Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Thats all you get!
My summers with my littles are flying past faster than I can bear, but we’re making the most of each and every one!
“Loosening the apron strings” has been a theme this summer as the older kids start jobs and start driving and grow in independence. They’ve ‘gone to college’ for soccer camp and flown cross county for summer internships.
Its been a summer of “firsts”.
First drivers licenses and first jobs for big kids.
First time at camp and first spend-the-nights away from home for the little kids.
This raising toddlers and teens stretches my over-protective mommy heart daily!
But Im treasuring the fact that they still love time together as a family and that they truly are each others best friends!
We’ve woven in some sweet family moments even while scattered all across the US!
Today we’re returning home after 3 weeks on the road. We’ve clocked over 7,000 miles and eaten too much fast-food. Its been a long and travel-weary journey, but sprinkled with joyful rekindling relationships all across the US, opportunities to share about the ministry, and beautiful scenery from coast-to-coast! We love roadtrips and exploring the vastness of His creation! Each new mile and new state boarder and thunderstorm and sunset painted an exquisite canvas as we drove from early morning to late at night.
Sunday, July 22, 2018
this is strong!
this is brave!
this is beautiful!
They have been through more in their first decade of life than you or I will ever experience in a lifetime.
Combined, they’ve bravely endured:
4 months in hospitals
7 catheter procedures under sedation
4 blood transfusions
and upwards of 100 ECHO’s and blood draws!
So grateful every chance we get to connect these two who have matching silver scars the length of their torso. But they share more than the trauma they’ve been through. They share a faith, a strength, and a bold braveness that inspires. They talk unreservedly about their heart conditions, but they also talk about normal, healthy, tween girl stuff!
They stay up till the wee hours of the night giggling in their makeshift tent.
They charm neighbors and sell lemonade.
They swim, and consume ice cream en masse.
They have goofy inside jokes and tease each other like sisters.
Fiercely competitive at cards.
Dearly devoted in friendship.
Regardless of time apart and miles that separate, whenever they’re reunited, theirs a special bond that brings this momma to tears.
I shared in my last post how God has grown our faith through the heartache we’ve watched out girl endure. He doesn’t leave us alone in our pain. He is present. And he redeems!….
This precious friendship is part of God redeeming this story. A story that in a million years I would never have chosen to write for my daughter. But God, in his providence, has brought into our life some of our most cherished friendships…..all because of broken hearts!
He loves to heal the hurting.
To bind the brokenhearted.
To redeem the seemingly irredeemable.
Friday, July 13, 2018
“Why Shalom?” a new friend asked me last week.
“Are you Jewish?”
For a decade now, this word has been a deeply significant part of our family’s faith journey.
Our daughter ‘Evangeline Shalom’ was named on a bitterly cold January afternoon in the middle of snow flurries, with great intentionality, (and we felt, at the time, a prompting from the Lord.)
The word ‘Shalom‘ means ‘peace’.
Evangeline ‘Evie’ Shalom, our angelic 9 lb. bundle, completed our perfect little family and ushered in a season of 5 children 5 years old and under (gulp!)
Yes please. We could use a little peace in our lives.
And this sweet, passive, easy-going baby was just that – perfect peace. Peace for 10 blissful days.
…..then the storm.
A storm that rocked our world and shook my faith to the core.
At the bedside of our baby, we faced the near certainty that we would never bring her home from the hospital or hold her without tubes and probes and drains and monitors. Chad and I had gut-wrenching conversations preparing for a funeral and making decisions that no parents should ever have to consider. I remember a wave of bitter confusion when the meaning of her name came to mind while I held her bruised, blue, cyanotic hand in the dead of my darkest night.
Why did we name this child “peace”? This child whose little life was anything but peaceful!!
I wrestled with the notion for the next days….weeks…and then months as she took two steps forward, and one step back on a long, grueling road to stable. For the next two years our life centered around more surgeries, sedations, monitors and medications, diagnosis and doctors appointments, blood draws and biopsies, intubations and infections that I can count.
But her name wasn’t a mistake.
…and it wasn’t some cruel cosmic joke.
God taught us through the messiest, most painful, stretching, agonizing, disruptive season of our lives, that peace is not reflective merely of harmonious circumstances. We learned what it meant to be at peace….at peace in the storm! To cling to the only unshakable thing – Him – when our world was unraveling.
To trust His unchangeable qualities when our life was in disorder.
To hold fast to the promises of who He is, when what today brings is only uncertainty and heartache.
Not circumstantial. Not emotional. Peace is not the lack of a storm, but a lifeline in the storm…..a sunbeam of hope and glimpse of eternity when the agony of this world has been too much to bear.
“Shalom” is inscribed above our breakfast nook where I see it 1,000 times a day as I serve our family and clean our messes. Reminding me, over and over, of His peace. In the ugly. In the uncertainty. In fear. In the storm.
He is unchanging, unwavering, unshakable. His character is compassion. His plans are for good. He’s not bound by space and time and circumstances. He is eternal and he sees….he cares….and he redeems all things.
Grateful today for His shalom of peace for every storm and season, past, present and future.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace Igive you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
…..Beautiful “Shalom” sign crafted by my friend Jerri!
Go to our Instagram page where we are GIVING AWAY an identical sign with your word of choice!