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 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.
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!
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?
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.