No matter what you’ve been told, no matter what you’ve done- God loves, no earning required #14daysofsimplelove

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Francis Chan poses the question:  “Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? “

My heart longs for heaven.

To the point that sometimes, the enemy’s voice speaks louder than my Saviors.

Some days I wonder, how do I turn to someone and tell them- this is the best life.

I remember when I felt that way. I remember thinking this was the best life. When I first found grace. Before my eyes were always so open.

Now, I feel my heart will explode and even worse, sometimes it lies. Some days I get mad at where God has me, some days I feel alone. Some days, I feel like a pawn in the game called God.

Some days, I’m mad because I can’t just close my eyes and get lost in my own world. School, kids, husband, jobs, chickens, garden, games, trips, fun, privilege.

Some days, I manage it all– I balance it well, GOD- school, kids, husband, jobs, chickens, garden, games, trips, fun, privilege.

Some Sundays, my heart sings for joy with the body of Christ, others it hurts and has distrust for the body. Some days, I feel like it’s all a lie– this family.

Some days, when I cross the Christians in our town, hair pulled up high, skirts hanging long and mean furrowed brows looking at me– I get mad– because I am reminded of that “god” who I could never touch as a child because I wasn’t holy enough. Why can’t they ever smile back, just once?

Sometimes, I want the political views and opinions to stop and the praying to begin– some days I want to hear someone say, “Jesus loves Barack Obama as much as he loves me.”  Random, I know.

Some days I just feel like it’s all too pretty. This Christian life. So, people die. And I sit on the sofa with my apple computer typing on a blog? So, people in Kenya are shot to death for gathering to worship and I get to pick and choose the church that fits me best? And to be honest, I’m so picky– none of them do. Again, the anger.

Oh friends– if you think less of me now, you thought too much of me to begin with.

I’m so broken.

Some days, the enemy speaks louder than love. Some days, he disguises himself as love, as help, as hope, as my heart. And every day, it breaks me even more.

Sometimes, the enemy tells me I’m too privileged for His [God’s] love– too comfortable, too inconstant, too hurt, too wounded for love. Sometimes, he tells me I’m not good enough, I don’t do enough, I sat too long or didn’t read enough. Sometimes, he tells me I think too many bad thoughts, I hurt too many peoples feelings- I didn’t send enough thank you’s or I didn’t donate enough. All the time he tells me, I don’t do enough and I could be better.

And then the whisper comes,

1 Kings 19:9-16 (NIV)

“…And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lordwas not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave…”

God was in the whisper.

That God of ours, in the mist of all my storms, He simply whispers so gently to me–“you are loved.”

“i love you”

no matter what you do– no matter what you don’t do

no matter how you feel or what you hear– I love you.

you are loved.

Sometimes I wonder–Is it the grace that’s hard to understand,

–or the free gift of unconditional love.

Both the same, I know, in His eyes– but uncompromisable and totally different in my mind. 

In this world where you have to earn everything– He whispers,

“I love– no earning required.

 Not only you, I love them all.”

I love the mean furrowed brow Christian in your town. I love the immature Christian who never seems to grow, I love the political person, I love the man who shot the Kenyan Christians, I love you in your pretty house, playing with your children just as much as I love the hopeless without a house to play in. 

And I’m again, conflicted. Confused and bewildered at that whisper. At that love.

So, I continue to break. And choose to rejoice.

“When I am consumed by my problems-stressed out about my life, my family, and my job-I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice.” Francis Chan

Perhaps when we choose to rejoice, the singing is so loud– we can’t hear the lies anymore and the wounds left by the enemy’s lies begin to heal– becoming just a memory.


Maybe it’s not meant to be the best life— rather the best hope in this life. 

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Romans 5:1-11 NIV

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Are you a part of the 14 days of simple love challenge? Where we love simply, in some way — each day? Knowing our little bit of love can make a big difference. But wait! It gets even better! The great news——>> When the person we loved goes and loves someone else, all because of the love we showed them? Well, that could change the world.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day why not love, simply each of the 14 days? Besides, why save big love for only one day, right? Here is how it works:

Everyday there will be a new simple way to love posted here. Each day you use that simple love idea and run with it. However that way is possible for you- do it!

Everyone is looking for someone to love them. And the more we love, the happier our little hearts are.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” – Mother Teresa.

Today’s simple love: STOP. And let someone know they’re loved.

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Rejoicing with you today, [and so desperately in need of His love.]

Kati

#14daysofsimplelove guide:
Day One: Who said grown men can’t date boys
Day Two: Everyone’s view is different than mine
Day Three: That stinkin Proverbs 31 woman
Day Four: When it cuts you to the heart and the coffee sits cold

Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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That stinkin’ proverbs 31 woman again. How love can shape generations to come #14daysofsimplelove

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“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”  James Baldwin


like it most when I’m up before the pitter patter of little feet. I like to sit and prepare before they come bounding, excited and ready to start a new day.

They usually start by telling me all about their dreams or informing me they’re hungry.

While the house is quiet, I like to set the mood. My mood. 

It is a peaceful thing, a quiet house. Before I begin the daily battle that wages deep within me, the battle of self and selflessness, it is best if I start in the quiet.

I wonder if that’s what she thought. You know that girl.  The one who puts us all to shame. “That Proverbs 31 Woman.”

“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.” …but no servants found here.  I’m planning my work. —  and maybe it’s best if I begin in the quiet. Begging God to help me get it all done.

“She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.” because the Lord is her strength. …because he alone is [her] rock and her salvation. [Her] fortress where [she] will never be shaken.

“She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” …because she knows it’s the only way her children will see, those people matter.

And my very favorite part…
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”because she realizes she cannot parent out of fear of their future, or of her past.

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” …only because she pauses. breathing quietly and deeply before she responds, perhaps?

“She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.” …because she runs one more time at the cry of help, bends down one more time to pick the little one up, and sits to read… just a little bit longer.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.”  because he knows, this job of being a mother—will keep her close to the heart of God.

So, they tip toe out, into the darkness of early morn one.by.one.

And then your sweeties little baby joins the two of you…

and the list goes on,
and on,
and on.

I wonder- if the Proverbs 31 Woman of today would have been able to explain herself- would she have said things like,

“Yeah, it’s super, duper hard some days and I just need my Fathers help over and over again.”

because she knew, one day she’d be old and grey. If we caught up with her years later after her hands worn from years of love and hard work, would she have told us,I realized I was raising generations when I loved my little ones so it was worth the fight. I knew the love I gave today would impact them forever. I knew I was shaping generations to come.

Because when we love them, they’re learning how to love forever, right?

Our children, our students in a classroom, our neighbor, the neighbors kids… whoever we talk to, share life with, share stories with. If we’re showing, living, and talking about love. Wow. What a difference that can make.

Are you a part of the 14 days of simple love challenge? Where we love simply, in some way — each day? Knowing our little bit of love can make a big difference. But wait! It gets even better! The great news——>> When the person we loved goes and loves someone else, all because of the love we showed them? Well, that could change the world.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day why not love, simply each of the 14 days? Besides, why save big love for only one day, right? Here is how it works:

Everyday there will be a new simple way to love posted here. Each day you use that simple love idea and run with it. However that way is possible for you- do it!

Everyone is looking for someone to love them. And the more we love, the happier our little hearts are.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” – Mother Teresa.

Today’s simple love: Give Instruction With Kindness.

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“Her words are wise and kindness is rule when she gives instruction” Proverbs 31:26

this.one.will.be.hardest.for.me.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.

Loves today and always,

#14daysofsimplelove guide:
Day One: Who said grown men can’t date boys
Day Two: Everyone’s view is different than mine

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.”

Proverbs 31:10-30 NLT

yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> don’t click the creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = /

Do things that make the white guy at WalMart say, “Da** girl, how many baby daddies have you had? An adoption story.

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Everyday. That’s how often someone asks me about adoption.

Most people want to know- “Doesn’t it wreck your life?

I don’t think people ask everyone who has adopted this same question. I don’t think the person who adopts the cutie pie little baby is asked this question. I’m sure their most asked question is different.

I think it’s the people who adopt the older “un-adoptables” who are asked my question. Sort of like – everyone loves puppies, but the older pit-bulls- nobody wants.

The problem is:

They all wreck your life.

Big, little; nice or mean. HIV positive, healthy. Two months old, ten years old. Domestic, International. All of them. They all wreck you.

This is how I want to answer everyone who asks.

It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Each day, everyday. It.is.hard.

It’s hard because when I go to the school and the kids in her class interview me, like they do all of the other MVP student’s moms,  they want to know: “What was her first word?” And of course, I can’t say, “Well, I only met her nine months ago… let me get back to ya on that”  ; )

It’s hard because when we celebrate birthdays in our home- we look at baby pictures. And for them, there simply are none. And the truth is: there never will be.

It’s hard because as much as you try to be mom and you really are- you simply are not the only mom they’ve ever known and you never will be because they still remember that mom.

It’s hard because as much as you tell them you love them- at first, they wonder if you’re for real.

It’s hard because, by this age, they really should know how to take baths, eat food, pour water or simply apply chapstick and lotion but they just don’t.

It’s hard because every now and then, they tell you stories of dark nights, no mattresses or food. They remember bugs crawling on them, and dogs hurting them. They have stories of dads yelling and people leaving. Over and over again.

It’s hard because as much as you love them- as much as they’re yours forever and you’d take a whole dozen of them. You still get really mad because someone did this to them.

And then I think:

Oh yeah, you bet we’ve been wrecked.

We’ve been wrecked by that sweet Jesus who makes all things new. Wrecked by this love He has shown us in real life by the true heart of adoption. Wrecked by this reality. Really? Is this the way it is? Jesus loves me? Me? Messy, abandoned me? Me? Always messing up, never getting it right, me?  He.adopted.me?

And now, out of the love of two broken people– two people He adopted into His family, that man of mine and little ‘ol me, we get to show the love of a savior to two kiddos? Two kiddos who, as you can tell, are totally “Gibson”…

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Let me give it to ya straight.

Adoption isn’t for everyone. I get that. I’m not saying it is. Fruit Loops aren’t for everyone either. But just so you know, I think they’re delish. =)

Here is something else I do know. God is moving in the hearts of His people to care for orphans. It simply must be the reason I am asked every single day about adoption. It must be the reason my email is flooded with questions from people I don’t even know asking me how to help with their hurting adopted kids. It must be the reason I am asked, almost daily, “How do I adopt.”

If you are someone who is asking that question allow me to share with you this:

Adoption is hard.

The paperwork is endless, the people involved in the process aren’t always the best. It will require a lot of work. Your house may need some changes- your perspective might need some fine tuning. Some kids are really messed up, they need your love pretty bad. Some people are rude to you- it’s just the truth. Like the man at Wal-Mart who took it upon himself to ask me “Damn girl, how many baby daddies have you had?” as my little crew of white and brown children trailed behind me– totaling six all together ; )

Yeah, he must be a real winner.

Who cares about all of that stuff.

Here is what really matters:

Today I watched my boys play basketball in the freezing cold wearing matching NBA sweatbands. And if the nerdy matching sweatbands weren’t enough to make this momma tear up- I heard Triston (who is adopted) say, “You’re the best brother Judah.”

Here is what really matters:

Two days ago we celebrated Ashley’s ninth birthday- it was her first birthday with us. The truth is, she doesn’t know what this momma was really celebrating. I was celebrating her surviving those first eight years and rejoicing in knowing she gets to live the rest of them- no longer surviving.

Those are the kinds of things that really matter.

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The hard paperwork and countless expenses associated with adoption will fade away.  In fact, some people don’t even have much expense or paperwork. The truth is- the scary unknowns don’t stay unknown for long. And who knows? Your house might be more ready than you think. Someone might answer you “yes” to adopting, rather than “no”. You just never know until you go for it.

When I watch this video- [the video just below]  I know it’s about a sweet baby and the fight for clean water. But I want you to know this:

When you adopt- THIS is the type of world, wonder, and opportunity you offer a child. A chance to see it all for the first time. A chance for them to fulfill their “If I had a mommy and daddy list” and believe me.

They have that list.

“Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”

-Helen Keller

May we be the hands that clutch at emptiness, friends.

All my love made possible thru Him,

Kati

Related Posts:
Jesus can love thru a crazy person like me?: an adoption story.
His grace covers even the drug addict, time and time again.

 

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Whatever you do- don’t ever homeschool.

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“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die is a process of learning.”  J Krishnamurti

disclaimer:  please, just continue on your happy way today if you are one to be sensitive to a certain type of school- be it homeschool, unschool, public school, any type of school– as I do not intend to offend ; )

I only intend to take one, maybe two of you? on a tip-toe journey through a crazy thing called:

this.right here… this girl. THIS homeschool mommas real “live”  life.

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Here i am. Standing amongst all things we call, in our home, opportunities of learning- strewn out all over once again as I tackle a school room move.

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Yup, there it is- all behind me, around me, and almost on top of me and I am wondering, for the one millionth time… why did I decide to move the school room again and where in the world am I going to put all of this stuff?

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oh my goodenss… HA!! hilarious. ( i know)

Caution, it’s a goofy post today.

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It’s a crazy life here because there are lego creations all around.

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And my two little boys? Well, they aren’t your typical “classical homeschool boys” who like only Swiss Family Robinson, stories of Civil War, and knights of old. They also take to ‘the liberal likings’ of Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Because there are years, upon years, upon years of old school work I just can’t bring myself to part with and every time someone says to me, “So… what do you guys actually do all day?” I want to say: “Come sit with me over coffee and conversation for several weeks and we’ll pour over old studies of birds, creation, elements and body parts. Come read the stories we’ve written. Please, come and listen to my stores of tears shed over multiplication facts and hard division- heck, even two plus two on some days.”

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Because we don’t really take art in a fashionable way. We just sit with our granny, listen to her stories of girlhood, and paint along side her and somehow? Somehow we learn how to paint by just sitting with her.

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You see, we have books upon books that occupy our shelves.

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And lessons upon lessons just waiting for us to get to.

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But often times? Often times we find…

Life. Happens.

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And while life is happening and we are learning- those kids of mine grow bigger than weeds.

So when she says to me “I think I want to be a doctor, mom. I want to learn medicine and the healing power of Gods design for the body and take it to another world.”

I start to break a sweat and think, How in the world am I ever going to prepare her for that? Because we take lego breaks, and we aren’t always in workbooks, and we cry over math, and sometimes we have to go to the grocery store during the day?

How do I live life and raise a up a doctor?

And then, of course, as I type these quick words- there are two more of my precious girls who are placing bandages on their dogs and cat in the make-believe veterinary office that has overtaken their once bedroom. One does the diagnosis, the other takes care of the animal. They take turns checking people in because their office is so busy. I hear one say- “I think it’s a thorn in her hind leg causing the pain.”

One little boy just finished language and asked me if he could start painting.

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Oh no, what will I have to help him become?

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Here’s the scoop.

I’ll finish up these words– grab a book and snuggle with my girls. We’ll pour over language lessons, history, math, and even talk about the vet office. That little man of mine will paint whatever his little imagination can put on paper. I’ll correct one, two, or all six of them at some point today.

I’ll help them all with something they’re struggling with. Maybe it will be educational, however most times it turns out to be character. I’ll struggle with patience and feeling like I’m getting it all wrong. again. Then, tonight we’ll make dinner, we’ll all work together to set the table- someone will do something rude and I’ll have to bend low and re-direct them into love a.g.a.i.n.

All the while… really, I am the one being re-directed by having to love them over and over again. I am the one learning the lesson. Then we will sit. We will sit and enjoy our meal together talking about our day.

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They’re learning.  Because love is the best form of teaching.

Take it from a momma who struggles to love through lenses of self-imposed perfection.

It works.

Love. always. works.

Sitting with them while they cry over hard math and backwards letters; all while somehow remaining calm– is working. They’re learning.

Pouring over new lessons and figuring out how to better teach that certain subject- it’s worth it. They’re learning.

Helping their words be kind, reaction come slow, and ears be open big- it’s worth it. They’re learning.

“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” John Holt

And so am I– right there along side of them.

My method? never homeschool. Just live. love. and laugh realllly big every day.

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Crazy & always learning, (hard lessons!)

Loves this day and always,
~Kati

no tobacco was used in the production of this post.    (HA!)

how to trick your kids into love

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There’s this little thing we do.

and it’s kind of a secret ; )

It all starts around the table. That place we gather most. Sometimes it’s over piles of pancakes before the day begins; other times it’s after a day full of hard work and heaping potatoes. In our home, we like to refer to it as, Secret Servant.

We all get to pick someone to serve, but it’s all a big, fun secret.

Daddy writes individual names on the back of post it notes and sticks them on the wall in the hallway. One by one, we leave the table, walk into the hall, and walk back with a sly smile on our face… Judah always has the biggest smile. =)

You dare not tell who you’re serving and you try real hard to catch who are serving you throughout the week. Last week, our oldest, Alli whose 12 admits:

“I like to serve everyone here and there,
making sure they see me;
just to throw them off.”

At the end of the week, we gather again guessing who might have served us and then the truth comes out.

“i.served.triston”

“i.served.mom.”

“i.served.jordan.”

… and the list goes on.

The little ones usually put away shoes from the front door, that’s a simple job for them. So, If your shoes have mysteriously found a way to tip toe into your closet,  Judah or Emmyn probably have your name. If your laundry was washed and put away– or the house vacuumed for no reason; Alli or Jordan probably have your name. If the kids were put to bed while you sat a little longer to read a book, that man of yours probably has your name.

; )

They’re looking for ways to serve.

And.it’s.working. 

So, I breathe deep and smile little sly smiles when I come out of the hallway each week.

…OK, and I do a little happy dance, too… he, he.

Big or small, large or tall- any family can gently learn the heart of service. All in fun.Image

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa

Tricking those kids into love daily,  ; )

Kati.–