weary, worn, & REMAINING.

2013-10-06_2131Don't you love when God reveals things to you? Here I sit on the couch, with my laptop propped up against me as I try...ever so hard...to ignore the pounding of the men putting on our new roof. A roof that was supposed to have been done months ago, but whatever. At least it'll be completed before we begin to get snow and have to wait till next spring.

I am worn out today. Weary. Exhausted. Ben has been out of town a ton lately and the kids haven't napped in days because of all this roof stuff. I'm not shy to admit it. I need a break.

I prayed {and prayed and prayed} that they could somehow sleep today. That the Lord would close their ears to all this banging, hammering and walking around above their heads. Because I was about to lose mine.

And you know what? Though I keep checking on them, they're out. Completely out. {thank you Jesus}

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Have you ever heard the song, Worn by Tenth Avenue North {hear it here}? I play it over and over these days. If fills my soul with so much hope and promise that though I'm beat down and exhausted, I'll make it through as I continue to seek God's face.

With lyrics like, "I'm worn, even before the day begins.""I want to know a soul can rise from the ashes of a broken life", it fits so well with what I'm feeling and seeing as we continue to settle in with our newest adopted kids.

Sometimes I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Well lets be honest, a lot of the time I don't. But that's when I'm reminded of this:

John 15_4-5

I need to learn to REMAIN in Him. If I become disconnected from the vine, there's no way I'll be successful and bear fruit. I won't make it, neither as a good mom, a loving wife, nor simply plain 'ol me {because face it, if I'm not being filled, there's now way I can do well in all the other aspects of my life}.

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But how do I do that? How do I learn to remain in Him? Truly, I need to follow Him, rather than leading myself and controlling everything. I can't see all, know all, do all. But He can. And He does.

"And as we follow, God produces fruit in us like peace, love, compassion, and super-natural strength, allowing us to be better than we were the day before. Allowing us to be more like Jesus."{1}

Don't you want super-natural strength? I do.

In my Bible Study this morning, we referenced Isaiah 43:2. And though we were talking about our True Identity as a daughter of Christ, rather than Weariness, it struck my heart so heavily as I read His promise to me {us}.

Isaiah 43_2I know He will be with me. Deep down, I know that I know it. BUT it doesn't necessarily mean I always feel it or remember it. It's written right there in black & white though. God promises to be with me. That the waters will not sweep over me and though I may be walking through the fire, I will not be burned. Maybe I'll even be refined {Zechariah 13:9, Isaiah 48:10}. I sure would love to be shiny beautiful gold at the end of my time in the fire. Does that make sense? {sorry, I know I'm speaking Christian-eze here}

You know what's so cool though? I went on to read the rest of Isaiah 43 and check out what it says in verse 5...

Isaiah 43_5Where do we live? The West.

Where are our {adopted} children from? The East.

We've actually put verses 5-6 on our Christmas card the year Imani came home {Which sadly is the last time I've sent them out....sometimes you have to let things go. But fingers crossed I get them in the mail this year}.

I'm slowly finding though that through my exhaustion, He is breaking me with a Sacred Brokenness that is not a bad thing or something to be fearful of, but rather a blessing. {2}

 When I close my eyes, I imagine myself kneeling before Him as He sits upon His throne. My head is bowed, hiding the tears and bags under my eyes, my arms outstretched, loaded full of my weakness, weariness, imperfection, and my desire to control everything from my children's behavior to keeping up a perfectly clean house.

Here God, take it. I can't handle it.

It's too much.

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You have said, "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." {3} Help me open my heart to receive that, Jesus.

Lord, help me to remain in You. Help me remember that apart from You, I can do nothing. You say that if I remain in Your love, that Your joy will reside within me {4}. I need that, Lord. Fill me with Your love. Help me to show my family Your light and Your love. Draw me closely to Your side, Father.

I'm so thankful that nothing is a surprise to Him. He already knew that I couldn't do this all on my own. I can't and you can't.

Have you ever noticed this in the margin?

take joy

This passage really spoke to me when I was doing my morning quiet time one day last spring. As I read it, I realized I needed to "take joy." To grasp it tightly and not let go of what the Lord offers me, though I may go through things that are less than fun {sometimes waaaay less}.

It says, "Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing."

So I say to you, find joy through the struggles, through the weariness. TAKE JOY. Grab it with both hands and don't let go, for the Lord has promised us great things if we come to Him. {and yes, I am SO looking in the mirror as I say this}

Matthew 11_28-30

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. . . . . . . . . . . . .

{1} comes from Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist by Amanda Jenkins.

{2} this was taught to us by Nancy R Buschart in the course I'm currently taking called, Vine, Vision & Voice.

{3} Jeremiah 31:25 {NIV}

{4} see John 15:9-12 {NIV}

first day of school {free printables}!

first day of school printables 2

I can hardly believe tomorrow is the first day of school here in Denver. Where did the summer go?! Ohhhh that's right, we had swimming lessons, speed camp, soccer camp, picnics, museum visits, zoo adventures, bike rides, hikes, family from out of town...went to Ethiopia {twice}, and brought home 2 more beautiful & amazing kids from Ethiopia. Guess we did do a lot. Perhaps I should be more ready for school to begin after all, but alas...it's always a mix of sad & excited.

Anyway...

It has become tradition in our house that on the 1st day of school, we have a breakfast party.

This year, since I've still not gotten the hang of shopping around with 6 children in tow, I decided to make my own decorations.

And why not share some of them with you?!

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printables-paper straw flags-first day of school 1

{click on photo or here to print}

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first day of school sign printable

I know these signs are so popular these days and can be found ALL over Pinterest but I wanted to go one step further and add the memory of who the child's teacher is and the date school began {don't you feel like it's earlier and earlier every year?!}.

I realize those of you with older children {like our Abreham} have multiple teachers, not just one. For theirs, it'd be fun to write something tongue-in-cheek in that spot like "too many" or I don't know, something funnier than that {it's late, I can't come up with anything better at the moment}.

printable-first day of school sign 1

{click on photo or here to print}

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Bible Verse lunch printables

I love lunchbox notes, don't you??

I thought it'd be special to address things that may be going through their heads the first week of school {worry, judging, peer pressure, feeling important, & working hard}, while adding some encouragement at the top.

Rather than copying the actual verses, I wrote them in my own words and added a prompt for them to look it up on their own, listing the actual reference at the bottom. I take any chance possible to encourage our kids to open up their Bibles...even if it means they stick it in their pocket to look up when they get home.

printables-Bible Verse lunch notes

{click on the photo or here to print}

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Good luck, proud Mama! Hope your kids have a wonderful new year at school...go buy yourself a latte and read a book for longer than 5 minutes. You deserve it!

. . check our Hugs & Punches facebook page in the morning {8.19.13} for photos from our back to school breakfast party! . .

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