I’m Reading "Bonhoeffer"

May I just say, holy smoke.  How did it take me so long to read a biography or papers by Dietrich Bonhoeffer?  He was truly a man after God’s own heart.  And truly brilliant.  I was reading today, and I don’t know if you have ever experienced this before, but I was completely hit square between the eyes by the Holy Spirit.  Wow.  Since there is no way I can properly do any justice on a commentary of what he said, I’m just going to type it out for you.  Here it is, the importance of the Bible and not just reading it, but studying, contemplating, meditating on it:

“First of all I will confess quite simply- I believe that the Bible alone is the answer to all our questions, and that we need only to ask repeatedly and a little humbly, in order to receive this answer.  One cannot simply read the Bible, like other books.  One must be prepared really to enquire of it.  Only thus will it reveal itself.  Only if we expect from it the ultimate answer, shall we receive it.  that is because in the Bible God speaks to us.  And one cannot simply think about God in one’s own strength, one has to enquire of him.  only if we seek him, will he answer us.   Of course it is also possible to read the Bible like any other book, that is to say from the point of view of textual criticism, etc.; there is nothing to be said against that.  Only that that is not the method which will reveal to us the heart of the Bible, but only the surface, just as we do not grasp the words of someone we love by taking them to bits, but by simply receiving them, so that for days they go on lingering in our minds, simply because they are the words of a person we love; and just as these words reveal more and more of the person who said them as we go on, like Mary, “pondering them in our heart,” so it will be with the words of the Bible.”

Many, many people try to understand or see God by reading the Bible.  Many people claim to know all about God, know all the right answers, but they have not received it.  They cannot see Him, or believe He is there, because they are trying to see God “in their own strength.”  I love, love, love how Bonhoeffer says, “Only if we seek Him, will he answer us.”  I have heard several times from people {who do not believe God exists} that they don’t see Him, or hear him, so He isn’t there.  But the Lord God, creator of the Universe, who is waiting to give us the relationship unlike any other, peace unlike any other, joy unlike any other, love, and eternity, is simply waiting to reveal himself upon the asking.

Matthew 7:8
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Deuteronomy 4:29
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

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Addison Jane

I’m staring at a blinking cursor, willing something to come out.  Something that will express what it is in me.  But for the last several months I hear nothing but crickets chirping.  I want to write and have it flow out onto the page in beautifully expressed language that makes Shakespeare look like a 5 year old learning to spell.  Not every post can be as expertly crafted as “Smoothies and Self Esteem.” {do you have the rimshot ap? Now would be a good time to use it, I’ll “bu dum chhhh” for those of you who don’t}

All that comes is that this last year has been one of the hardest of my entire life.  Second only to the year I lost my son.  Its been extremely painful and heartbreaking. I have been challenged in ways that I never dreamed would happen.  But all along the way, God has held me through it.  I know this.  Its not just some sweet platitude that Christians like to utter every now and then.  There is sweet grace and comfort in the invisible arms of our Savior.  It sounds Hallmark-ish but its so, so true.

This year has yielded so much, good and bad.  Heartbreak, failure, friendship, trust, more heartbreak, more friendship, love, different heartbreak and then more love. 
Love from my husband.  Who is an extraordinary man.  {I do not use that word lightly}
Love from my children.  Pure, blessed, innocent, trusting, secure little beings who have yet to have the evil and pain of the world touch them.

Its so hard not to despair when you are joining in the fight against Sex Trafficking and the fight to rescue orphans.  Its so big and so overwhelming.  And so painful.  When I hear about mothers who murder their own children, I just about want to give up.
Its so hard not to despair when you have broken relationships that tear at your very soul.

So yesterday, as I felt my self slipping and sliding into a pit of despair right out of The Princess Bride, my little girl rescued me for the second time in her life.  And if that wasn’t God’s hand on me, then I don’t know what is.  After my third pregnancy ended in tragedy, Addison Jane was given to me.  Her birth was a gift.  She brought me out of a dark place that I could not get out of on my own.  Her life was a gift from God on its own, but she was, and still is just about the sweetest little girl you will ever come across.  She has these eyes that no words I could write will ever do justice to.  Addison loves.  Addison brings happiness into our world.  Not that her sisters and brother aren’t equally loved and cherished, but if you know her, and even her big sisters will attest to…. there is just something about her, that is undefinable.  Our family was hurting and Addison filled our hole.

Back to yesterday.  I was so overwhelmed.  Feeling unworthy, unprepared, unequipped, and hurting over things that I don’t know how to fix.  My  4 year old Addison crawls up into my lap and tells me how she was afraid the day before, when I was away from her for the day.  She was worried that I would die before I was supposed to.  She tells me how she needs her Mommy with her.  And with those simple words, God brought beauty and happiness back into the world again.   I told her how I am not afraid of dying.  How I know that I will be in Heaven with Jesus, because I have already been given that free gift.  And she said she wanted that too.  Addison Jane prayed and received her gift yesterday. You can bet the Lord and his angels are rejoicing because no one could ever get enough of Addison Jane.

I love my children. I love my God.  I learned it from my mom and dad.  Hopefully, I can pass that legacy on to my daughters and son too.

Girls’ Night In

I don’t usually like the phrase “decompress.” Its been used a lot.  But  I need it.  And what better way to decompress from an eventful day, week, month than to share something that makes me over the top happy.

This Summer I became aware of a group called “As Our Own,” that is fighting to rescue children out of sex trafficking in India.  I was broken to pieces after hearing their founder speak and knew that I had to do something to help.  The Holy Spirit was not about to let me be.  I am never going to be the same. 

What can I possibly do though? I’m a stay at home mom. But what I’ve learned from the blogging world, as silly as it sounds, is very important.  I’ve discovered that women/moms/bloggers/men can do incredible things through this crazy internet world.  I’ve seen money raised for babies and children to be rescued out of horrible orphanages, support systems for children with special needs, support systems for children with regular needs, lonely woman find friends…. I could go on and on.  Its not silly.  It is important.  And because of this network, I found out what I could do.  Its a small thing.   But its action, and I’m all about taking any action.

I don’t even remember where I saw it, but I read somewhere about having a fund raiser by doing one of the things women and moms love to do most…. hang out with other women and moms!  Girls’ Night In was born.  Instead of going to a movie, shopping or dinner, stay in. And give whatever money you would have spent to an organization/cause/charity. 

So this month’s was for “As Our Own.” And I loved it!  My friends came, we ate, we talked, and talked and ate.  I have fabulously generous friends,  who embraced the idea and me and I am so lucky to have them.  I can’t wait to send the money off to As Our Own.  I cannot believe that I didn’t remember to take pictures of the party… when it was happening.  I was distracted hosting and whatnot.  So these fun snaps with my phone are what I have.

Its so simple and fun!!  You can do it too.  Have a Girls’ Night In this weekend.
And if you are really brave, start praying for God to move in your heart too.  My favorite song lyric currently is:
“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I go from nothing to
Eternity” 

Hillsong United
And it is how I want to live. I now know what I want to do when I grow up. Its about time!

InstaFriday

I’m so bad about blogging regularly.  And it will probably get fewer and farther between.  The Marks family is BUSY!  I often thought about this stage in our lives, when I was rocking my babies and shuffling off to the store in the middle of the day with my toddlers.  I would wonder what it would be like to have older kids in school, and activities.  Its a stage that is taking some adjustment. 
I like the baby thing.  Its comfortable.  This new era, well it has its perks and fun, but I have a hard time letting go. We’ve eliminated diapers and pacifiers and added in teaching my big girls to bake, jazz shoes, ballet slippers, Kids Praise practice, piano books, homework, Orphan Care and Anti-Trafficking ministries, short term missions trips, and the usual Alex business trips.  But we will not be letting go of family time.

As I type this, I”m overseeing Home-Preschool. We’re working on letter “R” today. For some reason she alwasy calls it “G.” So I figured a little bit of art would help her remember.

Back to my girl.  Happy Friday to you 🙂
life rearranged

First Day of School….

….279 more days until I get my girls back for the Summer!
I’m very excited for all the things they are going to learn this year.  But I miss them.  And I plan on enjoying every moment of this year, because next year brings sending my third little girl off to school.  {cue waterworks}

Alex and I cooked them breakfast, sat together and even got to pray with them for their day.
Then while they were getting their shoes on, I snuck a card into their lunch boxes.

Then we walked together to school, me smiling, Izzy gripping my hand tighter and tighter the closer we got and Layla chattering away to her Daddy.  Typical.

 Izzy and I…. well, she’s absolutely my child personality wise.  She quietly whispered to me that her tummy was starting to hurt as she looked up at me with her huge beautiful eyes.  I love that she can talk to me and tell me how she’s feeling.  I love that she trusts me and know I’m going to hug her and be by her side, holding her hand all the way until she’s ready to let go. 

And Layla, she’s all Alex.  They were joking, elboing each other, teasing… its what they do.  Don’t be fooled though.  Layla needed a reassuring hug from all 5 of us before we could walk out the door of her class.  She’s tough, but she needs us just as much as we need her.

Only one more hour until I get to go get them!