Paradox

Find by losing. Receive by giving.

Rule by serving. Lead by following. Live by dying.

Weakness is strength.

The first are last. The poor are the rich. The slaves are free.

We are saint and sinner, flesh and soul, old and new.

He lifts high the low. He exalts the humble.

God is one but three, fully God and fully man. He is far and near, beyond and within.

His Word is written by God, penned by man, and became flesh.

He was born to perish. He surrendered for victory. He died and yet lives.

Praise the Lord!

*from the archives

Dress for the life you want

My dad once offered me this advice. He said, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.”

I hit the work force dressed in attire that reflected who I wanted to become. This motivated me to act like the person I hoped to one day be. I went above and beyond entry-level responsibilities, working my way into a desired position.

This also applies to my life as a ministry partner and as child of God. READ MORE

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Mother’s Day brings joy and grief – not just to mothers but also to some children

“Why would my other mom give me away?”

My heart breaks like it did when his sister asked the same question a few years ago. Raw emotion surges through me as I fumble to answer questions no child should ever have to ask.

But, she asked back then, and he asks now.

This is a hurt that I cannot take away. I feel incredibly inadequate. Overwhelmingly unable.

God is Good

We speak of God’s goodness and our broken world. We discuss God’s sovereignty, and how He takes what man planned for evil and uses it for good. We discuss a heart torn in two, between what is, and what might have been, and how our God is bigger than both. We affirm His love, His plan and how He never defaults to plan “B” because plan “A” ALWAYS works.

Like his sister did, he smiles, satisfied for now, and I tuck him in.

Then I cry.

God, you are my God, and You are their God. You created each one of my children in their mother’s womb. You knit them together and planned all their days before one of them was lived. I believe You have a plan for their life that is good. I believe that they can wrestle these questions down and that you will not leave them floundering. I believe that the answer to every question is You. May each one of my children turn to You. Make they seek You. May they find satisfaction in You.

Draw them near. Make their childlike faith come alive like never before. Reveal Yourself to them. You are enough.

Remove all fear and fill them with Your peace that passes understanding. Remove all doubt and fill them with certainty. May their adoption stories be bigger than their adoption into our family, but include their adoption into Your family. May they see this as beautiful and precious and part of your perfect plan. May Your truth penetrate their heart as Your glory meets their suffering.

And then I cry some more.

I am inadequate. Blessedly inadequate. But my God is more than enough. He is more than enough for me, and more than enough for my children. And despite wishing it could be easier, despite wishing I could carry this burden for them and take away their hurts, I submit to the will of One greater than me.

And it is well with my soul.

 

*adapted from the archives

Pray What you Mean and Mean What you Pray

Lord, cause my children’s actions to reflect the true state of their hearts so I know how to pray for them. Lord, open their eyes to their need for you. Cause them to grieve their sin and lead them to repentance. Lord, do whatever necessary to save them. Lord, give me patience and wisdom. Create in me an urgency to pray for my children. Do not let me fall into a slumber of false security.

Pray what you mean and mean what you pray

I meant these prayers. I meant every word. But I was in no way prepared for God’s answer. I wanted the victory without the conflict. I wanted motherhood to be a party when its actually a war. Raising children in the ways of the Lord is an all-in, no-holds-barred, the enemy-fights-dirty battle and eternity is at stake. Sometimes, even after suiting up in the armor, we get speared right through the heart.

Eventually, parenting gets HARD. Not every day. But some days. Sometimes days and days and days strung together. And you’ll have to decide what you’re going to do when God’s answers to your prayers don’t line up with your expectations.

“God’s answers frequently do not look at first like answers. They look like problems. They look like trouble. They look like loss, disappointment, affliction, conflict, sorrow, and increased selfishness. They cause deep soul wrestling and expose sins and doubts and fears. They are not what we expect, and we often do not see how they correspond to our prayers.” ~ Jon Bloom, The Unexpected Answers of God | Desiring God

Am I really ready for God to do whatever is necessary to save my child’s soul? That is a scary prayer – yet it is the one that matters more than many others that slip into its place. It matters more than health, more than physical protection, and more than happiness. It’s the kind of prayer that only God can answer. Only God can transform a heart of stone into a heart of repentance. Only God can put back together a heart broken by sin. But before the heart can be rebuilt, it has to be broken. Nothing grieves a mother more than watching her child break.

The urgency to pray for my children increases as I see the battle escalate in intensity. This too, is an answered prayer. There is no false security as swords clash in the spiritual realm and the kingdom takes ground in my child’s heart.

“We can feel like we’re going backward because we are not clearly moving forward. We cry out in painful confusion and exasperation (Psalm 13:1; Job 30:20) when what’s really happening is that God is answering our prayers. We just expected the answer to look and feel different… With regard to God’s answers to prayer, expect the unexpected. Most of the greatest gifts and deepest joys that God gives us come wrapped in painful packages.” ~ Jon Bloom, The Unexpected Answers of God | Desiring God

So, tonight, I choose to praise the Lord for answered prayer. I choose to believe He is moving mightily, and as I fix my eyes on Him and redirect my child toward Him, He will have his way in our family and in our home.

I’m am praying with GREAT expectation.

When a Broken World Breaks your Heart

It comes like a summer drought and cracks open what once was whole. It dehydrates the broken. It shrivels hope into hopelessness.

Cotton-mouth despair blows fragmented heart pieces like tumbleweed across the prairie. The earth groans under weighty grief. Can anyone refresh the broken?

Yes, he whispers

The Spirit covers like a long-awaited dew. He drenches the parched heart.

Meditate on Him. Meditate on His Word. Meditate on what He has done. Ponder the work of His hands. God is our hope. He is our future. He is our peace.

Flee

Flee toward true refuge, to the God of creation, to the God of salvation. Your God. His good Spirit leads, so lift up your soul.

Nothing is too difficult. He satisfies the thirsty. Draw water from His well of salvation.

 

*From the archives, May 14, 2015

When the grief is deep and hope is dim

Sometimes, trouble lingers. Sometimes we teeter on the edge of Sheol, fall into the pit, and lack strength. The words and feelings that fill our souls are: DEAD, in the grave, no more, cut off, depths, DARK and deep. Things lie heavy and overwhelm. We are SHUNNED, horrified, helpless, filled with SORROW and cannot escape. Wrath, destruction and darkness abound.

The grief was deep and hope was dim for the psalmist who wrote Psalm 88. He questions God in his despair (vs 10, 11). He acknowledges the sovereignty that allows the trial: “You (God) have caused” and “Your wrath.” But implied throughout the psalm is the understanding that the God who allows sorrow is the same God who brings victory.

Unlike most other Psalms, this lament does not build to a conclusion of confident joy and praise. This one ends in pain. The victory has yet to come. Hope has yet to burst through the clouds, making this Psalm resonate deeply with those of us still waiting.

  • …still waiting for the prodigal to return or the Pharisee to repent.
  • …still waiting for healing and relief.
  • …still waiting for restoration and transformation.

Where is our hope?

Despite the Psalmist’s grief he does not forget with who his hope remains.

  • “O Lord,” he writes, “God of my salvation.”
  • “I call upon you, O Lord.”
  • “I spread my hands before You.”
  • “I cry out to You.”
  • “My prayers come before You.”

Our hope, in the darkest of grief and in the unrelenting pain of delays, is in the Lord. Hold firm and hold fast.

 

 

More Than This

“There has to be more to it than this.”

Have you ever sat in a church pew and thought that? I have. I remember it clearly. I had lost the passion and urgency of that early blazing faith. I had swallowed lies one spoonful at a time and became good for nothing. I had lost my zeal. Lost my passion. Lost my first love.

I moved through unsatisfying Sunday motions even as my husband trained for ministry and served on church staff. I wondered, what was the point? If this was all there was to following Jesus, it wasn’t enough.

It’s Not Enough

Have you been there? Have you visited that apathetic place hovering between hypocrisy and duty all dressed up like a whitewashed tomb?

By God’s mercy, He opened my eyes and I saw my faith dried into a shallow pool of activity. I was busy for the Lord, real busy. I was doing good things, but had missed the best things. I was right. This wasn’t enough.

Called to More

God has called us to more. He has called us to passionately pursue Him with everything and be willing to pay anything. He has revealed himself to be worthy of all of our praise. Everything that is in the heavens and on the earth belongs to Him. He is head over all, reigns with majesty and strength, and will not be moved. There is none like him, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders. He deserves all of our heart but what do we do when our empty hearts cease to care?

We ask the Lord to do what only he can do. In obedience, we continue to come before him, confessing our need for him to ignite our passion. We confess our lack of desire and inability to create desire. We declare our dependance on Him over and over again until He does what He promises He will do: until He reveals Himself.

PRAY

Lord, you said if we seek you that we would find you, so give us the desire to seek you. As our bodies thirst for water would you stir a greater thirst for You. As we nourish the physical would you grow a greater hunger to feast on your Word. Would you open eyes that need opening that lost souls might turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to You? If we want forgiveness from our sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ, we need you to impress upon our hearts a desire to repent from our lack of desire. Our hope is in You, Lord. We are nothing without you. You must do this work. It is by your mighty hand. We are clay in your hands completely at your mercy. Have your way in us.

Don’t let another Easter go by swimming in the shallow pool of religion. It’s time to dive into the depths of God’s love and learn His ways. If you don’t have a church family, you are welcome to join ours to celebrate Easter. We meet at Brantford Christian School (7 Calvin Street, Brantford).

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