Friday, December 7, 2012

The Christmas Necessity: Inspired by Toshas Message @ DC

Tonight was an incredible night at the Christmas Tea @ DC church and the message was extraordinary! Tosha did a great job explaining what Christmas truly means and how the Story of Mary and Martha changed her view on The Holiday Season. Like all things, in my Prayer time with Jesus, I came home and read the story for myself. I feel as though I am meant to write what the story means to me and what it means for this Christmas. 

" Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village, and a woman by the name of Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lords feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving and she went up to him and said," Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But The Lord answered her," Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken from her." 

Okay, so a few things that really hit home with me. 

One it starts off with Jesus traveling through a place and entering into a town. So in this scenario, it reminds me of when Jesus was close to a friend of mine and she introduced him to me. Jesus was traveling through town and through her to get to MY hearts door. It wasn't until he got close enough that I could welcome him in. 

The 2nd thing, I want to take a second to look at Mary and at Martha. The contrast is significant... To me, they represent my Sinful human Nature and the Holy Spirit God leaves with us. In the Story, it's Martha, the Sinful woman, who lets Jesus in,  but it's Mary who recognizes him and Sustains the bond with him. While Martha is busy hustling through her chores, distracted, as one may be by the world, Mary is quietly sitting at Jesus' feet. 

Mary is an example to me of what the Holy Spirit acts as... The Spirit sits at the feet of The Lord and keeps us calm and relaxed and is completely focused on the Savior and it brings Peace. It does not leave, even when Martha complains and says Mary isn't helping... It's because Mary is setting the example to live by. Just like the Holy Spirit sets the example and is as close to us as a "brother or sister." 

Another thing I Find interesting is in the story It doesn't say that it was Mary's house. It says it was Martha's. We must invite Jesus into our house--which is our body the Lord designed for us--and also accept the Holy Spirit, which in this story I believe is Mary illustrating what the Holy Spirit is here for.  

A lot of times we feel like we are doing things on our own just like Martha, but that's because we are trying to do so many things that God  isn't asking of us. The Holy Spirit is there to show you and guide you into what's important, it's not going to get up and help keep you distracted from God, but rather show you that you should find comfort at the feet of Jesus and realize what's truly important.

One last thing to tie it into the Holiday Season... 

Jesus Entered the Village.... and Mary did the right thing by sitting at Jesus's feet, stress free, in awe of him.... 

How much more then, should we be at his feet during Christmas when he not only entered into the home of our heart, but entered into the world as our Savior?  

This Christmas it's not about preparation, but about sitting in awe of our Savior, the Son of God who entered into this world to embrace all of us as sons and daughters. 

:-)) I pray everyone has an extremely awesome Christmas and again this is just my view on what this story means to me. 

I Pray that all of you dive deep into the Word to find what makes yours and Gods relationship truly unique. I pray that this season does not discourage anyone from the stress, but encourages  everyone to find that quiet, peaceful place in the midst of the most busy season of our year. I pray everyone is inspired to confidently move in the direction God is leading and to face the end this year fearlessly, knowing that  God  has something greater in the year to follow. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jailing Jesus

There is one thing, as Christians... thats easy to fall into..

It's something we all struggle with from time to time... We wonder why people make the decisions they make and we turn straight to the Word of God... And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with Looking to the Bible for Answers-- in Fact it's important that we do-- but it's when we look there and only there and we don't open up our hearts to what God is telling us.

We have an idol in our lives and it's The Bible.

Now, I am not saying The Bible is bad. No way! No how! I think it's important to read and get to understand God for who he is and the characteristics he possess. While the stories are deep and ever changing and the life lessons are numerous and outstanding... We cannot think that The Bible is the only way God talks to us!

If the Bible is the only way God talks to us, that's saying WE have the power, he doesn't. That's saying, we are inControl, he's not. Why? Because if he only speaks to us in the Bible, then that's saying if we aren't reading it we can MUTE God.

How many know that this concept simply isn't true! God doesn't stop talking when we stop reading-- while it's important to read the bible to know the many voices-- we can't limit God.

We learn in the Bible to discern the voice of God from Satan. But if Satan can speak without the Bible and so Can God, we just need to read to know his voice-- not so we can "force" God to tell us things, but so we can open up our minds to the things he wants to say... Softly.

As we get deeper into our faith we start to feel like we fail when we forget to read the Word... And it stinks... But it can't be a ritual. We must get to Know God so we can let him work in and through us...

We cannot book God into the Bible and contain him in the pages! He is BIGGER. We cannot keep him captive. We must set him free so we too may have freedom!!

When is the last time you had a question about moving somewhere or if you should buy something or if you should give something or if you should take a job or turn down a job or have children ?

I am going to Guess God didn't say in the pages of the Bible "Move to Hawaii, or Have 15 babies, or Take that Job." No, he answered you specifically in prayer... But also because you know the word and can hear his voice...

This might be confusing-- and I hope it came out the way I intended-- for this is the message I am trying to reveal:

Don't make the bible more important than the God who wrote it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Thief of Blessings

Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house. Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house.
“But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”
Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.”
“No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king.
Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.
Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”
Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child—please do not kill him!”
But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”
Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!” (1 Kings 3:16-27 NLT)

How Practical today for me to read!

I was praying for wisdom and figured King Solomon was a Great place to start, but God had a different problem in my heart he needed to bring to my attention.

I have read this story a thousand times-- as a matter of fact-- it's one of my favorite. God challenged me to look not at the surface but deeper, to think about the two women-- not Solomon like I originally thought.

The two women are a prime example of how Life is. Both Women were blessed with a child-- but the depiction here is showing that the child in itself is the blessing. One woman let her blessing die and tried to steal the other. To me, she represents Evil, represents Satan.

Satan, is a thief who comes in the night, just like this woman, to steal our blessing that God has given us... That God has kept alive.

A lot of times, we are given something and if we aren't in constant prayer, we can lose our grip and Satan will snatch it away.

At first, the woman who the baby truly belongs to... Is hurt and mad and goes to Solomon to have the issue resolved. She wants her baby back... She knows the truth... She knows the blessing is hers and she is going to fight for it...

I believe the baby was taken away because it was the most important thing in her life in this time. She put her baby above all else... Even above God who gave her the baby, the blessing.

See, God allows Satan to take things that we put above him... So we learn that only God is what we need.

King Solomon, acts as a Godly figure in this scene... When the women come to him, the woman whose baby it is asks for the baby... But then when he says cut the baby in half... She realizes what's truly important.. That the blessing lives... That the baby lives... Rather than her having it... She gives up Her blessing... Because she wants to see it grow up... Not die.

But the woman who represents Satan, doesn't care about the blessing, she just doesn't want the woman to have it... But she doesn't truly want the baby... That's how Satan acts. He doesn't want the blessing of God, but he will take it from us and destroy it, just so we won't have it.

The moral of this story for me... Is that God will allow satan to take something Good away from us, if we make that Good thing more important than God.

Our blessings should never be more important than the one that blesses.

Not only that, but as soon as the woman In her heart said "take it." Solomon knew, And gave it back to her.

When we give God his blessing back and choose him over the blessing... Over the thing we care about the most... He gives it back. He always gives it back to those willing to sacrifice on behalf of him.

Have you been handed something dead by Satan that God said would Flourish? Have you looked Closely at the blessing or have you just accepted it for what it is? Do you love the blessing more than the one who blesses?

Re-evaluate your heart and God will give your blessings life and hand them back to you.

My problem: I love the money I make, and I have a hard time giving, but I. Choose to give because the blessing isn't more important to me than the one who blesses and I know that he has already promised me I will be prosperous-- I just can't let Satan put something dead in the place of my hope.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Desiring "Change"

“Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the LORD. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you. (Joshua 7:13 NLT)

So many times I have found myself in a spot of desiring things that need changed. I find faults easy and ask God to remove them.

I tell God what he's not doing or what people aren't doing or what people are acting like and I get extremely upset because things aren't changing the way I want.

This is perfect for me today. I point my finger at my closest friends and family and ask God why they aren't Changing. I point my finger at my enemies and I say they should forgive!

Well here's the truth: We have to stop pointing our fingers at things that need changed and start pointing them back at ourselves because when we find something wrong with someone else, it normally stems from something that's not right in us.

Today God is telling me to "Purify", "Get Up", "Remove Things from YOU."

In the scripture above God doesn't say you can defeat enemies when they remove stuff, but when we remove stuff... Stuff we hold onto in our hearts can keep our enemy victorious... It could be anger, regret, control, jealousy, distrust, insecurity, bitterness, dishonesty, etc, But we aren't suppose to live this way.


We can't "change" anyone until we ourselves are living the way God asks us too. This will allow others to see our example and we must... must... learn to remove All Things, All emotions, All binds that the enemy tells us is "normal" and "natural" and "right".... that clutter up our hearts to keep us from His uplifting Truth and desire nothing more than The Love of God and a deeper truth that secures us.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love Connection Finale - Jamie's Take

The days following we finally got back home and settled, Pax got newborn pictures taken by a dear friend and we met Lesa for lunch. We had the typical doctors appointments and were adjusting to life without consistent sleep. 

Having in Paxton in our lives made everything more right. As if was suppose to be here with us all a long. In random moments, Ben and myself would be brought to tears by how good God was. We would make up night time songs to sing to him and embrace him on our skin while watching television.

Our relationship with Lesa blossomed into a beautiful friendship. Her and I would attend women’s church functions together and randomly text throughout the week just to check up on each other. God was shaping her heart. She was disconnecting from him while at the same time loving him. She has never overstepped or requested to see him - it’s always been fluid. We would hang out with or without him, snag coffee and talk about Jesus, church and life. 


Our family feels complete in this season and I know the Lord has more for us, we are content. We still are graced with God’s provision with the entire adoption. Some of the most monumental moments we encouraged Lesa’s presence. Some she was able to attend, some she was out of town and wasn’t able to attend. We didn’t have the normal time allotted to prepare mentally and physically for a baby but it was always as though it was just right and Pax was meant for us. 

Paxton was dedicated to the Lord at three weeks old. Our Pastor, the same one that brought us to the front to be prayed over by the church, was now holding our little chicken, much like Simba in the Lion King on display to the church as a testament of God’s goodness. 

We had one post-placement homestudy visit and began tying up legal loose ends. Our first court hearing was the beginning of July. Pax was five months. In the beginning our hope was hope to have him legally ours by our 5 year anniversary, as it takes 6 months, and we were planning to have the court hearing when he was a couple weeks old. We has some hiccups, but the Lord was faithful and showed much grace. Without going into detail, I felt it was important to share so that others may be encouraged when going to adopt and in the process. Yes, God provided us with Paxton but it didn’t come without some hiccups - as anything of value does. Which comes working with people and the legal system. However, had they not happened we wouldn’t been able to have the memorable, favored first hearing as we did have. As believers, you will find on your journey - sometimes God wants to take you the long way around - allowing you the privilege of relationships and special moments made in the wait. This hearing we would attend, if all was presented correctly, would begin our six month mandatory placement assessment. All to say we wouldn’t finalize our adoption until January 2012.

Our hearing was early in the morning at the children’s court. When we came in with Pax, there were many other families there. Some finalizing there adoption, some beginning the process, and some in foster care. There were two sets of young families there - who through some observation were adopting siblings. These two couples did not know each other until their adoption journey had started and now on was adopting the brother and one the sister, the kids ranging about a year apart and being about two and the other three or four. They were finalizing their adoptions today and they, with there families there to share, were celebrating each others families. Though the thought may sadden some that these two little chickens were going to be separated, they looked loved and adored by their new families, clinging to their mommies, unaware of the other.  The most beautiful thing was the two sets of parents - swapping information and planning times throughout the year to get the two babies together. These mothers were glowing and holding their children as though holding their purpose in life. 

That was one gem of that day. The other was the Judge facilitating our hearing. He is a bigger man with the most friendly face. As we entered, sat down and began, Pax was entertaining the bailiff and a woman who assisted the logistics of the courtroom. He got them laughing, throughout the hearing. Lesa’s lawyer - that we provided for her, Pax’s state issued attorney along with our representative, our uncle, and us sat on display for the Judge. The attorneys and Judge Jones did their thing as I sat to the right of Ben, with Pax on my lap. Pax flashed some entertaining smiles to the Judge who would pause in the middle of his sentences to acknowledge Pax’s gestures. This meant so much to me, as a mother, and as a woman in an uncertain environment. I mean, court is for criminals and justice, it made me a nervous wreck. In the midst of there discussions, the Judge had mentioned reviewing our case the night before and mentioned his intrigue with it. He had also noticed that the new law, issued the beginning of the year was not being applied to our situation. The law basically states if the mother specifically waves her rights to a set of parents it kicks in the start of the six month mandatory placement. So what that meant for our situation is legally Pax could be ours in August, as we had planned but had lost all hope for. Our uncle, Ben and I began to shift on our seats, as the judge wasn’t talking directly to us but rather in the direction of Lesa’s and Pax’s lawyers. That’s when I felt Him. An army of heavenly hosts were in that room. Call me crazy but I felt it. I knew that I knew, God was indeed orchestrating His favor and will in that room. I was honored and overwhelmed that He cared and it was all the more confirmation that the Lord had greatness planned for this little boy in my lap. I looked to my left only to find that Ben and our uncle were baffled and could also, being believers, felt and knew God was doing something. As they continued to talk, our uncle began to shuffle papers - the way the judge was talking we were gonna get this baby today.  Ben and I panicked, we can’t get him today, our mother’s would kill us that they weren’t there.  Then understanding was restored and the judge turned to Ben and I. He began to share his intrigue with our situation and then looked us straight in the eye, with a pause and states that seventeen years ago - his wife and him sat were we sat - and that he already sees Paxton as ours and that he was going to do everything in his power to make this the easiest thing to finalize. He then turned to the court secretary to rearrange his adoption hearing times (as he only does three a year - January, July and December). He was insuring us a spot to finalize our adoption December 20th. That is favor! He wanted to make sure we qualified for the adoption tax credit and to just make all things official. What he did, he didn’t have to - but it moved us that he wanted to.

Paxton hit several milestones early. He crawled a littler earlier than typical and began walking at nine months. He loved to eat and was alway a chunk. He wasn’t afraid of anything. The kid is fearless. There has always been something about him that adults and kids were drawn to. We can tell already he is a naturally leader and a lover of music. 

December finally approached. We were accompanied by family, friends and Lesa in the courtroom. As the judge met with us again, Ben and I in the same seats and Pax on my lap but this time desiring to be much more vocal and mobile. Anyone who has ever adopted - this is monumental. I couldn’t hold back the tears...they rested on my eyes. There was so much about this moment that touched me. Lesa was here. My parents were there. Ben’s parents were there. Some believers, some not. But all were witnessing a miracle. Ben and I lost it was the judge stated, “Let it be know that the father of Paxton Oliver Ward is noted Benjamin Allen Ward and the mother is Jamie Nichole Ward. Lost it. And with a smile and a meek look, the judge tapped his gavel as if to say - it is finished. It was a holy moment, one that will never be forgotten. My mother looking at me from my right side, had just witnessed a miracle and I felt my parent’s proud of me - all and only because of Jesus. 

My little man celebrated his birthday in grand fashion with many family and friends. He was celebrated and we were honored. Lesa and her family joined the festivities and were able to meet many our family members, who themselves were never able to meet Pax till his birthday. It was magical, special and so tender. 

Our family has been more supportive than we could of ever imagined. There is no question or hindrance of their love for Pax because he’s adopted. As parents, we couldn’t ask for more incredible family or friends. 

Being a mommy has its challenges but its the most rewarding and weighty role I will ever play - and I have a beautiful young woman to thank. 

Since then Pax has continued to hit all his benchmarks and is growing up way too fast. We see Lesa as often as we can and her and I are very close. We have some of the most real conversations I’ve ever had with anyone and I feel a strong responsibility to her to be an incredible mentor to her. Though our intentions in the very beginning was to have separate lives - our churches - our towns and such, it immediately dissolved as our relationship grew closer. 

Lesa began attending my church and after a few visits began the process of becoming members. It was all by my invitation. She was desperate to find a more life-giving church and I strongly felt she would fit the body of our ever growing church. She attends the lifegroups I lead and she is always making new friends and sharing our story. We sometimes catch the same service together, where we are able to worship next to each other but it is just our normal. She’s a part of our lives and despite some of our family’s initial concern that we were becoming too close, it has become our reality. 

Currently, we don’t see each other much, catching separate services and only really texting every once in awhile. When we do see each other though, its timeless and priceless.

About the time Pax was a year and a half - I was strongly considering meeting Paxton’s biological father. The only things I knew about him was what I heard from Lesa. She had incredibly compassionate feelings toward him but was also very honest about their very unhealthy relationship. I didn’t know for myself, about how he felt with the whole adoption or about him or us. My own experience of him was only that he never signed the adoption documents, therefore waiving his rights by this thirty day grace period.As Paxton grew up and started walking and getting his little personality I really wanted to know more about Lesa as a baby, as well as about him. In all my intrigue and gratitude I really really wanted to meet him and thank him. He currently was in jail for violating his parole. The same jail, Ben’s step brother was in. I considered visiting him when Ben’s mom and step dad would make a visit to see his step brother. Ben had no interest and in my suggestion he preferred I didn’t go see him. 

So I just prayed for direction. I prayed for an opportunity. I prayed that if it was what God wanted I was available - otherwise I would prefer He took the desire away. I prayed.

And it came, randomly.

I received a call from Lesa one day letting me know she was at a stop light and he pulled up next to her, tapped on her window from his motorcycle and asked to talk. She wanted me to know he was out of jail. 

Was this the time? Was God designing an opportunity. 

I didn’t know what to think. 

After to talking to Lesa and talking with Ben I went ahead and looked up a relative of his online on a social networking site. She was on their as Lesa’s friend so I emailed her to ask if she was indeed his sister. 

After a few hours I received an email back. We began to talk via email and decided to meet at the end of the week. Moments later I added - that if he could come I would love that. My heart thundered in my chest as I waited for her response. She said she would try her hardest to make it happen. In the mean time we made specific plans and I let her know I would be bringing a friend, since Ben would be working (and honestly had no desire to meet anyone). 

I would meeting her and possibly him in less than a day. 

I prayed earnestly that I would be able to meet him. I prayed that God would be there in that place so evident that everything that would be said would be uplifting and beneficial. 

As the hour approached I met up with my friend, her husband and their two kids. I had Pax with me - so the plan was that he would stay with her husband that their boys and play while we met. And if by some random series of events, he would be there and I felt like it was right - I was going to let them meet Pax. 

As we walked in we searched for what I knew of her to look like based off the pictures I had seen online. As we were looking she walked in. She was sweet, very kind and seemed timid. I saw a lot of her in me. I introduced her to my friend. And then she told me.

He would be coming. 

She told him to wait a few minutes to arrive so that she would have time for me to find out and digest it all. 

She also wanted time to talk to me as his sister - to give me an honest take of who Chad is and where he comes from.  

We ordered coffee and sat down on some couches. 

She was extremely grateful to meet me and began telling me a bit about Chad. That he is the youngest of three. He has a brother 8 years older than him and a her, who was 7 years older. She explained the brother she always known - easy to talk to and would talk with anyone. A natural leader with a natural charisma. How all his nieces love being around him when he does come around but that he was pretty unreliable. As a teenager he was sent to private school and that he started getting into a lot of trouble. His parents tried with him but that they seemed to have many marital issues and in recent years had divorced. As the youngest he was pretty spoiled and got away with a lot. She told us she he really was a great kid and went with the flow. He was also a bit of a risk taker. He was raised to know right from wrong and from what I gathered she was a Christian believer.  

I could tell she adored her brother. I could also tell she wanted him around more. She wanted him to be reliable and she wanted so much for him. 

She let me know some of the family knew and were grateful he was being raised by Christians. 

She thanked me again and then looked up to notice he was here. 

The enterance to the coffee shop was behind us so when I would first lay eyes on him in the flesh he would be a few feet from me. 

As if in slow motion he set his bike helmet down, looked at his sister then looked at me. 

And as with Lesa and the first time I met her, I was in love. 

We said hello and shook hands. But I wanted to embrace him. 

He sat down and asked if we wanted anything else to drink before we started talking, which was very courteous then we started talking. 

It was so natural. We were so honest with each other. He began by saying how incredibly grateful he was to want to meet and even more so that we had adopted Pax. I went cold then hot. He was happy about it. To hear him say that meant worlds and planets to me. Even though I already had God’s blessing on it - to know he was more than happy about it - was the detail on the icing (of the cake I was already eating.)We talked about how we heard about him and about his birth and what he was doing as of late. We talked about the funny things he did and a little bit about his personality. 

He asked me what I wanted to know and we straight shot. In the beginning he would state things like,”I’m sure you heard about me” or “I’m sure that’s what so and so said.” I need him to know I was raised and mentored to go straight to the source before I formed any solid opinions. I told him I wanted to hear from him. The real truth about him straight from the source that lived it. 

He was taken back. Had he met someone who cared to know without any preconceived notions. 

Yes, yes he had. 

I asked him how he felt when he found out Lesa was pregnant. Saying he didn’t really think the baby was his. However, crediting that they were using drugs - reality and paranoia were a bit mixed. He talked about their relationship and how they were able to recently talk and he was proud that she was indeed very good. He stated he was happy for her and that she was always very bright and genuine. 

I asked him how he felt when he heard about Paxton’s birth and adoption. And he told us he was glad it was us. He had strong feelings about the person Lesa was considering. He said Lesa had texted him when she going to the hospital to let him know he was being born. He looked me straight in the eye and said he was more than happy that Ben and I had him and stated by the looks of it (from online pictures) we were raising him well. 

Then I got even more real. By this point he knew I was a straight shooter. His sister and my friend were more like spectators - imparting every once in awhile to add detail. I knew he knew that our family loved Jesus. He committed often that he was glad he would be raised in a Christian home. But I wanted him to really know what that meant for our family. I wanted him to know our reality.

I asked him how he got to where he is. And, he told me. 

He was in an accident at sixteen and became addicted to pain pills. He said he’s always been reckless and stated he hoped Pax was nothing like him. He said from that he just got into the wrong crowd and began using meth. As he finished, it was silent. 

I hadn’t managed tears until this point. I looked down as to not lose it. It was silent. For minutes - I looked down. And as I looked up I saw his sister wipe tears from her face. As if when he shared about who he really was - it was the first time he was honest with himself and with anyone - about who he was. My heart went out to her. I could relate to his sister. 

A few weeks before - in my alone time with the Lord - He wanted me to deal with my emotions dealing with my own brother. Who also was in an accident at sixteen and became an addict to pain killers as well as many other addictions. A few weeks later, standing in front of me, was my brother 10 years later. 
In my pause - in those moments of silence - it was if the Lord took my tongue. 

I looked at him and he at me and I said the following (main points of what I can recall). I told him I thought Pax was indeed very much like him. That he had natural charisma and that everyone wanted to be around him. That he was reckless. I looked him square in the eye and said I was proud of that and those were my favorite things about him and that I believed he got all those qualities from him. I told him that Ben and I will raise him to use the very qualities that he saw as bad as ones that would bring honor to the Lord. 

I boldly told him there was nothing wrong with the way he was wired but rather the way he used his giftings. I told him I thought it was extraordinary that he was reckless and an “all in” kind of guy and that the body of Christ needed more of them. I told him that every night when we laid Pax laid down and prayed for him that our prayers turned to him - that his life would radically be changed and that he would fall in love with the Lord, meet a godly gorgeous woman and have more incredible children like Pax. And that my prayer for him is that the next thirty four years of his life he would fall asleep on his pillow every night certain he honored God that day and that he felt fully satisfied about the life he lived. 

That was Jesus. His sister began to tear up again, as he said, “Wow. No one has ever said that to me before.” 

Then I began again, as a sister. I told him he his family needed him. His sister needed him. That when he said he was gonna be somewhere that makes it there. That when the family gets together, he shows up. That there is no heartbreak than that of a relative worrying sick about those they love. I told him that his decisions didn’t just effect him.

I then spoke in regards to life in Jesus. That God wants him to choose Him but He wont force him. It means more to the Lord that he intentionally chooses to love Him. I also told him He was very near. That He is waiting but that He wont always wait. That now that he has been told about the truth, it was his responsibility to make it his truth. 

As bold as it was it was the truth and he appreciated it. 

I told him how important to me it was that I met him, that I thanked him, but more than anything that I told him about Jesus and what He did for us when he gave us Pax. That  was the most important - that the person who had a part in giving my son life knew about the very Creator of life and the cross, the very gospel of God. 

I then talked to him about how I needed to meet him first before Pax ever decided to meet him when he was older. That I would have a reference point and that he would to. That he knew where Pax was coming from. I told him about our reality of Jesus in our home. I told him about our church and I told him what our son would know about the God we served. I needed to know we weren’t the norm. That we loved Jesus. We weren’t perfect and that individuality was celebrated. 

Then I asked him. 

I asked him to make it right. It was his choice. But I wanted to ask him. I asked him with a please. 

If he would please help me, years from now - when Pax wanted - to present Pax to a man who loved Jesus and served Him. 

His choice. But I was clear I needed him to be okay. I needed him to be alive and well. Of course the reality is we only ever NEED Jesus. I just wanted him to know he had a role to play. 

He then asked me something. He stated that his mother had MS and was not well at all.  His sister and him explained due to her illness they decided not to tell her about Pax. He looked at his sister then at me, and asked if I would let his mom meet him. He told me I didn’t owe him anything and I explained I would have to talk to Ben. He understood.

I asked them how she would feel about it and both of them said she would be thrilled but sad at the same time. She would be grateful a Christian family was raising him but that she didn’t find out till now and would be broken about the circumstances. Her son had a baby and was not in the place in life to keep him. I assured them I would talk to Ben about it but I couldn’t promise anything. 

After we talked some more he got some food. His sister leaned in, as he went to the order some food, to ask how I was able to say all I said. I told her was Jesus. That God allowed me some pretty incredible mentors to teach me the importance of every soul. 

She couldn’t believe that I was able to say in an hour what she was trying to say for years. She was grateful. And I was grateful for her. 

Then it was decided. 

I wanted my friend’s husband to bring Pax in to meet them. I really would of preferred Ben to be there, however I knew it was what God wanted. I knew that if Ben was there, I wouldn’t of probably said what I said. Everything the past two hours was God ordained. 

As he sat down, I asked him and his sister if they would like to meet Pax. They looked at each other then at me and said the obvious. Yes. 

Pax came moments later and introductions were made. He was a natural with Pax. Feeding him some of his food he ordered, then ordering him a cupcake. I let them sit at a table and eat together while my friend, his sister and I talked. As the meeting wrapped up, he asked if I wanted anything before leaving. As I was picking up after my son and throwing stuff away he followed, stopping before I headed back. He paused and then began to profusely thank me. He stated no one had ever cared enough to say anything like that to him before and he would never for get this entire day. He then said it - that Pax was indeed in the best possible hands. 



A week later I took Pax to see his biological father’s mother. He also got to see his sister  again and her husband, as well as, his biological father’s dad. He didn’t make it. We stayed for three hours, where Pax entertained them all and kept even at home nurses laughing. 

That weekend - Ben began to allow the Lord to deal with him concerning the biological father. He stated he realized that I had opened my heart to Lesa, even though I could not be his birth mother and that he should do the same. Because in the end it’s not about feelings, it’s about souls. We should always be mindful of that. 

Since then we have not heard from him. I hope one day Ben can meet him. Until then we continue to pray for his protection, his safety and his soul. 

Pax will always know he was adopted. We read him his adoption story and write to him in a journal we made him and his future (way future) bride. He’s still too young, but Lesa would prefer, as he got older, to be much like an involved aunt. His adoption will always be celebrated and he will always know the Lord’s value and view of adoption. 

“you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8: 15

And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

In the next few months our family plans to take on the injustice of foster parenting. We’ve always talked about it and believe God is directing us to this avenue even for a season. We plan to do this in hopes to adopt from the system. All while planning our move to Africa to work with an organization called Children’s Cup. Lesa is excited for us - as we recall being asked in our first meeting if we would ever moved and explaining we would only move where Jesus leads. That’s the answer she wanted to here and it was the truth. The move and arrangements for Africa will take a couple years - so while we wait, we will foster, Lord willing. We always want to be where Jesus leads. We want our son to be raised know the value of this and experience it first hand. 

Our prayer for our son is that he will love the Lord with his whole heart, soul and mind - that his life be poured out as a love sacrifice for the One who first loved him and that he will never make his mommy sad. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pursuing Grace-- My "Busyness" Flaw

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life." 1 Timothy 1:12, 14-16 NLT

As Austin and I were on our way home from Branson we got into a discussion on mercy and grace. Austin was speaking about a parable he had leaned in Matthew that really applied to our relationship and helped me to understand him in a deeper level... God is so wonderful in how his teachings can cover everything... Not in 100 books, but in One. He is simple and to the point...

Then I told Austin that I had never heard that parable and he looked at me confused and asked," have you read all the gospels."

Woah. Hit hard. Kinda crazy, I love Jesus, but in this moment I realized how much I had to learn about him because I have not read all the Gospels....

I have read the old testament like a crazy woman-- love every part of it-- but in doing this, I have neglected the new testament. The reason this is so important is because when Austin and I were speaking about "Mercy and Grace." we discovered that I have a better grasp on mercy and he has a better grasp of Grace.

Because the old testament is so full or mercy, I have been living my life in gratitude for what God has taken me away from, but not for what he has given me.

I have discovered that I must get a grasp on Grace, because I have a hard time giving up control to God. I have a hard time accepting anything given that I feel as though I don't deserve. And to be honest... I don't deserve it...

But I keep myself so busy because if I am not busy I feel as though I am not earning Gods love.... As if I am not working hard enough to get my salvation... As though I am not working hard enough to prove myself to him...

But because I work so hard, the moments pass by, the people that matter most to me can't find trustworthiness in me because I try to do everything all at once... And the flaw is not because I am not trustworthy, but because I am in pursuit of Gods grace.... And I do not realize that I already Have Gods grace.

After not having a Job for a few weeks now, I have felt lost and discouraged... Because I have found my worth in working...

God always has a reason for things and I finally understand... I can't earn Gods grace, I can't be living so hard in pursuit of something I already have...

So I ask a few things of those who read this... Pray for me to understand what Gods grace truly is, that I get a deeper understanding in Christ, and that he brings me into a place where I can quit trying to earn something he has already given me. Pray that I can live freely and in the moment.... Pray that I find Gods Grace sufficient enough....

All this to say " I will learn the Grace Gods Given and no Longer do busy work, but cherish the moments God have given me now... I want to learn to give thanks for what's been freely given instead of just seeing my dirt... My unworthiness.... Jesus has cleansed me and I didn't deserve or earn it, but I can learn to be thankful for it and Accept it with an open heart."

My mistakes cannot be fixed by my hands, by my work... They can only be fixed by my acceptance of Gods Grace through Christ Jesus.

There's nothing in the world, better than that truth.

Just as humility forces us to acknowledge that we can’t earn God’s favor, it also points our hearts to Jesus Christ and as we look to Christ, the Cross humbles us. Saving faith is not possible without humility. Your faith will be in the thing in which you depend upon. If your dependency is in works, you will put your faith in your good works. If you humble yourself and acknowledge your need for Jesus as savior, you will put your faith in your Christ. It is by faith in Christ that we become righteous. Romans 4:5

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Over-Fed && Under-Nourished

   I was watching a commercial today that was showing how many americans are obese and unhealthy. They eat a lot, but get no nutrition.

No, This is not a blog telling you what you've heard a thousand times about physical obesity, but rather about "Spiritual Obesity".

How many of us know that being fed does not mean we are nourished?

See, the bible IS FOOD and many think... I must read it to be fed.  Which is true...But how many of you know that if you aren't keeping the Word in your heart that you can be fed, but not nourished?

We may be reading it daily, scripture after scripture... verse after verse...chapter after chapter... but what happens when you are reading and not retaining. It's not just about how fast you can read the bible...but rather, maintaining your relationship with God and truly changing your life to walk the Christian walk, not just talk the talk.

Let's look at the definition of FEED and NOURISHMENT for a second...

FEED: To provide for consumption, utilization, or operation.

NOURISH: To keep alive; maintain.

Hmm... It amazes me that a lot of Christians are just consuming, but not maintaining. I've had my fair share of just wanting to read as quickly as possible to get it out of the way... but then I have been asked about what I read and I can't remember! Just as quickly as I read the scriptures, I quickly forgot.. That's not what Christ meant by using the bible as food, that's not how we get full.

So then you may say...How do we know if we are "Spritually full or Spiritually-Full-of-it?"

Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15)  

  If we are spiritually full we know God's commands and we obey them. If we are full of it, we know some of God's commands and we pick and choose what fits OUR lifestyle.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

If we are spiritually full, we hide God's word in our heart and we try our hardest to live a life of purity and worthiness. If we are spiritually full-of-it, we read scripture and forget it before we can even think about living it out.

15I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways (Psalm 119:15)

To Be Spiritually full means we try and discover new depths to the scriptures meaning and seek new applications of its truth... to be Spiritually full-of-it means we read a story when we are 8 and think it doesn't still apply to our lives now.

I just wanted to write this so I can encourage you to not only consume the word, but to maintain the hide it away in your heart... so you may find yourself bearing fruit and becoming SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY instead of SPIRITUALLY HURTING. My prayers are for those of us who read the Word, but do not live the Word out. My prayers are for those seeking the potential in God's promise, but do not see the potential in themselves to seek that promise. My prayers are for those who feel as though they are though they are doing everything right, but are still having a hard time because they are not full, just full of it.

Encourage each other to
Not only Eat the Truth, but use it as Energy,
Not only Consume Truth, but Correct greater Issues,
not only speak the truth, but live it.

God Bless.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finding Faith

 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of FAITH, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the CHAMPION who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the Joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disreguarding it's shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won't become weary or give up." Hebrews 12:1-3

I love this... as I have recently been struggling with Finding Faith. I pray and pray... and I can sometimes feel like he isn't listening because I am so ready to see a change in the people I love... I am seeking that fire... that desire to follow him with all I have... I have become bored and complacent. So, in seeking FAITH.. I found this scripture... and it occured to me... That I have been Walking. That I haven't put down the weight that I have been carrying. I haven't completely given everything to Jesus.

So, The life of Faith that I want... is exactly what is explained above.

Hebrews 12 says, "We are surrounded by such a crowd of Witnesses to the life of faith..."

 It makes me wonder who those witnesses are in my own life. My family? Yes, they are watching me. They are watching my faith that I have and they are learning from it. My friends? Yes, they too are watching. My Co-workers? Absolutely. Everyone that knows me has a glimpse of my faith with every word I speak and every action I make. This is weight that I have been carrying... That I must be perfect so I do not trip... that I must be perfect to show them who God is...

I must give this weight to Jesus. I must not look for perfection in faith, but look to JESUS because he IS perfection in Faith. However, in this scripture I have also realized this: That faith is a process.

It says that when we look at Jesus, he INITIATES our faith... which means that a process begins... it means that we are growing and being changed from our core. Everything about our life changes when looking at Jesus... and then the witnesses that are seeing our Faith will also change, not by what I am doing, but by what Jesus is doing In Me.

In the long run, I cannot be looking back at the eyes that are looking at me because they will cause me to get off course, but I must look into the face of Jesus, my saving grace that perfects my FAITH, so I can run with endurance...

I can not let the fear of leaving people behind keep me from running... but I can only pray that they will find who I am running to.