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The past few weeks, waiting has seemed nearly as long as it does to my four year old when I tell her she has to wait a few hours to go to a birthday party or one more day until a fun activity - it is never going to happen. The wait is long.

Though the waiting we have been doing is nothing serious, which almost makes it that much more frustrating. Our car was in the shop for nine days. Nine days! And our insurance would not cover a rental because it should not have taken that long (and we did not necessarily need it). Shipping the part does not count as labor time and according to the mechanic it was not to be driven. It seemed like an eternity. First world problems, I know. When you are used to life one way, it is hard to adjust and feels like nails on a chalkboard.

And then there were the court decisions and other questions for our foster baby, which we continue to wait on. I did not realize I was waiting until the day came and went and no outcome had been told. Surely we would know the outcome then. An expectation of knowing information instantaneously tends to be ingrained in us these days.

But throughout it, God reminded me nothing was out of his control. All the trivial waiting. It was all for him in his timing. It was not about waiting for the car to be repaired but waiting for him to give back the gift he had graciously given. All the while embracing the renewed appreciation for it. It was about learning how to wait patiently.

It was diving in to Psalm 40:1-3, line by line, in my annoyance and remembering God's hand in it all.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
(not hastily or angerly; not waiting for the decisions but for God
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
(He turns to us when we wait + hears us)
 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
(God does the action; takes us out of distress / situation)
    out of the mud and mire;
(more bad stuff; bad stuff tends to come in bunches)
he set my feet on a rock
(takes us out of bad stuff to his solid ground -> building our testimony)
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
(God gives, God does ALL the actions here, while we wait PATIENTLY; firm place to stand: confidently trusting God, standing on his promises + words)
 He put a new song in my mouth,
(God puts new songs in us that he gives specifically during these waiting times; more appreciation for what you had, increasingly grateful + thankful for the GIFT!)
    a hymn of praise to our God.
(being able to praise God for being God; Praising for rescuing + restoring)
Many will see and fear the Lord
(Others see what God has done for you - how did you wait? Patiently? This causes good fear of God)
    and put their trust in him.
(Because of your waiting, others will trust God! God WILL use the waiting)

It was seeing how we are merely to wait patiently on the Lord. That is what we are called to do. God is the one doing everything else. He is turning + hearing + lifting. He is setting our feet on a rock and giving a firm place to stand. He gives the song to sing during the waiting and because of our patience, others see and put their trust in God.

It is such a beautiful picture of how God works. He works in the waiting period. He is working in you and in others. No matter how large or small the circumstance. You need only be still and be patient. 

Everlasting God by Christ Tomlin fits here. Have a listen.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Praying you would wait and rely on God to do things in his timing, not yours and that he would give you the patience and strength to do so. Praying you would be flexible when the need arises and that you would allow God to figure it the details, which will most likely not be as you had planned. Praying you would let God lead and let go of frustrations regarding the situation and fully grasp flexibility and learn whatever is being taught.

Here's to more waiting and more patience. 

If you have yet to notice, my world is surrounded with a sound track. Milestones and memories are strung together with song after song, each in its own spot, ingrained in me.

On our road trip, we had hours of time to fill and naturally, music had to be the majority. Before leaving, we headed to our local library for some new tunes, specially for the kiddos. We ended up coming across a few new CDs of bible verses put to music, which was perfect for our family since this is how we are wired and has been an awesome way to memorize scripture.

If you have a hard time memorizing scripture, even if you do not have children. music is a great help. So I thought I would share a few fun + catchy bands with verses put to song to add to your summer soundtracks for your family as you enjoy extra time with long days and travels.

The Rizers: We came across the Rizers a few years ago and started listening to them with our then eighteen month. The songs are fun, rock beats put to scripture. They currently have two CDs available.  

Seeds Family Worship: This was our main road trip CD, per our three year old's request but I really enjoyed it, too. There are a wide variety of beats and singers involved and with eight CDs to choose + learn from, you will probably find one you like. We listened to the Seeds of Courage, which is my favorite. And a fun bonus, when you purchase the actual CD, you get one to keep and one to give.

Here is one of my favorite tracks, Do Not Fear (Isaiah 41:10). Have a listen. 

26 Alphabet Bible Verse Chorus Songs by Thingamakid: This was not our favorite pick but was great to have so many verses on one short CD. It is was more for memorizing, than really enjoying but a fabulous tool none the less. They have other CDs but I have not had a chance to listen to them.

Praying you find something to fit your fancy and that encourages your family to memorize scripture. Praying that as your children grow, they would be surrounded by God's Word and it would be written on their hearts as they go. Praying that God would continue to provide you with resources to learn and grow and shape their faith and relationship with Jesus. Praying that you would strengthened as you teach and share and learn alongside them.

Here's to music and verses and learning.

And if you know of any other great bible verses put to music, I'd love to hear them. 

When my husband was called in to ministry, the first thing I thought of was our family and how this was going to change our dynamics, enter negative connotation here. When we first became Christians, one of my first thoughts was that I would never want my husband to be a pastor. It would be far too much work with little pay and too much strain on our family.

Would God call him in to ministry to negatively affect our family? No. Would my selfish desires say yes? Most definitely. It was a little death to my preconceived notions of our family unit and would it should look like.

Thus far in the process, it has looked like some late night classes and homework on weeknights that may bleed in to the weekends but ultimately, it looks like us sacrificing a little time together now, for benefits in to eternity. It is having God given boundaries and letting of our expectations. It is not guarding our family but welcoming others into it. 

I recently listened to a past sermon of Francis Chan's where he spoke about being "on mission with his family." He went on to say how his mission in life was to follow God's direction, not having his family be the primary focus, and in doing so, his family had a closer bond. He was not putting family down but rather elevating God before it. Idols can be found anywhere, especially in the family unit.

And I think that this is the point God has been bringing me to with my own. The point of ministry and life colliding. That is what life is all about. And not just for pastor's or their wives.

 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6: 6-7

As Moses was preparing the Israelites to enter the Promised Land, he reminded them to impress God's word on their children and talk about what he had done, that it would be impressed on their hearts. It was to be consumed in every part of their day and lives. Simply living out their calling to follow God daily. We are still called to do so, as well. Living out our faith and weaving it in to the ministry of our lives alongside our children. Truly showing them what it means to go and make disciples and how to share the Word and how to listen to God.  

Praying that your family would be driven by the passions of God and glued together through his Word and what it says to do. Praying that you would not be held back by thoughts of time lost while ministry and life is happening around you, while someone's eternity is being changed.

Praying your family would be a group of people built to spur each other on, stretch each other beyond measure, demonstrate love and forgiveness and encourage each other to follow God's will in to whatever ministry it may be. Praying that if you are not blessed with a family seeking the Lord together, that God would provide them in his own way - with a beautiful community for you.

Praying that whatever your family looks like that your goal would be to seek the kingdom first. That your hearts would be set on things above and God would raise each member up to bring up others who revere God, multiplying your family's legacy on earth and in to eternity. Praying that you would not get so focused on the small things that you lose out on the bigger picture things later.

Here's to family and ministry and God's will. 

Newton's law: for every action there is an equal and opposite re-action. Some days it seems like this is my mantra to my almost four year old. There is a consequence for our actions, whether negative or positive and we are the ones who get to determine what our actions are. As I was reading through Joshua and the conquering of the Promised Land, Newton's law came to mind again. 

God had told the Israelites not to take any plunder from Jericho.

But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. Joshua 6:18

But one man could not help himself. When he saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, he coveted them and took them and hid them in the ground inside his tent (Joshua 7:20-21, paraphrase).

His disobedient action cost the Israelites victory over the conquering of the next city, Ai, and the lives of some of their people. And ultimately, his life and the lives of his family and all that he owned. Joshua 7:24-26

As I sat there reading, I had to stop. It seemed like so much punishment for a seemingly trivial act of disobedience. Taking a few things you should not have taken. Possibly similar to looking at something for a few seconds that eyes are not meant to gaze upon or uttering words not meant to be on the tongue or incriminating thoughts permeating around in your head or borrowing without asking. Something no one would notice. But God does. And He did.

God noticed the coveting and the taking and the hiding and the sin. He had already warned there would be destruction and trouble if there was disobedience and yet the sin still occurred, which had to be followed by the punishment.

The bible says the wages of sin is death and how all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 6:23, 5:8). We all have our coveting - double minded - prideful - falling short sin in our life, no matter what that may be. We are all sinners. And the reaction for sin is death.

But we do have hope. We have Jesus.

And just for a little dramatic effect, insert Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp. Such a simple, beautiful song. Have a listen. 

Give me Jesus, give me Jesus

You can have all this world

But give me Jesus

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

God made a way for us, through Jesus. It is our choice: to believe and follow in obedience, covered in grace or get the punishment for sin - death.

Praying that if you have not put your hope in Jesus that you would make that choice and see the reaction. That you would see the blessings and healing and comfort that stem from it. That you would cross over from death to the abundant life and walk in the freedom that flows from it. Praying that you would see the errors of your ways and turn from them and start veering from the negative reactions to the positive.

Here's to hope and actions and reactions. 

When Peter and Andrew and the other ten were called by Jesus to come and follow him, surely they never would have dreamed what would come about. All the healing of the sick and restoration of the blind and the thousands fed with a few loaves and fishes and the evil spirits cast out and walking on water. Miracle after miracle was performed before their eyes.

When you follow Jesus, you never know what will come of it. It is one step of faith after another. It is an endless chasing of the wild goose.

As God has lead me to writing, he has been leading me to other adventures out of my comfort zone with it. Things like taking a trip to the other side of the states by myself to attend a writing conference and fundraising to offset the cost.

Oceans by Hillsong could be my anthem and the fix to the awkward + nervousness + excitement that the whole thing is entailing Have a listen.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

In October, a group of God loving ladies will gather to connect and encourage one another in writing about Jesus at the Allume conference. A trip that will be roughly cost $1500 and be an opportunity for God to remind me that his ways are not mine and to fully trust him.

I have never packed my bags to travel alone. I have never done a solo flight. I have never been to the East Coast. I have never spent that much on a trip for myself, or my family. And honestly, I would never want to. But God keeps nudging and prodding and saying go. So this is the start of the adventure to follow him.

And in a fashion only God would do, I am fundraising to offset the cost via mugs, little cups of truth. I know, God is so funny.

A small shop is set up here, if you are interested in purchasing one. If you are local, I can deliver, just let me know. And if you could say a prayer for me, I would appreciate it more than you know.

Praying that if you feel God leading you to do something that you would jump in with both feet and get ready to get messy and dig and work and learn more than you would have imagined. Praying your comfort zones would continue to fall and humbleness would soak through. Praying that your faith would be made stronger and that you would see the miracles along the way and point others towards Jesus.

Here's to guiding and adventure. 
My grandma is known for her spaghetti sauce and scrumptious salads. Friends and family adore her time in the kitchen spent simmering a batch on the stove, which perfectly accompanies all the fresh, colorful vegetables cut just the right size to fit in your mouth, smothered in her homemade dressing. It is a staple to our family and our kind of comfort food. I grew up with my mama's yummy, mastered version of the sauce and now that we are grown, each of my sisters and I have learned the recipe, putting our own twists on it, respectfully. And they are all quite tasty but truth be told, there is nothing like grandma's spaghetti and salad. I am sure it has to do with all the love she puts in it as she stirs and chops and the years she has to put in to perfect it.

Recipes and traditions and sayings and mannerisms span generations. Generations of the same last name and the same way the Christmas tree is decorated and how the Thanksgiving turkey is prepared continue to span over space and time.

The old Testament is scattered with generations and monuments of days long past and the stories and miracles behind them continued to be told long after they occurred. And the sole purpose of the monuments? To tell of the greatness of God.

After Joshua leads the Israelites in to the promised land, God instructs him to have twelve men from the tribes of Israel to pick up stones from the Jordan River, which they had just crossed over on dry land, to make a monument (Joshua 3-4). And I love how it states the reason directly after:

He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God. Joshua 4:24

The entire purpose of the monument and miracle was for everyone to know the power of God and that they may fear him and then Joshua five starts off with how kings from the surrounding areas "hearts melted and they no longer had courage to face [them]."

People heard about what God had done and feared him. They saw what He was capable of doing. And our testimonies have the same power and purpose - to turn others to God and His glory. When we fail to share our testimonies, especially between generations in a family, there is a loss of wonder and awe in the almighty God. A loss of the tangibility and closeness of God's ever constant provision and guidance and healing power.

Praying that you would empty yourself of any pride or fear or worry and focus on bringing glory to God through your story. That you would share it when the time arises with whomever God leads you to. That you would have your monuments out on display for others to see the powerful God we serve. 

Here's to generations and telling and glory.