Wednesday, December 31, 2014

DAY 1592:

1. Thankful for extended time with a cherished friend today. Her friendship is a gift and time with her today was a blessing.

2. Afternoon of running around has me exhausted but ended the year with a bang at Chuy's! Thankful for gift cards!!

3. Churning on goals for next year. Trying to be more realistic so I can actually accomplish some of my goals. I don't want to make "resolutions" that are merely chains of shame and guilt but I do want to be thoughtful and think of things I can be vigilant about so that I can become more of who God created me to be. I do want to look back next year and see I've gone up and to the right.

4. Off to bring in the new year with family shenanigans.

5. Thankful to be almost done with 2014. It's been a heck of a year. Hopeful for what 2015 will bring.

P 31:
Interesting this proverb starts off with talking about not taking strong drink. Thankful I will wake up tomorrow sober. There were many years that was not the case.

These are verses to reflect on as I think about next year:

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭26-27‬ ESV)

Happy New Years!

D

DAY 1591: 2 Peter 3

Thankful for an impromptu date from a sweet friend willing to brave our crew especially with our Lilly Bear who has been quite the bear lately. Hadn't thought much about it but she's totally teething her molars. Thankful there is a reason she's been a stinker lately. She's definitely not tough as nails like Bella. They are all wired so differently! Keeps me on my toes.

So thankful for this time off with my hubs. Thankful for His saints that have been praying for us. This break has been much needed and so good for our family. God has been so gracious to us and has provided manna in so many unexpected ways.

Hate the sorrow that this world can contain. Hate it even more when a friend has to walk in it. Jesus come quickly.

2 P 3:
Overall this chapter is grim for those who choose not to follow Christ. Pride and arrogance are so foul and yet I know I can reek of both. Hate that and yet I'm so thankful for His mercy, grace and salvation. I have no clue why The Lord has shown me kindness and mercy that I don't deserve. While I was still a rebellious sinner and giving Him the one finger salute He bestowed such mercy and love to me. He plucked this wayward rebellious child from the pit of hell and yet I still choose to be prideful. His endless mercy never ceases to amaze. Even with grace upon grace I still dare to square off with Him and ask an angry why. Even then He bestows upon me endless mercies and is gracious to me. How dare I ever be foolish enough to cast a stone at another and yet I do. Wrecked by His vast amounts of endless love and mercy towards me tonight.

D

Monday, December 29, 2014

DAY 1591: 2 Peter 2

Lots and lots of churn today over various things. Heart grieved for the loss of a sweet family we love today. I don't know what it's like to loose a precious life of a baby at 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 14 weeks, 28 weeks, or a few days past your due date but I have a bigger understanding than I used to. For that I am thankful that God has been able to turn my sorrow over Baby Costa Rica into more understanding. I now have the ability to mourn more with those who mourn. Every life is such a precious gift and every single day matters. 

Today I was so thankful that we told our kids about Baby CR. My hubs and I got to witness their compassion for others as we prayed for those we love. My oldest even mentioned what I did above. She said she saw how God was using our lose to potentially help those who are hurting now. So thankful she is able to see that. These are the lessons I want my children to learn from hardship and grief. God uses every bit of our heartache and pain and can turn it into something beautiful. It doesn't take away from the sorrow and the loss but it gives the pain of this life purpose. I'm praying for this extra hard for my precious boy. 

Although sorrow was mingled into tonight I'm thankful for time with another dear family tonight. We dreamed of life with land and owing our own businesses and four seasons and mountain air. It's fun to dream. We also all got smoked by my hubster in Settlers tonight. We all get lucky sometimes. :) Love the playful man I married! Love that I get to walk the joyful, the sorrowful, the treacherous and adventurous path of life with him. I take him for granted every single day but I'm so crazy grateful for him! 

2 P 2:
This is the verse of the day:
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭41‬:‭10‬ ESV)

God make this be so for my precious friend. I simply can't stand the brokenness of this world sometimes. Hold their hearts in your hands Lord and be their merciful comforter. 

This chapter is hardcore. It's about those who are false teacher and prophets and the arrogant who have hardened their hearts against The Lord. They are all destined for wrath and judgement. I'm reminded so much of the false teaching and heresy that has crept into the Christian church. The staunch stiff necked atheists. God change hearts. As my son wept over the loss who will suffer for eternity yesterday, more specifically for satan, eternity is well for eternity. The sorrows and pleasures we will experience here on earth or fleeting.

D



Sunday, December 28, 2014

DAY 1590: 2 Peter 1

My minions have been sleeping together since Christmas Eve. This has become an unspoken holiday tradition the past several years and I'm so thankful for the sweet memories they are making with each other. Bedtimes are insanely late but at least they are sleeping in late too. 

Another day of four Brownies on the trampoline all day long. Jumping, wilderness games and all kinds of other shenanigans. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

Thankful for the silliness and giggles that have returned to BrownTown in full force. Thankful for bonus extra days off that I wasn't expecting this week. Will be so good for our family.

2 P 1:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (‭2 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭5-9‬ ESV)

Meditating on the above. What does it look like practically to have these qualities?

Zzzz
D

Saturday, December 27, 2014

DAY 1589: Advent

Another lazy not very productive day. Life is wonderful. The funk has subsided. Not sure if a good cathartic day of crying was very much needed or if I've just accepted being on the path that we are on. Things have been set in motion that are above my control. I can choose to rest in it or kick and scream. I'm done kicking and screaming, at least for today. Resting in the hope of Christmas.

Great days watching the kids jump on the trampoline for hours upon hours. Lots of game playing and silly pretend which included a life size Teddy Bear called Teddy McGiggles. So much fun playing with these silly kids. Lots of time with the littles too as the bigs jumped their hearts out. These are the best of days. Thankful.

1 Peter 5:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭6-7‬ ESV)

Such sweet words.

D




Friday, December 26, 2014

DAY 1588: Advent

1. Phone about to die and family movie. Mailing it in quickly.

2. Lazy but good day. Felt pretty rough all day and was on the couch for most of today.

3. The trampoline is my new BFF! Best present to me ever!

1 Peter 4

D

Thursday, December 25, 2014

DAY 1587: Advent

Thankful for the birth of Jesus and for the gift of today. Sweet day together as a family and fun times with friends tonight. Feeling very blessed tonight.

Despite not putting forth a stellar Christmas effort several minions said it was the best Christmas ever! I think I hear that almost every year and that makes my heart happy. Thankful we aren't trying to out do the year before every year and the kids are content to every year being a bit different but with the same rhythms.

Last night my hubs told me he was asked about why I was asked to leave the service yesterday by another person on staff. He and his family had sat behind us and they didn't understand why I was asked to leave and they were upset about it. Those words meant a lot. I guess there's part of me that wonders if I'm crazy making for myself. I told the usher it was going to be a bigger disruption to leave the service than to stay. I was spot on as Bunny started screaming as we left which got the baby started. I can't help but think that there is a reason for all of this and it's much bigger than me. Until things are crystal clear I'll keep walking forward the best that I can. God's hand is on all of this and all I can do is wrap my heart around the truth that God is Sovereign. There's much peace in knowing that.

because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭78-79‬ ESV)

Beautiful. Thankful He guides our feet into the way of peace!

D

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

DAY 1586: Advent

Well church was a bust. The little girls were squawky and we got kicked out of the service and I lost it. I've cried off and on all day. Definitely ready to be on the other side of this. Tonight it feels like needless torture to stay. It's hard enough seeing the ways my boy has changed from all of this but to go to the place where he was hurt is crazy painful. I want things to go back to the ways that they were and at the same time I just want to be done with this place.

I prayed today that the littles would cooperate. It's not out of the realm of possibility. It feels like God is trying to push us out. I know I could be completely wrong but if He is indeed Sovereign over everything things have been anything but easy. I know God is at work. I know all of this will not be in vain. I just don't possibly see how this can end up going well. I can't see anything past the pain though.

Today despite the tears I'm thankful for sweet friends who aren't afraid to hug in the middle of the mess. We have been richly blessed with great friends. Reminded tonight of God's provision in cinnamon rolls by a sweet family. May seem silly but added to more tears just knowing God does have all of this and He will continue to provide even things like cinnamon rolls because He cares.

I'm ready for this stupid painful Christmas to just be over. I hate that I feel that way. I know it could be worse and it makes me feel like a brat.

Advent:
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭11‬ ESV)

---
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭38‬ ESV)

Being the Mother of Christ did not come without hardship and struggle. It was hard right out of the gates. I can only imagine what everybody thought. There was a point in time when even Joseph didn't understand. When you are a servant of The Lord you don't just cling to what is easy and comfortable. You don't just choose the path that seems as if it will cause less pain. You are obedient to whatever The Lord places in front of you. #dangit

D

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

DAY 1585: Advent

1. Gotta run to the store to get tights for tomorrow. #scared

2. Lunch thing for staff and family today. I wish things were the same but they aren't. Such a thick sadness around everything still. Hoping a new campus will help with the sting and the ghosts that still linger.

3. We asked our boy if he was okay today. He said he was glad to be at church since his old teacher wasn't there. The ache is searing.

4. Made treats and caroled around our street. I was such a turd. They worked so hard on cards for the neighbors, had a great attitude about making treats that they couldn't eat and I was a big fat turd. I wish I had handled their childishness with love and grace. I saw the look twice on one of my kid's faces, a crushed spirit. Hate that so much.

5. Hard day with fun and sweet moments mixed in.

6. Sad to be doing another Christmas Eve solo especially without the carrot on a stick of extended time off together afterwards. So many families do this every year. Need to find my happy heart.

7. Honestly I'm scared I'm going to screw up tomorrow like I did this afternoon. I'm so tired and such a big grumpalumpa. Thankful to have friends to go to the service with tomorrow.

8. Feel like I've dropped the ball with my neighbors. Overall I feel like a big suck wad tonight. Thankful for the reminder of Christmas and the Baby Jesus that has set this suck wad free.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭9‬ ESV)

Advent:
Thankful for the reminders of this today.

1. Jesus will help me fight against sin.

2. Forgiveness of my sin gives me hope to continue to fight the good fight.

D

Monday, December 22, 2014

DAY 1584: Advent

I feel like if I don't fall asleep right this moment I just might die.

Longest trip to Target EVER! Lost a kid and had a fun parental heart attack. Good times.

Waffle House and lights tonight. A bit wheels off but so are most things that we do. What's a family tradition without some chaos?

1 Peter 3 & Advent:
Another great chapter full of conviction. Ouch.

Love these verses:
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭8-9‬ ESV)

D

Sunday, December 21, 2014

DAY 1583: Advent

Sweet night hanging with my Chinese friend and others. Sweet getting time tonight with my first friend in Dallas. I'm always reminded of God's gracious provision when hanging around this family. Meeting Courtney is definitely a memorial stone for me. God has been so gracious to provide so many amazing friendships for us here. Thankful for the roots that go down deep here. If my Missoula dream ever comes to fruition Dallas will be easy to leave but the people will not be.

Three little Brownies sawing logs on my bed. Thankful for these sweet ones.

1 Peter 2 & Advent:
1 peter might just move up into the ranks of favorite books. Every single verse is heavy and weighty and encouraging.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬ ESV)

This is so much easier said than done. Put away ALL malice, ALL deceit, hypocrisy, envy and ALL slander. When I look at this list I have distain towards it. It's gross and I want to deprecate myself from it and not be associated with it. I want to pat myself of the back and congratulate myself for abstaining from such sin. Yet this isn't reality. It's deceitful. I am this list. I've done every single one of these things and very possibly all of them in the past 24 hours. Without Jesus, without Christmas I am nothing but a morally bankrupt scumbag. But because of Jesus I am part of a royal priesthood. As I write that, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the eyes of this world. This is one of the many things I love about God is that He takes the ways of this world and flips it upside down.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭9‬ ESV)

Thank you for plucking me out of the darkness and drawing me into your marvelous light.

D

DAY 1582: Advent

Date night tonight. So thankful for the sweet and brave family that we date swap with. Such a blessing!! Hoping we can hold on tight to them till both of our bigs are twelve. Eek! That will be here before I know it!!!! The only problem I might have when my oldest is twelve is that she might be on high demand as a babysitter. That girl is going to be running circles around me before I know it. The oldest boy has become quite the gentle babysitter for his littlest sister as well. Thankful for this sweet crew of minions and the sweet hands that watched them tonight.

Feel sorry for my hubs. Not much of a fun date these days. I know the nights of compromised sleep are not helping a thing. A sweet but shrill child screamed off and on several times an hour all night till after 4am. Maddeningly sanctifying.

Spent part of the evening dreaming of Missoula, Montana.  Life is too short to stay in this ugly city forever. Missoula sounds like a wonderland made for a crazy family like us. Montana keeps singing its siren song to us. Now if only we can figure out how to either move Montana to us or convince our favorite people to come with us.  Dreaming of one day experiencing real seasons and a White Christmas.

1 Peter 1 & Advent:
This chapter is crazy intense. The greeting itself speaks volumes. This kind of faith is crazy inspiring. It is the trials and tribulations that has made the faith of the believers in the early church something to be truly admired. There was a great cost to following Christ so one did it half heartedly. They were all in!

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭6-9‬ ESV)

I'm most definitely in a melancholy/apathetic funk. I've kicked around the notion of using the word depressed but this simply does not fit. Hope has broken forth. Yes apathy has tried to drown me but hope has been the rock that I've clung too. I'm thankful for the beautiful reminder that this hope, this Jesus is the very reason for much joy. This Christ child who was laid in a manger is the source of great joy and glad tidings to the entire world. This Jesus is why we can give thanks in all circumstances. Our circumstances will indeed change but our Lord and Savior always remains the same. Rejoice in The Lord always and again I say rejoice!!

D

Friday, December 19, 2014

DAY 1581: Advent

Not feeling great tonight. Thankful for a great day though. My poor hubs struggled with a migraine most of the day but tried to hang in there anyway. Great moments of snuggling and watching my kids enjoy each other. There's been lots of bickering lately but in the middle of the quarreling there are also the sweetest moments. Thankful for this crazy loud amazing gaggle of offspring.

Advent & Titus 3

Be ready for every good work. That's easy enough right?

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. (‭Titus‬ ‭3‬:‭1-2‬ ESV)

I can think of ways I haven't acted this way towards my own family. Lord you have lavishly poured out your Holy Spirit, help me to walk in the Spirit more and more every day.

D

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DAY 1580: Advent

Fun start to the day as friends dropped off fun treats. I realized just how long it's been since my kids have seen other humans when they started salivating all over their friends. The children were lucky today as I broke all of us out of the dungeon of isolation today. Dr appt, foraging for pizza, Braum's bribery and Satan's Village. Hopefully we didn't infect half of the northern hemisphere. 

A sweet friend went out on a limb and confessed that even though she didn't know details she put pieces together and knows what we have been struggling with lately. Thankful for her courage to just say it. Thankful for the prayers of His saints and for the tears shed with us. 

It is most definitely a season of winter. It's gray and bleak and days seem to stack upon maddening endless days. Yet I know Spring is coming. One day I'll wake up and a hint of warmth will once again be in the air and green and life will once again burst forth. Oh the hope of Spring is stronger than it's ever been before. The pruning that has occurred will result in growth that is much fuller. Lord may I rejoice greatly in suffering. As I write that I want to insert a disclaimer of sorts. I want to learn how to rejoice in suffering but please don't make we suffer this way or that way. In all that is please don't let my kids suffer. Lord pour me out as a drink offering before your throne but please don't let that suffering affect my children. 

Suffering has already affected children and it will continue to do so till the day they breath their last breath. Instead of praying that they would be spared I should be praying that we would show them how to live out suffering while rejoicing. It starts with walking through all the minor inconveniences in life with a joyful heart. This is like a spear right through my soul. I am a comfort junkie and inconveniences are like kryptonite to comfort. Not good. Need to dwell upon ways to eradicated the Comfort Creature who dwells within me. 

Fading fast now. 

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (‭1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭8‬ ESV)

Thank you Jesus!

D

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DAY 1579: Advent

This week I've struggled as our dog needs to go to the vet for his eye. Not a good time to pour money down the drain with Christmas and other bills that are due. We've yet to take him to the vet and yesterday I prayed that God would either heal his eye or provide the money to take him to vet. Tonight we discovered that somebody put an envelope of cash in our mailbox. I really think I could cry all night about this. Before we opened our mail I was encouraged to see Buster's eye looking better especially since our dryer decided to stop working tonight. Thankful we aren't in the middle of a puke fest. Regardless of all that I'm just kind of at a loss for words. 

He cares about all our chaos. He cares about our dumb dog that I love and I hate all at the same time. He cares about our dryer and all the other things. He cares about all the big things and the small things and everything in between. He cares that I can't pull together anything Christmas this year and yet I feel as if my heart needs Christmas this year more than ever. He cares and He loves even when I can't scrap myself off the couch.

I think more than ever He's drilling in that there is absolutely no need to perform. There's no need to be strong. There's no need to have it all together. I'm thankful because really I'm horrible at all of those things. God help my kids know that they are loved regardless of how they perform, if they have it together, ect. Help them know that you love them.

I hate this season and yet there is part of me that is great flu beyond words. I know God is doing something. I know deep within me that I will benefit greatly from this season. I've been forced to cease striving simply because I have nothing in me that can strive. I've got nothing to give. I've got nothing to offer. I know this is the place where I'll discover more about God than I ever have. 

There's a part of me that feels stupid for "carrying on". The sweet gal I know whose cancer is back has been given a number on her life. The cancer is everywhere. I'm grieved for her and her family. They are already walking this road with such grace. God heal this sweet precious woman. You are good if you destroy this beast that resides within her body and you are good even if you choose to heal her on the other side of eternity. Be with her, with her son and her husband. Be gracious with them Father and lavish your provision on them richly. 

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! (‭Psalm‬ ‭119‬:‭10‬ ESV)

God help me to seek you with my whole heart. My heart is so fickle and prone to wander. Bind my wandering heart to thee.

Love this from my advent reading tonight.

Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones? How can you say (really!), "Well, I'm not afraid to die but I'm afraid to lose my job"? No. No. Think!

If death (I said, death!—no pulse, cold, gone!)—if death is no longer a fear, we're free, really free. Free to take any risk under the sun for Christ and for love. No more bondage to anxiety.

If the Son has set you free, you shall be free, indeed!


D



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DAY 1578: Advent

Two sweet friends dropped off love today. Obviously my love language is food. Who knew! One sweet friend who I don't see nearly enough dropped off her famous cookies. They are so good that I'm pretty sure I'm not going to share any of them with my children and I won't tell anyone how many I've already eaten. Another sweet friend dropped off delicious dinner which was such a blessing! I ate dinner twice tonight. Life is good.

Thankful to see a sweet friend from China!!! Oh how I've missed her. Tonight barely scratched the itch though and I long for heart felt conversations on a comfy couch. Maybe a slumber party is in order while she is in town.

I think it's safe to say that I most definitely have the funk, the heart kind. I feel lost and directionless. Yet I know my God is with me in the lonely sad quiet places. I know there is purpose for this season. God has been ever so gracious during this season. God is so good even when the days do not feel that way.

Titus 1 and Advent.

D

DAY 1577: Advent

Looks like today is going to be another day oozing with unproductivity. As if my "productivity" today is really going to make much difference a month, year, or lifetime from now anyway. There are seasons to produce and seasons to lay around and snuggle with children. Today I'm choosing the latter. If I could will myself to be vertical I would do so but right now horizontal is as good as it gets.

Thankful some of my anxiousness from days previous has subsided. Thankful today I can except what today is going to be. Thankful to embrace not having to make every Christmas as magical as the North Pole. I do want my children to learn how to embrace the days as they come and give thanks for simple graces that we are bestowed and not miss beauty of the simplest joys in life.

Today I'm thankful for crispier weather that makes my heart giddy.
Thankful that the bribe of a dollar can get somewhere with my children.
Thankful to not be irritated or stressed by the massive build up of clean and dirty laundry piles everywhere.
Thankful to take the gift of today for what it is. I'm sad to say this isn't the habit of my life.
I'm thankful for six healthy wonderful children.
Thankful for a husband who has the most handsome boyish curls and whose brown eyes often sparkle with playful mischief. He is a gift and I take him for granted daily.
Thankful for Jesus, the small babe that took the world by storm humbly.
Thankful for the life of Paul. His writing and his story has always been such an inspiration and encouragement to me.
Thankful for the amazing ladies I will get to dine with tonight. Body of Christ in action. It gets me choked up every time I think about it.
Thankful for the bible translated in my language. I do take that for granted and I shouldn't. May my love for God's word grow to be insatiable.
---------------

Still grieving over how life used to be and just how much can change in such a short amount of time. Very much aware of the heaviness of my heart in crowds of people I know but who don't fully know the deep crevices of my heart these days. I think I'm beginning to understand a new level of grief of some sorts. It's weird. Although I would give anything to go back in time and change the course of our lives there is a small part of me that gives thanks for having to walk on this journey. It's the small part of me that hopes and that deep down knows that all of this has not been in vain. It's just a small part of the larger story. I do feel that I can trust that more and more. The Lord is good and if He is good then all of this must be eventually for our good too. 

Been stewing a lot on pride. To be more exact my own pride. I wish I could take a knife and cut it out. Since I can't, I want to find the avenues in my life that help to fuel my pride and arrogance. This world tells you that the way to get ahead in this life is to self promote. God show me the ways that I self promote and the areas I desire to self promote. Flip me upside down and change my heart. May I no longer view myself better than anybody else. Give me the humility to consider other peoples thoughts and ideas better than mine. May I be slow to speak but quick to listen. Give me compassion for your people. May I not find my identity in what I do or say or accomplish or anything else other than you. 

Advent - 
"The greatest danger a missionary faces is to distrust the mercy of God. If that danger is avoided, then all other dangers lose their sting."

D

Sunday, December 14, 2014

DAY 1576: Advent

Another fun night last night constantly being woken up by kiddos with crazy fever dreams. So exhausted. I'm definitely on the other side of it but two are still trying to get there and be fever free and one little stinker appears to have a double ear infection. Need to be on top of the ear drops tomorrow.

God has been so gracious in what He's placed before me to read everyday. It's been His daily heavenly kiss on the top of my head as His beloved daughter. Thankful for His graciousness to me even when I'm not gracious in return.

You fearful saints fresh courage take 
The clouds you so much dread 
Are big with mercy and will break 
In blessings on your head.

D

Saturday, December 13, 2014

DAY 1575: Advent

Feeling gross again tonight. Not moan and roll around gross but give me Benadryl so I can pass out ASAP and hopefully sleep through the nausea, lightheaded, dizzy grossness. Another day with new sickies including a really sick toddler girl and a girl who fears throwing up who threw up. The toughest kid in our bunch has handled his illness like a champ. He's like his daddy in that regard. I on the other hand tend to be more on the needy / dramatic side, imagine that. Thankful to be able embrace my needy and dramatic self more and more. This world would be so boring if it weren't for at least a little bit of drama.

Thankful for good health today. As I laid by my Bunny's side today and stroked her feverish little forehead I couldn't help but think about the parents of children with terminal illnesses. I couldn't help but think about the parents who will lay beside their little ones today and stroke their child's forehead knowing they will never get better this side of heaven. We have been blessed with good health. It's a treasured gift that I often take for granted. It's a gift I'm not guaranteed to have tomorrow either. So for today for this precious gift of today amidst the flu jungle I give thanks to God.

Today in my prayer closet, also known as the shower, the road marked out for the near future seems to be to continue to walk the difficult path. This difficult path brings out so much of my grossest humanity. I hate who I am walking this path. I hate my thoughts and the dark cloudy sin that resides inside my heart. I want to walk the difficult paths of life with grace and humility and thanksgiving. This could not be further from who I am right now. The lives of those around us, of those involved, get to go on with life. Things may be changed but hearts haven't been crushed and the world around them hasn't been tainted. I hate this saying and yet it's what is resounding in my heart, it's not fair. It's not fair is what is yelled at the top of its lungs by the toddler that is throwing a massive fit in my head. It's not fair.

It's also not fair that I ate tonight and many will go to sleep starving tonight. It's not fair that I live in a country where Ebola is not ravaging and destroying while many people do. It's not fair that people are dying of cancer and all I have to complain about is the flu. It's not fair that some parents had to bury their child today and I get to go to bed knowing all six of mine are safely in bed. It's not fair that some little girls and boys will be sold as sex slaves so that their families do not starve and my children do not have to worry about such horrors. It's not fair and yet I know in the horror and the chaos of this world God wants to offer us something so much better than what is fair. Even when evil seems like it is winning love will overcome. 

So I trust God. I trust Him while walking the difficult road. I will trust that it's okay when my sin oozes all over the place and I can't possibly take that next step without Him. As much as I hate everything about this season we are in I'm so thankful for yet another opportunity to lean not on my own understanding or operate out of my own strength but rather abide in my creator.

The verse of the day perfectly timed:
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭9‬ ESV)

Advent reading again perfectly timed:
Many of you will feel your loss this Christmas more pointedly than before. Don't block it out. Let it come. Feel it. What is love for, if not to intensify our affections — both in life and death? But, O, do not be bitter. It is tragically self-destructive to be bitter.

Acts 24-27:
Amazing how God ordains who Paul will be able to witness to. He's in all the details from the smallest to the largest.

D




Friday, December 12, 2014

DAY 1574: Advent

Thankful to say my lay down and moan bug has downshifted to feels like a cold. Fever broke in the three of us who caught the dreaded kinda flu bug. Definitely felt awful like flu for a good 24-36 hrs but since it was so short lived I'm now not convinced it was indeed influenza. Maybe we just got lucky. The Bit was definitely down for days. Thankful to be thankful to be living tonight. Last night being alive felt so horrible.

This 3 day weekend is definitely not panning out to be what I had hoped. If I'm honest I'm pretty hacked about that. A weekend on the mend is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I'm just kinda over life pooping on me. I know my joy and contentment should not be wrapped up in my circumstances. Still much room for grow. If I'm honest this weekend isn't the source of my frustration and sadness. I'm sad that I'm more content to be at home than at a party I looked forward to year after year. I was tore up the year we missed when Bella was born and had to miss. This year when I think about it all I see is missing a party that doesn't represent the same thing it once did. I see yet one more thing that's become tainted.

I'm glad things are changing. I'm encouraged by action taking place yet with each change comes the deep sting of knowing the true weight of the cost of the change that's happening. I just don't know if I can be fully on board the same way I once was. That in itself has caused a large part of my funk. I feel very much displaced. I feel like I've lost my place and my view of Christ's Bride has been incredibly tarnished. I hate all of this. There's so many painful layers and this mess feels like it will never be fully sorted out. This is why I need Christmas so desperately this year. I need to remember that God brings forth hope in the most unexpected of places. Out of the heap of rumble can come the most beautiful of things.
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Tonight I'm reminded that perspective is a powerful thing. A gal I highly respect and have looked up to over the years is about to go through round two of her battle with breast cancer. Her and her husbands first thoughts went to their son. How will he be affected by all of this? When I've placed myself in these types of situations in my mind my thoughts are the same. How would my death negatively impact the lives of my six sweet ones? There are so many painful things I know my children will endure yet I would love for them to avoid some of the big ones. I feel like in many ways one of my kiddos got hit square in the face with one of the big ones I would have loved for them to avoid. It's in the searing pain of these moments that either you are able to stand firm in God's goodness despite the many questions or not.

God I can not imagine hearing the words "the cancer is back". I don't even have the right words to say but I do know that you weep with us and you have wept with this precious family. Be gracious to them in the upcoming days of God. Continue to be gracious to me as I struggle with questions about the future for our boy, for our family and for my heart. I know I have not walked this road with grace or humility but I do pray that as the journey of life continues to unfold I would learn to do better at both.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭1‬ ESV)

Acts 22-23:
Paul's situation is dicey yet it's clear that God had worked out even the littlest of details of Paul's life to work according to the Lord's glory. This gives me hope and comfort tonight. Paul is my hero for sure

D

Thursday, December 11, 2014

DAY 1573: Advent

I feel like I got run over by a reindeer. So achy. I need a wet nurse for my baby. Wish I could just pass out but feel too horrible. Think I'll lay here and moan instead. Poor hubs has had to take care of the cranky sick while dealing with the wild things that aren't sick. Don't know what I would do without that man.

Advent reading.

Very much aware of my desperate need for the hope of Christmas this year. The hope of the Messiah who can bring beauty from ashes and order from chaos. My heart longs for the celebration of the lowly and humble King of Kings born into the most unexpected of circumstances. It's in the unexpected that He meets us here on this broken earth and offers us salvation. Lord help me to prepare my heart for the Baby King whose hope I cling to desperately.

D

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DAY 1572: Advent

I'm a tired grouchy grinch. Hormonal or exhaustion caused I'm most definitely in a funk. Boo!!! Missed girls night tonight because my brain is broken. Last night up a lot with a sweet sick little. She's perked up some this evening and I'm thankful. Hoping her fever doesn't spike again once the Motrin wears off. I haven't seen her this sick in a long time.
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Fell asleep during a family movie and woke up feeling extra special. My turn to ride the virus train I guess. No fever as of yet so I consider myself lucky so far. Thankful to be in bed.

Acts 21 & Advent
Paul is amazing. More tomorrow.

D

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

DAY 1571: Advent

I'm a grumpy foul beast and I'm pretty confident I should be put in timeout for days. Felt crazy overwhelmed today. Things are always "overwhelming" but nothing is extra special right now. I think that it's possible that the stress of the past several months have finally caught up with me and it's rendered me useless which in turn makes me feel crazy overwhelmed. I really just want to hibernate like a little fat troll for the winter. I also think it's possible my current emotional state could also just be hormonal. I could feel the "on edge" feeling surging through my veins this afternoon and upon reflecting on my lot in life I realized I'm probably just suffering from out of control hormones. I'm sure the death vomit I came home to from my dog didn't help. I've seen foul and horrible things but this sure did take the cake. What's funny about that is later the kids discovered that the pool of puke was not in fact a death puke but rather puke caused by eating my daughters birthday cake. He took the cake and we all lost.

Breaking out of my grump for just a moment a realize I have much to be thankful for. I have a sweet sick hubs who tried to serve my grumpy butt despite feeling gross tonight. I had a fun adventure today with my oldest and another fun crew. Thankful for the hands that watched my littles and hosted a birthday party so I could go do a big kid thing. The play we saw was great too. Good for my own Scrooge heart. Too bad it didn't last very long. The weather was beautiful today.

My poor Lil Bit is definitely a fevery mess tonight. Poor sweet girl think she got hit with two bugs at once. Better wrap this up and hit the hay. Could be a long night.

Acts 20:
So much in the last chunk of Acts 20. Tonight dwelling on this verse:

serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; (‭Acts‬ ‭20‬:‭19‬ ESV)

Paul was obedient despite the hardship that was caused by his obedience. Need this to sink deep and penetrate the very depths of my hearts. In this life we will have trouble. It's learning how to rejoice in The Lord always despite circumstances!

Needed this for my grumpy buns tonight.

D

Monday, December 08, 2014

DAY 1570: Advent

Thankful for a sweet hubs who got birthday surprises together for our sweet and sassy three year old girl! Had an awesome migraine last night and I was worthless. Having a hard time dealing with my newly turned 3 year old and 5 year old. Tonight I'm horrified over just how quickly time goes by. These sweet ones will be all grown up and off starting their own families before I know it! Lord help me not waste these most precious of days.

Hubster took the day off and it was a good laid back day together as a family. So thankful for days like today. So thankful for the blessing of my spunky little three year old. She is a constant reminder that God's ways and His plans are so much better than my own.

Acts 20:
So much going on here and not enough brain power to unpack it all. In the first section though what stuck out to me most is how Paul encouraged the believers where ever he went.

When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. (‭Acts‬ ‭20‬:‭2‬ ESV)

Need to dwell on what it means to be an encourager of others. Such a fantastic quality.

D

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

DAY 1569: Advent

1. Mean headache
2. Pooplosions
3. My Bunny turned three today. Can't handle it! Three years ago my framework of children was flipped upside down forever. Can't imagine not having this sweet sassafras in our family.

Acts 19:
Oh my head . This verse caught my attention the most both nights I read this.

This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (‭Acts‬ ‭19‬:‭10‬ ESV)

Paul is faithful despite what his circumstances might be. I need more of this!

D

Saturday, December 06, 2014

DAY 1568: Advent

Great day with great families today. So incredibly thankful for the people God had placed in my life and my children's lives.

My oldest was aware for the first time of my hubs and I getting crossways. I don't know how she's missed it before but she confessed it made her feel scared and sad. Lead to good refresher conversations about marriage and our commitment to each other. The hubs and I are good by the way and honestly thankful for the moments our kids do get to see us sideways.

Acts 19:
Will be back to this tomorrow but brain shot. Such a great chapter though. Oh sinful human nature versus human nature controlled by the Spirit, such a stark contrast!

D

Friday, December 05, 2014

DAY 1567: Advent

Felt dizzy and lightheaded all day long. Thank you Big D for being a giant festering armpit full of allergies. Wish I could move all my favorite people to Montana or somewhere just as beautiful with me. This place is killing me softly.

The Nest today. Well oiled machine. It's amazing what the Body of Christ can do. Incredibly thankful for the hands that served little ones so Momma's could hear the speaker.

First time I've heard or seen the speaker since a difficult meeting. I'll be honest I avoided him and yet got caught in a hall with him. Thankful he was on the phone and couldn't say more than hi. I do trust his heart and I do need to have hard conversations that I'm confident he'll respond to with grace. Words were said today that did touch a very sore spot. God has been so faithful but I need Him to continue to perform miracles. Some have already been performed and for that I'm thankful. I do continue to pray for even more.

Thankful to be holding a sweet little baby girl tonight. Nothing in this world will matter as much as the time and energy we invest in these little ones and big ones as parents.

----
Phone about to die.

Advent devo. Great. Once again opened a world I never thought about. I heart Piper.

Acts 18:
Love the brotherly love that went on in the beginning church. There's no agenda to be the head dude. Instead they all encourage each other to just speak the Gospel.

D

Thursday, December 04, 2014

DAY 1566: Advent

Feel gross tonight. Guess that's what happens when you eat hot dogs for days because you don't want to go to the store. Very distracted today and I'm pretty sure I did nothing but walk around in circles. Weird night last night too. At one point woke up to lots of fear and impending doom. So strange.

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Tonight's advent reading was about peace. So good and such a great reminder after last night.

The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God's peace is faith in the promises of God. So Paul prays, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing." And when wedo trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified.

Wish I had more in me but really feeling yuck. 

D

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

DAY 1565: Advent

Another pretty good day. If I was going to rate my day based on productivity it would be a bad day, a very bad day. It's funny a couple weeks when I was sick and couldn't muster enough energy to do anything all I wanted to do was "be productive". This week I feel fine but can't muster up enough motivation to get er done. Laundry is backing up into massive piles, things need to be cleaned, especially the kitchen counters, the to do list is never ending and yet I moved from chair to chair this afternoon. It was fantastic. Horrible homemaker this week but the kind of mom I really want to be. I really have a hard time balancing the household mundane and not letting it wag the dog. I hate the mundane and really all I want to do is play with my kids all day. I want to play their silly games with them. I want to take silly pictures and laugh a million times with them of a video of one of them saying bottom. I want to lay around together and read books for hours. But I stink so much at the other and it takes me so long just to figure out dinner and do all the other things. Then there's the thousand of distractions that happen when I'm trying to get my thing done and it never fully gets done anyway and then I end up with nothing getting done anyway. Forget the mundane! I'm going to play, at least until it drives me  completely crazy. Really wish I was more high functioning or faster in my functioning. 

Watched old videos of the kids today. I simply can't believe how fast the years have flown by. I hate it. I miss the days when school didn't have to be done bothered with. Family naps existed and laundry exploding everywhere and a dirty house was okay because who can do anything with a herd of littles. I can be more. I can be more "functional" now but I think it has lulled me into a season of not playing with them because they can play completely on their own. Those moments are now used to put a baby to bed or get a much needed task completed. The days of playing pretend with my children are slipping through my fingers. They won't always want to get in a big pile together and listen to me read. God help me not loose sight of what is most important. These days are fleeting and they are short. Help me to choose the bests thing Lord. Open my eyes to the schemes of the evil one who wants to lure me away from the most important of things. 

This advent devotional is wrecking me in such a beautiful way. Not sure if Piper wrote it but the author brings out the things I've missed for a lifetime and casts a new light on things.

There's this:
God's will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The "No Vacancy" signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. "For your sake he became poor" (2 Corinthians 8:9).

And then there's this:

And we must not forget that he said, "He who would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross."

Boom!

Oh the many things I let distract me away from a heart of gratitude. So much room for growth and yet regardless there is still so much love from a Savior. He doesn't come to condemn but rather He comes to ask "where are you?". Oh this love from a Father how can it be so? Overwhelmed by it tonight.

For YOUR sake he became poor.

D

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

DAY 1564: Advent

Good day. Lots of thinking today. Started reading Grace Based Parenting last night when I couldn't sleep yet again. So far so good. Really loved getting a sense of a child's three main driving needs: a need for security, significance and strength. As parents we offer that to our children through love, purpose and hope. It's got my wheels churning for sure.

Tonight sitting by the fire, tree lit, kids gathered round, Jesse Tree devo in progress I couldn't help but think that tonight was a small slice of heaven. It wasn't perfect. Oldest played with a camera instead if listening intently, toddler tried to find the noisiest toy to play with and baby was determined to crawl into the fire. It was beautiful though and I'm so thankful for our beautiful chaos. 

Thankful tonight for hope. Saw it expressed today in God's gracious provision. Without hope the hearts and souls of man grow weary and faint. It's hope that affords us strength in the darkest of hours. God so graciously bestows upon us hope when we feel none can be found anywhere. He is so gracious and tender to us.

 I loved this tonight from Desiring God's Advent Devo:

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah's mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

God help me to trust you knowing that you have ordained all the days of my life and the lives of my children. May I not grow faint or weary if the world around me shall continue to crumble and crash to the ground. Prone to wander Lord I feel it tether my heart to you and draw me back again if I get wooed by the things of this world. Guide Les and I as we tend to the hearts of our children, as we love our friends and neighbors and as we learn to have eyes to see the hurt, the lonely and the broken hearted.

D

Monday, December 01, 2014

DAY 1563: Advent

Started Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree Devo today. The first year we did the Jesse Tree we used her version. It's beautiful. Of course we never made it through that first year. I think it took us till our third year to actually finish a Jesse Tree Devo from start to finish. Third time is the charm eh? The only bummer about going back to this version is that it doesn't match up with the ornaments I have. As I got things ready today to start the JT I got stressed out. Not having things ready till today has made me feel super far behind on Christmas. I feel anxious that this season is going to pass us right by. I feel anxious that I'm going to miss opportunity or better yet screw it all up.

Yesterday the Sermon of the Prodigal Son hit me. I still struggle with shame and guilt. I don't wallow in it like I used to but it's undertones are always there. The rotten fruit that it bears is perfectionism, self reliance, insecurity and pride. Yummy! Frankly I can't do anything to change the fruit I'm bearing. I need the vine dresser to prune back the rotten fruit so that good fruit and abundant fruit will come forth. It all goes back to one simple thing: abiding. Am I abiding in Him? Apart from Him I'll bear nothing but junk. It's in this abiding that the shackles and chains of shame, perfectionism, self reliance, insecurity and pride fall away. Oh to breath in deep to the very breath of Jesus. To drink deep from His fountain that never runs dry. 

I haven't been abiding. I've tried but my many questions have kept me distant. 

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (‭Psalm‬ ‭42‬:‭11‬ ESV)

Although I've seen God's provision in many ways there has been a part of my soul that has remained stuck on "why". Yesterday for the first time my "I'm trying to trust you" has finally yielded to "I don't understand but I trust you". I trust you God with my precious boy. I wish that this would be my hardest obstacle to placing my child on the altar but I know this is the first of many. Of the three opportunities I've had this year to surrender my children over this one has been the hardest. After all of this I realize just how frail I truly am. I am simply nothing without Jesus. I know this and yet I know tomorrow I will still choose to pick up my heavy mantle of self reliance. This is where the abiding and cease striving once again reminds me that I am frail and weak and yet it's okay. I'm surrounded by the love of the King of Kings who came to rescue the frail and the weak.

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These verses caught my eye and tied together from tonight's JT about looking for the hearts that need to know Jesus.

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. (‭Acts‬ ‭17‬:‭16-17‬ ESV)

God may my heart be provoked within me when I see people who desperately need you. Give me courage to love boldly and to proclaim truth boldly. Give me eyes to see the lonely, the broken hearted and the desperate. Give me eyes that see and words upon my tongue.

D

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