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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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fall in NC

Three weeks ago, I got a well report from my doctor.  I want to say thank you to everyone who has been praying for my healing and recovery.  After a very long road, I finally am feeling the absence of a constant uncertainty about my physical well-being.  I am thanking God for days filled with lifting littles and making meals and all the things I haven't been able to do for so long.

Right after my doctor's appointment and with his blessing, we left for North Carolina.  Micah and I had a few days alone at The Cove in Asheville, NC.  It was so good for us both to have time to sit and be fed (both physically and spiritually), meet new friends, and play for a while.  And Asheville in November is a playground ~ of colors, of crisp air, and breathtaking mountain-valley views.  We even hiked a small-esh hike to see this beautiful chapel on the property.

Of course the kiddos had a blast with the grands at their respective homes.  Here are some pics from the farm and around NC:

Chasing the rooster has become quite entertaining!

I was glad to get a visit with the Great-Grands.  They are avid joyinourjourney readers:)

I hope each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Season!  

God's Paternal Comfort

I laid down on the bed at the beginning of the day.  It was early ---really early thanks to the time change--- and I was already feeling the chaos of the night turned day without a restful break. Some mornings the right side of the bed is illusive.  I will spare you the details leading up to my abandon.  Every parent in the world knows that being a mom or dad is indescribably hard sometimes.  If you are reading this with kids, I trust you are shaking your head in understanding.  I retreated for a minute to the bedroom.  With everyone in different places in line for the super-spastic, never-fantastic emotional roller coaster that we all take a ride on most days, I retreated to my bedroom for some mommy time-out.  One child in particular was feeling close to me in body and spirit--- as we were both sharing silent and not so silent tears respectively.

I collapsed on the bed, child still clinging to my shoulder, legs tucked in and head on my chest.  I could cradle him with both arms and he seemed to just fit.  I began to rehearse the events leading up to the day, trying to see where it all fell apart.  I was eager not to repeat decisions that led to this chaos.  Then, in my incapacity to reason it out, I broke.  There wasn’t really anything I could have done differently.  Sure, I could have been more calm, more diligent, more of this or that, but in the thick of it many times,  it just is what it is.    

At the end of trying to figure it all out, I began to pray.  It was clearly a prayer of distress.  I had no idea how I would will myself out of this mess.  “Father, where...???”  No sooner had the words left my mouth, than I again felt the child at my side.  He was relaxed and his breathing had slowed.  His eyes were closed and his hand rested on my arm.  The tears he had cried had fallen leaving marks on my shirt.  He was at peace.  Immediately, I knew that just as I was holding him, I was being held.  I realized what a gift the chaos and tears, circumstances and choices had been ~ that God through the Holy Spirit would use them all to so decidedly get my attention.  It was like a whisper, reminding me through scripture:

For thus says the LORD:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,

and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,

so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 
Isaiah 66:12-13

This is why I need to parent.  While I fail and fall miserably, in the stillness of the realizations as I nurture and love, God speaks to the way I am loved.  As those inherent traits surface in the face of difficult days and inadequate reserves, I am given a continual object lesson in the gospel.  In Exodus, the Glory of Yaweh cannot even be seen without danger to the onlooker.  Here in Isaiah, God promises Israel that they will be comforted body and soul as a mother comforts.  In the Gospels, Jesus became a baby, grew to be a child, and then matured into an adult always maintaining holistic, developmental, relational, obedient perfection in the eyes of His Father.  Because God has grafted me into His family by the death and resurrection of His Son, my relationship with God is secured.  He invites me into the throne room and places me into His presence.

It is much different than my relationship to my children, where we continually sin against each other and seek each others' forgiveness.  While I will still seek my Father's forgiveness, we have a bond of peace instead of irreconcilable separation.  I love my children because they are are my children--- They cannot do anything to make me love them more and they cannot do anything to make me love them less.  It is almost too good to be true- this is the way my Father looks at me in Christ Jesus.  As I drink in the sweetness of a little one resting on me, God loves when His children rest on Him.  His Prefect Parenting gives me motivation to press on.