Behind the Scenes

When we met, we were teenagers, barely out of high school. That seems forever ago and yet, in the same moment, yesterday.

It's amazing how far God has brought us.We didn’t think it would take this long for Pilot to finish his degree. Gotta love a weather-dependent, finance-requiring program. A traditional science major would’ve been much faster (and cheaper). But we are where we are, one final multi-engine class to go. Almost done.

It's amazing how far God has brought us.In the meantime, he has encouraged my pursuit of this thing called writing. He is my sounding board for ideas and even comes up with a few of his own. Where I hesitate, he says, “Go for it!” When I say “Let’s go!” he says “Hang on a minute.” It’s a beautiful harmony most of the time.

It's amazing how far God has brought us.You see the labor of my hands with each blog post. The world doesn’t often see his giftings and interests. He loves to work with his hands, whether fixing something in disrepair or creating some kind of wood sign. His brain constantly thinks, evaluates topics that stretch his co-workers (they often refuse to engage). He has a crazy bent for science and an incredible way of making difficult concepts simple to understand. His conversations with Buddy are often explanations about how the world around us works or how God works in the midst of our interactions.

It's amazing how far God has brought us.Our life waxes mundane, ordinary, most of the time. You won’t hear Pilot complain about that though. Chasing a two year old and then adding a newborn to the mix seems like the perfect kind of adventure for this season.

It's amazing how far God has brought us.Pilot, today we celebrate many years of God using you to impact our lives. Your parents did an excellent job encouraging (and curbing, when necessary) your curiosity and ingenuity. I am grateful they raised a man who diligently directs my attention and Buddy’s attention to the things of God in our everyday living. His grace still amazes me! May the year ahead bring God glory in all its challenges, triumphs, and repetition. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be the best year yet!

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!

Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1373. Take a look at this week’s list:
1344. 12 hours of sleep, 14 for Pilot
1346. Pilot contacting his manager {unprompted by me} to say he might be in late due to me not feeling well
1347. Pilot straightening up the kitchen while I talked to Mom on the phone
1349. Reading books with Buddy before bedtime {while pinned to the couch}
1351. holding Buddy for a brief moment between turning off the light and getting him back in his crib
1352. Pilot stopping by on a run and singing The Lord Liveth to Buddy
1353. blessing and contentment on the face of an infant
1354. progressing the laundry, loading the dishwasher, and prepping the crockpot before bed
1355. that we will get a birth certificate for Trooper
1356. a family photo shoot for Christmas from my sister and brother-in-law
1357. the Lord showing me a need and prompting me to fill it
1358. teaching Buddy the next few phrases to Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus while in the car
1359. Buddy’s thrill with Christmas lights, especially blinking ones
1360. cloth diapers that contain blowouts
1361. piggyback rides in the morning and after naptime
1362. running out to the mailbox barefoot with Buddy and laughing the whole way
1363. American Angler — the magazine mysteriously showed up in our mailbox a year ago, and every month since. It’s a great magazine for curious little eyes
1364. a time of disciplining Buddy where the Holy Spirit disciplined me
1365. a husband who is involved in the tasks of the day
1367. Buddy singing, “Stand up, stand up, stand up, stand up ‘or Jesus ye ‘oldiers of cross. Wift high His royal banner, not wuffer yoss. From vissy un to vissy, His army yal He lead.”
1368. Trooper having a blowout AFTER professional photos concluded
1370. Buddy falling asleep quickly {delayed naptime}
1371. finding out Trooper’s discharge papers will satisfy the verification process for insurance
1372. realizing the loophole in my surprise birthday plans for Pilot with enough time to figure something else out
 
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Taking a Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes {Dairy Sensitivity}

The internet breeds hype. It encourages it by providing an easy way to sound the alarm, warn the masses…and sometimes cry wolf. At the same time, it can also incite an intense amount of skepticism. Is it true? Is it really that bad/difficult? Can I believe this?

Such skepticism has led me to cast a harsh judgment on a particular group... those with allergies and sensitivities. What you don't know may not hurt you, but what you don't understand just might.Such skepticism has led me to cast a harsh judgment on a particular group… those with allergies and sensitivities. What you don’t know may not hurt you, but what you don’t understand just might.

Just before Thanksgiving, Trooper had a bout of constipation — something basically unheard of in exclusively breastfed babies… unless there is a dairy or soy sensitivity. After doing a bit of research, talking with a gluten-free-dairy-free friend, and discussing my findings with Pilot, we decided it would be best to go dairy-free for a day or two and then ease back into it slowly.

We came to this conclusion two days before Thanksgiving! Suddenly, I had the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes. Particularly, my brother-in-law’s.

He has a severe milk allergy, so since he was also home for Thanksgiving, I asked him what he typically ate. I watched him select snacks. I observed. And I went through an initial stage of frustration — SO many food products have dairy in them! At least I could have sausage and eggs…

But I knew as I walked this path, albeit a short one, I would not so easily be frustrated by preparing food for someone with allergies. I would identify with the statuses and tweets and posts about food woes. Compassion is what I needed wrought in my heart in this area…and this was the most effective way for God to do so. So He did.

Here’s a bit of my new perspective I share with you: Preparing food for someone with a food allergy can be daunting, but it is an amazing way to show you care. If you mutter under your breath as you prepare it (I can identify with that feeling!), please don’t communicate your frustration to the person you are feeding. They already realize this has been an inconvenience, and they don’t want to be a burden. Remember, words always have power.

Why We Celebrate Christmas

It’s that time of year. Gatherings take place, celebrations happening as we round out this year and look forward to next. But I wonder how much of it is tradition. How many of us go through the motions. How the stress load is expected as we flit from task to task and shop to shop trying to tie up loose ends and somehow keep it all together in the process.

I have an advent nativity we were given our first Christmas…And have yet to use. It’s stowed in Buddy’s closet.

We have 18 glass bulb ornaments awaiting some creative painting. We bought them last year, intending to fashion a name of Christ onto each one, studying each name as the countdown to Christmas. They, too, are in Buddy’s closet.

I try to introduce my 2 year old to Christmas music, realizing that it has taken me many Christmases to learn the words to complex, seldom sung tunes. “Go, Tell it on the Mountain” will do for now.

And then I read John. That’s right. John. No Christmas story there. Instead, I’m reading over Christ’s final hours before His death. In His response to Peter’s cut-off-Malchius’-ear impulse, Christ exudes His characteristic humility: “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (18:11)

My spiritual knees buckle. This. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. I’ve heard a smorgasbord of very true, but not all-inclusive statements about Christmas. We celebrate Christ leaving the glory of heaven and coming to Earth as a baby. Yes, but what else? We celebrate the Greatest Gift ever given – God’s Perfect Son. Yes, but what else?

We celebrate the One who bridged the sin gap that separated us from our Maker. We celebrate the One who willingly stepped into His creation, became the lowest of low, and gave His own life so that we — you and I — could be called His brothers, His friends. He took the cup. Wrath stored up for each of us, He shouldered it. The payment of what was owed, He footed the bill. He accepted death, the very opposite of His nature, and then defeated it by rising on the third day, “just as He said.”

While I love Christmas – the traditions and the tunes – this year, I am thankful that a song often sung in the spring is repeated every night before bed in our house. It reminds me that even in this season, the One who will one day judge is the One who came to satisfy requirements none of us could.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today. Alleluia!

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1352. Take a look at this week’s list:
1312. an amazing midwife worth for more than she charges
1313. sleeping in til 8:30
1317. a well-prepared Nana {having a blanket for the cross country meet}
1320. packing an extra pair of clothes Trooper even though he’d never had a blowout {and then had 2 within 20 mins}
1321. donuts at worship, and a 2 year old who adores them
1322. a pastor who boldly preaches the unification of the body of Christ, that we are all one race of sinners
1323. laughter in our Bible Fellowship Group
1324. Buddy helping Trooper calm down, “It’s ok, Trooper. We almost there…” over and over again
1325. Pilot choosing a word game for evening play, even though they aren’t his preference
1326. gathering goodies for gifts
1327. an unintentionally laid back morning
1328. Buddy’s eagerness to help pack for our Christmas trip {in 16 days}
1329. Trooper sleeping long enough for me to do bedtime with Buddy 1-on-1
1330. Buddy’s amazing language development. I’m astounded how much has changed in a year.
1332. Angie, the lady who types up the birth certificate application (on an old-fashioned typewriter) and sends it to the capital
1335. a better/more thorough understanding of why we celebrate Christmas
 
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Taking a Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes {NICU}

Seasons. God grants them to each of us as we grow and change, discover and apply. Oh, how boring life would be without changes in what we go through. Even the most rigid among us, the most resistant to change, can appreciate it on some level. It adds a level of uniqueness to our story, unique in that it binds us to others who share similar experiences.

Taking a Walk in Someone Else's Shoes {NICU}I wasn’t supposed to end up in the NICU. How does that even happen in a focused pursuit of home birth? I wondered that myself many times as I sat in the waiting room chair, watching the clock to see when I could go back to Trooper’s side.

As Pilot was on his way to the hospital just after Trooper’s birth, the first responder he rode with made a passive aggressive comment about how if HE had known the baby was breech, HE would’ve gone to the hospital for a C-section. {Believe me… words always have power.} But we were where we were, and there wasn’t anything we could do to change our choices. We would walk a path none of us had expected.

I walked into the NICU at 11:30pm that night and looked around. Of the 5 other babies in his nursery, only one baby had parents present. My heart ached for those babies. Where were their mommas? Did they know they were loved?

Then, a little over an hour later, we made the tough choice to go home. Trooper was sedated, and would be for the first 3 days, as they kept his body temperature low to observe him for any seizure activity. And I cried. I cried on the way home. I cried for a long while before I drifted to sleep that night. I wasn’t supposed to be spending this night at home while my baby was 25 miles away and someone else was taking care of him. Suddenly, my womb filled with the pang of emptiness and my aching arms joined the mournful chorus.

And it was at that point I knew what those other, “absent” NICU mommas were feeling. We lived reasonably close to the hospital; some mommas lived farther away. Pilot could take the week off and we could still “make it” (even if it meant delaying payment of that stinkin’ tuition bill); some parents had no days off to spare. Not one of those NICU moms would have preferred to not be with their baby. I finally understood that.

trooper-NICU“Was there something I could’ve done to prevent this? Should we have made a different birthing choice?” It would not surprise me if this type of guilt is something most NICU moms endure. I took these questions to God many times while we were there. Then, 2 days before Trooper’s release, I met Heather.

Heather’s little guy was just a couple days younger than Trooper. I had watched from a distance, all the while wondering what his condition was. I was there when his vitals “crashed,” when the doctors and nurses gathered around to stabilize him, when the doctor phoned the parents asking them to come quickly. And I had prayed for him.

Heather’s story, though, caught me off guard. I listened as she told me how her blood pressure had spiked at 37 weeks while his was plummeting. He was breech. They did an emergency C-section, and he got stuck. Somewhere along the way he inhaled fluid and wouldn’t breathe after birth. He had Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn. The doctors said he would probably be there for 4 months, and hopefully she would get to hold him by Christmas.

As she told me her story, the Holy Spirit quieted my concerns. I could’ve made a different birth choice and still been challenged to walk the NICU road. There were things I needed to learn, places I needed to get to spiritually, that I could not do any other way.

I read this quote recently, and it pretty well sums up how I feel this side of the NICU. It applies to many, many things in life. May it encourage you in whatever storm you’re weathering in this life season:

Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are in, Divine Love would have put you there. -Charles Spurgeon

Full Circle

I laugh at the irony. Tuesday’s post was about taking a walk in someone else’s shoes… and today, my gratitude post relates the opposite — having walked in shoes someone else is taking a few strides in.

My wait for Trooper’s arrival fell into the “impatient” category on more than one occasion. I didn’t understand why my body was taking so long, especially since contractions started up at week 37 {he arrived at 41 weeks, 6 days}. I struggled with a vast array of emotions, from impatience and frustration to concern to anticipation. Some of these emotions hung around longer than others; I endeavored to stave off any negativity as often as possible. Other times I just had to trust God’s sovereignty since I didn’t understand what was going on.

Now, 5+ weeks later, God has granted me the opportunity to walk with a close friend through many of the same emotions. Why is this “not it” for the third time? What if Baby waits “too long?” How do I avoid feeling like I am inconveniencing those here to care for me?

And truly, watching the events of a month and a half ago come full circle, as it were, has brought with it great joy and peace. I want “my story” to encourage someone else, to comfort those in need of comfort just as I have been comforted in Christ. Because really, my story is a speck. A dot of ink on the pages of time. But I want that dot to be worth the Author’s effort to compose, so that “all the world from east to west will know there is no other God” (Is. 45:6).

How is your speck bringing Him glory? Are you thankful for your speck?

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!

Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1292. Take a look at this week’s list:
1293. a 2 year old so excited to go to Nana and Papa’s that he stayed awake for 2 hours of the trip — 2:30-4:30am!
1294. a cd player for the drive
1296. a day to rest and for Buddy to enjoy Papa
1297. looking through Pilot’s great-grandfather’s military records and finding a couple of pieces of the genealogy puzzle!
1298. an adventure at the Christmas tree farm
1299. Buddy’s excitement about roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over Nana and Papa’s fireplace
1300. a Papa who is willing to let Buddy “help” with supper (by holding on to the tip of the pan handle when there is nothing else to do)
1301. a restful, productive for “recovery” day
1302. purchasing 2 Kindle Fire HD6 tablets deeply discounted over the weekend
1303. finding a useful to-do list app for my new Kindle
1304. an efficient morning
1305. completing the book of Luke
1306. Buddy’s ability to say 2/3 of Isaiah 45:5-6 when, up until now, he’s only said “east west.”
1307. 70c/lb chicken thighs, 29c/lb apples for apple butter
1308. a kind lady at Dollar Tree who offered to help me put my items on the belt while I held Trooper
1309. my emotional roller coaster while waiting for Trooper to arrive was not in vain
1310. the smells of Christmas in the air
 
Do you tweet? Keep up with what’s going on and join in the fun with the hashtag #neweverymorning!

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Taking a Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

Over and over again this year, I have been learning how each of us has a story to tell. The glorious moments and the bitter realities, the struggles with a particular sin and the celebrations of particular triumphs. Woven like a tapestry, your story isn’t mine; my story isn’t yours. But sometimes we share similar threads. Sometimes, albeit different, we experience an extraordinarily similar circumstance. Maybe I’m taking a few steps in your shoes, or maybe you’re sticking your toes in mine.

shoes

While I generally haven’t had much of the “invincible” feeling that some people go through — especially as teens — I do know that there are certain things I never expected to undergo.

At 36 weeks gestation, we learned that Trooper was breech. It didn’t concern me at the time. I expected Trooper to turn as we got closer to my due date. He didn’t.

There seems to be a prevailing opinion that breech birth is dangerous and/or impossible. So when I was 38, 39, 40 weeks and Trooper was still  breech, I glossed over {and often didn’t mention} that fact when people asked how I was doing. The last thing I needed was a panicked reaction to “ease” any concerns I had.

We tried. There is a set of techniques a chiropractor can perform that opens the pelvis to give the baby a bit more room to go ahead and turn. There are also a ton of other “home remedies” that may (or may not) work to encourage the baby to turn head down. We did 5 visits to the chiropractor, up until 2 days before my due date. I know  that Trooper turned that weekend…

And then he turned back. I was weary from traveling to and from the chiropractor, so I opted to end my appointments. My midwife had said at the beginning that she believes the babies that are going to turn will turn regardless  of what you do to encourage them — and that some babies just choose to come breech.

The midwife had also given us some resources — a book, YouTube videos, blog posts, photo presentations — of what breech birth could look like. As we looked them over, prayed and talked about whether we should go forward with a breech birth, Pilot and I agreed that much of the hype about breech birth can be attributed to having so few care providers trained to handle it well. {In fact, breech births are not uncommon in most of the rest of the world.} In our situation, we had a care provider who is breech certified and knowledgeable about any possible complications. We trusted her judgment, based on how expertly she had handled Buddy’s birth. So we went with it.

My water broke at 3:30 pm. Trooper was born at 4:29 pm. It wasn’t unusually long at all. In the days following Trooper’s birth, as Pilot and I processed emotions while Trooper was in the NICU, we addressed this question multiple times: Given the outcome this time, would we still make the choice we did? Do we regret the choice to have a breech birth at home?

I can’t say that I would choose a different option. Even though I initially never expected any kind of “complications” with Trooper’s birth, I understand this is part of Trooper’s story…for God’s glory. At this point, I have no idea how God will use it in my life to minister to other moms. But I have learned that God gives us the stories He does — and He doesn’t waste our time — to bring us, and others, closer to Himself. We go through hard choices so that we can see those around us who are making hard choices with grace, even when we don’t understand the “why” behind the choice they made. Our world gets a little bit larger then.

Your turn: How have you “walked in someone else’s shoes” in a way that has expanded your horizons and deepened your sympathy for those making tough choices?

Far More Righteous

There’s something about November that shifts our focus to gratitude. A national holiday (in the US) does help. And it’s a great lead in to the major holiday of the next month. But why do we save our gratitude for one month — or even just one day?

There’s more to giving thanks than enjoying a turkey dinner with family, an afternoon nap, and then (maybe) a football game. It’s a token gesture if we give lip service to one day but the previous day mutter a few under-the-breath complaints as we prepare the meal or travel. Or grumble the next day when we don’t get the product we waited and watched for at 6 am.

It’s easy to default to grumbling. I certainly have done (and still do) my share of it. But learning to live with eyes wide open for the possibility of gratitude sure does have an effect on how you perceive difficulties.

This week I began to more fully realize how much my perspective has missed the mark. Thanks, C.S. Lewis, for wording it this way:

Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences [sic]. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. (Mere Christianity, p. 52)

I look at those who have wronged me, or initiated the cause for my present circumstances, and I  take offense. I grumble. I mutter. I pout. And yet it never occurs to me that the person who sinned against me (intentionally or unintentionally) offended God in a way far greater than I can even experience. He sympathizes in an uncanny way (Heb. 4:15). Neither has it occurred to me that my  sin has the same effect.

“Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says the Lord  (Rom. 12:19). Why have I never taken this seriously in relation to the “mundane” or “everyday” sins? God didn’t qualify His statement; He doesn’t overlook some sins and avenge others. Perhaps He is longsuffering toward us, but that doesn’t mean He tolerates sin or gives it a “pass.”

To offend a generous, faithful, vengeful, jealous God… The danger in such an action has been lost on me. Until now.

So, on this Thanksgiving day, I am –of course– grateful for family and for fellowship. But I am exceedingly grateful for a God who gives grace as I continue to learn. A God who is not slack in keeping His promise (2 Pet. 3:9). A God who exacts a far more righteous vengeance than I ever could.

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!

Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1292. Take a look at this week’s list:
1271. understanding what Buddy says –most of the time– when outsiders don’t
1272. my crockpot {chicken fajitas}
1273. coupons and giftcards
1274. a 3 hour nap for Buddy {improving his attitude}
1275. Pilot’s woodworking class at church being cancelled last minute
1276. being heard
1277. peanut butter fudge that got a “this tastes like my mom’s peanut butter pie!” response
1278. discussing biblical man/womanhood with Mom
1279. Buddy’s enthusiasm when we talked about 3 stories from Luke
1280. Buddy comforting a distressed Trooper. “I know, Trooper. I know.”
1281. an unexpected gift from our AWANA family
1282. a pleasant time at a new library while Pilot donated plasma
1283. Pilot cooking breakfast before he left for work
1285. surviving a full day with the boys…solo
1286. overhearing Buddy in his crib reenacting a current favorite book
1287. routine — getting into a new normal with the boys
1288. the cost of the craniosacral specialist being considerably less than I’d feared
1289. accomplishing as much as possible with an abnormally fussy baby
1290. a friend to chat with about allergies in babies
1291. the opportunity, yet again, to walk in someone else’s shoes
1292. Buddy helping me prepare sandwiches for our road trip
 
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Polarizing Opposites: Fair Trade

My grandmother is a Seeker of Bargains and of the Fun, Cute, and Slightly Unusual. Born in a time when most of today’s chains were still mom ‘n’ pop establishments, she shops where she’s always shopped and the occasional craft fair is as local as she gets. My mum inherited the quest, adding a willingness to venture outside of her own culture and into brick-and-mortar shops owned by people who looked nothing like us but always had interesting stories to tell.

po_fairtradeI joined them on their journey but boldly took off down a side path: working at a local boutique in the “arty” part of town. Before that, I saw small businesses as being filled with interesting but overpriced wares and thought that I could find something just as good or better at a big box chain… but as I came to know the shop owners and the shops themselves, my perspective shifted. Most of these shops are more than a business – they’re the actualization of a life-long dream or deep passion. The owners are people with a vested interest in their community, often eager to collaborate with each other, and most of the money they earn is put back into the local economy. I quickly became an enthusiastic “locavore” with a hearty appetite for local flavor.

Then, a few years ago, my eyes were opened to modern slavery and the 27 million souls that toil to feed insatiable Western consumerism. Especially over this past year, I’ve worked hard to add “slave free” to my “shop local” lifestyle. It was, and still is, a journey – one that many have yet to start, and many are miles ahead of me on.

But as worth-it as supporting fair trade can be, I certainly don’t have the budget to keep my favorite shops open single-handedly, and there are items we have to have (cars, cell phones…) that a slave almost assuredly worked to make.

Thankfully, there are steps that anyone can take. One that will cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time is to raise awareness; use your social media platform (whether you’re a simple Tweeter or a professional blogger) to inform others of modern slavery, and to promote your favorite local businesses.

Another step is to simply (ha!) buy less. Stepping back from the herd and refusing to be just another consumer breaks an essential link in the chain of slavery. When you do treat yourself, try to support a local artisan and/or shop whenever possible.

If your budget is already planned down to the penny and every line item is a bare necessity, another option is to buy second-hand whenever possible (clothing, furniture, vehicles, books, baby needs, electronics… there’s a reputable resale source for almost everything).

And if you’re already doing any or all of those things (whether intentionally or through necessity) then you’re already making a huge impact on a situation you may not have even been aware of – thank you!

Finally, we all have a passion, a gift, and purpose. Fair Trade (locally and globally) are definitely part of mine – but they may not be part of yours. Pursue the part of God’s redemptive story that you’ve been assigned, and don’t become distracted by all of the other equally worthy causes that turn up in your newsfeed. We’re all just drops in a bucket – but the God we serve is gracious to multiply those drops into a healing tide with a greater impact than we may ever know.

 

Head shotSarah Jo Burch lives in the South and is rediscovering her sense of adventure with her handsome and hardworking husband and inquisitive daughter, and blogs (usually over a cup of tea) about faith, the everyday life of a wife and mum, loving her neighbors, gratitude, and knitting – with pictures between. You’ll find her at Paper-Bark Burch, posting between dishes and rescuing a Small Person who just learned to climb.

A View from a Different Angle

Recounting His mercies has revealed a lot of simple things I’ve taken for granted — clean drinking water, hot showers, clean bedsheets, a comfy bed. There are so many small mercies I overlook daily. Each time I recognize one, somewhere within me settles, a bit more content with the “little” it appears I possess.

But that doesn’t mean I never complain. For several months I have bemoaned the fact that my Kindle is in disrepair. A charging port gone bad has translated to blog growth limitations and fewer free eBook deals. Now that I’m nursing a newborn again, I miss the book-reader-social-media all-in-one. And then I was disappointed to find that used Kindle Fires on eBay sell for the same as a refurbished one from Amazon — more than I’m currently willing to pay.

So I complained. And I gave up on the possibility of ever getting ahead on blog posts again. (I like to handwrite the rough draft, but handwriting is presently extremely limited.) And resigned myself to having a not-smartphone for the foreseeable future.

And then God. A couple nights ago, I was trying to fall asleep and couldn’t. So I picked up my phone to type out thoughts for a blog post. “I’ll save it to drafts,” I initially thought, “and then type it up sometime tomorrow.” But before I finished, I realized I could text it to my email, foregoing the “type it up later” step. Even though typing on my phone is less than ideal, it still gets the job done and helps me get ahead on blog posts.

Another mercy. One I overlooked. One I am now grateful for. And suddenly, a Kindle isn’t as needful as I once thought it was. It’s the little things, folks. It really is.

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!

Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1270. Take a look at this week’s list:
1240. an Amish Christmas cookbook at the library that encourages me to try some simple recipes {unlike Pinterest}
1241. figuring out which cloth diapers work with Trooper’s tiny legs
1242. a common/shared story with the lady who brought us supper. 2 homebirths, 2nd ending up in the NICU with breathing trouble
1243. a celebration care package from Sparkle — HOT CHOCOLATE!!
1244. Pilot coming home from his woodworking class and loading the dishwasher and helping get Trooper to sleep while I accomplished Things
1245. Buddy adapting well to Trooper
1246. books to read — for my sanity
1247. double duty dryer – dry the clothes, humidify the apartment
1248. pleasant bedtime routine & a content baby
1249. the most important task (writing thank you notes) being mostly accomplished before Trooper’s evening awake time
1251. disposable diapers for less than 15c each
1252. 5 1/2 hours of straight sleep
1253. lots of time to read {since Trooper isn’t conducive to writing right now}
1254. Buddy waking at 8:15; Trooper waking at 9:45
1255. leaving the house just a few minutes behind schedule
1256. Buddy communicating his need for a potty break while we were driving
1258. a laid back Sunday afternoon
1259. Trooper weighed in at 10lbs 2 oz!
1260. a package in the mail with warm jammies for Buddy and Trooper
1261. staying home to enjoy the snow from the INSIDE
1262. plastic for the windows and a husband with the know-how/drive to install it
1263. teaching Buddy “Go, Tell it on the Mountain”
1264. figuring out how to use my phone to aid in blogging
1266. hamburger soup in the freezer
1267. family read-your-own-books time
1268. Pilot saying, “Son of mine!” in a deep voice and Buddy cracking up attempting to copy Daddy
1269. last minute giggles (Buddy) before Pilot left for work
1270. finishing a book (on gratitude!) in 2 days!
 
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Multiplication Applied

Something’s missing. We’re barely managing to add, oftentimes subtracting, but definitely not experiencing God multiplying our time, efforts, or resources. How do we get from where we are to there? There’s gotta be a way.

Remember what delineates multiplication from prosperity gospel? Motivation. It must be about God’s glory…not yours, not mine. Shew, that can be a hard place to get to. Especially when you’re seeking God’s providence for basic needs, for making ends meet during a tough month.

Lord, teach me to be grateful for what You’ve already given so my heart and eyes are ready to witness Your might and not just take it for granted. Lord, multiply my efforts in order to magnify Your name. Lord, do whatever will bring You the most glory.

Sometimes, that’s the kind of prayer I have to pray. But it’s the kind of prayer where the answer is always yes. He will always do what brings Himself the most glory, whether that’s immediate or delayed multiplication. Maybe Usually my heart needs change to take place first.

Once we’ve experienced His multiplication, we can 1) remain the same or 2) become a multiplier. Continuing to receive His multiplication without becoming a conduit of it to others is like building a dam; it’s great if you’re trying to grow a pond into a lake… not so great if you’re attempting to create a steady flow of water.

In our family, we want to be careful where we invest our resources and our time.  We look for people and ministries that are multiplying — bringing glory to God in exponential ways — and then aid them. They don’t have to be huge ministries to be multipliers. They do have to be creating a ripple effect in their sphere of influence, and not for their own sake. For God’s glory.

Multiplication doesn’t have to be a hard concept to grasp. But as with any of the other ways of eternity, don’t look for change where you aren’t being intentional.

Your turn: What is your biggest hesitation with multiplication as one of God’s ways of eternity? Where are you already experiencing multiplication — that you hadn’t noticed before?