No-November & Yes-December

I told Jeremy on October 31 that I was shutting down in November. He humorously labeled my time away, “No November.”

So last month, our family stepped away. We said no at times when we really, really wanted to say yes.

And what a breath of fresh air before December started filling our calendar.

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November kind of became a month of settling for me. I did a lot of listening and learning.

Christ was unsettled so I could be settled.

Then these journal notes from a study of Hebrews 12:1,2…

“Jesus is seated at the right hand of God’s throne. But not until He endured the cross. I am settled because He is seated, and that makes this race not in vain.”

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I’m not sure what your November was like or what your December is shaping up to be. But I pray you’ll be settled…in His coming for us and all that Christmas really means.

 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1,2)

 

 

 

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Thank you & Part 2

First off, thank you for all your support earlier this week!

Second, I wanted to give you another look at what Hope in the Middle is all about.

The book is divided into 2 parts…Unchanging Hope and Changing Hope.

Part 1 includes foundational chapters like:
-Hope in the Middle of Waiting
-Hope in the Middle of the Unexpected
-Hope in the Middle of Senseless Prisons

Part 2 includes more practical chapters like:
-I am not perfect.
-It’s easy to get fixated on me.
-There’s more to food than food.

And Part 2 is the one I almost deleted. Every. Single. Word. Of. It.

Because it’s pretty raw. And makes me feel vulnerable.

Basically, I’ve listed out for you the top 14 areas of life that I struggle with–The top 14 areas that tempt me towards hopelessness.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction to Part 2:

“But how can I find hope in these long, mundane days? (No, not the really tough ones that force me to my knees.) I’m talking about the ones where all I do is change diapers and get snacks all day. What about the ones where I’m stuck in the same traffic again or dealing with the same nonsense issues? Where’s the hope in this?”

So there’s your warning. The outside of this book may be pretty (so thankful for creative people). But the inside…Well, you’ll see.

Praying somehow you can relate, and that we can all start living more hope-filled lives!

“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:21-23)

And if you’re wondering what I did on release day…well, here it is!

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Hope in the Middle Releases Today!

Back in 2013 I sat in our bedroom hopeless. The adoption process had started with no end in sight. Our three boys were young and demanding most of my attention. Jeremy and I were struggling through a hard, unexpected season in our marriage.

Life kept moving. I kept smiling. But inside, there were parts of me dead. My soul was numb.

The everyday tasks felt mundane. I’d curl up on our bed and cry.

Hopeless.

That’s when I started to write…and write…and write. Because writing lets me get things out that words don’t.

I allowed myself to ask hard questions. Why do I feel so hopeless? How can I call myself a Christian and not feel hope? Didn’t Christ die to offer a different life, a hopeful one?

Somehow, like it did back in 2007, a book was formed. There were chapters and headings. And God spoke clearly in places like McDonalds. And I wrote things down on napkins.

Hope became a book. Hope became a life-changing word.

God has led me on a journey to find hope. He’s taught me that He offers hope to us in the middle of everything. He Himself is life-changing hope.

I’m not sure where you are. I’m not sure where you’ll end up in your journey of life. I don’t even know where I’ll be. But I believe we could all use a reminder of real hope. I believe God intends for us to live lives full of hope.

And I’d be super humbled and honored if you read this little book I’ve put together…Hope in the Middle.

“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” (Psalm 71:14)

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“Hope isn’t revealed through an adoption referral. Hope isn’t found in living a smooth, safe life. Hope has already been fulfilled through Jesus’ death, life, and sweet grace. In Him alone I find hope for my yesterdays, today, and tomorrows. In Him I find hope in the middle of all uncertainty. ‘For such a time as this.’ He is hope.”

 

Hope in the Middle releases tomorrow!

We’re less than 24 hours from release day!

So I thought I’d give you a little peak into how this writing process has gone.

1-I’m on my fourth order of books. Set 1 was sad and worthy of lots of corrections. Set 2 was much better. Set 3 arrived with about 6 errors. And set 4 will be the one you receive.

Am I confident it’s without error this time? No. But I believe you are people of grace.=)

2-My computer died about 5 weeks ago. After a slight panic, I remembered that I had emailed the document to myself a few days before. Thank goodness!

Why am I telling you all this? Because it’s not been easy. And it reminds me that God is gracious. And here we are…a day away…and it’s done. Grace.

And just maybe God, in His grace, will somehow use these words. To pour hope into all of us…tired Moms, discouraged spouses, lonely friends.

 “So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 2:7)

Trusting cross grace never ends. Thanks for your love and support!

“Hope was wrapped in rags for me. Hope was laid in a feeding trough for me. Pain came before birth. Before Jesus uttered his first cry, Mary hurt. She labored to bring the Son of God into this dying world. There was pain before hope. There was darkness before light. There was a manger before the miracle. There was a cross before Easter Sunday. No matter how twisted or pointless life may seem, God is fulfilling His mission–for us and in us.”

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The “why” behind Hope in the Middle

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That’s me and Esther the night she was born. What smiles!

But it wasn’t like that on the journey.  It wasn’t like that as we waited for nearly two years. It wasn’t like that as we wondered if “M” would change her mind. It wasn’t like that as I swam from hope to hopelessness day after day after day.

No. It was hard. Waiting is hard. Uncertainty can choke. And when we’re doing something we feel like God has called us to, the lack of answers can paralyze.

That’s where I was when most of Hope in the Middle was written. Not smiling holding our sweet baby girl. But fighting in the trenches. Asking myself if God was worthy of my trust.

And I fought and fought hopelessness. And He kept loving me and loving me and loving me.

Because the cross promises we’re never alone. It promises we are always loved. And it reminds us that hope is only found in Him…no matter what uncertainty we find ourselves in the middle of.

“Maybe hope is more than something we do. Maybe it’s primarily about a gift–a promise. Hope is the guarantee I cling to when I lack the faith to act or even believe. It’s a good gift from a good God.”

(PS-I’ve ordered about 15 extra books. If you still want to pre-order, let me know. 8 days till release day!!)

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” (Psalm 62:5-7)