Tag Archives: family

Hearts of Love . . . Just for You

8 May

Our beauty is different from one another. Our personalities set us apart and our stories, our moments in time, are distinctly ours.

Sunday we will set some of those moments apart to celebrate Mother’s Day. Our celebrations will be as unique as we are. Some will reflect and remember with great affection as they gaze at an empty chair. Others will consider an unknown bloodline but rejoice in the life they were given by a woman they’ve never known.

My celebration will be with my Mom and my Baby Girl. The two women who more than any others on the planet have my heart. One of the greatest joys in my life is being the one God chose to connect their hearts to one another.

Individually God has done amazing things in, about and through each one of us.


But when I slide my hand into my Momma’s and my Baby Girl grabs hold of mine, we move past solitary wonder and with our hands and hearts intertwined we are the holders of a faith legacy and a redeemed heritage that moves beyond the temporal blood flowing through our veins.

Beloved, if you are one who will spend some of your Mother’s Day moments looking at an empty chair or wondering about your beginning, don’t you believe for one moment that your God has left you alone. His plan for you surpasses biological ties and He desires to absolutely surround you with LOVE.

See no matter how different our lives may be or how divergent our beginnings, every single woman who walks this earth shares the unchanging and unfailing love of God. 

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

Psalm 139:14-16 (The MSG)

He knows this life is tough. He knows we need to have a heart beside us in the journey that mothers us. He knows we need someone to pour ourselves into and build up along the way. He knows the importance of being surrounded by people who love us when the ground is crumbling beneath our feet and He knows we need voices to join with ours when we are rejoicing in our mountain top moments.

God knows we need family.

And based on the authority of His word Beloved, I can tell you without a doubt that before time began the God of Glory planned to meet that need.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.  Ephesians 1:3-6 (The MSG)

He sent His one and only Son, the Firstborn of All Creation, to plant a new family tree and establish a greater bloodline. Jesus, our Messiah, and our Savior, has welcomed you and I to be daughters of the King with outstretched arms.

The heart of God longs to embrace you as His beloved Child and gift you with Sisters who have eternal blood pumping through their spirits. He offers us the way into His family through His blessed Son Jesus Christ. The very One who gave you your unique beauty, your individual personality, and has watched over your every moment has hand-picked a family just for you.

On your own Sweet One, you are beautiful in His sight.

But when you slide your hand into the Sister’s on one side and hold tight, palm-to-palm, with the Sister on the other, when we raise our hands and lift our voices to declare that our family tree is the Cross of Christ, when we rejoice in the Eternal Blood that is our shared heritage, well Girlfriend, we leave beautiful in the rearview mirror and in the unity of the spirit we walk straight into absolutely stunning!

four hands sisters ribbet

Our different lives and varied beginnings knit us together in His Name. We rejoice and we mourn with one another. We laugh and we cry together. We remember with thankfulness, we reflect with sorrow, and we celebrate the here and now.

We radiate the beauty of His strength and we walk through every circumstance shoulder-to-shoulder. We applaud one another’s successes and we lament our losses. We link arms and we stand strong in the love of Jesus and the hearts of the women He has given us.

We trust in His plan, lay down roots at the foot of the Cross and with our hand in His follow Him straight into hearts of Love.

sisters at britt's shower 2 ribbet

Beautifully Wrapped and Lavishly Loved . . . You are a Gift!

2 Nov


The last blog post was about Remembering our Miracles.  Not losing sight of the Gifts that are doing life right in front of us.  Not allowing the stuff “between the numbers” to steal our vision.  I’m certain that as you read, your own precious heart album was laying wide open in your mind’s eye.  And I’m just as certain that as you looked into those eyes, saw their smiles, and considered the depth of your love toward them, you were overwhelmed with thankfulness to the One who gave them to you.  The One who intentionally carved out a place for each and every one of those beautiful faces in your heart.

Have you ever stopped to consider how purposeful God was when He gave you those Gifts?  Those Miracles imprinted on your heart and your mind?  He designed them, precious in His sight, fearfully and wonderfully made and then . . . . . He entrusted them to you.   It wasn’t an accident.  It wasn’t happenstance.  It was choice.  They were given to you–Gifts to watch over and to care for–beautifully wrapped and lavishly loved, heart-picked and hand delivered by Divine choice.

God knew that there would be life stuff come their way that would be more bearable, more joyful, and more doable with you by their side.  See, the blessing of Miracles and Gifts runs both ways.  Your Miracles, well . . . they possess the Gift of YOU.

  • God determined that you were the one to walk beside your husband and to support him even when it’s hard.  Nobody else could fill those shoes.  He made them just for you.
  • He knew that the baby He put in your arms needed to have unconditional love straight from your heart.  No other heart would do.  He chose you.
  • He resolved that specifically you would be entrusted to bless and love those heart children.  Only you were appointed to shower them with unending love and blessings.
  • And those Sisters at your side were given especially to you to comfort and to encourage.  Their lives are richer, fuller, sweeter– because they belong to you.

Now you look at that list and the general terms that I offered –husband, babies, children, sisters—and they all take on names.  Names of the ones you love and maybe, if you’re like me, you think of the immensity of what He has entrusted to you and quickly become convinced that God has short changed those Sweet Ones around you.  You’re not the one to love with no strings attached.  You aren’t the reliable one, the one who will be steadfast no matter the circumstance.  You can’t meet the needs of others that way or offer comfort that really makes a difference.  You surely aren’t the one who showers love on others, may be it trickles – on a good day.  Maybe everything within you right now is shouting—I am no Gift.

Well Girlfriend, if you and I were left to our own devices, abandoned to our own hearts, I would be the first one to stand up and agree with you.  But that’s just not the case for those who believe.  God never intended for us to walk into the precious lives He has surrounded us with on our own.  We were sent there as a Gift by the One to whom we have been entrusted.  He fully desires for us to rely on the Power, the Tenacity, the Endurance, and the Love of the One to whom we have been gifted.


And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify, dedicate, consecrate Myself that they also may be sanctified, dedicated, consecrated, made holy in the Truth.

Neither for these alone do I pray, it is not for their sake only that I make this request, but also for all those who will ever come to believe in, trust in, cling to, rely on Me through their word and teaching,

That they all may be one, just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.

I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are one:

I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and definitely recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them even as You have loved Me.

Father, I desire that they also whom You have entrusted to Me, as Your gift to Me, may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me Your love gift to Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

O just and righteous Father, although the world has not known You and has failed to recognize You and has never acknowledged You, I have known You continually; and these men understand and know that You have sent Me.

I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make You known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them–felt in their hearts–and that I, Myself, may be in them.  John 17:19-26

Do you see it?  You are the Gift from THE GIFT.  The richness, the sweetness, the love that you pour into the lives of others is because Christ Jesus—GOD’S GIFT TO THE WORLD–has received you – has received me – as a gift straight from the heart of the Father.  You have been entrusted to, given to, gifted to the Christ of God and He has poured Himself into you so that you might pour Him into the lives of others.

It is the unconditional Love of the One who is Love that flows through us and fills the hearts of our babies.  It’s His reliability, His steadfastness that wells up within us giving us the tenacity to walk strong beside our husbands.  It is Him, the Great Comforter, who reaches out to that Sister with our arms and lets us wear His heart for them.   And it’s Him – the Living Water, which never runs dry – showering our heart children with blessing and unending love.

See, apart from Jesus, apart from the Spirit of Love coursing through us, there is no good thing in us, but with Jesus comes every good thing.  He giftwraps us with tenderheartedness, with mercy, and with patience giving us the power to endure whatever comes and hand delivers us to the those we love and those we are yet to love.

And the world sees it.  They watch us do life.  Enduring trials, encountering suffering, celebrating and grieving with those we have been given.  We are never pulled out of the hard stuff but we’re always gifted with the One who will see us through and because we are imitators of He who loves us we walk strong and steady with those to whom we have been given.

Oh yes, Sweet One, you are the Gift and might it be that to see yourself as less-than is to see the Savior, THE GIFT who lives within you, as less-than as well?  We do not boast in or about ourselves, but we will boast all day long in our Jesus and the work He has done to transform our messy, sin filled hearts into blessings for those around us.  All praise, honor and glory to our Savior –THE GIFT—who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

Sister, I believe with all my heart that part of the joy the Savior received were the Gifts given to Him by the Father after His work had been completed and He sat down at the right of the Throne.   I picture in my mind the Father handing His Son one Gift after another and the nail-scarred hands joyfully receiving each one.

And don’t you know Beloved, one of those

beautifully wrapped (Colossians 3:12),

lavishly loved (1 John 3:1),

heart-picked (Ephesians 2:4-6),

and hand-delivered (2 Corinthians 1:10)

Gifts –part of the joy set before Him–

is YOU.


Now thanks be to God for His Gift,

precious beyond telling,

His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15

Remember the Miracles

25 Oct

There have been points in time since August 2012 that Brett has been confined to bed rest 24/7.  During one of those times, I read the book One Thousand Gifts aloud to him. It chronicles the life changing journey of the author as she takes the time to write down the gifts that surround her.  She carefully notes each one and numbers it on the paper.  But in between the numbers, real life happens.  Hard life.  Challenging life.  Still her focus on thankfulness remains.

The book was one of the ways God helped us keep our attitude right and focus on a thankful lifestyle at a time when that might not have been our initial response.  So over this last bit as we’ve been walking through some new challenges –doing life between the numbers–one of the key concepts from the book keeps making its way to the forefront of my heart . . . God’s good gifts are in plain sight.  His miracles do not hide. The question is, will we see them?

God has really seemed to bless me with the ability to see everyday miracles.  To notice and have a sense of awe at all the things that needed to occur just so I could be blessed on that particular day, in that particular moment with that specific glimpse of Him.  It’s mind boggling when you think about it.  The events that occur at just the right time.  The things that simply “fall into place” right when you need them to.  When you consider how long in the making that specific action/thing/gift was and how many things had to happen preceding it for it to take place at that very moment in time–Wow!  Amazing.  I’m going to be so bold as to say . . . miraculous. They are evidence that the Extraordinary is active in every single ordinary day.

But as wonderful as those things are, they really don’t begin to even scratch the surface of the real miracles, the unhidden gifts, He has blessed us with.  The true miracles in our lives give meaning to our special places, fill our calendars with significant dates, and are a part of all of life’s important events.  They wear smiles, laugh loudly, express all manner of messy emotion and speak joy to our hearts. Our miracles live in plain sight.

This is my Man.

brettcoffee Ever at my side. grad

Fighting at my wall.

Fiercely loving me at every turn.

Despite physical limitations.brettoutside

He is the Face of the Miraculous.

His testimony.  His life.  His endurance.

Lord, Your wonders do not cease.

♥  ♥  ♥


This is our Sweet Girl.

Passionate for her Savior.

brittlibrarianSteadily pursuing Him in an unsteady world.

Finding her standing stones and making camp at her Gilgal.


She is tangible proof that God desires the best for me.  She is His whisper of sweetness.  She is the work of His hands.

He is greatly to be praised.

♥ ♥ ♥

mdandmeThese are my Parents.


Doing life differently than what they imagined.




Conquering  the challenges of life.

                                       They possess treasures untold.  A new Faith Heritage.

The Intervention of Grace.

His love endures through all generations.

♥ ♥ ♥


These are my heart children.  Some my spiritual off spring and some I pray will be.  All of whom I love.mikeandbill

sisandjutwedchip and the kids


For some the faith journey is yet to begin.

Others fight the good fight with tenacity.

And for one, the battle has been won.

Faith has become sight.575108_10151283288115091_1371622684_n

They are precious–every one.  Straight from His Hand.  A gift to my heart.

Blessed am I among women O Lord.

♥ ♥ ♥

And these beauties are my Sisters.1339013780358ladies


006Aren’t they breathtaking?karendebme

Is there anything more stunning, more fearsome, more miraculous than a chick with a Sword?

ladieswithpoohEvery single one of them has looked devastation straight in the eyes.

But they stand firm.

Dressed for combat.

Arms linked in faith.

Hearts filled with love.

 His love for me shines through these Warriors at my side!

And Oh, how I wish I had pictures of every single woman I am privileged to do life with.  You all wear the miraculous so well and I am in awe of you.

Father, may I never look this kind of beauty in the face and fail to praise you.

♥ ♥ ♥

The sight of my miracle crew is overwhelming to me and as I proofread this I feel my love for them slide down my cheeks. Sweet One, it is no different for you.  Your miracles do not hide.  Your gifts are in plain sight.

Look through the photo album in your own heart.  Study the faces.  Hear the sounds of joy.  Remember the tears of separation.  Take them in.  Family, friends, memories . . . .MIRACLES.

All walks of life, all circumstances, all manner of trials and through it all the Giver of good gifts is shouting love to you. Intervening in every one of your days with their smiles, their struggles, their presence.  Through them He Interrupts the mundane with the miraculous.  Beloved, these are the good gifts – the hearts – He has entrusted to you.  The miracles He has chosen to fill your days with.

How can we call a single moment ordinary when we are surrounded by the works of the Extraordinary?  Each one of them is a “stop and smell the roses” moment wearing skin.  They are revelation of God Himself.  His most prized creation.  His unhidden gifts. Blessings that live in plain sight.

And yet, I find that sometimes my life between the numbers obscures my vision. I begin to see the faces of my miracles as ordinary.  I forget by failing to remember.  Failing to remember that they are the works of His Hands.  They are the faces of His wonder.  My gifts do not go into hiding.  My miracles are all still there.  I just fail to see.  I forget to remember.  Oh Sister, do not let your life between the numbers steal your vision.  Let it be changed by what you see!  Open your eyes.  See your Miracles.  Remember your Gifts.

PSALM 77:11-14

I recall all you have done, O LORD;

I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them.

 O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as You?

You are the God of miracles and wonders!



The Most Excellent Way

25 May

If you’ve had prior occasion to visit the blog, you know that God seems to be driving home the need for me to love people exactly where they are at in life.  Despite the circumstances they place themselves in.  Despite the poor decisions they may make.  And perhaps most importantly, despite my desire to just give up on them.  I think there is somewhat of this current to love others running through the Church right now.  I fully concede that I might have “pregnant woman” syndrome –when you’re pregnant you see other pregnant women everywhere—but it seems that many of the things I read or hear of late center around reaching out in love.  I think it’s great.  I think the world needs to be loved with an unchanging, unconditional, secure, steady love.  What a contrast to the fleeting, up-and-down love roller coaster so many who live apart from Christ are trapped on.  I so support every believer who is following Christ to live out loud in love …first in their Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, and then unto the ends of the earth.

 But you will receive power when

the Holy Spirit has come upon you,

and you will be my witnesses in

Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria,

and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:8 (ESV)

I pray God’s blessing all over those Christ followers who, filled with the Spirit, display the love of the Savior in their communities, their state governments, their country and the nations around the world.  Indeed, wherever God has placed us as stewards of the Firstborn’s inheritance, let us be faithful.   Let us walk boldly in His Name and love beyond ourselves. We want those who are wandering lost, feeling isolated, and even the ones who don’t know they need His grace, to see a difference and feel welcomed by His love. But I have to wonder how that happens if we are engaged in subtly tearing one another apart.  How can we reach out to love those who have chosen another path if we can’t even love those who are walking the trail with us?  And, I fully confess, that I have kicked dust in the faces of the saints traveling by my side on far too many occasions.

I read a blog this morning encouraging believers to consider practicing the spiritual disciplines.  The author didn’t profess to be an expert on the subject.  He just presented some things worth challenging our minds and hearts with.  I scrolled down to the comments fully expecting to see believers encouraging one another to examine their hearts on the subject.  What I found instead was sniping at the author over ONE quote that had been included in the piece.  Further down in the comments, the author explained that since posting he had removed the quote because of the uproar.  He was defensive about the thing and I probably would’ve reacted the same way.  I might’ve thought to myself “Really, all of that and this is what you’re choosing to focus on? ”  I wonder if the pastors and teachers in our midst often feel that way—“Really?”.  And I wonder more, how often that kind of critical spirit has flowed from MY heart and straight out of MY mouth.

At the beginning of every Bible study, I encourage the ladies who are participating to be Bereans and search the Scriptures for themselves to be certain the teaching is sound.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character

than those in Thessalonica,

for they received the message with great eagerness

and examined the Scriptures every day

to see if what Paul said was true.

Acts 17:11 (NIV)

But might it be that a worthwhile commitment to confirm the unifying Truth of Christ Jesus can become distorted and slide too quickly into divisive, self-exalting legalism?  Don’t misunderstand, we must be on guard against false teaching.  The Bible couldn’t be more clear about that subject.  We must be alert and we must man the watchtower.  However, from my perspective there is a huge difference between willful deception and a poor choice of words.  So might it be that as the Church is experiencing a renewed desire to reach out and love on God’s most prized creation, that we are forgetting to show gentleness and love to one another?  A house divided against itself simply will not stand and oh, don’t you know that it must make the enemies of the Cross absolutely giddy to watch the Bride devour herself.

We often hear 1 Corinthians 13 read at wedding ceremonies. Truth is, it wasn’t written in the context of temporal marriage, but it was written so the Bride, the Body of Christ, would know what love looked like to the Bridegroom. Under Divine inspiration, Paul calls it “the most excellent way” and goes on to provide the ultimate description of the love the Body is called to lavish on one another.

If I can speak in the tongues of men and even of angels but have not love, that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion—the kind that is inspired by God’s love for and in me—then I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose, and I understand all the secret truths and mysteries, and possess all knowledge and if I have sufficient faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, God’s love in me, I am nothing, a useless nobody.

Even if I dole out all that I have to the poor in providing food and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory but have not love, God’s love in me, I gain nothing.

Love endures long, is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy; it is not boastful or vainglorious and it does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited, arrogant, or inflated with pride; it is not rude, unmannerly, nor does it act unbecomingly.  Love, God’s love in me, does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking, it is not touchy, or fretful or resentful.  It takes no account of the evil done to it nor does it pay attention to a suffered wrong.

It does not rejoice in injustice and unrighteousness but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, it is ever ready to believe the best of every person; its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening.

Love never fails, never fades out, becomes obsolete or comes to an end.  As for prophecy, it will be fulfilled and pass away.  As for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease and as for knowledge, it will pass away, it will lose its value and be superseded by truth.

For our knowledge is fragmentary, incomplete and imperfect and our prophecy, our teaching, is incomplete and imperfect.

But when the complete and perfect total comes the incomplete and the imperfect will vanish away, become antiquated, void and superseded.

When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child and I reasoned like a child; now that I have grown I am done with childish ways and have set them aside.

For now, I am looking into a mirror that gives but a dimmed, blurred reflection of reality, as in a riddle or an enigma, but then  . . . . . . .  1 Corinthians 13 (AMP)

You are going to have to go to your Bible to read the rest because this is as far as I have memorized –for now.  See, if this thick headed woman has learned nothing else in her pursuit of Life outside the Tomb, she has learned that without a doubt, left to her own devices she is a critical, sharp-tongued woman with a desire to puff herself up by making others feel less than.  The only hope I have of living the lovelife, of imitating God, is to have a total heart transformation.  Only His truth will change me.  I must treasure what He treasures and see His children from His perspective.  I have to be filled heart, soul and mind with Him so that what flows from my mouth is love.  It cannot be simply what I know, it has to become who I am. . . LOVE . . . because it is who He Is.  And it must flow first to the warriors who fight the good fight and run the race beside me –those whose faces I know and cherish and those I will not meet this side of Glory.

The world doesn’t need to see another fractured family living out a dysfunctional existence.  They need to see a family acting like their Dad and following His example. They need to see us doing life together, honoring our commitment to one another, and loving each other despite our glaring imperfections.  I have to believe that when we love each other the way He loves us, when we live and love the “most excellent way,” it’s going to draw some attention.  Attention that will give us the opportunity to explain why we love the way we do.

Sisters, let’s be gracious today to the family we share eternal blood with.  Let’s be committed to believing the best of them.  Let’s give the same grace and understanding to the Body as we do to those who have not yet answered the call of Grace.  Let’s live the “most excellent way” so the world can see the most Excellent One.

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