Beauty Counts

Early morning will almost always find me with a good cup of coffee and a few excellent books in addition to my Bible for personal devotion time. It is how I start my day. It is how I survive my day.

Two of my favorites to read and glean from are Oswald Chambers and C.S. Lewis. I’ve read their writings for so long that I actually feel akin to them. Perhaps spiritually they are like wise great uncles who imparts bits and pieces into your life as you grow. They’ve certainly given me many thoughts to think.

So, today I was reading a portion of a letter that C.S. Lewis wrote concerning religious practices, their purpose and necessity. One thing he mentioned was the beauty. Religious practices can add beauty to our faith. (My words, not his). As I pondered what he had written, I made a note in the margin. ‘Beauty Counts’ was my note. And it does.

There is an idiom that says ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. While I understand the meaning behind the words, I don’t quite agree. You see, I have gone to great lengths to teach my children that beautiful is still beautiful whether it is properly recognized or cherished.

Take my girls. For the first 6&7 years of their life they were not beheld as beautiful by those around them. Those people were blind to their beauty. It wasn’t that the beauty did not exist. It was that the beholders could not (or chose not) to see it.

Perhaps a better phrase would be, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder if the beholder is not blind to beauty.”

So, how does one become blind to beauty? How could so many people fail to behold the beauty that is right before them? Poor choices, broken thinking, warped perspectives, spiritual deprivation.

As for me, my attitude changes how I see everything. An attitude of gratitude gives me an insight into true beauty. With that thought in mind and the Scripture below to consider, I am so thankful for the beautiful inheritance I have received. Beauty counts. Indeed.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. (Psalms 16:6 ESV)

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First Response

As a mom I sometimes say to my children, “I said no and no means no.” As years have passed and I have become a more matured and experienced Mom I usually reply thus. “If you press me for an answer I will have to give you a no. If you will give me time to consider it, I may give you a different answer.”

As a wife, a particularly intense and sometimes hyper wife who is full of dreams and plans and ideas, I have been a challenge to be married to (but never boring). Henry soon developed an initial response to whatever I was suggesting, no matter what it was. “No”. I knew he was really asking for time to think and so now, when I have my newest grand scheme to present to him I always say this. “I don’t want an answer now, I want you to consider this, maybe sleep on it.”

As a Christian and disciple of Jesus, I sometimes find myself aptly described in the following passage from Scripture. Jesus was teaching about obedience.

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. (Matthew 21:28-30 NLT)

There are those times when my first response is so eager and with a sincere heart I proclaim, “Yes, Lord!” Yet, I have found myself to often be a dynamic starter and a neglectful finisher.

There are other times when my first response is influenced by weariness, frustration and doubt. That’s when I find myself mumbling, “No, no, no!” Thankfully, my Father knows me and just as I grew to understand what a ‘no’ from my beloved means, He knows I need time to pray and think.

Be encouraged.

If there was a time that The Lord asked you to join Him in a work, gave you a seemingly impossible dream or set before you something that needed doing and your first response was ‘no’, you can change your mind! You can begin again this very day.

If there was a time when you answered ‘yes’ but didn’t complete the task. You can begin again this very day and finish what was started. His mercies truly are new every morning.

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Father’s Day Prayers

I’ve gone to great efforts to make this a special weekend for Henry Rodda. Y’all know how much I think he deserves some special treatment. 🙂

We’ve had special foods like Fried Green Tomatoes yesterday and Taco Salad Supremes today. A watermelon is chilling in the pool to be cut later. All yummy treats.

There were plenty of special gifts and even some cold hard cash to spend as he wished. Each of the seven participated in choosing something Daddy would like. Duck Dynasty shirts, Essential Oils for his honey bees, a honey dispenser, Auburn pjs, new sandals and even a safety mask for woodworking. All good choices.

I put away the honey do list and let him do whatever he wanted. Of course he still worked because, well, in his opinion that’s what men do. Lord knows he always has. But, he had movie time and pool time and fishing time and shopping time. All fun activities.

But, the HIGHLIGHT of this weekend set aside for him was when we followed our tradition of each child praying out loud for him. They say what’s on their own hearts and use their own words. From oldest to youngest, they took their turn.

They took my breath away.

“Thank you Lord that I was chosen to be a son.”

“Bless our dad Lord like he blesses us.”

“I’m so glad my dad adopted me.”

“You knew how much I needed a daddy Lord.”

“Keep our daddy safe Lord.”

“Thank you for giving our dad a good job so we always have food to eat.”

“This day is the day to focus on Daddy, help me remember that. He deserves it.”

Those are just a few of the things that were said. Henry is standing a lot taller. My eyes won’t stop leaking out liquid love. It’s Father’s Day and our Father above has been honored as what I know to be true unfolded before my eyes.

In the end, love wins.

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Daddy Henry

When we first became foster parents it was with much trepidation. We were entering unchartered territory and like so many, had heard the horror stories of how hard fostering could be. At first Henry adamantly refused my pleading to become licensed as he was not willing to expose me to what he was sure would be a painful experience. You see, we had lost two children before they came to term and we had experienced a failed private adoption. He had seen the heartache first hand. He wanted no part of it. He wanted to protect me.

But, when God begins to move and a call is given, hearts change and when the person loves The Lord, that heart answers the call. So it was that my Henry became Daddy Henry to forty-five foster children. Just like any other dad, he was far from perfect and had to learn as he went. Unlike many dads, he was there, he was present. The impact he has had won’t be measured here on earth.

It was our very first foster child who dubbed him Daddy Henry and that title stuck. It was proper and fitting. Many, most of the children who came into our lives had never witnessed a man who truly provided, came home at night, was devoted to his wife and put his family first.

When we were faced with the possibility of our first adoption, Henry became determined to go back to college and get his degree. For three years he worked a full time job during the day, went to school full time at night and worked an extra job almost every weekend calling ball games, etc. All the while coming home to a house FULL of children.; sometimes different children than when he had left that morning.

Now, seven adoptions later, he continues to give and serve and live with an passionate fervor. He is now called Dad, Daddy, Pops by his forever children, those we adopted legally and those we have adopted in our hearts. I grieved for so 

many years that Henry could not be a daddy when we faced infertility. Now, that grief is replaced with joy. What this world really needs is more like him, more who are willing to be a Daddy Henry.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalms 103:13 ESV)


A good dad is a treasure. Not all men who have children are good dads. Sometimes, these holidays can make it tough for those who are struggling. Some children feel cheated. Some dads face regrets. Some hurts resurface that we have tried to bury. 
If you were blessed with a good dad, celebrate him and celebrate with gusto. If you weren’t, forgive him and celebrate being free of bitterness. Yes, you can do that. You can start again. You can move on. 
If your dad gave you a good start in life leaving you feeling confident and loved, celebrate that. If you can’t make that claim, then claim the confidence and great love offered by your Father. 
If your dad is still alive today, do not waste a moment telling him how you love him and celebrate that love. If he is not, don’t waste a moment with regrets, remember the best of the moments that you had and celebrate those memories. 
If your dream is to be a dad or see your husband walk in that role, keep dreaming. Don’t avoid it, discuss it, stir up your hope and get ready. Your day is coming. Celebrate your hope!
If you are that dad who wishes he could have done differently in the past, start doing differently today. Be thankful for and celebrate fresh starts and new beginnings. 
Happy Father’s Day Weekend!!

It is time to celebrate! #fathersday

Multiplied

There is a ten year age span in our children. The youngest has just turned nine and the oldest will be nineteen in a few months. I still marvel that they are mine; mine to raise and nurture in love and admonition of The Lord. For more than a decade I struggled to produce a child as my husband and I struggled with infertility. When we finally achieved pregnancy, I miscarried two children, a boy and a girl. It seemed we would never ‘go forth and multiply’ as is the natural result of love between a man and woman. Those were dark days.

When The Lord led us to Foster Care and Adoption, I was thrilled to be able to deposit love into the lives of the children that came into our home. I was thrilled beyond measure when seven became our forever children in the eyes of God and man alike through the miracle of adoption.

Now, as I observe my children, the children that God so graciously gave me, I can see that we have been able to ‘go forth and multiply’ in spite of an inability to birth a child.

We have instilled parts of ourselves, our character, our personalities, our values and most importantly, our faith into our children. Like a child that is born to a man and woman, our adopted children have become a blend of myself and the man I love, the best of both of us.

Whether they are playing instruments on stage on clearing up a yard of a widow after a storm, they serve. They are eager to give of money, time and talent. They forgive easily and deal generously with the people they encounter. They believe sincerely, trust confidently and worship joyfully, not only because we do, but because they too have found Him faithful.

I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. (3 John 1:4 NLT)

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Go, Shop, Buy

Yesterday I loaded all seven, five sons and two daughters, into our Honda Pilot and we went shopping for Father’s Day. As you might well surmise, I am a brave woman. Very brave (or perhaps a glutton for punishment).

We were out for hours and hours. It was a hot day. We did not find everything we needed and once I finally got home, I ordered online with free delivery. I may never leave the house again. Shopping just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

This experience started my thinker to thinking, as is normal for me. My thoughts can go many directions at once and soon I was considering the correlation between shopping and dating. Then I was contemplating the wisdom of well stocked pantries and planning ahead. After all, being prepared means less shopping and less shopping is a very good thing. That thought process brought me to this passage of Scripture.

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ (Matthew 25:9 NLT)

If you aren’t familiar with the passage this verse came from, you should check it out. It’s the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. They were all suppose to be ready, prepared, waiting for the call. Some were. Some weren’t. When those who weren’t asked for help, they got that reply – go, shop, buy – for yourselves.

We may conclude that it was stingy on the refusers part, but, looking more closely, I see wisdom instead of stinginess. They all knew what was required, they all had the same opportunity, they made different choices. Their choices had consequences.

What choices will you make today? How can you make sure that at the very moment you need strength and encouragement and guidance your lamp isn’t running low on oil? Think ahead. Strategize. Consider the consequences.

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Whispers

About a week ago I wrote the following devotion. This morning found me looking through my notes to read the words again. I am still standing, perhaps even more so, in this place of stilling my soul, quieting my thoughts, resting in the presence of The Lord.

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Today I am determined to be quiet and listen for a whisper. Did you ever notice how loud life can get? How noisy and demanding every day living can be? Schedules, appointments, decisions, deadlines, conflicts… Even when everything is going good, it’s going so fast we can hardly keep our balance.

Last night I was feeling a bit overwhelmed thinking of all I wanted to accomplish, especially with my writing this week. I was feeling hard pressed to do things right and yet, not even sure what right looked like in this new adventure of mine. Very humbling. Very disconcerting.

I began to wonder exactly what I thought I was doing and why? Doubt and confusion gladly crashed my party until I was weary of it all.

But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. (Ecclesiastes 12:12 NLT)

Then I told my mom this. “If He doesn’t whisper in my ear, I’ve truly got nothing to say.” So, there you have it, that’s why I’ll be listening for a whisper, His whisper and then I’ll shout it from the rooftops. If He whispers it, it’s worth listening to (and reading).

What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! (Matthew 10:27 NLT)

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