Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Broken


We have spent a lot of time outdoors lately talking about the beautiful weather God made.  A few days ago we went on a scavenger hunt around our neighborhood.  We looked for red leaves, yellow leaves, orange leaves, brown leaves, pine cones and acorns.  As the kids were picking up the leaves Anna-Kate looked up at me and asked, “mommy, why are the leaves changing colors? 
I told her the leaves get less light each day and they stop making food to prepare for the winter. The Chlorophyll which is the green color breaks down the other colors in the leaves begin to show. Eventually the stems of the leaves will weaken and the leaves fall from the trees.  
My sweet girl looked up at me and said, “so they have to be broken to be beautiful?”
“Yes, sweet girl.  Yes. “
How I needed to hear those words in that moment. This isn’t some new idea or thought but it was the perfect reminder for me in the moment I needed to hear it. We are broken to be made beautiful. In this season, it seems everything is continually broken. Everything from hearts, relationships, families, sickness, our country, and the devastation I’ve seen in Hurricane Michael (more on this later). Our world is so incredibly broken. 
One thing I know as I’ve walked through brokenness and walked with others through brokenness is God is there in the midst of brokenness, in suffering. He draws His people to Himself.  He raises up His church. 
Isaiah 61:3 says, “to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” He brings beauty from ashes. 
There is an old Jewish tale about a student who asks a rabbi, “Why does the Torah say we lay these words upon our hearts? Why does it not say we lay these words in our hearts?” The rabbi replies, “Because God knows that our hearts are closed, so we lay the words upon our hearts. When our hearts break, the words fall in.”
Yesterday I was having lunch with one of my mentors.  I was telling her some areas I could use some wisdom right now.  Situations I don’t know how to handle.  We were talking about the importance of renewing your mind.  Reading scripture, memorizing scripture, meditating scripture, and here recently I have played the audio Bible in our home. We must put His word upon our heart so that it can go INTO our hearts. 
This is what I know.  Whatever is going on in our lives God’s truth heals it.  We have no free mind space, so we have to take negative thoughts and replace them with the truth.  If we are going to get through this thing and we will, we need to have the mind of Christ. That means we are taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. 
There is beauty in the ashes. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Anna-Kate is FOUR!

This past week we celebrated Anna-Kate’s 4th birthday.  It’s hard to believe my little girl is already four.  Anna-Kate brings so much joy to our lives.  She is kind, loving, loyal and has the biggest heart for others.  She is reserved but loves her people fiercely.  We love being her mommy and daddy.
She isn’t into big parties and asked me not to throw her one, so we decided to do 4 FUN THINGS FOR ANNA-KATE’S 4TH BIRTHDAY! It has been the most fun.
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We started her birthday morning off with donuts. We went to our favorite little donut shop and we told them it was her birthday. They were so kind to us and gave us free donuts.  She was so thrilled.
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After we got donuts we headed to the gardens to meet some friends there.  AK had THE BEST time playing with her sweet friends and I’m so grateful for our Huntsville community who has loved on us so well over the past year.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch your girl be loved on and treasured by so many friends and it made this mama’s heart so happy.
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After we left the garden we were exhausted, so we came home and napped.  Right about the time the kids woke up from nap, daddy was home and brought our sweet girl some flowers and balloons.  She was thrilled. We let her pick where she wanted to eat dinner and she chose to go to Chick-fil-A.  When we got there Caleb started clapping his hands and saying “Yeah, home”, which tells me we might go a little bit too much.
After dinner we came home and let her open gifts from us and then we had cake.
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She specifically requested a pink cake with princess plates and that’s exactly what we did.  Caleb had no idea what we were celebrating but he was there for it all.  Anna-Kate repeatedly told him to tell her happy birthday but he refused to oblige.
That night as I was putting her to sleep I read Psalm 139 over her and reflected on the day I got to meet her 4 years ago. I prayed that God would protect her and that she would come to know Him as her Lord, Savior and Father. I thanked God for how he created her in His image and was reminded of His perfect love.
The next morning, my best friend came into town with her sweet kids who also happens to be Anna-Kate’s best friend and we spent the day letting the kids play.  Naturally we all piled into one car and headed to Chick-fil-a for free babysitting lunch. After a few hours, and yes I said “a few” we headed back to our house so they could play the rest of the day.
One of the things Anna-Kate had requested for her birthday was a father/daughter camping trip.  I was invited to come along as well, but she told me I needed to find someone to watch Caleb. 🙂
Daddy and Anna-Kate headed off on their trip and she had the best time.  It might become a new tradition around here.
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We have had so much fun loving on our sweet girl and still have a little bit more celebrating to do with family, but it’s my hope that the love poured out on her, only shows her how much Jesus loves her and that she would be able to show His love to others.  Happy Birthday sweet girl.