Sunday, November 30, 2014

DAY 1562: Advent

So whooped. Can't wait to fall asleep.

God may this be true of my heart this Advent and every day of my life here on earth. May I not have a master/slave relationship with you but rather a daughter/father relationship.

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭46-47‬ ESV)

A

Saturday, November 29, 2014

DAY 1561: ACTS 16

Sitting next to out lit Christmas tree with only one ornament. The Christmas tradition of dragging out the actual decorating of the tree has continue. I love our family!!! I loved the awesome CFS my hubs made tonight too. So this is love!

Kids still up watching silly Christmas shows on a pallet in the living room. Heart full.

Acts 16:
Love how Paul and the posse used every opportunity they had to proclaim the gospel. I want to grow to be like that. I want to view my days as opportunity.

Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown in jail and while in prison sing hymns and praises. Paul doesn't just urge believers to give thanks in all circumstances he lives it out over and over again. God help me to give thanks in all circumstances. I can be such a grumbler and complainer. I'm entitled and stink potish. Cultivate in me a heart overflowing with gratitude. You redeemed my life from the pit. I have every reason to give thanks at all times!!!

D

Friday, November 28, 2014

DAY 1560: ACTS 15

Not the fun magical put up the Christmas tree and drink hot chocolate kinda day which I always envision. Eh. We needed to deal with the room that had become the land of the lost after we switched the boys room so we could move out a piece of furniture in the living room SO we have room for a tree. Longest sentence ever! Obviously grammar isn't my thing. So not a fun magical restful inspiring day but one of those much needed days. We've had more of those much needed days lately and if I'm realistic we should probably add even more of those in. What's the fun in that though? Harder to put off work when a big family in a not so big space. Things that pile up have more impact these days. Boo to having to be responsible!

Have a bad attitude about loosing our Christmas vacation due to opening a new campus at church. Hate that I feel entitled rather than grateful for the years we have been blessed with time off around Christmas. I think my frustration lies around the craziness that leads up to Christmas and not being together much on Christmas Eve. In my head I'm okay with it because we have that time together as a family afterwards. Now there's nothing but crazy and I'll admit I feel bitter about it. There's only so many Christmas's with this entire crew here and I feel like we are being robbed of one this year. I have a choice to make though. I can be a big fat bitter baby or I can choose to give thanks in every circumstance and make the most of it. God help me make the most of it because apart from you I just want to be a big fat bitter baby.

Obviously I'm a grumpalumpa. Need some tank filling family fun!

Great verse for a refocus!!!

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭57‬ ESV)

God create in me a heart of thanksgiving. I'm not sleeping well and I'm grumpy but thanks be to Jesus I am forgiven and set free. Help me to live that way with your help!

Acts 15:
The circumcision party causes the newly converted Gentiles grieve. The apostles meet with the Elders and Paul and Barnabas share about all they have witnessed on their trips. The council concludes to not split hairs over circumcision but to rather steer them in the direction of righteousness which would reject some of the common practices of idolatry and sexual immorality. They send Paul, Barnabas, Silas and judas with a letter explaining everything and the Gentiles were greatly encouraged.

Reminded of the importance of hearing God's story through the testimony of others. May we spur each other on by love and good deeds telling of all that The Lord has done!

D

Thursday, November 27, 2014

DAY 1559: ACTS 14

Good laid back Thanksgiving. Our orphans didn't end up materializing but it was fine. Kids were tired today which made for some fun. Overall thankful for sweet friends, sweet family and a beautiful day. Next year have some prep ideas that will help things in the future. Headed to bed fat, bloated, exhausted and happy. Not too shabby.

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Got sucked into the internet vortex looking up top toys for Christmas and stalking my neighbors on Nextdoor. This is going to be the year of the neighbor. We have missed our annual block party two years in a row and I'm really bummed about it. Want to take back some neighborhood ground. Been considering having another happy birthday Jesus party for the kiddos on our street or a Christmas stop in Brunch or something. Praying for creativity. Hospitality and administration is so not my gift but it's also not an excuse.

Acts 14:
Phone about to die and the ham we took a gamble on today is looking like we might have lost.

Crazy amazing chapter. Huge testament to the faith of Paul and Barnabas. Acts is really making me want to dive into history.

D

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

DAY 1558: Psalms 9

Good low key day. Not as productive as I would have liked but that's everyday around here. Feeling better and I'm incredibly thankful for that. In home date night and small frays protesting so going to make this snappy.

1. Thankful for God's majesty that is expressed in the beauty of His creation.

2. Thankful for a long weekend with my family!

3. Thankful for heart strings that are attached with one of my kiddos in particular. 

4. Thankful for one on one snuggles with each of my boys, the two oldest in particular. They squeak the least in that regard. 

5. Thankful that my oldest finally caught on to the point of rice and beans and I got to hear their hearts ooze with compassion for those who go hungry every single day.

6. Thankful for how good that same reminder has been for my own entitled heart. I'm thankful most often my Brownies go to bed with full tummies.

7. Thankful that God bestows His goodness on His children even though we don't often deserve it. 

8. Thankful for the ways God has bridges the gap between what I know intellectually about God to what I know to be true about God. He's been faithful to rewrite the lies that I believe. I know there is still yet more to rewrite and change but He is ever faithful to do so.

9. Thankful that we have access to healthcare and for the way my husband's employer provides so generously for our family.

10. Thankful for God's grace in our lives. The difficult and stressful times have a way of causing a heart to rejoice over simple days I might have otherwise taken for granted. 

Psalms 9:
I believe this is one of the first Psalms I read as our world was flipped upside down.

Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death, (‭Psalm‬ ‭9‬:‭13‬ ESV)

Be gracious to me O Lord is what I would pray when I didn't have any other words to pray. The Lord has indeed been gracious to us in the midst of the storm. He held up our heads and gave us hope when we were sinking in the mud and in the mire. He has performed miracles I never thought would be possible. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5-6‬ ESV)

This verse has come alive the past several months. There are many things I have not understood and yet if I had relied on my own understanding I would have missed out on a miracle. God has been so gracious to us and has lit the path before us. We are still on the journey and there are still unanswered questions but hope has been renewed and I know with full confidence that He will continue to light our path. I do need to take some extended time away and reflect and write out all that He has done.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. (‭Psalm‬ ‭9‬:‭1‬ ESV)

May I never take what you have done for granted Lord. May I recount everything you have done!

D

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DAY 1557: ACTS 13

I'm a total turkey. Took legal speed to try to dry up some of my fountains of snot and it worked. I also grew horns. I gave up trying to nap years ago realizing I'd always get angry as my minions foiled my plans. I must have forgotten and the past two days I've snarled at my offspring as they ruined my nap. I've been so self focused and self pity party oriented this week and I'm a total grumpy pants. Today as I drove to air out my wild things at a park with friends I realized why. I am the most self reliant stinkpot in the world. I want to kick butt not drag butt and I'm frustrated by it. I want to push through and not feel like I'm dragging my knuckles on the ground over the smallest tasks. Throw in the rice and beans and the grossest and foulest of things is being squeezed out of my heart. As grumpy as I am I'm so thankful. Thankful to see the condition of my heart for what it truly is. The past several months has just been a great snapshot of the condition of my heart. There has been victory but the dark places have been exposed as well. So there is work to do and I'm thankful I'm not in charge of the demolition and remodeling that is going to need to be done in my heart. God is so faithful to finish the good work He started over a decade ago. The death of self is painful and I'm rather dramatic about it.

1. Thankful God is faithful.

2. Thankful for a beautiful afternoon with friends although I was out of it and grumpy.

3. Thankful for dates on the calendar that involve a certain friend from China.

4. Thankful for Jesus. I'm so incredibly desperate for Him.

5. Thankful for rice and beans week colliding with the funk. It's given me yet another look in the mirror.

6. Thankful for my hubs who is patient and kind and giving and caring to his grumpy troll bride.

7. Thankful for the six loudest children in Texas.

8. Thankful for two solid school days in a row. Fingers crossed for a third.

9. Thankful for this bed that I want to completely melt into.

10. Thankful it's only one more day till a glorious long weekend.

Acts 13:
The Holy Spirit is everywhere in this chapter.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. (‭Acts‬ ‭13‬:‭2-3‬ ESV)

How awesome to have your "mission" confirmed by the Holy Spirit through others. Which this begs the question "do I listen to what others tell me closely enough"? Thankful for the community of believers The Lord has placed in my life. This truly is a gift and I take it for granted often.

Might stay in this chapter for awhile. Lots of action. Lots to chew on.

D

Monday, November 24, 2014

DAY 1556: ACTS 12

Achy and nauseous this evening and still battling fatigue. Hate when a stupid insignificant cold takes me out like this. GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! Obviously this stubborn stinkpot still has a ton to learn about handling things in life gracefully.

Not helping my situation is withdrawal from my drug of choice, sugar. Considering giving up sugar for Advent. It's definitely become my BFF the past several months and my constant companion when dealing with stress. Definitely a socially acceptable idol. Not good.

So many other things to write about but will have to wait till another night when my brain will cooperate. Today I did take time to see how mightily God has shown up the past several months. There is still much pain and grief but there's hope and there's rejoicing over what He has already done. He has already performed miracles. He is mighty to save and I must remember that on days I loose heart and begin to sink in the bog of fear.

Great verse of the day which captures how I'm feeling tonight:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16‬:‭34‬ ESV)

Acts 12:
Herod puts James to death by the sword and puts Peter in prison during Passover. The timing of this is interesting. The church prays fervently and Peter is led out of prison by an angel. The centurions who stood guard were put to death. The first thought in my head is how unfair that seems. Yet God is Sovereign and He knew exactly who would keep guard of Peter and that he would be set free by an angel.

Herod grows too big for his britches and The Lord strikes him down and he is killed by worms. So gross. The church holds firm and Paul and Barnabas return from their mission.

Crazy exciting times for the church.

D

Sunday, November 23, 2014

DAY 1555: ACTS 11

I'm a fatigued grumpy troll with an annoying cold and achy muscles and joints. I wanna lay in bed and whine, snuggle with my hubs and watch something stupid on TV and fall asleep drooling and snoring.

Acts 11:
Peter tells the circumcision party about how The Lord sent him to Gentiles who also received the gift of the Holy Spirit. This must have thrown Jews for a complete loop at first. Instead of being staunchly opposed to Gentiles becoming Christians they rejoiced that salvation was now being extended to the Gentiles. This is huge! Great reminder to me to not get wrapped up in legalized tradition. So easy for the tail to wag the dog. God may your church be about loving your people , embracing truth and holding proclaiming the gospel.

D

Saturday, November 22, 2014

DAY 1554: ACTS 10

Love how God works in the early church. Visions, obedience without question, passion, the Holy Spirit very much active and the unity of hearts that beat for The Lord. One word resonates with me in all of this and it's faithfulness. Oh the beauty that arises out of the faithful .

I can't help but think about precious friends today as I write about faithfulness. They have faithfully given of their time, their resources, their talents and their energy to serve a little school for years. Year after year serving and giving of time and hearts. Some would have moved on out of boredom or desire to cause a "bigger impact". Yet faithfully they have served year after year. It appears that something new has given birth out of their faithfulness to this little school. A sex slave rescued and now in recovery. Parents who have been loved on. A home opened to the most innocent ones who have been cared for and loved during times of crisis. The mission field has greatly expanded and the eternal impact that has been made year after year after year might only fully be made known on the flip side of eternity. Oh how beautiful faithfulness can be. Oh how beautiful are the faithful. Lord may I be willing to "just say yes". May I be faithful in the small day to day and mundane and may I be faithful in the big things.

Thank you Lord that you are ever so faithful to me despite my lack of faithfulness in return.

D

Friday, November 21, 2014

DAY 1553: ACTS 9

Super de duper tired. Scratchy coldish allergy funk is wearing me out! I'm a big fat baby!!

Good times with my oldest boy. Thankful for two solid dates with him. He was a fun nut swimming in a cold pond living it up tonight. Love his intensity and passion. I pray I slow down with him and truly try to understand. We are so different and at times I shut him down without trying to understand where he is coming from. He's a great kid with so many great qualities. I need to take more time to study his language so I can love him well. 

Two events up at church today. They were fun but it's still hard to be on that campus now. What once felt like home and a safe place now feels incredibly tainted. Jesus will have to do a mighty work of redemption. Good thing He's in the business of restoration. 

Acts 9:
Saul's conversion story is amazing. Tonight I'm reminded that even when you obey it doesn't always appear to go well with you.

But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." (‭Acts‬ ‭9‬:‭15-16‬ ESV)

Suffering is very much apart of life with Jesus.

D

Thursday, November 20, 2014

DAY 1552: Ps 7

Don't much want to do this today. Lots has gone on the past two days and working through things would be good but tonight I want to pull up the covers and watch mindless tv. I want to pretend that life is NOT currently being lived out with billowing clouds of uncertainty, unanswered questions and thick sadness. I want to ignore that I've drawn closer to temporary comforts at times rather than drawing nearer to The Lord.

Tonight I'm just left with the sadness. There's no more anger to distract from the pain. Mistakes were made that were costly to our child. Costly to our entire family. My mistakes have been costly to my child/children and to my family. The sadness is chokingly thick and I can't see how this can ever be restored and yet I have hope that He can restore everything. I'm so sick of battling my own sin in all of this. My current lot in life has highlighted how depraved and weak I truly am. I long to leave this place, for Jesus to come back quickly.

Psalm 7:
Oh Lord I so want this.

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. (‭Psalm‬ ‭7‬:‭17‬ ESV)

D

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DAY 1551: ACTS 8

So tired. A sweet Bunny partied all night. Reread acts 8 and dug into several commentaries. The delay of the Holy Spirit in the newly converted Samaritans is interesting to me. Simeon the magician is also very interesting to me.

Zzzzzz
D

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DAY 1550: ACTS 8

1. Thankful for celebrating a sweet friend's bday and for a small taste of communal living.

2. Thankful for hearts that seem to have softened.

3. Thankful for ample opportunities to train my children.

4. Thankful to be on the same page as my husband.

5. Thankful for cold snuggly weather.

6. Thankful for the warmth of sunshine on a cold day.

7. Thankful for a warm house.

8. Thankful for bedtime.

9. Thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit and for little hearts that are convicted.

10. Thankful for chocolate cake.

Big talk coming up soon. Hopeful yet anxious.

Acts 8:
Interesting chapter with lots of interesting points. Going to investigate commentary and chew on this.

D

Monday, November 17, 2014

DAY 1549: ACTS 7

My baby boy turned 5. Didn't cry but was certain that I would. How have the years passed me by so quickly? Love the little boy my baby has grown up to be. Kinder next year. YIKES!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

DAY 1548: ACTS 6

Still a hot mess but just not as hot and messy today. Too much going on with wild children and a sick little girl. Funny how each kiddo handles illness differently. As long as I kept drinks coming and had Daniel Tiger on my Bunny was content.

My baby boy turns 5 tomorrow. Can't believe how fast time goes by. Might be a hot mess for a whole different reason tomorrow which will be greatly welcomed. Thankful for that precious boy!!!

Acts 6:
Seven are chosen to help take the load off the 12 disciples in managing good distribution ect. Stephen is among the seven chosen.

People who dislike Stephen begin a campaign to smear him and round up false witnesses and lies to accuse him.

Stephen's wisdom and integrity stands out and his accusers are unable to nab him on anything real so they have to lie.

This is a good reminder. I want to maintain integrity as I walk out some tough conversations. I can't do this w/out Jesus.

D

DAY 1547: ACTS 5

Headed out in a few and wanted to try to mail this in, I mean send this out before I left. I'm quite the mess today. I think seeing the stress on my kid's hands today and a combination of other things has brought another round of anger and grief. Dropping off something at a friend's house tonight I prayed for help as the anger fantasies tried to rule my thoughts. Tonight while praying at my sink altar I realized that I want instant gratification from God. I want Him to stop the overwhelming emotions instantly and the constant desire to sin in my anger. When the response isn't instant I kick and flail as if He is no longer there. But He's there and He's in the midst of the storm. He isn't shocked or overwhelmed by me. If I'll let Him and if I'm willing to run to Him He wants to comfort me through the midst of the chaos. He wants to give me the gift of hope in the midst of my sorrow and despair. I'm so incredibly broken hearted over my son. How did God send His son to die for us? I know He's with me and I know He understands.

-----------
Sweet meeting tonight. So encouraged. These gals had no idea how tonight gave me hope for upcoming conflict resolutions talks I have looming in front of me. Glad I was able to get out of my car. Ugly tears in my big ole van before I could walk into that meeting. Still so sad about broken relationship.

Realized tonight that somehow I want to find a way to make things right with my kiddo. The truth is there is absolutely nothing I can do to make things "right". It's the wrong goal to try to achieve.

Fading fast. Crazy emotional day. Bleh!

Acts 5:
1. The lukewarm are weeded out. Ananias and Saphira lie and when caught in their sin drop dead. It causes fear amongst some of the believers. There was no room for the lukewarm so A & S served a great reminder to everyone that becoming a believer meant a full devotion to Christ.

2. I think I often confuse what it means to be meek. I assume that boldness and meekness can not reside in the same body. This is not so. Peter was bold but was also meek.

3. Gamaliel is wise and bold as a Pharisee. He knows a plot derived by man will fail. However, if god is behind a movement there will be victory.

Fading

D

Friday, November 14, 2014

DAY 1546: ACTS 5

I think I could use a good ugly cry. Too tired to cry though. Bitter sweet morning at the Nest. Loved seeing gals that I love and adore but there definitely was a sadness. It was easier to be there than I expected and yet harder too all at the same time. Still very much feels like I have a scarlet letter A which is difficult since I've done nothing wrong. There's just this secret thing out there and it feels as if we are not supposed to talk about it.

Lots of things that feel unfair right now. Praying to have the humility to sit in the unfair, to let The Lord fight my battles. Meek and mild truly are characteristics of true strength. True meekness is a sign of humility. Unfortunately I am greatly lacking in both. Lord give me the wisdom to know when to fight and the strength to be meek when I shouldn't.

Acts 5:
This chapter is intense. So much to chew on in this chapter. 

Trying to squeeze at least sometime together with my hubs tonight after a failed date night. We have a pretty sick kiddo on our hands. Funny how these kiddos are all wired so differently. 

This verse! Oh how this verse is so incredibly challenging.

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. (‭Acts‬ ‭5‬:‭41‬ ESV)

I want some of that kind of faith.  More tomorrow.

D

Thursday, November 13, 2014

DAY 1545: ACTS 4

Good times today with friends and fun with hands on math. Co-op family night. Lots of sweet families and I'm thankful my kids love it. Exhausted though and the kid funk and pinched nerve in my shoulder/neck is making me a grumpy pants. The usual bedtime drama is extra special tonight too. Good times.

1. Thankful for the women who have invested so much time to make the co-op we are apart of exist.

2. Thankful to be in bed. Will be even more thankful when six little people are asleep in their bed.

3. Thankful for museum memberships and friends.

4. Thankful for chocolate cake.

5. Thankful for pizza.

6. Thankful for teachers who invested so much into my kids the past ten weeks.

7. Thankful for warm boots.

8. Thankful for an irritating inconvenience that was good perspective as a parent. I can be a such a self centered stink pot.

9. Thankful God is so much better at this parenting gig than I am.

10. Thankful for my hubs who accept me for who I am.

Acts 4:
1. The believers are passionate and boldly proclaim Christ.

2. When faced with opposition prayer is their immediate go to.

3. The Holy Spirit has empowered them to speak boldly.

4. The believers are incredibly grounded in scripture to back up their message. Plus they were eye witnesses to Jesus's death and resurrection which gave them credibility to people. At this point the number of believers was around 5,000.

5. Nobody who was a believer was in need or want. People did not view their possessions as their own. Lots of huge lessons here!

D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DAY 1544: ACTS 3

I'm in a foul mood right now. Sick of myself and consuming so much time talking about me. Tired of battling my flesh. Flat out weary tonight. I'm tired of being angry, I'm tired of feeling grief, I'm tired of confusion and chaos and conflict. Hate that the f bomb is back in my repertoire tonight. I'm ready to get off this merry go round from hell. I'm sinking in the water tonight. I'm so weary.

I read a beautiful post today from a momma who will probably watch her precious daughter die from cancer. In her sorrow and pain and search for answers the answer is her baby will be restored someday. This is not the end of the story. There is no explanation for hope like that other than Jesus. There's no other explain action for how this family is able to handle this lot in life other than Jesus. Tonight I am not handling my lot in life very well. The emotional spikes can be hard to navigate through.

1. Thankful for matchy matchy pj's.

2. Thankful for snuggling a baby girl who slept better last night.

3. Thankful to witness a beautiful scene unfold between two of my boys as one overcame evil with good. Seriously one of the most amazing things that I've witnessed in this house.

4. Thankful for a boy who requested the bible be read to him. Earlier he told me he thought it was boring and I told him I hope he would change his mind someday and I listed the many valuable reasons for reading the bible. The kid heard me and his heart is willing.

5. Thankful to watch the above kid lead out today and get a task done. Love that kid and thankful to be able to understand him more.

6. Thankful for friend's who are willing to listen to me rant and rave but who I know won't let me stay there and who are willing to point out a different perspective.

7. Thankful for queso.

8. Thankful for the Taco Joint.

9. Thankful for hope that can be found in even the darkest of places because of Jesus.

10. Thankful to know that I can't fight my flesh on my own. Someday so can but most days I just can't manage to be "good" enough. The standard so exceeds anything I would be capable of. Thankful I'm accepted exactly how I am. Thankful I don't have to strive to be somebody I can't be without Jesus.

Ps 100:

I believe this I really do:
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (‭Psalm‬ ‭100‬:‭5‬ NIV)

I'm struggling to put my kid up on the altar. I feel as if The Lord has touched my hip socket. I'm limping and I want to place my kid in your hands but this feels like such a low blow. I have to trust that you are going to heal the cancer that can't be seen and trust you if you choose not to. My fear is that you won't.

D

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DAY 1543: ACTS 3

1. Thankful for the beautiful sight of children in footie pj's.

2. Thankful for my oldest who was such an incredible peacemaker tonight and rallied everyone to play a fun game. Challenged and spurred on by her tonight.

3. Thankful for my hubs who went to the store so I didn't have to brave the permafrost caused by the bone chilling 40 degree temps. Don't think I'm cut out for Montana but I'm willing to die trying.

4. Thankful for food on the table three times today. I take that for granted far too often.

5. Thinking of Ann Voscamp right now and thankful for the many passions and talents The Lord has given His people.

6. Thankful for the abundant grace of Jesus.

7. Thankful for the sound of two sweet little girls sawing logs. Would be even more amazing if it was three girls. (Hint hint Abbie girl :)

8. Thankful for the joy of having an 8 year old daughter. Can't believe I've been doing this parenting gig for almost 9 years now. Every year that goes by I'm more and more convinced that I haven't the slightest clue about what I'm doing. Thankful The Lord isn't surprised or caught off guard.

9. Thankful I'm in bed. I'm thankful for spicy little baby girl's but whew the spice in the middle of the night is something!

10. Thankful that even after being in a rough season I can say with great joy and confidence that God is good!

Acts 3:
Need to chew on this longer. Peter is no nonsense. Fits in well with lots of my churn. Till tomorrow . Date night.

D

DAY 1542: ACTS 2

Lots and lots of churn tonight. Heart heavy. Seeing and hearing are two themes that have come strong today and frankly have been undertones for awhile. If a person is "blind" are they responsible for what they can not see? For that matter what is the difference between spiritual blindness and denial? What if you are sick and you just don't know it? Pride causes spiritual blindness.  Jesus pride is the cancer to my soul. I know I possess it and God just like a cancer the thought of any single shred of it residing in me makes me sick. I pray that you heal me of the sickness and blindness that I can't see. It will rob me of life and destroy my ability to see and hear you clearly. I pray that you would slay me so that I might die so that you might increase. I hate the awful sin nature that resides with in me. I'm not who I desire to be. I don't do the things I should and I do the the things I don't want to do. I'm so desperate for you. Thank you that you love me and consider me blameless and righteous before your sight. I don't deserve your love, your mercy or your grace. I am yours forever.

Today I heard something for the first time. My blind trust kept me from hearing and from seeing quite frankly. My big question is now what? My whole church paradigm is shifting. I can't help but wonder if we have thrown the baby out with the bath water. You can take your children to church every Sunday and yet never actually go to church with your children. When I stop and think about that it's absolutely crazy to me. Have we been lured away from corporate worship together as a family without even realizing it?
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1. Thankful for jeggings on a cute little almost preschool girl.

2. Thankful for a cold front that will provide the need for footie pj's.

3. Thankful for a good last day of co-op and that my kiddos have had a blast!

4. Thankful for easy dinner.

5. Thankful for Jesus and that He never gives up on us and He meets us where we are.

6. Thankful that where there is churn there is less room for complacency.

7. Thankful to have been able to have ears to hear things today.

8. Thankful that we have direct access to God through prayer. May I avail myself of that more readily. May I be quicker at listening as well.

9. Thankful for a warm house. I often take it for granted and complain and it's disarray.

10. I'm thankful for hat day!!!

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Read some NPR articles. Bad bad idea this late when I'm already in deep thought about everything under the sun. Bad bad idea!! One article I read was about Scientist combining the DNA of three people in order to eradicate disease in an embryo. It's already been done yet Britain hasn't given consent yet to allow the baby to be implanted. The green is looking good and next year this genetically modified baby could possibly be born. So many thoughts.

The second article I read was about transgendered individuals giving birth. There was a study done and some of the people suffered from increased body dysmorphia (?) but most actually for the first time valued their body and what it was created to do. I wonder how much of this hatred for ones body or body parts is birthed out of sexual abuse. 

The world my Brownies are going to have to live in and navigate is going to be a crazy one. I can't help but think about this verse:

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. (‭Judges‬ ‭17‬:‭6‬ NIV)

Acts 2:
Forget how crazy inspiring Acts is. Should be a no brainer. It is so good.

Pentecost happens. They were all together in a house when a sound comes from heaven of a roaring wind and what looks like flames rest on the heads of the believers. God fearing Jews were in Jerusalem from all over the place and they were amazed as this group of Galileans were able to speak in the native tongue of countries from all over. There are always the skeptics and they laughed and called the people who had received the Holy Spirit drunkards. Peter addresses the crowd and quotes scripture from the OT and brings the gospel. About three thousand were added to the number of believers that day. That is quite the alter call!

Couple of verses that really caught my eye:

" 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (‭Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭17‬ NIV)

When I read this I couldn't help but think about the Muslims who are experiencing dreams and visions and are converting to Christianity. 

This is the other verse that stood out:
"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah." When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" (‭Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭36-37‬ NIV)

The Gospel should cut us to the very heart. It should bring us to our knees every single day. 

Characteristics of the church in Acts:
1. The Holy Spirit was present and active.
2. People devoted themselves to teaching, specifically the apostles.
3. They devoted themselves to fellowship.
4. They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread.
5. They devoted themselves to prayer and prayed continually.
6. The believers were together and had everything in common.
7. They sold property and possessions and gave to anyone in need. 
8. They met every day in the temple courts.
9. They ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
10. They praised God.
11. They enjoyed the favor of all the people.
12. The Lord added to their number daily.

Part of the key to this close knit group of believers is that they were together. If you live together it makes it so much easier to pray together continually, break bread together, fellowship together, meet up everyday, ect. Obviously communal living is where it's at. That's a lot of people living together. 

D

Sunday, November 09, 2014

DAY 1541: ACTS 1

Sitting in a pile of bitter sweetness. On one hand I feel vindication and relieved that truth is going to win. On the other is a deep sadness knowing another painful wave is going to come crashing in for someone I care about. I know though that if they will let it this storm can be the thing that makes Jesus become known more fully. I can say that wholeheartedly about the waves that have crashed upon me as of late.

There are parts of the story that I've completely surrendered over to The Lord and yet there is one piece that still remains. If it was just me I could forgive and move on. Yet I've seen the waves crash upon my child. The waves that could have been so easily avoided. I'm stuck in this place of trusting in God's Sovereignty and yet torn on how our free will still plays a part in outcomes.

Today I was reminded that I have to wholeheartedly press forward and have conversations that will be difficult. I must love my brothers and sisters enough in Christ to restore things that have been damaged and to speak truth in love. I have small things coming up that will slowly put my toe back in the water. I know things can never go back completely the same. I am hopeful they can be better but I'm also prepared for that not to be the case. Regardless the goal is unity and I believe wholeheartedly that can happen in my situation even if we land on separate pages.

Today I did dream of a home church again. There's always been some appeal to me about home churches. I think if done well it could be amazing but I also know home churches could have the potential to harbor some crazy stuff. Which leads me to wonder why the heck the church can be so hard? It seriously seems like it should be simpler. Sin complicates everything though. I do love my church's heart to be a church like in Acts. I think doing my church thing I loose sight of the target on the wall sometimes. It can be easy to get lost in the mission statements and values and catchy church slogans and forget what's really important. Again why does it have to be so complicated. I'm going to dive into Acts and see if I can make some sense of the complicated.

------
And once again everything feels so tainted. I feel as if there is no longer a place for me to belong. There's no longer an option that seems right or good. For now I'll stick my toe back in the water and place one foot in front of the other and see where everything ends up. Being displaced for a season is not a bad thing. This season has stunk for sure but thankful to be okay in this season of stench. Just like the disgusting stench of manure nourishes flowers, plants and gardens I know this season of stink will do the same for my heart. May this season of manure produce an abundant crop.

On a totally different note watched a Francis Chan thing on prayer today. My big take away was his Indian buddy saying that as Americans we are often content with Moses when we ourselves can meet God on the mountain top. I can meet with God on the darn mountain top! What the heck is keeping me from that daily?

ACTS 1:
The church was birthed out of the faithfulness of about 120 people. 120 people. We indeed can make a difference and all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed.

The characteristic of the early church that stood out the most is that they gathered together and prayed continually.

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (‭Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭14‬ NIV)

They weren't just sometimes in prayer together they joined together and were constantly in prayer. The early church got prayer. The veil was torn. They no longer had to go through a priest and they seized every moment to meet Jesus on that mountain face to face in prayer.  

I pray the most when I'm in the midst of the storm. When chaos swirls round and I am afraid that I might sink prayer abounds. Yet I don't have to be in the depths of the ocean to meet with God. This only proves how little I avail myself to prayer but even more so how little I understand of prayer.  

They are joined together constantly in prayer. How can you be angry at your brother or your sister in Christ for long if you are constantly in prayer with one another? Prayer is so intimate which is why I think so many of us struggle with it. 

Fading....
D

Saturday, November 08, 2014

DAY 1540: LUKE 23-24

The sweet Bit has not slept well for what feels like many weeks now. That combined with my own fall back dysfunction and I'm a sleepy mess. I'm glad fall and winter are here and hibernating like a troll is now acceptable.

Thinking a lot today about this crazy year in BrownTown. I think The Lord has shaken up three things that I care about dearly family, church and friends. Each has been a blessing for The Lord and He can give and take away as He pleases. To see each thing I hold dear be shaken has given me a new perspective on just how truly blessed I am. So many long for just one of those areas to be a source of joy and encouragement. I don't want to take those things for granted anymore and I also don't want to turn any of those things into idols either. Although this year has been difficult there are many things I am thankful for. There are still things that I struggle with and things I can't possibly see good coming from it. However, I have to keep trusting that God can see the bigger picture. This world is hard and my children will be crushed. I would love to protect them from everything but ultimately I need to teach my kids how to walk in those valleys with Jesus and how to entrust their hurts and heartaches to Him. God may their pain and hardships draw them closer to you. Create in them hearts that are passionate for you and eyes that can see your faithfulness in times of difficulty and doubt. I am so thankful for each of my children. May I entrust them wholeheartedly to you.

1. Thankful for beautiful fall days.

2. Thankful for holding a cute little peanut if even just for a moment.

3. Thankful for seeing the beauty of the intensity and passion of one of my children today. Lord may I no longer desire to change him but rather embrace who you created him to be.

4. Thankful for a solo trip to Costco and that I made it out alive. The Costco on a Saturday is quite the adventure.

5. Thankful for food in my fridge.

6. Thankful for the hearts of friends and the desire to follow after Jesus in the midst of a complicated and sorrowful situation. Thankful for the gift of friendships.

7. Thankful for my husband and the way he loves us.

8. Thankful to be in the quiet which is a rare treat.

9. Thankful for Jesus.

10. Thankful the tomb was empty.

Luke 23-24:
Great reading from my physical bible. It's been way too long.
Reminded that Jesus meets us in our brokenness and our desperation. Lord I pray my children are broken and realize their desperate need for you.

So much greatness in these chapters but my eyes are closing.

D

Friday, November 07, 2014

DAY 1539: LUKE 22

I feel like emotionally it's been hard to get a break. Pain from broken relationship was stirred up yesterday. It's been on the back burner for awhile but the rawness of it was awakened. It's hard not fearing being misrepresented. In my flesh I want to plead my case and I long for justice to be served. I do know God is Sovereign and even in this He has a plan. Once again this verse comes to mind:

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." (‭Exodus‬ ‭14‬:‭14‬ ESV)

Oh the irony of this verse. I have so much love and compassion for the one who has hurt and is hurting. I know things feel personal but I know that they are not. Lord help me retain this perspective. It's so hard when my heart has been hurt and all I want to do is self protect. Help love come first. Help love win. Help me not to be overcome by evil but rather overcome evil with good. God I'm so weary of fighting my own flesh. 

Heard this song on the radio today and it wrecked me:

"Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly)"

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

[Chorus]
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

This isn't the whole song but you get the gist. It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace sums up where I'm at right now. Lots of crashing of waves going from one grief to another. It feels like chaos but there's peace. Only God can do that. I pray He drowns the fight right out of me. The fight the good fight can stay it's the fight for self preservation that I'm fine with Him crushing and destroying. I don't want any part of that any more. 

1. Thankful for time with a friend today. I wish there had been more time and space to connect the way I always long to with a friend. 

2. Thankful for beautiful weather.

3. Thankful for a win with a child that can be difficult tonight. I pray for much more of those. May I embrace who he is, come alongside to train not control. 

4. Thankful for waking up with two little girls snuggled by my side. 

5. Thankful The Lord will fight for me. I only remaining still was easier for me.

6. Thankful to be a tiny step closer to coming to the end of myself. I know this season of sadness and loss is not in vain. God is doing something and it will eventually be used for my good and His glory. Help me to believe this for my child. 

7. Thankful for the comfort of cookies and milk.

8. Thankful for tears as they are still a rare occurrence but I long to one day be made normal again. 

9. Thankful for a new family party of ten tonight. 

10. Thankful for friend's who love and open their home to those they love. Their generosity has always challenged me. Praying for God to lead and guide their steps in the coming weeks.

Luke 22:
I saw the title today and my heart sank "the plot to kill Jesus". I would have been part of that plot. I am a rotten Pharisee that The Lord has rescued. I don't know why He died for this rebellious and prideful girl but He never gave up on me even while I was in the deepest depths of my sin. He pursued me with loving kindness. Yet I often still continue to wear pride and walk around as the scribes did. As if I could have saved myself. Jesus thank you for your tenderizing kindness. 

These verses really hit me tonight:
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭31-32‬ ESV)

Thank you that you pray for me Jesus.

D

Thursday, November 06, 2014

DAY 1538: LUKE 21

Feeling incredibly raw tonight. There is a convergence of big things that have happened recently and the overwhelming feeling is loss. Getting the kid flu I'm sure hasn't helped.

Distracted myself looking up stuff for two bday parties coming up. I don't know what it is about a certain little girl but she makes me want to spend obscene amounts of money. I NEVER would have considered a $30 shirt but for I did tonight for a personalized Katerina Kitty Kat shirt. I think I realize just how fast they grow up and I want this little girl to be a tutu wearing princess for as long as possible. This phase will vanish overnight. I didn't get the shirt but I sure did want to. On another note I can't believe my baby boy is turning five. I simply can't handle that!!! I'm a total mess!

1. Thankful for the awesome little people my kids are growing up to be.

2. Thankful for a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

3. Thankful for my children's Halloween candy.

4. Thankful I just have a cold and not a puke bug.

5. Thankful to be connecting with my feelings even if that means I'm a total and complete mess.

6. Thankful that God's plan has always been to rescue us.

7. Thankful Gretchen is about to pack her bags and leave.

8. Thankful dinner came together again tonight. No clue how that happened.

9. Thankful that even though not much got "accomplished" today we did break down some bible and the bookshelf no longer has collapsing piles of books.

10. Thankful for friends who deliver unexpected treats.

Luke 21:
The sweet widow who gives all she has to The Lord. God help me to give you all I have.

The rest is persecution, death, war, destruction and the return of Christ. Fun stuff. He will equip us and give us strength and the words we need to say to give all glory to God when we need them.

D

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

DAY 1537: LUKE 20

At DCAC and it's always a bitter sweet experience. Thankful for getting help but sorrow that we are even here. Then there's the other families here and sorrow over our broken and sinful world overall. I always feel like I sit here on the verge of tears.

Today fear of the what if's plagued me as I drove here. My kiddo told me about a dream of being taken by someone and it triggered fear. If my child had a broken bone it would be so much easier. We could test and know for sure if the wound had healed. This is different and there are layers to the healing that must be done. My child is different and I don't know if things will ever be the same again. The same probably shouldn't even be the goal. God fight for my child. Heal what can not be seen. Use this to create a heart that's passionate for you and for others. I fear most how this will distort their view of God.

Today I'm sitting in the grief of my part in all of this. I wish I could go back and do things completely different. I wish I had known things that I know now. I feel incredibly naive and foolish. Yet I can't live my life as a fearful untrusting miserable wretch. Tonight I have no clue how to make sense out of all of this.

Been wrestling with church and my philosophy on all of it. It is strange to me that often we drive past half a dozen churches in order to get to our church. Oh how satan has taken much delight is adding division and false doctrine amongst the Church. Pride can complicate just about everything and I confess I am full of lots of it. Thank you Jesus that you have clothed me with your righteousness despite the vast amounts of my sin.

1. Thankful for snuggling with boy who is growing up so incredibly fast. Oh how crazy fast these days are. Makes my heart ache!!

2. Thankful for friends willing to watch my flower plucking children.

3. Thankful for bigs who look out for the smalls.

4. Thankful for dinner coming together for my minions and I tonight.

5. Thankful for a spunky little girl who changes 37 times a day.

6. Thankful for celebrating a sweet four year old today.

7. Thankful for friends who are adding to their family on Friday after being on quite the journey.

8. Thankful for the "new" green couch that I'm laying on.

9. Thankful for our vans that haul us around.

10. Thankful for the neighborhood I live in and for opportunity.

Luke 20:
The religious leaders are trying desperately to bring down Jesus. How incredibly sad the irony of all that is.

Eyes closing.
D

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

DAY 1536: LUKE 19

I see the value of hope like I have never valued it before. Hope softens the blow of the darkest hours. I thank God my darkest hours haven't been the same as others. I don't know how some people are able to put one foot in front of the other. Kate McRae is on my mind a lot these days. My heart is torn into bits for this family. I feel as if living their nightmare would crush me to the point of death. I don't understand why some suffering is allowed this side of heaven especially when it's a child. Jesus come quickly.

-----
1. Thankful for the years of sweet babies digging in the dishwasher.

2. Thankful for a spicy little girl who enjoys turning her body into a living canvas.

3. Thankful for living in the loudest house in the city.

4. Thankful for an entire day of rain.

5. Thankful for the miracle of hot tea and a hubs who is feeling a little better.

6. Thankful for the freedom to vote.

7. Thankful for God's beautiful story of redemption in my life and the life of my friends.

8. Thankful for three feral boys who make my days adventurous.

9. Thankful for my precious girl who pushed past fear tonight.

10. Thankful for good health.

----
Luke 19:
The story of Zacchaeus has always been a favorite of mine. Zac a rich man who knows no other way hears of this Jesus, this hope of something new, yet because of the crowds he can't see the man he's heard so much about. In desperation he finds a tree to just get a glimpse and his world changes forever. The man, the one who everybody has been talking about, calls him by name and tells him to get ready because he's coming to visit at his house this very day. Used to being associated with rift raft and other low life's I can't imagine Zac's joy as Jesus calls him by name. He sees us in our desperation. We need not climb that sycamore tree yet even if we do Jesus meets us where we are and He knows us by name. When I stop and think about that it blows my mind every single time. We're never good enough in this world. Yet the Creator of the heavens and the earth considers us good enough because we are His. We've been separated from Him and yet He has been willing to offer Himself up so that we can once again be restored. It's crazy.

D

DAY 1535: LUKE 18

1. Thankful tonight for the sweet friends God has placed in my life over the years. So good to be known.

2. Thankful for time with my Bit today. It's sometimes hard to just sit and enjoy her without being distracted by the to do list. Love this sweet and spicy little girl.

3. Thankful for a sweet kindergarten boy who still lets me hold his hand and snuggled in my lap at lunch. Love his heart for things in nature.

4. Thankful for a boy who is thrilled that his first Lego magazine has finally come. Thankful it's free!

5. Thankful for the gift of Baby CR. Thankful I can say that today.

6. Thankful for more emotional bandwidth to grieve over baby CR.

7. Thankful for hope. Life would be so bleak without it.

8. Thankful for a forecast of thunderstorms tomorrow.

9. Thankful for God's continual pursuit of us.

10. Thankful for more good conversations at PATH today.

Luke 18:
The story of the persistent widow and the blind beggar has me pondering a few things. They didn't give up even after they faced opposition. Lord give me the wisdom on when to keep pushing and when to back down.

Be with my friends that are hurting and sick. Help my hubs not get the pneumonia. This world is so broken Lord but I thank you for beauty that you can create out of the piles of ashes. Thank you for hope.

D

Sunday, November 02, 2014

DAY 1534: LUKE 17

1. So thankful to be in bed right now.

2. This morning I woke up much earlier than I wanted but I'm so thankful I got to wake up I between two little snuggle bug girls.

3. Thankful for the beautiful crisp fall weather.

4. Thankful for a sweet friend who is not afraid to invite my entire family in spontaneously and feed us.

5. Thankful my precious girl loves the idea of marriage. She already knows it's possible God may not have her get married but thankful she desires to one day leave our family and start her own. Marriage was a scary gross thing to me growing up. The thought of pretending to get married never once crossed my mind and I would not have understood it if someone had suggested it. In high school when asked what greatest fears were I always responded getting married and growing old and decrepit. Sad.

6. Thankful for a sweet husband who asked how he could serve me despite being sick.

7. Thankful for the sweet friends my kiddos played with all day long.

8. Thankful for the triple bunk bed that thankfully all three boys are actually sleeping in!

9. Thankful for living in a country where we are free to worship w/out experiencing physical persecution. If that does indeed change someday I pray The Lord prepares my heart to be bold and to stand firm.

10. Thankful for renewed perspective today. Our house is crazy from trying to get projects done but as I sat snuggled with a lap full of babies I realized that the mess will always be there to clean but these kiddos will not always be around to snuggle. My kiddos will only be 8, 7, 6, 4, 2 and 1 for such a short amount of time. Two of them will be literally turning older in a couple weeks. I seriously can't handle how fast it all goes!!

Luke 17:
The rapture, importance of giving thanks, remembering humility, increasing faith, and dealing with sin in your life and not causing another to stumble especially a child.

D

Saturday, November 01, 2014

DAY 1533: LUKE 16

30 days of gratitude kicks off today.
1. Thankful for getting to hold a precious baby girl tonight. So soothing for my soul.

2. Thankful for the precious family our family gets to date swap with. Love their kiddos and cherish their friendship.

3. Thankful my heart was pricked with sadness tonight over Baby CR. In the mess of everything there hasn't been much room to grieve the loss of a sweet little Brownie.

4. Thankful to get one project done today from start to finish.

5. Thankful for a hubs who fearlessly wrangles six kids including two littles who tag teamed him tonight.

6. Thankful for the six wonderful loud chaos makers that are in this house. God knew exactly that I would need each of them to shown me a clearer picture of who the great I AM is. They are such a blessing in so many ways.

7. Thankful for the person God created me to be. Thankful I can even write that. At one time it most definitely seemed like an impossibility to ever like myself. He knit me together with a plan and purpose in mind and none of my flaws, mistakes, struggles and weaknesses shall keep me from His rich bounty of love and grace.

8. Thankful for the joy of knowing my Savior and King. Great is His faithfulness.

9. Thankful for the difficulties of this past year that have helped to increase my understanding of the faithfulness of God. I so desperately desire to understand who God is more and more and because of hardships I can say that I know God more today and have a greater understanding of His provision and faithfulness than I did a year ago.

10. Thankful for how God brought a sweet gal into my life and placed her in community with me. Today marks her one year of digging in God's word every single day even with a crazy stomach bug.

Luke 16:
The chapter tonight is about money. The story of Lazarus and the rich man is pretty intense. A rich man eats, drinks and is merry while a poor man stricken with sores is outside the rich mans gates. He is hungry and longs to eat the morsels that fall to the ground. The rich man pays no notice to Lazarus. One day both die and Lazarus is carried off to heaven and the rich man goes to hell where he begs for Lazarus to bring him a drop of water.
1. Trading earthly pleasure and comfort for true riches that are eternal is absolute folly.

2. There will be those I know and those who I interact with on a daily basis that will go to hell. I need to gain an eternal perspective on those relationships. Lord give me a boldness and eyes to see.

D