Our Family’s Word…2018

Happy New Year! We woke at 5:00 AM to a chirping smoke alarm.

(Why does this always happen in the dead of night?)

I’ve already failed on most of my 2018 “resolutions.” I didn’t get up early. I didn’t exercise. I’m tempted to eat leftover cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

And I’m blaming it all on the smoke alarm. Because I’m tired. And couldn’t drag myself out of bed once I’d finally fallen back asleep.

Jeremy held me in the wee morning hours. And I thought about how I don’t know what 2018 may hold. And how I’m tempted to get all scared and choose fear instead of faith.

I’m tempted to forget that “His mercies never come to an end.”

Our family has chosen not to coast this new year. I don’t even know what that means.

My life already feels likes a roller coaster. And if that’s what coasting means, I may go ahead and get off now.

This morning there is one thing I do know…Nothing takes Him by surprise.

Not smoke alarms.

Not coasting.

Not 2018’s that may prove anything but what we expected.

So we’re buckling the seat belt. Pulling down the arm bars. And raising our hands in expectation of His faithfulness.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22,23)

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Our Little Boys Need Heroes

Recently he’s been tough. During the day, his brothers and I tip-toe around him. Worried we may get lashed out at. Wondering who his selfishness will attack next.

He gets it honest. I am selfish at my core. I feel entitled to certain things. I want comfort and rest and to eat whatever I want and be skinny.

Welcome to the world of sin, son. Welcome to the battle.

But it hit the fan the other day. And it was time to stand firm. Humbly. To open up the Word and fight this…again.

“Son, do you know what a hero does?” “He fights for something.”

“Yes. Heroes fight for those they love. They sacrifice what they want for others.”

(He was starting to listen.)

“Why was King Tirian a hero?” “He was willing to die for the people in Narnia.”

“Why was Harry Potter a hero?”  “He was willing to die for his friends.”

“Why was Rose (from The Last Jedi) a hero?” “She was willing to die for Finn.”

(Now he was really listening…Conversations that start with kings or the Winter Soldier or Malfoy get a lot of attention around here.)

“Yes. But you know the real hero is. You know who did die for us.”

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

“You want to follow Him? Then you sacrifice. For your brothers. For your sister. For your friends. For those you don’t know.”

I believe our little boys need heroes. They need to see sacrifice. They need to see bravery.

And yes, we protect their innocence and screen what they see, but we can’t deprive them of what it means to be a man. Of what it means to stand up for what you believe in. Or lay it all down for someone else.

We can choose to see today’s media as an enemy. Or we can choose to see it as a tool.

All the while, praying for wisdom, having hard conversations, and believing that the real “Hero,” the One who gave up everything for our precious children, will patiently and lovingly draw them to Himself.

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The Last Jedi was a hit with the cousins!

 

 

No Better Place For Them…

Last Christmas we gave the boys a copy of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia…with the goal of finishing the whole thing, all 7 books, by the end of 2017.

And last week…we did it!

And it was INCREDIBLE!

I’ve read some of the stories before. The boys were familiar with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But never have we read all of them. And maybe never have I cried like I did (embarrassingly) when we reached the end.

“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning. And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

The boys and I feel a sense of accomplishment. We did something in 2017 together. It took time and dedication.

And we keep talking about how we’re not a part of our own story. We’re a part of Aslan’s story.

I agree with Joe Rigney’s words in his book Live Like a Narnian“Reading Narnia and writing this book have only stoked my desire to raise both of my sons to be the kind of men who cheerfully embrace whatever adventures Aslan sends them.”

There is no better place for us to place our kids than in the strong hands of Aslan.

Thank you, Lewis, for this beautiful reminder.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:4)

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And in case you think we’ve got it all together, here’s to falling asleep while watching TV!

 

 

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)

 

 

 

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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