as beloved children

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

I'm sitting here in my room, listening to the snores of my aging pup and smiling at the tiny bed, covered with baby dolls, that is pushed next to David's and my bed. Time passes and this blog has been sorely neglected over the past couple of years. But, as I sit here praying, I feel compelled to share the deep love our Father has shown us in giving us another child from China.
Our sweet Ruby Xiaohong.

Downstairs, my family is eating lunch, and as I post the picture above, I hear a precious little voice: "Thank you Ma. Thank you Baba. Thank you Alam. Thank you Kaikai. Thank you Jadon. Thank you Grace-ah. Thank you Lolly!" 

Xiaohong is imitating the things that she hears every day. Later, I'm sure that I'll also hear her singing her own version of "Come Thou Fount," as it's her favorite song right now and she sings it often and loudly! I might also hear she and Kaikai laugh, while playing wheelchair basketball outside my window, and at dinnertime, she'll most definitely crawl into the kitchen (XH has spina bifida and doesn't walk), and announce that she is ready to, "Help you Mama."

Xiaohong naturally imitates the things that we do every day, because she knows that she is deeply loved by every person in our home.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children," (Ephesians 5:1)

Dear ones, did you know that, in the same way that Ruby Xiaohong looks more and more like a Bandimere every day, you also become more and more like Jesus as you experience the great love that our Father has for you? 

You are His beloved child.

Oh friends, Father thinks that you are absolutely precious. He delights in you! And though He  knows that the best thing for you is to become more like Him, He doesn't demand that you imitate Him because He's holy and good (although He certainly is good and holy!). Instead, He wants you to know what it means to be His beloved child. He wants you to rest in His love for you. And as you begin to see His beauty, He knows that your life will be transformed. Basking in His love comes first. Becoming more and more like Him comes next.

While writing today, our newest daughter has scooted her way into my room multiple times. She knows that I cannot resist the urge to to touch her soft cheeks and laugh at her silly antics. She knows that she has full access to my love.

Beloved, I pray that you understand that you have that same access to your heavenly Father. He is not looking for perfection. He simply wants to be with you. Rest in Him. Seek His face. Look upon His beauty. Let Him laugh at your antics. And dear ones, soon (so very soon) you will change. You will begin to  look more and more like the One who loves you with love everlasting. Your joy will be full as you experience what it means to be His precious and beloved child.

These two

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

These two...

Ever since Grace entered our lives, I could see that she and Adam shared the same sort of spirit. Of all of my children, Grace and Adam are probably the most alike. They are sensitive, kind, introspective and have a heart for people.

Unfortunately, there is now another way that they are alike. We have been learning over the past few weeks that Grace has developed a number of potentially serious allergies. Quite honestly, this has been a blow to this mama, who is also dealing with the idea of sending her son away to live in a dorm, infested with all sorts of peanut butter eating young adults! And though I totally support and am excited about Adam’s decision to go to Greenville, when Grace’s doctor called in a junior epi-pen prescription for her yesterday, my heart felt like it couldn’t take much more.

These two...

They have my heart. And it doesn’t feel fair that their lives must be held so tenuously. It doesn’t feel fair that the everyday act of eating could be life-threatening for them. Yesterday, that thought had me paralyzed and I refused to go to our Father to give Him my burden. All that I could do was cry out, “It’s too much, Lord and I’m weary. I don't even have the strength to talk with You. But please don’t let me go. Whatever You do, don’t ever let me go.”

I spent another sleepless night and this morning the last thing that I wanted to do was to pray. But, our Precious God didn’t forget my cry from yesterday. He reached down and gave me the smallest inkling of hope. Not hope as the world gives. Not the promise that these allergies would go away (though I will certainly pray for that). But hope in the Everlasting One, in The One who makes all things right in His time. I stand before Him now, still grieving, still struggling, but able to sing,

Humbly I stand, an offering with open hands,
Lord I bring
Everything and nothing less
My best, my all
You deserve my every breath,
My life, my song.

These two…

They are two of my very best, and I give them to our Gracious Father, who is the only One deserving of such a treasure. Truly, He is not only worthy, He is also the only One who is able to keep them perfectly safe in His gentle care.

These two...

Oh, how I love them.


Monday, June 13, 2016

This morning I picked raspberries. The sun was out, but I was bathed in the gentle shade of the early day. The deep red of the berries stained my fingers and the thorns scratched my arms, but I was free to set a leisurely pace to my picking, so despite the scratches, I enjoyed my time outside immensely. I came inside with a nice-sized bowl of raspberries that I plan to make into a pie this afternoon.
stained fingers
scratched arms

There was absolutely nothing extraordinary about my morning picking berries. In fact, as I reached up through the thorny branches in order to grasp a particularly plump berry, I heard the Father whisper, "Yes, Sarah. You're very ordinary."

I suppressed a bit of a giggle as I realized how non-pc our God can be. "Very ordinary." It's not the sort of thing that people flock to conferences to hear. Fortunately, He has been preparing my heart for this very word. This very ordinary word.

You see, friends,over the past few months, we had been grieving the loss of our life here in the inner city, our un(convent)ional life, as it were. We moved to Kansas City three years ago, with hope in our hearts, and a belief that God was planting us here for a long season, perhaps even for our whole lives.

If you've been following along on facebook or here, however, you'll know that seasons change, and the thing that God calls you to one day, may disappear the next. For the most part, we've come to grips with that reality and have recognized that, as Creator of the Universe, our God may know a thing or two more about what's good for us than we do.

Therefore, we're getting ready to trade in our un(convent)ional life in the inner city, for a very ordinary life in the suburbs. The suburbs, friends! I never thought that I'd be writing that, and I never thought that I'd believe it to be a good thing...a God-thing, even, for this season of our lives.

The funny thing is, however, that God keeps showing me that we've been living pretty ordinary lives all along. Oh, I wanted to do something extraordinary here in our urban home. I wanted to grab onto that missionary lifestyle and show the world what could happen in the inner city. But, as it turns out, we've simply done a lot of ordinary things....we've given people food and filled up many water bottles, we've made friends with the  wonderfully-kind neighbors with the scary-offensive sign across the street, we've given a few homeless men some work, and David had the joy of bringing precious R. to the Lord. Beautiful things? Yes. Extraordinary? Not really.

Fortunately, God doesn't depend on me to be extraordinary. In fact, He's showing me how my very ordinary life can actually give Him more glory than the extraordinary life that I wanted to have, because it's the life that He has chosen for me right now, and that is surely the life that is better than any that I could dream up.

So, if this non-techy gal can figure it out, I may just change my blog header to read "Our Ordinary Life," and embrace this next season that He has given. And I'll be praising God that He's got that extraordinary thing pretty-well covered on His own. 

Sapling Canvas Designs

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hey friends! My Lily-girl has opened a new shop on Etsy called Sapling Canvas Designs. All of her pieces are fully-customizable. You pick the phrase/verse/letters, colors, size, etc.

Click here to see more of her beautiful work. 

the tender-hearted One

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Oh friends, we have such a kind and loving Savior. He's tender-hearted toward us. He is gentle and full of grace.

Our sweet Jesus has been speaking to my heart. Tender mercies, my friends. He's been revealing places where my wants and desires are not set on Him. He's been gently wooing me with His love. 

He's like that, dear ones.
He loves us in the midst of correction.
He draws us with His kindness.
He is utterly and completely patient with us

When I look into my own heart, I see that I do love Him. I see that I desire more of Him. I see that I want my heart to be completely His.

But lately He has been asking me hard questions.

Am I first, my child?
Can you trust yourself completely to Me?
Can you trust Me even when you feel confusion and pain, dear one?
Am I the One Thing that your heart longs for?

He doesn't ask out of selfishness. He asks out of love. He asks, knowing that He, alone, can satisfy; that the things of this world will never fill my heart and that when I look to those things for life I will only find sorrow.

Tender mercies, from the One who has set eternity in my heart, and who knows that I will never be satisfied with anything less.

Oh, how I love Him.
Oh, how He loves me.
My tender-hearted King.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

My heart has been tender over the past few months. When our pastor, and friends, left Kansas City, our family was still deep in the process of adjusting to life with our new son, Andrew. The changes that had occurred in those brief months after he came home, had left us in upheaval, and this additional life-change seemed, at times, too much to bear.

We, of course, considered moving back to Colorado at that time, ourselves. But, we knew that God had called us to complete what we had begun, and our hearts were with the people who had been a part of our church family. We were sure that we couldn't leave just yet. This city was still our home.

So when, shortly after our pastor left, God led me to this spot, overlooking Kansas City, and whispered Hebrews 13:14 to my heart, I felt both confused and strangely comforted.

"For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come." Hebrews 13:14

Tears sprung to my eyes, as they have many times since. In that moment, I knew that He wasn't just talking about Kansas City. Instead, He was sharing a deep secret of His heart. 

This is not our home.

It is a refrain that has become embedded in my heart during this season.

this is not our home...this is not our home...this is not our home

It was embedded in my heart as we prayed for and met with our dear brothers and sisters, who eventually found new church homes in our neighborhood, and ceased needing our support.

This is not our home.

It was embedded even further, as we gave ourselves to a precious new church family, but then began to feel the pull back to Colorado, away from this new family and others whom we love in Kansas City.

This is not our home.

It was embedded yet further as our oldest daughter began wrestling with the idea of staying in Kansas City, and finishing school here at Calvary Bible College.

This is not our home.

It was embedded again further as Adam started researching places to give his life away as a Bible translator. The call on his life was beginning to feel real to me as I contemplated his life overseas.

This is not our home.

And today, it continues to be embedded deeply as, while writing this, a dear friend waits to undergo brain surgery for a cancerous tumor.

This is not our home.

This morning, the word home sprung into my mind as I was walking and talking with the Lord. I had my mp3 player on, and the next song that came up was Will Reagan's "Pilgrim Days".

join this song,
as we journey

The word hung in the air, as I thanked my sweet Jesus for His presence. 

He is our home, friends. All of our other homes are temporary, but our place in His heart will endure forever. He is our home, dear friends. He is our lasting city.

"For we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come."

that love thing

Friday, January 8, 2016

Funny thing, how there truly is nothing new under the sun. People are the same. They grow, and learn, and mature...and they get tired. :)

I heard that a time or two when I was in my 20's, then again in my 30's. And you know what? I didn't believe it. I didn't believe that I'd be all that much more mature than I already was (ha!), and I certainly didn't believe that I'd get tired. I definitely wouldn't have thought that in some ways the tiredness would be a gift, because when you're tired, you only have time for the things that truly matter. Who's right and who's wrong don't matter so much anymore. 


That still matters. In fact, it actually matters more to you, because you see how precious it really is.

But, that being right about all the little details stuff....

We moved our family to Kansas City almost 2 1/2 years ago. We moved because of a vision. We moved because we wanted to build His church, to serve, to help, and yes, because we wanted to love. We believed (and still believe) that God was leading us. We wanted to do His will! So, we moved.

And God moved, too...He moved  in peoples' hearts. He moved in the church. He moved throughout our neighborhood in people like Riley and Lunchbox, who are homeless and precious and made in the image of God. 

And then two years into it, for very good reasons, He moved our pastor and his family out of Kansas City and back to Colorado.

And we were saddened and shocked and a little bit lost.

We've spent the past seven months seeking the Lord, helping people get settled in other local churches, and asking Him for more of His heart.

I'd like to say that it's been easy, and we have another clear assignment from the, there, or anywhere! But, that wouldn't be true.

The fact is, we're feeling on the weary side, and He's only revealed a couple of things to us.
1) That we're to spend this next season, focusing on our teenage kids.
2) And then, that love love Him, love our family, love the people around us.

It doesn't seem like much, but, in some ways, isn't it everything???

To love in the midst of sadness, tiredness and disappointment. To seek Him in the midst of our confusion. It's truly what we're made for...glorifying God in the good and in the hard. Glorifying Him in all the zealousness of youth, and continuing to glorify Him in the greater wisdom and tiredness of our 40's. I'm so grateful that our God is faithful through it all. In every single moment, He has continued to pour out His love on us, and I hope that I can say, that, as I've grown older, I have continued to love Him back.

It may not look like we expected, but in other ways, it looks exactly like we expected.

Loving Him and being loved by Him.

It's good stuff, friends.

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