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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

When you try...

I picked my sweet Alena up from her final dance rehearsal yesterday.  The big recital is tonight, and we have lived and breathed her dances at our house for the last few weeks.  When I was helping her buckle in she asked, “Mom, it doesn’t have to be perfect does it?  Nothing on earth can really be perfect, right?”  It’s amazing to me how profound questions can come from the mouths of little children who just finished kindergarten.  And there was such earnest seeking in her eyes.  Sometimes you know your kids probably won’t remember what you say but that you have a chance to plant a weighty seed that will burrow deep into their little hearts and bring fruit later… for the good or the bad.  It was one of those moments.

After a quick talk- there were  four of them in the car and Eliana was screaming for Dora while Alena herself was actually crying from a fall- we headed home.  While I was walking this morning and praying about a follow up conversation and pep talk for tonight, I thought of the last morning I spent with Makiah.  I was 16 weeks pregnant and not feeling great.  We snuggled up on the couch for a few minutes before breakfast.  She ran her little fingers all over my face and when I pulled back so she wouldn’t mess up my makeup, she said, “Mom I just want to feel your face.”  It was so unusual thatI let her and pulled her close.  Then out of no where she declared that I was perfect.  Sort of taken aback, I assured her that Mommy was far from perfect but that I did try.  She said. “Mommy, when you try, it’s perfect.”  Sometimes kids questions are profound, but sometimes their answers are too.  Words from heaven that have rung in my heart many times since then.  And words that I determined to pass on to her little sister today as well.

Sometimes we feel that a little is not significant.  Or that what we could do is so far from perfect that we shouldn’t try.  What we forget is that our Daddy God is pulling for us.  That he is not that parent on the sidelines screaming at their kid on the field.  Zephaniah 3:17 says He rejoices over us with singing.  When we are in relationship with Jesus, we get to wear his team name on our jersey and every attempt we make on the field of life brings encouragement from our coach.  Each play we learn to hear his voice a little more clearly, and we literally bring joy to his heart.  No nothing is perfect on earth, but in our weakness, He is made strong.

On Makiah’s 11th birthday last month, her four year old teacher, Laurie,  and one of her babysitters, Jenn, both “tried and it was perfect.”  They both did special things with their students to raise money for Makiah’s Wells (to hear more about the well project and how it started just keep reading) and if the joy in my heart is even the smallest drop of how God feels when we “try,”  then it just blows my mind how happy he must be with us!  I have been bursting to share some pictures with you…

Jenn and Phillip teach school in Israel and their students raised 622 shekels ($172) for the well project and sent me a video of the kids singing happy birthday to Makiah!!  What compassion they are teaching these precious children!!




Makiah's Spot on the Rug
Makiah's sweet preschool teacher, Laurie, also sent me a copy of the post she made for the parents of her current class and I just have to share...

“Today we made a birthday card for a sweet little girl that used to sit on the butterfly spot of our classroom rug.  She loved bugs, tiny “fings," butterflies, and Jesus.  She was a dancing princess.  Her name was Makiah Kaitlyn King.  She will celebrate her 11th birthday in heaven.  

It amazes me that our classroom curriculum has us studying caterpillars and butterflies almost to the day of her birthday.  So many things about her celebration of life seem to be hugs from heaven.

Each year we take time to teach the children about Makiah’s sweet life and one part in particular… the day she gave her piggy bank.

At church one morning Makiah learned that little children like her didn’t have clean water.  And they sometimes got sick because they had to drink dirty water.   Her mommy said that Makiah showed up in the kitchen with her piggy bank in hand.  She wanted to give it all to help those children have clean water.  And she did.

Since her heaven day many wells have been dug in her honor.  With clean water came renewed hope.  The hope opened hearts and many souls have been saved.”

This precious lady went on to explain to me that when she shared the story she also told the kids they would be having a big birthday celebration the next day on Makiah’s birthday!  They each took home a butterfly bag and brought it back full of change.  The class gave Makiah a birthday gift as they sent their “piggy bank” money to help dig a well.  She said one of their precious children said, “We’re gonna help her finish her job!”  With her eyes a little wet and her heart so proud, the teacher gave this tiny one a big high five!  

Weighty words.  Hope from heaven.  We get to help finish her job.  (Click HERE and scroll to the bottom to join us in building wells.)

And we get to finish the job of Jesus.  He entrusted us with the last task.  To re-present him.  To proclaim the Father’s love.  To try.  And when you try, it's perfect.







Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy 11th Birthday Sweet Makiah!



Dearest Makiah,

In a few minutes it will be your 11th birthday!  We started celebrating you tonight.  I brought home tiny chocolate cupcakes after work, and we ate them before dinner.  The girls and I decided you would have liked that!  Your sister’s decided they want to send their balloons they got at the Mother Daughter Tea up to heaven to you tomorrow.   It was completely their idea!  Abby wants to tie a french fry on hers because you loved fries.  I guess she thinks you’d like a little french fry snack in heaven!

She also told me that a boy at school told her he was in love with her today.  Oh kindergarten!  It reminded me that you came home one day saying your sweet friend Isaiah had asked you to marry him on the playground, and you said yes because you loved him.  It also made me wonder what sort of conversations we would be having now if you were finishing up the fifth grade.  Would we be chatting about boys or sports or dance?

Tonight I read the girls part of a book that Emmy and PawPaw gave you on your last Christmas- The Little Red Book with the Big Red Letters.  It’s about a little book who has to find out his purpose… Emmy wrote in the front that God has big plans for you, Makiah.  And the words sort of grabbed me tonight.  If we believe the bible and we believe Jeremiah 29:11, then truly God’s plans for us transcend death.  What kind of powerful God would he be if His plans were limited to this short, frail life on earth?  I could feel the sting of the words begin to recede a bit.  Of course God has big plans for you… still!  Because this is just the prelude.  And God’s divine intent for each of us extends beyond the constraints of time and place.  We pray, “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Why would Jesus say to pray this?  Because heaven and God’s kingdom are awesome, and purposeful, and exciting, and adventurous, and full of love and connection and perfect grace.  All the things we long for here.  They aren’t lacking in any way.

When I think of heaven, all that you are missing here pales in comparison.  I know that God created you for many beautiful purposes, Makiah.  Although I only have glimpses here, I believe.  And I know one day I will see.  Together.  With you.  When I was pregnant with you, before I even knew you were a girl, a lady spoke over you that you were going to be an Esther.  Surely you were beautiful.  And I have not unpacked all the meaning yet.  But Esther interceded to the King on behalf of her people.  Prayer is but talking with God.  And I know you do that.  Probably sometimes on behalf of your loved ones still on earth.  Revelation tells us the martyrs cry out to God to intervene on the earth.  Who knows but that you have come to your royal position but for such a time as this?  I can only speculate what earthly matters your prayers from heaven may have changed.  

I know more and more with each passing year, that your birth and death have solidified in me more than any other experience the revelation that Jesus is who He says He is, and He does what He said He would do.  Save, heal, restore.  Beauty for ashes.  Exchange garments of mourning for the the garments of praise.  I know you know, my dear.  But my eyes still see dimly.  Shout with me little one.  Although we are apart in body,  in both of our hearts we can proclaim the truth.  We can do the only thing that lasts.  Make plain His offer of love and life to all those whose hearts are still broken or searching or not sure if it can be real.   Your story.  Our story.  It is not all tears and sadness.  It is hope and certainty.  And a peace that surpasses understanding.  A peace that guards my heart and mind.  I will lend it my fingers and together we will lend it our prayers.  

I love you my oldest little one.  My precious precocious one whose name means “who is like Yahweh?”  My first baby.  My pre-teen.   My one who loves to dance and loves Jesus and chocolate and “tiny fings” and hair all the way down to the ground.  My sunshine who woke up singing and happy and loved to pop up beside my bed and say “The sun is up!  It’s time to get up!”  My little who touched my face with her hands so carefully on our last morning.  Who said I was perfect for trying.  Bringer of joy and miracles that we have only begun to see.  For if I have been set free from the darkness, how many more are there to come?  Promised one.  Who still lives.  With Him.  Happy birthday from one who wouldn’t trade our four years, four months, and four weeks for anything!  

Happy birthday from your mommy!

Love always all ways,

Mommy



Makiah just born
One Year Old


Two Years Old

Three Years Old




Four Years Old

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fresh Perspective

I am sitting in a class listening to Danny Silk from Bethel Church in Redding teach about the Father’s love.  At the end he begins to describe a father son athletic team.  The son was born with cystic fibrosis, but together they have competed in 206 triathlons, 20 duathlons, and 26 marathons who.  I know in a second who he is talking about.  I have seen this video twice before, and I contemplate slipping out.  I am not sure I can handle watching it.  Tears slip out before it even begins to play.  

The first time I saw it was in an educational setting.  I imagined myself as the father and wondered if I could ever love anyone with that sort of sacrificial love.  The second time I saw the video was  a few weeks after Makiah died.  That time it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was not the father.  I was the boy.  I was totally incapable of accomplishing anything on my own.  Completely dependent on the love of a father to carry my broken self across the finish line.  

I stayed to watch it a third time.   I am no longer viewing with a broken heart.  God has worked the miracle of resurrection life in me, and my heart swells with thankfulness and hope as I reflect on the last 6 years that He has carried me.  He has held me as we waded through tumultuous waves that I could never have even imagined before.  Never letting me slip away.  

Sitting here now I am reminded of a different truth.  Now that I have my legs under me again, I hear Him whisper that this is still the picture of Us.  My spiritual walk does not depend on my works.  It depends on His grace.  My job is not to peddle furiously to make it through the next leg of the journey.  It is to remember that I am still the boy.  It may get hot and I may sweat and I can’t quit.  But my role is to lean into Him.  To thank Him for the work He is doing.  To Look where He is steering us and to Listen to the words of love He is whispering as He runs.  To know He will not let me fall out of the boat.  

When the father in Team Hoyt  was asked what drives him, he shared that his son is able to communicate through a computer.  He told his father, “When I run with you, my disabilities go away.”  The love of a father.  The passion of a daddy to liberate his son.  I was struck with the realization that in my weakness, He is shown strong.  When we run this life race together, my disabilities, my weaknesses, disappear.

My burden is easy and my yoke is light.  I hear Him say.  Trust me.  Be Mary.  Not Martha.  We can all be Mary.  We can all sit and soak and be still and know that He is God.  

If the pace has made you weary, it’s time to see the Truth.  To get a glimpse of reality.  “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32.  The Greek word for truth here also means “reality” as opposed to “illusion.”  When we feel that it all depends on us, we are living in an illusion.   Perhaps we need to have a change of PERSPECTIVE.  We need to see reality.  That we are yoked together with One who calls us His beloved.  The One who says, “It is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).   

The circumstance may not change.  It may be as permanent as losing a loved one.  Or perhaps your miracle is just around the corner.  But either way He changes US.  How?  Through His Word.  Through His presence.  Check out team Hoytt and when this father’s love blows your mind, remember that if we can give good gifts to our children, “how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Mathew 7:11).  Even if you have seen this before, I encourage you to watch it with fresh eyes.  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about Daddy God’s love for YOU as you watch.  Our hearts need a new infusion daily.




28Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.…”  Mathew 11:28-29



Cameron and I are launching a website together, royalperspectives.com.   It is under construction and more will be coming soon about our new joint venture!  If you look now, consider it a sneak preview and not the grand opening!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Love Covenant and Hope


There are gifts and then there are GIFTS.  I felt so blessed this Christmas by family and mostly because I was able to see the faces of my little ones glow with the anticipation of Christmas morning.  The excitement of knowing that there are special surprises just for them is a precious thing to watch as it dances in the light of innocent little eyes.  There is a sweetness when their tiny feet are hit with a burst of joyful jumping and their lips with squealing.

This fall my heart had it’s own Christmas of sorts.  Two surprise gifts of love whose depth of meaning and kindness still leave me astounded.  And they were both given on October 8th.  Yes, Makiah’s heaven day.  Each year that passes it seems the Lord unwraps more layers of meaning to her life and death. This year there were two very special weddings on her heaven day.  My cousin and his precious wife who are beginning their sweet love story as they dive into their early twenties and a dear staff member who has been a widower for several years and his new love both tied the knot that day.  


Last summer at our family reunion… yes, we meet in Alabama. No, we don’t wear matching t-shirts- no offense if you do!  And yes, we actually love our extended family get togethers!… my sweet cousin pulled Cameron and I aside to tell us what was on his heart for his wedding day.  I will never forget this six foot five young man with tears in his eyes as he asked if they could do something special to remember Makiah at their wedding. We insisted that it really was not necessary, and he needed to focus on beginning his happily ever after although we were touched to the core.  But the words he said next had never crossed my mind before.  He said as he was praying about it, he felt impressed by the depth of meaning that marriage has in the bible.  Scripture says that marriage is a picture of God’s love for his bride, his people, the church.  And on October 8th six years ago, Makiah had met her groom in person.  There wasn’t a dry eye among us as he shared, and we hugged.  It has taken me some time to dip my toes into the depth of the picture of love that God was painting.



Here is a picture of part of the wedding program from my cousin and his beautiful bride’s special day…





A Close Up


The other wedding was close to our home.  In fact Cameron officiated for our dear friend whom our children affectionately call “Papa Jim.”   He has served as a pastor for many years before retiring and working as volunteer staff at our church.  His feet never faltered on their faith journey as he walked through the painful loss of his first wife to cancer.   And God in his goodness has brought him new love and a promise of new beginnings.  A redemption of sorts that speaks hope to all of us.  If you had been there that day, you would have walked to the back of the church and into the fellowship hall for the reception.  Your eyes would have lighted on a table where instead of gifts for the happy couple, there was a basket to collect donations towards building a well in Makiah’s memory through the well project.  This couple was merging two households and so graciously decided to  start their marriage with a gift of eternal value- bringing clean water and the good news of the gospel to a people desperately in need.  And in memory of our sweet daughter.   When the final count was in, the gifts were enough to build an entire well!!


Thank you doesn’t even come close to expressing how deeply we were touched by both of these couples.  On a day that often makes me swallow hard, my God sent a message of the depth of his love covenant with us and his promise to redeem the hard things and bring about good even from tragedy.  If you don’t know a God like this, ask him today to make himself real to you.  You will not be disappointed.