Monday, March 31, 2014

sometimes I eat ice cream for dinner...

and I think that's an okay thing to do.

Let me tell you why.


This word that floats in and out of our mouths all the time.  We all know what it means.  And yet it is this weird thing to me.  It is supposed to mean "a short period of time that will end soon so power on sista" but really life is just one short time that runs into the next short time that runs in to the next short time and so on and so on.

Does that mean I am always needing to power through?

I hope not.  I don't want to just make it through a season, tough it out, look for the light at the end of the season, hold on tightly because it goes by so fast, or any of those other phrases I've been told and told to others as an attempt at encouragement.

I think this phrase, just a season, can become an excuse and escape.  Factually, it's probably true.  Whatever life you are in right now is just a season.  But the implications that come with saying that need to be fought out of our minds.  Saying it isn't usually encouraging.  It's more like a conversation stopper.  It is like saying just sit and deal the best you can until it blows by.  That's sounds rough so good luck friend and all I can offer you is this, "it's just a season."

Who walks away from that feeling lifted up?

Dwelling on things just being a season makes me think drowning and feeling negative is the right thing to feel because, after all, it is my season.  Not reading the Word, losing patience with my kids, making no time for date's just a season.  This is such a huge misguided statement!  I need someone who will look me in the eye and tell me that my frustration is actually sin.  My impatience with my kids isn't excusable because it's a tough season.  My lack of getting in the Word isn't justified because I'm tired.  I need to be pointed to Jesus.  Pushed to Him and away from me.

We do live in seasons.  Seasons of rest, frustration, peace, child-bearing, no sleep, no exercise, child-raising, loving our spouses...and on and on.  Let me make this suggestion:  Live in your life.  Not outside of it, not in working toward getting to greener grasses, not in longing for something different.  I have a friend who says the grass is only greener where it is watered.

So water your own grass.

Long for more of Jesus in your day, not more of Him once you get through {fill in the blank}.  Pursue patience now.  Get in the Word now.  Fight for your marriage now.  This season will only be followed by another.  And every one you walk through without Jesus will leave you weaker for the next.  Find what works best for you but also push yourself.  If you know you process and grow through writing out your thoughts then make some time.  If you know God's Word is never crossing your mind as you parent then get it posted on your mirrors, fridge, computer screen, iphone.  If quality time with a couple of girlfriends pushes you to more prayer or encourages your week then seek it out.  You can do this.  It's not a season.  It's your life, your walk with Jesus, your example to your children.  Take deep breaths.  Don't let your season drown you.  God is so much bigger.  He has so much more.  His promises are for right now.  Hold dearly to Jesus.  And remember,

It's not about me.

He is so much more.

A few months after we came home with Paulina I was dragging hard.  I was tired, eating badly, not exercising, never getting in time with Jesus, and I was feeling low.  I knew something had to change.  For me it was getting up early, plugging my head phones in to some All Sons & Daughters, and hitting the sidewalks for some much needed exercise.  Now it is cutting out TV shows and using my kids rest time to eat something healthy and read or journal and meeting weekly with some seriously great women who lift me up.

Back to my first statement.  Sometimes I eat ice cream for dinner.  Yes, I do.  And yes, it is usually at the end of a a full and exhausting day.  I'm okay with this because neither the day nor the bowl of ice cream can defeat or sink me.  I can do that all by myself.  Give me a day where I never seek Jesus and I'm out.  So if my life calls for ice cream I will eat it.  If it calls for tears then I will cry.  Laughter?  Accountability?  Prayer?  These are the things I will do as I live my life day in and day out.

Watering my own grass and finding less of me, more of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

who do you say I am?

"Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. 
“Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Luke 9:18-22

Who do you say I am?

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, 
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 
We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
John 6:67-69

Who do you say I am?

Monday, March 24, 2014

because these ones are the "ministry" I do

Day in & day out these littles (& bigs) bring joy, pain, stretching, growing encouragement, tears and laughter like no one else in my life.  Love them like crazy.

 Ren & much laughter and love with these two!

 Father Daughter Dance 2014
And yes, I let them dress and do their own hair.

As I talked with Madeline's teacher at the start of spring break, and she told me all four of her kiddos were off on different trips, I decided to squeeze in extra tight this crazy week and embrace the good chaos of all being together.    

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"here I am, starving to death"

In the parable of the lost son there is a moment when the younger son says,
"here I am, starving to death"
Luke 15:17

I read this passage yesterday and couldn't get over that thought.  Here I am, starving to death.  This son had known and lived in the fullness of his father's household.  Yet here he was, dying.  In Mark's account of the time Jesus spent praying in the garden before His death Jesus finds His disciples, whom He had asked to watch and pray, sleeping and speechless.  

"They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. 
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"" Mark 14:32-42

I am overwhelmed by this truth as it hits hard right in my inner being.  I am weak and needy and God has provided in full.  Yet I fall asleep instead of drawing near Him, I die hungry and thirsty sitting in sins He has removed from me.  Some days it is me looking for approval and affirmation by comparing myself to other mamas out there.  Or other days it is me longing for more Jesus but making no time or effort to meet with Him.  Why do I hold on to the life of the flesh?  Why do I starve myself and fall asleep in His presence?  Because I see me more than I see my Rescuer.  I trust me more than Him.  It's not outright and we are tempted to say we are trying to trust Jesus more or something like that but truly it's sin and I believe we should call it that.  My spirit may be willing, but my flesh is so weak.  In my pride and self-centered state I miss this giant truth of God:  

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” ― Timothy KellerThe Meaning of Marriage

It's all about Jesus.
Remove me from me, Lord!  Always this is what I need.  More of Him, less of me.  

It's not about me.

He is so much more. 

I will leave you with this LaCrae song that is a fav in our household.  Enjoy.

"dying of thirst, yet, willing to die thirsty"

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

do as I have done

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” ― C.S. Lewis

There is so much packed into these following Scriptures.  Rather than any ridiculous attempt at delving into them, I have one little focus point that I can't get away from.  

In humility follow Jesus.  

That's it.  He has set an example, given His life.  Loved us to the full extent.  And asked us to follow Him.  We can become consumed in trying so hard to "figure it out" that we miss Him completely.  We are seeking understanding, clarity, a guarantee, great insight, writing in the sky.  When He has given us the example already of how to follow His will in our lives.  Take on humility, die to yourself, become a servant of all.  

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,

    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant"
Philippians 2:3-7

I generally want to make more of myself than nothing.  I want to be known, understood, seen, valued.  I mask this desire with spiritual cover ups saying I know I need that to come from Christ but sadly I'm still searching for it from the world more than I am finding it in Jesus.  

But praise the Lord that He doesn't quit on me.  He is reminding me daily it seems of these two great truths:

It's not about me
He is so much more.

As I read through the washing of the disciples feet, I'm praying for a heart, mind, and active life that lives in light of the example of my Savior.  Giving my all for the glory of God.   
"It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”  For he knew who was going to betray him,and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 

Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
John 13:1-17

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lent Devotions with LIttles

As we prepare ourselves for Easter we attempt to walk our whole family through Lent devotions.  This year we are using the Hands On Bible for pre-schoolers.  We have family night on Wednesday nights so we add our Lent devo's into these nights and then read through these 6 stories throughout the week.  

Hands On Bible
1. Jesus Rides A Donkey; Mark 11:1-11
2. Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet; John 13:1-17
3. The Last Supper, Matthew 26:17-30
4. Jesus Prays in the Garden; Mark 14:32-42
5. Jesus Dies on a Cross; Mark 15
6. Jesus Comes Back to Life; Luke 24:1-12

For our Lent devotions we focus each week on a verse, some words to understand, and some ideas to talk through.  We've done this same thing for several years but still feel it fits with our kiddos ages and understanding.  We also choose a song to teach them and talk through.  This year we are learning Hallelujah! What a Savior.  

Week of Sunday, March 9th
Memory Verse: “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John 1:5
Words to Know: Light, Darkness
Ideas: Jesus is the light, hiding

Week of Sunday, March 16th
Memory Verse: “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John 1:5
Words to Know: Sin, Holy
Ideas: Holy/sin (Clean vs. Dirty)

Week of Sunday, March 23rd
Memory Verse: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Words to Know: Remembrance, Repentance
Ideas: Last Supper

Week of Sunday, March 30th
Memory Verse: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Words to Know: Crucifixion, Sacrifice
Ideas: Death, Suffering, Christ’s Sacrifice/Punishment

Week of Sunday, April 6th
Memory Verse: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will live & not  die.” John 11:25
Words to Know: Forgiveness, Resurrection
Idea: Crucifixion/Resurrection, Death/Life
Week of Sunday, April 13th-Palm Sunday
Memory Verse: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will live and not  die.” John 11:25
Words to Know: Salvation
Ideas: Salvation/Redemption, Savior/Rescuer
Thursday, April 17th-Maundy Thursday
Words to Know: Remembrance, Repentance
Ideas: Last Supper

Friday, April 18th--Good Friday
Words to Know: Crucifixion, Sacrifice
Ideas: Death, Suffering, Christ’s Sacrifice/Punishment

Sunday, April 20th-Easter
Memory Verse: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in me will live & not  die.” John 11:25
Words to Know: Forgiveness, Resurrection
Idea: Crucifixion/Resurrection, Death/Life, Rejoice

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

unexpected Jesus

 "As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples,  saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”  They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.  When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve."

Mark 11:1-11

I think it is fair to say we would all, at different times in our lives, like Jesus to fit into our mold, our boxes, our ways.

But He doesn't.  He never has.

He enters Jerusalem, the start of the week that will be His last, and the people rally around Him.  Following and praising.  But ultimately we know they mostly fall away.  Because after He enters nothing is as they expected.  

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:8-9

Now is the time to throw out my expectations and find in Him the glorious joy of His ways.  Whatever they bring.  In parenting, in serving others, in friendships. With my heart, my mind, my actions.  He must be the Source.   

After all, it's not about me.

He is so much more. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

lean in and draw near

I am a bit weary in life right about now.  There are a vast array of big and little reasons spurring this weariness on.  If you gazed through my window you wouldn't see anything grand or drastic happening.  No out of the ordinary obedience or disobedience by my children.  We aren't living off of pizza and cereal nor am I cooking any five course meals.  My kitchen floors might be covered with cheerios and the back door cluttered with shoes but that's normal.  It's not a practical weariness.  It's actually hard to pin down.  I keep resting my head on my pillow at night and deeply sighing.  Wondering, what will take away this weary?  When will it go?  I'm tired.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm feeling like I just won't ever get it together.  

A few nights ago Madeline lost it over cleaning her room but mostly she was tired and I knew it.  I gave her lots of graces and watched as her little mind and heart tormented over whether to sit in her frustration or be lifted up out of it with me and move forward.  She ended in my arms, crying and talking it through.  We talked of forgiveness and reminded ourselves that we can't ever try hard enough to be right and have it all together.  But, thankfully, the frustration in all that reveals all the more the beauty of Christ and our deep need for Him.  We are weak and we will fail.  Christ calls us in our weakness and failure and draws us into His forgiveness, grace, and love.  We need only to lean in and draw near to Him.  

Lean in and draw near.  As Lent begins tomorrow this is where I find myself.  Weak, weary, overwhelmed, and very very aware of my need for Jesus.  Now I need only to go to Him.  The question will be whether I will sit in my weariness or be lifted up out of it with Him and move forward.  Forward to the fullness of life with Jesus.  Forward in knowing Him, resting in Him, and also being obedient to give up my life for what He asks, even if it means I remain tired and overwhelmed.  Because dwelling in the weary tends to take life and make it all about me.  

And my life is not my own.  

I have been bought with a price.  

Lord, remind me.  Teach me to remember.  Teach me now to take my eyes off of me and gaze on You.  To give up dwelling in my weariness and sighing and lean in to You.  So I may see beyond myself and my days and be alive in Christ and who He is.  

Will you join me these next weeks leading up to Easter?  Join me in making your life wrapped up in Jesus and not in yourself.  Whatever you do, give something up, add something in, do it as you lean in and draw near to see, know, and glorify Him who gave His life.  

It's not about you.  

He is so much more.

Join me this Lent season in making space for Christ in your life.  I will be posting a bit on how we walk through Lent with our children, as well as Scripture each Wednesday that I am going through.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Marriage Letters: deep thoughts


You are a deep thinker.  You take your time, ingest things, think long and steady on them.  You are quick to listen and slow to speak.  We joke in our house and with close friends, poking fun at you honestly, that you never want to be boxed in by saying something when you aren't ready to commit yourself to those outloud thoughts.

But I actually really love it about you, even if sometimes it drives me crazy.  When you are dwelling and thinking on things you are actually doing so much more.  It's how God's wired you to pursue Him.  It's how He teaches you, prepares you, and leads you.  Out of your silence comes great perspective and discernment.  You don't take steps in haste, but you constantly pursue which steps are next to be taken.  In your work, our family, our marriage, friendships, commitments.  I watch you think and pray and come alive.

You think deeply because you are deeply rooted.  I am very thankful.  Love you,


*pictured:  how we generally feel these days as we walk in the ways God has directed our lives, often through your deep thinking ways :)  love you.

linking up with my friend Amber today.  go check her out...she will certainly make you smile.