Has your Spirit taken a beating?

We've all been there haven't we? 

We've waited for answers, but none come. We've asked for relief, but there is nothing. We're weary in both body & soul and we long for the Father to take his holy eraser and remove our pain. We all know what it means to walk but be broken in spirit.

Recently, I shared our story of brokenness over at the More to Be blog where I'm a contributing writer. I'm praying our daughter's insight to showing up broken will give your strength as you grapple with your own. Click the image below to read the full article. 

(All information shared was read and approved by our daughter before being submitted for public viewing.)

Made For Glory: A New Word for 2018

I reach under the covers to slip my hands under his warm arms scooping him up in one easy motion from the lower bunk bed. The sun is still escaping the day as I tuck him under my chin and carry him down the dark hallway, to our room. His legs dangle farther down today than yesterday or the day before.

He is growing faster than my other three did; I am sure of it and my mother's longing cannot slow it down.

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I snuggle him on the king-sized bed rubbing his back to try and waken him. I think of his orphanage days where he often shared his crib and all the affection the nannies gifted was welcomed but never just for him. I sing his good morning song while dropping kisses behind his ears and neck. I leave my face nestled there inhaling the deliciousness that is distinctly him and distinctly toddler-hood.

As he rolls off his side onto his back I whisper, "Who loves you Isaiah?" He points to the sky beyond my dark ceiling and replies, "God does. And momma. And Luke. And Annabeth. And Leela. And Daddy."

"Yes," I reply, "we do."

"Who made Isaiah?" I ask.

He reaches up again and I see that tiny brown finger reaching for glory. "God made Isaiah. God made me. Made fingers. Made ears." He smiles as he wiggles his fingers and pulls on his ears.

"Yes, "I reply. "God made Isaiah. God made all of you. God made you for glory."

"Gory?" He asks. "Glo*ry." I repeat slowly for him so that he can clearly hear the sound.

"Glory." He says, pronouncing it with more syllables than needed and my southern accent. "Made for glory." He laughs as he puts his face to mine holding me close to earth's heaven.

Part of my mission as a momma is to help my children embrace the wonder of who God made them to be. It isn't an easy thing to take hold of, believing you were made for glory, but that doesn't make it less true. It's audacious to have a core belief that says, "God made me because he wanted to. He loved me and made me in his image so part of me arrived bearing the glory of Heaven. In him, I'm able to live a life that gives him glory everyday."

But here's the thing about glory, it's not about me. Or you. It's all about God, all the time. It's a different concept than what the world pushes at us, there, glory is all about me. Rarely is it about anyone else. So, it's imperative that we learn early who glory is really intended for and how our lives display it.

For the last eight months I've been considering glory. What it means. Who it belongs to. How we get it. I've prayed over this word and idea consistently and I can tell you God has good things to say about glory. And he has good things for you involving glory. When it came time to select my new word for the year, glory was an obvious choice. I couldn't open my bible without God showing me the story of another person who brought him glory with their lives.

In fact, Every.Single.Thing. Jesus did was to bring God glory.

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Glory was more important than self, success, comfort, or pain. Glory became more important than his life. If begs to ask, "If everything Jesus did was to bring God glory then shouldn't this be our life's work too?"

Shouldn't glory for God be more important than anything else?

Yes.

That's my short answer. My longer answer will come as the year unrolls and I live out the word in my everyday life. I encourage you to consider reviewing your actions through the lens of glory. Is your job glorifying God? Are your hobbies glorifying God? Are your relationships glorifying God? If not, where can you start to make the changes?

I look forward to walking this year with you and writing all the things that God puts before me. I'm praying that each of us is reaching for the display of the glory of God.

The Holy Rhythm will Remind You

I grab my bible and sit, hoping for a few moments to soak in Psalm 87 before starting the laundry. I can hear the boys up front, in the living room,  building a fort with the giant waffle blocks Isaiah got for Christmas. Happy chatter quickly turns to arguing and I reach for my noise cancelling earphones as their father intervenes. I slip the sleek black gift onto my Medusa morning hair and turn my attention back to the words but stop, remembering I haven't prayed yet. I lean into the silence and ask the Father for forgiveness, I ask him to open his words to my heart. I take a deep breath and clear my head.

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The toddler screams into a fit that even my earphones cannot drown out.

But all I can really hear is the beat of my heart. It's coming through as I breathe, loud, deep, strong, even, and true. I listen for its movement. What a gift this heart is with its ever-steady work. The blood rushing in, valves slamming shut, pressure building, then blood hurtling forth to keep this human body alive. I'm forty today and a little unsure of it. But this sound that keeps me alive reminds me what God has given me. I know someday the beat will cease. Maybe I'll see it coming, maybe I won't. Either way, there's no longer any fear in knowing that my heartbeat has an expiration date.

As I listen to my rhythm I think of the heart within Jesus. How much love did it hold to choose death over life? Could he hear his rhythm over the crowds as they chanted, "Crucify him, crucify him!"? Did he slow the rate when the end was close, or did he just stop it? Because unlike me, Jesus was in charge of his heartbeat's end.

"No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord." (John 10:18)

He knew precisely when to command his heart to stop beating and let go of his spirit. And he did not falter or second guess his heart work. He just let his earthly body go.

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Are we brave enough to do the same? Can we ignore the crowds around us and focus on the rhythm God has given us until we can let our earthly grip go? Do we have the strength of spirit to walk with time as we age and not stop carrying the heartbeat of our work with us?

Dear friends, may we be reminded each day our heart continues its rhythm that we have a God-given purpose. Our work awaits us each morning fresh and new with no idea how old we are or how many gray hairs have appeared. As long as our beat continues, then so does God's calling on our lives. Lean into the silence and find that holy rhythm God has given you and bring him all the Glory he deserves.