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Friday, December 23, 2016


Four small kids.  A house to clean.  Presents to wrap.  Groceries to buy and food to prepare.  And a facebook friend who reminded me of this old post soooo I think I am going to cheat and post a link to This Post from 2013.  I pray the awe and beauty of Christ and Christmas will never leave you!  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Adopted for Eternity

Two Sundays ago I was having breakfast with my kids before church and Abby announced that she had figured something out.  In her most serious five year old voice, she told me she knew that I had stolen her from her real mother and made up all these stories about when she was a baby.  I almost spit my coffee out!   I am a huge fan of adoption and the picture it paints of God’s love towards all of us, but ya’ll, this kid ain’t adopted!  Pardon my south Georgia slang!  And child snatching??? I mean, what in the world are they showing on Dora these days?!   

So that was last week.  This Sunday my baby girl, who is totally two, insisted that she was not going to wear that cute dress with the turkey on it. Now she doesn’t have many outfits that haven’t been worn by at least three other people first, but this is one that I bought brand new for her (I am a sucker for a sale).  There was weeping and gnashing of teeth, but I was determined she was going to wear the stinkin turkey dress on turkey week!  I mean, turkey dresses are only cute one week out of the year for heaven’s sake!

About the time we have almost gotten used to Eliana’s weeping and wailing as she walks around the downstairs mourning and declaring that the cute little turkey on her dress is food and she will eat it, Maddie Grace, my middle child who likes to keep life exciting, runs to Abby with the news that I have thrown her leaf art into the trash.  Like all mamas I try to save the special stuff, but there comes a point when the walls are covered over that I have to clean out.  I did it secretly of course, but count on a little to find it in the trash and rat me out!  Abby sobbed in a little ball on the ouch for a solid thirty minutes.  Besides that it hurt her feelings, I am sure it added to whatever case she has built in her mind that I have stolen her from her real mom.  All this before we leave for church at 9:15 in the morning.

Yesterday while I am folding laundry, I hear Abby’s voice floating up the stairs with a pretty advanced melody and words about how she just wants to know who she really is.  I am sorting socks and thinking the desire for a God-given identity, the need to know who you are, must be built in our DNA, when Alena, Abby’s twin,  appears in the laundry room door.  She asks me if Abby really came out of my tummy.  Seriously?!  “Is that what she is singing about?!” I ask incredulously.  Alena breaks into a smile as she nods, and we simultaneously burst into laughter.  At least someone gets the absurdity of this ongoing drama!

I guess I am going to have to break out some videos of these two little squirmy babies covered in goop and pulled fresh from my c-section incision in order to convince Abby she belongs to me.  As I sit here typing about all this silliness, I can’t help but be struck by the thought that maybe God deals with this same incredulity.  Perhaps when his children are not acting like his children or maybe when we are sitting in guilt from our choices or we are stumbling around wondering who we really are, He is in heaven spitting out his coffee.  Surprised that we still don’t get it.  Wondering if Jesus will have to appear to us as He did to Thomas and let us feel the scars in His hands before we believe that He came for us.  That he has conquered our sin and completely freed us from guilt.  That he has unlocked the door of our personal prisons, whatever they may be, and if we will just reach out our hand to take His and walk through The Door we can come squinting out of darkness and into such gloriously blinding freedom.  Freedom we can only have imagined.  No longer groping around in the darkness searching for a purpose but stepping fully into the destiny we were made for.  Realizing that He has robed us with His righteousness and that when we are found in Jesus this is what God the Father sees when He looks at us- His children, created to do great works that He prepared for us before the foundation of the world.  God is not boring.  No, in fact he invented this thing called adventure and excitement and joy.    There is no substitute for finding out you truly belong to a Daddy who loves you, created you, will never abandon you, and made you for a destiny beyond what you could ever ask or imagine.  One that extends beyond the fragility of this dusty earth into eternity.  I am thankful this week that the God of the Universe has gone to such great lengths to reach us, bring us into His family, and convince us of who we really are... a treasure He thought was worth pursuing at every cost.  May we put aside our misgivings and Believe!

John 10:9-10
I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me he will be saved... The thief comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and  have it more abundantly. (-Jesus)

Galations 5:1  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Makiah's 6th Heaven Day

Salt water stings.  It also heals.  I dig my toes a little deeper into the sand almost as if trying to get a grip.  To hang on. But the sand slips through.  The waves roll over.  The hold is lost.  So slippery.  Each moment in this life.  Time and moments roll mysteriously by.  I try to feel deeply, to love deeply in that second.  Because in a minute the wave is gone and another comes along.

A few weeks ago our late night drive with the kids to Cape Canaveral landed us at a beachside hotel in Daytona way past Cinderella’s curfew.  It just happened to be where we landed when we  couldn’t drive any further.  The next morning we spent a few hours on a beach I thought I would never return to.  Makiah played the last week of her life there on those same sandy shores.  I felt as if I was in her footsteps.  So close. As if I might turn around and catch sight of her sandy blonde hair flying in the wind. 

The week before she died I was on bedrest from complications with the twins.  I didn’t dare trek down to the beach but sat instead by the window in the condo and watched my girl and her daddy play in the waves.  She loved to chase the seagulls, and I remember I would look up from my books about parenting twins to discover I couldn’t find them anymore.  I would strain my eyes trying to catch a glimpse of them down the beach and feel frustrated when I couldn’t see Makiah.   A foreshadowing perhaps.

And now standing on that same beach where she dug her toes in.  And digging mine down deep.  Six years later exactly.  She has gone before me.  I strain to see.  To catch a glimpse of what is up ahead.  To love these sisters of hers as deeply as she would.  To    hold each moment closely but with the knowing that my grip is tenuous at best.  I watch them splash in the same waves and chase what seem to be the same seagulls.  All four of them.  

And my heart whispers to God, “Why did you bring me back here?”  Well, God and Priceline.  Besides the good rate and free breakfast with a view, why am I standing on this beach I never wanted to see again?  But I don’t really get an answer.  Just the sting of the saltwater on my newly shaven legs.  And the thought that saltwater stings.  And it heals.  

I hide behind my sunglasses and watch those four pairs of legs run furiously down the beach.  Determined to catch a seagull.  And I pray I will run like that.  The race set before me.  The story I didn’t ask for.  The daughter I didn’t want to lose.  The beach I didn’t want to visit.  The seagull I may not catch.  In this life.   But I want to run.  And not lose heart.  And trust that the God who has brought so much life back will continue to bring healing through the stinging.  There are no gaping wounds anymore.  Scars for sure, but not open wounds.  As the waves keep pounding the shore, so the pursuing love of my God has not stopped pounding on my heart.  Even when it was barely beating and the sting was unbearable and I thought my whole life was ruined and any chance of happiness dashed to pieces.  He was already carrying me.  Now six years later I stand where she stood right at the end and I hear Him saying Run.  Run.  Run to the end.  Because the end is not The End.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

One More Hug and Kiss

School has started back and so has the flurry of activities.  Long, lazy summer days are gone and the race has begun!  Packing lunches, laying out clothes, doing homework, soccer practice, ballet…  I could go on and on.  It’s exciting and exhausting all at once.  I love new beginnings.  A fresh start.  A chance to be more organized than last year.  More intentional.  More loving.  

I think there is something in us that longs for new beginnings and fresh starts on the inside, too.  My mind can get caught in the blizzard of the to do list, but then I stop and remember there is a place of fresh starts available every morning.  The bible says His mercies are new every morning.  He is waiting.  Calling for us to carve out a little time.  Not out of duty but so we can bring the empty coffee cups of our lives and he can fill us up with a morning brew of His love.  And energy.  And focus.   There is no way we can love all these people around us in our busyness if our cups are empty.

Every night when I tuck my girls in bed, we read stories, say prayers, and do hugs and kisses.  My little Alena ALWAYS says “one more kiss and love, Mom!” Then she says it again.  And again. And again.  And again… Well you get the idea.  And she says it desperately and fervently as if I have never given her a hug and kiss.  By this time of day I am spent and I hate to admit that the constant begging to keep me from finishing bed time usually makes me grumpy.  I just can’t hug and kiss her enough to fill up that place in her that needs love.  

Really, she is a picture of all of us.  There is no person or activity that can fill up that place in us that is longing for love and affirmation.  When we keep trying to stuff hearts with anything other than the Authentic, we come up empty and craving more.  Take a minute to do a heart check.  Can you dig down below the frenzy of activities to find that place of hunger?  Only Jesus satisfies.  

Not just as a religious figure or an idea.  But in reality the presence of the Holy Spirit longs to fill you up with His love.  In the deep empty places.  Heart satisfying.  Peace.  Take some sips today.  Close your eyes.  Block out the distractions.  And let Him pour in…  One more hug and kiss.  He never runs short or gets grumpy.  In fact, your asking delights His heart.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Bridge of Hope

The thing about grief is how it surprises you.  I am sitting here in the auditorium laughing and chatting with the other ballet moms as we wait for the dress rehearsal to start.  It's been a breathless morning to get here on time with three well fed ballerinas with perfect buns and makeup.  Suddenly the lights dim, the curtain opens, and a slew of tiny people in sweet outfits start to dance. They aren't even my kids but out of nowhere the hot tears flood my eyes.  I am not even sure why at first.  Then I realize it's because my first ballerina didn't get to have a dress rehearsal.  Or a recital.  She absolutely loved to dance and twirl about the house.  When she finally started ballet, I think I was as excited as she was.  The company refunded our money of course,  and then I learned later that they did a special song for her at the recital where she would have performed. 

The headlines lately have been full of devastation.  News of people in places like Orlando that are now standing on the edges of a sea of grief.  People looking out into the waves that threaten to swallow them.  And even as my own grief occasionally catches me by surprise, there is a voice in my heart that I hear louder than my own tears.  There is an Answer to the pain in this world.  There is One who cares more deeply than any of us.  There is One who weeps over suffering and who comes humbly and gently whispering words of comfort  and love.  Mercy.  He offers us mercy.  

There is grief.  There is agony.  But Jesus!  Apart from Him we have no hope.  But Jesus! He came to bring Hope.  To reconcile us to God.  In our sin we are separated from God and face an eternity of being apart from all that is good because God is goodness and holiness rolled into one.  But Jesus! He came to bring resurrection life to our dead places.  When our life looks like dirt, we need the breath of God.  

In the Bible, Macaiah (the prophet that we named our Makiah for), was one of the few people who had an open vision of the throne room of God (1 Kings 22:19).  We prayed for our daughter that she would see Jesus.  I can recall her saying often that she wished she could see Jesus with her real eyes.  I remember the night she asked Jesus into her heart, the conversation began like this.  I told her she could see Jesus with the eyes of her heart and asked if she wanted to pray and ask him to forgive her sins.  We had been talking with her about the good news of Jesus death and resurrection for many months and she had a good grasp on it and had asked many questions.  Makiah prayed that night in her bed and told me that she felt Jesus giving her a hug in her heart.  

Another prophet, Isaiah, also had an open vision of the throne room of God.
He describes the scene in Isaiah chapter 6 saying the train of the Lord’s robe filled the temple as He sat on His throne.  Angels with six wings hovered above the Lord crying out about His holiness and glory with such powerful voices that the heavenly doorposts shook and the temple was filled with smoke.  Brilliant lights, thundering voices, and smoke filled Isaiah’s nostrils as the ground shook beneath him.  Immediately Isaiah felt he would die in the presence of such perfection and power as he was instantly aware of his own uncleanness before a Holy God.  An angel brought him a burning coal from the altar and placed it on his lips to atone for his guilt. Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord calling out, “Whom shall I send?  And who will go for Us?”  

Even now in our hurting world, the voice of the Lord is calling out, “Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?”  Who will take My love to the bleeding and the broken, to those standing on the shores of grief?  Who will tell them Jesus has made atonement for our guilt and offered himself to become the door by which people can step into peace and hope in this world and into heaven in the next.  There is only one door.  But on the other side is a place where there is no more tears or pain or sin or sickness.  Ever.  When people ask what is God doing about the pain, the answer is what God has already done about it.  He has built a bridge between himself and us.  He has crossed the chasm created by the wrong choices of man.  He is reaching out with the sweetest embrace if we will just take His hand and walk across into the arms of love.  

Will we tell them?  Will we love them across?  Will we answer like Isaiah did “Here am I.  Send me!”  Will we pray for them that they will have eyes to see and ears to hear the truth?  To see the love of Jesus that can change everything for them?  Even in the midst of suffering.  

Jesus did for me.  There are moments when grief catches me, but I don’t live there anymore.  I don’t live under that heavy darkness now.  My Makiah is seeing Jesus with her real eyes, and God has breathed the breath of His Holy Spirit and life into the heaping pile of mess that was my life after the wreck.  He is no respecter of persons.  He will do it for you.  He will do it for them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Happy Double Digit Birthday Makiah!

Sweet Makiah,

Mommy remembers when I turned ten.  We had just moved to Cairo (yes, where you lived!) a few weeks before my birthday.  I invited two girls that I had just met at school over for a spend the night party.  I still played with cabbage patches and dress up clothes, but this year we added makeup and pretended to be teenagers.  I started a puff paint business with grand plans of selling t-shirts designed by yours truly.  Your Uncle Will and I practiced limbo tirelessly in the driveway with two yard chairs and a measuring stick in great hopes of being the Saturday afternoon limbo champs at the local skating rink.  Uncle John was only four, and I recall he was a whiz at playing Super Mario Brothers with me already on our nintendo.

Tonight the girls and I made brownies together for your 10th birthday.  Abby suggested we put a candle in one, tie balloons to it, and float it up to heaven so you could have a piece.  Maddie Grace sang to you, and Alena requested a candle to blow out for you.  I read a devotional from their book, "God's Little Princesses," tonight at bedtime and would you believe it was about heaven and imagining what kind of "jobs" we might have there?  We talked about you.  Maddie Grace wondered if you paint sunsets or rainbows there.  Abby is sure we won't work there at all, but we will just play with Jesus!

Last week Abby told us about a dream she had of heaven.  Cameron was tucking her in, and she said she wanted to be a kid in heaven.  When he asked her why, she said because it's fun to be a kid and play with Jesus.  He asked her how she knew, and she told him this... She said she dreamed she played in a field with a lamb and that she sat on Jesus shoulders.  She said there was a river there that was soooo clean and trees with big flowers and apples that were shiny all around them.  She said the streets were gold and there were golden cars, too.  She said the church there was so so big.

We wonder, Makiah.  We dream.  We hope.  We focus on what scripture tells us... that it has not even entered the mind of man the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love Him.  But you know!  You see!  Clearly now and not dimly as through a glass.  Abby's dream brings joy to this heart because although I don't know what you are like or what you do as a ten year old in heaven, I know you have gotten to play with Jesus as a kid.  To climb up on his shoulders.  To be covered over in such love and filled up with adventures and wonder without danger or sadness.

Your Daddy used to pray for you, that you would be an ambassador for Christ all over the earth and that you would touch many nations.  And so you have.  God has answered that prayer, though not the way we expected.   I added up all the individuals that now have clean drinking water because of the Makiah Well Project, because you gave the money in your piggy bank just before you went home to heaven, and it comes to a total of 6, 375 people!!  Suffering from lack of water has been alleviated for 6, 375 people, Makiah!  And better yet, sweet princess, 265 people made a profession of faith in Jesus... and 106 of those are children, which is dear to my heart.  Can God use those little children to do big things for the kingdom? Yes!  And your short life here on earth is proof of it.

I love you sweet princess, more than you can know!  Abby always includes you when she draws our family, and when we went to Disney, the first thing the girls told Cinderella was that it wasn't just four sisters.  They told her that the fifth sister is in heaven.  They haven't met you, but you aren't forgotten.  I pray Jesus will give you extra special hugs today and whisper that Mommy loves you.  I will always hold dear the day you made me a mommy.  Happy 10th birthday, Makiah!

Love you past Peter Pan Land sweet baby!
Your Mommy

*iDisciple made a video in conjunction with Compelling Creations, the jewelry company that designs the well charms,  about Makiah's Well Project.  We are thankful for the opportunity to share her story.  Please help us share this!

The video is out and can be viewed here...

Only $1800 builds a well.  Donations to the Makiah Well Project can be made by mailing a check to:

Operation Blessing International
Attn: Christine Coughlin, CSB 322
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

*Mark your gift clearly on the check for Makiah King and it will be credited to her account.

OR if you are interested in purchasing a well charm from Compelling Creations, 10% of the purchase of the well charm will be sent to Operation Blessing for the well project also.  
Check out the article and video on iDisciple for a coupon code.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Makiah's Gift- The Well Project

Sometimes I rush through bed time with my kids and get in a huff when they call me back ten thousand times for an endless litany of things.  Other days I stay with them longer and stroke their hair and remind myself to savor the moment.  It was one of those nights when Abby popped out with, “Mom, I don’t know how the Holy Spirit helps me.  When there are too many toys and you tell me to clean up, I don’t see Him moving ANY blocks!”  I tried not to giggle out loud.  But really, I think she is onto something.  A deeper question of humanity right from the mouth of a babe.  We often look at things around us and we don’t SEE God doing anything.

The truth is it is hard for us to acknowledge what we don’t see with our eyes.  We want God to be like us.  To fit in our box, and well, let’s be honest, it would be great if He would just do our work for us!  Sometimes when He doesn’t “move the blocks” we pout and wonder if He is really helping us at all.  But that’s just the thing.  He isn’t us.  He won’t do our job for us, but He will partner with us in our work.  He will give us the strength to continue.  He will help us to work with thankfulness in our hearts and a good attitude on our faces.  And He will whisper to our hearts words of wisdom about what to do next.  

When we look at people who are doing that- walking in God’s call to help others, doing it in love, and not giving up- then our eyes can SEE that God is real and that the Holy Spirit is helping us.  And that is exactly what I saw when I got a text from the mom of one of Makiah’s preschool classmates.  She contacted me last fall to let me know that her son, Cort, had been raising money for two years with his RA’s at First Baptist Church in Cairo to build a well in Makiah’s memory.  They had almost reached their goal, and this fourth grader was getting ready to stand up in front of his church and do a presentation to raise the rest. 

I was floored.  Floored because her preschool friend had not forgotten her.  After all, they were only four when she died.  Floored that Cort and his friends had the tenacity to take on raising the money for an entire well and stick it out for two years.  Floored at the courage of a child to stand up and challenge adults to such generosity.   And then floored when one of my high school friends, Charisha, contacted me to say that the Pine Level Baptist Girls in Action group has also raised money for Makiah’s Wells again this year!  They painted their toes rainbow colors and raised well money on her heaven day the last two years.

And for some crazy reason, I continue to be surprised when God dumps gifts of love like this on my heart!  I was also surprised in March when we were contacted by, Jill Felts, the owner of Compelling Creations, who designed the well charm necklaces that were sold in Makiah’s memory to raise money for building real wells in impoverished nations.  She had shared Makiah’s story with a group called iDisciple, and they became excited about helping us tell it. They came a few weeks ago to our house to film, and I will be posting that link here shortly!

In the last five and a half years, Cameron and I have buried a daughter, given birth to four more, moved to a new town, taken a new church, and started new jobs.  AND there have been 15 wells completed in Makiah’s memory during that time with Cort’s well being in process as number 16!!  There are so many things in life that we strive to accomplish and it feels like  the wheels are stuck in the mud.  The Well Project is not one of those things!  Cameron and I feel like we have hardly done anything and this has just taken off.  We offer our deepest thanks to all of you who have given over the years towards Makiah’s Well Project!  So many have purchased well charms or made direct donations that have affected the lives of those less fortunate!  In all the  craziness of the last few years I have gotten behind with blogging so here are the latest wells….

WELL #12  
San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines
(Built by many of you!)

21 families with about 121 individuals benefit from this well

Their previous source of water was an old well 250 meters away that tasted of rust and was deemed unsuitable for drinking.  People live in concrete or bamboo homes and often suffer from diarrhea and typhoid fever. 

At the well dedication, 20 bibles were distributed, the gospel was shared by national pastors, education on health and sanitation was provided and 24 individuals came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior!

WELL #13
Barangay Pagnamitan, Guiuan, Philippines
(Built by a preschool class in Oak Crest Baptist Church, Greenville, SC)

10 families with 53 individuals benefit from this well.

Previous water sources were a few shallow wells that depended on the high and low tide and rusty water pumps that smelled and were discolored.  After hurricane Yolanda these shallow wells were filled with mud, and villagers were forced to buy expensive, clean water from a mineral water refilling station.

The Barangay Chariman, Therisita O. Edin opened the well dedication ceremony where many people attended.  Philippino pastors preached on John 4:13-14 about the Living Water, and 40 adults and 35 children made a profession of faith!

WELL #14
Napakhedra, Madhya Pradesh, India
(Also built by Oak Crest Baptist Church)

350 people benefit directly from this well

The previous water source in this village was a government tap which was not easily accessible to the villagers and was only supplied during specified timings.  The villages here have many tribal groups and they live in structures made of mud walls with tin or asbestos roofing.

At the well dedication, the team from Operation Blessing taught about health and hygiene,  and a national pastor shared from Isaiah 55:1, “Come, all who are thirsty. Come to the waters.”  According to the report, “The villagers heard the message with much interest.”

WELL #15
Prey Kdouch (78km west of Phnom Pen), Cambodia
(Built by many of you!)
The previous water source was an open well and pond.  The primary occupation is rice or vegetable farming.  The local pastor presented the gospel using John 4:13-14 to those who attended the dedication of the well.  One lady said “Now that this new well is in my village, I will no longer have to walk the long distance to get water from the open well.  It was located in the forest, so it was a struggle to get there.  I had to make at least three trips a day to bring home enough water for our basic needs.  I always worried about my family’s health because the water was not clean and there were lots of chemicals around the stream.  Thank you for bringing hope to our village.  You have relieved us of much burden.”

Who knew a little girl’s gift in Sunday School, just before her death, could bring such change to the other side of the world.  Thank you for multiplying Makiah’s gift!  You have given practical relief through clean drinking water and planted many seeds in hearts who have heard about this water…

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Only $1800 builds a well.  Donations to the Well Project can be made by mailing a check to:

Operation Blessing International
Attn: Christine Coughlin, CSB 322
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

*Mark your gift clearly on the check for Makiah King and it will be credited to her account.

OR if you are interested in purchasing a well charm from Compelling Creations, 10% of the purchase of the well charm will be sent to Operation Blessing for the well project also.  
Check out the article and video on iDisciple for a coupon code.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Live Like It's Sunday

On good Friday we remember that Jesus gave up His life for us.  Not just that.  He was God.  Infinite. Limitless with all power and knowledge at His fingertips, but He left all of that and choose to clothe Himself in a human body perhaps for all of eternity.  For us.  To reach us.  To bring us into that circle of unbroken fellowship that the Trinity shares among itself.  Love cannot exist in isolation.  A requirement for love is fellowship.  One to give and one to receive and to repeat that over and over or else love is meaningless.  God is perfect and complete.  He exists in three perfect parts.  God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  God never lacked love.  And yet you mean so much to Him that He designed a master plan to extend that love to you.

Saturday is the in between day.  Jesus had died.  The resurrection had not yet occurred.  On earth things seemed hopeless and Jesus followers forgotten.  The lie that was perpetuated was that the Christ's crucifixion was final, His words had fallen to the ground, and the hope He represented for humanity was snuffed out.  Lies.  From the father of lies and the enemy of our souls.  But it was all the natural eyes could see.  Humanity did not know that in the spirit world Jesus was descending into hades itself to set the captives free and to take captivity itself captive!  

How many days do we live in the in between?  We have heard the words of Jesus and sensed the whisper in our hearts that perhaps we were created for something special.  Maybe we have even dared to believe that there is greatness in us… that our existence is more than just chance.  Do you hear the longing of your heart to believe that you are more than just this flesh that fades with age and will eventually be whisked away in the wind?  But perhaps your eyes cannot see the proof.  It seems in the daily grind as if this monotony is all there is.  As if this is really all you are.  That you are forgotten.

Lies.  Do not believe the lies.  We have a benefit Jesus followers did not have on that longest of all Sabbaths when they grieved in such darkness that they didn’t even know they were waiting for Sunday.  They could not possibly grasp the resurrection power that would hit the spiritual atmosphere of this world like a nuclear bomb in just a few short hours.   Such power emanating from Jesus as he slammed back into His body and broke death in two that the Bible says many holy people in the graveyard around Him was raised to life.  Many people were resurrected and walked around the streets of Jerusalem and people saw them!  Why?  Because death could no longer stand in His presence!  

Jesus resurrection life changes everything!  And it proclaims that you are worth fighting for!  That God would enshroud himself with humanity, endure the just penalty for our sins, and then defeat death itself in the greatest legal transaction of all time.  Love displayed perfectly without corrupting justice.  God embracing us without tarnishing his perfection with our sin.  He became our representative and took on every bad choice and evil that man has ever loved.  He bore in His body the weight of our transgressions.  Our crossing over the lines.  Why?  Because the perfect justice of God demands that sin result in separation from Him and that separation is called death.  Inner death of the heart.  Outer death of the body.  And eternal separation from all that is good.  But God, who had perfect unbroken fellowship of love without us, chose to run after us.  To pursue us.  To become us and then endure that penalty that justice demands. So. That. We. Don’t. Have. To.    And death could not hold Him!   Because He Was God.  Jesus was perfect so there was no legal ground for the enemy to keep Him.   

You are not forgotten.  The Word says He has engraved you in the palm of His hands.  Those resurrected hands still bear the scars of His love.  The mark of His passion for you.  For all eternity.  Jesus chose to wear it forever like a blazing emblem of his love for us.  Don’t run from Him!  Run to Him!  We know what Sunday held.  We don’t have to live with the unseeing eyes of Saturday.  We get to see the end of the story.  We get to experience the resurrection power that unravels the lies of the enemy and breaks the chains of insignificance.  We can be free from our poor choices and the weights that have held us down.  It is no longer who we are.  Choose freedom today if you have not before.  Believe that the King of the Universe decided you were worth dying for.  You. Are. Worth. It. And. He. Is. Worthy. Of. Your. Heart.  Don’t stay locked in the tower.  Let the Prince of Peace rescue you today.  And if you have been rescued already, throw off the hopeless, unseeing eyes of Saturday.  Live like you know the end of the story!  Live like it is Resurrection Sunday!

“I pray the eyes of your heart would be enlightened and you will know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His people,” Ephesians 1:18

Monday, February 22, 2016

Happy 5th Birthday Abby & Alena!

Five years.  An eternity of days.  And yet it’s passed as quickly as a blowing breeze.  Time is a mystery.  Days that have often felt endless now seem to have fled like the shadows chasing after a setting sun.  It is a strange thing to watch your younger children out grow the oldest.  I have always had memories of Makiah to cling to as my little ones passed each new stage.  We have stepped across a threshold.  It’s like the tape ran out.  I am constantly surprised by the things my twins can do- things like writing words other than their name.  It’s almost as if my mind forgets that I will actually watch these children grow up.  We have been in the same season of parenting for almost 10 years, and the new journey into unknown territory constantly catches me off gaurd.  

I am excited.  I feel like I am standing on the edge of something really good that has taken a very long time to get to.  I am sad.  The new things are reminders in a different way of what we didn’t get to see Makiah experience.  Of our loss.  I am wistful.  I want to hang on to every moment and soak up every smile because I know one day I will be old and my house will be empty and I will long for these crazy, exhausting races I call a day.  I am thankful.  Little Abby and Alena, a combined 10 pounds and 13 oz of pink wriggling, crying cuteness saved my life.  

I had to live because they depended on me.  Because they were born.  Because my aunts and cousins stood on my back porch and prayed before Makiah’s funeral that the contractions I was having would stop.  Because my doctor friend came over at night in the weeks following the accident when I was panicking that maybe the lives in my belly had ceased and brought her doppler so I could hear their heart beats and keep on breathing.   Because my brother had called me on mother’s day during our battle with secondary infertility and just before Makiah’s death to tell me he felt in prayer that God had said I would be the mother of many children.  When I sat in the hospital on bed rest for weeks unable to pray, those words resounded through my being and gave me hope that these babies would live.  

On February 22, 2011 hope was born to me in a double portion.  And now it walks and laughs all over my house and needs me day and night.  Abby loves to make up songs about Jesus and his fire and how he will marry you and put gifts in your heart.  And Alena loves to dance to worship songs and to laugh quickly and cheer about things often.  At night I can barely escape their room because they need just one more hug and kiss.  

And their little arms hug a heart.  And their kisses bring healing from heaven.  The scars are there, but the bandages have impressions of little lips all over them.  My God knows what we need.  At just the right time.  In just the right way.   I am thankful.  And spilling over with gratitude tonight for all those who prayed when I couldn’t.  I had to live because of you.  

Happy 5th Birthday to my Abby and Alena!  My fighters, my survivors, my overcoming, victorious ones!