Worth the Weight

Monday, July 18, 2011

Every once in a while I pull out an old coffee cup that Brian bought me a few years ago. It's one of my favorites. On it, are the words "Worth the Weight." It's a Paula Dean cup that he bought in Tunica, Mississippi.

I am assuming that when Paula Dean talks about something being "worth the weight" she is referring to the sticks of butter she manages to work into every concoction she creates in the kitchen.

This cup has always brought a smile to my face. I was pregnant with Addison when Brian brought the cup home and was effectively working on gaining 40 pounds before she arrived (not by choice....I was aiming for 25 pounds and missed a little bit).

We joked that Addison was worth the Weight and the Wait.

Now I look at the same coffee cup and can't help but think about the weight I often feel when I seek Christ. When I say "weight" I don't mean a heavy weight or even a burden.

I've just become more aware that when I'm seeking God and close to Him through His word, I find myself carrying more weight. My heart hurts more for the things I think He hurts for. I find myself more consumed with the worries of His kingdom and not of the world.

And I feel a weight.

It's often the reason I slip away from His closeness at times...because I don't want to feel the weight. Sometimes I would rather live away from the things that break His heart and pretend they don't exist and live lighter.

But when I'm close to Christ and really in His word, not only does He give me a weight to carry for Him, He also almost always gives me a way to reach out or minister or attempt the lighten the load by serving someone else.

I know that being close to Him is worth the extra weight you may carry when seeking Him. He calls us to love Him and to hurt for what breaks His heart. We are to be His hands and feet on this Earth.

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

Taking up His cross may be heavy with weight. We may feel the splinters of grief, sorrow, and concern. But what else really matters? Is there anything more important than us carrying the cross for Him. Nothing is more important that us seeking Him so that He'll use us to bring others to eternal life.

Worth the weight? Absolutely. I will carry the weight with joy.

May you carry His weight with joy as you seek Him to move in your life. Jesus is always worth the weight.

The Word

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For too long, I took for granted the Word of God. In the past couple months, I have become obsessed with it. I used to feel like reading my Bible was a complete chore....like something else I had to cross off the list.

Now, I have a hard time putting it down and moving on to the rest of my day. I think I've mentioned before, that if someone would pay me to read my Bible all day long, that is all I'd do!

I don't think the obsession began as an obsession. It started as a next step. It was something I felt like I needed to do to strengthen my relationship with Christ.

So out of the call of duty, I made a commitment to myself and to God, and I found an accountability partner. I knew she was going to call everyday, and if I hadn't read yet, I'd have to think of some excuse good enough as to why not. (Please note: this was my 2nd attempt at reading God's word daily. I had an accountability partner the 1st time too, but I wasn't committed enough.)

Somewhere between the obligation and the obsession, I feel in love with His word. I feel in love with the way it spoke to me each day in a different way. I feel in love with His love for me!

Are you struggling getting into God's word? Do you want to desire it? Do you know you need to be in God's word, but you're not?

Find an accountability partner. Check on each other daily. Make the commitment to yourself and to God to stick to daily reading for at least 1 week. Set aside the time each day to make sure it happens.

You can do it. I know you can. Just decide that this is the next step in your growing relationship with God and get to know Him through His word. Countless people have died to keep it living and available to all. Don't take it for granted. Inside you'll find peace and truth, and you'll discover the crazy love that the God of the universe has for you.

For a really amazing message on the Word, check out Lifechurch.TV's At the Movies series live online through the entire week of July 16-22. Go to http://www.lifechurch.tv/ and check out the upper right hand corner of the page to see when the next live message is. This week's message is over the movie The Book of Eli. You can only see the message live online or in person this week due to copyright laws.

Check it out and fall in love with God's word.

For reading plans, free smart phone downloads, and tons of translations of the Bible, check out http://www.youversion.com/

Rejoice in the Lord Always

Friday, July 15, 2011

Okay so a couple things first....

1. It has been too long since I've written, and I think the lack of writing is attempting to make me a crazy person!

2. I have had this post written for a long time, and I have no idea why it hasn't yet been posted, so here you go.

3. For more information about NKH, Hope Link, or Newborn Screening, check out the websites below:

From June 10, 2011
Today was beautiful.

What once crushed my spirit and made me question my faith now envelopes my soul and covers my doubt like a warm comforting blanket.

Oh how full my heart is today. What a blessing to be able to love on and pray over NKH babies from all over the country at this year's national NKH conference held in Oklahoma City.

What once made me so mad and frustrated at God, now makes me want to put my face to the floor and worship Him for His grace. I believe that one of the things that made me fall so in love with God is a beautiful little girl named Ellie Kate.

My heart and soul have questioned, pondered, been angry with and worshiped a God who would use a sweet baby girl to bring people to Jesus. Ellie Kate has made me kingdom minded more than any other person or circumstance in my life. She has challenged me and made me grow.

I am beginning to accept that I will never be able to understand all that God does. I will never understand the suffering, pain, tears, sorrow, questioning, joy, beauty, laughter, and love of raising an NKH baby, but I do know that when I finally see God's face and kneel at His feet, I will understand in an instant what I can't begin to fathom or explain now. And although I don't like not understanding, I know that it is part of walking by faith.

I know that God has His hand in ALL things for the goodness of His kingdom. I know He is just, and I know He is enough.

We so often become caught up in our world (this earth and all the happenings on it) that we forget as Christ followers that our real concern should be bringing more people to know Christ.

How do we show as many people as possible how to fall in love with a man who loves us more than life? Jesus, who died for us! How do we bring more people to His feet?

Do I believe that these precious babies are here to bring people to Christ?

I'm not sure. I'm still okay not knowing all the answers. These precious babies were no mistake on God's part. They were wonderfully made for the work of His kingdom.

For you created my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body, 
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book 
before one of them came to be.
Psalms 137:13-16 

All I really is know is the change that Ellie Kate has made in me. She transformed me. She took me from lukewarm to on fire.

Ellie Kate made me question God. She made me mad at God. And then she helped me fall so deeply in love with my God that I can't wait for the day that I get to thank her for changing me.

For years I prayed to be "on fire" for God. I wanted a love that I would HAVE to share, that I wouldn't be able to contain, and then that love came from something I tried so hard to stay away from.

I don't watch the news. I don't want to hear about pain or suffering. I am the type of person who would rather just pretend that all is well in the world...or at least I used to be...

Until the McLaughlins slipped into my life like a late night storm and changed everything. They turned my world upside down.

What a blessing to know an angel. Oh, how she melts my heart! Just writing these words about Ellie Kate, brings a smile to my face that sends joy down my spine. I am so in love.

How will I ever thank this sweet baby for the change she made in me?

How will I ever have the right words to tell her how she changed my life and my eternity and possibly the future of my family?

One day I'll see her in heaven in perfect form. In the place that she was made for. And I'll be able to tell her...I'll be able to tell her....(oh the tears!)

She makes me want to work the rest of my life to bring people to know the Jesus I love and am in love with because of a precious NKH baby who changed my view of life, death, love, and Christ

And Ellie Kate, I promise to do it all for you.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Rejoicing in the Lord always....

A new baby in our family....a continuing pull on my heart

Friday, July 1, 2011

The welcoming of a new child into a family is a truly joyous time. Instant love and infatuation takes place when I see babies, especially babies that I'm related to!

My 1st nephew, Jaxson Levi Roy born on June 30th 

But the welcoming of this precious little man into the world is also a quick reminder of the amount of work it takes to love and raise a child. As I held his tiny little body in my arms today, I was reminded of the work, the sacrifice, and the energy it takes to give everything you have to help a new baby flourish and thrive in this world.

In all honesty, my heart has been aching for a baby for a while now. And although, the remedy for baby fever used to be an easy answer in my book, it no longer is. What used to be "let's have a baby," no longer seems so simple any more.

For the past few months, I've chased after God in search of an answer to my question, "how?" In the bigger picture, there are so many babies in so many places all over the world that need homes. Adoption seems like a reasonable solution to my baby fever. Then the questions become when? where? and how do we start? There is nothing easy about adopting. For people like Brian and I who are apparently very fertile, it seems so much easier to just have another baby.

Then my heart yells out at me, "easier is not always better." Not to say that any child we birthed wouldn't be a blessing from God. Just sometimes things are hard because the reward is great.

So adoption is on the table for sure, but then my soul cries out for the children in foster care, and you know what my head does? It yells right back. "Are you crazy? Do you really think you'll be able to love a child, no, fall in love with a child, and have to give it back one day? Do you think you are capable?"

There isn't a single thing easy about fostering from the outside looking in. But then I hear Sam Roberts (a great man of God from our church) and the words he heard God tell him as he doubted whether or not he and his wife could foster, "Is the Lord's arm too short?" (Numbers 11:23)

As I sit here with laundry and dishes and house cleaning to tackle plus a couple hundred e-mails in my inbox, my mind fills with doubt..."you have all these dreams. How do you plan to add one more thing, or one more child for that matter, to the table?" And I wonder. And then I hear God's words in my soul... Is my arm too short? So now foster care is on the table too.

I think of all the other things I want to do, start a women's ministry, go back to school (possibly bible college) and the person I yearn to be....a writer, a speaker, a runner, a teacher, and the list could go on. My mind screams at me, "You can't do and have it all!" And I hear his voice smiling down at me...all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27) 

And I believe Him. He has put so much passion and drive into my soul, that I can't not believe Him. I know if he gives me the dream to do it, He will give me the endurance and passion to persevere.

The person I can't get off my mind as I ponder sweet precious babies (and whether or not they would still look sweet and precious next to my 2 and 4 year old) is Mary. Mary, the mother of Jesus. Although not a true "foster parent" in the way it works in our society, she was a woman who was so incredibly in love with her child, and she had to let Him go. She had to give Him up for us. Her son. And I wonder if I can't love a child for as long as he or she needs me and then give him or her back?

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:40

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