Let’s Talk About Surrender

It’s been a wild couple of weeks.

John was excited to be hired to teach in the Newport News Public School system.  He’s been commuting an hour to an hour and a half back and forth to Great Bridge since we got married.  He’s been a great sport about it and he has LOVED Great Bridge High School…but 3 hours of commuting time + 6 kids + grad school + me for a wife + dogs, cats and rodents + yard work + home stuff + church + friends = whoa, man.  Those extra hours are going to be life changing.

NNPS assured John that he would have a high school position but…middle school kept calling.  Middle school is not his forte and frankly, no one’s favorite.

But John said this to the Lord, “I’m all in.  Whatever your plan for me is, I’m all in.  If it’s middle school, Lord, I will go and teach middle school.”  He may have even prayed this prayer with fear and trembling.

And then he put action to his words and accepted an interview at a middle school.

He went to the interview and he liked the principal and he liked the building and he totally surreneded.  “Okay, Lord.  I’m ready to go where you send me.”

On the way home, he, with a grateful and fairly happy heart, prayed again, “Lord, where you send me, I will go.  I surrender to your will.”

The phone LITERALLY rang that moment and he got an interview at Denbigh High School.  It’s 15 minutes from our house and he doesn’t even have to travel down 17.  (Anyone who is local knows the importance of this.)  It’s the place he most wanted to be.  The interview went great and the job is his.

On June 11th, I posted this:  Peace In Disappointment, all about our surrender of our big dream of international adoption.

We had been wrestling with it, literally, for more than a year.

I could not reconcile this great desire for this Biblically recommended thing and the simple facts that the doors were not opening.  It caused so much angst (I hate that word, but it fits) in my soul.  Foster agencies didn’t like that we had a house full of people and would work with us when some of our older kids moved out.  Another agency discouraged us from the beginning because we really wanted to choose a waiting child, and they kept pressuring us to get all the finances done first.  That same agency was inconsistent with their advice and just left us uneasy.  No peace and God’s plans have a supernatural peace all over them.

So, we laid it down.

Then.  BOOM.

I read a blog (or a Facebook article or maybe just a post?) about a disabled mom in a wheelchair.  She and her husband had adopted several times from overseas and every time, only her husband traveled.  Truly, our main issue with the whole thing was both of us being away from the littles for so long and my health.  I simply can’t manage international travel right now.

But wait. Only ONE parent needs to travel?

I confirmed it with an agency and tentatively asked about this little beauty I’d seen on Reeces Rainbow.

The agency cheerfully said, “YES!  One parent is FINE and we would love to tell you more about ‘Shyla’.”

I told them all about us, how busy our house is, how full it is and how I have fibromyalgia.  “Okay!” she said, brightly, “Here’s all the info and the paperwork to get you started!”

We sent it in.  She sent us COMMITMENT PAPERS specific to ‘Shyla’ so that she would be our daughter and we would need to hustle to get all of our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed.

She told us her name- Sylvia…and the fact that she goes exclusively by Sissy.  Oh my heart.  This is OUR daughter.   She showed us a video and I don’t speak Bulgarian but I caught one word- musika…She likes music. And in the photo, behind Sissy’s are big pink poodles, just like Lila had all over her nursery as an infant.  She turns three in August…wouldn’t it be amazing if we could celebrate her fourth birthday with her at home?

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We love her.  The kids love her. They’ve been praying for the past year that God would “help the orphans find families and please God, let one find OUR family.”

We are honored that God is trusting us with this.

There are fees galore and lots of red tape to come.  We will rely fully on fundraising and grants but we trust God to provide.

We have named her Sylvia the name her first parents gave her when they gave her life Grace because the grace of God is covering her and us and this whole thing Virginia after a beloved member of John’s family, his great aunt Carter the name we give her as she comes into her second life.

Help us bring Sissy home here.   There is no amount too small or too large.  If money is left over, it’ll be donated to Reece’s Rainbow to help other families bring their children home.  If our adoption fails and our place in Sissy’s life was just to love her and pray for her from here, the money raised will go towards her adoption still.  We can give specifically to her through our agency.

Every penny of these funds will go to the orphan crisis one way or another.

The cost is high, though not as high as adoption from some countries and not as high as through other agencies.  We see it like this- it’s a ransom for our daughter’s life.

She has no future in Bulgaria.  She has some special needs.  We expect she will flourish with therapies and quality medical treatment here with us.  But in Bulgaria, she will just decline.  There are not the resources to get her what she needs there.  She will stay in foster care until she is “too old” then she will move to a children’s home.  When she ages out of there, it’s off to pass the rest of her life in an institution.

I believe God has better things for her.

Being in this place of surrender feels right and it feels peaceful.  I know that this is God’s plan and God’s course for our life and we are going, full speed ahead until, she is home.

Help us make this miracle happen!

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Sylvia Grace Virginia Carter

Peace In Disappointment

I don’t like feeling disappointed.

I really don’t.

And I know, I know, I know that no one does.  But today, I am bogged down in disappointment and discouragement and I am sad.

I have long held a dream close to my heart.  A dream of adoption.  I have felt a stirring for it ever since I was very young.  I specifically remember a couple of families from high school that had large families full of kids of all kinds- special needs, neurotypical, adopted, bio, foster.  I was always so fascinated by the whole thing.

I met my friends the Tiefenbacks and got to know their beautiful daughters from India and my friend Dianna and her beautiful three.  This dream, it has waxed and waned over the years but it has never, ever gone completely away.

It was set ablaze all over again in knowing and loving our sweet  Aila.  In watching several Facebook friends go through growing their families through adoption and fostering.  In standing with my sister of the heart Kristin and her husband Drew as they began the foster parent journey.  Watching another family I just love adopt their second daughter domestically.

I looked around one day and I realized that I know so many people who have a heart for adoption. I realized that even my current heroes in the faith (Sara Hagerty, Jen Hatmaker, Glennon Melton, Ann Voskamp) all also have Big Hearts for adoption, for protecting and serving children in crisis.  It’s all around me.  And God does not do coincidences.  Everything is purposeful, everything has meaning.

In my first marriage, adoption was not something my husband wanted to do, so that dream had to be surrendered.  And that was okay, because sometimes life is like that.

In my second marriage, it is something my husband very much wants to do.  Our heartbeats on this are very much in sync…and so somehow, now having to surrender it because of my health is just so much more painful.  It’s as though it was in my grasp and then was snatched away.

We fell in love with a three year old in Hong Kong last year, while my fibro was under control.  We tentatively asked if he was an option for us.  The answer?  He was already in process with another family.  Yay! That’s what you want.  For kids to get adopted.  No worries, there are 147 million children in need in this world.  Surely there would be one for us.

We fell in love with several sibling groups in Bulgaria but were warned by the adoption agency not to go that route because of how many young daughters we had still at home.     The situation for orphans in Bulgaria is heart wrenching.  You can learn more here:  

Okay, so we paused to regroup and pray for a while and see where God was leading us.  We had some goals in our personal lives to meet with our finances and John was in grad school and Nora was still so young.  It felt like the door was closing for just a little while longer.

Now, we are prayer warriors for four special little ones on Reece’s Rainbow.  And these four are just so precious and deserve a family so much.  And we would gladly adopt any and all of them.

Shyla

When I saw her face…she just looks like one of us.  Her name would be Lydia if she was ours.

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Brayden

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I just believe he would flourish in a family of his own.

Rubin

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This sweet love.  Is he beautiful or WHAT?!

And finally this guy who is about to age out of the orphanage, with the same name as my own son.

Charles

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Charles-1

These are just four of 147 million and my mothers’ heart longs to go and swoop them up, bring them home and love, love, love them.

But I have this disease that steals my days.  This disease that makes an hour long car ride into an excruciating ordeal.  This disease that makes travel to another country almost impossible.

The costs of adoption are entirely overwhelming but can be overcome.  This I know for a fact. I  saw the body of Christ come together and bring sweet Aila home.

But my health.

This fibro thing has been out of control since about January and nothing I have done seems to be bringing it back in line.

So…time to lay down the international adoption dream again.  It’s disappointing.  It’s heartbreaking.

But what I know is this:
1. God gave me the dream of international adoption.  And He is not going to ignore a dream He placed in me that falls right in line with His word:  “Pure and undefiled religion is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their distress…” Why would he set our hearts on fire for this and then render us inactive? He wouldn’t! That’s not who He is. He will show us our path, in His timing.
2. God loves these four I’ve posted here and all 146,999,996 others more than can even be imagined.  More than I ever could, even if I adopted all four of them.  They are of eternal significance to Him.  Precious, fearfully and wonderfully made.  Treasured and cherished by the God of the Universe.  He is their Abba Father, Emmanuel, God with us.
3. I can help in so many other ways, not just as an adopter.  There is much I can do for these four. I can pray every time they come to mind.  I can teach my children to pray for them, to have their hearts open to the needs of others.  I can raise funds to help them on their journey.  I can advocate for and speak for them.  I can be their voice, stateside.
4.  There is beauty in surrender.  God can turn my mourning into dancing.  He can rescue me in my sorrow and distress.  He meets us in our hurt places.  He walks with us.  He is the Great Healer, of all pain- physical, emotional, spiritual.

I don’t know where the adoption journey will take us.  There are about a million different ways it could go.

What I do know is that the crisis is epic.  Forget my sad little heart for a second and just consider the magnitude of the orphan crisis.  I type and I delete and I type and I delete because there is nothing I can say that can even come close to describing it.  Just research it for yourself.  Read up on foster care needs in your own town, scroll through the kids on Reece’s Rainbow, watch the documentary I linked to above.  Go to Show HopeThese 400Amazima and countless other websites.  Check it out for yourself.

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This is my prayer over these precious ones.

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Please pray about the orphan crisis and please share your experiences with me and with my readers.  We are not all called to adopt, we are not even all called to give financially…but I believe that God does call us all to action one way or another.

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And that is where I am today.  This morning.  I feel peace about it, sad but peaceful.  I am just going to be still and wait on Him to give me the next step.  I’m going to advocate and pray for these four He has laid on my heart and I’m going to keep praying this fibromalgia away.

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If you want to help financially, you can donate to Reece’s Rainbow or to one of the four I’ve linked to specifically by clicking any link above.

OR, if you want to help through shopping, from now on, my retail profits from DoTerra and Norwex will go to these four kiddos’ adoption grants.  (You can read more about the adoption grants and how they work on the Reece’s Rainbow webpage.)

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And, stay tuned, because I’m opening my Etsy store soon.  It’s called CartestersonINK and it’ll be filled with art from our family.  20% of all profits will go towards our little RR friends’ adoption grants or to other organizations that are designed to help end the orphan crisis globally.

Faithful readers, I am thankful for you.

Tilly

Tilly

Tilly

Tilly still has scars from her past.

I take off her collar this morning and it stares me in the face.  The pink groove that will never grow fur, no matter how much time goes by, because she spent so many months of her life tethered.  A groove that says that she grew but no one adjusted the rope or chain or collar that held her in place.  She’ll always have that scar.

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When she came to us, she was afraid.  Her tail stayed tucked, she wouldn’t look at anyone, she seemed ashamed when we tried to give her affection.

As months have gone by, she’s thrived under our care.  She is brave now, jumping up on the table to steal food, barking the backyard, wrestling with Caroline, climbing up into my lap.  She is my constant companion, always where she can see me.

I love her.

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When we were still fostering dogs, Tilly was a huge part of it and not just because she was our foster fail.  (Foster fail:  when you foster a dog but then can’t let it go to get adopted.  You’ve failed at fostering.)  She coaxed shy dogs out of their shell.  She played with them and snuggled them and herded them.  (She’s a champion herder.)  Whenever I saw her with the other fosters, I had just one thought.

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She who has been forgiven much, loves much.

She’s grateful.  Inasmuch as a dog can be.  She’s grateful.  And she has thrived because she is so loved.

She still has to be disciplined, she still has to be trained and taught.  I’m tired of her eating my shoes.  I wouldn’t mind if she stopped stealing food off the table.  I absolutely can not stand it when she jumps on people with her sharp little claws.

But most of all, I love her like crazy.

And I think about that shy, tail tucked dog who is now, at this very moment, wrestling with a dog three times her size in the living room…think about how she has blossomed in our family.

Living things just need love.

I’m grateful that when I walk through trial and fire, that God loves me.  I’m grateful that He can see the scars from my past and can make them beautiful.  I’m grateful that I can use my struggles and my hurts to help others.  I’m grateful that in the very middle of all my mess and chaos, He can place a hand on me and still my heart.

And so, yes, I realize that I’m comparing my walk with God to my relationship to my dog and I also realize that’s a bit crazy.

That’s okay.

I mean, I seriously, crazily love my dog.  So it makes sense to me.  And it’s just like God to use our every day to teach us Big Lessons.

Today, I’m grateful for this little brown mutt and for God who gave her to me.  And I’m so grateful for what He has shown me through her.

You should rescue a dog.  I know some people that can hook you up.

Xoxo Pet Rescue

He’s A Good Father

Today, I am going to a birthday party.

It’s a birthday party for a sweet little girl turning three years old and this is the first birthday party she’s ever had.  Maybe the first birthday anyone has taken note of.

She was adopted from China.

I made her a little piece of art last night and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what verse of Scripture I wanted to use.

I landed on James 1:17.  Every good and perfect gift comes from above.

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Aila is a good and perfect gift.  Her smile is infectious and when she claps those sweet little hands, everyone falls to pieces.  This verse perfectly sums up who she is to her family.  This little girl is truly beloved by her parents and her sister and brothers, her extended family and her family of friends too.  She is a much prayed for, much adored little treasure.

But in her country, she was not seen as a treasure.  She was not seen as a good and perfect gift.  Aila has Down Syndrome.

And it strikes me that it is just like God to shine a light on a jewel like Aila, so that others can see her beauty…where some tried to hide her away….He would not have that.

And that makes me think about God and gifts even more…because some of the gifts He gives me, I’m not always grateful for.  Some of the things that come my way do not seem like favor.

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My first real blog post here was called Caroline and the Puddle and the gist was that we were walking our then puppy to the sound to play and jump in the water.  She saw a puddle on the way and was straining to get to it.  It was the best thing she’d ever seen, because she didn’t know that the sound was in her future.

This is me.  As I pray about our future- seminary, buying a house, adoption…I want it all right now.  Waiting is so hard.  Not knowing what is next is even harder.

And then, it dawns on me…not being in control is the hardest part.  I think this is what God wants from me. To relinquish control and to surrender in the waiting.  To trust that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.  And to trust that He is a good father and He wants good things for me.  To be still and know that He is God and to relish every day as it comes, taking notice of the good gifts all around me.

To stop wishing my life away on things that are to come.  Those things are going to come whether I love the life I’m in or not.  I might as well settle in and bask in His love.  He is always there.  He does not leave.  He gives good gifts every single day.

Tonight, I will celebrate one of those good gifts.  I will kiss Aila’s sweet cheeks and hug her parents and just be grateful with them, for the good and perfect gift that Aila is.  For the way God loves us.  He’s a good father.

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Oh How He Loves Us So

Jesus really, really loves us.

And He cares about every single thing we care about…the big and the small.

About thirteen months ago, I asked Jesus for just one thing.

“Make me a woman of the word.”

I knew I was a woman of worship.  Worship sets my soul ablaze.  I connect with Him in music, in song, in the midst of the guitars and the piano and the drums and the bass and the other singers. God’s people singing together, hands lifted, eyes closed. My friend Nicole once said- “It’s your happy place.” And it is. It’s where I feel most whole.

It’s where I feel close to His side. Drawn up like a beloved child, safe in the shelter of Abba’s wings.

How He loves me.

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I knew I was a woman of prayer.  I’ve been talking to God all day everyday for as long as I can remember.  Back when I was little and I didn’t quite understand who God was and what it meant to be His…still I prayed.  I chatted.  I gave Him a to do list and I gave Him a  wish list.  I asked Him questions.  When I was a bit older and traveling dangerous paths…I still found Him in my days, still offered Him my to do list and my wish list.  Still asked Him hard questions and even though I feared the answers…I didn’t stop asking.  I’ve worked and lived as a prayer missionary. A handful of years of prayer and worship as a vocation.  What sweet years, what an honor to live that calling for a season.  As a mother, goodness knows I’ve prayed and I pray.  Salvation, joy, peace, knowledge of Jesus over my sweet six.  As a wife I’ve prayed.  Through a hard marriage, through a divorce and now with my second marriage and for my sweet husband…the priest of our home.  I have prayed.

I’m a woman of Prayer.

And how He loves me so.

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But I was not a woman of the word.  I did not love to study the Bible, to read it…And though I tried and tried…I just couldn’t make myself a woman of the word on my own steam.

I did so many different devotionals.  I tried so many Bible plans.  But my eyes just glazed over and I just could not get there.  And I was ashamed of that.  Embarrassed by it.  Shouldn’t a lifetime, career Christian love the Bible?

And it’s not that I didn’t love it.  I cherished the word of God and loved to go to classes where someone else taught me about the Bible.  Just couldn’t get into that whole “Eat the Scroll” thing.  I didn’t crave it.  I didn’t even really want to read it.  In fact, given the choice, I’d choose “Chopped” or basically any HGTV show over Bible time.

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And I cringe even writing that because what will people think???? But I have to live as though I don’t care what people think because I just really don’t want to care about what people think.

And maybe I’m not the only one.

So.  About 13 months ago, I heard two women say these words:  “I am a woman of the Word.”  And these are two real, authentic, honest women who love Jesus with real love. And something about the way they said that stirred something in me.

I prayed, “Make me a woman of the Word.”

And I continued to doggedly try to make myself a woman of the word the same old ways.

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It didn’t work.

May became June, the summer zipped by, then the fall and the winter. Christmas came and went in a whirlwind.  It snowed way too much.

Two things happened.

1.  John accidentally bought me a journal with no lines.
2. I got the flu.

I was stuck in bed for TEN DAYS.  As a mother of any number of children will tell you, be it 1 or 10, momma in the bed for ten days is super impractical.

But God used that time for good.

He met with me there, in the quiet of my room and we communed and something happened.

I read a book called Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet and I journaled like crazy.  In color.  With a pack of pens that John got for Christmas.  And I found that I liked it. I liked all that color on the page.  I liked what the book did to my heart.  Through tears, God and  I worked through so much hurt.  (P.S.  If you have ever suffered in any way, read that book.)

I would show you a picture but I’m not entirely sure where I’ve laid that journal.

I showed John my journal and we talked about the happy “accident” of the unlined journal…so that I could write in color and all over the page.

And he showed me this:

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He had seen it on interest but it came from Here.

I was intrigued.  And I began a Pinterest search for “Bible journaling”, “Bible Doodles”, “Illustrated Faith”, “worship art”.

I learned about Valerie Wieners and her artwork.

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I learned about Shanna Noel and Illustrated Faith

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I learned about loads and loads of Mommas just like me who were loving this idea of meeting with Jesus through creativity.

And something clicked in me.

The old ways didn’t work for me because my brain doesn’t work that way.  But this new way was just what this crafty, flighty, ADD, creative brain needed.  And I was in love.

In love with the word.

And my first attempts were…well, Lila or Claire could’ve done a better job.  But I didn’t care.  This was me, the Word and God and I was having a ball.

I drew and drew and drew.  I filled a sketchbook.  I got myself a journaling Bible with plenty of space. I  began to play with paint and colored pencils and every kind of pen you can imagine.

I found out that I love watercolor paints and Micron pens.  I found that Inktense pencils are my favorite. I found out that I love drawing and painting on paper and in my Bible.  And, it got better and better.

My extremely artsy twenty something daughter told me that the work was good.  My husband (who, among many other things has an art degree) said the same.  People began to ask me to make things for them.  People began to offer me real dollars to make things for them.

And I just kept right on drawing and painting and all of that.  My Bible is getting full and I know I will need a new one soon.  I love it so much.  The great illustrations and the really awful ones…they all speak to this new love I have for the Word.

It’s such a gift.

And here is the absolute best part.

This gift came along when I was sick and in bed.  Forced into rest.  This gift progressed as the arthritis in my knee grew worse.  I was forced into rest.  This gift sustained me every day when I was forced to slow down, to be still, to rest.

Because He loves me so.

He’s given me this, this study of the Word in images and in color…He’s given me this to make those times when I must be still sweet.  He has given me, at forty two and after years of walking with Him, a new way to meet with Him.

It’s infinitely sweet.  It shows how He cherishes me and delights in me.  Because he knew how it would trouble me to have to be still.  He knew how hard it would be for me to rest.  He knew how I would absolutely loathe slowing down.

So he gave me this.  I could not draw a circle in December.  Did not know watercolors from acrylics.  But now it’s part of my everyday and I look forward to my quiet time.  I look forward to opening up the word and seeing how it will come alive today.

He’s made me a woman of the word.

See many of my Doodles here.

It Is What It Is

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I know this statement meets with mixed reviews.  Some will say it’s a cop out- a way to be rude without being rude.  Some will say it’s giving up.  Some will say it’s lazy.

But I say this…there is something holy in accepting where you are.

I’m in a place of acceptance about fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia steals hours from me.  Days from me.  Experiences from me.  Fibromyalgia is forcing me to change who I am. It’s forcing me to reshape my day to day life.

It is what it is.

There are things I’ve found that help. Yoga, walks, good rest.  Essential Oils.

But sometimes…I just have pain.

Pain that makes no sense.  Pain that debilitates.  Pain that forces me to triage the needs and wants of my family, of myself and pick and choose those things that are truly important.

I’m realizing the truth here.

I have to let fibromyalgia be heard because it is what it is. It’s going to steal time from me, whether I make space for it or not.  But if I make space for it…there is so much less stress and striving.

I’m learning.

If I shrink my world down…If I carve out margin…If I just schedule time for rest and stillness…then fibro doesn’t win.

Turns out, there are just hours that I need to spend in the chair of healing, Bible open, paints nearby, markers, pens and pencils and crayons…I spend these hours in the Word or with my eyes closed.  These have been holy hours.

So…I’m not losing out on life.  I’m gaining Him.  It is what it is. And I could turn it into hours that I cry for what I can’t do.  I could turn into hours that I feel guilty and ashamed for all that I can’t accomplish.  I could turn it into hours where I’m filled with resentment and self pity and grief.  And yes, sometimes all of that and more….

But I count it as gain when I spend these hours like Mary at the feet of Jesus.  Choosing the better thing.  It will not be taken from me.

These hours spent with the One who made me and who holds my health in His hands are sacred.  They are a gift.

It is what it is.

Behold and Be Loved, Beloved

I wake on Day 5 of this miserable flu achy and uncomfortable.  I stand and stretch, hoping for a glimmer of hope that today might be the day this thing starts on its way out.

Nope.

I curl into bed with Pandora singing praise to Abba Father, a fat orange cat at my feet.  A daughter brings me coffee and tells me of the morning’s adventures.  I feel at peace and I feel loved because there are so many good things in this morning.  Flu aside.

It’s been a slow pace but I’ve been at rest in my soul because of all the time for pauses to Behold and Be Loved.  I pray a quick prayer- Help me to find my way to your feet when the days get busy again.

And I suddenly have this realization.

He never meant for us to go at this breakneck pace, trying to achieve, striving to cross all the things off of our to do list, doing all the tasks that society insists we must do.  Here we are, trying to outshine that tireless Proverbs 31 gal.  And it leaves us so tired and feeling so passed over.

Because no matter how much we do…it is never really enough for that barometer of accomplishment that lives in our heart.

I read through Proverbs 31 again.  Is there something I’m missing?  Something that makes it all work for that busy Proverbs 31 girl?

shelaughsShe is clothed in Strength and Dignity.  How did she get that way?  How did she wrap herself in Strength?  How did she clothe herself in Dignity?  She wrapped herself in God.  She clothed herself in who she is in Him.  This is why she laughs with no fear of the future.  She is God’s own.  She is like Mary at His feet, wrapping herself in His love and peace and strength and majesty, surrounding herself in His goodness.

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She sees her God as the true God that He is.  He is the only Holy One, the only Uncreated Being, the one who holds us and everything else in His hands.  He is the One who goes to war for us, He is the One who quiets us with singing.  He is the One who Sees, who Plans, who will not fail.  And this is why…this is why she has a whole chapter of Proverbs devoted to her.  It’s not because of all that spinning or field buying or food making or planting or helping the poor or loving on the needy. It’s not because she is amazing at loving her husband and her kids and her servants.

It’s because she knows who He is…and she makes a place in her heart and her day to honor that.  

Yeah, she gets her stuff done, but she’s laughing while she’s doing it because she knows what makes her heart sing.  She gets the mystery of Deep crying out to Deep.

And so all of these years of my feeling annoyed with this woman I’ll see in eternity because she’s such a busy bee…they are wasted because her greater legacy was missed.  Oh comparison…such a tool of the Enemy.

My prayer today is that I will pause and take a sacred breath and just stand in His holiness…all throughout every day.  Not just sick days.  I will Behold this One who made a way for me to come to Him.