Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Washed with Tears

"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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" Isaiah 1:18

A Sinful Woman Anoints Jesus, taken from Mark 14, Luke 7, John 12
from the Jesus Storybook Bible
"The woman knelt down before Jesus like he was a king. She held Jesus' feet in her hands and started to cry. Her tears fell onto Jesus' feet, washing them. She kissed his feet and dried them with her long, dark hair. And then she did something strange. She broke the jar and poured the perfume all over his feet. Jesus looked at the woman, and he smiled. This woman had anointed Jesus--not with oil, but with her tears. The Important People were cross. They thought Jesus should not be kind to this woman. "That woman is a sinner!" they grumbled. "This woman knows she's a sinner," Jesus told them. "She knows she"ll never be good enough. She knows she needs me to rescue her. That's why she loves me so much. "You look down on this woman because you don't look up to God. She is sinful on the outside--but you are sinful on the inside." Jesus turned to the woman and smiled. "Your sins are forgiven," he said. "You trusted me. And God has rescued you!"

Twice in this story Jesus looked at the woman and smiled. What a beautiful picture. I read this story and immediately think of myself like the woman. But the reality is I am one of the Important People. If asked in any context outside of the "christian bubble," I would never say I want to be identified as weak, poor, sinful, broken. It's too humiliating, too ugly. Too true. Weakness is a word to be feared in our world. Not to be desired. Yet over & over we see it esteemed in Scripture. Not weakness as the world sees, but weakness as defined by Christ. Weakness that brings me humbly to my knees in tears as I worship the One who has rescued & redeemed me from the sin that consumes my insides. Weakness that calls me to boast because through it Christ's power rests in me and causes me to be strong. Weakness that draws me to giving up my greatest treasure because of the One I am loved by. As my husband reminds me, Jesus cannot ignore a humble heart. In light of Easter, in light of the sacrifice of Jesus, I pray for weakness, I pray for humility, I pray for a deep yearning to have Him increase and me decrease.

Again, I am included a favorite hymn...because the words speak to the desires of my heart. To be found in Him alone.

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Remembrance & Springtime

Every 3 months Andrew always gets a good laugh at me because I absolutely LOVE the changing of seasons. He likes to say my favorite season is the next season. They just always come so perfectly. With winter turning to spring I am again LOVING it and blissfully happy as we play in the 60 something degree weather, watch the trees and flowers begin to blossom, hear the birds sing their little diddies, and so forth.

This spring has been especially fun because we decided to focus on Lent with our kiddos and it has been amazing to me how beautifully Lent coincides with spring. You all probably already knew this stuff but it's been new to me. I did some pre-Lent research and planning to decide the best way to teach the kiddos and learned lots of great things. For starters, Lent actually means springtime. We decided to use our favorite Bible (Jesus Storybook Bible) to repeat 5 stories surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus over the course of Lent. We've picked a couple Bible verses to memorize and new hymns to learn. Andrew & I tend a little "old school" and teach our kids songs from a hymnal. We love it and the words are so good. We also picked several words that we want our kids to begin understanding such as holy, crucifixion, resurrection, and a few more. Each week we talk about what they mean and how they relate to Lent and Easter. Madeline & Simeon have been doing great with it all. They remember some, forget a lot, but pay attention and seem genuinely interested in what we are talking about.

Personally, I am learning a lot, too. I was trying to explain Lent to Cyrenthia & ended up teaching myself in the process. I've always turned my nose up a bit toward Lent as a legalistic Catholic holiday (hello snobby, arrogant, uneducated self). I thought, I should be remembering His sacrifice always, not just on a holiday. Thankfully, Jesus has been humbling me, teaching me, and changing me through His Word. Yes, it is true I should be living in light of the sacrifice Jesus paid for me, but it is so good for me to intentionally push myself to experience in a small way His sacrifice which in turn pushes me to humility before Him as I recognize my weakness, my inability, my constant failure. I want to remember, so I can see Him more clearly. So I can love Him more. So I can receive His grace and love and walk with Him.

Just as spring gives way to new life from death, the season of Lent is causing me to remember with humility and gratitude Jesus, my Rescuer, who gives me a way to new life from death. So incredibly thankful.

Our new hymn is "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood." If you don't know it you should learn it. It is a great one.

There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.
Wash all my sins away,
wash all my sins away;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
shall never lose its power
till all the ransomed church of God
be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more,
be saved, to sin no more;
till all the ransomed church of God
be saved, to sin no more.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die;
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
lies silent in the grave.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing thy power to save.
I'll sing thy power to save,
I'll sing thy power to save.
Then in a nobler sweeter song,
I'll sing thy power to save.

Friday, March 18, 2011

a post for my sweetie

Yesterday we celebrated Andrew's 29th birthday. And yes, his birthday is on St. Patrick's Day. And yes, we go a bit extreme with the green. But it's fun. And he is worth celebrating in any way we want! I am so thankful for Andrew. I thought I should do something creative to the tune of a funny Irish jig but what was I thinking? I am not that talented. Here are the top 29 reasons (I am a good organizer & list maker :) we love & are so thankful for Andrew.

1. He rubs my feet.
2. He makes up crazy songs for every activity.
3. He wrestles.
4. He patiently edits papers.
5. He walks with Jesus as his best friend.
6. He gives great belly shots.
7. He plays Madeline & Pepito.
8. He makes coffee cake every weekend.
9. He lets Simeon sit on every lawnmower at Lowes.
10. He makes Anna giggle.
11. He makes devotions a family priority.
12. He feeds Anna & doesn't make her suffer the wiping of her face.
13. He takes me on a date every week.
14. He reads Scripture outloud and prays with me.
15. He loves competition.
16. He is learning to be handy.
17. He lets me sleep in while he feeds the kids breakfast.
18. He encourages my strengths.
19. He lets the kids climb all over him.
20. He guards her heart.
21. He is well disciplined.
22. He teaches me Jesus through his example.
23. He loves his job and works well.
24. He pours into the lives of others.
25. He loves to read.
26. He loves to play games.
27. He is wise with money.
28. He washes the dishes.
29. He loves us all so well.

Sorry it's a day late but we sure do love you like crazy! Feel free to add your own reasons & I will pass them along.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Faith in the Little

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'" Matthew 25:21

When I decided to begin re-blogging & my wonderful friend Rachel offered to beautify it she told me I needed a title. So I began thinking. Of course I wanted something that was catchy & read "she's so effortlessly impressive". Hello sinful self. I have this ugly desire that continually creeps into and seeps out of my life. It is the desire to be known. To get a pat on the back. Be acknowledged. Thought highly of. Made a big deal out of. Be complimented (publicly of course). And so on. So ugly. And even though I see it & hate it about myself, even though I seem to be repenting of this OFTEN, I still want all those things.

So in the midst of coming up with a title for my blog God was again pruning my heart of my selfishness. And, as often He does, it came through my hubsy. We weren't even talking about my blog...we were just talking about life. Mine & his. Our kids. What we were "doing" with our lives. How were we honoring God? Glorifying His Name? Serving Him, loving Him, obeying Him, giving ourselves up for Him? I shamefully admit to Andrew, God, and now you, that I am willing to do anything He calls us to but I really want it to be BIG and NOTICABLE and IMPRESSIVE and so on. And through these emotions, my sweet patient Andrew, and my sweet patient Jesus, I am pruned. I hear Him asking me, are you faithful now? With your family? With your parenting? With loving your husband? With your sacrificial giving? With your church? With your friends? With Me? And the bigger question, are you satisfied in Me? Am I enough? He loves me, gives me life, surrounds me, upholds me...why do I look for more in the dark nothingness?

So my prayers become Lord, give me faith in the little so I can be faithful over a little. Not little in the sense of unimportant. But little in the eyes of the world. Unnoticed. Unacknowledged. Unappreciated. But great in the eyes of the one who created me. The One who called me from darkness to Light. The One whose approval is all that matters. In the eyes of the One I desperately want to love and live for. What a beautiful promise the master gives the servant in Matthew 25, enter into the joy of your master. Wow-that is where I want to be.

I love the hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and especially the last verse, what joy to be guided & cheered by the Presence of God. So glad He is Faithful always.

Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


I wish my mind would somehow record my thoughts onto paper. It would be super helpful when I forget why I walked from one room to another, forget the four items I need to add to my grocery list, and, my current frustration, forget all the mind-blowingly fabulous blogs I could be writing. So I settle for whatever flows from my end of the day fried & tired mind & have to be happy with it.

This weekend was WONDERFUL! Here a a few happies & random thoughts from our fam.

I love that Madeline & Simeon get so excited over a small black bug they find as we do yard work. Even more, I love how giggly they get when it crawls on their hands.

My hubby took me on a lovely bike ride & Panera date-it was perfect.

I love that Anna sleeps well-who wouldn't? As the sleep dr. says, a well rested baby rests well. Which usually means they wake & play well too. She is so fun.

We have some obnoxious animal(s) digging up our yard. I mean, seriously. Possibly 200-300 holes. So. Annoying. Hopefully the stinky granules we purchased and sprinkled will do their job & repel.

Simeon has this cute/annoyingish habit of refusing to quit saying whatever is on his mind until someone acknowledges him. For example, as Andrew & I are in the middle of a conversation, and from across the room, "Daddy, wanna wrestle? Daddy, wanna wrestle? Daddy, wanna wrestle?" Multiply that times 100 & all. day. long. Someone please acknowledge the boy!

Lastly, Madeline's love language is QUALITY TIME (she is so my daughter) & she also loves to sing. So today we took her to "big" church with us to sit through worship. I had Anna in my lap, Andrew was standing, & Madeline was standing in the chair next to him. She was swaying to the music & just reached over and held Andrew's hand. Melt a mama's heart! So sweet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

which baby is which?

love these pics...can you guess which is Madeline & which is Anna?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Ren!

Sweet Ren,
Happy birthday to you my friend! I cannot put into words how much I love you. Our entire family is blessed to know you and so glad to get to watch you grow into a beautiful young woman of God. In case you ever forget, here are a few reasons you mean so stinkin' much to us!

1. You challenge our family to be more like Jesus.
2. You laugh at all his jokes and generally believe all his made up stories.
3. You have an incredible zest for life.

1. You love my cooking. :) And love cooking with me.
2. You worship Jesus with your whole heart, mind, body, and soul.
3. You talk to yourself all the time (and sing, too)'s so cute.

1. You play never ending amounts of Madeline & Ramona & Beezus with her.
2. You let her DR. you.
3. You give her bonus treats.

1. You set up his train table so wonderfully.
2. You play ball with him.
3. You give him bonus treats.

1. You wear dangly earrings that she can grab.
2. Your smile makes her smile.
3. You hold her and tell her she is so cute.

We love you, Ren!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

a humble mama brag that makes me smile

Not sure if you can have a humble brag but anyway. We've been attempting a weekly Bible study since last September and shockingly it hasn't ended in total disaster each week as I gear up all three kiddos to get out the door, from a parking lot inside a church, and back again. I love the Bible study for myself but even more I have loved it for Madeline & Simeon. Madeline especially loves it! We come home & play Bible study for hours...singing songs, learning about Isaiah, playing games, and talking with our friends. Super cute. We usually always do the same things when playing Bible study but today they busted out a new song & together sang,

Good morning, God.
This is your day.
I am your child.
Show me your way.

It was a melt your heart mama moment & I think I need to be singing that tune everyday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Andrew & I spent the past weekend at a conference on orphan care. We weren't sure what to expect but really had a great time hearing from so many people who are working both locally and globally to love as Christ calls us to love and to care for the fatherless. More thoughts on all this later but I will share a bit from one of the sessions I went to. The topic was "honor your father & mother" and was a conversation centered on how to incorporate & honor Simeon's birth family, culture, and country. Much of the talk was on talking to your children about their adoption story. The woman who led the discussion was adopted from Vietnam and continued to press the importance of letting the child lead, creating a safe and positive environment in which he can ask questions, and showing him we will always be there to listen and love. Over the last two years since we began the process of bringing Simeon home I have thought A LOT about his birth mother and how we would share his story with him. What questions will he ask? When will he ask them? How can we ever convey to him the depth of our love for him? Over and over I am brought to Scripture that brings me back to the same truth...I too am adopted. I was chosen, sought after, redeemed. I am an heir to the kingdom of God my Savior and no one can snatch me from His hands. I belong to His family. I am written in the palms of His hand. When I was pregnant with Anna, Madeline asked me often why Anna was in my tummy and if she had been in my tummy. This didn't exactly prompt Simeon to ask (he didn't really care) but it made me think of how I would respond to him. Later, when Madeline asked if Simeon was in mama's tummy I knew what I wanted Simeon to know in the depths of his heart for all his life. No, he was never in my tummy. But God placed him in my heart. He is our family. He is an heir. He carries our name and no one can snatch him out of the love we have for him. His name is written in my heart. My prayer for him, and all my children, is that they would experience the joy of redemption and adoption by our Heavenly Father when they believe and call upon His name for salvation.

"Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands" Isaiah 49:16

"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to be children of God" John 1:12

"Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir."
Galatians 4:6-8