Monday, June 30, 2014

The Marathon Looms

Running a half marathon in November of 2012 was one of the most nerve-wracking yet exciting times in my life! God had broken me many months before, and the training had been complete. I laid my clothes out the night before and rehearsed the run in my head. My fears of not finishing or embarrassing myself replayed over and over in my mind. But, God’s faithfulness was even more overwhelming. And it was good.

Fast forward two months later, and Kaitlyn and I ran the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon at Disney. It was a magical time and something I will never forget! Disney knows how to run a race WELL, and we were not disappointed.

Even though we’ve run a few races here and there, our running over the past year has been spotty at best. Just like the Israelites of the Old Testament, I need to be reminded EVERY SINGLE DAY that my body is the temple of the Lord, and it is my responsibility to honor Him with what He has given me.

Thus, He led us to sign up for a marathon in January of 2015. And I can tell you this without hesitation…I am frightened…I am scared…I am anxious. And I don’t think I’m alone, but I could be dead wrong. When I cannot see what is coming, I worry. I allow the enemy to take root at times, and he can sink in deep very quickly. But, the One who is greater always shows Himself to me in His Word. He reminds me that He is faithful. He will sustain. He will bring glory to Himself. All that is required of me is obedience.

Obedience doesn’t show mean running the marathon. Obedience is the daily run…the get up and go run whether you feel like it or not run…the I’m not interested in your excuses run…the mundane…the monotonous..the boring.

For it is in the every day routine that endurance is slowly built. Each step builds a foundation that grows stronger with every run. Every completed run is a stepping stone to a great one that is to come.

So, I run. And sometimes I do it with a great attitude. Other times, my outlook stinks! But, I must continue…and run..and run some more. For the prize is out of sight right now, but each day brings it closer…and closer…and closer.

Monday, June 23, 2014

When Life Stinks!

When was the last time you had a week that just stunk? It was hard. It was exhausting. You were done. Finished. No more.

Obviously from the question you can tell that I had one of those weeks. It was a doozy. And I have a tendency to get down and out when things are overwhelming. I was biding my time each day until the littles went to bed.

Without JT, things get rough. And the younger kids thought they would pick this past week to act out accordingly. How thoughtful of them.

There were a myriad of things that went wrong…dead wrong…all week long. And I thought about praying those psalms where David is crying out to the Lord to kill his enemies. Only my enemies were loads of laundry, a worrying mind (my own), the absence of my husband, a constantly sick kiddo and several little people who shall remain nameless. I decided not to go the “kill my enemies” route.

Instead, God reminded me of His Sovereignty in His Word. As we are reading through Deuteronomy, we hear Moses remind the people OVER and OVER and OVER again about God’s rules and commands for them. It is a repeat of Leviticus basically. They’ve had forty years to review the laws…you would think they would’ve gotten it. But, they did not. They turn away from Him so easily and quickly.

And so do I. I grumble and complain. I am selfish. I am full of pride. I worry. I get easily frustrated. I sin. I sin again. I sin again and again. I forget God’s faithfulness. I neglect His Word.

But, He remains faithful and draws me close. I read His Word, seek Him in prayer and hear from fellow believers who push me to go deeper with Him. His Word is so good to show us His character:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Philippians 4:6

“The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” -Psalm 145:9

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” - Psalm 100:5

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." -Proverbs 3:5

As I peer until the next 7 days, I don't want to live just waiting for the day to be over. I desire to have a heart and attitude that magnify Him despite the circumstances of life. No matter what happens this week, I KNOW this. He is God, and He is good. He is faithful when life seems good and He is faithful when life seems hard. He loves us and He wants us to be in a daily relationship with Him. Whatever He chooses to do is for His ultimate glory and our good. I will trust Him.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Read it and weep.

Every Father’s Day is the same…or it has been for the past 14 years. JT is gone on Father’s Day. The summer is the prime time for most people to go on a mission trip, and so, he leads others as they serve our Savior. And we are grateful beyond adequate words.

Since he’s away the kids have a little extra time to make their Father’s Day cards. As I prepared dinner, I sent the three youngest upstairs with only this instruction, “Jett, write Happy Father’s Day on the board so Zeke and Elly will know how to spell it.” And he did.

Then, they proceeded to laugh and make a lot of noise (not sure exactly how working on a card can cause that much commotion). The ceiling of the kitchen shook and I could hear them giggle. My high hopes for those cards pretty much went out the window.

And, then he brought me his card. Jett had the biggest smile on his face and placed it right in front of me. He’s not much of a writer and usually just puts the basics…the specific holiday, who the card is for and his own name. He’s more of a bottom line kind of kid.

I read it and wept. And I think you will too. There are no more words needed, but this kid pretty much summed up JT for all of us. Happy Father’s Day indeed. (we're still working on that spelling thing, just so you know).

Monday, June 9, 2014

This Kid

When God matched our hearts to his, we were all scared beyond words. He had never used an indoor bathroom. He had never eaten at a table or used a fork. He had never ridden in a car or felt air conditioning.

Without telling too much of his story, I'll suffice it to say that we all had a steep learning curve to be a family. His energy was unmatched by anyone in our house. And, as you can tell, he lives life to the fullest. Our family has never been the same, and I am grateful.

(Credit for the last two photos to Allison Lewis Photography)

No one has challenged us more or sent us to the foot of the Father faster. But, God has a plan, and I see it playing out before my eyes. We struggle daily but the determination he has to succeed is far beyond his years.

Lord, would you show Yourself faithful in and through Zeke's life? Please mold him into the young man You desire for Him to be. Give us strength, patience and discernment to follow after You whole-heartedly so that He will do the same. Help us to raise him in a way that brings You great glory. Thank you for the opportunity to parent this beautiful child. May he serve You with total abandonment all of his days.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Glimpse of Glory....

I dread it for days…just knowing that JT is leaving town makes my heart sink. Oh, I KNOW that it’s what God has called us to do…that’s clear. And I LOVE that. It’s our lives…investing in people around the globe for His great glory. I am content and joyful and at peace with what God is doing with One Way Ministries.

The difficulty comes in leaving the youngest kids who still struggle with abandonment issues. They often act out when he leaves, and it is a great reminder of the grief that accompanies adoption. Wet beds, temper tantrums, fighting, grieving fits, yelling, crying, screaming, and on and on. I replay every possible negative and catastrophic possibility of what could happen while he’s gone. It sucks the very life out of me.

Friday morning, I awake to see the team from my house leave…I jealously watch them pull out of the driveway knowing that they are going to a place I love. I am anxious about the littles waking up just not knowing what will likely come my way.

But, here’s my chance to just say how GREAT our God is. Even when we are faithless, He is faithful…AMEN (2 Timothy 2:13)! Jett Turner woke up a young man I have only dreamed about. I’m seriously about to list his accomplishments for the day (and people, this is HUGE…HUGER than HUGE…GINORMOUS!)

-He initiated cleaning off the table without being asked. He led his siblings to do the same. AND FINISHED THE JOB WELL!
-He worked on his multiplication facts on the Ipad making a 97 out of 100!!!!
-He read ALL of his reading book and answered every comprehension question correctly!
-He opened all doors and allowed every female to go first without being reminded!
-He ASKED how he could help with lunch and dinner.
-He followed EVERY SINGLE instruction the FIRST time and with a cheerful heart!
-He cleaned out the pool without being told or given any instructions.
-He helped fold two loads of clothes without being asked.
-He cleaned out the toy basket in the living room in an orderly fashion.
-He said “Yes Ma’am” to every request and did not complain even once.
-He prayed for his family that went out of the country and thanked God for the opportunity to stay home with his younger siblings.
-He initiated playing a game of tic-tac-toe and memory with his brother. He even congratulated Zeke on winning!
-He played Uno with all of us and was joyful for whoever won!

Can I tell you what strides these all are? Initiating servanthood, working diligently, finishing projects/work well, excelling in schoolwork, following instructions, being thankful…oh, I could go on and on. My heart overflows today with God’s goodness and faithfulness through our oldest son. I have seen a glimpse of what God is doing in and through His life.

And just for your entertainment, here's a sampling of the 30 selfies he put on my phone while bringing it to me in the kitchen from the van (an approximate 30 second walk)...

I have no idea what the rest of the week will hold, but I will cling to this day knowing that God showed me something AMAZING that I will not soon forget. I saw a young man today…one that is chasing after God’s own heart. And my heart is bursting with joy!