The Same Night

The week had been long.  There had been the full schedule of a normal week.  Getting kids to designated places, packing lunches, making phone calls, cleaning the house, doing the laundry and wondering when that stack of ironing was ever going to get done.  When life gets busy – it is easy to lose sight of the eternal; and not only had I lost sight of the eternal that week – I had failed. 

Failed to live above all of the temporary things. 
Failed to see the eternal. 
Failed to live out my faith.

I walked into church feeling somewhat defeated.  Sure, I had confessed my sin; but I still felt - well, like a failure.  I had my mental list of all the past weeks shortcomings.  While I had acknowledged my sin to God – I felt badly that I couldn’t promise Him that it wouldn’t happen again.  I wanted to; but I know me. 
 I went to church focused on someone other than Him – and I was defeated.    

Then our voices were lifted in praise to God as we sang the anthem of the redeemed – Amazing Grace. The chains of sin are gone.  I sat in silence and listened as the entire congregation lifted their voices in praise to God for all He had done.  I imagined that in a small way I was getting a  glimpse of what it will sound like when all the redeemed of every nation, tribe, and tongue sing with one voice of the Amazing Grace they have tasted.

I whispered a prayer to God, “I wish I didn’t’ fail you so much. You deserve so much more.”    

This Sunday we were partaking of the Lord’s Supper.  I thought about my previous week – and wondered if I should partake.  The Pastor stood and read a verse of scripture before handing out the plates filled with the bread:

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread…”

My mind fixated on that phrase –“ THE SAME NIGHT”…

The plan had been made – the betrayal perhaps had already happened in his heart – the same night – right before it all happened – Jesus looked into Judas’ eyes and invited Him to break bread with Him.  Jesus called him to Himself the same night that Judas would betray him.

He called Peter to Himself the same night Peter would deny him.  He broke bread with those closest to Him on this earth the same night that they would forsake Him; and He knew that in a few hours He would struggle alone – forsaken by all.  Despite all of this, He desired their fellowship, He wanted to be close to them – to remind them He loved them.  He wanted them to remember Him and His love for them – because that same night they would walk away from Him. 

This Sunday, He called to me just like He did with the twelve.  He asked  me to fellowship with Him – to remember Him.  He called me to Himself.  

The very purpose of the Lord’s Table is to remember Him.  

My thoughts changed from looking at the past week, the failures, the shortcomings – and I fixed my eyes on Him.  I was overcome with the price He paid for me and I whispered the only prayer I could, “Thank you for loving me.”  

Photo Credit:  Rachel Spurgeon

Jesus Paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Embracing Change

Our lives are constantly changing.

We can’t hold on to today.
The present is the past tomorrow.
We can’t go back to yesterday and do it again

One can’t change the past – and dwelling on it will only lead to despair.

What do we miss when we continue to look in the past and regret that yesterday – or last year , or five years ago – is not today?  I assure you we miss something!

We miss the present. 
We miss the enjoyment of today. 
We miss the excitement we could experience about tomorrow.

As life goes on there are changes; and it almost seems that we are expected to fight the changes rather than embrace them.

But what if we embraced these changes?  What would happen if we found ourselves truly excited about the future and the changes that are coming?  What if we looked forward to the future with excitement?  

A lot has changed in my life in the past two years.  The children have grown.  I have come and gone and come back to my blog.  I have experienced rejection and watched a relationship in my life crumble into a million pieces around my feet.  And as I sat there taking it all in – all the changes I had a choice to make.  I could stay there and look back and wonder how it all could happen, or I could look at the future and embrace the change.

Yes, I took some time to reevaluate and to heal from the hurts.  I walked away from the blog and thought long and hard about the future.  I walked away from social media and took some time to just be private and reflective; and in the quiet time away I realized that I had a choice to make.  I had to decide that I would embrace the change and move forward.

Not all of the stories of our lives have happy endings; and realizing that has set me free.  A relationship has ended and as stories go, this one has had one of the saddest endings I have read.  However, this story is only a small story in the compilation of the many stories in my life.  I cannot let the sad ending to this story define me.  My life is so much more than that. 

I have a husband who loves me more than his own life and would do anything for me and for my good.  I have five wonderful children who are starting to walk into their own stories and their own lives and I get a front row seat.  Each one of my children will drop everything to come and talk to me.  I am watching in amazement as my relationship with them changes as they grow into adults and delighted as I am able to move from caregiver to their daily needs to being a friend and encourager as they enter adulthood.  

I sit and watch this life of mine unfold in front of me; and there are times it takes my breathe away.  It’s a wonderful life and I have been blessed; and I would miss all of it if I was focused on the sad endings of certain stories of my life.  

Tomorrow looks bright and wonderful.  Yes, there will be surprises and challenges and there will be other stories that will end with sadness – that is life.  But my life is filled with blessings and joy.

I choose to embrace the changes that life brings.  Perhaps in a small way this is what the apostle Paul was challenging us with he explained his mental discipline and thought choices.  He chose to forget the things behind and look forward to the things that were coming.

We can’t change the past – but we get to live the future.  Will you join me?  Embrace  the changes.  Delight in watching what God is doing in your life and refuse to live in the past.

I’m excited to be back and writing again.  Thanks so much for joining me here.


On the Day He was Born

On the day he was born - I had no idea that he would become part of our family in a little more than a year.

I have tried, in vain, to try to piece together where I was and what I was doing on the day he was born.  I was busy cleaning the house, doing laundry, teaching kids, perhaps practicing piano or writing; and at the very same time miles away from where I lived a little baby boy (my son) was taking his first breath.  A little boy that would change my life - started his life without me.

How much did he weigh?  What was his apgar score? 
Was he born in a hospital or at home?
Seconds after he was born did he cry loudly or softly?  Did he cry at all?
Did someone hold him in their arms?  Was anyone awestruck when looking at his little face and hands that life is precious and beautiful?
Did he feel loved and cherished or alone and helpless?

All these questions will remain unanswered on this earth.

I don't know all the little details surrounding the moments and hours after he took his first breath; but I know that God was there.  God heard his first cries and was mesmerized by this one so little and tiny; because God had a plan for his life.  The all loving God of the universe watched him as he slept and loved him.  I have no doubt in my mind that God's protection surrounded him as a baby; and while I was just going through the everyday routine of my day - God was keeping him safe for me, and preparing my heart for him. 

I was so fearful when we started the adoption process that we would "end up" with a child that had debilitating issues because of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  It was the one reason I was afraid to adopt.  I begged God to make sure He protected us from getting a child with FAS.  If there was one reason I would have not adopted it would have been that reason.  I was also terrified of autism.  I told God that I would trust that He would make sure that we did not have a child with autism.   

I have learned that God does not keep us away from the things that scare us - He delivers us from our fears.

Zak has Autism, and FAS, and TS, and Celiac Disease - and perhaps the list will grow.  I am not as afraid of those words as I was thirteen years ago.    Sometimes, the uncertainty that comes with those words still scares me; but those words are teaching me just how big my God is.  He has the power to cure autism and spare growing brains from the effects of alcohol; but sometimes He chooses to do something even bigger -  He chooses to let us see that He is more powerful than these disabilities.

 I have learned about my God through Zak's disabilities. 

On the day Zak was born - God was preparing a beautiful gift for me.  I have learned about faith through Zak.  I have been given a beautiful gift from God in this boy.  His eyelashes are still long and beautiful.  I love his smile and when he laughs it envelops the entire house.  But most of all, Zak is a boy who is in love with his God.  He talks about Him all the time - and there is nothing God cannot do.  I have watched Zak depend upon God to meet his needs and been challenged by his faith. 

God delights to deliver us from our fears; not always by removing us or keeping us from the things that scare us; but by pouring out grace upon us as we live in dependence on God in the midst of our fears.  

This week we celebrate his birthday - I cannot believe we have entered the teen years already!   Happy Birthday, Zak.  I am so glad God put you in our family!  You are, without a doubt, God's gift to me.  I love you!