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Growing up, my mom had to constantly remind my sisters and I to keep our feet on the ground. Eight legs were constantly in the air and knocking in to each other and key boards and her pregnant belly. Cartwheels and hand stands were in our blood and our feet could not help but point as we meandered around the house on our hands, seeing everything upside down. I could be found watching my favorite TV show, while doing a headstand by the couch, seeing how long I could last before my head would turn red, and glancing at the clock to see if any words could be spelled out.

There was always something so mesmerizing about seeing the world upside down. Maybe it was the different perspective. Or the sheer fact it was counter intuitive. Or perhaps it was the mysteriousness of seeing things in ways they were not intended to be seen.

Being in the world is like walking around upside down. Seeing things in a way opposite of God. Opposite to his teachings and hopes and desires for us. It is being removed from our creator.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Scripture tells us not to do the things that are so common to our culture and nature.  To not concern ourselves with the latest trends of clothing or adorn ourselves with hair styles that takes hours to do and maintain or point out what is wrong with everyone else but to instead focus on God and pursuing a gentle and humble spirit (1 Peter 3:3).

It is a continual process of praying and studying in order to keep our minds fixed on things above and persistently focusing on God's word - not the world's. It is learning how to keep our feet flat on the ground despite the constant urge to lift them, allowing temptation to get the best of us.

And the more our feet learn to stand firm and the more we stay right side up, the more we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and actions and our will becomes one with God's.

Praying that your mind would continue to be renewed and transformed with the things of God - with everything that is just and lovely and pure and holy. Praying that you would be able to see the world in a way that you have never experienced and that it would change your thinking and ideology.

Praying that scripture would be on the forefront of your mind and that every thought would be made obedient to Christ as you go about your day, for his glory alone.

Here's to feet and ground and standing firm.

This post is shared at: Grace and Truth Link Up

My house is sprinkled with reminders of the little man who graced us with his presence for the past week. Bottles and baby toys and formula. After more than two years of starting the process of fostering to adopt and having to put it on hold and starting the entire process over, our home was officially certified two weeks ago. The whole process is interesting in it of itself. With the interviews and training and the compassion and grace that must take place to really be able to do it.

People often say they could never do it. But for me, it was not matter of whether or not I could do it but a matter of obedience to God and his calling on our family. It was reading through James and hearing God's confirmation that pure and faultless religion is taking care of orphans (James 1:27).

It was saying yes to opening our home to strangers and inconveniences and covering them in prayer and grace and truly believing that God is faithful.  

Fostering is so much more than taking in a child but taking in a piece of a hurting family. It is being a cheerleader and encourager for the parents to get the help they need and taking care of their precious child in the mean time, for however long God seems fit.

It is praying for redemption and salvation and seeing the roots of it firsthand.

It is committing to pray for the family long after the last bag is packed and good-byes are said, knowing full well that you may not see them again on this side of eternity.

It is pouring your heart out like a drink offering and being thankful that you can feel and love and give unconditionally, all in the name of Jesus.   

It is truly learning how to embrace today with open hands for whatever God has in store. Whatever call comes across your phone and being ready with a yes.

It is teaching your biological children that there is something bigger than just your family. That the world does not revolve around their soccer practices or recitals or piano lessons or appointments but around others, all in the name of Jesus. It is learning that sometimes they have to wait and how they are not the center of your world - God is - and living it out in front of them.

It is remembering that no matterhow our children came to us, whether by womb or through prayer and superfluous amounts of paper work, they are not ours. And not forever. And when it is time for them to go, being comforted that God is with them wherever it may be (Joshua 1:9). 

Praying that you would open your hearts and minds to the possibility of foster care or adoption and that if God has been leading you towards it, in any sense of the way, that you would be obedient and seek out the next steps and that God would be faithful to open the right doors and give you grace and love to pour out.

Praying that you would see past the stacks of papers and background checks and in to the hearts of God's children. Praying that you would see the need and that you would find a way to help in whatever capacity that it may be, whether through prayer or babysitting for a foster family or becoming one yourself.

Here's to impacting the world, one person at a time. 

By God's grace and guidance, we recently embarked on our first official family road trip, logging nearly 2000 miles. We sang and danced and snacked and slept and marveled at the works of God's hand as the numbers on the odometer ticked along. The beauty of traveling by car is the ability to see the terrain up close and admire the landscape God so intricately designed.

 With nothing but stretches of open road, it is hard not to worship. Especially when accompanied with sleeping children and blue skies interlaced with clouds and rolling hills and silence and quietingpraise and awe cannot help but fill the soul.  

 A change in scenery allows you to worship God in different ways. Seeing his creation shows you things about God you never imagined or could have.

The way he thought about the most intricate of things. How small we really are. How it all points to the bigger picture. How he knows each person in each car that passes on the road and resides in each town. How they were created to do great things. 

How there is more to life than us. Than pleasing our desires and fulfilling our needs. There's worship and praise and thanksgiving and standing in wonder at the work of God's hand. At the grains of sand at the beach and the pokey parts of a cactus and the green of the leaves on a tree. And how everything works together to fill the necessities of all creatures on the earth.

It's knowing that just as God created the most beautiful of things for our eyes to glance on and enjoy, that he made us in this same way but even more so. With more purpose and meaning. For we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and were made to rule over the land and everything in it (Genesis 1:26). We were given a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11). We were made for good works (Ephesians 2:10) and have eternity written on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). All of which is incomprehensible.

And in our short time here, we are made to be imitators of Christ. To draw others nearer to him. To embrace each day with open hands and rejoice in it.

God You Reign by Lincoln Brewster fits well here. Have a listen, along with some worship.

Your glory shines, you teach the sun
When to bring a new day
Creation sings, God, Your reign

Praying that you would have eyes to see God in the creation around you. On your drive to work today or to the grocery store or to school. That you would seek out the works of his hands that he put there for you to enjoy on this very day. Praying that it would not be taken for granted but that you would enjoy it, as it too is fading away. Praying that you would praise him because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Here's to mountains and hills and open skies.  

You are not defined by your bookmark. You know, the place that changed you. A pivot point in your life. The mark that took a piece of your innocence and part of your heart and misconstrued memories. Or captivated you with so much beauty that you were never the same. That made you a better person and showed you truth and drew you closer to God than you had been before.

Bookmarks. We all have them in our story but we are not to be defined by them. Over and over scripture tells us who we are, whose we are and gives us promises of it. In Christ alone is our hope and identity found.

This month for Pocket Blessings we are designing fabric bookmarks. They are simply two pieces of fabric sewn together, about 2" by 7" (you could use paper or other medium), punched a hole with a crop-o-dile and added a tassel for some fun. There is a great tutorial here for how to make cute little tassels to attach, should you choose. There are lots of options for decor but I kept these pretty simple. 

On each bookmark we are writing one word that symbolizes what our marks should cause us to do. Letter stencils come in really handy here if you prefer something other than your own hand.

Rejoice.You need not hide it or be ashamed of what you have been through.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4

Shine. God has carefully crafted a path for you via Jesus, now you need only shine and be an example to others.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. Isaiah 60:1

Love. Because Jesus has shown you how,  you can.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

And of course, some tags to attach with the verses. Click to print. I cut mine in to flag shapes but the options are limitless.

Praying that whatever bookmarks you have in your life would be seen as beauty. That they would show others the glory God has revealed to you through them. Praying that you would truly believe who God says you are and that you would lead the way for others to seem themselves in the same light. That you would rejoice and shine and love in what God has done in spite of the bad and the good.

Here's to transforming bookmarks to beauty.

For more info about Pocket Blessings, click here.