Monday, July 30, 2012

On One of Those Moments

Around the time the sun began to fall over the trees he would tell me we were going on an adventure. I would grin from ear to ear, run to get my shoes on. Though there was little mystery in the destination of this adventure for me, I always loved that he made it into a big deal. Sometimes, I even pretended I didn't know where we were going. Mostly because he loved to surprise me. And I loved that he loved—that it meant he loved me.

Looking back, I guess the constant stream of alcohol flowing through his veins really did make this adventure new each time in his mind. But I remembered. But still, I loved it.

Windows down, hair streaming across my face. Cigarette in his hand, we were off. A quick stop at his gas station, the one where they called him boss and responded with yes Sir, a rarity in these northern parts. They respected him. Over-sized {jam-packed with sugar} slushy in my hand, our adventure continued.

Just up the road and a few turns later we would slow down. The curvy road weaved throughout thousands upon thousands of white headstones. We weren't here to see dead people. Or to cry over a lost loved one, though I did often see people doing so. The men (and women) buried across these grounds were all war heros, brought home here to be laid to rest. Sort of eerie, when you think of our adventure climaxing at a place full of dead people.

I don't often remember thinking that in my little girl mind though. I remember gazing across the sea of white rocks, always attentive with my head out the window as we crept along. Sun blazing closer and closer to the ground, a little more brilliant and beautiful with each tick of the clock. Then, just on the edge of the sea of white, coming out from the tress all attentive and hungry we would see one. Then two. Then a whole herd.

I loved when there were babies. "Look at that little one!" I would point my hand far out into the air as his foot would come down firm on the brake pedal. Courtney, do you remember what we call those? He would ask. "Oh yeah, they're fawns, right dad? Baby deer are fawns." Yes, that's right. "And those big ones with the horns—those are the dads right?" I would ask. Yes, those are the bucks. he replied.

Knowing the answer didn't change the fact that I loved hearing him tell me again. It didn't change the fact that I tasted his love for me in these moments. I was starving. A rare and spectacular glimpse into a life I longed to have—life with a daddy who took me on adventures just because. This daddy daughter experience breathed into the depths of my emptiness, this hunger for his affection that I still struggle to satisfy well into adulthood.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done. I ponder the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like parched land. Ps. 143:5-6

Last night, we were driving along in the big white van, headed home from a goodbye party of a close friend and her hubby. Little voices in the back began to cry out, "A buck daddy, theres a buck! There's another one!" As the car slowed to a stop and began backing up, the boys climbed over the rows of seats to get to the front, real close to daddy, up in his lap, pointing out the open window, pure bliss in their eyes. For a good ten minutes or so, we sat there, in the middle of the gravel road, watching this huge herd of deer. The little voices overwhelmed in excitement, surely still talking about how many bucks, fawns and does they saw in a single night even as their heads met the pillow.

Watching these little ones hunger for this moment with their dad and the deer awoke that little girl in me too. Upon reaching the safety of home, I ventured out into the darkening field and wept.

I think there is a legitimate and appropriate grieving that takes place when we lose something—something we were created to need, at that. This time, the tears weren't so painful or so personal. They weren't as angry. They didn't lead into hours or days of introspection. They were simply little girl longings, teenage emptiness unfulfilled, and adult needs finally being met by incredible grace, dripping down my cheeks.

The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. -Ps. 146:9

As the tears fade, the Truth rushes in. Grace a-flowing. So, even while I grieve a whole lot of daddy daughter moments lost, I also rejoice in this sweet memory of watching deer. I rejoice in watching these little ones making this memory for the first time tonight. I rejoice that at the same time they will never have to grieve these moments lost, mine are being restored. Unfathomable grace. As the tears drain cups of the messiness of my past, relentless mercy washes new like a flood, and sitting crouched in the itchy grass, darkness abounding I lift my eyes to hills from where my help does come, from the Maker of heaven and earth.

Sometimes, life is so messy we forget to look for the deer. So for today, grace is simply slowing down to count the bucks and thank Him for it.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. -Ps. 144:1-2

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On Celebrating 3 Years of Mercy

Time really FLIES.
Today, marks three years of life in the real world since graduating from Mercy Ministries.

When I walked through the doors of Mercy, I was hopeless and broken, ready to quit on life. I had spent nearly eight years enslaved to an eating disorder, self-harm, depression, sexual sin, and the consequences of sexual abuse in my childhood. Two weeks prior to walking through those doors, I attempted to end my life, but God had another plan. As I lay in the hospital bed being pumped full of fluids and food, the Spirit was busy working in the hearts of dozens of prayer warriors who literally prayed me into those doors making what should have been a year long process quicken to a two week one. He knew I didn't have a year.

Those six months were life-changing. Messy and beautiful all at once—and he met me there. For the first time in my life, the Truth of His Word {which I was immersed in 24/7} began to penetrate deeper then the lies which had dictated my life up to that point. I walked through hard weeks and months of choosing forgiveness, dying to self, renewing my mind, accepting Truth at its face. Speaking aloud verse after verse as it poured over my weary, lie-infested soul. There was no magic solution—just Jesus being enough.

I walked out those doors thinking I had arrived—that I finally had it all together. Well, I didn't. And I still don't. But that is just God's grace in my life—in all of our lives really.

These three years have brought more hurt then I ever could have imagined yet His grace continues to run deeper still. 

It's a BLESSING He doesn't reveal it all at once—from Mercy graduate heading to college in St. Louis to life with a dozen in middle of no-where Arkansas traveling overseas and working full-time is unimaginable. Certainly not part of "the plan" upon leaving that house. Yet He has been gentle and patient, faithful to reveal the plans He has for me which have soooo exceeded my wildest dreams. 

Daily I see the ashes looking more beautiful, the wounds being bound up. I feel the years being restored deep within, years that robbed things I didn't even know were mine for the taking—those are being returned too. Far beyond my dreams. 

There have been many ups and downs, round-abouts, a few mountains and many valleys. Yet through it all, God has been faithful. Thus, I know He will continue to be.

As I look back on the photos from this day three years ago, I wish I could speak to that girl in those pictures. I wish I could fill her in on what is to come. I wish I could tell her about the road ahead. This is my letter to that girl, to every Mercy girl who walks out those doors, redeemed and made new.
Dear Mercy Sister,

The road ahead is going to be hard. You are not going to be perfect—in fact you're going to mess up {a lot.} But that's okay. You are human, a sinner at that. Don't forget who you are apart from Christ—don't let the title you bear from the last 6 months lure and entice your flesh. The Truth is, you need His grace more then you think. You need accountability more then you think. 

You need Jesus—more then you think.

You have not arrived, though you feel it crying out deep down in your bones on this day of celebration. As the high begins to fade and day to day life in the real world seeps in, you must remember Mercy graduate and all, you haven't arrived until you see Jesus face to face—oh what a glorious day that will be!! Your hope does not end when you walk out those doors. Graduation day is not the finish line. It is not where the victory is found. This day is not the finish line—seeing Him is. You have chosen life instead of death. And yet only He continues to sustain you—He is obviously not finished with you yet, sister. So run with perseverance the race set before you and hope in Christ alone.

Bearing the title of Mercy graduate and all, is not going to stop the trials from coming. Let no one say WHEN he is tempted....we will all be tempted until we see Christ. We are promised this much. The pain is going to come. The trials will be many. Yet His grace outweighs them all. Live here, in His grace. Sister, do not run from the pain. Let the ashes become beautiful—because they will, with the flip of the calendar.

It is okay when you have a bad day—but don't stay there. When you get stuck, remember the victory has already been won. When you think you have messed up one too many times, don't get lost in yourself nor allow the lies to consume you. You cannot out-sin the blood already shed. You are clean and covered in righteousness alone. You are new. Don't clothe yourself in old rags. Do not give way to your feelings. You can change how you feel. Speak Truth out loud when you would rather shut down. Shout it from the top of your lungs. Worship when you would rather pull away. Surround yourself with people. Don't shrink back. Stand on the promise. Cling to it. Proclaim it.

And on those days when the smells and sights and darkness are all too familiar, like a dog who returns to his own vomit—when you feel the need to somehow pay for being back here yet again—when you cannot believe you did the same stupid thing yet again—when you feel insane—when you wish you did not have to bear up beneath the title of Mercy graduate, well, remember He always gives us a way out and never more then we can bear. Look for the out. Believe it or not Christ is still sufficient. Yes, even here. He hasn't changed. He is the same as He is today, today on this day of graduation high. 

Please, sister, remember this. Jesus is the same inside these walls as He is out in the real world. Your dependency in Him is too. Don't forget you need Him alone. Apart from Him, you just cannot do it on your own.

Don't run from the brokenness. Don't hide your scars. Even when you think they are too messy to share. Even when you think no one will understand you. Put them on display. In our weaknesses His power is made perfect—all the more reason to boast in our weakness, to show our scars. People are messed up. We live in a fallen world. And we all have more hurt and heartache then you will ever imagine. So neat freaks, embrace the mess. Tell of the wounds and the binding up that is coming. Only by grace that you do not deserve, yet depend on. 

Just preach the gospel. Everyday. To yourself and to others. To the nations. Your life is not your own. Preach the gospel of grace, scars and all. You are no longer "that girl," you know the one. Even on the days you feel her rising up, you are a new creation, redeemed, bought with a price, the Bride of Christ, His royal priesthood, clean, and righteous. Nothing can separate you from His love. Your sin is cast as far as the east is from the west. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved this wretch like me.

Above all, live in His grace for today, since that is all you are promised. Don't ponder yesterday or worry over tomorrow. Just enough grace for today. Praise God that is enough.
I am so incredibly blessed to be alive today. To live life with Jesus. To love people. To know Him intimately. To need grace and accept it freely. If it were not for what Jesus did in my life during my time at Mercy, I wouldn't be here today. The road is hard and the process of sanctification unyielding, but boy oh boy, is He faithful and ever gracious to complete the good work He began until we see Him face to face. 

Arriving at Mercy {3.5 years ago}

Graduation from Mercy {3 years ago}

Ash, Me and Julie—Best Friends and Precious Sisters
Sarah and I—so thankful for her continued friendship and wisdom
Phillip & Shelly—precious couple who have been such an encouragement
Julie—incredible friend who just really loves Jesus and encourages me

Mom and Kevin

Rye, Meg and Angel—blessed to have incredible siblings who continue to be such an encouragement

A Few Mercy Events Over the Years:

Run for Mercy 5K 2009

Half Marathon for Mercy 

Run for Mercy 5K 2010

Incredible staff who I am so thankful for!
Sharing my Testimony at the 5K Run for Mercy in 2011

The whole family came out to support me—what a blessing!!
Annual Fundraiser 2008: {before I actually went to Mercy or knew I would be going}

Annual Fundraiser 2009: {graduated from Mercy}

Sharing Testimony at Annual Fundraiser 2010:

And Today...I am thankful and encouraged as I see God's faithfulness and grace etched into each of these moments.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grace for Today

Some days I feel like I am ready to tackle motherhood head on—bring on the babies, I laugh, lots of them. {Husband first would be nice}. But most days it is nothing short of amazing grace, how sweet the sound which carries me through til my weary soul and feeble knees finally collide with my mattress. Until I can finally gather enough quiet to go all introspective and greet 'control' with joy.

No where in scripture am I promised a husband, babies, or a home to run. But I just know I was created to do this—even on the days I raise my voice too high, slip in a little too much sarcasm, or pretend I'm asleep when the little fingers pound on the door—because I just need a minute. I am tasting life as a submissive, home-schooling, adoptive, country bumpkin mamma to a whole lotta babies—and it is good. I am learning from the best.

Yet, I find myself on edge lately, battling through the if onlys and what ifs of this current season of life.

What if I had never moved out to the country, been adopted into this family of a dozen? Well, then maybe I would have more friends. Maybe I would have a bit of a social life. Maybe I wouldn’t get off work to continue working well into the night—dinner, dishes, baths, and noise. Maybe my routine wouldn’t seem so mundane, so untimely for my age, so not glamorous. 

Something I am learning about life in the bosom of this family—my life is no longer my own and ultimately I am not in control of much. 

A hard, hard, painful truth to learn. Especially for a control freak like me. For someone who thrives off of alone time and never being late, stretched would be an understatement.

Good news: He is not done with me yet. Great news: His grace is sufficient. Excellent news: I have trusted in his sufficiency and leaned on grace a little more today then yesterday. 

“The answer, The answer, my friend, is not yours to invent or create. It will be decided for you. It is outside you. It is real and objective and firm. One day you will hear it. You don’t create it. You don’t define it. It comes to you, and sooner or later you conform to it—or bow to it.”  John Piper

I conform to it or bow down to it. I submit or I succumb. I trust or I break.

So, all that's left I suppose, is to conform to my place as one of twelve {"normal" for my age or not}, to submit to K's authority, and to trust what M is teaching me about biblical womanhood, laughs around the table, lil sister talks, and goodnight hugs from lil guys to be sufficient. And today, it is.

Today, I chose to confrom—submit—trust. To take refuge in His grace being suffiecnet for my here and now. Maybe not for tomorrow. Certainly not for the past. But right here and right now in this moment where the noise and bodies don't relent, His grace is sufficient. 

The slippery slope of introspection often entices me—before I even realize the bottom I have hit as a result, the sting that follows. Some days I just don’t have time {or quiet} to think. To question. To ponder. To play games in my mind.  By dinnertime, I sometimes want to run away in search of the control {my comfort} that got tossed out the back door when my feet hit the floor with the rising of the sun. 

And sometimes, this is the greatest blessing of this season of life—that I couldn’t catch it {control, that is} before it is shattered to pieces beneath me.

So today, I call the noise and bodies so numerous a blessing. Because they save me from myself.

Even when I really don't like how it feels—when I long for an enticing ride down the slope of selfishness & control—mostly because I know it so farmiliar. When pride and I get real close. Here in this place, I begin to trust the here and now over the if-onlys and what-ifs because if not for the here and now, the latter would lead me into the pit of despair. So I will chose to soak in the grace sufficient in the chaos, right here and right now. 

We are not promised tomorrow and today has enough problems of its own to devote brain cells to yesterdays. Grace sufficient for today. That's all. And praise God that's all. 

So for today, no babies for me. Praise God because I don't have the grace to handle it. For today, no worries about the additional pound or two resting in my belly after last night's burger eaten in family fellowship. Praise God because I don't have the grace to handle it. But when I was crying about it last night, He wrapped me up in grace plentiful, as sweet sleep rushed in.

For today, conquering a big meeting with WalMart at work in time to move an apartment full of {hoarded} stuff {belonging to a broken & untrusting lady who showed up at church and begged for prayer} in this 104 degree heat—followed then by birthday celebration for the big four year old—in this His grace is sufficient and I trust He will sustain. Today, that is all I need. 
Silas is FOUR today!!!

Stuff from floor to ceiling—all to be moved
But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Some Road To Trust

A Mind & Heart At War—A Road To Trust

My mind says get out the door before he sees you.
My heart says you need his encouragement this morning.  

My mind says disappear to your room before the goodnights and I love yous begin.
My heart says you need the protection of a goodnight hug.

My mind says stop looking him in the eyes so he will ignore you.
My heart says fix your eyes on his love for you. 

My mind says you are crazy for trusting him.
My heart says you would be foolish not to.

My mind says he is not worthy of trust—he is gunna fail you.
My heart says he understands grace better then you do.

My mind says he will hurt you—they always hurt you.
My heart says he is your protector—he is not them.

My mind says your mess is beyond his capacity.
My heart says Christ in him is sufficient still.

My mind says you are going to fail him.
My heart says praise the Lord he is forgiving.

My mind says flee from this room.
My heart says you dwell in safety here always.

My mind says pull away.
My heart says he will come after you.

My mind says you are not really his.
My heart says you have been adopted.

My mind says he looks at you and sees the extent of your failure.
My heart says his eyes see you new.

My mind says he is not really your dad.
My heart says just call him daddy.

You need My encouragement. {1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.}
You need My protection. {I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety. -Psalm 4:8}
Fix your eyes on My love for you.  {The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. -Zeph. 3:17}
You would be foolish not to. {For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; -Psalm 37:28}
I understand grace better then you do. {Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.-Hebrews 4:16}
I am your protector.  {The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. -Psalm 27:1-3}
Christ is sufficient for you. {His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,-2 Peter 1:3}
I forgive you. {In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. -Eph. 1:7}
You dwell in safety with Me always. {Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10}
I will come after you. {No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. -John 6:44}
You have been adopted by Me. {For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” -Romans 8:15}
My eyes see you as new. {Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! −2 Cor. 5:17}
Just call me Daddy. {A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. -Psalm 68:5} 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Laundry Detergent Made Simple

You will need 3 simple Ingredients: 

1 Cup of Washing Soda

1 Bar of Laundry Soap

1 Cup of Borax

Then simply shred the bar of soap...for convience, M uses this...

And then it should look something like this...sorta like shredded cheese (mold!)

Then you just put all three ingredients together and blend them or use the food processor...

Then you have powdered Laundry Detergent....

Simply use 2-3 Tablespoons per load.**

**It helps if you run the water without clothes in the washer and add the soap so it will disintegrate a bit, THEN add the clothes. 

And now you can tell the Mr. that you just saved your family hundreds of dollars for the year...surely, he will be excited about that!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On Taking the Road Less Traveled

Today I got a full ride to college next year.

Too bad I no longer go there.

Last week, I officially enrolled in a homeschool college program, College Plus.

Lat week, I officially left my title as University of Arkansas undergraduate student.

I honestly didn’t even think twice about it—this has been the plan for months now. I know the Lord has brought me to this point and there was no turning back—until today. 

Yes, a full ride to a school I no longer attend. Okay Lord, really? A full ride??

All I can do is laugh...then cry a bit. Lord, sometimes your sense of humor is a bit dry. 

My full ride is to the University of Arkansas, scholarship applications I had submitted back in January, back before everything about my life went in a different direction. Back before the Lord birthed within me a new vision for life—a road less traveled.

Today, I got a glimpse of the road more commonly traveled. The road I would have could have should have been on, if you ask nearly anyone in their rational mind.

Today, I might have even taken a few steps onto it, the road more traveled that is. I even found myself gazing down the path—past the twists and turns, around the bend, and over the mountain. At the end of the path, I could see many things that make sense to this people-pleasing, stay in the box, lover of control, title-driven brain of mine. A degree in hand, honors upon graduation, my whole family on their feet, so proud. A dream job working in a hospital as a dietician. Debt paid off, maybe even a ring on my finger. Babies. Lots and lots of babies. Oh, and happily ever after of course. The American dream.

And truth be told—there is nothing wrong with the end of the road more traveled.

Except—that’s not my end, not my road.

That’s not what God has called me to. That’s not His plan for my life. So, really there is something wrong with desiring the road commonly traveled, there is something wrong with dreaming the American dream.

I imagine this is as hard a post to read as it is to write, particularly for those who know me best but understand the past months of my life the least. I don’t even fully understand the past months of my life.

I've been memorizing the book of James the past two weeks--for the second time this week I am seeing God's grace in supplying His truth to meet my need. From memory, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without reproach. But he should ask in faith with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. This man should not consider he shall receive anything from the Lord, for he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." 

I don't understand what He is working behind the scenes rights now. I cannot see the BIG PICTURE. Oh, I would pay money for a glimpse. But fortunately for us, it just doesn't work that way. If I had known then that I would be here right now, I would have laughed and never seen the here and now to fruition. Praise God He only gives us one step at a time--moreso praise Him that He has every single one of our days numbered {all figured out} before we are even a day old. 

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.       -John 15:19

Even here, in my doubt, I just have to trust THAT God. I have to put my hope in Him. The world is fleeting and failing. He is not. He chose me. He set me apart. I am a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to him. Therefore, I do not belong here on this earth. In fact, His word says I am a sojourner, a traveler on this earth. 

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
                                                                                    -1 Peter 2:11

So yes, sometime this week I will have to turn down a whole lot of money--free money awarded to me because I am that awesome. My flesh is really gunna hate it. Ouch. Pride always comes before the fall. Fall I must. Good thing God gives grace to the humble, huh?

But god chose the foolish things of the world to shame th wise...{not that a university degree is foolish by any means}. 

As for the road less traveled--check out my new journey which begins July 23rd. I plan to share more in the weeks to come, but yes, I am officially a student once again--reinventing college through completing my degree as a student in College Plus. Who knew a 21 year old senior in college {public schooled every one of those years} could still call herself a homeschooler, even if only for a year. 

Excited {definition: scared to death} to journey down the road less traveled, for I know His plan is perfect—even when it is yet to be revealed. 

To the road less traveled...

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 
                                                                                                                                         -1 Peter 4:14

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On Doubting and Choosing

When I awaken in the night to horrific scenes that seem more real then the real thing, when I find myself in the corner of the darkness hiding, when I can’t breathe because the pain is so overwhelming—yes, pain from something that wasn’t even real. But it was.

When I wake up, this man I want so desperately to trust, he tells me my life will be better without the one of whom I just dreamed. The one who seems to be found at the climax of the deepest hurts in my life. He tells me that he doesn’t want me to talk to him anymore—period. Yes, the very one whose genes I bear.

Okay, for how long? My doubts begin to flare up.

A year…maybe forever. It doesn’t matter really. You just don’t talk to him indefinitely for now.

What about Thanksgiving? I murmur softly. Does that mean I can’t see my siblings? Does that mean I can’t go to family events? What will I do at Christmas?

I am drowning in doubt now.

Don’t worry about it—we will deal with those situations as they come up. He always gives us a way out. Right now, all you need to focus on is health and Truth. You don’t need his voice in your head. I want to step in and protect you here. It’s up to you if you let me.   

Long Pause.

What are you thinking about over there?

Hesitation. Doubt.

Okay, I will do whatever you think is best.
But I want him to know that I am not silent because I am bitter or unforgiving. He needs to know I love him, despite all of it, I still love him. He needs to know he is loved, loved by Jesus most of all, forgiven, clean, made new.

I’m going to call your brother. He is going to help communicate this message to your dad. He will keep him in line up there while I advocate for you here.

A few days and several nightmares later, I am lost in a sea of confusion once more.

What if he died? What if I never tell him that I love him or that I forgive him or that Christ can make him new? Will he know it? What if I never talk to my gene-giver again? What if the pain I cause—what if the pain is too great it kills him? His heart is already weak. What if I am the cause of his death?

The doubts begin to fester again, all bubbly and infectious. Tumbling around in my brain hours into the darkness. Do I really trust the one I barely know, the one beneath whom I have submitted my heart, the one who tells me no, even when I cry?

Submission is a challenge, a hard thing to learn. Especially when you have never had to. Especially when you’ve been hurt. Deeply. Especially when he’s a man. Especially when men have often hurt you. Especially when you already have it all figured out. Especially when you think you can save the world. Especially when you befriend pride intimately. Especially when you’re scared. 

Then they remind me, this man and wife whose home I dwell inside, they bring me back to reality. She tells me he might die—it could happen. But it is not going to be your fault when it does. You have to stop letting your thoughts go there. He tells me I need to trust him, that he is protecting me, that it is for my good. She tells me it was not my fault—but that I cannot save him. He tells me that I am prideful to think otherwise. She tells me I am just going to have to silence my doubts and chose to submit, no matter what. He tells me it is his head on the line before a holy God, not mine.  She tells me if I don’t start learning this now, marriage is going to be a mess. The Holy Spirit reminds me that I choose this—that I chose submission. I still have a choice—I have to keep choosing it. For my future, I have to get this down.

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. −1 Peter 3:5-6

The truth is I still want to run away—and sometimes I do, in my head. I still don’t want to let my eyes meet his at times. I still get this ugly feeling that slithers its way up my body every time the subject arises. I still don’t feel like trusting him most days. I circle around and around in my brain for hours a day, cycling through the doubts and the what-ifs. I epitomize insanity

I did not choose what was to come of the one whose genes I bear. I did not choose him. Yet, the Lord knew. He also knew one day I would walk on the path He had paved through the ruble & ashes—he knew from day one I would end up here, in this place with a family of twelve, with this fear, with this daddy pursuing me. He also knew He would birth something deeper, this desire to submit to authority, this desire to learn my role as a woman, as a daughter, as a future wife and mum. And only He knows why—only He knows what is to come of this trying season. As the control continues slipping through my grasp, all I can do is choose Christ—freedom—joy—obedience—submission. All I can do is humbly say yes, I trust you.

It’s better this way, he tells me. I want to take the burden from you—you have to chose to let me. The decision has been made—it’s done. Quit picking it back up! You are safe. Rest in my protection. Please, just rest. Stop thinking. CHOSE to trust me. I am not him. I am for you, daughter, now rest. You are not in this alone. Trust me.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. −1 Cor. 11:3

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. -James 4:7

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Little Fourth of July Blessing

Welcome to the World Baby Girl!!
Rozlyn Pauline Foster 
July 4th, 2012
                    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13 
“We prayed for this child and the Lord has granted us what we asked of Him.”  – I Samuel 1:27

Age and Simon,
You did it!! Age, after enduring several days of labor you are a champ!! She is incredible and beautiful, a testimony to His faithfulness in your lives, in bringing you together, in patiently and joyfully trusting His perfect timing, in preparing to raise her to know Christ above all else. I know everyone has been waiting for this little miracle baby for awhile now—He is faithful! Wow. I am excited for you two as you step into this new life of raising this precious little one. Undoubtably, she has two pretty awesome parents and tons of family and friends in love with her from the moment she was conceived. She has no idea how blessed she is to call you mom and dad. Congrats, momma and daddy!!! So excited to see the way the Lord uses this little one in the years to come. Rejoicing with you!

Proud Uncle in love with new baby

Cousins and best friends without a doubt.

Kisses, lots of kisses.

Proud Aunt Ali—in love with lil Roz.

Such a blessing to hold this little one.

Of course, Uncle Anthony has to meet her via incredible technology! 

Mr. & Mrs. Luster, get ready your turn next! 

And of course we had to watch some fireworks since it was the 4th of July!!

So blessed by this big sis. Love her so much.

Auntie Ash and lil Aubry who is getting so big!!!


So incredibly thankful for and blessed by this King/Luster/Herron/Foster family.