Monday, April 16, 2018

Texas Bluebonnets

Part of the cultural experience of living in Texas,
besides football, Mexican food, Whataburger, and Blue Bell ice cream,
is the annual spring arrival of our state flower!!

We never know exactly when the bluebonnets will bloom,
but it's roughly end of March to middle of April!
They only last for a couple weeks, and are at their peak
about a week after you first see them pop up.
These wildflowers are prolific along the highways up the embankments,
and you have to be careful to watch for cars parked on the shoulder as
entire families try to get pictures in the bluebonnets.
This year, they were spectacular on Easter Sunday
so there were lots of cars parked as people got their pictures together!

This year, it seemed like the bluebonnets were especially vibrant and lush!
Reminded me of God's grace!
Splashed around with wild abandon at no expense to ourselves!
We simply enjoy the beauty!

"Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace.
Grace that is greater than all my sin."


Below are some family pictures through the years
 that we have done in the bluebonnets.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Living Last Supper 2018

This year, during the week of Good Friday and Easter
our family was super busy participating in our faith community's
presentation of The Living Last Supper.
Two years ago, I had the distinct privilege of directing this same drama,
but my role was more behind-the-scenes this year.
My husband resprised his role as the Apostle Peter,
and each of my children were happy to be helpers in any way they could.
We had late nights and busy days, but this ministry is always worth it
and we love watching it all come together and bring glory to the Lord.

You can watch this performance in its entirety here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Resurrection Sunday 2018

" appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
 to give unto them beauty for ashes,
 the oil of joy for mourning,
 the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
 the planting of the Lord,
 that He might be glorified."
Isaiah 61:3

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again
to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..."
1 Peter 1:3

We have so much to celebrate on Resurrection Sunday,
and this year was no different!
Such a blessed day full of family and friends
celebrating new life and hope in Jesus
and His power over sin and death!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Broken Things: God's faithfulness to Re-member Us

When a long-lost friend sent me a friend request on facebook,
after trying to find her for over a decade,
it kinda took my breath away.
We used to sleep-over at each other's homes when we were in junior high,
when we were just silly school girls.
She would send me pictures and letters through college.
I graduated from college and moved to another state,
so when she got married, my mom sent me the most
beautiful pictures of her wedding.
Her babies started coming soon after,
as well as baby pictures and sweet family pictures.
Then, gradually, the communication became less.
She moved to another state and I lost contact with her.

I asked my mom about her and she told me my friend's mom
had passed away,
 but that she couldn't come to the funeral because my friend was
expecting another baby.
Several years later, I asked a mutual friend if she had heard from our friend,
and she too had lost contact with her.

I wish all those times I had thought of her that I had stopped and prayed for her.
Maybe it would have "fixed" things for her sooner?

What a broken place this world is!
So much heartache and pure evil.
It is not evolving into something more orderly and beautiful.
On the contrary.

So much pain, death, disappointment, brokenness.
When our daughter was doing her routine handstands in the kitchen,
I wasn't paying much attention because she breaks out into handstands everyday
all. day. long.
But this time it was different.
She had something in her hand which made her slide and lose her balance.
Her toes slammed straight down on top of the kitchen counter.

Initially, the injury wasn't terribly obvious.
Her second toe just looked a little crooked and overlapped the third toe
ever so slightly.
Was it dislocated?  Or did she simply sprain it?
If it's broken, rumor has it that no doctor does anything to it anyway?
Do I spend hundreds of dollars in the ER to be sent away with pain medications?

The pain decreased and she was able to resume all her normal activities.
The bruising went away.
But it was still swollen like a vienna sausage.
And red, and itchy.

Two weeks later.
The pediatrician wouldn't touch it because the bones are so small.
"Go see a podiatrist," was the recommendation.

Sometimes the broken don't show the extent of their fractures on the outside.

I responded to my friend's facebook friend request by asking her
"what in the world she had been up to all these years?"

When she responded shortly after,
her response took my breath away.

"Recently, I took my kids and we escaped our abusive
cult-like situation.  Their father is now in jail.
You can google his name for the news.
In all of this:  God is good."

I googled and the blood drained to my feet.

I had never read anything like that before.

My heart ripped in half for the hideous torment she and her children
had just escaped.

My friend.

I called her the following weekend and we spent hours reconnecting.
The tears kept coming as I grieved her losses and the unimaginable
abuse she had been deeply entangled in all these years.

The brokenness of it all.
Broken communication.
Broken family dynamics.
Broken home.
Broken trust.
Broken definition of love.
Broken bodies.

But God is still in the business of mending things.
Her family will never be the same.
Her life and the lives of her children will never be the same.
Sometimes that is a very good thing.

Sometimes there is pain that accompanies the healing.

Finding out how deep the break is.

Police interviews.
Grand jury trials.
CPS involvement.
Children taken and placed with extended family members.

3 weeks in a "fancy" orthopedic shoe.
Toes wrapped together to support the broken toe
and to share the pressure of activity.

"Scars speak a private language that only the wounded know and Christ wears His scars because He is abundantly fluent in broken hearts."
~ Ann Voskamp

Over spring break, we go back for a follow-up
to see how the toe is healing.
"See this?" the doctor points out as he tries bending the toe.
"How it just curves over instead of bending at a 90-degree angle?"
I asked.
"That will be her new deformity.  It will always be like that now." 

Brokenness and suffering leave scars as the healing takes place.

What if the Lord, our loving Heavenly Father, has a purpose
for all this brokenness?

"I know, O Lord, that your judgments are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me."
Psalm 119: 75

Not that God causes horrible suffering.
On the contrary.
Horrible suffering and brokenness began way back at the beginning of time
when we mortals chose to turn our backs on our Good God who created
this world so lovingly perfect and spotless,
and walked with us every day because He loves relationship with us,
but yet we were ungrateful.
We wanted more.
He wasn't enough.
What He had created for us wasn't enough for us.
The consequence of turning away from Him, from all He gave,
from the peace and joy of walking with Him was a curse.
The curse of our own doing.

Sin's consequence is brokenness.

Broken communication.
Broken family dynamics.
Broken home.
Broken trust.
Broken definition of love.
Broken bodies.

Any loving father knows that when their child does something wrong,
there needs to be a punishment.
It's not the Father's fault.
He didn't cause the problem.
He didn't turn his back on His child.
He's not the one who broke the rules.
The Father didn't cause the explosion that sent harmful shrapnel
spewing all over and causing harm.
It was the child.

The consequence of sin is brokenness.

But our loving Heavenly Father, in compassion, saw our need for restoration.
Our need for redemption.

He re-membered us.

"God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us."
~Romans 5:8

In His faithfulness to us, He pulled on skin and bones
and came to our mess and walked with us.
Then He provided Himself as the solution to our brokenness!!

"For while we were still helpless,
at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."
Romans 5:6 

His scars, His wounds
are for us.

He knows our brokenness.
He is faithful to walk with us and go with us
and meet us.

Her toe is healing nicely.
The bone is mending.
The swelling has decreased significantly.
She gets to come out of that shoe and back to trampoline jumping very soon!

My friend still has much healing in front of her to work through.
 God meets her at every turn.
He is gradually "restoring the years the locust has eaten."
That's His business you know.....the business of redemption and restoration.
Joel 2:23-27

This business of putting things back together......healing.
Do you know what my friend has remarkably applied and been accepted for?
Nursing school beginning this summer.
To help others heal.

God's grace.
God's faithfulness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Renew: Glimpses of spring

"My beloved responded, and said to me,
'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth:
the time of the singing of the birds is come.....

......and the voice of the turtle{dove} is heard in our land;
The fig tree has ripened its figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell."
Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Recently, we have noticed evidences of Spring.
Of new life.
Of life being restored, renewed.
We are encouraged with the hope that we are transitioning to 
a milder season.

It's true that here in North Texas we are actually entering into a season that typically has more rain
and storms, but we know that the cold and ice are gone for now.
The grass is fresh, tender, and a vibrant green.
Catching these subtle changes in the trees and plants stirs an excitement within us.

I'm going through the process of skimming out the winter clothes and jackets from my children's closets and replacing with lighter clothing.
I love how that feels.
To change out the drab and replace with something fresh. 

I think it is no mistake that it is also at this time of year that we are
remembering the death and subsequent resurrection (renewed life) of our
Savior, Jesus Christ.
His death on the cross to pay the price for my sin was no accident.
It had been planned from the beginning of time.
Yet, once He died, He did not remain dead.
Death did not have the victory over Him.
It was not the end of the story.

And I can have this hope as well.
As a child of God, forgiven of my sin, washed in His sinless blood,
dead to my sin and those addictions that shackle me,
dead to the power of sin controlling me,
I have that power over death living within me.
The victory is already mine.

"But thanks be to God,
which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57

I don't have to remain trapped by my failures.
I don't have to remain stuck in a pit of depression and thoughts I can't control.
I don't have to remain angry about circumstances I don't want.
I don't have to worry about things that haven't even happened yet.
I don't have to be controlled by the guilt and shame of the lies I believe about myself.

I have the victory!
And it's found in Jesus.

"There's life in Jesus name!
There's cleansing
and there's healing
In Jesus name
Believe Him
Come unto Him
Receive from Him His power
In Jesus name
There's life for you this hour."
~Author Unknown