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Touch Down in the Hazy City

 

 

The belly of the airbus dips below the clouds and we descend into our new city, home to 10 million people.

It’s known as the Hazy City with it’s smog and cloud covering. “You’ll get used to it,” they tell us, referring to the fact that the sun only shines 2-3 weeks out of the year.

We get off the transport bus after 40+ hours of no sleep and Jackson and I promptly get into a fight at baggage claim and I say things I have to apologize for later. I’m thankful that the people around me don’t understand English. Rule #1: Extra Grace Required when you’ve been without sleep that long. {So keep your mouth shut.}

After three days in a hotel room, our major accomplishments are 1) purchasing a cell phone 2) tracking down an outlet adaptor so we can use our computers and 3) obtaining a bilingual map of the city. The map turns out to be mostly non-English. Being illiterate stinks.

We need to locate an apartment and more immediately, we need to wash clothes. We are down to our last pair of clean underwear. The learning curve is steep and it feels like we’ve twiddled our thumbs for three days and made no progress whatsoever.

I feel the pull to fret, to focus on the obstacles, to think of everything that is not happening. But the Lord brings to mind dinner at Jami’s house just a few nights before we left the states and the sign she had hanging in the kitchen: “What are you thinking? Are you thinking of the problem or the solution?”

And it’s right before dinner on that third night that Jackson locates the Daily Light in the middle of a suitcase and breaks it open right there in the hotel restaurant:

“You armed me with strength for battle. When I am weak, then I am strong.

Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this vast army…

Jehosaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”

The Words wash over me and fill me and faith rises within. Just for this hour, I find my footing again, following the steps of Kings Asa, Jehosaphat, and David. And I realize…more than lineage or ancestry, it is bowed reliance on God that makes one truly noble. It is faith in God that makes the weak strong, the illiterate wise, the resource-less rich.

The bowed reliance of trust is what makes one rise in warrior strength. It makes one royalty.

And for just this hour, I am.

Why Rejoice?

 

 

Christy is a daughter of Christ, wife of fifteen years and counting, and mom to three really cool boys. (Yes, she is admittedly biased!)  She worked full time in education for twelve years, and was completely focused on moving up in the ranks of her job.  So when the Lord put it on her heart to be a stay-at-home mom–something she was never conditioned to do–she quickly understood she still had a whole lot the Heavenly Father wanted to teach her! Enjoy hearing Christy’s heart today…

 

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.” ~Philippians 3:12

I have always loved the example of Paul. Here he was first a leader who persecuted and actually killed the Lord’s disciples. Then on the road to Damascus, Christ appeared to Paul and questioned him “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” At the end of three days he was filled with the Holy Spirit and given back his sight. From that point forward, Paul followed Christ with a fervor that was palpable! Now that entire experience in itself was reason for Paul to follow our Savior with such passion, but being human, why didn’t that miracle “honeymoon” wear off?

Think about it–as he completed a 180 degree turn on his stance toward the Lord, he lost everything he knew before; all his “friends” abandoned him; his own life was even at stake. Then as his ministry was flourishing, he was thrown into prison with Silas for two whole years! And yet, he continued to press on PRAISING God and rejoicing in the Lord all the way! But why? And even more perplexing, how?

I think of the times in my life when the challenges have been too great. When my heart could not be more broken or shattered. I think of all the times I have felt like I am dodging huge boulders just to accomplish some of the most basic things in life. I’ll be honest. Pressing on is hard! And I don’t always feel like praising God. It’s during these times that I want to curse the circumstances I’m in, “pack up my toys” and go home.

There are other times that I want to press on for all the wrong reasons.

I come from a family that has always been entrepreneurial at heart. My father was in business for himself, and my brothers and I grew up with an understanding that in this world there are endless possibilities. I can recall numerous holiday dinners back in college sitting around the table with my family sharing each new pursued venture. This was an exhilarating time because new ideas and fresh perspectives were always on hand, and inspiration and encouragement to try new things was always there for the taking. There is no doubt this shaped my thoughts on stepping out in faith for my Heavenly Father, and I will always be grateful to my family for this.

However, around that same dinner table, whenever we shared our new ideas, my father was always there to give us either a nod of approval or to play the “devil’s advocate” and challenge us to think about things a different way. I must admit, at times he drove me absolutely crazy because I wearied of always having to prove myself to him. I think he knew in the long run that the world would expect me to prove myself, and I understand now that he was just trying to prepare me for that. However, an unfortunate side effect to all this was a huge desire in me to consistently prove other people wrong! This must be why I’ve always wondered about Paul and whether or not he wanted to scream from the rooftops to the Jews, “DON’T YOU SEE! I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!”

But that’s not the example he displayed. Instead, he was humble beyond belief, and his actions and words professed nothing but the love of Christ. Which brings me back to the questions I asked originally–Why and how did Paul rejoice in the Lord and praise Him through all of his sufferings?

The scripture from Philippians 3:12 says it all. I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.  Let that verse really sink in for a moment…

You see, God always had a plan for Paul from the very beginning, even in the midst of him persecuting and killing Christians! There was no room for Paul to boast in himself or get caught up in a self-pity party for his sufferings, because Christ took hold of him FIRST.

I love what that means for you and me. We, too, must press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of us.

When we gave our lives to Christ, he had already taken hold of us. We can’t “pack our toys” and go home because we don’t get our way or because it’s too hard! Our strength to press on is right there in the understanding that He has a plan for us, no matter what our past or present looks like–just like Paul. And we don’t need to prove ourselves right or wrong to anyone–He already carried that burden for us and proved everything on the Cross. That’s WHY…

There are days we are all apt to forget this wisdom, but then again, we thankfully have Paul to remind us that to live is Christ, but to die is gain, and when we die to ourselves and surrender daily, even hourly, to our Heavenly Father, layers of pride and ego are shed. And it is in that quiet, humble place we can rejoice in our sufferings and praise God for all He is doing in our lives. This is HOW…

 

You can visit Christy at Cross Moms where she blogs about faith, motherhood, and more.

When It Seems Impossible

 

 

{Our little family of six is waking up jet-lagged in a hotel room on the other side of the world this morning. I’m “considering” and trusting God for my impossible! Thank you for continued prayers as we transition back to the mission field…}

 

 

kids' portrait

Photo Credit

 

It’s one of those days.

I wake up to the boys bickering, to yesterday’s unfolded laundry, to our emotionally troubled child having a melt down, and all 4 children wanting breakfast. I feel it creeping in, the feelings of being overwhelmed, sucked plumb dry before the day even gets started. I know I’m inadequate for this job of juggling and training and nurturing and soothing and educating. I feel the fear.

And I’m like Sarah, that mother of nations, standing in the shadows. She just laughed at the likelihood of her calling, like she was really capable of all *that*.

Yes, sometimes God calls us mothers to the right impossible.

A mother’s unbelief is expressed with laughter. Or internet surfing. Or avoidance of responsibility. Or busyness or shopping or friends. Or even hard work, striving like Abraham and Sarah to fulfill God’s promises for Him. But at the core, in the shadows of the heart, there is unbelief in God. 

Eventually, we must allow the impossibility of our calling lead us out of the shadows and into the exercise of faith. We must follow in the steps of Sarah.

Faith is how the impossible takes on flesh and becomes tangible. It’s how the dead places inside us are brought to life. You know that, right? That faith takes on flesh?

It’s how we face the bickering children with a soothing word, how we walk an anxious child through a melt down, how we meet demands and needs with a playful laugh, how we roll out of bed with a smile instead of a groan (yes, even before we have our coffee! It is possible!)

You see, faith is forged in daily life. Faith is real-world, not Sunday-only. Faith is how God’s Word~ His promises for our children and future~ takes on flesh and dwells amongst us.

The mother’s day is full of opportunity for faith. From the moment I roll out of bed I have a choice… to stumble through the morning as best I can, or I can step out in faith, believing that God is with me and is giving me an abundance of grace for every need. I can push my children away or I can draw them close and sing “Hungry” as we ask God to fill us. I can retreat from the demands however I can or, in faith, I can soothe raw emotions and lean on Jesus to give me heart and strength and love and grace and I can see miraculous conception of the divine in this barren womb of a day.

God has called us to the impossible and we have to trust Him to make it happen in real, practical, tangible ways. In ways that give birth to flesh, to Isaac, to the fulfillment of promise in our every day.

After a day of faith living, a child climbs in my lap and whispers in my ear, “I see Jesus in you, momma,” and isn’t this what mothering is all about? Allowing Jesus to incarnate Himself in us? Seeing the Word take on flesh before our eyes?

It all begins with faith.

 

Following Abraham’s Process to Faith (Hebrews 11:19)

Abraham “considered”…

Consider means ”to count, to calculate, to press your mind down upon.” It’s an accounting term that means to crunch and come to a solution.

This is the activity of faith, this considering. This vital engagement of the mind, to sit down and consciously choose to believe God. It is a choice and must be made every day, every minute, every second. Reject apathy and choose trust.

 

“He considered that God is able”

Biblical “considering” focuses on the nature of God. Our faith is only as good as it’s object. Is your God too small? Is your understanding of God accurate? Time spent considering the attributes of God is time well spent.

A. W. Pink said, “The incomprehensibility of the Divine nature is not a reason why we should desist from reverent inquiry and prayerful strivings to apprehend what He has so graciously revealed of Himself in His Word. Because we are unable to acquire perfect knowledge, it would be folly to say we will therefore make no efforts to attain to any degree of it. It has been well said (by Spurgeon) that, “Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued, investigation of the great subject of the Deity.”

Click here for a 30 day prayer guide of His attributes

 

“He considered that God is able even to raise the dead”

This little phrase is important because it shows that Abraham actively applied the character of God to his specific and individual circumstances. It does us the most good when we too, take the nature of God and apply it to our situation.

Let me provide a personal example. When I wake up in the morning and feel the stress, here’s how I can follow the steps of Abraham and choose faith: “Lord, I know that You are with me wherever I go. I also know that You are helping me. (And here I might recite Isaiah 40:10-13)

“I come to You to quench my thirst and satisfy my hunger. I trust You to direct my paths. You are my righteousness because I am all out of goodness on my own. You always lead me in triumph and my adequacy for this day comes from You. As I step out into today, I believe that You are here, nourishing, sustaining, giving me abundant grace for every good deed.”

Then I put a smile on and greet what awaits.

 

What does your ”impossible” look like? How can you apply faith in your every day life as a mom? What attributes of God do you need to trust Him for… in your specific situation? We’d love to hear from you over at Raising Homemakers today!

 

Simply Trusting Thursdays

 

Priceless

leahadams

 

 

 As we are in the skies today, a special blogging buddy, Leah Adams , is here on the blog. Leah shares a practical gift you can give yourself or prepare for another…

 

Recently a friend gave me a gift that has become incredibly precious to me.

It is a priceless gift, yet it is intensely practical.

The gift is very, very old—an antique, in fact; yet it is relevant and significant in my everyday life.

This gift is personalized, making it unique and very special. However, it would be a perfect fit for almost anyone.

I began to use it the first day I received it and found it to be exactly what I needed. In the midst of a day that brought feelings of being forgotten, this gift reminded me how loved I truly am. How could my friend have known? It is almost as if someone told her my needs.

What was my gift, you ask?

It was an email with an attachment that included Bible verses personalized with my name. I’ve prayed Scripture for years, but seeing the Word with my name inserted into it as a personal promise from God was almost more than my heart could take.

As I allowed the words of one of the verses to minister to my heart, I was reminded of the truth of the first part of Hebrews 4: 12 when it says, “For the word of God is living and active.” The living Word of God spoke deeply into my heart and situation.

May I share a few of the personalized verses with you?

• “Leah, I will not forget you! See I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.” Isaiah 49: 15-16 (NIV)
• “Be confident of this, Leah, I will complete the good work I began in you until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1: 6
• “Leah, My love for you is so great and so deep that I sent My only Son to die for you. For you, Leah, so that by believing in Him you may not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3: 16
• “Leah, call upon Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, and I will bring you back from your captivity.” Jeremiah 29: 12-14a (NIV)
• “I am the Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, who saves; I will rejoice over you with gladness, Leah. I will quiet you with My love, I will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3: 17 (NKJV)
• “Fear not Leah, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

Now, go back and try it with YOUR name inserted into these verses.

Do you see how powerful the Word is when it is personalized into your life and heart? When you and I truly believe and put our faith in the Living Word of God our lives are transformed and we leave a legacy of faith everywhere we go.

MEDITATION MOMENT: What verses can you personalize for yourself that will help your faith grow? I’d love for you to share them here with your name inserted into them.

 

Leah Adams is not exaggerating when she calls herself ‘the prodigal son’s sister’. Raised in a Christian home and saved at the age of 15, Leah made the choice to walk away from Him in her 20’s. After years of living to please only herself, she heard the call to return to Jesus in her 30’s. Leah’s speaking and writing ministry, The Point Ministries, focuses on the grace that Jesus offers to anyone willing to ask for it.

Leah is the author of a six week Bible study entitled, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy. She is currently writing her second Bible study from the book of Hebrews. Leah has spoken to groups large and small about the legacy we are leaving for the generations that come behind, as well as other topics. She writes for Internet Café Devotions, CBN.com, and Christianparenting.org.

Visit Leah at her website (www.leahadams.org), on Facebook (Leah Colwell Adams) and Twitter (@PointMinistries).

Today’s the Day!

 

{Email readers click through for video~ I’m singing this song as we get on a jet plane today!}

Out of all the places in the world you could be today on this great world wide web, you’ve made it to this little dusty corner.
What a gift you are! Would you consider the encounter an invitation to pray for our surrendered little family of six as we travel overseas today? We will be in transit until tomorrow, Tuesday,  around 11pm Eastern time. Your prayers would be so appreciated!

Specifically, pray for smooth travels, no lost bags, no missed connections; grace upon all in our conversations and demeanor; healthy children; ability to rest on flights, especially for the children; for strength; for a thick padding of grace covering during these transition days.

Will post as soon as we land and I have internet access! Praise be to the Lord, who gives this ministry of reconcilation and who sustains all by His outstretched hand! He’s alive inside us and we will RISE UP!!!

 

Hungry {For When You Realize You’ll Never Be Good Enough}

 

 

It’s VBS and kids swarm thick and hot bodies race past me in the hallway, smelling of summer and boy. I breathe deep and I remember… a VBS nearly 3 decades ago, when Ms. Nadine taught our class and we made crosses out of matchsticks.

 

Kick Off 002

Dana was in that class too and her family had five kids, same as ours. And Dana’s mom, she walked me out to the car after VBS one day and whispered something in my ear.

“I want my kids to be just like you,” she told me, admiration glowing in her eyes.

And my hungry little heart ate the words up for I was starving.  Any kind of acceptance was food for a deprived and overlooked soul. Somehow, I learned it very early in life, that people like good girls. Parents like them, teachers like them, church folk like them, and after all, those were the kinds of folk I hung around.

So I was the good girl. I was the teacher’s pet and the “Character Award” winner and the child other parents wanted their kids to be like. But there is one secret a good girl carries deep inside~ the stain of sin and the knowledge that she will never really be good enough.

No matter how much performance and approval and acceptance, there is still that hunger.

And Jesus, He has a way of exposing it. He knows just how to bring you to the end of yourself so that you can partake of something much better. It’s the Shepherd’s way to bring his beloved face to face with their longing and lack, and yes, especially their sin.

He did it to the crowds in John 6. He led them to a “solitary place” where there was no food, no provision, no resources. They remained there until their hunger growled and their need hissed and they tasted their utter desperation.

They were fainting for lack of provision. Jesus turns to the disciples and says, You give them something to eat.”

Not only did they have nothing, the responsibility to nourish others fell solidly on their shoulders. How many days have I felt sucked dry… yet the children are there, the husband, the people who I’ve come here to serve…and Jesus turns and says day after day, “You give them something to eat.”

And surely the true disciple of Christ comes to the place where she lacks and she thirsts and she has nothing. She has responsibilities but no resources.

She longs for adequacy, approval, goodness… but there is only want. There is simply all this growling want, us face to face with our inability to be enough. Staring down cravings of the flesh with empty hands and no back up plan.

Have you been there?

Led by Savior to the solitary place where you see your deep need, the utter sinfulness of your own heart, the inability to ever be good enough much less satisfy another? Be not afraid of where the Savior leads you.

Elyse Fitzpatrick writes of the crowd, “They would have worked, but there was no work to be had that could satisfy such a great need.”

Yes. The good girl, the performer, the fixer…we would do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our heart. Heaven knows we try. But the simple truth is, we can’t.

Then the Messiah spoke: “Have the people sit down.”

And just like that, Christ makes His intentions clear. He never intended for us to be good enough. He never intended for us to do the miraculous. He intends for us to sit down, cease our labors, stop striving and trying and attempting to meet our own needs.

 

Like the hungry crowd in John 6, “We too have nothing. We have no innate goodness, no righteousness, no wisdom, no strength, no miraculous power to enable us to work hard enough to meet the overwhelming need of our souls. We are completely bankrupt; we’re devoid of the power we need to conquer our sin, to change our nature. We have exhausted all our supplies, and although we are willing to work, there is just nothing that we can do that will satisfy such a wretchedness. We are starving for true righteousness, hungering to be able to meet God’s standards, languishing as we try to satisfy the ever-growing needs of those around us.

But our Savior calls to us, “Sit down.”

Sit Down. Believe.

Sit down and trust that He’s got us covered. He’s handling lunch. He’s got our sin covered. He’s got all of eternity handled. He’s got the lack taken care of.

All we need do is sit down and let Him serve us.

~Elyse Fitzpatrick in her book “Comforts,” a book suitable to use as a 31 day devotional

 

God never intended us to be good enough. He never intended us to do the miraculous. He allows us time in the solitary place to look our lack in the face… so that we know how the need is met. Because yes, it is abundantly met!

We need not be afraid of our hungers, our cravings, our desperation. We need only train ourselves in this, the sitting down and believing.

For this is the work God has for us, to believe in Him whom He has sent.

And as we do, there are leftovers. Baskets full of abundance.

 

“For Christ is the end of the law to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4

 

 

Simply Trusting Thursdays

Photo Credit Creative Commons

The Gift

Kristen

 

I’ve invited a very special blogging friend to share a small part of her story today. Read from Kristen and be blessed…

 

Imagine you are out shopping with your best girlfriend and in a store window you spot the perfect pair of shoes. You stand there admiring them for a minute, but then continue on your way, knowing they are beyond your means. The next day a package arrives. It’s the shoes. And a note that says, “I love you! Enjoy the shoes!” You’re a little taken aback. Embarrassed. But you try the shoes on. They fit perfectly. It’s not even close to Christmas or your birthday. But then, that feeling washes over you. You realize how special you are to someone. You are cherished and known. You are the receiver of an extravagant gift, just because!

That happened to me once. But I wasn’t shopping, I was praying. The gift wasn’t shoes, it was my daughter. The giver wasn’t my best girlfriend, it was my Heavenly Father. Here, let me back up a little bit. My husband and I were in our mid-thirties before God saw fit to introduce us and lead us to marriage. It was an excruciating wait for me, but definitely worth it. We soon tried to start a family, but quickly discovered we were infertile. We considered medical intervention, but weren’t really interested in dealing with all that. So, we started down the road of adoption. Within weeks of completing our homestudy we were placed with two beautiful boys – aged thirteen months and four months. They were brothers. After getting the boys, I became convinced there was a reason God gives most people newborns. All they do is eat, sleep a lot, and poop. While lack of sleep is definitely a factor, the learning curve for parenting is fairly easy. Jumping cold turkey into motherhood with an extremely active toddler and a baby is not too much fun. I woke up exhausted every morning and literally counted the minutes till naptime.

Well, things did get better, we finalized the boys’ adoption and then looked into adopting a girl. Now, when you adopt from the foster care system, the chances of getting an infant girl are slim. Microscopically slim. I knew that. And I was fine with that. I had accepted God’s plan for my life. However, one morning, during my devotions a little prayer just slipped out. “Please God, could I have a newborn?” I wanted that experience. It would be a precious thing. But I didn’t beg. I didn’t even ask again. I was content with how God was building our family.

And then, one blustery Monday morning in early March, at 11:52am the phone rang. It was a social worker. A baby girl had been born over the weekend. She’d been relinquished at the hospital. Would be we be able to pick her up that afternoon? I was stunned. There was a rash of phone calls to be made. I dropped the boys off at their grandparents and then ran to Walmart for diapers and formula. Hubby left work immediately and we hurried to the Social Service offices to sign papers and then it was off to the hospital to meet our daughter. She was two days old. She was beautiful – dark eyes and a shock of black hair. And I held my gift. She fit perfectly. I was a little taken aback and embarrassed as I offered up my prayers of thanksgiving. I didn’t deserve it. It was too much. But the note that was attached said, “I love you! Enjoy your daughter!”

Thank you, Jesus, for Your extravagant gifts!

 

Kristen Kroeker is a California native and wife to one smart man. In 2004 Kristen and her husband became parents through adoption. They are now the parents of five sweet children aged 1.5 years to 9 years old (and 3 tabby cats too!)

In addition to experimenting in her vegetable garden, Kristen enjoys baking yeast bread and blogging at Living the Good Life.

Lawanda’s Cross

 

 

 

Bare-Feet_wolftrap_BB-King

It’s a sticky July morning when we pile into the van and follow country roads to their house. We pass the bank on the hill and the digital sign blinks 99 degrees. Already?

Mr. Ira greets us when we arrive. “My, my, you’ve got your hands full,” he says, referencing the three little ones who seem to have turned into squirrels upon entering their home. They are going from window to window, pressing their faces against panes to see the many species of birds, the fish in the fountain, the hibiscus bathed in delicate peach.

“Let children be children,” Mr. Ira says as we fret about the prints we are leaving behind. Mr. Ira, the one who does all the cleaning. “Lawanda will be down shortly,” he says, then gives us an update. “She looks better than she is. By looking at her you wouldn’t know anything is wrong. But when I cut her eggs in the mornings…” Mr. Ira trails off and my heart goes soft at this man who stoops low to carry another, who cooks special meals and cleans up sickness and cuts eggs.

“Her hands and feet are blistered, fingers numb. The doctors say there’s nothing more they can do, we’ll just keep taking the meds.”

 

 

Ms. Lawanda does look good when she comes down. You wouldn’t know that her liver is full of hot spots and under her left arm there’s a lump. Jackson takes the children for a look at the wonders outside while I talk with these two precious ones. She tells me it’s been five years and the meds she’s on now are better than the ones before and that’s enough about her, how am I?

I choke back the tears. I don’t want to talk about me. I want to go to my knees and I want to serve them really the only way I can, with beseeching prayer. I struggle through the questions, trying to tell them what we are doing, where we are headed in a few weeks. Then Jackson returns and the four of us huddle around the sofa on our knees. We’ve somehow made a circle, hands and hearts entwined.

As we pray, Ms. Lawanda says it soft, “Yes, Jesus” and Mr. Ira is heaving big sobs, a broken man drawing water from the Well. It’s the Spirit who interceeds. Joshua 1 is what He’s pressing on the heart, out the lips. “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, from the wilderness to the setting of the sun will be your territory.”

And I see those blistered feet beside me, red and swollen and painful from the journey through her wilderness, and I know…this place she treads, though hard and rocky and painful, it is “given” to her.

That makes it a gift.

And it says it right there: Every inch, be it the glory of the sunset or the dryness of the desert, or the everything in between…every inch is gift.

“Oh God!” I cry on behalf of dear ones, “Give us vision! Restore faith where it has faltered, for You have given this land. We don’t understand, Lord…but help us believe.”

And when prayers are over and Mr. Ira just shakes silent with the burden and the blessing, he wraps arms tight around me and I know this is gift. And when we all walk to the car, Mr. Ira looks at me and points over to the guest house. “You see that, girl?” he asks. “Yes sir,” I nod back.

“That is where we meet every Friday night and call down the heavens, like we just done inside. With you all headed back overseas, He’s on me to start meeting for you again.”

And I realize in a very real way, I may be a small reason for the cross. I see the brokenness in this couple, the five long years of pain and struggle and unknowns. I see the burden of the cross they bear. The cross causes awareness of the desperate need, but perhaps even more than that, it drives one to agonizing prayer.

Something niggles inside, words that need a hearing…

Jesus in the Garden, the cross pressing closer,  Jesus went to the Garden to pray. He asked His disciples… to watch and pray. The words are there, finding their way out, “Could you not tarry with Me one hour?” The cross presses us to prayer and prayer paves the way for the kingdom of God to come in power.

Voices in the wilderness preparing the way of the Lord.

This gift, this wilderness, this cross, it is the bearing and the laboring and the unleashing of the kingdom of God. The gift is the invitation to participate in redemption.

Yes indeed, I and the people I’m going to live among may literally be thousands of reasons for this painful cross. It all converges, the nail scarred hands, the blistered feet, the tears in the Garden, the words whispered, “Not my will but Thine, thy kingdom come.” The tarrying, the invitation, the gift.

The unleashing of heaven.

But how can we bear with Him if we do not believe? If we have no vision for the victory, the purpose, the glory, no vision of the drawing near being accomplished through the cross? No vision of the rent veil, the bowed knees, the throngs before the throne? In the bearing of our cross do we not understand how we fill up and flesh out the sufferings of Christ?

Surely His people perish for lack of vision.

We return home and I stand at the sink before a pile of dirty dishes, the cry for faith on the lips, the prayer for vision of the joy set before. The flesh is weak and eyes are prone to fail.

Come morning, the children and I gather for quiet time. I open the Sarah Young devotional and read:

 

Jump In With Both Feet

“Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert. I will make rivers in the dry land.” Isaiah 43:19 ICB

 

“You must always trust Me,” He whispers. “Because even in the desert~ and you know that wilderness is gift~ I will make a road. And even in the dry land I will make rivers for you. Jump in with both feet! Don’t try to hobble along any pathway from Me on one leg, half hearted and half believing… because you can trust Me.”

And I look down at my own blistered feet, weary and worn and unsure. I jump. I jump into the path before me. Both feet driven by trust.

 

Simply Trusting Thursdays

Photo Credit {Creative Commons}

Embracing the Hard Realities of Motherhood

 

 

 

Welcome friends! It’s a perfect morning to pull up a chair and chat a bit about grace. Redemption. The hope we have in Christ.

Today I’m chatting with Christin  {Yes, you knew something was up because you actually get a photo~ smile! } Christin is one of the most gracious and generous bloggers I have encountered online and it is an honor to have her here today. So pull up a chair and join us…

 

 

 

 

Motherhood is hard.

I think if we embrace that reality it might actually change our perspective and ease our emotions a bit. Wrong expectations can quickly kill a day, and slowly kill a relationship.

Waking up every morning with the idea that you’re going to get out of bed and have an easy day of mothering is laughable at best (hey, I’m totally talking to myself here ;) )

What do they call that? The crazy cycle? You know, when you do things over and over and over again and expect different results? Yea, that.

Our frustrations can begin as soon as our feet hit the floor and something is expected of us. There is an incredible amount of warring that happens between our flesh and the Holy Spirit. We want to do what is expected of us, but we’re simply too weak and allow the flesh to take over.

Or when you give instructions to your children and they resist and a battle breaks out. All you can think is, “Why does everything have to be so difficult!?”

Because really, most of the time mothering is difficult. When you have times of ease and your children obey and are helpful, these are delightful days and should be treated as gifts rather than the norm — and lots of praise should be heaped upon our children when they choose to make wise decisions. It seems we can be so used to chastising them for unwise decisions, we often forget the opposite. Encouragement is crucial for our children to continue to move forward — just as it is for us.

Mothering means sacrifice. Christianity means sacrifice! We are called to lay down our lives and become servants. It’s not an option. It’s a requirement.

God knew living a life for Him wouldn’t be easy, which is why He sent Paul to encourage us.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

I truly think that when we finally embrace the reality of motherhood being hard, we will be better equipped emotionally to handle the challenges that inevitability will arise.

We need to realize we are in a state of dependance–we must learn to depend on God. When we tune in to this reality, the Spirit can work in our lives and do for us what we cannot do alone.

God has equipped us, we just need to tap into it. That doesn’t make this easy–but it might make it easier.

 

Christin is learning the beauty of grace and learning how to pass it along to her children. She has a passion to encourage other mothers in their calling and come alongside them on their journey through her blog Joyful Mothering. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter as @ChristinWrites.

 

 

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How Jesus Redeems us Marthas

 

 

A warm welcome to Arabah, a place that showcases the sufficiency of Christ and demonstrates how to appropriate it into our everyday lives…because Christ intends for us to enter in and lay hold and live free. This online journal is birthed out of weakness, not strength, so you’ll find things a bit raw and messy. But you are welcome nonetheless and my prayer is that the Lord might use this quiet place to deepen your intimacy with Him. If you are encouraged here, I invite you to subscribe for free updates.

 

It’s Sunday morning and I feel like Martha with Sunday dinner preparations, kids bickering over blankets and which shoes to wear…and how did all those wrinkles wind up on Little Bit’s dress? The angst of it all swells and the cares of this household choke me near to death.

Yes, I’m Martha, and in the Lord’s very presence? How can that be? I wonder if I’ll ever get it right.

Somehow we arrive to church early. The wind in the trees beckon us outside and we walk the property line with the kids. I walk under the shade trees, the wind carressing the skin. The words caress too, brushing against my angst filled soul,  “Now Jesus loved Martha.” 

We all know Martha to be the worried, distracted, serving one. But it says it right there in the scriptures that Martha was a beloved child of the Christ. My troubled heart leaps. Jesus loves us Marthas.

Chronology of the gospels place Jesus’ encounter with Martha in John 11 {the raising of Lazarus from the dead} after His reprimand of her in Luke 10:38. In other words, Jesus did not reprimand Martha, shake His head sadly at her, and then move out of her life. Quite the contrary. He identified her need and arranged an encounter to resolve it.

While we tend to leave Martha stewing in the kitchen, the Good Shepherd was so tenderized towards Martha after seeing her distraught and in bondage that He specifically arranged an encounter with her. An encounter that would liberate her from her worry-laden, stress- filled service. Isn’t that just like our Savior?

Read about Martha’s transforming encounter over at Darlene’s place? Her’s is a blog I guarantee you’ll love~ smile~

 

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