Friday, November 4, 2016

Living Water

Some days you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, with no where near enough sleep and you wonder how you will make it through the day, how will you keep pouring out when you feel empty.  It’s still dark outside – who in their right mind gets up this early?!  Filled with founts of living water, that rushing stream, it’s He who lets, and really causes, me to walk and not grow weary, to run and not faint.  How is this possible? I am not supermom, I feel so inadequate to the tasks before me, so much so that I crash back under the covers before the day even begins….

And then… there’s a friend who needs to have a sick day at home, can I watch the kids? Sure. And another kid whose sister is so pale sick and hurting, can I give him a ride? How can I not! And there’s these three cheery faces – can you watch over them too? Mom and brother are sick again, don’t want to chance it – and in the end I’m watching 9 kids and somehow everyone eats lunch, and smiles happy, and gets to the end of the day in one piece.  The friend whose hurting, she needs a minute just to talk it out and I hurt with her, and I can’t fix it – even though I SO WANT TO FIX IT!  So we spend time pouring out and pouring in – to each other’s lives.  Sometimes it’s enough to just sit and listen and pray clumsy prayers that only God understands.  And know that He does understand, and that He has a good plan for all this mess that seems so overwhelming.

And then there’s a spelling test and another hour spent patiently repairing sewing machines as giggly girls chit chat and sew, then reorganizing book shelves, and finding lost copies, and someone’s books and photos, and more…

Before you know it, it’s time for supper and rather I am celebrating husband’s accomplishments, his honors, with some odd flavored appetizers and waiting to snap a picture of this man who has worked so hard and is decorated in red tassels holding a plaque as if something so small could memorialize something so big.  This man, who has worked so hard on so many other days, here he is beside me all day on this day –what should be “his day” and he helps, he teaches, he chases after the same Holy things (even though he did sneak away for a nap in the truck)

And we go until it’s dark outside and there’s just one thing we really want to do, and we really should eat dinner, but we’re not so hungry for food as much as  hungry to see our friends and their son on the 11th floor and just tell them we love them and are praying and try to tease a smile out of their sick boy before we go.  

It isn’t until we get back home, 14 hours later,  that I realize how the day flew, quickly coursing, like a wild river of Grace, and all these things are Grace, and how unworthy am I to be the instrument of even a small Grace – but there it was – plain and clear and undeniable. How He is making all things work together for Good – in our lives, through our lives, with our lives – and it’s a hard Holy thing to say it, even in the face of so much hurt, but this counting Grace is how we break the hold of the hurt, and make all things new, flowing, with rivers of Life. 

And there's this list that keeps growing - like proof - like a drink of water from the fountain that never runs dry - so I keep counting...

68. A husband who is patient with me even when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed
69. Husband who chases Holy things with me
70. Attitude reset
71. Nine kids =)
72. Being able to help a friend
73.  Three minutes in the driveway and a hug for the sick one
74. Time to talk to my friend
75. Clumsy prayers
76. Testimony
77.  Eating lunch together
78. Lunch clean up helpers
79. spelling test humor
80. having a spelling test
81. friend to make copies – all the time #Jenisthebesthelper
82. books on shelves
83. mom’s finding resources
84. German =)
85. note from a friend
86. Friends to clean up
87. Friends to lock up
88. Friends to be responsible
89. Plans falling together
90. Time with just husband
91. Honoring husband
92. faith
93. healthy kids
94. time to visit friends
95 seeing kid smile – even for a minute
96 dinner out #steaknshakeorpopeyes
97. warm shower
98 responsible kids at home
99 everyone fed

100 A whole day to be used for Grace.

Monday, August 22, 2016


"Don't be too brave"

I have to admit that was the mom quote of the day, yesterday.  I watched from my kayak as my sons climbed higher and higher in a great leaning tree, grasped a bungee rope and leaped out 30 feet over the Little Miami River, before plunging into the current.  I was terrified.

I had seen at least 15 other brave souls climb that tree and jump before my own child began to climb.  I had cheered and laughed as they swooped over the water, yet when it was my own child I couldn't help but shout "Don't be too brave" as they climbed higher and higher.  I regretted it almost immediately.  First for the eye-rolling look that says "MOM!!" and second because I think they took that as a personal challenge, let me show you how brave I can be!

I remember being terrified when I first began homeschooling my children.  I was so afraid that I would mess them up, I would fail them, I would fall short in their education.  Sure, I had seen others homeschooling their children and I cheered them on, but when it came to my children, I didn't want to step out on that proverbial limb, to swing without a net, for fear of failing. I thought, over time, that this feeling would go away, that I would feel better about my choices, more confident in my curriculum, more assured.  But as we climb higher and higher in their schooling, as each new stage brings new challenges, new fears of failure.

How do we keep going when the obstacles before us make us tremble?  Be a little bit too brave!  Look at the obstacle before you and take it as a personal challenge, and then climb a little bit higher than you thought you could.

The statement "do not fear" is found 57 times in most modern translations of the Bible and "do not be afraid" is found 46 times!  Some argue that "fear not" and similar phrases of encouragement are present in the bible 365 times.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be 

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

A very dear friend once showed me this lovely anagram for fear...

F- false
E - evidence
A - appearing
R - real

and my all time favorite Ann Voskamp quote - "All fear is fraud, and nowhere on earth is beyond the reach of God."

Can I encourage you today to climb a little bit higher? too walk a little farther out onto that limb, to leap without the fear of falling, but whooping and hollering with joy?  Can I encourage you to smile wide and be a little bit too brave?  Because the One who formed the universe has called you, and He is the one who holds you, who catches you, and who calls for you to leap without the fear of falling.

Be a little bit too brave today.
 The one who has called you is faithful, He will do it! (1 Thes. 5:24)