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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hearts Toward Haiti

The day of the election, while our country moved on in its history, I stood at one end of my dining room table, Micah at the other, and we took another step in ours. We looked into each other's eyes and while we used different words, we spoke in unison. For the first time in a long time, I was vulnerable and open. He was resolute and firm. In the quiet spaces, hearts had shifted. Clay was being quietly, firmly molded and pressed, given over to the thought that maybe, just maybe, there may be more. ~ This seems a dramatic scene, but I assure you, it is this vivid in my mind. And sometimes I feel like I live in a novel. ~

We had prayed for a large family. God granted what we asked--- not in a way we could have dreamed or imagined but in a way that has and continues to direct our faces toward His love and grace. Micah and I have had the honor to love our five. They remind us every day that life is precious and in it, God writes beautiful stories that sing His love. They teach us more and more about His Fatherly affection, the forgiveness offered by the Son, and the nearness of the Spirit. We have had the opportunity to love more little ones beyond the five we see, even for such a short time. I am so thankful I got to know of them. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to love them with a motherly love. I am thankful to have the hope of meeting them again, when we all are whole. Until then, I find myself in the thick of it. There are dance parties, struggles, schoolwork, housework, conflicts, resolutions, tears, smiles, running, resting, failure, success, quiet, loud, and all that happens between. It seemed we had encountered a likely bookend to this season. Yet, there was always another thought. What if God would bring children once orphaned in different ways into this home? Our home?

Over the last few years, Micah and I have talked about adopting again.

((I am going to give you just a minute to gasp, or laugh, or whatever emotion that last sentence might evoke))

Until the last several months, we might mention it and laugh too, often with an eye roll. There always seems to be a little crazy in calling. I can't say I know what exactly has changed but something most certainly has. As the country was watching election results either reeling or rejoicing, he and I spent the majority of the evening reorienting our thoughts around what was happening much closer home. We were and are all in.

Adoption. Yes. International. Yes. Where would we be both geographically and circumstantially approved? Most importantly, where might a child or children live as orphans who we might call by our name? In just a few days, reckoning information, thoughts, feelings, desires, it was clear to us. The answer was Haiti.



As of right now, our home study has been approved. The piles of paperwork have aligned (with the help of an awesome social worker).

Since last November, God has given us hearts for Haiti; for its beauty, for its struggle. Micah had the privilege of visiting for a few days with an old Seminary friend of his. Many of the people there have great needs, as do we, but markedly and variably different. They also have great resilience. I try to follow the landscape of need, and am aware that there exists, sometimes in whole countries, a kind of desperation I do not know living here.

I am thankful that in the last few years, Haiti has come under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. It seeks to make children the priority and serve their best interests, limiting corruption and the exploitation of children. It addresses trafficking--- which is utterly evil. It affirms children given for adoption are true orphans.

We are praying for a child or two siblings--- opening our hearts for who might be on the other end of this. Part of our preparation has been learning as much as we can about the Haitian culture. We'd love to learn the language. It is our desire to honor their heritage and learn from them.

One thing I want to make clear, we are neither saving children or being saved by them. They will be a precious gift to us, as we hope we are to them. If there would be a child or children who would benefit leaving the home they have always known to come and live with us, we are available. We want to be their forever family. I know the people who live with me and they (as do I) have a lot of love to give, as we have been so loved first.

I am still struck by the gravity of what adoption means. It would be desirable for children to be raised by one or both birth parents and I am grateful to groups who help hold families together by helping provide the means for steady income. These orphan prevention programs are such a blessing to many families, particularly in countries where extreme poverty and the effects of major natural disasters are constants. Regardless of those efforts, and as I know well, there will still remain orphans because we live in the land of broken things. In recent past or even as I type, a mother and/or father are feeling the weight of caring for a child or children they cannot. The resources provided them aren't enough. Or, death separates. Whatever the circumstances, hearts are breaking. Lives have been or are being torn apart. This is where the need for adoption begins. The weight is necessary. It cannot be glossed over. It cannot be denied. We look to honor it and corporately remember the One who brings family together and promises to redeem broken things, us included.


So--- this is an invitation. We ask your prayers; for Micah and me, for our children, and for "Haiti babies" (as our triplets call them) who will, God willing, one day come to be with us.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It Is Well

When law and life press in, I find the words I have sung so boldly meet the question, “Is this still true?” The gift of faith through grace affirms, yes. The theologian in me asks, “How can this be?” The Spirit leads again to Gospel, to the old road, to the Good News. It is the thing I quickly forget when flesh and heart fail. It is the most fleeting thought when I am sinking in sin or circumstance.

Day by day, new mercy by new mercy, the Lord continues to teach me. By word, sacrament, sermon, suffering, in holy community, my Father continues to gently remind that He is the One singing to me, in the person and work of Christ Jesus.

When peace like a river, attendeth your way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever your lot, I continue to say
It is well, it is well with your soul. 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded your helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for your soul. 

Your sin, oh, the bliss, of this glorious thought
Your sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and you bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o your soul With your soul

It is well, it is well
With your soul. 

It is well, it is well
With my soul. 

Original lyrics: Horatio Spafford

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Year So Far in (Very) Quick Review

This has been quite the year so far. We traveled out-of-state twice in December, one in January, twice in February, Micah out of the country in March, and then he and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend in east Tennessee. Writing has been something I have been planning in my head, as the days continue to roll along, amid the bustle of moving around constantly. I can't wait to share some of what has been ruminating on paper! I shall soon. I did want to give a quick, mostly-pictorial, update and share some of my favorite moments over the past three months. Enjoy!

Andrew--- strong, intentional, kind, competitive, intelligent.
Elijah--- passionate, reflective, compassionate, hilarious, imaginative.
Isaac --- curious, energetic, joyful, creative, agile.
Eliana--- affectionate, nurturing, observant, determined, tender.
Isabella--- independent, fun-loving, comedian, helper, genuine.

Elijah, the adventurer


This is why I can't get through my email...
The cat that we thought was Lexie, but is actually Leo! The vet made a gender mistake!
Five-year-old cuties
The triplets birthday celebration in Gatlinburg


With GG in Gatlinburg
With Parker and Chelsea, before braving the Alpine Coaster in Pigeon Forge
Home base, best rest
In Dallas, TX at Chick-fil-a Seminar
Enjoying a warmer day
Maple Syrup Festival, Salem, IN
Our outside pet, who visits every morning around 7
Cardinals vs Pittsburg
13th Birthday for Andrew (and one little girl who loves him very much)
Lake Tahoe under many feet of snow

Boy, have I been feeling the winter this year. The frozen ground, colors-sleeping, bone-piercing cold makes things more difficult for me. It makes my soul still and draws out the longing, the desperation, the unmistakable humanity. So much hard here. So much pain. Even my body has been determined to force the acknowledgment of weakness. Lent is the culmination of a season of feeling deeply my limitations. Then comes Spring. We have had a few, warm, teaser days but I feel so much anticipation as I keep peeking around the corner for the first hints of the bright display of intricate, interconnected art in Creation. I need the visceral reminders that what I experience today, while real and true, is not all there is. The hope of resurrection in Easter speaks into my still soul in a way that reminds me that in Christ, all things will be new. I wait to see it in my favorite flowers, taste it from the garden, emerge in soft grass, be whispered in warm wind, and all the while, pray to be encouraged by it once again.

It is also a change in season for our family. More to come;)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmastime in the Hope of Immanuel: Part Two

The miracle of Immanuel always leaves room for deep reflection. From the time of nativity until the moment Jesus ascended into heaven, He fulfilled a mission. He was the promised one. He was the awaited one. His mission was to address mankind's biggest problem. He lived a perfect life imputed to those who, from centuries past and for centuries to come, find life in His name. He suffered on behalf of sinners the fate all those bound in flesh and blood are bound, enduring the wrath of God. He descended to the depths and on the third day, emerged victorious over death and the grave, giving us a glimpse of what is to come.
The incarnation is pivotal to it. The sinless became sin for the sinful so we might be saved. There is no greater love than this. There is no greater Love than His. If this was all that could be said of the work of Christ Jesus, it would be enough.
Yet beyond taking care of my biggest problem, Jesus, both God and man, had a ministry - to love and serve in human form. He is not only the Perfect Priest offering a sacrifice once for all, but an intercessing one. This is most distinct from both past and contemporary religious leaders. I am painting with a large brush stroke here, but from what I know of those worshiped or followed in other religions, they either lead with authority or in compassion. Some offer "saving" (most often, save yourself) and others "loving" as the way to higher living. The triune God of the Bible offers both saving and serving.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. 4
After Jesus came in flesh, He continued His mission and at the same time, met humanity in service. In the gospels, I am in awe of His response when met by sinners, poor and needy. He did not pass them by. In some accounts, it is said that He indiscriminately healed everyone He encountered (see Matthew 4 & 8, Luke 4 & 6). He wept with those who wept. He rejoiced with those who rejoiced. He felt hunger. He enjoyed fellowship. He entered in to all kinds of human suffering and frailty--- casting out demons, healing, and providing for physical needs--- to both fulfill the prophecies and moved with compassion. He did not only see needs, he felt them in His skin, and He did not leave those who came to Him as they once were.
He loved His neighbors like no other--- both for His people as substitute and as a servant.
This gives me hope today as I think about the flesh and blood babe in the manger. The ones most aware of our neediness ~those abandoned, betrayed, exhausted, childless, sick, lonely, rejected, widowed, orphaned, suffering in every other kind of way~ our Savior also sympathizes with us because He walked among us. When it seems like no one sees us and no one understands, Immanuel does.
This Christmas, I want to sit with you vomit-covered or (hopefully) not, as a person in need of everything God has done and still promises. I wish to marvel at these things, sit with their weight in my chest, and wonder at the curious, compassionate nature of His ways.
God, in the person and work of Christ Jesus, has demolished our biggest problem and proves that He cares deeply about all our smaller ones. Our cries for help, when confronted with our biggest problem, sin, and all the myriad of others, suffering, reach the heavens into the ears of our Great High Priest. The God who has and will intervene. The One who came to save will come again to redeem. In the meantime, I pray for an increased awareness that I do not have a Savior who is unaware or indifferent toward joys and pains of life even now. He is Immanuel--- God with us.
Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

Christmastime, in the Hope of Immanuel: Part One

Wrapped in the close and distant memory and not leaving much to be desired highlighting the expanse of human experience,  I feel the most deep, complex nostalgia in this holiday. I have read several written pieces that speak to the profound implications of the incarnation and its anticipation in advent. The ones I have enjoyed the most resonate the deepest, not necessarily because of their articulation of fact (which is always appreciated), but because they understand our ~my~ need. This has been the busiest year and I have felt my limitations more over the past several months than in years past. Who knew the pre-teen years could be so volatile;)! When someone, somewhere hints that I am not alone as I sit here, feeling so much mix of deep joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, remembering Christmases past trying to feel something of the present, as the holy season is whirling by, I take a breath.

In another attempt to thwart the holiday bustle, my husband and I took the kids to Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It was quite the trip. I honestly felt like I was escaping the less desirable parts of the holiday--- the ridiculous traffic, long to do lists, short tempers (including my own), the pressures, and all that is between--- as we headed out. But the craziness went with me! I was overwhelmed as we hauled the luggage to the van, hurried as we traveled down the highway, anxious as we tossed our belongings in our hotel room and searched for a quick dinner, and exhausted as we landed in a clump in our seats before the concert. Literally covered in vomit, as one of my sweet gals had a bit of first-concert-jitters that spilled right out of her soon after our arrival, I listened, viscerally aware of human plight. (I just want to take this opportunity to apologize to those who sat around me with sensitive olfactory senses. So sorry people.) I don't know about you, but this year for me has been so full. Not only was I spent physically, mentally, and emotionally from the trip down, but I am spent physically, mentally, and emotionally, from the year. I feel my humanity more and more as years progress and I wasn't sure that anyone around me understood.



The kids getting their first glimpses of real life Nashville Honkey Tonks.


Sally Loyd Jones reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible.
Tired mama and sweet child, hearts full.  
From the sound of the first guitar strum, I was enamored again at the thematic sounds of the season. I have always loved music and once again, found it to be a balm. The experience was fantastic. The artistry, benevolent and beautiful.


The triplets fell asleep right as the Behold the Lamb portion began. This was why we made the trip, as the music tells the story of the birth of Jesus through Old Testament history and the prophets. It is well-loved in our house. It is always ironic to me that even though I work so hard to make something work out, as the point of what we have planned to do arrises, someone misses it somehow! With my big kids self-sufficient, their rest was actually a mercy to me in a way. Four year olds move some part of their bodies constantly and their stillness allowed me to also be still. All the pieces well crafted with unique yet cohesive melodies. There is a song right toward the end where several vocalists echo lines from previous songs. It always seems appropriate to hear echoes of the past in present, like this Theme song. It is a lovely, chaotic, melodious sound, mixing past with present. The lyrics were so moving, I felt a collective sigh rising up, as the cries of the phrases, "pass over us", "deliver us" and "glory to Jesus, ancient and strong,  come to your people, carry us home"  moved from my overwhelmed heart to my lips.
The end of the concert. 
In my experience, echoes of the past live simultaneously in the present. I remember joyful gatherings with families intact, the ones that follow with dear ones missing, first Christmases with Micah as newlyweds, those waiting and aching for children, first celebrations with my big boys, miscarriages, realizing I have far more than I deserve, feeling anxiety over not enough, three babies in-womb, relationships gained, relationships lost, seasons of sickness and isolation, times of wellness and celebration--- the list goes on. My life story reprise plays on and on. Regardless of experiential joys or pain, there lives beneath the surface a cry for intervention. A stubborn neediness. Who knows this song better than I? Who knows all the parts that make up the whole? When I cry for deliverance, Who knows the references of experiences past? Who is outside the bounds of my limited understanding creating the even larger theme? The Creator and Center of remembrance and the One who has intervened, the God who came to be us---Immanuel.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

The God of Judges and Kings


There is nothing new under the sun. For as long as humanity has walked the earth, we, collectively and individually, have had an unsatisfied longing. For those who have the privilege, we raise up and elect officials to make the way better. For most of the Old Testament years, the leaders for whom Israel so adamantly plead ended up being evil. Some were God-fearing. "He did what was evil" and "He did what was right" in the sight of the Lord is many times the summations of entire legacies of the judges and kings of Israel.

Beyond the reaches of law and policy, culture and society, with various affect throughout centuries, the Bible affirms that regardless of the circumstances, God has been for His people. He has remained faithful to His promises. Even while the Psalmist laments in his current circumstances facing death, famine, and sometimes silence, God was always working. Psalm 136 is a beautiful song with the lyric, "His steadfast love endures forever" because for the author, it did, and it does.

It is so fitting that the hope of the nativity is right around the corner. God is with us. He doesn't usually work in the ways we think He should. At a time when people wanted a dictator or king, He sent a baby to a stable. When the proud were perpetuating religion for the sake of god made in the image of man, He was living life on the behalf of His people for the sake of their righteousness. When they wanted someone to overthrow the government, He used its constructs to satisfy the wrath of God and the penalty of death to guarantee salvation for those who believe. And when some bent to prove His demise with a sealed and guarded tomb, He defeated death so we may have the hope of heaven. It is in the quiet of history that the most profound works of the Maker and Savior of men produce lasting effects.

We want leaders--- people who will stand beyond the fray, tell us the truth, and bring safety and fulfillment to our generation, and for good reason. Sometimes, we try and fill the space with ourselves, thinking that if we only had the influence, voice, and resources, we could do what should be done for the sake of our cultures and our communities. There are times heaven breaks through and we enjoy gracious gifts. Sometimes, we feel the weight of the world. Through it all, the longing remains.

One thing is sure: the One upon whom all authority, justice, and mercy has come to make our future sure and will come again to judge equitably. Until then, our hearts will cry out for the land of truth, rest, and peace. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Lord, help me to hold loosely to the things of this world and keep my eyes focused on the world to come, loving my neighbors along the way. For the days of *pointing* peace, I praise you. For the days of want, I petition you. For all the days in between, give me an awareness of Your presence.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pet History

My first pet was a cat named Wally. He was orange and white and lived life with three legs. I was terribly allergic to him but dealt with it okay since he lived outside. I would pet him until my eyes itched and swelled. One day, he just disappeared.

When I was a little older, my family and I were given a yellow-headed, white-bodied cockatiel. His name was cotton. His wings were not clipped so I often let him out of his cage to fly around the house. I remember the panic of letting him excitedly exit his cage then realizing the ceiling fan was on. He dodged that bullet several times (whew!). On a summer afternoon, I discovered that cotton was not a he--- but a she! Thankfully Cotton is a name that moves from male to female rather easily. When I was in middle school, Cotton and I became less compatible. I was terribly asthmatic and struggled with her too. She was given to a new family who loved her very much. I missed her "tweet" when she was gone. When I watch home videos of that time in life, I hear her in the background. She had such a sweet, happy chirp.

Micah and I have had our share of animals through the years. I didn't grow up with dogs and didn't quite know how to care for our first. She was part lab, part dalmatian and had a lot of playful energy which we appreciated until she out literally grew our first apartment. Our tight, one bedroom space in an older home with crazy good acoustics shared with three other neighbors, in Statesville, NC was just too small for her. I will never forget the day she skipped off with another family, happy to be out of such confinement.

About a year later, we adopted a cat who we named Phoebe. She traveled to Louisville with us. We loved her as well. Phoebe was content and independent. She loved to curl up with me sometimes and occasionally tolerated being held like a baby... until she hated it and expeditiously let me know it. She was several years old when I realized I was taking four asthma medications and she might be the cause. I was so sad. I cried when she left us. We found a great home for her with a family who lived surrounded by thick woods in a home with large windows. It was a cat mecca. We used to hear from her new owner until the season completely shifted.

Fast forward to Elijah's 6th birthday. After much discussion, we got him a Carin Terrier. Elijah named him Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was a smart, beautiful dog, however, he just had a bit of a small dog complex. I tried to deal as best I could and become the alpha in that situation. It didn't help that Elijah had been attacked by a dog with a similar temperament about a year before... and I was on the embryo adoption roller coaster then pregnant with triplets. Despite months of obedience training and even time away, he had to be re-homed. Thankfully, we had willing folks who loved him and appreciated his spunk. We gave Elijah a guinea pig to soften the blow but the first time we left her to be cared for by a friend, she died.

This past year, we took in two dogs born on Micah's parents farm. Two beagle mixes, they were everything we had prayed for in doggy friends. We named them Sam and Rosie. They were so sweet and obedient. I immediately saw an intuitive nature in them, especially Sam. They were fantastic with the kids. They were easy to train and easy to love. Then, the asthma symptoms began again. After a lot of hand wringing, I realized they couldn't stay. It is amazing how sick a person can get in a short time. Within a week, God gave us a solution for these dogs. They are now helper dogs and seem so fulfilled. I had the pleasure of watching Rosie in action after running in to her with her trainer and new owner at a retail store. She was a champ at her job. The same can be said for Sam. I have treasured updates about how well the two of them are doing.

All this time, our kids have wanted a pet to love. And I have wanted that for them too! It has been such a roller coaster for me!

I have been doing some research about less-allergen producing pets online in hopes of finding some solution and came across the Siberian Forest Cat. Originally from Russia, they are said to have far less of the protein in their saliva that cause allergic reactions. There are mixed review about whether or not folks with allergies have an easier time with this breed over another--- however, we are giving it a go. I am hopeful and sober about the whole thing. We ended up finding a little gal kitten right down the road from us. Our plan is to pick her up in less than a couple of weeks! I am so excited. I am praying the breed's dog-like playfulness has made its way to her and she will enjoy the business of our household. We were first told she was a he (funny how that worked out once again!) and so we named him Leo Tolstoy--- 'cause Russia... famous Christian author... Now that he is a she, we have settled on Lexie Blue. Her eyes are beautiful blue and Lexie, because... I don't know. It's cute and we kept the "L";)

Coming soon... Lexie Blue. Here's hoping this works. I am tired of being the re-homing expert.



Friday, September 23, 2016

Braving the Truth

This is a new season, engaging in parenting big kids-almost teens. I am taking a risk here and I know it. Recently, a new dad asked my best parenting advice and before piping up, I realized that what I believe to be true now is quite different than what I may have shared back when I was in the thick of the newborn-toddler phase for the first time. The big things still hold true, but there is wisdom in the experience of it all.
While risky, I do know and am aware that life is a process. Hopefully, you don't mind being in the middle of it all with me, thinking through this with sober confidence.
There is a phrase that I say to my bigger boys almost every single day. It isn't just for them. It always meets me too as a most clear example of  ~point at someone with one finger, there are three pointing back at me~  admonitions. I say it when something has happened that condemns, when fear of being found out looms, the evidence is against us, and one might run and hide or try to cover something up in some way.
Parenting these more complex thinkers takes a different skill. So often what we begin addressing moves several times as emotions and the threat of wrongdoing rises. In the middle of the usually circular, consequence evading, confrontational conversation I sometimes have the wherewithal to say something like, "Let's be brave and head toward the truth as closely as we dare and see what finds us there."
The farther from the truth we go, the more difficult the conversation becomes. There is more room for something false. I know what kids are thinking--- they believe the truth gets them in trouble. And often it does. They fear being rejected. They fear being embarrassed. Though deeper within is a core fear that the truth will make them un-lovable. I know this is true, as it is the same way I feel when confronted with my own failures.
So much of life is defensive. So much of it is convoluted. We get mixed up in what I should have done and what I actually did. It is the latter part that scares us.
I am not speaking of parenting strategies here--- I am talking about an environment for parenting where, while a parent and child have different roles, they are equal in sharing a need for safety, love, and something outside rules, discipline, and behaviors. I am talking about the environment where strategies operate.
When truth about me or about them is at hand, regardless of how bad it may be, the hope is that something (or SomeOne) else waits for us there.
There are clear consequences of living life evading the truth--- and relationally, they are a prison. In short, they damage my relationship with my children. They damage their relationship with me. We hope for reconciliation. But what governs the environment? Where is the hope?
If there is a time when this is relentlessly tested, I am sure these more hands-off parenting years feel like it so far. *Spoiler Waring* The truth about them~the truth about me is the place where the Gospel moves in and completely undermines the worst that could be. When all that that is done and left undone threatens to undo us, grace reaches in and pulls us out. Even if natural consequences are difficult to swallow, mercy meets us.
John 8 says, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
I started this blog months ago. A couple of week ago, it dawned on me how to finish it (and it has taken longer to actually sit down and type!). Micah and I are attending a class with our church family. The title of the introductory talk was, "Who is Jesus?" You may listen in here. The answer is found in scripture and answered by Jesus Himself.  Many of the points made were directly from the gospels.
It prompted my own further study. In John 8 alone, Jesus has this to say about Himself:
He is the light of the world (vs. 11), from above, not of this world (vs. 23), sent by the Father (vs. 26-27), spoke to the world what He heard from the Father (vs. 26), He does what is pleasing to the Father (vs. 29), He speaks of what He had seen with His Father (vs. 38), He came from and was sent by God (vs. 42), He tells the truth (vs. 45), He honors His Father (vs. 49), He does not seek His own glory (vs. 50), the Father glorifies Him (vs. 54), He knows the Father and keeps His word (vs. 55), and before Abraham was, "I am" (vs. 58).
This is only one chapter! The main idea here, as well as in His ministry on the whole, is Jesus was sent by God and is God. For those looking for the Messiah, this was pertinent information. The call given then and now is to believe. For us today, believing He is the Christ ---who He said He was and is--- is the truth that sets us free.
In John 14:6, Jesus says He is the way, truth, and life.
We move close to the truth of who we are in the hope of the Person He is. He, who is the Truth, comes close to us first, as the Helper bears witness about Him (John 15:26).
What does that mean for me? And for my kids? If Jesus is who He says He is, we are who He says we are. I will spend my lifetime learning all of what that means! One place to start, especially when the truth about us makes us feel unlovable, is John 17, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."
There is no hard truth about us that will move the Father to crush us. There is no truth that will undo who He is and what He has done. There is no sin we will encounter left un-exchanged for the righteousness of Jesus. Because He has already crushed His Son for our sake, the supreme weight of the consequence has been paid. The environment for faith and repentance is love--- the love of God demonstrated by the Son, made known by the power of the Holy Spirit. Day by day, conversation by conversation, parent/child alike, I pray this makes its way deeper into all our hearts and sustains us in hope.
"Let's be brave and head toward the truth as closely was we dare and see that the Truth is there."
Lord I believe, help my unbelief.