Friday, April 20, 2012

Fighting Fear

Lately I've wavered between joy-producing faith and energy-zapping fear. I'm realizing as I swing between extremes that fear is faith's enemy.

I pulled out a book that's helped me tackle fear in the past. Immediately, I was reminded of some important truths:
"You think about your future and think, 'I couldn't handle that. I'm not strong enough.' But you aren't in that situation yet, so you needn't be afraid because you don't have strength for it. God's not going to give you the strength for a situation until you are in that situation. Instead of fearing the future, trust God for the strength for today. Remember you are not alone. You have incredible resources. The Spirit of power dwells in you.
"The Christian is a person of great strength. The Christian has the power to endure hardship, to stand strong when life is difficult, and to hang on in the midst of great pain.
"Why can Christians stand strong? It is because in and of themselves they are naturally strong people? No! Believers can stand strong because the Spirit within them is so powerful." Wayne Mack, The Fear Factor, pg. 17
Author Mack goes on to urge: "Don't be so eager to stay safe. Make pleasing and glorifying God your top priority regardless of what may come your way." pg. 21

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Project 366 -- Family & Flowers

Days 80 - 90

Our neighborhood's first tulip
Lissie playing with praise team on Easter Sunday
Daria (17)
Alexander (12)

Love the reflections of Daria and Amy in this water goblet
Noticed these "birds" of light created by my water goblet on our dining room table

Our beloved Aunt Jean calls these "Daffer-down-dillies"

Ready garage access for the many pairs of shoes used by the 12 in our family

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One of my favorite books is the autobiographical Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend with Autism.

None of our twelve children has autism. Despite this, I have read Cathy Steere's book multiple times. As she and her husband struggle with inexplicable behaviors in their first son during his babyhood and toddler years, they determine to be consistent in lovingly training Drew to behave in socially acceptable ways. Cathy shows this same consistency in teaching the very bright little boy reading skills. She never gives up, and she never gives in. When the Steeres eventually find the right treatment plan for Drew, the willing obedience to which he has been trained makes a remarkable difference in how effective the treatment is and how quickly they witness change.

Cathy explains, "Our goal was to always consider Drew's character, and even though we were as consistent as possible and even at times weary over the lack of improvement, we never forgot our responsibility to train and mold his character. That remained our highest duty to the children God blessed us with. Scripture does not lower its standards of how man ought to behave, nor does it exempt one who is autistic...or has Attention Deficit Disorder, or Down's Syndrome, or any other disorder. God's standards, like Himself, never change. It may be more difficult for some to reach certain standards than for others, but the standard remains." (pg. 142)
As we've taken nine older children from orphanages into our family, we've had to train each of them obey an authority figure. We had to coach them in socially and culturally acceptable behavior. We've had to teach them what it looks like to serve Christ by serving others. At times all these parenting demands have felt daunting, but Cathy Steere's example pushes me to refuse to give up and refuse to give in. Today has been a tough day in parenting a certain seven-year-old who's experimenting with two-year-old techniques for managing her parents. I'm grateful I can open Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind for the gentle reminders I need to stay the course.

Even if your situation is not extreme like that of the Steere's family or ours, I highly recommend Cathy's book. I believe every parent of young children would be blessed by reading this unusual opportunity to peak in on someone else's child training. And it's even on sale! (See the link above)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter's Implications

Photo Credit: Lissie

Tonight we attended an event at our church. As we sang Andy Cherry's song "Our God's Alive" my heart swelled with both conviction and joy over the implications of the cross. Here are a couple of favorite quotes that I've been ruminating on:

"Each of us rightfully deserves the guilty verdict and divine wrath that Jesus bore in our place on [the] cross. Therefore, when we take the cross seriously, we find our pride, our self-satisfaction, and our smug resentment toward or contempt for others shattered into a thousand pieces." Fitzpatrick and Johnson, Counsel from the Cross, pg. 12

"...the holy sovereign Lord whose authority we have defied and whose glory we have deflected to unworthy rivals was willing to endure the judgement that his own impeccable justice pronounced upon us. The cross declares that we are loved with an intensity that defies our capacity to comprehend, not because we are intrinsically lovable but because God is intrinsically love." Ibid, pg.12

Monday, April 9, 2012

Not How the World Thinks

I don't know about you, but I frequently need the reminder this verse offers.
The world will disappoint.
People will let me down.
But God never betrays. His very nearness is my good.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Even When Times are Tough...

The first time I heard this song by Matt Redman on the radio, the DJ pointed out that no matter what's going on in our matter how difficult things might be, we still have 10,000 reasons to praise God.

On Good Friday that thought is especially poignant as I ruminate on the fact that Jesus died as the result of MY sin, while I was still his enemy (Romans 5:8). What love!

He is worthy of my love. He is worthy of my worship. He is worthy of my very life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Project 366 -- Tulips to His Glory

Days 76-79

Tulips don't grow especially well in our home town so I was thrilled to see bed upon bed of them when we visited Kansas City this weekend. As always seems to happen when I have the chance to study flowers through a camera lens, my awe for our Creator grows!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Project 366 -- Perfect Backdrop

Day 75 -- April 1, 2012

My friend, Jason, (a talented photographer whose work I study) says that much of people photography is being in the right place at the right time. His understanding of his craft certainly applies to this photo!

Our family was saying good-bye to the dear aunt and uncle we visited this weekend in Kansas City. As everyone was hugging one another and exchanging farewells, I noticed that Cassandra (17) was standing in front of an American flag waving gently in the breeze. I had the camera hanging 'round my neck so the shot was easy to catch. I'm so grateful to God that He had this mom in just the right place at just the right time!