Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Happy #2 Asher Tate!

Last night, I tucked him in for the last time as a one year old. We rocked and I sang of a mother's love so deep. I prayed God would redeem him at a young age and give him a passion for the Word. I asked God to make him an oak of righteousness. God has used Asher to bless each one of us and bring a whole other dimension of joy to our hearts. Thank you for knitting him together and dreaming him up, Creator. I thought I wanted him to be a girl.  God knew my heart just needed an Asher.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Fellowship on the River '15

I really dig this day every year.  We gather as a huge church body down by the riverside to eat, chat it up, listen to our awesome band, and play.  It brings such a sense of unity to have everyone together, laughing and sharing life.  Asher enjoyed a steady diet of Cheetos and dirt and decided going down the slide head first is really the best way.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Love of a True Friend

Once upon a time, there was a man robbed of the ability to do anything for himself.  Day in and day out, he lay upon his dirty mat of a couch as he helplessly watched others dress him and put bites of food into his mouth.  He was a wretch, partly because of his paralysis and partly because of the torment of his own sin.

But, this man was blessed.  He had four friends who cared for him deeply.  They longed to see him healed and they knew that a Healer, the Healer, lived amongst them. The four men each picked up a corner of the paralytic's mat and carried him to the source of hope.

These men couldn't preach.  They couldn't save.  They couldn't heal.  So, they acted within the abilities that God had endowed them with.  They used their strength to get him into the Savior's presence.

When they reached the house where Jesus was teaching, the crowd had already gathered.  They could not even get close to the threshold!  Everyone was so enthralled with the Master's true words that none would make way for the poor paralytic.

The four men continued to exercise their faith and refused to give up. Their friend needed Hope and so they dug in with diligence.  To the roof they headed.

There was a staircase on the outside of the house that led to the roof.  The roof was many layers, a mixture of branches, sticks, clay, and tiles.  The four men gently laid their friend down as they began to literally unroof the roof.  They dug in with their hands, breaking up earth and tile and debris and anything else that hindered their sight of the Holy One.

The dust and rubbish must have been falling onto the dwellers below but their faith only fueled their unconventional methods.  They simply had to get the sick man inside. A righteous hunger clawed away at each piece of tiling and earth.

These men couldn't preach.  They couldn't save. They couldn't heal.  They chose not to judge.  But, they could use their strength to unroof a roof in order to lower their friend into the presence of Jesus. Their hearts broke with compassion for their friend and yet they uttered no words to the Healer once they lowered him down.  They simply believed Jesus would take it from there.

The paralytic had the love of true friends.  Friends that pointed him to Jesus and carried him there when he was unable to carry himself.

When Jesus saw their faith, He acted.  He took away the sin. He restored the body.

The faith of four friends penetrated through a roof.  A roof. 

"Smash or crash, everything shall go to pieces which stands between the soul and its God:  it matters not what tiles are to be taken off, what plaster is to be digged up, or what boards are to be torn away, or what labor, or trouble, or expense we may be at; the soul is too precious for us to stand upon nice questions.  If by any means we may save some, is our policy." Charles Spurgeon quoting Mr. Hartley in sermon #981

These four friends had a burning desire to get the paralytic into the presence of Jesus.  They threw out all conventional rules, status quo and niceties and decided to tear up a stranger's roof so their friend could have a chance at complete restoration.

The love of a true friend brings the person into the presence of Grace and then steps back.

The love of a true friend refuses to give up when conventional methods won't work.

Who can you carry to the Savior today? What roof can you unroof? What friend will be eternally blessed today by your perseverance?

For further study:

Luke 5:15-26
Matthew 9:1-8
Mark 2:1-12
This sermon by Charles Spurgeon

Monday, April 20, 2015

National History Day

Looks like our summer vacation it about to be booked!  We are heading to Washington, D.C., to cheer on Cade as he goes to National History Day. 

We are still a little shocked.  After Cade's interview process during Arkansas History Day last Saturday, we had to rush him away to his baseball games.  We didn't get to stay for the awards ceremony and just assumed that he wouldn't get to proceed to nationals because well, only the two top papers in the whole state get to go on.  So, color us shocked when we got an email from the teacher telling us all about the D. C. trip.


The project started last summer when Cade decided to write about Martin Luther and his influence on the Protestant Reformation.  Heavy topic for an 8th grader?  Yes!  But what a joy to have him be exposed to such significant information at such a critical age.  My prayers for his faith to grow exponentially are being answered.

I can't tell you how many hours Cade poured into his research and paper.  What I can tell you is that when I read the paper, I thought I was reading college level work.  He wouldn't let me help him one bit and so the final product caught me off guard.  This is good work. 

There is a principle that Eric is trying to instill into the boys (and me as well.)  It goes something like this:  "Don't be afraid to see just how great you can be, using the talents that God has given you.  We don't have to live in fear.  Our talents are on display for His glory and fame."

One of my favorite things about parenting right now is watching the boys' gifts and talents rise to the surface.  I am telling you, they are all so different, but they each showcase the glory of God in their own way!  It is fun to help them see their gifts and push them towards things where they will excel. 

I think about all of the teachers and judges that have read Cade's paper.  It is a paper that shouts that Jesus provided the ultimate sacrifice for sins and about how Christianity is all about grace and not works. I wonder just how many people an 8th grader has influenced for the Kingdom simply because he wasn't afraid to see just how great he could be while walking in the gifts God has given him.

You are gifted, too.  You have been invited into a story bigger than yourself.  Don't be afraid to see just how great you can be, using those talents for His glory.

Becke' Martens Stuart's photo.

Monday, April 13, 2015


The name has stuck.  We can't seem to stop calling him Squishy.  I can imagine him at the plate, getting ready to bat and his batty parents and brothers are saying, "Let's go, Squish!"  Poor kid.  You just never know what nicknames are going to be the right fit.  He definitely fits the bill, though.

I tried to take a few shots and I got totally cheese Asher.  The one that won't look at me or tries to blow bubbles at me.  Fun age, I tell ya.  These are the ones that make me work for my money!

He is super fun, though!  Little man starting emulating his brothers and no longer calls us Momma and Dadda.  We are now Mom and Dad, thanks a lot.  I was hoping for a couple more years of Momma, and now it is gone forever.  Sob Fest 2015.

Trying to get this kid to eat meat and eggs is killing me.  We are about to go hard core round these parts.  You eat the meat and eggs, fella, or you wait til the next meal.  There are delicious varieties of protein other than yogurt and cheese little pint sized dictator.

You guys, I have raised three other boys and I am telling you, even though I have a few tricks up my sleeve by this point, I still think toddlers are hard!  Give me a newborn any ol' day!  You should have seen the standoff at the corral today. Power struggle at its finest.  Score 1 for Daddy (I mean, Dad.)  Score 0 for Asher. 

A little couch time (one on one time between Mom and Dad where he can watch us and not be allowed to interrupt) and a little wrestling with Dad should help matters greatly.

Whew. Didn't mean to go off on the toddler tyrants, but it is the season.

Let me tell you though, this boy is so lovable!  He loves going shopping and telling everyone "bye" that he comes into contact with.  And he doesn't just whisper it, either.  He is not afraid to own his goodbyes and expresses himself with gusto!

We are trying to learn to "color" but it is more fun to taste the crayons and break them.  Yep, he's a boy.

His personality is really his own!  He is extremely observant and notices things.  He likes order and throws away trash that is laying around.  He helps pick up toys because I think he enjoys things being in the right place.  While dropping of the kids at school, he yells at them and points to their lunches to make sure they don't forget them! 

He is also pretty outgoing and personable with people.  He loves to laugh and will start laughing if anyone else is.  He LOVES those brothers!!!

He knows how to pick a basketball bracket.  He won out of our family this year by picking particular stuffed animals.

Today, I was at the doctor for a check up and I had to update some information.  I had to list all my babies' names and delivery dates. 

September...Sam in heaven/miscarried

I had to pause and praise God that He came into the ache of that miscarriage and didn't leave me in that place.  He brought about healing and eventually, a baby born in the newness of spring that brought a restoration of joy.  The last blank was this:


All my five babies right there in the span of a few inches of paper. But, forever imprinted on my heart.

I am one blessed Momma

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Day Love Won


Good Friday.  The day love won.  It's always the day that I don't know what to do with myself.  A huge dichotomy of emotions always courses through my veins on this day.  One moment I am in the throws of grief, hardly able to contain my sorrow for my Lord.  This Creating King walked in flesh and was pierced, beaten, and hung up on dry wood only to be robbed of breath.  All for my sin.

The next moment, I am listening to music and smiling from ear to ear because I know the full redemptive story. I know He is alive and well and interceding on my behalf.  Up from the grave He arose my heart shouts!

Good Friday is always a sacred dance of grief and joy.  The best love stories always are.

I want to tell you about one simple verse and one simple Greek word today.  I hope it finds you where you are.

In Luke 22:22, we see this, "And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined but woe unto that man (Judas) by whom he is betrayed."

Jesus is in the upper room sharing a final Passover meal with his disciples. He has expressed how his body will be given for them and his blood shed for them.  He wants them to know that the old covenant will be stripped away because the new covenant is in his blood.

There must have been a dichotomy of emotions in Christ at that meal.  You know he longed for the cross because of the hope set before him: a beloved people restored to the Father.  You also know his weak human flesh was screaming against the agonizing hours that he knew were ahead.

It's this verse that has made me pause all week.

"And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined..."

Jesus is going to the cross.  It was his whole mission.  Satan didn't win by nailing him to the tree.  It was God and Jesus and me and you who won in that moment.

The Greek word for determined is "horizo" and means exactly what you are thinking because we get our word horizon from this word.  It means to mark off by boundaries, to set limits, to appoint, to determine.

Even when the triune God was marking off the boundaries of creation, setting boundaries of oceans and horizons, the triune God had already determined that the Son would be the sacrificial atonement.  Even before mankind was in place and had fallen, the plan of redemption had already been determined.

The cross didn't catch God off guard.  The cross had been determined all along.

The cross was God's majestic and holy dance of grief and joy.


I think of all the sorrow around and I think about how nothing catches God off guard.  I reflect on His sovereignty and am reminded that He determines everything, ultimately bringing joy from grief.

I see your ache and how you swim in the uncertainty of what God has determined and allowed in your life.  He has appointed things that seem almost uncharacteristic for His nature.

Remember these three words: It is Finished.  While you swim in grief, the joy and complete picture has already been accomplished.  There is a future that goes beyond your "Friday." God is smiling when He thinks about it. He is gifting you with faith to wait for it.

"This is God's promise to us. In Christ, the not-rightness of the world is already defeated. Jesus's cry of 'It is Finished' from the cross was true and real. When things aren't all right now, take comfort in the fact that they will be, forever." Tulian Tchividjian