Friday, October 09, 2015

Just a Spoonful

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

Let's just be honest here for a second.  Can we do that?

Thanks.  I knew I could count on you.

Life is sometimes brutal.  So much so it takes the breath right out of you.

There are days I find myself begging, pleading, petitioning God to help me, to give me more grace to make it through the day... maybe even that particular moment.

Yeah, I'm weird like that.

I'm the one mouthing "Father, help me.  You have to help me".

My kids have learned, well, the older ones anyway, that when my lips are moving but the sound is absent, that they'd best retreat.

I've yet to decide if that's a good or bad thing.

I digress.  If you're new here, I do that often.  Just stick with me.  I have a point coming eventually.

So earlier today I was thinking of how to explain to someone how life is right now.  And what came to mind was simple, yet profound for me.

I thought "It's not that God gives me an abundance of grace each day.  He doesn't.  He gives me just a spoonful, enough for me to make it moment by moment."

Then I began wondering why I'm left with a spoonful when I'd like a dump truck full.

Have you ever felt that way?

Sometimes I think I'm just parked in that mindset...  that I've been shortchanged somehow.

But oh goodness.  I love the Father and how He speaks to us in those moments of weakness and doubt.

"Phoebe, my child.  If I gave you a dump truck full of grace, you'd never come back to me to ask for more, to seek my comfort and peace.  You'd be self sufficient and then I couldn't make you strong through your weaknesses, giving you the chance to show others my glory."

It brought to mind a quote I read one time:

“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
An abundance of grace would lead to pride which would lead to our thinking we no longer need the Father.

Isn't that how we work?  Things are going good so we're casual in our relationship with Him, praying when we remember, reading the Bible just when we feel guilty enough for not doing it and then going weeks or months again until the guilt builds back up .  Thinking we don't need Him because we're so great, money's in the bank, everyone is healthy and then.....

And then life happens.

Life always happens, smacking us in the face, reminding us that we've always needed the Father, whether we realize it or not.  Because the reality is that without His grace, we'd never even have those moments of thinking we don't need Him.

And isn't that backwards?  We don't "need" Him because all is well, but at the very core of everything is His grace that has sustained us and allowed us to have those moments in the first place.

And it's that same grace that gets us through the battles we'll all eventually face.  Yours may take on a different face than mine, but we're all going to face our own battles.  And each and every day, His grace is sufficient for those battles.

Every time I fall to my knees and ask for grace and mercy....

He gives me a spoonful.

And when I've licked every last drop off, you know what?  I find myself going right back to the feet of the Father and asking for another spoonful.

And He graciously always gives more, at just the right time, in just the right proportion.

When the kids are late for school and you're rushing out the door like a madwoman .... there's a spoonful.

When the doctor's office calls with the news you had prayed not to hear.... there's a spoonful.

When your husband walks out the door... there's a spoonful.

When you feel like 'failure' is all that will ever define you ... there's another spoonful waiting.

When whispers are spoken behind your back .... He's waiting for you, spoon in hand.

When you feel like ending it all ... He's bending down, offering you another spoonful.

When your marriage feels more like a boxing ring than an intimate friendship .. there's a spoonful.

When the bills are piled up and the bank empty... there's a spoonful.

When you feel like you just can't keep going .... lick off every last drop, He'll get you another spoonful.

Just a spoonful.

But it's enough.

Because He's always enough.

And through each and every spoonful, He's making me (and you) stronger.  And all the while, it brings Him glory.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  II Cor. 12:9-10
It's hard to feel weak.  But it's through those times that His power is magnified and we draw closer to Him.

May we boast in our weaknesses, faithfully seeking the Father.... spoonful at a time.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Finish Line

It's 5:40 in the morning and I hear him again.  He's up before a reasonable time and I'm frustrated.  I'm tired.  I just want to be able to sleep until 7:00.  It's Saturday and I just want that, despite how dumb it may sound.  I tell him across the monitor to lay down and go back to sleep.

It's 6:00 and she comes barrelling through our bedroom door wanting her sippy cup.  I'm tired and groggy, having just fallen back to sleep.  I stumble my way to the kitchen, retrieve her cup, and we go back and snuggle before drifting off to sleep.

It's 6:30.  I see a light shining under my door and I know.  I know she's up.  She's in the kitchen and I feel my frustrations rising.  I get up and find her with the sweetest grin and my recipe book attempting to make homemade waffles.  She's such a giver, always thinking of others, yet I find myself still frustrated. It's 6:30.  It's the weekend.  And I just want to sleep.

But here we are and the day is starting whether I want it to or not.

It's been a dreary day.  It's drizzled off and on, the sun barely making an appearance all day.  Truth be told .... it's felt like that inside too.

I'd like to say the day got better, but it didn't.

One child was intentionally mean.

One wrote a letter detailing how depressed he/she is since baby boy has arrived.

And my sweet Emi, well, she wasn't so sweet.

Throwing cornbread led to being corrected, which led to an utter meltdown on her part.  Refusal to stay in her chair.  Refusal to listen or obey anything I asked of her.  And so she was escorted to her room where she just lost it.  She threw everything she could find to throw.  She screamed and cried until she gagged herself multiple times.  The room was trashed and my patience was wavering.  Nothing I did seemed to help.  She refused to stay in bed, refused to let me hold her, refused to stop yelling.  Her hair was wet.  Beads of sweat covered her forehead and she was determined.  All I could say was "It's okay Emi.  It's okay" and as I spoke those simple words the tears began streaming down my face.  I knew she knew it wasn't okay....that she didn't know how to back down.  Cried because I  knew it wasn't okay. I felt like everything was falling apart.  As she finally let me scoop her up, we cried together, me sobbing as I brushed her hair out of her face and told her that I loved her, rocking her and praying and hoping she knows just how true that is.

It's times like these that the enemy sneaks in with his lies.

"You're failing them.  I mean, seriously, look at you.  You're a mess.  You can't even control a 2 year old."

"You call yourself a mom?  What mom has kids who treat their siblings like that?"

"Hahaha.  You thought this adoption thing would be easier, didn't you?  See, such a failure.  You can't handle anything."

"Crying because of a toddler?  You're a joke."

And you know, I've believed so many of his lies.  Truth is, I still probably do in a lot of areas.

But here's the thing.  Today as I took the kids to the park (where one such kid was mean to another) we came upon the finish line for a race.  A block or two back I had passed a single runner.  She looked tired...more tired than what I presumed she should look like.  And it wasn't until I saw the timer that I knew why. 3:32:19.  I remember thinking, I wonder what they're running.  Then I heard them come over the speaker and announce the winners for the half marathon, first place finishing in at 1:58.

This sweet lady had taken over 90 minutes longer than the winner.  I've been there.  Finishing a race in a time in which the winners literally could have done the race twice or close to it.  But you know despite the gap in their times what they have in common?

They both finished.

Don't miss that because there's so much value in that statement.

The both crossed the finish line.

So many times it's easy to look around and see where everyone else is.  You know, the ones with their well behaved kids and perfectly manicured lawn.  The ones you're eyeing, wishing you could be more like.  More put together.  More Godly.  More patient.  More gentle and understanding.

But I'm so often reminded that it's not where others are but where I am compared to where I used to be.  You see, I may never be totally patient and gentle, but I'm determined that 5 years from now I'll be better than I am today.  Because the key isn't in seeing where others are, it's in putting one foot in front of the other and making it to the finish line.

I may stumble and fall, flail about, and drag myself to the finish line, but I'm determined to get there.

I may be struggling, but failure is a choice I'm not choosing.

I'm not sure what lies you may have bought into, but sweet friends, hear me out....

He may speak lies, but we don't have to believe them.

We can trust the Father that despite our flaws and lack of getting where we want to be at the pace we'd like, that He promises that His grace is sufficient for the day.




His grace is sufficient to see us to the finish line.  Whether that's in 1:58 or 3:32.

The goal is simply to finish, and to finish having given it all we've got.

May we run the race with endurance, casting off the enemy's lies with each step we take.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

It's A Process

It's only been 17 days since we brought baby boy home and I'm slowly learning to navigate this new phase in our lives.  I'm finding that being a mom prior has been really helpful and the same in a lot of ways, but that it's  also just totally different with adoption.

You know, the same like:

When you find yourself in the same shirt you wore 2 days ago, then yesterday, went to sleep in, and continued wearing all day and you could care less because you just keep showering and then putting it back on.

Or when when you find that it's 2:30 in the afternoon and you haven't gone pee since 5:00 this morning.

Or when you feel like all you ever do is feed someone, change another, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

When you're constantly doing yet it constantly looks as if nothing has been done.

When your legs are in desperate need of being shaved but you only have the energy to shave the top half and therefore leave the bottom half for the next day.... yeah, that happened.

But it's different in a lot of ways too.

Like when I find myself crying on Mark's shoulder because I'm so overwhelmed.

Like when I scheduled too much, too fast and I just couldn't process and handle it all at one time.

Or when panic set in the night before Mark returned to work and the kids returned to school and I completely and utterly fell apart.

When I feel like I have way overestimated my capabilities and strength.

When the emotional exhaustion far outweighs the physical.

Or when people ask how he's doing with minimal or no regard to the rest of the family.  Because honestly, this has been and is extremely hard on Emi.

Or when people ask if "he feels like yours yet".  Might I just say if this is something you're wondering ... you should refrain from asking.  And particularly if whoever you're asking has biological children as well.  It's an adjustment that takes time.  Sometimes a lot of time and you know what?

I'm learning that that's okay.  And more importantly: It's normal and doesn't make me less of a mom.

I had nine months to grow our other babies. 9 months to form hopes and dreams for them.  Nine months of hearing their hearts beat each time I went to the doctor.  Nine months of ultrasounds and kicks and hiccups, and belly rolls.  The love I had for them on the day I saw two lines on a pregnancy test was vastly different from the day I held them in my arms for the first time.

The same is and will be true for our sweet son.  I love him more today than I ever have.  We have a deeper bond than we did two weeks ago.  And our love and bond will be vastly different 9 months from now.  That's just how this works.

I love his big brown eyes.  I love his sweet smile and the way he already calls me momma.  I love how much progress he's already made.  How he's such a great sleeper.  How he loves to play with trucks and cars.  How he's gradually learning to toughen up and accept Emi's manhandling ways of showing him lovins.  I love how he's gone from being constantly on the move to feeling comfortable enough to just sit and relax with us.  I love how our other 3 kids already love him too.  How Mark interacts with him and how he has the sweetest little laugh.  I love how he's unaware of the games we play but has quickly picked up on some of them and now takes off running so I can chase him.  I love how he loves to read and how I can sit with him and Emi and, for just a few moments, they're both still.  How when I put him to bed he lays his head on my shoulder and just lets me rock him for awhile.  Or how when I sing his song to him, he starts humming with me.

It's a process.

I may not know much.  But I know this:  I have to give myself some slack and rest in the grace of our Father.

I have to constantly guard my mind and not allow the fears and worries to take over... to stop them as soon as they start.

But mostly, I'm constantly reminding myself that my strength is not found in myself, but in The One who gives me strength.

And He's done that each and every day.

And each and every day I have chosen love and replayed the day we got him.  The day his foster mom handed him to me with tears in her eyes and said "I've taken care of and loved him, now I'm giving him to you to love."  I carried him to the van and cried the whole way, as I buckled him in, as we pulled out of the driveway, and as we drove down the road.  Because I love him and because we finally were bringing our son home.

And so that's what I'm doing.  I'm loving my son.  I'm putting one foot in front of the other and doing the absolute best that I know how.  We're rocking and reading, tickling and playing, going to the zoo and museums, and sending 'sissy' and 'bubba' off to school each morning.

And what used to seem foreign is gradually starting to feel normal.

I'm so thankful for those that have been praying diligently for us.  We have felt your prayers and I have no doubt that things have gone as well as they have because of your faithfulness in lifting us up to the Father.

So thank you.  And thank you in advance for continuing to pray for us as we follow God's calling in our lives - that we'd be the parents He'd have us to be to each and all of our children.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Missing the Target

Remember when you were young and newly married, dreaming of the day you'd be a mom?

You'd do it this way and that.  You were going to be the fun mom and decorate their rooms a certain way.  You would never say things that your mom had said.  You had names picked out and had already begun planning which career paths you might could send them down.  You were dreaming of being a baseball mom and how cute your little buddy would be in his uniform.  You were thinking how neat it would be if your sweet little brown-eyed girl would graduate as Valedictorian like you did.  You were going to breastfeed and make sure they didn't still suck a binky or their thumb when they were 3.  You just knew you'd have them all potty trained by the time they were 18 months old.... or you know, 2 at the latest.  You'd read to them every night.  They'd be so precious you never could even imagine raising your voice or becoming frustrated. And by all means, you'd be on top of all their school projects.

Remember that?

I do too.

Sometimes I look back at those days and just shake my head.  Because somewhere along the way, things went seriously awry.

Because I certainly didn't stick to breastfeeding, our future baseball player in fact has never played baseball, we just paid for our thumb sucker to get braces, and several days this week I forgot to check their school folders.  And let's not count the number of times I've said things my parents said while raising me.

I seriously have missed the target I set for myself.

You know, days when there are rings around the bathtubs and you forgot *again* to change the sheets.

Or when you reach to get the potty seat for Emi and wonder why it's all wet, only to realize a certain little boy has poor aim.... and now you have pee hands and are 4 seconds past your patience limit.  ELI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  GET IN HERE!!!  Yeah, there went that never being frustrated or angry part.  Sigh.

Or the day you attempted to play a game of Super Mario with your kids and they kept running off and killing you, despite you continually telling them to stop it and wait for your pathetic self who is terrible at the game and then just throwing in the towel because you're too tired to keep getting mad at how horrible you are because you know there's no way you're going to be able to keep up with them without them basically just staying behind and waiting until I kill myself so they can run on ahead.  Yeah.  That was a really long sentence - kind of like yesterday felt for me.

You know those days, right?

The ones where you're sending them to their rooms for their attitudes or disobedience.

The ones where they're fighting and bickering and you jump in to break it up only to find yourself doing exactly what you came to get on to them for doing.

Yeah, me too.

Or the ones when they cut their own hair.... and their best friend's and come out looking like Suze Orman.

Or when during a service while visiting my home church, Aunt Sarah was taking rowdy Emi out as she let out the loudest toot ever.... which prompted Anna and Eli to burst into boisterous laughter, shaking the pews.  And in my attempt to get on to them, I got tickled too and couldn't quit laughing.  Imagine me laughing, telling them to stop laughing, and them laughing all the harder.  Yeah... that happened.

Or days that have been so rough that when you drop your dark chocolate into the bathtub with you, you decide you really just don't care and eat it its partially melted self anyway.

Days when they're so bad you send them outside to weed the flower beds.... and the garden ..... and then consider making them pick weeds everywhere instead of weed-eating.

Or the time one prayed such a spiritual prayer over dinner - you know, asking to not have any tests next week and for his sister to stop being so mean.

Or better yet, when your kid is asking if he was adopted and his name was FartBucket if you'd change it.

What's that?  Your kid has never asked you that?  Yeah, mine either.  Ahem.  Moving on.

There are days I wonder if I've gotten anything right while raising them.  When I just want to retreat to the bathroom and cry for a bit.... or you know, an hour or two.

But there are also days I see glimpses into who they're becoming.  Glimpses that make this momma's heart overflow with joy.

Days when one's teacher tells us how kind and caring and patient he is with the students who are struggling that he's been paired with to help pull them up to level.

Days when I get a text from one's teacher telling me how she went to school and told her class about Honduras; how they believe being good is what gets you to Heaven and then proclaiming that Jesus is the only way.

Days where they're offering to help each other with their chores.

Days where they're giggling and laughing as they play together.

Those moments when they go out of their way to help me.

When they walk in from school with a big grin on their face, carrying a card and a flower they planted for me.

When their love overflows and their hearts are broken saying goodbye to those they love.

Those times when they take pride in taking initiative and a job well done.

Times when, with voices raised, they are praising the Father above.

You see, I may have missed the target I set for myself all those years ago, but I've never forgotten the anticipation of being a mom.

I remember those days.  Days and weeks and months and months of trying and trying - all to no avail.  I remember the day I decided if I couldn't have children I would engross myself in getting another degree.  And so I did.  And the day my best friend suggested "Are you sure you're not pregnant?" as I continued to crave and eat everything salty in sight.  The day I stood in the bathroom holding a positive pregnancy test and crying, sobbing said "I can get pregnant.  I can get pregnant. I am pregnant."  The day my water broke and I waited and labored in anticipation of holding my baby girl only to have an emergency c-section.  The moment they wheeled me out of recovery and to the nursery window to see her.  I remember, friends.

I remember having tried so hard and giving up only to get pregnant with Anna on birth control.  I remember thinking it took forever, so we should start trying now so we won't have a 3 or 4 year gap in between kids.  And then standing in the bathroom holding another positive test the first month we tried.  The realization that they were going to be just 16 months apart.  The anticipation of Anna being a big sister.  The moment of going to the hospital to have Eli and having contractions as I waited to be taken back into surgery.  When they walked in and told us he was having trouble breathing and were corresponding with Arkansas Children's Hospital.  When they said he wasn't allowed out of the nursery yet the nurse sneaked him out and brought him to me so I could hold him for just a few moments.  All the wires and monitors, IV's, feeding tubes, oxygen tents, doctors coming in and out giving us reports.  And when he was finally mine to have and hold and kiss and snuggle with without all the wires and needles.  I remember.

I remember trying and trying for another baby.  And that time it wasn't as easy.  Months and months passed.  A year.  18 months.  And there it was.  Another positive test.  And how excited we were that it was right before Mother's Day.  We had plans to go home and surprise our moms (and the rest of the family) with the news.  But God had another plan and instead of sharing the good news, I found myself instead crying on my mom's shoulder as we lost our sweet #3.  We still went home for Mother's Day.  And as my pregnant sister-in-law got out of the van and walked up to my parents' house, she said "I'm so sorry".  I mean, what do you say in that situation?  I didn't know what to say, so I said "It's okay."  She just shook her head no, gave me a hug, and said "No, it's not."  She had given me permission and the right to mourn, and to this day, I've never forgotten it.

We decided we'd try again.  And again, months went by.  A year.  And 15 months later, we were starring at another positive test.  All the initial blood work came back good.  Yet as I laid on the table for our first ultrasound, I immediately knew something was wrong.  Our baby was stuck in my tube.  And all I could do was lay there and quote Scripture, willing myself to keep it together until we could get back to the van.  Our baby had already passed away and another piece of me went with our sweet #4.

Sometimes it's easy to forget the anticipation you initially had.  After losing our babies, I was there.  I didn't know if I could muster up the courage to try again or the strength to keep going should we encounter another loss.  Yet a year later, I was holding another positive test and a whole lot of fear.  I was hopeful yet attempting to not be too hopeful. Yet time went on and she grew and grew.  And I began finding my way back  - remembering how I had anticipated being a mom all those years ago.  And I remember her cry, because I was so relieved she was here, that she was healthy and that God had seen us through all the trials.  I remember.

And it's in all those memories that which keeps me focused.

I may fail (and I do, a lot).

I may have completely missed the target I had set all those years ago.

But God knew just what my babies would need and has seen fit to provide that through me.  Just as He's seen fit to provide those things for your children through you.

You are who He has given them.

And while that often seems like a daunting task, like I fail them over and over, I'm reminded that He will be Who truly provides the strength I need to be all that they need me to be.

On the days I just want to hide in the closet and eat chocolate, I'm choosing to remember all those years ago.  I'm choosing to trust in His grace to allow me to be their momma.

It's in remembering all those hopes and dreams I had all those years ago that keeps me focused on the task at hand.  Because I have babies that need led to the feet of Jesus.  Babies who need to know His love and faithfulness.  Babies who need to know what it is to face adversity and come out on the other side stronger.

So, while I may have missed the target I set, it's my hope and prayer that I hit the bulls eye that He has set for me.  That I can love and serve and lead them well.  That they'll know without a doubt that they have been and always will be loved by their momma.

Here's to aiming for the right target.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hands Lifted High

A Note from the Author: I'm aware this post is more reminiscent of 3 posts in one.  I couldn't adequately make it flow like I would like, so I just wrote.... wrote from my heart.  I hope amidst it all, you feel that.

I am ruined.

What I had imagined and had been told has now been before my very eyes.

It's no longer a Compassion commercial.  It's no longer World Vision telling me about the needs of people in 3rd world countries.  It's no longer me being able to flip the channel or tune out the speaker at a concert.

It's real.  And I am undone.

While we fret over standardized test scores, complain about the nutrition in school lunches, and attempt to blame teachers for failures that clearly lie with the parents, they attend school here:

While we complain about needing a bigger house or having to clean ours, they're living here:

How do I know and come home and do nothing?

The answer?  I can't.

I look at this picture above.  They were thirsty.  They were asking us for water.  And while multiple kids were in the nearby stream, drinking muddy water, Michele began giving handfuls of water for them to lap out of their hands.... and they were happy.

Please don't rush past that last sentence.  They were happy to get a handful of clean water.  So how can I possibly come home and act as if I haven't witnessed these things for myself?

I simply cannot.

Can I tell you something?

There's a difference between us and them.  And as I sit here and type this, my eyes well up with tears.  Because they're happy.  They literally live in huts, often with no electricity or running water, and they're happy.  They were constantly smiling.  And more often than not, they literally ran to meet us.  They heard we were there and began pouring out of the woods and villages.  They were so excited to see us, to hear what we had to say.  They were excited about toothbrushes, pencils, and frisbees.  And oh did they listen.  They were quiet.  They were respectful.  They anticipated hearing about Jesus.  It didn't matter how hot it was.  It didn't matter that we were a bunch of white strangers.  They were eager to hear about Jesus.

There's something about this picture that touches me every time I look at it.  Part of it is that it's my husband and I got to witness him sharing the love of Jesus so many times while we were there.  Hand lifted high, he unabashedly proclaimed the Word as Manuel translated for him.  There's something about hearing the Gospel in two languages that is absolutely moving, particularly with Manuel's love for Christ so evident.  And the other part I love so much?  Well, it's their pure concentration on his every word .... HIS word.

We lack the awe they have for the Word.  And that's humbling, friends.... convicting.

So many things about Honduras have been convicting for me.  Like the way we often disregard our elderly.  That's in part why this next picture is one of my favorites... because I saw her coming, walking to the school from a ways off.  I watched her.  I watched others watch her.  She appeared to be revered within the village.  She walked straight up to me and smiled.  I was touched by her silent strength and openness towards us.

I asked "un foto?"  She shook her head and said "Si".  And here we are.  I showed her the picture on the camera and she just smiled and smiled.

As Mark went to help prepare for speaking to the children, she said "Soy Rita".  I said "Hola Rita.  Soy Phoebe" and my mom said "Soy Linda."

But it's what she did next that has profoundly touched me.  It has stuck with me and reverberated in my very soul.

She reached toward Heaven.  Hands lifted high.  She looked up, starring into the baby blue sky, then brought her hands back down, covering her heart.  She grabbed my hands and looked straight into my eyes with a smile.

No translator was needed.  Language barriers suddenly ceased to exist.

It was as if Rita was telling me she thanked God we were there.

And I was speechless.  Humbled and thankful for that moment we shared.  Two people.  Two races.  Two languages.  But one Savior.

All I could do was shake my head, acknowledging her kindness.

I watched Rita as a school room full of kids listened as they were told about Jesus.

I watched her as the kids poured out of the room to run outside and play with their new frisbees.

I watched her as the adults were invited in.  You see, there were so many adults that had come from the nearby villages to see what was going on that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to share Christ with them too.  One by one they began saying that the way to Heaven was by being good.  And it was in that moment that I was so incredibly thankful for the heart of the Director of EIM being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and having called all the adults in for an extra service so they could hear that the way to Heaven isn't by being good, but rather through the blood of Jesus and trusting that His sacrifice and their repentance is all they need.

Head bowed, praying, I watched Rita.

I prayed that God would speak to her... to the others.

I watched as one momma held her baby in her lap and long after the prayer had been prayed, she continued with head bowed, mouth speaking words to the Father above.

How can I have experienced these things and not be changed?

I came home and I find myself being angry.  Angry that people don't get it.  That I can't adequately relay what we witnessed.  That the pictures just don't do it justice.  Angry that while they're struggling amidst poverty and drug cartels that my kids are arguing because one is watching TV and the other wants to play the Wii.  Angry that they just need food and adequate resources and I spend money on Plexus.  Angry that our city is arguing about whether or not we need a dog park.  I'm just angry.

I don't know how to come back here and live with what I've seen.

Yet I felt Him speaking to me through the words of my friend, Jenny.

"Phoebe, anger is not the way."

"You were born here for a reason.  Use it for His glory."

And so it is.

You see, because it begins with teaching my kids because missions begins in my home.

We got word while in Honduras that our sweet Emi was sick.  She was/has been sick for quite awhile now.  And when we got back, all she wanted was her mommy.  Truth be told, that's all she still wants.

Do you believe that missions is about showing your own kids the love of Christ too?  Because I'm telling you, sometimes we can miss the big picture because we're looking for something huge instead of what's right in front of our eyes.

Hands lifted high, she just wanted me.

It was in those moments that God was, and is, teaching me things.  I can't be angry... but I can make a difference.  In my home.  With how I raise my children.  And with how we teach them to impact the world for Christ.  And oh, how I hope they have tremendous impacts on this world.

Because this little girl needs Jesus just as much as those across the world.

I don't yet know what this experience means.  I do know it means change.  We're still in the process of figuring out exactly what that looks like.

But what I do know is that starting in May, we will be donating a portion of Plexus money to EIM (Evangelistic International Ministries) to help further the spread of the Gospel.  We're praying that God would bless my Plexus business so that we can give more and more and that through His blessings, we could do something incredible for His kingdom with this money.

We're praying about future mission's trips because we can't imagine not going back.

We're talking about missions with our kids.

We're discussing how we can better evangelize right where we are - like showing Eli's best friend, David, from Mexico pictures from our time in Honduras.  He was so excited that they looked like him.  He asked to listen to a part of Mark talking to them about Jesus that I had recorded, so I let him.

Do you believe this matters too?  Because it does, friends.

It's that simple.  Just share Jesus, wherever that may be.

If it's on the mission's field in Honduras or Africa.  Share Jesus.

If it's in the grocery store.  Share Jesus.

If it's at work or in the classroom.  Share Jesus.

Because, with hands lifted high, I'm praying, beseeching that He would help us make sense of this.  That I could use the anger to propel me to make changes in my own life.  That I could just share Jesus, wherever that may be.

Hands lifted high, I'm thanking Him for this experience and His provision.

Hands lifted high, I'm begging Him to never let me forget.

Hands lifted high - praising the One Who made us all.