God Did It Again: Our Second Miracle On the Way

miracle baby

Dear Friends, this is a post I never intended to write. But here I am writing it, with tears in my eyes, and a lump in my throat. And my hands feel shaky at these keys:

I’m pregnant again.

God did it.

This will be our second miracle. And I had no idea, it was even coming. But all of a sudden, it’s here. Seemingly, out of no where. The only way a miracle can come–when you know full well that you have offered nothing. When you have brought nothing to the table, and God has brought everything. God brings a feast.

And He asks you to dine with Him. And you do, because your soul is starving. 

If you don’t already know it, I encourage you to read my story of infertility. In it, you will find a very broken woman, angry and confused and barely tolerating God’s “plan.” You will find a woman who is so very barren, not only in her womb, but in her soul. And you will find how God rescues her out of that barrenness–by showing her Himself, His very beauty, and that He satisfies.

My daughter Selah is three now. She is beautiful, like music. Like her name. And she was worth every tear I cried for her. Every minute I waited for her.

The last few years have been so full–of her–just learning this other person, this other creature God has placed in my care. I’ve got to see her grow out of her tiny newborn clothes into a lengthy three year old girl that looks older every minute. She won’t hold still, or slow down enough to let me just hold her and breathe her in. Sometimes it seems like she is sprinting through childhood, and I’m chasing her, always a few steps back, yelling, “Slow down!”

I remember how I cried when we took down her crib. I cried into my husbands shirt, and sobbed, “I’m just afraid we’ll never get to put it up again.” I felt like I was saying good-bye to this baby part of her, that I wasn’t ready to part with. Or put into storage.

And I didn’t know if God would give us any more children.

We prayed God would give us more, if He wanted us to have more. Even though, we were already beyond blessed to have even one beautiful child. Many don’t even get that.

For the last few years we’ve “tried” to conceive again. (But what is “trying” when you already have a child?) Interrupting cries during the “moment”, and a BBT thermometer that keeps disappearing from your nightstand and reappearing in your daughter’s toy box, and “charting” which was once graphed lines and fluids and temperatures, was now simply figuring out which cycle day I was on–which I was usually totally off on. Or we missed “the window” completely. Oops.

At the beginning of 2016, I felt the Lord gave me a theme for the year. Which was simply to have Open Arms.  I drew a stick figure of myself, with my arms out wide. And wrote: Open Arms: Because the posture of surrender, and the posture of worship, and the posture of receiving, is the same.

All I knew, is that God wanted me to keep my arms open. Wide open. Surrendering. Worshiping. And receiving from Him.

So in February, my husband and I felt like we needed to open our arms to fostering. This was something we talked about for a long time–and had many conversations about. My biggest hang up was, “I just don’t know if I could give the baby back.” I think most people struggle with that part of fostering, (the part that you have no control, and that your heart will probably be crushed in the process.) But, I clearly remember one day as we drove down I-79, as I told my husband all the reasons why it would be so “emotionally difficult” to foster, he gently reminded me, “It’s not about you. This is one thing in your life you get to do, that’s not about you.” Tears began to run down my face. It was that moment that it clicked for me. It’s not about me. It’s about helping someone else. At the most fragile state in their life.

The more we thought and prayed about it, the more we felt led to get certified to be foster parents. In our state, it’s only a 90 day process, and is actually very simple to do. We decided we would foster babies anywhere from newborn to under a year old, and we were really excited about it.

So in mid-April, we were nearing the end of all of our paperwork, training, and inspections. I felt so excited to lavish this baby with love. I was going to love this baby with everything, just as if he, or she was my own child. I knew my heart would probably get ripped out, but I felt that this baby deserved to be treated like they were the most long awaited, and long anticipated baby ever to be born.

So, we took down the guest room and made it into a full-blown nursery. I was happy to see the pretty white crib up again. Along with the glider and changing table. Everything looked crisp and white against the gray walls. I would walk past and wonder who the baby was that we would receive. And as I prayed, I kept seeing the words, “Precious One,” over the crib. So I ordered a pretty custom-made wall-sticker from Etsy to place over the crib. “Precious One,” is something I wanted to speak over and over this child.

And it was that week, that everything was set up in the nursery. The car seat was ready to go. And I had washed all the baby blankets in sweet-smelling Dreft–since that is what I would do for my own child–that our world would change: again.

My husband had picked up a pregnancy test on his way home from work, and I rolled my eyes when he handed it to me. “Why take a test?” I asked, “It just makes it harder!” I didn’t like taking pregnancy tests because they just played with emotions, I’d rather keep stuffed down.

And so, as he was tightening up the baby gates for the final home-inspection the next day, I went and took the test. I locked the door so that no one disturbed me. And that’s when I saw a very faint blue line cross the other: pregnant.

I fell to my knees right there on the bathroom floor.  And the lines blurred with my tears. And I thanked God, and gasped.

My husband came up, and I showed him the test, “Bekah!!” he exclaimed, hugging me, and we laughed. We could not believe it.

I was pregnant.

And in shock.

And in awe, of our very great God.

Today I am 9 weeks pregnant. So, it’s still early. I know we’re not guaranteed anything. I am not guaranteed even one more breath. But with all the breath in me, I will thank God for this miracle. And I will tell of His works.

And I will celebrate this life within me every day I have him, or her. For God knows this son or daughter. And He has already breathed out their name. His eyes see their unformed body, being knit together in the secret places of my womb. And all the days ordained for them have been written in His book, before one of them will come to be.

Dear friends, I had no idea that the child I was preparing for, was one in my womb. I had no idea the “Precious One” I had been praying for, would be living inside me. Can you fathom what God has done?

Surely, He is God. There is no one like Him. He alone can do wonders and miracles. He can even open the womb.

Lately, I am so tired. Can you pray for me, that I can keep my arms open? My heart open? I want to stay in the posture of surrender, and worship, and receiving as I carry this child. I haven’t  felt physically well, so we have decided to wait to take in a foster baby until sometime after our baby is born. However, this is something we pray we get to do in the future, because the need is so very great and urgent.

I want you to know, I will pray for you as well.

If you are barren, and even if you are not, my prayer is that you can open your arms. Wide. Ready to embrace whatever and whoever God has for you. I don’t know where it will lead. But it will be wild, and free, and full of God.

If you are still waiting and praying to get pregnant, please don’t let the news of my miracle discourage you. I know, it can feel defeating when you hear of other people’s pregnancies. Especially when they seem to come so easily.

But this miracle God has done in me should give you hope. Not despair.

Because if God can do a miracle in me, who has not even the faith, but rolls her eyes at the pregnancy test, He can surely do one in you as well.

I don’t know what it will look like. Or when. Or how.

But that’s what a miracle is. It’s a mystery. 

It’s a gift. It’s something of God. 

When you find yourself with nothing to offer. 

You are in the perfect place. 

Open your empty arms. To Him.

And say,

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:25-26

For surely He will satisfy. Surely, He will be your portion.

4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes–Part 4

God has forgotten me

Today, is Lie #4 of the “4 Lies the Barren Woman Believe” mini-series.  Be sure to check out Lie #1, Lie #2, and Lie #3 leading up to this one, if you missed them. And may the Truth set you free!

Lie #4: God has forgotten me, otherwise, He would have given me a baby by now.

Truth: God never forgets.

And He has such tender words to the barren woman in Isaiah 54 (I encourage you to read that chapter):

Do you know what God tells the barren woman to do?  Sing.

(Sounds crazy, I know.) But, He first tells her to “sing,” and lift up her voice. Because He is going to enlarge her territory. And next He says, “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated…” (Isaiah‬ ‭54:4‬a ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬)‬‬

But isn’t that the fear…that you will be ashamed? Disgraced? Humiliated? Forgotten?

These fears come from the evil one, and not from your Abba Father.

Maybe your body has failed you, maybe people have failed you, or you have failed people. But you know what? He never fails. His love never fails. And so you can put your hope in Him.

He says, “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah‬ ‭54:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬

You can put your hope completely in Him. No matter what happens this week, this month, or this year. His steadfast love shall not depart from you.

And then He says,
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭54:11‬‬‬)‬‬

I don’t understand all of Isaiah 54 in it’s entirety, or what is symbolic and what is literal. But here are some things that this chapter points about God’s character and His love for the “barren woman”:

He sees you.
He speaks tenderly to you.
You are not forgotten.
He is going to expand your territory.
His love for you will not be moved—even if the mountains come crashing down.
He will not fail or forsake you.
He will take away your shame. Forever.
He is building a beautiful foundation for your life.

Oh beautiful one reading this today, It’s time. It’s time to stop wallowing in the darkness. For He has ordained your life with purpose. Can you sense it?

Today, you are alive.
You are bursting with life–if His Spirit lives in you.

Today, you are Beloved Daughter.
You are precious, and honored in His sight.

Today, God is gracious and kind.
He delights to give you a thousand gifts you could never deserve.
And He is full of grace and truth.

Today, He is establishing His beautiful purpose for your life.

Today, may the Spirit of Truth come rushing in and cast out every lie. Every single one. So that you will know the Truth, and speak the Truth, and believe the Truth–and that the Truth will set you free.


 

Be sure to check out Lie #1, Lie #2, and Lie #3 leading up to this one, if you missed them. Or, some other posts you might like are:

“Where Is God When You Can’t Get Pregnant?”

Stop Waiting To Be Happy

That Moment You Decide You Want To Be A Mom

4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes–Part 3

lie 3 infertility

Today is Lie #3 of the the “4 Lies the Barren Woman Believes” mini-series. If you missed Lie #1 or #2, check out the two posts before this one. And may the Truth set you free!

Lie #3: I can’t have children because I am not good enough. If I were more “righteous” God would reward me with babies. God is punishing me for a past sin.

Truth: Oh sister. You know this one isn’t true—why do you believe it?

Let’s debunk this lie a little bit.

Children are a blessing. There is no doubt about it. Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”

However, God also says that, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew‬ ‭5:45‬ ‭ESV)‬‬ The rising sun and falling rain are symbols of blessing. God actually pours out His blessings on the just and the unjust. Both saints and sinners. ‬‬‬‬‬‬

If He only gave babies to the ones who were “righteous” enough—pretty much no one would have babies. (Like ever.) His word says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:11) And God says that our most righteous deeds to “filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) So let’s stop believing, “If I’m just a little more righteous, then I will conceive.” Because if that’s true, you will just keep heaping heavy burdens on your back. Children are a blessing and a gift to be received, not earned.

God is wise. In a way we can’t fully comprehend in this life. The fact that you can’t conceive is more based in His wisdom and purpose for your life, and not based on your good or bad deeds.

Look around, are the people with babies righteous? Some are, many aren’t. Using “righteousness” to obtain blessing from the Lord is a D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S place to be. This was the trap the Pharisees fell into. They thought their “righteous” deeds “earned” them a blessing. And that’s why they were furious when “sinners” were inheriting that blessing before them.

Ladies, I get it. I too have wondered, “What is wrong with me? Why does that teen-mom keep pushing her baby past my house? Why does it seem like this works for everybody else—except me? Did I do something wrong to make God close up my womb?”

While it’s good to ask God to reveal your past or present sins and aim to live a righteous life—you have to remember God’s immense grace for you. Grace is unmerited favor. Un-earned. Don’t get trapped into believing that you can “earn” a baby, or anything else for that matter. None of us can “achieve,” or “produce,” or be “holy” enough to earn God’s blessing. And yet, He is so gracious. It’s because of Him that we are saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and not by anything we could do.

I encourage you to keep crying out to Him and bring your requests before Him, just as Hannah did. But as you do, put your hope in His faithfulness, and not in your righteousness.

“But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5


 

For more in this series, read “4 Lies Barren Believe-Part 1“, “Part 2,” and “Part 4“. Or, read any blog posts in the “Trying To Conceive” category.

A few you might like are:

To the Woman Who Thought She Was Pregnant, When She Wasn’t

5 Important Questions The Barren Woman Should Ask

To The Woman Still Longing To Be A Mom”

4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes–Part 2

Lie 2 Not a woman

Today, I am sharing Lie#2 of the “4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes” mini-series. See my last post, for Lie #1 if you missed it. And may the Truth set you free!

Lie #2:  You are not a woman. You won’t know the fullness of “womanhood” until you birth a child. And your husband won’t see you as a woman until you bear his children.

Truth: This is a BIG UGLY lie. And yet it is pervasive. It’s quiet. It’s (hopefully) not something anyone has ever said out loud to you—but it’s something that’s felt in your heart of hearts. Maybe during those sappy Mother’s Day commercials, or Ads for diapers. But it’s false.

You are a woman. First of all, your womanhood was determined by God, before you were born. (I know this is something our culture is slowly losing touch with.) But our genders are chosen, and breathed out, and spoken by the Living God. The Living God who says, “When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13b NIV)

And God didn’t just speak “XX chromosome” over you.

He spoke your real name. And He spoke, “Daughter.”

He saw you as precious.

You are a Daughter. Maybe it’s been a long time since you have heard Him speak, “Daughter” over you, or felt His smile over you. But I pray, you hear it again, you feel it again, or for the very first time.

Daughter. Beloved of God. Beautiful one. Precious girl. In whom My soul delights.

You are “Daughter.” No matter what you do, or don’t “produce” in this life. Becoming a “Mom” is an incredible gift—but it doesn’t make you any more female. You are wholly a daughter before becoming a Mom, and wholly a daughter after.

Bearing Children Does Not Make You More Of A Woman. And p.s. (Spoiler Alert!) Having become a mother myself, I’m just going to say: going through childbirth doesn’t make you feel more “feminine.” As beautiful and miraculous as child-bearing is…it is a STRUGGLE to find your “womanhood” again after “motherhood.” Carrying a baby for 9 months, going through labor, and nursing a baby, and having to get stitched up “down there,” and wear big ugly nursing bras—don’t actually make you feel pretty, or feminine. And as for your dear husband—let him in enjoy your pre-baby body now. And post-baby body later, too. Remember, he married you for you, and he loves you for you.

Know that you don’t need to go through childbirth to be a “real woman.” Stretch marks on your body do not prove anything. It’s the stretch marks on your soul that matter. Those times in your life when you love so big, and so hard—your heart can’t go back to its original size. This, I believe is the essence of womanhood. These are the stretch marks that matter—the ones on your soul formed in those moments when heaven met earth.

You are a woman to the fullest extent. You are beautiful. You are daughter.

And you are so very loved.

Only God Can Give Children. As much as you want to “give” your husband the child you feel he deserves, the pressure is not on you sweet girl. It is not your burden to carry. Only God can “give” you children—and oh, I pray He does. In His time, and in His way. Remember He is the Giver, and He makes everything beautiful in His time.

4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes

4 lies the barren woman

During my struggle with infertility, there were about 4 big lies that I believed. It felt like a wrestling match–trying to get out from being constantly pinned down. Trying to struggle free.

But it wasn’t the “lies” that pinned me down, it was the “Liar” himself. He was the one who didn’t want me up. He was the one who wanted me to confuse his subtle whispers of despair with the truth. He was the one trying to stamp out my hope.

If you are barren, or infertile today, maybe you aren’t even sure what the “lies” you might believe are. Well, if so, please keep reading because I’ve written out those 4 nasty lies–and the truth to set you free!

If you are truly in this place, this barren place, I encourage you to read through these carefully and slowly each day as they come out. Really pray and ask God to reveal any lies that have raided your heart. And ask Him to set you free from believing false things that do not line up with his Word. He is the only One who can truly set you free. And I believe with all my heart, He will.

That’s why I’m only gong to share Lie #1 today, and one lie per day following this post as a little mini-series.

This post was first published as a guest post I wrote for my friend Elisha over at Waiting for Baby Bird. So if you would like to read the full post today please head over there! If you are on the journey of infertility, I highly recommend her blog.  Pretty much any thought that’s gone through your head during your infertility journey–she has a post about it! She has a beautiful heart, and I promise you will love her.

4 Lies The Barren Woman Believes {And The Truth to Set You Free}

Lie #1:  “My womb is dead, I am dead.”

If you are infertile, or barren, you may feel like you are dead. After all, the very definition of the word “barren” means “unfruitful, unable to produce.” Kind of like a dry, barren wasteland, where nothing is growing, right?

Truth: Although your womb may be currently barren, your spirit doesn’t have to be. If you are a believer in Jesus: He has made you alive. (Ephesians 2:5 ESV) And nothing can take that life away from you. Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭ESV‬‬) This is important to understand because God’s definition of “life” and “death” are different from our culture’s definition. Death and Life are more than just what is happening in your physical body–because you are more than just a physical body. There is a spirit part of you. God has created a spirit in you, with His very breath. You bear His image, and the Holy Spirit really does live in you. That’s why you can be spiritually alive, even when your physical body is suffering. Paul wrote, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Even though your womb cannot conceive right now, you can still be fruitful and alive in Christ.

When I was barren, I wrote a song that I believe God gave to me to help me through that season. It was written as if God Himself were singing it to me. The lyrics were:

“There’s Someone living inside you,
though not a child tucked inside your womb,
but it’s my Holy Spirit, who conquered Jesus’ tomb.
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive,
Hear Him roar!
And you’re alive, you’re alive,
More than ever before.”

Be set free today! Your infertility no longer defines you. Your physical ailments no longer define you. God defines you. And He calls you: alive.

So, wake up living one and breathe, and exhale, and know that God has made you alive.

 

 

 


To read the full post head over to Waiting For Baby Bird. Or look for the rest of this 4-part series coming out each day this week.

To The Woman Who Miscarried, Or Never Conceived

spring

To The Woman Who Miscarried, Or Never Conceived,
I’m thinking of you today. I see you every time I look out my window, I can’t help it. There is a daffodil covered in ice. There are tree buds covered in snow. And I’m thinking of you, dear one.

Last weekend, it was warm and breezy. All the earth was coming to life. It was the celebration of resurrection, and life, it was Spring. At last. We finally started opening the windows, and breathing easier. And letting the sun hit our naked skin, hidden under sweaters and coats all winter.

We started to thaw. And feel warm again. And let laughter in.
And we cheered when we saw the daffodils push through the dirt. And my heart lept when I saw the trees finally budding through my kitchen window. For all the life bursting forth.

And one week later (that is today) it snowed.

The winds changed. The north winds blew, and the cold fronts came back unexpectedly.

And the windows slammed shut. And the young daffodils are covered with ice, and fallen low to the ground. And when I see them, I cry for you.

For the fragile beauty, fighting to survive the frost.

I cry for the life in you, that wants to survive. And the way you bend low, like the daffodil, covered with ice.

I see you in these budding trees, that were just coming alive–and are now covered with snow.

I want to tell you something:
I know you feel like this winter will never end.
That there will only ever be death, and cold.
And any life will always be choked out by unexpected northern winds.

But that’s not true.

Today is the day your Faith, becomes bigger than your feelings.

Spring will come.

However long it might take.

The frost is powerful–but it is not the most powerful thing.

Life is powerful.

Life is more powerful than death.

And Jesus is Life–and He is powerful. And I am praying He comes to life in you today. Because even when Jesus was killed–He rose from the dead.

And “The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, is living in you. And will also give life to your mortal bodies.” Romans 8:11

The death-defying power of the Spirit of God–lives in you.
I know what you might be thinking: Where was that power when I miscarried?

Where was the power when I tried to conceive?

Dear one, I don’t understand it. But it wasn’t your fault.

God is the giver of life. And He will give you life in Him.
I am praying that He raises you back to life today. That though you be like that fallen daffodil in the ice–that day will come and is coming that the sun will warm you again, and raise you up, and bring you to life.

You will stand tall and radiant in the sun.

And though your budding trees are covered with snow–
they will thaw, and live, and in time, flourish again.

And you will not be shaken. For God is with you.
So don’t fear the frost. This winter WILL end.

Spring is coming, Jesus is on the move, can you feel it?
And Summer will come. But as long as this winter lasts–do not lose heart. Direct your heart to the Lord, that you may say with great confidence,

“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18

When Housework Gets The Best of You

houseworkNo one saw me do it. But yesterday, in my bedroom, I rolled up a pair of my husband’s khaki work pants, belt still in the belt loops, and chucked them against the wall.

I was angry.

Not at him. I was angry at all this housework.

It just kept coming.

At that moment, in my bedroom, I had already folded one basket of clothes, and two more baskets lay in a giant heap on our bed, waiting to be folded. (The socks are still in a basket up there right now, as we speak.)

But for some reason, yesterday, I felt like the housework was never-ending.

We had just gotten back from a trip, so there was a lot more laundry than usual.

But, have you ever had that feeling you are running around from room to room trying to pick everything up, and make it look clean–but somehow, even though you do this all day long–your house still looks messy?!

I was trying hard.

But I was losing it.

I cleaned the bathroom, I cleaned the kitchen, I picked up all the toys down-stairs, and ran them upstairs. Somehow, the toys kept coming back downstairs. (This happened about 5 times.) I made a good dinner for my family. I cleaned up from the dinner. I loaded and unloaded, and reloaded the dishwasher. And then there was the laundry–which by that point, I was chucking clothes at the wall…like a crazy person.

And I did it all with a big, stinky attitude, that cried, “Look at what I’m doing!” “Look at how much I’m serving you!”

Sometimes, housework gets the best me.

But this morning, in the quiet of the house, (my semi-clean, semi-messy) house, I felt the Spirit’s gentle prompting:

“If you can’t serve your husband, or your daughter, who are seen, how can you serve God, who is unseen?”

I quickly remembered throwing the pants at the wall. And my heart was pierced.

I turned to the Scripture that spoke about this. And read, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20

I want to know God’s will. I want to share the gospel. I want to do ministry for the Kingdom of God. I want to change my community. I want to do all these great things. But then the Spirit whispers,

“But what about this?

What about this very small thing?

For the ones who you do see? Right in front of you?”

I forget what a priviledge it is to even be physically able enough–to do a few household chores. To get to make my home a refuge and a safe place, for a husband that faces the world each day, and provides so much for me, and a fragile daughter who needs my love and protection.

Who needs me to clean the tub, and fold her freshly washed, Snuggle-scented little 3T-size shirts. And the crumbs swept off the kitchen floor. And clean sippy cups.

And a husband who needs my hands to make meals, vaccuum the carpets, and open the windows, and let some air in this place. And make the bed, so he can fall into it after a long day at work. And who also needs my arms open wide, ready to embrace him. To love him.

(And not throw his pants at the wall.)

I don’t need a housekeeper. Or a nanny. 

I need a new heart.

I need to exchange this heart of stone, for one of flesh. I need Christ to come lead me, come show me how to be tender, and kind, and willing to bend lower and lower still.

When I start feeling like, “Look at how much I am serving my family!” It’s usually because I’ve lost sight of how much my family serves me–all the time. I become blind to all the rich provisions and sacrifice my husband makes for me–daily and constantly–and without complaint. I forget how much joy and life and laughter my daughter brings to me. I forget what life would be like without her, or him in it.

Maybe my attitude needs to change from, “Look how much I am serving them!” To, “Look how much they are serving me!”

Because they are, all the time.

On our better days, my daughter and I play “Cinderella.” (Since we’re both obsessed with the new movie.) And she becomes my little helper with the chores. I call her “Gus Gus,” (like the mouse,) and she calls me, “Cinderellie.”

She stands on a stool next to the washer, and I hand her the dirty clothes, which she puts in, piece by piece. Sock by sock. (It takes awhile.) Then, I let her dump in the cups of detergent, and the creamy blue Snuggle. And with shaky hands, and huge smile, she does it. She’s so happy to get to do it. 

She’s so happy just to help me do something. 

And she begs me–to let her pull the warm dry clothes out of the dryer. And when I do, she looks at me and says, “Thanks Cinderellie!” Which I can’t help but smile at.

When I bring the baskets of clothes upstairs, and dump them on the living room floor. She runs and jumps in them like they are a big pile of leaves–and she laughs, rolling around in them. And I can’t help but laugh with her.

And I’m happy. Here. Doing just this simple thing.

With her. And for her.

She’s teaching me–what joy looks like.

She’s teaching me that serving someone can be fun.

Housekeeping doesn’t have to get the better of us.

It can instead, bring out the better in us. It can bring out Christ in us.

If we choose to let it.

 

It can bring out moments of joy, because your daughter is jumping in the clothes like a pile of leaves, and calling you “Cinderellie,” and giggling the whole time, like it’s the best place on earth. Because to her, it is the best place.

Or, you can do it all by yourself. With a bad attitude. You can run around from room to room and try to make it look like no one lives in your house. And you can chuck clothes at the wall. And think about how much you’re serving everyone. And forget how much they are serving you and loving you. All the time.

You can say about your chores, “I have to do this.”

Or, “I get to do this.”

If I can’t love and serve these ones here with me, who are seen, how can I love and serve God, who is unseen?

Don’t let housework get the best of you. Don’t let it steal your soul. Or your tenderness.

Be like Christ. Who joyfully lays Himself low, to serve and to love. And this laying low and  serving and loving–gives life to people.

 

Don’t let housework get the best of you.

But do let your family get the best of you. 

The part that laughs. That scoops up the crushed Cheerios off the carpet. That lets the kids jump into the pile of clothes. And who asks God for help when she feels she can’t give any more. And who asks God for help when she forgets how much she’s been given. 

And who asks God for help when she struggles to love and serve her family–who is seen.

For the God who is unseen, sees you. And loves you. 

And He sees it all. He is gracious, and kind, and tender. He pours out His love for you, He lays Himself low for you.

And no one can love, truly love, without Him leading the way.

And He will teach you to love the ones who are seen. As He shows you the love, of the One who is unseen.

“For we love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

I pray you know His love. I pray I know it. Because without it–we have nothing. Just clanging gongs and cymbals. Just rolled up pants smacking against the wall. But with it–with His love–we have the power to give life in our homes, to move mountains, to part seas, and to make a way–for God to come through. In our living rooms, and kitchens, and bedrooms.

For the One who is unseen, can be quietly seen, in us.

When we love.

Don’t Lose Sight Of Your Lover

crowd

We were in New York City when I lost sight of him. My husband–the fast walker. The only one who knew the way through the crowded streets. The only who knew how to get where we were going. He was only my boyfriend at the time–and you’d think as in crazy love as I was–I would have kept an eye on him.

But I didn’t.

I looked around at all the glowing billboards, and stores, and people. I could see him ahead of me. I was keeping track of him from a distance. He was just a couple people ahead of me.
And then, he was gone.

I didn’t see him anywhere. His friends, who were also following him, caught up to me, and asked where he was. “I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t see him.”

This was before cell phones–and we searched for him. We moved awkwardly through the crowd, me and five others. Until we finally found him, waiting for us underground, in the subway. “Where did you go?” he asked, clearly waiting for us to come stumbling in.

And it’s like that with Jesus, too.

We think we can follow at a distance. We think if we keep an eye on Him–we can get to wherever it is we want to go.
But then we look up, and He’s gone.

And we have no idea where to go.

We get callous and and all we care about is the “plan.” When all along, it’s the relationship that mattered. It’s the relationship that would have kept us in the plan.

My friend Adam Frano says, “We have to come to a place where we trust God’s character, more than His plan.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of trying to follow Jesus at a distance. Because these streets are crowded. And loud.
And I’m lost. Without Him.

I want to follow Jesus so closely, I am walking right in His steps. I want to walk so close, that when the wind blows, the mantle of His robe gently hits me in the face. I want to be so close I feel His breath on my cheek. That I can hear His voice when He is softly speaking. And not only when He is shouting. Or rescueing me from peril.

Jesus wants to be my Lover, not my tour guide.

My heart is pierced today over this. Because I’ve tried to make Him a tour guide–and I’m lost.

If you too have lost sight of Him…

Maybe today He is waiting for you in the subway.

Maybe when you find Him, He will say, “Where did you go?”
But when you do find Him–slip your hand into His.

And do not let go.

Let your pulse beat with His. Let your feet move with His.
Jesus is on the move. Move with Him. He’s going somewhere today.

Go with Him.

It’s all I want. I pray, it’s all you want, too.
There is nothing better you could do today–then to lock hands with Jesus. To lock your eyes on Jesus. The Lover of your soul.

The streets are crowded today.

Stay with Him.

When Sirens Sound Like Cries

earth cries

I hear her crying. But find her sound asleep in her crib.

It was the sirens.

Outside.

We live in the city now,

and they are so frequent.

They blend.

The sounds.

Only young mothers can hear

how human they are,

the sirens,

like a voice,

crying out,

in the night.

 

Only young mothers can feel

the tension,

Of the sirens,

Sirens that make us catch our breath

until it passes. And quiets.

And we can breathe again.

 

Somehow when we became moms,

God gave us an ear for distress,

A keen sense of unrest,

Wherever it may be.

 

He gave us power within,

To listen and mend,

The fragile ones,

when they cry

for us.

 

I still pause when I hear it,

the sirens.

Is it her?

No. She’s here. She’s safe.

 

But many tonight, are not.

 

And when I hear the sirens,

it’s the earth’s cry.

Like a newborn.

Not able to find comfort.

And calling out for it.

Again, and again.

 

The earth groans and waits.

And cries.

The sirens keep on crying.

For some soothing.

For a Savior.

 

And sometimes only a young mother can hear it.

Sometimes only a young mother can feel it.

When the earth cries.

 

And sometimes only a young mother

Can soothe it.

 

He said He’s coming back.

But He didn’t say when.

And until He comes again,

Young mothers:

Listen for the cry.

Of the sirens.

You will know it when you hear it.

 

In that day,

Lean in and see with His eyes,

 

Be the soother of the cries.

The singer of the lullabies.

The wiper of the tears.

The quieter of fears.

Because you are a mom.

 

You are a mom and you have soothing powers. 

And your children have taught you well,

To know what a cry sounds like.

 

And maybe our world needs more police men,

And more politicians,

And more power.

But maybe the world also needs more

mothers.

 

If you are a mom,

Maybe you will be a mom to more,

than in your care.

Maybe you will be a mom to orphan children,

everywhere.

Maybe young, and maybe old,

Jesus’ story has to be told,

by mothers.

 

All you have to do is look around, and

Everywhere,

you hear the sound.

Of sirens.

 

And cries.

 

 

I Will Be Like A Tree

tree

I will raise my arms, like branches

before You. In worship.

I will spread them wide,

in surrender.

I will be like a tree,

before You.

Sending out my roots into the dirt.

Finding the water, hidden in the earth,

deeper, deeper now.

It’s not what I thought,

but it’s there. Lower, and lower down.

And how deep is Your love?

How far does it go? Further and further still.

I will reach.

For You have reached me.

I will stretch out my arms,

For You have stretched Your arms out to me,

On a tree.

 

So I will stretch out my arms, like branches,

to hungry and thirsty,

to naked and poor,

to scared and ashamed,

to wounded and pained, and

let the birds rest on my branches.

 

And yet, I will not topple.

For He waters my roots, and they are many.

He waters my roots when they cry, “Thirsty!”

He leads my roots to quiet waters,

Where He Himself strengthens me.

 

I am a small sapling,

But I shall not despise my smallness,

My tender branches,

my weak, clinging roots.

Yet, I shall not say, “Why am I not bigger?

Why am I not mighty?

Why don’t the birds rest on my branches?”

 

Instead I will drink, deeper and deeper still.

I will be steadfast.

I will stay,

Where God has planted me.

And I will be watered continually, by Him.

For He tends to me, that I will not fail.

He waters me, that I shall not fall.

 

And when I have grown, in His eyes,

For only He knows what real strength is.

When I have grown, I will reach out my branches.

And let the birds come,

and rest.

And in that day, I will not fear,

falling.

For I am rooted in Christ.

And grounded in Him,

Who arms me with strength,

and strengthens my arms.

 

Oh God, all my life,

I have wondered what You are calling me to be.

And it came so simply this morning,

“Like a tree.”

 

If that’s it God, then,

take me.

I am Yours.

I will stand my ground.

I will sink my roots deeper further down,

into You.

I will raise my arms, like branches

before You. In worship.

 

Whether big and tall,

Or small and tender.

I’ll open my arms, wide in surrender.

I will be like a tree.

 

 

I will reach,

For You have reached me.

I will stretch out my arms,

For You have stretched Your arms out to me,

On a tree.

 

Yes, I will be,

Like a tree

before You.