1
How to Respond When God Answers Your Prayer
2
Book Review: Wonder
3
Good Decisions for 2018
4
The Empty Closet: Life After Our First Placement
5
Seven Times a Day

How to Respond When God Answers Your Prayer

We had a very special Sunday school class this past week as my fellow teacher, Stephanie, contrasted Zechariah’s and Mary’s responses to the Angel Gabriel when he delivered this similar messages to them:

Congratulations! You Will Have a Baby!

Wow! An angel delivered this message to Zechariah. And he responded…well…poorly to say the least.

Basically, here’s my recap of the scenario from Luke chapter 1:

Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, have been praying for a child. An angel appears and says, “Great news! God has answered your prayer and you’re going to be a daddy! He’s going to be AMAZING and you will be SO PROUD!” But Zechariah is NOT happy so he questions Gabriel. Angered, Gabriel yells at Zechariah and takes away his ability to speak until the baby is born!

Wow! Can you imagine not being able to speak for at least 9 months? I can’t. In fact, I can’t even imagine going 9 hours without speaking. Sometimes, not even 9 minutes.

As Stephanie was teaching the lesson, I was nodding my head, remembering this story which I’ve heard most of my life. But as we exaggerated the dialogue (we really like getting into the moment), I realized something for the first time. Zechariah had been praying for a baby.

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Book Review: Wonder

Today’s book review is a departure from the norm for me. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that I semi-regularly post reviews on Bible studies and other books related to spiritual development. But today, I’m writing about Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

This review isn’t intended to be an in-depth look at the literary features that Palacio uses. But rather, a reminder to parents to know what your children are reading and have open conversations about it. Because, to me, there was one terrifying lesson that I came away with after reading Wonder.

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Good Decisions for 2018

Happy New Year! It hurts my head a little bit to say that – how could 2017 already be gone? It was definitely an interesting year in our household. We hit a lot of milestones. Kevin’s business celebrated its 3rd anniversary. We celebrated the one-year mark with our first foster placement. I switched jobs in the summer. And released a Bible study that involved recording a podcast with it. We painted most of the interior of our house. And even purchased our first vehicle together as a married couple.

It was also a year where many of our close friends had tremendous losses. Even we had to make the hardest decision that we’ve ever faced as a married couple. We’ve been married six years and we’ve never before faced such bleak days.

But the Lord has been faithful to restore His mercy to us every day. He has been faithful to Himself and sustained us through the tough times and allowed us to rejoice over the many, many good times.

As we start 2018, I know a lot of people are making resolutions, goals, and wish lists. I started this morning by reading Psalm 1. And it reminded me of a good piece of advise to remember at all times of the year – but especially here at the beginning of January as so many of us are feeling this “fresh start.”

Psalm 1:1-3 (bold mine)

How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams[a]
that bears its fruit in its season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

As we look ahead to this new year, let’s evaluate where we have been walking, standing, and sitting. Whose company have we been in? Who has most influenced us? And where do we find our delight?

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The Empty Closet: Life After Our First Placement

An empty closet.
Clothes hangers without clothes.
A gap in the pews.
A booster seat in the trunk of the car.

I’ve cried at the sight of each of these items over the past two weeks. Our foster placement lived with us for 380 days. Today is day 16 without her. We’re still emotionally rebounding from the way her time with us ended – not in celebration of reunification or adoption but in grief. In a gut-wrenching hope that the pain from her placement with a new foster family will bring the help and healing she needs.

There’s a pain mingling with our holiday celebrations this year. And as I looked around the pews at church this past Sunday morning, I was reminded we weren’t alone. There was pain all around me:
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Seven Times a Day

I praise You seven times a day for your righteous judgments.”
    – Psalm 119:164

What do I do seven times a day? I’ve really been thinking about this question lately. Some days I eat six times a day. You know, like a hobbit! There’s breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and, of course, the mandatory sweet snack after successfully putting a child to bed!

I don’t mean to be impolite, but I probably use the restroom seven times a day. I’m not sure; I haven’t ever counted before.

I wash dishes once a day. If a dish is missed, I leave it for the next day! And, as much as I love my husband, I’m not even sure that I tell him “I love you” seven times a day.

On a typical day, I’m awake from 5:45-9:45. That’s 16 hours. 16 divided by 7 is 2.28 (*shout out to my calculator*) So if I were to act like the Psalmist, that means I would praise the Lord for His righteous judgment every 2.28 hours that I am awake.

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