Family, the Beautiful

What comes to your mind when you think about Independence Day?

I think about …

  • The brave who’ve fought, and died, for our freedom;
  • The stars and stripes swaying proudly at front doors;
  • Sizzling hot dogs, watermelon drenched grins, and homemade ice cream;
  • Parades, glow sticks, bug spray, and fireworks;
  • And a kaleidoscope of people from sea to shining sea.

July 3

We’ve so much to be grateful for. Don’t we? Abundant resources. Awe-striking landscapes. Amazing people.

We’re not perfect. Not by any means. But we sure are beautiful. Yes, we are!

What a great picture of our families.

We’re not perfect. Far too frequently we display our shameful ugliness: unyielding division, stinky attitudes, embarrassing ineptness, agonizing failures.

But ever so often we need to put all that aside and throw a party. Celebrate what we are together.

Rescued. Redeemed. Renamed.

Merciful. Hopeful. Strong.

Beautiful.

July 3 R&A citizenship

There will be more battles to fight, mountains of litter to discard, sturdier bridges to build, and necessary paths to clear.

But today is a good time to stand. From table-end to table-end, stretch wide and grasp tight. It’s a day to raise our anthem: God bless and guide our home sweet home … our family, the beautiful.

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Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Psalm 133:1 (ESV)

 

 

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Would You Like a Refill?

 

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Sometimes when you sip a cup of warmth, the contents can turn a bit tepid. So how about a top-off of this week’s cups? It’s Thursday, the day I re-serve the warmth shared throughout the previous six days of the Write 31 Days challenge. That way if you missed anything, or simply want a refill, the offerings are here for your enjoyment.

And for those who drink til the last drop, you’ll find a link to a generous offer from DaySpring. (DaySpring, the Christian branch of Hallmark, is an official sponsor of Write31Days. They have something very special for the faithful readers of our posts. They are saying thank you for me in a way I can’t.) But you only have one day left to respond—deadline is Oct 28.

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Feel free to take your time soaking in the warmth of God’s graciousness, served in my little nook of the world. There’s nothing better than enjoying a cup with a friend, so feel free to take a seat and share your heart. My cup is warm but my heart is warmer—eager to hear your thoughts.


Friday, Oct 21, defined the flavor of true humility.

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Humility for a Heart Enslaved by Pride


Saturday, Oct 22, served the reminder of where to place legitimate expectations.

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Reality for a Heart with Faulty Expectations


Sunday, Oct 23, offered hope for the recognition we desire.

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Recognition for a Heart Overlooked


Monday, Oct 24, placed unforgiveness on the table so we could examine what it really means.

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Freedom from a Heart of Unforgiveness


Tuesday, Oct 25, offered an assurance that sometimes walls are necessary (and I’m not talking about geographical walls).

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Assurance for a Heart Protected


And, Wednesday, Oct 26, served a reminder of who’s really in charge

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A Pry Bar for a Heart Clutching


Now for that offer. DaySpring is an official supporter of Write31Days and they are offering our readers a chance for a $100 gift certificate. $100! That’s awesome! So click the link and it will take you to the special signup page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to use the Rafflecopter giveaway widget before October 28th. If you’re the winner DaySpring will contact you directly.


I can’t believe there are only four days left of this challenge! Thank you for being a dear friend and reading the messages God has burned into my soul during the years I had kids at home. I pray that you are encouraged and that those spots of your own heart that have grown cold, have been warmed by God’s grace and faithfulness.

I will resume my weekly blog again on Monday, November 7th. November! Oh my how this year has flown by. But, I’ve more material to share and a few surprises in store. So stay tuned.

Balm for a Wounded Heart

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He hadn’t been home for several months. I had carefully planned my menu, overspent my grocery budget, and spent hours preparing his favorite meal. I made sure his room was clean and comfy for his stay. I wanted him to feel accepted, loved, and a little pampered. You see he had moved out under less than pleasant circumstances. In other words, we told him he had to move. This was his first time back home and I wanted to be sure he knew we still loved him very much.

But some drama unfolded with another child and as that child shared their complaint with this son, I was accused of selfish motives. I was crushed!

I felt like I had lovingly placed my heart on the table. See my heart? You are worth every piece of my heart. This is how much I love you!

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But then it was as if my heart had been picked up, sneered at, thrown to the floor, and stomped on. This happened more than once—especially at special times, like Christmas. We had five lousy Christmases in a row. When the sixth year came around, our kids were all adults, so we spent Christmas without them.

Have you been here? You give and give from the deepest, sweetest parts of your heart, only to have your offerings deliberately smashed to the ground. What then do you do with your wounded heart? How can you heal? How can you protect yourself from further pain?

When I look back I see some patterns I developed along the way.

First, I’d cry (usually in the shower). I had to be careful, because if I let myself cry too long, I’d grow angry and resentful. This was never good. But crying over a broken heart really is ok. In fact, it’s healthy.

Then I’d talk to a friend who understood. This allowed me to process the pain, get an objective view, and kept the resentment at bay.

As I prayed through the pain, my heavenly Father would remind me how Christ surrendered His body to an excruciating death, after years of healing the sick, restoring sight, teaching soul-changing truth, and feeding the multitudes. His love-gifts were as obvious as the sun on a clear day, but the people He loved still turned on Him.

Brutal rejection didn’t stop God from infinitely loving His children.

And, you know what? The rejection we’ve experienced hasn’t stopped us either. Has it? We cry, seek understanding, remember grace, and reset our focus—again and again and again.

And this!

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So what happens when we’re hurting so much we can’t seem to love anymore? Think for a minute.

Are you still in there?

Are you still serving your children?

Are you still thinking of fun surprises, or preparing favorite meals?

I’ve yet to meet a hurting mom who has quit.

But, maybe that’s where you are today. If that’s you, maybe you need to take some time to rest and heal. Our church didn’t know how to support adoptive parents until after a difficult time in our journey, they started providing respite for us. Twice a month, each of our children went to different homes for Saturday nights. The host family would pick up our kids by four in the afternoon, and we met them the next day at church. These evenings were a lifesaver for me.

Sometimes we have to love by faith. This is when we don’t feel like loving. We don’t have the energy, or the will, to love. But we declare by faith—in the enemy’s face—that through the power of Jesus we love our children. Even with a wounded heart, God’s love can still pour through us: from outside us, though us, to outside us.

And as His love washes through our hearts, we find healing.