Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fight or Friendship

 I asked these three young men to share a piece of their story with us this last weekend.
 I can't get over it.
 When I tell you these guys are world changers, I mean it.
 They are all different and wild and full of life.
These guys are all bright and spread out all over the map in every way.
When they come together it's a feeding frenzy.
They feed on food and knowledge and friendship.

It seemed like a pretty simple moment sitting in a restaurant, and it turned into one of those times that we all knew was special and deep and different.
These guys are beating the odds. 
They are not going with the flow of the world or taking the easy route in any aspect of their lives.
They do the hard stuff.  They work hard and play hard; they learn and love hard things.

Claiborne took us on a journey of what his college life was, and the changes that he has made in the process.  He has had quite a journey and non of it easy, but very amazing.
 He has learned to mature and to own who he is and what he knows about himself and the world. 
He reminded us of how him and Kole became best friends.
 They had a class together their freshman year and they were literally going to fight, and walked away best friends.  I think they felt a connection and it was going to be a fist and face connection or a heart connection.  I'm so glad for the connection they decided on.  Claiborne's freshman year, he came to Oregon and met us, and when I learned a little bit about him I knew he was in our lives forever.  He remembers the day we were taking family pictures and I told him it was a commitment.  I don't take family pictures lightly.  It's a bit like a covenant to me.  He made the decision to be in the picture and from that day on he has been a part of the family.  Claiborne was pretty quiet when I first started "mothering" (pelting with questions) him, so I learned that he loved cookies.  I would bake cookies and tell him he owed me 10 minutes of conversation per cookie.  He liked my cookies, and I liked baking them and learning more about him, so I got to know him pretty well when he lived with us for a summer.


This weekend we had the honor of meeting more of his family and they are the best.  They cheered on their Claiborne with such pride and excitement. 
 They did a family huddle before parting ways after the graduation and it was so sweet and powerful.   I can tell these people stick together thru thick and thin and love each other strongly.  I'm thankful our circle widened, and now we have even more "family" to love.
  Claiborne had us cheering on one side, and his family cheering on the other side.
  We had him surrounded on all sides, with love and support and cheering and whistles and pictures. 
There were over a 1000 graduates and Claiborne stood out among them in every way. 
He is a special guy and we are blessed to have him in our lives.

Brady shared with us his journey in deciding to go to medical school.  I'm excited to watch him become all he is called and equipped to be. Brady is crazy smart, and he is also one of the most polite people I have ever known.  He knows how to treat people with respect and he knows how to relate.  He also shared how he is learning thru teaching, and the things he is learning are about looking deeper into the kids he is teaching.  I know whatever he does will be profound and will make this world a better place to be for everyone.

 Kole, very unwillingly shared a poem that he wrote for a class at Eternity Bible College.  It was good, really good.  He was not very excited to share it, but Kole can be bought.  So.....I paid him to read it, and now I feel like I own that poem (just saying).  Kole has a passion inside of him and a thirst for knowledge and it is all pointed straight at Jesus.  I feel like he is being refined and matured and when he gets his orders from above he will be ready, set, and  he will GO with everything in him.

We ended our time together with Charlie and I getting the privilege and honor of praying over these guys and also for Claiborne's beautiful girlfriend, Erica. We joined hands right in a simple Mexican restaurant and felt connected to God and to each other.  We left knowing more and loving deeper. 

This is what I know to be true....this is only the beginning for these guys and our continued prayers for them. These guys are world changers, and I pray that they put all their big passions and hunger for knowledge into knowing and loving the God that gave them their  amazing lives. I pray they continue to live full speed ahead, taking in everything they can, and pouring out the love that has been given to them for the

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Love Like A Mother

My definition of being a good mom has changed over the years. 
 Maybe I'm tireder or maybe I'm wiser, either way I've changed.

I'm not the field trip, theme birthday party, picnic kinda mom.  I still have little ones, but I don't do these things very often.

I love the women that do these amazing things, and I did them, years ago, but it never came super natural for me.
Maybe I'm tireder or maybe I'm wiser, but it just seems like a lot of extra work to take care of me these days also. 
I have given this job to Jesus full time. 
 He loves me and takes care of me and whips me into shape by His Word. 
 I still have to do the maintenance things that women do, but when it comes to caring for me....I need all the work on the inside where it lasts and I need a serious professional,
God himself, not myself.
  If I spend too much attention on the outside it just seems to get snotted on or puked soon after anyway.

When I asked the grown kids recently what we did that impacted their lives for the better, and the answers I got were things about relationship and time.  
Relationship with God and with people.
  Their answers had to do with the fact that Charlie and I were together forever,  and that we loved Jesus and taught them what that looked like at home in our daily lives.
  They answered, saying when we invited others in and opened our home and our hearts to others; it made an impact. 
 This seems so crazy, because when you invite others in, no matter what level, it means some sacrifice and sharing time and stuff.
  But this is what they valued the most. 
 Isn't that so opposite of what the world will tell you?

It reminded me of when the older kids were little kids and I had decided to make their summer amazing.  This was even before facebook or pinterest where I could get likes for such an awesome summer. 
I decided at least a couple of times each week we would go somewhere or do something that centered around them having fun and making memories.  
As I was exhausted at the end of these days, when I would tuck their tired little bodies into bed, I would ask what was their favorite part about the day,  and the answer would be something like this:
The Snacks.
When we stopped in and saw Meme at the fairgrounds.
When dad came home and we got hay together.

I was like what in the world am I doing????

My "me" time is usually spent running or driving. 
 There is something about forward movement, I guess.
 Running, because I love it and I need it;  I need to get this heart to beating and lungs working hard; and driving because I can strap down the little ones and let my heart and breathing calm down and I can enjoy good coffee and good worship music. 
  My "me" time is usually spent trying to keep my head on straight and my heart tender to the things of the Lord.  None of this comes super natural for me, it takes a super-natural God to keep my head and heart in the right rhythm. 
 I have to press in hard and long for a tender heart and clear mind.

The older I get the more Jesus time I need, not less.  I need to get before God and ask and receive from Him long before I can face the day or people. 

My kids are my first mission field, they see me at my worst and and my best, and I'm their first introduction to Jesus. 
 This terrifies me actually, but it's where I see God's grace the most at work in me and thru me.

2 Corinthians 4:15-16English Standard Version (ESV)

15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

The way I see it, the outer layer isn't going to get any better at this point, and it's only going to last so many years I may as well  put the work on the inside, that can be transformed and renewed and be made more beautiful as the years go by forever.

The other part I have come to understand, is being a mother is a heart condition.  
Sometimes it comes thru birth and sometimes thru adoption, and sometimes just simply thru a mother's heart.  

When you have the heart of a mother, whether you are a mother or not, you just are a mother to anyone that comes into your heart and needs to be loved with the

God gave mothers the

 is fierce and wild and tender and big and crazy.

May we all love with the MOTHER LOVE and LOVE like a MOTHER!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pumped To Lay It Down

I had the privilege of attending CAFO  for a second time. 
Christian Alliance For Orphans.

I felt encouraged and humbled and blessed and encouraged and humbled and blessed and over and over again.

The theme seemed to be remembering that we are made from dust and God has put us together and breathed His life into us; He is amazing and He has invited us into His work to bring glory to Him and Him alone. 
What a privilege and honor and what amazing and challenging work He has invited us into.

We were surrounded for 2 days with thousands of people that are living this out in a beautiful way.  There is a lot of brokenness and restoration represented in this kind of conference.
 People are at the end of themselves,
 and yet so full of light and love.

God's heart is for the orphan, and there is no better way in my mind, to get close to  the heart of God than to care for the orphan. 
 It will rip your heart out of your chest and then God will do His thing and repair and reconcile hearts with His love.
He will do a work in all the hearts that bring their brokenness to Him for love and repair.
God is after our hearts and our kids' hearts,
 He is interested in lovers, not performers.
He is too good and too kind to settle for anything less than total

The beauty of orphans and orphan loving people is that is very clear that there is need of help and healing, and so it doesn't take long to get painfully honest.  This is a gift.  We all need to get to this place one way or another, because we all need Jesus to help and heal us, so the sooner the better.

I was reminded how disgusting our pride is and how amazing our God is. 
 In mission work of any kind we can start to think we have done something wonderful, when the truth of the matter is, our Father is so wonderful  and He invites us into His wonder and we get to enjoy a piece in the redemptive story. 
Many times the mission we are on, and the God we serve get switched around, 
we begin to worship
 ministry - family - work 
 because we once loved God; 
instead of doing all these very important things because we worship God and 
 Him first and most and forever.

Revelation 2:2-5New Living Translation (NLT)

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
One of the worst mistake we can make is to elevate anything we do, even good things, above our faithful Father who has given us life and breath.

We are so drawn to results and work that can be seen at the end of the day, and accomplishments that we can measure and share.  God is so much bigger and better than anything we can measure or accomplish. 
 I was reminded once again of how easy it is to GO and do and leave God in the dust, instead of remembering that I am made of dust, and He, in all His grace and mercy has allowed me to GO and do anything.

I've been tired and a bit overwhelmed in this season of my life.
 My parents have moved away, my big kids have moved away, and it's mostly me and my hard working man and our 6 non-driving, teen and young, very active, involved kids. 
 It's nothing compared to what so many are doing, but for a bit I was feeling pretty tired and lonely.  
All I had to do this weekend was look around and it humbled me.  
I quit looking at myself and began to turn to Jesus (this is repentance) and remember who is in charge, who is my strength, and who my faithful Father, who my provider is, and I'm ready to

Pumped up to lay flat on my face and be amazed that God allows me to be a part of 
with my life.
These peeps need me to remember and remind us that God holds us together and breathes HIS life into us;
instead of trying to hold it all together for us,
 in my flailing panicked hyperventilating routine.