Leave a comment

This is Not a Normal Life

“This is NOT a normal life!” she exclaimed from the back seat.  I glanced back at the stop sign to see what she was doing.  She had a small notebook and pencil.  Her legs were crossed, the tips of her fuzzy boots sticking up almost to her knees.  “This is NOT a normal life.”  She was playing MASH. With herself.  I laughed out loud while Betty told me how she was living in a mansion with THREE children and driving a Ford.  Oh, and she was married to Toby Mac.  When something is interesting or exciting for her and she wants me to listen she will say, “Hear this!”  Such a herald.  She is doing fabulously in school, reading sentences like, “The path led to the shed.”  She recently celebrated her 6th birthday.

Elsie is a great teacher and when she’s not DOING school, she is PLAYING school.  She has a vim and vigor for life.  A shaker and a mover.  Literally.  The other day she and Betty rearranged their room.  A girl after her mama’s own heart.  She is our pancake-maker, and does a fine job of it!

Jack is back into wrestling season full swing.  When he’s not wrestling, he is doing pushups.  Hundreds of pushups.  I’m excited when I do 30 in one day.  He’s not satisfied until he does 300.  We also recently discovered a Ninja Warrior gym not too far from us.  He conquered the warped wall the first day there, and loves to challenge himself with the other obstacles.

Elijah is my right-hand man in the kitchen.  We can throw together supper in less than half an hour.  I love teaching him stuff in the kitchen.  He gets my style of cooking, which doesn’t lean on recipes as much as a hunch on how different flavors will work together.  Having an instant pot has made dinner prep SO easy.  He is a geometry whiz, and we are looking in to some sort of coding class, as he is bent in this direction.  Sometimes he explains things to me and I have no clue what he’s talking about.  He’s also doing daily pushups and slowly inching closer to my height.

Nadine is our baby-whisperer.  Harry and her have a special bond.  She is convinced he can say her name, and it does sound pretty close.  I honestly don’t know how I could manage this house without her.

Harry adds the most perfect element of sweetness, joy and delight to our home.  When he starts to talk, everyone comes running.  He smiles and the sun comes out.  He is two months old already!  He is the king of expressions, and makes so many faces.  2017-01-12-10-21-55-2We’re slowly getting onto a sleeping schedule.

Though we often pass like ships in the night (literally), Matthew is my biggest support.  Between coaching, working, and being an amazing dad to these six… 2017-01-09-19-12-48
He is also the one whom my soul loves.  2017-01-21-15-35-34-1
It’s not hard to love him, but sometimes lack of sleep and the demands of being needed by 6 people can sometimes push me over the edge.  He is so patient with me.  It’s not tear-free, anger-free, frustration-free or hardship-free.  But it is full of joy, forgiveness, humor, and faith.  Had we been thrown the life we are living now, I might have also exclaimed: “This is NOT a normal life!”  But it’s the perfect life for me.
2017-01-25-21-30-49-1


Leave a comment

Bananas Foster & Gasoline

I was kind of intending to savor those bananas foster for the entire duration of me sitting down and writing tonight.  But, there they are.  All gone.  And I haven’t even written a word yet.  For some reason I had a strong urge for the buttery sweetness of bananas foster, minus the rum, and they were absolutely delicious.  Maple syrup, real butter, raw walnuts, and a dash of cinnimon.  Yes, please.
2016-09-28-21-14-59
This morning began bright and early, or rather dark and early.  It’s been lovely to get up before anyone else and have some quiet time and prayer time and business time before delving into my mama-ing duties.  Thankful for the inspiration and nudge of my friend to get up and pray together, via technology, before anything else.

Once everyone got up and we started our day, it sort of morphed into a home-ec morning of scrubbing the kitchen and preparing dinner together.  I knew our afternoon was going to be very full and we would come home hungry, and I was determined NOT to start cooking dinner at 5 or 6 o’clock like I’ve done way too many times.  So, into my handy-dandy instant pot (insert choir singing) went the sumptuous ingredients for beef stew.  We read about Esau trading his birthright for a bowl of stew, and wondered if this stew would taste anything like Jacob’s of old.

At exactly the time we were hoping to leave, we got into the van and made our way an hour West to the new holistic dentist we found a few months ago.  We had such a great experience with him when Elsie had a dental emergency… which turned out to be not as big of a deal as I thought.  We were a few hundred yards away from the office, making a left turn at a light, when Oceanus sputtered and felt like she’d stall out.  It was a busy enough intersection I didn’t want to risk trying to pull out and get broadsided if we didn’t make it the whole way through.  Instinct told me to not even try, and to hop out and ask the person behind me to please push us through at the next green light.  I’m not even sure he spoke English, but I guess he got the gist when Nadine and Elijah hopped out and took their stance behind the van.  Reason 1,567 I love having a stick shift.  Makes situations like this so much easier!  And yes, I’ve been in this situation a few times.  We had just the right amount of downhill, so it wasn’t difficult to make it through and down the street towards the office.  At that point, the kids were running behind the van while I steered it towards the building.  With an ever-s0-slight uphill into the parking lot, I barely had enough oomph to land, right in-between two parking spots.  I looked like the obsessive owner of a very old Eurovan, with many scratches, but not willing to have anyone park near me in case of one more.  It was raining.

Our time in the office was great. All three hours.  The one hygienist was so sweet and drove me over to a gas station so I could get some gasoline in a can to bring back.  So yes, I left four children in the waiting room and one in the cleaning chair to drive with a stranger to get some gas.  I’m so glad to add to our growing collection of gas cans.  I think we have six now.

As I got a small shower in the rain, I was able to give Oceanus what she was dying to have, and she started right up.  The reason this has happened more than twice, is because of a broken gas gauge.  I do zero it out each time she is filled up, but for some reason I didn’t pay attention that the mileage was way over 400, which is my signal: It’s time to Fill.  Her. Up.  Back into the office I went, reeking like a gas pump.  2016-09-28-16-56-47
No cavities for anyone, which was a huge exclamation point in an afternoon which seemed to want to rain sad-face emojis all over the place.  Yet, I wasn’t sad one bit.  Kind of exhilarated and thankful.  Thankful we ran out of gas in a safe place within walking distance to our destination.  Thankful for kind people.  Thankful for strong kiddos.  Thankful for gas money.  Thankful it was indeed just running out of gas, and nothing more serious.  When one fills their tank, and the total amount pumped reads 21 gallons, in a 21-gallon tank… one is thankful. 2016-09-28-17-09-35
I’m so thankful to have made it home safely.  To a clean kitchen and hot supper.  The consensus is still out as to whether it was birthright-tradable, but everyone agrees it was pretty smackingly delicious.  2016-09-28-18-39-55
Baby Chip is doing his nightly antics in my belly.  I think he enjoyed the bananas foster just as much as I did.  The lady at the gas station took one look at me and said: “You’re having a boy, right?”  She was so very confident.  I told her yes, and how did she know?  She just smiled and said it was the way I was carrying him.  A couple of weeks ago another friend’s two-year-old son pointed at my belly and said, “Ball!”  Thirty-three weeks tomorrow, and oh-so-thankful for the ability to carry another child into this world.  It is not something I take for granted.

Now I’m excited to lay down in one of my two comfortable positions and rest.  There are so many more things to remember and write, but they will have to wait.  Tonight I was pondering the motto of my life.  A motto given to me by the Lord when I was just a teenager.  Life is beautiful.  This is what I look for in every circumstance, every day.  I don’t have to pretend.  My life truly is beautiful. Empty gas tanks and all.

2016-09-25-13-53-57


Leave a comment

A Permanent Paint Job in My Hair

“Is that paint in your hair?”  He grinned.  I think I glared.  He knows perfectly well that even though I am the one to get paint in my hair while painting, that none of this has been going on for a few months. He kept grinning and then said, “I LOVE your grey hairs.”  He actually gets kind of giddy about them.  I guess they are factual of our journey from teenagers to pushing forty.  It is a beautiful thing to grow old with someone and know your grey hair makes them excited.  He’s actually getting a tiny swath of grey himself, which I find very attractive.
2016-07-14 19.35.00
I could name a handful of reasons for a few extras which may have popped up this month.

Earlier in July, Nadine came downstairs one morning with an incredibly stiff neck.  We had done massage, chiropractor, essential oils, and more, but she steadily got worse.  More sore, feverish, and absolutely exhausted.  A few doctor’s visits later and bloodwork drawn, I noticed a nice red circle on her leg.  And her shoulder.  And her arm, and torso and so on.  The number hit 17 bullseye rashes.  Her body felt and looked like it was shutting down.  We had spent so much time in prayer over her and Lymes kept running through my head.  As horrible as those bullseyes were, at least they showed up to confirm my thinking and get us on a path of treatment for her.  Just 24 hours later of being on strong antibiotics, she was sitting, standing up, and walking without having to collapse into bed.  She even swept the floor!  If people think I am anti-medicine because I’m a crunchy-granola-Plexus-mama, then they’re misinformed.  There is a time and there is a place, and I thank God for the ability to research and choose and make informed decisions.  I do not take antibiotics lightly.  So thankful too to have a quality probiotic to counter the nasty effects it will have on her good gut flora!

A few days after she started feeling nasty, I was grabbing some groceries and meeting my mother-in-law to pick up the youngest two who had been having a week at grandma’s.  We were waving goodbye as we backed out of our parking spot when all of a sudden the gear shift popped out of place and the whole gear shaft just started spinning around.  Thankfully, Linda hadn’t driven away yet, so we pushed the van into a safe spot and we all piled into her car where she drove us home!  Thankfully, it was not a huge fix!  Yesterday something else happened and we had to tow it again, but it’s fixed already.  We’re getting to know our local tow-truck drivers!
2016-07-08 18.07.52
I spent a lot of time sitting still and being quiet that first week of July.  Not my strong point.  Our front porch is my summer haven, and it gets a lot of love.  Between a broken arm, a broken vehicle, and a broken down body… I was pretty broken myself.  But God.  He’s in the business of fixing and providing and healing.
2016-07-29 09.32.34
One of the biggest blessings of this trial was seeing the rest of the kiddos rise to the challenge of taking over Nadine’s chores and jobs and serving her in many different ways.  From getting her icewater, to cleaning the kitchen, to hanging out with her while she couldn’t do anything but lay there.  It was refining for us all!  We also saw her faith grow in Jesus by leaps and bounds, as she audibly thanked Him for the sickness, and acknowledged He knows what’s best for her.  Do you know how hard that is to do?2016-07-13 14.19.53
As her body started to heal, God did another amazing thing for our family.  Because of the many broken things which needed money to fix them, we had to tell the kids they weren’t going to be able to go to soccer camp this year.  It was super difficult to tell them that, but we reminded them how God had the power and ability and means to provide for them if He wanted them to go.  So we laid it before the Lord without telling anyone else about the need.  On Saturday, one week before the camp would be starting, Elijah said to me, “Mom, camp starts in 7 days.”  I told him to keep praying and trusting God would provide if they were to go.  The next day, we recieved a phone call from someone who wanted to pay for our kids to go to camp if that was something they were wanting to do.  Seeing their faith grow when we told them the news was incredible.  At that point we weren’t even sure if Nadine could go!  We didn’t shop for her, until two days before they had to leave, when she was showing signs of having enough strength to handle a week at camp.  God provided in more ways than we could imagine!
2016-07-17 16.28.05

Processed with MOLDIV
Now camp is over, and we are on our second day of school!

We are still celebrating summer, with later nights and a bit of sleeping in, but I always need a week or two of slowly easing into what our year will be looking like for the next ten months.  This gentle beginning also gives me room to purge from last year.  The last couple of days have seen six trash bags exit our house, lockers cleaned out, shelves re-organized, new books introduced, and a general feeling of newness and anticipation for the year ahead.
2016-08-02 12.48.142016-08-02 12.01.422016-08-02 17.23.15-22016-08-02 10.00.09
I’m incredibly thankful for these amazing blessings entrusted to us for a time.  For the five independent ones downstairs eating icecream, and the one who is sending me love kicks from my womb.  We actually decided to find out whether “Baby Chip” is a boy or girl.  Here is the video of the kids’ reaction to the news:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgrowoldwithme%2Fvideos%2F10154821482927971%2F&show_text=0&width=400

There is so much more I could write, but I have a few things left to do with my quiet evening, which my greying husband gifted to me tonight.  Thank you, love!


Leave a comment

Saying Goodbye to Try

The other day Betty said to me, “I want to do something I’ve NEVER done before!”  I literally blinked my eyes and stared at her in wonder.  Not for the first time, either.  This girl seems to say things which I feel like have come from somewhere deep inside my own heart.  Unspoken.  Then they find words  and come out of her mouth.  “Really?”  I answered, playing with her hair.  She’s been on big rollercoasters and flown inside a cessna airplane.  I could tell in her eyes she had a hunger to experience the thrill of something new.  Just like her mama.  So, even though she’s done it before, it had been a long, long time.  We decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and she asked to bring her bike.  It’s been about a year since she rode it, and she was nervous about falling down.  My favorite thing about our time together, wasn’t the fact that she did in fact ride the bike without me holding on.  No, my favorite thing was how she talked to herself while she rode.  “I can do this!  I can do this!  I can do this!” she breathed over and over while I slowly let go and ran beside her.  Cheering her on.  Watching her fly alone.  In her hounds-tooth dress and polka dot rain boots.  Her fear lay in a pothole somewhere between our house and 8th Ave.IMG_8061There’s something incredible about what we say to ourselves.  I dare you to listen to yourself when you’re thinking.  It’s incredibly enlightening.  Do you say things to yourself that you would never allow someone to say to your child?  Or to you?  Changing negative thinking has totally transformed my life and is transforming the lives of our children.

Interestingly, Paul didn’t say, “I think I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Nope.  We should never say we will try to do this or that.  Every time we try, we make a small exception for ourselves to fail.  And you know what?  You might mess up and fail.  But that should never keep us from picking ourselves back up and getting stronger.  I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I am so proud of these kiddos.  We completed our school year a couple weeks ago.  They have all grown and accomplished so much!  2016-05-06 14.08.57
Being out of school has been just what we all needed.  There has been a lot of imagination and rearranging and purging that comes when Mommy’s brain is free from thinking of school for a couple of weeks.  We started our vacation out right with a broken arm.  Broken in three places, no less.  That girl is incredibly tough. This is the second time this has happened in her short little life.    She doesn’t complain, and she really hasn’t let it stop her from doing anything.  When I told her to be careful on the playground, Betty piped up: “At least I can jump!  Because I have two arms and two thumbs and two elbows!”

New neighbors just moved in next door, and the boys had no qualms about asking them if they could have a bunch of their huge furniture boxes to make a small town with them.  The rest of the day was spent cutting and creating tiny houses.

Earlier this week, Elsie let out a big sigh in front of me and said,”I just want to run a business or something!”  She kept persisting, and finally her dream became a reality.  Older sister and a friend all chipped in to squeeze lemons and taste test the perfect lemonade.  We had some very enthusiastic salesmen and women, who were not afraid to ask the UPS man, the neighbors, and any passersby’s to buy a cup of refreshing lemonade.  Why?  Elsie, broken arm and all, determined it was to raise money for gymnastics.  This has been a huge dream of hers, and I’m so proud of her for looking ahead, past the “impossible” and seeing her arm healed enough to take gymnastics. IMG_8156
Many days are spent gardening and cutting fresh flowers, enjoying delicious berries, and being amazed at how my belly has popped out with pride and joy.  At 17 weeks, baby Chip is kicking and loving the berries I’m eating.  Most recently, Matthew put up a new fence on the one side of our yard.  It was an exhausting day.  But one of my favorite kinds of tired.

So very thankful and daily more in love with this guy.  He takes good care of us.  He feels great, which is something we never ever take for granted.  Once your health has been on the edge of survival wondering at the surety  of your next breath, you never go a day without praising God for one more day to enjoy this thing called life.  Every day my passion grows to help others who are hurting and sick and tired of being sick and tired.

For the next coupe of days I need to get my game on and face my least favorite past-time: packing.  The motivation of having five whole days with Matthew by my side, along with some of the most motivating, loving, encouraging people… I’m not going to TRY.  I will take a lesson from my sweet Betty and whisper: “I can do this.  I can do this.”  I can confidently face my suitcase and smile.

 


5 Comments

All of a Sudden

So before another month flies by, I’d really like to share a bit about the time I went flying to Tennessee last month!  It was an unexpected gift, yet one I worked hard to earn.  As my Plexus business grows, I too have been growing.  Stretching my wings a bit, both figuratively and literally.  Matthew is an incredible support and is always encouraging me to keep going, keep learning, keep growing.  So, I was gifted this trip by one of the leaders on my team, to go to a John Maxwell mindset training event given by Sonya Dudley, who is also someone whom I look up to in life and business.  There were four of us total from our team, and we had SUCH a great time together.  All mamas, sharing a passion for Jesus and health and freedom.  It was one of the most inspiring weekends I’ve had in a really long time.  I came home with copious notes.

Mindset really does matter.  “Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way you’re right.”  I realized a lot of lies I’ve let myself believe.  Things about my past which I’ve allowed to define who I am today.  They have played a part in shaping me into who God has made me to be, but they do not define me.  Jesus Christ has set me free from fear of man, shame from bad choices I’ve made, and doubt of what He is capable of doing through me.  Absolutely no one on this earth can do what you have been placed on this globe at this time to do.  No one.

This is my passion: to bring the same hope to others.  I never ever thought a pink drink would pave the way to talk to so many people about hope in Christ and hope in health.
2016-02-02 09.43.36
It’s rather ironic how flat out on our couches we have been for the past month with coughs and tummy bugs.  I would be the last person to claim Plexus as a cure or preventative for anything.  Of course we still get sick… but when we are well… we are thriving!  I can’t tell you just how much stronger I feel than ten months ago.  None of this happened all of a sudden.  It’s been a consistent and gradual change.  My hair is finally growing thicker.  My nails are crazy strong and healthy without ridges and bumps.  I have been the exact same weight for at least 6 months, without fluctuating those 5-10 pounds once a month.  Mood swings are incredibly rare.  I wake up feeling refreshed after sleeping like a log all night.  I am a much more calm and collected mom than I have ever been, thanks to the simple fact that my blood sugar is finally balanced.  It is so simple yet has made such a profound impact on my life as a wife, mom, teacher, and now businesswoman.  This is such a tiny smattering of the blessing Plexus has been in our life.  Just one story of thousands.

So everything inside of me went for a little loop last week when I stumbled through a few days clouded with an old and very unwelcome friend: depression.  I knew what was true, and the thoughts which were tempting me to despair were nothing short of lies.  They shrouded my mind into thinking there is nothing really out there for me.  Like a fog which tricks the eye into certainty of no more than nothingness ahead.  Yet praise God for His Word which is sharper than any two edged sword, and most certainly is able to penetrate light onto my foggy path. He brought me out to the other side and has shown me some incredible promises.  There are some beautiful verses which encourage me that I am not the first one to feel these feelings or think these thoughts.  Neither are you.  It’s what we do with these thoughts that matter.  Only by the power of God’s Word, can you dispel the fiery darts of the enemy.  Psalm 27 is one of my favorite passages.  The last two verses say:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Lots of exciting things are in store for us this year.  Some huge decisions, and I know that is part of why I felt like shutting down was a good idea.  I love what Matthew reminded me of the other day when I was at my lowest. There are so many pivotal moments recorded in the Bible.  Important stories and dialogues and days, but the in-between days, weeks, months, years… are not all recorded.  Yet always, always, always, God shows up in the mundane.  Solomon, searching for some lost donkeys all of a sudden is anointed king.  Joseph, doing what was before him to do each day in prison all of a sudden was next in command to Pharaoh. Moses, a shepherd, all of a sudden was chosen to be the deliverer of an entire nation.  Jesus, a local carpenter, all of a sudden doing miracles and signs and wonders.  It even seems babies are conceived and all of a sudden birthed in one verse, leaving out the long nine months of waiting and the arduous labor and delivery.  Every single “all of a sudden” moment in the Bible or in your life and mine, has been preceded by many ordinary and unsung days.  Tucked between the ordinary and extraordinary is usually a series of painful and difficult moments, days, months or years.

In the mundane, quitting is not an option.  Trust is vital.  Each moment is but a small stroke in the entire masterpiece.  One day we get to stand back and see how it all fits together.


3 Comments

Don’t Forget To Wash Your Hands

December started out with a bang, as I supported an amazingly strong woman through over forty hours of labor.  My friend and fellow doula, Sarah, came to spell me for a few hours the last night of November.  Then on the evening of December first, another baby girl came into the world.  It was an honor to witness such strength and endurance as that mama displayed.  I am constantly reminded of the incredible stamina and tenacity we as humans possess.

After that sleepless weekend, we were presented with “the bug”, as my children so fondly have named it.  It really began Thanksgiving night with Betty getting sick outside, just as we arrived home from a wonderful day with my family.  The bug slowly made its way through all but two of us: Jack & myself.  So, after a few days of birth jet-lag and a few days of sickness, we made it to this week, where we have had to reel ourselves back into school again.  Our attempts have felt somewhat like crash-landings a few days this week.  There’s nothing gentle about reality.

Yesterday we had an adventurous trip to Trader Joe’s, where I was meeting Matthew’s mom who was going to take the kids for the afternoon.  Upon arriving, Elsie had to go to the bathroom, so we all trudged into the store.  After about five minutes of waiting, it was evident we were going to be there for awhile.  So I sent Nadine with the others to look for the stuffed hedgehog and claim the prized lollipop that comes from finding said hedgehog hidden somewhere in the store.  Five minutes later they returned, all sucking lollipops, and we hung out to wait for Elsie some more.  Others joined the small area, waiting for the bathroom to be free.  Then Betty, who really has no filter, put her face to the door and yelled: “Don’t forget to wash your hands after diarrhea!”  I quickly tried to shush her, while holding back laughter.  Of course Elsie yelled from the recesses of the bathroom: “What?!”  So Betty quickly repeated her reminder in the same volume.  I just about lost it, standing about ten feet from the eggs and milk section of the store, where busy shoppers were probably only wanting to think about food.  I never did make eye contact with the man waiting near us.

Tonight the girls were playing their most recent game of “Holly & Annie”.  Usually it begins with them meeting eachother after a long absence, and both of them determining how old the other is.
“Holly!” begins Betty.
“Annie!” Elsie replies, and they hug.
“I’m seven years old!” says Betty. (Elsie whispers: Seventeen)  “Seventy!” Betty corrects herself. (No, no! Seventeen, Elsie whispers again.)  “Seventeen!”
“Wow!  I’m eighteen!” gasps Elsie.
“Wow!  I’m almost bigger than you!” exclaims Betty, and so on it goes until they go to Hawaii or some such place.  It usually is Hawaii, actually.

Recently, an incredibly sweet young lady approached me with the offer of a lifetime: to come be at our home every week for a few hours to do whatever I need her to do.  That right there is an offer money can’t buy.  We look forward to our weekly visits from her.  Often she helps with school, or sometimes she is just another ear for this tired out mama to talk to and I know my words find acceptance and not judgement.  If ever there was opportunity for her to judge, it was last week.  She was supposed to come Thursday at 9AM.  I woke up at 9:05.  Every morning, I always lay in bed to try and remember what day of the week it is, where I need to go, who is coming here, etc.  I got to that last thought and sprung out of bed to look out the window.  Yep, her car was there.  I stumbled downstairs to find one of the kids had woken up before me and welcomed her inside.  She looked at me and laughed.  This here is what we call: real life.  Every day I don’t have it all together.  Every day I miss stuff, mess up, fall down, or give in to the pressure of life.  It’s important to be vulnerable about one’s humanness.  I do not wake up gracefully.  It was both humbling and hilarious to welcome a guest into my home with a sleepy voice and crusty eyes.  Whatever came out of my mouth, every word was really saying, “I forgot you were coming.  Forgive me while I go make some tea and clean up the supper dishes I was going to wash before you got here this morning.”  Yes, this real life stuff is just that: real. Not fake or put together.

The same person who saw me in my pajamas and morning hair also offered to help me clean and rearrange my room today.  I say this to encourage some of you who may be on one side or the other of this coin of life.  If you have time on your side, find a mama who looks tired and worn out, and offer a chunk of time to her out of love and not self-gain.  The rewards will be eternal, I guarantee you.  If you are a mama and someone offers to help you, take them up on the offer!  Nothing baffles me more than when we as women shrug off the need for help because we’re too proud to accept it, we’re too embarrassed to air our dirty homes, or we’re too busy to slow down and let someone into our life.  I was embarrassed to my core when she saw every single thing that was under my bed.  At the same time, I felt a freedom in letting go of my facade that I’m all put together.  Just like you, my clothes, my house, my dishes and my hair all get dirty.  If you didn’t know it, now you do.  It’s a constant battle, to admit my humanness and my imperfections.  I’d much rather have an instagram life, but just as quickly as you glance at that perfect picture, reality smudges the lens again.

All these imperfections make me long for more.  Thanks be to God, there is more!  There will be a day, where there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more mess-ups, and no more tears.  Excellence and beauty will never be tarnished by sin again.  Home will be perfect and complete because Jesus is there.  If you know Him personally, one day perfection will be your reality too.  Until then, let’s love eachother through the bad breath, messy hair, and clutter.  And let’s not forget to wash our hands after diarrhea.

So thankful for these five.

So thankful for these five.


1 Comment

Strong Faith Equals Wet Feet

This morning I wandered downstairs to the kitchen, where my early-rising husband was getting ready for the day.  He stared at me.  Are you okay?  I smiled and put my rice-bag in the microwave.   Already my feet had become cold from the short walk down the stairs.  Seeing me this early, in motion, is not a frequent sight.  There is a lot on my mind, though, and sometimes God wakes us up so we can spend time together without interruptions.

Later today we have a date in the city with some of his favorite doctors.  The past three days his voice has taken a turn downhill, which gives us enough alarm and strong reason to see what’s up in the subglottic region of his throat.  Not sure if it’s systemic because of the raging ear infection he’s had for a few months now (waiting for insurance to go through to get it looked at properly), or collateral damage from everything that’s happened to his ear, nose and throat the past ten years.  We shall find out later today.  It’s easy to start sinking into fear.  The world is so very full of scary, unpredictable things.  When I spend more time skimming news headlines instead of the Word of God, the shaky, fearfulness starts to creep into my heart and mind.  I am Peter when he took his eyes off of Jesus and stared at the raging sea and started to sink.  Fear cripples you, silences you, and lies to you.  Fear is the result of taking our eyes off of Jesus.  If you don’t know how to look to Jesus, I would assume fear has a strong hold on you.

In Matthew 14, Jesus had just finished feeding over five-thousand people. He sent his disciples into a boat and then sent the masses away.  What a job that must have been.   I feel weary after sending my five to their little beds each night, let alone five-thousand.  Then He went up into the mountains to be alone and to pray.   It was the middle of the night by now, and Jesus was very aware that the disciples were headed into a storm.  Knowing the story already, we know that He has the power to calm the storm, so why didn’t He?

He knows the principle of muscle overload.  Doing more than we are used to handling in order to make us stronger.  His business is to strengthen our faith.  So He keeps the winds blowing and the waves surging and starts to walk towards the little boat full of fishermen.  I’m not sure if they were afraid of the storm, so much as we know they were afraid once they saw Jesus walking on the water.  They mistook His presence for a ghost, and that scared them senseless.  Maybe they wondered, like you and I, HOW can all this be happening if Jesus is right here?  Why is the wind still blowing, and the storm still raging if Jesus is here?

Then Jesus confirms His presence, and encourages them not to be afraid.  “Do not be afraid.  Take courage.  I am here!”  Yes, this crazy wind doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus is here.  He is testing your faith.  Peter takes Jesus’ advice and has amazing courage.  He asks Jesus to call him out of the boat and walk to Him.  “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”  If Jesus is who He says He is, then He will call you too.  Because Jesus is in the business of strengthening our faith.  He simply says, “Come.”

This is the craziest part of the story.  Peter actually does it.  He climbs over the side of the boat and starts walking on the water.  I don’t imagine his feet are dry, or his clothes even.  The waves are still wavy, the wind is still blowing.  But he isn’t sinking.  He isn’t drowning.  He is eye-to-eye with Jesus.  His power and courage and strength are ours when we’re eye-to-eye with Jesus.  We’re never untouched by the storms of life.  We might even be soaked head to toe, but we don’t have to sink.

Then, it happened.  Peter saw the waves.  He knew they were there, but now that’s all he saw.  His focus changed from Jesus, who called him out of safety, to the danger where he was called.  A scary, scary place.  To confirm the fearfulness of the situation, and the danger of changing his focus, Peter actually starts to sink.  The Bible says, “When he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.”  Fear does that.  Pulls you under, chokes the life out of you, paralyzes you.

Three words are all he has time to utter:  “Lord, save me!”  Jesus is so good.  He doesn’t tilt His head and think it over while we flounder and gulp water.  The moment we call out to Him, He saves us.  He says to Peter, and to us, “You have so little faith.  Why did you doubt Me?”

We don’t have to sink.  His power and courage and strength are ours when we’re eye-to-eye with Jesus.

“When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.”  One day, there will be no more storms, no more fear, no more pain.  The salt from our tears will no longer sting our faces.  Jesus is there, and we will never again know fear or sadness.

Come out of sadness from wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted let rescue begin
Come find your mercy, Oh sinner come kneel

Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame
All who are broken, lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home, You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t cure

Come as you are
Fall in His arms, come as you are

There’s joy for the morning, Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.
-David Crowder