Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How do we hear the voice of Jesus?

Check out the full article by John Piper here in which he presents two ways that we hear the voice of Jesus.

For now, I’m loving this:

"When the Gospel writers say, “Jesus said,” it is Jesus saying, “I said.” When they write “Jesus did,” it is Jesus saying, “I did.” When they write about Jesus, Jesus is speaking about Jesus. When they quote Jesus, Jesus is quoting Jesus. In the Bible we hear the voice of Jesus talking about Jesus."

and


"The way he means for us to live is to be so familiar with his voice from a thousand pages of precious Scripture that we sense his will where he is silent.”

This is challenging for me because while Ryan and I long to hear from God in this season and desperately want to know his will for us, I haven’t been viewing Scripture as the way to hear his voice.

I keep praying that God would grant us wisdom and give us understanding for the next steps we should take for our family.

What I forget is that God has spoken. And Jesus speaks. Every single day through the pages of His Word.

His Word is living and active. It’s relevant and timeless and written for me.

If we want to hear the voice of Jesus friends, lets open up Scripture...the good old fashioned way or on your phone or on your ebook reader or online. There's no right way, there's no wrong way.

Read. Meditate. Ponder. Let us become so familiar with the words and life of Jesus that we are like sheep who hear His voice and follow Him. 

I'd love to know where you're at on your journey to hearing Jesus' voice. Please share!

Monday, February 27, 2012

What I know

Last week I sent an email to a friend who is struggling. She's struggling to believe truth over lies, struggling to find purpose in her pain and struggling to trust in a season of unknowns. This is hard stuff and there's no way out...she has to face it head on and walk through it one agonizing step at a time. I told her I didn't know how to help and I didn't know what to do, but that there were a few things I did know. I thought some of you, who are walking through your own tough times, might benefit from these words:


"There is a lot I don’t know friend. I don’t know how God is going to use this to bring Him glory. I don’t know how you are going to find healing. I don’t know the pain and the heartache that is to come.

But there are some things that I know and I want to share them with you.

Here’s what I know about you and about our God:
…You are not asked or expected to carry this burden. This is not your burden to shoulder. God did not design you to carry this heavy load. He wants you to give the hurt, pain, loss, sadness, grief, and agony to Him and let Him carry the burden for you. Every day He asks you to hand it over to Him.

…You are capable of great love. So love your family. Love your husband. Love your kids. Don’t try to change them. Love them. Let God do the work in their hearts and lead them on the path He has for them – in His timing. So go about your days, your business, loving your husband and kids and let God do the work that needs to be done.

…These days, these tough times, are not about you having more faith or working harder to be a better you or striving to get this all figured out. In fact, these days are not really about you at all. They are about a Big God who loves you just as you are and is asking you to come rest in Him. Be His daughter. Be still and know that He is God. He is I am.

…In Christ you are a new creation and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. You can choose to believe lies or choose to believe God’s truth. Every day, every hour you have to make that choice. Satan is fighting for control of your mind and feeding you lies every single minute. The Word of God is living and active, sharper than a double-edge sword. Use the Word as a weapon. Fight with it. Pick up your armor daily – it is your only defense.

…That said, I realize what you are walking through is absolutely emotionally exhausting and picking up your armor and fighting for your mind is no easy task. But you do not walk alone. Call upon God’s strength and power and presence to walk through this with you. Claim His power. You have Christ living in you and that is so powerful. God can empower you when you live in total dependence on Him.

…When you are down on yourself it’s because you are focusing on self. Don’t focus on self. Focus on God. Fix your eyes on Him – the author and perfector of our faith. He is there with his hands holding your sweet, beautiful face saying, “Look at me...look at me...hear my words...this is my battle to fight and my burden to bear. You need only be still. Rest in me and my promises. I promise to be faithful to you.”

…You cannot control anyone else’s actions or thoughts or attitude or choices. You can only control your own. You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your perspective. What is your perspective? God is your rock, He is your portion, He is your strength. Make that your perspective every day.

…Trusting God is hard, but if you pick a specific promise from God to claim and trust, it becomes a bit easier. May I suggest a promise? It comes from Isaiah 41:10….So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Claim that promise, claim victory in Him.

…God longs to hear from you. He wants you to pour out your heart to Him. When others can’t handle your heart, your emotions, your tears…God can. When no one else understands, God does. He wants you to immerse yourself in His presence all day so He can minister to heart and be the healing balm to your soul. Talk to Him. Cry to Him. Beg Him. Listen to Him. Petition Him.

…God’s mercies are new every day. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Try not to think about tomorrow. God has given you today – ask for your daily bread for today and claim His mercies for today. He has not given you tomorrow’s mercies…only todays.

…God’s promises number in the thousands. There is a new promise for every single day. And choosing to meditate on truth, and claiming, trusting and resting in His promises daily, will keep you focused on Him. Here’s another promise for you: Psalm 46:1-2:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…

My dear friend - I love you, I weep with you, and I pray for you. I claim God’s promises with you. I believe in God’s power to bring restoration. And most of all, I am asking and trusting and believing that He will make beauty from these ashes."


Friday, February 24, 2012

Making room for Daisy

My classmate from high school is currently in China and about to meet her little girl. Check out her blog and say a prayer for her! How incredibly exciting.....I am thrilled for her and can't wait to follow her journey of bringing home a little girl!

http://coleman-bunkbeds.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why did God say no?

Driving home from church on Sunday, my sweet boy says: "Why did God say no?"

Ryan and I look at each other.

"What are you talking about Samuel?" I ask.

"Why did God say no? When you were waiting for a baby. Why did God say no?"

Whoa.

Who is this kid?

He is three years old.

I am sure Ryan and I have told him that we waited for a long time for him and we probably said at some point that God told us no when we asked for a baby....but really? Where is this coming from?

For him to ask...that he remembers...that he wonders and questions...that he is pondering this in his heart? 

We were stunned. 

And speechless.

And tried to formulate some sort of response that he could understand:

"Samuel God said no to us when we wanted to have a baby because He was waiting to give us YOU. He said no Ryan and Stacy not yet. No, wait a little longer. Keep waiting. No. Not quite yet.

And then...when we got the call about you...God said, "YES! YES! YES! Go get him. Right now. This is what you've been waiting for!"

I can't help but think of all of you us, who are waiting. God is saying, "No. No. No. Not yet."

But one day you just might find God joyfully yelling, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Now is the time and THIS is what you've been waiting for."

It certainly doesn't happen that way for everyone. But praise the Lord when it does. And praise the Lord that He receives all the glory when He takes the heartache of a 'no' and replaces it with the sweet joy of a 'yes.'

Friday, February 17, 2012

Praying for our children

Love this article that asks, "Are we praying the wrong things for our children?"

"So today, as you pray for your children, pray the hard prayers that push them to Jesus, because He is the only place they will ever fully find comfort, plenty, peace and love."

Hard prayers are the prayers that push us to Jesus. Push our kids to Jesus. Push our loved ones to Jesus. Hard prayers are the kind of prayers that changes lives...change hearts...change marriages...change families.

Prayers that focus on the internal...those are the hard prayers. It's easier to pray about grades and friends and school and sleep than it is to pray about humility and selflessness and compassion and self-control and perseverance.

The most important thing is that we're praying. For sure. But don't stop there. Commit to praying the hard prayers--for ourselves and our loved ones.




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Be what you want your children to become


I have read many parenting books...read parenting blogs...read parenting articles...participated in parenting studies...and yet nothing has spoken to my heart more than eight simple words of wisdom by Chip Ingram.


Be what you want your children to become



"If there is one thing, one truth I want them [parents] to hold on to more than any other: be what you want your children to become. The most powerful agent of life change is modeling. That doesn't mean you're perfect, but it means you own it when you blow. So I would say to parents: you can make a ton of mistakes, love covers a multitude of sins. But if you would say, "I am going to be the greatest Christian I can by God's grace" and if you will be what you want them to become, if you will model it, I will tell you...Jesus is attractive and when they see Jesus in you, they will be attracted to Him."


Be what you want your children to become


And what do I want my children to become?

...Lovers of Jesus and His Word.

...People who have faith that trusts when they cannot see.

...Men and Women who understand the depth of God's love for them.

...Leaders of others and followers of Him.

...Imitators of Christ.

...Salt and light.

This is what I want my children to become. This is who I want them to be.
So the question is...am I who and what I want my children to be? Do I exhibit the fruits of the Spirit and character qualities that I so desperately pray for in my children?

Do I….
Speak firmly, yet gently to demonstrate kindness, gentleness and self-control?
Touch softly to demonstrate loving kindness?
Give generously of my time, treasure and talent to demonstrate a life that is focused on others?
Meditate on God’s word to demonstrate a hunger and thirst for God’s Word and daily dependence on Him?
Be loyal and trustworthy with friends, family and at work to demonstrate goodness and faithfulness?
Love and encourage my spouse to demonstrate respect, faithfulness and commitment?
Claim the promises of God's Word to demonstrate a heart that trusts in Him?
Use restraint with my money and eating habits to demonstrate self-control and patience?
Choose words and actions carefully to demonstrate wisdom and self-control?
Pray with purpose to demonstrate my dependence on God and belief in the power of prayer?
Give thanks frequently and enthusiastically to demonstrate a heart of gratitude?
Say no to myself and others to demonstrate our priorities and values with our home, schedule and finances?
Worship regularly and passionately to demonstrate living a life of praise?
Susie Larson, author of numerous books including Growing Grateful Kids says: “You cannot impart what you don’t possess.” Here’s the reality that is hard to swallow: I certainly don’t possess all the traits listed above.

But that’s OK. Because I’m a work in progress and God doesn’t call me to be perfect. He calls me to Him. The fruits of the spirit are a result of being in a right relationship with God and the fruits overflow when I am abiding in Him. I cannot do or become or impart on my own. It is only through His power, His strength that I can pass on anything to my children. It's only by His grace that I can be what I want my children to become.

Be what you want your children to become



The person in my life that demonstrates this to me more than anyone else is my friend Heidi. Her mama loves Jesus and she has taught her three girls to love Jesus with their whole hearts. Heidi isn’t perfect, but she loves Jesus. She is wise beyond her years. And her heart is all about knowing Him more. I think Heidi saw Jesus in her mom and because of that, she was attracted to Him.

It’s not easy to be what I want my children to become. In fact, it’s the hard road most days. The easy road is filled with impatience, selfishness, independence, foolishness and ingratitude.

Oh Jesus help me every single day to become more like you. Because the more I am like you, the more my children will see Jesus in me.


Stacy


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How He Loves

Happy Valentine's day. May the depth of GOD'S LOVE for you fill you to overflowing today.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whose tummy did I grow in?


I have had a lot of conversations with Samuel about being adopted and how his dad and I met him at the hospital and took him home.

We talk about gotcha day and becoming a forever family.


What we haven't hadn't discussed (until last Thursday) was Samuel's birthmother, Samantha.


I wasn't quite sure of the words to use or how to approach that topic or how to explain that he grew in another woman's tummy.

The conversation started while I was changing Lauren's diaper.

Samuel: "Why doesn't lauren have a p*nis?"

Me: "Because God made boys with p*nis' and girls without. And when they are big, boys and girls come together in a special way and they use the boys p*nis to make a baby. And then the baby grows in the mommy's tummy. Just like Lauren grew in my tummy."


Samuel: "Is Lauren a baby?"

Me: "No, but she was a baby. And I was a baby too. I grew in grandma Ruth's tummy and daddy grew in grandma Barb's tummy."

And then it came.

I should have saw it coming...I had prayed about it and asked God to guide it and knew these small, unplanned moments are exactly the opportunities I wanted to talk to him about his story...the one God was writing for his life.


Samuel: "Whose tummy did I grow in?

Big breath.
Me: "Samuel you grew in the tummy of someone named Samantha. She loved you a lot and wanted you to have a mommy and a daddy. We met her at the hospital when you were born and she asked us to take care of you. So we get to be a family forever."

And that was pretty much it. We read his "Samuel book" before bedtime and talked a little more about Samantha. I'm not sure how much he understands but at least I don't have to worry about the day when he asks, "Whose tummy did I grow in?"

Looking back, what I think I forgot to tell Samuel is this:

That even though he didn't grow in my tummy like Lauren, he grew in my heart for a long, long time.

And that even though only God can make babies grow in tummies, God is so powerful and so wise and so loving that He can also make a baby grow in a mommy's heart.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Orphan crisis

Take three minutes to watch this video:



Super Bowl Winning Coach Tony Dungy Halftime Video for AdoptionJourney.org from Adoption Journey on Vimeo.


Then check out Adoption Journey. It's one of the best adoption web sites I have come across. This is a great place to start if you are interested in learning more about adoption-- you'll find lots of stories and information on both domestic and international adoption.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gotcha Day

Dear Samuel,

Happy Gotcha Day little man...every day with you is exciting and adventurous and every year with you keeps getting better. 

We celebrate you today and every day Samuel. And actually we'll celebrate you a little more tomorrow than today because you and your sis spent last night unloading the contents of your tummies so we are all very short on sleep and energy today.

But tomorrow, we're gonna celebrate our forever family.

We're gonna celebrate who God created you to be.

We're gonna celebrate the gift of waiting, the gift of God's best, the gift of believing in a God who does more than we can ever ask or imagine.
We're gonna celebrate you, your story and how God continues to write it.

I thought I couldn't love you more than when I wrote this Dear Samuel letter. My heart was bursting with joy when I penned those words before we went to court three years ago today.

But I do love you more. And by God's grace, I'll continue to love you every day and for many many more gotcha days.

Love,
Mom


Saturday, February 4, 2012

First pregnancy...first miscarriage...first blog

I was trying to find something on blogger last month and as I was looking around I looked at the names of my blogs listed in blogger: a couple of family ones and one that was titled 'Baby May.' I clicked on Baby May and was transported to another time...almost 6 years ago. Upon me telling Ryan that he was going to be a dad, he immediately created a blog for us to begin journaling our thoughts, emotions and experiences. It is sweet, sad and so precious to me to have these thoughts captured. The excitement of a first time pregnancy. The joy. The anticipation. The sorrow of our first child lost to miscarriage.

Today is the anniversary of the due date of my first miscarriage. So today I share the link to our blog in honor of our first baby: Baby May

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bitter or better?

"The difference between bitter and better is I.”
―Jennifer Rothschild


A couple weeks ago I received an email update from some friends of ours. They had been asking for prayer for the past year about a possible transfer out of state or that God would provide a new job. 12 months later...they are not moving and God has provided a wonderful new job for their family.

I should have been happy for them.

Because I know that my blessings and their blessings are not dependent on one another.

But I wasn't.

I wasn't happy at all.

I was bitter. Full of resentment. And angry that God had answered their prayer for employment and not ours.

I was surprised at the emotion I felt reading their email. I wasn't fully aware of the anger and bitterness and resentment that was in my heart. 

But these emotions of the heart work their way in slowly...quietly...powerfully. They take hold, they dig deep and before you know it, a bitter root has grown.

I love Jennifer's quote: "The difference between bitter and better is I."

I have the choice.

I can choose bitterness or I can choose to be better as a result of the road I'm walking. 


Every day presents us with choices and we get to choose how to respond. Once we realize we are dealing with bitterness, we can choose to let it grow or we can choose to better ourselves and work through it.

Sometimes we think we are victims of life. Sometimes we think we are victims of other people's choices. 


It doesn't matter.

The only person standing in the way of you dealing with your bitterness is....you.

Bitterness from a past relationship or marriage...or no relationship.
Bitterness from the loss of a baby...or no baby.
Bitterness from the loss of a job.
Bitterness from the loss of a home, business, or investment.

Take it to the Lord my friends. Pour out your grief, anger, jealousy, resentment, bitterness. God knows your heart...He created your heart...so get it out there and get right with Him.


This is hard stuff people. But this is life. And we have to make the choice, once again, to go through the hard stuff. There is no way around it. You can talk about bitterness and read about bitterness and listen to messages about bitterness and talk to friends about bitterness. But what you and I need to do is talk to Gd about our bitterness and follow the commands given to us in Scripture about how to deal with our bitterness.


"Choose to let the difficulties in life
make you better not bitter." - Unknown



**To see how I have worked through my bitterness in the past, see these posts:
A root revelation
The bondage of bitterness
Choose Wisely
Fight for Freedom
Bitterness

Consider reading Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley. Fantastic book!