In our youth, we think we are untouchable. Nothing can stop us. Our dreams are big and our hopes are a slew of bright stars within in our reach. And then something happens to squelch a bit of those hopeful dreams…called reality. Life. People hurt you and you hurt them. Death rips through your dreamy thinking and shatters your stable little world. Divorce wrecks the relationships you thought were strong and steady…children get sick and cancer wreaks havoc. Life. Friendships fall apart. Misunderstandings and wrongdoings divide. Wombs are declared barren. Little children go hungry- abandoned-abused. Depression stubbornly lingers and anxiety shakes your insides. Life. Your friend gets pregnant in her teens and that loving Christian community you were apart of called the Church- gives way to the weight of sin. And you realize you aren’t in control. You never were. You never will be.
Sometimes life seems to be the enemy. But perhaps it is a reversal of thinking – that enemies are the result of this one life we live. And how we choose to live it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it bluntly, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Enemies and death go hand in hand. Death to self. Jesus puts it even more bluntly, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Scripture is uncomfortably clear that when we deny ourselves to follow Christ – we will have enemies. The gospel is radical. Mediocre, lukewarm, middle-class Christianity is not radical when the cross is absent.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood for something sometime in your life” said Sir Winston Churchhill who led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured.
All of the sudden – life isn’t so naive anymore. Or maybe we aren’t naive to life and truth and what really matters. Our dreams become HIS dreams. Our realities – HIS realities. Hard things will happen void of our enemies. Harder things will happen because of our enemies. Jobs will be at stake. Lifestyles. Beliefs. Philosophies…theologies. They all matter when we are hated by others because of what we stand for. But Oh! How he loves us! “If God is for us, who can stand against us?” (Romans 8:31) We will be hated by some in this world, but His love far surpasses our enemies enabling us to even love them in return.
Do you and I believe him enough to obey him and follow him wherever he leads, even when the crowds in our culture – and maybe in our churches- turn the other way? -David Platt
As winter comes to a close, we are thankful to have had a couple of different snowfalls here where the kids got to sled and eat snow cream. I love the stillness and peace right after a good snow – everything is so beautiful. We enjoyed extra time with daddy and reading and crafting together. The kids got creative and put on a pretty impressive circus – complete with dog trainers and car tricks. We’ve been trekking along in our nature journals enjoying the many different birds right outside our window. They have been lovely to watch while we eat at our table. By Gods grace, I have started a new Charlotte Mason co-op called “AME” (Atlanta Mason Education). We are already at our full capacity with 22 kids and looking to birth a second group, maybe 3, in the fall. We meet outside weekly and do nature, art, composer and author studies and the kids lunch together and roam the woods. It has been a lovely adventure so far. The highlight of my winter was a special visit from my dear friend from Colorado whom I haven’t seen in 4 years. She and I have weathered many a storm together in our ministry and life experiences and I’m so grateful to call her a dear sister. We snuck away to a bed and breakfast and talked for hours, took walks and hikes and ate ice-cream and chocolate together. I’m already counting down the days until I can see her again. Love you Sara! We also enjoyed a nice visit from Kevin’s parents as well as got to pet-sit a sweet bunny which taught the kids about responsibility and caring for an animal. Our first daffodils have just sprung and the kids are very anxious to begin their garden plots as the warmer weather begins to arrive…
Last month we celebrated Malachi’s 3rd birthday. I can hardly believe we no longer have any children in diapers. It’s a strange feeling to not have a baby around. I am thankful for this time to really enjoy our youngest – he is the most outgoing of all our children and can hardly stand to be by himself. He is so adorable with his blonde hair and blue eyes and loves trucks and trains and books. So we went with the train theme this year since his Mimi and Papa gave him a train table and set for his birthday. We are so thankful for a precious son. I love to hear his little voice repeat after mine at night “Dear God, please help me to be strong and courageous and to trust you!” Our prayer for him is that he would grow to be a man of courage in this world that is only getting darker and more closed to Christianity. Happy Birthday sweet boy!
3 days after Christmas, we have the joy of celebrating Jadas birthday. This year, she turned 8. How can that be?? Such a fun, humorous, gentle, tender young girl she is becoming. She’s always been the one to make everyone laugh and has such a sweet balance of being funny and caring at the same time. Jada got to have a joint party with her childhood buddy in Augusta – the girls did embroidery together, ate flower cupcakes and played – a really simple, fun time.
We enjoyed a nice respite over Christmas – And are so thankful for our family and friends both in our new home and old! God is so kind to cover us with His favor in that way. We had a nice morning on the day of Christmas (even though one of ours woke up and puked that morning – the Christmas cheer seemed to help her get out of her funk quickly though) one of my favorite Christmas morning happenings is when we read a part of the Christmas story together. So sweet. The “everything in between” consisted of a hobbit party, an Andrew Peterson concert, making gingerbread houses, yoga together, playing the Wii and of course, the annual Nutcracker date with my dad and the girls – this year was especially unique in that we got to see it at the Fox Theatre – truly a treat!
10 years. 10 years ago our little girl made us parents – we were thrown into a whole new, scary-exciting world. Merely just out of college, we fell in love with this precious little girl. What a privilege it is to watch her grow into someone so kind, graceful, witty, intelligent, compassionate….we’ve had our challenges, no doubt, and I’ve learned just how inadequate I am to be her mother- but I am so glad God gave her to us. I wouldn’t be the same without her.
This year her request was a horse party. She loves horses right now (major understatement!). God has been so kind to already place friendships in our lives, and her life since moving to a new place. We were so thankful to have a house full of girls to celebrate her life with.
This time of year is always full for us – lots of birthdays and holiday happenings and such. We were delighted to discover our neighbor is a zookeeper and she was so kind to give our family tickets to visit the Atlanta zoo set in beautiful Grant Park. We decided last minute to use our tickets when we saw there would be a sunny 70 degree day in December and it was just perfect. The weather was amazing,hardly anyone was there AND there were baby animals galore – awake! Our favorites were the baby gorillas and pandas. Just precious. Gods creation is just amazing. Pastor- husband and I got to sneak a date in and we watched our older girls perform in our church’s Christmas pageant during these last weeks as well. The kids and I also got together with some friends to decorate Christmas cookies. Ministry life has been full too – more on that in another post. We are thankful for the beauty and fullness of life and for the precious ones we share it with…