Magic in the Mundane: Finding Blessings in Disguise

Magic in the Mundane: Finding Blessings in Disguise

How often do we forget how truly blessed we are? How often are our greatest blessings disguised by the normalcy of day-to-day life? Today, I am opening my eyes to the magical gifts that are tragically disguised as mundane…

Oh, how blessed am I! Twice now has my belly swelled with life, treasure crafted from the reserves of my own body, crafted with nearly none of my own skills or handiwork. My own fragile flesh has heaved and groaned and pushed out two magnificent vessels of beauty, expert craftsmanship carrying the very breath of God.

How blessed am I. That my breasts could so effortlessly swell with this liquid gold, a fountain of milky cream from the maze within that rises, flooding with nutrients, every time my angel cries to be nourished.

How blessed am I. My two darlings have slept and sipped and snuggled their way into toddlerhood, and have become the best of friends. My tiny boy, less tiny with each passing day, his hair like a mound of sun-kissed strawberries, each year bringing a bit more sunshine and less strawberry. He is my leader. My tender-hearted warrior. His deep hazel eyes dance delight, blaze fire, and drip disappointment. His voice is incessant, commanding, and never in doubt. His laugh is infectious and his sandy-skinned frame, like a jungle-gym monkey, never stops moving.

Then there’s my tiny girl, with her wide button nose, her square-like jaw line with those plump, kissable cheeks, and her almond eyes that boast a breathtaking grey-blue. Her hair like sunshine tinted with earth that is trying so hard to spin itself into curls. She is my singer – I daresay the attempt to sing nearly rivaled her attempt to speak. She adores bright, happy colors and lifts her hands to feel the wind – just like me. She loves flowers and dresses and barefeet and swings – she is my wild little princess. Just like her mama.

Both of my tiny disciples love to be outside. They love to dance with all their heart – never fearing that they are doing it wrong or assuming that anyone is anything less than enthralled with their every move.

And aren’t we?

And when did we start caring what anyone else thought about our every move?

Our heavenly Daddy soaks in our every move with delight, enthralled with our very being.

Surely one of the reasons He gives us these tiny mirrors is so that we understand how very deeply we are loved.

My heavenly Daddy is enthralled with my every move. How blessed am I! To know the voice of the One Whose very breath birthed my spirit; to be so familiar with the hands that knit my cell and sinew; to be intimately entwined with the heart of my very Maker. How blessed am I!

How blessed am I to have found my passionate darling, this lover of me. What kind of gift is this – to live every day by the side of my sandy-haired prince with the tender heart and the sea-swept eyes that crinkle every time he laughs. To live each and every day – rain-drenched, sun-kissed, snow-swept, storm-tossed, wildflower-flecked days – each of them hand in hand with my most intimate friend, with my most favorite person in all the world.

How blessed am I to have a home to call “mine”. Colorful walls and soft carpet, shining hardwood floors begging to be danced upon, plush chairs and pillows and beds and blankets and little stuffed woodland creatures to snuggle with at night. A place that is filled with the Spirit of God and the personality of our family; a haven of whispered prayers and hopes; plaster walls ringing with laughter and the sound of singing; floors that have witnessed many a dance and soaked up many tears.

In many ways it is no more than a box made of wood and nails and a bit of glass, plaster and paint, on a patch of grass – but mix in some color and texture, some music and laughter, sprinkle in tears and pour in some prayers, swirl in a flood of memories – and that simple wooden box on the patch of grass has become our home. Our haven of rest. Our safe place, tucked away from the rest of the world, even while smack-dab in the middle of it. How blessed am I.

How blessed am I to have a church that is more like a family. Where many hands come together to make light work, where many hearts come together to make heavy hearts lighter, where heavy work and homemade meals are shared and friendships are forged. Where worship is free and tears are allowed and the raw and the real is encouraged. Where the Word is taught and my soul and spirit are challenged. How blessed am I.

How blessed am I.

HOW BLESSED ARE YOU?

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

 

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Was God?

Was God?

 

Was God ever stuck in an endless cycle?

And how did it make Him feel?

Did He ever feel “unproductive” or “unsuccessful”?

I imagine not.

But surely He had every excuse to feel that way….

 

40 years in the desert, round and round and round,

Complaints and disobedience and discipline and doubt –

When it should have been the happy journey of a few days,

Filled with faith and trust and much rejoicing.

God could have felt trapped. Used. Abused. Unsuccessful.

But He stayed with them. Trained them. Taught them. Disciplined them.

He was patient. Holy. Forgiving. Jealous. Committed. Powerful.

They refused to see. Refused to trust. Refused to rejoice. Complained against their Maker.

And God gave them what they wanted. But it wasn’t. Not really.

When His children begged for a king because their heart-eyes couldn’t see –

Did God feel rejected? Replaced? Hurt? Angry? Useless?  Still He remained. Still He spoke. Still He trained and disciplined and loved and chided.

He gave them what they wanted.

But they didn’t. Not truly.

 

When over hundreds of years God could not find a man who could see or who would speak His words –

Did He grow weary in the waiting? Did He doubt the future? Or fear the outcome?

Did He grow angry, bitter, resentful?

We know He didn’t. Couldn’t. But could we have blamed Him if He had?

When each child, it seemed, set their eyes on the earth, knelt their knees to that which rots, opened their mouths and mocked their Creator –

He gave them the fruit of their lips.

But did they know what seed their lips had planted? He gave them what they wanted – even though they didn’t.

 

When He gifted His Son and they closed their eyes; when He sent His Word and they stopped their ears;

When He offered them Love and they wished Him to die –

Did God feel discouraged? Did He feel unsuccessful? Did He ever regret? Or want to pull back and begin a new plan? We know that He didn’t – but would we have?

He gave them what they wanted – though they were clueless. He gave them what they needed – even though they didn’t know.

 

How faithful is our God? How all-knowing, patient, gentle, and kind He is…He knows what we need. He KNOWS. But He often gives us what we want when we refuse to listen. And oftentimes, when we get what we so desperately wanted, we realize that it wasn’t what we truly wanted at all.

 

If you, like me, are feeling some of these things – unsuccessful, frustrated, trapped, used, replaced – whatever season you are walking through right now, remember that God walked through it first. Whatever it is that you are desperately wanting – remember that He knows what you need. Choose to walk this season in faith, in trust, and with rejoicing – knowing that you have a Maker Who sees you – and Who knows.

 

Photo by Ivars Krutainis on Unsplash

Motherhood: When Your Dreams Feel Buried

Motherhood: When Your Dreams Feel Buried

I’ve been realizing something lately. My mama-heart often deeply misses the areas of life that I used to invest so fully in or longs to give wings to dreams that seem so out of reach in this season of babies. I often feel like I’m not doing enough, not accomplishing enough, not living out what I always dreamed I would. I begin to dwell on the days when I was able to be fully invested in ministry, able to invest “endless” time into myself and my friends, able to go out dancing on a whim or attend a concert or church event or ministry trip or local musical “just because.”

It’s so easy for me to focus on the fact that so much of my time is now spent washing dishes, cooking meals, wiping bottoms, kissing boo-boo’s, and repeating the same. Thing. Over. And over. And over again.

But hold up. I am choosing right now to take a deeper look at some of the “normal” stuff I am busy with, to hold up a magnifying glass to my “scheduled to do’s”. And as I do, I begin to see through the fog….

Kissing my children awake in the morning light, racing my 3 year old to the bathroom “in time”, endlessly changing dirty diapers and dirty clothes, endlessly running to the grocery store for “just a few things”, time and again frantically trying to figure out “what’s for dinner” with two toddlers at my heels – it’s not “mundane mom life.” It’s DISCIPLESHIP. As my three year old begs to pray before every meal or pipes up with a question about Jesus as we drive to the grocery store; as I sing hymns over my daughter before tucking her into her bed, as I remind my children for the umpteenth time to “choose a happy heart” – IT. IS. DISCIPLESHIP.

Running my neighbor to ARS Clinic for her daily dose of recovery medicine or filling a bag of groceries from my fridge to run over to her house is not just another item on my to do list – it is discipling the depressed young mom down the street who is a recovering drug addict who wants to follow Jesus, but is mourning losing her children to foster care.

Babysitting my friend’s kids while my own are napping is not “stealing” the few quiet hours of my day – it is ministering to a dear sister working hard to save her marriage and enabling her to go to counseling with her husband.

Having friends over for dinner at the end of a tiring Saturday is not just another obligation to fulfill or another night that the kids might get to bed late or another big meal to slave over in the kitchen. It is a time of intentional ministry – a time of listening, encouragement, and prayer as we seek to support a couple devastated over the tragic loss of their first and only child.

And even as I have moments where I mourn the days I used to be in “full time” ministry, where I miss working alongside my husband every day, where I miss formally discipling or teaching, where I miss acting and singing and traveling and meeting people for coffee and learning new skills just because – I am beginning to see that it is a LIE that I am not doing those things! It is a LIE that I am not fulfilling my destiny. It is a LIE that I am not chasing my dreams.

My ministry is VERY full time! I am discipling two tiny humans 24 hours a day, I am officially mentoring two different girls and unofficially and sporadically mentoring several more. I am discipling a recovering drug addict, I am ministering to hurting friends, I am helping to care for my aging grandmother and show her she is loved. I am supporting my husband in a myriad of invisible ways – by making him meals, praying for and with him, talking him through difficult situations at work, offering wisdom and comfort, and trying to keep a tidy, peaceful home for his peace of mind. I am the one in charge in buying birthday, Christmas, and “thank you” gifts, writing cards, meal planning, etc. And on top of all that, within the past 3 years, I have: toured Israel for ten days while performing scripture dramatically, taken our kids on a ten day ministry tour to Texas, been a part of two different scripture musicals where I not only get to act, but SING; I have birthed two beautiful children, tried multiple methods of cooking/eating, experimented with natural healing measures, and done endless research on natural health. I have read countless children’s books and several adult books. We bought and decorated our new home and are constantly learning new handyman skills as we take care of it. I occasionally work a day in our ministry office or voluntarily take care of ministry communications for my busy husband. And the next six months promise a 11 day trip to Greece to perform scripture and another week away with my husband in Houston, Texas to collectively write a book on how to memorize scripture.

AND I’M NOT LIVING MY DREAMS??

The devil can take his big fat lie and leave! I am NOT “just” a mom. YOU are not “just” a mom. You are magnificent creation of God, a holy dreamer who is living out the plans He has for you and the deep desires He has placed in your heart – even in the moments when you can’t see it.

 

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

 

Nameless Names

We humans are so funny. We have this need to name things… And once it has a name, we are satisfied, even if that name explains nothing. The strange concept has been on my mind the last few days… So join me as I dive deep into some inward psychological musings. 

Think of how many diseases and sicknesses there are that doctors give fancy names to… I can’t tell you how many times someone will tell me the fancy title for their disease or sickness, but then when I ask follow-up questions, they admit that doctors don’t know why it happens or how to fix it.
So basically, they have come up with a fancy name for “I don’t know.” And yet somehow I get the sense that people feel better when it has a name. 

Even if that name means means nothing.

 It is a nameless name. 

Or think about animals… We say they have “instincts.” We all know what instincts are – the drive within an animal to do something very particular with their life, an impulse particular to their own breed/kind. But can we explain instincts? We say, “oh, they know how to do that because of their instinct.” 

But in reality, that explains nothing! Can we explain instinct? Instinct means “they just know.” 

But HOW do they just know?? 

From where does this instinct come?

Oh, why are we so blind?!

Animals’ instinct or “inexplicable knowingness” can only come because these animals have been PROGRAMMED – programmed by a much higher intelligence. 

Oh, why do we not see God in creation?? 

Creation screams the praise of its Maker! 

The evidence of our Creator is all around us, within us – if we will only open our eyes and SEE. 

You know… We are even sort of this way with God…we acknowledge His existence and say that yes, we exist because of God (well, some of us acknowledge this). God made us; God made everything. We are here because of God. 

But God is just the name – not a reason, not a definition, hardly an explanation. Who is this god? Do we know? Do we seek to know the reason, the definition, the explanation, the mystery – behind the name that we have given to what we can’t understand and can’t explain? Calling this inexplicable and mysterious Being “God” does not satisfy the mystery that is our Creator. It does not tell us who he is or what he does. It is just a name for Someone we cannot explain… it is just a tag, a reference for the incredible power, the invisible breath that holds all things of earth together.

 He is Spirit, He is Mystery, he is Life – He is much more than just a name. More than a word, than a reference, than a tag we use to identify what we do not know, don’t understand, and can’t explain. 

We have given the Inexplicable a name… but do we know the Person behind the name?

My name is Emily. That is my tag. That says nothing about me. You may know my name, but that doesn’t mean that you know me, who I am. “Emily” is simply a verbal tag to refer to the entity of me. But if you do not know me – who I am, what I am like -then my name is nameless to you. 

My name does not matter unless you know ME. 

Knowing God’s name serves us 

NOTHING

 unless we know the entity 

BEHIND THE NAME. 

I will not be satisfied with nameless names. 

                        Will you? 

My Constipated Home

My Constipated Home

I am beginning to realize that consumerism is a sin.  Before you say “Woah, don’t you think that’s a little extreme!?”  and close out of this page, hear me out.

I’ve been reading my Bible lately.  No, this is not new…but I have been reading “old” familiar passages  that are hitting me afresh.  Like this one:

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

– Luke 12:32-34

And when I reached the end of the passage, I tried to apply the neat little interpretation and application that I have been taught applies to that passage.  And I found it was like trying to stick a round peg into a square hole – it didn’t work. Time and again, I am finding my comfortable scripture applications clattering to the floor.

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

Have you ever thought, “I would love to support that missionary, it’s just that finances are really tight right now”?

Why in the past have I read that passage and glossed over it, thinking “Oh, that is for people who are really rich and whose value and entire existence is caught up in owning things instead of the things that really matter.”

WAIT.

I own at least seven different types of cookware,  multiple specialty kitchen gadgets, dozens of differently shaped and sized bowls, cups,  mugs, tea cups, plasticware and plates. I have a myriad of beautifully colored pieces of cloth, all designated for different purposes –  kitchen towels, bath towels, baby towels, toddler towels, burp cloths, blankets, fleece throws, car seat blankets, crib blankets, duvets, bedsheets, tablecloths, curtains, cloth napkins – the list is endless!!  I have short sleeve shirts, three-quarter sleeve shirts, longsleeve shirts, sweatshirts, dress shirts, running shirts, not to mention all of my skirts, dresses, pants,  shorts, and capris!  There’s constantly a flood of toys tumbling onto our living room floor and with our refrigerator/freezer, upright freezer, pantry,  and every space/herb you could imagine, we practically have our own personal grocery store at our fingertips. I live in a house with ten rooms, one of which was created solely to house one of our two gleaming, self propelling “chariots.” Much,  even most, of my time is spent washing, drying, folding,  organizing and putting away said-clothing, washing, drying and putting away said-dishes, as well as sweeping and scrubbing the many rooms we live in and attempting over and over again to organize my junk into beauty.  And I keep failing.

If I am not “the rich” that Jesus was talking to, then who is? Oh sure, there are people who ARE  way wealthier than my family and me –  but that does not make me poor.  The poor are those who hardly have clothing on their backs, who have a sagging roof over their heads, whose bellies grumble because their pantries are bare, and whose bodies are sick because they can’t even access clean water.  The poor are the ones who feel like they have to sell their bodies or their children just to get enough to eat.

  I am not poor. 

 I am rich.

 Jesus was talking to me

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

And suddenly it hit me. Jesus was not giving two separate commands: 1) Sell your possessions 2) Give to the poor.  He was telling us how. Sell your possessions so that you can give to the poor. I may not be a millionaire, but I have a whole lot of wealth tied up  in my STUFF.

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

Maybe, just maybe, Jesus actually meant that. Literally. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Why don’t we take Jesus literally?? 

I am being challenged to re-think my selfish, consumerism mindset. When my body constantly takes in food and does not expel it, I am constipated and my body is not in a healthy state. When my body is constipated, I cannot even enjoy taking in food. Does the same not go for our homes? When our homes are constantly taking in stuff and not expelling stuff (giving it away), our homes become constipated and unhealthy. And just like my body, my constipated home cannot even enjoy the stuff it is trying to take in. 

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

What if I did? What if I sold all my excess possessions?

Maybe then I would actually have the extra finances to support that missionary…

When STUFF Controls Your SOUL: Desiring Simplicity

When STUFF Controls Your SOUL: Desiring Simplicity

I have found that I have a hard time giving something away when it is still “good” in my eyes for whatever reason. Perhaps I like the look of it, the meaning behind it, the one who gave it to me, the cause it represents, or the dream it reflects.

But why do I consider it “bad” to give a “good” item away? Should I not rather give a “good” item away so that it can bless someone else? Surely it can’t be right to only want to give “bad” items away to others! If it is not currently blessing me, I need to bless someone else with it! Even if it could bless me LATER, I need to give it to someone who would be blessed by it NOW.

Why do I let fear of the future keep me hoarding things that I don’t need or don’t use? Truly that is the root of my reluctance to give things away…FEAR. I am somehow afraid that I will need that object in the future and won’t have it. Do I not trust my God to provide for my every need in every moment?? Do I trust more fully in myself and rely on my possessions to be confident about my future?! When you really spell it out like that, it sounds ridiculous.

Many times, I think I have allowed objects to essentially become a part of me.

Has giving something away ever felt strangely like giving away a part of your soul?

I don’t like to admit it, but I have felt that way more often than I would like. Giving away a cute dress that I used to feel beautiful in feels somehow like giving away a part of my beauty; tossing a photograph of a special moment (or even a rather mediocre moment) somehow feels like tossing away the memory; giving away the components of an unfinished project often feels like I am giving up and giving away that dream. But in actuality, none of these feelings are a true representation of reality. No object controls my beauty or dictates my dreams or contains my memories. Every object is only a temporary accent or asset to these parts of my life. These objects are NOT my life! On the contrary, when we succumb to these deceptive feelings, these objects TAKE OVER our lives!
I daresay that we will never miss between 90%  and 99% of the objects we give away. And for that tiny percentage that we might have a fleeting moment of regret over – would we really trade in that blessed and wonderful feeling of freedom and simple living that we have attained in order to have those couple objects back? Would we really desire to take that object back from the person we blessed with it?

I think not.

I am finding that the more I learn, the less I know. I am also discovering that in so many ways….THE LESS I OWN, THE MORE IT FEELS LIKE I HAVE.

We must seek to be content in God and to be content in what He has so graciously given us; we must focus on resting in His presence and desiring only Him; to make it a habit to advantage of every opportunity to GIVE – and I believe the fruit of simplicity will start blossom as a result.

 

Walking with my Savior

I’m so glad that I serve a God Who walks beside me.

Lately, in my chaotic “mommy-world” I have found it difficult to spend alone time with my Lord. It seems like a million things are always tugging at my brain…and at my time. Dirty diapers, dirty laundry, growling tummies, dusty books, new recipes, an empty fridge, dear friends and family who miss me, and of course, our precious treasure in my growing belly who makes my full-time job consist of eating and sleeping. Well – just about.

In all the beautiful craziness of life, I find my “alone AND free” moments to be rare. And how I miss them. I miss communing in the quiet with my Savior. I miss sitting at His feet in the silent music of His presence. And yet…though I think I should never give up these times or cease to seek them, I am learning a new truth: my Savior and I can still commune in the crazy.

We can talk while I push the stroller. I can sing praises to Him while scrubbing dishes. I can honor Him by gifting smiles and kind words to those around me. I can read His words aloud to my tiny disciple as we eat our scrambled eggs. And though I miss the quiet times with my Jesus…I can still share the chaotic times with my Jesus too.

Because He walks with me.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
            and gently lead those that are with young.

~Isaiah 40:11

Experiencing Israel

Experiencing Israel

Wow! Forgive me for not writing for so long….life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately! Seven weeks ago, the Lord blessed me and my family with being able to move into our very own home!! We are so incredibly grateful and are loving our new stomping grounds. And just over eight weeks ago, we found out we are expecting our second child!! We are SO. INCREDIBLY. BLESSED. But see what I mean about whirlwind? =)

However, more on all that later! We need to do this in order. 😉 Let’s back up to about ten weeks in ago in the month of May…(how does that already feel like ages ago?) when Aaron and I had the unbelievable privilege of traveling to see the Holy Land! After returning from this Middle Eastern jewel that is so pregnant with stories and prophecies, so many people have been asking me what experiencing Israel is like….so I am going to try to tell you. But let me warn you – it is so hard to put into words….

Israel is beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. It is a desolate, sometimes barren beautiful, with countless caves and crevices dotting its endless mountains and breathtaking views around seemingly every corner.There are spots of green in the endless desert beige, each one treasured and tenderly looked after. This is evidenced by the brown irrigation tubes that accompany anything remotely green. The people of Israel planted almost every tree and plant in their country BY HAND and are apparently known for inventing the most brilliant irrigation system in the world!

Israel breathes story. Flashes of Biblical narratives would race into my head, and like playing with paper dolls in a real world, I tried to paste 2D characters into the 3D world before my eyes. It was kind of like someone took my black-and-white picture Bible and a box of crayons and began to spill color into lines.

One of the archaeological highlights of our visit was the ruined Roman city of Beth-Shean. Beth-Shean boasted a still-mostly-intact bathhouse and an open air theatre and intricate pillars – the sites took my breath away. Our tour guide only gave us 20 minutes to explore, but I could have spent hours there…

My other archaeological favorite was that of Masada, an abandoned fortress that whispers a most tragic story. A band of Jewish zealots fleeing the hands of the Romans escaped Jerusalem and climbed the perilous mountain to reclaim the abandoned fortress that King Herod left behind at his death. Fortified with its own irrigation system and high stone walls, the band of Jews held out for three proud years against the constant onslaught of the Romans. Finally, when it was evident that their downfall was imminent, the zealots elected to rather kill their families and each other than to suffer rape, slavery, and murder at the hands of their enemies. I felt a sick feeling settle deep in my gut as I tried to imagine such an impossible moral conflict. What would I have done? As I walked along the ancient stone walls and peered over the edge of the cliff at the remains of the Roman encampments still imprinted on the ground below, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was it courage? Or was it lack of faith?

The times when we were given time to sit and reflect were the most impactful times spiritually. One such time, we climbed aboard a boat and sailed on the Sea of Galilee, singing worship songs and learning a Jewish dance as the sun soaked our skin and the wind rippled the water – water that Jesus touched, water He walked on, water that He stilled with a word, water that heaved fish into nets at His command.

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Another such time was when we got to visit the Garden Tomb. Though not necessarily the one where Jesus was buried, it was legitimately a 2,000 year old rich man’s tomb in a beautiful garden – so like the description in the scriptures that it gave me chills as I bent through the stone doorway and stepped into the cool, dark, EMPTY tomb. “He is not here, but is risen, as He said!”  In an intimate little room carved into rock, just a stone’s throw from the tomb, Aaron and I then got to portray some of Jesus’ last hours with His disciples to our group (as part of Piercing Word ministry)  and lead them in communion. What a sweet time of reflection and prayer as we soaked up Jesus’ last words to His disciples, right near where it really happened.

Yet I think the most impactful moment for me personally was when we were led to the Wailing Wall and given time to pray. As the Jews traditionally do, I scrawled a prayer on a scrap of paper and slowly approached the wall. The sound of weeping met me as I touched the cold stone and stuffed my prayer into a crevice of the rock. My eyes searched up and down, left and right – countless pleas to Jehovah were stuffed in every nook and cranny; the entire wall was dotted with crumpled prayers. I lowered myself to the ground, kneeling between two Orthodox Jewish women and tried to pray the words I had penned just moments ago. But I could hardly focus, my words were lost, lost in the sobs that filled my ears, swept away in the strings of Hebrew words that poured forth in such obvious desperation. My mind could not understand the prayers of my Israelite sisters, but my heart might as well have known every word. And suddenly my own prayer changed. Instead of pleading for myself and my family, I begged the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to show Himself to His people. To set them free, to show them the truth – the truth that their Messiah has already come, that they have already been rescued! My heart ached with the desperation that sandwiched me in that moment. Oh Jesus, show Yourself to Your precious people…

And you know what? I think that was the part about this trip that I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect the main takeaway for me personally to be the simple fact that God used my experience in Israel to grow in me a heart for His people and His promised land. In a way, I never really thought someone could miss a country…but I truly do.

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The Mirrors of Motherhood

The Mirrors of Motherhood
I had no idea just how refining motherhood would be. I had no idea just how selfish I am. No idea just how entitled I am.
UNTIL MOTHERHOOD.
Until my tiny human came along. My “mini-me” who brought with him a tiny but brutally honest mirror. The mirror of motherhood. The mirror that seems to constantly pull out the real and the raw of all that lies dormant in my heart, anything that I have tried to cover up or beautify has been pulled to the surface in a mirror that reflects the deepest parts of my being.
Never before has life been so not on my terms. I can’t eat whenever I want, I can’t shower whenever I want, I can’t even clean whenever I want! Never have I known such thankless work.
AND YET.
And yet I love my little bean with all my heart. And with all the hardship and all the trials and the giving, day in and day out – I find a strong desire that still pulls at my heart. It happens when I see a beautiful mama whose belly is swelled with mystery. It happens when I pass a young mother on the sidewalk – two souls in the stroller, one holding her hand, and one riding their bicycle ahead of her. It happens when I see myriad of feet pounding across the soccer field and I hear their laughter as they squeal with competitive excitement.
And I have to acknowledge the thrill that swells in my chest: I want to have more children.
WHAT??
This has been the hardest, most thankless job I have ever known. I must serve my tiny, helpless being with all that I am – even if my own needs are not taken care of, much less my wants.
 And STILL my heart yearns to have more children.
And I think to myself…am I crazy? I must be crazy! 
And then I think of the heart of God. Day in and day out, He serves us and loves us and cares for us – often without a word of thanks as we greedily slurp up His blessings.
And yet…YET.
He always wants more children. He YEARNS for more children! He loves to scoop our helpless souls into His arms and nurture us, love us, teach us, serve us – day in and day out. His arms and His heart are never too full to welcome another child.
 And then I think that maybe – just maybe – I have tasted of the heart of God.
Just maybe, I have caught a tiny glimpse of His heart in my own heart.
Just maybe a shard of my broken, selfish heart is reflecting His perfectly selfless heart.
And I smile to myself. Yes – I am probably crazy. But if my tiny bit of “crazy” is reflecting the craziness of Love Himself – then BRING IT ON.

One Year with the Love of my Life

Wedding Day

Aaron: you are my hero in every sense of the word.You are my role model, my best friend, my forever crush, my deepest love, my closest brother. You are all of the most beautiful relationships entwined into the greatest human love I have ever known….

 

October 14th, 2012 – quite possibly the best day of my life! Just a handful of days ago, Aaron and I celebrated our very first anniversary of this wonderful, crazy union of marriage!

HOW CAN I EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE LIFE WITH THIS MAN?

It is perfectly beautiful.

No, not because our lives are perfect. Not because we are perfect. Far from it! It is because we serve the most MAGNIFICENT GOD in the universe, and by His grace, we get to serve Him TOGETHER!

This has been a year of abundant blessing, of crazy love, of much learning, and at times – painful personal growth.

But it has been the most beautiful year of my life!

How can I begin to thank God for giving me my Aaron? He is truly the most amazing man I have ever met….his gentleness toward me, his constant loving forgiveness, his depth of God-given wisdom, his servant’s heart, his passion for our God and zeal for truth, his romance and friendship – I can hardly write this post without feeling tears well within me. I have been given a man who lives a life of worship – a man who has completely consecrated himself to God, and then – (here’s the crazy part!) to me.

I will not cease to praise my God for His provision for Aaron and I this year, as we stepped both into our first year of marriage AND our first year of full-time ministry – on our own this could have been a disaster, but God has been SO FAITHFUL and SO GOOD, and this year has been the coolest thing ever!!

I PRAISE GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS AND FAITHFULNESS TO ME!!

There is always SOMETHING to praise God for. I praise Him today for a husband and a marriage beyond what I had even imagined!!

WHAT ARE YOU PRAISING HIM FOR TODAY? =)