Over the past few weeks we’ve been learning a lot through story telling. The whiteboard that was once used mostly for spelling words, has become the official storyboard. We are using it to address fears, struggles, and to remind us all of God’s faithfulness.
Once upon a time there were two little pickles. They lived with their mommy and daddy in a little cabin on the hill. Every day when Daddy left for work he would say, “Be good little pickles today! Listen well and work hard!” Sometimes the pickles listened, but sometimes they did not. What where the mommy and daddy to do when their little pickles made poor choices? There was only one thing to do, of course. They would love them on the good days and they would love them on the hard days and they would love them on all the days in-between. After all, they were the most wonderful little pickles in the whole wide world.
Ever since we brought home our second child (see the announcement post here) we have been stretching and growing in our relationships, our walks with the Lord, and our capacity to love. Every family experiences these changes when a new child is added to the mix… ours are just exaggerated as we add ’em at eight years old instead of newborn.
So we have been singing songs of truth. We have been reciting verses about love.
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. (I John 3:18)
And we have been telling stories about tigers and pickles and rag-a-muffins.
I’ll be honest with y’all. I have no idea what I’m doing. Some days I am barely surviving as wills clash and ideals are crushed. (“But Mommy, I wanted a brother who did what I told him to! Not this!” and, “Well, I imagined that I wouldn’t ever get in trouble in my new family.”) But it is good. So, so good.
Because God is refining my heart and theirs and together we’re all being changed more into His image.
And every time I write a new story about something we’re learning or needing to remember– my new son looks at me with sparkling eyes and says, “THIS is the best story yet, Mommy.” And my daughter wraps her arms around me and snuggles her head under my chin. “Thanks, Mommy. I’m so glad that I’ll always be your muffy-cake.”
Because here is the beautiful, glorious truth that is better than any story: God redeems. He does.
And when we choose to love, even through the sorrows of this life, God abides in us– and it is the manifestation of His presence here on earth.
Here, in our little family, in our little story– God is.
He was when we were battling infertility. He was when we miscarried. He was when stumbled through the journey of the lost-daughter. He was when our beautiful Lizbethy came home to stay. He was when we lost our Annie-girl last year. And He was when we brought our son home.
He was. He is. And He always will be.
Here today. In our home. In our lives.
So we’ll keep telling the stories. We’ll keep practicing shalom. We’ll keep loving.
Right through the hard things. Right through the sorrows. Right into the redemption.
And God Himself will be present. And it will be good.
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I was a bit focused on hitting the correct notes instead of the made-up melody line I had created in my head. Perhaps that was the reason that even though the song had been on repeat on my computer for a week preparing for special music, I was just now realizing the words. “…and I…
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I learned to worship by watching my mom. She laughed when she sang and something vibrant seemed to spill out of her. She would whisper words to me when I was struggling to learn music, struggling to find the right keys. “It’s all for Him, Tashie-girl,” she would say, “don’t worry about anyone listening. Just…
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It was the day I realized that I couldn’t go on. My husband was gone on a two-day trip and I was home alone. Alone. Without the babies I longed for, since my body was broken. Without the friends I had leaned on for years, since my pain had caused me to push them away….
I was empty. That is the honest-to-goodness truth. Empty of anything life sustaining. Empty of anything good. But nobody knew it. After all, I had a reputation of being alive and full. I poured out, I gave, so I must have something inside… right? I was sitting on the porch of our mission house in Haiti when…