Wednesday, December 31, 2008
So on my way out of the cemetery I was drawn to read some other headstones. One in particular drew my eyes and it was a husband and wife with a beautiful scripture about God's glory overflowing out of heaven into earth. I was struck with deep connection with this couple that was now with Christ...I wanted so desperately to pick their brains about how they lived the long lives that they did and what kind of suffering they experienced and what marks their sufferings made on their lives for God's glory...and then a deep truth struck me in a much deeper way...
Suffering ALWAYS produces beauty when surrender to The Father is active. I don't want to pick every old-person's brain about their suffering...I don't want to know self-help strategies or pick yourself up from your own bootstraps kind of thought...and I certainly want to fight against the lies of any older person that just says that life is hard and then you die... I want to pick the brains of the old woman who was widowed and is a fiery prayer warrior as she experiences God's love towards her deeper today than yesterday.....I want to pick the brain of the retired pastor who still pastors people without his "pastor title" and though he has lost many loved ones, believes that God is alive and is able to do great miracles....that kind of stuff!
Tonight...on the eve of a new year I want to embrace these past moments/months of suffering with great expectation of the beauty and life that will come. Brian and I talked about how we expect 2009 to be a year marked with life. Please pray that along for us.
Tonight we were able to worship along with one of our favorite worship leaders "Jason Upton" through a televised conference...it was beautiful and almost a perfect summary of the tornado of hope and heartache that has been going on in my heart over the last week or so. Enjoy...
Jason's commentary" we've come to the mountain of the living God. The Hebrew writer doesn't indicate at all that it is going to happen one day...the Promise is here, its now, there is no better day coming than right now unless there's a better Son that's going to resurrect, the Son has resurrected, the morning is upon us. It's no brighter EVER than it is right now, so its us that has to awaken to that reality. that the kingdom is here and it's in you and me. amen."
Old man take my hand now, let us walk together
for years we have labored in vineyards apart,
the distance between us account for the problems
Oh suffering how beautiful you are.
we have come to the mountain of the living God
take a good look around us
what we see is what we've got
there's no better day a comin
no brighter morning sun
we have come to the mountain of the living God.
Old man please forgive me
for what I've been missing
this life that I was given
is better than I
could ever have wanted or even imagined
forgive me for wastin' so much time
We have come to the mountain of the Living God
take a good look around us
what we see is what we've got
There's no better day a'comin
no brighter morning sun
We have come to the mountain of the Living God.
He's a Living God....
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
After we sang "Jingle Bells" we would say "Hey!" and throw our hands up in the air...Jada had lots of fun doing that!
Jada's friends Piper and Zoe came over on Christmas eve and they all decided to have a crib party...aren't they funny?
Aunt Dawn gave Jada and Madyson umbrellas with their names on them...they carried them around and played with them a ton! They even watched cartoons with their umbrellas :)
Jason and Shannon at Jason's Party
When we yelled surprise it was a bit scary for Jada :)...I thought this was kinda funny.
And...Jada bug has caught a bug and has been coughing, sneezing and now is on an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection...so please pray for her speedy healing!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Hope is brave.
Brave has never been a word that has meant much to my heart. Really. I've always been the girl that is drawn to other words like sweet, kind, exciting, etc...brave was for other people who were more like fighters or warriors or people that are gifted with not being afraid of confrontation...that just hasn't been me....
But I can't stop thinking about those words "Hope is brave"...and I like it and I feel it. I am full of hope. Not in some strange pick myself up from my own bootstraps kind of way, but in an excited to trust Jesus more than my own thoughts or any wisdom that is from this world. I am full of Hope for our family and I am glad that Jesus has always known better than me about what is best.
I was reading a prayer that Piper wrote in a little book called "Life as a Vapor". It is good stuff :) and I thought I would share this prayer with all of you...I pray that we would all pray and walk in the fullness of this kind of life...
"Gracious Father, grant me a lowly spirit of gratitude. Make me feel the preciousness of past grace. Give me an honest memory of mercy. Forgive me for the pride of unremembered gifts and callous thanklessness. Waken faith in my wavering soul and give me strong confidence in your solid promises. Where past and future meet make me humble and bold. In Jesus' name and for His sake, Amen."
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life— gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, ". . . unless you . . . become as little children . . ." (Matthew 18:3 ). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, ". . . believe also in Me" (John 14:1 ), not, "Believe certain things about Me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him."
(butterfly headband courtesy of Uncle Jason and Aunt Shannon :))
Also, we were given a sweet visit from the Smithers. What a gift they are! Cherish and Jada helped me bake some pumpkin bread and also had an outdoor tea party. Pretty cute.
And I wanted to ask for your prayers. My mom and Mike have moved from Spring/Woodlands and are now living in Bryan in a temporary living situation. They were expecting to sell their house tomorrow and their buyer fell through....so they have totally moved out but still making payments on their house. PLEASE PRAY for someone to buy their house so that they can move forward with buying or building a house here...and pray that they would be able to have joy in the midst of their frustrations. Thanks!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thank you to all of you whose hands I physically and spiritually felt holding me up. I love you!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Many prayers, tears and hope have already gone into this night and I would love your prayers for God to move in really sweet and eternal ways in all of us who are there. I am hopeful that it will be a real night of grace and healing for me as I share who God has been in my life and now how much more He has been to me with all that has gone on with our loss of Mia. I am also hopeful that the Lord wants to do some beautiful things in the lives of girls who attend. So...
Thanks! I'll update afterwards :)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Uncle Jason is one of Jada's new favorite people!
"Carolina- Ethan- Cruz" or in Jada's version "Catonina- Etin- Cwuz"
These are two things that I am thankful for today:
- Jada's version of the ABC's that floats in and out of what I know as English, but she carries a great tune.
- my secret...or not so secret candy drawer...it is just secret because Jada doesn't know about it...YET!
Monday, October 27, 2008
- more tears
- loving the body of Christ in new ways
- yet more tears...
- still in need of prayer
Which leads me to last weekend. Brian and I were able to attend a conference in Austin about Job- suffering. There is a fun story about how we were able to go the conference...but that is another story :). John Piper was the teacher and it was absolutely a gift to Brian and I. The conference began exactly two weeks after we lost our precious Mia. I described those days like this: when I arrived I was an emotional wreck. The Thursday before we arrived was no doubt the hardest day yet. I was just really sad and felt like an absolute outsider to the world. My mind believed God and the many truths that I have placed my faith in about who Jesus is...but my heart was broken and I couldn't feel anything but pain...Heart and Head disconnect in a big way! When we left the conference on Saturday my feet were firmly planted in truth and my heart matched what my head believed. We were washed in the word and truly our faith came by hearing the word of God magnificently taught. And the greatest part is that I have remained in that steady place of faith by the mercy of God! I already told you I've cried every day...but in the pain I have this deep joy and peace in loving God. A few things that I was able to say after the conference...
I went to Mia's grave and said to her and to the Lord "Jesus rescued me from the absolute pit and I absolutely treasure Him more than anything else He could give me...including my precious babies." My words were broken through convulsion like tears...but absolutely meant. So, I am saying to all of you who take time to read through this long post...Jesus is better and I trust Him with my future so much more than I trust myself...and if that means suffering and pain or if that means ease and delight, He is good and He knows what would be best to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth, and as people that have been rescued from our various pits...that is really what we all want.
Another wonderful thing that happened is this...a few days after we lost Mia I began to become anxious about Jada and worried about little things like if her runny nose was more than it seemed and I would just beg the Lord not to take Jada away. The visual that I had of myself during those days was me holding Jada so tightly and never letting go...literally. Totally led by fear. I would pray and cry knowing that this was not a safe place to live and like I said before, my head knew better, but my heart was all over the place emotionally. A wise woman in my life spoke directly into my soul saying "Jesus is a giver...not a taker." This same wisdom was spoken through the conference: "Satan aims to destroy your faith, but God aims to strengthen it." Amen...through this I have been more free as a mother over the past week. It is almost like the sentiment of the old hymn "Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know who holds the future, life is worth the living just because He lives."
I wanted to leave you with this... Piper shared a quote from George Mueller...who Brian says is the guy who was responsible for radically loving orphans in England in the late 1800's...a real man of faith. This quote was spoken after George Mueller lost his wife. It brought tears to my eyes when Piper read it and took a deep breath as it sunk in...this is where I want to be as I grieve Mia...this is beautiful:
"I miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to his holy will to glorify him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me."
Monday, October 13, 2008
Already Mia's life and death has taught me and Brian so much about who Jesus is and how He really does love us immensly. When I would talk about Mia and how we were naming her Mia Carolyn (who is like the Lord, the free one), I would consistantly say "I can't wait for her to teach us how to be free." And she has already begun. At Mia's funeral Brian was able to share from his heart the beautiful ways that the Lord has already changed him through Mia. Our family will forever be changed!
It has been the hardest time in Brian and I's life...but Jesus has been near to us each moment. Some of you have written e-mails or texts or left messages and we cannot thank you enough. We have felt carried by your prayers and lifted by your love. We have been overwhelmed by the body of Christ across the nation through letters, phone calls and e-mails...thank you for taking time to love us and carry us nearer to the Lord even though we cannot physically hold hands and walk together through this time. Our local body here has been amazing in ways that we never have known. We have known the great Shephard more because of the ways we have been loved and protected. We are thankful to have your hands to hold over the coming months.
We truly ask you to please keep your prayers coming as we learn how to live and to grieve...that is the biggest way you can help us through this season. We love you and we are thankful for your love.
I wanted to leave you with a few scriptures and quotes that have come alive to us as we have mourned the loss of our precious Mia and as we look ahead with hope.
Psalm 36:8 "For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light we see light."
Psalm 16:11 "...in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
1 Corinthians 15:54-56 "When the perishable has been clothed in the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true; "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
I Will Carry You- by Selah
There were photographs I wanted to take
People say that I am brave
So I will carry you
Such a short time
I've shown her photographs
I will carry you
and an Elizabeth Elliot quote..."here is my chance to learn what death is about- to take up the cross, that is, willingly to accept the will of God which went so strongly against the grain of my own...for as we loose our hold on visible things, the invisible become more precious- where our treasure is, there will our hearts be."
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We also went to Chuck-E-Cheese and we absolutely didn't need to turn the games on for Jada to have a good time. She loved turning the wheels and sitting next to Chuck-E...she leaned over and gave him a few kisses she was so happy!
After New Braunfels we drove to meet my family in South Padre. Jada did great travelling and she was thrilled to see her cousins Allison and Emily! We did so many fun things...went to the beach daily, played in the pool outside of the condo, saw clowns and pirates, got cheap henna tattoos and lots of fun other adventures. Jada was a little hesitant of the beach at first, but it was only a matter of time until she was off running! Brian and I even got to go on a date while we were there...you'll have to ask Brian about his massage by "Bertha :)" It was a great time!