Friday, December 30, 2011

Yours Truly

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." (1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV)

These words have been making visits in my head the last month. It's capitalized in moments like talking about uprooting and moving - doing crazy things for Jesus, or when I read garbage about Tim Tebow getting slammed for his beliefs. Well for all you haters out there - I want to tell you you're right - we are freaking crazy! Us "Christians" are strange - making no human sense at all! We're weird and illogical AND we're fools! Every last one of us. I don't dress to impress you - but rather the Lord. I don't wake up in morning and walk through my day concerned I've won you over with my wit and awesomeness. You will not find me justifying my faith or selling my beliefs to you.

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." (1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV).

My encouragement.. I will be used to shame the 'wise' and the 'strong'

Ladies and gentlemen I'm proud to introduce you to a foolish weakling... Lovely to meet you.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let's Do This!

"The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board. This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities." Ephesians 3:6-8a

I think of this scripture as I dream about the upcoming days and months...

I can confidently say God is refining me...with what seems like a chisel...hurting (my pride) every time...

Today I had a beautiful friend come to the salon for me to do her hair. I'm always amazed how getting your hair done can be a time of refreshing and incredible fellowship. This impecable young woman and I began to share about high school & the days when Jesus wasn't a priority. It was a moment. It hit me...the scripture:"Scripture reassures us, "No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it." Romans 10:11

Anytime I have looked back at my life and process through the times I acted on my own behalf....more times than none...well lets be honest.... everytime - I've felt regret...compromising in my mind a "do-over" will need to be necessary. But anytime I've recalled a moment 'I know for sure I acted in obedience to the Lord' or when I walked in Him, righteously - I NEVER have regretted and actually begin to feel proud and honored about the life I live...and remember to give it right back to him. 

No one ever regrets living in the love of the Lord and walking in His ways. The outcome of a life lived in obedience is that you are honored to live it, people are served and blessed by you and your life AND most importantly God is honored and GLORIFIED...

We are confident - so confident that we are selling everything to go where God is calling us. I must be honest with you though - as I want to give an accurate account - and prove that God uses flawed, sometimes hesitant people...The truth: I.... well we, sometimes get a bit worried. Stress about giving away our stuff. Distrust that God is going to act appropriately. Doubt His calling on our lives. And freak out that were giving up things that really do mean a lot to us...they have memories. But then I have those moments, where God - in all His mercy - meets me where I'm at and comforts me with the Truth of His Goodness...His Presence fills the gaps I've created with my doubt...and His sheer encounters make me confident that we're gaining so much more than we are losing...Him...all we need. All we were ever created to need.

To my family it is foolish. I expected it. And in their love have still shown some grace by not full fledge calling me an idiot...but no doubt voicing their concerns and opinions. Still some nodded their heads not really sure what to say (the kind of response I'd rather prefer). And just like the motto "There's an app for that.." I remember "There's a scripture for that.."

"This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength." 1 Corinthians 1:25

We stay confident in this truth and I leave you with this.

"Then Peter chimed in, "We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?"
Jesus replied, "Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first." Matthew 19:27-30

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Get On With It Already

"We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
  Now God has us where he wants us, with all the timein this world and the next to shower graceand kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." Ephesians 2:1-10 - Message version

The New Year is coming. 2012. It's INSANE! This year was fast and furious. With the New Year comes a sense of a fresh start. I read the above verse this morning and thought it very appropriate for this time...a few days before the brand new year. To recognize where were at - where all of us are at AND then recognize where God is taking us...if we let him. 

"We neither make or save ourselves." What a verse! And if looked at the way it is intended - WHAT A FREEING VERSE. It's not up to me. The goals and dreams God has placed in me to accomplish - are totally up to Him to accomplish - I simply --- (it still baffles me) have to believe He will perform...staying FAITHFUL and FRUITFUL. Faithful = Obedience which produces FRUIT.

"He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."

Love that. God has qualified us. Once we're mature enough to stop whallering in our past mistakes..and acknowledge (to admit to be real or true, recognized the validity and authority of) we are heirs (a person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property, rights and ruling of anothers) with Jesus Christ. 

And because Jesus is a pretty important guy - like any important person - He has stuff that needs to get done. And because He's so important He has a LOT of stuff to get done. And similiar (but not really) to Donald Trump - He has people working for Him - doing their specific jobs and called to execute specific jobs/talents/giftings/work...."work we had better be doing." Unlike Donald Trump, God can do it all by Himself - but rather wants us to be fulfilled and flourishing in our special and unique giftings. 

A few things to ponder..We are Jesus heirs...if we accept Him as our Lord and believe He died a sinner's death for us - beaten and nailed to a cross. What I love about being Heir to Jesus is that I didn't and couldn't do anything to deserve it ..."a gift".."God does both the creating and saving." I also love that I'm His Heir is...unlike being a natural heir to a human...Jesus left no debt unpaid. Often as an earthly heir we can be left with a spouse's or family member's debts. How refreshing. 

Second thing to ponder.. is the "work we had better be doing"...what a statement. A command. Now that we are aware - we are responsible to act. Our responsibility is to know the Lord, to know our giftings, to do the work we were given breathe for. 

What is the work that you had better be doing? It's the kind of work - we're accustomed to..the kind we dread. This kind of work that we are uniquely shaped for. The kind you LOVE doing. What you dream about..what would use EVERY part of your being. 

What is the work that you had better be doing?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2 Things I Ask...2 Things I Desire...

Faithful= steady in allegiance or affection, reliable, true to fact or standard.
Fruitful= productive; successful.

2 words that describe what I want to be said about my life. Faithful....Fruitful.

"But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23

I want to be a woman that lives a life every day (even mondays) with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and discipline.

I want my life to be a confident record of faithfulness....steady in affection to the LORD. He has been faithful to love and show compassion in light of every idiosyncrasy I have...we have. He has chosen to show faithfulness to us...

He is deserving. Deserving of a life of faithfulness and fruitfulness.

Nothing I'm more desiring of than of SUCCESS. Not in a monetary-big house-high paying job sort-of-way. But the kind success - that at then end of the day (everyday) AND the end of my life - is deserving of the words "Well done, my good and faithful servant" from the Creator of the Universe.

I can't do that without Jesus.

"so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:7

I'm responsible for the rest by being faithful and fruitful.

We're choosing to be faithful to God's obvious directing and praying that until we are where we're heading that we are fruitful...faithful AND fruitful in the small that our fruit at our destination is even greater and that our whole journey produces good, quality, life-giving fruit.

I recently had a woman come up to me after church, with a sincere grab of my hand and an intential look in her eyes - commiting to pray for our family on our new venture. Not the kind of praying that people say they are doing in a time of need. But the wrestling the kind of praying you'd do... fighting a war.  That moment made me feel special and valued. Those of you following I'm asking for you to pray for our young the following weeks are crucial. Current request: that we sell our house and car.

We LOVE you.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Not Lacking Not One Thing

"but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you." (Psalm 139:12 NLT)

I hate the dark. I dread having to go out to my car after the sun goes down. There's something about it. I shouldn't live in fear of this - its silly. I can recite 'God doesn't give you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind'.. And run in dead sprint to get in my car parked 10 feet away... Pathetic.

Often in the seemingly dark times of my life - where God 'seemed' (by my diagnosis) to be so far away from me - I would find myself in fear & panic. I would worry and fight - I would seek discord and speak in bitterness - I would find my heart angry and in distress - I would feel bull dozed by the smallest life challenge.

Most of my darkness was in the shadow of not being able to conceive. I wanted a baby, to be a mother and to make Ben a father more than I wanted to breathe, most days. I would also feel God wanted to be distant from me because I didn't feel righteous. Feelings - I'm fueled by them.

I would feel in the dark about areas of my life I knew God gifted in me - because I "felt" they weren't being used. I would react quickly in desperation of being used for anything exciting. I wouldn't search God on things and jump with all my gumption towards things God didn't have for me. Then there were other times where God specifically placed me under leadership to refine my "following" skills and I'd blow it more than I would honor it... And in my defense I would sin more. Again I write:

"but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you." (Psalm 139:12 NLT)

In all those dark days, to me - God saw them as bright as day. He gives us our daily bread (dark or bright the day) and knows exactly what we need to take on that specific day. But what I also believe God is saying is those 'dark' nights are just as brightly refining as the day for us.

Knowing where God is taking us has been confirmed by the journey God has already brought us through. Just as when I look at my son and watch how perfectly matched he is to us - Ben and I see why & how God's timing is PERFECT! We'll recount conversations or prayers we prayed and then see them months and years later fleshed out in Paxton Oliver. Those 'nights' and dark days I'd weep uncontrollably when the pregnancy test said negative and I would see others grow their families - I see now that God was birthing Paxton IN my heart not under it.

"for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:4 NIV)

"because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:3, 4 NIV)

Be so encouraged! This 'night' you're in is bright to the Lord and He has your back - your front - He's got you. He wants you to lack nothing! My prayer is that you are encouraged and truly refreshed by this. That you perservere - and NOT LACK A SINGLE THING GOD IS GIVING YOU...becoming mature and complete.

You are invited to follow our family on this journey - where in the coming weeks we will expose where God is directing us and give you an account of God's faithfulness and provision. We are excited and honored that God has invited us to partner with Him - though He could do it all on His own. Be blessed.  - The Ward Family loves you.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The END is always the best BEGINNING

Last year around Christmas time I began to blog and though I have had only a few posts I have enjoyed it and truly believe this next year will bring even a bigger adventure and testimony to God's favor and goodness to us.

It's so important to the Lord that our journeys are documented that people around us see what the Lord did for His people - that they may be encouraged and that He is honored. "Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness." (Isaiah 30:8 NLT)

This past year God gave us a son through a series of events that only God could of written... So unique and beautiful... He gave us a son - a family - a birthmom - a story... That we are honored to be given a part in His Grand Story.

He has shown us that He is more than enough. He is ENOUGH. He can do it all on His own.. But from His track record..has shown us that.... (drum roll)... He wants to invite us on the journey. For more reasons than we can presume. "For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9 NLT)

.. And thank God for that.. Because some days I'm losing it.. Where I find myself holding a dish in the laundry room while I still have a towel on my head and my other hand is holding a toothbrush trying to brush my teeth because im also trying to talk on speaker while my phone sits on the washer.. And I think.. why do I still have this dirty dish in my hand?????

I follow a Holy Big God.. Who is continually reminding me every seemingly unordinary day that He wants to do something EXTRA ordinary with my life...

So with that we believe God is calling us and our family - all 3 of us are going to be faithful to listen and do.. Totally believing that He who created us knows EXACTLY where we belong and were gifted to do AND what we will fill the most satisfied. I promise to be more faithful to journal this journey - that it may bring God glory and encourage you to listen and "go".

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:13-18 NLT)

Be so unbelievably blessed this Christmas and I beg take at least 5 minutes today thinking about a baby boy, born of a virgin, who grew up in love with God the Father to then die so young, beaten and hanging by huge nails on cross, by choice - so even maybe one person would accept his sacrifice and gift. I thank God I don't have to do anything but accept His gift - that I may be His daughter and heir. Merry-Blessed-Favored-Loving Christmas!

Monday, October 24, 2011

the COST i'm not sure I can PAY

How appropriate a day after celebrating my life change to christianity that Jesus would wreck my life even more...

I write these things more to share with whoever will just hear - even if not to agree but to even just ponder the thoughts...most of which,  I myself, am still processing.

More interesting is how passionate I am about wanting to voice them. Like the man in Matthew. 

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Matthew 13:43-45

I've sold out...Except I don't want to hide it. I want to share with the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. I believe in what He is saying and believe its an essential truth for EVERYONE. 

1. I believe Jesus lived on this earth - healing people - raising people from the dead - giving his entire life to God's will. He entered IN to people's lives and peoples hurts. Even though it isn't documented, yet still had to of happened. The people Jesus raised from the dead, like Lazurus, did again eventually die. And the people He healed, probably got sick again. But while Jesus was on this earth - He entered in with the only thing he had in His possession, His Faith in God. And when He died, I believe He rose again after three days of being dead - keeping His scars - He continued more days showing himself to his disciples and others and doing more miracles. After which before he ascended into heaven in front of his disciples He said this “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 
Mark 16:15-18.

He even said in John 14:12 "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 

He says VERY TRULY. Like He's making a point. 

2. I don't - though I once didn't, then did, because it's what churches are preaching - I don't (again) believe God is calling us to have great wealth...prosperity. I don't believe - that doesn't make it fact. I also don't believe we should go without. But I do believe - as humans we have 'adjusted' and 'created' for ourselves what we 'need' and what we 'require' to live. I believe a great majority of Christ's body is self absorbed and desiring more for themselves than the people they do life with. They love their children more than children that aren't theirs (which is not scriptural and I believe breaks God's heart AND creates division NOT unity) and they (including me in all of these) become increasingly unsatisfied with what they have.

A. We have created much DEBT because our NEEDS and our WANTS our misadvised. I don't believe we are to be in debt except when it is concerning love. Romans 13:8 - Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 

With this I believe when we are DEBT FREE we can do what God has called us to in our lives. It's easier to say yes when we don't owe the bank and credit card companies for things you HAD TO HAVE, esp. that big ol' house so each one of our kids can have a seperate room - though many in other countries have 8 family members sleeping on dirt floors in a 4' by 4' shack...when we can't afford to pay with it with cash..yet make commitment to spend the next 30 years paying for it. AGAIN I may not be right..yet I find our WEALTHY country drowning in debt yet FAT and with a whole lot of STUFF. 

B. I believe we are called to be faithful in the small things. When we make $200 - we should tithe at least $20 to the church, we save some.. Proverbs 13:22 A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
(This can also mean a spiritual inheritance), AND we give to the poor 

What we SHOULDN'T DO...but buy an outfit or go out to eat and rack up $179.99...we get in more DEBT.

We should be mindful to remember God gives us our daily bread...

C. We don't need a lot of excess. That excess should be spent on those who need it. Cause doesn't it just make us safe...and I don't believe God wants safe. I believe He wants desperate, broken, dependent and willing CHILDREN. HE WANTS people who need to come into his presence for DAILY BREAD. 

Have we so quickly forgot about Elijah and the Mother & Son in 1 Kings 17:10-16.  "So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.” But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” 

But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.

She served someone and never went without what she NEEDED...not WANTED. That's faith. 

3. Luke 14:25-27  A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

Hate my son? My mother? My husband? Yes over Jesus. Jesus doesn't want you to neglect your neighbor - your child - your family...He wants you to love him and not neglect your calling because of your family. "No one puts their hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God" - Luke 9:62. If God calls you and you look back at what you have and desire what you're leaving more than what God is calling you to - God basically says you won't do to serve in His Kingdom. Because friends, God's Kingdom is backwards..leasts will be greatests, firsts will be last, He came for the poor and broken, He says love your enemies and forgive those who have hurt you...Legitimately, Intentionally or unconciously hurt you...He says forgive them..or you shall not be forgiven. He's backwards. His thoughts, ways and attitudes are WAY higher above ours. He's totally backwards - 1 Corinthians 1:27 "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

 Luke 9:59-61 He said to another person, “Come, follow me." The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.

We must desire Him OVER our comfort. Over our idols. Over what our flesh wants. Over our "tasks"...OVER what CULTURE SAYS IS NORMAL! As His were not of the World anymore - We're His and should - For CHRIST'S SAKE - Look like it! 

4. God gave us 2 commands in the new testament that take presidence over the 10 in the old testament. 1. LOVE God with your whole heart and soul. 2. LOVE your neighbor as yourself. 

If yourself doesn't like to go hungry - I'm sure the 2-3 year olds that we saw in Haiti don't either. Possibly explains why we saw them chasing the dump trucks as they were moving and climbing in them, while still others were falling off...just to find trash to eat..

It reminds me how I'm disgusted when I sit in the bathtub and look down and I'm stuffed and bloated from a good nights meal...or when I buy a ton of groceries in an over stimulating store only to come home and dump all the waste from the week before...that trash those kids would have love to get their hungry hands on. 

All this going on...and we're still ME FOCUSED. We're not truly moved to LOVE our neighbor. We fight and bicker in the church. We are consumed with people liking us and worrying about who doesn't and we forget (or better yet chose to not inform ourselves or be bothered by the fact) that a child in Africa who's parents died of AIDS - has no one to worry about them. And rather than strapping on our Gospel of Peace shoes we charge our cards for ANOTHER nice pair of nikes and while-were-at-it-fancy-shoe-laces-and-sole-inserts... all the while, kids in Uganda get jiggers and scabies because they can't afford shoes or know that it isn't okay to walk on fesces. Rather than being the hands of Jesus and entering IN with what we have (with the 'greater things that he did' help of the Holy Spirit). 

 And I'm okay with that and WE'RE okay with that. 

Because tonight I will fall asleep on my temper-pedic bed and sleep under nice washed sheets and kick my husband for snoring and hogging the bed. And wake up and not eat breakfast (because I'm just not that hungry and it makes me sick sometimes to eat - hilarious to think)..and rush to work in the car I still owe the bank for but can pay, but just in installments..because I wanted a nice-new-cd-playing-cruise-control-having-perfect-for-a-kid-reliable-fancy CAR.. Is that wrong? I don't know.... What I do know is it doesn't seem right in comparison to pay to have a car that I need to get around and can carry 3 people, that I paid cash for, and put $160 a month to sponsoring kids in Haiti. 

But God - how is it you bless me to live in the US. And have a family - a husband and a child - and a job..that pays me well and this wrong. Must I forsake these blessings - you, yourself gave me? Where's the line? Is it drawn? What does following you look like in my life?

I believe God wants a willing heart that FIRST Loves HIM and THEN Loves others. Loving Him will cost us comforts. Joy costs pain. Afterall - the resurrection did not happen till after the murder. 

Loving others more than self. I absolutely LOVE myself. I talk about myself a lot. I make myself look good in conversations, and I can easily fall into the whoa-is-me...which is a self-indulgent - self focusing mentality...THAT HAS GOT TO GO if I'm going to represent a Jesus who loves me - who died - DIED, people... DIED...SLAIN...on a cross for me, for you and for the world. God gave his SON (whom He loved - and he LOVES extravagantly bigger than we ever could)..I wouldn't give my big toe nail for most people much more my own son - who I love. God deserves me to serve his people to LOVE ALL people. ALL. Everyone. Loving everyone around everyone else and when everyone else isnt around. Speaking LOVINGLY about EVERYONE. Living in unity and peace. 

James 4:11 - Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.

James 3:17-18 - Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.


I could stay here all day as it is long...

5. I truly believe God wants ALL of us. To be abandon. And I believe its really hard with all the stuff...we just HAD to HAVE...we totally "NEED" that newer house, with matching towels and 2 cars that fit our children AND their friends...and we also NEED the latest AND greatest..??? How dare we get to a place of desperation...That might require us to pray and know and OWN the phrase of HUNGERING and THIRSTING FOR HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. - 1 John 2:17

Ultimately isn't Christ all we need?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

boomer, ridiculous & little chicken

Sweet Cheeks (aka Chicken - aka Pax - and if you’re just joining me - aka my son) slept with daddy and I. Little Chicken is getting so big. His hair is growing, his soft hands are turning into toddler hands, his sweet baby cheeks (face & behind) have me hungover in love I can hardly contain myself. He’s so smart and alert. He’s a total peace maker and the most reflective kid I’ve ever come across. He’s got his parents wrapped up and’s a bit ridiculous. I’m consumed by love for him. I wouldn’t believed it if you had told me every day for my whole life up until now - that I would love this child, God would give me, so much. 
I almost hate it for him. That I kiss his face and his little arms and feet too many times to count (though it would be interesting to know).. The kid doesn’t even have a prayer against my love for him. 
Boomer - aka my husband of 5 years (sometimes long and trying but also mixed and blended with much avail and reward) - Ben, have decided not quite simultaneously that we are going to adopt. How can this be? How could I possibly have come to this point again. When I collided beautifully with my son - only for a few months was I totally intrigued with the idea of have a zillion more kids - did reality hit and hit HARD…that I was totally and completely content with just Pax, Ben and I. Mostly rooted in the fact that Pax is the easiest, most incredibly understandible babies EVER. This kid is perfection made over - God was MORE than good to us. How could I have this same love for him and another - possibly less easy going baby…??? It seems impossible..
Fortunately I serve a God of Impossible. And in more ways than one will this benefit us. We live in a beautiful - yet tiny to the ‘american’ standards of a home for a family of three let alone four. We definitely do not have the average $18,000 - $28,000 to adopt another child and supporting & developing another human being… and could we pull off one of us staying home? Not to mention the above predicament of loving another child even half as much as our first. 
But God - does the most impossible things like they are the ‘most nothing thing’ to do.
So we go here, this is where were traveling. We haven’t landed our adoption agency, we haven’t picked domestic or international for sure, we haven’t decided a sex or age or even made provisions to change our current way of living. 
Right now we’ve merely said yes. We’ve opened our hearts up to some risk and we’ve laid our intentions and desires before the Lord. Just as before - when we asked for a baby and that He would cover costs and fit beautifully in our love bubble of a family - God provided then and I have no doubt HE will do it again and even more uniquely and magnificantly. 
So little chicken are you ready for a sibling?

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Life groups. Connect groups. Small groups. Cell groups. Whatever the name...the importance cannot be captured. The titles do NOT do the justice that the LORD our God intended for the church.

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord PAID ATTENTION AND HEARD THEM, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. They shall be mine, says the LORD, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them. THEN YOU SHALL SEE THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and one who does not serve him. Malachi 3:16-18

We're built for relationships. Healing, life-giving, restoring, building, sharpening relationships. Moments like those aren't forgotten and often times can be tied with significant memories that stay with you forever and directly coincide with a launch of new season the LORD is bringing you in. 

I don't believe the church will be what it is called to be without sustainable, encouraging, RELEVANT, passionate, prayer-saturated, Holy-Spirit annointed, TRUTH speaking, HEART POURING life groups. 

Church are you not sick of the world consuming your heart? Are you satisfied? Are you not hungry to live your best life? 

There is no growth because there is no true confession. There is no true confession because there is no solid relationships to have the 'safety' and 'confidence' of truthful confession...and there's no relationships because were all doing life SAFE and ALONE. 

Whoever conceals his transgressions will NOT prosper, but he who confesses AND forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13.

It's not comfortable to share your sin - it's not suppose to be - BUT it is freeing and there is mercy. 

I love Proverbs 28:13 for so many reasons. 1. To be in a position to have relationships with people and with the Lord that you can be transparent. Confess. And move forward. That's real LIFE. That's a healing life that CHRIST DIED FOR! 2. To confess and have relationships that keep you accountable to remove that sin from your life - that you may never revisit it and move ONWARD with the LORD...that is FREEDOM!

ONWARD! Isn't that what we all want!?!? To wake up in the morning and know we're moving onward....that we aren't the same thing, in the same season...

ONWARD! Don't we all want something new and fresh?!? Not coming back to the same thing. Who wants the same meal everyday? Better question: Who wants to keep coming back to what's NOT working, rotten and old?

A fool who repeats his foolishness is like a dog that goes back to what it has thrown up. Proverbs 26:11

Frick NASTY. That's what a repeatitive, unrepented sin life-style looks like. Gross. I want fresh food, fresh moves and a refreshing life. NOT what I've ate, hated and thrown up. 

I believe the small group of 12 that surrounded Jesus saw new things EVERYDAY. New miracles, NEW spiritual food, NEW insight..NEW..And I believe they were convicted, enlightened and refreshed everyday....EVERYDAY! Jesus walked with them though they were sinners and would continue to sin and make mistakes...even to the point of denying knowing him and getting him arrested and put on a cross...But HE walked with them still...STILL. 

We aren't a lost cause. You are NOT TOO FAR GONE..NOR WILL YOU EVER BE. Jesus washed Judas's feet. Judas made the choice. 

We have a choice...


The beauty of the LORD...He gives us the choice.

He provides love and grace to all who CHOOSE.

And with that CHOICE... We have the opportunity to share in life. To make a CHOICE..

To do life together. To be free TOGETHER. To grow TOGETHER. 

Without doing life together - be CAN'T truly....TRULY.. be FREE and GROW. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

God totally found us you - To my son - Paxton Oliver

June 20th...So much has happened up to this point in our adoption journey. Some milestones to document...he's chuckling, belly laughing, rolling over, eating rice cereal, sitting up in bumbo and watching us enter and leave the room, watching and acknowledging himself in the mirror, being awesome and adorable, sleeping through the night, and sitting and reading with his mama.

Today we read GOD FOUND US YOU...mama Jamie balled the whole way through....THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH.

"Little Fox paused. "How come I couldn't stay with the mother who had me? 

         (Mama Fox) She must have had very big reasons to give you up. She must have thought it was best for you.

(Little Fox) Did she have fur like mine? Eyes like mine?

         (Mama Fox) Most likely. Mama smiled softly. She must have ben as beautiful as you are handsome. I think she prayed like crazy that you would be safe, Little Fox. I think she prayed for me as much as I prayed for her." Mama's voice got all whispery. " And God answered both our prayers."

(Little Fox) I came then? To you?
       Mama nodded, happy tears in her eyes. "You came then. When God found us you, you made me the happiest mama in the world."

referenced 'GOD FOUND US YOU' by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Boy did God find us Pax. Seeing pictures of Ben as a baby and seeing Pax it is miraculous the similarities. It's incredible HOW PERFECT Paxton is for us...I don't remember life without him. I'm so connected to his needs..before he needs them. I understand him.

Nothing brings me more joy than putting Pax to sleep and seeing him smile...BUT the best...when Ben walks in the room - and Pax looks up at him (without Ben having a clue) and just staring at him, smiling and cooing. TEARS EVERYTIME!

...being rooted and established in love, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know his love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of him who is able to do immeasurably MORE than ALL we ask or imagine, according to his power that is AT WORK within us, TO HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout ALL GENERATIONS, for ever and ever! Amen - Ephesians 3:17-21

I started this blog to REACH Pax's birthmom...subtly. Now I have a baby...a son...who is more than incredible. God's PERFECT gift to Ben and I. God did well...He DOES well...and I have no doubts He is FAITHFUL TO ALWAYS do well....immeasurably well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

believing the 'not' MORE

I don't know what my deal is. This issue that I need to work out. I have a feeling whatever this is I'm going to have to spend some serious time working it out with God and to be really frank...I DON'T WANT TO. Can I just do my thing and enjoy what I do have and not press on towards the prize..because the 'pressing' seems like work. And it's easier for my brain and my emotions right now if I just believe and put my faith in what is NOT going to happen rather than the miracles you, God, want to happen.

See, Jesus, I believe MORE that nothing is going to happen and I'm gonna be in this season and at this place and unhappy like this for...well...ever. I'm going to strive - while everyone moves forward and I'm going to be here awhile... waiting.

shocking considering my miracle..

I even sound pompous, ignorant and ungrateful...

but God I want more. And I'm finding that I want more of the wrong thing.  And in the little wisdom (because of my laziness) that I've gained during my walk with you, I still continue to desire the unnecessary and to ache almost for the un'needed'.

and to read my feelings back on paper - I am pathetic...honest yet, very pathetic.

where's that die hard passion - what am I passionate about? What would keep me up at night with a pen and paper..what's the point... I want an easy button. 

my life is too hard and not at all how I wanted it to all... some parts (Pax and Ben) way better than I planned and others...WAY not.

...and isn't it the story of everyone..Whoa is me - Thou shalt put me to death and exalt all my misfortunes...

I'm serious. I want better - haven't I done enough..I'm ready for the more - for overflowing.

I'm tired.

I'm dealing. I don't want to deal.

There is something..well many things..but something right now in particular God is waiting on me to acknowledge and work out - for me to be entrusted to move forward to this next season. Honestly, I'm too tired to figure it out and too ashamed to know all of what it is. To be broken is too rough for me...I don't like it.

Not a fan. Nor am I a fan of what I have become - in the quiet, secret places. It's beginning to overflow to the public places of my life and I want it to change....

but I'm physically and emotionally not willing to change it...

so I'm here... a chess decide my next move.

interested to see back...the journey I took from here. Scared it's not going to be pleasing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Within us..

Yesterday morning I was staring at Ben's and Pax's ears and I thought - those are the funniest pieces of anatomy.. I know weird but for the first time I kind of felt like we were like animals..I don't know - even I can't explain myself. Then the holy spirit said - you were made in HIS likeness..I'm almost positive the holy spirit speaks to me when I've gone bananas. Maybe it was the lack of sleep.

To think we are in HIS likeness. Why is this so crazy to me?

Pax's little body - his personality - his needs - his ways are in HIS likeness. I just want to squeeze him every time I think about this.

The KINGDOM OF GOD is WITHIN US. I challenge you to tap into it. To find what makes you tick - what you can spend hours doing and talking about..the thing people say you are so great at and say you would be so great at and just do it - fulfill the KINGDOM of GOD WITHIN YOU.

side note:
Pax is adjusting beautifully. He's perfect, healthy, bright, strong, repetitive, & a easy to read baby boy. God knew EXACTLY what He was doing..So with that said...since I do believe this was divine appointment - please pray powerfully and intentionally for Lesa, the birth mother. I love her with an overwhelming love - through her God satisfied my desire and my soul. Join me in praying for comfort and wholeness. Pray she finds her joy in the LORD only in this season and that she continues to develop in the HUGE call I know God has with her life. Pray for every spiritual blessing and provision for all her hearts desires and needs. Fulfill her bountifully Lord. I love her with an everlasting love and I'm brought to tears daily as I hold my baby boy in great gratitude and joyful pain for her.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I do not say this lightly - God bless you in every way and continue to JOIN in the support to LOVE God more, LIVE life FULLY in Him & expand the Kingdom INTENTIONALLY with every gift WITHIN YOU.  I love you all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Glorifying the Promise Rather than the Promise Keeper

The baby is coming anytime. Ben and I have been in a shuffled mess. I, an already over extensive organizer and planner and perfectionist, have lost my marbles. I'm so pumped but I also want everything perfect - because I know once the baby comes, the house chores and everything else will take a back seat. PUMPED ABOUT BABY PAX - don't get me wrong. BUT none the less I am doing this all in a matter of weeks rather than 9 months..(God knew I couldn't wait that long). MY WHOLE LIFE has been on this thoughts, my actions, my planning, my time, my love, my energy...everything on this promise. God honored my heart. When I don't deserve this promise HE gave. HE gave me this opportunity. HE gave me the best and fastest chance at being a mother. HE gave me a church that would rise to the occasion and help me get my house in order for a baby. HE gave us the finances to fix a house that was falling at the seems. HE gave me friends that stayed at my house endless hours doing free labor. HE gave his son that I might have access to HIM and be an HEIR of deserving promises when MY sin said otherwise. Yet HE has taken a backseat for the last few weeks. The PROMISE KEEPER has taken a back seat to the PROMISE.

Weeks before the news of the little one reached our ear. I was stuck in my studies of His Word in Exodus - on the Israelites as they were in the desert. Complaining that they were better off in Egypt than heading to the promise... I was telling you all on my facebook and twitter how I related so much to the Israelites. Now, at this moment, I feel much like the Israelites as they plundered their promise land and rather than offering the plunder to God some of them kept it for themselves. As if it had more value than the one that created it all. Girl, please. I'm very much like them that kept for themselves the plunder.

God I'm sorry. Have mercy on me.

I believe we can find ourselves in this place after receiving a promise. There has to be a medium ground. The promise keeper has to be the focus not what flows from Him. What flows from Him is the blessing of following him. Being able to greatly appreciate what flows from Him only comes when we still keep our eyes on Him when we receive it. I also firmly believe if our eyes are planted on Him while we are receiving..we will not hinder the way we get it, the pace in which we get it and the great value that God intended it to have.

Lord I do not want to delay your promises to come because I'm too busy enveloped on a promise I received now. I love you LORD. I'm trying. I'm sorry I flopped.

Monday, January 31, 2011


jan. 19th - the phone call that shook our expectations of how God was in the miracle making business. The opportunity to possibly adopt a baby boy due in 3 weeks.

jan. 19th-jan. 22st - the longest 4 days of my life. I had already lost hope, though the feeling was so right. I was being spiritually attacked and told one night in prayer the 21st that this baby is God's work to be used to glorify him. I knew God shared this with me because I was going to be apart of his life. It was good. It was peace I felt. Paxton means peace, and quite fitting too.

jan. 22nd at 4:30 pm. - the phone call to meet for lunch.

jan. 23rd at 1:05 pm. - the lunch, you know the one that rides on first impressions and many curiosities...the one where life has the potential to change forever.

jan. 24th at 4:40 pm. - the mom dinner (birth mom and me). I didn't know it yet but I felt it all over my spirit that this woman and I were created for the same purpose that was joined with this baby. Connected, attached, spiritual, God written all over it-kind of dinner. His presence was in that place...angels were in our company, life was going to change..then she said it...the baby was entrusted with us. What was more beautiful was after that we sat on the same side of a booth and shared pictures, our writings and giftings and spiritually united a bond between us. I'm indebted to this woman and I loved every part of it.

jan. 25th - I heard his heart beat - you know the one that reveals the life of this entire experience..all of that for this heart took my breath away. I didn't cry - I thought I'd cry - but I only found myself smiling...I couldn't stop smiling. Where did this joy come from..This, whatever it was I had never felt was like healing joy..I literally felt it all over my body.

We talk every day, me and her. We love her and she loves us. Not 'love' like I love pancakes and peanut butter, but 'love' like I'll give everything I have for you kind of love. And in the midst of it all, everything is coming together - the house, the homestudy, the legalities, the fees....and the support, the love Ben and I have is mind blowing. I lay awake at night balling like a big baby in thankfulness that we are so loved and that our friends are strongly moved by the birth and the adoption of baby Pax. God's timing is impeccable..Lord forgive me for thinking otherwise.

I know Paxton will be a testament of God - of who He is - a provider, an inheritance giver, a healer, a giver of JOY, God who's timing is perfect, God who wants His children to love Him and be blessed.

Ephesians has been in my head and is what motivated this blog. This morning I decided to read it start to finish and was stopped in the first chapter..a revelation - a God meeting (when I don't deserve it but because Christ himself qualifies) it it slowly, word by word..and then tell me He isn't good to us..faithful and WANTS to bless us.

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be ADOPTED as his sones through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has FREELY given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordances with the RICHES of God's GRACE that he LAVISHED on us with ALL WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING. AND he made KNOWN TO US the MYSTERY of HIS WILL ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PLEASURE, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment - to bring all things in heaven and earth together under one head, even Christ. IN HIM we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the PLAN OF HIM WHO WORKS OUT EVERYTHING IN CONFORMITY WITH THE PURPOSE OF HIS WILL, in ORDER that WE, who were the FIRST to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:4-12.

So many truths in that. But all to say these few (because some I believe were from God to me personally for healing and leading).

1. He first chose us. He desires us to CHOSE beautiful and He desires your choice to love Him. As if we were worthy of calling to Him this way - yet He waits, humbly. Our God waits...for us.

2. We are all adopted (how fitting) because of Jesus and LIKE Jesus. Because of this He FREELY gives to us..

3. He LAVISHES us will all wisdom and understanding that WE may know what He has called us to.."know what his will for your life is - his perfect and pleasing will"...Seek and He is faithful to FREELY GIVE and ANSWER and DIRECT.

4. God does everything TIMELY and in ORDER (v. 12) that we who were FIRST to HOPE in him will be a testament to our family, our friends, our loved ones, our children. Are you the first in your family? Are you the first in your group of friends to come to God? You are to be a HOPE and a testament of HIS glory. I'm the first believer in my intermediate family to give my life to God's calling and not be ashamed of it and now my parents and siblings will know HIS goodness - because of his LAVISHING...Pax will be our first child...he too will be a testament of God's faithfulness. LIVE in victory and find yourself believing the truth of these scriptures - that you will not live defeated - for that is NOT from God...but in EVERY circumstance...LIVE in VICTORY.. You are less likely to stay in that circumstance long if you do.

Pax because of your birth mom, through God's goodness and mercy - Ben and I have an inheritance. You are beautiful Lisa. He shines all over you and I am grateful.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

if this is her...who carries him...

...i'm speechless..which if you know a trait i often rarely possess

    you have to be confused. i commend your desire to give him safety and peace. i admire your heart for wanting more for your son...desiring greatness for, love, soundness....

i can't sit by and wonder if you will chose heart races wondering what you think of me as you look at my husband and my pictures...

..i'll open my heart and take this risk because i know i can be IT for him. my husband and i we love greatly and are loved greatly...your baby boy would be connected to that love. i'm essentric and ben is always logical, i'm creative and ben's a peace maker, we're lively and energetic, we have a million people who support us... there's so much of who we are that i wouldn't mind being challenged by asking with.

...i cant carry him or anyone for that matter...but we want... and we desire to love big...and to have lots to love in the future..

i'm trying to be vague..and i don't want to scare you away. but this risk is worth it to me. many aren't willing to risk love for fear that their heart will be broken in the process...its worth it for me... to go out on a limb..

Thursday, January 6, 2011

the pathetic little bird of wisdom...

Some things I contend to doing this year is to get back into running, spend more quality time with the husband, remember to bath regularly, get a pet turtle, become more content and read one inspiring book monthly - aiding in challenging my leadership skills, sharpening my relationship with God and my all around character...  obviously a few of these are jokes...probably not the 'obvious' ones.
January's book of choice "Chazown" by Craig Groeschel. Good and necessary 
read. Craig shares many stories, one of which has stuck with me the most...
One day a bird was flying south for the winter and got caught in a 
snowstorm. As snow landed on his tiny wings, it melted slightly, the quickly 
froze, causing the bird to fall to the ground. 
As he sat helpless and shivering, encased in ice, the bird thought to 
himself (to be spoken in a little bird voice), this is the end
To make matters worse, a cow wandered toward the freezing bird and
wouldn’t you know it? - deposited a stinking pile of manure on top of the bird. 
(There’s a point, hang with me). 
The bird panicked, horrified at the thought that he was going to freeze to death, covered in manure. But slowly, the warmth of the manure caused the bird to thaw out. He fluttered his newly freed wings and began to chirp with joy!
“Chirp! Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!” he sang.
That’s when a cat, drawn by the chirping, ran over, dug out the bird...and ate him. 
You see, this story of courage and calamity teaches us three very important lessons. Hope you didn’t miss them:
  1. Not everyone who drops manure on you is your enemy. 
  2. Not everyone who digs you out of manure is your friend. 
  3. When you are in manure, keep your mouth shut. 
Today I read Psalm 4:4 (this year I also have resolved to read the entire bible..)
“Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your heart and be silent.”
I find this fitting in supporting the little birdie story. Very often I can find 
myself wanting everyone to know where I stand, and how bad I’m hurting with 
life and all it throws at me. I can find myself with a victim mentality..asking God 'why can't I have that! Aren't you the one who promises the desires of my heart!?! We want a baby!'...and not just a baby for the sake of those cute chubby roles and the ridiculously small outfits that make your heart burst..but because we want a raise up children, to love and create insane memories with...'
Yet in all of this I have chosen to make a conscious effort
to ‘search my heart and be silent.’ To trust God and to move forward courageously.
I'm anticipating 2011.

 To make sure I site my work: “Chazown” by Craig Groeshel; pg. 57-58  & New International Version, Psalm 4:4.