Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Life is heavy," Jason whispered before going to bed Monday night. And it has been this week.

So many friends and family around us are walking through hard places, and our hearts have visited the valley with them. Maybe that's why this Easter more than usual we sense the heaviness and magnitude of what happened. Almost as if it's currently taking place. We reflected Thursday night after a passover meal at how Jesus could even think of eating knowing what was ahead. Or even stand to his feet under the weight? Because our heaviness this week has been almost crippling but still such a far cry from the weight of the sins of the world and the subsequent mockery, betrayal and crucifixion.

At one o'clock yesterday I wept. During the two o'clock hour a sense of heaviness settled in and since three a mixture of relief and sorrow has been left behind. The grief those followers went through. And His mother. Oh, His mother....

Today at a railroad festival where people bustled all around, my heart was quiet and extremely sad. Because I'm waiting in the silence and mourning yesterday's loss. "Tomorrow," I said to myself. "There will be Hope, tomorrow."

I've been learning a lot about having faith in the waiting and trusting the will of God. While He still whispers India now and again, it's clear that now is not the time. And while He led me to a new friend who is hearing the same whispers of India with no idea why, He asks us both to wait and hold this sacred word in our open hands. Really in all of my interest in that country and calling adoption agencies and stalking, I mean befriending, an Indian lady that works in Walmart, I am being very challenged in the waiting. It's not about a country or some supernatural sign. It's all about a Creator who longs that every man, woman, boy and girl know about this story that's unfolding tonight...and, in the beautiful sun-filled morning. It's about Hope for every man.

We would be honored to raise a little girl from that country and tell her all about this extravagant Savior. And we will praise Him if He brings her. But this surrendered heart is also learning to say, "we will praise Him even if He doesn't."

For tonight I wait and trust because I know the next part of Christ's story. And without a clue to our own story's next chapter, we will be filled with hope as long as the Redeemer who greets us tomorrow is in it's pages. So come quickly morning. Our story, everyone's story, rests on your light revealing an empty grave.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Night Live

It's a catch-22. {That's my phrase of the day.} The day of rest that finds me napping the afternoon away and not sleepy at 12 a.m. leaving me tired the day after. Ah, Sundays!

I've spent a good deal of time thinking, and reading, and baking, and wrangling a one-year-old and have decided the business of dying to oneself is a nasty one. To put the needs of others first, to not get sleep, to purpose to not always be the one at argument's end demanding the apology, to lay down frustrations with others and simply forgive. It's tough. And more, to lay down hopes of future timelines and simply live presently holding everything with open hands. I'm real bad at it. But fumbling along this journey of dying and living and living and dying, there is great beauty.

Today, Sunday, I wanted to shout from the rooftops in the church service. The freedom, oh the freedom, I am finding in God as my Father, my Savior and my life-giving Spirit. It's great to enjoy the sweetness. But sweetness must always be balanced with a hearty solid. Where it's missing a sugar overload and crash is soon to follow.

But the truth for me, and maybe for you, is that God's meat sometimes is really tough to swallow. I don't want to give up dreams. I want to cling with all my might and pout until I get them. Isn't my way best, after all?

Yet herein lies the most beautiful catch-22.

When we die to our desires giving way to God's and even go through painful agony in so doing, we emerge more deeply alive. And, I have found, greater satisfied. The mingling of sweet with salty and salty with sweet. Where would the living be apart from the dying?

Oh that you and I might choose to fully live.

1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

Isaiah 55:1-13

Saturday, April 16, 2011

College Life

You never know what you'll get living in a college dorm. Bloody limbs, grown men in footie pajamas, killer bats, meaningful name a few.

Recently on a trip with our resident assistants, we kept it entertaining and worked with what we had...our family van. And this is what it looked like.

Note: Levi was tucked snuggly in bed with a sitter...and lucky for him.

Friday, April 15, 2011

One Year

This was the Tegen family on April 2010.

And this was us April 2011.

A lot can happen in a year. Like losing fourty-five pounds and gaining an energy-filled, life-loving, still-not-sleeping-through-the-night one-year-old.

To celebrate a year of life for our sweet Levi, we included college students and family in the celebration.

Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting accompanied the afternoon celebration with our college friends followed an evening of toddler-friendly food with family and presents. Thanks Mom Harrell for all of the cupcakes and birthday cakes!

And this is what he thought of it.

While he didn't enjoy his hands in cake, he loved his mouth filled with it!

Happy first birthday, Levi!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In the Land of the Living

Now that the dust is settling around us from our baby turning one, the big Engage event taking place and family traveling home, my mind can wander back to blogs and emails and living life.

For those who prayed for us last Friday night, thank you! Your prayers were answered in beautiful ways. As people follow up with me from the event I've been amazed at how touched and moved to action many were. That did not come out of the stations we had planned. That came because God's Spirit worked in people. Thank you for asking with us that He would be evident and at work. More than 60 people joined us to engage on behalf of orphans and many of those walked away choosing to engage in one way or another.

So to kick off a week of blog posts from this Thursday to next, enjoy a snapshot from the event until tomorrow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Countdown

The reason I totally missed sharing about turning 31 and have yet to share the latest "Walking by Faith" post and still have not posted Levi's milestones and a great clown car video is because of the countdown.

In four days people will converge on a local Baptist church to be engaged on behalf of orphans and if this girl typing doesn't keep organizing and copying and painting and praying and planning, there will be no event. So that's where I've been and where I am.

If you're reading's the opportunity... Pray me through these next four days and I'll be sure to come back with some great God-sized stories and some random moments thrown in for kicks.

So pray fervently with me for God's spirit to permeate that Baptist church on April 8th and for God to draw people to HIs heart. And if you wouldn't mind throwing in a few pleas for wisdom in speaking, wisdom in leading and wisdom in executing I'd be real, real grateful.

*I do promise to be back later today, however, to share a picture or two of our birthday boy. Happy, happy first year Levi!!*