special families and “the church”

I’ve written before about my frustrations with “The Church” and it’s relationship with families that have children with special needs.  I’m not posting the links to those posts in this one because I included some raw emotions and I don’t want this to be a “bash the church” post.  Fact is: I LOVE THE CHURCH!  I love church.  I love communal worship.  I love a great sermon.  I love belonging to a group of people who share pain, victories, defeats, and faith.  I believe Proverbs 27:17 to be true.  We NEED to be surrounded by people who share our faith in order to grow!

All that being said, I do believe The Church (as a whole) has a loooong way to go in the way it cares for families in crisis.  I believe that if we as Christians are going to protest abortion, we need to support adoption and we need to support adoptive families after the fact.

Without saying anything more, I ask that you click this link and read what my friend Tara has to say on the matter.

fire is hot.

kacinpoint:

I’m in the process of writing a new post that won’t make much sense if you haven’t read this one. So read. And be blessed.

Originally posted on Waving a White Flag:

When my kids were little, during bedtime roundup, I would often say, “Shadrach, Meshach, and ToBedYouGo!” It’s a cute saying.  But after spending some time in the footsteps of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I no longer use it lightheartedly. Those boys walked through fire. They may not have been burned when they came out and God may have been right there in the fire with them, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t experience the heat while they were in the furnace.

December 5, 2011 my husband returned to his job at the Pentagon after two weeks of leave. At the time he worked in a secure location where cell phones had to be left outside. An hour after leaving home he called me from his cell phone. I answered with a joking, “Why aren’t you at work?” Him – “I was fired.” Me – “Yeah, right. They can’t fire you…

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and it keeps getting better…

miracle-jar-cancer-freeOn top of basking in all the goodness of my hubby being exonerated and God giving our family a little time in paradise, we have something big to celebrate.  Five years ago today I received a phone call from my doctor that changed everything.  That phone call played a huge role in our faith that God would deliver on His promises during the last thirty months.  My doctor called to say that although she could not explain it, I was (still am) cancer-free.  Happy C-Free Day to me!!

I wrote a post a couple years ago about what cancer taught me.  I could probably add to this list, but the beach is calling my name. :)

Originally published June 18, 2012.

June 18, 2009 I paced my kitchen and wiped up every single fingerprint and crumb I could find.  Willing the phone to ring.  Willing the phone to ring.  Why wouldn’t the phone just ring?!?!

The call I was waiting on was one of those fork in the road calls.  After two years of living with thyroid cancer, I was about to find out if my summer would be spent undergoing surgery plus more radiation and isolation, or celebrating freedom from the big “C”.  The phone finally rang and the doctor said something like, “I can’t explain it, but you’re cancer-free.”  God will always get the glory for that moment.  I was healed.  I am healed.  I am cancer-free.

Since that summer day in 2009, I have had the opportunity to share what I learned on my cancer journey with a few other people battling it themselves.  The first thing I always say to someone recently diagnosed with cancer is this… If cancer doesn’t change your life for the better, it was a waste.  Hearing that I was cancer-free was a defining moment.  Hearing that I had cancer was a refining moment.  That’s what cancer should always be.  It should refine you.  For me, the physical healing that was confirmed on June 18th was simply a reflection of the spiritual and emotional healing that had taken place over the two years between my diagnosis and that phone call.  God used cancer to clean out my junk.  He took away layer after layer of scars and wounds until I was something worthy of being used by Him.  And then He set me on fire for purpose.  I don’t want to ever again lay my head on my pillow and wonder what my purpose was for the day I just lived.  Be it parenting, loving my husband, writing, cooking dinner, or weeding my garden, I want to live a life of purpose.

Now… all that gooey life-changing for the better stuff aside.  Here are a few unexpected bits of wisdom that came with thyroid cancer.

1. radiation + sunshine = instant age spots

2. iodine is in almost everything you eat (thanks to the 3-week low-iodine diet required before my annual scans)

3. What I once thought was my highest weight… Not even close!

4. I now know the exact weight when my muffin-top appears.

5. I now know the exact weight when my bought and paid for chest is a size bigger than I bought and paid for…. And two sizes bigger.

6. In the absence of a thyroid, without synthroid, it is actually possible to gain a pound a day while eating absolutely nothing.

7. The rut left in your neck when your thyroid is removed can actually help disguise all the weight gain mentioned above.

8. Every dentist office has a thyroid guard that can be used to protect your thyroid during x-rays.  Yet…not a single dentist I know of actually asks if you would like them to use it. ~ Soapbox moment: Federal law only requires dentists to have a thyroid guard in the office. There is no law requiring that it be used.  Helloooo?!?!

9. Once you’re placed in the cancer corral, you will forever hear a little voice suggesting that every ache or pain or odd feeling just might be….

10. There’s a lot of other really awesome people in the cancer corral that I may have missed out on if I had never been placed there myself.

So… what are your defining/refining moments?

fire is hot.

When my kids were little, during bedtime roundup, I would often say, “Shadrach, Meshach, and ToBedYouGo!” It’s a cute saying.  But after spending some time in the footsteps of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I no longer use it lightheartedly. Those boys walked through fire. They may not have been burned when they came out and God may have been right there in the fire with them, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t experience the heat while they were in the furnace.

December 5, 2011 my husband returned to his job at the Pentagon after two weeks of leave. At the time he worked in a secure location where cell phones had to be left outside. An hour after leaving home he called me from his cell phone. I answered with a joking, “Why aren’t you at work?” Him – “I was fired.” Me – “Yeah, right. They can’t fire you. You’re an active duty Army officer.” Him – “I’m not joking.” He wasn’t.

For thirty months we scratched our heads, lost our minds, and came to the end of ourselves. We were thrown in a furnace and it was hot. onfire

My husband went to military school at age 14. He went to military college. He went straight from college to active duty and has worn a uniform to work every day since the summer of 1994. What started in him on December 5, 2011 was the extreme version of an identity crisis. Wives, if your hubby is in the middle of losing his identity, don’t get excited and tell him that you can’t wait for God to redefine him. Just don’t. Trust me.

What started in me that day was a different kind of crisis. Although he had been escorted from the Pentagon and had all of his keys and badges taken away, he was not told what he was accused of or who had done the accusing. The only information he was given was that he had indeed been accused of something and that he was under criminal investigation.

My crisis went the way of a writer’s imagination. My husband loves right and hates wrong. There is no gray in his world. He was working as the acquisitions adviser to the Army’s director of intelligence. The intelligence world and the government acquisitions world operate in the gray. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is what it is. My very black and white husband made quick enemies in that position and there were people who had much to gain financially by getting him (and his very loud Italian mouth) out of the office. So began my crisis.

In the first few months I wrote things in my journal like, “God, what are we going to do if he goes to prison?” I planned out what I would take with me if someone showed up and whisked us off to witness protection. I made sure our extended family knows that they are loved just in case we disappeared. I FREAKED OUT.

When the crises eased somewhat, depression set in. We stopped doing much or interacting with many people. We weren’t sure who we could trust and we didn’t feel free to share our situation with many people. So there we were. Together. All the time. Depressed. With little hope that anything would ever be okay again. We sat on the couch. We ate too much. We watched too much tv.

I used to think my love language was quality time. I was wrong. We’ve been together almost every minute, of every day, for THIRTY MONTHS. Any married person out there who thinks they want to spend every minute of every day with your spouse, you may be right. But I would not suggest that you initiate all that togetherness in the middle of a very hot furnace. When one of you is dealing with losing an identity that you have physically worn every day since you were fourteen years old and the other is freaking out over all the possibilities at the end of a criminal investigation, things can get downright ugly.

Somewhere around the twenty-month mark we received news that the investigation had been transferred from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to the Justice Department. As my husband freaked out internally and tried to keep me calm, well, I just freaked out. I’m not saying I actually did this, but I’ve heard of a woman who looked up what federal prison her husband would go to if he were to be convicted of a civilian crime by the US Department of Justice. I also heard that she calculated the distance to said prison from her home. And then looked at possible housing around said prison just in case she needed to move the kids there so that they could visit their Daddy in jail. Can you imagine? That woman must’ve had zero faith in the American justice system.

The same day that we hit the two-year mark (December 5, 2013), I received an email from an organization that provides therapeutic retreats for military families. We were chosen for one of their retreats in 2009, but we were unable to go because my hubby could not get the time off. When I opened the email, I cried. I had honestly forgotten all about the retreat, and I could not believe that God was giving us such an amazing gift at a time when we were so desperate for a little bit of hope. The icing on the getaway cake was that the organization providing the retreat was also offering to sponsor our travel to and from Colorado. And… they agreed to fly us out a few days before the retreat so that we could spend some time with my husband’s family. He grew up in Denver and many of his family members there have never met Sofija. For the first time, in a long time, we had something big to look forward to.

We planned our entire summer around the trip. Our teenagers found jobs that would allow them to take ten days off in June and we filled out the paperwork to withdraw Sofija from school a week before the end of the school year. The behavioral therapist that works with both of our stimmers began preparing them for flying and horseback riding. All the while, communication with the retreat organization was sporadic and giving me doubts as to whether or not it would actually happen.

Eleven days before we were scheduled to fly out, my husband was alone in a rental house we own in Columbus, Georgia. While waiting on contractors to prepare the house for sale, he received a phone call from an angel at the Army Inspector General’s office. He was calling to say that the Justice Dept. had found “no evidence to substantiate the accusations made against him”. No charges would be filed. All would be restored. He would walk out of the fire unscathed.

The next morning I received an email from the retreat organization saying that someone was calling that day to finalize our travel arrangements. God’s timing is so frickin’ unbelievable.

But… that phone call never came. For the next week none of our phone calls or emails were returned. Two days before we were scheduled to travel we received a phone call from the founder of the organization. They screwed up. Someone/multiple people dropped the ball. The retreat was overbooked and they had no space for our family.

For four days we processed our emotions. Processing emotions for us looks a lot like exchanging nasty email and phone calls with the people who dropped the ball. It wasn’t pretty, but we’re human. After being told that they were trying to “make it right”, I sent a message that simply said, “The only way to make this right is to honor your word. We have two teenagers who planned their entire summer around this trip, two children with autism who keep asking why we didn’t get on a plane and go to Colorado, and military leave that cannot be restored.” The recipient of that message responded with six round-trip tickets anywhere that JetBlue flies. An hour later, we had flights booked to one of the few places that had six seats open on the same day… Puerto Rico.

So here we sit, 35,000 feet above the Atlantic ocean, marveling over the fact that God truly does restore all that is lost.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire, King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished to see that they were not burned. He had asked his groupies to make the fire three times as hot as it’s normal heat and then watched those groupies burn up in the process of throwing the boys in the furnace. He also witnessed that although only three people were thrown into the fire, there were four in the furnace. When the boys stepped out, King Neb proclaimed that their God was indeed the one true God. He promoted them and gave orders that they should be exalted. God had taken what was intended for their destruction and used it for their increase. He did the same with Job. And the same with Joseph. For thirty months, when we weren’t in crisis or depressed, we’ve claimed that this was my husband’s Joseph season. That all that was lost would be restored in multiplicity. That someday he would have the chance to bless his military brothers who set out to destroy him.

We are out of the fire. We are not burned. God was ALWAYS with us, especially in the ugly. We are ridiculously excited about the future. If God could replace our lost retreat with a week in paradise, He must certainly have an A-MA-ZING plan for my husband’s career.

To each and every person that has stood by us and prayed for us and drug us off the couch and spoke hard truth to us, thanks isn’t a big enough word. I’m not certain that I/he/we would have survived this journey without God using you in our lives.

Now for a little time in paradise. :) flamenco-beach

 

 

 

 

Monday Mayhem

may·hem

noun

1.  Law. the crime of willfully inflicting a bodily injury on another so as to make the victim less capable of self-defense or, under modern statutes, so as to cripple or mutilate the victim.
2.  random or deliberate violence or damage.
3.  a state of rowdy disorder:

See that third definition?  The one in bold print?  Yeah, I’ve got a lot little of THAT going on mentally today.  It’s not yet 11am and I have already started and walked away from at least ten different tasks.  While loading the dishwasher I noticed a dish towel that needed to go to the laundry room.  Tossing the towel in the laundry room I realized I had not yet folded the clothes I dried last night.  Attempting to clean my bathroom I picked up a pair of yoga pants.  After putting away the yoga pants I spotted the basket of clean laundry at the foot of my bed.  Before I could empty the basket I realized that Seth only had an hour before his BCBA arrived and I needed to get him to knock out an exam.
So….  Half of my dishes are in the dishwasher.  Half the clean clothes are folded.  My bathroom is not quite half clean and there is a half-empty basket of laundry at the foot of my bed.  Get the picture?
My counselor said I may be ADHD.  I don’t think she knows what she’s talking about.
In the midst of half-completing my to-do list, I’ve also had some heavy things occupying space in my mind.  So many people I care about are walking through hard things.  So many are feeling a little forgotten by God …
While wrestling with my own God-abandonment, I ran into a local Christian bookstore that was going out of business.  The place was a mess and I didn’t feel like digging so I just grabbed a couple of things that were on top of piles and left.  One of those things was a new phone case that says, “Blessed”.  As I was putting the case on my phone I spotted the fine print….
photo(21)Luke 1:45 “You are blessed because you believed that God would do what he said.”
One of the other things I grabbed off the top of a pile…
IMG_2565.JPGTruth:
I may have trouble conquering my to-do lists, but God never has trouble conquering His.
Truth:
Just by believing that God will do what He says, we are blessed.
Truth:
I may be just a little ADHD.

the bitter, the sweet, the laughter…

Warning: This post contains bad words.  If you’re easily offended, please stop reading NOW.

I lost my Mother in 2007.  Every Mother’s Day since has brought with it a mixed bag of emotions.  If you haven’t read that post, click the link and read it.  It’s good.

This year is not different.  I WANT to feel nothing but joy on this day.  I WANT to spend every single second of the day embracing the joys of mothering the children I get to spend my day with. I want to sing and dance and skip down the street over the fact that my children signed me up for a writer’s retreat (that will give me a few days off from mothering-Yippee!)  at God’s Whisper Farm.  But my wants have learned to walk alongside my grief.

Immediately upon waking this morning I shed tears for the woman on the other side of the world who gave birth to the precious girl I get to mother.  Our baby girl walked into our room this morning and yelled out,  “Happy Birth…  Mother’s Day!”  Yes, Baby Girl.  I also hope your birth mother is having a happy day.

At brunch I looked around and shed a few more tears over the little old ladies that my mother would never be.  Never growing old is truly a tragedy.

And after the little old ladies, I choked back a few more tears as I thought of my firstborn who is away at college.  And then my two babies who never made it into this world.  I miss them.

And then, laughter.

Our dear, dear Seth rode to church and to brunch with our friend Kim.  Seth is thirteen, has high-functioning autism, is home-schooled, and has a penchant for using new vocabulary inappropriately.  While stopped at a gas station, he looked over and saw two guys with long hair and said, “What a bunch of pussies!”  Kim asked him if he thought that was appropriate and he said, “Well, if they’re going to dress like that they should know people are going to call them pussies.”  After Kim shared with us and before I could explain to him what that word means and how inappropriate it is to use, our seventeen year old realized that he was scraping a spot off of his shirt and said, “Oh, gosh.  Our whole family really is a bit autistic.”  To which Seth added, “Yeah, we’re all just a bunch of pricks.”

I explained what the words meant.

He nearly died of embarrassment over the discussion of anatomy.

We all laughed.  Really hard.

Today is bitter.  It is sweet.  And by the grace of God, it is filled with laughter.

P.S.  We’re looking for a new vocabulary teacher at the Calvaresi Academy.  If interested, please apply in comments. ;)

 

 

the most bitter-sweet of days…

Originally posted on Waving a White Flag:

Throughout the evening the words, “This has been my favorite Mother’s Day.” have escaped my lips more than once.  As I speak those words, they are true.  In between the times they’ve been spoken, this has been my most painful Mother’s Day.

me and my Mommy

This is my 7th Mother’s Day without a mother.  The pain has come in waves.  I look at pictures of my Mom and listen to recordings of her voice, but the teasers are not enough.  I long to feel her arms wrapped around me.  To feel her cheek pressed against my own.  To feel the warmth of her breath and to inhale her scent.  I want to hold her hands and look into her eyes and thank her for all the things she did right.  Thank you, Suzi, for the voice in my head.  Thank you for blue-green eyes, the no-gray-hair gene, and mad cooking skills.  Thank…

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four years

IMG_4017This picture was taken four years ago while we sat in an office in Belgrade, Serbia waiting for a birth certificate to be printed stating that Chad and I were the parents of a little girl named Sofija.  It was not a great day.  Some people have big elaborate ceremonies or fancy days in court to mark the adoption of their new child.  This was not the case for us.  We sat in a room at a social worker’s office, signed a piece of paper, hopped in a taxi, and spent the remainder of the day chasing paper and trying to control a little girl that was dang-near feral.  We got our butts kicked that day.  Strangers on the street got their butts kicked (and ankles bitten) that day.  All the butt-kicking aside, she was ours.  On April 27, 2010, Sofija became a Calvaresi.

I’ve written a lot about how hard the journey of mothering her has been/still is.  I share the hard part, because I think it’s really important for people to know the truth.  I also think it’s really important for those involved with orphan care to grasp how crucial it is for a child to be nurtured from the day they are born.  Neglect damages children.  Period.

In Kaci’s perfect world, there would be no need for orphanages; Every child would have a family (birth, foster, adoptive)  to love them and meet their needs from the moment they enter this world.  Love is a basic human need and a basic human right.  Every human needs love as much as they need food, water, and rest.  It breaks me to think about the fact that my child lived without love for so long.

Not.  Any.  More.

photo(18)You see that smile?  That’s the smile of a little girl who knows the love of a family.  That’s the smile of a little girl who knows what it means to have a Mama and a Tata.  She is legitimate.  She is loved.  She is ours.  And we wouldn’t trade her for any other dang-near feral girl in the world.

Baby Girl, we gotcha and we will never stop fighting for you to be all that God created you to be.

 

on life support…

life_support_heart_and_lung_machine

I promise I don’t get all my definitions and explanations from Wikipedia.  However, I do like their definition of life support.

Life support refers to the emergency treatments and techniques performed in an emergency situation in order to support life after the failure of one or more vital organs.”

Today is a good day.  It’s the day I get connected to life support.

I’m not talking about machines.  I’m talking about a group of people.

Last summer our family attended a launch meeting for a new campus of Capital City Church.  CapCity is a church in DC that we visited and loved, but had a hard time plugging in to because of distance from our home.  The meeting we attended changed everything.  CapCity was coming to our town.  The new campus would be only a few miles from our house.

Before we ever had our first service at the new campus, our family joined a life group at the home of our friends Andrew and Amanda.  After several months of giving us a comfy place to gather and fellowship on a weekly basis, Andrew and Amanda went and had not one, but two babies.  As their births approached I have to confess, I got a little panicked.

You see, this season of our life is hard.  Really, really hard.

“What do I mean by “Really, really hard”?” you ask.  I’ll paint you a picture.

Thanks to her days of neglect and living in an institution, Sofija has little impulse control.  She can take down a person twice her size in half a second and she can run away as fast as the quasi-American who just won the Boston marathon.  Taking her anywhere requires CONSTANT vigilance and leaves little time for meaningful conversation with others.  Although we’re working on getting respite care, we have no little help with her.  She is currently only scheduled to attend school for four hours a day and that usually ends early or starts late due to her meltdowns.  Added to our parenting challenges are the health issues both my husband and I have dealt with recently and his ongoing work situation.  I try really hard to be a glass-overflowing kinda girl and I don’t want anyone reading this to think otherwise.  We ARE abundantly blessed.  Sofija’s behavior IS better today than it was when we brought her home four years ago.  I AM cancer-free.  We have healthcare, a predictable income, a great home, cars that are paid for, more family time than we can handle, and lots and lots of love.

What we don’t have is an abundance of interaction with people outside of our home.  Our life group cured that.  The thought of losing that weekly interaction or even just going several months without it, made it a little hard for me to breathe.  I need that life support.

Just before the arrival of Andrew and Amanda’s babies, my husband and I offered our home as a meeting place for the life group.  Crisis averted.  Our life support was coming to us.

1625686_10101404666668546_217776836_n

Which leads to today; my favorite day of the week.  For the last two months, on Wednesday nights, our home has become a source of life.  Not just for us, but (from what others have said) for everyone who attends.  A hodgepodge of people from various walks of life, with various relationship statuses, and in various stages of their walk with Christ, enter our front door every week, and leave with air breathed into them.  We breathe life into one another.  Through prayer, encouragement, honest conversation, and shared perspectives; we grow.

I have often heard pastors use Hebrews 10:25 as a reprimand for people who don’t attend Sunday service regularly.  Here’s the thing about that verse.  I don’t think the thought of a Sunday church service ever crossed the mind of its author.  I wholeheartedly believe that it was written as a reminder of the importance of community.

Hebrews 10:24-25  Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. AND LET US NOT NEGLECT OUR MEETING TOGETHER, as some people do, but encourage one another,…

The need for community is human nature.  Thanks to social media we can find a community without ever leaving home or actually meeting like-minded people in real life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can’t imagine adopting independently (with no agency or lawyers) from a country I had never even visited, without the input of the adoption community I’ve “met” online.  Nor, could I imagine walking through my battle with thyroid cancer without the online community that gave me hope and comfort and helped explain all the bizarre changes to my body.  But you know what?  An online community can’t hug you.  A virtual friend can’t show up at your door with a bottle of wine and a pot of soup.  A friend across an ocean can’t accompany you to a doctor’s appointment, offer their shoulder for your tears, or watch your kids so you can grocery shop in peace.

We need hugs. We need people who can look us in the eyes and tell us the truth.  We need people to hold our hands and cry with us in our puddle of tears.  We need friends who know the sound of our voice and not only know our laughter, but know how to induce it.  We need real life people to sit at our kitchen table over a meal and a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and listen and share.  We need community.

“… And let us not neglect our meeting together…”

I have a challenge for anyone reading this.  If you are part of a church that has life groups, join one.  If you don’t have a group of people providing your life support and your church doesn’t offer life groups, build one.  Think of three people whose Biblical knowledge intimidates you.  Think of three people who may not even know that being a Christian has something to do with believing in Christ.  Create a nifty evite and invite those six people for a potluck dinner.

Eat.  Pray.  Encourage.  Discuss scripture.  Repeat the following week.

It’s that simple.  Just gather and breathe life into one another.

photo(17)This is what our life support looks like.  Would love to see a picture of yours in the comments. :)

 

believing the truth…

truthI’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions this week.  While I was at home breathing easy over the news that I DO NOT have cancer, my precious still-a-little-broken baby girl was busy at school taking down four staff members and giving her lead teacher a concussion.  On the same day that I talked to my doctor about possible surgery dates that would give me time to heal before that baby girl’s school year ends, I faced the reality that her “school year” may be over in the terms of her actually leaving the house for a few hours a day.

And then, in the midst of the roller-coaster of emotions and seeking wisdom on baby girl’s school placement and dealing with an achy uterus, I was told some things yesterday that punched me in the gut.

“You are a narcissist and a hypocrite! You lack the ability to be truthful and you have no place doing any Christian counseling with anyone… Don’t blog or write anymore as your words are meaningless and untrue!”

It’s always interesting to me how those type of character attacks come when there is ZERO energy (or even motivation) left to defend myself.  But you know what?  I think there’s a reason for that.  I think God wants us to have ZERO energy for defending ourselves so that we can lean into Him.  So that we are forced to choose what we are going to believe.  I also don’t think it’s any accident that the character attack came at the same time I am being forced to choose what I believe about daughter.

So, for the record, I choose TRUTH.  I choose to only believe the things that the Word of God says about me and my child.  I choose to believe that God has given me a platform with this blog and that when someone is blessed by something I write, my purpose is fulfilled and HE is glorified.  I choose to give GOD credit for any good that anyone sees in me.

TRUTH: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for Sofija and Kaci,”says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give my girls a future and a hope.”  ~My baby girl is going to be just fine.  No matter what her school environment looks like, it will be a good thing.  No ifs.  No ands.  No buts.

Matthew 10:31  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. flock~See all those birds?  You, me, and my baby girl…. we’re more valuable to God than that whole dang flock.

2 Corinthians 12:10  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the INSULTS, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  ~ This is why I’m pretty confident God allows character attacks at times when I don’t have the time or energy to work it out on my own.  “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Romans 8:28 For we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. ~We’re all going to be okay around here and you’re going to be okay wherever you are and whatever it is that you’re walking through.  There is no guarantee that life will be easy for those who follow Christ.  There is however a guarantee that EVERYTHING will work together for your good.  I need to mention that sometimes “your good” doesn’t look like what you imagined it would look like.  It just doesn’t.  But that doesn’t make it less good.  It’s just different good.

John 1:12  But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. ~ Did you read that?  “…children of God.”  That’s right, y’all.  Me and my girl…  We’re royalty.  We’re daughters of a king.  There is nothing that anybody can say that will ever change that.  

A couple of years ago, Prince Harry was caught on camera, sans pants, in Vegas.  For the Prince, what happened in Vegas, did not stay in Vegas.  Within hours the crown jewels were all over the internet and people were calling him all sorts of bad names.  You know what he did?  He got up the next morning, put on a suit and tie, and continued to be a Prince.  As crazy as it may sound, I want to be like Harry.  Okay maybe I don’t want the world to see me in my birthday suit through the lens of a cellphone camera.  But I do want to get up everyday, clothe myself in a suit of armor, and remember that no matter what anyone says about me (or to me), I am a daughter of a king.

Ephesians 6:13-17  Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the BELT OF TRUTH and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News (the Bible) so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.