Sunday, May 29, 2011


We're moving to Spain.

There.  I said it.  Not that saying it means that I actually believe it.  Because it doesn't. 

The whole thing seems so weird and surreal.  Spain?  Really?  Ray and I talked a lot about moving to Germany someday since he spent time there as a child.  We even talked a bit about Italy.  But Spain?  Never. 

The news of orders was unexpected for me and shook me to the core.  My biggest fear was seeing the word "Korea" because that would have meant a year apart from my best friend.  A year of being a single mom.  A year of sleeping alone.

So when I heard the word "Spain", I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  It's not Korea!

But reality is starting to set in.  Spain.  SPAIN.  As in a 17+ hour flight with five children.  As in bedrroms too small for our king size bed.  As in streets too narrow to fit our 12 passenger van.  As in people who speak Spanish.  As in a 7 hour time difference from my parents.  As in packing and passports and doctor's appointments and and and...

Do not be anxious about anything...

God has something amazing waiting for our family in Rota, Spain.  And while I'm terrified beyond words, I am so excited.  It is going to be an amazing adventure for our little family of seven.

That said, I have some prayer requests that I wanted to share.  Some are small things, but all are important to me.

1.  A two story house.  This seems so silly, but the children have their hearts set on having an upstairs and a downstairs. 

2.  Friends for the children.  Drew especially could really use a friend.  He's been praying specifically that God would give him a friend.  I'm praying that God has a little boy in Spain who needs a buddy just like Drew.

3.  Preparations.  Obviously there is a lot to be done.  Five months may seem like a long time, but it's not.  There is a lot of things to wrap up here, and so much to do.  I have never even been overseas (let alone moved there), so this is all brand new for me.  Very overwhelming.

4.  Our families.  Please pray for our extended families.  While they are all so happy that our family will get to stay intact, I know they are all a bit sad that we are moving so far away.  It will make visits few and far between, and that will be so difficult.  Please pray for peace for everyone involved.

5.  Our van.  One of my biggest concerns at the moment is what to do about our big van.  The streets in Spain are narrow and parking is tight.  Our van just isn't going to fit.  Please pray for a workable solution and for wisdom as we make decisions about these sorts of things.

Thank you for letting me ramble and for praying for our family!

Monday, April 18, 2011


There is blood on my hands.  Under my fingernails, in the crevices of my knuckles, deep in the prints of my fingers...  The sight of it makes my stomach turn, and I anxiously turn on the water and start scrubbing. 

It won't come off.

I add several squirts of soap, and I rub my hands together a bit harder.  Most of the red rinses down the drain, but some remains.  I keep my hands under the hot water, and I close my eyes. 

For a moment I can imagine the BANG BANG BANG as the nails plunged through His hands and into the wood.  And I realize that I am holding the hammer.  His blood is on my hands.

Tomorrow we celebrate Passover.  This is a brand new tradition for our family.  We will read about the Israelites who put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts, and we will celebrate the Lamb of God who willingly shed His blood so that judgment will pass over those who believe in Him. 

Redeemed.  Purchased.  Covered.  Restored.

By His blood.  His precious blood.

This blood that stains my hands tonight comes from a lamb.  Not a spotless lamb, but a simple lamb that I found in the meat section at Walmart.  A lamb that will be our dinner tomorrow night, and will remind us of the incredible sacrifice of grace that was made on our behalf. 

I didn't expect the symbolism to affect me so deeply.  I didn't expect to cry while cutting up the lamb.  I didn't expect my heart to feel anxious and guilty as I tried desperately to scrub the blood off of my hands. 

My Jesus, my Savior...  His love is overwhelming to me.   And the blood on my hands?  Gone.  For he has washed me and made me whiter than snow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lost and Found

I notice her right away.  She is clutching a toy under her arm, and has a look of confusion on her face.  I approach her slowly and carefully.  "Do you know where your mommy is?"  She looks up at me with wide brown eyes and shakes her head "no."  I glance around hoping to see the adult in question, but nobody is nearby.  I kneel down and ask her if I can help her find her mom.  She nods and follows me through the aisles.  I ask her what her name is and how old she is, but she just shrugs her shoulders and clutches her toy more tightly.

I imagine her mother frantically searching the store for her beautiful little girl.  I walk a little more quickly, and find a manager who can page the parents.  After finding someone who can help, I reluctantly walk away.  I feel so helpless, so I walk quickly through the store in search of the parents.

I spot them easily.  I recognize the look on their faces.  They look exactly how I imagine I would feel if it was one of my little ones missing.  I approach them swiftly and tell them where I left their daughter.  They don't utter any words of thanks, but take off across the store to reunite with their princess.

A few minutes later, we cross paths again.  This time the family is intact and the mother rushes to me to shake my hand and offer unnecessary gratitude.  With tears in her eyes she thanks me for helping her daughter.  What once was lost, was found.  I tell her of my five little ones at home, and how mine like to wander off, and I try to make her feel normal instead of terrible. 

I wander the aisles thinking about what just transpired.  The look on those parents' face haunts my thoughts.  The fear that they felt was overwhelmingly apparent in the lines of their face, and the relief and love that washed over them after they found their daughter was so emotional to watch.

I can't help but wonder how my God feels when I wander away from Him.  I imagine His sadness, and the relief that washes over Him when I finally come back home.  I imagine the joy on His face as I take His hand and follow Him.

My Abba.  My Daddy.  My Heavenly Father who loves me so much and wants me to stay with Him on the narrow path.  But oh how often I choose to go chasing after the toys on the wide path, wandering away from my Daddy.  And then I roam around with a toy clutched tightly under my arm, wondering why I feel all alone.

The good part though, is that unlike the family at the store, my God doesn't lose me.  He sees me and knows right where I am all the time.  He isn't lost.  I am.  

It's so beautiful.  All I have to do is cry out "Abba!" and He is right there to scoop me up, hold me tight, and help me let go of my toys.  What an incredible Dad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I feel invisible.  My smiles are met with blank stares.  My efforts at kindness are visibly ignored.  I turn away so that my tears won't be noticed.  I wonder why I continue to be rejected.  I wonder what I am doing wrong.  Is there something wrong with me? 

I contemplate giving up.  I can't help but think that maybe my energy is being wasted by even trying when time and time again I am overlooked.  I feel so small.

I don't want attention.  I don't want praise and admiration.  I just long to be noticed.  I long to be received.

I try to bear in mind that I'm accepted by the One who matters most.  I remind myself that He remembers even the birds, and that I am more valuable to Him than many sparrows

But my tears soak my pillow.  My stomach turns when I think about facing the dismissal time and time again. 

The Bible says to think on things that are true.  So instead of dwelling on my feelings, I must make an active choice to remember His promises.  To remember who I am to Him

Other people may not know me or care to get to know me.  Other people may not notice me or the efforts I make to be a friend.  But my God? 

My God knows me.
My God understands me. 
My God studies me.
My God rejoices over me.
My God takes great delight in me.

What more could I ever need?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mom's Hands

I love my mom's hands. As a kid I'd sit in church, bored by the sermon, and I'd play with her hands. She had blue veins that stuck out on top, and I'd smoosh them around and poke them. I loved that squishy spot between her thumb and first finger, and would squeeze it and revel in it's strangeness.

Her fingers were often stained red, blue, green, purple from food coloring. She was a cake decorator, and our home was always filled with sweet confections that we weren't allowed to touch. Once in a while she would let us lick the beater, and if we were really lucky she would squirt a little frosting on the back of our hands. Sometimes she would make a flower or write our names and sometimes it would just be a quick blob. Didn't matter. We'd lick the frosting off of our hands, and enjoy it's sugary goodness.

Not only did mom have rainbow colored hands, but she had the most beautiful rings. I can remember playing with her rings and dreaming of the day when a prince would put a ring on my finger. I wanted one just like my mom's. And on that hot day in August, surrounded by fish and family and other random people, with my prince down on one knee, my hands became a little more like my mom's.

My mom used her hands to tell stories, and teach us the motions to countless songs. When I was in high school she learned to do puppets, and at our wedding reception her hand made a puppet talk to me and my new groom.

My mom has the best hands. Hands full of love and experience. Hands that held me and disciplined me and entertained me and made me laugh.  I love my mom and I love her hands.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Church Hurt

Three years ago, God kicked our family out of a Baptist church.  And I'm not talking a soft gentle kick.  I'm talking a steel-toed boot kick that came completely out of the blue.  One minute everything was fine and wonderful, and the next minute we were being escorted to our car by the deacons.

Two days after being kicked out...
It's a pretty unbelievable situation.  When we tell people that we were kicked out of a church, there is almost always a look of shock on their face, and then you can see the questions in their eyes.  But most people won't ask why.  I think that people are afraid of the answer.  I mean, if someone is actually kicked out of a church, it must be because they murdered or stole from the offering or slept with the pastor or something equally as scandalous.  We didn't do any of those things.  It was as confusing to us as it is to everyone else.

I remember driving home that night.  The tires crunched on the gravel and the car was silent.  The kids (we had three at the time) didn't know what was going on, but I think somehow they knew to be quiet (or maybe I just didn't notice them).  Ray and I didn't speak until after we were out of the parking lot.  And then my tears started.  The gasping, aching, wrenching tears.  The tears of disbelief and confusion and anger and sorrow.

The church, afterall, was our family.  We had loved and invested in these people who had just spewed hate and accusation at us.  And the next few days would prove to be even more difficult as people we loved rejected our phone calls and cut off all communication with us.

Ray made us go to Wednesday night church just three days later.  I didn't want to go at all, and I rebelled by wearing a messy ponytail and refusing to dress up.  I remember nothing about that service.  I don't remember the people or the message or the music or anything.  I was angry at God, and I probably sat with a chip on my shoulder refusing to take part in the service.

God had such an incredible plan for our family.  The three years since that life-altering meeting have held a lot of change for us.  We've added two kids, attended and left another church, and by the grace of God our marriage has been completely transformed.  God has brought us full circle.  Instead of sitting with a chip on my shoulder, on Sunday I was blessed to sit in that same room listening to my husband teach the Word of God to a room full of friends.  Our new family.

Even after 3 years, though, my heart still aches a little when I think about the whole thing.  I still get shaky and sweaty when I run into someone from our old church at the grocery store.  I still have major trust issues when it comes to church leadership.  I often wonder how our old friends are, and if they ever think about us.

It doesn't matter though.

Because God is good all the time.  He is just as good on the days that tears flow as He is on the days filled with laughter.  His character doesn't change when our circumstances are difficult.  He has my best interests in mind even when I can't comprehend the situation.  He has never betrayed me or failed me.  He loves me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Seven years ago I gave birth to a ruddy baby boy with a shock of dark hair covering his head.  He looked surprisingly different than our firstborn (who was pale and bald), and I fell in love with him.  From the beginning, Drew had his own way of doing things.  Not only did he arrive three weeks early, but he sucked his thumb and refused to sleep through the night.

March 17, 2004

As this little one got older, he developed a very distinct personality.  Drew is a dreamer.  He loves to use his imagination to come up with inventions, and he almost always has a book in his hands.  He is a wonderful artist, and loves to draw in his sketchbook.  He has become a bit of a loner.

Pretending to be an archaeologist

My Drew has such a tender heart.  We first noticed it when he was just a few years old.  He always notices when I wear different earrings, or do something new to my hair, or get dressed up, and he always comments and tells me how beautiful I am.  Drew is always on the lookout for "sunflowers" (dandelions) to pick and give to me.  He loves hugs and kisses and is always willing to keep me company. 

Seven years.  Wow.  The time has just flown.  I love this little one so much. 

March 17, 2011