Righteous Tree

Like a field of dried up soil is my soul.
Full of rocks and brambles, left untended and alone.
Yet where I see a barren place where nothing good can grow,
you promise me you’ll plant a mighty oak.

In this heart so full of guilt and pain,
will you plant a seed of righteousness for the glory of your name?
Send that living water flowing down in drops of rain,
the tiny seedling sprouts a fragile stem.

Till my heart.
Cultivate the soil of my soul.
Where nothing used to be
now a tiny sapling tree grows.

In autumn slender branches lose their leaves,
and winter wraps a blanket ’round the work you’ve done in me.
Every year, I fear that I will never see the spring,
till the light of the world comes to warm all things.

Tend my heart.
Irrigate the corners of my mind.
You use the hardship and the joy
to make my heart a little more refined.

It’s hard to see the change with just your eyes,
and I fear that you’ve forgotten me and your promise was a lie.
But what I can’t see is that you keep adding rings inside, until I find…

That you have pruned my heart,
you have nurtured every aspect of my life.
This is the planting of the Lord,
that in me, you may be glorified.

You made a tiny acorn grow into a righteous tree.

10062799137582652_vr2rrydP_c

Giving my daughter to God.

I am finally sitting down and processing the last couple of days.  I’ve been rushing around and worried and planning, and now I am just sitting here.. and this is when I just want to cry because of how awful it has been and how relieved I am that God has brought us through it.  It is probably too soon and too personal, and I probably shouldn’t write this post, but I need to process it and this is the easiest way for me to do that.

Without going into detail, we found out this week that Eden had been in a potentially dangerous situation at our former babysitter’s house.

I cannot even articulate how horrifying it is to realize that the person I trusted with my precious baby was not trustworthy.  It would be impossible to tell you how much I blame myself for explaining away red flags and not wanting to be “that mom”.  There is no way to really express the amount of stress and guilt and fear that has taken up residence in my heart this week.

Nothing bad happened, (THANK GOD) but in this corrupt world full of filthy people, there is no amount of chance worth taking.  Kids are abused, neglected, kidnapped, murdered, etc.. on a regular basis.  People are disgusting and self-justifying and horribly sinful and rotten in their hearts, and somehow we have to figure out who we can leave our defenseless baby with that will care for her like they should.

This morning, we thought it was pretty bad, but that we had addressed it enough that we felt we could leave her there until we found a replacement.  Then I found out that it was SO MUCH WORSE than I had known about.  And I would have, probably should have, flipped my mother lid right there and rampaged the place and taken my daughter away.  But I usually don’t react to things at first, it takes me awhile till I’m like.. WAIT, WAIT, SHE SAID WHAT??

That was this morning.  And all day, I have seen God bring people alongside me to encourage me, to pray for me, to reach out to their friends and try to help me.  All day, God has been at work in our world and solutions have been popping out of the woodwork.  We went from having no options to having more options than we need.  That makes me cry too.  I can’t tell if I’m crying from sadness or blessedness at this point.

Being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever done, and not because of the sleepless nights and dirty diapers.  The weight of responsibility is so heavy, and the fear of the unknown is so daunting.  I remember as a child, I would try to make my mom promise that nothing bad would ever happen to me and she would never do it.  That resonates with me now.  I want to promise her that she will be safe, that we will make sure this never happens again, but I can’t control those things.

The only thing that I can promise my daughter is that God loves her and will be with her no matter what happens.   I can scrutinize and agonize over every decision, but in the end all I can do is pray incessantly and give my daughter to God.  She will be safest when I am holding fast to Christ and trusting him to do what I can’t do in her life.

I swear, this baby makes me a better Christian.  She shows me how pitiful I am and how desperately I need a Savior.

10552528_10155155352940274_843507990306118116_n

Bible Journaling

So I started painting in my Bible.

I probably first saw the concept on Pinterest, there were all these pins of Bible pages with big splashes of color and creative lettering, and I fell in love at first sight.

Lately, my time in the Bible has felt dry.  Not because God’s word is dry, because it is vibrant and convicting and incredible, but I just felt like my heart and mind were full of other things and distracted.  I would read a passage and none of it would stick out to me, I would find myself skimming and my mind wandering off.

But when I decided to color in my Bible, something changed.  I went to a Psalm that I loved and had seen a saying that I liked and decided to give it a go.

10922793_10155060149065274_6759094153012024615_n

There was something about slowing down, writing out the words and coloring them in that helped me to really mediate on that idea.  God DOES fill my life with good things.  He gives good gifts to his children.  He is such a wonderful God and so worthy of worship, I need to praise him for how wonderful he is.

10931552_10155067714080274_47064895992614962_n

I got ambitious and tried a full page spread.  I had been reading the rainbow promise and wondering how that really applied to our lives today.  I mean, so God promised not to flood the earth again.  But in the last days, (which could be any time now) he will burn it and junk, so is that really a relevant promise at this point?  Then I thought about it and realized, it wasn’t just about flooding the earth, it was about wiping out mankind and starting over.  He promised that he would never start over again, he committed to carrying out his work with us, no matter how corrupt we get.  THAT is a relevant promise.

10155004_10155138347750274_3838264633990852320_n

Then I went a little crazy and tried watercolor.  ACTUAL PAINT IN MY BIBLE, EEK.  And it did bleed through a bit, but I don’t mind as much as I thought I would.  I was on a “God’s Promises” roll and so I moved on to Abraham and thought about what it would be like to have God say to me, “I dare you to try to count the stars.. I’m going to bless you more than that.”

10968300_10155155638970274_6442379555995061291_n

Sometimes it will just be a verse that hits me when I’m paging through.  I haven’t tried to read straight through a book again yet, though I’m planning on it soon.  But often I’ll be reading and song lyrics will jump into my mind that illustrate the scripture perfectly.  Lyrics do powerful things to me, I have always always been touched deeply by music.

1456628_10155181905845274_6244889017830899029_n

This is another watercolor project, and today I actually bought acrylic paint to try, which is a whole different ball game.  So far this has been really helping me to focus on my time in the Bible, and I am excited to continue with it.

I have always loved that God is a creator.  He makes stuff, he is artistic!  Getting to use art to meditate on his word makes me feel like my creativity is one of the ways that I am “made in the image of God”.  He made me creative like him.

If you want to try this out and have questions, let me know!  I would love to help you get connected and inspired.  I actually started an Etsy shop of prints and stencils to use in your journaling Bible, so check it out!

precious little soul.

I always say that my life is out of control chaotic.  It probably isn’t as bad as I think, but it does seem like I am always a few steps behind.  My laundry is done, but still folded in the baskets.  My dishes are washed, but the next dish pile is starting in the sink.  My baby is clean.. but she’s working on something, I can tell.

Today I saw an Instagram post by one of my favorite artists, who is also a new mom.  She said that it is crazy to think that her son won’t remember any of these times that they share together for the first few years, but they are so foundational to his life.  She said that looking back over the past few months she is realizing how much she needed this baby.  In her words, “He has burrowed his way into the dusty recesses of my selfish false piety.  I am cracked open and poured out.”

When I feel inadequate to the tasks of daily life, I am trying to remember this: the most important job in my life is to love and nourish and pray over this little soul.  The example that I put before her is going to mark her life in ways that terrify me.  Sometimes I lay next to her and my heart aches because of how precious she is, and how much I want to be a good mother.  And I realize that the best mother is one who goes back, time and time again, to fill her heart with grace and truth from Christ.  I realize that I needed this baby; she lays bare my selfish soul, she cuts to the core of my wicked heart, she drives me back to Jesus without fail.

The object of my affection just stinked in her diaper.  There’s the sappy and then there’s the practical, they go hand in hand.

10931230_10155100816740274_3040561964059466786_n10406802_10155100819860274_5998956313506451507_n

A Bitter Gift

bethyherself:

My sister in law shares her heart very beautifully, even in the midst of pain. I wanted to re-blog this because it has touched our family profoundly and we are all a little different on the other side. I think it’s important to be solemn and mourn for what could have been, to thank God for his sovereignty, & to cherish the memory of a beautiful little girl that we will all get to meet some day.

Originally posted on Ad Astra:

FootprintsOn December 22, 2014, I gave birth to a little girl. She died before she made it into my arms.

She was due today.

One of the things I hate about having a personal blog (or any social media) is having to share moments like these. Part of me wants to skip over it, but that seems crass. I don’t want to give readers the impression that my baby’s birth didn’t affect me profoundly, or that I’m exactly the same person I was before. I’d like to go on from the present as though everyone already knows the context.

But pretending won’t work here. I also can’t bring myself retell my story by writing a separate post. That might have worked a couple of weeks ago, but now I’ve healed enough that I don’t really want to open that wound again. So I’m just transcribing a few excerpts from my handwritten journal. It’s personal, unpolished…

View original 1,257 more words