She Did What She Could

This morning, I was feeling so discouraged…about so many things.

I felt the urging of the Lord…”Come to me, I have something to say to you.”

And so I opened up my She Reads Truth app and read the story of Mary of Bethany.

She was Lazarus’ sister…she was so upset about her brother’s death that she couldn’t even run out to meet Jesus. She was paralyzed with sorrow.  She could not even.  Have you been there?  When you can’t even rise up and face the thing that you know will bring comfort?

She was the same one who dumped out her bottle of oil and cleaned his feet with her hair and her tears.

I think maybe Mary of Bethany was a passionate woman of extremes.  I know someone like that.

It’s me.

In case you didn’t realize.

Some days, I just can’t even…and some days, I want to pour out all I am and all I have for Jesus and for the ones I love.  Some days…all I can really do is just take one step.  Maybe a half a step.  Maybe just a breath- Abba Father, I belong to you.

That was Mary.

There was a time when she was so discouraged and weary that all she could do was make that one step.  And then there was a time when she poured out all she had and subjected herself to ridicule and even rebuke for her all out, authentic, scandalous love for her Jesus.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

She did what she could.

she did what she could

What Mary could do was pour out her heart.  And when Mary’s brother died, all she could do was seek the comfort of Jesus.  And she could barely do that.

But she did what she could.

This struck me so hard.  Because I have these hard days where it seems that our problems, complications and issues are a wound tight ball of twine and there is no way to unravel it…where pain seeps into my bones and weariness covers me like a shroud.  There are days when I long for my little gal in Bulgaria to just get home already and when I feel like there is literally no way we are going to pull this thing off.

I can’t.  Some days, I just can’t.  I am too weak, too weary, too tired, too achy, too poor, too disorganized…too fill in the blank.  Too not enough…

I reach a feeble hand to Jesus and I do what I can.

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I write the words in my Bible.  I think about the poor widow her gave her one last coin.  mark-12-44

She did what she could.

Lord, help me live that way.  Help me live, doing what I can…which some days will be so much and some days be so little.  He sees me heart and He knows when I have done what I can and when I haven’t.

And the best part…in my weakness, He is so strong.

After Lazarus had died, after four days in the tomb…he met Mary and her friends and saw their grief.  He was that they were weeping and filled with sorrow.

Matthew 11:33 says this:  “he was deeply moved in His spirit and troubled.”

Was he troubled that Lazarus died?  Presumably not…He knew then as he knows now that he is the author of life.  He could easily and would easily raise Lazarus from death. I think He was moved that his loved ones were hurting and grieving.  He was feeling their pain with them and He was standing with them in it.  Sharing strength.

This is how Jesus is.  He does not promise to make everything okay…but He does  promise to not leave us alone to handle it ourselves.  Sometimes, what we can is feeble and so small…but what he can…it is always enough.

The Powers that Be

It’s gray and gloomy outside and we are just under blankets and watching Peppa Pig.  The day has not unfolded as expected.

I have a bad headache and fibro is aching deep in my bones.  This weather does it to me every time.

Today, I saw my doctor for my routine bloodwork and check-ins.  We talked adoption and I told him what his part in the whole thing would be.  He has to say that he thinks I can handle adopting this child, this little girl who is already ours in our heart.

“They’ll want to know if you think health wise if we can handle another child.”

“Well.”  He said.  “Do you think you can handle it?”

“Yes.”  I said.  “I can do anything.”

He laughed and agreed.  He’s been my doctor for 15 years.  He knows.

As I drove home, I thought about the weight of his words with the Powers that Be in Eastern Europe..  How all of this rests in the hands of “Official” types of people.  Our social worker for the adoption, our home study social worker, our social worker in Sylvie’s country…the judges that will read over our files.

There is so much at play here and so many little windows for the Enemy to try and climb through.

So…today, as I snuggle in my chair with Nora and a heating pad…will you pray for us?  Will you pray for favor with the Powers That Be?

We’ve got to pray this Daughter home.

e.  CartestersonInk-23

Happy Birthday to Me

I remember when I was in my late twenties and my thirties were approaching.  I was so worried about that, about getting older…

Poor little 29 year old me.  I just want to go and give her a hug and tell her this:

Just start being you.  You’re going to LOVE being you.  And getting older is such a good, good gift.

I’m 43 today.  Yes, 43.  A number that would’ve made 29 year old me’s eyes bug out.  I’ve seen Hurricane Isabel wreck my house, my sister nearly die from an infection after her first baby, the loss of an extremely close friend (all of those in three months), a divorce, the loss of two babies, the preemie baby/percreta drama of November 2012, the beginnings of international adoption and So Much Life and Love.

I’ve learned how to Be Still and Know. I’ve learned that the only thing that never changes is God.  I’ve learned that life is so short.  So short.  And that every single day is a gift.  I’ve learned that God made me to be this quirky weirdo that I am and that to try and be anything else is cheating myself and calling His creation not good enough.

I’ve learned to be thankful.

Yes, I am a thankful 43 year old this morning.  Thankful for my beautiful family, for my favorite friends, for my church, for my heroes in the faith…I’m thankful that I am alive…because there was a day in November 2012 where I almost wasn’t.  Thankful that I can lean on My Beloved, that Jesus is always near…

I feel this year coming.  A year bursting with new things and changes and jubilee.  I just feel it.

I will welcome my daughter Sylvie home while I’m 43.  I will welcome my daughter’s wedding to God’s best for her while I’m 43.  I will watch my kids and my nieces and nephew and all my other little loves grow and change while I’m 43.  I will get better at marriage and home and living authentically in 43.  I will draw and paint and Be Still and Know….I will sing.  I will love my friends and family and do all I can to see needs and meet them.

I will weather the hard things because God walks with me.

I will rejoice in the great things because God walks with me.

What have you learned as you’ve grown older?

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On Hurricanes And Provision

I think I had an epiphany this morning.

I have friends in the adoption community now.  Mamas I’ve never seen in real life and maybe never will until heaven.  It’s kind of neat, because they’ve walked or are walking where we are, built-in relational equity.

Several have checked in, fearing for our safety with these impending storms.

And I just say to them over and over:

I’m not worried.  The thing about hurricanes…there is literally NOTHING you can do about them.  You can not be in control.  All you can do is be smart, pray and wait it out.  Just wait it out.

And suddenly I realized, that’s how I need to approach adoption.

Adoption is frightening.  So many uncertainties.  The paperwork, the costs- financial and emotional, the process, the unknowns.  All we really know is that Sissy is our daughter and we need to bring her home.

But just like God knows how the path of this hurricane is going to blow, He knows the path this adoption is going to take.  He already knows.

We’ve seen Him in this process.  He taps us on the shoulder and whispers- “I am here.” I had a dream where He came up behind me, touched my shoulder and said these words:  “It’s not going to be as hard as you think.”  He is doing things.

He’s with us in EVERY storm…not just this hurricane.

And maybe this doesn’t seem like the most amazing epiphany ever…but I feel a shift in my spirit this morning and I feel less fear.

Fear lies.

God can do this.  He can bring Sissy home.

joaquin

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