Saturday, April 30, 2011

DAY 284: 2 CHR 34

Great day with my sweet family today. Kiddos had friends over and played great with each other. Busted out a very successful family nap. Capped things off with pictures in our local field of wildflowers, family movie night and treats. Kids in bed super late but it was a great evening. While the kids were eating their treats Les busted out some good ole proverbs and we discussed what sweet words were like. The evening was sweet all the way around.

2 CHR 34:
Little King Josiah takes the stage. I really like this verse.

Vs 2:
He did what the Lord approved and followed in his ancestor David's footsteps; he did not deviate to the right or the left.

This phrase "did not deviate to the right or to the left" has really stuck with me. This is not an easy task. It should be but it's not. This life should be about following Jesus plain and simple. I wish this beautiful simplicity didn't get so mucked up by sin along the way.

Tonight while we were out getting a movie to watch Abbie saw a man without a shirt on. She talked about how he was being immodest and how he should have a shirt on. These are most definitely things that we are trying to teach our kiddos. We want Abbie as well as our boys to be concerned about modesty and most importantly purity. I can definitely see how this as well as many of the other things we want to ascribe to as a family can easily lead to legalism. I really really hate this. I don't want to become legalistic and I definitely don't want my Brownies to grow up to be little pharisees. It's a slippery slope not deviating to the left or to the right.

I lived the beginning of my walk with Christ embracing the freedom we have as Christians AKA grace abuse. I watched, listened to and partook in activities all in the name of staying relevant and not being a slave to the law. This wasn't good either. Not much of what I did set me apart. I was living in the world and very much apart of the world still. The things I consumed and was apart of was not good for me.

So where is the balance between grace abuse and legalism? The answer is love. It always goes back to love. The value of modesty in our house is to love and honor God, love and honor others and to love and honor ourselves. Love does not dishonor others by looking down on somebody elses choice or choose to boast or be proud of the choices we have made. Love tells another brother or sister in Christ when we see one of them struggling in this area. We seek out their heart in their choices in love for them not to condemn or cast judgement. This is middle of the road. This is not deviating from the left or to the right. This is not how my flesh likes to roll. It has to always come back to love or it's bunk even if it appears to be good. Father may your church, our family and myself be marked by your love. May our lives become so infected by the love you so graciously lavish on us that it overflows into every single area of our lives. May BrownTown fall more and more in love with you everyday. Teach us how to love like you do.

D

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 28, 2011

DAY 282: 2 CHR 32

Saved by library books again this morning. Could not scrap myself up off the couch. Kids took turns picking out books and laying in my lap while I read their book. Best pregnancy tradition ever! So beyond thankful for their love of books!!!

I don't quiet have the right words to describe all that has gone on with my daughter today. Paul struggled today and the consequences that resulted were not popular by him or by Abbie. At one point I had spanked him and was talking to him about getting sassy sauce and Abbie started spraying me with a water bottle because she was so upset for Paul. This behavior was obviously unacceptable but the heart behind it was understandable. I eventually had to send Paul to his room till he was ready to take his sassy sauce for screaming at me. Abbie went in and prayed with him to be brave and sat on his bed with him for a long time trying to encourage him. She then offered to take his consequence for him. This act seemed to give Paul the courage he needed to take it himself. I explained to Abbie how her act of love gave Paul courage. She looked at me and then said in her most serious voice that she didn't know love was that strong. Incredibly sweet moment. Paul chickened out last minute and Abbie still decided to be Paul's redeemer. Led to great conversation about Jesus. She continued to offer to do things I asked Paul in order to help. The girl blew me away today. Of course Paul struggling today didn't return the same sentiments to his sister.

To make for an even more interesting day for Abbie she told 3 sisters at McD's tonight about Jesus dying on the cross for them because they didn't know God. She also prayed for them that one day they would come to know Jesus. Talk about being completely and utterly convicted. My five year old knows how to love people better than I do. She struck up a friendship with them instantly, played and loved on them and then shared the gospel.

I would love to take credit for this. I would love to think that I've modeled this for her time and time again but I haven't. I am convicted by her actions that this is the kinda stuff my kids should be seeing me do. This is what I should be doing because I love God and I wanna love people. Who knew I'd get the honor, privilege and blessing of living under the same roof with one of the best little evangelists I've ever known.

I can't help but briefly wonder about whether or not I'm hiding her little light by keeping her out of public school. Her gifting is one of the many reasons we are being called to homeschool Abbie Girl next year. We need to continue to build on the foundation that has been built to help make her strong. Right now she is a babe and she still needs milk. Her fierce independence mixed with her desire to buck up against the rules can lead to her evangelizing the wrong tune. Both the latter qualities will make a beautiful partnership with her evangelism but once she's ready to eat meat. I myself have seen too many adult babies stumble. The tide is against what Les and I are teaching. One day Abbie will boldly proclaim it as her own but I'm confident we need to continue to train her till she is sufficient to stand on her own. When that girl is ready she is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Looking forward to the masses of kids Abbie will be bringing home someday.

2 CHR 32:
Oh Hezekiah. He starts off strong but pride gets into the way toward the last half of his reign. The victories he has for the Lord is pretty amazing and inspiring. Success can be a tricky thing though. It's easy to forget who makes our success possible. It can be such a fertile breeding ground for pride. I was reading in commentary about how just because I person has walked with God along time and has been faithful doesn't mean they will end their days that way. This is a scary proposition. I enjoy growing older because one more year of life means that I've had one more year to get to know my Savior better. My hope is to be a little wiser and a little stronger than the year before. I want to run the race with endurance. I don't want to loose momentum midway way or worse towards the very end of the race. I want to finish strong and have the energy to sprint towards the end. Jesus I'm scared to even write this but crush my pride. Keep my eyes and most importantly my heart focused on you. Give me strength when I grow weary and may I finish the race strong and receive the ultimate prize of knowing you more and more.

King Hez shows all his goods to Babylonian officials. He is proud of his worldly success and as a result makes a foolish choice. I cant help but think about worldly success and getting sucked into the madness, especially with kids. I was talking to a beloved friend yesterday about how I so don't want to get sucked into what the world defines as success for my kids. I don't want to get lost in the busyness of sports and extra curricular activities and achieving a "well rounded" student. All of that is smoking mirrors. I want to celebrate my children's successes BUT I want them to know what Les and I consider the most important success. Above everything else I want to train my children to be PASSIONATE followers of Christ. To know Christ and to be a "Christian" is not my goal. I want them to live and breath Christ. I want them to understand that everything else this world has to offer is complete crap compared to knowing Jesus. I do not want to follow what this world wants to sell is the "right" path for my kids. The tide is hard to flow against even in Christian circles. In some ways it almost seems easier to go and raise my kids in an unchurched culture as opposed to living life in the bible belt. I'm so thankful for our church and that things are different but it will still be hard to fight against the nominal. Frankly in writing all this how passionate am I about Christ? Most days I'm a lot my passionate about myself. I'm passionate about being comfortable, about things being easy, about things being perfect, about things going MY way, ect. Jesus may it all become dog dung compared to knowing you!!

D

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DAY 281: 2 CHR 31

How can I sing the praises of God's sweet provision? Was able to hang today but could not scrap myself off the couch this afternoon. Thankful for my sweet husband who went in late so he could dress the kids and allow me to actually get a shower. This afternoon I was able to snuggle with my babies and read them books. I'm so thankful they have developed a love of reading because it's saving my booty right now. I get to snuggle with them and be actively engaged without expending energy I don't have right now. My sweet husband this evening sentenced me to go lay down. He was persistent too which I'm very thankful for. I'm tapped out and all that's left is a grouchy grump. Thankful for a husband with energy despite his waiting up for me last night.

2 CHR 31:
I don't have deep thoughts tonight. My brain isn't really comprehending the details about restoring the temple and the offerings taken so I'll end with these two verses that I can comprehend.

Vs 20:
This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah. He did what the Lord his God considered good and right and faithful.

I know that God loves me deeply despite my ability to walk in His ways. However, how awesome to do what God considered good, right and faithful. I want to do that not because I need to in order to earn His love but rather as a love offering to my King.

Vs 21:
He wholeheartedly and successfully reinstituted service in God's temple and obedience to the law, in order to follow his God.

I love the words wholeheartedly and in order to follow his God. Hezekiah was a change agent. He bucked up against the tide of a disobedient culture. I want to be a change agent. I want my passion for God to be unquestioned and the thing that sets me apart from others. I want to ooze Jesus from my pores not because I'm holy and good but because He is.

D

Sent from my iPhone

DAY 280: 2 CHR 30

I don't even know where to start tonight or shall I say this morning. I can't stop thinking about the story of the widow and Elijah. She had to continually dip into the jar of flour and oil for there to be more. A sweet friend prayed in response to that story asking that God would allow her to pour out all her provision on a daily basis so that she could be refilled. I feel a little like that today and it's a good feeling. I want to be daily poured out as well. Instead I know I hold back thinking that I need to be the one to ration the provision of energy.

This afternoon God blessed me with the beautiful gift of a nap. It wasn't a whimpy nap either. It was a rare two plus hour nap. I didn't realize the extent of the provision that this nap would be until remembering it after getting off the phone with a sweet sister who needed to talk at almost 2am. I know I'll still be tired tomorrow but what another great opportunity to lean into God and trust Him for energy and strength. He is the provider and he is so faithful and good.

Getting excited about launching our neighborhood bible study. It's been so great having different neighbors in our house the last three days. Neighborhood kids congregated in our front yard today and it was great! I want our home to be open to our neighbors. I'm so thankful that more order has descended on our chaos. There is still normally baskets of unfolded laundry around and a sink full of dishes and you still just might stick to the floor but it's getting there and I am thankful!! Even with absolutely no motivation to lift a single finger to clean it's still manageable. Thank you Frankles!!

2 CHR 30:
This chapter is pretty sweet. Hezekiah urges all of Israel to return to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. It had been neglected since Solomon was king. The time of celebration was off and some people ate that were ceremonially unclean but since their hearts were in the right place God forgave them of these broken laws. I'm a big fan of breaking bread together with people. There is something beautiful that happens. I can only imagine what celebrating a 7 day feast together looked like.

My favorite verse of the chapter Vs 9:
For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and sons will be shown mercy by their captors and return to this land. The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate; he will not reject you if you return to him."

The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate and he will not reject you. I love this and I'm so thankful that this is the kinda love my Father has to offer each one of us!!!

D

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, April 25, 2011

DAY 279: 2 CHR 29

Tonight was celebration dinner for Shelter. It was kinda strange this time. Three of my girls got a good butt kicking today. Hate that! Tonight should had been filled with joy and celebration. These girls have taken such amazing ground this semester it's not surprising that the punk tried to monkey with them tonight. The devil seriously is relentless. Relentless. I'm thankful to be on the winning team but dang the monkeying gets old. One of my sweet girls turned WWJD into DJWW (devil just won't win). It of course is right up my alley. He won't win!! You can take your shame and your guilt and stuff it bubs because you won't win!!

Got a letter from Gladney today. I seriously want to punch them in the face. I really hate this and it makes no sense to me still. I just want God to hand write me a letter with detailed instructions on how to proceed from here. Do we fight or do we not? Do we go to another agency or do we stay? Do we put everything on hold and keep having babies until my uterus falls out and then try again or do we keep moving forward? I'm at a loss and I'm frustrated and my heart to stop hurting. I think part of the story involves the hurting heart though. This part will make bringing home Baby E all the more sweeter. In my flesh though I'm just done. We'll just expand our family by popping out beautiful Brownies. It would be a whole lot easier! This is not what God has called us to though. So we wait and pray that God will light our path.

2 CHR 29:
King Hezekiah takes the throne and walks in ways of the Lord. His first act of reform was to have the priests and Levites restore the temple. Once the temple was cleared of all the chaos from Ahaz's reign a great sacrifice was offered in atonement for the sin of Judah. The images of all the blood being poured all over the alter is an interesting contrast to having just celebrated Easter. The lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. I won't lie I just don't fully get this crazy amazing story God has been weaving since the beginning of creation. I just can't fully wrap my mind around it yet I am compelled by it's beauty and I amazed by the great depths of love and grace.

D

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, April 24, 2011

DAY 278: MATT 26-28

It's Easter and guilt and shame tried to sink it's big juicy fangs into me. Seriously, not a break even on Easter. The victory has been won yet it's a daily fight to live in the complete freedom Christ offers me on the cross. Didn't even realize what was happening today until my husband said will you cut yourself a break.

I just feel like I missed the boat this Easter. I want my kids to wake up just as excited about Easter morning as they do about Christmas. Our family traditions are still in process and that's totally okay. I think what I'm beginning to feel is the ache for them to truly know Jesus. As I see our faith on their hearts and on their lips I want it to become their faith. I don't want them to walk the same paths that I walked. I want them to truly know Him without having to walk away from Him first. I see the ways I fail daily. Daily, and I don't want to pass on my brokenness to them. It's this very brokenness that helps point them to God's wonderful perfection.

Instead of focusing on my perceived fails I'm going to try to focus on the wins. Had our next door neighbors over. Their hearts are open to spiritual things. The field looks ripe and I'm so fired up we've gotten the first dinner under our belts and look forward to having them over often. Easter egg hunt with neighbor kids. Hopefully, this will be the start of a beautiful tradition on our street. Had another young sweet couple over who I look forward to getting to know better and investing in. My kids know Easter is about Jesus and they have no clue who the Easter Bunny is. All wins and I look forward to expanding our celebration of Easter next year.

MATT 26-28:
Again too much to break down in one sitting. I love how the story of Mary announcing Jesus with perfume is included in Matthew's version. What a beautiful picture of intimacy and complete adoration of Jesus. I love it.

On an opposite note in Matthew's account the soldiers guarding the tomb go back to the high priests to tell them what happened. Instead of repenting andrealizing their grave mistake they pay off the guards to lie and say that the disciples took Jesus's body. Pride is evil. To think of yourself as better than another or to be unwilling to look at your sin is bad place to be. It's hard to continually be faced with the ugliness of pride when I struggle with it. I wish I could just cut it out and burn it, along with shame. Neither is good and it keeps the focus on me. So thankful it's not up to me to conquer this. Jesus conquered it and through Him I shall be victory!!

D

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, April 23, 2011

DAY 277: JOHN 17-20

Feeling grief over not using Lent as an opportunity with the kids. Christmas is awesome but it only has meaning because of Easter. I want it to be a celebration next year. I want our family to drink in Jesus the 40 days leading up to Easter.

Asked our neighbors to come break bread with us tomorrow. I definitely sensed a reluctance but little does our neighbor know that this upcoming year we plan to pursue her in ways she may never have been pursued before. God please soften Pauline's heart Lord and open her eyes to see the abundant life you have for her. Looking forward to really focusing our time and energy on our neighbors this year. Second Annual Block Party is coming soon which will kick off our neighborhood bible study. Will be an interesting year in BrownTown!

JOHN:
Again will not delve into John. So much here to cover. Will end with these verses though.

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

I've lived the past 8 years self focused. I'm very thankful for the changes that God has made in my life but it's time to proclaim the Good News from the roof tops. May our lives in BrownTown reflect the great joy we know and the hope there is in Jesus Christ.

Off to prep food and clean a grody bathroom and celebrate 7 years of marital bliss with an amazing man. So thankful I get to live life together with the amazing Les Brown!

D

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 22, 2011

DAY 276: LUKE 22-LUKE 24

Okay first thing is first. As Easter rapidly approaches and I am beyond excited about shoving my face in a huge piece of cake I want to share with y'all my plan for next year so I don't flake out and compromise. Considering a week off and letting the end of April be a sweets free for all. I'm easily justifying it since I'm knocked up and all the Easter candy keeps screaming my name. None of these are really good reasons so I'm on the fence about my week of feasting. Moving forward though I've settled on family birthdays being a time to join in the cake action, only on their actual birthday though. Also, I'm allowing myself the week of Christmas and the week of Thanksgiving as a time to make treats with the kids and actually get to enjoy them as well. I will re-evaluate this plan next Easter. This seems super lame since I'm pregnant and it will only impact me for a few months post baby BUT I'm forgoing all alcoholic beverages as well. The link between sugar addiction and alcoholism is uncanny so as an experiment gonna try it out. I don't drink huge amounts but I won't lie I do enjoy a beer and a glass of wind now and again and some days I definitely feel like I deserve it. That attitude is probably the most concerning. So here's to another year of self control and moderation.

Been very weepy lately. Not sure if I'm just insanely hormonal or it's the combination of the loss I feel about our adoption and shelter stuff or both. It's also very possible this is just who I am. God has softened this heart of stone and it wouldn't surprise me if God had originally created me to be a crier. We'll see. Crier or not Good Friday always wrecks me in such a good way. The sacrifice and the love is so very overwhelming. Reflecting on how God has changed me over the years is always mind blowing. I'm also always grieved over the fact that I make it so much more complicated than it needs to be. If I lived out the message of the cross on a daily basis my life would look incredibly different. I forget and make it complicated. I get too busy and focus on the wrong things. I hate this but I am thankful for the beautiful reminder of today. Not going to break down what I read today. Too many words for one sitting.

D
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 21, 2011

DAY 275: 2 CHR 28

Obviously I had no idea how incredibly exhausted i was until this afternoon. The insomnia plus my booby boy has been a bad combination. This afternoon all the conditions lined up and all four kids took a nap. A few minutes in Joshua wanted to hook back up to the boob tube. I could not get him to pop off without screams and when I could pull him off he'd wake up minutes later wanting to get back on. I was so angry I could have thrown the kid. I got up with him and rocked him while he wailed in anguish that his favorite thing in the world was being withheld. As I rocked him and prayed God replaced my anger with compassion. Poor kid is busting out some serious molars, he's exhausted too from being up so much in the middle of the night and he just wanted momma to comfort him. I was minutes away this afternoon from calling in reinforcements. I was so tired my body hurt and I didn't think I could suck it up enough to get out of the rocker. I prayed and asked God for His provision and was willing to ask for help if that's what provision was to look like today. He answered. The kids snuggled up in bed with me and brought book after book for me to read to them. It was exactly the manna I needed to recharge enough to pull through the rest of the evening. Praying for some substantial sleep tonight. I've already downed the Benadryl and Baby Boy has been given Motrin so here's hoping.

2 CHR 28:
Ahaz takes the throne. This cat is on a mission to go the complete opposite direction of God. His has dug is immoveable in his idolatry. He's been so given over to his own depraved mind that he sacrifices his own children. God has people attack him from the left and the right. Israel even attacks Judah. God is angry with Israel for the brutal treatment of Judah and warns them to change their ways which they do. Ahaz on the other hand continues to be stiff necked. In fact as his troubles increase he turns even further away from God. He worships the gods of the people who defeated him. he takes the temples treasuries and exchanges it in hopes of protection from Assyria. He boards up the temple and puts up alters to other gods at every street corner. Talk about giving God the finger. It's crazy to imagine turning your back this far awY from God. I can't help but wonder what happened to Ahaz. What made his heart so bitter towards God?

D

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DAY 274: 2 CHR 27

Email two sent to Gladney. They feel very strongly about their policy and at the present it seems as if there is no room for exceptions.  God in His grace has presented a situation to us where Les and I have a family policy that we won't bend on no matter the circumstances. In this certain situation it's just easier to institute a 100% rule than to allow for accepts. Thankfully, this situation has given me eyes to view Gladney's policy in a positive light. 

I'm disappointed and sad. None of this is going the way I had hoped. I've had a change of heart though. I've put this whole thing on my timeline. Due to my current circumstances I've doubted what I thought I've heard God speak to me. This morning after reading Gladney's response I was sad but had peace. I made Gladney the golden fleece. I've been trying to make this adoption fit into my schedule and my plan. Seriously, I've learned reading through Chronicles that it doesn't work that way. God doesn't work that way.

Even with my golden fleece not turning gold the way I wanted I still feel like our baby boy is from Ethiopia. In my nights of sleeplessness I've looked into a couple agencies that are more pregnancy friendly. Frankly I'm more confident than ever that Gladney is the agency we want to adopt through. Even though they don't have the name "Christian" slapped anywhere their reputation and values scream Jesus more so than some of the others with the name. 

Monday when we first got word that Gladney would be placing us on hold I heard God say "it's not over yet". I of course wanted to interpret this my way. I was hoping that it meant our fight with Gladney wasn't over yet and we would find favor with them. I questioned if I had even heard right since my circumstances seem contrary to what I think I've heard. Looking at everything now, frankly it doesn't change what I heard God say. Les and I felt God calling us to adopt. We acted on it in obedience. The first time around we lost almost $700. Our friends held a garage sale for us and we got back the exact amount of money we lost during round one. We prayed that God would provide the money for our I-600A and He provided the perfect amount no more, no less. That was our golden fleece for Ethiopia. I felt through reading through Genesis that God was personally confirming that Ethiopia was the direction we were supposed to go as well. 

Starting out a second time I was fearful of becoming pregnant and having to start the process over again. I felt God telling me not to fear pregnancy. I was comforted while reading through God's word on how He alone is sovereign over the womb. The fact that I'm pregnant doesn't change what I heard or His Sovereignty. We've once again been blessed with the miracle of life. For whatever reason this precious gift of Baby Popcorn is to arrive first in our family just like Joshua was supposed to. 

I've said in the past that I would wait 5, 10, 20 years on the wait list and do paperwork over and over again. If this is the case what difference does it make if we are actively on the wait list or on hold? We are four months further along than we were last time. If it's God's plan for us to move up four months every two years then so be it! Eventually we will being our son home. Eventually he WILL be part of our family. The blessing of another sweet biological baby doesn't change that fact. I heard God speak and just because things aren't falling into place the way I had doesn't mean I have wax in my ears. Somebody said when we spend time with God we know His voice when He speaks. I know His voice when He speaks and my circumstances do not have to change that. I look forward to telling my son of how we continued to pursue him despite continuing to be blessed with babies. Closed or open womb this boy is ours and we will continue to relentlessly pursue him through God's help and provision. God went through great lengths to pursue me so that I too could be adopted into His family. I know He experienced heartache and disappointment along His journey but He never gave up and I'm so thankful He is so faithful. Thank you for praying and sitting in this with us. I'm still hoping we can make some adjustments as far as the wait list goes with Gladney but either way I'm at peace with this crazy wonderful journey God has us on.

2 CHR 27:
Short chapter which can be summed up in one verse.

Vs 6:
Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the lord his God.

I did a word search on steadfast:
Main Entry: stead·fast 
Pronunciation: \ˈsted-ˌfast also -fəst\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle Englishstedefast, from Old Englishstedefæst, from stede + fæst fixed, fast
Date: before 12th century

1 a : firmly fixed in place :immovable b : not subject to change<the steadfast doctrine of original sin — Ellen Glasgow>
2 : firm in belief, determination, or adherence : loyal <her followers have remained steadfast>

synonyms see faithful

— stead·fast·ly adverb

— stead·fast·ness  \-ˌfas(t)-nəs, -fəs(t)-\ noun



I don't know why but immovable stands out the most to me. I want to stand immovable despite the storms of this life. I want to be a woman who walks steadfastly before the Lord.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TRUE CONFESSION TUESDAY

This is the condition of my kitchen and you better believe I'm pulling the pregnancy card.

DAY 273: 2 CHR 26

I'm grumpy. I don't want to do this much less deal with the piling laundry or the chaos known as our kitchen. I'm not all that fired up about being held captive by a booby monster this evening either. There are many opportunities for thanksgiving amongst my list of complaints. I mean really all those things point to an abundance of blessing. It should make my heart sing. Instead my attitude is that of enslavement and all I want to do is take benadryl watch mindless netflicks and pass out. So I'm sucking it up right now and begrudgingly surrendering to the spirit to do the next best thing. Don't know what is making me more nauseous right now, morning sickness or my attitude.

Pretty sure part if not all of my tude is do to Gladney's response yesterday. I'm confused and frankly I don't do well in a confused state. I want clarity. I want answers. Frankly, I'm not owed either one of those things. I need to quit the hissy fit and remember who God is and how great His love is for me.

2 CHR 26:
This chapter stinks but it a good reminder that it's not about me. Uzziah becomes king of Judah. He does well as long as he is walking with God. Judah's wealth begins to be restored and God gives Uzziah many victories in war. Then it begins to get ugly.

Vs 16:
But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the lord his God, and entered the temple of the lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.

Once again the sin of pride is very clear. I really really hate that I struggle with pride. Who am I to demand answers from God? His timing and His plans are perfect. I can choose to believe that or not but either way I'm owed nothing. I have been blessed once again with a perfect gift. I need to be embracing it. I have no idea why things have gone the way they have through our adoption process. Many people experience real heartache in the process. When I think about our adoption being delayed due to the miracle of life it really doesn't compare. One of these days my uterus will either go on strike or fall out and at that point it will be the perfect time to start adopting. God is incredibly good and perfect and it would be prideful to stiff arm God because this blessing comes with a bit of a sting. It's the hurt in life that refines us for His glory. I'm tired of being a prideful self focused woman. I want to be all about Him no matter what the circumstances might be so that He might best be glorified! Now if only doing the next best thing by cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry would have this kind of reward.

D

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, April 18, 2011

DAY 272: 2 CHR 25

Allowed a woman at Aldi's to help me bag my groceries and put them in the van. Was hard but knew I needed to accept. Couldn't write about disliking struggling self reliance last night without seizing an opportunity to surrender and available help. My prideful strong willed self still thinks it was ridiculous to accept help. Obviously this will not be an easy journey of surrender.

The email to Gladney went out. Did not receive the news we were hoping for. Going to work our way up the Gladney chain till we get to the top. Might as well go out in a blaze of glory. Even considering having friends write letters for us to help plead our case. Also open to the possibility that God provides the financial means for us to switch agencies if the door gets closed at Gladney. In my flesh I want to go down cookoo lane and doubt all the things I've ever thought I heard God say. What if I'm just crazy? The truth is the fight is not over. I wouldn't give up this easily pursuing one of my bio kids so I'm sure as heck not giving up on Baby E just yet either. Please pray that God would light our path and give us clear direction on how to proceed. My heart aches to bring my baby boy home!!

2 CHR 25:
Amaziah takes over Joash's kingship after his death. This is how the bible describes him.

Vs 2:
He did what was right in the eyes of the lord, but not wholeheartedly.

Just finished the last unit of Shelter for the semester. I'm happy to report that this rock hard heart is finally changing. Looking at the word wholehearted though I'm not convinced I really know what that fully looks like. I want to know what it means and I want to follow after Jesus wholeheartedly.

Amaziah was about to go off to war against the Edomites and didn't have enough people so he hired men to fight in battle with him. He received word that if he marched into battle with the hired army he would surely loose but if he went to battle without them God would give him victory. Amaziah went for the man made fix of hiring a bigger army to fight but God doesn't need a man made fix to win battles. God is a God of the impossible. This is one of my favorite things about God. He's strong, powerful and His can be so unexpected. Life with Christ is a grand adventure. I used to think walking in God's ways would be so boring. Walking without God in reality is what is lame and boring.

Amaziah asks the prophet about the money he spent to hire the army. This is his response.
Vs 9:
Amaziah asked the man of God, "But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?"
The man of God replied, "The lord can give you much more than that."

I can't help but think about the money we've invested in this adoption, much of which was generously given to us. it seems like such a waste to walk away if the path to Gladney shuts. The only reason we wouldn't go to another agency is frankly we don't have the money. Money has never been an issue for me during this process except for now. I'm not sure if I'm even supposed to find comfort in the words " the Lord can give you much more than that" but it's comforting none the less. With everything that has gone on, I fear that all I'm being is hyper spiritual. Pretty confused right now but trying to be patient knowing that my sight is so vey limited.

The Lord gives Amaziah victory. Instead of giving thanks to the Lord he carries of the God's of Seir and worships them. Obviously the dude must have suffered some serious head trauma. I mean come on! God sends a prophet to warn him of his foolish ways but Amazziah refuses to listen. This is where arrogance and pride really can get you into trouble. To ignore the truth spoken in love by another brother or sister is not good. May my heart never become this prideful and arrogant. I can totally see why God thinks pride is an abomination because frankly it is one. Father please turn my pride into humility but as a sweet Shelter sister pointed out tonight will you please do it ever so gently.

D

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, April 17, 2011

DAY 271: 2 CHR 24

The pregnancy update has been sent to Gladney. I'm sad and hopeful all at the same time. Please join us in praying that God would light our path in regards to our next steps with adoption. As much as I want to hold onto my plan I know without a doubt that God's plan never disappoints. Will keep all of you updated as we hear back from Gladney.

More struggling with my sweet girl today. The trend behind her deception is most definitely about her wanting to make her own rules. She's a rule breaker much like her Momma. As I've wrestled with this myself, I've come to realize there can be great things to this quality. However, teaching her when it's appropriate will be the challenge. I'm still challenged by it. I've yet to see much true repentance on her part which is concerning but it's a process. My sin struggles run thick in this child. I'm well aware that there will be the potential for some serious head butting during our homeschooling adventures BUT I'm more and more convinced daily that this is the wisest choice for our girl. I went to a small private school in elementary school and I think in many ways this was God's provision for me.

I don't know what's up but tonight worship wrecked me. Wrecked is probably not the best word to describe it but I could have balled like a baby. It's crazy being insanely overwhelmed by God's great love. I only rarely connect with the great intensity of it all. I wish I could live my days out knowing that so deeply that it penetrates every fiber of my soul that I am crazy insanely loved by God. I know that in my head but living out of that daily or even on a moment by Monet basis is hard. It's in those moments when i feel as if I could crumble by the knowledge of God's great love that I can't possibly fathom seeking for fulfillment in anything else. Seeking people's love and approval, food, comfort, anything to numb or check out would be erased from my daily list of activities. That would be awesome! I'm hoping that security only gets stronger as the days turn into years.

I've begun to dip my toe into the land of the first trimester. Wanting to hold tight to keeping the order and balance that has begun to emerge in BrownTown. In many ways I'm thankful for yet another obvious reminder that I need to cling to the feet of Christ. Things have begun to get easier once more and it's easy to become self reliant. I think I'm beginning to grow weary of the self reliant bull. I'm of course too stubborn to throw in the towel but I'm getting closer, I hope.

2 CHR 24:
I hate this chapter. I really really hate it. King Joash continues to follow the Lord and restores the temple while Jehoiada is alive. Once Jehoiada dies Joash falls ud the influence of leadersnwho are evil. God sends prophets to try to want them by Joash completely ignores them. Then God sends Jehoiada's son Zechariah to warn Joash. Joash orders Zechariah stoned to death. Jehoiada saved Joash and installed him as king and Joash then has his son killed? This is incredibly heartbreaking. Not only is this chapter heart breaking it's sobering as well. Joash's faith was always Jehoiada's. Once someone else came along to influence him he was easily swayed away from obeying the Lord. I pray that the light would come on early for my kiddos. I don't want their walk with God to be cultural I want them to experience the beauty of a relationship with Christ. Joash completely missed it and so many people do.

D

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, April 16, 2011

DAY 270: 2 CHR 23

Wonderfully lazy day. Kids woke up and we all laid around and cuddle for close to an hour. Read an email from sweet Millye that was so incredibly encouraging. It was so cool to have someone come spend an evening with my Brownies and her be able ro see the same things I do in my kids. I think sometimes i get lost in the disobedience and their current struggles that i loose sight of the bigger picture. I hate that this is true!! In my flesh i want my kids to be well behaved and not wild and crazy but with my crew anything is possible. Sometimes i wonder if I'm being too lenient and permissive. Great way to start off the day getting an encouraging email about my kiddos from someone I look up to. Delicious big breakfast was then made by my super fine hubster and the weather is beyond phenomenal. Great evening celebrating the birth of friends and hanging with like minded folks who love Jesus. Seriously great day and great weekend. Thankful for this gift!!

2 CHR 23:
Joash is installed as King by Jehoiada and Athaliah is killed. Jehoiada is an amazing leader and leads with strength and determination. He vows that Judah will be a nation that follows the Lord. The temple of Baal is torn down and the high priest is killed.

Vs 21:
All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword.

I am reminded of God's faithfulness in this chapter. It appears that the Davidic Covenant is over. Athaliah appears to have murdered all of the remaining heirs. Yet God had a plan to save a single boy and place him in the care of a godly man. Jehoiada had a lot to risk by taking this boy in. Yet he did and he set an amazing example of what it looks like to be an upright man of God. Any number of different events could of happened and the outcome would have been. His hand is over everything even in dire situations where it looks like all hope is gone. So thankful my God is Sovereign over everything!!

D


Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 15, 2011

DAY 269: 2 CHR 22

> Date night with my hubs and my CG. I honestly can't remember the last time Les and I went out without the Brownies. Ah, now I remember, WM Christmas Party. I think we average about 4-5 solo dates a year. That's kinda sad but whatcha gonna do? Thankful we are able to take advantage of some good in home dates. Tonight is very much needed and I'm very VERY thankful for Millye and her sweet daughter coming over to serve us so willingly.

2 CHR 22:
Ahaziah takes the throne after his father dies. His mother is wicked and influences him to also walk in her evil ways.

Vs 4:
He did evil in the eyes of the lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father's death they became his advisers, to his undoing.

It's important to be wise about the people we surround ourselves with that we allow to have influence in our lives. Thankful for people who will lovingly lay into me if I go off the deep or choose to walk in ways contrary to the God's ways. It is tempting to find people who will side with us instead speaking truth to us.

Ahaziah is killed by Jehu along with Joram king of Isreal. Once Ahaziah's momma finds out her son is dead she proceeds to kill all her grandsons so that she can take the throne. I can not even imagine how far you have to walk away from God as a woman to be able to kill your own grandkids. God wire women to be more nurturing than men so it's crazy to see them be so overcome by evil to act so against nature.

The youngest of Ahaziah's sons was saved by his sister who was also a wife of a priest. He was hidden in the temple for 6 years. The courage of this woman stands out to me. If caught she could have been killed herself yet she stood in the gap and sought to defend the weak. I want to have faith and courage like that. When the chips are down I want to be strong and courageous and stand against evil to do what is right even if my life is at stake.

D
>
> Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 14, 2011

DAY 268: 2 CHR 21

Well, I'm not sure what I have to say about today. I didn't wake up early but I did fight against rolling back into bed and letting Bob the Tomato babysit my kids. The Brownies defiance and disobedience today was pretty astounding. There were fits but by no means was this a wild day with insane dramatics. Instead it was just one act of disobedience after another. Had to take all the toys away again. Thankfully I only had superheros and baby dolls to pick up. My baby girl is still struggling with deception. She's had some victories but it's been a rough couple months with her. In many ways I feel completely at a loss. I think the problem is that I'm trying to fix her or solve the problem. She's got to do her part to wrestle through it. Les and I are willing to stick by and walk with her every step of the way. It's hard not being able to trust your daughter. It's hard seeing the look on her face knowing that she is so sad that we don't trust her and feeling like she's letting us down. I want to wrap her up in my arms and replace all the lies she's already fallen for and all the lies the evil one is so eagerly trying to get her to believe. Sin totally sucks but I had no idea how difficult it would be to watch my kids struggle through it. Have a small picture of how God feels about us with our sin issues. There is so much love and compassion despite our behavior.

Get to walk the OT road with Brownies for now. Although I've seen much fruit in Abbie and Paul and love for God their faith has yet to become their own. They love God with the wonderful beautiful faith of a child but they yet to truly know Him. I look forward to the day the switch happens and we start operating in all things NT.


2 CHR 21:
This chapter is hard to read especially after such an uplifting chapter last night. Talk about sins of the father though. King Jehoshephat was a godly king but he struggled with his desire to partner with a wicked Israel. In his sin he formed an alliance through marriage. He had his son Jehoram marry the wicked daughter of King Ahab. This not only had devastating impact of Jehoram's walk with God it also impacted Judah. This right here is a perfect example of why I do not want to follow worldly wisdom with my kids. I do not want to conform to the pattern of this world in raising my kids and it's so dang easy to get sucked in. Just as in everything in life walking down the middle path and not swerving to the right or to the left is so hard.

Jehoram was a wicked king and walked in the ways of Ahab. Once he became king he had all his brothers executed. He rebuilt the high places and lead the people of Israel to idolatry. God rose distress between Judah and Edom and Jehoram was struck with an awful bowel disease.

Vs 19:
In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. His people made no funeral fire in his honor, as they had for his predecessors.

Vs 20:
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one's regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

These verses are so sad to me. What an awful legacy to leave behind. To enter this world and leave it to no ones regret. This sounds incredibly lonely and like a total and complete waste. Father may this not be my legacy. May there be a party when I die not because I'm great but because you are.

D

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DAY 267: 2 CHR 20

Despite the fact that I'm exhausted and a grumpy pants I feel better today. Maybe it's because I've been dragging my dead corpse out of bed every morning before anyone else is up to make breakfast. Les has Summit tomorrow and I so want to justify sleeping till the very last moment possible. I never want to be obedient so that I'll be rewarded but God is so awesome that He works that way. Hoping I don't give into instant gratification tomorrow morning.

2 CHR 20:
This chapter is pretty awesome. If you are in need of an encouraging read this is a great chapter for that. People come to attack Judah. They are crazy outnumbered and they know it. What do they do? Immediately turn to God to ask for His help and His wisdom.

Vs 12:
Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

Love this humbleness of King J. There is beauty in their need to completely depend on the Lord. This is a message I need to drill into my brain as I fear not being fiercely independent and strength. This chapter is so amazing because Judah was weak and needed to rely in the Lord's strength. There is beauty in weakness and dependence. Never thought I'd say that.


Judah joins together to pray and fast and seek God's face together. Just imagine what the church could do if we did this kind of thing more often. God answers them in big ways.

Vs 13:
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the lord.

Really liked this verse because it was entire families gathered together to seek God. This is the way to impact the hearts of my Brownies. We must seek the Lord for His wisdom and strength together and starting even now as they are little ones.

God's response:
Vs 15:
He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.

This battle is not yours but God's. How many battles do I try to fight that were never mine? I can get so wrapped up in what I can see and my circumstances. God is bigger than our circumstances. I want to live out my days beyond my circumstances. I let them control me way too much. I think this is the faith the size of a mustard seed that can move mountains. The people of Judah could see the vast numbers of people but they had to choose to listen to God and step out in faith.

Vs 17:
You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the lord will be with you.'"

They literally did not have to fight this battle. The peoples that had gathered to attack turned on each other. When Judah came to face them, they found a blood bath with plunder galore. Mountains don't get moved unless we do our part and we are willing to face the impossible.

King J assigns people to march out in front of the army to sing praises to God.

Vs 21:
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the lord, for his love endures forever."

This gives me goosebumps thinking about it.

Vs 22:
As they began to sing and praise, the lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

Judah could have obeyed and shuffled there feet. God answered their prayers and they believed Him wholeheartedly. The size of the army didn't matter because they had so much faith in what God could do. I want a faith like that. I want to trust God like this, fully, completely and joyfully.

King J later enters into a treaty with Israel again. Israel is still rebellious and an idolatrous nation. As amazing as King J was he still had his weaknesses. We all have our blindfolds and we need people who are willing to love us enough to expose those blindspots. Yay for community!

D


Sent from my iPhone

DAY 266: 2 CHR 20

It's almost 1am and that is bad news for tomorrow so going to make this short. I do have to start off by confessing that I blew it tonight. I am challenged by Todd and by Sundee's desire to be open to the opportunities that God sets before them. Server tonight was a woman. Perfect opportunity to at least ask our waitress if we could pray for her. Walked away without one word. I'm not one for the ole fire and brimstone approach to salvation but if I really think about it is my comfort worth missing an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus? What does it cost me in the long run? A potential for an ackward moment? The bigger question is what does it cost the other person? Eternity? This is crazy to me. Why is the thought of trying to strike up a random conversation about Jesus so nerve wracking? The answer is that I have not love. I do not love. If I did love it wouldn't seem so hard. Did I once engage my waitress in a conversation other than what my drink order was? Did I ask how she was doing? Did I treat her as if I was someone genuinely interested in her and how she was doing? Of course trying to engage her in a conversation about Jesus is nerve wracking because I do not love. Everybody has a story that God wants to break into and make beautiful. Do I care about other people's stories? Actually the answer is yes but I'm even more concerned with myself, my own agenda and my comfort. All of this truly grieves my heart. This is not who I want to be. Thank you Jesus for wrecking this pharisaical heart. I think maybe for the first time ever I finally get "love your neighbor as thyself". And with that I'm off to pray. I don't want to live another day self absorbed and prideful. I don't want to go one more single day and have not love.

D

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TRUE CONFESSION TUESDAY

I know it's completely disgusting but I could shove my entire face into this raw hamburger meat. It's crazy what pregnancy can do to a woman.

Monday, April 11, 2011

DAY 265: 2 CHR 19 & LUKE 5:1-26

The combination of a powerful storm and a beautifully perfect day the next is a match made in heaven for me. I want to soak up every single one of these days because I know they do not last long in Texas. Bummed about not having park energy today. Might have been better to get out of the house. Floundered a lot today. Let the kids watch some tv. Again I'm not anti-tv by any means but watching them watch tv while I acted like a woman with narcolepsy was just strange. They literally turn into zombies. I've seen so much imagination happen in BrownTown with the boob tube turned off. A couple Veggie Tales isn't going to hurt anybody but it almost made the day seem even more disorganized. The solution is to get my bum up before the kids rise in the morning. My day goes so much better when I cook my family breakfast and don't just shove cereal down their throats. It gives me time to wake up, talk to God, turn my brain on, ect. Getting up even a second earlier goes against everything in my body right now. Every cell in my body is exhausted. Yet I know that if I rise early I can lean on God even more for His daily provision. Right now I'm leaning pretty hard on myself or Bob the Tomato.

2 CHR 19:
Jehoshephat comes back home from war and Jehu the prophet has a thing or two to tell him. Basically he is confronted for aligning himself with an evil man. J should have never returned home from that war yet God in His mercy rescued him. I've really been mulling this over in my head. God's mercy and grace is so rich. I keep wanting to achieve perfection but that is never going to happen. I don't want to trade worthless junk over what God has to offer me. Yet I make worthless trades daily. Daily. It is my desire to walk a straight path with Christ. It's so easy to swerve to the right or to the left. So stinking easy. The only chance I have is to fight to stay grounded in the Word. It's a daily fight. There are so many reasons and distractions to keep me from it. Plus half the time I don't feel like it. I hate admitting that but it's true. I can say I'm blessed every time I die to self and read despite how I feel. In Luke 5:16 I'm convicted of why I need to spend time with God. "Yet Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed." Jesus had a daily quiet time. Do I honestly think I can last one day without breathing in God's word? I have lived most of my Christian life entrenched in the pride of thinking I could go about my daily business without stopping to read and to pray. This is completely crazy to me.

At the beginning of Luke 5 Jesus is preaching and the crowds press in so he steps onto a boat and preaches from there. Peter and his bros have been fishing all night and have caught nothing. Jesus tells them to cast their nets again. These guys are exhausted. This is probably the very last thing that they want to do. I'm sure they even just did it out of obedience not exactly sure what the outcome would be. They caught the catch of a lifetime. Am I going to walk as a prideful Christian fool or am I going to be willing to throw out my net even when I'm exhausted beyond belief and be willing to catch the catch of a lifetime? It gets even better.

Vs 8:
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

I am sinful. This is where the good stuff lies. Between being grounded in God's Word and accountability with others it begins to get harder to take a sharp turn to the left or to the right. In that moment Peter realized who Jesus was and who he himself was in comparison. I am a sinner and I hate that this is true but it's easy for me to forget. I forget how deprave I am compared to a most Holy God. I forget how awesome God is because on a daily basis I try to put myself on the throne. I need this time every day even though most days I don't feel like it. So thankful today that the bible is so freely and readily available to me. I take this for granted and it's a blessing I rarely raise my hands to thank God for. God thank you for the access I so freely have to your living and breathing words. May it daily cut right through to the marrow exposing me for who I really am. Please remove my arrogant pride and exchange it for a humble spirit willing to learn. May I run after you not out of a spirit of wanting to be perfect but out of a desire to offer my body as a living sacrifice of love and devotion to you. I am nothing without you and so thankful that you are mighty to save.

D


Sent from my iPad

Sunday, April 10, 2011

DAY 264: 2 CHR 18, MARK 11:1-11

Feeling better today. Between a sweet email from Millye and a brief moment of Sabbath I'm more at peace with everything. I'm too exhausted to carry a load today anyway. I'm praying and hoping for the best with Gladney but I also know that God's timing and His plans never disappointed in the end. God is bigger than company policy and He is way bigger than my plans.

Got my Brownie down and left my sweet husband inside with three cranky brownies to contend with while I type outside. Love nights like these! Love this time of year! Hoping for a good tstorm tonight.

2 CHR 18:
Back to the hard chapter. King Ahab and Jehoshaphat enter into a treaty through marriage. King J had done so well at following and pursuing God. It's strange that he would choose to form this alliance knowing the character of Ahab. I'm confident worldly wisdom suggested that this was a brilliant idea. I'm sure one could even stretch things and try to slap a Jesus face on it. Why wouldn't God want peace between His people? I think it's the small compromises that scare me the most. They are harder to see and not everybody catches them. It's these slight compromises that keep us from God's best.

King Ahab wants King J to go to war with him. J is willing to throw in with Ahab but wants to inquire of a prophet first. Four hundred of Ahab's prophets come and tell them they should go to war and victory will be there's. King J asks if there are any prophets of the Lord left. There is one left and Ahab reluctantly has him brought up from jail.

Vs 7:
The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, "There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah."
"The king should not say such a thing," Jehoshaphat replied.

As you can see Ahab is not very fond of truth and would rather surround himself with yes men and liars. Micaiah is brought in before the two kings and tells them the battle will not go well and that Ahab will die. Then it just starts to get hard to read Vs 18-24.

Vs 18:
Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the lord: I saw the lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left.

Vs 19:
And the lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?'
"One suggested this, and another that.

Vs 20:
Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the lord and said, 'I will entice him.'
"'By what means?' the lord asked.

Vs 21:
"'I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said.
"'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the lord. 'Go and do it.'

In my flesh when I read these verses I can't help but view God as somebody playing one big messed up game of chess. It feels like we are just His pawns to do as He pleases in the moment. It feels like He allows the demons to mess with people and to do His dirty work. It just feels gross and I do not like thinking about God this way.

Here are the things I've come up with because reading these verses is hard.

1. God is good. It doesn't always feel that way to me but I know this to be true. Ive seen evidence of God's goodness in my life as well as in the lives of others. Frankly there are times when I question it but I can always come back to this and stand in hope that my God is a very good God.

2. It would be foolish to try to come up with a picture of God based on just these few verses. When I crack up the bible as a whole and view God's character and His nature it's a beautiful story of love written to each of us.

3. God is a just God and Ahab's death was God's justice served. Ahab was a wicked man. God does not allow wicked men to triumph, in the end they all fall at some point.

4. Ahab had already resolved to reject truth. In verse 7 we get a good picture of how Ahab felt about God using His prophets to deliver truth. He killed a lot of prophets and many lived hidden in seculusion. God doesn't sit around sending evil spirits to try to trick us. He gives us what we want. Ahab refused to be yielded to the Lord so God gave him what he wanted and turned him over to his own evil desires.

Brain shutting down so stopping here. Surprisingly enough King J still goes to war with King Ahab. Ahab convinces J to wear his kingly robes. J is chased down and cries out to God and God rescues him. Ahab dies and so ends the chapter.

D


Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, April 09, 2011

DAY 263: 2 CHR 18

I am a hormonal mess. It seems like only a few weeks ago I was "normal". Now I'm trapped inside some sort of a psychotic person. Throw in random waves of nausea and I feel like a barrel full of monkeys, literally. As an added bonus my boy is still up and thinks it's hilarious to shove his precious stink-ola feet in my face.

Heart is wrenched over all things adoption. Wrote about this last night but it got eaten in cyberspace. I'm seriously confused and since I have crazy trust issues I don't know what is right or not. I felt like God directly spoke to me through His word about His Sovereignty over the womb and that I need not fear pregnancy. Even as I write this I keep seeing the error of my thinking. He told me not to worry about pregnancy not that I would bring home Baby E first. As we prayed through whether or not we should continue on with Ethiopia I felt strongly after really trying to seek God's direction that Ethiopia was the path that we were to take. I feel completely flipped upside down. I know none of what has happened negates anything but it sure does feel like it does right now. I can only look at my circumstances and the outcome doesn't look good as far as Baby E is concerned. I feel like he is being wrenched away from me again. It's strange but Baby Popcorn is more hypothetical to me than Baby E. I've seen my Baby E. Seen him! I could have 30 biological babies but until my sweet Baby E is home our family will not be complete.

My heart aches and I can't possibly see how Gladney will let us stay on the wait list but I have hope that what I thought I heard wasn't me just being crazy. Please pray that we would find favor with Gladney and that the craziness going on in my head would cease. Not well equipped to deal with the intense emotions I've been wrestling with lately. Think it short circuits my brain. Most definitely not living in the freedom of Christ or resting in His arms. Need to stop running away.

On another note that got deleted we went cruising around West Dallas yesterday. We've got much ground to take where we are living currently and don't see a move in the short term future but if we stay in Dallas, West or South Dallas is where we'll be. Saw the first drug deal I've seen in a long time. West Dallas reminded me a lot of St. John's. As much as I love Richardson and I'm so thankful God has brought us here this is not our home. Oddly enough West Dallas felt a lot more like home.

2 CHR 18:
There are so many interesting things in this chapter. Wrestling with parts of it though. Will have to elaborate tomorrow.

D

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 08, 2011

DAY 262: 2 CHR 17

Had written a long winded post when technology ate it. Good times! Wish I could muster another post but I'm throwing in the towel. Will attempt pass number two tomorrow.

2 CHR 17:
Jehoshephat becomes King over Judah. He walks in the way of the Lord and the surrounding people fear him and do not try to attack Judah. Favorite thing about this King is that he not only follows God but he sends Levites along with his righthand men to teach the people of Judah the Law of God. Pretty stinking cool! God's word is powerful and it cuts straight through to the marrow.

Till more blabbering tomorrow.

D

Thursday, April 07, 2011

DAY 261: 2 CHR 16

Still riding the anger train but continuing to stay in the fight by taking thoughts captive. I'm not perfect by any means but trying to struggle well.

Been struggling with Abbie's Abbitude this past week. It is so hard to see my own sin parading around in front of my eyes. So hard! Paul on the other hand has been doing great. He still has his moments but his level of respect and his position as a leader in our home has been jaw dropping. I'm so proud of that kid!! I can even say that on a day he punched his sister in the face twice. Joshua has been a handful lately and his sleeping habits have been extra stinky. Figured out today that he's cutting his bottom two year molars. Ah the joys of teething. Lukey staggered around like a belligerent drunk this afternoon because he's was so tired but that little guy always knows how to capture my heart. He gives the best kisses hands down and knows how to work me over. I love these amazing kids. BrownTown is so abundantly blessed. As a bonus the mayor is super hot!

2 CHR 16:
Asa becomes self reliant and prideful and turns from the Lord. Judah is attacked by King Baasha and instead of turning to the Lord, Asa takes all the gold and silver from the Lord's storehouses and makes a pact with the King of Aram. Asa has seen the mighty things that has happened when trust is put in the Lord first hand yet he forgets and goes his own way. This is sad and it's scary all at the same time. Asa had experienced a long period of peace and during that time instead of his heart being turned towards the Lord he becomes prideful and self reliant.

God sends a prophet to Asa to tell him of his sin in turning to the King of Aram instead of the Lord. Instead of repenting he had the prophet thrown into jail. Even when Asa is struck with a horrible illness he puts his trust in physicians instead of God.

1 Corinthians 10:4 keeps ringing in my head. "So if you think you are standing firm don't fall." I'm convinced that we won't "arrive" this side of heaven. We need to remember that even in our victories our flesh can be so weak. It's that weakness that tethers us to Christ.

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 they courts above.

Praying that God removes my pride which is a stench in the Lord's nostrils. I would love for Him to just heal of it but I have a funny feeling that I must be broken of it instead. Yay! Not fired up about what that will look like but I would rather go through the fire and be that much closer to Christ. I want to be wholly His!

D

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

DAY 260: 2 CHR 15

It has become obvious over the last couple days that my struggle with anger is far from over. Lots of taking thoughts captive over the past couple days. Figured out the root and although not gone a lot of it has dissipated. Still incredibly frustrating to be struggling with anger. It is still very much a struggle. Good times! It's so stinking exhausting to have to deal with anger.

This morning was not a huge fail but not a win either. Tired. Joshua has been up a lot the past several nights and that combined with lots of drama this morning lead to me being short with the kids. I hate when mornings are like that. Rushed and chaotic is not how I want to roll anymore.

Found out today that once again there is a good possibility that American adoptions in Ethiopia will be drastically delayed. The news we keep getting from our agency is conflicting. Basically nobody knows what's really up yet. If delays look like they are actually going to happen and will be more permanent then we have a pretty good chance of making a case with our agency to stay on the wait list instead of being put on hold. All of this will be interesting as we're using our agency as our golden fleece as to whether we stick with Ethiopia or not. Ran into a gal at the park today and hearing the need for people to adopt domestically has my heart strings as well. Les and I are very avid pro-lifers so what a great way to take a stand against abortion by adopting. I don't feel like we pulled Ethiopia out of the air so we'll see what happens. Either way feeling better about all things Baby Popcorn & Adoption.

Interesting day at Sonic today. Feel like I blew two great opportunities. A woman approached the van immediately after I pulled up and was asking for money to buy food. I told I would buy her something but wouldn't give her any money. Her diabetic story changed a bit but it was obvious she was hard up and food probably wasn't the first thing she wanted and definitely not the thing she needed. Blew a great opportunity. I have to admit though that people who come up to my car and ask for money freak me out. I'm realizing I have total issues with anything that males me feel trapped inside a car. When people come up to my open window and shove their face inside I just want to do whatever I can to make them leave as quick as possible. Nothing against the people it just triggers me for whatever reason. Irrational trigger or not blew it. Need to pray for another opportunity outside of my car.

2 CHR 15:
A prophet came to King Asa which told him basically if he followed the Lord and obeyed his commands God would be there for Judah. The chapter goes back over the reform King Asa made throughout Judah induing dealing with the idolatry going on in his own family. The people of Judah whole heartedly committed to following God and there was a long stretch of peace during King Asa's reign. Love the image of all of Judah gathered and them making the commitment to follow God whole heartedly together. They were not messing around as they were willing to kill the people who chose not to follow the Lord. This is definitely extreme and doesn't seem like much of the kind of free will God extends us but in reality those who choose not to follow God suffer a spiritual death long before a physical one. Either way love the beauty of whole hearts committing to God.

D

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, April 04, 2011

DAY 258: 2 CHR 13

Continuing to get my booty kicked but figuring out a few things. I'm getting pummeled by shame and false guilt. Doing that dang talk for BB left me a sitting duck. thankful for the opportunity to speak and thankful even now for more opportunity for growth. I'm feeling guilty about all things adoption and Baby Popcorn. I feel bad about people who have given us money. I know this is crazy but I feel like we are letting them down. I feel like I keep hearing God say that the money was never about Les and I but was between God and the givers. Still having a hard time not feeling bad. Secondly I feel guilty about this baby. I've struggled off and on with baby fever and the wait list limbo was not easy. If we had gotten word that the court changes in Ethiopia were going to be more permanent I'm quite confident it wouldn't have been long before Les and I tried to have baby #5. My kids are awesome and I want a whole bunch of babies bio and adopted. This is no knew news to anyone who knows us well. I keep struggling with thinking it's my fault we are back in adoption on pause land. As if I can create a baby. I know what helps cause a baby but Les and I have done the best that we could to help prevent. I know in my head that God is the one who has put the time line of our family. I know this most of the time in my heart too but seriously struggling. I think because I was confident that we would bring home our baby boy from ethiopia before we got pregnant again I'm struggling. I must be the reason why this has fallen through. I must be the reason why everything gets so screwed up. I hate this friends. I love babies and I especially love my babies. I want to be nothing but excited about this baby. I hate that the dang devil is such a jerk face that he would try to steal the joy even out of this. Well, he's done. If I've learned anything it's that bringing things out into the light causes him to loose. Consider yourself the looser of this battle mr. Pitchfork and don't forget that you a the biggest all time looser in the end. On one last guilt note. My sweet husband got me an iPad for our anniversary and as I type out my daily dump with ease tonight I can't help but feel guilty about it. Ugh! Wish none of this was so. Bleh!

If you think of it please pray for wisdom for Les and I as we continue to explore our adoption options. I've been praying that we would arrive at the same conclusion and we have. Our agency is now going to be our preverbal golden fleece. Please join us in praying that if Ethiopia is the country that God desires for us to continue to adopt from that He will open the door. If the door gets shut we are going to consider this a sign that we should turn our focus towards things domestic. Either way we've got a sweet precious Brownie to bake first and even though I've been struggling, I'm so thankful for this precious gift.

2 CHR 13:
I needed this chapter. I'm all about the chapters that are battle cries. Abijah becomes king of Judah and jeroboam and him come head to head. Jeroboam's army completely out numbers Abijah's. Despite the circumstances Abijah comes on strong. He tells Jeroboam that he's fighting against God's people and calls all of them sons of Baal essentially. If Abijah had followed God and walked in his ways his entire reign this would be incredibly inspirational. It is cool to see that even in our waywardness and disobedience God can still use us when we are willing to turn to Him. It is also a reminder that even when we have incredible victories in our lives to think that we are standing strong is foolish. We must always stand watch and lean into God.

I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. While Abijah was giving his strong speech about being faithful to God Jeroboam takes dirty tactics and has part of his army go up behind Abijah's. Their odds are horrible now. Outnumbered and pressed in from both sides. In their despair they cry out to God and He answers in a huge way. God causes Jeroboam to loose and he never recovers his same strength are this battle. I love that God defies all odds. I love that His ways are not our ways. God is awesome is all that He does. He constantly has His hand and his provision in our lives. I hate when I get so torqued up by the schemes of the evil one that I'm too blinded to see the beauty he so graciously surrounds us with daily. I look forward to the day that I trust God enough to always rest in Him. Operating out of my own strength is for the birds. God has abundant life and I want to grab me a big ole piece daily.

I want this to be a reflection of how I walk daily:
Vs 18:
The Israelites were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah were victorious because they relied on the lord, the God of their ancestors.

Thanks for letting me ramble friends. I love each of you dearly!
D

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, April 03, 2011

DAY 257: 2 CHR 12

> So very tired and feeling gianormous. I'm sure the queso I ate for breakfast and lunch isn't helping one bit. My flesh was out of control today. It really is hard waging war against the flesh all day long. Really feel like I've been getting pummeled the last several weeks. Must be barking up the right tree. Felt good to run to my Father tonight even if just for a few sweet moments. Normally I run the other other way out of shame but getting better at running towards Him now.

2 CHR 12:
Hit over the head by the first verse.
Vs 1:
After Rehoboam's position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the lord.

I take great delight in being strong and self reliant. This did Rehoboam absolutely no good. I keep getting God's message about self reliance loud and clear but I'm a stubborn fool. Frankly, I don't quite know how to operate any other way. God sent Egypt to attack Judah in order to get their attention. Praying that God helps grow my stiffed neck ways in this area so that I don't have to learn this lesson in a painful way.

The prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and told him that since Israel had decided to walk outside of God's will that He would not help them against Egypt. Verse 6 is Israel's response.

Vs 6:
The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, "The lord is just."

God's heart was soften to the humbling of their hearts and decided that after a period of time He would deliver them from Egypt. God loves a humble and repentant heart. There's no room for God to work in a prideful heart. I hate that pride is one of my struggles. I really wish it wasn't because I know how destructive it can be.

I really like Vs 8:
They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands."

It's a great reminder not to grow weary of doing what is right. Being subject to God is so much better than being subject to man. When I disobey that's exactly what I do, I chose to live under the laws of man. This is so not how I desire to operate. It always ends up in a huge ugly mess. So thankful God is willing to love this messy kid of His and that He washed away the mess to make it beautiful.

D

>
> Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, April 02, 2011

DAY 256: 2 CHR 11

Spent the afternoon at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. We originally planned on trying to get some butterfly eggs but they just mowed our butterfly field. Sometimes the unexpected can be really awesome! We had never been to Arbor Hills before and it's beautiful. Cant wait to go back and do more exploring!

Getting fired up about jumping back on the adoption trail. Going to investigate Bethany and then pray that we find favor with Gladney and they keep us moving on the wait list. If Gladney chooses to put us on hold then we'll have to figure out if it makes most sense to jump ship or just be patient and wait it out. All I know is that I am so ready to bring home this baby boy!! I'm so ready to move to West Dallas too but all in due time.

2 CHR 11:
Rehoboam gathered troops from Benjamin and Judah and was ready to wage war against the ten northern tribes of Israel when a man of God told them not to fight against their brothers. They listened to the man of God and did not choose to fight.

Rehoboam goes from Israel being on the offensive to being on the defensive. He builds up fortified cities and stockpiles them with supplies. This is just a small snapshot of how quickly Israel has begun to fall. To think that you can get anywhere without God is absolutely foolish. Sol walked away from the Lord and began the legacy of compromise in Israel. I don't want to lead my kids to a future like this. I want to teach them what it truly means to walk with God and be a person who upholds integrity.

Jeroboam kicks out the Levite priests in order to set up his own priests at the high places. Not only do the Levites leave to go to Judah but the faithful remnant of Godly people go with them. These Israelites gave up their land in order to follow God. Can you imagine picking up and leaving everything you own for the cause of Christ? I want to God to grow my faith enough that I'd be willing to leave all my comfort and security behind to follow Him. My flesh does not even want me to write that in fear of having God test me in this. Yet the part of me that is yielded to Christ wants nothing more than to follow Him no matter what the cost may be.

The thought of Northern Israel is scary. Can you imagine living in a place where God's salt and light no longer remains? Decay and darkness would grow rampant. There would be nothing left to point to the Light. This is why we must stand up and stop fearing what others may think. We must love hard and let our lights shine before men that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven.

I'm off! My Brownies have not taken naps in days and the wild things are running amuck!

D
Sent from my iPhone