a fearful thing

I loved these verses we read in church on Sunday in Proverbs 30, because they echo my own thoughts and longings for a comfortable life: “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’, or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” (vs. 8-9)

This is my own plea for our little family, although I’ve never been able to put it quite so eloquently. I want to be comfortable. I think parenting gets harder every day, and the future looks scarier. I wonder how in the world I’m ever going to raise children who follow the Lord, in a time and place so hostile toward His Truth.

I read this morning in Hebrews 10:31 and again, felt my own thoughts were echoed, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” It is! It’s terrifying to live by faith, to open the calendar to a Monday again and just plead for strength for the week and wisdom to know how to best invest my time. I loved the reminder that followed, though: “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions […] for ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

I know that I’ve been here before, because I go through cycles of trust and fear. And I need to look back and to remember the times when God has been faithful and when by His grace I have been able to lay aside the scary and the earthly and focus on the heavenly. I think sometimes the fear is borne out of a lack of trust in myself – worry that I’ll fail. But, if my focus is right, that lack of trust in myself can be converted into a deep trust in God – my Rock, who never moves and never changes.

And because it’s so true, and always so relevant…

Blessings – Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?

seth & adrienne’s wedding

May 21 was a lovely day for a wedding! It was a good weekend – we got to officially welcome Adrienne into the family! There were a few tears and not a lot of sleep, but it was all beautiful and such a blessed day.

Weddings always make me realize how much we aren’t newlyweds anymore, and I’m increasingly thankful for that. There was a time when I wished to go back – when it would have seemed fun to fall in love for the first time all over again. But, definitely not anymore. I love Grant more than ever, and I’m so thankful that it’s not new love – it’s love that has grown deeper and stronger because of what we’ve been through together, because of how we’ve grown together, and because we work together and refine each other. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

graduation & adoption

In the seven days between May 14 and May 21, we celebrated several really big and exciting life events with both of our families. We kicked it off on Mother’s Day morning with Seth’s graduation from the U of I College of Aces. The kiddos did amazing through the 2 HOUR AND 40 MINUTE ceremony, BUT they were ready to do things like run around campus and climb on fire hydrants when we were done. 🙂

It was a gorgeous day, and we are excited for Seth! We were even more excited for the following weekend, but I still don’t have wedding pictures yet, so that will have to come later!

On the Wednesday in between, we went to the courthouse in Bloomington to see Carl & Ayden’s adoption finalized and celebrate with Matt & Kim and family. It was a great afternoon and so exciting to be there for it!

We went to Miller Park afterwards and Ivory and Titus loved the splash pad. 🙂

book review: He calls you beautiful

unnamedHe Calls You Beautiful has been my go-to read during nap time and my morning quiet time, and that’s saying a lot. There are plenty of other things calling for my attention during those moments of rest, but this book has drawn me in. I chose it skeptically, never dreaming how much of a bright spot it would be in my day.

Just as the Song of Songs relates in equal parts to earthly marriage and our church-to-bridegroom relationship with Christ, so does this book. And it is also equal parts teaching/Bible study and stories that are so well-placed, so interesting, that you just want to keep reading. Dee Brestin is a very talented author; she tells the Song of Songs like a story and simplifies it, yet brings it to life. I was so impressed by this book. It has opened my eyes to the Song of Songs, the love of Christ, and the countless beautiful ways that earthly marriage points to the eternal. I’ve been so encouraged and filled by this study.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. 

book review: bread of angels

978-1-4964-0647-7I loved Bread of Angels. I knew I would, because Tessa Afshar is an excellent writer who brings biblical times to life so effectively! I’ve always been so impressed by the way that she portrays the women of that day – their struggles, their emotions, their normal lives – just like ours, but distinctly different. And it brings so many biblical concepts into perspective.

Bread of Angels is a fictional account of Lydia, loosely based on Lydia, the believer in Philippi. It details her struggles as a single businesswoman and demonstrates the very clear differences between her life before and after conversion in Christ. It is a story about overcoming fear and learning to trust – a story we can all relate to.

I’d highly recommend it. 🙂 I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my review. 

throw the towel in

Don’t it feel like the wind is always howl’n?
Don’t it seem like there’s never any light!
Once a day, don’t you wanna throw the towel in?
It’s easier than puttin’ up a fight.
-“It’s a Hard-Knock Life”, from Annie

One of my fun garage sale finds last weekend was a kids’ CD of Broadway musical songs… so fun to listen to and so different than stuff we already have! “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie is one of the songs on there and I was singing part of it tonight after supper. When I got to the part about throwing the towel in, Ivory piped up with “no, it’s some days don’t you want to go to a palace!” I replayed it in my head and realized how easy it would have been for her to come up with that instead of the actual words, and then thought about how much lovelier her thought process was! I was ready to throw the towel in by 6 p.m. – but she was palace-minded! Well. I could learn a few things from her. We really don’t have it too bad, now, do we? 🙂

We have had so many beautiful things going on in life that I shouldn’t be complaining. It’s just that any parent knows the aftermath of fun and exciting events is days of re-training. One of my goals between now and vacation is to knock out our interrupting habit entirely. But that’s another story for another day.

IMG_1495

In between the big events (which I’ll document in the upcoming blog posts) we’ve spent an enormous amount of time on our front porch, of all places! Daddy is amazing, and the addition of these two little rope-and-barnwood swings extended our house in incredible ways. They go out there before breakfast, after breakfast, before snack, after snack – you get the idea. They spend so much time in an area of our yard that literally never saw footprints before. It’s always so exciting to be able to maximize your space that way. 🙂 So I’m grateful, that on days when I want to throw the towel in – I can actually just send them out to the front porch. 🙂

 

arise

Death of a believer is never in vain

Death does not swallow – it’s all for His gain.

And yet the heart cries, and the pleas arise –

“why, WHY, does she have to die?”

 

The faces behind who still must walk on

we know little children are not very strong.

The tears pour down and our prayers arise –

“Be with them, Lord, that their faith would not die.”

 

Her words, her life showed sacrifice here

A woman of faith, to whom God was near.

It comes to an end and our praises arise.

“Father, in her life, you have been glorified”.

 

Let’s kneel to our still-great God in prayer,

even when we wonder if He’s really there.

“For whom the Lord loveth“, He tests and He tries,

And in deepest grief, we lift up our eyes.

 


 

Janella’s death has hit me hard… which is a little bit uncharacteristic of me. Not that it isn’t so tragic and awful, but that I didn’t know her well, and I had only had some brief Facebook and blog communication with her, and usually it takes much more than that for me to feel loss like I do now. Maybe it’s because I know how beautiful that vacation would have been in the midst of regular missionary stress. Maybe it’s because it just hits so close to home – those two little sweet faces, ages 4 and 2, and a grieving daddy. Maybe it’s just because the whole situation comes when I’ve been battling a fear of surrender for the longest time, because it just seems like so often, surrender ends in hurt.

But there’s this quote that I shared with some girls on Friday night and I’ll share it again here, because its so relevant:

  “How does one become butterfly?’ Pooh asked pensively.

  “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,” Piglet replied.

  “You mean to die?” asked Pooh.

  “Yes and no,” he answered. “What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will live on.”

-A.A. Milne

And that’s exactly it – to become the spirit-filled beings that God intends for us to be, we must be willing to go through the pain of giving up what we know and want in exchange for something unknown, and yet better.

Because “what looks like you will die, but what’s really you will live on.”