For My Mom on Her Birthday

Today is my mother’s birthday. I haven’t written in a while but today I felt impressed to honor my mom here. Something about this year,… Maybe it’s the loss we’ve experienced and watched others experience. Maybe it’s being on the heals of Christmas when we reflect on the greatest Gift ever given. I just want to express how grateful to God I am for my mom.

I have always gotten really choked up when I listen to Taylor Swift’s song Best Day. My secrets out, I do enjoy listening to Taylor from time to time. I was playing it this morning and even though her story and relationship with her mom is different than mine, in this song she encapsulates the mother/daughter bond in a really sweet way. She communicates how much she looks up to her mom, how her mom has always been there for her, and how beautiful and strong her mother is. I would say the same of my mom on all those points. I don’t know if Taylor’s mom knows Jesus but my mom does and that makes each of those points all the more meaningful and beautiful.

Being the only girl and the youngest my mom really doted on me. She might even say too much, but I’ve always felt loved, cherished and adored in healthy proportions. And now as an adult I’m very aware of my mother’s unconditional love for me. This year in particular, in the wake of losing our baby my mom has been there for me in all the ways I’ve needed and at times when no one else could know I was in need. The Holy Spirit works through her to lift my eyes to Him. She’s one of the very few that sees my deep, dark, ugly places and she graciously, tenderly, gets my gaze back on Christ. She doesn’t just tell me what I want to hear, or what will make me feel better. She is honest, she speaks Biblical truth when I need it,….which is all the time. Her love helps me understand Christ’s love.

I look up to my mom more than any other woman in the world. And I know that my even being able to say that is a gift from God; A great testimony of his goodness and graciousness in my life. I could probably write a book on all the ways her life has positively impacted mine but I want to hone in on one thing.

My mom loves Jesus SO much. We all know that there are, actually, a lot of people that say they love Jesus. But very few people love Jesus so much that it changes their whole life. Jesus has changed my mom’s life and she is unashamed to live it for Him and His glory alone. Her love for Christ affects her marriage. My mom has shown me that a deep, lasting, Christ exalting marriage comes from abiding in Christ. It comes from living out truths like 1 Corinthians 13 and Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition….in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” She’s shown me that the best thing we can give to our children is not only the knowledge of Gods great love for us but a life lived in response to God’s great love. My parents are 62 years old. To God be the glory, my dad has a thriving ministry at a local church and my mom recently “retired” from the orthodontics field. They could easily coast through the rest of their life as empty nesters, enjoying the fruit of their early labor. But instead of slowing down in this race they are picking up the pace, running harder. Recently they have responded to the call of caring for orphans and became foster parents. And it’s not duty for them, its delight. Of course it’s hard, but my mom shows me every day that even in the hard, when we obey God’s Word, and live sacrificially for others, we “count it all joy”. My mom’s joy and her example make me want to know and love Jesus even deeper. Oh how I pray my children say the same for me one day.

And this is the thing that makes my mom’s example so powerful, so Christ exalting. She doesn’t just talk about her love for Jesus, she lives it. When she’s encouraging me and speaking the truth of His Word, I don’t just acknowledge it and quickly forget it. I hear it and I want to live it, because she is living it. I see her joy in Christ and her joy in sacrificial love for others and I want to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” with her. My mom gets Hebrews 12….. “fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the CROSS….”  She gets Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And I am ETERNALLY grateful for this.

Mom, your godly example to me is truly priceless. There is nothing on earth that can measure the value of the spiritual inheritance that you have passed on to me. I love you so much, I still want to be you when I grow up 😉 and wish you the happiest birthday.


Micaila is 10!

We have a ten year old in the house! Our sweet eldest daughter is a decade old. I still vividly remember bringing her home. Wrapped up in a pink, princess labeled outfit that swallowed all seven pounds of her, with most of her weight being in that head of hair.

Now she is a kind, smart, and beautiful young lady.

She drives this John Deere daily to deliver hay to Duet.

This past year we watched her mature, grow, and blossom in countless ways. I would like to highlight one.

Micaila made a profession of faith just before Thanksgiving. This thrills us to no end. Jason and I desire our children to have relationship with Jesus Christ but we’ve never tried to coerce them into making a disingenuous decision. We pray that as the Spirit draws them in they would respond, but we want their confession to be authentic. I believe when Micaila told me that she trusts Jesus and wants to be His disciple, following Him wherever He leads, she meant it. I have already seen evidence of her faith in many ways. I can’t wait to see how God uses her strengths (and weaknesses) for His purposes.

The ten year mark is a huge milestone. Lord willing we will have many more, and I know there will be ups and downs as we enter this prepubescent roller coaster. Having said that, Micaila is truly a delightful daughter. I am thankful for the privilege of being her mother. And I am thankful to know she is a daughter of the King.

Happy 10th Micaila! We love you more than words can express.

For Micaila’s 8th Birthday

My sweet Micaila Elise,
We are a few hours short of the moment 8 years ago when you made my lifelong dream of becoming a mommy come true. We have pretty much had all our parenting firsts with you. We said “I love you sweet girl” to you first. We heard you tell us “I love you mommy” and “I love you daddy” first. We experienced the developmental stages from baby, to toddler, to little girl, to now young lady. We had many laughs as you learned how to walk, talk, dance, and play. I’ll never forget your first favorite book that you would “read” to us from memory, Mice are Nice! Or you running around at 2 years old singing “Racing day it’s racing day!” from your favorite show, the Backyardigans. God chose to make you our first born child. This is a high calling with great privilege and responsibility and he chose you, my dear daughter, for this role. We can see very clearly why. God made you a natural born leader but also poured in you an extra helping of nurturer. When you aren’t pestering your siblings with childlike antics you are tender, patient, generous, and compassionate. You are so very helpful with all the little ones in our life. You are playful like your daddy. You take time to teach and guide the people around you. This is an excellent quality to have. Not only do you have an excellent character but you are smart, athletic, strong, and beautiful. I pray you will allow God to cultivate and grow your gifting’s for the glory of His Name. I pray you would protect your mind from the worlds influence and allow Jesus to shape you, your beliefs, and your choices. I pray you would see all God has generously entrusted to you for what they are; His. Just as he has entrusted you to us, yet ultimately, you are His. All that we are and all that we have come from God. I pray you would understand how much he loves you and one day you would choose to completely trust in Him with every fiber of your being. Your daddy and I love you so much, which is why we pray you would grasp God’s great love for you and embrace how he wants to use you in His story. I know you are still so young but I see in you a maturity beyond your years. One evening recently, after spending time in God’s Word, we had a conversation where you admitted your awareness of the sin nature we are born with. You recognized the difficulty in resisting sin and the desire to “cling to what is good”. You are a critical and deep thinker. 🙂 You also have an excellent memory and a knack for being insightful. God wants to use all your gifts to bring people into relationship with him. Make it your ambition in life, not to be the best or most popular or the winner, but in all humility before God to be used by Him in whatever capacity he sees fitting. I hope you know how proud you make us. I hope you know that there is nothing that will ever take our love for you away. Daddy and I are not perfect parents but we serve the perfect Parent, God, and he teaches and guides us in loving you.

Micaila, We pray that God would do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine in you. (Ephesians 3:20) That he would equip you with everything good for doing His will. (Hebrews 13:21) And that He would enlighten the eyes of your heart that you would know the hope to which He has called you. (Ephesians 1:18) We pray out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And we pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:17-18)

You are cherished and loved. Happy 8th Birthday sweet girl!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_5134

Ryann is 6 :)

20140814-090841-32921814.jpgToday is Ryanns birthday and she is now 6 years old.

Ryann you have always been our smiley girl. You were graced with an extra amount of sweetness and charm. Those qualities were also a blessing to me and made transitioning to 2 children a little bit smoother. Since you and your sister were only 18 months apart, you developed a “go with the flow” personality pretty early on. Example: your ability to sleep anywhere, anytime, any cock eyed position, has been a defining quality of yours that we still smile about to this day. Weening your big sis off her paci required we take yours as well. It was no big deal to you, that just meant you could smile more and talk sooner! Which neither of these two have you stopped doing since. Talking, smiling, SINGING, and giggling. You are such a silly girl! Sometimes I have to be intentional at enjoying your silly-ness. Often I have to pause the serious tone I tend to take on life and just get silly. This is such a good thing and I am so glad you bring me to silly places with you. You love to draw. Have for awhile now. And you are getting so good at it too! You love all our new animals including and especially your little hen Chippy. You are a wonderful and thoughtful sister. When we are out just the two of us you always are considerate of Micaila and bringing her home something special. During the summer time you would wake up before everyone and go get Caleb out of bed. Then you would come down and make the two of you toaster waffles with out any help from anyone. You are (not perfectly) but usually very patient with Caleb, playing with him, helping him, and teaching him new things. I admire both you and your big sisters’ responsibility so much. On the other hand it is crazy how mature you are becoming. I am so grateful for every year God has given us with you. I pray that all these sweet qualities you possess would flourish as you grow and I pray you would learn early that God wants to use both your strengths and weaknesses to bring you close to him. Ryann I hope you will channel all the unique God given traits of yours into places and purposes that honor Him. I hope you will always remain true to how God designed you, his will for you, and that your deepest desire would be to know God, to love him, and glorify Him with your whole life.

I started singing this song to you before bed and it’s become a favorite. I hope you will cling to these scripture inspired lyrics through out your life.

We set our hope on You
we set our hope on Your love
we set our hope on the One
Who is the everlasting God
You are the everlasting God

We love you so much! Happy 6th Birthday Ryann!