Thursday, May 26, 2016

No Fear in Love

Two things that are spoke of most in the Bible is Love and Fear.  They are completely opposite to one another yet we wrestle with these the most.


That four letter word that can crush a dream, hinder a relationship or stop you dead in your tracks. So frustrating, yet we all have something we fear. I know for me I tend to pretend I do not have fear, but as soon as I start making excuses about something, I realize, it's that comfortable fear once again.

One of my favorite quotes comes from “philosopher” Will Smith and is found in his movie After Earth. In this film Smith is teaching his son a very important ideal that will help him overcome any kind of obstacle. He says

Danger is real, but fear is a choice.

Wonder why it's so comfortable to choose fear every.single.time?


Ah, something we all desire in the depths of our soul; to be loved. Loved in a way that makes you want to grit your teeth, or listen to Journey’s “don’t stop believing” all day long. 
What a beautiful feeling to be loved! 

But what in the world does that mean? 

Our English language sells us short on great verbiage. We have the same word for: the affection of a hot dog and a Mother toward her child; 
the same word describing the affection of a coworker and a passionate teenaged relationship. 

Love is so hard to define. 

In my opinion (if you’re asking) I think the word LOVE is the most over used word, yet the most desired one in our dialectal. Hearing the words “I love you” can melt a heart, turn a rebellion, start a fight or cause a tear. Amazing how powerful this –Love- is. 

So different yet so much the same.
Both a choice.
Both a passion.
Both stubborn.
One is desired. One is despised.

What to do?
John writes exclaiming how you cannot have both (fully) at the same time. In 1 John 4:18 he writes:

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

The two are merged. Real love will get rid of fear. I think I know why.

When you are in a relationship that is 100% unconditional and NOTHING you say or do will take away that love, you have an indescribable security.

You may have a fear of failing so you don't try. But if you had a confidence that the someone that loves you will love you if you fail or not, that nullifies fear. 

When you are living life in love (real kind of love) then there is no room for fear!

The love that this scripture is talking about is God 's love.  The man who created the heavens, the earth, the sun, moon and stars is crazy in love with you! 
He would do anything to be with you! He has done everything to be with you! 

It comes down to a choice. 
He loves you so much that, although He is your creator, He gave YOU the choice to love Him.

So, beloved, what do you choose? To live in Fear or to live in His Love?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Coloring God's Word

Life is busy.  Crazy busy.  Thank God for iCal so we can sync sports, Bible study, school stuff, church activities, singing stuff, and reminders when Library books are due.

We are THE busiest women who have ever walked the planet.  Not necessarily milking the cows or churning the butter- but the overload of INFORMATION.  Our BRAINS are on the go 100% of the time.  Even when we lay down the wheels are spinning over the current grocery list, pinterest ideas and political upheaval. It's absolutely exhausting.

And what about spending time with God?

As ultimate sports mom, writer, business owner, wife, sister, daughter, church member--I find it almost impossible to spend quality time with God! (Anyone else?)

Really?! The ONE thing I need the most gets pushed to the back burner.   Gah!

When I did make the time to dive in His Word I found myself refreshed, renewed and fueled to face the massive information overload! BUT- I'm not a scholar- sit and study is not my thing....


I started writing out God's Word that pierced my heart and washed over my soul.  I started coloring those words and realized that when I did --I found a small peace!  I couldn't think of crazy schedules, couldn't worry about finances or struggle with what I'm not.

Sitting still is Tough!  But God tells us to!  "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD! I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth" Psalm 46:10   I think God is wanting us to TURN OFF the noise and focus on Him!  What better way to BE STILL than getting a sharp colored pencil and stay in the lines!
"and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." Romans 8:17
It's amazing!  We are HIS Heirs!  He is our Father- our ABBA DADDY!  Of course He wants us to spend time with Him!    What is holding you back from reading His word?  He has something to tell you-- you are His Child
\Wonder where to start?  How about the beginning!
Break down the days of Creation in Genesis 1.  Let your creative juices flow and WHO cares if it looks like a kindergartener did it! You will be soaking in GOD's Word!

 So while I doodled through GOD's WORD I decided to compile some of my favorites together so YOU can too color God's Word!  Fun thing about this book is that the proceeds go to my sister's adoption!  Feel free to buy from the link below, from amazon or from me!  AND SPEND TIME COLORING GOD'S Word! Order here

 Let me end by saying this-- no matter if you don't color, doodle, journal or whatever--- GOD is still with you! He will ALWAYS be with you. In fact He will never leave you or forsake you!  It's a promise Beloved, He loves you- unconditionally.  Yes, He wants to spend intimate, undivided time with you, but KNOWS you and FORGIVES you when you don't!  He is here- right now waiting!  My prayer is that you make the time to open His Words to you!  It's worth it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

-The Other Woman--

As a young lady I dreamt of the day I would be a bride.  The handsome young prince standing at the end of the isle waiting to sweep me in his arms and live happily ever after.

Thanks to Disney, I'm sure most little girls have that dream.

Only thing is, we stop there. The wedding is only the first square of an entire toilet paper roll. No matter how that fancy goes, you are MARRIED----Stuck by a holy covenant to ONE person.

We spent more time picking flowers and tasting cake then we did discussing our parenting philosophy or even how many kids we want to have! The fantasy of the blissful day completely over shadowed a life long partnership that we probably should have been investigating.

I am blessed to say I had an amazing wedding day. Like a storybook princess I got my prince....and likewise we are living happily ever after. Here's why:

The other woman.

This other woman loved my prince more than I did. She knew him more than he knew himself. She wanted his happiness more than she wanted her own needs being met. She held her opinions to herself,  watched as I came in and stole him from her and never said a word against me.

Her concern was for HIS heart only and encouraged him to follow it as --hers was breaking.

My Mother in Law is a beautiful soul, and here is how I know.

I will one day have a Daughter in love. I will one day push my little bird out of the nest to watch another swoop him up and care for him. (Oh I go again) I will one day not be "number one woman" in his life....

But that's ok.

My mother in law gave me the biggest gift I could ever receive, and yet it has taken me nearly 17 years to realize. And one day I will have the opportunity to give that gift.

She gave me the gift of a loving husband.

She taught my man how to serve; how to unconditionally love, how to bend to his strong-willed wife and she gave me-- him.

I never said thank you.

As she lies in a hospital bed fighting for her life, regrets swell over me. Why did I think there was competition? Why would I ever be concerned that we have Christmas at her house!? Why didn't I see so much earlier what a sacrificial gift she had given me.

And why didn't I thank her?

My husband is a beautiful man and I pray one day my son can be half that! He has taught me true integrity, faithfulness, and legit kindness. I blame the other woman. (thank God for her!)

So as a tribute to that other woman, I strive to be the best "other woman" to my son's wife.

Golly Heidi, he's only 14! I know I know, but my desire for him to be cherished, godly, full of joy, and on fire for Jesus trumps his age! Even now (and for several years) I have prayed for her. I have prayed God protect her, draw her near to Him, guide her and prepare her to love my son more than I can (Truly a tall order).

So for all the other women out there--Thank you!

Thank you for taking the sideline for the benefit of your son! Thank you for loving him before we even knew him. AND thank you for building up a man that will fill the hole in our hearts!

Thank you,

The other 'other' woman :)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Love Language

Love Language  (a selection from Passionate Life coming fall 2017!

In January 2013 my sister became a mom for the first time to three amazing teenagers.  They  just happen to be from Ukraine.  After a two-year spiritual, emotional, and financial battle to legally call them their own, I decided to board a plane and fly across the ocean to see them!  My sister and brother-in-law were serving as missionaries when God finally made them parents.  Of course Auntie Heidi had to meet them!  Although they were going to come to America just 2 short months, I wanted to meet them in their culture, with their language and food and all the weird things I will come to love about them.  If my sister birthed them, of course I would be in the hospital room, so why not meet them in their origin of the birth of a new family.

My flight got in really late, and my niece and two nephews were not there to greet me at the airport (bummer).  My sister had waited 13 years for these babies, she was going to start them on great sleeping schedule, although they were 14, 15 and 16 years of age.  When we got to their house, she told me I could go upstairs and hug them.  The minute I opened the bedroom door this angel sat straight up and even in the dark I could see her perfectly-white giant smile.  IT WAS IMMEDIATE LOVE.  I cannot describe it.  My heart literally leapt out of my chest and I knew I was the aunt that would cry with her when that boy breaks her heart, that will eat chocolate and watch movies, that will take her shopping and buy her anything she wanted.  It was indescribable.  She wrapped her arms around me and said in a very thick Russian accent “Good Morning”.  (she meant Good Night and I was smitten).  And that exact scenario happened twice more with my nephews.

My sister and brother-in-law had been on a team to translate the Bible in the Tat tar language.  Tatars are a people group living among the Ukrainians.  This group of people have always been ostracized, a group less then others.  They are the outcast and overlooked.  My sister has always had a heart for this kind of a people so it was no surprised when she was called to translate God’s Word for them.  While serving, she also worked at an orphanage.  This is where she had met Dima and Victor.  She volunteered in their first grade class, taking them on field trips, providing gifts, educational material, workshops, and spiritually pouring into these 8-9 year old institutionalized kids without parents.  She fell in love with each and every kid.  Dima was the golden child; the bright one, the favored one, the teacher’s pet.  Victor was not.  He was picked on, beat up, and a little awkward.  My sister loved each and every one, but these two had a special place in her heart. 

After years of battling infertility I asked why she would not just adopt. Like go to the orphanage and pick a kid and come home and live Happy Ever After. (so naive)  Her words exactly and a pierce right to my heart-- “How do I pick?!  How unfair!”  But I knew she wanted to be a real mommy to these kids. She was weary and tired of leaving each day to not know what happens at night, when they were sick, not be taken care of.  Her heart was longing but how in the world could she chose?  After much prayer, and one after another child got adopted from that class (Which is completely a miracle in itself.  Kids in that “special” institution just don’t get adopted, especially almost an entire class)  God was parting the waters.  And guess who was standing right there in the middle:  Dima and Victor.  The ones she was meant to have.  (Three years later I still cry tears of joy.) 

During the entire process of major ups and downs, victories and losses-(which I highly recommend you read her blog- she should be writing the book not me!)** (In fact, please read her  She and Matt found that Victor and Dima had sisters and brothers.  Ukrainian law, at that time, stated that you have to adopt the entire sibling groups   So they opened the paper work to accept not just two kids, but five!  Through the investigation process they found one brother was too old, one sister was already with a foster family some how (pray for her) and then there was Tanya.  Our bright-eyed-giant-smiled-curly-red-headed precious Tanya!

Apparently Tanya was exactly a little orphan-Annie.  She was confident, in charge, and mothered everyone in that orphanage.  She did not need a family and she was apprehensive.  Some how though, my sister wooed her into our family and we cannot imagine life without her.

The first morning I really got to see them in the light Tammy let me do a devotion and she translated.  I so badly wanted to talk and ask questions and get to know my new family but the language barrier was discouraging.  So I tried to act out everything.  Each evening that week I would lie in bed with Tanya and read children stories in English and try to act out the story.  She would laugh until she fell out of the bed.  We fell in love.  With hardly any words exchanged she, Victor, Dima and I bonded. I WAS THEIR AUNT HEIDI!  And we didn’t have to say a word—we all just knew it.

First Morning I ever saw them!
I hear all the time how hard it is to believe because they can’t ‘hear’ God.  They talk and talk but receive no response.  The week I met my new family we shared maybe 3-4 real-understandable words, but it did not deter love from growing.  We couldn’t understand one another and it didn’t stop a bond from cultivating.  I can just imagine God jumping around trying to explain His love in a way we will hear it.  He is hugging, laughing, creating, and totally in love with you.  It is possible friend.  You can feel His Love without ‘hearing His voice’. 

Gotcha day!  They were a family!  From left to right: Victor, Matt, Tammy, Tanya, and Dima
I am just the Aunt and 100% into my niece and nephews.  Imagine being their parents.  They went through hell to get them, and will do it again.  In fact they are doing it again! (true saints ya’ll)  Same with our Heavenly Father.  He went through HELL to bring us home.  He is holy and perfect and we are not.  That mere fact separates us.  There had to be something to bridge the gap, something to overcome the language barrier and he provided it.  He is so smitten in love with you, He demonstrated it through a cruel death.  Just like me trying to act out Three Pigs with my niece- He acted out love by covering our un-holiness so we can be adopted into his family.  Omy word that is Love and it is YOU He loves.  Do you see it beloved?  He knows every freckle, thought, white lie, stupid joke and He is still totally and utterly and completely in love with you.  Enough to die to be with you!

Dima, Tanya, Victor

Tanya and Me (Photo bomb with Grand Parents!)