Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This is what I have been up to for the last 36 hours. Up to my ears in sweet baby love! My little nephew, Holden, is the sweetest thing. The girls just love him. I can't get enough. And even Loren has gotten in on the action with a little nephew/uncle snooze fest. We only have a short time to visit but we are loving every minute of it!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Same Song, Second Verse

So, I know I've mentioned before that I have some of the best friends in the whole world, and I am sure that you are tired of hearing about it. But, since many of you are said friends (including my sisters, who have been my friends the longest), I thought you might not mind that much. The thing is, I keep getting these wonderfully encouraging, Spirit-filled, sharpening e-mails and they are consistently bringing me to tears. So much so, that I can’t bring myself to erase them…ever. I now have umpteen e-mails that I have moved to my “Amanda’s inbox” from the main inbox. It’s my own secret little packrat penchant. But I have a good excuse. I can’t erase them because their content demands that they be read over and over again. So I do. They are my little glimmers of light on days when the context of my life screams that the content of these e-mails can not be true. (Can I get an Amen?!?) These glimmers of light help me to see when my vision gets a little muddy. And it is prone to get muddy.

I am so grateful to these who faithfully share their hearts with me in ways that reflect the Spirit of God in them. It’s funny how so many people in my life, not necessarily connected in any way except that they know me, all at once, have decided that there are things that should not be left unsaid. They have decided that it is more important to speak up when your heart is bursting than to keep those words safe inside where you never have to worry about how they will be received. It is a bold decision to share that intimate, vulnerable part of your heart with someone else. It is a decision to be deeply connected with others in ways that are frighteningly significant. Do you even understand, dear friends, what an impact that has? To speak authentically, from your heart…that same heart where Jesus resides…is to speak words that are infused with the power of Almighty God!

The significance of so many around me laying their hearts on the line is not lost on me. I can sense God fervently calling me to risk more in relationships, to become more transparent. In recent years, I have learned to speak up more where my heart is concerned. The joy that attaches itself to these experiences is profound. I also know that, in many ways, I have just scratched the surface. I love being on this journey with so many of you who say what is in your heart. The overflow of the Spirit in you always serves to make me hunger and thirst for more of God in my life. And that is a powerful thing, indeed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Loren!

My sweetie turned 32 today. Today, we celebrate the day Loren was born. I celebrate in a unique way because being married to this man, who was born 32 years ago today, has been life-changing. Yes...that's right...I'm using the phrase life-changing, even though I am afraid that it's overuse has made it void of real meaning. (Wink wink to those of you who were privy to our conversation on bras last night and my adamant stance that a good bra, while beneficial in so many ways, is NOT life-changing...unless your boobs are fixing to take over the universe lest they be contained properly).

The truth is that marriage, if it is worth anything, should be life-changing. This initimate relationship should challenge and grow us. The bible uses marriage quite often to illustrate Christ's relationship with the church and so it is only natural to believe that marriage was intended to teach us more about who He is. I am so grateful to have a partner who is gracious with my learning curve and who not only provides me with a great deal of insight, but who values the insight I can provide. So, today, on his birthday, I thought I would chronicle some of the ways that my life has been changed because of Loren.

1. I dry myself off completely, feet and all, before I step out of the shower. This was not the case early on, but I have seen the error of my ways.
2. One of my first thoughts when it rains is, "I wonder if the top is on the jeep."
3. I no longer believe that spontaneity is of the devil and have even learned to embrace it most days. To go along with that, I have learned how to quickly whip up a meal for fifteen people and not mumble under my breath about how it is so much better to plan these things
4. While I am not as rugged as I pretended to be to get Loren to like me, I have come to enjoy the simplicity and beauty of getting outdoors, getting away from it all, and getting my hands dirty.
5. I say exactly what I mean. No reading between the lines!
6. I believe that I am beautiful. (I could just cry writing that because, even though I had parents who loved and cared for me and made me feel so special, for whatever reason, I felt unremarkable for so much of my life)
7. I have two beautiful daughters. I am not sure I would have ever found the courage to adopt if Loren wasn't so enthusiastic about it.
8. I believe wholeheartedly that God has uniquely gifted me to impact those around me. I believed it first because Loren believed it.
9. I truly believe that it is better to give than to recieve. I don't just pretend to believe it.
10. I earnestly desire to know Christ better because I see Loren pursue God. I know that more important than that.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Can you believe I get to be married to him?!?

Thank you, God, for my precious husband, who truly loves me as Christ loves the church. Thank you for knowing exactly what I needed when you placed him into my life. Thank for creating this man who seeks your heart and runs the race with intergrity and dedication. Bless him today and this year. It is through the precious name of Jesus that we can pray these things, Amen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Showers of Blessing

I have a new nephew and my little sister is now a mommy. All of this happened within the span of about three days...well...I guess that isn't entirely true. More accurately, we found out about him three days ago and have been having conversations about it for three days, but this has been the plan since before the foundation of the earth.

Holden Wayne Jeremiah was born on May 1 and was taken home today, on May 9 by my sister and her husband Jeremy. He has been their little boy forever, he has been in their hearts for three days, he has been in their home for approximately thirty minutes. God is so amazing. I was reminded by my friend today at what an example this is of his faithfulness to answer our prayers in his timing. It's funny how you can pray and pray and pray for so long with what seems like no answer and then, in an instant, you have an answer. Not only that, but in that instant, his timing makes perfect sense. Psalm 145 :14-16 says,

"The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time,
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing."

You know I could go on and on, but I will let our little miracle speak for himself. His little face declares of the glory of God!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


There is a radical shift going on in my mind and, better yet, in my heart. Well, it may not be radical for some people and certainly, what constitutes radical to me is a far cry from what others think of as radical. Nonetheless, I am approaching the throne of grace in an entirely new way these days and, I have to say, it is quite refreshing.

Loren and I had one of those wonderful theological discussions the other day that start out as one thing and build and build until you are talking about something entirely different and, instead of it being something that affects some small part of your life, it ends up being something that affects the way you see everything. Let me just stop here and say how incredibly blessed I feel to have a husband who loves the Word of God. He is a student of it and I benefit in every way. I love that we have these kinds of discussions and that we challenge each other to dig deeper. I love that he lets me read, out loud, to him passages that I feel must be read out loud, lest my heart explode with the wonder of it all. I am overcome with gratefulness that I snagged this particular prince.

Now, onto the radical shift. Okay, we have had quite a lot to pray about lately and that got us to talking about how, when you start to pray for others, it can seem almost overwhelming. There is so much need and, at some points, it starts to feel like we should quit everything else we are doing and just stay home and pray, with maybe a couple of bathroom breaks for good measure. Oh yeah, and then there are the kids, who, in spite of their new found ability to entertain themselves for a good half hour or so, have not learned to cook or clean or make money to pay bills and would thus be very little help, practically speaking. Needless to say, the intercessory thing feels like a full time job. This spurred us on to talk about how we pray, or rather, what is required of us when we pray in order for God to answer. No, the radical shift has not made me become a “Name it and Claim it” kind of gal...but stay with me.

There seem to be at least three things (this is not exhaustive, since we don’t yet have the whole bible memorized) required for God to answer our prayers. First, we must “believe and not doubt,” according to James 1. Second, I John 5 says that “if we ask, according to his will, we will have what we asked of him.” Third, James 4 tells us that we “have not because we ask with selfish motives.” So, we must believe, we must ask according to his will, and we must ask with pure motives.

The first thing I noticed, right off the bat, is that most of the stuff I pray for either falls into the category of selfish motives, or it is hazy as to whether it is in God’s will or not. “Lord, let me get that job….heal my sick friend…let the car start this morning, etc.” You get the point. I still believe that it is good to pray for these things. Phillipians 4:6 tells us, “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” He is perfectly able to sort out motives and to accomplish his will in our lives even if our requests miss the mark. We make the requests because we are engaging in relationship with God. I also know that I have to hold on to these particular desires loosely.

I think where the real radical shift comes is that, before last week, I might have said that I have to hold on to all my desires loosely. I don’t believe that anymore. What I do believe is that there are some things, things that are unselfish and things that are, scripturally, according to his will, that I can cling to with everything that I have and that I can ask for, believing that he has set in motion all that he needs to accomplish this purpose.

Finally, it occurs to me that one of the most powerful things about intercessory prayer, as it pertains to these things that are unselfish and according to his will, is that we pray because those in need of our prayers sometimes haven’t the faith necessary to pray in a way that will accomplish the undivided attention of our Lord. Does this make sense to anyone else? We pray because we, who aren’t in the middle of the devastation, who aren’t being battered every day by the flaming arrows of the evil one, who aren’t so raw with the grief of it all, are perhaps more able to believe the promises of the Everlasting God. We pray, believing, on behalf of the one who can’t quite muster up the faith to envision the beautiful, restorative ending to their story…which is really a beautiful beginning. We intercede on their behalf. We believe on their behalf. And we pray.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tea Time

I have a new favorite time of the day. Tea time. Lest you think I have moved to England or (insert phony British accent here)fancy myself with just a mite too much time on my hands, let me assure you I am still currently residing in Canon City and I am most definitely short on time, all the time. But, I have been enjoying this new addition to our routine.

On Valentine’s Day, Loren and I decided to each come up with one thing that we would like to incorporate into our routine that might enhance our relationship. (By the way, this is a much less intimidating question than, “If you could change one thing about our marriage what would it be?...and a much better question to ask on a special day when you would like for things to remain romantic). His idea was that we go to the mountains, in some way, at least once a month. No surprise there as my husband could no doubt thrive in any outdoor setting with little more than a covering, to protect him from the elements, and some ramen noodles. It wasn’t a surprise, but it did remind me that I need to be more intentional about making sure we are getting away every once in a while and experiencing nature, which is where he most senses the presence of God.

My idea, you may have guessed, was that Loren and I take time every day, or as often as we can, to just sit and talk for as long as it takes to have cup of tea (or whatever the preferred beverage happens to be). I guess I can’t exactly say it is my idea, since it came about through observing my friends Debbie and Paul doing this exact thing. There are no real rules. It happens whenever there are a few minutes to steal away and what we talk about doesn’t have to be serious or even particularly stimulating. It is just time to connect, to rest together, to look each other in the eyes, and to really pay attention to each other. It is refreshing to know that I have been heard, enjoyed, understood and to know that I have connected with what is foremost on Loren’s mind and heart. While we have yet to make it into an everyday kind of thing, it is a practice that has the makings of a long standing tradition. And it is the kind of tradition that feels far more important than what color lights are on the Christmas tree or what we have for Easter dinner.

P.S. For those of you doubting that my mountain man would sit and have a cup of tea, let me assure you that he does. I searched all over for a tea that, "doesn't taste like tea" (Bengal Spice Tea from Celestial Seasoings, with lots of heavy cream and sugar) for him to enjoy. Not ever having been a coffee or tea drinker, he is still learning the art of sipping it, though. If tea time was based on his ability to down a glass, we would be finished in less than five minutes. Luckily I am a refined, tea sipper. :)