When weakness is strength…

“Her greatest weakness was actually her greatest strength.”

That’s the conclusion the kids and I came to after reading The Country Bunny.

Cottontail was told she couldn’t become an Easter Bunny because she had 21 kids. But those 21 kids became the key to her delivering the year’s most important egg.

The lesson hit home for all of us.

One of our boys has fought dyslexia since he was 5. And now, he’s a stronger person because he’s learned to overcome.

We’ve got daughter who’s already looked racism dead in the face, picked up her pride, and moved on. And now, she’s a bolder person than I’ll ever be.

Maybe in the past, I felt like Cottontail. Like having 5 kids was holding me back. Like they were my greatest weakness.

But I was wrong.

Our kids have taught me patience. They’ve taught me how to rely on God. How to love. How to forgive.

What we see as weakness is actually strength in the hands of our all-knowing Father.

You want to know my greatest weakness? It’s my sin nature. And I hate it.

But without it, there’d be no grace. There’d be no cross. There’d be no mercy.

Jesus laid down His greatest strength to transform our greatest weakness. He became what we weren’t so we could become God’s child.

It’s not just that His strength is perfect. It’s that it’s sacrificial.

For you then. For you today. Grace.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:21)

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When you love God (and Disney)…

I’m a minimalist. We budget. Save. Look over Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps at least once a year.

I’m married to a “giver.” We’re committed to the Summit, Compassion, and church planters around the world.

But I’m also a Disney fan. And that’s not cheap.

So in this perfect triangle of crazy, my life joins together.

Give to the Kingdom. Save for the future. Make memories at Disney.

I’m not sure how it all happened. How it all works. But it does.

I’m often inclined toward guilt. We shouldn’t spend that. People are suffering.

Sweet gifts from God can feel like burdens while they’re actually intended to cause rejoicing.

It’s a balance we seek. Long for. Try to teach our kids.

God loves us like a Father. And Fathers give their children good things to enjoy.

What kind of God would our kids grow up knowing if we never point out the good? If we always talk about what He’s wanting from us and not giving to us? Why would anyone serve someone like that?

Please hear me in total, not pieces. The Gospel is worth sacrificing for. It’s worth moving across the world for. It’s worth, well, everything.

But I won’t let myself believe the lie that to sacrifice means never to enjoy. That it means not to embrace the grace that God has planned for us.

So friends, we’re gonna take Disney trips over here. We’re gonna be a family and laugh and eat and be thankful for God’s goodness to us.

And we’re also gonna take missions trips. And serve and love and be thankful for how God is moving around the world.

Because our hope isn’t based on our savings account. It’s not based on our budget. It’s solely based on the love of our Father, “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” (I Timothy 6:17)

 

My Something Looks Like Nothing Compared To That…

She’s collecting for the homeless. She’s starting her Masters. And I’m sitting here, overeating Wheat Thins, and considering it a great success that Kenan finally fell asleep.

At Carowinds the other day, I was top scorer in the Plants vs. Zombies game. Y’all…the spotlight shone on me! In front of the 50 middle schoolers in there. And I couldn’t have been prouder.

It’s small wins over here. Spelling “your” not “yor.” Knowing 9×9=81. Changing your underwear. Putting on underwear.

As a kid, I wanted to be the first woman ever to play baseball professionally. Not kidding.

As an adult, I want to be the first woman ever to…well, I’ve forgotten.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” (Romans 12:6a)

For a season…our gifts may lie dormant.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

For a season…our rejoicing and weeping may be with little people with dirty faces.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

For a season…our greatest good may be shown in the place we call home.

And it’s OKAY.

To help the homeless. To get your Masters. To not.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

My sacrifice may not look the same as yours.

And it’s OKAY.

As long as His sacrifice is spotlight. As long as His love is my affirmation. As long as every choice I make-every yes or no I say- is an attempt to glorify Him.

Today…whether you’re collecting for the broken, writing a research paper, or pulling out a fresh pair of Paw Patrol underwear…remember the Who more than the What.

We have worth because Jesus laid down His.

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Our Little Boys Need Heroes

Recently he’s been tough. During the day, his brothers and I tip-toe around him. Worried we may get lashed out at. Wondering who his selfishness will attack next.

He gets it honest. I am selfish at my core. I feel entitled to certain things. I want comfort and rest and to eat whatever I want and be skinny.

Welcome to the world of sin, son. Welcome to the battle.

But it hit the fan the other day. And it was time to stand firm. Humbly. To open up the Word and fight this…again.

“Son, do you know what a hero does?” “He fights for something.”

“Yes. Heroes fight for those they love. They sacrifice what they want for others.”

(He was starting to listen.)

“Why was King Tirian a hero?” “He was willing to die for the people in Narnia.”

“Why was Harry Potter a hero?”  “He was willing to die for his friends.”

“Why was Rose (from The Last Jedi) a hero?” “She was willing to die for Finn.”

(Now he was really listening…Conversations that start with kings or the Winter Soldier or Malfoy get a lot of attention around here.)

“Yes. But you know the real hero is. You know who did die for us.”

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

“You want to follow Him? Then you sacrifice. For your brothers. For your sister. For your friends. For those you don’t know.”

I believe our little boys need heroes. They need to see sacrifice. They need to see bravery.

And yes, we protect their innocence and screen what they see, but we can’t deprive them of what it means to be a man. Of what it means to stand up for what you believe in. Or lay it all down for someone else.

We can choose to see today’s media as an enemy. Or we can choose to see it as a tool.

All the while, praying for wisdom, having hard conversations, and believing that the real “Hero,” the One who gave up everything for our precious children, will patiently and lovingly draw them to Himself.

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The Last Jedi was a hit with the cousins!

 

 

Breaking Down to Stay Alive

I remember hearing Dr. James Dobson say many years ago that Satan’s number one attack on our nation is the breakdown of the family.

Maybe I didn’t believe it then. Maybe I was “in love,” without kids, and thinking the “breakdown of the family” was a far-fetched idea for my perfect ideals.

But a mere 15 years into being a wife, and I believe Dr. Dobson was right.

It’s hard to stay committed in marriage. It’s hard because I’m a sinner. And Jeremy’s a sinner. And Heaven help us, we have birthed little sinners.

And I’d really like things to be calm around here. I’d like to weigh what I did on our wedding day. I’d like to feel loved like I was 18. And blissfully oblivious like I just birthed our first kid.

But so is life. And so is Satan. And his rampage goes on and on.

And we keep fighting.

Not because we want to win, but because we can’t lose. Lives are at stake. Futures hang in the balance.

And the cross tells me grace is the only way to win. Love is worth dying for.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Didn’t we just celebrate Easter?

He is making all things new but only after we’re willing to die. He stretched out His arms so I can open mine. And He embraces me so I can embrace.

Yes…We stay alive in marriage and family and friendship…by breaking down.

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