Breaking Down to Stay Alive

I remember hearing Dr. James Dobson say many years ago that Satan’s number one attack on our nation is the breakdown of the family.

Maybe I didn’t believe it then. Maybe I was “in love,” without kids, and thinking the “breakdown of the family” was a far-fetched idea for my perfect ideals.

But a mere 15 years into being a wife, and I believe Dr. Dobson was right.

It’s hard to stay committed in marriage. It’s hard because I’m a sinner. And Jeremy’s a sinner. And Heaven help us, we have birthed little sinners.

And I’d really like things to be calm around here. I’d like to weigh what I did on our wedding day. I’d like to feel loved like I was 18. And blissfully oblivious like I just birthed our first kid.

But so is life. And so is Satan. And his rampage goes on and on.

And we keep fighting.

Not because we want to win, but because we can’t lose. Lives are at stake. Futures hang in the balance.

And the cross tells me grace is the only way to win. Love is worth dying for.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Didn’t we just celebrate Easter?

He is making all things new but only after we’re willing to die. He stretched out His arms so I can open mine. And He embraces me so I can embrace.

Yes…We stay alive in marriage and family and friendship…by breaking down.

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3 Years Ago Today…

These are the words from my journal 3 years ago today…

In the waiting room. A hospital we’ve never been before. Me not in pain. Not pushing through contractions.

But facing fear that’s fighting faith. And battling something like labor but different enough to deserve another name.

Thankful. Excited. Humbled. The right word won’t come to mind.

Like the ignorant way I feel when thinking about Christ’s love. There will never be words.

Never.

This is all unexplainable. All grace. He is so faithful.

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“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4b-6)

And now…on her 3rd birthday…it all still seems like grace.

Thanks M…You are still the bravest person I know. We love you!

Happy birthday Esther Grace!

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 “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)

 

 

 

 

I.CAN’T.DO.THIS.

Because sometimes He speaks so clearly I stop in my tracks…

If following God means the joy I’m showing, would our kids want to be in His will?

I tell them:
-The best place to be is in God’s will.
-God loves you and has a plan for your life.
-Serving God is the greatest thing you could ever do.

Then I mope around the house. I’m short with them. I rush through bedtime to get a break.

Sometimes I probably look downright miserable doing what I tell them He’s called me to do.

Why would they ever want to follow Him with me making it look so terrible?

I’m the first to say that the life of a Christian is not one of ease. Christ suffered. Why would we expect any less? But I also believe a life without joy is not living the life Christ died to give us.

I’m also the first to admit that having kids is hard. And we don’t own it enough. And everyone looks perfect, so we keep smiling while we’re dying inside and just so, so tired.

But has He called me here? In this little spot we call home? Has He called me to be His ambassador? To partner with Him in shaping these little arrows to be sent out?

YES!

The disconnect…Working in my own strength. Carrying the burden He intends to bear. Talking God to our kids while not talking to God myself.

I.CAN’T.DO.THIS.

That’s where I find freedom. I can’t, but He can. He never asked me to do the things I’m trying to do. That’s why I get burned out.

So I give them to Him all over again. And I can smile and laugh and run and tickle. And yes, I’m still so tired, but it’s a joyful tired.

Because being in His will…where else is there to be?

  “Have you not known? Have you not heardThe LORD is the everlasting Godthe Creator of the ends of the earthHe does not faint or grow wearyhis understanding is unsearchableHe gives power to the faintand to him who has no might he increases strengthEven youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhaustedbut they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eaglesthey shall run and not be wearythey shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

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And currently we have two two year olds!

 

Completely Not Perfect But Perfectly Loved

I scrolled through Facebook the other night before bed. Jeremy was gone. The house was quiet. And I literally found myself saying out loud, “So and so is so perfect. And so is she. And she. Why am I so not perfect?”

Y’all, I named names. Outloud. In our house. The jealousy and frustration were literally boiling over.

I’ve spent the last couple days cleaning vomit and giving medicine and wiping noses. All while feeling like death myself.

And far, far from those “perfect” pictures I let seep into my mind and harden my heart.

The root…I haven’t spent much time with Him lately. I haven’t heard Him remind me of His love. I haven’t cried out to Him and let Him comfort me.

Lately Jesus’ perfect life hasn’t seemed like enough for my imperfect one.

“When Jesus is gracious to us, why would we be cruel to ourselves.” (Ann Voskamp)

Admitting I’m not perfect is one thing. But condemning myself when I’ve been justified is another.

He was perfect so I don’t have to be. He sees me and loves me…grace upon grace.

“He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.” (Psalm 78:39)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

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Seeing Through Different Eyes

These are the words I sang to her last night…

“You will be safe in His arms. You will be safe in His arms
The hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made, He will be with you always
When everything is falling apart, you will be safe in His arms.”

And I held her close. Reminded myself that He holds her tighter. He loves her more.

The text I had just sent my Mom finished this way…

“Tonight was the first time I’ve seen that look of hurt in her face. And the first time I’ve ever hurt like maybe my skin wasn’t white. I saw through my brown daughter’s eyes and it was painful.”

The details aren’t necessary. But for the first time in my white life something broke. I caught a glimpse from another view. And I could barely handle it.

We are so naive. And blind. And full of entitlement. And absolutely clueless to it all.

“The reason why we haven’t solved the racial divide in America after hundreds of years is because people apart from God are trying to invent unity, while people who belong to God are not living out the unity that we already possess. The result of both of these situations has been, and will continue to be, disastrous for our nation. Let alone disastrous for the witness of Christ to our nation.” (Tony Evans)

Every life is important to Him.

God, help us to love like we’ve been loved. To accept like we’ve been accepted. To sacrifice like You have sacrificed for us.

 “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility  by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,  and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

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