Thursday, April 17, 2014

Helly, My Name Is {link up}


Tired in my bones.

Today has been that kind of day.

This day has held a lot of promise.  But with that promise has come many questions and not as many answers.  It has required faith and hope.

Tomorrow may be different.  As far as this promise goes.  Tomorrow morning could hold a different story for us, for our family.

{I know I'm killing you with my vagueness.  sorry.  but things may be happening but it's still too soon to share. but this is my blog and i have to let it out somewhere.}

I looked at my husband tonight as we about fell up the stairs to go to bed and we both said it.

We're tired.

But we're also strengthened.

If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.            1 Peter 4:11

Because this life.  This Christian life. This life of obedience and surrender is hard sometimes.  All the time.  It's tough and it hurts and it requires things of us that we're not sure we're able to give.  It requires time and sacrifice and saying no to ourselves.  It requires passion and speaking up and saying yes to others.  

On days like today, I need His strength to get through.  I need His strength to make it- to keep going. I am so glad I don't have to rely on my own strength.  I couldn't do this.  I can't do this.

This loving and serving and giving- it's hard and things don't always work out.  But we're called to do it anyway.  That person that we are called to love- they may not love us back.  That chance that we felt called to take- it may not work out.  That person that we are called to serve- they may spit in our face and hurt our feelings.

But we're called to do it anyway.

Today, is Good Friday.  The day that Jesus bled out and offered himself.  The day that the ultimate sacrifice- the sacrifice to end all sacrifices would be offered.  

The price that was paid. The blood that was shed.  The suffering that took place makes me want to be tired.  It makes me want to serve more.  It makes me want to say yes more.  And no more.  It makes me want to fall more.  It makes me want to give more.  It makes me want to take more chances and love more people.

His love and His sacrifice and the fact that He calls me leaves me feeling energized and full of strength.  Sure, I'm still tired.  But I know He has a plan and even when I'm dead tired, I'm not.

Today we are linking our arms and our blogs and our twitter and instagram accounts and shouting loud that we have new names.  Those names that the world throws our way.  Those names that make us feel worthless and used.  Those aren't the truth.  Let's shout loud today that we are different. We are changed and we have new names.

I'm cohosting this link up with Kerrie and Alesha.  Head on over to their blogs to read their new names and don't forget to link up yours.  You can also link up on twitter and instagram using #beingrenamed.

Hello My Name Is

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting {where the growing happens}

Much good happens in the space where nothing is happening. ~Christa Wells

I read this quote in this book the other day and I was floored.

How can good happen in the space where nothing is happening?

I mean the definition of nothing is nothing.  There's nothing good about nothing.

Things are moving in our adoption, right now.  But we've just exited a year where it felt like nothing was happening.  And we may soon enter that wilderness again.

The space where all you feel is this wild wandering.  This desperate desire to cling to something, to anything.

We've been here before.  We've traveled this road before.  We've felt these feelings before.

I've cried myself to sleep as I worry about the future.  I've wandered the aisles at Target looking at baby clothes.

I've reorganized the cloth diapers in my closet at least 20 times.  I've dreamed about where we'll be when we get the call.  I've day dreamed about where we'll put the crib.

It feels good.  At least I'm doing something.  I like doing something.

It's doing nothing that I'm no good at.

All of these things keep my brain busy.  They are a semblance of attachment to a child that I so long for.  And none of these things is bad.  There's nothing wrong with day dreaming or planning.

But, I also wonder if I'm not missing something.  Am I missing something more right now?

The truth is things are moving but we are fast approaching a day when things will grind to a halt again as we wait.  The wait may only be a few days or it may be months.  We have no power over that.

The only thing I have any power over is right here.  Right now.  I want to steward these last days, weeks and months of being a mom to one, of being a family of three well.

I created this little printable to remind me to not waste these days.  Just because I don't see any fruit- in our adoption, in our marriage, in our finances- doesn't mean things aren't growing.  The growing happens beneath the surface.  It happens in my heart.  It happens in my home.  And then, when the time is right, the little sprout of a plant comes out of the ground.  ch

Could you use a reminder that good things are happening in the waiting?  Sign up for my newsletter at the top of this page to get the free printable of this quote by Christa Wells (without the watermark).

Want to keep up with me?  You can find me here.

Facebook::::Twitter::::Pinterest::::Subscribe to Glory in the Valley::::gloryinthevalley(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello, My Name Is {link-up announcement}

It was just over a year ago that I had this idea.  The idea to gather bloggers on this space and in other corners of the internet to share our new names.

We all have names.  Some of them are good.  Good enough. Some of them are painful.  Some of them carry the weight of bad decisions or of inadequacies.  Some of them we are just so used to hearing that, to be honest, we don't even flinch anymore.  Sure, they used to sting.  They used to scratch our skin when those words, those names, were thrown at us.  But now, after being thrown so many times- after scratching so many times- we're used to it.  We've gotten comfortable with it.  With those names.

This link-up.  The Hello, My Name Is.... link-up is an attempt to shout loud against those names. The names we've been called for too long and shout the truth.

The truth that we are loved.  Loved beyond measure.  A love only fully expressed in death.

That we are treasured.  Treasured like a lost son.

That we are worth more.  More than the names.  More than the lies.  More than the things that we answer to.  

We are worth more.  I am worth more.  You are worth more.

This Friday, Good Friday, come back and let's link-up together.  

This month, I'm hosting this link-up with these wonderful ladies, Kerrie and Alesha.  I so am honored to share this space and this link-up with them.  On Friday, you can come back here or head over to Kerrie or Alesha's blogs to link-up your new name.  

If you'd like to read through my previous Hello, My Name Is Posts, you can find them here.

Let's shout it loud, on Good Friday, that we have new names. 

You can also link-up with us on twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #beingrenamed.

Hello My Name Is

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hello Weekend

It's that time again.  Time to bring you some links for your perusing pleasure as you begin your weekend.

For Good

Thank you so much to all of you who signed the petition on behalf of all the children stuck in the DRC. If you didn't sign the petition, you still can.  Over 100,000 have signed the petition so far.  Here's the link for that.

My friend, Chalice, is selling these super cute bunnies to help raise money to place vulnerable children in loving families, both in Uganda and in the USA.  The purchase of these bunnies is currently supporting the Abide Family Center in Jinja, Uganda and helping a sweet family here in the US as they begin their adoption journey.  My daughter, Alivea, has a bunny named after her.  The Livi Joy bunny is sold out but there are some other adorable bunnies available.  Also, did I mention that these bunnies are handmade in Uganda so your purchase is also employing a Ugandan woman?  It's a win-win all around.

For Fun

Moms everywhere can probably relate to this list of 100 Ways You Know You Are A Mom.  Lisa-Jo's list is fantastic.  It will make you laugh and it will definitely make you cry when you think of this awesome responsibility that we have as parents.

I am so excited for the release of this movie by Chris Wiegand.  American Blogger features a lot of my favorite bloggers and I love that you get to hear their heart about blogging.

For Your Heart and Mind

Emily Freeman wrote about hope and art this week.  She said "We will make art and the Artist will make us and we will make art again."  Oh, how my soul needs to hear that over and over again.

This post about a fresh start really got me thinking this week.  I have often struggled with those times of transition where you know you need a change but you are still stuck in who you used to be.

I hope these links will offer some encouragement, laughs and maybe some things for you to ponder as you begin your weekend.  Have a great one!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Exposing Your Roots

This weekend I visited Valley Forge National Park with my family.  It's a place we know well.  I went to college in a little town not too far from Valley Forge and my family loved to come visit me and we would always find time to visit the Park.  

We went hiking this weekend and I was struck by these trees that I saw growing on the banks of this stream that wound through the park.  I was amazed at how most of their roots were exposed and yet they still grew strong.  

As I stopped to take this picture and was thinking about the roots, I realized that this is what my life has looked like over the past couple of years.

I've been a Christian since I was a young girl.  I made a profession of faith when I was in 6th or 7th grade but my faith was not strong.

It's only been in the past few years that my faith has grown strong.  It's not that I have arrived at some super faith.  It's just that the things that I always knew, the things that I confessed and professed, I've actually had to use.  I've had to use them to survive.

As I've faced heartache and struggle in my life, my roots- my faith- have been exposed to the light. The things I always believed in have been uncovered.  The veil over my beliefs has been lifted.  And in lifting the veil, in exposing my beliefs, I've grown stronger.

Returning to Pennsylvania was emotional for me. The last time we were there was before Alivea was born six years ago.  If present-day Kerry ran into Kerry from 2006 somewhere in Valley Forge National Park, I'm not sure I would recognize myself.  I honestly feel like I am that different.

Life has changed me.  Suffering and heartache have changed me.

But Jesus has also changed me.  My roots, my faith, have been exposed.  

It wasn't easy.  It hurt a lot.  And it still hurts.

But the peace and the strength that I now feel, in my own skin, was worth the price.

Having my roots exposed has been painful, but I'm also stronger because of it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekend Links

It's the weekend!  Yay!

I used to do this little thing here on this blog where I shared some links for your weekend reading pleasure.  It wasn't a new idea, I just "borrowed" it for this space.

I've missed it, so I'm bringing it back.

Hello Weekend is just a collection of links from around the internet that I have enjoyed this week.  I hope you enjoy them too.

For Good

Sign this petition (it only takes about one minute) to help many families who have children who are stuck in the DRC.  Some of my blogger friends have children who are caught in the middle of this. Your voice can make a difference.  

This precious family (who are friends of my friend, Chalice) are adopting.  This has been a huge step of obedience for them.  Chalice is raising money to help with their adoption costs.  You can donate here.

For Fun

Do you know what your reading speed is? or how fast you read compared to the average person? Take this little quiz to find out. I took it and found out that I read 429 words per minute. Not sure what I'll ever do with that knowledge, but it was fun to find out.

For Your Heart and Mind

I'm rereading this book, A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, but this time I'm watching the book study that (in)courage did to go along with it.  I can't believe how much I am getting out of this book the second time around.  Almost every line in my book is underlined.

This sweet lady wrote a post this week entitled Courage For When It Doesn't Feel Like Enough. Although her story of waiting looks different than mine, I found hope in her writing and was encouraged that hope is slow but it is alive.

There is still time to register for the Missional Women Conference.  And if you are like me and you can't make it to Colorado next week, then they are offering the next best thing- a LIVE webcast of the conference.  Shaun Groves will be in concert and so many women I admire will be sharing their heart. Register now to watch the live webcast next Friday and Saturday, April 11th and 12th.

That's all for this week.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Love is Strong

My husband and I watched Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom the other night.  It was a very powerful movie.  

I was so moved by the sacrifice of this man and of his family.  I had no idea that his wife suffered as much as she did.  I really felt so bad for his family. 

But the movie also made me think a lot.  I struggle when I watch movies about civil rights or about injustice in any country.  I think because my daughter is African American, I just sympathize on a different level.  

I think I always grew up thinking of civil rights and segregation and injustices like that as being someone else's struggle, but having Alivea makes me think differently.

All of a sudden, it's not about what "they" went through or what "they" suffered.  It's more personal because the people being persecuted or being hated look a lot like my daughter.

A few months ago I visited the 16th Street Baptist Church when I was visiting my friend in Birmingham, AL.  

This church- this unassuming building in this quiet part of town- was a horrible site on September 15, 1963.  

That morning four mothers fixed their daughters braids and fathers kissed their babies as they dropped them off at Sunday School.  In a church.

Minutes later a bomb ripped through the bottom level of the church and those four little girls lost their lives.

Across the street from the church there's a memorial in a park.  I had to snap a picture.  I didn't want to forget.

The memorial is so beautiful and after I snapped this picture I had to run to the car.  When I got in the front seat, I couldn't control my crying.  My feelings were so overwhelming.  I was so sad for their families.  So sad for their lives cut short.  So sad for the unfulfilled dreams and the weddings and high school graduations that each of their families missed.

Looking back on my trip to the 16th Street Baptist Church and watching movies like Mandela, I'm reminded that hate is so strong.

But I also know that love is stronger.  

If I teach Alivea anything I want her to remember that, that love is strong.  So strong.  Strong enough to battle death, hell and the grave.  Strong enough to pay the ultimate price.  Strong enough for someone to lay their life down.  That's the example we have in Christ and that's the example that I want my daughter to see in me.

This parenting thing is hard, especially when you have to answer hard questions. But seeing the result of teaching hate reminds me that teaching love may just make all the difference.