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I Think of Mary in Bethlehem

12/24/2014

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“The Last Christmas”

I feel your heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

That night in a stable
Our saviour was born
Yes, we have so much
To be thankful for

On the last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

They’re choosing the colours
Preparing your room
For one day; Mid[spring]
The advent of you

Together we wait for
A heavenly gift
Is winter a wonder?
Enchanted that this is

The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

See the stars shining for above
Hear the singing
Praise to the Giver of Life and Love
Maker of Beautiful things

I feel your heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

When darkness was shattered
The dawn of God’s grace
And the journey’d begun
To the first Easter day

On this last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The very last Christmas

The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

(Sixpence None the Richer)

PS. Tomorrow we get a very special Christmas gift — we will find out if we’re welcoming a baby girl or a baby boy into our arms in April.

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Faith

08/04/2014

faith

My faith is what motivates my actions. By faith in Jesus Christ, I am adopted into the family of God, a daughter of the most High King, just as if born by blood. By faith I stepped out into the dark, unknown of foster care believing that God would take my feeble, insufficient attempts to make a difference and turn it into something so much greater than I could ever do. I love because He first loved me. I serve as if I’m serving Him:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ … ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36, 40)

Foster care and adoption have stretched me (ouch!) and grown my faith more than anything ever had before. I’ve never had to rely so heavily on faith to get through day-by-day challenges, grief, sorrow and unknowns as I have the past three years. It’s been the hardest thing and the most rewarding thing. For brief moments I’ve had the privilege of feeling the weight of God’s broken heart for His hurting people—it’s a crushing weight and those instances have made me very thankful He carries it for us. My life used to be pretty comfortable and relatively easy. Sometimes I miss those days. But when I look back at how much I’ve learned about the character of God, His heart, His love for His children… I wouldn’t trade that for a trouble-free life. Knowing what I know now, I can never go back.

I wrote this a few months ago for an adoption share on Instagram and I wanted to share it here. 


Easter

04/22/2014

Easter was beautiful this year. The weather. The church service. My people. A quiet afternoon. Dinner with family. My two-year-old daughter’s simple understanding of the meaning of Easter.

I wasn’t necessarily planning on explaining death to her at this age but between one of our chickens dying around the same time as her great-grandmother (and namesake) died, we’ve had some conversations about it already. She understands that dead means gone, we won’t see that person or animal anymore, and their bodies are buried in the ground. Her understand of Easter (thanks very much to the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones) is this:

Jesus died on the cross. The whole earth was sad and the rocks cracked. They put him in a tomb with a big stone. The stone was rolled away. He’s not there! He came back and He’s alive!

On Saturday as we were driving to the pharmacy I heard her singing in the backseat, “Thank you for the cross. Thank you for the cross.”

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There’s an Anchor for my Soul

04/16/2014

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well”

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
[x2]

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

 “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin

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My dear friend Leslie sent me this bracelet. I’m so thankful for my Anchor, and for this lovely reminder that He’s got this—every this.


Moving Movies Monday

04/25/2011

I had a wonderful weekend with family and friends, celebrating the resurrection of my Savior! I hope you did, too. There is so much that I’m thankful for. We watched this video at the end of our church service. It was very moving to me and I couldn’t help crying like a baby by the end of it. That’s my King! Either you know Him or you don’t. And if you do, it changes everything.

This second video is from Thursday night where Jason and his buddy Jonathan Crone were playing an original acoustic guitar duet of “Nothing But The Blood” at a concert up in Adrian, Michigan. My wifey-heart swells with pride when I hear this beautiful conposition. They originally arranged it for a Christmas celebration at our church back in December and I was busting with pride then too. I made sure I was the first one up outta my seat to give them a standing ovation and a whooping cheer, and I was quickly joined by the rest of the crowd. I’m thoroughly amazed by my husband’s talent. I can say that, right? The picture quality is not great (Jason Ahlbrandt on the left, Jonathan on the right) but the audio is clear.


Restoration: Why He Did What He Did

04/02/2010

A few notes from John Ragsdale‘s sermon on Restoration at Grace Church Nashville on 12-06-09. If you want to hear the whole message you can find it here.

“He [Jesus] did not go through what He went through so you and I could just go to heaven.”

The only thing the lamb had to do was have its blood drained out of it. All they had to do was cut the lamb’s throat. That’s all. They didn’t beat the lamb and kick the lamb. And spit on the lamb and put thorns in the lamb. They didn’t rip its wool out.

So why did Jesus go through all of that?!

So you and I could step back into our rightful relationship with the Father. He allowed the anger of the Father to be taken out on Him so that you and I wouldn’t just stand here and say “I’m going to heaven. Hallelujah.” or “I’m not going to hell, thank God.”

No – He did all that so you and I could be restored back to our rightful relationship with God. And then not only that we would be restored but that we would in turn begin to restore everything around us back to the way God made it in the first place.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. … But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3a,5

Whole passage of Isaiah 53. Really good stuff.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Today is Good Friday. I’m celebrate what Jesus has done and continues to offer us as a free gift. We don’t do anything to deserve it but He offers us a clean slate and restoration. Thank you Lord!