Firsts and Lasts

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We are in the two weeks leading up to my son’s high school graduation. Things are getting a little sentimental around here. He just received the senior superlative for the person most ready for high school to end. And this comes as no surprise. Ever since he decided on a college, that’s been in the forefront of his mind. He’s eager for the next phase, and we are excited for him.

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Thank You, Lord

Wednesday, I got that dreaded call from my kids on their way to school: “We’ve been in a wreck, but we’re okay.”

As I was about to get ready for work, I changed gears, threw on clothes, grabbed my glasses, and was out the door. I spent the morning interacting with the police, tow truck driver, auto body shop, insurance company and adjustor, discovering the car is in fact totaled.

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Happy 16th Birthday!

It’s been sixteen years since we welcomed our baby girl three months too early at 27 weeks along in the pregnancy. She was 2 pounds, 3 ounces, and 14 inches.

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The early days in the hospital – reminds me of Matt. 10:30, “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

We celebrate each year again and remember the miraculous works in the midst of suffering that God accomplished, and we give praise and thanks.

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3 months old and leaving the hospital on her original due date, still less than 5 pounds

I feel as though I’ve written about this many times (here and here, for example), but it’s always a reminder to me that we have a miracle-working God who is involved in all life’s details. I want to once again tell of his greatness and not let this significant day pass without remembering once again.

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Today

Thank you to all who have prayed for her through the years. You are part of this story, and we are so grateful!

Remembering and Waiting

 

I love finding little notes in my Bible–like nuggets of gold, or better, stones of remembrance–reminding me of God’s faithfulness during certain periods of life. I came upon this yesterday, March 16, 2016, that pointed back to this date in 2011, 5 years ago.

In November 2010, I had been approached about a potential job at our church. Though I already had a job I loved as Director of Admissions and Marketing at a small classical school that my husband and I had been involved with from its start in 2006, we didn’t want to dismiss the opportunity without prayer. Over the next four months, we prayed and took each next step of a lengthy interview process. Somewhere along that path, I withdrew my name, but I didn’t have peace.

As I continued to pray, the Lord continued to speak and lead, and through a variety of circumstances, I re-entered the process. I knew that by putting my name back in, I was saying to myself if they offered me the job, I would accept it. That was a huge step, to be able to let go of something I loved, not knowing what the new job would really end up being.

Though I re-entered the process, it had been a few weeks, and they had moved on, and it was possible it was too late. I became stressed about the situation–that I might not be offered the job now that I felt it was so clearly from the Lord, and also that I would have to leave something that, through God’s grace and strength, I helped start and had invested my life in for 5 years. I would be giving up something that had almost become synonomous with who I was–part of my identity, even an idol to me.

As I went through those days of waiting, I came upon these two verses which God used to give me peace:

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! Psalm 27:14

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped. Psalm 28:7

These verses caused me to stop and reflect on all the reasons I believed this new job was from the Lord and right for me and my family. As I remembered each step of those four months He had brought me through, I was absolutely convinced this was the call He had for me. And so in that moment, I believed God. I trusted what He had shown me. And I decided that I would wait patiently for the church to come back to me with the job offer, recognizing and believing that would indeed happen.

It gave me total peace as only God’s Word and His Spirit can do. It was two days later that I was called and offered the job. I was told I could take time to think about it and pray. I remember replying that wouldn’t be necessary. I had prayed for four months, and I was confident this was from the Lord. I accepted on the spot, so convinced of God’s plan.

I guess a rather humorous point was that I was then asked if I would like to know how much money I would make! Oh, yes, forgot about that. That would be good to know! But when the call of the Lord becomes so certain, you know all the parts of it will work themselves out. And it’s been a great joy to have been serving in our church now for the last almost 5 years, seeing evidence over and over why it was from the Lord and the right thing. I love records like this that bring it back to mind, and I thank the Lord again for His gracious provision and clear leading.

Ten Years!

Ten years ago, God drew me to Himself in a way I hadn’t known before. I wrote this seven years ago, but link to it here today as I remember with thankfulness the work God has done and continues to do in my life. Thank you, Lord! The journey with you is full of true joy!

 

God Is Not Mocked

Last week I was asked to give a short devotional at our church to a young moms group. This is what I shared in hopes to encourage moms in a way God had encouraged me.

When my children were young (about 5 and 7), I vividly remember one bad day in particular. I was homeschooling that year (1st grade and pre-K), and I can’t say I was particularly cut out for it! I’m not sure all of the things that brought me to discouragement that day, but while I stood at the gas pump filling my car with gas, I felt despair. I had just watched my friend drive by with her kids, and my kids were probably sitting in the car fussing—or perhaps somehow just resisting all the great plans I had. I began to think destructive kinds of thoughts: “What do you think you are doing? All you are trying to do—does it really matter?! Look at so-and-so. She’s such a great mom, and why can’t you just be like everyone else? Do you really think you’ve been called to do the things you’re doing?” And on and on the thoughts went through my mind—just an assault, a barrage of negative thinking—and I was in no way trying to combat it as I was very upset.

Right in the middle of these defeating thoughts, it was as though these words sliced right across my mind, interrupting my thoughts with this clear one: God is not mocked.

I was surprised by this. In the midst of my distress, not even looking for an answer, God had stopped me in my tracks and met me with this thought. I went right home and looked in my Bible concordance to see where this was. I found it in Galatians 6.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Galatians 6:7-9

Those words were the encouragement my heart needed: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Do not lose heart. Do not grow weary. Sow to the Spirit. Press on!

As I considered sharing this for the devotional, I went to the Good Friday service at our church. Reading through the passages in our worship folder, I couldn’t help but notice the mockery of Jesus in the Gospels. In Luke 27, we are told how the soldiers and Roman cohort stripped Jesus and put a scarlet robe on Him. They wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on Him and beat Him on the head. After they mocked Him, they led him away to crucify Him (Matt. 27:27-31).

As He hung on the cross, those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In this same way, the chief priests and scribes and elders were mocking Him, saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him. He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him, for He said ‘I am the Son of God'” (Luke 27:39-43).

I did a quick word study on mocked. The Greek word for mocked in Galatians 6:7 (mukterizo) is only used this one time in the entire New Testament. It means to turn up the nose, sneer at, treat with contempt.

The Greek word for mocked in the mockery of Jesus in the Gospels is empaizo. Its meaning is very similar and closely associated to the one in Galatians. This one means to mock, delude, deceive.

As I thought about this ultimate example of mockery—Jesus being mocked—I wondered how He felt at these accusations coming against Him as He knew the path He was walking—a painful one for our good, for our very salvation. Three days later, He would rise from the dead, and in the end, God was not mocked! Jesus arose triumphant having done the will of His Father. His resurrection is the very centerpiece of our faith.

It gave me perspective for those mocking thoughts and lies that can still come to my mind. We must come back at these lies with truth, with the truth of God’s living Word. He will not be mocked. As we seek Him through reading the Bible and in prayer, as we obey His will and follow Him, we can trust that as we sow in the Spirit, in due time we will reap—even if the outcome looks uncertain or even bleak. Don’t lose heart. Press on. Don’t grow weary. Patiently wait. Keep trusting God. Sow to the Spirit. Don’t believe the lies. God is not mocked.