is next to you. Luke didn't have the benefit to know what it was like to have a dad to hold him, care and provide for him until he was nine years old. That's eight long years of having to defend self!
Most of my busyness comes from attempts at being a moving mind....if I'm busy, I won't have to think, I won't have to deal with and I won't have to face myself. While I crave quiet and alone time, I can still occupy my mind and often that occupation isn't on God. You'd think after knowing my Heavenly Father for forty years, I'd have this trust and how He will quiet my soul thing down pat. I guess it takes time to trust that all is well, even when your dad is next to you.
Luke's dad is very patient with him. He understands that he sometimes needs his space and that he's still a work in progress. My Heavenly Father understands me too and he has displayed immeasurable endurance with me over the years. I cannot understand God's long-suffering with me...I cannot fully comprehend His perfect love either. It is with a human mind and heart that I attempt to understand. God doesn't call me to have it all figured out though - all he calls me to is stillness, to stop moving, stop busying myself...be still and know Him.
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The majority of time in my early years of marriage, I reacted rather than responding, My behavior, often cold and accusatory was rooted in fear. As I began to align my life with God’s, I recognized how much fear had controlled my actions. As I was nagging my husband about how he needed to change and lead his family, I was fearful that my circumstance might not ever change.
A fearful heart has great difficulty being an obedient heart. God’s word speaks to His children to remain in obedience. In I Peter 3:6 he specifically instructs women to be like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and to not give way to fear.
I had a big issue with fear and I think we women, generally do. We don’t always recognize or admit it, and it may come masked in words such as “I feel trapped”, “I don’t feel like things will ever change”, or “I’ll never see that desire fulfilled," or, "I'll never be happy." When we fear what we cannot control, we attempt to control what we think that we can. I spent a lot of time trying to control my husband and my environment. Because I couldn't change my husband or his actions, I was going to do all that I could in an attempt to keep anything else from hurting me, or causing more chaos.
When I slammed the cabinet doors, huffed and puffed around the house, I made it known that I was disappointed, that I was frustrated. If he’d ask me what was wrong, I’d give him a very cold, “Nothing!” I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of having something tangible to respond to, mostly because I didn’t really want to tell him that I was afraid, I was worn-down, I was bitter. It was much easier keeping the accusatory finger pointed at him. I had been crippled by fear; paralyzed and ineffective and that is just what the enemy wanted from me.It sounded so much better for me to say that my “desire” was for my husband to treat us with warmth, stop drinking, and start leading instead of realizing that I “demanded” those things of him. When I didn’t get my way, I resorted to reacting, being cold towards him and controlling him. My desire moved along seamlessly to sinfully demanding….also just what the enemy would want.
In Scripture, we read that Sarah (wife of Abraham) had longing and desires just as we do. Sarah’s empty arms and heart ached for a child. All those years as she hoped and waited for a child only to hope and wait again. Eventually, her time for child bearing came to an end. I am sure there were times she believed God had forgotten her. yet, In the New Testament - long after her story in the Old Testament, we find her name as a direct example to obedience. We women can identify with her. Her want became a desire and then it spun into a full-fledged must-have and that’s when she took action. She gave her maidservant (Hagar) to her husband so that he might sleep with her in hopes that Hagar would conceive the child that Sarah couldn't. When her (Sarah's) plan (not God's plan), worked, we see that she again, is miserable and mistreats Hagar. How many times have we manipulated a situation only to be discontented when it ends in a disaster? If we would only learn to wait upon the Lord and his best for us! If only we would trust God to speak to our husbands. If only we would trust God even if our husbands aren't saved.
When Sarah overhears the Lord tell her husband, Abraham, that she would indeed have a baby she seems to find it unbelievable and laughs aloud at the thought of delivering at her age! Once again, Sarah gives way to fear and even lies about laughing! How many times have we been too prideful to admit our failing doubt? How glorious it would be within the body of Christ, if we were real with one another regarding our struggles. I believe there would be a multitude of struggling believers that would come out of hiding if we weren’t so concerned with appearances.
All the misgivings of Sarah, yet, we are told in I Peter that we are her (Sarah’s) daughters if we do what is right and do not give way to fear! So, there must be hope for us! Sarah’s husband, Abraham, twice asked her to lie, telling those he feared that she was his sister, not wife. That would be a difficult thing to do, yet she was obedient, and God protected her.
Sarah had a schedule, her body had a deadline, but God had a plan! We women are great at being time managers, so much so, that when things are not running according to our fine-tuned schedule, we have a tendency to become frustrated and moody. This includes the heavenly scheduled-out events of life that are directed by our Father’s hand. God’s timing is not our own. God’s view is not our own. If only we would allow God to be our manager and concern ourselves with being more “manageable, “how much more effective would we be for the Kingdom of God? So what if the kitchen floor doesn’t get swept for awhile. So what if our husband doesn’t do exactly what we say and when and how. It doesn’t mean he isn’t going to act on our request; we are often just too impatient to wait.
We fear that God will not allow us to do what it is we want to do and when we want to do it. We fear that life is passing by and the opportunities we long for will be missed. This shows that we haven’t yielded to God. We keep our trust at a distance. We remain unconvinced regarding God’s best for us and God’s timing for all areas of our lives, especially those areas that mean the most to us. If only we understood how God desires us to rest, trust and wait upon him.
When Sarah’s arms are finally filled after the birth of Isaac she rejoices with these words, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears this will laugh with me”. This time, Sarah is laughing out of pure joy, and peace. There is no fear in this laugh. She also replies that she bore Abraham a child in his old age. We know that she is joyous beyond compare to finally hold a baby in her arms yet, she speaks of the delight she has brought to her man. We can identify with the earlier dealings of Sarah, but how beautiful if we can identify with her new character. A heart that is empty of fear and full of trust and hope.
When our heart is aligned or has the desire to be in alignment with God’s we can understand what the writer meant when he wrote about the eagle soaring on great heights. We don’t know the heights unless we have seen the depth of the pit! We, like Sarah do not have to give way to fear, but can learn to yield to God with total peace even in the midst of broken dreams. God is not only the author of dreams and good desires, but is the facilitator that causes them to come to fruition and we should never give up on seeing them become reality.
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husband’s so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. I Peter 3:1-6
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I see you there with your long, golden curls and your bright blue eyes, standing on the front step, a Little Mermaid backpack on your shoulders. Your first day of kindergarten. You are so ready to go to school. You so much want to learn and be like your older brother. How will my little girl get along those few hours without me?
I see you there, playing dress-up with your little sister, Jena, bossing her around, always making her be the bridesmaid while you are always the bride. I hear you as you play, your little girl voice trailing off to pretend-land as you constantly dream up something with your siblings. I see you there, as the dolls come out less, the tea-parties stop and you spend more time with your art, music and your friends. I pack away the "little girl" toys, your clothes consist of things you pick out...you care about what you look like now.
I see you there, my daughter, behind the wheel of a car and I am the most terrified that I've ever been as a mother. I cannot stand the thought of you on the roads, being that independent. Sixteen. Shouldn't you still be in a car seat? Utterances of relief and gratitude leave my lips every time you safely pull the car back into the driveway.
I see you there, and you are stunning. Your black and white prom dress fits you so perfect. You are graceful and elegant...no more pretend dress-up, this is for real. I see you as you drive away with your date and friends. I see you, after you come home, sitting on the edge of my bed, chattering away about your glamorous night.
I burst with pride as you receive your high school diploma from your father. Educated at home since you were in fourth grade allowed such wonderful moments with you. And there were those not-so-pleasant moments. We butted-heads more than once and there were days, I thought you were going to put me in an early grave...but, we made it and here you are, delivering your senior speech. I'm touched by your words.
I move you in and out of college dorms and each time, and wonder how in the world you manage to keep your room so tidy when at home you can't seem to even make your bed. It is strange to have you gone, your room is quiet, too quiet. I knew this day would come, you are meant to leave, to find your own way. You are meant to fulfill what God had in mind for you...still, it seems like you should be playing on the floor, American Girl doll clothes spread out all over the place, pretending with your sister.
I see you there, standing with this guy you've met. He can't hardly breathe for fear of making a wrong move in front of us. We are glad he's so cautious. I see you there, as we hide behind a concrete wall, along the downtown canal on the moon-filled night. A guitar is playing, someone is singing your favorite song...and Brandon's knee hits the ground, a ring comes out and a life-changing question is asked. I realize that the piano will no longer sing to me, daily. I will miss your music filling our home. I will miss your voice. We pack up your room. Your things are getting put away in your new home - you are preparing to leave for good. One last night before your wedding. One last time I tuck you in. One last time your daddy kisses his little girl good night before he hands her over to someone else.
I see you there, my blooming daughter as you anticipate life! You rub your belly and talk to little Ezra, you are over the moon with excitement and think you'll burst if you don't get to hold him in your arms soon.
I see you there, my precious gift from God...about ready to receive the most precious gift yourself!
I'll see you there, my Kristen, as you hold your son for the first time, experiencing a love that you never dreamed you could possess. I'll see you there, I cannot imagine the emotions that will well up inside of me as I watch my daughter cradle her baby, as you and your beloved, become a family of three.
I see you there, and I am so thankful that God allowed me to be your momma!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The above antique buffet was my husband's grandparents. Back in the day, it was a stunning, dark wood piece. My kids and mere life took its toll and it went from stunning to stunned. I asked my husband years ago if I could paint it, an off-white, (of course). He quickly responded with a "No". Every year, I asked. Every year, "No." Until this year!
I'm not a patient person. I have issues in the "waiting dept." especially when it comes to re-purposing furniture or decorating. I could have just started sanding when he wasn't home. I could have nagged him to death. I could have ignored his "no" and claimed I didn't hear him. I coulda, but I didn't. There was a time, when I really wasn't too concerned with what my husband wanted, I thought I knew best. Especially about the kids and the things around the house. The bottom line was I didn't respect him enough to consider how he felt about things, especially things like a piece of furniture. The bottom, bottom line was, I didn't respect him.
The day he agreed to painting the buffet, was the day that baby went out into the garage! I was so excited, I sanded and sanded until my arms ached. I chose a lovely eggshell white and began to gloss that paint over that worn out piece. After one coat, my husband told me that I had good vision, it was a wise decision. Oh, I was feeling good. Between coats of paint I went to a barn sale. The guy had stuff in his barn that he didn't even bother to drag out. I ventured in and was delighted to find the old piece that you see on the wall in the above photo (taken by Katie one of my amazing photo-graphers - along with Micala). He gave it to me for $5.00. I was feeling even better! It took some elbow grease, but it was worth it. I left the original paint, with its crackled edge (cause that's my style) and admired my amazing antique piece to go along with the buffet. It was a match made in heaven!
Once the buffet was dry and my strong men brought her back in, beloved husband secured the (very heavy and sturdy) mirrored shelf. Oh, it was gorgeous! I wasted no time filling the buffet drawers with my antique linens, the top and shelves with my favorite old and new glass/white pieces.
It was worth the wait...for my husband to give me his blessing. The point isn't if the buffet was left alone or painted, the point is, it meant a lot to my man that I didn't hound him about it. He appreciated the fact that I didn't stomp my feet and demand my way. There are times, even when it doesn't make sense to us, we can bless our husbands by simply letting them know we trust them!
Sometimes....trusting our husbands looks like not giving in to nagging, whining, slamming doors, giving them the cold shoulder or withholding. Sometimes, our husbands are wise in their decisions. Sometimes, they have reasons beyond what we see. Sometimes, they even know what is best. Even when you can't trust your husband, you can trust God to deal with him...easier said than done, I know. But if you think about how trusting your husband really means bypassing that trust into God's hands...it makes sense.
My man also appreciated the fact that I did the work myself. I'm always dragging something home because I have a "vision" for it. Most of the time, he's great about my little projects, but he's even more delighted and blessed when I take initiative and fix it myself.
Sometimes, it doesn't take years to get a "yes," and there are times, when I do try to negotiate with him. But I've learned that manipulating and attempts to control DO NOT WORK - they only drive a wedge in our relationship. When I show my husband that I trust him (which is actually trusting God), it brings a glorious dimension to our marriage that I never thought I'd see. My husband has responded to me in ways he didn't before - because I've learned to show him respect, he's way better at the affection and affirmation I need.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1