Date Day

On Monday morning Levi and I made an early trip to Chattanooga to meet with the eye doctor.

Jake took the day off of work to stay with Malachi and get him to his therapy appointments locally. Malachi’s schedule is very far off from normal right now with him going to bed between 3-4am and then waking up by 9, which sounds awful but it is a better chunk than what he usually does so it feels like a treat. It takes a solid hour to get his belly even remotely ready for medications to go in, not to mention getting his feed in him. Anything before 11am is very difficult for us to get to as a family right now.

Levi’s check in was 7:45 and we live about an hour away. I was able to get Malachi to bed by 4, sleep for a brief 2.5 hours, then head out with Levi for a full day of appointments. I had explained the plans to Levi in advance but it still didn’t help his anxiety as we made the drive. We got checked in and taken back very quickly and much to my surprise Levi was able to communicate the pictures from the eye chart! They covered each eye and had him say the picture that he saw and I could immediately tell that his left eye was struggling more than his right eye.

We met with the doctor who confirmed that Levi’s optic nerve is deteriorating in the left eye and it seems that he is losing vision in that eye. He explained that there is a 1% chance that children can lose an eye in their lives due to a freak accident and wrote us a prescription for glasses. He does not need glasses for his vision, but rather for eye protection to keep him from losing his ”good eye“.

We will go back to seeing the eye doc on a regular basis to monitor his vision but for right now no more corrective surgery is needed.

Levi was more than happy to get out of that building and I promised him we would go shopping for “soccer shoes” as a way to distract him from the appointments of the day. He will be playing in our children’s soccer league and finding supportive shoes that his braces and feet can comfortably fit in is really difficult, especially when you live in a small town with a small variety in shoe stores. And it isn’t a shoe I can pick out online as I need to try the braces in each pair. We can rock some hand me downs but shoes are harder to make work.

Levi has a funny shoe obsession so going in to a shoe store was like a dream come true, and a moms worst nightmare as he tried on any pair he could get close to.

After a few stores we were able to find a pair that will work. But we still had a few hours to kill before his next appointment at the hospital, so we went to grab a sandwich. And then we went for an oil change. And then to the party store to buy some noisemakers for Jake’s birthday the following day. I called it our ”date day” and he really liked the one on one time. And I really enjoyed it too. I absolutely love and cherish Malachi with every ounce of my being, but the ability to run in and out of a store so easily without unpacking wheelchairs and multiple kids made me feel….well…normal? I am not sure that is the right word.

Next we met with the neurologist at the hospital to talk about Levi’s seizures. We have postponed the blood draw to check sodium levels for a few weeks when I can get him there pre-medication routine. Getting the bloodwork done pre-med will give us an accurate snapshot as to what it is doing to his sodium levels. The boys both have early day appointments in a few weeks so we plan to draw those labs then, which was a pleasant surprise.

Funny short story. We have been talking a lot about germs, and especially how hospitals are extra germy so we shouldn’t touch anything. The nurse took us to a room and we sat in the chairs across from her. Levi scrunched up his nose and pointed an incriminating finger at the nurse and stated emphatically: ”SHE has germs”. That led to a conversation on the way home about socially acceptable and unacceptable things to say haha!

We headed back home around dinnertime and Levi’s little voice spoke up from the back seat, ”Momma, that was a great date.” And my heart melted, overjoyed that he saw the day as a date day instead of a miserable appointment day. What a sweet boy.

Tuesday I packed up both boys and we headed back to the hospital again for Malachi’s appointment with Pulmonology. It was a productive appointment and we will be getting a special machine called a cough assist machine to help him clear his airway when he is junky or sick. Both boys now see the same pulmonologist so we just started them on appointment routines together for this one as well. Hidden blessings I guess?

Jake celebrated a birthday last week (#37) and Malachi celebrates his 9th birthday on Friday! It is truly min blowing to me to think that he is 9. What a wild and beautiful ride these last 9 years have been.

On a related note, we received a big, fun gift in the mail this week from someone but it didn’t have a gift receipt. If it was you please help us solve the mystery and give us a chance to say thank you!

On Monday morning as we drove down the highway to our dreaded appointment, Levi’s emotions were all over the place. He was angry and sad, and frankly so was I. It is always hard doing things you truly have no desire to do that cause discomfort. The boy’s lives are full of so many hard things.

Levi loves stories. We figured this out through the potty training process, and I would sit on the floor in the bathroom and make up stories for him as he attempted to go #2. After a few weeks of this he would tell me that he needed to poo just so he could listen to some stories.

As we drove down the highway I thought a story would be a good distraction for both of us, and the worship song we were listening to prompted my heart to tell him the gospel message about what Jesus did for him. I started with baby Jesus and went all the way through the ascension of Jesus, talking for at least 20 minutes and he clung onto every single word. I didn’t expect his attention span to last that long but as I watched his face in the rearview mirror I could see him just taking it all in with such excitement and joy.

When I got to the part about the tomb I said ”And Levi, do you know what they found when they rolled the stone away?” And he squealed with anticipation and said ”WHAT WAS IT?” Seeing the joy on his face when he heard that Jesus rose from the dead brought me to tears. It was such authentic and raw feedback from a four year old about the wonderful gift that Christ has given us in his death.

Today, nearly a week later, he told Jake the story from start to finish with such detail and clarity. In fact, this morning when he woke up he sat upright and said to me ”Are we going to church?” And after I said yes he calmly said ”He had to be punished.” I gave him a bewildered look and asked him who he was talking about and he told me that Jesus had to be punished and talked about the nail marks in his feet and the sword that pierced his side.

Watching the faith journey of a child is an exceptional thing. And it is so incredibly beautiful to witness.

I am not quite sure what calling Levi has on his life, but I can’t help but feel that God is equipping him for something unique. The devil tried to steal his voice at birth, but instead he has a beautiful testimony….not only of his medical journey but also the honor of being a testimony bearer for his brother, Malachi.

May we all have the wide eyes and big emotions of a four year old when we hear about the things that Christ did for each of us on that cross. I pray that our brains never dull the magnitude of that sacrifice and that incredibly display of the love of the Father.

Please pray for our family this week, that we are surrounded by a hedge of protection. Our soccer ministry starts next week and whenever God has something big He has called us to the devil has a knack of trying to slow us down. Please pray for heath for our family and God’s wisdom each and every minute of each and every day.

Much love,


Death Is Just A Doorway

Covid has spiked in our area, shutting down schools for the entire week and keeping us from feeling comfortable venturing out much. Thankfully we are all healthy and well and have enjoyed the extra family time together!

Not too many exciting things to report this week but we are headed into a pretty full week of medical appointments for both of the boys. Bright and early tomorrow Levi sees the eye doctor followed by the neurologist and some blood work. Prior to the 2020 Covid shut down Levi was regularly seeing the eye doctor for several eye conditions. He has had eye surgeries attempting to correct some of the issues but we had exhausted all avenues for correction until he was old enough to start verbalizing things to us (per the eye doc). We were still going for routine check ups but when Covid hit hard they indefinitely canceled the appointment. 

I have been avoiding taking him back, not sure that I am fully ready to hear any potential discouraging news. To be honest, there hasn’t been an eye appointment for Levi that hasn’t ended with me in tears in the parking lot. Last time we went the doctor noticed that his brain damage was deteriorating his optic nerve in his left eye and he was slowly losing his vision in that eye. That is a condition that can’t be reversed or repaired. 

At that point his vision issues and his cerebral palsy in his legs were the only indicators of his brain damage. Now that he is also having seizures I feel like I have crossed over the threshold of disappointment and have started to accept where we are truly at with him. Overall he is doing so incredibly well and you wouldn’t know that there were lingering medical issues with him if you were to meet him in person. And for that I am grateful. 

In the last week he has started squinting often, like his eyes hurt. I have been watching him closely trying to figure out if it is involuntary or something he is doing on purpose but I can’t figure it out. I am thankful that we already have an appointment in the morning, because this new squint would have definitely prompted a phone call. 

This will be Levi’s second trip to the neurologist since his seizures started during the week of Christmas. He seems to be doing well at the top dose of medication but we will need to check his sodium levels to make sure they are in a safe range. We have been “practicing” blood draws all month so I am really hoping he will be able to handle it without too much panic.

On Tuesday we will head back to the hospital with Malachi to meet with a pulmonologist for the first time; we already have a great relationship with Levi’s pulmonologist in Chattanooga so we are going to start taking Malachi to him. With his recent oxygen needs I want to make sure we are communicating with a professional on a regular basis- it makes hopsital stays a bit easier when there is a point man on board that knows him well. I am also going to see if we can get a prescription for a cough assist machine for home to help when respiratory issues arise.

The temperatures here have been lower than normal so we have been stuck inside and are all about to go a little stir crazy. I took both of the boys to horse therapy but Malachi couldn’t get his core temp back to normal for a full 24 hours after. 

We played lots of family games and lots of movies! Malachi’s tastes have been changing as he gets older and while he enjoys his musical movies he is also starting to enjoy a good plot line. We have been defaulting to some of our childhood favorites and have been hit or miss. He usually tells us within the first ten minutes if he wants to keep watching. Homeward Bound was a smashing success. 

Little Levi loves doing chores around the house. He takes a lot of liberties when he is doing them, like emptying the dishwasher and putting all of the dishes away. This week he attempted to clean the toilets for me (we can collectively cringe at that one). Some of the Levi chores are most definitely creating more mommy chores but I applaud his servant’s heart….mostly.

He has also been making his own food creations. This was fried rice with yogurt on top. And yes, he ate several bites which was hard for me to stomach. But considering a year ago he wasn’t able to eat much of anything, I will take yogurt fried rice. I may dry heave a bit, but I will take it.

My devotional thought tonight is an odd one. That’s always a fun preface huh. I find myself hesitating to talk about death with you all as I recognize that our viewpoint is so very different than the world’s.

But I’m feeling like throwing caution to the wind and sharing my unmasked heart with you. Be prepared for rambling. 

Just before midnight on Thursday evening I felt the ground underneath me shake. Sometimes the military sends its pilots out to practice on the mountain range by our house at night so we are used to random planes low flying (like very low) over our house in the darkness. They cut out all the lights so you can hear it but not see it until it is on top of you. It is spooky but really neat at the same time. We have lived in this county for 13 years so it is old news. 

But let’s sidebar to tell you a quick funny story. Back when we lived in our log cabin the concept of these military night flights was new to us. I remember one night hearing something and Jake headed to the kitchen to look out the back door. He saw the low flying plane and was convinced it was heading towards the house and laid flat on the floor, bracing for impact. Of course it pulled up before it made contact with the cabin and all was well but I ran out when he screamed to find him laying face down on the kitchen floor in terror.

So back to Thursday night. The floor started shaking but I didn’t hear the typical plane noise. And the shaking continued longer than a normal plane shake. After several seconds of this movement I realized we were having an earthquake! I ran into the bedroom where Jake and Levi were sleeping but by that point they were already awake from the shake. Malachi was mesmerized and all people and property were completely okay, so no worries there. 

But the whole incident fascinated us. It was a 3.1 magnitude which is incredibly minor but when you haven’t physically felt one before it seemed like a big deal. We all calmed back down and the boys all went back to sleep but I couldn’t stop thinking about the shake I felt under my feet. Biblically there have been so many significant earthquakes, but the ones that Christ mentions are yet to come are immediately what my mind went to.

Luke 2:5-15

And while some were talking about the temple, that it was decorated with beautiful stones and vowed gifts, He said, “As for these things which you are observing, the days will come when there will not be left one stone upon another, which will not be torn down.” They asked Him questions, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and revolts, do not be alarmed; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”

Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be massive earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrible sights and great signs from heaven. “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, turning you over to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors on account of My name. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will provide you eloquence and wisdom which none of your adversaries will be able to oppose or refute.

When I read that scripture I feel my spirit quicken within me, excited about the words on the page. Yes, there is so much devastation and suffering but intertwined in the chaos is such beauty and connection with God. 

Before having Malachi words like these still scared me a bit as I feared the unknown. But now that my eyes are locked heavenward as I think about Malachi’s healing, I can’t help but find myself longing for those days. 

There is a song called “Christ Be Magnified” and its words paint such a beautiful picture…

I won’t bow to idols, I’ll stand strong and worship you

And if it puts me in the fire, I’ll rejoice ‘cause you’re there too.

I won’t be formed by feelings, I hold fast to what is true.

If the cross brings transformation then I’ll be crucified with you.

‘Cause death is just a doorway into resurrection life

And if I join you in your suffering, then I’ll join you when you rise.

And when you return in glory with all the angels and the saints

My heart will still be singing, my song will be the same.

Malachi has taught me that death is just a doorway. And as I reflected on our midnight earthquake I felt my heart longing to experience the beauty of heaven with my boy. Not in a creepy death wish sort of way, but just a overwhelming joy of what is to come for our family. 

But really take a minute and reflect on that scripture, particularly this verse: “It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.”

If you are a child of God you have been given a testimony. So often we try to rate our own testimony against someone else’s, convincing ourselves that ours isn’t exciting enough or as layered as someone else’s. But that is the devil trying to silence the transformation God has done in your life. 

But this verse tells us that in the midst of potential persecution in our lives there will be an opportunity for our testimony. This is such a powerful picture to me!

 And the next command from God is so countercultural… “So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will provide you eloquence and wisdom which none of your adversaries will be able to oppose or refute.”

So often we try to prepare what we will say or what we will do. But God is specifically telling us to not prepare and to let Him speak through us in that moment. What a beautiful moment to be a mouthpiece for God. 

My prayer tonight is that God creates these opportunities now in our lives. I pray that He gives us the boldness to share, even when facing persecution. And I pray that He speaks through us, allowing the moment to not only impact the hearer but the mouthpiece as well. 

Death is just a doorway. Does that thought bring you excitement or fear? If it is the latter it may be time for you to make a change in your life!

Please be in prayer for our family as we tackle some emotionally challenging conversations this week with doctors. And for continued health for our warrior boys.

Much love,


Thrill of Hope

We have snow! Getting outside as a family and playing in the snow is always a challenge, and Malachi’s way too aware for one of us to take just Levi outside to play. This is our first real snow with the ”little truck” and getting to drive around the yard and play in the snow was just so special.

Lately we have been staying tucked in and hiding from germs. These past few months have been so difficult on our family and the new covid variant is hitting our area hard. So hard, in fact, that Jake’s school system closed due to illness.

We did have one appointment early this week to see the dentist about Malachi’s molar. He recently had a crown break off and cut up his mouth pretty badly before it completely came off. While we were there we also had them examine Levi’s teeth, which is always an adventure. I couldn’t get him to pose for a picture- he was halfway out the door ready to leave that place.

Malachi’s sleeping patterns lately have been such a challenge to navigate around. Right now he is finally committing to sleep between 3-4am. I can get him to fall asleep before then but inevitably every single night he wakes up over and over again with seizures until finally giving into sleep. The psychological aspect from that routine is so so hard for me to deal with and I can imagine how hard it must be on his little body and brain.

Add Levi into the mix and things get even more complicated. If I put him to bed at a typical bedtime for kids his age he will be up by 8am, leaving me with very little sleep. So I am keeping him up until after midnight so all three of us can get a little rest.

Without there being a recognizable ”end” to our day to count on it is very easy for each day to merge into the next one. And each day is so similar to the last, with the medication schedule and feeding schedules being priorities that we work the rest of the day around. We are held prisoner often by the demands our life requires to keep the kids alive. I recognize that is a very harsh way to word it, but the inability to have flexibility within our day has so much potential to sprout bitterness and discontentment in my heart.

But I recognize there is going to be a day that I will long desperately to go back to these routines and tasks. So while they are psychologically challenging they are refining me in such a big way and reminding me of the need to be present as much as possible in the season of life that I am currently planted in.

Sometimes we have to create the contentment.

We have to reshape our thinking and change the narrative that naturally flows from our thoughts. This world has trained us to be victims, constantly pointing out the ways it has wronged us or let us down.

When I choose to view dark moments as God “planting me” somewhere I cling to the knowledge that I will only be in darkness until I grow enough to sprout through it.

That thrill of hope is what fuels me. When you look through the Bible you find that most of the characters spent years planted in darkness. In most cases it wasn’t a punishment, but rather a season of darkness they had to experience to create growth. And each time they emerged from those dark places their impact for the Lord was even greater. They never clung to their victim mentality, but rather owned the new creation God was continuing to sculpt them to be.

I am choosing to believe that this hard season we are is teaching us lessons we otherwise would never get the privilege to learn.

I usually try to include a Bible verse with each blog entry, but tonight I am going to switch it up and end with a C.S. Lewis quote that speaks to my heart.

I suggest to you that it is becuase God loves us that He gives us the gift of suffering. Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. You see, we are like blocks of stone out of which the Sculptor carves the forms of men. The blows of His chisel, which hurt us so much are what make us perfect.” -C.S. Lewis

Much love,


Get Up and Go.

After a two week long on again and off again relationship with supplemental oxygen, Malachi is finally back to zero breathing supports, hallelujah! We weaned him off early in the week only to have to put him back on for a few days. We kept him on the pulse oximeter 24/7 for most of the week but now that he is stable I am back to spot checking him.

I called the hospital and we have moved his pulmonology appointment up by a few months to make sure we have the right supports on board if this becomes a consistent thing for Malachi. All of the machines we are using are actually Levi’s so getting some extra things on board for Malachi is a priority. Especially a cough assist machine to help break up the junk in his lungs when he gets sick.

We headed to the hospital this week for a routine visit with the epileptologist which required a blood draw. I asked him if he could add a CBC to the lab orders to check his white blood cell count and other levels to make sure we weren’t missing something obvious that was causing the oxygen dips, and all of those came back clear. Still a mystery, but I am glad he is back to his normal.

Little Levi seems to have leveled out on the full dose of the seizure medication and is back to his wild self. Along with seizure control, we are noticing some other really great changes! He is able to focus so much better and his vocabulary and ability to speak clearly has changed. His stuttering has also stopped. This is his pure mischief face.

He is going to have to also start routine blood draws so we used some Christmas money for the boys to purchase this “Get Well Center” for imaginative play.

When Malachi had his blood drawn I asked the phlebotomist for some of the non-violent pieces they use for blood draws, like the rubber strip they tie around your upper arm when looking for a vein. We have been doing pretend blood draws in the new pretend doctor office so much that Levi can now complete the whole process on Malachi. I am really hoping this will help prepare him a bit for lab work. I don’t like getting blood drawn either, so I can’t imagine how the mind of a four year old will feel. Poor buddy.

Tomorrow we will head to the dentist which is a pretty major ordeal. Malachi typically gets panicky and with the increased secretions it brings on he ends up having a lot of seizures from a visit. Levi is new to the dentist scene and his PTSD is through the roof. But maybe he will surprise me! I have bribed him with a kids water from Chick Fil A and usually that does the trick.

The puppy dogs turn 1 tomorrow so Jake’s sister brought over her pup from the same litter and we threw a dog birthday party, complete with personalized cake and ice cream. The kids all really enjoyed the excuse for a party and the dogs enjoyed their small slices of cake.

A few months ago God placed it on my heart to start a soccer ministry at our church for the children in our community. I have had people ask me before ”How do you know when God places something on your heart?” and I have been trying to process that answer. How do I put that feeling into words? I don’t know, but I will make an attempt!

Sometimes God places something on my mind and gives me a sense of urgency that it needs to get done. Typically my gut reaction is ”there is no way I could/would want to ever do that!?!” One of the biggest indicators the push is from the Lord is that it always requires a tremendous amount of sacrifice whether it be time, money, or comfort and it isn’t something that I am very eager to do. So my next step is usually denial and procrastination. I am really good at that step.

But that sense of urgency doesn’t go away. And in my quiet time with God He continues to bring the topic to my heart. The scriptures I am led to read affirm that gentle push from God.

I have learned over the last decade that God isn’t looking for perfection, He is simply looking for obedience. Taking that initial step towards the hard things He is calling us to brings a wave of peace into my heart, a peace that is undeniably from the Lord. And usually that first step is the only hard work in the journey. When you are walking in obedience God flings the doors in front of you wide open.

I am not sure who that last paragraph is for, but it is most definitely for someone that is reading this.

The night that Malachi was born I remember laying in the bed at our house, doubled over in pain. I had called the doctor and had been instructed to come in first thing the next morning and I was desperately trying to ignore the feeling in my gut that something was very wrong. I will never forget what happened next. My feet were planted very firmly on the floor and I found myself standing…something I had no intention or strength to do. As my feet firmly planted on the floor I heard the voice of God loudly command me ”Get up and go.” I had heard from the Lord at different points in my life prior to that, but this time was commanding and urgent.

I walked into the kitchen and told Jake “We need to go to the hospital right now.” And out the door we went without another word of hesitation. If you don’t know, later that evening we were transported via ambulance to a hospital with a high level NICU. Within 20 minutes of arriving Malachi’s heart stopped inside me and I was raced to the operating room for an emergency c-section to get his lifeless body out to start CPR. After 15 minutes his heart began to beat.

I will never forget the ”Get up and go.”

This morning our pastor taught from the book of Acts. As I scanned the chapter for context I noticed that phrase over and over again on just the two pages I was looking at. “Get up and go.” I had never noticed this before and it really sparked my curiosity. I spent time today leafing through the book of Acts and noting all of the many times that was the only command that God spoke to so many people….and without wavering they obeyed. Bot knowing the details, not knowing the outcome, but choosing to walk in faith.

And God rewarded their obedience with more opportunities to get up and go. More chances to do His work here on earth. More opportunities to get a firsthand look at His ability to do exceedingly more than we can imagine.

What a beautiful relationship we can have with God if we simply get up and go when He calls us to. So often we allow fear, excuses (yes, even reasonable and justifiable ones), and our lack of self confidence to stay complacent. But oh the growth we can experience in our walk with God when we get up and go. He can lead you into some pretty amazing situations and opportunities.

So if you needed someone to tell you this, here it is: Get up and go. Do that thing that God has been drawing you to for weeks, months, years. Even if it isn’t the right time. It isn’t the right phase of life. It isn’t the safest financial investment. If God is calling you to it, please please please do yourself a faith favor and obey. Take that step of faith and watch God do His thing.

Please join me in prayer as we embark on this new calling. When God calls us to these specific tasks He always seems to work out the details beautifully but we also find ourselves under a stronger attack from the devil. Please pray for our endurance and strength and please pray for a season of health for our family so we can continue to pursue the work God calls us to.

Yet I Will Triumph in the Lord

When I last posted Malachi was struggling to maintain his oxygen levels without support but steadily seeming to improve. By mid week his progress stalled so I made an appointment with the pediatrician to have them listen to his lungs and make sure pneumonia wasn’t brewing.

I loaded up the portable oxygen concentrator and started the drive but as we drove he kept wiggling his head enough to knock the cannula out of his nose. As we drove down the highway I watched his saturation numbers drop to the low 80s and knew we would have to bypass the pediatrician and head to the Emergency Room.

Two ER visits in a week and a half with two different children…my heart was sinking pulling into that parking garage again. We were taken back quickly and sent for x-rays and did a viral panel. And everything came back perfectly clear. Confusingly clear. The ER doctor was perplexed and said they would like to admit us since he was requiring oxygen support but they were out of rooms. I explained that we had a concentrator at the house and he was comfortable with letting us go home with the promise of returning if we had to turn his oxygen up above 2 liters.

Malachi has not grown any worse, but hasn’t really improved much either. For the last few days I have been able to wean him off of oxygen by dinnertime only to have him require it again as he sleeps and an increase each morning. He is down to just .5 liters of support, which is as low as the concentrator goes but after nearly 10 days of this I still don’t quite understand why he isn’t able to come off of it completely.

Needless to say, each day this week has been spent watching him closely and not leaving the house. Not too many fun things to report. Truthfully, it was a good week for time at the house as Levi increased to his full dose of seizure medication. He handled the increase really well the first two days but the third day it hit him hard and he has been taking 2-3 hour naps every day since. History shows us it takes a child about two weeks to level out on a new seizure medication so hopefully after this week we get through that adjustment.

We had lots of family game nights and cooked a lot of old recipes. We steam cleaned carpets and organized junk drawers. We did everything we could to help the pass time and distract ourselves from worrying about Malachi. I took this video during a wild game of Mouse Trap to show you how Malachi communicates his choices to us when we offer a list.

As we enter a new year my fleshly desire is to set goals. But I am not fully convinced that goals in general are always a God honoring thing. I don’t think that when they stand alone they are an inherently bad thing. But I do think they have the potential to convince us that our successes in life are a byproduct of us.

I can point you to plenty of verses that mention goals but each of them are talking about one single goal, and that is eternity with Christ.

In my own life, setting goals has proven to lead to so many sinful moments with me. When unexpected circumstances arise (and they always do) that keep my goals from being met it brews anger, sadness, and frustration inside of me that often bleeds into my interaction with others.

So much of my life is walking step by step without really focusing on anything other than the hem of the garment of Christ as He leads me. When my eyes try to look past Him to see the blurry vision of our next destination on the path I lose my ability to look for the God moments in the ”now”. I get too busy envisioning reaching that destination and miss the blessing of the journey.

For some crazy reason this week I felt led to read the book of Habakkuk. Now before you start thinking I am a super Christian you need to know that it is only three chapters long and can easily be read in one sitting. If you have never been able to read a full chapter of the Bible today is the day!

I could spend a long time sharing the many things that stuck out to me as I read, but I want to point you to the final words in the book.

”Even if the fig does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the vines, if the yield of the olive fails, and the fields produce no food, even if the flock disappears from the fold, and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

I read those words at 3am on New Year’s Day as I watched the flashing numbers on the pulse oximeter machine beside me. And as I read them I felt a warmth in my soul and a fire in my heart.

God isn’t looking for us to meet the physical, mental, emotional, or even spiritual goals we set for ourselves. He is looking for relationship. He is looking for a relationship that is done from love and not from obligation, as we often do with goals we set.

It is so common in our world to focus on all the good things life can offer us. But tonight I want to remind you that there are so many hard things in this life. When I read these words in the verse I can so easily see what they represent in my life, and I challenge you to do the same with your story…

The figs don’t blossom, no fruit on the vines, the yield of olives fail, the fields don’t produce food, flocks disappear, cattle are not in the stalls…

I can pick out so many things from the last 365 that I can fit into these statements. And the devil would want us to stop reading there and dwell on the ugly parts of our lives. He would tell us we need to “overcome” these hard times. But I am not convinced that those challenging times are such a bad thing as they produce so much good in our faith.

Yet I will triumph in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places.”

My prayer for 2022 is that God continues to have me walk on high places, using His hand to steady me.

And I really like those words: Yet I will triumph in the Lord. What a beautiful proclamation for this coming year.

Please continue to pray over both of our boys, as they each struggle with such big battles. Pray that our family can experience some rest in the coming weeks, as it feels like we have been under continual attack.

Much love,