Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Evidences of Grace

Birds.  They are my most favorite thing to decorate with.  They have been my mascot during our seminary years. The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:25-27 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" God always brings birds to remind me that He is near and that all is well.

Our family is in the process of changing churches.  We have been in our current church for the past 4.5 years, but within the past few months we have felt a prompting of the Spirit to join the ministry of another local body of believers.  This has not been an easy task to obey as we love the church in which we have been a part and we love the people there who have become like family during our seminary years.

It has taken much prayer, discussion, and trying to figure out why God would move us out of our support network to join another church at this particular time in our life.  We are still waiting for God to reveal that, although we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are walking the path God has laid out before us.

At our new church, Imago Dei (which simply means Image of God in Greek) each member joins a growth group which is a small group that meets in homes throughout the week.  They provide a list of quite a few growth groups with the notion that you would visit a lot of them until you find one that you most enjoy going to.  I was not looking forward to visiting a ton of groups for the next few months because I just really wanted to find a group quickly and start making friends and feeling connected.  Visiting a ton of groups was causing me quite the amount of anxiety.

Michael has been unemployed since November 30 and adding more anxiety on top of that already anxiety provoking situation seemed so daunting to me.  When we are anxious what are we to do?

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God..." Philippians 4:6 

So, we began to pray for God to direct our steps and lead us into the right group and help us connect...and to take away the anxiety we were feeling about leaving one church for another. So much anxiety...just take it away!

We found a group one Thursday night and decided to check it out.  The people were all super friendly and we enjoyed the way the group was run.  But then God showed me that He had led us to the perfect group.  We were sitting in the group and were asked to talk about "evidences of God's grace" to us during the week.  Each person told of some way that God had blessed them that week, or even told of challenges they were facing and how God was still ever present in those challenges.  (Being a Christian does not fully mean life is rosy 24/7). As people were sharing evidences of God's grace and I was thinking of what I possibly had to share because life is horrible and Michael doesn't have a job and we are having to worry about provisions, and so forth... a gal leaned forward revealing to me a piece of art on canvas hanging on the wall behind her.  It was this picture:


Don't you know I immediately knew God was there.  In my trial, in that house prompting me that this is where we were to be.  Reminding me that He is our provision and that life is NOT horrible because look at all the evidences of My grace that is ALL AROUND YOU!

The following week I spent the whole week focusing on God's daily graces to me and my family and not thinking about the "negative" things.  We had growth group that week at another member's house and lo and behold, she had a picture of a bird in her bathroom. That bathroom then became a holy room to me as I thanked God for showing me His presence and thanking Him for changing my mindset to one that focuses on blessings.

I love ALL the places God shows up. I'm looking forward to spring when birds will be everywhere!  Isn't God good?!


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Come and see...

Exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog heralding the amazing thing God had done in giving Michael a fabulous job in an amazing Christian company making a great salary!  A job that came to him without him even looking for it. God fighting for us behind the scenes and giving us exactly what we needed at that moment, all in His sovereignty and timing.  When I posted it for friends to read, I wrote "Come and see what God has done." Because, hey, we all want to see the amazing ways in which God provides, right?

Fast forward a year later to when that job was taken from Michael after new management eliminated his position without any warning. I still want friends to read this and think, "Come and see what God has done."

God leads me to Habakkuk right now. Habakkuk prayed in complaint wanting God to judge the wicked.  Wanting to know why evil abounds and why God allows it? Habakkuk 1:5 gives God's reply, 

"Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." 

Sounds a lot like "Come and see what God will do"...right?  Sounds like God is going to get them out of this evil mess and make everything happy rainbows again.  Except it wasn't something wonderful and warm and fuzzy that God was going to do that would utterly amaze him.  He was going to bring destruction on His people and judge them using their enemies to enslave them in order to get rid of the wicked.  The things that will "utterly amaze" us are not always things we consider to be "amazing". Sometimes they are painful and confusing to us.  But they are done to bring glory to the matchless name of God and that is always AMAZING...regardless of how it's done.

So we are vulnerably showing you the "utterly amazing" thing God has done in allowing Michael to be laid off of a great job.  We are allowing you to walk with us as we pray to not lose our home, as we wait on God's provisions for a new career, as we walk through happy holidays with a saddened spirit, as we try to live by faith and NOT fear.  We know God will be glorified through this utterly amazing turn of events.  We don't understand it, but we know God promises good for us and He will always be faithful.

Living in the promise of Ephesians 3:20, "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

Come along with us and see what God has done!


Friday, December 1, 2017

Seven

November 30, 2010.  Michael's official last day of work with the US Air Force.

November 30, 2017.  Michael's last day working at Majestic Kitchen and Bath Creations...a job that God lovingly dropped in his lap a year ago when he desperately needed a job.  And a job he thought he would be working at for many years to come.

With a new job and a new income in our path, we purchased a large home with room to expand a hospitality ministry, take in foster children, bring over exchange students, house seminary students, and so forth.  The ideas were endless and still flow through our mind rampantly!  Our new income helped us give generously to family, to those in need, and to different mission trips and ministries where God led us to give.  It helped to fund his last year of seminary, which he graduates from in one week.

We are still unsure why the layoff occurred.  Michael had been doing a great job managing people, giving selflessly to his company, going in after hours to complete tasks to make the company better, giving people raises who needed to better support their families, giving advice to young workers who needed help with budgeting and getting better living situations, building relationships amongst employees to better the work environment.  So, when he was called in and laid off due to company restructuring, it was quite the kick in the gut.  Now, we sit today, still dumbfounded trying to make sense of something that isn't going to make sense.  We are trying to determine if all God has given to us will now disappear or if God will do something miraculous and continue our vision forward.  We are to the point where THE only option is for God to come through.  I have cried to him for 24 hours now and laid my heart bare.  Michael is walking with such faith, that God brought us here and will NOT leave us stranded.  We literally are walking blind with what is next.  I have strong faith, but this...this is scary.

But the dive to the deep definitely makes you press into the arms of the Savior.  Not that we hadn't been in His presence already, but the deep, dark depths somehow make Him even more prevalent and real. And I'm happy to sit in the dark with His arms wrapped around me.  I'm happy to embrace this every time it happens to us.

Seven years ago, when Michael left the Air Force, we were unemployed for 6 months!  Dark, depths for 6 months.  But we never missed a house payment, we never went hungry, it was over Christmas and our kids still had gifts.  God showed up BIG time through the hands of fellow believers.  (If you want to read those AMAZING stories, go back to when I first started my blog in 2010).  Not sure why 7 years later we are here again.  But I know it is for God's glory and for our good.  And that's all that matters to me.  Seven is the biblical number for "completion". Not sure what we've completed, but I can't wait for God to reveal it!

This little story below "showed up" on my newsfeed 7 years ago during the exact same trial.  It was written by comedian Jon Acuff, whom I adore!   And of course, it showed up again today in my memory feed.  So, I wanted to share it today with all the "deja vu" that's going on in our life today!  :)

"A few months ago, my five year old, McRae told me, “The biggest number I know of is 26.” At the end of her understanding of numbers was the number 26. In her mind, that was really how big numbers come. If you wanted to describe how far the moon was from earth, probably about 26 miles. Want to say how long it felt to wait for Christmas to get here? It was like 26 minutes! Number of pieces of candy she estimates she got for Halloween? 26. It’s her biggest number. Until that is, I told her about 27. And blew her mind. 
She’s not great at “sizing” things. But that’s OK, she’s 5. She’s pretty sure fairies are real. She’s convinced every dog in the world would like to meet her. The other day at Costco she saw a man with a white beard and proceeded to yell to everyone in the store, “Santa is shopping here today! He. Is. Here. Today!!” That’s OK behavior for her. She’s just a kid. She’s little. 
But oddly enough, she’s not the only one who tends to get sizes all twisted. She’s not the only one who tends to “under size.” In fact, I think lot of us do that, especially when it comes to God. I learned this last year when the Stuff Christians Like community raised money to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. On a random Monday, I asked readers to help me raise $30,000 and that honestly made me nervous. It’s weird to ask for money. It changes your intimacy levels. It’s like actually holding hands during couples skate at Roller Kingdom in Hudson, Massachusetts. Sure, you might skate around in circles with Stacy Valentino listening to Bobby Brown’s “Tender Roni,” but holding hands is a whole nother level. (That example got really specific and 7th gradery.) But it’s true, asking for money is awkward, which is why pastors do the money disclaimer when they preach. They start their sermon by saying, “I never normally preach about money, I never preach about tithing, except today.” And that’s always the Sunday your neighbor or coworker finally agreed to come to church with you. Your friend always comes on the money Sunday or the day the mime group, “Gloves of Love” is there to perform. 
So I was anxious about asking for money. And I honestly thought it would take us 6 weeks to raise $30,000. But if you’ve read this site for a while, you know that was not the case. We raised all $30,000 in a matter of 18 hours. It took us less than a day to complete the entire campaign and I realized I had been like McRae with the number 26. 
Here’s what I essentially said to God before the project started: “God, you are massive. You are huge. You made the universe and created all space and time. You are without end! But, you are slightly less big than $30,000. You’re like a really solid $29,000 God. And that’s awesome. I mean that’s pretty good. I think you’re almost all powerful, you’re just not $30,000 powerful.” 
Have you ever done that? Have you ever been faced with what felt like an insurmountable challenge and in the midst of that, you’ve worshiped a really small God? Have you ever prayed something like: “God, you are gigantic. You rule the universe. You’re just not as big as my college application process. You are slightly too small to handle that.” 
Or “God, I love you. You are massive and supreme. You are huge, except you’re not big enough to handle my divorce. You are smaller than this experience.” 
Or “God, you are like the real He-Man, you are master of the universe! You are so big and so all knowing, except you probably don’t know how to handle my job search. You’re big, you’re just slightly tinier than my unemployment.” 
No one would actually prays those words, but that’s what flows from our heart when we allow doubt to set up shop. That’s how we live when we feel like we’ve got to force things to happen or they never will. That’s what happens when we under size God. The truth is, God is bigger than $30,000. God is bigger than a divorce. God is bigger than unemployment. God is bigger than a teen daughter who swears she doesn’t love you. God is bigger that money problems. God is bigger than our biggest dreams. 
And I thank God that he is. I think sometimes we want him to be pocket-sized and manageable. I’ve heard people say things like, “I want a God who can explain to me why bad things happen to good people.” I understand that frustration, I do, but here’s the thing. I don’t want a God who ever has to fit within my understanding. I don’t want a God who is limited by mind and my experiences. I want a big God. A God that spans generations and space and time. 
I don’t want a God who needs my approval or comprehension to do something big. This holiday season, as the birth of Christ is remembered, let’s celebrate our big God. Let’s honor a huge, wild, unable to be controlled by our small minds God. He’s bigger than that thing you worried about or dreamt about."



Monday, October 2, 2017

All the Way

It is never boring when you follow Christ.  Michael and I have learned this well, but now God is passing those lessons down to our children.  Alex is the recipient of this most recent lesson, and man, is she blessed!

Alex has been at Heritage High School for the past three years and was looking forward to completing her senior year at her beloved school with her friends.  She is a student who is loved by her teachers and other staff members; she is kind and loving to underclassmen even taking some under her wing to mentor them; she thrives in her choral program and is a blessing to her choir teacher keeping her classroom organized and working with younger singers to help teach them; she was about to launch into the theater program and get her feet wet in the world of drama.

But all this came to a screeching halt September 18th.  We had moved outside of Heritage's district, which is a highly coveted district in this area.  She was told she could stay for her senior year, but only if we paid tuition.  We were very willing to do so, but the cost would be $4500 and had to be paid in full that week.  Alex's principal and counselors fought for her in front of the school board and superintendent to allow us an extension to pay the exuberant fee, but they denied that request, so she had to leave her beloved school and all her hopes and dreams for her senior year behind.  It was kind of like running full force into a glass wall and hearing the glass shatter around you.  She was absolutely broken.

God, in His infinite wisdom and care for His children, was not caught by surprise at this turn of events.  Remember her last day was on September 18? Well, on September 19th was the mandatory meeting for seniors and their families to graduate with our Christian homeschool association, Lighthouse.  They were so full of grace to allow her in to graduate with them and made her instantly feel a part of their group. Perfect timing!

We have been focusing on all the good things about this transition, even though it wasn't her first choice.  God's ways are higher and better and He wants nothing but GOOD for us!  Even in the times when it doesn't feel so good.  Alex is finally at peace with the situation and knows it is all for God's glory, even though some days are still hard.  We are battling isolation at this point as she feels alone most days because she is a highly social person!  But her choral teacher has allowed her to come visit her frequently at school and is allowing her some benefits of still feeling a part of her choir program.

Through this trial, as He always does, God is drawing Alex closer and closer to Him.  In church a few weeks ago we sang an old hymn modernized by Chris Tomlin, "All the Way My Savior Leads". I watched Alex stand there with tears streaming down her face as she felt the absolute love of her Father in the words of that old hymn written by Fanny Crosby in 1875.  God's love reaches through the generations!

"All the way my savior leads me, what have I to ask beside?
How could I doubt his tender mercy?  Who through life has been my guide.
All the way my savior leads me, and cheers each winding path I tread?
Gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the living bread.
You lead me.  And keep me from falling.
You carry me close to your heart.
And surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me."  ~Chris Tomlin's version of the hymn

This song comes to mind almost daily as I pray for my daughter and for God to continue to work His goodness in her life.  A sweet friend of mine who frequently checks on Alex (even though she's never even met her) sent me a message today with the words of this hymn and told me to listen to it.
Now if that's not GOODNESS and MERCY then I don't know what is. God is real. God speaks when you open your heart to listen.  He cares about every little detail of our lives.

My daughter won't have the senior year she was anticipating, but God has something so much better in store for her.  I'm so excited that I have ringside seats this year to watch it unfold!  And as my small group leader Bill Lewis said in his teaching of Psalm 23...our sheepdogs, Goodness and Mercy, will be following us all the days of our lives.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Where to begin?!  It's gonna be long, so brace yourselves!

Seven years ago, the Corsar family embarked on a grand adventure. We laid everything down at the feet of Jesus and agreed to follow in obedience wherever He might lead.  Michael got out of the Air Force and God began doing the most amazing things.  Feel free to read blog post after blog post dating back to when it all began if you are not familiar with our journey.  I used to like to write these blogs to shock people and make them surprised at what God is capable of.  Now, it's pretty much just how it is, and it's the coolest thing ever, but I don't use it for shock value anymore.  I use it to glorify the greatness of our God!  Because everything is life is for His glory ALONE!

So you must understand first and foremost, this particular post is not to boast in any way about any Corsar.  It is to boast in the amazing love of a Father who likes to give good gifts to His children and Who blesses those who bless Him.

In 2013, God called Michael to "Go." That particular "go" meant go to seminary.  That was the original calling.  So, we dropped it all when He led us to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.  Of course, our human mindedness pops in and tries to figure out what God must have next for us.  "Well, if we are at seminary, it must mean he is to work in church ministry".  Nope. "Well, we are almost done with seminary, so we must need to start looking for jobs in other places because we are not FROM North Carolina, so surely God will move us closer to our family." Nope. The questions come in droves from everyone with human minds like us wanting to know the next step. "What are you going to do after you graduate?  A Masters of Divinity in Theology, what are you going to do with that?"

All those questions made us think we really needed to be "doing" something.  After God closed the door of church ministry on us, we still prayed for what was next.  That was when God led Michael to lead a company called Majestic Marble and Glass where he is literally thriving and using his God given gifts in the most amazing way!  He has found his ministry.

It was at this point we decided this must be where God is choosing to plant us for now. Making extra money, we figured we would move out of our tiny rent house and see what we could purchase.  I really didn't want to start looking at real estate because it really wears you out as there are SO many houses to choose from in this area.  Michael would look online every night and see if he could find any homes that stuck out to him. We had a budget of what we could afford, but he sometimes likes to look at what else is out there. So, before we got really serious into this home process, we prayed that if this was out of God's will, to immediately slam the doors shut in our face. And we meant hard...slam it hard...don't keep us wondering.

So, even though we had a budget, there was a super amazing house that caught Michael's eye and he called up our realtor and just asked if we could go look at it.  It was a custom built home with top of the line EVERYTHING in it.  It was valued at $500,000.  Totally out of our budget, but we thought it would just be fun to look at.

Now time for a side note: God has given us a strong desire for some sort of a "hospitality ministry". The details of that are not yet clear, but it would entail hosting students from Ukraine where Alex and Michael have a strong passion to serve, hosting missionaries on furlough from the mission field, hosting Seminary students who need a bed for a weekend class...the possibilities are endless.

As we were looking at this half a million dollar home, God flooded our minds with hospitality ideas. The basement is perfect, once finished, to make those ideas a reality. There was the most amazing peace while we literally drooled over the intricacies of this home. Alex and Evan immediately claimed their rooms, started talking about where they would put things, and from that point forward called it "our house". This was before Christmas and we were in NO rush to find a house through the holidays.

After Christmas, our realtor said the seller's realtor had been calling wanting to gauge our interest as we were the only people who had come to see the house that had been on the market for 60 days. At that point, we realized this was a possible open door, so we prayed heavily for God to slam it, and proceeded to walk through it.

A set of custom homes by an amazing builder had been built on a golf course. After about 14 of those homes were built, the builder pulled out and a "not-as-amazing builder" came in and bought the subdivision building homes that were non comparable. Due to this unfortunate practice, the prices of the custom homes were not able to hold their value.  Therefore, this $500,000 home was being sold for $400,000. Well, unfortunately $400,000 is still out of our price range, so we considered this a closed door.  Our realtor encouraged us to offer what we could and see if they would take it. So we prayerfully offered our absolute top dollar of $350,000.





And guess what?!  They accepted it!

They accepted it, y'all!!  If I could post a picture of our absolute STUNNED faces, I would. 

God has since placed a retired carpenter in our paths who is dying to help us finish the basement so our ministry can begin! If that doesn't tell you God is good, then I don't know what would get through to you.

Now...God is not good because He gave us a $500,000 home for a fraction of the cost.  God is good simply because He is good.  His Goodness comes in many ways! He has been good to us even when we couldn't afford to put food on the table. He has been good to us when our power got shut off a few years ago.  He has been good when my husband with a Masters degree was washing windows and selling mattresses to support his family. He has been good in putting Michael in the career path He had chosen for him before we even knew we would come to NC. He has been good even when we were doing what we thought He wanted us to do. We are living in the blessings of obedience. My small home was a blessing and will still be a blessing, but now my larger home can help us to bless others as well!

Michael, Becky, Alex and Evan have done NOTHING to deserve this blessing.  This is NOTHING of us. We are simply following orders and walking on the path God has set before us.

I told you it would be long, but that's about it. We started our journey, which has been a trial period, in February 2010. Seven years later (a number of completion) on March 1, 2017, we truly feel redeemed.  We feel we've "passed" and maybe have reached the Summit. There is even a crazy rain storm headed this way which symbolizes renewal and rebirth, according to my literature loving daughter. The lesson has been the journey, but now we are super excited to see where this particular path will lead!

Thanks for traveling with us!




Thursday, December 8, 2016

Where we are. 2016 Edition.

2016 has been a whirlwind year!  Here on the east coast we are prevalent to hurricanes, so maybe it's been more like being in a hurricane than a whirlwind...but nonetheless.

Year 3 of seminary. Michael will be done either Spring of 2017 or will slow roll a few more classes until December of 2017. He's not in a rush, just obediently wants to finish. God called him to "go to school." That was the extent of the call. We have been listening, cleaning our ears out when we think maybe we've gone deaf, seeking, searching for God's call for the 3 years we've been here.  But every time the answer is just "go and stay focused on school." Michael will tell you that he's learned more about God in these 3 years than in his whole life combined. And not just book learning in classrooms at seminary, but learning through living a life walking in obedience will teach you a thing or two about your Savior as well.

We've learned that theology is hard. There are some hard truths that are just that....hard. Living for God is not easy, either. Sometimes people haven't understood why we would "choose" to live this way. Sacrificing, being uncomfortable, laying down that stubborn pride, putting God over things in life that would be much more fun or socially acceptable. We live in a really small house because we can afford it, we have at times lived on only pasta and PB &J, we've had to rely on our parents and others to help us with certain financial needs, we've had our power shut off (though only briefly as the paycheck came as soon as the power got shut off), Michael has worked some extremely odd jobs to make ends meet, we've had some hard trials to muddle through.

Michael has worked at our church for 2 of the 3 years we've lived in NC. God recently made it clear that wasn't where we were supposed to be right now. "Go to school" was the original call. We always try to step in and make things happen because we "think" that's what God is wanting. Instead of waiting patiently for Him to reveal it to us. So Michael stepped back from ministry in that venue to focus on school. Scary time for us because we have bills to pay. But, obedience.

(Okay, put on your seatbelt because this is where the hurricane starts sweeping us away! )...

Michael calls up a godly man in our small group named Danny.  He just wants to talk to Danny and glean wisdom on how to deal with the way things are going in our life.  They meet for chips and sweet tea at Moes. Danny asks Michael about past experiences he has in the work force, the Air Force, education, etc. As they are talking, Danny pulls out his phone and starts texting. "Man, that's rude" Michael thought, but "hey, he's a busy guy". After a few minutes of texting in between talking, Danny asks Michael if he's free for an interview the next day. Danny had been texting his business partner to tell him God has answered their prayers. Danny goes on to tell Michael that his company, Majestic Marble and Glass, has been looking for a guy with Michael's EXACT qualifications to lead a division in their company through structural and process change. (Michael has a Masters degree in Operations Management from University of Arkansas, by the way, which was what launched him into the Air Force before his call to ministry) They haven't only been "looking" for this perfect guy, they've been earnestly praying for God to bring this guy to them. Michael reiterates that he's finishing up seminary and that has to be his first priority right now, which Danny wholeheartedly agrees to. "You can work for me in between classes and just do your job when it is best suits your schedule."

Interview goes great, he's hired on the spot making double what he had been making the 3 years we've been in NC. A little room to wiggle and breathe and get out of these life preservers that's just keeping our heads above water?! WHY, YES! The timing of the pay increase went along perfectly with some other things God has placed on our hearts to start looking into. God's provisions for ministry that He has placed on our hearts. As my cousin, Schanon, once said, "If something is God's will, then it's also His bill."

Michael has now been working at Majestic Marble and Glass for the past few months. He loves everyone he works with and they all absolutely love him back. He is a gifted leader and he is leading well.  His job was to find waste in the company and scale that back so overhead wasn't so high. He was able to find hundreds of thousands of dollars being wasted that he saved the company. Michael is also a relationship guy and loves people deeply. His love is across the board for the lowest paid employee to the highest. Now he's doing ministry in a whole new way! The owner of this division has a son who has grown to dearly love Michael like a brother. Within the past few weeks, the owner has been talking with Michael about taking over this division of the company. He had been praying for a man of God to walk alongside his son to mentor him in the business world, help him with relationships, and teach him to be a good leader. The son will own the business, but Michael will run it and work alongside the son to teach him and mentor him. This has now raised his income to over three times what we started off with when we moved to seminary.

Money is now available to us to help those in need who God shows us to help, to go on mission, to finish paying for school because his GI bill runs out after this semester, to give, and to start putting away for the ministry that God has laid on our hearts. After years of having little, God has blessed us with more than we deserve.

My small group leader said in class last week, "God doesn't always pull us out of the water and the waves, sometimes He just swims alongside us." We have been swimming with God and His presence since we started this journey of obedience in 2010. For the time being, He has pulled us out of the waves, but we are fully prepared to go back in at any time that He wants us to.

If you know the Corsars, you know I do not write this blog to brag. That is the farthest notion. I write it to show the goodness of our God...in want and in plenty. The faithfulness of God...in trial or ease. The provisions of God. The legacy of the family I was born into is Jehovah Jireh, the God Who Provides, and He has shown Himself to be that to our family time and time again.

This portion of our journey is one I am SO excited to start. We thought we'd soon be leaving Raleigh, NC, but it looks like we'll be staying for a while. God has work for us to do on His earth right here for now. And our heart for Ukraine has been pricked, so we are excited to see what God does with that!  So many doors are being propped open for us to walk through.

"Go to school. Learn obedience. Walk with God." That's where we are. We cherish everyone who has supported us, prayed for us, listened to us, and disciplined us. The family of God is GREAT!


"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He cares about every little detail of their lives." 
~Psalm 37:23

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Edge of 17

This girl. I love snapping candid photos of her when she can't be "posed". To me, it shows her absolute, natural beauty.

I was picking her up from McDonald's after her school's homecoming dance. She and her date had danced until they were exhausted and had walked over to McDonald's to get fries and milkshakes and rest their tired feet. Her sparkly high heels are a signature Alex piece, but may not be great dancing shoes.  :)

I text her to tell her I'm here to pick them up.  Her boyfriend goes in to the bathroom so she's standing there waiting for him when I pull into a parking spot.  It was at this exact moment, the song by Big Daddy Weave "My Story" begins to play. As I watch her sweet innocence standing there listening to these lyrics, tears begin to flow down my cheeks.

This girl, in her sparkly pink dress holding her sparkly, glittery high heels...is a warrior. She's been through so much and had so many things knock the wind out of her, but she gets up gracefully each time, learns a hard, life lesson, straightens her crown and moves forward. In her life, things don't come easily for her. It's her story to tell, and I've shared it on my blog in the past. The things she's overcome in the past 3 years have been truly inspiring and amazing.

So as I hear the words of the song play, "If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn't let go. You would hear love that never gave up." The story you would hear is the story of how Jesus chose her, saved her, pulled her from the pit, set her feet on steady ground. And what a story it is! My favorite line as I sat there watching her was "If I told you my story, you would hear victory over the enemy. You would hear life overcome the grave!" AND WHERE MERCY WINS.

She's a warrior because she is winning her battle. Mercy has won.

She turns 17 this weekend. Her life is an absolute light in darkness. She has learned to trust God even when He makes no sense. No one can ever believe she's only 17 because of her maturity. I can't even express in mere words how proud I am of her. As amazing as she is, she has never won a Student of the Month award. As amazing a singer as she is, she rarely gets chosen and she waits patiently in the wings for God to give her a platform for her gift. But grace and mercy win. Her character matters more than any awards or auditions.

Happy Birthday, my sparkly, glittery warrior. I sit in awe of you. And I want to be like you when I grow up.