Monday, July 15, 2013

"But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor 12:9 

Since Joshua Benjamin’s birth, God has had me in an intense course of sufficient grace. I have started this course several times, but when I get to the tests, I drop the course. Before when I thought of God’s grace, I typically pictured the beautiful undeserved favor given at the cross for sin. This is a big part of God’s amazing grace, but I am thrilled it goes beyond that into daily – EVERY.SECOND.OF.THE.DAY – life. He has been giving me a fuller understanding of God’s powerful grace in my daily struggles.

During this period of my life I have found myself more at the end of my rope than ever. I find myself staring into the face of my humanity, my weakness, my inabilities, my in adequacies, my limitations…my SIN. I don’t like my weakness. I want to be strong. I admire strength. I could relate to Paul pleading to God to remove the thorne/weakness, but I couldn’t relate to Paul saying he would boast in his weakness.  When Joshua Benjamin was only 2 months, Joshua had to go on a month long trip. During this time I feel like God whispered into my heart over and over “Look for my grace.     It          is            sufficient.” Slowly I began to open my scrunched eyes and look for His grace. I found if I had open expecting eyes I could see His grace more readily. To help open my spiritual eyes I would repeat over and over “My Grace is sufficient for you." It was easier for me to find His promised grace if I wasn't expecting it to look the way I WANTED, but it was there EVERY TIME. I noticed that it usually looked different each time He met me at the end of my rope, but HE was THERE.

“The gospel enables you and your children to face the worse in yourselves – your sin, your badness, and your weakness – and still find hope, because grace is powerful.” Tedd Tripp

When I read this quote this morning, I almost jumped out of my seat in excitement. It summed up another part of God’s grace that I hadn’t been able on my own. Not only is there grace and forgiveness for my sin and weaknesses, but His sufficient grace allows for me to have HOPE as I stare at them. When I see my weakness, my mistakes, my sinful tendencies, hope is what was glaringly missing in my reaction and walk with the Lord. Instead I felt defeat and despair. I turned to self-pity. I become hopeless. I tend to live under the weight of condemnation… Many times the way I tried to get past this state was self-help. The good old “pull yourself up by the boot straps.” Yes, because I am a believer, I usually asked God for help when in my “I got to do better” mode, but I saw it as…, “well, time to improve” -> “I have just got to get it together.” But what God has showed me is that trying harder is not the answer. His GRACE is the answer. There is POWER in His grace. There is HOPE in His grace. There is JOY in His grace. There is FREEDOM in His grace.

Dare to look for His grace and you will find it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First Hair Cut

"Does my hair look pretty?" Charis asked with a nervous smile.

"Yes..."  THEN I realized what I was looking at!

"Charis Noelle!!" I gasped. My eyes watering ...She CUT HER HAIR!  I recently wanted to trim Charis hair, but she wasn't ready and neither was daddy. She said she loved long hair and didn't want to cut it. Daddy said he loved Charis hair the way it was. I had wanted her first cut to be a fun girl time and a memorable moment with pictures. She also had been warned out of my fear this could happen never to cut her hair or anything else I hadn't given to cut!

She burst into tears. Despairing tears. Remorse tears. Regret tears....I know those all to well in my own life. I immediately knew she needed grace. My heart suddenly was breaking for her and not myself. I scooped her up into my arms.This first hair cut got turned into a teaching opportunity of remorse and grace. Even as Joshua and I held her, the tears continued. We explained what she felt was guilt. We talked about natural consequences and obedience. We got to dish out forgiveness and grace. 

"AM I still pretty? Is my hair still pretty? It will grow back?" she asked fingering her hair. We talked again about true beauty. I told her even if she had no hair, we would think she was beautiful. 

This certainly wasn't the way I would have planned it, but she learned a whole lot more this way than sitting in a beauty salon getting her hair trimmed. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Joshua Benjamin

Once again I will praise the Lord! Once again I am in awe of God's grace (unmerited favor) on us to grant us the gift of children. On August 25th, Joshua Benjamin was born. He has the distinction from his siblings of being the earliest from his due date, the fastest labor, being born overseas...AND not to be forgotten the distinction of having to wait 3 days for his name! I know we will never live that one down! My prayer is that he will be strong & courageous for the Lord and that he will love God's word like his daddy and as God exhorted Joshua in Joshua 1:2-9. May God be glorified!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Growing Boy

Gabriel is now 18 months

Love him!

Click here for sister at same age...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Sweetheart's Birthday

It was a lemon flavored quiet family birthday. 
(Not to be confused as Gabriel's b-day...just reused his candle)
PS...I LOVE my man!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Too close to the edge...

This weekend we were hiking with some of our friends up to Kalidonia Waterfalls. It was refreshing to walk beside a stream of water with tree cover and be surrounded by green vegetation. The coolness of the brook and the shade seemed to wash over the blistering hot days with no cloud cover we had been enduring the past few weeks. The children on the hike couldn't contain themselves and any moment the trail came near the water they stopped to wade in it. One mother chided her children not to get to close to the edge of a cliff. Charis who wants to understand everything asked what "the edge" was, and we laughed as we attempted to explain (it is harder than you would think).

On our way back, we decided to take a different route which had a wider path of switch backs. It was suppose to be less scenic (I still found it beautiful!) but quicker. The children ran and laughed giving the parents time to chat. Suddenly Charis' ear piercing scream interrupted the peaceful mountain air. I turned to see my precious child sliding down a cliff. Her eyes were full of fear and her hands surrounded by sliding rocks reaching upward. Adrenaline kicked in and with little thought of being almost 8 1/2 months pregnant, I threw off my bags and jumped off the edge as if I was sliding down a slide. My momentum caught up to my sweet girl and her hands got stuck under my backside giving me a chance to grab her. At first I was afraid I had crushed her hands or broken something because she cried out again in pain. Pressing my feet into the loose ground I grabbed her. I hugged her tight assuring her everything was going to be okay. Joshua who had been up ahead was there already and with help of another holding onto the trees around, they helped us up. 

When we got back, Charis recounted the story in her own words on video: "...I fell down the mountain. Daddy told me not to go close to the EDGE and I DID. And I FELL down the mountain and I scratched myself..." I am so grateful for my heavenly Father's mercy and grace who takes care of us and our children even when we get too close to the edge.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Daddy, why is it cold in here?"

Here is a video of Charis (completely unprompted...we only asked her to repeat the question) asking why it was cold inside the large mall here.  Just a few days prior she asked me what "Air Conditioning" was while watching a show...