Sunday, June 1, 2014

When He leans.


 


Psalm 116:1-2
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
 
 
Friends tell me all the time that I have what it takes to do this.
That God knew this sweet boy needed me. That he needed what only I could give him.
 
 
And each time I hear my friends say that...
I feel less than qualified.
 
In eight days, our little guy will undergo a major operation.
They will open his tiny little chest and repair an artery near his heart that has caused him more trouble than all of us expected.
 
And I wonder,
"How on earth am I prepared or qualified to handle this?"
 
I wonder, on some days, when I am so tired that I can't even remember the last time I bathed and sleeping becomes more important than eating, if God should have given this little angel to a twenty something-ball of energy-conquer the world-super girl...rather than me.
 
 
I question it...
where this invisible strength and ability that other people see stems from.
 

Your Grace abounds in deepest waters.
 
The past few days have been the hardest.

The questions I ask are the same but different.

"How do I do this, God? How do I hand my baby over to these doctors to perform this surgery? How?"
 
 
I try to wrap my mind around what is about to happen and I fall apart in tears at the drop of the smallest hat.
 
I'm in deep, real deep.
 
This is more than I can handle.
 
This is big, and I feel very small.
 
I wrote the struggle of this journey in a blog post a while back. It was at the beginning when we were just finding out about the health issues Isaac was having. At the time, all I could do was lean into God, because I felt my feet were failing me.
 
Around every corner they come...the tears.
They fall and they fall and I lean and I lean.
 The weakness takes over and I just want to fall over more and more.
I can barely feel my feet beneath me.
My heart is heavy.
 
That was almost seven months ago.
Since then, I have seen more than my momma's eyes and heart could imagine.
I have seen more needles poked into his soft fragile arms than I can count.
I have held him down screaming for the doctors to run test after test after test.
I have rocked a sick and tired baby for hours and hours and hours.
I have memorized the sound his heart beat makes as he has slept on my chest night after night.
I have laid my hands on his little body and prayed healing prayers until I have become breathless.
 
And today, as we finally have the answers we have searched for all these months, those feet...
have finally failed me and I feel as though I am falling flat on my face.
The energy to get back up...well, it's just not there.
 
My smallness gets even smaller.
 
But, that's when it happens...
The Leaning.
Not mine...but His.
 
 
Love that goes upward is worship;
 love that goes outward is affection;
 love that stoops is Grace.
~~Donald Grey Barnhouse

 
It's at the moment when I have collapsed in my weakness, that He leans into me.
  
As my chin falls to the floor, He lifts it up gently towards Him.
 
And He reminds me.
 
That He is all that I need.
That I don't have to be strong in every moment that comes.
That He is my help when I feel helpless.

Psalm 46:1
 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.

Within His touch, my smallness doesn't seem to matter anymore...because His greatness is all I see.

His presence is all I feel.
 
  I begin to weep and say His name Jesus, over and over with grief ridden breathlessness.
Then He leans in,
 He hears
 and He knows.
 He knows my heart is heavy, worried and overflowing with love for this little boy.
He knows that I feel unqualified, unprepared, and less than enough.

 
 Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
 

He leans toward me, whispers softly into my heart the reason why I am qualified for this journey...
"Because you are mine and you were made for this."

And just as Sarah laughed when the Angel of The Lord told her she'd have a child in her old age, just as I laughed when God spoke those words to me... I giggle under my breath...
"Oh, God, You must know something that I don't."


Then I am reminded of the suitcase that is packed in my bedroom and sitting in the baby's crib.
I see it in my mind, the mountain of clothes and necessities being packed to be away from home with Isaac as he undergoes cardiac surgery.

Then I remember something else...

I've had a bag packed for over 7 months now.
I keep it tucked away in my closet. It's a small overnight bag. It has a set of clean clothes, toiletries and pajamas inside. Everything I need for an emergency trip is in that small bag.
We've visited the hospital so many times in this little boy's life, that I have kept a bag packed just in case. Just in case.
I tried many times to unpack it, but I could never get myself to do it.

He shows me that this suitcase represents my preparedness. It represents my readiness to go where He leads me. Its size represents how small I feel up against this giant we are about to face. But, still in all, it carries what I need. I may not have known why I packed the bag or where I was going, but I was ready to go and had everything I needed already inside of it.

I had everything I needed already inside of it.

I have everything I need already inside of me.
It's been tucked away for such a time as this.
And even though I feel small, there is greatness on the inside of me.
I carry everything I need inside of me.

God is that greatness.

God is that everything.

He is everything.

John 15:9
"For without me you can do nothing."

As this revelation becomes clearer and clearer to me, He leans in closer...
"You have Me. I am enough. I am all you need."

 
He is strong enough to hold me when I can not stand.
He is strong enough to hold me.
He is strong enough.
 He is enough.
 

He leans even closer, and His voice resonates in my heart as He speaks life into this baby...
"You don't hand him to them. You hand him to Me. I am enough for you and I am enough for him."

 
 I see Him stretching His arms out for me to collapse into them.
  I feel the warmth of His embrace as my tears mingle together as they fall at His feet.
I see the love in His eyes as He becomes ALL that I need and more.
I hear the comfort in His voice as He reminds me who He is.
Because today, right now, in this very moment...
I need Him to be all that He says He is.



Luke 18:27
"But He said, 'What is impossible with men is possible with God.'"

When He leans...I don't feel so small anymore,
because His greatness is on the inside of me.

  He is everything I need.

He is enough.


Psalm25:5
"Lead my by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you."



Please be in prayer with us as we approach Isaac's day of surgery and believe with us...
 that God is more than enough.




Monday, February 24, 2014

I hope you'll join me.

 
 
I'm writing over at Joli Blog today. 
 
I'm sharing our amazing journey to this cutie-patootie...
 
 
 
I hope you'll join me!
 
 
Be blessed!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Let them see You.

 







 "That is why waiting does not diminish us,
any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.
(We are enlarged in the waiting.)
We don't see what is enlarging us.
But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
The moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter.
 He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of wordless sighs, our aching groans.
 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our condition,
and keeps us present before God.
That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives
 of love for God is worked into something GOOD."
 ~~Romans 8:24-28

 
It's been a while since I have written in this space.
 
The last time I wrote about our little Isaac, we had just received some news about his health and we were leaning into God with every ounce of energy we had.

Things were hard. Very hard.
 
To be honest,
we are still in that place of leaning.

And some days, some nights...are still very hard.

There are some days, that I don't even know what to pray or how to pray.
Sometimes, my prayers to God are just tears that I finally get to shed in the bathtub, when I am all alone in the quiet.

It feels as though we've been waiting forever to figure out exactly what's been going on inside of Isaac's little body, causing the issues that he is having.
 
We've spent the past few months searching for answers to many questions.
 
Some we have found, and some we are still on the hunt for.

 As we continue to search, we watch our little guy struggling with things that we wish we could take from him.
 
As I was riding in the car the other day on the way to another doctor appointment for Isaac,
I found myself in that place of leaning again.
That place of needing God to hold me...

 I see Him stretching His arms out for me to collapse into them.
  I feel the warmth of His embrace as my tears mingle together as they fall at His feet.
I see the love in His eyes as He becomes ALL that I need and more.
I hear the comfort in His voice as He reminds me who He is.

Because today, right now, in this very moment...
I need Him to be all that He says He is.

 
As the tears ran down my cheek, I pleaded with God...
 
"Let today be the day. Let this be the day we find an answer. I am tired, Lord. For Isaac's sake, let us find an answer today. Be my strength for yet another day, another appointment."
 
I continued driving and crying and listening to music. As the tears continued to moisten my face, God reminded me of something He had told me a few months before.
 
It was a few weeks before Isaac was born. We were preparing to have a newborn baby after thinking our little family was complete. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was praying and asking for God's guidance.

I had questions then too.
How will we do this?
How will we raise a newborn at our age?
How will we provide the needs for another child?
How?

God spoke to me in just a few simple words...

"Isaac will lack nothing."

As I drove, I thought of those words over and over until something finally clicked in my mind.

He will lack nothing.

He hasn't. He honestly hasn't.
God provided the way for us to get to Isaac. The path was a smooth one. One without flaw or without any detail left undone.
God has provided each and every little, or big thing that Isaac has needed, and much more.
He has provided everything that we have needed to care for him.
He has provided us with the strength to take on each day, each long night, each ER visit, each hospital stay, each specialist visit and each procedure.
He has given Isaac the strength to endure it all within his tiny little body.
He opened doors that were otherwise shut.
He has provided us with the most amazing community of friends to push us through, to encourage us along, to offer support, to pray and to love on us.

He has provided it all.

Isaac has lacked nothing.

So this tells me, that Isaac's body...lacks nothing also.

It lacks nothing.

nothing-not a thing

God knit Isaac's body together to His own perfection, inside his mother's womb,
 and he lacks nothing.

Not a thing.

That tells me that Isaac is already made whole. He is healed, inside and out.
 He is whole. Lacking nothing.

So, maybe we don't have the answers we search for. Maybe we don't know what is going on for sure with our little Isaac.

But whatever it may be...I know that he lacks nothing.

And that gives me peace. A very welcomed peace.

Psalm 16:5
Lord, You are my (Isaac's) portion and my (Isaac's) cup [of blessing]; You hold my (Isaac's) future.

I know that God has not left one thing out. Not one.

I know that God is his everything. He is our everything.
He is our portion. Our cup of blessing runneth over!

He is our answer. He is The Answer.
 
He is the way. He is the truth. He is the Life.
(John 14:6)

I've also realized, that even though I get weary going to doctor visit after doctor visit, each one is an opportunity to talk about Isaac's story and our journey to him.

It's an opportunity to give God praise for Isaac!
 It's an open door to share our miraculous adoption journey with each and every person that we come in contact with.

And believe me, everyone has asked how or why we chose to adopt a brand new baby at "our age".

It's been amazing to share the great things God has done, everywhere we go.
With everyone we meet.

It's been a chance for us to share with others the endless blessings behind obedience to God.

Because there are many!

It's a chance for us to let people know that this was not our doing at all, but all God's doing.

It's a chance for people to look into Isaac's sweet little face and see how God has detailed his life in such a beautiful way. Just like He has detailed all of our lives.

Isaac has totally rocked our world! In the best way possible!
 He has been such a precious gift to our family. Our family has grown tremendously closer because of Isaac.  I don't want to focus on what's wrong with Isaac anymore. I want to draw my energy towards everything that is right with him.

He is beautifully and wonderfully made by a Father who loves him!
That is worth praising God for!

Psalm 9:1
    I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.


"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
  ~~John Piper


I know that this season of unanswered questions is part of our story.
 It's part of Isaac's story.
 It's God's story and He is writing it through us.
I know that God is working everything out for Isaac's good. For our good.

For that, I am humbled and grateful.
 In that, I find peace and contentment for exactly where we are.
I trust God's heart concerning Isaac. I trust His heart concerning me.
I trust His heart concerning our family, and the lot that He has given us.

The idea that He would use Isaac's little life, my life, our life...to bring Him GLORY, is just amazing!
It's. just. amazing.

How can I not be changed by that?

I pray,
when I find myself weary,
when I begin to doubt or fear,
that I remember this...
 and that I be forever changed by it.
By this entire journey.

"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked our for us."
~~Hebrews 12:1b


We will get the answers we search for in due time, and we know that God's timing is always perfect.  Until then, Jesus is the only answer we need.

The only One.


You've got to look for the glory and hunt for the grace and seize beauty in ugly and laugh brave and defiant in the dark and you can lose everything but nothing can steal Jesus and He is enough.
~~Ann Voskamp


This is my prayer today,
that behind every examining room door,
 doctor's office,
 procedure room,
every question about our journey asked,
or within each waiting room conversation...
people see God.

That they see Him. Really see Him.
Not me, not Isaac...but only the Glory that our lives bring to Him.

Let them see You, God. Let them see You.

Let them see You.


Psalm 27:13
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Psalm 31:24
 So be strong and courageous,
    all you who put your hope in the Lord!
 
 
 


Thursday, January 9, 2014

The purge.




 
 
purge-
rid (someone) of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition, typically giving a sense of cathartic release, to cleanse, to clear, to purify.
 
 
I've spent the majority of the new year purging.
 
On New Years Day,
I rearranged my entire living room area,
 all the while getting rid of unwanted papers and knick-knacks.
Not to mention, the sneaky little dust bunnies hiding behind every crack and crevice.
 
I've cleaned off countless book shelves and boxed up things to ship off to Goodwill.
 
I've thrown away school stuff that wasn't necessary to keep any longer and organized files that were messy and all out of whack.
 
I've begun my yearly purging of the file cabinet, shredding piles of papers no longer needed.
 
I've cleaned out the refrigerator, getting rid of smelly uneaten leftovers and green fuzzy things growing on what was once dinner.
 
I've packed up all of the Christmas decorations and put them in the shed until next year's festivities.
 
I've even begun washing curtains throughout the house, cleansing them of last year's dust.

You name it, I've purged it,
leaving the atmosphere around me feeling fresh, clean and pure.

It's been a great release for me as I walk into the new year.

As I lay in bed the other night, going over my nightly "to do" list for the next day, my head was spinning with more and more things I wanted to purge.

The Lord gently reminded me that there was one place I had forgotten to clean out.

"What about your heart?" He said.

My heart?

As I thought about my heart,
I couldn't help but see all of the old stuff and emotional dust bunnies piling up.

My heart. The place where I hide the most clutter.

Not to mention my mind, where those tiny dust bunnies begin to form
 and eventually crowd up in my heart.

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

He showed me that there were things that were taking up space in my heart that no longer needed to be there.
Things that I needed to purge myself of:

Old grievances with people I love.
Offenses that were taking up space.
Needless anger and resentment.
Hurts and emotional bruises.
Regret for things left undone and unsaid.
Negative thoughts that held me captive.
Un-forgiveness in areas I was trying to hide and forget about.

These things, among others, were just collecting and collecting in my heart.
It was a hot mess in there I tell ya. A. hot. mess.

It was time for the purge.

Time to let it all go.
Time to leave things behind.
Time to move forward.
Time to make room for new things.
Time to ask forgiveness where needed.

Time for a deep cleansing.
Time for a fresh, pure start.


Psalm 51:10
Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 

My husband walked in from work the other day as our kitchen and living area looked like it was undergoing mass destruction. I was in the zone of cleaning and things were all amuck.

He said, "What on earth are you doing?"

"Purging", I said.

"Purging? Like we do with the crawfish?" He asked while he giggled.

I paused for a moment to think about what he said.
 I thought of what God had spoken to me and the purging that was slowly taking place.

"Yes." I said with a smile. "Just like that."

Here in Louisiana, we eat a lot of boiled crawfish. Thousand and thousands of pounds during the crawfish season.  To prepare the crawfish to be boiled and later eaten, we put the crawfish through a purging process. This rids them of the mud, debris and junk that might be collecting in their intestines. If left there, the crawfish aren't very pleasing to eat and might just be thrown out. Purging allows for a better tasting crawfish. One without a bitter, gritty or dirty taste.
One that is pleasing to the potential crawfish devourer at the next family crawfish boil.

That's exactly what I want to do with my heart.

I want to rid myself of the debris and junk that might be collecting inside of its walls.
I want to cleanse it so that there isn't any bitterness or grit that might be unpleasing to someone.

I want to be pleasing and usable to my Father.
I want to make room in my heart for new things. Better things.

The thing is,
just like the crawfish need us to put them through the purging process,
I need God to get me through mine.

I need to let Him do in me what needs to be done.
 Even if that means causing mass destruction on the inside of me, in order to get the clutter out.
I need Him for the purging.


Philippians 2:12-13
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

So...
I'm doing a lot of  praying, a lot of soul searching, and a whole lot of heart cleansing.

I'm determined to be a newer, fresher and better me in this new year.
I'm purging right where it counts the most.

Within the heart.


Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.








 
 

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