Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Daily Resurrection

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." - Luke 9:23

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"
 - Romans 5:8-10

If Christ calls us to die daily, surely he calls us to resurrection daily. For to die daily is to die to our sin, that we might live as new creations. We do not take up our crosses for the sake of self mutilation, we take up our crosses for the joy set before us of new life!

Christ calls us to surrender to take up our own cross. But this so that we may walk each day, according to the power of his Spirit and not our own strength. As he has said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power if made perfect in weakness." 

How much less we would fall if we surrendered to our own cross each morning and rose to face the day in the power of God's Spirit!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


kirk haven
delight. rest. inspire.

before i lose you (you who may be faint of heart or hurting or ready to punch me through your screen), let me confess to you that there have been moments I have looked at this sign, the mission statement of whatever space God provides for us to call home, and wanted to rip it down and burn it.  because nothing seemed further from the truth. 

there have been extended seasons where our sign should have read: 
the ring:
 the place we come to wrestle with God, self, and each other. 
every. single. day.

but you know what? I have come to be at peace with the fact that there are seasons in life where pain and struggle rise so intensely against you that that you must wrestle. 
sometimes its our own sinfulness. sometimes it is God refining us.
sometimes it is the enemy rising against us. other times it is the bitter reality that we live in a broken world, and this side of eternity, we will have trouble.

through our seasons, God has shown himself so very faithful. in our wrestling, he has never left us. 
truly, it has felt that at times God ordained droughts and pruning in our marriage and ministry so intense, so severe, that we wondered if we would even survive. 

his ways are always motivated by love. always. there is no darkness in him. 

we couldn't see the roots growing robust and strong as they were forced to plunge deeper and extend further than we ever thought necessary. and we have yet to fully understand the harvest of fruit he will bear in us as we have endured his cutting back and pruning, chosing to trust the heart of the one who disciplines those he loves.

but we are starting to.
and can i encourage you, that this fruit is pure and it is sweet.
and it is worth every bitter tear wept in the quiet places. 

this is supposed to be a post about our valentines day.
to encourage you in your own lives to love extravagantly those God has entrusted in your homes, in your hearts, in your lives.
but i couldn't stand the thought of someone reading this post, walking away feeling lonely, discouraged, or inadequate at such lofty ideas of 'extravagent love' when their cup is empty and life a mess. 
i want you to know we've been there.
we know broken. we get messy.
even this side of redemption.

so before you read on, let me just encourage you to hold on. to keep pursuing Christ, even when you think you can't possibly take another step. ask Jesus for His spirit to do the work in you.
open your heart in vulnerability to another believer. pray together.
our God really does love you bigger and better than you can understand, and he will show himself good and faithful in the care of your precious heart.

so all fluff aside, and by fluff I mean the unrealistic expectations our culture places on men and women in relationship, I really do love valentines day. 
loving our God and each other deeply...we were made for this.
the kiddos woke to a gift of love from their daddy.
i cannot describe the gratitude in my heart or the joy that overflows as I watch you pursue this child's heart. I pray she learns to trust the heart of the Father and his love for her by your example.

And you know I pray this..I think it scares you. I pray he grows to be just like his daddy (well minus the really loud obnoxious singing in the car...if he continues to reject that trait as he now does, that would be awesome..."Daddy! NO SING!"

your gift to them was small in character, but immense in what it communicated:
you are beloved. you are valued.
judah loved his billy goat!
 and this one...well it melted my heart. i hope she always cherishes the words of love from her daddy penned before she ever took her first breath.

 i was so excited to spend the day in Belle's classroom today!
 judah was able to go by default (no babysitter...and mommy broke the rules by bringing him), but he was SO excited. he followed belle around her classroom, hugging her from behind about every 30 seconds.
 in years past, we've secured a sitter and ensured a date for just the two of us. but this year, valentines day was sandwiched by several 14+ hour days for you, and we sensed we needed a night together as a family more.
It is Tuesday, after all....fancy Italian night!
 look at those precious gloves! you made my evening when you came to the table in them!
such a little lady, already.
Judah wanted to dress as a knight for dinner, but his armour quickly became cumbersome, and he stripped before I could snag a picture!
 the server of the evening:

"will I get away with this?
who cares. i'm going for it!
sweet victory."
Belle brought me the bill. And her checkbook with which to pay it.
Apparently we dined at the "Spaghetti Valiant Knight" this evening.

And a few more for your viewing pleasure!

Aron and I had a few gifts up our sleeves for each other. Nothing expensive or elaborate, but it communicated just what we intended it to just the same. 
I hope you had a beautiful day celebrating the love in your world.
one last confession...
my favorite part of the day?
2-4 pm.
the kids had quiet time in their room. i grabbed my bible, a cup of coffee, and my prayer journal, and had a date with the MOST important man in my life.
He is so worthy. I want to give him more and more of my heart.
And I am learning to trust that he really does find it beautiful.
That he wants to make it new.
I asked him today to help me to see myself the way he does. To believe that I am beloved by him.
Belovedness changes everything.
Its what transforms a servant into a son.
I pray this for you too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

a valentine's day diy

Nesting is in full swing. My poor little sewing machine has steam rolling off of it. Burp cloths are flying in all directions. Even made 'mini' ones for Belle. 

When I saw this  valentine banner made by the adorable, danielle, at Take Heart, I was in love. I told myself I didn't have time. Or energy. Forget about it. 
I could not.
A flag banner, made from vintage pillow cases, with scripture on it....oh man, its so full of all of my favorite things, I had to dive in. And it just so happens that I have several pillowcases with recent holes that I've been saving for...something.

It took two evenings...maybe an hour each night.
You can check out Take Heart for her tutorial. I was too busy (read...too excited to get it done) to bother with taking pictures of the step by step.
But was so easy.
Just create a template to trace your flags (I fold mine in half and draw half a flag, so its symmetrical).
Trace. Cut. 
If you're not the sewing type, you can hot glue the flags inside the 1/2 inch double biased tape.
But I wanted something that would be sure to hold up through the years, so I decided to use a zigzag stitch to secure the flags inside the tape. I also cut out little hearts and stitched them on (with the machine) the flags between each word.
I had left over chip-board letters that I hot glued onto the flags (though there are NEVER enough vowels, so I had to 'create' some 'e's' from other letters. You can hardly tell, and I didn't have to spend any money).

 What a beautiful way to ground this 'fluffy' holiday, to drape our space in His word which brings life and wisdom and truth. Because after the roses and chocolate, life gets hard. And sometimes loving each other deeply looks much less romantic than one might hope. But above all...above all love each other deeply. Even when it hurts and we're messy and forgetful and insensitive.
 It also so happens to be a great way to help my children memorize scripture. We've been tackling a verse each month (I'd like to bump it up to one a week, but we haven't yet). Above all (point up at the banner hanging above), LOVE each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

 Love covers over. 
I am so thankful for the ultimate covering - Christ's love poured out and covering me, clothing me in His righteousness - so that I can be called a daughter of God. And it goes on and on. I can't tell you the people in my life that have covered over my offenses with the love and grace He has put in their hearts toward me. Love covers over, and in that covering, it heals, restores, infuses hope, makes us whole.
It helps us to become the self we all wish we could be.

 And as you can see by Judah's little face, some days, we're going to need a whole lotta love to cover over the holes in our heart. Thank goodness his mama has such a lovely banner to remind her of such!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

on academia

someone got called to the office today.
and we gushed.

 and someone else is learning at a school of his own.
i was thoroughly amused to walk in the room and find school in session. there sat judah lined up with the other pupils reciting their months of the year. big sisters are intense teachers, let me tell you.


In Full

if you hadn't already stolen my heart 13 years ago, you would have had it anew tonight.
our journey is not what we planned it to be, but I am finding our DreamGiver is writing it beautiful just the same. we consecrated our united lives to Christ that August day, two dreamer souls alive with the glory of love. we didn't know that in that moment we were laying our dreams on the alter, and that before our very eyes we would see our God light them afire. we watched them burn, and it felt like death of the heart. there were moments we sat dazed and deflated and unable to comprehend this righteous blaze. knowing his heart for us was love and goodness, yet experiencing such pain. 

his fire, it consumed, 
but only what was perishable, waste, impure.
our dreams remained, and now we stare at them,
fire quenched and satisfied,
and they stand sparkling pure, never destroyed,
only refined.

tonight, our DreamGiver came near, in the simplest of ways, to assure us again that he is ever present. ever seeing, ever in control. ever giving. ever loving. if he has stripped, it has been for our good and his glory. if he has wounded, it has been for our whole healing.

belle had an idea: she desperately wanted a fancy dinner. she begged to paint her nails deep purple and decorate herself beautiful in ruffles and sparkles. i have never seen her so utterly beside herself when you made over her all gussied up, though her self-applied make up was honestly hilarious. you put on a suit and tie and asked her to dance. judah wore a tie and cowboy boots, and I threw on a dress over yoga pants and unkept hair.

we danced to Rosemary Clooney, and Belle swooned. you hold her heart, and I am so thankful she is learning her value from you. you awaken in her heart a sacred femininity that leaves me speechless as I watch it gush and ooze from her tiny self. you draped a towel over your arm, put on your best stuffy accent, and served the kids their spinach salads and cucumbers, assuring them the main course was soon to come. tortellini and chicken never tasted so inviting, and you suggested we have fancy italian night every tuesday. i love how you enjoy our children.

we spent the rest of our evening watching home videos. we giggled at how skinny you looked, at how pregnant I stay, at how much 2 year old Belle looked just like her brother. I forgot how curly her hair was, how cute her little voice. and you swooned at your little girl, teared at how grown she now seems. you spoke of how excited this made you to meet your next daughter....until we watched the birth videos and you breathed heavy with anxiety over the pain that was coming for me. 

somehow, in the midst of the evening, we both understood. understood his timing and caught a glimpse of his plan and precision in his care of our world. i've been waiting for this moment. knowing it to be true, but needing to see it for myself.

our belle awoke this morning, and while still tucked cozy in her flannel monkey sheets, breathed a delighted sigh. "I just can't stop thinking about that amazing fancy dinner. and we even got to watch 3 whole movies!"

i am learning dreams come true happen one subtle moment at a time. and the beauty and the pain somehow weave together to create the thread that knits our hearts together forever. and above and beyond it all, our DreamGiver works it all together for our good and his glory.

one day, we will see in full. and we will understand the whole.
breathless at his beauty, we will join a host of the redeemed and declare,
that he really is better than we could have ever dreamed.
and he is ours and we are his, forever.

*ideas in this post inspired after husband re-read Dream Giver for couples this week (we read it a little over 4 years ago), and reminded me of the ideas presented in the book. if anything in the post resonated with your heart, I would recommend reading the book for yourself!