He is Risen Indeed.

THIS Easter, I think I feel a NEW depth of what Christ has done for me, in His incredible act of love on the cross.

The weather has been beautiful these past few weeks…really gorgeous weather…there is new life springing up all around us…such beautiful flowers…beautiful blossoms.  I am asking Him for NEW LIFE through Him this Easter…recognizing HIS love in dying for someone who did not love him, but who now bears His righteousness as His child because of this great act of love.  He brings beauty forth in New Life.

The kids and I did a simple lesson on Good Friday this year…I felt it really hit home for all of us this year.  We made a lego garden and prayed…fell asleep…and prayed…fell asleep…and prayed again.  Lewis commented that he would not have fallen asleep the 3rd time on Jesus.. ;).  We took a bear and a lion, to represent Christ’s arresters, and taped Jesus to the cross, and talked about how much He must have loved us…each…to die for us even while we were still sinners.  They were really moved by this.  Hannah laid down on the kitchen floor after I put the cross magnet back up on the fridge…and told me she was sad, so we all decided to lay down together and pray and thank Him for His love.  It was a sad moment on Good Friday, but I was careful to explain the joy of Sunday to come!!!

We spent the rest of the day picnicking yesterday and today, hiking at Weston State Park and eating at O’Malley’s Irish Pub Restaurant, one of our favorite places.  The sun was beautiful, shining down on our faces and we crossed paths with other believers celebrating the joy of Easter.

Really, I cannot fathom the sacrifice that Jesus made for me.  This past week, Emma was sick and teething and very upset–she was unable to eat or sleep much throughout the week.  She alone was a handful for me to bear.  I am thankful for all the ways God provided for me.  I am thankful she ate for the first time again yesterday.  I am left at the end of the week feeling well acquainted with my own weakness.  To think He went to the cross, not just out of obedience, but out of JOY, and LOVE, and DESIRE for me to be saved…is more than I can fathom.  This is LOVE.

I long, more than anything else, for my family and I to love God and others the way that Christ has loved us.  Only by His grace can this dream come true.

Happy Easter 2014.  May His love guide you and enable you.

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True Joy.

If we cannot suffer with joy, then there is no glory given to God.  His purpose in our suffering is to bring about perseverance and His righteous character in ourselves, and to bring glory to Him through our obedience, trust, faith, and JOY in suffering.  But, if there is no joy, there is only pity, and any attention to ourselves, is glory stolen from God, even if unintended.

My mind wanders again to my sweet, late mentor, Linda Dunlap.  She suffered much pain as her body battled cancer for years, 3 bouts with it, and then she lost her arm to it, and finally her life.  I never remember anything coming from her mouth, except pure JOY, THANKSGIVING and TRUST in everything God was doing in her life.  She talked a little bit about what she was going through, but there was no attention stolen from God…no glory given except to HIM.  I am so blessed to have known such saints of His.  To have these memories of our conversations together, still so vivid in my mind.  To have this example to follow.

God’s standard is so far beyond me.  We know not when our suffering will end.  Where do we set our hope?  On the end of our suffering?  Shall I say to myself, just 8 more weeks?  Is that where my hope lies?  My hope is in HIM.  My strong tower, deliverer, healer, and lover of my soul.  My hope, as so many devotions have led me, is in heaven.  The promise of eternal life with NO pain, basking in His overwhelming love.

I am CERTAIN of His love for me, and learning this JOY, that transcends all pain.

This day, He tells me, let Thanksgiving be your guide and the wings that carry your prayers into my heavenly throne.  Let me take charge of your day and walk purposefully with me.

To Him be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

 

A thirst for souls…

God wants us to have a thirst and hunger for the salvation of souls…as He does…and sometimes, the desire for salvation can be overwhelming for us…and of course, way outside our control.  We can only do the things God asks us to do…(plant the seeds)…and thankfully, the rest is in His hands.  There is weeping and longing…a hunger and thirst in my heart right now…and it produces earnest prayer and desire to the Lord.  My heart cries out.  I know He will hear me.  I know He wants me to feel like this for the unsaved.  But, as I cry out to Him….I release it into His loving, caring, and Sovereign hands.  I am praying confidently, bodly, lovingly, with full assurance of Salvation of the lost/suffering/and those in bondage.

More ways God Equips!

Steady Walking 🙂

Today, we went to get Hannah fitted for casts for braces for both of her feet.  We are so thankful for God’s continual provision for her!  We cannot believe how well she is walking already, considering she just started 2-3 weeks ago!  Did I mention she is walking EVERYWHERE???  It is really hilarious because she has some serious toddler confidence…out of nowhere.  Hannah is a pretty shy, quiet, little graceful one…and once she started walking, her personality started blooming!  She even tried to walk right down a slide….good thing mommy was right there to grab her hand just in time 🙂  She wants to walk everywhere…in ponds..down slides…she has NO FEAR.  She likes the tallest slides the most.

We are so excited to see her confidence.  We are so excited to see that she can even walk with the way her ankles are positioned.  It has been hard for her to balance…but she has managed.  And now, we have just the right help (it was tough to know exactly what the problem was…and we have tried many different things to understand what the issue was with her development and walking).

Here is a bit of a spiel of what life has been like for little Hannah the past year or so:

Hannah has battled quite a few things in her short life so far.  Beginning at 6 months, there were questions and concerns that the doctors and we had about her development.  At 9 months, she started getting x-rays.  Then, there were a lot of evaluations for her development….a cyst that popped up, blood tests, then a lymphoma scare somewhere in there that came a little bit out of the blue….more blood testing and a cat scan to rule that one out….a trip to a hospital far away for a surgery consultation and then again for surgery to get that cyst out (cancer free, thank the Lord)…it took months to get both of those appointments…more sickness…and trips to the doctor because of that (for all of us really…except daddy!)…a referral for EDIS (early devlopmental intervention specialist), because after a year, she still wasn’t bearing any weight on her feet, but instead lifted them up and cried out, the EFMP (exceptional family member program), and more evaluations.  Referrals to hospitals far away…with more x-rays…a possible MRI of her brain….a physical therapy consultation….our week revolving around Hannah and help for Hannah (1 EDIS session a week and 2 trips to physical therapy a week), and each evaluation coming back to us with more recommendations for more help (a speech pathologist, etc)—– FINALLY, after much prayer throughout and and then seeking the Lord particularly for help with the chaos and uncertainty….an idea came to Brian and I to consider just what she might be struggling with the most.  We focused on that. Canceled EVERYTHING else.  Hannah got a break 🙂 And mommy felt FOCUS and PEACE!!!!  We are giving all the other devlopmental stuff to the  Lord.  We are focusing on her feet.  May it all rest in HIS hands.

Today the doctor casted Hannah’s feet and recommended either an SMO (instead of the other one, I forget what it is called)…which is a good thing and means she is doing even better than they thought!  She will wear the shoes that they create from the casts in some bigger shoes that we need to go find.  They even come in cute little butterflies 🙂

We are thankful.  We get to pick them up in 2 weeks and continue to watch the Lord equip Hannah to WALK…as He already has…and now she will be able to walk WELL (in time)!

Public Confession

I found this on the refrigerator of my husband’s barracks room in Korea…we had to stay there for two weeks before we moved into a house and it was very helpful to get me through that time of transition.  May it be a blessing unto you and your family too.  It was a little piece of paper that said:

“The Word of God is my covenant book.  I am what it says I am.  I have what it says I have.  I can do what it says I can do.  I declare today in the name of my Lord Jesus, that I will not be defeated, discouraged, depressed or disappointed.

I have a covenant with Jesus Christ–everything that belongs to him, now belongs to me–everything that belongs to me–now belongs to Him.  I will never be the same.  I accept the seed of God in my life. 

Any adversity, dream busters, attack, accidents and tragedies that were headed my way are diverted right now in Jesus’ name. 

I speak to the raging waters in my life: Shalom, be still.

I say to my emotions, peace, be still.

I say to my mind, peace be still.

I say to my body, peace be still.

I say to my home, peace be still.

I say to my family, peace be still.

Now I speak to:

every mountain of fear

every mountain of discouragement

every mountain of stress

every mountain of lack and insufficiency

And I say, “Be removed and cast into the sea in Jesus’ name!” (Mark 11:23) I expect the best day of my life spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and financially today in Jesus’ name!”

My Hope is in Him

God's ways are higher than our ways...

As I look at my circumstances from time to time…I don’t necessarily SEE hope.  God’s Word calls us to walk by faith and not sight.  God’s Word tells us our Hope is in Him…not our circumstances.  Are any of you struggling with waiting on God’s answer to prayer?  I can relate to that right now.  As I looked at our prayer list this morning, I wondered “How Long O Lord?” 

Korea was a time of AMAZING and MIRACULOUS answer to prayer for our family.  It was really incredible.  We prayed.  God answered.  Then, we prayed for more.  God answered with more.  He did miracles right before our eyes.  My heart was on FIRE for Him.  I was so excited about the power of prayer!!!

The past year has been a season of testing for us.  My faith is tested in every way.  I want to BELIEVE in fullness of CERTAINTY…RIGHT NOW.  I don’t see a lot of things happening that I would LOVE to see.  I am praying His Will be done…I am confessing my sins (just in case that is the problem…)…and waiting.  It is SO hard when you are asking for things you know The Lord also desires….it tempts you to DOUBT. 

I have come to the point now in my faith that I don’t necessarily doubt God (read God’s answer to Job!!!  It is powerful!).  BUT, I doubt my understanding of His voice and His promises and His desires.  The only thing I can do is read more Scripture, pray more fervently, and seek Him more in everything.  And that is GREAT!  I feel like doubt always leads me to seek the Lord even further.  I think it is good when doubt leads you to do that.  BUT…it shouldn’t lead you away from the Lord.  Anything or any thought that leads you away from the Lord should be cast away.  The Lord doesn’t want you to have anything in your life that will lead you away from Him.  It is always a good thing for me to look at my life and see what is unpleasing to the Lord…and cleanse myself from it.  Everything I do this, I am drawn closer to Him.  I do this often.  It is surprising to me how quickly unholy things creep back up into our lives.  But, the Enemy is subtle and works slowly oftentimes.  Little decisions.  Little negotiations.  He is cunning. But, he has no power over you.  Cast him away.

My hope is in Him.  I trust in His POWER.  His Word.  His Promises.  His Sovereignty.  His Goodness.  As I wait…I am setting my heart on His qualities and picturing in my mind all the wonderful plans He has for me…and all those I love.