Wednesday, May 16, 2018

remembering january 2014

(i wrote this january 2014.  this was a few weeks before the sinus infection and the darkness i talked about in my post about being known.  life was so chaotic, but i am so glad i wrote this down, because it shows me the beauty in my life at that time.)

sometimes i feel like i live in a reality show.  i never imagined myself taking care of 3 kids by myself each week.  but we are here.  my husband's job expects him to spend monday through friday 4 hours away from home. 
yes, we are here with baby needing 2 naps, walking and into everything, the cutest thing ever really - getting hurt and never keeping her socks on - loving feeding herself and watching brother and sister.  sister is growing up so fast and about to turn 3 next wednesday.  occasionally i stop long enough and notice how very smart she is.  and the boy in kindergarten and if the baby wakes up before 7:30 we're all heading down the street in the van because it's 32 degrees or below outside and i gotta get the boy on the bus.
and the kids are young.  really, there's just one kid.  then a toddler and a baby.  they are beautiful and smart - they are my full-time job.  they need a lot of help.  and i am only one person.  monday thru friday.
growing up in a Christian environment i often heard phil. 4:13.  i can do anything through Christ who gives me strength...
i've only recently realized the other part of that coin.  "apart from me you can do nothing" john 15:5.

thoughts in March

(stream of consciousness notes i took in March.  so it may not make complete sense.  but, important to me.)

Wake up.

Why do you want to adopt???

13,500 kids in the state of ga in foster care.

Be grateful.  practice it.

"the enemy wants us to be judgemental, because then we will not help"  a quote i heard when learning about sex trafficking.  i think it applies to other things as well.

happiness is important to God, too.

the equipping comes after the obedience happens

i feel like i am walking into a storm

God is the peace in the storm

Jesus walked on the water in the midst of a storm

Jesus is in the storm

you can still sing to God even if you're not in the choir.  He's listening.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

feeling and being known

when God allows so much familiarity to be removed, He becomes more familiar.

i've also heard it said, "when you feel most as though God has abandoned you, it is then that you are able to be most abandoned to God."

he takes the strand of fake pearls when we offer it.  then, he gives us the strand of real pearls. 

we do have to offer it.  i don't think he will rip it out of our hands. 

but, sometimes there is a period of waiting.  and our hands are empty.  our hearts feel a little empty.  but, there is good in the empty. 

in the emptiness and the dark, God shows up.  it may not be immediate.  there is often a lot of waiting and wondering and sometimes questioning.

here are a few stories of God showing up in my life in the last decade that i do not want to forget. 

i had carried the weight of post-partum depression with my first child for a little over a year.  i remember the moment that i felt a physical, but invisible weight being lifted off of my shoulders.  it was during a time of prayer.  after this healing, i was at home a lot with my son and sometimes i would have the tv on for background noise.  it was 2009, but at the time we did not have cable so i would flip through the few channels i could get.  one of them was a Christian station and i would sometimes listen to what they had to say.  i would often begin with a critical eye or as i like to think, a discerning eye, and end in tears with God revealing something new to me about Himself through someone's story.  God began to become very personal to me during that time and i saw him as a God who pursues.  i had never seen him like that before.  i picked up a copy of Redeeming Love by 
Rivers from a yard sale and read it in a couple of days.  i also read The Shack by Young.  all of this greatly influenced me.  sometimes on the tv station, they would play these very peaceful music videos.  and one of the songs they played over and over was Child of God by Kathryn Scott.  another song that influenced this time was brooke fraser's Hymn.  it definitely speaks of one wandering away and God pursuing in love.  "till i only dwell in thee."

in 2007, i learned revelation 21:3,
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God."

i was starting to see the Bible as all working together from Genesis to Revelation, as one big story, not as separate books and authors.  i had always heard and believed, God wants a relationship with you.  God wants to save you.  But, i was then learning and still am, a bigger, deeper part of that.  everything was starting to have more meaning and honestly making more sense.  God is holy, he loves us and wants us to be with him forever, and it is with this holy God that there is true acceptance and peace because of Jesus.  and later, in 2014, Jesus as the Passover Lamb, would become frighteningly and wonderfully more clear to me.  

i remember the period of time when my husband had to travel every week for work for months.  and we did not know when the end would be.  and i had three very young children.  there was a week in february near my birthday.  i was getting a sinus infection, there had been a lot of snow days.  i had been tired for a long time.  i felt very alone and also never alone with three little ones running around and needing lots of care as little ones do.  in the evenings when the kids were in bed i would watch The Voice to keep my mind off of reality.  and i would look up certain songs on YouTube that i had heard on the non mainstream Christian radio.  one night in particular, i was really struggling, and i was sitting in the recliner looking up a song.  it was Bellarive, I Know You.  and as i was listening and noticing the words it was as though God, the Holy Spirit, was truly in the room with me, looking straight at me, understanding exactly what was going on and what i was going through, and saying,

"i know you and this is hard and you are going to be okay."

it was still a month later, i remember telling a friend, "if things don't get a little better soon, i need to call my doctor and go back on an anti-depressant."  because it was like there was a dark cloud over me and it kept getting darker every day. 

i think it was the next week that lee's company allowed him to work mondays and fridays from home.  that was enough to take the edge off and i was thankful.  it was as if God allowed me to walk right up to the door of deep depression and knock, but also allowed the door not to be opened that time.  and i was thankful.  things were still hard, but the cloud was not as dark.

the other songs that define that time in my life were "Good to Me" by Audrey Assad (i lift my head to the hills where my help comes from) and "Trust" by Kristene Mueller-Dimarco.  these are not popular songs, but these are all songs that God made sure i somehow heard.

that was all years ago.  recently, our family has experienced a move.  it is a positive move, but any move requires everyone stepping out of some familiarity and comfort.  it takes time to build relationships, get to know people and for people to get to know you. 

but, i do not want to forget a certain moment when again i felt deeply known and loved by God.  in december, my family and i went to a bluegrass Christmas concert that they must have every year at the public library here in town.  i wanted us to go mainly because my husband loves bluegrass music.  i like certain bluegrass music, but if i am being honest, a lot of it i cannot tolerate because of the singing.  (maybe i watched too much of The Voice).  but, this group had pure voices that stayed on pitch.  (i know, i am ridiculous).  it was beautiful.  there were no microphones.  and they were singing Christmas songs that i had never heard before, and that i loved. (i still don't know even the names of the songs.  there was no program.) it was as if God was handing me a gift that night, just for me.  there was a lot of wonder in that moment when i got a glimpse of something bigger than myself knowing me better than i know myself.  i mean, does it get any better?

for this year, i know certain changes are coming and it is important for me to remember how God has shown up in the past, is with me always anyway, and truly knows me.  i wonder what new songs and stories will be written and shared and also what passages of scripture will have more clarity in my life in this next year.  

Yahweh your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will bring you quietness[a] with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy.

Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Root Beer the dog and Eve had a purse

today in the van

phoebe's suggestion for a dog name:  Root Beer. 
it is her favorite dum dum flavor.
she's never had a real root beer drink.  i guess she would like it.  i personally think root beer tastes like Pepto-Bismol.  no thank you.
but, i love Root Beer as a name for a dog.  Perfect.

tonight at the dinner table

"will, please wipe your chin.  you have spaghetti sauce all over it.  look at your sisters.  they do not have any sauce on their chins."  (i'm such a wonderful mother...)

"well, eve didn't have sauce on her chin, and adam did."  will's response (or something like that).

"eve had a purse,"  cora.  "i saw it in a picture."

"eve did not have a purse.  she had a garden."  phoebe

"she owned a garden with adam" will

"she did have a purse!"  cora, very adamently.  "it was made of leaves!"

me trying to calm her down.  "what did she carry in her purse?"

phoebe "apples."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

dinner time conversations

sitting down at the dinner table at our house includes five people.  two adults and children ages 8, 5 and 3.  i am loving some of the "conversations" we are having lately.

"8 year old boy, where does an empty bag of pepperonis go?" asks parent.

"uhh, in the refrigerator," says 8 year old boy.

"uhh, no, it goes in the trash can," says parent.

"yeah, if you put it in the refrigerator, it's called 'glittering,'" says 5 year old girl.

stay tuned for more cox dinnertime "conversations"...

may the awkwardness bring God glory

i love my church.

there is no perfect church.

i love my church.

but sometimes, there are awkward moments...because we are talking about real people.

i am on the worship team which means, i am given a microphone.  this allows for countless opportunities for awkwardness every sunday.

so last week, for the invitation, it happened that i sang with the organ.  that was a first.  it could have been worse.  there was no rehearsal.  we got through it.  the end.

i only pray that God uses the awkward moments to bring glory to himself.  it is quite humbling and God teaches me a lot about how little and weak i am through the awkward moments.  may He get the glory and no one else!  amen.

Friday, August 14, 2015

one time there was a great great grandpa

Dear Middle,

Today you told your little sister a Bible story and it went something like this.  (I was so glad I was in the next room and could hear it.)

"One time there was a great great grandpa - and he was so great - he was God.  And he was Strong.  He was Holy and he Knowed Everything.  And the people did Not know everything."

I wish I had the inflection and expression in your voice recorded!

Later you told another Bible story.  This is how you began:

"I am going to tell you a Bible story.  It has a very happy ending!"

Maybe one day you will read this and know that God really encouraged me through you today. Because He does know everything and we don't know everything.  And there is a very happy ending for those that know that.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Howunsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9

And pretty much all of Job 38 

The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?
12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
    or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
    its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
    and their upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
    Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
    You have lived so many years!
22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
    for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
    or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
    and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
    an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
    and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
    Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
    when the surface of the deep is frozen?
31 “Can you bind the chains[b] of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
    or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[f]
    or gives the rooster understanding?[g]
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
    and the clods of earth stick together?
39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

hold together

I texted a friend today, saying, "i feel like i'm falling apart."
I had just found out that what i thought was ringworm, was really an autoimmune skin thing.
She was encouraging and responded with the fact that i'm a mom and i've just moved (again) and trying to settle in.
The nurse at the clinic asked if i had been under a lot of stress.  I said, no.
Really, i think i am crazy,delusional.  I was equating stress with anxiety and depression i have struggled with in the past.  And while i am no longer in that dark place, i am in a chaotic place.
Thank you, God for encouragement today.  The tears came.  And the holy spirit was there.
The pharmacist saw me and my stir crazy, not listening kids and even said things like, you are doing a good job, be strong, only you can be their mom.
I am falling apart.
But Christ holds me together.
Colossians 1:17
"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

scavenger hunt

i don't keep a very clean house.  i just don't.  when i had one kid i feel like i really kept things together.  i could keep the house clean and things in their place.  i was never behind on laundry.  i cooked and then cleaned up the kitchen.  that feels like another lifetime.  and something happened when i had two kids.  i started getting behind.  and then throw in a third child and i was hopeless....still trying to remember how to have good habits two years later.


wednesday night, i was actually trying to clean something.  i was scrubbing marker out of the carpet.  the baby - she's 2 and not potty trained - was going around the house diaperless because the doc had recommended that to help with a certain irritation she was dealing with.  so while i am scrubbing the marker stain, my middle runs to me and says that baby's bottom hurts.  i check her bare bottom and notice the signs that she has done number 2.  where?  i have no idea.

"cora, where did you poo poo?"

she has no idea and cannot show me.

lee yells from the kitchen - "poo poo scavenger hunt"

i walked around our 1400 sq. feet and could not find it.

we are moving in about 10 days so i thought, well, i guess we'll find it when we move!

a little bit later, i found it.  and i was scrubbing another stain out of the carpet.