Welcome a New Season of Peaceful Change

Welcome the peaceful signs of this new season by
Beating your swords into plowshares.

Then go till up a garden!

Beat those blades back into swords again
And do battle against an ensnaring sin.

Don’t be anxious about
What is coming or
What might come.

Pick a bouquet just for today’s table.

Turn regret on its squeaky hinges
And resolve to make a change.

 

Blessings to you as we welcome the wonderful signs of spring!

michele signature[1]


If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Advertisements

Faith, Family, and the Adoption Journey

Last summer, we canoed down the Saco River.  With kayaks, canoes, and colorful life jackets, we were a festive family flotilla bobbing along in the gentle current. On the way to our destination, we swam, sunned ourselves on sandbars, and the kids played a rousing game of gunwale wars. It was the kind of day that becomes a better memory every year, except . . .

We received some misinformation along the way and our end point was actually further down the river than we had thought — by several hours. Wild with a quiet panic, I paddled and fretted. As the sun began to set and I pictured us navigating around fallen trees and exposed granite in the dark, I announced to my husband, “I’m not a process person!  I’m a destination person, and I want this journey to be over!”

Kristin Hill Taylor found herself navigating a similar course in her journey of infertility and the decision to adopt.  Steering around the discomfort and inconvenience of fertility treatments, enduring the open-ended waiting process, and keeping one eye on the sunset that comes with aging ovaries, she found herself returning to Daniel’s Old Testament anthem to God’s sovereignty:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.  (Daniel 2:20-23)

God graciously allowed Kristin to stay close to the truth that waiting is an opportunity for growth — but that does not mean it was easy! Once Kristin and her husband Greg entered the adoption process, they faced an entirely new set of circumstances that were beyond their control. Even so, they could see the hand of God at work when a young mum made the brave choice to continue her pregnancy and selected the Taylors as an adoptive family for her baby.

Kristin shares her astonishment at the great gift of insight adoption brought to her understanding of the Christian life. Understanding the depth of God’s choosing love and leaning into this faith gave Kristin peace in the process of becoming a mum and leaving a much-loved career to stay home with her first child. The Taylors went on to adopt two more babies, each story unique and each child a gift from God.

By sharing the details of each adoption and including the diverse stories of a number of friends who also adopted, Kristin prepares readers who are considering adoption for the twists and turns of the process.  Throughout the years of her story arc, it seemed that Kristin was perpetually updating a home study or weathering another round of disappointed hopes.  She learned that “few things define us more than how we struggle.” (49) And she realized that she was NOT a good struggler.  However, she was also in a process of transformation — as is every believer.

The sandpaper that God chose to use in Kristin’s situation was the adoption process and the emotionally draining job of mothering multiple children. As Kristin openly shares her moments of weakness and the ways in which God used His Word to instruct her, I was also challenged to dig into the truth of the book of James that “God wants me to live out my faith with my hands and my feet and my words and my actions and my attitudes and my relationships and my decision and my whole entire life.”

A closer examination of the adoption process pushed my understanding of being pro-life beyond a political position and into a realization that children are worth the level of effort, investment, and inconvenience that adoption can sometimes create. The formation of a family is worth the risk and the vulnerability.

The Taylor family has come together through adoption, and although the journey was not predictable or planned, the result is all that Kristin could have hoped for. The uniqueness of their family’s growth served as the occasion for witnessing God’s glory on display as He brought order to brokenness and wove together a network of love and connections in the making of a family.

Raymond Kayak
And, yes, the journey down the river was worth it, too!

//

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy

There are times when our kids surprise us — or even surpass us — with their insight.  This was certainly the case with my youngest son:

“It’s too much,” he said.  “I’ve got all this music to learn for honors band.  I’m buying a sheep.  I want to work with Cyprus (his 4-H heifer).  I’m not going to audition for the play.”

Alli Worthington would call that moment of clarity an edit — a proactive edit:  making a change in advance, before things get out of control.  Breaking Busy is Alli’s invitation to hop out of the hamster wheel, an important read for grown ups (like me) who have yet to learn our limits.

For instance, are you displaying any of these signs of exceeding your capacity?

  • Inability to control your emotions
  • Lack of self-care
  • Illness
  • Chronic lateness
  • Self-medicating and excess
  • Neglecting important relationships
  • Neglecting God

Help is offered at the end of each chapter with Action Steps in the form of questions to ponder and apply to the process of breaking the habit of busy.

However, real and lasting change is more than simply doing less. It’s about doing the things that nurture strong relationships, that help us to zero in on our unque calling in a world with too many options.  Breaking the addiction to busy is a choice to live in peace and to focus on what is true and what is positive, (Philippians 4:8).

Breaking Busy involves tempering our own expectations and those of our family so that we can live with ourselves and accomplish the things that bring the most joy, the things that encourage our loved ones to purposefully follow Jesus.

A favorite quote from Breaking Busy comes from Brene Brown:

“Choose discomfort over resentment.”

The momentary awkwardness of a gracious no is far better than the long term knot in my stomach that comes with a misplaced yes.  The question that remains, however, is this:  how does one make good decisions about the distribution of those precious yeses to the waiting world?  Alli has developed a decision-making framework which is available here (with all kinds of other resources and goodies), and consists of the Five F’s of eliminating “analysis paralysis.”

  1.  Faith – Seek wisdom from God.
  2. Family – How will this decision effect those closest to you?
  3. Future – Will this choice lead you to who you want to become?
  4. Fulfillment – Does this fit in with your calling and help you realize your goals?
  5. Friends – Seek counsel from those who have earned the right to speak into your life.
Healthy and effective communication skills are also key to breaking busy.  This includes not letting your phone be the boss of you and excusing all loved ones from the responsibility for reading your mind.
We perpetuate the lifestyle of “busy,” because we think we have something to prove to ourselves and to the world.
“See how important I am?”
“See how much I am needed?”
Breaking Busy is a call to slow down, to find self-worth in doing only what we can accomplish with grace and in the will of God.
The choice is clear:  a busy life (of frazzled and crazy) —  OR a full life, the life God has called you to.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,”  John 10:10.
Capture.PNG

//

This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program,  in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews from Living Our Days delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with these communities on a regular basis:   Soli Deo Gloria Connections, Inspire Me Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tell His Story, Coffee for Your Heart, Live Free Thursdays, Faith-Filled Fridays, Grace and TruthStill Saturday, Weekend Whispers, Sunday Stillness, Faith and Fellowship, Blessing Counters, Women with Intention, Sharing His Beauty, Monday Musings, Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Small Wonder, Playdates with God,  A Little R & R, Beloved Brews, SusanBMead, Faith Along the Way, Cozy Reading Spot, Reflect, Literacy Musing Mondays, Purposeful Faith, The Loft, Words with Winter, Rich Faith Rising, Encourage Me Monday, Tuesday Talk, What to Read Wednesday, Booknificent Thursday, Give Me Grace, Three-Word Wednesday, Word-filled Wednesdays, Faith ‘n Friends, Essential Things, 100 Happy Days, His Purpose in Me, After My Coffee, Thankful Thursday