Monday, February 28, 2011

DAY 223: 1 CHR 2

Phone about to die and my battery is about to as well so need to cut this short. HA! Long but incredible day. The Building Blocks / Shelter combo makes for a wonderfully exhausting day. I was in two different circles of beautiful woman today. One group who shared the common bond of motherhood and the other filled with brave women seeking freedom. Heard stories of God's provision in the lives of His daughters all day long. Humbled and honored to be apart of both.

1 C 2:
Here begins the lineage of Israel. Very cool to recognize names and see where they came from. Overall, a list of names except for these two verses.

Vs 3:
The sons of Judah:
Er, Onan, and Shelah. These three were born to him by Bathshua, a Canaanite woman. Er, Judah's firstborn, displeased the Lord, so the Lord killed him.

Vs 7:
The son of Carmi:
Achan, who brought the disaster on Israel when he stole what was devoted to God.

Would hate for that to be my heritage especially verse 7. "Who brought disaster on Israel" are incredibly strong words but filled with truth. The truth is our sin is ugly. Thankful for a gracious God whose forgiveness is far reaching!

D

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BOY MOM MONDAY

You know you're a boy mom if, you have to ask who peed on top of the toilet tank.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

DAY 222: 1 CHRON 1

Good possibility this could get ugly. Consider yourself warned. This morning started out rough. My mom made a passive aggressive remark referring to the boundaries I've set with my stepfather. It was under the guise that she thought psychology can be bunk. Unfortunately, I fired back, also passive aggressively, that sometimes the theology that people believe is bunk. I instantly regretted it as soon as the words left my mouth. I prayed for help and asked God for forgiveness. In the past that kind of comment could have ignited a very ugly episode. I would have lashed back and tried to defend myself and that would have gotten me nowhere. If I hadn't been walking this past year in the Word I wouldn't have read over and over again about allowing God to be my defender. Jesus sat back while men mocked him and hurled insults at him. I'm in no way at all comparing myself to Jesus but I do want to become more and more like him. I want to grow to be humble in spirit.

It's painful that my mom is angry that I've set boundaries. It's as if I've brought this hardship upon her and keep making her and my stepdad pay for the mistake he made. Painful. In the midst of all that, memories keep swirling through my head. Shame is still attached to each one. That's one of the many reasons boundaries have been set, not because of unforgiveness. The sound of his voice and the sight of him takes me back to a place I don't want to be. I'm the small scared child. The one with shit for brains who caused all the horrendous fights. The one who dared not breath or look the wrong way least she be the object of wrath. As I wade through all this, I wonder what relationship with my stepdad there would even be to try to reconcile? He crushed my heart way before he started touching me.

I've buried my face into my Father's chest today. I've poured out the pain I've been able to tap into and He poured out His love on the cross. The Lord has graciously grabbed my hand and reminded me He's walking this road with me and I have nothing to fear. May the tears come and if they never stop, so be it.

1 Chron 1:
This chapter is a long list of names from Adam to the descendants of Esau. It's hard going through long lists of names like this but to the remnant of God's people this list must have brought comfort. They knew the stories that went with those names. The stories that proclaimed God's faithfulness and His love. I imagine this list a rally cry for the remaining remnant. The charge to be strong and courageous and to never loose hope. Thinking about this I want to make a list for our family. I want to capture the stories of God's faithfulness to BrownTown. It's so easy to forget and take for granted the ways God has been faithful to love and provide for us. He's shown up in such huge ways and I never want to forget what He's done for us. I want to go back and remember all the good things He has done in those times of discouragement and despair. To remember that the Lord is good and He is faithful and that His love truly endures forever.

D

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SILLY SATURDAY: TATS

Placing a temporary tat in a silly location can make diaper changes much more amusing. I laughed every time I got a peek of this tat. What's been your rainbow of laughter this week?

DAY 221: 2 K 23 & 24

Sweet Abbie Girl turned 5 today. I think the number freaks me out a lot less than the fact that it happened so fast. To be honest I already love 5. I've seen some wonderful things even in just the last month that makes me think that number 5 just might be a magical number. The fruit I've seen already is so juicy and sweet.

Tonight I felt completely loved by our Community Group. They got  themselves and their kids all fancy to come celebrate Abbie's birthday. I'm so not fancy so to see not only the gals dolled up but the guys in suits too completely floored me. Then two women from my group served and washed the feet of 11 sweet little girls. Feeling the love. We wouldn't have been able to pull it off without my mom either. She worked super hard to make this day special for Abbie.

Next weekend is the boy party. It will take much less prep work but I'm a little scared that our house might burn down. It definitely won't be the same sweet event. I'm thinking it will be filled with blood, sweat and destruction.  Good times! On another note, a sweet friend is moving away and the loss of her and her family will surely be felt.  So not good at goodbyes.

2 K 23 & 24:
Babylon is knocking at Judah's door. They take control of Judah and then Judah rebels and then Judah gets crushed. This cycle happens over and over again and Judah is finally stripped to nothing and is completely destroyed. All that God prophesied came true. 

After Josiah, the remaining kings were wicked. Even in their distress against Babylon they refused to humble themselves and cry out to God and repent. The mixture of pride and insanity is not a good combination. I keep seeing more and more how evil pride really is and I can't say it's awesome that I struggle with it.  There's not much room for God to grow and change when pride takes root. Yet God can move mountains through a person who is humble. I've been eating a big ole piece of humble pie because of my kids this week.  They have been extra W to the I to the LD.  Out of control, disobedient, disrespectful  kids isn't the first impression I wanted to give my mom.  Oh well. That's more about me than anything else. My boys are not easy and they can be stubborn and downright defiant. I've been told numerous times that our kids are not easy but that they are incredible kids. I couldn't agree more and if their big and bold personalities keeps me humble bring it. My flesh loathes the very thought but the heart that wants to give itself away to Jesus embraces it.

D

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

FEB 26, 2006

Five years ago today around this time, my water broke. Less than 8 hrs later I met this beautiful girl for the first time. I had no clue that one little girl could bless me so much. Abigail Jordan Brown you continue to amaze me every day. You sharpen me in ways I had idea I needed sharpening and you continually spur me on to passionately follow Jesus. I love you more than words can express and I hope being a five year old is better than you could have ever imagined!

DAY 220: 2 K 23

My brain is too broken for much banter today. Chaos reigned in my head this morning but I was able to pray and regroup. I still feel foggy brained but I'm chalking it up to allergies. I really hadn't realized how much of the time the battle in my head was much like a chaotic churn. I haven't had to fight feeling like that in a long time and I'm fired up that I didn't spiral towards crazytown today. I took thoughts captive, offered them up to God and He heard my cries and renewed my mind.

Got into a short conversation with my mom today that was uncomfortable. Conversations like that always make me wonder if I am crazy and wonder if I'm making up all the childhood drama I think I experienced. I've minimized for so long it's easy to think that I'm just being a big fat baby. I want to believe I'm crazy but the scars on my heart tell me that they are true. I don't want my mom to pay and I can honestly say I don't want my stepfather to pay either. I refuse to pretend that everything was great though and sweep it under the rug. I pray for my mom's sake and for his that my stepfather indeed is a changed man. The condition his heart has been in is such a bad place. Yet I can't look at his sin without looking at my own. Christ died for it all because of His everlasting, never failing, unstoppable love. He loves us that much. Crazy insane love.

2 K 23:
Josiah smashes down all the idolatry in Israel. Smashes it to the ground. Seriously love how many times the word smashes is in this chapter. I want to do this too. Whatever is in the way of me following Christ, I want to smash it to the ground. Smash it, burn it, destroy it. I was thinking about the things I do need to smash and destroy and the answer is self. I just love myself. My plan, my righteousness, my comfort, my strength, my wisdom, my expectations, and my whatever under the sun. The MY in my life is the destroyer of joy.

Sweet Abbie Girl last night told me that she was God's treasure and that God was hers. I really want God to be my treasure and my reward. In my flesh, I want that so that my life will be easy breezy beautiful. Even Josiah who repented more than any king before him was killed in battle. God didn't swoop down and save him. I don't know why but God does. I don't want it to be about me and MY anymore. I want Christ and I want to desire Him more than anything else.

Vs 25:
No king before or after repented before the Lord as he did, with his whole heart, soul, and being in accordance with the whole law of Moses.

I want to be like Josiah. But I think God is preparing my heart and Les's so that one day it's our kids that are little JoJo's or our grand kids. My hope for them is that they will be better parents and have a richer relationship with Christ than we do and that our grandbabies will be even better. We are in the midst of over owing what was passed down to us. May our babies have less to overcome.

D


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Thursday, February 24, 2011

DAY 219: 2 K 22

Exhausted. A little scared by the fact that its not even 8pm and i could pass out. The boys have been extra wild the past couple of days so I'm banking on that. I'm surprised that my mom isn't in a corner somewhere shaking right now. I probably would. Visit is going great. So cool watching my mom play with the kids. She plays with them all day long and has cleaned my kitchen two to three times today already.

2 K 22:
Josiah takes the throne and ushers in reform. He walks in God's ways and gets rid of idol worship. He has the temple restored and in the process the scrolls are discovered. When they are read to him he tears his clothes because he knows as a nation they have not obeyed God's commands. He seeks an oracle of the Lord at once. The oracle is a woman and tells him that because of all that Israel has done what was prophesied about Jerusalem being destroyed by the Babylonians would come true but because Josiah walked in the ways of the Lord it wouldn't happen in his lifetime.

Love this verse:
He did what the Lord approved and followed in his ancestor David's footsteps; he did not deviate to the right or the left.
He did not deviate to the right or the left. This is so incredibly hard. I feel like I do nothing but deviate. It's so hard not too. It's the subtle deceptions that have me off on the wrong course in a flash. I so want to a person who travels in the middle of the road with Christ. The only way I even stand a chance to do that is spending daily time in the Word. Putting the time in even when I'm exhausted and don't feel like it is something I just gotta do. I don't have a chance any other way. I can't even imagine what it was like for Josiah to have access to God's Word after Israel had long forgotten about it. Josiah had been trying to lead the nation in a Godly manner but when he read God's word he realized they still had work to do. That's me everyday. I get up in the bible and realize I've still got work to do. Thankful God lives me just they way I am bur also thankful He loves me enough not to keep me this way.

D

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WILD ABOUT: COSTUMES

This costume along with a few others were handed down to us by a sweet family. I don't know whose enjoyed the costumes more, the boys or me. I'm especially wild about this little boy who not only loves to dress like a super hero but who also desires to act like one by his actions.







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DAY 218: 2 K 21

I don't know what's going on this week but it's a whip. Kids are tired and I knew fighting to get them to take naps would leave me frustrated. Chaos ensued in the evening. Kids cranky and I was frazzled. I pulled a stunt today that shall be known as "the thing I shall not talk about" that I'm still reeling over. Let's just say the mother of the year award will most definitely not be going to me and its obvious that I'm more sleep deprived than I thought. Today could have quiet possibly been the most humbling experience I've had as a mother. So thankful God's mercy, grace and provision rains down abundantly.

Things are going good with my mom. Love watching her with the kids. It's really cool to see her so engaged and they love her to bits. It wouldn't surprise if at least one of my kids started dropping S-Bombs by the end of the week but what are you gonna do? I'm definitely convicted that even though my language is more PG rated it doesn't mean it's good to say around the kids. Abbie's never said it but I wouldn't be fired up if she said that sucks mom.

2 K 21:
Now begins the story of King Manasseh. Israel turns into an incredibly wicked nation. It really is heartbreaking to read about. God loves these people so much and yet they have continually turned from Him. The only way to describe Israel's devotion to God can be by saying that they must have been lukewarm. A nation passionate about God doesn't allow an evil king to drag down an entire nation. Instead they were never fully devoted to God and were easily swayed by the faith and devotion of their leader. I can totally understand now why God hates the lukewarm. They are easily tossed this way and that by the changing of the tides.

This is a snap shot of where Israel has gone.
Vs 9:
"But they did not obey, and Manasseh misled them so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed from before the Israelites."

God had allowed the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites, Ammonites, ect and drive them out of the land because of their pagan practices. Israel has now become even worse. God's very own people have become even more evil than the pagans. God knew this would happen and yet He chose them anyway. The magnitude of His love is immeasurable.

D

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DAY 217: 2 K 19ish

Day two trying to clean up gritty gross BrownTown. I could feel a second day of being snippy with the kids trying to check things off my checklist. Then I heard His ever quiet voice tell me that I've made it about me. My desire for perfection and approval. I'm 30 something years old and I'm still looking for an atta girl from my mom. Really? That's really sad to me.

2 K 19:
King Hezekiah gets an incurable illness . He weeps bitterly to the Lord and asks to be healed. God hears his pleas and grants him 15 more years. Hezekiah asks for a sign to show for sure that he is healed. God grants this as well. Seriously, how gracious is God? God doesn't have to heal Hez and if he doesn't want to believe God's words that he'll be healed that's his problem. Yet this is not how God responds to us and our sinful human nature. He has so much compassion on us.

I read on in 2 Kings because it really fits well with Hezekiah being healed. When Hez dies 15 years later his 12 year old son Manasseh takes the throne. Manasseh makes Ahab look like a saint. He's evil and leads the Israelites into a dark slimy pit. I'm reading the new book by Ann Voscamp and it mentions this very healing of Hezekiah. If he had not been healed Manasseh would never have been born. We can't see the big picture in our illness and our pain yet God has a plan in all of it.

So Hez asks to be healed. What if instead Hezekiah accepted his fate and gave thanks instead of bitterly weeping for healing. Manasseh would have never been born. Even when Josiah comes and repents of all that Israel has done God still allows His justice because His anger still burned against Israel for all that Manasseh had lead them to do. With no Manasseh there would have been no Josiah. No Josiah maybe there would have never been amazing men like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

It is all tied together. Every single minute detail is perfectly crafted despite a sinful fallen world. I couldn't help but think of Kate McRae when I read of Hezekiah's healing. Why hasn't she been healed? Maybe she still will be and I'm going to join the numerous others that God will heal her this side of heaven. Bottom line is that God has a plan and a reason why He chooses to heal some and not others. His plan is to prosper us even when in the moment, when your baby girl has aggressive brain cancer, it absolute don't not seem that way. God help me to bow my head in gratitude and be willing to cup my hands to embrace the good and the bad knowing it is to prosper me.

D


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MeGA MoM CONFESSION: PEANUT BUTTER

In BrownTown a peanut butter spoon can be considered breakfast, lunch or dinner. Throw in some milk and animal crackers and it's a three course meal.

Monday, February 21, 2011

DAY 216: 2 K 18

Reaping what I sow today. Schedules, order, organization, ect is very hard for me to keep. We get something rolling that works and it only takes a mouse toot to throw us off. Truth be told when the weekend rolls around I'm all about family fun and not so much about using that as an opportunity to reset. The apple has not fallen far from the tree and when we're off our game and need to finally reset my kids don't get in line easily. They want to have fun instead of clean. Who doesn't? Throw in the fact these kids are nap and sleep deficient and I got myself a BrownTown cyclone. Hoping naps reset some hearts and tomorrow proves to be more fruitful in whipping things into shape.

On a more back tirades structure I got up at 6:30 or at least I woke up then. Family breakfast, prayer and Isaiah. Feels good to be back into that routine no matter how chaotic the rest of our house feels. Obviously we need to start inviting people over to our house more often so we can keep things better under control.

2 K 18:
Hezekiah hears the news from his advisers about what the Assyrians have said. This man is in distress. He equates their situation like a child who is in the birth canal ready to be birthed but whose mother doesn't have the strength to push him out. This is not a good place to be. It's in this desperation that Hezekiah stops looking at the circumstances and turns to the Lord. I've been in that place. Sheer brokenness and desperation. Finally realizing that no strength can possibly be mustered to carry yourself through. As awful as this place is, it's a beautiful place. God always shows up. He doesn't swoop in like a superhero and make everything bright and shiny. He does sweep up the pieces and slowly put them back together and walks with us in the fire. Bright and shiny gets dirty quickly. It's what I think I want in the moment but once the pieces have been put back together I always realize it's never what I needed. I need God and a heart tethered to Him, not a quick fix.

God hears Hezekiah's pleas for help and reveals His plan for the king of Assyria through Isaiah.

Vs 7:
"Look, I will take control of his mind; he will receive a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down with a sword in his own land."'

Take control of his mind. Not pretty if you're sitting on the arrogant guy's side who is threatening God's people. The Assyrian's have to leave because Ethiopia comes in to attack their land. Who hoo Ethiopia!! While they are leaving the Assyrians are boastful and tell the Israelites that they would be foolish to believe that the Lord would rescue them. Pride is so stinking ugly. I wish I could cut out my own pride. It tarnishes things God has intended for beauty.

The king of Assyria is killed by two of his sons while he's worshipping a false god. This would be the part of the movie where everybody cheers. The evil bad guy finally gets his. Talk about a sad way to go down. Killed by your own offspring. Looks like it was the Assyrian kings god who was useless at protecting.

D

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

DAY 215: 2 K 18

Interesting day. Started out good, watching two cute girls. Good insight on how my heart is still guarded too. Felt the pangs of loss knowing that sweet friends are leaving at the end of the week. Much easier to be aloof about my attachment to friendships. The pangs of loss are not ones I generally like to entertain, so sad that I'm so good at shutting them out. I should rejoice in them instead of running away. Thank you God for the sweet wonderful blessing of friendship!

Paul has been talking a lot about God and Jesus dying and heaven. Today at lunch he asked about who was going to heaven. Abbie responded that people in God's family go to heaven. Paul said he wanted to stay in our family instead. We cleared that up a bit and then Abbie proceeded to lead him to say a prayer to accept Jesus. I'm not sure how much Paul gets but his heart is soft and I'm seeing sweet changes in him. Abbie prayed to accept Jesus several weeks ago and by the way she had Paul pray with her she total gets it. The fruit is so unbelievably good. How could I not want to chase even harder after Christ?

2 K 18:
Hezekiah becomes king of Judah and he rocks it!!

"He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after."

What a great legacy to leave behind! All the other kings after David, that followed the Lord were never able to take it to this level. Hezekiah got rid of all the things that caused the Israelites to turn their eyes away from the Lord.

Hezekiah watches as Israel is demolished by Assyria. Five years later Assyria comes knocking on Judah's door. As much as Hezekiah trusts God his eyes are focused on his circumstances and he offers to pay off Assyria. He has to strip gold and silver off the actual temple to be able to pay up. It's almost ironic to me. As he's stripping off the Temple he is too blinded by his current situation to see the reminder to turn to the very One who can rescue Judah. Often my circumstances give me a bad case of near sightedness as well. 

Assyria's top officials come in with a brilliant strategy to try to get Israel to give up and surrender to them. It's the same strategies the evil one tries to use on us. They tried to get the people of Judah to doubt that the Lord could rescue them. They tried to bring doubt to the King's leadership by the people and by himself. To add to the damaging effects that doubt can cause they introduced fear as well. Beautifully crafted. I can't even begin to comprehend how fear and doubt has hindered my life. Fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of emotional pain and loss, and that's just to name a few. Perfect love casts away all fear. I'm diving into that love and hoping to cast away the fear and the doubt that tried to hinder and ensnare.



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FIRST ANNUAL LOVE FEAST

These aren't actual pictures of the feast but of the love dessert. The Love Feast wasn't exactly what I had planned. In fact, 6 out of 6 Brown's were crabby for it. It probably should have been renamed to the Crab Feast. The idea was to start a new family tradition around Valentines Day that would celebrate the love we have for each other as a family. The most successful part of this years Love Feast was passing out cupcakes the kids decorated and getting opportunity to spend time with our neighbors. There's definitely some tweaking that needs to be done but confident next years Love Feast will be bigger and better!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

SILLY SATURDAY: DANCING FOOLS

I can't even remember how this tradition got started in BrownTown but we like to make our kids dance. We'll make them dance for just about anything.  Some days they might have to dance for ice cream and other days they may have to dance to get to watch a show on tv. Sometimes when we are really wild and out of control everyone in the family will come up with their very own dance. I'm sure some dance lessons would serve us well in the future. In case you are wondering, there IS lots of singing that usually accompanies these silly little dance numbers.

Video of Abbie dancing.

DAY 214: 2 K 17

And just like that, the weekend is over. No ground gained on Mt. Laundry or Dirty BrownTown but it's all good. Les and I were able to reconnect after a really crazy week following a month and a half of Sick Fest 2011. Fingers crossed that next week we will march back into some kind of routine.

Been thinking about Baby E a lot this weekend. I'm frustrated that our time waiting right now is getting us nowhere. The wait list is paused until the hiccup affecting our agency is finally cleared. Maddening not to be making a dent in time right now. I am growing increasingly aware that bringing home our son is going to rock our world. BrownTown will never be the same.

2 K 17:
Assyria defeats Israel and the Israelites are taken captive and brought to Assyria. This chapter goes through a summary of why Israel was taken captive. Verse 15 sums up the why very concisely.

Vs 15:
They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey. They paid allegiance to worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord's command.

God tried to warn His people over and over that this would happen if they continued to break their covenant with Him. He lovingly tried to convince them to turn back to Him yet they were stubborn. The phrase "they copied the practices of the surrounding nations" is really catching my eye. How am I to be in the world but not of it? This is so incredibly hard. If all the things that are so easy to follow looked blatantly evil it would be so much easier. There are so many things in this world that appear to be rely good but it's not what God desires for us.

The Israelites weren't always worshipping other gods. Sometimes a king would get rid of all the false gods but they would worship the Lord in all the high places. Worshipping the Lord is a good thing but it was twisted and done in a way that was disobedient. They slowly but surely conformed to the world around them.

I don't know how to not conform to the world. Everywhere it screams for my attention. Already it's screaming to tell me what's "best" and what's "right" for my children. I don't know how to fight the screams other than to carve out Sabbath daily. It's during the quiet moments that I can hear the loving whisper of the Father. Leading me, guiding and restoring me. So many times my flesh resists this time. I want to listen to the screams that tell me that I can skip this time and be okay. Lies from the pit. I can barely walk straight with this time everyday. I would be a damn fool to think I could stay on course without swerving to the left and to the right without this time. May I crave this time with the Lord, this daily Sabbath, the same way I crave food. May this truly become the living water that quenches every thirst.

Vs 41:
These nations are worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their idols; their sons and grandsons do just as their fathers have done, to this very day.

The phrase "they worshipped the Lord and at the same time served their idols" is repeated several times towards the end of the chapter. This was in regard to the Israelites and the new inhabitants of Israel when the Israelites were deported. I gotta be honest this verse is haunting to me because I do this. I worship the Lord, sometimes on the high places, and I serve my idols of comfort, entitlement, selfishness and whatever else. I worship God but often what I really want to worship is myself. I want to make it all about me instead of living a life to glorify and honor Christ. It's easy for my to bring condemnation upon Israel but what impurities show when my own heart is put through the fire? It wouldn't be a pretty sight.

I am not all that I am called to be but I must keep pressing onward. May I never grow weary or worse, content to stay where I'm at. To be content to stay where I'm at is the kind of stink hole legacy that i don't want to pass onto my children. I want my Brownies to see me changing year after year. I want them to see me keep pressing onward to the prize that is Christ Jesus. The prize is Christ Jesus! To know Him more year after year. If that doesn't fire you up, you better get your butt in the Word. I know my husband more than I did when we got married. Even with sin, flaws and weaknesses revealed the amazing man that he is blows me away more and more. I am fired up to know that five, ten, twenty years down the road our intimacy will only be sweeter. If I'm this jazzed about knowing my husband more intimately as time goes on you better believe the thought of knowing Christ, the lover of my soul, more and more is a prize I want to want more than anything.

D


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Friday, February 18, 2011

DAY 213: 2 K 16

It's the most wonderful time of the year!! Loving this weather!! Allergies or something is knocking on my door but as long as the weather is like this who cares? Still need to catch up on some much needed mood altering zzz's but overall very thankful for this amazing day!

2 K 16:
King Ahaz takes the throne. This chapter is almost scary. Ahaz is very devoted to worship and sacrifice. So devoted he sacrifices his very own son. His praise and devotion is pointed to something that leads to death though. I'm sure Ahaz proclaimed the name of the Lord but be knew nothing of the Lord. Worship and devotion was about Ahaz and not about a relationship with God. There are lots of Ahaz's out there. They make profess the name of Christ and even appeal to be zealous yet their worship is empty because they lack relationship with God. When I think about this I always have to wonder who are those that are deluded and deceived and worshipping something other than the Lord. My own worship of God can swerve to the right or to the left. All of it can be such a slippery slope. This is where humility is such a beautiful thing. If I'm prideful I am unwilling to look at areas of my life that need some work. There is always an area of my life that is going to need some work. Humility helps to ground us in the realization that we are sinful. This grounding shouldn't be rooted in shame or guilt but in the wisdom to know that I could easily be deceiving myself and that my true motives can unpure.

Walking in the Word daily has helped tether me to the ground. Running my actions and my life through a biblical filter is not always a pretty picture. In fact most often it's ugly. Yet, a most Holy God has offered me His righteousness thru His son's death on the cross. There is no reason for pride. I didn't earn my own righteousness but Jesus so lavishly bestowed me with His.

Lord may my worship come from a pure heart. May my zealousness for you truly be about you and not about me and being right. May my life with you be evident by the fruit that You produce in me.

D
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DEAR BROWN BOYS

Dear Brown Boys,

I promise you are perfectly capable of sleeping in your own bed at night. I have no idea how each of you have managed to finagle a spot in our bed night after night. Maybe if y'all would stop looking so darn cute while y'all sleep it would help.

Love,
Momma

DAY 112: 2 K 15

Okay not gonna lie, I'm mailing it in today. I have girls group tonight and I know I won't be home till late. Right now I'm trying to soak up this chapter while my kids wipe mud all over me.

Well, the mud got the best of the kids and had to break to scrub em down. So here I am again at 12am.

2 K 15:
This chapter is ugly. Israel and Judah are falling fast. They've walked away from the Lord repeatedly and the surrounding countries are beginning to strip away a once strong and powerful nation. It's really sad. The inside look at the depravity of man is not a pretty picture. Four of five kings are assassinated in this chapter. There's discord and chaos. Oh Israel if only you hadn't bought the lie that there was something better than God out there. If only you had believed that God is good and had chosen to walk in His ways.

I can sit with the view from here and wag my finger but what about my life? If somebody was reading about how I was choosing to walk out my faith and could view it all what would they want to tell me? What insight would they have into my self reliance, the idols I worship, and my pride? I can be wayward stiff necked Israel too. The beautiful thing is how God loves us both. Even in the midst of our sinfulness and depravity the Lord is slow to anger and quick to listen. He hears the cries of His people and rescues them even when they don't deserve it. He rescued me even when I didn't deserve it and has loved me extravagantly despite my disobedience. I pray I learn to cling to the unending flow of mercy, grace and love more and more each day.

D

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

DAY 211: 2 K 14

Today was simply a great day. There were some things in the middle that tugged at my heart strings and made me so sad for the fallen world we live in but over all, great day. Got to spend some great time with amazing women at bible study and hung outside for a couple hours. A surprise mocha delivered by a smoking hot hubster didn't hurt one bit. Plus someone called me adorable today which is a first. To put some delicious icing on top they sang Revelation Song in bible study this morning. That song gets me every time. The thought of all believers being in heaven with no more holes in their heart singing "holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty" is awesome.

Speaking of the awesomeness of God, one of the things that resonated with me for the talk this morning is that God delights in doing the impossible. God delights in it!! There's no room for God to do the impossible when we are self reliant. That simple truth is boldly written all through out the Old Testament. Now that I'm on the subject of the OT I am loving it! Today's chapter didn't sock me in my stomach but together it's a beautiful and wonderful love story written by a God who is the author of impossible.

2 K 14:
King Amaziah of Judah gets cocky and prideful after defeating the Edomites and wants to take on Israel. There's no real reason for it. The king of Israel throws down some wisdom but Amaziah doesn't listen and attacks Israel. Judah gets it booty whooped and Amaziah is taken captive. Israel knocks down Jerusalem's wall and takes all the gold and silver from the temple and the palace.

Big take away from this chapter is that pride comes before a big fall. That's not a proverb just to be cute. God detests pride. Unfortunately pride and self reliance go hand and hand a lot. Praying God helps me to smash down the high place of pride in my life.

D

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WILD ABOUT: PHIL WICKHAM CHANNEL

What's not to love about Pandora? Seriously can't think of one thing. Since having kiddos with sweet little ears I've tried hard to guard against what I allow them to ingest. I've had to limit one of my great loves, music and it's not been easy. This has caused me to take a hard look at what I choose to listen to when my kids are out of hearing range. If it's not good for them, it's probably not great for me either. Who knew having kids would convict me of so many things. Thankfully, Pandora has made my musical transition a bit easier. I'm not stuck just listening to corny kid fare and I didn't have to spend money we don't have on a ton of new CDs. Lately we've been rocking the Phil Wickham channel and I've gotta say, I'm pretty wild about it! Im always looking for new suggestions so what Pandora stations are your favorite?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

DAY 210: 2 K 13

I want a brownie sundae so bad it hurts.  Mother Bear was let loose against one of my own offspring tonight. I'm generally not a screamer unless I really need to get the boys attention but I totally yelled at my kid and freaked him out. He struck a raw chord. Hate that I yelled at him and made such a huge withdrawal from his little love bank tonight. Once i got the hurt child calmed down and myself under control I immediately apologized and ask for not only his forgiveness but for the forgiveness of the two witnesses as well. It's crazy for one incident to have the ability to make me want to laugh and cry all at the same time. I'm sure my reaction was fueled by running on fumes this evening. Hate the thought of possibly wounding my sweet Brownies. So thankful God's grace is sufficient for me and my kids!

2 K 13:
King Jehoahaz does evil in the sight of the Lord and leads Israel to do the same. Hazael keeps Israel under his power. This is where it gets interesting.
Vs 4:
"Then Jehoahaz sought the lord's favor, and the lord listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel."

Jehoahaz is evil in the sight of the Lord and yet God takes the time to listen to him and answers him by sending Israel a deliverer. God knows Jehoahaz isn't making a new commitment to follow God and lead Israel to do the same yet He stops to listen. God loves His children and wants to show them loving kindness. He is so slow to anger and full of mercy and grace.

Vs 14:
Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. "My father! My father!" he cried. "The chariots and horsemen of Israel!"

Two things strike me in this verse. The first is Elisha suffering from an illness. I think there is a lie that some of us believe, me included, that if we are "good" little Christians than nothing really bad will happen to us. Accepting Christ = bowl full of cherries. This is such a lie. Bad things happen to very godly people. It's hard to understand why sometimes but a relationship with Christ is more than a get out of a misery free card. It's in the illness and in the struggle that grows our hearts closer to Him. In many ways it's the pain that is the ties that bind if we will allow it to be.

The second interesting thing is king Jehoash's response to Elisha's illness. The dude is not walking right with God yet is tore up over Elisha dying. Read a beautiful quote from Spurgeon.

"Dear friends, let us seek so to live that even ungodly men may miss us when we are gone." (Spurgeon)

I don't know about y'all but that's the kinda life I wanna live.

I think being tired is starting to cloud my vision a bit. Most of this chapter is full of Israel's idolatry and man's greediness to land grab. The sense less killing and the depravity of our sin is pretty weighty. Our sin should be weighty, it required the penalty of blood.

Just to end on a crazy cool note
Vs 21:
Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.

Them bones, them bones!! Pretty awesome stuff!!

D
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MeGA MoM CONFESSION: NUTRITION

Sometimes convenience trumps nutrition. I'm so not scared to give my baby cold pizza for breakfast!

HAPPY UN-VALENTINES DAY!

We've officially moved Valentine's Day to Friday in BrownTown. I did get my V-Day gift early. The sweet hubster got up and finished slaying the dirty dish monster and our amazing community blessed us with a new dishwasher. So much better than overpriced flowers! How were you loved on this wonderful un-valentines day?

Monday, February 14, 2011

DAY 209: 2 K 12

Today has been an interesting day. Started off with the 3rd trip to the doc in a week. Looking back now I think I missed an opportunity to talk to our pedi about God but still not sure what I would have said. Could possibly have just been an opportunity for me to see where our doc is at with God. Definitely provided some insight which is good.

Ate lunch with my smoking hot hubster and spent some time playing with my Brownies on the playground. I am so thankful for this beautiful weather!! It does wonders for the soul even if it does make me itchy.

This afternoon I didn't get to prepare for Shelter as much as I would have liked to but as usual God filled in the gaps and it turned out find. I got a sweet note from a secret admirer this afternoon. I'm pretty sure I'm onto the sender! :) I definitely felt loved by it but to be honest my first reaction to the content was "oh that's nice". It didn't penetrate my heart. Fast forward a few moments later and I realized that I still believe the lies the serpent hisses at me, "you suck and you are not good enough"!

Driving to Shelter as I processed the note, the unit of Shelter on Lies we believe and the damage it causes and the realization I'm still struggling with shame I heard His voice. The words are ones I know He wants me to embrace, "you don't have to be so strong". I don't have to be so strong. I know this but I don't know exactly how to let it go. Frankly, I'm scared about what this would even look like. 2 Corinth 12:9 rings in my head.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

I miss out on the awesome power and strength of Christ trying to be so strong myself. The same God who created the universe would orchestrate a note in my mail box on a day He knew I needed to hear those words. I never check the mailbox by the way but felt compelled to this afternoon. His handprints are on everything. Everything. He's all around telling each and everyone one of us that He loves us. The God of the universe reaches down from heaven to embrace us everyday. I miss out on it often but I am so thankful for open eyes today.

2 K 12:
It's no accident today's chapter ties in well with self reliance and leaning on ones own strength. Joash wants to restore the temple so he starts using money that came into the temple to do the repairs needed. Hazael turns to attack Jerusalem and this is Joash's response in Vs 18:
"But Joash king of Judah took all the sacred objects dedicated by his predecessors—Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, the kings of Judah—and the gifts he himself had dedicated and all the gold found in the treasuries of the temple of the lord and of the royal palace, and he sent them to Hazael king of Aram, who then withdrew from Jerusalem."

Joash was so passionate about restoring the temple but the moment Judah faces opposition he gives away all the sacred items and gold dedicated to the Lord. He missed the boat here. What would have happened if he had leaned into God here, if he had trusted God to deliver Jerusalem instead of operating out of his own strength? What miraculous event did Joash miss out on? There is nothing awesome or inspiring about Joash giving away all the sacred items. It is inspiring to read about how God supernaturally rescues His people. What a miss for Joash and for Judah!

I miss out on being apart of an amazing and beautiful story when I try operating out of my own strength. His power is made perfect in weakness. When the situation is too big for me and I are unable to do it alone His power is made perfect. What do I really want more, for me to appear strong or to be able to witness His perfect power? I wanna live a life that inspiring, not because I'm great but because Christ is great! Come on! I wanna get me some of that!

D


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Sunday, February 13, 2011

DAY 208: 2 K 10

Sleep has still been scarce in BrownTown. Today had the makings of a train wreck but it wasn't. I spent most of the morning trying to dig the kitchen out from under a mountain of dishes. Still not completely done but I think that reflects some wise choices. I had great dreams of Les coming home this afternoon to a clean house but it felt good to hold onto my plan loosely. Kids played great together today. Joshua is still wanting to be held a lot but instead of being irritated by a cranky baby boy who wouldn't let me get my check list completed, I sat and rocked him and soaked up the moment. This afternoon my every bone of my body screamed for a nap but instead prepared for story telling tonight. So great telling little ones of the amazing grace of God. It's a privilege that I often grumble about. I don't have to serve the 2nd Sunday of the month, I get to! I leaned into God as my source of strength and I kept reaching into the jars to provide me with love to pour out that I wouldn't of had otherwise. If only I had dared to do this, this weekend. I had such a great opportunity to be a helpmate to Les this weekend. Instead I wasn't willing to look beyond my own need. I feared if I served him in the way that I should have there would have been no provision left for me. BUT FIRST! But first trust God to provide provision in the most unlikely of places. If I would truly put others first out of love, God is faithful to provide. He always provides, I just don't always choose to use it.

2 K 10:
Jehu killed King Ahaziah. Ahaziah's mother, Athaliah, saw this as a good opportunity to seize the throne. In order to do this she destroys the whole royal family. A grandmother who is willing to kill her own grandbabies in order to take over the throne. It seems as though ones heart must be in a really bad place in order to do that.

A woman named Jehosheba sees what is going on and hides one of Ahaziah's sons with his nurse in the temple. Brave woman. She got involved! How many times do I just sit around as a bystander when I should be like Jehosheba and get involved? I don't want to live life as a bystander. I want to be brave and be willing to get my hands dirty.

Joash takes the throne at age 7 with the help of Jehoiada the high priest. Athaliah along with her supporters are killed. Joash helps repair the Temple and has the temple of Baal torn down and it's high priest killed. Just like many others before him Joash leaves the high places untouched. It's so sad to see these Godly kings make great strides but fail to go the last step. What are my high places? I want to get rid of it all but what areas in my life have I left unsurrendered to God? Father please give me the strength and courage to desire you more than my high places and help me to smash them down.

D

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

DAY 207: 2 K 9 & 10

Not much sleep again last night. Bummed that this week and this weekend haven't been much fun. I'm all about having fun and having life be a party. That's just not a reality though. I think I've set up my expectations on whether a week or weekend has been successful or not based on the amount of fun we've had. That's a horrible measuring stick. I'm tired and although I've enjoyed a lot of precious moments and I'm thankful, I wouldn't say I'm having fun. This is not the way God judges our success. I've slugged it out this week and I've tried to dig in with God. I've been far from perfect but I'm trying. God doesn't desire perfection out of me, He just wants me to be willing to let Him into the messy imperfection of my life. I am struck by how many times Abbie gets herself into a pickle and I tell her if she had only asked for my help the outcome would have been different. If she had only asked for help. I know God thinks that about me.

"Oh sweet and precious Desi. If only you would lean on me and ask for help it wouldn't be this difficult and you wouldn't have ended up in this kind of jam."

This leads me to wondering how I respond when my children do ask for help. Do I brush them off and make them wait forever? Oh wonderful Savior help me to show my children how amazing you are at responding to our cries for help. Help me not to ever seem put out even if it's to wipe a sweet precious bottom. You never seem put out when I cry to you and for that I am so grateful!!

2 K 9 & 10:
My sleep deprived brain is getting so confused. The names of the last two kings of Israel are incredibly similar and the same. I have to keep going back to make sure I'm tracking correctly.

In ch 9 Elisha sends a prophet to anoint Jehu King of Israel. Elijah already anointed him way back when but the time has come for Jehu to carry out God's plan for Ahab's dynasty.

These two chapters are incredibly bloody as he slaughters the King of Judah and Israel and all of Ahab's family line. There are heads rolling everywhere, blood splattered all over walls and people dying from arrows and swords everywhere. In addition to the bloodshed of Jehu, Hazael keeps attacking Israel and God begins to slowly whittle down the size of Israel. Too much blood and gore for me on a Saturday afternoon but I know one day my boys will love it.

I think there is a good chance my exegesis of this passage is off but I can't help but wonder about Jehu's heart in all of this. He is very zealous to carry out the judgement of God but I can't help but wonder about the true condition of his heart and the motivation behind it. He kills off all the prophets and priests of Baal but he does it through deception. God used this but I thunk Jehu could have done this without compromising integrity if he had asked God for direction and for help. Maybe it is the lack of integrity that is rubbing me the wrong way in these two chapters. There is a zealousness for God but Jehu seems to be lacking a passionate desire to be transformed by God. I don't want to get so wrapped up in judgement that I miss what God is trying to do in my heart. Jehu's relationship definitely appears to be pharisaical in a lot of ways.

As I pursue Christ with reckless abandon and I am convicted of the areas of my life that God desires for me to change I don't want to come across as being judgmental or grow the heart of a fundamentalist. This morning we read from Proverbs and it warns against straying to the left or to the right. It is so hard to walk the straight path. We are bent to swerve to the left or to the right. It's so easy to get off course and not even notice. This is why community is so important. We need the loving eyes of others to help bring us back to the middle of the course. This is my heart felt prayer for today:

"Prone to wander Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above."

D

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SILLY SATURDAY: WE'RE IN BROWNTOWN AND WE'RE SINGING!

This picture really has nothing to do with this post but it was on my phone, and Les looks pretty silly sporting his Captain Weather Man costume so thought it was appropriate for a Silly Saturday post. The silly fun fact for the week about BrownTown is that we sing A LOT! I'm not talking about songs like Twinkle Twinkle either. We make up our own silly songs and sing about everything under the sun. There is singing that goes on all day and all night. In fact, when the singing becomes scarce it's a red flag that our week has been way too serious. Recently we've started singing to God as a way to start our day and it's been a huge hit. I love hearing my Brownies' sweet little voices sing to God about what they are thankful for. Heck I love hearing their sweet voices sing about going to the library, petting the dog or going potty. If you ever see us out in the wild and one of us happens to bust out a ballad about walking to the car or some other random thing now you know it's an everyday occurrence in BrownTown. Try it sometime, you'd be amazed at how a simple little song can make the heart joyful. What are some things that make you want to sing?

DEAR BROWNIES

Dear Brownies,

We have had quite the week together. It feels like we are on week 8 of being on sick kid lock down. I've heard all four of you struggle in the night with horrible coughs. Those kinds of noises in the middle of the night makes a Momma's heart shudder. I know you guys are just as worn out from the chaos that the past month plus of sickness that has plagued our house as I. Remember to find joy even in times like these. I have relished the extra hugs and snuggles that this yuck unwanted virus has brought. Even as obnoxious as these bugs have been I'm so incredibly thankful that even though sickness feels like the norm now, it's not. It's stretches of time like this that make the sunny days filled with health and laughter all that much sweeter. Let us always remember to be thankful. Abbie Girl you are so good at helping to remind us of these simple truths.

This week you guys have been troopers. Despite your lack of sleep and illness you've handle two unexpected trips to the doctor like a champ. You've made the doctor laugh at your kindness and thankfulness at all he does to help keep you and so many other children well.

Paul and Abbie I have seen beautiful things begin to grow out of your relationship to one another. This week I have seen both of you strive to put the other first. It's a beautiful thing to watch and I am so thankful for the two of you leading out with such great examples of leadership to your two younger brothers.

Paul and Luke I think you boys are getting a bad case of cabin fever. I completely understand I'm right there with you. You boys love hard and fight hard. Many days you make BrownTown feel more like a circus than anything else and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Abbie Girl I can't believe in a few short weeks you'll be five. Its been fun watching you carry around your tiny baby doll Rosa everywhere the last couple months. This past week you prayed to accept Jesus into your heart. You've got some strong theology for a four year old girl. I pray that you are always as passionate about Christ as you are now. I pray that Jesus takes hold of your life and even at an early age your faith becomes yours and not just what Mommy and Daddy believe. You are a leader and one day you are going to make an incredible Mommy. I pray that you grow to be confident in that role. I have struggled so much in the transition but even now I am confident that helping to raise you and your brothers has been more rewarding and incredible than anything else I've ever done. The world wants to rob and strip away the beauty of the most precious things in life. I pray that you hold fast and don't believe the lies. You are more precious to me than words can express and I am so thankful God chose to bless our family through you!

Paul this week I saw you try to sharpen Abbie and Luke when they were being unkind to each other. Although your approach needs some work you heart was in the right place. You are growing up to be such a magnificent boy. It's been fun watching you take the reigns of being the oldest boy and watching your desire to be a leader grow. Right now you are sleeping in my lap. It's moments like this I wish could last forever!

Lukeypotamus you have had a rough week of injury and ear infection. I have cherished the times you have let me rock you to sleep this week and all the cuddling you have wanted to do. You are stubborn and strong willed but you are also a very brave boy. I know God has created you with a great purpose in mind. I love our talks at night when you list off everyone in our family and the body parts that we all have. You like talking about animals and whether or not they are mommy or daddy animals. You love your sister and your brothers like mad and it's a beautiful thing to watch. There's a little bit of a competition going on between you and Joshua but I won't lie Momma doesn't mind the extra attention.

Joshua you have been so sick the past week. You've especially struggled at night. Tonight you fell off the bed and hit a lamp. You look like you've gone ten rounds in a boxing match but you are still as cute as can be. The Brown Boy temper has not skipped you at all but if you were too laid back in this family you might get swallowed up. You are learning new words everyday and right now you have both of your parents wrapped around your little finger. We are so thankful for you little bit and although we're excited to be able to watch you grow up please remember there is no rush.

My little Brownies I love you so much. It's an absolute joy being your Momma. I'm so thankful for each of you and the grace you extend to your imperfect Momma daily.

Love,
Momma

Friday, February 11, 2011

GREEN EGGS AND HAM



I made a vow a couple weeks ago to cook weekly with my kids. Cooking with my children has not been a task I've treasured but lately I've found the frequency has actual made it a lot easier. By next week I might even dare use the word enjoyable, that's my hope anyway. Tonight we finally ventured away from cookies and cooked a dinner together as a family.  The kids picked out a cookbook from the library and decided on the menu together. Tonights main course consisted of Green Eggs and Ham with a yummy beverage of Pink Yink Ink Drink. We  had fun making it together and I didn't even grind my teeth, not a once.

Unfortunately, the only Brownie who loved Green Eggs and Ham as much as Sam was the beautiful one holding the cookbook. The boys gobbled up the ham but Lester's egg repulsion hasn't fallen too far from the tree. None of the kids liked the Pink Yink Ink Drink but it was a hit with us old folks.  I had visions of grandeur of letting the kids pick out a meal once a week and having them help make it before tonight. One glance at the condition of our kitchen has made me have second thoughts. Once the kids are old enough to knock out a serious dent in kitchen duty I'll gladly let them pick the meal once a week. Until then once a month is perfect! We'll stick to cookie making and baked goods the rest of the time. I doubt anyone will have a problem with that.

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DAY 206: 2 K 8

Today has been quite the day. Thankful that two separate injuries on the littles didn't result in trips to Urgent Care. Speaking of the littles crossing my fingers that they let their momma sleep tonight. It's been rough the last several nights with a sick J and an ear infected L. They've been competing for their Momma's attention and affection in the middle of the night and wee hours of the morning. Yawn!

In other fun news Mommy Guilt has crept in like an evil raging beast. I'm sure it's a combination of exhaustion and Shelter or just good material for my talk in BB in March. Les and I bucked up against some nice conflict for our ReEngage talk and it was nice to have material to talk about. Whatever the reason it's completely obnoxious and I'm trying my best to lay it at the foot of the cross.

2 K 8:
It might be strange but I'm going to work backwards tonight. The end of the chapter talks about the reign of Jehoram who is the son of Jehoshaphat. He's referred to as Jehoram and Joram so I'm thoroughly confused in my tired state. He was evil in the sight of the Lord and lead Judah astray. He married the daughter of Ahab which is so strange to me. King Ahab was incredibly evil. I don't understand why he married her.

The middle of the chapter is about Hazael. He is indeed who viscously kills the Israelites. This part reminds me a lot of an incredibly bloody Shakespeare play. Hazael is told he will be king of Aram and Elisha tells him of the evil things he ends up doing to Israel. At this point Hazael is not quite award of how bent his heart is to the dark-side. Isn't that all of us though? It's so easy to live in denial and deceive ourselves. Hazael ends up killing the king a few days later and takes over the throne.

In the first part of the chapter the Shunammite woman is told by Elisha to leave Israel because there is to be a severe famine for 7 yrs. Once she comes back she must petition before the king to get her land back. In the meantime Gehazi Elisha's old servant is telling the king all about Elisha. Right after he tells the king the story of the Shunammite woman, she shows up to petition to get her land back. All those little coincidences in life are keenly orchestrated by the Lord. He holds all things together in His hand including the minute details.

Today as I looked over Luke's hand to make sure no fingers were broken and especially as I checked out Joshua's eye to make sure it seemed okay God's Sovereignty stood out. If Joshua's vision has been compromised due to his premature base jumping career God holds all of that together in His hands. Thankfully the impact looks like it was just below his eyeball. To me that's no coincidence. It will be no coincidence either if he looses sight in his eye either. I don't want to live the life of a foolish woman and I want to continually be pressing onward to seek out Christ but God's got the details covered. I don't have to worry or agonize over trivial things. The Creator of the universe is a good God and He loves me with an extravagant love. What or whom than shall I fear?

D

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

DAY 205: 2 K 7

I'm tired and I'm ready for our family to bust out of sickville. I say that and I cringe knowing that as obnoxious as going into month two of illness, out there are families with babies that are dying. I don't know if y'all are following the story of Kate McCrae but my heart aches over what they are experiencing. Kate is about Abbie's age and I don't think I could take what this family is going through. Would my heart stay strong? I'd like to think that God would remain my rock but in my flesh it would be hard not to waiver.
I write that and its how I feel but somehow I seem to have gotten it wrong. Aren't they all His anyway? Why do I try to cling to them as if they are mine?

2 K 7:
Elisha tells the king of Israel and his wingman that the very next day the people in Samaria will be able to buy food incredibly cheap. It's hard for them to be able to comprehend this since at this point the siege on Samaria is so bad that mothers are eating their own children. This is how the kings servant responds to the news.

Vs 2:
The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, "Look, even if the lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?"
"You will see it with your own eyes," answered Elisha, "but you will not eat any of it!"

It happens and it was easy for the Lord. For nothing is impossible for God. This is comforting but sometimes it's really hard to reconcile. It's hard to understand why God wouldn't heal a little girl with cancer. I knew a girl growing up who was healed of cancer. Miraculously healed. Doctors completely baffled healed.

I'm laying next to my sweet baby and its so easy to soak up the goodness of God. But what if what was causing my baby to be sick wasn't the run of the mill virus? What if it was terminal? Would God still be as good then? It's the fear of pain and loss that causes my heart to grow faint. What is it about pain and loss that makes me want to avoid it at all cost?

D

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

DAY 204: 2 K 6

Today I tried dying to self. Yet I was keenly aware of my selfishness and I pray that the Lord would continue to open my eyes to this. There are many days when I wish I could super glue my mouth shut. Is it really the end of the world if my child throws a dirty dish in sink with the clean dishes? In my selfishness it feels like it since our dishwasher is broken and it literally took me all day to do dishes because of all the interruptions. Thank you God for those wonderful interruptions! Thank you God that we have plenty of food to make dirty dishes and fresh clean water that pours out of a pipe for me to clean them. Thank you for my two Helpers, who were more interested in playing and adding to the mess, that taught me to slow down and practice patience.

I hate when I get tunnel vision and I loose sight of what's really important. Life isn't about washing the dishes, it's about the opportunities that await us when we go about doing the mundane. Will I choose to love in ALL circumstances or do I only choose to love when it lines up with what I want out the day? The latter unfortunately is the norm but I'm learning to lean into Christ so that He can teach me how to love like Him.

2 K 6:
This chapter can be broken down into three different sections. In the first section Elisha makes an ax head float.

Vs 1:
The company of the prophets said to Elisha, "Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us.

The words "company of prophets" stood out to me. In my past, I knew all to well what it meant to feel alone amongst company. My heart was so walled off to everyone, God included. This is not how God intended His children to live. God wants to give us the blessing of company through a relationship with Himself and others. He blesses that need when it becomes just that, a need. It does feel lonely to feel as if you're the only one walking a certain path. Then when you least expect it and begin to feel the effects of going it alone God shows up and delivers company, sometimes right next door.

The company of prophets had grown so large they could no longer meet in the small place they had been meeting for years. What an exciting time for these prophets to see God bringing more workers into the field.

While the prophets were out building a new place to meet, one of them drops the head of an axe into a body of water. He is upset because the axe is borrowed. Elisha cuts a branch down and throws it into the water and the ax head floats. This is such a beautiful reminder that God cares about the little things. Those silly things that seem so insignificant, He totally cares about. It pretty much blows my mind when I think about this. The Creator of the universe cares about MY little things.

I can't help but remember the day when God made this so clear to me. Paul or Luke had found a key to our front door that had fallen down on the ground. When I saw them with it I asked for it and stuck it in my pocket. A friend stopped by and we all went outside to say hi. By the time I had gotten all my kids rounded up my friend had driven off. It was then that I discovered our front door was locked. Inside the house was my phone. As I prepared myself to knock on neighbors doors with four children in desperate need of a nap I remembered the key in my pocket that I put there hours earlier. I could chalk it up luck or coincidence but I know that God provided for us that day. It wouldn't have been earth shattering if a key wasn't in my pocket BUT it was God's way of showing me first hand that He cares about the little things.

The second part of the chapter is about an angelic army with chariots of fire that was protecting Elisha from a band of soldiers sent from the King of Aram. Elisha's servant sees the band of Aram's hoodlums and he is scared. Elisha tells him not to worry because their army is bigger and then he prays that his servant would see the heavenly army. At first I thought it was pretty cool that God had sent His band of angels to protect Elisha that way. Then it hit me that God sends His angels to stand watch and protect me and my family as well. Just because I can't see them doesn't mean they are not there. Anybody who has raised boys or is raising them knows that God has His angels on guard. It is often that I thank God for the provision that He has for my boys. We've had several scary instances already that I know God had His hand all over our boys.

The last part of the chapter is the siege the King of Syria puts on the city of Samaria. The famine gets so desperate that pigeon poop is selling for the price of a months wages. The king of Israel hears of mothers eating their own children and he tears his robes and vows to kill Elisha. Instead of listening to what God has said would happen if Israel turned away from Him, the king gets angry at God. God already laid this out as prophecy down to mothers eating their own children for the nation of Israel if they chose to turn their backs against the Lord. It's not like God hadn't been warning them all along. God has been calling out to His children trying to get their attention but they have been too stiff necked to listen. The chapter sadly ends with this verse.
Vs 33:
While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.
The king said, "This disaster is from the lord. Why should I wait for the lord any longer?"

So heartbreaking!

D

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WILD ABOUT WEDNESDAYS: WILD ABOUT LES

These pictures aren't going to win a prize for great photography but that was never the point of them. They reflex one of the many qualities I love and adore about Les Brown. My husband is adventurous and his childlike wonder fans the flame of love. Love for this wonderful and amazing gift of a man and love for a God who creates wonderful things like snow for us to enjoy. There is a side of Les that goes against the grain of the everyday doldrums. He has the ability to see things through the lens of dangerous wonder. The kind of wonder that as adults we often take for granted and completely miss. Life is a gift to enjoy and embrace, not just something to slug it out. Watching Les take full advantage of these small wonders helps create a heart in me that wants to embrace every moment with this same dangerous wonder. I might not be as old as my husband :), but he's the one keeping me young and this is one of the many reasons why I'm wild about Les! What is one of the qualities of spouse that makes you wild about them?

PRAY FOR KATE

Please join me in praying for Kate McRae. Their daughter is only a little bit older than our sweet Abbie. I can't imagine what this family is going through.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate/journal/1

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

CALLING ALL PERFECTIONISTS

Ran into this blog post tonight: http://www.incourage.me/2011/02/the-why-of-encouragement.html

It is healing balm for the souls of all Mommas who struggle with perfectionism.

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DAY 203: 2 K 5

God woke me up this morning a little before 6am through a sweet wet baby boy. So thankful that He did! Although still in my warm bed I love the sounds of the morning. The sounds of three, yes three!, little boys breathing in our bed. The warm embrace of a Savior that if I let it, can last an entire day. It's oh so good but even now I struggle to keep my eyes open. It's so easy to exchange best for just good. What does that say about my life? There is so much abundant blessing that I can mistakenly exchange something that has the best outcome for something that is just good. How good has my God been to me that this would even be a struggle? 

I fell back asleep this morning and didn't check the clock again until 9:58AM when my sweet princess came stumbling into my room. Can't remember the last time I slept in that late. It was fabulous!!

2 K 4 Cont...
The Shunammite's son is healed. I probably would have been friends with this woman. She's strong, a leader and to me it appears she got a hint of fieriness that I love. She is expectant that her son will be healed and he is raised from the dead. When she goes to Elisha to ask for healing she is expectant that her son will live again.  How sad to not have that expectant hope and faith as a parent. Although I've never had to experience anything like this and I pray I never will be I don't know how you would breath without this kind of hope.

2 K 5:
I love the story of Naaman. Unfortunately, I can really relate to this figure in the bible. Naaman has leprosy and if he isn't healed it will lead to death. Just to get a better picture of what leprosy is and how it affects life here's an except I read out of commentary:
ii. Ancient leprosy began as small, red spots on the skin. Before too long the spots get bigger, and start to turn white, with sort of a shiny, or scaly appearance. Pretty soon the spots spread over the whole body and hair begins to fall out - first from the head, then even from the eyebrows. As things get worse, finger nails and toenails become loose; they start to rot and eventually fall off. Then the joints of fingers and toes begin to rot and fall off piece by piece. Gums begin to shrink and they can't hold the teeth anymore, so each of them is lost. Leprosy keeps eating away at your face until literally the nose, the palate, and even the eyes rot - and the victim wastes away until death.

This sounds like a horrific death. I knew leprosy was bad but I had no idea the extent of it's horrors. Naaman goes to Elisha to be healed. Instead of meeting Naaman himself Elisha sends out a servant. I don't know what it is but I really like this about Elisha. The servant tells Naaman to dip into the Jordan river seven times and he will be healed. Naaman hears this and he's angry!

They are several things going on here.
1. God is not showing up the way Naaman expected.

Vs 11:
But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.

I seriously almost burst out laughing when I read this. This is exactly what I want God to do for me. I want God to wave His magical God wand and heal me of my hurts, habits and hang-ups. I don't want to have to do the hard work.  I've gotten angry at God during times of recovery because its taken too long and it's too hard. Since when is God this magical fairy up in the sky put here to answer my every whim? Yet I get angry when He doesn't act that way. 

2. Naaman had to wonder if he could trust Elisha, the man of God. Israel and Syria weren't exactly on good terms. Naaman learned about Elisha through an Israelite that was taken captive!! The Jordan river was disgusting and polluted with things you did not want to be dunking in. Elisha could have been trying to make a fool out of Naaman instead of truly trying to heal him. 

This is where faith can get all crazy on you. Is that gut feeling to pray for a complete stranger on the street or something else crazy really from God? If it's not won't I just look like a fool? Heck even if it is from God I might look like a total fool anyway. How do we know when it's really from God? The truth is sometimes you've got to jump off that crazy cliff of faith to find out. The great men and women of the bible aren't great because they played it safe. They were great because they were willing to take a leap off that crazy mountain of faith.

I have often related my healing from sexual abuse with Naaman. If I hadn't stepped out in faith and begun dunking in the polluted waters of Shelter I too would have died. It wouldn't have been a physical death but it would have eventually decayed and rotted away my emotional and spiritual health. It would have eaten away at my marriage and caused destruction to my children, possibly for generations to come.  Healing has not come the way I have wanted it but with each dunk in the poo God is restoring and healing my spots and making it beautiful.

D

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