First Loves Burn Brightest

C&E PicValentine’s Day this year was a bit more involved than last year, as we have a preschooler on our hands now. So, there was the prepping of the Valentine’s Day cards for school and the picking out of the most Valentine’s-esque outfit. But before that we had a bit of a surprise opportunity. The Sunday before, our church threw a Daddy-Daughter Dance and I knew the minute I heard about it, that Clinton and Elly were going. In preparation, I picked out the perfect dress for her, a brown velvet top, with a light pink chiffon skirt, complete with a ribbon around the middle pinned with a pink rose. Perfect! Elly wore her very special (costume) diamond necklace that she got from her daddy for Christmas. Clinton went to the store and bought her a bouquet of hot pink daisies and picked her one to take to dinner. It was going to be a night to remember!

The evening was filled with balloons, a chocolate fountain, great dancing music, lights, and of course a bubble machine! Each Daddy and Daughter got their portrait taken and each little girl received a very special necklace in remembrance. A friend texted me pictures of them dancing the night away and my heart overflowed with joy at the experience my little girl was having with her daddy. To know that at that moment the groundwork was lovingly being laid down in her heart, gave me such peace. Years from now, if we’ve done our job right, Elly will know what true love looks like when she’s presented with it (or him) not because she read about it in some magazine or saw it in some movie, but because she’s been loved like that every second of her life. It’ll be natural to her. The honor and respect she’s been treated with all her life, will be what she’s accustomed to and therefore, will be a natural guard against the counterfeits. Amazing how it works like that. And this night is just a start.

So, to savor this experience, I put together a little album on Facebook and made a video. Here are the links below:

Album: click here

Video: click here

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; 

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

Life at 40(%)…

Cracked PotWell, we continue to be in awe of God as He moves powerfully in our lives! A few weeks ago we gave the message at NorthRock Church in Thornton and to be honest, had no idea what to expect going into it. The two weeks leading up to it were some of the hardest weeks Clinton and I had experienced in this process. In the midst of trying times with tantrums and toddler-ness, we had met with several people that God had brought into our lives and for whatever reason, received no after no after no to partnership. Though we know that’s a part of this process, it’s still hard to go through. Then the final straw came when we had a meeting with someone whose heart, I believe, was meaning to challenge us. However, it came across in a manner that tore us down and greatly discouraged us. For whatever reason we were the recipients of his utter disdain for American missionaries and were put in a position where we had to defend our calling rather than share our calling. Needless to say, we left the meeting feeling pretty dejected and weary.

So, preparing to give our testimony at my home church and come alongside what’s happening there, was something that we approached initially out of a place of weariness. But in the process of that preparation we were reminded of how much God has actually done in our lives and how far He has brought us. So when the time came, we spoke from a place of authenticity and humility. Out of that we have seen the Lord move in very surprising and inspiring ways. We have had the tremendous privilege of meeting with many people now from NorthRock and hearing their testimonies of God’s calling on their lives. We’ve gotten to pray with them and encourage them in their journeys!

In addition to this blessing, God has been moving in these meetings and as we’ve shared our testimony of His amazing presence in our lives, several 40%individuals have felt called to partner with us. As a result, we reached 40% this afternoon!! And the momentum is building! Reaching this milestone today caused me to stop and think for a moment about the path getting here. I know we still have a ways to go, but we both have learned so much that walking this path isn’t as painstaking anymore. I realized some of the profound lessons I’ve gathered and ways in which they have altered me.

This journey has been so challenging for me as it requires literally, that I operate out of some of my greatest weaknesses. Yet, as 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “His strength is made perfect in our weakness”, and I have seen that come true time and time again in this process. I have seen so many of these areas in my life be brought to the forefront and made perfect in His strength. Truly a profound experience and realization. As we yield to His way and His path for us, He takes these areas of weakness and these areas of pain and wounding, and accomplishes more than we could ever dream of with them.

Life today looks so different than life did this time last year. I walk in a confidence not my own but one that I fully own. I now realize that the weaknesses embedded within me, are only the cracks where His strength flows out from. In operating in my various weaknesses, by His calling and help, not only has His strength been made perfect, but I have come further into who He has called me to be. Not a weak being, but one that surrenders every weakness to receive back a greater strength than I am naturally capable of embodying.

So, at this junction, not quite half way to our goal of 100%, and I see more transformation in myself than I ever dared hope for. I’m sure I can’t even imagine what’s in store for the remaining 60% of this journey to Kenya!