Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's not WHAT you do, it's HOW you do it

I was having brunch with a sweet friend the other day and we were reading through a Bible Study. The question was posed "what are you doing that is advancing the kingdom of God? What do you spend your days working on?" Initially I responded that I felt like I was in a rut and not really doing anything but surviving. Then I replied, "Well I know that one of God's major purposes for me is being a mother. So I can count that."

But can I really?

After all, unbelievers are mothers too. Many of them are actually really great mothers (at least according to the world's standards).
So then I clarified myself.
It's not WHAT you do, it's HOW you do it.
I remembered our pastor recently saying during a sermon that people focus so much on "raising their kids right." He went into detail about how parents go to the extremes to make sure their kids stay out of trouble, make good choices, get a great career, etc. etc.
Those are not bad things.
But his punch line at the end was:
"If you excel in parenting at everything worldly, but don't teach your children what a TRUE relationship with Christ looks like..... you have failed."
And he wasn't just talking about teaching your kids to go to church on Sundays.
No.. He was talking about something so much more.
He was talking about modeling relationship with Christ to your children so that they fully understand.
(I think I just felt my stomach fall onto the floor).
What... A... Big... Calling and Responsibility.
I claim that above all else I want my children to love Jesus.
But do I really?
Above all else? Above being a good athlete, a star student, popular, successful?
Do I desire it above all that?
Let's don't even mention the struggle that so many parents have which is finally letting our children go. Letting them leave us and become independent.
No, we secretly want to keep them forever. Sure we want them to grow up, but they better stay close to us. They better not move too far away.
 Even if MY desires for my children aren't GOD'S desires for my children??
Maybe this Mama needs a wake up call.
Don't you worry. God has already been giving me one... slowly, but surely.
It's as if God says to me, "Enjoy them, because you are raising men who will one day leave."
Lee and I beg during our prayers "God please call our boys to follow you. God please bring salvation to them. Our hearts desire is that they love you and give up everything for you!"
And the rubber meets the road.
I recently read the account of Jesus calling James and John to follow him. It's found in the book of Matthew and Mark. It has rocked my little world.
"Going on from there, He (Jesus) saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him."
Matthew 4:21-22
Those two boys jumped out of their father's boat and followed Jesus. And let me remind you that at this point in time, people didn't know that Jesus was the Christ. They didn't know the New Testament like we do today.
I wonder how Zebedee responded. Did he encourage his boys to go? To leave him there in the boat fishing. Did he give them his blessing, or did he pout and become bitter? Did he put them on a guilt trip for not staying to help him with his livelihood? Or did he usher them out of the boat... knowing that they would never live near him or work with him again?
How did this daddy react when his two precious sons stepped out of his boat and began to follow a man that he didn't even really understand?
Scripture doesn't tell us. But scripture does go on to tell us about the lives of this man's sons.
James and John became part of Jesus' inner circle. They weren't just 2 of the 12 disciples. No, they were 3 of Christ's best friends (along with Peter).
John even ended up writing several books in the New Testament, including John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation.
And I picture that sweet father sitting in the boat, watching his sons walk away. He must have feared that the world would think his boys were crazy. He must have feared for their future. After all, wasn't staying with him and remaining fishermen the "safer" option?
I bet God met him there. Encouraged him. Blessed him.
You see... being a fisherman in those days wasn't a prestigious job. It was mediocre. As a matter of fact, most fishermen didn't have an education. Zebedee may not have raised his boys to excel according to the world's standards, but man oh man, Zebedee did not fail as a father.
Zebedee must have instilled something in his boys that gave them a craving for eternity.
My sweet friend sent me this picture after church the day that our preacher talked about teaching your kids relationship with Christ.
She wrote "My kids may never be the star students or exceed worldly standards. But at the end of the day, all I want is for them to know and to love Jesus."
I love her heart for the Lord. And pray that those 3 little kiddos in this picture do just that - love Jesus and love people.

And I pray that when the rubber meets the road, I sit in the boat like Zebedee and encourage my kids to "go". 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Organ Donation and Adoption

Strange blog title huh? 
This post has been swirling around in my head for about 2 months now, but I never had time to slow down and type.
A few questions repeatedly come up with Lee's new job with M.O.R.A (MS Organ Recovery Agency).
"How do you do it?"
"Aren't you depressed all the time because of how sad it is?"
Lee always replies the same way. "Yes, it is sad that there is loss. However, I can't help but think about all the people whose lives are being saved on the other side of the loss." 

Journey with me for a moment. 

I walk into her ICU room. She greets me with a friendly smile.
"You ready to work with therapy?" I ask.
She replies, "sure." 
Beep... Beep... Beep... 
The sound of all her monitors ring in the background of our conversation.
I arrange multiple IV lines so that she can make her way to the edge of the bed.
We walk around the room, dragging multiple IV poles including the machine that is hooked to her heart (externally) to keep her heart pumping.
She's sick.
We both know it.
Her time is limited.
We finish our session and I tell her to have a good weekend.
She looks out the window and her face turns solemn. 
"I am hoping to get a heart this weekend."
Her words carried a weight. A heavy weight.
She knew what getting a heart meant for someone else.
And it wasn't easy.

That was the last time I saw her lying in that ICU room hooked to the external heart pump.

She got a heart.

Lee comes home exhausted from work.
"She's sick, Abby. I don't know how much longer she will make it without a liver."
He was on his feet all day taking care of her.
A few days later Lee comes home amazed.
She had received her liver and would be discharging home from the hospital within a few more days.
"She was so sick. I am so amazed" said Lee.

Organ donation can be a beautiful thing.
But it can only come after loss.

Lee and I have both had the privilege of seeing the beauty of organ donation in the lives of our patients.
We have seen their faces and touched their hands.
So when Lee replies "I can't help but think of the people waiting on organs and how their lives will be impacted."
He is speaking from personal experience.

Adoption is such a parallel.
Adoption is beautiful. However, in order for adoption to occur there must first be some type of loss.
Our sweet Malachi will endure loss that many of us have never known.
Those words carry a weight. My heart is heavy, not only for him, but for his birth parents also.
My heart is heavy for orphans at large.

Praise God that we serve Him who is redemptive and makes all things new!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Miller's 2nd Birthday

Miller had his 2nd Birthday Party Yesterday!
He LOVED it!
I am pretty positive that he had absolutely NO idea that it was HIS party, but he ran wide open in the gym for 2 hours! We couldn't keep up with him!
Here are a few pictures from the party.

We had it at the MS Cheerleading Academy

The Birthday Boy!

This picture makes me sad! He's so grown now! 6 months ago we went to a party at this same location and I had to help him up these slides :((
Yesterday... he did EVERYTHING by himself.

This picture reveals the ENTIRE day... Miller RUNNING as fast as he could.
Literally, I couldn't keep up with him.
That's him and sweet Mary Grayson running to do the obstacle course again (for the 20th time literally)

The birthday boy got a small black eye. No worries, it didn't phase him.

Kemp and Ty Sumo Wrestling
Miller enjoying a cupcake.
Daddy was in charge of the camera during singing and he accidentally didn't get pictures or videos :))
I will operate the camera next year
Me and my little man
The "theme" was Mickey Mouse.
"Oh Two-dles"
The best family picture we could get.
This was a more realistic picture... Miller way too busy to participate!
Birthday parties are fun and chaotic.
The reason they are worth every minute of it is because they celebrate LIFE. 
We are so thankful for this little life named Miller that God has entrusted us with.
As I looked around the gym yesterday, I was thankful for all of the tiny little lives running around.
Each one created for a specific purpose!

Friday, August 2, 2013

JULY 2013



Lee reached the New Testament at the end of the month! 2 years this boy has been faithfully reading through the Bible and he is moving from Old to New Testament!

Miller's first experience with fireworks on 4th of July!

River trip with Blackburn Family the 4th of July weekend
Miller and Blakely - buddies & cousins
Lee taking Miller for a ride on the knee board. 

Miller and JayJay riding the tractor at the deer camp

Lee and I painted the nursery!! Grey in color.

Miller Blackburn turned 2 YEARS OLD on July 30th! We took him to the children's museum to celebrate.
He is having a Mickey Mouse Birthday party this weekend.

Unfortunately, we did not move up any spots on the waiting list.
Still number 66 for an infant and 32 for a toddler :(