Friday, May 31, 2013

DAY 1024: ISAIAH 24

I could fall asleep sitting up right now. Long day out of the house trying to let my hubs rest up and get over kid funk. I'll admit my first thought this morning was disappointment. I wanted to cruise on easy street today and lay around like a pregnant beluga. It's in these moments that I have a beautiful opportunity to trust God. He is always so faithful to provide. Now all I want to do is pass out.

Well a surprise visit from an old neighbor was just the trick I needed to get a second wind! Oh how much I love that family. I was so sad when they left and so upset that my friend was so close to trusting Jesus. They moved back to Taiwan and I thought I would never see them again. So sweet to have seen Dan tonight and even sweeter when I got a FB message from my friend that she had been baptized. God is so very faithful and so very good.

And grumpy pants Momma has returned! My children and the bedtime shenanigans has been driving me bonkers! Hopefully my family will forgive me for my short fuse come September. Argh! Tired of being such a grump!!

ISAIAH 54:
Okay now that I've finally read commentary on this chapter I can see the full beauty of it. Basically it's all about restoration. God refers to Israel as a baron woman and the widowed woman. He tells them that He himself will be their husband and how the shame of their youth will be forgotten. The remnant was incredibly discouraged and God was so gracious to give them hope of their full restoration. The verses on abandonment and God turning His face away was about Him acknowledging that's how they felt. He never did abandon them or turn His face away but He is compassionate to recognize that's exactly what it felt like to them.

In Portland at one point in our time up there it truly felt like God had not abandoned us but was punishing us. I vividly remember the raw emotion of yelling "why are you punishing us!?" After our dog died of a stroke or a seizure right in front of me. In the midst of all the other chaos it felt like all too much. The sweet thing is that God was never angry that I felt that way. I can even picture Him now embracing me explaining how He knows how it felt that way. He knew all along of the goodness that laid awaiting. It didn't come microwaved by any means but He knew five years later there would be much rejoicing over all that The Lord had done. God knew that even in the depths of despair that the remnant felt He was behind the scenes orchestrating restoration so beautiful that they on their own could not even imagine its greatness.

D
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

DAY 1022: IsAIAH 54

It's official, I've hit the pissed stage of pregnancy. I feel like a haggard aching beast and I'm so over wearing clothes. It's gonna be a FUN summer. Worth it!

Hoping for an in home date night so this will be quick. So far kids not cooperating. Stinkers!

Stinkpots ruined the in home date night. Would much rather have five stinkpots to ruin a date night than have date night after date night and no stinkpots. If I wasn't so tired from rocking a sweet sad little baby cakes last night I'd probably laugh. Truth be told my mental state would have been better off if early bedtime had been successful. More opportunity to lean into Christ. He's truly all I need. His provision never ceases to amaze me!

ISAIAH 54:
Very mixed emotions on this chapter. Some fantastic verses like this:

All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. (Isaiah 54:13 NIV)

This verse is so beautiful to me.

Then I'm torn on verses like this one:
"For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. (Isaiah 54:7 NIV)

In my adolescence it felt like God did abandon me time and time again. If I didn't "feel" close to Him than surely it meant that even God had left me. Will dig into commentary tomorrow but this grumpy goose is going to take a shower now to escape the cat who has been driving me crazy and my precious Bunny who keeps kicking me in the back. Oh how I love that little baby cakes but in my sleep deprived state I need a break.

D


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DAY 1021: ISAIAH 53

Emotionally and physically exhausted. Lack of sleep and third trimester hit me head on today and I was a grumpy beast. Great talks with Abbie about learning how to process through her feelings and letting her know I truly care about how she feels. Think that will bode well after a kinda heavy family meeting today.

To let the cat out of the bag my hubs was contacted about a job in Jackson, Mississippi. We talked about how in those situations we should always at least follow up. I hoped in the back of my mind that it would work itself out and be a nonissue. We keep trying to punch holes in the whole deal and so far no holes can be punched. With that being said Mississippi is still on the table. Too tired to get much into detail right now or even my thoughts on it. Told the kids about what is going and the two bigs were pretty upset at even the remote possibility of moving. That kinda stunk but wasn't a shocker. The hardest thing for me in this whole deal is the thought of moving away from such great friendships. So many of you sweet friends responded to my emotional dump yesterday. Great to have friends who aren't scared of my mess and who are willing to sit in it with me and cheer me on even if you don't fully understand. My heart aches that many of you do at least in some shape or form. Some of you have moved yourself and I am grateful for the good the Internet can offer at keeping in touch! I know friendships like these are not easily made and take sweet precious time to develop.

ISAIAH 53:
So crazy beautiful. Again not enough brain power or emotional energy to dig deep. The words of this chapter insanely powerful.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2 NIV)

This is our Jesus. A man whose beauty shone brighter than the sun. I want more and more of this kind of beauty. It doesn't droop or sag or grow gray yet only radiates more and more as one grows closer to Christ.

D

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Monday, May 27, 2013

DAY 1020: ISAIAH 53

Sitting in crazy quiet before Shelter tonight. This unit punched a lot harder than I had expected it to. This unit covers various lies survivors of sexual abuse feel. The one that got me: It's my fault. Believed this whole heartedly in every instance growing up. Since Shelter it's been so easy to place the guilt on my stepfather and yet the others have been so much harder to let go. If I could share in the blame somehow or place most of it on myself oddly enough it gave me control over the situation. Over the years I've had to keep going back to statutory rape laws to even entertain the thought of my neighbor being a perpetrator. I couldn't even include him the first semester. Yet as my heart softens to the idea that I can release the blame God keeps bringing up others.

Pride has kept me from fully healing. I didn't realize it but God meant so much more than I could have imagined when He whispered "you don't have to be so strong". The truth is that due to the dysfunction of my family of origin I was saddled with brokenness, weakness and vulnerability. It's hard looking back at situation after situation and seeing how that weakness and vulnerability was exploited for the gain of others. I was the girl who was cornered by married managers in their office when no one else was around. Of course i thought this was completely normal and I'm sure thought it was somehow my fault time and time again. I must have had a sign written across my forehead as a teenager. No wonder why I went off the complete deep end in college.

In all this its hard realizing that my deep hatred of weakness did not keep me from being weak. Clinging to false guilt doesn't change the fact that in many situations i lacked control and was used. My pride and self reliance hates all of this yet i know walking in truth will help to destroy these things that constantly keep me away from God. The Lord has redeemed so much in this broken girl and I'm ever so thankful He loves me enough to continue to heal the wounds that are so very deep. Now the fun begins, grieving over the girl who had no idea she was not worthless like she thought and deserved to be treated with respect. Good times. Admitting weakness and lack of control sucks.

ISAIAH 53:
I don't think the timing of this chapter could have been any better. Jesus and His incredible sacrifice all because of love.

D

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

DAY 1019: ISAIAH 52

Lots and lots of churn today. Discovering you are more of a Pharisee that you had thought is quite the pill to swallow. Today was the perfect collision of churn. Pondering being a legalist and reflecting on an earnest desire to follow Jesus wholeheartedly have lead me to the conclusion that in my zeal I at times am nothing more than a Pharisee. Here's the kicker to me I would not have seen this today had it not been for God speaking softly today about His immense love for me. I was almost overwhelmed by it. I wish I could eloquently place into words all the emotions and thoughts that surged through my head this morning. A reminder that He is stronger, that regardless if the bottom completely gives way I can trust, regardless of how messy my sin or the sin done to me He is stronger and His love is never failing. I strive to remain to be like Him yet I will continually fail. It's okay, He is stronger. I will never meet the perfect standard. When I try to create a standard on my own I become a Pharisee.

I'll just be real and bold and say I often judge parents who willingly let their daughters wear bikinis. I'd like to say this is the only thing but its not. Here's why I even mention this because its a perfect example of a standard I have set. There are great biblical reasons I hope to instill in our daughters that will sway them away from wanting to wear a bikini and other such attire. But my bikini is somebody else's candy pancakes. I fed my kids candy pancakes topped with whipped cream and fake syrup for lunch. I'd be hard pressed to find one redeeming nutritious thing in those pancakes. Frankly teaching my children to honor the vessel that God has given my children to live out a life glorifying God has not been one of my top priorities or a priority at all. Yet I know I have issues with food. I turn to it for comfort. I want what tastes good rather than what is good for me. What if my chocolate pancakes is somebody else's bikini? It's not a standard that makes us righteous but rather Jesus. This does not mean that I should grow comfortable with my Blue Bell but rather remain so that I can hear the quiet whispers that beckon me to become more like my Savior.

With this I wrap up for today. My Bunny has the same bug J had last week. I see lots of wonderful cuddles in store for me tomorrow.

I finished Isaiah 51 and read Isaiah 52. 51 talks about drinking from the cup of wrath. I have such a hard time connecting with this aspect of God. I'll be honest it really freaks me out. I lived with rage growing up and the terror that can evoke. Maybe this is where the fear of God is healthy and it should make me want to cower. Although God could have chosen all of us to be subjects of His wrath He didn't. It truly has been His kindness and His vast love that draws me to my knees and makes me want to give Him my everything.

D

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

DAY 1018: ISAIAH 51 vs 1-16

Feeling more and more uncomfortable. No real complains but my level of grumpiness definitely has a positive correction to my level of comfort. Overall I have to say this has been one of my easier pregnancies.

Day filled with organizing, purging and laundry. Wish the house was clean but at least laundry was not only washed but put away as well. I don't know what the deal is with putting away laundry but its a whip. Speaking of whip I'm pretty whooped.

ISAIAH 51:
Wish I could get my brain to work tonight. Reading the words tonight but hard to get my mind or my heart to make much sense of it all. After reading commentary I discovered that when Isaiah was addressing the Israelites they were battling discouragement. The Lord was bringing the remnant back to Israel but looking at how small they had become they grew discouraged. ISAIAH reminded them that God grew this great nation out of one man, one family that chose to listen and follow The Lord. He reminded them to dig into the stories of old and how God sustained them through thick and thin. Then this beauty appears:

The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. (Isaiah 51:3 NIV)

That's a pretty awesome verse in light of the discouragement of circumstances. It's interesting that this verse was the verse of the day in light of this.

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:27 NIV)

God is not bound to circumstances here on earth. Even in the darkest of circumstances we can be rest assured that the God who can turn fruitful gardens out if Israel's deserts can do the same in the desert of our lives.

Fading fast...
D

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Friday, May 24, 2013

DAY 1017: JOHN 15:1-17

Stomach feeling questionable. Could be because I had dairy in a delicious latte on a fun breakfast date with my handsome hubbers. Milk sometimes does not do this body good especially if i haven't been drinking it. Even if it turns south thankful for God's provision for it to hold off till daddy got back. Have a sweet friend who had to ride out a stomach bug with her husband out of town. Not quite sure I could have survived that especially as beautifully as she did.

So good to have some kid free time away with my man this morning. I've missed him. In the past there has been a desperation to get him back not just because of him but also for the extra pair of hands. With these kiddos getting bigger its getting easier. It didn't hurt to have sweet time with friends while Les was gone too. While I wasn't desperate for my hubs to get back in the same way it has almost been sweeter to have him back home. I realize how much I've missed him just for him rather than just the ways that he can help and serve me. Crazy thankful for him and for his companionship. I know this is a struggle for many marriages so I don't want to miss the great blessing of the sweet precious gift of friendship with my hubs.

John 15:1-17
The remain in me verse popped up on my verse of the day so I decided to camp here. The idea of walking daily with God, abiding and remaining always pops up in my struggle with self reliance. Spending daily time in the Word and reflecting helps to keep me grounded and to remain but there's so much more walking and abiding and remaining that I could do. I keep thinking about Enoch and how he walked with God. I should do a word study on the actual Hebrew words that were used to describe his relationship with God but my flesh yearns for this kind of relationship and connection with God. Hearts and souls intertwined together as one. I do think I'm walking in the direction of God, I think I am willing to slow my pace down enough to let Him lead me but often I stray from the path or get distracted from path and I miss the small things he wants to show me. This reminds me of how God spoke to Elijah when he was discouraged and ready to die. He didn't talk to him in the raging fire or in the mighty wind or earth quake. God spoke to Elijah in a quiet whisper. I miss this quiet whisper when I'm not remaining in Him. It's the quiet whispers that have meant so much to me over the years. The whispers that tell me I don't have to be so strong or that He made me with some of my personality traits for a reason. I don't want to miss out on the quiet whispers because dang it I'm the one who misses out on the love and the beauty. This side of heaven is hard but there can be great glimpses of joy, beauty and contentment. I'm selfish and don't want to miss out on a moment.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2 NIV)

It's interesting that regardless if you are bearing fruit or not a cutting occurs. For those who are not walking with God this cutting away is for the persons benefit. God lets us walk away from Him so that we can see how empty life can be without Him. Light can be seen most vividly in the darkness.

For those of who are producing fruit He loves us enough to prune us back so that we might bear more fruit. This pruning is painful but what a joyous result of living a more fruitful life. This fruit isn't just any fruit but rather lasting fruit.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. (John 15:16 NIV)

Love this reminder that I was not wise enough to choose God but rather it was God choosing me that allows me to enter His familia through Christ Jesus.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11 NIV)

If this daily remaining, this minute by minute abiding results in complete joy of course I want to strive to do this.

A friend has been reading a book that has me intrigued. Part of the book suggests that we are often given the message that we need to strive yet God talks often of making our burdens light. I think there is something to this. Yet I don't believe striving ceases this side of heaven. I think maybe we should strive but rather the focus of what we should strive for should be different. Often I desire to strive to be more like Christ, to be more patient, to stop being self reliant, to be more humble, to be a better wife, parent, friend, witness, ect. When I put focus on myself fixing myself I become no different than the self help gospel. This is so contrary to these verses. It does not say remain in yourself so that you can produce much fruit. Remain in ME, the great I AM, the beginning and the ending, the source of all goodness and love. We should be striving but not to serve more or to be better or to change. As believers our striving should be to remain. Lord help this be what I daily strive for, to seek your face not just during this daily time but rather minute by minute in the big stuff and the little stuff. For when I choose to rely on myself, when I choose to strive to do anything other than to remain I produce absolutely nothing.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)

When I remain I walk in love and I choose to love. It's this wonderful love that draws people to my King and covers a multitude of offenses.

D







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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DAY 1015: ISAIAH 49

The kids and I were grumpy today so glad we were at least in the same row boat. Late bedtimes have lead to even bigger emotions and bad attitudes. I struggled with my oldest son today. He's such a great kid but with all the grumpiness his not so finer qualities grated against my flesh. Need to spend some time with that kid and get our heart strings reconnected. Emotionally spent as my little sickie screamed every time he peed. The culprit is his friend constipation. Who knew. That poor kid has had more poo issues!

Fun evening with other friends this evening. The timing of husband trips has been pretty sweet provision. It's made the time go by faster for the kids and for me. Very thankful for the company and the beautiful evening at the park.

ISAIAH 49:
Love how God uses children as an example of how He will restore Israel. This verse in particular is pretty awesome:
Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live," declares the Lord, "you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride. (Isaiah 49:18 NIV)

Love the idea that our children are not only blessings but also in a way treasure. The second half of this chapter is filled with how children are the symbol of much restoration and the vast quantities of them show how prosperous Israel will once again become. So thankful that God has so richly blessed me with these Brownies. Thankful He took my plans, my I'll nevers, my ideas and smashed them completely!

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (Isaiah 49:13 NIV)

Really love this reminder of God character and how I should translate that to my children and to other people. God comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. It doesn't distinguish whether his children are afflicted due to consequences of their own actions or situations like Job who are just afflicted due to no fault of their own. He has compassion on us regardless and he comforts us regardless of our sin. He loves us so much and just wants to be in it with us whether or not we brought heartache upon ourselves.

I think these might be my favorite verses of the chapter.
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isaiah 49:15, 16 NIV)

I have engraved you on the palms of my hands is so crazy beautiful. Love how personal it is and focuses on the crazy sacrifice The Lord made for us through Jesus. I for so long thought that I was just thrown into a lump with everybody else and received salvation that way. When I finally learned I wasn't just lumped into the masses but rather the Jesus had me personally engraved on the palms of His hands it changed my whole view of God. Love this beautiful reminder yet again tonight!

D


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

DAY 1014: ISAIAH 49

I'm a big fat grumpalumpa today. I could have sat in a corner and eaten worms all day. I don't want to dismiss that this could be part of a Shelter hangover. Will look for a pattern. However, I think I'm just pregnant and pissed and I had little feet kick me and in my bunghole all night long and the wacky pressure changes has my head hurting. These sweet ones are getting too big for sleepovers when daddy is gone. Will be sad when I must really give up the tradition because the boys body stench has become too much.

Really silly to be so grumpy today when it actually was pretty great. Afternoon run to library to avoid Stormpocalypse 2013. It was more about meeting up with friends than avoiding flying card. Hoped it would shake me out of grumpy town but no such luck but it was fun. My little boy started feeling yuck at the library but a friend was brave enough to weather the germs and came over for an impromptu dinner and movie. I don't think I was much company but thankful for her company regardless and fun for the kids. They are still up and I'm hoping we'll go for another 9am wake up call tomorrow morning. This morning it was like a festivus miracle.

So a certain situation that I keep trying to ignore just doesn't seem like its going away. Again I'm vague but certain that will change in the next week or so. Not feeling overly dramatic about it which is probably rare for me. I feel very peaceful about either outcome but I still would rather just ignore it for the time being. I can get worked up later if need be. Either way God is so very good and I'm on board with whatever.

ISAIAH 49:
Wow wow wow! What a fantastic chapter. The first past of the chapter describes Jesus and the second half the restoration of Israel. Beautiful chapter. Will drill into Israel's resurrection tomorrow. If you have a moment though do yourself a favor a read this chapter.

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother's womb he has spoken my name. (Isaiah 49:1 NIV)

I adore all the verses that reference knowing the individual and calling them before they were born or even knit together in the womb. Breaks my heart for the millions of babies that are aborted and the people who are deceived to think that life only amounts to nothing more than just a few cells.

He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. (Isaiah 49:2 NIV)

Love the reference to Jesus's mouth as a sharp sword. Reminds me of this beauty:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart reminds me of my general lack of grace and my own judgmental attitude today.

I want to say there is another really great verse in Revelations that talks about Jesus mouth like a sword. Truly doesn't truth just cut us to the core sometimes? I have a love / hate relationship with it. My flesh hates and detests it yet the spirit that lives within me loves it and craves it. Those of this world that lack the spirit are just left with a hatred of truth. This is very evident in our culture today. Truth is considered soft and flexible. Yet truth cuts like a sword and there is not much flexibility about it.

Double love how Jesus is reference as an arrow in a quiver. Oh how I love this arrow verse. I'm banking on it!

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. (Psalm 127:3-5 NIV)

He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor." (Isaiah 49:3 NIV)

This verse is completely contrary to worldly wisdom. The Lord chooses to display his splendor through a man who comes as a servant to others. God help me to get this servant mentality, this humility piece in my thick skull. There is so much beauty in this kind of love and yet this world screams quite the opposite. To have strength and power you must dominate. Jesus however showed us that much strength actually comes from a spirit of humility, meekness, and quietness. The key is not to be someone I'm not. To be passionate and bold yet quiet and gentle in spirit. I want to learn how to become that kind of woman!

On this I'm going to shut er down for the night.

D



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Monday, May 20, 2013

DAY 1013: ISAIAH 48

Snuggled up nice and safe with my 5.5 love bugs. Exhaustion has just hit like a ton of bricks. Intense night at Shelter. Crazy amazed at all these girls are sharing after only two weeks of diving into curriculum. Grieved for them and yet so crazy hopeful at all that God has in store for them. I would be lying if I didn't admit that some of their stories stirred up some of my own junk. So easy to lay the full blame of abuse on my stepfather but harder to admit I had no control over the others. So sad how sin taints so many of the things God created to be so beautiful. Amazing how God can take even the crap in our lives and turn it into beautiful. There is nothing too broken or too tarnished for God to make beautiful.

My oldest son learned a hard lesson today on letting his yes be yes and his no be no. He told his his brother that he would give him a certain special toy if his brother gave him red blocks math blocks to play with. Once he was done playing with the blocks he did not want to fulfill his part of the bargain. Fits of rage followed after I pressed in but it lead to great conversation once that beautiful low tide moment appeared. On the way to church my oldest asked for forgiveness to the same boy for not following through on a commitment she had made to him. They had both forgotten about it but felt convicted to ask for forgiveness for not letting her yes be yes and her no be no. Such a sweet gift and encouragement over the drama that had ensued earlier that day. It's sweet gifts like this that make the hard days of discipleship worth it.

ISAIAH 48:
Really hard to step out of the fog to make this compute the way is like but I LOVED these verses!

This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me." (Isaiah 48:17-19 NIV)

I AM The Lord:
-who teaches you what is best for you

-who directs you in the way you should go

-when you obey your peace will be like a river

-when you listen and obey your well being will be like the waves of the sea

-when you listen and obey your descendants will be like grains of sand.

God wants to teach and direct me. I long for God to teach and direct me. Yet in my self reliance I don't stop to ask and to listen. God sits there waiting and beckons me to do life with Him, to walk with Him. I have moments of this in my life but there is so much more that God wants to offer me. He longs to walk with me, for me to remain in Him yet often I run before Him or behind. Neither way works too well when attempting to walk with God. Father help me to rely on you and to take each step big and little with you!

D

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

DAY 1012: ISAIAH 47

Stayed home from church today partly to avoid a puke bug and partly because I'm completely wiped today. I could have slept all day long. Sundae must be on a growth spurt for all this narcolepsy to be acting up. Maybe my husband has succeeded in getting me pregnant while I'm pregnant. First trimester exhausted.

Watched the service from home tonight. It was really good. Thankful that God provides and sustains in the midst of the storms. Teared up during the baptism video as I always do.

Sad news right now of a precious friend whose Daddy passed away this evening. Cancer sucks! So long for the day when the pain and suffering of this world will be no more.

ISAIAH 47:
The fall of Babylon. Head screaming and kids scheming so this once again will be short. Read commentary on the verses that bothered me yesterday and basically God was making the point that Babylon would be like a fancy young woman who is taken away as a captive. Her pride would be stripped awAy.

These verses caught my eye tonight.
"Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.' Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. (Isaiah 47:8, 9 NIV)

Babylon was a Mecca for occultic practices. The whole lover of pleasure thing reminds me so much of America. I too am a lover of pleasure or rather a lover of comfort. Again I am reminded that upholding my comfort as top priority will lead to a life that chases nothing but fleeting things. So not the life I desire to live. The other thing that's interesting us that Wicca and the occult is the fastest growing religion in the US right now. I've read several articles about America being the modern day Babylon. Whether we truly are or not as a country we are racing faster towards that kind of culture than anything else. The beautiful thing is that light shines much brighter in darkness. May my light and the light of those in my family shine bright for all to see. May we truly love like Jesus did.

D

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

DAY 1011: ISAIAH 47

I imagine this will be another day of mailing it in. I feel like I've had narcolepsy this week. Anytime I sit down I just can't seem to keep my eyes open. Been bad about staying on top of taking my handful of pills everyday so maybe that's why I'm extra draggy this week. Regardless the extra exhaustion has no done well for my daily time in the Word.

Had a really sad dream early this morning that's had me shaken all day. Details are vague but impact was huge. I guess somewhere down the line we discovered that our baby girl would not live much past birth. I decided to induce labor early. I guess what I didn't realize was that the early induction was actually a late term medical abortion. I guess they had tried to stop the baby's heartbeat and then the next day would induce labor. I remember begging God to have the procedure to stop the heartbeat not work. I begged to be able to continue to feel our sweet baby girl move in my womb. I felt so deceived and mislead about the reality of the decision I had made. Although this is not an option I would ever take it did give me great compassion for the women who have chosen late term abortion and who have been deceived into doing so. My heart has ached over it today.

My oldest has been extra clingy and handsy lately. As my belly grows I have to stop myself from shoving the bigs off of me. They wiggle and waggle and are not itty bitty anymore and it makes for an uncomfortable momma. I've had to restrain myself even more from not shoving my sweet girl off me. Unfortunately she tends to trigger me so at times it takes a lot to not physically shove her off me. I hate that my precious girl triggers me but its reality and hopefully just admitting that I'm struggling with her extra amounts of affection directed my way will help.

ISAIAH 47:
Oy. So not the chapter I wanted to read tonight. This chapter is about the fall of Babylon. So great warnings in here but really having a hard time getting past these verses tonight. Need to read commentary but I can't keep my eyes open. Will be back to unpack tomorrow. Until then these are the disturbing verses:

Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams. Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one." (Isaiah 47:2, 3 NIV)

D

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Friday, May 17, 2013

DAY 1010: ISAIAH 46

At home with my mil and little bit while the hot hubs is at a fun party with the oldest four. Hate to miss but stinker BH contrax kicked up this afternoon. Wisdom says to lay up and rehydrate. Being wise can be a kill joy sometimes :).

Spent the day visiting my hubs Aunt and Uncle. Tried our hand at a little fishing too. Not the easiest with a cute stinker 1 year old. That girl is a firecracker. Wouldn't except anything less from a Brownie. They had marks in the closet from our last visit which was about two years ago. Crazy how much the three bigs have grown. Luke was as big as Joshua last time we went. Oh how they grow up so super fast. Today made me long for land for these kiddos to explore, especially the boys. Although they did already complain about the heat. I keep telling them they need to hush because temps in the 80's is a cake walk!

ISAIAH 46:
I got nothing tonight so I'm going to mail it in.

I will end with this verse that is quite lovely.

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

He made us, will sustain us, carry us and rescue us. I know this verse to be true. So thankful.

D

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

DAY 1009: ISAIAH 45

Today this feels like a burden. I hate admitting this and even more so feeling this way. I think it's more about the tired brain fog I feel and not enough hours in the day. There's a cloud of guilt and shame following me today as well. I'm looking forward to Shelter awakening the beast more than usual. Satan is great at stirring up struggles that will keep me focused on me rather than on God.

I know where the shame is coming from. My Lukeypotamus turned 5 today. I've just started to get this kid over the course of the last year. His language has improved and I've been more successful at probing his heart and figuring out where he is coming from. The child who I thought completely lacked empathy is more sensitive than I could have ever imagined. My anger could be so fierce with him. I ache over the damaging words my mouth might have said or the yelling that might have pierced his sweet heart. I know God is Sovereign yet I'm grieved over the yuck that is so often squeezed out of my heart. It only took four children for the goo to come pouring out. I know this was God's plan in sanctifying me and growing me to be more like Him. I just wish the process didn't involve my sweet ones getting caught up in the mess.

I looked at that sweet boy today and realized how much of a sweet baby boy he still is. He's growing up quickly but he's still so little. My bigs have had to grow up so fast. It's taken me number four and five to realize that. Once again is Sovereign in my mess. Those bigs will grow up to be crazy responsible adults. Probably most of them just for the simple fact that they have to carry their own weight in this family. There's beauty in that but I'm still sad that my oldest three had to grow up so fast. I know when my youngest is 7 just like my biggest they will be consider a baby still. My heart aches and all of this stings but I refuse to sit in this place. Bottom line God is Sovereign. I can choose to trust that He can turn even my weaknesses and sin to something beautiful or I can wallow in self pity and refuse to trust. God is good. God is strong. God is mighty. My mess will never be too big for Him. So I choose to cast my focus off of myself and cling to the wonderful, scandalous and amazing cross.

ISAIAH 46:
I am too tired to pull out the full greatness of this chapter tonight. More talk on idols. God doesn't take idolatry lightly. I know there is idolatry rooted in my life. This stupid phone I'm typing on can be an idol. I don't pray to it but all too often I go to it for answers rather than God. When I really stop to think about it this is just straight up insanity. Food won't ever bring me peace. There's not enough coffee in the world that will give me enough strength to be the mom God created me to be. Facebook won't stop the feeling of inadequacy as a parent. Clinging to comfort won't actually make life easier.

Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. (Isaiah 46:1 NIV)

All the idolatry deep rooted in my heart only perpetuates the burden and adds to an already weary condition. Lord help me to seek you first above anything else.

D

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DAY 1008: ISAIAH 45

Can't believe another Brownie is going to hit the big 5 year milestone. It will be 10 then 15 and 20 before I know it. I pray I don't squander away these precious days. Oh what a joy to have the privilege of being able to teach these kiddos. So crazy blessed.

A lot to process through and unpack but that will have to come later. Up really late last night and I'm crazy tired. Don't want to be a grumpy goose for my Lukeypotamus tomorrow. Still can't believe that boy is turning 5 tomorrow.

Great insight last night on the harmful effects of pride and self reliance. Those two issues together cause for one big ugly union. Thankful God continues to gently bring those two issues of mine to light. I so don't want pride and self reliance to end up being my puppet master and they both so easily could.

Great peace this evening about a current event that had popped up on the radar. I'll admit I've had a bad attitude and been throwing a bit of an adult tantrum. God was sweet to remind me of who He created me to be and why I was created. I often forget that I was created for HIS glory and not my own. He owes me nothing, not even an explanation. Who am I to try to direct His path? Yet in my arrogance He is still so incredibly good to me. I do not deserve the goodness He so richly lavishes on me and yet He continually blesses.
Why I spend any precious time doubting is insanity.

ISAIAH 45:
Well I reckon I might have to camp in this chapter for several days or a year. I read it and it oozes with greatness but when I cracked open commentary it's all the more sweeter.

The chapter starts off talking about King Cyrus and how God is going to use him to bring back the remnant to Israel. So this was prophesied over 200 hundred years before Cyrus was ever a glimmer in his parents eyes. It's crazy that I could just read this and totally miss the bonus hidden beauty underneath.

These two verses are Shelter verses. They are the ones used from last week actually:
I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isaiah 45:2, 3 NIV)

I think because these verses have been used in regards to healing and restoration and not used in a literal sense I've never pondered it that way. However, these verses lay out exactly how Cyrus physically took out Babylon with God's help. God's hand all over Persia's invasion on Babylon. God uses this to 1. Reveal himself to Cyrus and 2. Set the captives free. All the details always intertwine into a big pile of beauty. His hand is in every last detail. I love this about God. It so very much reminds me of a precious friend. This keen eye for detail is not always a blessing to her but its one of the many beautiful things about her. Like this strength, all the strengths that we are individually gifted with were endowed by the Creator because they are characteristics He possesses Himself. I forget to celebrate this. Comparison steals my ability to celebrate the unique gifts and talents God has bestowed upon me. Reminded of God's sweetness in reminding me that He created me with a spirit of adventure not just for my own amusement but rather for His glory. God created humans you better bet your britches He has a huge sense of adventure!

This comes from Enduring Word and was a beautiful reminder to not miss it!

i. On the night Babylon fell, Cyrus probably had no great sense of theLORD's guidance or presence. He probably thought himself both brilliant and lucky. Often we succeed in something only by the blessing and pleasure of God, and never see the miraculous hand of God behind it all.

I believe God's hand is in everything even the daily mundane details. He's in that parking spot close by that is such a huge blessing on a rainy afternoon. He's in the wrong turn and the forgotten bag left at home. There's so many things going on constantly and often we miss out on seeing the blessing, the beauty of God's very hand. God doesn't need for us to notice for applause from us. But rather when we are willing to walk in close intimacy with Him day in and day out we are blessed to see His hand in everything. Having eyes that can see benefits us not the Creator. How lovely though to join in the song of creation being able to how great our God is!

D






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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DAY 1007: ISAIAH 46

Premarital counseling tonight. So fun being Team Brown with my hubs. It's so fun doing ministry together with my hubster. So thankful for that man and the work God has done in our marriage. Crazy blessed.

Fun tonight but feeling really heavy hearted. A story popped up tonight that is one of my worst nightmares as a parent. Oh how God is a God of restoration , healing and hope. In some ways I feel more able to loosen the white knuckled grip on my fear but still so sad of the effects of sin in this world. I was already lost in thought over something else today so the combination is a big downer. Not at liberty to share everything which feels crazy inauthentic but God's timing is perfect. No matter what happens I'm thankful for an opportunity to place my agenda aside and trust God even if that means trusting with a heavy heart. He is so very good. So thankful to be able to say that without flinching and to truly believe it with every fiber of my being.

ISAIAH 46:
Beautiful chapter but hard to focus. Need to go sit with my hubs and my mil. Will hit this chapter again tomorrow. Oh how beautiful our brokenness can be.

D

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Monday, May 13, 2013

DAY 1006: ISAIAH 45

This was my bible apps verse of the day:

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:2 NIV)

I pray my heart grows to desire God daily just like I long for food when I'm hungry. I pray to daily desire a deep connection with my Father.

Today was not nearly as laid back as I had hoped. It started off that way but when a trip to the Dr got thrown into the mix it made our leisurely start to the day take on a rushed paced. My Shelter procrastination bit me in the bottom. Thankfully the Unit was easy and took hardly anytime to go through but it caused me to give half hearted focus to a sweet boy who longed to show me his art work of the family. So over not fully focusing on my kids when they need my attention. Learning more and more to die to my agenda and trust that even when an added bonus trip to the dr pops up God holds all the details together in His hands.

First night of real Shelter tonight. Heart aches over some of the pain these girls have gone through but they are so ready to kick some Shelter booty. Thankful for a group of gals willing to be open and honest. It was interesting to see how Mother's Day played into things for these women. God is clearly at work in these ladies lives and I'm thankful to be apart of it.

On a post Mother's Day note, the getaway is still yielding great rewards. Feel refocused and like my priorities are better in line. My lovely Mother's Day present has yielded delicious AM smoothies and PM smoothies neither made by me which is an added bonus. I have a smoking hot Blendtec Boy whose been making delicious treats. Just one day of drinking healthy has my body craving to eat healthier. Hot fudge sundaes and chocolate chip cookies are healthy right?

ISAIAH 44:
Again taken aback by this chapter. The middle section talks about idols. It's easy to dismiss because it talks of making physical idols out of metal and wood. I am not a carpenter nor a metal worker so fashioning an idol out of wood or metal is not something I would ever do. However, I do know that I struggle with idolatry. I look up the definition of idolatry and ran into this.

"Idolatry is the universal human tendency to value something or someone in a way that hinders the love and trust we owe to God. It is an act of theft from God whereby we use some part of creation in a way that steals from honor due to God. Idolatry conflicts with our putting God alone first in our lives, in what we love and trust.

All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. (Isaiah 44:9 NIV)

The things they treasure are worthless pops out at me. What are the things I'm holding fast too or have fashioned as an idol that are completely worthless to God? I pray that God would make these very clear to me so that I with His help can rid my life of these.

It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. (Isaiah 44:15 NIV)

This verse might be one of several like it that are haunting. Idolatry doesn't happen over night. Israel didn't start off worshipping pagan gods over night. It was a slow drift, a compromise here and a compromise there and before they knew it they were creating an images out of metal and wood. Their hearts had drifted so far that they didn't realize the foolishness of making a god out of the very material they used to keep warm and cook their food. Where am I deluding myself? I know there are blind spots. I'd be a complete fool to think they didn't exist. How have I made idols out of God's provision? One is pretty obvious to me, my idol of comfort. The excess of America and the overall safety that we all enjoy on a daily basis is a blessing yet often I feel entitled to a life of comfort and ease. I get upset when parenting is difficult, when I have to put effort into my marriage or managing a household doesn't come easy. My two idols of self reliance and comfort sit up on  my mantel and daily distract me from the one true living God. They feed off one another. This is where my idolatry will ultimately lead me if I'm not vigilant in doing hard work and closed off to allowing God to expose sin in my life.

Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" (Isaiah 44:20 NIV)

First off I don't want to feed off of ashes. My freedom has been bought. It would be insanity to then turn around and live as a captive rather than a free woman. I so don't want to be lead by a deluded heart. Yet I've seen many who have been lead by such a heart and I would be insanely prideful to think that this could never happen to me or that I'm not that person. I don't want to cling to anything in my life that is a lie. I want to discard and get rid of the areas of my life that need to be pruned back.

D




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Sunday, May 12, 2013

DAY 1005: ISAIAH 44

Dragging today as I recover from this weekend. Funny to be so physically exhausted yet have such a full tank. Got to fully soak up my Brownies today and feel crazy celebrated. So very thankful. This truly was best Mother's Day weekend ever! Thankful for such an amazing hubs who worked hard to make me feel special and who watched our kiddos this weekend so I could get a much needed break!


ISAIAH 44:
Great chapter just can't fully wrap my tired head around it. Great stuff about idols! Will come back tomorrow.

Some will say, 'I belong to the Lord '; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, 'The Lord 's,' and will take the name Israel. (Isaiah 44:5 NIV)

Love this verse! I want "the Lord's" written across my forehead!!!

D




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Saturday, May 11, 2013

DAY 1004: ISAIAH 43

Wow. Best Mother's Day weekend ever! Feels weird to say since most of it was spent away from my sweet ones but feels so good to have a full tank. I had no clue how much I need so time away. Sounds crazy selfish but God must have created the red tent back in the day for a reason. I vote we bring it back!

Came home to a freshly painted hallway and sweet cards and a gift. Feel extravagantly spoiled this weekend. Very thankful for a wonderful husband who makes it look easy, precious children, and for herd of amazing friends who homeschool, public school and private school their kiddos.

Want to break down some of the stuff I heard this weekend but really wanting to talk even more this time with my beloved.

ISAIAH 43:
At the end of this chapter ISAIAH explains how even the wild beasts offer up sacrifices to God for His provision. Israel is told have they were created and formed to glorify God and to praise Him and how God graciously has provided richly for His beloved and chosen people. Yet God's people have turned their backs to God and taken Him for granted. They have not offered Him their best.

You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses. "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. (Isaiah 43:24-26 NIV)

These verses are jaw dropping to me. God's people have turned away and have sinned so much that its burdened God. Yet He is still willing to blot out everyone of our sins. Why He loves us this way is really incomprehensible to me. Not only does He blot out our sin He longs to be in relationship with us. Come let's argue this out. He can take our frustrations and anger and disappointment towards Him. There's no relationship though if we are not willing to come and just be honest with Him about where we are. He can take it and He loves us and wants to talk it out and walk it out with us. So very thankful for this!

D

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DAY 1003: ISAIAH 43

Checking the box! Good stuff at the denim skirt conference. I wanted to shrink one of the speakers and put her in my pocket. Could sit at this woman's feet for days. Maybe, just maybe one day when I'm a grandma I'll possess wisdom too.

Lots of girlie conversations still going on so hard to fully focus. Bottom line I miss my hubs and my babies but having a blast and thankful to get a much needed break and a fuller tank. Love these gals and so thankful to be blessed by their friendships!

Crazy thankful for a sweet and loving hubs who is willing to invest in me in this way!

ISAIAH 43:
Still loving this chapter. Amongst the chatter these verses stood out the most.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NIV)

I know this is referring to Israel but these speak to me personally.

Forget the mistakes of the past and the ways you walked away from me. I have fully forgiven you and I am doing a new thing in your heart. I am making a way in the wilderness of your life and in your heart. I am going to replenish the parched and barren land in your heart. If we walk together I will bring life and freedom where there once was death.
Crazy thankful!

D

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Thursday, May 09, 2013

DAY 1002: ISAIAH 43

Next few days will probably be short and sweet as I prepare to enter the land of denim smocks and festive teacher sweaters and hotel rooms with friends and all night long gab sessions. Shame and guilt fest has been rampant the last couple days as I know I'm helping to leave the house disgusting and in total chaos before leaving bright and early in the morning. I know I'm leaving a lot on my hubs plate with his mom coming in town. I cleared out most of the guest room but I've still got bins of my clothes and Bella's to sort. Feel like a looser house manager. It's so not my strong suit.

Today I felt loosery for our chaotic house while feeling loosery over neglecting my kiddos and being short with them. The balance of actually accomplishing anything while at the same time not holding my to do list over time with my kids is maddening. Today I wanted to throw all our clothes away and just resolve for our family to do life naked. The extra toil created just over having to clothed our bodies is crazy!

Got cards sent out to my mom. Whew! Nothing made for my MIL though. The kids were not all that prolific in their art nor interested. Oy! Hopefully my brain will remember stuff like keep sake pottery or fun kid stuff like that for next year. Why I can't remember stuff like that I don't know.

Had a fun family chat on girl names this evening. It always results in much laughter and silliness. We voted on four names but my hubs bribed precious innocent children with candy to sway the vote :) The four names we have are cutesy and slightly bow heady but I don't care. Our girls are cute and cutesy names just fit them. Only one middle name combo and its pretty darn country. Love the meaning though and I think I'm becoming more and more okay with country. It's kinda in my blood. Wish my grandparents were still around so we could chat gardening and farming and maybe even about chickens. It's funny how I totally stink at this homemaking gig yet would love to learn to be a homesteader. The key I think is simplicity, need to grow in this department!

ISAIAH 43:
Can't get over how strong this chapter is. Just going to focus in on a verse or two or I'll be at this all night. Have loose ends unfortunately to do and spend time with my hot stuff.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2 NIV)

Pretty sure this is a verse used in Shelter. It is a rather comforting verse for sure. No matter what the circumstance or situation we can rest assured that we do not have to walk through it alone. Even in the depths of my depravity God was there waiting patiently and offering protection and provision I did not deserve. Today in the thick of clearing out the room that had become the hub of the great winter/summer clothing switch of 2013 I cried out for help feeling like an utter failure. I know God can help me with my lack of house keeping and organizing ninja skills. The problem is 1) I don't ask for His help, wisdom and direction often enough 2) I want the help delivered to be instant and microwaved. The thing I'm learning about God is that He's so very good and will walk through anything with us even painful consequences brought on upon ourselves but He's not concerned about our comfort. He is willing to comfort us in the midst of the fires and the raging rivers but often that doesn't mean removing the painful obstacle. With my kids I'm having to learn that protecting them from hurt should not be my ultimate goal as a parent. They are going to hurt and if I'm doing my job right I'll be there to hold their hands through it rather than try to do everything possible to remove the pain.

D

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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

DAY 1001: ISAIAH 43

Thank you so much sweet friends for all your congratulations on day 1000. Truly without your willingness to fill your inboxes daily I'm not sure I would have ever hit this milestone. Very thankful for each of you!

I was kinda bummed that on day 1000 I felt so crummy and didn't have a lot of energy to devour scripture. Not feeling just a ton better this evening. My lungs hurt and my nonexistent ab muscles are sore from coughing. Hate to constantly complain about feeling dumpy but oh how I long to feel good again. I know many with terminal illnesses would long to feel just as good as I do on a bad day. I have so much to give thanks for.

Full day of BS and kid watching. My hubs is actually outside now with our kids and two sweet neighbor boys that were dropped off almost right after another fun crew had left. Love that these neighbors trust us with their boys. I know they don't let just anyone watch their precious ones.

Speaking of precious ones my girl dropped a loaded bomb on me today. As we were in the car she announced how she's really getting excited about us adopting a little boy from Ethiopia from out of the blue. Oh how it made my heart ache. I almost emailed Gladney to see if their policy on pregnancy and Ethiopia had changed. My adoption itch had already begun to flare up as I read the story of a staff member who got their referral from Congo. My mind drifted to the possibility of us adopting from there instead. I could spin my wheels or I can just sit in the tension of the ache and see what path The Lord lights up for us. It might be that we are to be done having bios before adopting. I don't know but what I do know is that my planning and scheming often leads nowhere. So I will wait. Sometimes I wish this hole in my heart to adopt would just go away. Yet it continues to linger and even when I think I might have finally shaken it, the ache returns in full force. I know one day I'll fully understand what this has all been about.

Something else happened today that I would write about but the time is not right. Trying to just sit in it without jumping to conclusions or thinking through the different scenarios. For today it was good and encouraging and so I'll just count it as a blessing without over thinking it.

Discouraged a bit at BS today. I can't even put my finger on why. I really don't even know what to say about it. Maybe the discouragement comes from disappointment in people not being who I thought they were or maybe even who I had hoped they were. I know some of my junk has to be wrapped up in this somehow. Part of it too is sadness that justification is more important than willingness to look at the heart. Whatever the reason be it my sin issue or whatever left disappointed. On another hand my heart ached for a most precious friend. Oh how her hubs is on my heart. May God bring him to sweet surrender so that he might know a crazy insane love he never thought possible.

ISAIAH 43:
These last few chapters have been so meaty. Hard to pick what I should focus on.

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Oh goodness. The mommy guilt hit hard tonight. My precious girl wanted to snuggle and so we did and we chatted a bit. Then she went to listen to AIO but then came back. By then hubster and I were engaged in a discussion and she wanted to talk to. I had enough kid chatter for one day so I went to go take a shower to hide and pray. These babies will be grown all too soon. I don't want to miss a moment yet often in my selfishness I miss them. I'm not certain tonight was wrapped up in selfishness but my neglect of cuddling with this precious girl night after night ultimately lead to this.

I know I'm not thinking straight either as I'm just so incredibly physically tired. This funk is unshakeable and I just can't push through to do the things I need to do. I hate leaving for time away this weekend when Les's mom is coming with a ton of to do's on his plate with five kids but I don't have the push through to get my booty up to clear out the guest room. It seems lame but the thought of getting cards made for Mother's Day seems daunting tomorrow as well. Mother's Day is yet another reminder of how I suck at honoring my mom. Today friends were talking about gifts for their moms and I haven't the slightest idea about gifts. My grandma always got my mom clothes but seriously how in the world do I find time or the sanity to shop for clothes? I don't even do that for myself. Damn you Hallmark for making up stressful holidays! I haven't even finished my moms Christmas present yet!

Okay I think I'm done with my woe is me rant. Shame and guilt is not from The Lord and only puts the focus on me. I'm tired, pregnant, suffering from pollen poisoning and kid funk I can't shake. It is what it is right now. My kids are fed and clothed and my hubs seems decently happy so it's a win.

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Well all that grumping and dumping and all I have in me is this verse.

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1 NIV)

I have summoned you by name. It gets me every single time. You are mine isn't too shabby either. Do not fear that you are ruining your kids, that you will once again disappoint your mom, or that you are running off to a denim clad HS weekend away and leaving your hubs with an insane mess to deal with because I have redeemed you and I will equip you. You know what? Pretty sure I believe Him. When I look to the cross all the stress and anxiety that comes from temporal living does seem to just fade away.

D

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

DAY 1000: ISAIAH 42

Daddy is finally home and I am tapping out. So crazy exhausted. Fun day with friends and the kids at the Heard. My boys pushed me into helicopter parent mode. There's a great trail that goes over water and there's lots of fun things like tadpoles, turtles and SNAKES! We saw several although none poisonous. The wooden bridge just has ropes on the sides. One of my boys kept leaning over on them and I swear I grew a gray hair every time he did. Throw in the fact my hubs and I watched Lonesome Dove recently and the snake scene is still incredibly fresh in my mind. Other than some good ole fashion heart palpitations caused by some boys it was a great time. Weather was nice and as always being out in God's creation feeds my soul. Made me want to go camping again. The combination of pollen and kid virus though has me wanting to cry uncle tonight. Ready to fall out.

ISAIAH 42 v1-9:
My brain is so not cooperating and it was hard grasping all that this chapter had to offer. Love how commentary breaks down these verses.

Might have to bullet point my thoughts tonight.

- Jesus is referred to as a servant in vs 1. I'm always challenged by this. After chasing around five ducklings all day my go to mode is to want to be served. Acts of service went from being low on my love language list to the top since having kids. Frankly after caring for people all day often I desire to be cared for. I could use an attitude adjustment on just over all serving as well. I know I've shamed my precious ones over making messes. It has more to do with the overwhelming feeling like nothing can ever be clean ever again. I can never catch up and partly do to all the extra messes that are made on a daily basis. I haven't fully surrendered to being a servant and I so want to. I want to serve my family, friends, neighbors, ect cheerfully. I want to look pass the mess and muck and instead just enjoy the view. 

He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. (Isaiah 42:2 NIV)

-another reminder of Jesus's beautiful qualities of gentleness and meekness. I so desire to get me some more of that. Often I would characterize myself as a loud bull in a china shop rather than a woman with a quiet and gentle spirit. Although I'm learning to be more and more okay with who God made me to be I also know there are areas I can grow some muscle in. Quiet restraint would look quite lovely on me.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; (Isaiah 42:3 NIV)

This verse really stood out to me today and what was written in commentary just made it all the more beautiful. Since they wrote it so eloquently I'll end on those words. May I stop viewing my weaknesses as weakness and rather a strength that keeps me tethered to Christ.

A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench: This is another reference to the gentle character of Jesus. A reed is a fairly fragile plant, yet if a reed is bruised, the Servant will handle it so gently thatHe will not break it. And if flax, used for tinder to start a fire, does not flame but only smokes, He will not quench it into extinguishing. Instead, the Servant will gently blow on the smoking flax, fanning it into flame again!

Often we feel that God deals roughly with our weaknesses and failures. Just the opposite is true. He deals with them gently, tenderly, helping them along until the bruised reed is strong and the smoking flax is in full flame.

Thank you precious friends for being apart of these last 1000 days! I am thankful for each of you!

D




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Monday, May 06, 2013

DAY 999: COLOSSIANS 3

A gal yesterday on the HS panel talked about how she got up at 5:30 every morning and how it gave her abundant time every day to be with God, prepare her day and clean. Since people who are wired competitively can make anything a competition I thought of try my hand at rising at 4:30. I'm not that competitive. My Bunny woke up and decided to practice all the words she has learned on her short time here on earth. She has been sleeping peacefully now for almost an hour and I'm still up. Since I'm up thought I'd seize the moment. Wish I hadn't seized a FB moment first. Oh how I loath social media and love it all at the same time.

This gem of a verse popped up as the verse of the day so I thought I'd camp in Colossians 3 today.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NIV)

Talk about a beautiful anthem to start the day. What if the body of Christ truly lived out their days this way? I doubt their would be as many people who have been burned or deeply wounded by the church. Would be amazing to be this kind of Momma day in and day out. As I was thinking about what a joy it would be to walk out this verse today I couldn't help but think of the few hours of sleep I've gotten tonight/today. I'm okay now in the silence but what about when the day wears on and the lack of sleep catches up with me. Beautiful Isaiah 41:10 popped into my head.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Do NOT be dismayed for I am your God who will strengthen you and help you. My measly few hours of sleep is not an accident. Today it will be the constant reminder that I was never meant to walk out Colossians 3:12 solo. I can try to strip off all the pagan residue that still resides in me by myself and fail miserably or I can keep my mind and my heart fixed on Christ so that He can do the hard heart work needed to be loving today.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1, 2 NIV)

Love this idea of not just setting your heart or your mind on God but rather focusing both on God. How long have I tried to walk it out with God with just head knowledge. I had knowledge of who God was and the role He should play in my life and His character yet my heart was numb to it all for so long. It wasn't till my heart caught up with my mind that I began to truly have a woman at the well experience.

The same goes for lacking a connection with your mind. I lived out many days being ruled solely by my heart. Yet God's word says our hearts are deceitful.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)

Left to rule without God's wisdom our hearts can lead us to some crazy places. It takes our hearts fixed on Christ as well as our minds. Frankly I have no idea how one even goes about fixing your thoughts and your heart on Christ moment after moment. I've actually tried to do this and I'll be honest it's exhausting and I failed miserably. It was an insane workout. My mind and my heart are drawn to ease and comfort. Fixing hearts and minds on Christ moment after moment requires work and effort. I often tell my kids that work is good for them but I just like my Brownies love to find the easy way out. It's why I've been found complaining in my head every time I think about taking another dip in the Shelter river. I'm a comfort junkie.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:14 NIV)

This verse continues on in this theme. Above compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, ect put on love which binds all the virtues perfectly. It doesn't say love it says to put on love. God is love, without Him we have not love. In order to be compassionate, patient, forgiving, ect we have to put on Christ. By ourselves we might be able to be patient up to an extent but it's love, it's God, who helps us push through to give us supernatural patience. Left to our own devices forgiveness does not come easy yet with the help of the love of Christ it becomes doable. Acts of compassion without love truly are acts that are self serving. Without love acts of compassion can actually be acts that enable people to continue to walk in their sin and stay on the road to destruction.

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Got a couple extra of sleep this AM which brought my grand total to maybe 5ish hours of sleep. Woke up with insane headache. Still fighting some kind of funk. Hard to tell if its just pollen or a pollen meets virus union. Either way this girl is whooped.

Lots of friends hit the park today. One of my favorite things to do is camp out at the park for hour upon hour chatting it up and filling my tank. Kids procrastinated on choirs and even though I could have made the park happen but wisdom said sleep for Bella and an afternoon out of a allergy paradise was best.

Shelter tonight. Tried to get my tech savvy on and failed miserably. It's almost embarrassing. It won't be long before I'm asking my kids to teach me how to operate my phone. You would think some of my hubsters game would have rubbed off on me. Not so much.

Good group tonight. You can tell some girls are already struggling with checking out while others are fully engaged ready to knock out some hard work. Great exercise tonight on getting the gals to realize that their fathers have a lot of influence on how they view God. I remember the first time I heard a sermon on this. It was pretty monumental for me and was part of the sweet surrender to Christ that finally happened.

Good discussions post Shelter. One with my co-leader. Great stuff is going to happen this semester. Of this I am sure of. I love how God orchestrates every last detail for His glory. What a beautiful bonus that the things that glorify Him just so happen to be incredibly beneficial to us. Love love love His Sovereignty. Can't wait for the list of God's attributes that the girls came up with tonight begin to change. Oh how I could so relate to what they wrote tonight. So thankful that over the years God has flipped my view of Him upside down.

Going to end up my day in Isaiah.

D



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Sunday, May 05, 2013

DAY 998: ISAIAH 41

Watching my hubs clean while I write this. Might be short tonight because cleaning husbands are super hot! Baptism Sunday today. It's a difficult day in many ways trying to wrangle kiddos is a sea of wonderful chaos but I love stories of life change. Reminds me of my baptism in a holy hot tub and how thankful I was to be a new creation in Christ. They did things differently this year and I marched 5 sweet little ducklings up to the nosebleed section of the church. Things went fine till little bit completely came unglued. If my Bunny ain't happy ain't nobody around that's happy either. It is amazing how expectations can frame everything though. I expect Baptism Sunday to be difficult so it wasn't a surprise when wheels started flying off. To add to my delicious humble pie the pastors wife got to witness my boys acting a fool on the stairs. I imagine it gave her a good chuckle. So love that woman and wish my path crossed hers more often.

Day capped off with a homeschool Q&A. Very thankful for the collection of families that God has placed in our lives. The camaraderie God has given me with these gals is a blessing. Very thankful.

ISAIAH 41:
There are parts of this chapter that I got a bit lost. Will have to go back through and dig through commentary. Maybe tomorrow.

Love this verse and the song Seeds did from it:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

I should back up because the two verses before make this verse all the sweeter. The Lord is talking to Israel in these three verses and reminding them that they were chosen by God.

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. (Isaiah 41:9 NIV)

I have chosen you and not rejected you. I felt like such a reject most of my life. Abandoned by my father and told how much I sucked compared to my stepfathers kids. I probably can't be reminded too many times that I have been chosen and not rejected. I haven't been chosen by just anybody either, I've been chosen by the Maker of heaven and earth. Come on! It doesn't get better than that. Not too shabby to be chosen by a certain bearded manly man either.

-Do not fear for I am with you. Really what do we have to fear when a Sovereign God that sees all and knows all is with us and by our side? There is nothing on heaven or earth that could can separate us.

-Do not be dismayed for I am your God.

tr.v. dis·mayeddis·may·ingdis·mays
1. To destroy the courage or resolution of by exciting dread or apprehension.
2. To cause to lose enthusiasm; disillusion: was dismayed to learn that her favorite dancer used drugs.
3. To upset or alarm.

Do not loose courage, do not loose enthusiasm, do not be alarmed or upset for I AM your God! He holds all things together in His hands. Why do we sweat the small or even the big things in life?

-I will strengthen you and help you. Oh if only this self reliant girl would tap into this more often. The words "you don't have to be so strong" keep echoing through my head.

-I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. I don't know why but this makes my heart melt. For whatever reason this idea of being upheld and protected by strong righteous hands is what I longed for in a father. Instead I experienced hands that harmed rather than upheld. I am so incredibly thankful that over the last 998 days it has been etched into my heart that God is my father. It is no longer just head knowledge that He could be my father or is supposed to be my father but He IS MY FATHER. I do feel upheld by His right hand often and comforted by His strong tender embrace. Crazy thankful for the heart change or rather heart softening that God has done to make Him be a father to this fatherless child.

D



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Saturday, May 04, 2013

DAY 997: ISAIAH 40

Gonna mail it in a bit. Phone about to die and head killing me. Pollen busted out a beat down today. Oh how I hate thee dallergies! Other than the beat down good day today outside a lot for two soccer games and an outdoor birthday party. Feel bad for not mixing it up more with folks I didn't know but evil pollen had its evil meat hooks in me.

Saw some WM peeps who live in our hood at the Target today. Good getting caught up and chatting about our hood. Our 4th or 5th annual Memorial Weekend block party is coming up. Hoping by this time next year we'll have made more impact on our street. Really been itching the last several days about forging out new relationships with non believers. Really think chatting with a friend has me yearning for what I'm missing being out in the public school arena.

ISAIAH 40:
Again I am taken aback by this chapter. It is so good. Such a great reminder of how great, mighty and vast our God is. All too often I shove Him in a box. Since a full understanding of who He is goes beyond my ability to understand I try to create Him into something I can fully grasp. Love that His greatness surpasses anything I could possibly understand.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

I simply adore this verse. Oh how thankful I am that He gently leads those that have young.

D



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Friday, May 03, 2013

DAY 996: 2 PETER 4

I don't know if this baby is on a crazy growth spurt of if I have some weird funk or both but feeling yuck again tonight. This pregnancy has been fairly tame but has caused the weirdest intestinal distress. Weak at the knees today too which just progressed this evening. I'm fine laying horizontal but having to exert any energy is just not working for me.

Lots of churn today. Started off when I read the Denison Form this morning. It link to another article on gay marriage which was really well written. As I read comments I realized how hurt a lot of people have been. I saw what Jesus meant when He said to turn the other cheek come alive today. In response to being called bigots we must turn the other cheek. Truth regardless of being embraced and upheld will prevail in the end. As the church may we embrace persecution with much love and shy away from being the lone voice in the wilderness.

Today at the Nest one of speakers spoke of how gently the Holy Spirit wooed her as a mother. I feel like that's exactly what God does. I've struggled with what that looks like in parenting in regards to right away, all the way, in a happy way. I know anger, or frustration or the hammer of Thor does not fit this. Been praying about what to do with this whole cleaning issue going on in our house think I might finally have an answer. It's not an easy quick fix but will allow a gentle wooing and hopefully heart change to occur. Praying I have the patience and energy to see it through.

Got a good look at my issues of entitlement and the curse of excess. Was convinced a certain drive thru spot would cure my intestinal funk today. It actually ended up making it worse which was really funny. The details of my fit throwing over this meal I will not go into but I think sometimes choice can lead to much dissatisfaction and lack of joy. I saw a sweetness in God's desire to change the entitlement that is rooted in my heart. If its there and is allowed to grow all it does is rob the joy that God desires me to experience. That's exactly what the thief wants to do isn't it? Kill, steal and destroy. I pray I stop making it so easy for satan to steal from me.

Heavy conversations after the Nest today. Was nice to leave the house sans children and now I see it wasn't just about me getting a break. Love how God orchestrates so many things in our lives. He is able to turn the most dire of situations into something incredibly beautiful.

Got to briefly chat with a friend today who is in the thick of it right now proclaiming Christ to those who don't know Him. This is the part of homeschool that's really hard for me. When I thought of one day sending my kids to public school I had dreams of being all up in the school and involved in the lives of families. It's hard not having this kind of impact in my neighborhood but I pray God will provide other opportunity.

1 Peter 4:
Decided to read this after this verse was given today at the Nest:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)

Beautiful verse. I so desire to have eyes like Jesus, to see people the way He did and to love like crazy like He did. I have so incredibly much to learn.

Out for tonight.

D



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Thursday, May 02, 2013

DAY 995: PSALM 10

Hate to mail it in on day 995 but throat on fire, lungs hurt and feeling really nauseous. Lots of weird bugs going around and the pollen infestation from this week probably set me up to be a wonderful host. Ate a cupcake tonight in case I got sick. Sounds weird but wouldn't be upset if I never wanted to eat a cupcake ever again.
Rest of day in bullet points.
-not much sleep last night due to cold front, wind, rain and critter in trash.
-kids were troopers this morning even when wind got strong enough to blown tent in
-sad to leave our camping paradise but weather helped immensely, thankful
- tick count so far: 2
- heard Abbie in bathroom with friends talking about newest camping adventures
-soccer wrap up party tonight. Sweet deal, total knuckleheads.
-felt responsible for awards starting before a certain girl arrived. Not quite sure why. Probably because only girl not in denim HS land and family not churched. Hoping to find a creative way to still reach out to that family. Don't want to be just another random soccer team assignment for them.
- sweet encouraging card from friend today and random snack that I adored. Thankful for precious woman God has blessed me with.
-think this stomach funk is going to go south pretty quick. Maybe I can fall asleep real fast and sleep through it.

PSALM 10:
Didn't want to waste my last day in Isaiah 40 when I can't think straight. This is a great Psalm although at first it appears to be laden with depressing material.

This verse caught my eye as a prideful beast.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Psalm 10:4 NIV)

I may not be waiting and prowling for a victim but this verse is crazy convicting. My pride and lack of keeping God at the forefront of my mind are both struggles. If I'm not walking with Him my tendency is to veer off course. This time is great for a good dose of the recentering yet when I live out my days as a self reliant gal I miss walking with God every moment of the day.

This psalm for whatever reason reminds me of Kony. He lies in wait and drags off innocent girls and boys and crushes them with his evil schemes and oppression. It seems he does nothing but prosper while God continues to allow this madman to break the backs of children He created in His very image. Yet I know The Lord sees all and justice will one day prevail. These verses not only being me hope to those suffering around the world but also to my own heart.

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror. (Psalm 10:17, 18 NIV)

So thankful to serve a God who hears the desires and the cries of the afflicted.

D

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

DAY 994: ISAIAH 40

So I think it's official I'm pretty much addicted to camping. I simply love it. Keep trying to figure out how to get back out before it gets too crazy hot. The weeks seem way too full this month though. Glad tomorrow gets cold, rainy and windy. The weather will make it much easier to leave.  As far as camping goes, I'm sure I'm cheating with my aero bed topped with a feather bed but I'm calling pregnancy and life stage baby! My oldest boy pulled out a tooth tonight and I pulled a tick off his head. Think we might make it a BrownTown tradition that the winner of the first tick gets a prize. Only a bunch of sillies would make tick wearing competitive. Thankful to be a silly.

Read Isaiah 40 this morning and in the stillness and sounds of nature the book came alive. My soul so connects with God out in nature. I'm sure being away from the daily grind doesn't hurt a thing either. There's work to be done but no place to be urgently and no washer and dryer or dirty house calling out to be taken care of. Sheer bliss.

This verse was sweeter than honey this morning:
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. (Isaiah 40:1 NIV)

The idea of God's great comfort is so important that its written not just once but twice. The times of great distress are over and the time of God's great comfort has arrived. Honestly this time of comfort post tribulation caused by Israel's own rebellion kinda reminds me of the Great Tribulation. A winnowing of the faithful, increased lawlessness and rebellion followed by a time of great comfort and rejoicing. Part of the great comfort that was coming for Israel was the prophesying of the great Messiah that was going to rescue them. During the end the King Jesus will come back and will reign in heaven and on earth. 

The next two verses very much overwhelmed me this morning.

See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.  (Isaiah 40:10 NIV)

-The Lord is Sovereign
-comes with power
-rules with a mighty arm
-his reward is with him
-his recompense comes with him

I looked up the word recompense and was really taken aback.

Verb
Make amends to (someone) for loss or harm suffered; compensate.
Noun
Compensation or reward given for loss or harm suffered or effort made: "substantial damages were paid in recompense".

I can be the biggest fist shaker at God out there. I think I swing between just sucking it up and trying to solder on bravely and fist shaking at God. I can be an awesome fist shaker. Really who am I to shake a fist at God? This chapter gets into this later a bit but God is God. He doesn't owe us anything. He created us and He can destroy us at His leisure. He can choose to dispose of us any way He pleases. Yet this is or the nature of our God. I think because He doesn't smite us we grow a sense of entitlement and think we desire a smooth straight path because of our faithfulness and/or obedience. I often forget that I was created to glorify God not vice versa. Despite my attitude, my sense of entitlement, my sinfulness, ect God still comes with mercy and love. He comes with a reward which to me is Himself! He comes with recompense? Really? I'm owed nothing! He died for me and He didn't even have to do that and He still wants to give back the years the locusts have eaten. This is completely mind blowing to me. How can such a love exist?

This leads me to my own children. I'm often bothered by their sense of entitlement and attitude can send me through the roof. Oh God, teach me to love extravagantly like you do. Help me to continue to teach and train but in a gentle yet firm and loving spirit. May the kindness of Les and I lead them to repentance. May we execute discipline with a firm loving hand.

Need at least one more day in this chapter. Been so good for the soul and so good for my heart remembering God's great love for us.

D

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