Tag Archives: Jennifer

all is beautiful

Yesterday my doctor told me, “You are such a good boy mom. I can’t imagine you as anything else!”

I’m sorry, was it when two of my boys were literally jumping over and under the acupuncture table chasing each other? Or when she was asking them about their poop, and they erupted into a continuous bout of laughter and saying the word poop?

But you know what, it was then. I rolled with it. I told them to be respectful and squeezed their arm a little (maybe a lot) to show I meant business. And I laughed a little with them too.  I can do this boy thing, and do it quite well if I must say.

Dr. Miravone’s words sealed something up in my heart. Several years ago now, God did do a lot in my heart about the path my life has taken. I haven’t thought about it much since then, but recently it has come back up for me a little bit. The thought that I have lost at some game. That I am missing something because I don’t have a daughter too. The world is so good at making you feel like you come up short in anything and everything.

Like one of my favorite bands, Gungor, says: “All is beautiful. I can see the grace in it all.” Last night I had dinner with a new friend, with whom on paper we look completely different. One of us has kids, one doesn’t. One has a high power career, one doesn’t. But you know what is the same? Our souls that crave connection and crave being loved and celebrated. All is beautiful. The single. The married. The parents. The gay. The straight. The one gender families. The mixed gender families. The Muslim. The Buddhist. The Christian.

I think the world is magical. I appreciate science and facts, but magic and feelings trump that for me.  Which is why my husband and I are such a good balance- he is very sciency and show-me-the-study-behind-this-ish. Which I think both are important. But I think you need to find your inner magic at times.

I think the people that I am surrounded by are beautiful. And I embrace our differences, in fact, I’m learning how needed our differences are! It is a beautiful painting of masterpieces, each bringing their own special magic to the world. My story is special. My emotional-boy mom-magical-balance me out husband- save all the animals and trees-story. And it is beautiful. I see the grace in it all.

coming home

A black hole is a geometrically defined region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—including particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.

For several months now I have felt like I’m in the wilderness.  Just wandering around tangled up emotionally and spiritually.  It’s been lonely and scary, and it feels kind of like a black hole.

But it’s been beautiful.  I’m on a journey through this wilderness, and along the way I’m shedding things I no longer need.   I’ve been holding things so tightly because they’re all I’ve ever known and it scares me to let them go.  But when I finally do, I feel lighter and freer and it gives me courage to shed the next thing weighing me down.

I no longer feel alone in my black hole.  I feel God with me. And even though I’m still in the black hole, it is good.  And I know it will be okay. I’m coming home.

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Brave

When we were first married, one day I decided I wanted to paint the walls red. I gathered the paint and brush, and no joke, did three strokes of paint and decided I was sick of painting. Our wall stayed there with just three strokes of bright red paint for the whole 3 years we lived in that house.

I’m infamous for starting projects and never finishing. Why is that? I am an idea woman, you tell me something to dream up and I’m your girl. But following through is a whole different beast. The work is HARD. You have to keep going after the initial excitement of the new thing wears off. And you have to be careful and fix mistakes. Things I’m not totally crazy about.

I want change, I just don’t want to do the whole process leading up to change. It would be so much easier if I could just take my magic wand and zap! Healthy body. Zap! Positive attitude. Zap! Rehabbed house.

But I’m finding that in that process, the hard process of change, that the magic happens. The slow, but true, transformation of my soul, mind, and body is beautiful when I stop and look back where it has come from. And where it is continuing to go.

I can get so hung up on the fact that I haven’t arrived yet, or become all I want to be. I get frustrated that every little thing still scares me and makes me anxious. But you know what? Being afraid of something, but doing it anyway- that is courage. That I don’t give up and keep going even though it scares me? That is bravery.

So be brave, my friends. I don’t think there is some magical moment where you have it all figured out and feel like you have no more growth to do. You just swing with the pendulum of highs and lows in life and you just keep going. Even it’s just one baby step forward, or one more stroke of red paint, you just keep going.

Stacy Leigh Lisi

I know I say this whole song and dance every time, but, Stacy is my mom’s college roommate Cindy’s (lovingly known as Cinne Binne) daughter.  So we have -actually- been friends since the womb.  And she just got married, to a great guy, Andrew Lisi.  So now her name rhymes. :)

Stacy is one of those friends that you can go a whole year without seeing (or even talking to  because of both of your phone phobias), but pick up right where you left off when you see each other again.  Like no time or distance ever separated you.

I have so many fun memories with Stacy it is hard to even count.  When we were 3 & 4 years old we decided it would be a good idea to paint my Grandpa Al’s work van.  It was dark brown so obviously we thought it would be best to use white shoe polish.  And once I even convinced her to get IN the van with me and I pulled the gear shift down and we started rolling down the driveway.

Also that year we made a guest appearance in my dad’s and her mom’s musical show at the retirement home.  We cried and pouted because we wanted the dress up clothes the other one was wearing while singing Ain’t We Sweet, though we were being anything but sweet.

At age 9 & 10 we started going downstate together.  Downstate was one of the coolest Daddy/Daughter activities in the Birkeneder family.  When you turned 10 you got to go with Dad and Grandpa (and any other poor male soul of our relatives that wanted to go once us girls started going) to the Illinois High School Boys’ Basketball Tournaments in Campaign (later Peoria).  Being the eldest in our families, Stacy and I were the first girls to go on this all male weekend.  I think we forever changed “downstate”.  Instead of watching the games, we bought nachos, then ice cream, then hot dogs, then Pepsi, then cotton candy, then threw up all over the taxi.  We would drag Dad & Grandpa Al to the nearby mall to take pictures in the overpriced photo booth while sporting our huge gaudy basketball earrings. We spent all our money from the winning pools (don’t tell our moms or anyone else for that matter that we were underage gamblers) buying stickers from the sticker machine at Pizza Hut (smartly thinking we would sell them for profit when we got home).  And then we fought with each other and cried when one would win a pool and the other wouldn’t. One year we fell madly (seriously, it was obsessive) in love with one of the high school players- Alfredo Jimenez from Maine West.  We even stalked out where he would be after the game to get his autograph while we hysterically sobbed.

When we were 10 & 11 we started spending some of our summers at Camp Timberlee in Wisconsin.  We carefully shopped for matching outfits for every day of the week, including our denim ruffle shorts and side ponytails.  We would always room together and never leave each other sides and make sure everyone in the cabin knew WE were best friends so they wouldn’t infringe upon us.  In the middle of the night we would crawl into our bunks together and worry that we were blind because we couldn’t see anything, and nervously search for a flashlight just to make sure.

When we were in our teens we shared a profound love for all things Hanson and JTT .  We convinced ourselves we were marrying one of them and lovingly agreed upon who got which one (Stacy: Zac and Me: Taylor…Jonathan Taylor Thomas dropped out of the running when Hanson came along).  We decided the best way possible to make this dream a reality would be to form an all girl band ourselves.  So we reigned in our sisters and we became: Purple Daizee.  We co-wrote many one hit wonders and videotaped ourselves singing/dancing to them in the basement so we could send our videos to the Hanson brothers.  Making them fall in love with us, of course.

Stacy and I laugh about all these episodes and more whenever we get together. But there’s a distinct, life altering memory I have with Stacy that I don’t even know if she recalls.

My freshman year in college was rough. We had just moved to Texas and even more life shattering than that to me was that Michael and I broke up.  I started a new life in Texas, a double life.  I was good at playing the part of “good Jenni” when I needed to, but with my new friends I partied.  Hard.  And I got myself stuck in a web of alcohol, drugs, and sex.

At the end of the summer, right before I was going to start my sophomore year, Stacy came to visit.  She was getting ready to start her freshman year at University of Illinois.  While Stacy was there I tried to hide my “bad Jenni” side, though I’m sure she knew.  She met all my friends and was incredibly gracious to them all.  She was relevant, but unchanging and never wavered from who she was in Christ.  She was real.  When I was with Stacy that week, I felt my old self start to emerge…my real self that I had shoved away that year. I remember feeling God awake my soul again.

Stacy’s flight left early one morning before I was awake, but she left me a note on my pillow.  I remember finding it and getting up to read it before it was even light out.  In it she thanked me for spending time with her, told me she was thankful for our friendship, and that she was praying for me and all that God would do through me that year.  I broke down and cried.  I laid on the floor and just cried and cried.

God had been working in my heart that whole year, but He used Stacy in a major way to bring His prodigal daughter back.  She was the vessel that saved me from a life of destruction and despair.  I firmly believe God used Stacy to redirect my life.  She was loyal, faithful, loving, and gracious.  She didn’t judge me or correct me, she just loved me and prayed for me.  I will never forget what she did for me that summer.

And actually, if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have gotten back together with Michael that year, married him that next summer, had 3 beautiful boys years later.  So Stace, you’re the reason my family exists. :)

I have a love/hate relationship with the journey we are all on in life.  I love the mystery of God and the excitement of seeking Him and joy in knowing Him.  Obviously life has some rough places, a lot of mine have been self inflicting, but I’m thankful for a God who redeems.  He is faithful, loving, and gracious and waits for me.  Thank you Stacy Leigh Lisi for being such a beautiful living example of Christ.

Clouds

The Great Scott Hodge says: “Change of Pace + Change of Place= Change of Perspective.”

I have to agree.

Recently I was gifted a [rare] day of relaxation-at the spa-with no children. :)  I was so excited for the time of pampering, but if I’m going to be honest, most of all a day free from whining, tattle telling, and baby butt wiping.  I arrived at the spa the minute it opened and stayed to closing.  I brought my journal and Bible and was eager to soak up some time alone and time with God.  I climbed into the pool and stared up at the sky and something unfamiliar happened- it was still and quiet. It felt odd!

This is what I journaled:   “I’m sitting here in the pool- there is no splashing, no whining- no one needing my help… This is how it will be 20 years from now…to forever.   Don’t wish these hard stages away.  They are temporary.”  I sat and pondered that for a while.  So often (very often) I rush through the day just to check things off my list.  How often do I talk with my children, not just talk at them?  How often do I think “if only they were a few years older, then ____ would be so much easier”….(hello grocery shopping and fine dining!)

It was convicting.  I was so thankful for my time away to be rejuvenated, but God helped me appreciate the chaotic little voices in my normal day to day life much more.  This stage of life is hard, and I don’t want to pretend that it is not, but I AM going to be more intentional about being present in the chaos- not five steps ahead in the future.

I kept looking at the sky at the clouds and watched them move (I HAD TIME TO WATCH THE CLOUDS MOVE- perhaps I was overly zealous with my newly found “me” time) :) and I pondered them.  And I noticed, clouds don’t just collide, they absorb each other.  So I thought about that more…How do I let God absorb me or where do I collide with Him?  How do I let Michael absorb me? My kids?  My ministry?  I wrote: “Yes, I need to replenish myself with time alone with God, food and sleep.  But other than that, I need to be willing to sacrifice myself wherever there is a selfish desire- I need to give myself away. ”

I still am going to seek time away from Michael and my children, still going to watch Netflix at night and still share with my girlfriends how the mundane wife/mother duties make me want to punch someone at times.  But, this cherished time by myself gave me new perspective.  This stage is hard, but every stage is hard and every season is a new opportunity for growth and to know my God in a deeper way. I’m going to try and pay attention to the small moments each day, and be less focused on the bullet points that get me to the next milestone.

Change of Pace + Change of Place= Change of Perspective.

Swollen Meninges

Just as the boys and I were boarding the plane on December 26th I thought, “Wow, that was relatively painless!  What will I ever blog about if I don’t have a crazy airport story to tell?”

Apparently, God took me seriously and gave me an even bigger story to tell.

I delivered my three cherubs to my parents and Aunt Elli in San Antonio before I jetted to Austin.  I had the honor of staying with Christina and Tyler for the week as Super Aunt.  I got to help take care of my sweet 2 week old nephew Cayden, and help Chritina and Tyler in any way I could.  It was wonderful.  I got to cuddle all day with the sweet little jellyBin, but not have to do any nighttime feedings. :)  It was bliss!  I had so much fun being on the other side of the newborn care= not the weepy new mom. :)  Christina was a pro right from the beginning though- she far surpassed me in my first days as a mom.  She is easygoing and worry free, none of which describe me.

Towards the end of my stay I woke up in the middle of the night with a throbbing headache. Like a bowling ball was sitting on top of my head.  All day I tried different kinds of medicine, but nothing would even touch it.  I thought maybe I was having a migraine and I just needed to sleep it off.  But when the pain continued into the next day, I was getting nervous.  Christina and I drove back to San Antonio on New Years Eve.  When we arrived at my parents’ house I still didn’t feel right. Then the vomiting started.  I was in so much pain and very fearful.  My mom convinced me I needed to go to the hospital (I was still worried they would just laugh at me because it was just a migraine).  The car ride was terrible and I could barely make it in the front doors.

When they got me in the stretcher and pumped Morphine and Zofran through my IV it was bliss.  Finally some relief!  The Doctor said she wanted to do a CT scan of my brain to check for tumors or an aneurysm.  Not sure if it was the drugs or my emotional heart, but I was convinced I was on my death bed.  I started pouring out tearful soliloquies to my mom about life lessons I’ve learned.  When I got to the part about how I wanted her to make sure my boys always remember me and how much I love them, she took my head in her hands and said something to the effect of , “Jen, you are not dying.  God is not finished with you yet-your boys need you still and the Lord knows that.  But I promise you, whatever happens, I will make sure everyday that your boys know how much you love them.”

After the CT scan the Doctor came in and said my sinus cavities were inflamed.  I told my mom to please not tell that to Michael yet- I didn’t want him to get the expensive ER bill because I had a sinus infection!  I felt so dumb that I went to the emergency room for a sinus infection.  The Doctor said she was going to do a spinal tap because of my neck pain, but it was probably nothing because of the sinus infection.  I remember her exact words, “I guess I’ll go ahead and do the spinal tap to be on the safe side, but I wouldn’t get too worried.”

After the spinal tap, (which, ladies, if you have had an epidural- you can do a spinal tap relatively painlessly) my mom and I talked about what we were going to do when we got home.  It was nearly 3 am, and we knew Simon would be up in two hours, so we discussed who would get up with him, etc.  We had to wait an hour for the results, but thought they’d be clear and we would be heading home.  My tears were gone, I was embarrassed I just had a boring sinus infection that ruined New Years Eve.

At 4 am the Doctor walked in and said, “Well I’m so glad I did the spinal tap because you tested positive for meningitis.”

Well, back to my death bed.  Hysterical tears ensued. I had only heard of (bacterial) meningitis- the one you can get in college dorms that you die from. “I was just with my two week old nephew all week, and I have 3 young boys- what do we do to keep them safe?  Do they need to come in?  Are they going to survive?”  I really was not worried about me- I had made my peace with death a few hours earlier.  I was only concerned about Cayden, Trevor, Elliott, and Simon.

Immediately they put a mask on me and whisked me on my stretcher to the third floor.  It felt very Grey’s Anatomy.  Everyone that came into my room had to wear a mask, gown and gloves.  Definitely added to the frightfulness of this deadly disease I thought I was dying from.

A new Doctor, my favorite the whole stay, came in and asked me if I had questions.  My tears increased and I said all I wanted to know was if my two week old nephew was going to be okay.  She bent down near my face and looked me in my eyes.  I will not forget her compassion.  She explained to me that there are two kinds of meningitis- viral and bacterial.  She said my cultures were presenting as viral.  She told me 98% of my cells were the viral kind, with only 2% of the dangerous bacterial kind.  She said viral meningitis was not contagious, so all 4 boys would be fine.  I felt a flood of relief when I heard those words.  She even said worse case scenario, if my cultures started to say bacterial, that everyone I came in contact with would get antibiotics and would be fine. It was now 4 am and I was feeling a little less on my death bed, but more uncomfortable.  With some fresh morphine and zofran I was able to rest.

That was 25 days ago.  I didn’t even know what meninges were before this excitement.  Now I feel well educated on all things brain and spine.  Viral Meningitis can last 7-10 days for some, 3-4 months for others.  Two of my friends that have had told me it took months to feel like themselves again.  Sometimes I say, Lord- meningitis, seriously?!  Seriously.

I’m not good at resting.  I’m not good at letting other people care for me.  I’m not good at not being in control.  But I know God has purpose in everything.  I must be that stubborn that I had to get meningitis to learn to REST.

Lamentations 2:5

My Lord has become like an enemy.
He devoured Israel;
he devoured all her palaces; he made ruins of her city walls.
In Daughter Judah
he multiplied mourning
along with more mourning!

“Notice that God started to be like Israel’s enemy. The writer knows that, in fact, God wants the best for his people. He does not say, “My Lord has become an enemy,” but “My Lord has become like an enemy.” Thus, Lamentations 2:5 models, on the one hand, the kind of stunning bluntness that we have already seen in this biblical book. Yet, on the other hand, this verse gives evidence of faith, embattled faith, struggling faith, but faith that God is not really the enemy. Most Christians will go through seasons of life when God feels like anything but a friend. Perhaps we’ll wonder if God has simply turned his back on us. Maybe we’ll suffer so much that we’ll begin to feel as if God were our enemy. Lamentations urges us not to hide these feelings or pretend that they don’t exist. At the same time, this book encourages us to hang onto the truth about God, to trust that he is who he has revealed himself to be, even if we can’t make sense of his actions or inactions.”  -Mark Roberts

I refuse to give up.  I refuse to let these circumstances swallow me up.  My hope is in the Lord, and I trust Him even in my sickness. I am thankful for the rest (that I usually fight), and all the people that have surrounded us with prayer, meals, groceries, cards, childcare, and encouragement. I am learning what it is to be part of the body of Christ, and to truly carry one another’s heavy load in life. So here I am lying in my bed, which I’m pretty certain is not my death bed, trying to soak in all these lessons.  I get it Lord, thank you for the meningitis, but I’m ready for you to take it away now. :)

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalm 100:1-5

jealous

I severely struggle with jealousy.

There you go, I just thew my major weakness right out there in the open!  I mean I really, really struggle with jealousy.  Recently a situation made me so jealous that I cried for days, was angry with God, and let it overtake all of me.

For a long time, (like years and years) I have pleaded with God to “take away my jealousy”.  Or something like that.  Then someone wise (okay, my husband) told me I need to choose to not be jealous…it is something I need to actively do, not just expect God to “take it” from me.

2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surprisingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,  for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships ,in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Jealousy is where I am weak.  I have let this get me down and discourage me often, but now I claim it and will stomp it out with God’s power.  He knows my weakness, and He is using it to grow me and draw me closer to Him.  For when I am weak {jealous}, then I am strong {can choose humility in His power}.

I don’t know if I’ve shared it on here yet or not, but this year I get to teach the 1.5- 2.5 year olds at Bible Study Fellowship.  We are studying the Acts of the Apostles (the adults and the children) this year, and something that I love about BSF is that the lessons get you deep into God’s word daily.

Psalm 1: 1-3

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.

By being in God’s word regularly and meditating on it, it is so much easier for me to chase His power and leave my weakness behind.  The great Scott Hodge said, “Meditation leads to stability, not immunity.”

The road is not easy and there will be struggles, but the closer I walk with the Lord, the easier it is to have stability through each season of life.  I promise you I will most likely struggle with jealousy until the day I die, but when I know that jealousy is my weakness, I know God’s power will overwhelm it, and I will be more stable in choosing humility and rejecting jealousy.

To the day I die. :)

Announcing…

a new creative blog!

http://beautifythehut.blogspot.com/

I knew I wanted to start posting about my newest passion- thrifting, creating, and all things crafty, but wanted to separate it from our family blog.  I was going to do Mom of the Hut (to keep with the Zielkehut trend), but when Michael said it sounded a lot like Jabba the Hut, I deleted that name from the running FAST. :)  I don’t need anymore things that relate me to fat blobs.

So, enter Beautify the Hut.  My most important job(s) as a wife and mother are to be a tool God uses to beautify the soul of our family.  As a creative outlet for me, I like to physically beautify our home as well.  Double whammy for a blog name!! :)

 

Reminiscing

My best talks with God and life ponderings happen while I’m driving in the car. Maybe its because I’m buckled in, body and mind, and can’t go anywhere.  Or maybe because it kind of is like life is passing you by when you drive: you’re sitting still, your car is moving, and things quickly pass by your window- there one second, gone the next.  Whatever it is, I really do think deeply and feel intensely while sitting in my orange mini van chauffeuring my children through their childhood.

I got this text from Michael this morning, “I’m listening to Concrete Girl and remembering our young love”  and as I drove around this afternoon, I let my mind go deeper.

I remember being young and  so in love when we were just 16.  We were sure we’d get married (WE thought we were ready that following summer :) ) and we would write notes to each other in our little “Black Notebook” that we passed back and forth about our future family and all our hopes and dreams that we were bound to experience together.  We went to homecomings and proms, said goodbye at our separate colleges, and really did a majority of our growing up together.

Now here we are 12 years later.  How rare is it that all those things in the little black notebook did come true? (With lots of bumps and bruises along the way, however.) I mean, do I really, I mean really think about that?  When I ho and hum about my daily life of mundane responsibilities that seem never ending?  Do I absorb the idea that I’m raising his children, driving his orange mini van, and being called his wife from now until forever?  That I’m living the dreams from the little black notebook?

So, I am thankful.  I’m thankful to God for bringing about our relationship in His timetable and His plan.  I’m more in love with Michael now then at age 16, and I’m going to push aside the weariness of this season of life and choose joy in my parenting and in my wife-ing.

Thank you Concrete Girl and Little Black Notebook for reminding me that I am my beloved’s and he is mine!

Then what can stand against

“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?

And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”

Almost two years ago now, Michael and I felt really led to pour into the city of Aurora.  (See our initial thoughts)  Now here we are, two years later, right smack dab in the middle of where we felt God’s leading.  And I have had times of uncertainty where I needed God to remind me of His calling.

Fear can be a sneaky little thing.  It can rob you of your joy, it can mislead and deceive.  If I am not regularly seeking God’s voice, I easily slip away from what I know God has shown Michael and me. I begin to let fear and the desire to be “like everyone else” overtake me. When “everyone else” goes one way, it makes it so much harder to go the opposite. 

I realize that God has a different journey for each family, but very steadily and very clearly God has directed my thinking again, and brought me back to His heart for our family.

I love Aurora.  I love the diversity, I love the unique community, but most of all I love it because it has become the unlovable.  So many times Michael and I have heard things like “stay away from Aurora, the gangs are there”, or “go anywhere but Aurora for schools, the ratings are terrible”, or “it’s so dirty there”.  Instead of fleeing shaking our hands, shouldn’t we go to this place deemed unworthy and make it better?  Embrace it?  Love it?  “Be the change we want to see in the world”?

Not fear Aurora, but LOVE it.

“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”   1 John 4:17-18

As this has been stirring in my heart, I have been doing Isaiah lessons that I missed during the year while on maternity leave.  The FIRST one I did, God filled my heart with His presence.

In Isaiah 36 (and 2 Kings 18:1-16) during Hezekiah’s reign, Assyria had attacked and captured the cities of Judah.  Assyria’s field commander sent the people of Judah a boastful, threatening message basically saying that God cannot save them and Hezekiah was deciving them in thinking so.  He taunts them repeating over and over not to listen to Hezekiah, that God cannot deliver them and their trust in Him in worthless.  He goes on to promise plentiful food and drink, and bountiful land if they surrender and turn their backs on their god.

Hezekiah’s people had a choice: to trust God would do as He said He would and deliver them, or to go with the Assyrians willingly and abandon their calling.

This was exactly where I was.

Was I going to trust God would carry my family, or was I going to willingly surrender to the taunting and let fear dictate my path?

For me, the hardest taunting is when it has to do with my kids.  The dreaded “low scoring Aurora schools” issue.  But you know what?  I’m okay with the low ratings.  When I think about my grown sons going out into the world, the number one thing I desire for them is that they know Christ and bring Him glory.  Michael and I are intelligent -for the most part :) – and involved parents, who look for ways to come alongside our children on a daily basis to foster their growth and learning.  But their intellect and academic excellence is NOT is what drives my heart for them.  I want them to love people- all people, not just people “like” them- and to embrace diversity.  And that I believe is the heartbeat of Aurora.

Later that day as I was letting God’s words flood my heart, I read this blog post by someone I have come to highly respect and be encouraged by through her blog, besozo.wordpress.com:  Betchya your kid is smarter than my kid

I could not have said it better!  God used Bre’anna’s writing to be an incredible encouragement to my soul and confirmation to what He has called our family to do.  Academics are great, but morality and character development are so much more…

The cry of my heart is for my children to fall so deeply in love with the Lord that everything they do displays His splendor.  In Aurora and beyond.