Thursday, January 15, 2015

And all the people said amen

There is an infant carrier in the back seat of my car.  We've set up a crib and we found these adorable little Converse socks.

Change is coming.  Come March, life as we know it will never be the same.  See, there's this little boy ...

We haven't met him yet, but we have heard his heart beat.  We watch and wait to see or feel the slightest move and smile giddy when it comes.  His name is Jaxson.  He is wanted.  He is loved.  He is my grandson.

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. - Psalm 139:13,14
Last March, on my daughter's 16th birthday, I posted this story for her.  It begins with the meaning of her middle name, Jenae:
'God has been gracious'
It follows her from birth through her growing up years being told exactly that - God is gracious.  The story ends with Celine Jenae as a mother rocking her own baby and telling of God's grace.  How could I have known that almost exactly a year later my girl would indeed be rocking her own child?

We may have been caught off guard, but God was not.  He knew that Jaxson would be a part of Celine's story from the beginning.  God has plans for her little boy.
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. - Psalm 139:16
Although we have had challenges over the past several months, there have also been gifts ...

- Love and support from family and friends
- The kindness of people around us
- The sweetness of our relationship as mother and daughter during this season
- Watching my girl experience God's grace
- The resources for young mothers in our area - they have been wonderful!
- I have to say it again - friends.  Thank You, Jesus for the women You have placed in my life!

There are so many things to write about.  All the feelings.  Sometime.  We are still walking through it and the truth is, this is my daughter's story.  When she is ready.

Meanwhile, would you say a prayer for our family when we come to mind?  Please pray especially for Celine as she navigates motherhood while finishing high school.   

By the way, Celine told me that she looked up the meaning of the name Jaxson.
Scottish:  'God has been gracious'

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A drink for weary mommas

Photo: Olivia Brant

This post is for the mommas who are tired.  This is for the momma who feels like she is not getting through; that she has failed. This one is for the momma who is begging for a break through; for just a tiny indication that her prayers are being heard. 

Momma, you have invested too much; spent too many sleepless nights in prayer; shed too many tears to give up now.  You have fought hard.  I know.  I know the loneliness you feel. The exasperation. You are just so tired.
Can I gently remind you that you were not meant to carry this?  I know I need the reminder. We were not cut out for this.  That's right.  Stop carrying the weight for being unable to do what only God can do.  Only He can change a heart.  Only He can heal.  Only He can take an impossible situation and make it possible.  Is it possible that you are fighting a battle that is not yours?  Is it time for you to let go and let God handle this?  Watch and see how He is going to work it out. 

I don't know your situation. I do know that nobody will love or pray for your children the way you do. So keep loving them. Keep praying for them. This story isn't over yet.


Are you perfect?  No.  Have you made mistakes?  Maybe.  I have.  Big mistakes.  Will you believe me when I say you are not a failure?  I'm not.  Because we are not quitters.  We are not alone.  We are all facing challenges.  I'm right there with you.  And God is with us.

Do you know the story of Hagar in the Bible?

Hagar and her son Ishmael have been cast out into the wilderness and their supply of food and water have run out.  She is in the desert.  Can you imagine?  Like Arizona in the summer during a drought.  She is tired.  The hot sun has drained her of all energy.  She is alone on this journey with her child and she has no idea how she is going to care for him.  Their future is uncertain. 

She is about to give up.  She places her son under a bush and goes about a bow's shot away, sobbing.  She does not want to watch him die. 

But God hears.  He always hears.
"What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation."  - Genesis 21:17
Momma.  Don't be afraid.  God hears you.  He hears your children.
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. - Genesis 21:19
That well was there the whole time.  Hagar had only go a bow's shot further to find it.  And to think she almost gave up.

You and I also have a well. 
"If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” ... - John 7:37-38
It's crazy to die of thirst when there is a well within reach.  Maybe your eyes are weak today and you can't see beyond your circumstances.  Ask God to open them.  And then momma, get up, take your children by the hand and lead them to the Water.  Love your child.  Pray for your child.  Point your child to Jesus. 
Don't forget the times God has been faithful in the past.  He has brought you this far. Drink.

That well was not Hagar's first encounter with God.  He had been faithful to her at another well, about 14 years earlier when she had run away from her mistress Sarai, who had mistreated her. 
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”  The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son.  You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery ..." - Genesis 16:9-11
The encounter meant so much to Hagar that she named the well:
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. - Genesis 16:13, 14
You have a God who sees you struggling.  He hears your cries.  Lift your eyes and go to the well.  There is rest for your weary momma heart.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My word for 2015

Photo: Olivia Brant

I'm mostly selfish. 

I'm pretty busy trying to keep up with myself, so I often don't notice the needs around me.  Oh, I have good intentions.  I mean to write that letter.  Or make sure I have extra cash handy for the guy holding the sign on the corner.  I plan to visit the elderly lady who is lonely.  I promised to make cookies for the sweet couple who always remember that I like their home made salsa.  But good intentions alone haven't gotten me very far.  It didn't take long for me to recognize that my word for 2015 should have something to do with giving.

It's easy for me to give to somebody I like a lot.  I love giving gifts to people I love.  It's easy for me to give when it's convenient.  "Oh, today's world missions Sunday?  Good thing I got $5 back after paying for my Starbucks".  I'm not beating myself up here, because even though I'm mostly selfish - I'm mostly nice too.  I would just like to be less selfish this year. 

Here's the thing.  My family has been given so much recently.  I wrote about my mom's kidney transplant this past September.  What a priceless gift.  Not only that, but people who don't know my mom personally read her story and gave towards her medical fund.  Thank you.  So much.  She is doing well.  Her energy has returned and it is wonderful to see her looking and feeling healthy.  God is good.

I have written vaguely about a difficult season I have been through.  A season in which our family needed God's grace.  If you have ever felt that you have nothing to offer somebody who is going through a hard time.  Don't believe it.  "How are you doing?"  "I'm praying for you."  "I love you." Those words were a gift and I needed to hear them.  A meal.  A hug.  Listening.  All of it was a gift. 

I'd like to look for more opportunities to give.  Whether it's donating a dollar to St. Jude's when I pay for my groceries, or pausing my show to give my full attention to a family member - I'd like to give at every opportunity I can.  But rather than writing about ways I give throughout the year, because - well, duh!  I want to look for gifts around me and name them.  I'd like to take notice of all the good things.  Because every good and perfect gift is from above. (James 1:17)

So my word for 2015 is Gift.

Would you join me?   I think giving is contagious.  So is thankfulness.   What a wonderful way to spend the year - giving and living thankful!  Let's spread it! #Gift

Saturday, January 3, 2015


So here we are.  2015.  No going back.  How have the first few days been?


I love how God gives us new beginnings on a regular basis.  I like how every sunrise means that yesterday is over and a brand new day has arrived with no mistakes in it.  Yet.  Every week is a chance to eat better or start my exercise routine ... again.  Every month brings another milestone; another celebration; another season.  And every new year represents hope and opportunity. White snow with no footprints in it yet.  A blank page.  Fresh soil.

I hope to run more. Read more. Write more.  Learn more.  Laugh more.


I want to memorize more scripture.  Clean out closets.  Live more simply.  I hope to make another attempt at growing a little garden. Key word: attempt - as Scotty rolls his eyes.  He tries to convince me every year to buy fake plants.  I don't appreciate his lack of confidence that I'm for real going to water it this time!


Our family will have big changes.  Good changes.  We will make wonderful memories.  I plan to enjoy my coffee and watch more sunrises.  I want to spend time out doors and explore places I've never seen in our area.  I want this to be the year that we finally go to Disney Land!

I may or may not accomplish one or more things on my list.  They are all good things, but life may get busy or I may get distracted and spend too many weekends watching Friends (yay for Netflix!), instead of going outside. Even if I don't reach my goal weight or go to Disney Land, even if this year is full of challenges - and no doubt it will have some - one thing I am sure of:

God is in control and every little thing is going to be okay.

When in doubt?  I have to but remember the times He has been faithful in the past.  When I am disappointed in myself, I will need to remind myself that His mercies are new every morning.  And equally as important, I need to live thankful.  

"Morning by morning new mercies I see.  All I have needed thy hand hath provided.  Great is your faithfulness, Lord, unto me." - Thomas Obediah Chisholm

So, dream big for 2015.  Make goals and plans.  Take the first step towards that thing you've always wanted to do.  And if things don't work out exactly as planned - God already wrote a fresh start for tomorrow.  

May 2015 be a sweet adventure!