Taking Wing

On a Monday evening when many things are going well but several seem to be coming apart at the seams, it is fitting to stop and count the gifts.  We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we know who holds us together.  And tonight I lean into Him, trusting that He’s led us here and will lead us on and meet our every need.  For He is a God in the details and all He does is good, even when it feels hard and makes our heads spin.

There is a fable about the way birds first got their wings.  The story goes that initially they were made without them.  Then God made the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to them, “Take up these burdens and carry them.”

The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air.  When asked to pick up the burdens that lay at their feet, they hesitated at first.  Yet soon they obeyed, picked up the wings with their beaks, and set them on their shoulders to carry them.

For a short time the load seemed heavy and difficult to bear, but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their little bodies.  They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the wings high into the air.  The weights had become wings.  {from Streams in the Desert}

So we pick it up, whatever it is, and carry it with us.  And we trust that our burdens will become blessings and our weights will become wings.





2636.  the rock solid promises of God’s word

2637.  my sweet Chandler who is ten; the gift she is

2638.  the weekend and fellowship with friends

2639.  America’s freedom

2640.  weeks that seem long

2641.  a Social Security number on its way!

2642.  a long Friday afternoon

2643.  rest for everyone

2644.  beds for little girls

2645.  God in the details

2646.  four day weekends

2647.  wings

May you find wings this week, friends.

For His Glory ~

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Gifts on a Wednesday

In my efforts to embrace flexibility and be reasonable with my time, it seems some habits have fallen by the wayside, among them writing, taking real pictures (as opposed to odd things for Facebook), and listing the gifts here.  And, oh, I miss those things.  But if I do this all for God’s glory then I must follow the Spirit’s lead and not make a god of this space or my schedule. And I am thankful for the peace He gives in the midst of this, resting right now in the fact that there will be time for what He makes time for and I only have to accomplish the task I have been given right now.  This attitude is new and the flesh may creep back in and I may soon be in full panic mode because I can’t stay caught up on anything, but for now it’s all okay and for today I have time to count more of the endless gifts, as His word says…

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

~ Colossians 3:15

2394.  cold that keeps me from running

2395.  sore back that makes me long to get in shape

2396.  talking to Amania – and her actually talking back!

2397.  quiet evening – couch, laptop, KU game on television

2398.  Roomba running happily in the kitchen

2399.  more hard struggles with kids

2400.  in-laws headed off to Haiti

2401.  fine arts competitions and practice, hard work, nerves, and ribbons

2402.  hard seasons that leave you breathless, head spinning

2403.  listening for God

2404.  thinking clearer

2405.  thoughts on paper – a plan

2406.  a husband who listens long and asks good questions

2407.  60* in January and playing at the park

2408.  a passport – hallelujah! – for our Haiti girl

2409.  eight weeks?

2410.  glorious 75* day – windows open, kids outside

2411.  husband reading long to kids

2412.  good talks

2413.  timelines so fast they’re scary

2414.  trust – peace – flexibility

2415.  snow, wind – winter returns

2416.  releasing my schedule to the Lord

2417.  seeing Satan’s attack – more evidence we’re on the right path

2418.  staying calm in the storm

2419.  husband so very present this week – the difference it made

2420.  peace – so much peace

2421.  date night – always a gift

2422.  warmer temps

2423.  a daylight run

2424.  tales of Haiti

2425.  a Bible study with my bigs

2426.  a super-productive Monday

2427. continual praying for peace

2428.  big girls laughing loud on trampoline, on my bed

2429.  all their beauty

2430.  an evening with my beloved and our third-born, sweet memories made

2431.  long, busy week ending

2432.  home school choir in Capitol rotunda – beautiful music

2433.  sound of the second-born singing quietly in her bed

2434.  shopping with my girls

2435.  peace right where I’m at

2436.  loved ones near

2437.  good conversations

2438.  a God who is always faithful

We are able to have as much of God as we want.  Christ puts the key to His treasure chest in our hands and invites us to take all we desire.  If someone is allowed into a bank vault, told to help himself to the money, and leaves without one cent, whose fault is it if he reamins poor?  And whose fault is it that Christians usually have such meager portions of the free riches of God?

~ Alexander Maclaren

May the rest of your week be full of the great riches and overwhelming peace of God.

For His Glory ~

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When We Get What We Ask For…

Often it is simply the answers to our prayers that cause many of the difficulties in our Christian life.  We pray for patience, and our Father sends demanding people our way who test us to the limit, “because…suffering produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3).  We pray for a submissive spirit, and God sends suffering again, for we learn to be obedient in the same way Christ “learned obedience from what He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

We pray to be unselfish, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice by placing other people’s needs first and by laying down our lives for other believers.  We pray for strength and humility, and “a messenger of Satan” (2 Corinthians 12:7) comes to torment us until we lie on the ground pleading for it to be withdrawn.

We pray to the Lord, as His apostles did, saying, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5).  Then our money seems to take wings and fly away; our children become critically ill; an employee becomes careless, slow, and wasteful; or some other new trial comes upon us, requiring more faith than we have ever before experienced.  

We pray for a Christlike life that exhibits the humility of a lamb.  Then we are asked to perform some lowly task, or we are unjustly accused and given no opportunity to explain for “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and…did not open his mouth” (Isiah 53:7).

We pray for gentleness and quickly face a storm of temptation to be harsh and irritable.  We pray for quietness, and suddenly every nerve is stressed to its limit with tremendous tension so that we may learn that when He sends His peace, no one can disturb it.

We pray for love for others, and God sends unique suffering by sending people our way who are difficult to love and who say things that get on our nerves and tear at our heart.  He does this because “love is patient, love is kind…It is not rude,…it is not easily angered…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5, 7-8)

Yes, we pray to be like Jesus, and God’s answer is: “I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10); “Will your courage endure or your hands be strong?” (Ezekiel 22:14); “Can you drink the cup?” (Matthew 20:22).

The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance and every trial as being straight from the hand of our loving Father; to live “with Him in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6), above the clouds, in the very presence of His throne; and to look down from glory on our circumstances as being lovingly and divinely appointed.

~ Streams in the Desert, May 13

As I wrestle through another morning at home and the little ones continue to wear my rough spots smooth, I find myself resisting, and seriously considering running away.  At least for a little while.

And then I send them all to read and rest after lunch.  I hide away in the quiet writing spot I just created, Sonic ice water on the desk, and I begin to decompress.  I grab the Streams I had book marked from a couple of days ago and smile with God at how I needed this today.

These things I pray for…why am I surprised at how I must learn them?  And what more effective tools of God than these little people who are with me day in and day out?  And what will it take for the lessons to stick?

I don’t know when this heart will learn to respond first with grace and patience and gentleness.  I don’t know when that “one more thing” that wants to push me over the edge will instead push me to my knees.  I just don’t know when this heart will be right.  But I do know that He who started a work, will be faithful to complete it.  And I continue to trust that He will take these broken things that I offer up daily – my meager attempts to love and trust and give.  I trust that He will use them and make something beautiful out of the dust that I am and that He will be glorified in this home, in these lives.

For His Glory~

~ Sara

Beautiful Things

This morning, in the early dark, I read this….

Christ is building His kingdom with the broken things of earth.  People desire only the strong, successful, victorious, and unbroken things in life to build their kingdoms, but God is the God of the unsuccessful – the God of those who have failed.  Heaven is being filled with earth’s broken lives, and there is no “bruised reed” (Isaiah 42:3) that Christ cannot take and restore to a glorious place of blessing and beauty.   ~ Streams, March 15

Tonight, in the cool of the evening I am thankful for a God who uses broken things, broken people.  For a God who makes beauty from ashes.  I thank Him for showing me that a heart-felt prayer uttered out loud is more effective than arguing with my child.  I thank Him for children that forgive my shortcomings and chores that will be there tomorrow and a bed to fall into soon.  I give thanks that tomorrow is Friday and this weekend is time as a family and that at least for a little while we’ll all step back and just be.

May your weekend be blessed and may your eyes be opened to the beautiful things God is creating in your life right now.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Praising in the Storm

The storms they’ve raged.  Every day.  Wild and hard.  Beating.  Exhausting.  They’ve raged not in extreme circumstances, but in the mundane, the every day.  We battle minute-by-minute for grace, strength.

Some of life’s storms – a great sorrow, a bitter disappointment, a crushing defeat – suddenly come upon us.  Others may come slowly, appearing on the uneven edge of the horizon no larger than a person’s hand.  But trouble that seems so insignificant spreads until it covers the sky and overwhelms us.

Yet it is in the storm that God equips us for service.  When God wants an oak tree, He plants it where the storms will shake it and the rains will beat down upon it.  It is in the midnight battle with the elements that the oak develops its rugged fiber and becomes the king of the forest.

The beauties of nature come after the storm.  The rugged beauty of the mountain is born in a storm, and the heroes of life are the storm-swept and battle-scarred.

The wind that blows can never kill
The tree God plants;
It blows toward east, and then toward west,
The tender leaves have little rest,
But any wind that blows is best.
The tree that God plants
Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,
Spreads greater limbs, for God’s good will
Meets all its wants.
There is not storm has power to blast
The tree God knows;
No thunderbolt, nor beating rain,
Nor lightning flash, nor hurricane;
When they are spent, it does remain,
The tree God  knows.
Through every storm it still stands fast,
And from its first day to its last
Still fairer grows.
 
~ Streams in the Desert, January 16 
 

 

1519.  iMac back  (again)

1520.  feeling human again

1521.  sweet, thoughtful text messages

1522.  the blessing of friendship

1523.  knowing who our enemy is

1524.  knowing the victory is already won

1525.  perspective on my own problems

1526.  mini-Maacs

1527.  moving on to Kansas City

1528.  fighting hard against the enemy’s attacks

1529.  relaxed dinner with friends

1530.  pictures from Haiti – such a gift

1531.  a quiet Sunday afternoon

1532.  planning another week of school

1533.  children and their imaginations

1534.  peace in the storm

May you praise Him wherever He has you this week.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Gold

He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. ~ Job 23:10

The path of faith is one of sorrow and joy, suffering and healing comfort, tears and smiles, trials and victories, conflicts and triumphs, and also hardships, dangers, beatings, persecutions, misunderstanding, trouble, and distress.  Yes “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Yes, “in all these” – even during storms, when the winds are the most intense – “we are more than conquerors.”  You may be tempted to run from the ordeal of a fierce storm of testing, but head straight for it!  God is there to meet you in the center of each trial.  And He will whisper to you His secrets, which will bring you out with a radiant face and such an invincible faith that all the demons of hell will never be able to shake it.

~ E.A. Kilbourne

~ from Streams in the Desert, July 12

Wingless Birds

They will soar on wings like eagles. ~ Isaiah 40:31

There is a fable about the way birds first got their wings. The story goes that initially they were made without them. Then God made the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to them, “Take up these burdens and carry them.”

The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air. When ask to pick up the burden that lay at their feet, they hesitated at first. Yet soon they obeyed, picked up the wings with their beaks and set them on their shoulders to carry them.

For a short time the load seemed heavy and difficult to bear, but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their little bodies. They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the wings high into the air. The weights had become wings.

This is a parable for us. We are the wingless birds, and our duties and tasks are the wings God uses to lift us up and carry us heavenward. We look at our burdens and heavy loads, and try to run from them, but if we will carry them and tie them to our hearts, they will become wings. And on them we can then rise and soar toward God.

There is no burden so heavy that when lifted cheerfully with love in our hearts will not become a blessing to us. God intends for our tasks to be our helps; to refuse to bend our shoulders to carry a load is to miss a new opportunity for growth. (J.R. Miller)

~ Streams in the Desert, July 8

May you see your burdens as blessings this weekend and allow them to carry you to the throne of grace, my friends.

For His Glory ~
~ Sara