Archive - 2017

When Love Wasn’t Loving
More than a Foot Disease
Like Wisemen: Solar Eclipse 2017
Book Review: Fervent
Sabbath Rest & the Zoo

When Love Wasn’t Loving

That’s not love. That thought has been on repeat in my head ever since we accepted our first foster placement 11 months ago. How do you explain love – true love – agape love – to a child who has mostly only experienced selfish “love.” I can barely even bring myself to say “selfish love” because, if it’s selfish, is it really love?

So, here we are, trying to teach a person how to love. It’s hard. Because love, much like C.S. Lewis continually teaches, is a choice, not a feeling. I’ve been fortunate, I’ve never had to fight very hard for love. Kevin and I have had a fun-filled marriage and drama-free dating relationship. I love him easily every day. In fact, my love for him has grown over the past year. But when the Lord adds a person to your house, even temporarily, love is a choice. I have to choose love even when told I’m hated. Because, as the refrain in my head goes, most of the love that was shown to her wasn’t loving.

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More than a Foot Disease

 Hezekiah did this throughout all Judah. He did what was good and upright and true before the Lord his God. He was diligent in every deed that he began in the service of God’s temple, in the instruction and the commands, in order to seek his God, and he prospered.
        -2 Chronicles 31:20-21

Over the past two weeks, I got behind on my daily Scripture reading. I would love to point my finger and blame the start of school – we’re still trying to figure out what the new routine with ALL THIS HOMEWORK looks like. But that would just be me passing the blame. I haven’t made it a priority. I’ve chosen sleeping in over reading, watching videos over meditating, and monitoring everyone’s schedule over my relationship with God.

I’ve failed to read my Bible daily. But God is gracious and we’re getting back in our rhythm.

Many thanks to the Bible app which reads Scripture to me. I have enjoyed spending the morning stretching (rather than snoozing) while the app reads to me. I have even spent a couple morning drives to work with Psalms and Proverbs being read to me. It’s a a delight to hear God’s Words out loud – to encounter them in a new way.

So over the past three days of catch up, I have been listening to a lot of 1 & 2 Chronicles. This morning, I got to 2 Chronicles 31 where Hezekiah was described as “good,” “upright,” and “diligent in every deed.” (see Scripture at the beginning of this post)

It struck me how beautiful a legacy this leader left for the people of Israel. I began to reflect back on several recaps of kings that I had heard read to me over the past couple days.

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Like Wisemen: Solar Eclipse 2017

Unlike all the people this past weekend begging for solar eclipse glasses online, Kevin has had us prepared for a couple months! Ever since he discovered that his parent’s hometown was in the line of 100% totality, he has planned on driving to Southern Illinois to view the solar eclipse.

I was more reticent. Would it really be worth the drive? Isn’t Jackson’s 90-some-percent going to be just as good as the 100%? But he remained passionately certain that we should go – so we did.

And the totality of the eclipse was beyond words amazing. We had done a fair amount of research before leaving to help build up hype for the trip. We watched news reports, old Walter Cronkite clips from the last great eclipse, NASA photos, listened podcasts, and sang Total Eclipse of the Heart countless times!

So we basically knew what to expect and to look for. The sun disappearing behind the moon was interesting to watch. But the last seconds before totality were breath taking. The trees around us looked like we were seeing them through a filter. There was  sunset all around us in the middle of the afternoon. Cicadas made a ruckus from the fields. The moon created a last “diamond ring” with a shining bright white light. And then … totality.

All four of us quickly pulled of our glasses; we knew we would have less than two minutes to enjoy this view. God’s creation on display in a way very few people have the privilege of viewing in their lifetime.

In Genesis 1, God’s creation of light and dark are understated. The sun and moon are glorious creations that we so rarely take time to appreciate and enjoy.

Then God created people in His wonderful image. He gave us creative, imaginative minds – much like His. He gave us intellect and access to other created items so that we could spend generations studying this world He made.

So when a star appeared in Bethlehem, the brilliant minds of their day knew something was different – they had to follow this star to find the Messiah! God used creation to lead this group to Jesus.

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Book Review: Fervent

My first introduction to Priscilla Shirer was her Bible study on Jonah (Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted). I loved it! I was an almost-college-graduate who joined this study with the married women in our church. Each week we gathered together to watch Priscilla’s teaching videos and discuss our homework.

Since then, I have followed Priscilla Shirer on social media but haven’t had the opportunity to participate in another study. So I was absolutely thrilled when I came across her book Fervent.

I eagerly began to read. The book was incredibly timely because my prayer life had been gradually fading and her entire emphasis was prayer. Then, it felt too timely. So I quit.

I walked away from the book. Every chapter was more convicting than the last and I just couldn’t deal.

I moved onto a long string of just-for-fun books. The stress level of adding a foster child to our house caused me to withdraw from my spiritual growth books. I’ve always favored literature and fiction, but I had been carefully selecting at least one spiritual book to read every month or two.

It was time to finish what I had started and put Priscilla’s fervent prayer life into practice. So early August, I picked it up again. And it was every bit as challenging, convicting, and encouraging as it had been the first time.

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Sabbath Rest & the Zoo

Last month, in the heat of July, we took an almost-seven-year-old to the zoo to celebrate her upcoming birthday. We also brought her friend. Kevin, myself, two seven-year olds, and 95 degree weather – what could go wrong?

We really had a very nice day. Every thirty minutes, I handed out Dixie cups and poured cold water into them and made everyone drink. Every hour or so, we reached an exhibit with an indoor/air conditioned element. So I forced the girls to sit for 5 minutes at a time and rest. (Pro tip – the animals of the night exhibit is a FANTASTIC place to have a long, cool rest!)

It was extremely difficult to convince the girls to sit on their bottoms and rest their legs. Which was super ironic because leading up to the mandatory “5-minute-rest-period” they were complaining about how tired their legs were! I used lots of apple slices, pretzels, and gummy snacks to convince them to take a few minutes to stop and sit still.

We had a great day at the zoo and I didn’t think much of our rest periods again.

Until Sunday. Our now-officially-seven-year-old was restless and complaining about how quiet and boring our house became on Sundays. She just wanted to run around and play. So I attempted to explain the concept of Sabbath rest.

God has ordained a day for us to rest and reflect on everything He has done and is doing in our lives. We do our best to resist our emails accounts and phone notifications so that we can spend a day resting from the busyness of the week.

At the zoo, I asked the girls to rest quite often when I knew we had a long walk to the next set of exhibits. I knew that they would need the extra energy in their legs and food in their bellies. Even though they complained about being forced to sit and do nothing, I knew it was important so I remained firm. We had to rest.

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