Saturday, June 27, 2009


Why? That's the question Isabelle, our 2 and a half year old has been asking lately. And she's asking it about everything. This morning, for example, I was reading my Bible. She walks up and asks me what I'm doing. Here's the conversation:

Belle: "What are you doing, daddy?"
Me: "Reading Bible stories".
B: "Why?"
M: "Because God--who made everything, even you and me-- wrote this book. So if we want to get to know God, we should read the Bible. And I want to know God, so I'm reading Bible stories."
B: "But why?"
M: "Because I want to know God."
B: "Why?"
M: "Because God loves us, and when we read Bible stories we know that he loves us."
B: "Why?"

At this point I'm at a loss for explanation! How can a two year old possibly understand the grand scheme of what God is doing. I can't even grasp it. How do I explain sin, salvation, Jesus, eternal life, etc.? I don't. I have to trust. I have to trust that God will keep her until she can understand. That he will lead her to Jesus. That he will give her the gift of faith.

These types of "why" conversations have been happening a lot. I find myself getting really annoyed, which at first I felt really guilty about. But then I realized, I get annoyed because most of what she wants to know she cannot understand yet. I know she won't understand, I explain anyway because she asked, and then she gets frustrated because she doesn't understand my answers.

Then it hits me: this is what I do in my relationship with God. I'll look at my life and say (pardon the more colorful language) "What the heck are you doing, Dad?" Sometimes He explains (which I usually can't comprehend) and sometimes he remains silent--probably at a loss of explanation because he knows I can't possibly grasp the bigger picture of what he's doing. I think God probably even gets a little annoyed that I'm so worried about "why". But here is where my journey is unlike my 2 year old's.

You see, when my 2 year old doesn't understand, she looks at me for about 2 seconds with the questions still gleaming in her eyes. But then she let's it go, smiles, and then saunters off to go play. She's completely carefree and accepts that, whatever is going on, her daddy is going to take care of her--and that's all she needs.

But what do I do? When I don't understand, I despair. I question God. Is he even there? As David says in Psalm 42, "Why have you forgotten about me?"

But he hasn't forgotten. He's just patiently waiting for me to let it go, smile and saunter off to go live my life--completely carefree and accepting that, whatever is going on, my daddy is going to take care of me--and that's all I need.

So I'm learning (from my 2 year old, mind you) to stop asking God why, and to simply live my life carefree, trusting God more fully. I think this is why Jesus said we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of God. Not to be ignorant or immature, but to simply believe and trust Him as a child trusts his Father.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Change the world...of one.

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." --Leo Tolstoy

Everyone wants to change the world, right? End world hunger. Promote world peace. Eradicate poverty. Etc, etc.

In a creative planning meeting the other day at church, we were talking about the idea of challenging our people to "change the world... of one."

In my service of Christ, I'm always thinking about how I can make a BIG impact. How can I do something great, grand, etc.? But the fact is, that until God has changed us, we cannot change the world. And once God has changed us, the change he would have us make in the world looks a lot less grand than we might think. I don't know if I can change the world, but I can change the world of one. I can love the people around me, one at a time, so much that it literally changes their world. Even if I never did anything else, if I could change one person's world by how I love them, then I have succeeded.

It starts with myself. Changing my world. And then, the people closest to me: my wife, kids, and close friends. Much like the do-gooders who traveled across the world to see Mother Teresa and they asked her how they could change the world. Her reply? "Go home and love your families." Amen to that.

I think as Christians we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to change the world. That's a big burden to carry, and ultimately there was only one man who could carry it--Jesus. The cool thing is he did carry it--straight to the cross--but don't miss this: he left it there. Jesus took the sin of the whole world up to the cross, and he left it there. In other words, the entire world only needed one change, and Jesus accomplished it in the single selfless sacrifice of his life on the cross. All the macro "world changing" that needed done is already done.

Perhaps you can't change the world, but you can change the world of one.

I'll leave you with a poem I wrote several years ago:

Jesus Shot Me
I was scared to change
I was dead, but it was safe.
"Change the world!" Everyone said.
Change the world while I'm dead?

So I went to Jesus and asked him a question:
Can you shoot me through the heart?
(The dead fear not death but only rejection)
He smiled and said, "That's quite a suggestion!"

"Let the bullet tear through my chest,
I couldn't pull the trigger on my own."
Pensively I waited--that's all I said.
He just smiled and nodded his head.

"I will shoot you through the heart,
If my actions you'll condone--
As I pick up the pieces of your life
And make it one after my own."

So, he shot me.
But it brought me,
Back to life again.

He raised me up;
Filled my cup,
And sent me on my way forgiven.

I am one who Jesus changed
As he exposed my sin and shame.
"You have changed," everyone has said.
I'll change the world wherever I'm lead.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wickham, babies, and Belle

As promised, a bit about the best live show I've ever seen...Phil Wickham. This man has a way of putting into beautiful poetic melodies what the rest of us feel about God...but can't seem to verbalize (this is aron's verbage...I stole it:). The entire night was an encounter with God...totally focused on worship and celebrating who God is and this "Divine Romance" he's invited us to be a part of. Aron said he had a subtle feeling of melancholy mixed with wonder during the show because the moment was so special, and he knew it would never happen again.
Speaking of romance, I have to tell on my husband. Prior to the Phil W. show we were checking out the merchandise table, and I asked Aron if he wanted a cd or t-shirt. "Naah, I'm good," he said. Well, mid-way through the concert, Phil forgot what song came next, and so he asked the audience for any requests. Aron screamed, "Hallelujah" (you know, the Rufus Wainwright version that Brewster recently covered..."I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord, but you don't really care for music do ya? It goes like this the 4th the 5th, the minor fall, the major lift, the baffled King compos-ed Hallelujah...") Anyways, Wickham busts out the most amazing "Hallelujah" we've ever heard with some crazy impromptu falsetto. Aron looked over at me when the song was over, and with a gleam in his eyes said, "I totally have a man-crush on Phil now." I lost it...then he tried to recover.."You know, like a 'bro-mance' in a totally straight kind of way". Needless to say, Aron had to have both a shirt and a cd once the show was over. So here he is (above) sporting his 'True Love' tee.

And here is me below...
As much as I hate to admit it, I think Aron is right. Pretty sure I'm going to be much bigger this time around. Which really is a good thing...except when it comes time to birth this little boy. My Belly feels like its growing huge, and there's still a few months to go...oh boy, oh boy!

I snapped this one of Belle yesterday, because the girl is 2 and already stealing my shoes! Aron always wears his flips out to grill, and she is daddy's grilling assistant...running errands, fetching spices, carrying messages to and from the kitchen. So she decided she needed flips as well. She proudly showed Aron, and he said, "Oh, you've got momma's flips."

"No, they're my flips. These are Belle's," she replied.

I guess its a good thing I have little feet if we'll be sharing in the future.
And here's a video of Belle singing the VBS song, "I will not be afraid." She only heard it 2 or 3 times, but has been singing it since. She begged me all day yesterday to play it, but we had to wait for Aron to bring home his laptop where the song was stored.

And below is a few random moments I caught yesterday...if nothing else, Belle's 2 year old cousin, Chloe, really likes to watch videos of her best friend.
with much love,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Night on the Town in the Windy City

We caught a very big, very fast train into the city. I for one was nervous.Belle thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the conductor who stamped our pass.
Once in the city, we had to grab a cab to get us from place to place.No, none of us wore seat belts as we were piled on top one another, but yes, we needed to. The movie stereotypes of cab rides are dead on! Crazy, crazy drivers weaving in and out of traffic at highly unsafe speeds for stop and go driving.We decided we couldn't leave Chicago without trying famous Chicago style pizza. Becky R., a Chicago native, led us to Lou Malnatis.
Apparantly this is the place to get pizza in Chicago...the joint was packed.But we entertained each other while we waited and our stomachs' growled."Are you really going to make me pause for a picture now that I finally got my pizza???"Same look as Aron..."Can't a guy eat in peace?"The most unique pizza I've ever had: deep dish butter crust, solid slab of sausage, cheese, and a very chunky sauce on top. Very good...but it didn't taste a bit like traditional pizza.Someone was very happy now that his belly was full!Then we took another cab around the city and landed at the original Cheesecake Factory. Oh yes, it was worth the misery of a very full tummy and a few thousand extra calories.Saw some beautiful architectureBefore ending the evening at Union Terminal to catch a train out of the city.Since we missed the 11:30 train, we had an hour and a half to kill before the next one rolled in. Aron marveled us with his "powerwalking", and even raced Aaron D. who sprinted as Aron strutted his stuff. In a post race interview, Aron attributed all glory to his mom who gave him his hips. We finally boarded the train after 1 am. And after a 45 minute commute to the hotel...

All three boys were out.But the fun was well worth the lack of sleep Friday morning. As Becky R. told us, "We can sleep when we die, guys."

The headlines...

We took the plunge and finally bought the MacBook Pro we've been dreaming of. We met an awesome Christian guy who cut us a deal we couldn't refuse on this powerhouse. Aron will soon be recording again, and we are thrilled!!! Now we're transitioning all of our PC files to the Mac. Then its sianara big black dinosaur!Baby is now 30 weeks big, and mommy is feeling it! Belle is growing more and more excited to meet this little one, and is sooo excited she will have baby brother to sit next to her in the car.
Aron will soon be launching his own site in addition to his KirkHaven blogging. He's been saving up his posts for the new blog. More details to come...
And I still have a Chicago post as well as a blow-your mind Phil Wickham show to catch up on. I'm hoping to get up early tommorrow with Aron and make some progress. We shall see.
Until then,

Thursday, June 18, 2009 has been a turbulent few days around these parts. I'll catch you up quickly:

Belle had a VCUG performed on Tuesday. You can look it up if you're curious, but we'll just say, it involves urethral catheterization of a fully conscious 2 year old and subsequent x-rays. We asked Aron's mom to come up and help out during the procedure as I was unable to be in the room as pregnancy and radiation exposure is dangerous.

We had an awesome time with our sweet momma, and Belle absolutely LOVED having her grandma to herself. Infact, she did NOT like that she had to share her with Aron & me. She spent the first few minutes of this morning searching the whole house looking for where Grandma snuck off to.

Everything came back negative for urinary reflux (thank you Lord!)...but we got a bit of scary news we weren't expecting. They found glucose in her urine (which is a clinical indicator of diabetes), but the doctors were confused by this as all of her other urinalysis's over the past 6 months had been negative for glucose.

They told me we would repeat the UA immediately, hoping it was just a lab error or other fluke. But if it wasn't, we would be looking at hospitalization for new onset juvenile diabetes. This scared me to death, and my heart broke for my baby.

During the early afternoon while my stomach was in knots and my heart felt as burdened as I could physically bear, Belle's young, simple faith touched me. She was quietly strapped in her car seat staring out the window as we drove, and I heard her sweet little voice begin singing,
"My God is mighty to save
My God is mighty to save
My God is mighty to save
Forever, author of salvation,
Jesus conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave."

I LOST it...sobbing, running nose. Ugly, ugly crying.

We spent most of the afternoon at church waiting on test results because I didn't want to wait alone, but finally at 3:00 pm they informed us the UA came back perfectly normal. Thank you God, Thank you God, Thank you God!

I tell you everything I had been worrying about up until this point is now trivial and not even worthy of my concern! I realized how much of my energy I spend consumed with worry and miss the blessings right in front of me.

So tonight I feel oh so grateful, but still emotionally raw from the week. Aron just got home from practice and said he & the team had a really special time of prayer and encouragement together tonight. God is reigning down His sovereignty and healing on us as a family.

I want to leave you with this song. We first heard this at the Hillsong United Concert in Chicago, and I have fallen in love with the message. Whatever pain you are enduring tonight, I pray you know that He is holding you.

Tonight we rest in Him,

Monday, June 15, 2009

quick weekend randomness...

We spent Saturday night at Partridge Creek to get Belle's ears pierced. She's been begging to get it done, and daddy finally caved. She is so proud of her earrings. I've been feeling overwhelmed by metro life and quite claustrophobic with all the busyness. God loved on me tonight by surprising me with several different bushes of wildflowers on a walk in the field behind our condo. I knew they were from Him just because He wanted me to know He loves me.
We cut several bunches and brought them indoors as a reminder of His provision and how He loves us in the details.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hillsong United

There are no words to adequately describe last night's worship experience.There are moments in which the veil between the natural and the supernatural becomes very thin, and for a brief window of time we are given a glimpse of a God beyond our comprehension. This was one of those moments.

I've been allowing Belle to come into the music portion of worship on Sundays because she LOVES it. This past Sunday, as I held her she sang every song. She didn't know all the words, but she mumbled right along with the melody. During the chorus of Wonderful Maker as we sang,

What a wonderful Maker
What a wonderful Savior
How majestic Your whispers
And how humble Your love
With a strength like no other
And the heart of a Father
How majestic Your whispers
What a wonderful God

She threw her hands up in the air and held them there as she sang. I couldn't even continue singing. I truly believe children resonate with praise for our Father in a way that transcends our understanding.

I love how the Message paraphrases David's words:
Psalm 8
1 God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.
2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
5-8 Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden's dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle, even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming, whales singing in the ocean deeps.
9 God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world.

Here's a short video of her worshiping last night. The whole place was resounding on the bridge, "Woah...woah..." and you can see her trying to sing along. Just precious to a mommy's heart.

Aron has barely had any time to tell me about all that he is learning, but from the few brief conversations we've had, I can tell you that God has been working in us both in similar ways. He is speaking love, rest, and peace over us. Calling us to recenter on His love, and that nothing else matters. It was been so restoring. More to come...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Willow Creek Arts Conference - Night 1

We spent most of Tuesday traveling to Chicago. Aron & his team of creatives will be spending the next three days immersed in the world of the arts. The theme this year is 'Wonder', and they'll have to blog about all that they learn...because Belle and I decided to come last minute, and the conference is sold out. We're enjoying the rest, pool, and company in the evenings, though. Aron was able to snag a King Suite off of Orbit Sunday night for a cheaper price than the double queen standard rooms he'd booked weeks ago.Shortly after arriving, the boys headed out for a 30 minute run before supper (Aron & Craig are 'in training' for their sprint triathalon ). Aron had already run 3 miles Tuesday morning before we left, so needless to say, by evening, the boys were in need of some serious nourishment.We headed over to Maggiano's Little Italy for some hearty Italian goodness.I'm not sure what our waiter thought of us...but we had a good time! The boys were getting slightly rowdy...(actually just Aron and Craig were getting rowdy...not to name names) battling it out with intense games of tic-tac-toe and connect the dots. Men can make anything a fierce competition, I tell you. Barby was sharpening a crayon like a mad-woman so Aaron Dodge could get in on the tic-tac-toe action. Belle slept most of the meal, but woke up just in time for some mac-n-cheese.After dinner, the boys headed back to the "pimp-pad", as they are affectionately calling our room, to watch the RedWings game.While we girls ran to Target to pick up some beverages to stock our fridge. Of course, we found much more than juice. Unfortunately, we lost Belle for a few breathtaking moments. Here is where we found her:Curled up under a clothes rack...resting.
Silly girl!
We closed off the night with some swimming and hot tub action, but I want to keep my friends, so I knew better than to take pictures of this.
The arts crew were up bright and early Wednesday morning for workouts and then breakfast before the conference.
Belle and I, however, slept in. She was so excited to ride the elevator down for breakfast this morning.
We're just enjoying each other's company and delighting in the simple things this morning. We're getting ready to go swimming again, and then I am looking forward to some quiet time this afternoon while Belle naps. It will be so nice to have some uninterrupted time with God without the pressure of laundry and housework hanging over my head.
much love, friends

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Picture Perfect Family Date Night

Because Aron will be conferencing in Chicago most of next week, we decided a family date night was in order this Saturday night.

Belle was so excited to dress up for her date with mommy & daddy.
She LOVED picking out her dress and painting her nails lilac to match.
Here's a cute clip of her before we left (mostly for the grandparents...but you're welcome to watch!)

We dined Italian style at the delicious Carrabba's. Belle loved putting the cloth napkin over her lap.
If you've never been, its worth it to go just for the sourdough bread and dipping oil. Ohhh, so good. Belle ate 2 whole pieces, and that is saying a lot! As we finished up our meal, Aron "slopped" up his Marsala sauce with the sourdough. He looked up at me and said, "Hun, you can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy." Well said, love.
We headed over to Partridge Creek for a little Starbucks, live music, shopping, and a movie.Here's a quick clip of her dancing to the live band, but the camera battery died before I could catch the good stuff.

And the finale: Belle's first movie... We saw Disney's new 3D megamovie, "UP". It was soooo good. The graphics were unbelievable, and the story even made me cry twice (though that's not saying much these days!!).
Isabelle absolutely loved her theatre experience.
Especially the large diet coke.
When the film was over and we announced it was time to go home, she said, "But I don't want our date night to be over."
Neither did we, to be honest. We had such a lovely time together. This will definately be a family tradition.

And just a few more random shots of our little star to close off this evening.

much love,