Monday, November 30, 2009

A Light Has Dawned

She was totally resistant this morning to get out of the car. She did it, but with the saddest, longest face I've ever seen. I think it was probably the long break...and the fact that we had a fun visitor coming this morning. Something about her standing there with her long face, backpack hanging down like a ton of bricks in her hand, and brush in the other, still refusing to brush her hair, made me ask God for blessing for her. As I drove off, I just couldn't help but beg God for blessing of hope, joy, and encouragement for her. She might not know that it was God blessing may come in the form of a hug from a friend, or a welcome from a teacher, or a smile from a classmate, but 'something, God...would you give her something of joy this morning', is what my prayer became. It reminded me of this passage,

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy...You have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor." Isa. 9:2-3

I'm so thankful that when God gave Isaiah this prophesy about Christ, that it was a message of encouragement. That the reason why He was willing to give up His precious Son, was so that we could live with joy. That we could have our yoke shattered and our burden lifted.

My little longing for her, made me think about how great His longing for us must have been. How completely shadowed our lives are without Christ, and how God must have just yearned so greatly for us to live in light. So greatly, in fact, that He had to bless us. He had to send His Son, because He could no longer stand us to live in darkness. He could no longer endure us "living in the land of the shadow of death". And thus, "unto us a Son is given." (Isa. 9:6) So often in church, we start at that part, but the reason why He had to come, is told in those verses just before. So that His people could be rescued from that "bar across their shoulders. From the rod of their oppressor."

Even though my five year old little girl doesn't realize that's what He can do for her right now, my prayer is that one day, she will see. And that in the mean time, I can be a living example of living in "great light". What other way is there for us to live? We are those whom He has given that dawning of light! We are those whom He came to increase our joy. When I live in a place of fear, defeat, and worry, I only shadow the greatest light that has ever been given. It made me remember this post from a dear friend, written almost a year ago.

I'm excited to enter into this Christmas season with great joy, and once again remember the great light that was given for us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Morning Gift

The Lord is so near to those who call on Him. He caught me off guard as I was whisking around the kitchen and house, cleaning this, picking up that. And by His sweet Spirit, my attention was caught by a worship song that was playing.

I love that even a morning scratchy voice barely squeaking out the notes is still a "joyful noise in His ear."

I love that I can sit in front of my computer with my eyes closed and my hands held high in the presence of my God and King, and know that I'm worshiping before His throne.

How great is our God?! How awesome is His love towards us that WE can be called children of God.

In taking a minute to praise my true Father, I come into the very presence that I've been longing to meet with, even though I look everywhere else first. Lord, would you make my heart seek you first. Would you turn my eyes up to You, before things here. What do I have here??? On this earth??? Why do I look so intently here?? When You are life, you are truth. You are the Lover of my soul, and I am your Beloved.

A couple of years back, I got to go to an in house Derek Webb concert. He had just written the "She Must and Shall Go Free" album, and one of my favorite songs that he spoke about and played was Beloved. Beloved he shared was written for the "church" in America today. We as believers...who make up the Body of Christ here. So often, I forget how dangerous a place we as Christ's beloved are in. I am influenced by this need or that worry, or my ever changing schedule, and so distracted by everything going on around me. I easily forget He is everything. That...

"There is nothing more. No more blessings and no more rewards. Than the treasure of my Body and Blood. Given freely to all daughters and sons."

by Derek Webb

beloved these are dangerous times

because you are weightless like a leaf from the vine

and the wind has blown you all over town

because there is nothing holding you to the ground

so now you would rather be

a slave again than free from the law


beloved listen to me

don’t believe all that you see

and don’t you ever let anyone tell you

that there’s anything that you need

but me

beloved these are perilous days

when your culture is so set in it’s ways

that you will listen to salesmen and thieves

preaching other than the truth you’ve received

because they are telling lies

for they cannot circumcise your hearts


beloved there is nothing more

no more blessings and no more rewards

than the treasure of my body and blood

given freely to all daughters and sons

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Every Good Boy Does Fine???

I played piano when I was little. For 1o + years. A few months ago, we were asked by some friends to house their piano until they had a little more room for it. My husband (who never had a lesson in his life but plays like he's one of those people who plays in a restaurant to create the perfect background music) has been wanting one for so long, so of course the answer immediately was yes! I took lessons faithfully from the time I was 5 until I was about 16. I went to competitions, and know the whole nine yards. So guess what I can play? One part of the last song that I was learning when I stopped playing. And because I was gifted at learning by ear, I always learned by ear. I hardly used sight reading at all, and I was terrible at it. So, I can't even pick up a piece of music and play.

Today, I went to sit down and read for a bit, and I really love reading hymns. As I was flipping through, I had a grand idea. I thought, you know, I should go sit down and play one of these! Well, then, I found "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" and thought, "Yea! I'll work on some Christmas carols, so that by the time Christmas is here, we can all sit around the piano, and sing like in Little Women!" Seriously, that's what I thought.

So I sit down and start to figure out the cords...and it's like I was reading Latin. I had to literally sit there and say, "Ummm....F...A..... C.... E. So that's.....ummmm......D!!" It took me 45 min. just to figure out the right hand. And that wasn't even going at the right tempo. My daughter kept trying to sing along, and she would have to stop because I couldn't keep up!! It was hilarious. But, hopefully, by Christmas we'll have at least one carol learned.

Just for the record, when your mother says, "You shouldn't stop taking. You'll be sorry when you're older," you should listen. Hello, Mother? It's "older" and I'm sorry!!!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Threes

You know the old saying, "Things come in threes?" Well, I don't know about that, but this one is totally three.

Today, he played with cars, sticks, and his new football. He made a basketball crush a pretty Polly, and then laughed about it. He threw a fit when I told him that he couldn't have a large tootsie roll right before he ate his birthday cake. And he chased his sister around with his doggies saying, "Ruff Ruff" even when she repeatedly told him not to.

But he still snuggled with me when he woke up from his nap. And he smelled his same sweet smell that he always smells like when he first wakes up from a deep sleep. I can't put my finger on what it is. It's just a sleepy smell. All warm and snuggly. Melt-right-into-me-snuggly.

I love him so much. And he's such a treasure. I'm so thankful that I get to have him for my little boy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Searching for Colors

This beauty is in my backyard. I'm always blown away by the colors of the fall. How in the world, can the leaves become so bright and beautiful right before they die? Yesterday, my son and I went exploring in the yard to find leaves for a project he's doing at preschool. We of course, found many more than we needed, just because of how breathtaking they are. We couldn't resist "picking" more and more. However, what I felt myself begin to look for were green ones. We had scads of red, orange, and yellow...but we needed a few greens to balance the bright colors out. As you are well aware, there are not many greens. So, when we would see one, we would say with excitement, "There's a green one!" As we were in the midst of hunting, something about looking for the green ones stood out to me.

It's as if the Lord was saying...

"Why are you looking for what's been here all along? They've been right here under your nose, but it's not been until now, that you can't find them, that you count them as valuable".

I don't know why it stood out to me. Maybe because I spend my life searching for "more" of what I've already been given in full. Or because I just try to get my hands on what seems out of my reach, only to find, it's been there all along. Either way, it was a message of hope. A message of fulfillment. A message of sufficiency.

A sweet reminder, that even though sometimes I search for things I don't have, that my Father is already there, and has always been there, even when I can't see. A gift to unwrap indeed.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween Recap

We had so much fun this every year, but as my kids get older, we get to "do" more with them. First we started by having our annual "Stephens Fest" with my sister and her boys. We (well, she) made cupcakes and the kids decorated them with fun halloween sprinkles. We ate pumpkin seeds, carved pumpkins, and then got ready for trick or treating.

Uncle Randy delivered JC's pumpkin dream with this awesome Batman emblem

As much as I wanted our family to all dress alike in cowboy attire, the kids just wouldn't bite on that idea. River was all about being a kitten, and she wanted me to be the Mama Cat.

Asher went back and forth between a cowboy, a knight, and spiderman, and then the day of, decided on a fireman. I mean, who doesn't want to be a hero?

The kids were cute all dressed up together.

Batman, The Fireman, and Little Kitten
with the big "brother cousins"

After trick or treating, we went to a free carnival with pony rides, jumpy things, and lots of fun times. We met with up with our friends, but after a quick hello really didn't see anyone! All the kids were off to do their own thing! This is what mine had in mind...

River has been more into horses lately, so this was a real treat! She even waited in line on her own accord (I told her I would save her place while she went to ride rides, but she declined the offer) for about 30 min!

To end out the night, we grabbed a bite to eat at Steak and Shake, and really stayed up "late"! It was really fun to complete the evening with a milkshake and fries! Here's Asher the Fireman rescuing Mama Kitty from a tree. Haha.

It was a fun night for our little family. And we were all thankful for the extra hour, the morning after!