Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jesus says you're worth it.

Many of you may remember that I have joined up with a wonderful online community of gospel seeking women called #shereadstruth. We are in the middle of the 3rd study since this all began & my cup is overflowing with the grace & love of the Lord. I just wanted to share a little bit about something that extra blessed me this week.

DAY 7: John 17: The High Priestly Prayer

I discovered a gem. An absolute gem in the Bible. 

What is more beautiful than the Savior of the world taking the time to lift us up to his Father???? 

"[...] that they might have [Jesus] joy fulfilled in themselves."

Did you get that? He wants me to have HIS joy.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
(John 17 ESV)

I just find this passage a beautiful expression of the Love of Jesus. As I read it again and again, I can picture in my mind a man- a real man- on his face before God pouring out his heart. Sometimes, in a sense, I forget that Jesus was a man. He was human with emotions & trials & a true heart for his people.

By this,
I am humbled. 
I am excited. 
I am filled with JOY!

How many times have you questioned whether Jesus could possibly love you? How many times have you assured yourself that you are not worthy to walk in righteousness? You question whether he hears or even cares.

 Let me assure you... those are lies.

Jesus loves you soooo much! Consider how you determine the worth of things hear on earth. What is any worldly possession worth? The price someone will pay for it, correct? You wouldn't pay $1million for property you know to only be $60,000 worth of property. What should that tell you about your worth to our God & Savior???? Jesus gave up everything for you! He didn't just die on a cross. He, in perfect deity, came to earth, lived a perfect faultless life as a human & was murdered for me. For  you. He took all the sin of the world on his shoulders. For me. For you. So, yeah, Jesus is pretty much convinced we are worth it so much so that he even talked with His Father about you.

Jesus Christ prayed for this girl!

Maybe this isn't so profound to everyone else but for me, it was eye opening & has increased my faith.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Embrace The Camera: #malakaicain #photoboothedition

'round these parts...

We like...

silly faces.

Okay, maybe...

I like silly faces.

"What are you doing, Mommy?"

He was supposed to give me a fish kiss...
Instead, he thought he'd try to 

These two are probably my lol favorites.

Poor kid.
Embarrassed at 3.
He's got a loooong road ahead of him :)

<3 you, #malakaicain

So, are you ready to embrace the camera?
here's the nitty gritty:
1.  take a picture with you and your kids/spouse/family member/friend/whatever.
2.  blog about that picture and include a link to our blog, or grab our button.
3.  link your blog post up on the link tool here (@ the anderson crew).
4.  visit the other embracers...give each other lots of compliments about how good we look with our greasy hair andsweatpants velour jogging suits on.  cause yah, we need a little boost when it's been days since our last shower.
5.  have fun!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Puke Prayer Provision

Allow me to begin by saying that things are much, much better this week. Not only has my son been much better behaved... well... today but I am learning to find my peace & rest in the only One that can give it. So, Malakai isn't perfect. Mama isn't perfect. But we're walking this thing together & as I seek the Lord for wisdom and peace, I find answers & regardless of my son's behavior- I can find rest :)


I have a bit of a testimony of God's goodness :)

As I mentioned in my last whinefest blog post, we took a little road trip to Kentucky. This installment is all about God's faithfulness & protection for His children.


Let's begin with my gracious friend, Lynz.

This girl offered to spend $$$ out of her own pocket & leave her precious babies (aka- her doggies) to fly in from KY- after working all day- just to turn around the next early a.m. to make the drive right back where she came from. Some might call her insane, crazy, a loon maybe? She would undoubtably agree with all of those descriptions and is the reason I'm pretty sure she doesn't regret her decision to come. 

Take off was at like 7p and she was supposed to arrive in Baltimore around 11p. Unfortunately, her flight out of ATL was grounded in (I think) North Carolina and sat there until the wee hours due to, as the airlines call it, an Act of God... i.e. crazy, windy storms. Thank the Lord that before any of this happened, my sister who lives only a few minutes from the BWI airport had offered to pick her up & bring her to my house (which is a little over an hour from BWI) in order that I might get plenty of sleep, save us some gas & allow my sis some time w/ her niblings. The plan originally was for her to be at my house & we would leave around 5a the next morning. Needless to say, she didn't make it to my house at all but it all worked out and I just picked her up on the way from my sister's home. Provision #1... actually there's all kinds of wonderful workings through out this whole part of the story but we'll just consider it #1! Yay for sleep and YAY GOD!

So begins our, we'll say, what should be about a 10-12 hour road trip.

Everything is pretty chill for the most part... kids were behaving (or sleeping) and everything seemed great. We were making really good time and managed to make it to our 1/2 way point without stopping. This is especially impressive with a 3 year old's bladder along for the ride. 

When we reached Clarksburg, WV I mistakingly got off an exit early and as I came to the stop sign noticed a fuel smell. I took note of it but I mean really, we've been on the interstate with semi-trucks and vehicles all around, it really wasn't very alarming. We head on down to the next exit and as I get off the interstate for the 2nd time, I noticed the odor again. I asked Lynz if she noticed it (as she was sitting with the kids in the back at this point to entertain until we could get some lunch), she said it was pretty strong back there & had been smelling it for a while. I did what any smart woman with a mechanic for a husband does, called him. He wasn't super alarmed but told me to check and see if anything was leaking when I get out for lunch. Easy enough. This would also be the perfect opportunity to check the oil that I had forgotten to check before leaving my sister's house.

Just as we were literally pulling into the parking lot of Chicken Play (i.e. chic fil a), Ava, who is in the very back, literally empties her stomach of all the berries she had just ingested. I'm pretty sure mom's are not supposed to be grossed out by this stuff by seriously, EW.  I must say, Malakai's 1st car sick vomit tops it by far but regardless, there is nothing like looking back to see a fountain of stomach contents pouring from your child's mouth. (Lynz graciously, and let me note here, she is NOT a mom, cleaned up the mess so that I could explore the vehicle issues)

*I will now excuse you to go to the bathroom to empty your stomach*

Welcome back... :) Now on the the original issue before Ava so rudely interrupted... ;)

1st things 1st, it only took a peak to figure out there was DEFINITELY something leaking and it wasn't condensation. It was steady dripping. I then backed the van up so I could try to figure out what the dripping fluid was... my description at the time was, "it smells like fuel but looks like oil." I pulled back into the spot & check the oil- it wasn't empty but it was really low. My gut was that it wasn't oil leaking but really, what do I know? Yeah, pretty much NOTHIN. I called Michael back, feeling a bit anxious at this point with the possibility of a fuel leak- I mean I have 3 little ones in this van- YIKES! When I finally get a hold of him, we determine it most likely is a fuel leak.

I know, I know. This doesn't seem like much of a testimony, right? We're getting there... :) The story is no good if I just skip to the end... gotta give him allll the glory He deserves :)

We start discussing the best options for what to do considering we are- minimum- 5 hours from either of our homes. Michael considers trying to find a way to Clarksburg while Lynz runs out to the parking lot to "ask the guy that looks like he might know of a good mechanic" where we could possibly take our van at lunch time on Saturday. Two separate people offer up the name of the same shop so we feel confident enough to give them a call. The shop is very close by and both Michael and the mechanic I spoke with seemed sure that we'd be safe to drive it over. 

At this point, I am nearly sick to my stomach thinking about loading my kids up in this fuel leaking vehicle but feeling left with no other choice. So, we finish lunch and make our way over to the shop. At this point my digital thing in the van says something like 8 miles to empty. Seriously though, this was the least of my worries. I am in knots over this fuel leak & my little passengers. I am not kidding you, the gut feeling was so awful. Literally, all I could do was pray in my heart of hearts for protection. I was praying in the spirit and trying to trust the Lord.

Obviously, we made over there in one piece. Within just a few minutes of putting the van on the lift, the mechanic returns the following exchange occurs:

Mech. "You were driving on borrowed time."
Me: "What do you mean? What is wrong with it?"
Mech. "Literally, if you refused to let us do the work, I wouldn't let you drive out of here in this vehicle."
Me: "Okay, so what's the deal?"
Mech. "You have a fuel leak and it was dripping down right over the exhaust which has a hole in it. You are very lucky."

WHOA! Not what a mama wants to hear. I was shocked but the weight of it didn't really hit me until later when I was thinking back on it. So let's just call this little happening, YAY, God #2.

The leak was fixed within an hour & bonus, we also got the oil changed :) All was well but we were still super low on fuel. Unfortunately, the shop was not also a gas station so off we went back across the road to find some gasoline.

The first place we came to had a parking lot that was so full of cars & so messy, we didn't even attempt to pull in. We continued on down the road hoping to get there before I ran completely out of gas... that little digital reminder was now on ZERO.  Finally, we see a sign but quickly realize their parking lot is just as full... there was literally the sweetest gas station attendant attempting to direct traffic in & out of this place. It was an absolute mad house!  I am saying, Please Lord, don't let us run out of gas. It is so hot that no ac + 3 children will = disaster. 

Lynz jumps out of the van to ask the attendant if she will get us into the lot hastily as we are about to run out & have 3 babies in the car. She graciously gets us in line. We pretty much sat in that parking lot for an hour. Here's the good part... Not once did I turn the van off. Not once did I turn down the ac. And let me tell you, we didn't sit there with it reading zero. Nope. The van didn't die. And the number actually went up. Yes, UP. To FOUR. I wish I had thought to take a pic of that... for proof. But I'm not lying. I promise. We ended up getting premium gas because by the time we got to the pump they were out of everything else. Turns out, due to the previously mentioned storms, this was the only exit within 200 mi with electic/fuel. By the time we left, the line was at least 3 hours long. It was crazy.

A cool side-note, we didn't need any fuel again for the remainder of the trip and I had just under 1/2 a tank when I got to Lexington. Usually if we don't fill up again, the tank is pretty much on E.

Time and again, I am beginning to recognize the Lord working in, through & around me. I can't deny his power because I've seen it at work. He IS my provider. He DOES love me. Like crazy loves me. He protects and he cares. And as special as these things are to my heart, He can do SO much more. 

May I encourage you to have faith. Trust Him. 

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:9-11 ESV)

Can I get an AMEN?!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In Need of a Vent.

Much of the time I try to keep my blog relatively positive... which as of late, hasn't been all that difficult. The Lord has truly blessed my heart so much it could burst! He is so wonderful. Today, I'm letting off a little steam from the past few days...

Sunday night the kids & I returned from our trip to Kentucky... I promise to write about that little adventure very soon! Monday morning was reality check. Apparently, my son left his manners, obedience & overall kindness in Kentucky. It has been terrible! He pretty much is convinced he runs this place & can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. You guys, I'm about to lose it! When he isn't completely ignoring me, he is making some smart remark or just being mean. I really don't get it. I feel terrible that when Michael calls or texts to see how the kids are, I don't have much good to say. I don't like to have to be super strict and grouchy but man oh man, he's left me no choice. 

For instance, yesterday he literally was jumping off of our entertainment center... and not alone. He had Lilly doing it with him. REALLY, son?! Like when are you EVER aloud to do that??? Yeah, never

Or how about the new (to us) easel that Aunt B bought for the kids... he and guess who... yep, LILLY were jumping off the little ledge where markers & chalk should be resting. 

OH! and I looked outside to check on him- he'd been out there all of 2 mins- he was sitting ON TOP OF THE VAN!!! My bp is rising just thinking about it! 

"WHAT are you doing up there???"
(with a big smile) "Ah... I just looove sitting up here."

Of course, the girls are also being a bit crazy- not as crazy but not themselves. They have been whiney, clingy & beginning to really test mama. Some of it I think is just the beginning of natural (almost) 2yr old phases & some of it I think it very much learned from their brother. Yesterday afternoon was filled with just about an hour straight of crying & screaming little girls. Can someone give me some hearing aids just so I can turn them down?! They'd had a good long nap so I don't know what their deals were. Thank you Jesus for "Action Bible Songs." That DVD (and my ears)!

There are so many more examples some worse than the above mentioned, some not so bad (like the 3rd time I pulled gum off of Ava's paci yesterday) but all of them put together and I'm at my wits end.  I'm tired. I'm worn out. Ready for a vacation of complete solitude. 

This morning I had hoped would be the beginning of better... unfortunately, it was not. Malakai was at his testing ways once again. I'm trying to be consistant and stick to my word which equated him losing privileges to some little army men that he was refusing to clean up. Do you actually want to read what all transpired? Probably not. Basically what it comes down to is that even once 1/2 the army men were gone and everything was picked up, he continued to test me & throw an all out screaming fit. Which of course, sent him to his room with the door closed.... it was draining but I didn't give in. He finally calmed down & has been more pleasant since. 

At the end of the whole charade, I knew I needed to calm my nerves & bring some semblance of peace back to our home so... what did I do? I prayed. I prayed for peace and I prayed for patience. I prayed with him and for him. I prayed for his sisters. I prayed for his mama.

This morning I finished the 2nd round of #shereadstruth all about surrendering to Jesus. The Lord brought to mind the song, I Surrender All and I began to write it out as a statement of faith. I don't completely live those words out in every moment & circumstance but the truth never waivers. My friend said the other day, 
"Sometimes the truth is easier believed than felt."
How true that has been for me these past couple of days. I will continue to believe and speak truth... the feelings don't always have to be there. 

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to him I freely give;
I will ever love & trust him
In his presence daily live.

As his feet I lay my children, my husband, my needs & my feelings.