Today was a bit discouraging for me.
I continue to wrestle with certain things and situations.
Most days, I am okay, finding rest in the arms of Jesus.
Some days, I struggle a little more and today was one of those days.
My mom stopped by tonight.
Later, I was sitting outside in my backyard,
feeling the sprinkles of light rain,
looking up at this beautiful rainbow while I talked to my mom on the phone.
She told me she could see my discouragement earlier today.
A short while later, I went back inside.
A tiny while after that, I noticed our back door was open.
I immediately knew that our cat had escaped.
Mr. Mustard Seed and I began searching the 'hood.
No sign of the missing meow.
She's a 100% indoor cat, so the level of discouragement
I'd been feeling began to escalate.
It was about 8:30pm and we were losing daylight.
Mr. Mustard Seed started to walk around the block.
I slipped inside the garage- maybe she was hiding in there?
A short while later I heard tiny voices in the driveway.
The boys? Couldn't be. They were in bed, right?
As I stepped out of the garage,
I heard the Fantastic Okapi shouting,
"Paris! There she is! We found her!"
(They are really super heroes, you know!)
I scooped my little bundle of fur up and brought her inside.
The boys and Jed are now fast asleep and
I've had some time to reflect on the day, and the things I've been feeling.
You see, today is my sister's birthday.
She would have been 32.
When I was little, I used to go out into my backyard and talk to her.
I miss her.
I often wish she was here.
Earlier today, while I was at the park with Jed and the boys,
I found myself thinking,
"I'd love to see a piece of you today."
And then the day erupted and
I got distracted, blinded by my circumstance.
In the quiet, stillness of my house tonight,
my heart sang praises to Jesus.
I thank Jesus for loving me,
for never forsaking me,
for comforting me, holding me, giving me peace.
I thank Him for the cross He's given me to carry,
the trials that may come my way-
He will use these things to draw me closer to Him.
I realize that it's my own sinful way of wresting with things that causes
unrest and discouragement in my life.
It's only when I hand my trials and troubles over to Jesus
that I am able to find peace, rest and comfort.
The song, "God is Able" has been playing in my head tonight.
"Greater than all we seek,
greater than all we ask,
He has done great things....
God is for us,
He has open arms,
He will never fail us,
for the Lord our God is able."
Here's a video of one of my favorite bands performing this song- please listen:
Today is my sister's 32nd birthday.
She is celebrating in heaven with Jesus.
And you wanna know something really special?
God sent a rainbow today- a little piece of heaven.
"God is with us,
He is on our side,
He will make a way.
Far above all we know,
far above all we hope,
He has done great things"
The Green Owl spent some time coloring churches earlier this week.
It really made me think about how GREAT God is.
Sometimes it's easy to get lost in every day life-
how often do I pause enough to really reflect on God's greatness?
To see my boy's drawing God's house, singing God's songs...
it's a blessing to be their mom.
Shortly after The Green Owl was born,I read Britt Merrick's book, BIG GOD.
Britt Merrick is the founder of Reality, a pastor, husband and father.
Britt's daughter, Daisy was battling cancer during the time he wrote BIG GOD.
She is now resting in the arms of her Savior.
I'd like to share an excerpt from BIG GOD with you-
taken from the chapter called "When My Heart is Overwhelmed"
*Love Him More than Anyone or Anything*
"As I walked through this trial with Daisy's health, one of the surprising things that happened over and over is that my spirit erupted in worship. My heart would suddenly break out into worship of God and who He is- not always out loud, but always real. I don't say this to boast. I say it to testify that Christ is more wonderful than any other person or relationship. My mom taught me at a very young age that she loved God more than she loved me. That affected me profoundly. It helped to keep me from creating idols out of certain relationships. We've taught our kids the same thing. I can't tell you how many nights I've put Daisy to bed and said, "I love you, Daisy. Daddy loves you more than anything in the world." She always corrected me, "Nuh-uh, Daddy. Not more than God. You love God more than you love me. And I love God more than I love you." That's the most wonderful thing you could ever hear as a Christian parent. Part of the corrupted human side of us feels a cutting when we hear our children say, "I love God more than you." Part of us worries about what our children might think when we tell them that we love Christ more than we love them. Yet this is the first and greatest commandment. If we fail in that one, we're failing all of them. I have been tested in that as I walked through this illness with Daisy. Are you obeying that first and greatest commandment, the one found in Deuteronomy 6:4-6?
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart."
When I first read this, it was a huge reality check for me. How would my boys answer this? I knew I didn't want to raise my children up with myself at the center of their universe. How weak am I? How sinful am I? How deceitful can my heart be? The greatest thing I can do as a parent is to raise my children to place God at the center of their universe... to build a strong foundation on His Word and His promises. He is the ONLY one who will never disappoint. Never betray. Never change. How GREAT is He?!
But, reader, I must confess- there's a part of me that has failed with this commandment... and I believe I failed without even realizing it. As a parent, I am rooted in God's word, his truths, his promises.
I am committed to following his commandments.
But as a whole, I have not upheld the greatest commandment as He has commanded me to.
You see, up until this year, I had a mission in my life...
What was that mission, you ask...
Well, I wanted to make sure the people in my life always knew
how much I loved them... It was a really big deal to me.
I wanted them to feel thought of, cared for, and most of all- loved.
I wanted them to know I would always be there, that they could trust me,
that I was genuinely invested in preserving and growing our relationship.
And then life happened, as it usually does, and things spun out of control.
People fell out of my life- the very people I lived to love.
I didn't understand. My questions were left unanswered.
If I loved them so much, how could this happen?
Huge reality check, my friends. HUGE.
I feel like 2012 was a year of battle for me.
I continually threw my heart at the feet of mortal relationships,
only to have it trampled and stamped upon.
What was I doing wrong?
Was my love not enough to keep certain relationships alive?
Quite simply, I didn't understand.
Looking back, I see myself as disobedient.
I see myself breaking one of God's greatest commandments.
I see myself living each day to show PEOPLE how much I love THEM.
Surely that's going to lead to disappointment.
Surely that's going to lead to heart break.
Surely that's going to lead to discouragement.
I don't want this post to seem confusing- of course it's good and right to love people, but we can't forget God's greatest commandment in the process.
God calls us to love him first and most- above ALL things.
Above all people.
Friend, I'm happy to tell you that the pain I endured
last year was not without reason. (It never is)
I know that last year happened so I could rightly prioritize the loves in my life- with my Lord and Savior, my best fried at the center.
I've realized that my mission in life should be making sure
I live each day loving God the most.
I want people to know how much I love HIM.
I want my life to glorify Him in every way possible.
He is my prince of Peace.
His the calm in the storm. He deserves my praise. He deserves the best of me.
I am happy to accept the mission He has given me.
I've never posted a video before, so if you're
"the lucky first reader" could you please comment
to let me know if you're able to view the videos? Thank you!
I'll take this notice down after I hear from you.
And then I'll give you thumbs up!
"My God is so big and so strong and so mighty,
there's nothing that He cannot do."
((Go Fish Guys))
The Fantastic Okapi and The Green Owl participated in VBS
this past week and had a rockin' good time.
The Fantastic Okapi loved learning about Noah
and The Green Owl loved singing songs to Jesus.
A few nights ago, they were up until 11pm chatting away
about the fun things they learned, and singing "Go Fish" songs.
Vacation Bible School has ended, however,
the impact it's had on the boys is lasting.
Their happy chatter and joyful singing continues!
Every week, our family memorizes a new scripture verse.
I recently started giving each verse an introduction, for example:
"God wants you to know..." or "God says," etc.
Our verse for this past week was Jeremiah 31:3:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love."
Along with memorizing this verse, we also learned the definition of "everlasting."
Everlasting: forever, eternal.
When we first started learning this verse, I broke it down into two parts.
I first read, "God wants you to know... I have loved you...."
I paused for a minute, before hearing The Green Owl respond with a cheerful,
It made me smile.
Even though this is a very simple truth,
it is strong, bold, life changing, life giving, beautiful,
important, captivating, worth celebrating.
This type of love is found in knowing Jesus.
Wherever you are, whatever you may be doing,
whatever you may be feeling,
I pray that you feel this love.
God is so great all the time.
About two weeks ago I was talking to my mom on the phone.
She told me I am one of the most encouraging people she knows.
It made me cry.
To be honest, I hadn't seen myself as a very
"encouraging" person the past few months.
I felt like it was something I "used" to be good at, but
being an encouraging person didn't seem to fit me anymore.
My mom challenged me and asked,
, "But, don't you feel like that's a gift God gave you?"
Feeling down on myself, I said, "I don't think so."
A few days later we went to church-
we were in our final teaching called
"Courageous Faith Encourages Others."
Even if you don't know much about the Bible, please keep reading.
This particular teaching was new to me, too.
It was from 2 Timothy 1, written by Paul to Timothy.
Paul greatly encouraged Timothy in his faith.
Paul constantly prayed for Timothy. (2 Timothy 1:3)
He encouraged Timothy to be bold in his faith (2 Timothy 1:7)
Paul reminded him that following the Lord would lead to suffering at times,
but that suffering was not something to be ashamed of. (2 Timothy 1:8-9, 12)
What a blessing to have such a faithful teacher,
so full of great wisdom and encouragement.
During the sermon, the pastor asked,
"Are you an encourager or are you in need of encouragement?"
I thought about that for a moment before he continued on to say,
"As a Christian, you are one of those two things.
There isn't an in between."
This really hit me in my heart.
I realized at that moment that I'd been in need of encouragement.
I also realized that it's okay to be in need of encouragement.
I'd like to ask you something- please answer in your heart.
Are you a Timothy in need of encouragement or a Paul desiring to encourage?
If you are a Timothy- and in need of encouragement, don't be ashamed.
If you are a Paul, please take a look around you.
I'm certain there are Timothy's around you who could use your encouragement.
How does your example of faith encourage others to have courage?
Be courageous in your faith.
After all, courageous faith encourages others.
This page is dedicated to living my life on mission for the King of my heart, and planting seeds of love and hope along the way.