The Freedom to Feel Disappointed.

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Ally has a cold.

This may sound like nothing to some of you.

Just a cold, right?

In our house, “just a cold” looks like inability to eat.

It looks like attempting to cough up mucus, dehydration, and lots of vomiting.

It looks like putting her in our bed because of very rational fears of aspiration.

It looks like hospital grade suction machines and syringing pedialyte into a feeding tube ever so often in attempts to get a wet diaper and lower a heart rate.

It looks like me sitting in my couch starting at 5 this morning, reading, praying, and typing in between helping her elevate enough to cough.

It looks like Hugh and I having casual conversations of a game plan if we end up having to get admitted, as if we are talking about the weather for the day.

Just a cold.

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“You should be exceedingly glad on this account…”- 1 Peter 1:6

Not only is this the girl’s birthday week, it is also a week that we have some fun things planned. Today was supposed to be our last meeting with the girls’ Early Intervention team- a group of people who have entered into our home and done therapy with the girls since they were less than a year old. I was even going to get my hair done tomorrow. #firstworldproblems I know; but I can really begin to throw a pity party when it seems that these things always happen just when I feel like I’m able to come up for air. As a parent of children with special needs, it’s not that you get used to watching your children suffer. It’s heart-wrenching every time; but there is a level of desensitization that has to occur in order to survive the day-to-day. I remember the first time I watched the girls get shots. It felt like the worst thing ever. I cried and cried in the car on the way home, barely able to keep it together in the doctor’s office. These days, if I cried every time a doctor or therapist did something that made Ally and Bailey Grace upset, I would spend most of our days in tears. If I lost it each time Ally struggled through a coughing spell, I wouldn’t be able to be the mom she needs me to be in her sickness. There is a level of momma turns caregiver that has to occur in these times; and I’m thankful for the grace God gives to help me do so. But, exceedingly glad?

“Set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ the Messiah is revealed.”- 1 Peter 1:13

You see, you either follow Christ or you don’t. There aren’t versions of being a Christian, or levels of Christianity, or radical versus not radical. You either set your hope fully on the grace that is coming or you don’t. Period. Sure, there are denominations and differences in theology and interpretation, yet the Gospel is the Gospel and whenever we try to add anything to it, we are substracting from the very truth of the Word of God.

Does this mean that we don’t get disappointed on this side of heaven?

No, no, no.

Look at David- he was considered by God a man after God’s own heart- and the Psalms are full of moments in which he felt temporal frustration. Having faith doesn’t mean you never experience disappointment on this side of heaven. Having faith means that you can confidently and authentically take your disappointments to the One who promises that One day, He will repay double for all the disappointment.

“They shall possess double what they had forfeited.”- Isaiah 61:7

Think about Job. After losing basically everything, he came to a deeper realization that while he may have lost it all from an earthly perspective, he possessed all he needed- namely, the friendship of God. And, Job 42:1 and 12 both claim that the end of his life was more blessed than the beginning. God outrightly says that. Now, I don’t know how this could be true in light of all the losses Job had, but I don’t have to understand it to trust it.

Friends, today I am extremely disappointed. I wish this sickness never had to enter our family but if it did, there are several other weeks I would have chosen for it to come.

But God.

I’m resting fully on His promises- like the deer that pants for water, I come to Him thirsty for the truth that He will fill these weak and hurting places and grant us the peace that only He can give.

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And, when circumstances and situations and timing leaves me wanting- I can breathe deeply in the promise that says that this world is not my home and greater things are coming.

We are not called to rejoice in the circumstance itself; we are commanded to rejoice in Him in the midst of the circumstance. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

But God.

Only God.

Today, whatever disappointment you are carrying- lay it down.

Cry out to Him and beg Him for the mercy to believe and hope and trust solely in the Greater Reality that is Jesus.

Today, in the Cheek home, it is Friday.

But, Sunday is coming.

All glory to God from now until forever.

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The Perfect Spouse.

I have to laugh sometimes at the things God puts on my heart to write about. There I am, folding laundry, in the midst of what I would call, “(No)-Sleepocalyse 2016”, when I sense God whispering (not audibly, mind you- I am sleep-deprived not delusional), “Write about what it’s like being the perfect wife”.

Say what?

Those of you with creative minds out there understand what I mean when I say that once He places this idea into my head, folding laundry turns into frantically finding paper and scribbling out random sentences that don’t quite tie together but will be laced intricately as only God can do.

It’s very therapeutic, this fleshing out of soul-manna.

Back to the perfect wife thing. This was comical to me for two reasons: one, our current reality didn’t seem to fit the theme He was going for- I was picturing something more along the lines of finding rest in Him or hope for the weary or something more timely. Two- and probably most important- I was feeling anything BUT like the perfect wife. Weeks like the past few Hugh and I have had leave us feeling like excellent teammates. I believe God has given us a unique ability to “work” together in our home. Being a really great co-worker, however, doesn’t allude to be an awesome wife. In fact, I would say that, “Loving Hugh better” has a permanent post-it on my prayer wall. But here’s the thing: I cannot write unless it’s His and not my own. Truly. My own thoughts and muddled sentences do not form anything inspiring or encouraging or truth-filled; it is only when He speaks to me that I can overflow to pour out.

So, in light of that, I want to take you on a quick journey.

It’s 2011, and I have plans of being the perfect wife.

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Now, mind you, I should’ve known how bogus that was, considering I had fallen quite short in the perfect girlfriend department (and, let’s be honest, all other departments as well). But ladies, (and gents), you know exactly what I mean when I say that I was attempting to be all that I thought Hugh wanted me to be. I went hunting with him and killed a deer because, you know, #outdoorsygirl . I had perfected the, “No-make-up” make-up look (don’t even act like you don’t know exactly what I mean). I had cooked him a handful of meals that took more time and more money than the past year of dinners probably have. I was going to be passionate about my home AND ambitious about my career, balancing both with ease and intelligence. And, when we had kids, I was going to put them in their perfect little place within our perfect little puzzle and continue my superhero abilities at being everything for everyone.

This all worked out great until I got married.

Suddenly, the picture I had in my head was not the reality I was seeing on the day to day.

It didn’t matter how much I prayed or how much I tried, I couldn’t get it down.

My weaknesses and quirks began to come out, and my plans of being exactly what Hugh wanted slowly began to unravel. I went from this:

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To this:

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“Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than the one named after the order of Aaron?… for the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son wo has been made perfect forever.”- Hebrews 7:11, 28

Aha.

Turns out, Hugh doesn’t need me to be perfect.

Our culture has twisted marriage and turned it into a selfish playground rather than the holy covenant that it is. We have treated it like it’s a happiness factory, and when the happy stops coming, the product must be broken and we move on to attempt to manufacture another. We say things like, “I just want someone to complete me” when another human being was never meant to make us whole in the first place. Friends, only Jesus has been made perfect forever. Only He can satisfy those deep unspoken needs within us. My weaknesses- our weaknesses- should not terrify us. They should not be things that we sweep under the rug or attempt to package up with a pretty bow; rather, our weaknesses should be the very things that speak this truth to our spouses:

Only Jesus satisfies.

When we begin to look at our own imperfections and the faults of those around us as more proof that we desperately need a Savior, we can love more freely instead of shaming and blaming and becoming discontent.

The truth is, even if you were in a different factory, the product flaw might look differently but it would still be there.

And- instead of trying to be everything for our spouses- why don’t we start leading them more fervently to the One who CAN be?!

Isn’t that true love?

The most sacrificial and compassionate act within a marriage is not sex, or dirty dishes, or laundry, or dinner- it’s leading our partner to the One who says never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.

Marriage is amazing. I love Hugh deeply and I am so grateful God put us together in this life- yet- let us be reminded it is a shadow of greater things to come, not the thing itself. When we realize this, it actually allows us to love each other more, not less. It takes away the expectations for our spouses to be something for us and instead, lets us simply live and love and serve alongside one another. When we ask God to fill up our cup with Himself, we don’t spend the day walking around with an empty cup asking those around us to fill it- we simply let the love He’s already given us overflow. This is true love. This is Jesus. Perfect forever.

I don’t know where you are at in life- single, dating, engaged, married. Spoiler alert: you are not going to be anybody’s perfect- you were never meant to be- yet you can lead them to the One who is. There is freedom in throwing in your, “trying to be something for everyone” towel and simply being who God created you to be. He is not surprised by your weaknesses and a spouse who knows their Creator won’t be either.

Today, may we love more fully on the basis of knowing we are fully loved. May we give ourselves and those around us the freedom to be human; and may we gratefully embrace the God who reconciled our weaknesses through His Son. Perfect forever. May we love our spouses not based on performance or expectation or personality but instead, on the basis of Whose they are and Whose image they are made in- weaknesses leading us to more of Him and His strength. His grace is enough.

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(Photo by Stacy Richardson Photography)

Rest.

“We are urgent about the body; He is about the soul. We call for present comforts; He considers our everlasting rest. And therefore when He sends not the very things we ask, He hears us by sending greater than we can ask or think.”- Richard Cecil

 “No soul can be really at rest until it has given up all dependence on everything else and has been forced to depend on the Lord alone. As long as our expectation is from other things, nothing but disappointment awaits us.”- Hannah Whitall Smith

Saturday night, I laid down in one of the softest beds I have slept in in quite some time. I closed my eyes, and was not woken up by screaming, or crying, or inconsolable pain from the room next door. Yesterday morning, I woke up ready to conquer whatever was ahead. It’s amazing what sleep can do for the body and soul.

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In the world of special needs, sleep disturbance is a pretty common issue. So many people have it much more challenging than us- kids who are literally up most of the night, every night. It seems ours comes in spurts- the harder part being that Ally and Bailey Grace have yet to line up those spurts congruently. We were so grateful that our precious nurse, Amy, seemed to have an easier night while we were gone (to put that in perspective, I think she was only up a total of five times; with neither girl being up for too long when they did wake up). Last night, the tables had turned and while Bailey Grace was up some as well; Ally was now the one who seemed uncomfortable.

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Last week, as I lay in bed around 3 am, contemplating yet again a medicine change or specific issue that could be the cause of the unknown, the Lord reminded me of two different seasons in this journey with our girls: first, He brought to mind the initial realization that our girls were unique. Then, He reminded me of our search for a diagnosis. What these two have in common is crucial: in the beginning of each, I prayed and prayed and prayed for both healing and answers. I wanted this whole thing to go away, and then, when it seemed as if God answered that prayer with, “Not yet”; I begged Him to at least give us more understanding on the whole thing. I realized that our night time debacles carried a similar theme:

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips, when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night; for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.”- Psalm 63:5-7

Don’t miss that. The truth is, while Saturday night’s sleep felt amazing, it had nothing to do with true rest. What I really need- what you really need- is rest of the soul. Each of our bodies are fading and in their own time, they will be no more. The souls of men- this is what matters. As I marinated on these verses, it hit me: we have already prayed for the girls to sleep through the night, and while there is nothing wrong with this prayer; it seems we are getting another, “Not yet” from God. If that is so, maybe what we really need is not sleep but rest. And- rest is found when we fix our eyes not on the circumstance but on the God above the circumstance. You see, each and every time the girls have woken up in the past (almost) three years, I have felt the same sinking frustration. It felt like, yet again, God had not answered my request.

Do you ever feel like that?

Do you ever feel like instead of responding, God pulls the rug out from under you yet again?

You pray and pray for a child, and the pregnancy test has one line over and over and over.

You beg God for your spouse to grow in his/her relationship with God, and it seems they are falling even further away.

You seek the prayers of many for healing, only to find new complications arising.

Is God not hearing? Or-almost more hurtful- is He just not answering your cries?

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory…”- Ephesians 3:20-21

May we never believe the lie that His, “Not yet” or even, “No” is not His best for us.

Our perspective is imperfect and fleeting at best; His is eternal.

Might our prayers change from, “This is what I want” to, “Lord, show me what I need”.

May we look at our trials not crying, “Me, me, me”; but instead, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done”.

Because the truth is, what we really need is not for all our problems to go away. Deep down, our greatest need is that we would see our Creator above all that happens on this broken planet.

Until we begin resting in the truth that all He allows can be a good gift when filtered through the lenses of forever, we will be restless in the things that don’t make sense to our humanity.

Until we, as the Psalmist says above, begin to mediate on Him instead of our situations, our souls will not find satisfaction. Yet, in our darkest of nights, if we choose to see Him above it all- even the gates of hell will not be able to take away the calm He provides.

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I wish I were someone who needed one lesson to learn the whole chapter- unfortunately, I’m a slow learner when it comes to this whole trust thing. That’s okay- there’s grace there. As I was awake with the girls last night, however, I smiled as He replaced my anxiety with more of His presence. I breathed in His promises and relaxed in the shadow of His wings, and reminded myself of all the ways He has shown His goodness to not only our family but also our brothers and sisters in the faith. I don’t know if we will ever experience sleeping through the night again, but this I do know: He is faithful. He is responsible. He is loving. Our rest comes solely from Him; and no night of sleep will ever provide the peace that trusting our God can. Seeing God in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and brings the greatest rest of all- rest of mind and heart and soul. May we cling to this today and always.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”- John 21:25

When You Want To Escape.

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It was the most free I have felt in a while.

A much-needed date night where we laughed more than we cried; conversed about silly details more than heavy realities, and then we got in the car and we drove and we drove and we drove.

The temperature was that perfect ocean feel- windows rolled down, music turned up, my hand out as the wind beat against it.

It felt like I was escaping for a few minutes.

Yep, you read that right. Sometimes, I am ready to escape this story.

This week, Hugh and I will celebrate five years of marriage. Over six months ago, we had grandeur plans of taking a longer vacation, just the two of us. Convicted that extra money should go toward the adoption, and realizing that, let’s be honest, we aren’t in a place to be able to leave our girls for an extended time, that dream dissipated pretty quickly. As I have glanced through social media this week, pictures of beaches and fine dining and laughter and carefree living have abounded.

Escape.

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“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me…”- Luke 22:42

Jesus, in the Garden of Gethesmane- a garden whose very name means, “a place or occasion of great mental or spiritual suffering”. For a few agonizing minutes, He wanted to escape. Surely, if the Son of God, who knew no sin, asked that the cup be passed- surely I am allotted days or weeks or months of the same in the midst of my humanity.

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In the beginning of this new normal, the adrenaline was still going and the reality of our story was fresh on people’s minds and the drama of twins with severe special needs was still potent. These days, the Children’s ER feels sadly comfortable and days that include seizures and medicine side effects and unknowns are more familiar than days that do not. We, and everyone else, are immune to a story that we wouldn’t have written if it were up to us. This week alone, we have watched Bailey Grace scream and cry in pain- sometimes for hour upon hour at night. No one is sleeping, and we are finally treating her for an ulcer related to the feeding tube despite not being quite sure of the source. As a mom, I can’t finds words to express the pain and helplessness involved in these dark moments. On top of that, Ally has been waking up some mornings just “off”- sometimes seemingly having clusters of seizures, sometimes just dazed and not her happy self. Again, reasons no one can quite peg. The added mundane of appointments and feeding and medications and attempts at stimulating one child who is out of it and one child who is crying and hurting feels purposeless and heavy. When friends and family call, I hear the, “Well, how are y’all?” on the other end; and it tends to have the tone someone uses when someone has lost a loved one. I usually respond with a cheery, “We are fine. How are you?”, quickly reverting to something else because the truth is, I get tired of always having heavy hards to discuss. Some days, I want to talk about things that don’t matter. Someone close to me recently mentioned that the blog sometimes felt uncomfortable because I made things sounds so challenging. Truthfully, I don’t even give the half of it on the blog. The parts I do share are simply pieces of the reality of our family’s story.

But God.

Always, but God.

If it were up to my flesh, I would be posting more pictures of playdates and nice dinners and weekend anniversary getaways and cheerful, mundane moments instead of continued reminders that the chronic nature of severe special needs isn’t going away.

But thanks be to God nothing is up to my flesh.

All those things are passing. They are here one moment, gone the next. God as our Refuge is the only Answer. You see, unbelief looks at God through the circumstances, just as we sometimes see the sun dimmed by clouds. But faith- faith puts God between itself and the circumstances. Faith looks at circumstances through God, not vice versa.

Because this is our story- because the second part of the verse says, “Yet not my will but Yours be done”, all I have to offer a watching world is the reality that my flesh is currently failing but that God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:25). That’s it. Only He can fill the dead dry places with light and life. Currently, I relate to David in the Psalms in which he said, “I thirst for You in a dry and weary land with no water”. Currently, it seems as if the fog is never going to lift. Yet God and His promises still reign true and thanks be to my Lord, things are not always as they seem and the river of God is full of water (Psalm 65:9). Living water. Eternal water. Limitless.

So, I come.

I come to His throne room day after day because His Word tells me that if I thirst, this is where I must come (John 7:37). I come because, as Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

And friend- I share this with you because I want you to hear me shouting loud and clear that we have an enemy of our souls that wants us to attempt to escape to the dust in these moments. The enemy would love nothing more than for us to cling to futile pleasures instead of resting in the shadow of the Almighty’s wings. Yet it is in these times- the ones in which we are quite literally battling to believe truth and fighting to live out the truth that only God satisfies that are faith is stretched the most and our lives are transformed for our good and His glory— and if all this sounds depressing to you, then you have missed the beautiful truth behind it—

Though there may be an enemy- greater is He that is in me (1 John 4:4).

The story does not stop in the dry and thirsty lands- it ends face-to-face with the One who saved us from futile escapes to things that are here one moment and gone the next.

He can be trusted. In His faithfulness, He is making all things new. Our situations and trials and hours do not control our God- our God controls them and He is sovereign in all things.

I am trusting that God is bigger both for you and for me.

I am believing that God’s plans are good.

I am clinging to the One who promises me that He is working.

I am setting my hoping wholly on the grace that that is coming when Jesus is revealed (1 Peter 1:13); even when my flesh would rather wallow in what seems to be the story based on my current, faulty lenses.

Will you trust Him alongside me?

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places.”- Habakkuk 3:17-19

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You are Not Unlucky.

If God sent His Son to put an ultimate end to suffering, why in the world-in this world- is there so much suffering?

“O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting?”- 1 Corinthians 15:55

For those of us who have lost someone we love- the answer to this rhetorical question is easy. It seems as if Paul is saying that there is no pain involved in dying or brokenness or sin; and to that we all would disagree.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”- Matthew 6:9-10

On earth as it is in heaven?

Really?

If Jesus came to claim victory over sin and death and pain and hurting- if God is really good and has our best interests at heart- then what is going on now? Why couldn’t it all have ended right then and there?

“Since we have the same spirit of faith (as those before us)…we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”-2 Corinthians 4:13,16-18, emphasis mine

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”- Hebrews 11:1

Faith gives us the determination that, in Christ, death and all that it entails did end at the cross.

Faith fights to believe that, yes, sin and pain and brokenness was already defeated.

Faith says that even if I do not see His victory in my current situation, I can trust and know that it is there.

Faith fixes its entire being not on the middle, but on the end.

Faith hopes in what’s to come instead of dwelling in what appears today.

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Right after we announced our adoption, it felt like the bottom dropped out in our home. I won’t go into too much detail, but from several different angles, we were feeling attacked. It felt like, in more ways than one, we were simply unlucky. I believe that the Enemy is real. I know that he hates marriage and family and adoption and all things God. I am aware that he is the father of lies. Yet, knowing these things doesn’t take away the sting of the temporal reality of hardship.

We are still on this earth and God has made it clear that this world is not our home. As He taught the people to pray, He did not say, “Pray that this earth looks like your heavenly destination”. He said, “Pray my will looks on earth as it does in heaven”. The ultimate plan for this planet is decay and rot. There are glimpses of eternity here, but they are merely passing shadows. That being said, throwing ourselves in the arms of our Father, in full assurance of faith that one day, these wrongs will be made right, is the only thing we have to do when the temporal feels and looks and seems magnified.

It’s the only way.

The Enemy wants nothing more than to make you believe that God is not for you.

He desires for you to look at your current circumstances and question how in the world God could be up to good in it.

It’s the Garden of Eden mentality-

“Did God actually say?”- Genesis 3:1

Is God actually in this cancer diagnosis?

Does God see the pain of my divorce?

Did God care when that horrible wrong happened to me as a child?

Can God really care about my daughters when seizures and feeding problems and pain persist?

Doubt.

Only you know what you currently are wrestling with; but if you have breath in your lungs I can promise you that the Enemy of your soul is working hard at trying to talk you into believing absolute lies.

He comes to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

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For a couple of months, Hugh and I have been in quite the battle to believe the Spirit is working when the circumstances around us felt like anything but. Between the girls’ hospitalization when Hugh was out of the country, looming seizures, a surgery confirmation for Ally (that happens tomorrow), illness, a life-changing hurt from someone we trusted, and some looming negative emotions that would not let up no matter how much we prayed for it to be so, we have been worn thin.

But God.

This week, He has absolutely shown Himself and His provision in ways that we could not have imagined.

After feeling like the dark cloud was never going to lift; like the bottom was going to continue to fall out, He has poured out more grace in more ways that I could list one after another. And- in hindsight- He in His perfect wisdom made that black cloud the very thing that has helped us to see His presence in the aftermath- not one moment wasted. He has reminded me yet again that no child of God is left to luck or chance- He is sovereign over all things and using all things for His glory and our ultimate good.

He has placed opportunities in front of us that we are undeserving of, and in spite of our roller coaster game of trusting and shortly after doubting that He was actually working, He has remained faithful. Why?

Because that’s just who He is.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful- for He cannot deny Himself.- 2 Timothy 2:13

It’s not that everything is suddenly perfect; it’s just that the veil has been lifted a touch more and we are seeing tangible signs that obedience is worth it- that He is with us and He is more than worth it.

Friends, it may seem as if the Enemy has taken the script of your life and absolutely rewritten its plot, but rest assured that if you are in Christ, all the moments of your life are secured and defined and planned out with the precious blood of the One who loved you enough to take your broken story and make something more beautiful than you could ever design.

He is working.

Read that again, friend.

He is working- in your story and in mine- and in all reality, they are both His.

Today, may you be encouraged that this hard, magnified, consuming thing is most certainly light and fleeting.

He does have the victory.

This thing- whatever this thing is- is not going to break you- unless He uses it to break you in order to make you something all the more beautiful and whole.

And, if you are in the trenches of the hardest battle of your life, whether external or internal, rest assured in knowing that there is no one safer to fling yourself today than your Savior’s arms who walked the road of Calvary to relieve you from anything and everything that causes suffering or brokenness or pain or sin or death.

Not now, but then.

Not today, but for all eternity.

All glory and honor and power and praise to Him for now and forevermore.

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“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken…”- Hebrews 12:28a

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Pancake Fails and Heavenly Realities.

“Heaven is not here, it’s there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”- Elisabeth Elliot

Last week, I was going to make Hugh the perfect pancakes.

Perfect because they included all the things currently deemed healthy; perfect because it was a Monday morning and I, being the all-American wife (ha), was going to get up bright and early and have his piping hot, nutritionally-sound breakfast waiting by his Bible.

They were disgusting.

Like, not the kind of disgusting that you can rationalize. The kind that you don’t even put in your dog’s bowl because the Spirit inside of you reminds you it wouldn’t be right to let any living creature consume what you just created.

In full disclosure, I didn’t take a picture of my pancakes. But if you can imagine chalky and chunky and gooey (if that combination is possible), you have a pretty good idea. I googled, “healthy pancake fail” and even the worst picture I found looked better than what was on Hugh’s plate.

So, instead of Hugh starting his Monday off on the right foot, he attempted to stomach approximately three and a half bites of said breakfast (despite my strong discouragement to not put himself through it) and left the house probably feeling nauseous.

This morning, I was determined to make all wrongs right. I found a recipe that included three-fourths heathy and one-fourth normal (because I am pretty positive that’s where I went wrong in the first place. Moderation, right?) As I flipped the last pancake onto a plate, I smiled in satisfaction. They looked good. I tried a bite- they tasted good. Success, right?

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Sort of.

There was still something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but they simply weren’t the best pancakes I had ever put in my mouth. They didn’t require a whole bottle of maple syrup, but it certainly didn’t hurt. My expectations still not quite met. I wanted this:

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Now, mind you- I haven’t tasted these; but by the looks of them, Emma’s Kitchen had conquered the pancake beast a touch more than myself.

You can certainly start sending me all your full-proof, decently nutritional pancake recipes, but on this Saturday morning, I have a simple truth I want to share with each of you:

Heaven is not here, it’s there.

Friends, until we meet Jesus face-to-face, our flesh is still going to be very present in all that we are and all that we do.

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”- Romans 7:15,16

This truth is our reality each and every day. Yes- if you are a Christ-follower, you have freedom to choose to allow the Spirit to do the walking and talking and reacting and acting instead of the flesh- yet, don’t miss this- while on earth, sometimes, the flesh is going to be more obvious than the Spirit within. Always. We are never going to reach a point on this side of heaven in which sanctification is fully complete and we are like Jesus in all that we are and all that we speak and all that we do.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”- 1 Corinthians 13:12

But God.

The beautiful, amazing, undeserving, life-changing truth is that the God of the universe sees you through the greater reality of His perfect, spotless Son. Heaven is not here, it’s there- yet, praise be to God, He is already in heaven, seeing us as Jesus!

Friends, if we spend our entire lives disappointed because the pancakes aren’t perfect- we are going to absolutely waste our days. Focusing on the imperfections- blaming it on a type A personality- is not holy- it’s distrusting of a Holy God who has already deemed you righteous through Jesus.

Life with our girls has taught me so much about looking at the bigger picture instead of individual snapshots. And, wonderfully so, this has allowed me to live much more freely and enjoy each and every moment more fully, not less. Yesterday morning started out in the ER. Ally had a seizure that would not stop- that went on for thirty minutes even with emergency meds. This has never happened before, and the temptation to base our entire day on these few hours would have certainly been there a few months prior. But now? Now, I can see that while the day started out at Children’s, it ended with giggles and laughs and ice cream and less brain misfiring.

Still not in full, but in part- yet, having no expectations for the whole there, here; and simply being grateful for the glimpses of heaven we get to participate in along the way.

On this beautiful Saturday, friends, might we take our eyes off of the things that aren’t as we feel they should be- the relationships that we wish we could change, the personalities that aren’t behaving as we wished, the circumstances that we had hoped would be different- and instead, might we not only accept but also find hope in the fact that the perfect pancakes are waiting for us in heaven and heaven alone. May we enjoy each and every mili-second of a moment in light of that truth- putting no expectations on ourselves or on those around us- finding all our satisfaction in the only One who truly satisfies.

All glory to Him and Him alone.

“Find rest in God alone. Your hope comes from Him.”- Psalm 62:5, emphasis mine

Ultimate Healing.

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I sat on the floor in a room full of friends that suddenly felt like strangers.

I felt naked, stripped, as they all looked intently at me; waiting for me to continue on.

It was November 13, 2014- the day before my birthday.

It was also November 13, 2014- the day before the neurologist appointment that brought to light pieces of the Lord’s plan for our family.

I had not yet shed one tear. I was in such a state of denial that my brain could not even begin to fixate on the truth of what was happening, and, “Everything will be fine” and, “It’s nothing serious.”

“I just…” Lump in my throat bigger than an avalanche.

“I guess you should pray…” Silence.

“I just don’t want this to be happening and I don’t want anything to be wrong!” The avalanche, out from within, poured out on the floor. My shoulders were shaking from how violently I was weeping; and suddenly, I had no control over the fact I felt naked and stripped, nor did I care anymore.

Our small group did all they could- gathered around me and simply prayed. Some prayed for healing, others for peace. The miracle in that moment was that the tears stopped, I took a deep breath in, and pulled it together in a matter of minutes.

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I still feel like that same avalanche stays somewhere inside. It has yet to come out as powerfully as it did that night, despite many, many more appointments, hards and deep-seated griefs.

From that point forward, I spent at least six months begging God to heal our girls.

Little did I know, He was doing something much greater.

He was healing the souls of many through their sufferings.

As time has gone on, He has performed a larger miracle than pulling my emotions together that night on our living room floor.

He has transformed my desires, given me new eyes, so much so that my prayer has changed.

I no longer pray for earthly healing for our girls. His Spirit within begs for much greater things.

I simply pray for God to continue to use their little, glorious lives to make Him known.

This prayer He has answered according to His perfect will- yes, yes, yes.

The remainder of this post is going to soothe the hearts of those who have walked it and step on the toes of those who simply don’t want to see it.

That’s okay.

Believe me, there are truths in God’s Word that I, point blank, don’t always like hearing.

Submit to your husband.

Put others’ needs before your own.

Love your enemies.

Make internal beauty the focus, not external.

These are hard things; things my flesh writhes against.

But God.

He asks that I hear them anyway.

So today, I am praying you would open your heart to meditate on a few things that I believe God desperately needs His children to soak in.

As a Christ follower, what is your prize?

Now, the Sunday School answer is clearly Jesus Himself.

Yet- do we live like this? Do we pray like this? Do we desire this for the people closest to us? More of Him and less of ourselves.

And- are we willing to walk through the suffering in order to attain the prize?

Most “Church people” would be quick to say yes to this one- but is this the culture we have set up in our communities?

More often than not, in our small group, I find us praying for the wants of our flesh rather than the perspective of the Spirit.

We pray for earthly healing. We ask for disease to be taken away. We want the miracle that we see on this side of heaven instead of claiming the truth that the true miracle is that whatever we are walking through- if it involves suffering, sin, or death- was ultimately destroyed at the cross.

Do we want to spend our “meantime” asking God to make us comfortable and safe and happy during our short days here; or do we want to spend our “meantime” asking Him to make us more like Himself?

Scripturally speaking, isn’t our ultimate goal that the nations would know Him? That His name would be known and souls would be won- not bodies fixed or earthly comforts attained?

“We know that for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose, all things work together for good.”- Romans 8:28

This becomes our silent mantra when trials appear. It was mine. I remember journaling, so confidently, that He was going to work out our girls’ suffering for His good. And He has. He continues to. What I didn’t take into account then that He has given me the grace to see now is that His ways are so completely different from mine.

Friends, I want to tell you that I will pray for healing for you. And from an eternal perspective, you can bet I will. I will storm the gates of heaven and intercede on behalf of your soul- so much so that when it comes to whatever trial God has allowed to come into your life, I will simply pray that you see more of Him in it all. This isn’t exactly the prayer warrior many of us desire. Yet, if the goal- if the prize- is more of Jesus, and if His ways are not our ways, then it would seem that the loving prayer is always going to put God in the center and our temporary circumstances to the side.

Do I believe that God performs miracles?

Absolutely. If I didn’t, I would not believe He was Sovereign and Almighty and as Other as He is.

Yet, taking on an eternal perspective, I just want to suggest that maybe we should pray less for trials to stop and more for us to see Him in the trial.

More of Him, less of me.

For my friends who have lost parents and children and siblings and friends- He is working for the good of those who love Him.

For those whose infertility has not ended in a baby, despite many prayers for that to be the case- He is working for the good of those who love Him.

For the person whose cancer has not or did not end in earthly healing- He is working for the good of those who love Him.

It is not because He loves some more or some less. It isn’t because they had more people praying than you. It’s certainly not because your faith was too weak. No. We will never know the why’s behind His choices on this planet; but what we can know is this: He is good. He is Sovereign. He loves us fiercely and if you know Jesus- eternal healing awaits.

Joni Eareckson Tada says it this way, “Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves…anyone who takes the Bible seriously agrees that God hates suffering. Jesus spent most of His time relieving it. But when being healed becomes the only goal-‘I’m not letting go until I get what I want’- it’s a problem.”

Maybe the miracle you need to ask for is the one that could be performed in your heart- the one that says, “Though you slay me, yet I will praise you”. (Job 13:15). The change of heart that, despite sheer pain and emotional toil, chooses to cling to the Savior.

Which is harder- saying, “God is so good!” when the suffering stops; or trusting, “God is good” when it continues?

I can promise you this- because Ally and Bailey Grace’s special needs, Hugh and I have an eternal handicap to God that we are forever grateful for.

It’s not always easy. Some days- like yesterday-are really, really hard. I spent a lot of yesterday crying. I was frustrated with the seizures, stressed out with our medications, discontent with my day, and mainly just stomping my feet at God and His plans. It was simply a bad day. But God. He carried me through it. And you know what?

Even our worst days on earth are worth it for the promise of the prize of eternity with the Lord. He is worth it.

Today, may the words of the Psalmist be true in each of our lives- may we, “Put our hope in God” and may our hope not be in what He does but simply in who He is. May we trust Him to be God and believe that He will always offer us limitless amounts of Himself and know that is enough. May external circumstances and desires be trumped by internal transformation and Godly fixation on His glory and His glory alone- no matter what His answers to our prayers might be. He is faithful in all things.

He is our Prize.

All glory to Him and Him alone.

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The Genetics Behind Our Adoption.

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I will never forget the day we got the call, the one that said the girls’ mutation was de novo, a small phrase that holds a lot of weight in this whole genetics thing. You see, some diseases appear through the passing on of genes from those who are carriers of particular things; others just happen at “random”. While I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing random about the way the Lord created Bailey Grace and Ally; we are also aware at this point that the HECW2 mutation is one in which Hugh and I are not carriers. In fact, after doing thorough genetic testing, our physicians told us there was no reason to not have more children biologically.

So why are we adopting?

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It was 2011, the year Hugh and I got engaged. We were in Ethiopia, and a teammate of ours had just spent some time with the birth mother of his child, an Ethiopian woman from the town we were staying in. He had purposely come on this trip in order to do this, and as he shared details about the meeting, I looked over at Hugh and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. I was bawling. We didn’t talk about it that day, but not everyone was as emotionally affected by that testimony as we were. I spent the rest of the night thinking about what a beautiful depiction of the Gospel adoption was.

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I was sitting on the porch of a guest house in Bangkok, Thailand after spending three weeks in Bangladesh, living among a precious people in their small village. I listened to a worship song as I was praying and praising God for who He was, and all I could think about was all the children that we had come across that didn’t seem to have a home. Now, in the village, all the children were well taken care of whether it was by their biological parents or someone else; but in Thailand, there were signs of orphans displayed throughout the streets. I didn’t want it to be so. That afternoon, Hugh and I had a conversation about adoption. We didn’t know when, we didn’t know how, but we just knew that it played a role in our story.

“Before Christ came, Jewish people were the only ones considered God’s chosen people. It was all about genetics. But Jesus… because of Christ, none of our genes are relevant anymore. The only thing that is relevant is God and His glory…He has given His perfect genes to you. “- On Milk and Honey, p. 40-41

 There have been seasons of my life in which I hated- absolutely hated- who I had become. I was insecure, inconsistent, and seemed to never be able to get it right. As God has worked in me, I have seen that I will never be able to fully get it right- and that I don’t have to because He already did at the cross. As a Christ follower, His reputation, His record, and His character are quite literally mine. I have a new identity.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”- 2 Corinthians 5:17

Adoption is the most beautiful parallel of what God has done for us as His children. He has made us His own.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1

That is what we are.

Children of the Living God.

Based on what He did, who He is, and whose He says we are.

“…to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”- John 1:12-13

We want to adopt not because we are fearful of “having another one of our own”. We want to adopt because we believe that God has made another one of His children quite literally our own, and that He is calling us to have a child not on the basis of flesh and blood but on the basis of the Gospel.

This child, this one who will be known and loved-the child whose days have been written before the beginning of time- will be as much “ours” as Ally and Bailey Grace. I say this with quotes because really, all of our children are simply entrusted to us by God to care for and love for this short time on earth. They are all His and He gets to choose what their lives look like. Because of Ally and Bailey Grace, this truth has been imprinted on Hugh and I’s hearts since the first few months of the girls’ lives.

And- if I don’t believe a child who was adopted is as much of a member of a family as a child who was birthed biologically- then I don’t fully believe the Gospel and the miracle of what God has done for each of us who are in Christ.

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Friends, I wrestled so much with Ally and Bailey Grace’s position in adding to our family. I have very literally grieved what it is going to be like to have, at times, a new focus. I have felt guilty about the possibility of us experiencing what is “normal” for most other families. But God. He has reminded me that, if He has called us to add to our family, this was a part of the plan from before the beginning of time. We may not have seen Baby Cheek in the picture all along; but He always has. With tears in my eyes I tell you how often in this process I have looked Ally and Bailey Grace in the eyes and reminded them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that we are not choosing to have another child because of anything to do with them or how they were created- and I mean that with every fiber of my being. They are not considered or loved any less because of this choice. The truth is, we should never make choices based on a feeling of lack or need. God has supplied us with everything we need in Him, and when we begin to give earthly things more weight than they deserve, we are teetering on the fine line of idolatry.

Getting married to Hugh did not complete me.

Having Ally and Bailey Grace did not complete me.

Adding to our family will not complete me.

I was completed at the cross in Christ and anything that occurs on this earth is supposed to deepen and strengthen that truth, not replace it.

So friends, we adopt because we were adopted.

We adopt because He has planned it from before the world began.

We adopt because we believe with all our hearts that there is a child out there that may not spend time in my womb but is very literally imprinted on my heart.

We adopt because there is someone who was meant to call us mommy and daddy and the girls sissy since before the idea even came into our senses.

We adopt because, in Christ, our genetics are His.

All glory be to Him and Him alone.

***As always, if you would like to contribute to #bringinghomebabycheek , there are links at the top to our GoFundMe as well as our t-shirts.***

View More: http://trishiaralstonphotography.pass.us/cheek-family-session

(photograph above by Trishia Ralston photography)

He Frees Us.

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“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”- Hebrews 13:14

I woke up sort of feeling like I have been hit by a train. One of the girls slept well last night, and the coughing was minimal for the other. All the adrenaline from the past few days and nights is wearing off, and I am finally going to begin to feel the physical effects of what just happened.

We are “home”.

I state this in quotes because after walking through the week that we have, I am even more relieved to say that this world is not our final destination.

It’s just not.

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“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”- Galatians 5:1

Many of you have wondered or asked what sickness the girls had. When they sent off the virus panel, a part of me hoped for something more glamorous- something that, logically, would have put us in the hospital.

A cold. They have a cold.

This is the second hospitalization we have had with the rhinovirus, a fancy word that many children walk around with for months and months with no effect.

I was really hoping that the gtube was going to prevent future dehydration and severe illness from these kinds of things, and while it has certainly helped, it is clear that we still need to be diligent in protecting our girls’ delicate little bodies.

Hugh wrote his prayer warriors an email this morning, and he said this sentence,

“May we not be slaves to circumstance or objects of logic- but free to serve Christ.”

Objects of logic.

Logically, this week has been a nightmare.

I could spend all the time in the world dwelling on and thinking about the details of it all- how odd it seems that the girls have never been in the hospital at the same time, yet the one week of the year we feel called to have Hugh leave the country, they are admitted within twelve hours of one another.

The level of spiritual warfare in the details of our circumstances this week has been palpable.

We have an enemy of our souls who would have loved for us to respond in fear.

But God.

Having faith in the midst of “no matter what” does not require you to be a strong person. Having faith in the midst of anything- putting aside all logic and all situational details- simply but profoundly requires you to be so rooted in Christ that come what may, you are reminded that in Christ, you are quite literally, “raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6).

We don’t have to camp out in the brokenness of this earth when we know our souls have a permanent position at the right hand of God, solely based on Christ and His record and His righteousness and His act of love on the cross.

It is well with my soul only because of Jesus.

As the sweet old hymn states,

“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.”

Friends, grace teaches us to fear God with a holy, non-condemned, worshipful fear so that we do not have to fear anything else.

Though the mountains might move, we won’t be shaken.

In Christ, the details of this world can always be trumped with the sheer knowledge that we are promised we stand as permanent pillars in the house of God (Revelations 3:12).

It may seem like we are stuck shoulder deep in the mire and muck of whatever is in front of us, but rest assured, things are not as they seem.

A greater reality exists in the unseen, and like Paul, we can confidently say,

“…But none of these things moved me.” (Acts 20:24)

He promises us that as our days, so shall our strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).

We cannot fathom the strength we are going to need tomorrow; nor were we ever supposed to be able to do so.

That’s the point.

That’s where faith steps in.

Like the lepers that were cleansed from their disease in Luke, we must know that we will not receive healing or faith or resolve or peace without stepping forward in trust and obedience.

“As they went, they were cleansed.”- Luke 17:14

I can confidently type these words because I very literally just experienced one of the most challenging weeks of my life thus far, and as I went, I was cleansed from my fears and upheld by His sovereign hand.

Beloved- afflictions are simply threshing instruments God uses to loosen us from the world (Isaiah 28:29). There is nothing enjoyable about them at the time, but as a believer, there is a deep-seated peace that is given in the midst that surpasses all understanding or “objects of logic”.

If you are stuck in logic you can never be rooted in Jesus.

At 3 in the morning on Monday night, as I walked from the hospital room where I had been up all night with a child who miserable- coughing and vomiting up blood every few minutes- to the Emergency Room to meet my mom and friends who had my other sweet baby girl, covered in the blood she had vomited up, lethargic and certainly needing medical attention- I simply carried my Bible.

I opened it up as I went to meet them, and 2 Chronicles 32 stared me in the face,

“Do not be afraid of dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

I may not be up against a king but there is an enemy and his horde of demons is real and if this sounds crazy to you, than you have never walked through a trial with God as your General. The war has already been won. He sees the victory. Yet, for us to be able to grasp this, we must participate in some of the battles. Yet, don’t miss this: only by His strength. We say yes to Him and He does to the rest- not with an arm of flesh but with the power of the Almighty God of the universe. And, because it’s quite literally not us fighting, we don’t have to feel strong to be confident in the reality that He most certainly does.

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We have almost come out of the other side of this particular trial, yet I am sure there will be another one around the corner. I do not know what it will look like, how much of a breather we will have in between, but this I do know- I am relieved that He is the One who fights for me. I am assured that He will give me the ability to walk through whatever may come as I fix my eyes on Him and as I take hold of the freedom that has been offered in Christ.

Unmoved.

Unshaken.

Only by His grace.

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”- Psalm 119:71

May our love for the Lord, the One who gave His life up for us so that we could be freed from the brokenness of sin and death and suffering forever; may this love propel us to see these hard things we go through as stepping stones to more of Him and a greater grasp of eternal perspective. We must allow God to have His way with us in order to experience the benefit of this peace no matter what is placed in front of us.

All glory today to Him and Him alone.

“The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come; ‘tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”- John Newton, Amazing Grace

God in the Mundane.

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I get out syringes, two bottles, tubing extension and the morning medications.

Like clockwork, I prepare all the things that keep the girls as comfortable as possible throughout the day.

I could do it blindfolded.

I vent each of their bellies, feeling content if I am able to get a good bit of gas out; feeling concerned if the color of their stomach contents seems to contain any sign of illness.

After feeding the girls and keeping them upright for some time, we get dressed and ready for whatever the day holds.

Sometimes, we have several therapy appointments.

Usually, a doctor’s appointment is thrown in every week.

An exciting day includes a walk with a friend or errands out and about.

“How old are they?”

“It’s about time for a nap, momma. They are almost asleep!”

“Are they identical?”

“They are so good just to sit there.”

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Each night, after Hugh gets home and we feed the girls dinner, the sleep battle begins. A good night means sleep comes within the first thirty minutes; a bad night makes for an hour or so of restless tossing and turning and stair running and pacifier giving, with the occasional random vomiting thrown in. Once they finally settle down to sleep, I will stare diligently at the monitor for an hour or so until one of the girls begins to have a seizure. Hugh or myself will quickly make our way to their room, sit beside her bed and let her know we are there until her brain begins to fire normally again. She will smile and fall asleep once again. Hugh and I will spend a few minutes reading, watching t.v., or playing cards; then we will lay down and hope that we are able to sleep for a few consecutive hours.

Tomorrow will begin the same way as today, unless sickness or seizure or a new something rears its head.

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“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory.”- Ephesians 3:20

We all have those defining moments in our lives. The things that bring trial and suffering or big joys and celebrations. Yet, most of our lives are spent in these middle times, in the mundane. Each one of us has a day-to-day that looks a little different; yet I would say that while we crave a sense of routine, we also despise it a bit. We feel we are meant for more in the moments that feel so plain. We desire for our hearts and lives to be set afire with passion and adventure; yet the reality of responsibility and “normal” living meets us each morning.

“For to this end (godliness) we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God.”- 1 Timothy 4:10

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”- 1 Timothy 6:6

God is teaching me the beauty of the little moments. We have heard it said by many that we will find ourselves looking back on our lives and realize the small things were the big things. Most particularly when our minds are busy with all the tasks of the day, with the to-do lists, I think the key to contentment is seeing God in those very moments. The truth is, most of us live most of our days in the middle. What I mean is, in between the life-changing, life-breaking events, most of our days are full of the little things. Our minds can race and churn with the busyness of whatever is in front of us until a big thing happens to stop us in our tracks; yet what joy is found when we make the thing in front of us, the person in front of us, the most important thing. God does not desire for you to wait for a crisis to come to realize the importance of a moment; He yearns for you to see the moment’s importance, now. Our God is a God invested in each and every detail. Look at creation. It doesn’t take long in an aquarium or zoo (or, gasp, simply exploring the great outdoors) to realize that He was intricately involved in each and every part of each and every creature. So many different types of birds and flowers and trees; each serving its own purpose that only our Creator knows in full. So many different people knit together in millions of ways. It’s always amazing to me that out of thousands of years, no two human (even identical twins I will point out!) have ever looked exactly the same. If you have breath in your lungs, the very moment in front of you matters and has eternal significance. When we begin to live in light of this truth, the mundane doesn’t feel so mundane anymore. As a Christ-follower, I confess that it is easier for me to see God in the big things. Yet, is He not equally present in one drop of rain or one flake of snow as He is in the storms and blizzards? So it is with us. Friends, this weekend, may we fixate on whatever He has before us. May we not look the the week ahead or even the hour ahead. True joy is found in seeing I Am right here, right now.

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“From the ends of the earth will I cry unto Thee; when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”- Psalm 61:2

Oh, might we see that the Rock is in this very moment. He hems in behind and before so that we can embrace whatever He has for us, today, in this small yet meaningful bit of eternity. When we know the God of the universe is living and active and present, we are able to find adventure in each and every bit of the time He has given us on this spinning planet. All is grace. All glory and honor and power and joy to Him now and forevermore.

He is here, beloved. Oh, might we pray for eyes to see.