I know one of the things I shared yesterday about my walk in prayer with Christ was writing my thanksgivings. One of the books I read during that time was from Ann Voskamp named “One Thousand Gifts”. She talks about us being fully in the moment and knowing God when we intently/actively give thanks, eucharisteo
It is very easy for us to name the big (constant) things in our lives like our spouse, our child(ren), home, car, electricity, job, etc. Which is great!What happens when all those disappoint, or you want something more to be thankful for because you say that daily? I look back at two days ago, and God allows me to see my thanksgivings. Logan is sick with a high fever feeling like hot coals. By 2am, he is in my bed, cuddling. He asks for milk, thirty minutes later I give him medicine, and within a minute that chalky texture of Tylenol makes him vomit all over my side of the bed. We are reminded a second fitted sheet needs to be purchased. We piece twin sheets together, gather our blankets from around the house, and we settle back in by 4am. Brody wakes up at 5am, I tend to him, and he falls back asleep. So… I reflect on my thanksgivings in moments like that because if you can’t do it in moments like this you won’t find joy in the hardest of times.
So, I list: 1) A fever, it means his body is responding within to fight off something that is making him sick. 2) He is cuddling with me. 3) Milk is gives nutritionally value. 4) Medicine is at arms reach because when you go to Haiti and this is not so easily accessible you know the treasure you have. 5) Scratch out #3 ;) I don’t find thanks in milk that has curd within a five year old’s body then expelled on my bed. I guess if I liked cottage cheese I’d have a thanks. ;) 6) Febreze!!! It gives a scent that hides the fact that this happened on my side of the bed. It’s 3am people, Febreze is my hero at the moment! 7) My husband getting up to help (without an ounce of complaint or sigh) and clean things up even when he has to be at church in roughly 4 short hours. 8) My bed it’s been tainted but comforts us all anyways. 9) Brody bright eyed without a care in the world. 10) “I love you, Mom.” After all that! :D
There’s a beauty in silence and just to be still. I’m reminded of the times that Jesus went to be alone. Before choosing the 12 disciples he spent a day away in prayer, and before Satan tempted him he spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness. One that always gets me is when John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus went out into a boat to just be still. What happened? A crowd heard of this and went to find Jesus. It was the five thousand. He feeds them when he could’ve just sent them to the town to eat. Could you imagine? The man that leapt in his mother’s womb when your mom visited his mom dies horrifically, you go to be still, and a crowd comes and you show compassion, begin to heal the sick, and feed them. Wow… There is an importance to silence and being still. What does Jesus teach us about this importance? 1) It is necessary. 2) It allows us to listen. 3) It prepares us for things to come. 4) It gives us the opportunity to have clear thoughts. 5) It brings us to a place to be more like Christ, like Him.
When I had Logan, my prayer life changed drastically. I was going on no sleep, a baby crying every two hours for something (including evening), and teaching Luk during the day. I remember weeping daily in the shower begging God for patience and meekness. Slowly my prayers became me weeping in utter silence, then just silence, listening, and writing my thanksgivings. There are days were I am so busy I forget to just be still when I come to God. I start spouting my desires and concerns, the end. I remember to share my heart and forget to allow God to share His. Lately, I’ve been reminded to just listen. The past few months I’ve just been silent, some days are silent with weeping, and some I just sit. There’s beauty in silence and being still. It allows us to come to God submissive to His will, His discipline, His compassion, and His love.
As I take a break from FB and just see IG, I think back nine years when I was pregnant with this boy. I remember talking with Reson about what he would look like, who he would be like, and how does God even trust us with him. I laugh because never once did it cross my mind that this kid would get on my ever loving nerves. I say that confidently and with the utmost truth. Reson and I used to think he was just like His daddy. Then God taught us otherwise. You see the reason my husband’s patience level is soo low for Logan is because Logan is his daddy! Logan though still learning to control his emotions, he is the most patient child. He will sit, wait and listen. He is his daddy. I was teaching Luk math facts (math is of the devil), and there it was… It was me!!! Holy cow, this first born of mine is me to a degree that drives me insane! I see my sin coming to life in a nine year old. It’s really such a humbling experience for God to give you this sight. Children are such a huge part of a parent’s sanctification. The beauty in seeing me in Luk is seeing the other parts of me in him. I have found that one of the hardest things to do is extend grace especially when it’s a person that does what you do. I fight giving myself grace. I want to just punish myself because if I punish myself enough I won’t do it again. Satan is great with the whispered lies. I fight daily to give myself the grace that Christ has given me, the grace he gives us all.
Today, God gave me a glimpse of a way Satan tries to attack my son. He came home from church sharing that someone almost offended him due to something said about me, but that he was able to practice self control. I giggled inside, it wouldn’t be the first time to have someone say something of me. So, I ask what happened. A kid told Luk, “my mom is awesome and your mom is lame!” Luk’s response, “you don’t even know my mom.” Seems so small, but so big to my eight year old. I explained how God was glorified in his self control, and I was proud. I shared that I can be lame. He exclaimed while giving me a huge hug, “But you are awesome!” So, hug your kids listen to their hearts, Satan attacks. We must be diligent to recognize it.
I remember sitting in a room at a conference being read Genesis 1. Jimmy Scroggins read how God created and “it was good.” It… is… good… I realized my ideas or understanding of the word “good” was so misconstrued. What I saw the world was telling me was good wasn’t looking too good when comparing it to what God sees as “good.” My sinful nature will try and misconstrue so much. It is a battle within the flesh. May I always thrive to see things the way God calls for me to see it.
Where I am today, verses where I was when I experienced my first miscarriage, I can clearly see how God has grown my heart, my mind, and my spirit. The significance of the pruning in my life has been more than extensive! Where our marriage has been sanctified has been mountainous. The sorrow has been great, and yet I can’t help but have a joy in God allowing me to see this transition in our lives. I am humbled that He would give me a glimpse of this pruning and sculpting. I think we can get so caught up in our sorrow we can miss the beauty in it. The reality that two beautiful children will greet me and lead me to worship Christ is an amazing truth. They aren’t Angels. They are humans knit together in His image. They aren’t watching over me, praise God! They are in a far better place, in His throne room worshipping their very Creator. Wow! That is a hope far greater than anything I can think of.
Tears are shed as Satan tries to imbed his lies into my ears. “It’s your fault you lost the baby.”
“What could you have done to keep that baby safe?”
The truth from Christ is that He is the creator of life. He is in control of my life. I am reminded that my three boys sanctify me to be more like Christ as I teach them, as they grow to be men, and as we bump heads in disagreement. My two children in Heaven sanctified me through their short time in my womb. They led me in different ways to worship their/our Creator. They led me to fall on my knees because I could no longer stand. The reality is God gives you way more than you can handle because He wants you to give it all to Him. He wants that bare bone sacrifice to Him.
As Easter Sunday morning came around and I dragged myself to church, God reminded me of His goodness. I received unwanted hugs and condolences, but He reminded me this is your family. We mourn together, and we share joy together. I am incredibly grateful for their love even when I think I don’t want it. God has been too good to me to have them in my life.
My church family has cried with me and laughed with me. They have come to help us with the boys, brought us meals (and Pepsi), texted and messaged me to see how I’ve been, and just sat with me as I sat silently. My heart is filled for love and joy for each of you.
To my parents, thank you for coming even when I told you “no”. To my boys, you may never understand how your sweet words and tears have meant the world to me. It hurt to hear, but for Luk to hug me and say, “Mom, I love you and this is my support hug. I’m sad, too.” My heart leapt at his compassion. For Logan to say, “Mom, I’m sad, but God gave us you, daddy, Luk, me, and Brody.” My heart filled with truth at my blessings and his optimism.
To my Husband, I am not sure that my words are enough. You sat in silence because I was silent. You set up a hammock haven for me to just cry out to God. You held me when the tears made me tremble. You worshipped with me when the melody was more like wailing. I love you, and I could not imagine walking through life with any other person. I am overwhelmed by your partnership.
God is incredibly faithful. God is more than God, He is holy and the One true and living God!
Each year when December 1st rolls around life feels like it’s spiraling out of control! Satan kicks it into high gear to shift our family’s focus from the one thing we should focus on, Christ. Now, he does this all time, but when the world is throwing commercials of all the toys and things you NEED to have, or sale events making you think that you have to spend more money to get the right deal, it all just becomes too much.
It’s almost a crushing feeling. The years this feeling has become less crushing. When our oldest son was just three and a half years old, we decided that we need things to change. Our second son would growing up to a normal, while our oldest would barely remember the shift. Five years in the making, we have transformed Christmas to be about the root of our lives, Christ. Santa would take a back seat, and everyday we make a choice to focus on Him. Really the first year we began this Advent celebration, it shaped our everyday lives. It wasn’t that we didn’t focus on Christ before this everyday, but being so deliberate, so intent on making Him known in our home every moment we can.
Being a Christian is our identity. So, He engulfs everything that we do.
With that, our first day we are reminded that He is the LIGHT of the WORLD. Truth in the Tinsel is a wonderfully fun way to incorporate crafts with the truth of the Gospel.
However, this is just a small part of what we do. It starts our day off in a great direction. We get to go beyond devotional time, and craft something that glorify God.
I love seeing their dedication to making the best ornament to represent this characteristic of God. He is LIGHT to a dark world. He is TRUTH. He is FOR everyone!
When we began this journey (four years ago), we started with Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Journey Devotional. So much has developed with her ministry in the past two years, and we have been so blessed to be apart of it from our home. This past year, she created a new Jesse Tree devotional, and we began that last night. My heart was incredibly full reading the scripture, the devotional, and starting our prayer list.
The prayer list was something new, and it was incredibly beautiful. I have found that many of the most exposing times with our boys has been when we pray together. It just exposes the essence of their hearts. Our shift of focus on Him and others happens. We strip to our bare souls letting Him in. It just makes our tree adorned with Scripture and our candles being lit out of rememberance for Him lift our crushing burdens. Out of the stump of Jesse comes hope! The hope of a Savior!
Each day lights the path to His birth.
So, when you think you need more, or that you just didn’t get enough. Remember His hope, it is all you need, and it is enough!