How about a cup of coffee?

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How about we sit down for a cup of coffee or if you prefer, a cup of tea?

How about we commiserate over the evils that have befallen our fellow moms?

How about we share the pain and the worries…what if it was our children and how can we possibly keep that from becoming a reality?

Do we see each other? Do we hear each other? Is social media robbing us of our humanity while promising incredible connection?

Are empathy, compassion and caring translated through the text on our tiny handheld devices? Is the benefit of the doubt erased with the flatness of the screen and the ease of a keyboard? Are clever quips and creative memes replacing genuine relationship?

How about we sit down for a cup of coffee or tea? Tell me your story. Tell me about your worries. Tell me about your dreams. Face to face. Heart to heart.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 

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Who said Perfect?

When did being a Christian mean perfection?

Sure, those who reject God want to reject Christians for their imperfection which gives them assurance that their rejection of God is grounded in reason.

They don’t understand the real power and meaning of the gospel.

Some misunderstand out of ignorance. Some choose to miss it out of hardness of heart.

Are believers helping to dispel this notion of perfection?  Have we forgotten?  Have we misunderstood?

No one is righteous. None. Not even one. (Romans 3:10)

Elite soccer teams select elite players to complete their squads. The coaches start with excellence, way beyond the average. Through strategy and the cohesiveness of the team, championships are won.

Is God merely selecting people who are extraordinarily good to play on His Christian club?

Nope.

God is calling all to Himself. Not wanting any to perish.  Not wanting any to live or ultimately to die separated from Himself. (2 Peter 3:9)

Far from perfect. He takes the least of us.

The harlots. The thieves. The murderers.

The selfish. The mean. The liars.

When we accept that we are broken. When we agree with Him that we are fallen, He adopts us into His family (Ephesians 1:5). He washes away our sin. He clothes us in righteousness. He makes us new.

All for His glory. All for His plan. All in His strength.

All because of the perfection of His Son.  All because of His sacrifice.  All because of His resurrection.

I still fall short. I still stumble. I still fall.

By His grace, I am striving. By His mercy, I do good.

I am a Christian.  I’m not perfect. He is.  I’m not strong. He is.

An imperfect Christian is not a gotcha moment. It’s not hypocrisy. It’s not a contradiction. It is truth.

Because He is perfecting me. I want to love like He loves. I want to see like He sees. I want to be like He is. I want to think like He thinks.

My desire is to be a reflection of the Perfect Christ.

I want you to see Him in me.

Don’t let my imperfections cloud your view. 





Miracles from Heaven

To celebrate Todd’s birthday, I took him to a fabulous dinner at a restaurant that has super tasty gluten free food. Real gluten free. Not just food with the gluten-ful food taken out, i.e. hamburger without a bun. Extra bonus:  the menu had gluten free chocolate cake to happily end his birthday meal.  


That’s about as far as my plans went. Not wanting to rush home, he suggested a movie. There were only two choices at the Pitt Theatre:  Batman vs. Superman or Miracles from Heaven.


We chose Miracles from Heaven. Enjoying each other’s company, we laughed out loud at the previews. We settled in for the feature presentation.


Almost immediately, as the little girl in the movie became gravely ill, we turned to each other in agreement that this true story might hit a little too close to home for us.


As the characters on the screen began to chase a diagnosis for their daughter, so many personal scenes jumped into my mind and emotions bubbled back to the surface from our very own struggle with Chloe’s health. 


I could relate to this desperate mother, as she watched her child in pain and languishing, forcefully questioning a doctor who said that everything was normal or that it was only lactose intolerance.


The fear.  The anger. The sadness. The grief.


All threatening to swallow up the joy and the hope…and my faith.


Like a toddler, I assumed that when I asked nicely.  When I said “please” and “thank you,” surely God would answer my prayers exactly how I wanted.


When His answer wasn’t a resounding “yes,” I acted like a petulant child who didn’t get her own way.


Sometimes God’s answer is “yes.”  Sometimes He says “wait,” “not yet,” or “no, not on this side of eternity.”


His desire is for me to come to Him. Fully surrendered. Submitted to His will. Trusting His plan. Seeking His comfort. Resting in His peace.


Chloe is in remission. It’s been nearly two years since those super scary months of tests, hospitalizations and new diagnoses.




How many miracles did I miss while I crossed my arms over my chest, furrowed my brow and stomped my foot at my Heavenly Father?


When my faith was rocked to its core, I wanted to talk to Him. I wanted to trust, but somehow God just didn’t seem so safe anymore. I stepped back when I needed Him most. 


The movie, Miracles from Heaven, reached right into my healing heart. Reminding me that my God loves beyond measure and exceeds my understanding. 


A miracle itself. 


In the midst of sorrow and pain, He is good. He is faithful.


Joy, beauty, each small triumph. All sweet gifts from His tender hand.  


Lord, give me eyes to see.  



Matthew 13:16.
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear…

The Heart of Prayer

An amazing thing happens when you pray for someone. You begin to love them.

Chloe told me that one of the Teen girls at last weekend’s retreat hugged her…twice. This young woman has been praying for Chloe, and she loves Chloe because of that prayer.

These hugs from relative strangers have happened before…often.

Many people are earnestly praying for Chloe. Many have grown to sincerely love her.

Our family has been praying for a little girl with brain cancer. Although we have never met her, Haley wiggled her way into our hearts.

Haley passed away last night. Our hearts hurt for the family’s loss. Our hearts rejoice that she has no more pain and is present with The Lord.

Family honors Haley House in Heaven–Cumerland Times-Mirror

We never met her, but we loved her.

Through our prayers, God knit our hearts to hers and to her family’s.

Not simply words. Not simply thoughts. Hearts changed. Hearts melded.

Prayer is an amazing thing.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Chloe drew this picture after I shared with her that Haley had passed away. She captured the bittersweetness. This beautiful young girl is no longer “caged” or constrained by her sick, failing earthly body. She is free, healed and in the presence of her loving Savior.

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The Hoover Principle

Meet Hoover, our Jack Russell Terrier puppy.

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We have never had a dog who stuck around. Our other dog, Kirby, will take off like a flash if she sees an opening.

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Not Hoover. He wants to be with me.

When I walk, he walks. When I run, he runs.

His steps are in sync, right at my side. His eyes are fixed on me.

He doesn’t look ahead trying to anticipate where I am going. He doesn’t try to chart a better course. He doesn’t choose his own destination.

Hoover trusts me. He follows me. Wherever I go. Wherever I choose.

Unconditionally. Surrendered to my plan.

The Hoover Principle. It applies to my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Following the Hoover Principle, my goals, in a nutshell, are to ask God to lead me where He wants me to go knowing that His plan is perfect. To ask Him to guide my steps so I do not wander from His path by outpacing Him or going rogue.

To surrender everything to Him, and to trust him with all the days of my life.

Psalm 31:14-15 NLT
But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying “You are my God!” My future is in your hands.

Faith & Hope

Faith, faith, faith; just a little bit of faith.

Matthew 17:20
“…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

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Faith can move mountains. Even faith as tiny as a mustard seed.

There are basically two types of faith. A childlike, bold, expectant faith, and a clingy, your fingers digging in, not going to let go no matter what faith.

God knows what I want because he knows my heart, my thoughts, my words before they cross my lips. He knows that the thought of Chloe becoming really sick breaks my heart. I have cried out for Him to supernaturally remove this “thorn.” In child-like dependent faith, I have pleaded.

Yet my adult-like experience reminds me that some children do not get better. This side of heaven is broken and painful.

However Chloe’s story plays out, there is hope for abundant life here and now, and perfect healing and wholeness into eternity. That is the hope my faith clings to.

This is a persevering type faith that grabs hold of God even though the road ahead looks rocky and dangerous. I grab ahold because I can trust Him. Because all His promises are true, no matter what circumstances crash around me.

Do I want a supernatural miracle? Yes.

Can God deliver Chloe from disease? Yes.

Can God use natural means within His created order to heal Chloe? Yes.

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My prayers go back to simply asking for the next step. How can I take the next step faithfully following Him? What can I change to improve Chloe’s chances of physical healing?

Show me, Lord, how to care for her utilizing her amazingly well designed body.

Show me how to address her physical needs while not neglecting her entire person including her mind and her spirit.

Show me how to point her to You always in all things. To Your love. To Your promises. To Your goodness.

HeBrews 11:1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hope, hope, hope; just a little bit of hope.

The following quote by Dr. Paul Brand is found in Philip Yancey’s book Prayer: Does It Make A Difference?

The Christian heals because he or she has the kind of body that was designed by God to be equipped to overcome injury and infection…the real direction of prayer for the sick and the suffering should be first to praise God for the wonderful mechanism of healing and recovery that God has designed and placed in the person’s body, and then to pray that God’s special grace will take hold of his or her whole person [body, mind, spirit] and give the ability to use these resources to their fullest advantage; and also that the church will rally round and lay their healing hands on the one who needs support, faith, hope and love.

My Introduction to the Charis Family of Childbirth Educators & Doulas

In September 2010, my second son Quincy John was born. He joined four siblings at home, Timothy (now 15), Bailey (now 13), Abby (now 11) and Chloe (now 9).

Although my husband, Todd, and I had gone through labor and delivery four times, Quincy’s birth was completely different. In fact, we did not even know we were “expecting” until one week before.

We received a call on a Monday explaining that a mother was due to give birth to a baby boy any day. She did not want to raise the child, but had not been able to find a family. The question posed to us, “Are you interested?”

A wild week of prayers, phone calls and planning ended with Todd and I on our way to the hospital to meet the mother of our son. As we met for the first time in the hospital lobby, she handed me sweet ultrasound pictures of the baby. She also graciously invited me to be in the labor and delivery room.

It was so different watching, rather than experiencing, labor and delivery. My appreciation grew for how my husband must have felt as I birthed our children. I felt ill equipped to provide support to this laboring mother which pierced my heart especially knowing that all the difficult work was to deliver a son for me.

Quincy’s birth mom was alone, doing an incredibly tough thing. As I reflected on her sacrifice and the gift of life, I felt the tug of an idea forming. I felt the leading of God to begin a ministry to mothers who find themselves alone during childbirth.

When I thought of this concept of coaching moms, crazy as it may seem, I envisioned bubbles. In John 4:13-14 it says, “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.'”

Bubbling Springs was born. As the idea, the key verse and the ministry name began to take shape, I knew I wanted to be educated to serve laboring women as a coach.

I searched on line doula training, but was concerned about the New Age bent of many programs. When I discovered the Charis Childbirth Educator and Doula program, I nearly leapt with joy and excitement because of the Biblical worldview, the mission minded training and the quality curriculum.

I am only just beginning, but I look forward to learning and growing through the process. I look forward to seeing where God is leading.

Quincy means “the fifth” and John means “God is gracious.” The perfect name for our little guy who is now three years old. It is also the perfect reminder that even in difficult circumstances, God is good and that His grace is sufficient.

Like a bubbling spring, I look forward to sharing that truth, reaching out to women in my community as a Childbirth Educator and Doula.

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Quincy John

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Kim and Todd Donaldson with all their ‘babies’
Timothy, Bailey, Abby, Chloe and Quincy