Jesus, our Hope & Anchor

I recently added this app to my phone so that when I wake up in the morning and when I lay my head down to sleep, I can read deep truths from scripture, interpreted by the wise theologian Charles Spurgeon. This morning’s truth was deeply moving for me and I want to share it with you all as you walk into the weekend. Maybe you had a rough week, or are having a difficult season. Maybe you are bracing yourself for a tedious Autumn, filled with unknowns and too many things. Read these words of wisdom this morning and let your heart rest in our Anchor, Jesus.

charles spurgeon

“Jesus was the Lord High Admiral of the sea that night, and his presence preserved the whole convoy. It is well to sail with Jesus, even though it be in a little ship. When we sail in Christ’s company, we may not make sure of fair weather, for great storms may toss the vessel which carries the Lord himself, and we must not expect to find the sea less boisterous around our little boat. If we go with Jesus we must be content to fare as he fares; and when the waves are rough to him, they will be rough to us. It is by tempest and tossing that we shall come to land, as he did before us.
When the storm swept over Galilee’s dark lake all faces gathered blackness, and all hearts dreaded shipwreck. When all creature help was useless, the slumbering Saviour arose, and with a word, transformed the riot of the tempest into the deep quiet of a calm; then were the little vessels at rest as well as that which carried the Lord. Jesus is the star of the sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on it there is joy too. May our hearts make Jesus their anchor, their rudder, their lighthouse, their life-boat, and their harbour. His Church is the Admiral’s flagship, let us attend her movements, and cheer her officers with our presence. He himself is the great attraction; let us follow ever in his wake, mark his signals, steer by his chart, and never fear while he is within hail. Not one ship in the convoy shall suffer wreck; the great Commodore will steer every barque in safety to the desired haven. By faith we will slip our cable for another day’s cruise, and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and waves will not spare us, but they all obey him; and, therefore, whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten company: let us rejoice in him. His vessel has reached the haven, and so shall ours.” – Charles Spurgeon (Mark 4:36)

Ahhh! So much good truth here for us all to meditate on.

Sisters, may our hearts make Jesus our anchor, rudder, lighthouse, life-boat and harbor.

Next week I will be sharing more about my current realization of just how much I need Jesus to direct & protect my little ship. There’s been a lot of life happening in our household that I think I am finally ready to share with you!

Advertisements

Life Lately: Take Me Deeper

IMG_1292

“I have hopes. I have desires. If I’m honest, sometimes I hope God’s desires line up with my desires for my life, not the other way around.”

~She Reads Truth study on Daniel

 This Sunday at church our pastor shared the hard truth that you can’t have a resurrection without a death. This season of my life has been a cycle of something happening that wasn’t in my plan, I fight the new plan, I retreat into my bubble filled with doubt and fear, God reveals my hard heart, I try to excuse it, and finally I accept this new plan and embrace the goodness of it…REPEAT 1000X

I’m stubborn.

Aren’t we all to some extent? Don’t we all wish that the nice little plans we have designed with a pretty bow on top would actually be the outcome of our lives?

Life lately has been filled with twists and turns that I never saw coming. I often feel like I’m barely holding on to this life of mine as the changes are giving me whiplash. But isn’t it when life is at it’s hardest we find that we are closer to our Heavenly Father? It’s in the question marks of life we sense our need for Jesus and His relentless love.

A popular worship song these days is Oceans by Hilsong. I’ve even blogged about it here. It was a few weeks ago at church we were singing it and I realized that I had been praying that my life would take me here to this place, so that I would trust Him.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Let me walk upon the waters where ever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.

And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

 I cried out to my Abba Father to lead me to a place where my trust is without borders and to take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. He answered my prayer! He IS bringing me into a deeper relationship with Him. He is revealing to me the places of my heart that still need to be renewed and redeemed. His love is so deep and wide for me that He won’t let me sit in my sin of control & comfort. He wants something greater for me and for YOU!

I am still in the midst of learning this lesson and I fail daily in believing that God’s plan is good, but my prayer is that each day I will lay down my worries and fears of what the next season holds at the foot of the Cross.

I had a sweet phone conversation with a friend last week about what I’m learning and walking through, she graciously reminded me that not only is God in the details of working everything out for His glory, but He also wrote this story of mine before the creation of time. He is not only IN my story, but He IS the story.

Sisters, if you are walking through a season where life doesn’t make sense or things aren’t working out the way you planned, know you aren’t alone. I am right there with you, along with plenty of other women. Also, know that God is in this WITH you. He is for you and He is working everything out so that He receives the most glory and we can point to Jesus and say “Wow, that was hard, but God was so good to me in that. I had no idea that He was going to do THAT with my life!”

I’m not sure how God is working out my season for His good yet, but I do know that He is and I can rest in His plans and cling to His promises as I get a front row seat on all the great things He is doing in my life and in yours. 

I’m linking up with Blair at Wild & Precious for her Life Lately link-up.

 

Hold on to that Tree

lone tree

Hold on to that Tree. It’s a phrase my one of my dear friends and I say, text, email to one another when we are growing weary in our adoption journeys.

A few months ago I read this post on Ann Voskamp’s blog, written by Jennifer Duke Lee (please take the 5-10 minutes to read). Her words stirred a deep truth in me that I needed to remember, one that you need to remember too.

Whether you are in the midst of waiting to bring home your precious child or you’re in the throws of attachment and bonding or maybe you’re only praying about adoption, we all need to remember that clinging to Jesus is the only way we can walk this path that is filled with many joys, but also many heartaches.

“When trouble comes – and trouble will come — when the river through your life swells and rages; or when the creek-bed cracks dry; when the storm marches across the sky, or maybe straight across your heart; you will be scared.

And it might feel cold. You might be tempted to grab for a sorry substitute, begging for the false hope of a rope.

But friend, you are strong. Hang on to the Tree that is even stronger. Hold tight to the tree that has already redeemed you, the tree that bore every ache you could fathom, the tree onto which every sin was nailed.

Hold on to the tree that held your Savior.”

 

So, this Friday as you close down your notifications on your email one more time or as you gear up for another weekend of what could be heart-wrenching work to break down the walls our little ones have built up for protection, remember that we have a Savior that has already bore every pain and He knows our tears.

 

Run to Him and never let go of our Tree. He is gracious and faithful to provide all the strength and patience that we will ever need.

 

Hold on to that Tree, sister.

 

{You’ll find this post over at Mercy Found Ministries as well. It’s a place for families on the adoption journey to find encouragement as they continue to trust God in the process.}

a lesson from Sarah {of the Bible}

6428360881_219db957a1_z

If we were having coffee today, I’d lean in and tell you something that has become my lifeline as of late…

God is faithful.

I have been a follower of the She Reads Truth online devotional community for almost a year. I’ve shared what I’ve learned a few times here and here. Normally, I’ve been able to stay up to date on their plans and follow along with, but this round I started very late in the game. I started theWomen of the Bible plan right before the weekend hit.

The story of Sarai/Sarah has been one that I’ve taken interest in since I was little because we shared a name, but what I didn’t realize until this weekend was that was also shared the same fears and doubts.

For those of you who don’t know that story you can read it here: Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 16, Genesis 17:15-16, Genesis 18:1-21, Genesis 21:1-7.

Sarah was a woman who had been given a promise from God (along with her husband Abraham) that He would bless her with children. There was a hitch in this promise for Sarah.

You see, she was OLD.

Not old like 45 and maybe she could still get pregnant with modern day intervention, but Sarah was in her 80’s. Women at that age just don’t have children. But Sarah held on to the hope that God was faithful. She probably became very excited when Abraham told her the news that they would have a child. She more than likely started preparing her home for a little one and began to dream what her child would be like. But then days turned into months and months turned into years…no baby.

She started to doubt God’s promise to her. Instead of trusting in God’s faithfulness, she chose to make things happen. She decided that if God wasn’t going to open her womb, she would order her servant to conceive a child for her with her husband (talk about dramatic!). Sarah took the plans God had for her and made them into her plans. Her decision to move outside of God’s promise did not bring satisfaction; it brought her more bitterness and a deeper desire to control.

Sarah’s excitement for what God had promised turned into restlessness, which catapulted into sin through her own fears and doubt.

Oh, how I see myself in her.

God’s call to adopt was as strong as any call I’ve had on my life. 8 months ago I was excited and expectant! I knew that God was going to move and do great things in our lives.

And then it got hard. Oh did it get hard.

I started to doubt and fear that maybe God wasn’t as big as who He said He was in the Bible. Or maybe He was, but did He really care enough about us? I began looking for answers in all of the adoption Facebook groups, thinking that if I just knew more about our process or if I could just control one aspect of our adoption…all of this fear would go away. I began to trust the process more than the one who holds the process in His hands.

This part of Sarah’s story ends after 14 years of waiting. She gave birth to Isaac at the age of around 90. Isaac, the promised child, was the father of Jacob, renamed Israel, and the nation of Israel was birthed. God had an intricate plan for this child and family!

And God was faithful to Sarah. During those 14 years, Sarah fell many times to her own fear and doubts, but God never waivered in His promise. He continued to pursue her and remind her of His goodness. God was with her in the wait.

I have a choice and so do you. We can lean into God when the waiting gets hard and experience a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father, or we can go off on our own and try to find our answers in the idols of our heart. I can promise you, those idols will fail us even if they look pretty and helpful. Friends, let’s lean into the God who never waivers.

The God who does not change and keeps His promises (Num. 23:19).

Today, lets believe that our God has a plan for us and rest in the truth that He is making all things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28).

 

 

when you feel like you have 700 million things to do

I woke up this morning feeling groggy and anxious again. The never-ending list has seemed to haunt my dreams as of late. The fundraising letters, thank you cards, fundraising plans, dishes, laundry, care packages, blog entries and the list could go on were whirring around my heart this morning and into the afternoon.

But all I wanted was for it all to be quiet.

The days of feeling like I have all the time in the world to get things done and I’m actually checking things off the list seem to be a distant memory.

Just yesterday my husband was updating a friend of his on our adoption and he mentioned how we are in a season of waiting and don’t really have much to do right now. I laughed to myself and shook my head as I looked at my long to-do list, with most of it regarding our adoption. It was then a little voice quietly spoke to my heart, “Sarah, you’re becoming bitter and discontent again.”

I was and to be honest, I’m still fighting off bitterness and discontentment. The toddler in me wants to throw a tantrum because I just want one thing in our adoption to be over! I would love to use the double “F” word (fully-funded) or to say that we have passed court. I fight the fear that my emotions and anxieties will take the better of me through this process and I don’t want to be defined by being an anxious busybody.

I long to be quiet. Not just the noise level, but I long for a quiet that washes over this tired soul and lifts it up to a peace that passes understanding.

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zeph. 3:17) 

This morning as I was washing the dishes and putting away the laundry, I stepped outside and gazed at the summer sky. I took a deep breath, and prayed that God would quiet my heart. And for a moment, He did. I pray for more of those moments.

photo-1

Yes, there will always lists to complete and I will have to work hard at times to help bring home our girls, but in order for me to stay sane and to enjoy this season that God has placed me in I need to take captive my thoughts and cling to the truth that Jesus brings quiet to my life even when there are 700 million things on my to-do list.

How do you quiet your heart and mind when life seems out of control?

How the Ocean Calms my Soul

So it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted. Part of the reason is because I’ve been on vacation and wanted to try to disconnect from the internet world as much as possible. The other reason is because I’ve been low on words to say lately. Everywhere I look I feel that other people are saying what I want to say more eloquently. I’ve been enjoying using my time to read and connect with  friends and family, but I’m getting the itch to write again!

Our vacation was wonderful. The days we spent in Monterey and in Sonoma County were some of the most relaxing times I have had all year. There’s something about watching the waves crash against the rocks as the tide rolls in that calms my spirit like nothing else. In the mornings we would go for walks around the rocky beach and every day I was reminded that God is FAITHFUL and POWERFUL. As I sat by the powerful, yet calm ocean I would sing Oceans by Hilsong United and tears would run down my face.

IMG_1314

Tomorrow I’ll share more pictures and some of the fun things we did, but I wanted to share today how my heart found peace again on our trip. Now the hard part will be to continue to hold on to Jesus when the storms of life are still a reality.

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
[x6]

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

 

Today I linked up with Desire to Inspire (A Royal Daughter‘s weekly link-up)

 

Five Minute Friday: In Between

adoptionannouncement

These little shoes have little feet to fill them.  Those little feet are on the other side of the world, where my heart is.

We are living in the in between of not being parents and being parents. Every morning I wake up and wonder what our daughters had for lunch and if they are laughing and playing with their foster mom. Every night I pray that they are sleeping with full bellies and healthy bodies. Knowing who my daughters are, but not being able to care for them is just plain hard.

The in between stage for the majority women is a well defined 9 months. When people ask us how long we will wait, I go into a rehearsed speech of why it could be 7 months or why it will more than likely take at least a year for them to be in our arms and then explain that there is always the chance it may never happen. Every time my heart hurts when I speak those words.  I do not do well in the in between stages of life.

It’s here in the in between that I have found a deeper need, no a desperate need, to hold on to the One who holds time in His hands. He is the Only One who will be able to hold me in this season of longing for our daughters, to having in our arms and have our hearts filled with their presence. He is who I cry out to every morning, afternoon, and evening to be near our babies and to be near me.

I have found something special here. My loving heavenly Father is nearer now than ever.

In my in between.

Today I linked up again with Lisa-Jo Baker & her Five Minute Friday community. Every Friday a one word writing prompt is given and for five minutes you share your heart on what that word means to you.

Did you read my post where I shared my heart on the loss of our first referral? You can check it out here.