Embracing the Beautiful Valley

Written by: Christianne Williams

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 

Psalm 23:1-3

Our family recently loaded up the mini van and headed on a road trip to another province for a conference.  We had been looking forward to it for quite some time and even though there was a series of unfortunate events, it didn’t really dampen our enthusiasm for long.  We needed this family time.  With two boys rocketing  toward adulthood, we want to make the most of every opportunity to have fun together and make memories.

Speaking of memories, mine is very short.  I had forgotten the very long, very frustrating road trip from last year, the one in which we packed up the van and drove toward a new life.  We drove for over 50 hours actually, and no more than eight hours per day, and at least seven and a half of those hours each day were filled with complaints.  “I’m too hot!”  “I’m too cold”  “so-and-so is too close” “so-and-so didn’t brush their teeth!”  “I’m hungry!”  “I need the bathroom!”  And the ever popular, “How much longer do we have to stay in this van??!!”

That’s where my memory had betrayed me.  I didn’t really remember how bad it was until we were half an hour into our trip and the complaints began.  I tried to ignore it, I tried to answer it softly, I contemplated ear plugs, and I turned the music up.  Still they carried on.

With all the road blocks that appeared in the days leading up to the trip and all of the angst coming from the inside of the vehicle, I just felt that God was wanting to show me something this week.  Now there is an account in 1 Kings 19 when Elijah is crying out to God because all of the prophets have been killed and he’s left and being hunted.  The Lord tells him to go stand on the mountains because he is about to pass by Elijah.  While Elijah stood there, there was a wind strong enough to tear the mountains apart and shatter rocks, and earthquake, and then fire.  The Lord was not in any of those powerful things.  After the fire was a gentle whisper, and that was God speaking to him.

I have been guilty, as I was on this trip, of looking for the loud, big, in your face type of deal, not realizing that the very thing God wants you to hear, the very thing that will speak loudest to your spirit, is very small and gentle.

While the kids wailed on, and the day grew longer, and we were all getting tired of this 15 hour trip, my eyes were drawn to color in the valley below the highway.  It was stunning!  It was so green, so many different shades of green.  And the mountains rising majestically behind it, a sharp contrast to the valley below.  It really can’t be described, it has to be seen.  I felt in my spirit that God was showing me, in the splendor of his creation, what true rest and peace look like.

You see, we often spend our whole lives striving to live on the mountain peaks of success or triumph, but the fact is, there is not much growing up there!  There aren’t many trees on the high elevations.  It’s beautiful to look at from a distance and if you were up there you would have a beautiful view.  I’ll bet if you were standing up there though, at a high elevation, you’d be surrounded by rocks.  I was struck by how lush the valley was though, how much was in bloom and growing.  Even growing up the mountains to a certain point the vegetation was beautiful.

While we’re in the valley we don’t get to fully appreciate all the growth that’s taking place; and like the not so fragrant aroma of manure spread on the fields that we all “enjoyed” while in our van, it served as a reminder of how even the challenges we face in the valleys God uses to produce beautiful fruit in our lives. It’s more important who we are becoming than the height on which we stand.  Sometimes it feels we’re spending more time in the valley or ascending the mountain than standing on the peak, and we probably are.  Have you seen how small those peaks are in comparison to everything else?  But trust that from the heavenly view your life is producing a beautiful portrait, one that you’ll hang on your mansion wall someday and be in awe of!

He showed me that when he makes us lie in green pastures, refreshing our souls, it’s a beautiful place to be!

Feeling Hopeless

Written by: Sarah Gingell

“Anything that feels hopeless is under the influence of a lie”
-Kris Vallotton- Bethel church

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” Proverbs 13:12 ESV

These words pierced my heart so deeply the minute I heard them.
In a good way, that is.

My heart knew the truth but needed someone else to find the words.

I needed words to calm my sleepless heart that tosses and turns in the waves of life.
How can I NOT feel hopeless how can I have JOY when everything around me is pure chaos. When it feels as if the floor beneath me has caved.
How can a sick heart leap in triumph when so burdened by strife?

Currently in this season of my life, my husband and I are in transition. The oh so familiar transition we’ve experienced the last 2 summers. Big decisions and no control on how they turn out. I didn’t run into these circumstances like the arms of a long lost lover. It was a little more like running AWAY.

My husband is having to transition to another job due to the expiration of his companies contract, after only being at this one a year. Only having 6 weeks to find a new one with no prospects.
Also, we are trying to conceive and have been having troubles. Months of emotional exhaustion and disappointment with every negative pregnancy test. All to find out I was diagnosed with PCOS. A syndrome that causes my eggs to mature but not be released…and the list goes on.
With that being said I want to be real with you.

Everyone KNOWS to trust. Every one knows “all things work together for good”
but the reality is we don’t always know what that looks like. Our first thoughts are not always “ oh this is awesome!” In fact, most of the time fear can creep in within seconds.

Walking out of a Doctor’s office with hopes of good news, only to be let down.
Getting a new job that you love, only to find out its not going to last.
It seems to be a lot easier to have a breakdown before you even reach your car than to have your first thought be praise, when you don’t know what that actually looks like. It feels hopeless. It feel like a bottomless pit of despair. It feels like your tear stained cheeks will never be dry.

But that is a lie.

a couple days ago a fellow pastor was speaking on James 1:2. It’s the almost cliché well known verse. “Count it all joy…”
but he said something that transformed this verse for me. And it is currently changing my outlook on my current situation.

The pastor said the verse says count it all joy. So we think to “consider it joy” when we face trials of many kinds. We think it means you should be happy bad things are happening. Maybe all of you don’t think this but I did.
He began to explain that the words “count” back then referred to the elders or the first of the church. Meaning “ the leaders”

So Translated its saying “ have your FIRST or leading thought in the front of the line be grace and seeing the gifts given”
You See trials are “ unwelcome difficulties” and some of the time we are losing something in this trial. But if we are counting our joy… we aren’t remembering what we lost but we are choosing to remember what we already have.

This screams hope to me. That for me IS PURE joy.

Looking at my situation as seeing what I have. It has helped me to look at my situation and not have to find joy among the midst of difficulty but I can take it one thought at a time.

Sitting alone with my sweet Heavenly Father and letting him guide me so gently in finding my forward and my first thought. It is easy for me to look at the negative if I choose to have dinner with my gloomy thoughts, but when I allow myself dwell on the gifts in front of me the circumstances become less of a mountain.
I am able to separate the hopelessness from the lies. I’m believing and focusing on the joy and celebration from what God has given me.

One of the incredible gifts I have received through these tumultuous times is the women that have partnered along side with me. They have been by my side through prayer and through conversation. These women have shared the same struggles I am currently experiencing. These special women are the ones who have let me cry on the phone or in their lap when I’m feeling more than hopeless. They have been walking with me through this season because they know the heartache too well.

There is no pure jubilee in suffering but the joy these women have brought be just by being there and understanding is a gift beyond measure. It has helped me realize one day my struggles will be the light in someone else’s eyes because I will be the one that walks along with them in struggles of fertility and life’s transitions. What a beautiful thing I have to look forward to.

All of this to say…this doesn’t mean I’ve got it or mastered it. I’m still learning. I’m still trying to not let my head take over and trying to listen to the delightful words the Lord whispers to my heart daily. My prayer for anyone feeling hopeless is that their heart would not be troubled but would find all the beautiful gifts God has right now for you and your eyes would be set on him.

 

 

Hello there I’m Sarah!
I have been married to my incredible husband, Frederick for 2.5 years. We have a crazy cat named Jean Ralphio whom we adore. I am a Michigan native transplanted twice. First California and now currently in Seattle Washington. I am obsessed with coffee and crafts and love Jesus more than anything!

Always Room For More

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

We took an unexpected trip back to Canada back in March. After waiting for two hours for the shuttle to arrive we finally got to the motel at 3 in the morning.  The interesting thing was all the people the driver packed into the van. People were going to various hotels near the airport. There were no more seats, but still he crammed them in there. People had to stand, sit on laps, sit on the floor at the feet of someone else. People were getting annoyed and angry. Commenting things in their frustration like, “can’t he see there’s no more room?  You mean, I have to stand? This isn’t safe! Oh my goodness! Does he want to me go in the back with the luggage?” People couldn’t believe that he continued to make stops to pick up more people when the van was already full.  I kept pretty quiet during all this but I was rolling my eyes on the inside.

I guess that kind of thing is not so common place in Canada.  But honestly the situation kind of made me feel at home and felt so very normal.   In Honduras there is always room for one more. For example, we have a Nissan Xterra. It seats 5, but we have often had nine or more in the car.  There have been many times where I have had to sit on someone’s lap. Usually it’s one of my kids who are now bigger than me. It’s totally ordinary to see a bus on the road with crowded aisles…or the back of pickups full of people.

The incident in Toronto reminded me of a song by Ira Stanphill that we used to sing in church when I was a child.

There’s room at the cross for you, there’s room at the cross for you…though millions have come, there’s still room for one, yes there’s room at the cross for you.

The thing with the Lord is that there is always room for one more.  His mercy.  His grace.  His forgiveness. It’s for everyone.  It is not exclusive. We don’t have to change, clean ourselves up or be a certain way just so that he will accept us. He loves just as we are. In our brokeness.  In our frailty. In our humanness. When we mess up.  He doesn’t love us more or less than anyone else. His love is for all people.  Forever.  Regardless of our faith. Regardless of our skin colour. He is a good, good Father. He doesn’t want any of us to perish.  He died so that we could live. That is love. When we come to Him and receive His love…He cleanses us.

1 John 1:9 But if we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive our sins because of Christ and he will continue to cleanse us from all Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners. unrighteousness. (TPT)

Psalm 100: 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

2 Peter 3: 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he isn’t being slow about his promise as some people think. No. He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed., but wants everyone to repent.

There is always, always room for one more. Who are you taking with you?

 

The cross upon which Jesus died

Is a shelter in which we can hide

And its grace so free is sufficient for me

And deep is its fountain as wide as the sea.

 

Chorus

There’s room at the cross for you

There’s room at the cross for you

Though millions have come, there’s still room for one

Yes there’s room at the cross for you.

 

Though millions have found him a friend

And have turned from the sins they have sinned

The Savior still waits to open the gates

And welcome a sinner before it’s too late.

Chorus

There’s room at the cross for you

There’s room at the cross for you

Though millions have come, there’s still room for one

Yes there’s room at the cross for you.

 

The hand of my Savior is strong

And the love of my Savior is long

Through sunshine or rain, through loss or in gain,

The blood flows from Calvary to cleanse every stain.

Yes there’s room at the cross for you.

 

 

Don’t Play Fair

Written By: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Of the things that our children have picked up from school, maybe our least favourite these days, is the saying; “NO FAIR!!!!” Oh, how those two little words make us crazy, because they are usually followed by the sudden outbreak of pure chaos. Graciousness.

We live in a world where justice is very important. Good is rewarded; bad is avenged. In other words, “I’ll be nice to you so long as you are nice to me; but if you treat me wrong, I’ll treat you wrong back. Justice.

Unfortunately, that is exactly the problem.

You see, Jesus calls us to be different. He says in Matthew 5:39; “But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well.”

I recently felt challenged by this verse in relation to parenting my kids. We are parenting them to seek justice….when Christ calls us to be more than that. “He has told you, [sister] what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

God calls us to DO justice; not seek justice.

So how do we teach this to our kids?! Well I think the first thing we need to do is live it out in our own lives. If we want our kids to do justice, we have to do justice too. After that, I think we just need to take it day by day; lesson by lesson all while allowing God to lead us.

Don’t play fair anymore. Do better than that; love abundantly, even if it’s not returned.

Father God, thank You for Your love and mercy. Thank You that we do not need to seek justice, but instead we can seek You as You are just. Jesus, when it comes to our kids, let us be a living example of doer’s of justice, rather than those seeking justice. Please also guide us as we desire to raise our kids in a manner which will honour and glorify You. We ask these things in Your precious name, amen.

Facebook Friends

Written By: Sarah Walker

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
(Deuteronomy 4:29)

Isn’t it amazing that the God of the universe asks us to seek him! Not only does he want us to believe in Him and follow His ways, but He also desires a relationship with us!

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

It’s like Jesus has sent a friend request, and patiently waits for us to respond!

I first met my husband in passing at his church’s Christmas banquet. He was the Lead Pastor of the church, and some friends and I had come to visit the church that day. That evening, I found him on Facebook and sent him a message thanking him for allowing us to “crash” the church’s family dinner. (Yes…I did make the first move!)

He responded to my message and sent me a friend request. From there, dozens of messages were sent back and forth, which ultimately lead to our first date, our brief courtship, our engagement, and eight months later, our wedding day!

Our relationship started with a single message sent, as I nervously hoped for a response. As we got to know each other beyond just messages on a screen, love started to bloom.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40)

Recently, I went through a devotional by Mardi Collier called “What Do I Know About My God?” She says that, “Because God wants us to love him, and we can’t love someone we don’t know,” we must therefore turn to the Word in search of the qualities and characteristics of God, and when we start to know and understand who God is, our love for Him will blossom and flourish.”

My husband and I spend lots of time talking with each other and spending time together. We intentionally set aside time to pursue our relationship in order to keep our connection close and healthy.

It can be so easy to let the busyness of life, with jobs, kids, sports and hobbies, keep us from spending that necessary time together. We could remain married but our relationship could grow cold if we are not careful.

That same concept is true with God. God wants to be in relationship with us, but it can be easy to say “Yes” to Jesus and start working really hard to follow his ways – but forget that He desires a relationship with us the most!

On Facebook I have many friends. Some of them are just that- “Facebook friends”; my account says that we are friends, but we have no “real” relationship. I might like their status updates or pictures from time to time, but there is no real and sincere connection.

There are times when I receive a friend request and I will decline or ignore the request. This usually only happens when I don’t know that person at all, and I don’t want to let them share in the details of my personal life.

Then there are friends and family whom I “follow” – I continually connect with them not only through message or text but also through real life connections.

Have we accepted Jesus’ friend request?

Is He like a “Facebook friend” to us? Do we stay loosely connected, maybe like what He has to say, but keep a casual distance from Him at the same time?

Or do we “follow” Him? Do we take time to read everything He has to say, replying to every message with the excitement of a budding relationship, and anxiously awaiting the times we get to spend together in His presence?

Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8)

God promises that as we look for Him we will find Him, because He is eagerly waiting for us to respond to His invitation. He is hoping that we will come to Him, and when we do, He will respond and come near to us! What an amazing promise, and what an amazing God!

How will we respond?

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Life.  Awe life!  It comes with many twists and turns, moments of excitement and times of deep sorrow, along with events that both sideswipe and pleasantly surprise.  We take the good with the bad, hope for the best, and cherish the simple things.  A baby’s giggle brightens our day and a grandparent’s last breath overshadows our happiness.  It clamours on with many seasons of the heart and opportunities to grow in character.

It is a well-known fact that we have no control over what happens to us in this life, but we do have control over how we respond.  It’s inevitable that challenging times will come our way; trials, tribulations and the sort.  We have no choice in this, but we do have choice in our actions that follow and must recognize God’s sovereignty in the midst of our struggles.  In choosing how to respond, trust in our Lord is paramount.

“If we choose to trust God, then we will develop perseverance and faith will grow.” 

James 1:3

Our hearts naturally drift toward complaint, worry, fear and anger when the rough times come.  These conditions often become the unwanted patterns of behaviour, thoughts, and actions.  To withstand this we must surrender to God’s sovereignty in all situations and trust Him implicitly for the outcomes.  Trust EVICTS these conditions from our heart.  They cannot co-exist.  One will inevitably push out the other and without trust we cannot weather the storms of life!

The story of Abraham in the Bible is truly fascinating.  A man, who faced so many trials in his journey on this earth, yet was an incredible example of faith and trust in his God…Our God!  At one point, Abraham was COMMANDED by God to leave the comfort, familiarity and safety of his home and surroundings.  To simply trust God and move out from all that he knew and loved into a land filled with trial and danger.  He was given the dream of the Promised Land from God and told to GO!  He took his then very elderly wife, he being an old man himself, and began the journey forward.  No questions asked.  He simply obeyed his Lord and stepped out into the unknown, trusting every step of the way.

The Israelites, however, show us the opposite pattern of mistrust and reliance on the flesh.  Abraham was their spiritual forefather and his “journey of trust” their spiritual inheritance.  But they chose to respond with resistance and cultivated the very undesirable traits of complaint, worry, fear and anger.  Because of this they were stuck in a 40-year pattern of wandering aimlessly through the dessert, a symbol of the spiritual wasteland in their lives.

Daughters, life is a gift not to be taken for granted.  Some days are wonderful and exciting and rewarding.  Some days are horrible and discouraging and unforgiving.  The tides of life will ebb and flow with incredible unpredictability.  But one thing remains.  God is sovereign and we can trust Him.  We must choose each day how we will respond and we must choose to trust Him in order to live above the waves!

What Name Are You Answering To?

Written by: Sarah Walker

When my son was in his first year, I was preparing for his next doctor’s check-up appointment by going through the checklist of milestones that he was supposed to be able to accomplish at his age (sit up by himself, roll over, make cooing noises, etc). I read through the list, checking off, “yes, yes, yes, yes,” but then I came to a stop at one of them: “Responds to his name.”

He was a few months older than the suggested time frame to which he should have been able to accomplish this task. As I thought about it, I actually couldn’t remember a time when he had in any way responded to the sound of his name.

I wasn’t overly worried, but it was time to experiment! I started to call his name. “Matthew?” No response. I went right up beside him and called his name. “MATTHEW!” No response. No matter how I said it, he just wouldn’t respond!

I spent the rest of the day a little worried. As I went about my day, I spent some time praying for him. As I did, I realized that, along with his given name, my family actually also called him by several different nicknames.

Mr. Man, Handsome, Buddy Boo, Matty-Matt, Big Man, (Silly) Goose, Baby Boy, Monster, and Monkey – just to name a few!

I figured out that he was being called by so many different names all the time that he wasn’t hearing his own name enough to actually know that it was his given name – the only name that truly matters!

Today he is almost three, and of course he still has a few pet names! But now, it’s not only the sound of his name that makes him turn towards me – he just knows my voice, whether I call him Matthew or Goose.

Sometimes I find this to be true of myself. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, helper, and blogger, among other things. I respond to many different names, but my most important name is Sarah, child of God (John 1:12).

There are many days where I might sense God calling to me, wanting me to connect with Him, but the cries of “mom,” “wife,” and “helper,” seem to be much louder, winning my attention. The more I put my other names first, the harder it is for me to hear when God calls after me.

In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. (Proverbs 3:6)

When I am intentional to respond to God’s call first by setting aside time to pray, worship and invest in my relationship with Him, it becomes much easier to hear His voice and direction in all areas of my life.

I then feel Him with me when I hear the call of other names and it is easier to respond to those other names with respect, patience, love and wisdom.

Sometimes as I try to answer all the names that are calling for my attention, I start to feel overwhelmed. I can’t seem to find the time to respond to everyone and everything. I have found that by putting God first in my life, He helps me to make room for everything else that is of importance to me.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, an all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

I have learned that I can’t do it alone. I need to put God first. I need to answer to the name “Sarah, child of God” each and every day. When I lose sight of putting God first, I become less productive and often fail to respond in love and patience with those that I love. When I connect with God, His presence and guidance direct my steps in all that I do!

From Inside the Mind of an Enthusiastic Worshiper

Written by: Sarah Walker

That my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever! (Psalm 30:12)

I am one of those people that as soon as the worship music begins, I always have my arms stretched up high. I like to clap and sway to the music, and sometimes you can even catch me jumping, dancing or kneeling to worship my King!

This was not always me.

There was a time when I would look around during worship at those who had their hands raised up high and think, “I don’t want to raise my hands, and I really don’t want to dance, that is not who I am!” I used to be very shy, and I still do not like to draw attention to myself. I was afraid to lift my hands, afraid of letting go, and afraid of what others might think.

One Saturday night my friend and I attended the concert of one of my favourite bands, Switchfoot. We stood and cheered loudly when the band entered the stage. We sang along with great passion to each song, we clapped, we danced and at times I even raised my hands up high to applaud!

The next morning I was in church, and I thought about my night before at the concert. I had shouted, danced, and raised my hands – all these things that I was so against doing in church! That’s when this question came to my mind: “How would I be worshiping if Jesus was physically present in the room?”

Would I still be standing with my arms crossed? Would I be on my phone? Would I be mentally complaining about how I don’t like this song, or that it’s too loud? Or would I be singing my heart out? Would I maybe be shouting and dancing? Would my hands be raised? Would I be on my knees?

For where two or three gather in my Name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20)

God challenged my heart that morning! Here I was, standing in the midst of a few hundred people, all who were gathered to worship the Name of Jesus. The Bible says that when even two people gather together in His Name, He is present with them. Clearly, in that moment I was standing in God’s presence, and yet I was completely motionless, lamely staring and repeating the lyrics that were up on the screen.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Psalm 150:1-6

The Bible is filled with commands to praise God! We are called to thank Him, to sing to Him, to get loud, to get excited, to play music, shout and dance before Him.

As I read my Bible and found verse after verse about praising God, I realized that I had been making worship all about me!

I don’t want to raise my hands.

That is not who I am.

I don’t want to sing.

I don’t want to dance.

I don’t like this song or worship style.

I’m not in the mood to worship today.

That is a lot of I! It is not about how I feel in the moment or if I like the song being played – I’ve been called to praise God, whatever my circumstances. I have been called to give up my wants and personal preferences, and to follow after God.

As I stepped out of my comfort zone to worship God in a way that I wasn’t comfortable with, I was surprised with the results. I started to feel more at peace, I was more joyful and I began to feel a closer connection with God’s presence than I ever had in worship before!

Come near to God and He will come near to you. (James 4:8)

We are called to live a life of sacrifice, to give up ourselves to chase after God’s heart. I felt like God was asking me to give up my image and pride to be able to worship Him with new passion. Sure, I had been singing along but I certainly wasn’t giving God my best! When I put myself aside, I was met with a new freedom and confidence in God.

I am always amazed that the God of the universe keeps His promises. I am no one special, and yet He continually comes near to me, He gives me love, peace, strength, endurance, and wisdom. There is never a moment where He is not worthy of ALL of my praise!

Being the Embodiment of Unconditional Love

Written by: Cindy Morrone

Her story came across my FaceBook feed.  A young Mom decided to place her newborn with an adoptive couple.  I can’t recall the details but I can recall how difficult the decision was for her.  How heartbreaking for her.  She used this phrase in her testimony to describe her role as her newborn son’s Mother “I need to be the embodiment of unconditional love to him.”

And to me this describes exactly what being a Mother means.

Constantly, we are asked to set aside our wants and sometimes needs to take care of our children.

We give up our sleep, our time, our ambitions and our bodies for seasons just for them.

As Moms, we have times when we are driven to dig deep; deeper than ourselves.

In the book of 1 Kings Chapter 3 verses 16-28, we see two Moms of similar lifestyles, act in very different ways.  Both women had babies at the same time. One baby died and both claimed the living baby as their own.  Wise King Solomon was asked to make a decision.  Whose baby was it? Both adamantly claimed the child.  The King’s response was terrifying, ‘Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.  He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”’  1 Kings 3:24 & 25

I have had some significant moments in my Mothering journey where digging deep beyond me has happened.

Like the Mom in 1 Kings, I’ve had to totally surrender for my child ‘The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” 1 Kings 3:26

Years of infertility; remaining barren.  A surrendering that was God’s will for us.

A failed adoption.

A decision to foster our daugthers forever if that’s what they needed; if that’s what was decided.

Saying good-bye to our foster children.

In each moment, I’ve had to place the needs of each of our children above the wants of my heart.

It’s what we do, as Mamas.

Our love for them is not conditional.   We are being the embodiment of unconditional love.

And in these moments, I have never had what it takes.  It’s bigger than me.  In these times, I am the closest to my God.  Being a Mom drives me to my need for God.  And He never fails for He knows and has given such Sacrifice for me.

God bless you and yours, Mama!! Never forget you are never alone!! Love you!!

 

New Life

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

A couple of years ago or so we went for a walk in a community a couple of hours away from the capital city of Tegucigalpa in which we reside. We noticed the “living” fences that were around some of the properties. These unique fences are made from limbs and branches that have been cut or ripped off of trees and thrown aside. The cast off branches are then planted in the ground in straight rows, watered and the barb wire is added afterwards to make a fence. It is amazing that from these cut off branches…new life grows! The planted limbs soon begin to sprout green leaves and eventually they will become full grown trees. Isn’t that amazing? Who would ever have thought that new life could come from something once cast aside?

I was actually reading about this today in the book of Job.

Job 14:7, 8,9 Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches. Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it will bud and spout again like a new seedling.

We all go through different seasons in this life. How many of us have ever felt cast aside and rejected and alone? Maybe things don’t work out the way we thought they would, the way we had hoped. Plans fail. We may feel like giving up. Hope is gone. We may even feel rejected and abandoned by God.

There is hope! The Lord never abandons us. He is always there. He is there in the midst of whatever storm we are going through, whatever mountains we are facing and whatever we are struggling with. When we feel like giving up, He is there. When we feel like a failure, He is there. When we feel alone,  He is there. New life can spring forth from something that was once dead and cast aside. There is hope when we are broken and rejected and that hope is in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are pressed on every side by our troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but NEVER ABANDONED by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed

IS  43:19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Psalm 71:20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.

Jeremiah 17: 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried about long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.