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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dear Church: Now is the Time.


As the events of Charlottesville, VA unfolded this past weekend, our country was rocked by horrifying, extreme racism in plain sight. The white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and KKK are fueled by self-pride and hatred toward anyone who looks different than them. Anyone opposing this group can seem heroic - and many are, but the most extreme opposing groups seem to engage in actions that fuel more hatred. So what should be done?

Church, lets open our eyes and see the role and hope we have in this ugly state of affairs.


Are we awake now?

"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.' Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is." Ephesians 5:11-17

The events of Charlottesville, as well as several other incidents in recent months, takes away any possibility of having our heads in the sand regarding the racism and hate that still exists in our country. BUT... when we are "awake" and aware of these things, we have the opportunity to seek the Lord's will and stand together as "The Church" to accomplish much.


We know the true enemy!

"For our struggle is not again flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

 You may have strong opinions regarding the issue of statues being up or taken down, and even those within the church will have differing opinion on these things - but we are not each others enemy. Therefore, when it comes to discussing such things, lets first remember that we are united against the true enemy that wants to cause chaos, confusion and dissention amongst God's children. Ephesians 6:10-19 paints a detailed picture of the armor used to defeat the true enemy. Be compassionate and grace-filled with any words you use to express your opinions - and really consider whether your opinion is necessary at all. Do more listening than you do in sharing your opinion.


More than tolerance

In John 17, Jesus prays for His disciples to be one and to be sanctified by truth, and then He specifically calls out to His Father for us!

"My prayer is not for [the disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You... May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as you have loved Me." John 17:20-21

Christ's desire was for us - The Church - to be ONE... not to just tolerate one another from a distance, but to be one as He and the Father are one. That's some intense unity. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960 stated that one of the greatest tragedies in our nation is that Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in America. Lack of unity in The Church is nothing new, and achieving unity certainly won't be easy - BUT it is the will of our Lord, and therefore IS possible.

Many of our churches are more unified with churches overseas than we are with portions of "The Body" in our own back yards - neither is more important than the other, but both are necessary. Can we, The Church, lead the way in America regarding how to love each other and our neighbors? Can we "put a ring on" and jump in for the long haul with one another, even if it's hard at times, even if it rocks our comfort zones... knowing that a united body can accomplish way more than an individual body part alone?

Time for greater things...

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:8    

 John 14:8 rocks my world - Who am I?!?! I can't heal, I don't have the wisdom, wit, courage, and strength of Christ... so how am I to do greater things? We, The Church, have been given the power of the Holy Spirit, which gives us the ability to be one with each other. Individually we can do amazing things, and collectively we can do "greater things".

Imagine with me for a minute a truly united church... people of all ethnicities, ages, economic stature routinely eating dinner together, playing at the park, praying together, doing ministry together to meet the needs of our community. What if our collective love for each other and for Jesus becomes contagious to one person... then to another?

If this picture is too lovey-dovey for you, let’s consider other realities of a united church... Christ took hard stands against arrogance and self-serving individuals and regimes, and constantly showed love, even to His demise, for those who were looked at as "less". So, know that, in being united, we will also be doing some hard things together that may be inconvenient and require extreme courage/sacrifice - but we will be led by the truth and power of the Holy Spirit.

My greatest challenge to us all is that we do not first align ourselves with either the extreme right, extreme left or even something in between, but that, instead, we first align ourselves as Christ followers and with The Church. The Lord's will for us is to be awake, united, and empowered by His Spirit; therefore, I strongly believe that together we have the possibility of truly leading the way in what seems like a hopeless situation in this nation.


What action can you take today, whether a tiny step or a huge leap, to promote Oneness with "The Church" in your life?
👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫👫  


 Special Links/Resources:


*Martin Luther King, Jr. Link -  "Meet the Press - Most Segregated Hour In America"

 *Learn more about God's desire for Oneness in the Church and how to take action (links are for sermons and diversity panel discussion. For a corresponding 8wk devotional/small group study co-authored by Pastor Brian Jennings and me, contact me in the comments):









Sunday, May 14, 2017

Obedience Turned Into Blessings

Today is Mother's Day. This post is not meant for your reading pleasure necessarily, but an opportunity to work out the mixed emotions I feel each year at this time. I have two amazing children in my home, and I have two amazing children that reside in heaven along with my own mother. This reality always leaves Mother's Day feeling a little "off".

I found myself engulfed in a variety of roles involving parents and parenting this week...
  • I have been deeply involved in caring for some older friends who were never able to have children of their own, but they have, for years loved on us as if we were indeed born to them.
  • Hyun has been sick all week and NOT sleeping... Mommy duties were in high demand.
  • My Dad and I, who are very close, had a hurtful conflict to work through.
This week as I've been inadequately fulfilling these roles, I have been reminded of God's love for me and His faithfulness in all things. 

The book of Ruth tells of a woman who is deeply committed to serving and loving her Mother-In-Law (Naomi) after the death of her Father-In-Law and her husband. She even followed Naomi back to her home land Judah, which was likely not a very welcoming place to Ruth because of her Moabite heritage.

Through Ruth's selfless acts, three things occurred:
  1. Naomi was transformed from emptiness to fullness.
  2. Ruth was blessed with a husband in Judah, and became a mother to Obed.
  3. Obed was the grandfather of King David - which means that Ruth is in the lineage of Jesus Christ!
Ruth had the blessing and privilege of experiencing two of these things, but during her time on earth she had no idea that God would bring Jesus through her blood line. 

Through my own personal obedience to humility, love, and service - God has blessing upon blessing in store for me and those whom I get to serve, and the blessings go far beyond what I can imagine or consider. How will my love of Christ and His people impact my great, great, great, great grandchildren?

I pray that my love for Dad, my In-Laws and my friends whom I'm serving right now will resonate Christ's beauty and faithfulness. May they not see me at all, but that they will see the one who has restored and equipped me despite all my inadequacies, stumbling of words and actions. As for my children and all the kiddos that are within my influence - that I will never be a stumbling block for them to see and know Christ. May I be intentional in loving them and reiterating God's amazing plan for their lives.

And as for my Mom, Elliot and Livvy - I'm incredibly jealous of what they are experiencing at the feet of the Father today. No more pain, sorrow or suffering. Apart from missing them so much, this is the greatest hope for any Mother - that her children get to experience such joy and peace.

Thank You, Father, for the joy and peace You have given me, and I know You are faithful.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Is it too much?


As the Tardis twisted and turned, the children squealed with delight.  This device, based off of Dr. Who's time travel machine, deposited 8 children into the 1700's where they were challenged to move a variety of house hold items across the "Wild Wild West" on horseback.  In reality, the "Tardis" was two boxes connected together, latched to a dolly so we could move them around, and the Wild Wild West was a bunch of blankets laid out in our back yard.  The horses?  Well, each child had to be a horse on all 4's while another child rode on their back.

Ryan exiting the Tardis with his robot buddy
Reese (the cowboy) and Carter (the horse) moving west

We just celebrated Reese's 9th birthday... it was phenomenal...  I'm sure that Ron and I had as much fun as the kids.  For the past 4 years, we have created Super Hero Training Camps, Jedi Training Academies, Detective/Mystery Challenges, and now a Time Travel Adventure where the kids built a robot, visited multiple time frames in history (Wild West and Gold Rush) and future (asteroids destroying the earth), and outsmarted the futuristic robot in order to collect Reese's stolen birthday presents! 

These birthday parties require a lot of work, especially if we are not going to spend a lot of money putting it together (which we don't... this years party budget, including food, was $50).  Is it too much?  People are pretty opinionated about this... other adults are either so excited that they too want to come or others think it's absolutely ridiculous. 

So, why does this mom and dad, who usually keep things pretty frugal and simple, go to such extremes for a one-day event?

Proverbs 22:6 says to "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  This passage is referring to training up a child in the way he/she is uniquely wired by God.  Biblical morals and values are non-negotiable, but each child needs to be uniquely guided and taught.

Four years ago, after losing Elliot, I woke up one day realizing our family was in need of some serious fun, and it needed to be in a way that would really connect with Reese - hence, the Super Hero Training Camp evolved.  As we brainstormed and planned, my son's heart and mind came to life.  He was in his zone, and it was beautiful.

Many parents get to connect with their kids through sports or other extra-curricular activities - they may spend several nights/week going to practices, missing dinner, paying money to participate, but it's worth it because a parent feels their child is learning many life skills through these activities. 

Reese is not that kid, and finding extra curricular activities for him is challenging.  He is very intelligent and incredibly creative - developing amazing stories - then acting them out or writing them.  He is not extroverted, and he does love his friends and family deeply.  His love language is most definitely quality time - especially if it is at his house where he can share his thoughts, ideas, and story lines with those he loves.

Party preparation and party day touches on so much of his unique wiring - all while he is learning important skills. 
  1. Time management/perseverance/hard work - Planning a party like this does not happen over night.  He begins planning with me MONTHS in advance.  Starting so far in advance can get exhausting and at times we want to give up, but, when we keep our "eye on the prize" it helps us persevere!
  2. Stewardship - We create only a small budget (even when we had more money).  This year we tapped into our local furniture stores for large boxes to create the time machines, and we collected toilet paper roles and vegetable cans in order to create robots. 
  3. Organization/planning/communication - Reese is always in charge of the invitations.  This allows him to use his creativity, but also makes him think through things like how long should the party last, is an RSVP important, etc.
  4. Physical fitness/teamwork/problem solving/patience - Each year we create a variety of obstacles that require each of these skills.  There is a certain competitiveness with each obstacle, but it also requires them to help and encourage their teammate.
  5. Ability to fail with dignity - After so much planning and dreaming, it is most certain that something will not turn out as planned or some kid is not going to like it.  Reese has learned that this is okay... we can still have an amazing time without everything being perfect.
  6. Contentment/Gratitude - Reese can get very detailed in his own mind/creativity about how things should be designed or built, but, lets face it, we are using toilet paper rolls to construct - so he doesn't always get exactly what he wants.  Reese has learned that when he chooses to be grateful, despite things not being perfect, that the party is waaaaay better!  He is honestly incredibly grateful for all of this.
Party prep is our "sports season".  We do not spend party prep season treating Reese like a king.  We do not do everything he wants.  It doesn't always turn out perfect.  This time has been spent teaching valuable life skills and Biblical principles all while Reese utilizes his natural gifts and talents and shares them with others - the kids in the neighborhood start talking to us about the party long before it gets here :).  Honestly, by doing these parties, I feel as if I'm honoring God by saying, "Lord, you didn't make Reese like me... You made him just the way you wanted him, and I love it!"

So, is it too much?  Nope - its just right... at least for now.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Screaming Clock

"Grrr.... I have things to do," I grumble in my head.

Our 3 year old, recently adopted son, Hyun, fell asleep at a strange time, and he is on the couch rather than the bed.  When I go to move him off the couch, he begins screaming and crying as if he is having a nightmare, so rather than move him, I just lean back on the couch and lay him on my chest.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?  I typically frantically work during nap time to get things checked off my "to-do" list.

I can see our clock from where I sit...

Tick-tock
Tick-tock

The clock moves from 11:45, 11:46, 11:47...

"If I don't get this stuff done now, when will I do it?"

Tick-tock
Tick-tock

11:55, 11:56

"I can't even do something relaxing; I can't reach my book or the TV remote; I'll just move him to the bed now so I can get stuff done."  But in the back of my heart I hear, "Halee, just be still with him."

Tick-tock
Tick-tock

"Really?"  The clock is screaming at me.

Tick-tock
Tick-tock

I finally stop grumbling, and I make a decision to just be still.  A precious song by Kari Jobe fills my mind, "Holy Spirit, You are welcome here.  Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.  Your glory, God, is what my heart longs for; to be overcome by Your presence, Lord."

12:20, 12:21

Hyun is experiencing the feel of my beating heart, the growl and roll of my stomach.  With each breath that I take, his whole body is moving up and down.

"God, what are you doing in this moment?  Are you up to something?  Show me, Father."

12:42, 12:43

With each beat, growl and breath, He is giving Hyun and I a moment that we did not get to experience together through 9 months of pregnancy.  I am accomplishing the only task I was meant to do at this moment.

1:01, 1:02

Complete peace with accomplishing nothing in my kitchen, on the computer or phone.  I am simply enjoying one of the greatest gifts ever given to me, knowing that God is continually accomplishing what I cannot do on my own.

Thank You Father for flooding our place, for giving us all our hearts long for.  What a very special moment in which I learned more about You and Your love for us. - Amen.

Link to the song "Holy Spirit"

Monday, January 11, 2016

Jesus Exposed at a Discount Bread Store!


My Grandma Doris was a short, spunky woman who could light up a room with her sweet spirit and amazing stories.  She and my grandfather lived in Amarillo, TX where I grew up, but they also owned a small ranch in a tiny South TX town where she had been raised. 

This small, one-horse town, doesn’t seem to offer much at first glance - a single post office, some small hills, a few trees and no industry, but traversing the town with my grandmother would quickly change the spirit of any passerby.  She had a story to tell, a story of how she had run up that tree at a young age which saved her from a wild animal, how she had painted that fence post with a family friend, or the open field in which her father taught her lessons during the great depression.  Some stories were funny, some very personal, and some had seemingly little meaning but still expressed her deep connection and love for the town.  As she would share her stories in vivid detail - the town that once seemed dull came alive and in full bloom.  Ron and I long ago fell in love with this place through my grandmother’s shared experiences.

"How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" Isaiah 52:7

As I consider these words from Isaiah, I know that I too have a story to tell - a story that is good news.  Just like my Grandmother, I can tell my stories and experiences that I have had with the Lord to bring Him to life for others!  This world has painted a picture of God that represents Him as dull, simply a rule maker, and has little to offer, yet my experiences shed light on the truth of the restorative powers of God through the saving grace of His son Jesus. 
I am not always proud to share my stories because they often reveal the "not-so-great" part of me, but I often have to share that part of the story so that others can understand how great His love and mercy truly are!  Being honest and vulnerable allows others to feel more comfortable opening up to me as well. 
About a month ago, I was in a discount bread store and began chit chatting with an employee.  She, in passing, mentioned having a still born child many years ago.  Because she is very young, I assumed it may have been a teenage pregnancy.  I took time to stop and ask her questions and really listened - she was still hurting deeply.  After listening, I had an opportunity to share many of my hurts and struggles as well, and then shared the mending God has done in my heart and that I believe the same healing is available for her.  
Last week, I went back to the store, and when I walked in she squealed, "I'm so happy to see you!  I've been waiting to talk to you again to tell you that our conversation was a life changing conversation...," and the conversation continued from there.  I don't always get such direct feedback from sharing my testimony, but God calls us to have beautiful feet and share His amazing news with those in this world - the Holy Spirit will do the rest. 
Dare we keep these stories to ourselves?  Will you take time today to reminisce through the stories of how Jesus has impacted your life?
  • How has Jesus rescued you/ in what ways was He faithful? 
  • If the Bible says that Jesus was the same yesterday, today and forever – then what can you conclude about your current difficult circumstances? 
  • What does the story of Jesus on the cross mean for your eternity? 
Mull over it… take it in… it will give you confidence for the days ahead, and this time of reminiscing can be preparation for the story you are to share with others today.  Your story will help tell the truth about our Savior.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Fourth Gift


Since we planned to travel to Texas that Christmas in 2011, we did the "gift-opening"/"special dinner" portion of our celebration on Saturday, December 17th.  Each of us had opened our three gifts we traditionally share each Christmas... Jesus got three gifts from the wise men, so each person in our house also gets three gifts.  As wrapping paper was getting cleaned up, Ron snuck away and reappeared with a FOURTH gift!  Upon opening it, I found a beautiful figurine of a mother holding not one but two little boys in celebration of our son Elliot that would be coming into the world any day.


Fast forward to Friday, December 23, 2011...

The drive home from the hospital was long and quiet.  I no longer had recollection of the previous Saturday, Sunday or Monday - it was somehow lost, never to be found amongst the grief and trauma of our son Elliot passing away, giving birth to him, and holding his sweet little body that produced no tears or no dirty diapers.  As we walked through the door of our home that day, we were lost.  Do we sit?  Do we clean?  Do we need to call anyone?  Did I leave dirty dishes in the sink when we left for the hospital?  Do we have any food in the refrigerator to make our dinner? 

Ron made his way to our bedroom to shower and change clothes, and, as he turned the corner, there sat gleaming on the dresser the most horrifying reminder that things were not as they should be - a figurine of a mother holding not one but two little boys.

Ron grew to hate the figurine feeling like it wasn't a gift at all - it was something that taunted us.  Why had he bought a fourth gift when he was only supposed to buy three?  What should we do with it now - display it, put it back in the box, throw it away?  There seemed to be no appropriate place for something that represented such hurt and pain in our lives.

Today, this figurine is proudly displayed front and center in our home bringing the joy it originally intended... The joy isn't because we now have two boys living under our roof; we displayed the figurine prior to Hyun's homecoming - in my mind there shouldn't be two boys with that mother - there should be three.  It is displayed because it is representative of what we want to share through our testimony.

It is a tangible reminder that the Lord gives and He takes away, yet He is faithful in His word when He says that He works for our good if we love Him.  Ron and I screwed up a lot in our grief - in our patience with each other and others, in knowing how tightly or loosely to hold onto Reese, in being consistently good "leaders" at Celebrate Recovery... but one thing we did well was continued to believe in and love our Lord, and He was/is indeed faithful.

As Ron and I boldly proclaim this testimony to you and many others, it is imperative to understand that it is not the events/circumstances of our lives of today that give us this joy and peace - the circumstances of today are just a bonus to the joy and peace we have found by relying on and coming to know our Lord and Savior so much more intimately through our experiences the past 4 years.  It is my prayer and hope that by being my friend, relative, co-worker or by reading this blog it has somehow helped you to become more acquainted with Jesus and His ways.

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Today, December 21, 2015 is the four year anniversary of when we said goodbye to Elliot.

My Dear Elliot:
I thank God every time I think of you.  Your story and life provided a platform of growth for our family.  As I think of those worshipping around the throne described in the book of Revelation, I imagine that your voice is one of the many constantly singing His praise.  Though I have so desired you to be here in our house, there is no reason to cry over spilled milk or a skinned up knee - You have a perfect place in Heaven.  Love you with the depth that only God could make possible.

Love, Mom




Saturday, December 12, 2015

Practical Ideas for Joy-Filled Change

Transitioning from "career woman" to something that has its own acronym - SAHM (stay at home mom) has its definite challenges.  Rarely do changes come one at a time for any family - in the last 6 months we have experienced many big changes - a newly adopted 3 year old, father moving here from out of state, change in ministry, etc.

I would like to share some practical ideas regarding joy-filled transitions for families - some of these things we did intentionally, some we stumbled into, and others we didn't do, but wished we had!

Wake Up Early (Yes...Even Earlier!)

“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Psalm 5:3
Many people just cringed!  Honestly, this habit does not have to be early in the morning, but this is the absolute most important tip - find time to yourself when you can shut out ALL distractions - children, husband, phone, social media, cooking, cleaning, projects. 

First and foremost, devote this time to study the Word, and seek/worship Him.  When I first started doing this years ago, I gave myself daily pep talks, sometimes failing to get there even for 5 or 10 minutes.  Now, years later, I am eager to go to bed early so that I can have this time with the Lord the following morning!  By spending this time daily, we are able to better recognize the Lord's handiwork throughout the day, gain necessary strength to face the unknowns, and, just like when we spend time with our spouse, we grow in our relationship with God as we get to know Him better.

If you still have extra time before your family arises, you can also use this time to do some exercising (or multitask by saying prayers while taking an early morning walk) or get a few tasks completed without interruption. 

Determine What Makes You Valuable
Seriously evaluate this question, "what makes me valuable?"  Is it what you accomplish, who you are as a husband/wife, or as a parent?  Several years ago, I realized that I was finding my value in my accomplishments (or lack thereof) at work.  If I had a good day at work, I felt valuable.  If it was a bad day... I often felt worthless.  So much of my life and emotions wavered around my work circumstances. 

If we realize that our value is in being a child of God - that He loves us, cares for us, has grace for us, and that, ultimately He has plans for us to succeed, we can rest peacefully despite our successes and failures.  This is a truth that needs to be grasped daily to the nth degree as we wholeheartedly pursue the transitions in our life.

Communicate Expectations
Expectations are typically based upon a preconceived notion of the benefits and challenges of the transition.  Once the change becomes reality expectations must be adjusted.  Pre and post transition, communicate your thoughts/expectations to family members and seek to understand their expectations. 

Because I am home much more than before, I expected, and assumed Ron had the same expectations, that I would have the entire house cleaned at least once/week.  Every weekend when Ron would take to cleaning the bathrooms, I felt like a failure.  "What have I been doing all week that I didn't get this done?," I said to myself on many occasions.  I was defensive and would provide excuses as to why they weren't cleaned.  Thankfully, Ron reiterated his desire to serve our family in this way and that he had no expectation of me getting it all done every week.  He sees it as a "bonus" if I get it done.

Based on this and similar experiences, I've learned that there are certain things that Ron appreciates having done more than others, so I focus on completing those items, and we work on the other items together.  Hearing this from my husband gave me freedom to focus time on things that are fulfilling to me and are appreciated most by my family. (By the way, Ron's graciousness toward me has greatly benefited him as well... I feel much more capable to love and serve him when I am not completely drained from doing things I'm not particularly gifted toward.)

Focus on the Heart Rather than Success/Failure
We took a 2/3 pay cut - so we anticipated finances would be a challenge.  In preparation of this challenge, we changed cell phone services, our giving, health insurance, eating habits, recreational habits, gift giving traditions, retirement savings, etc.  All the preparations/plans were complete; therefore, we perfectly transitioned into our new budget... I'M LYING!  AUGH!  This has been so hard! 

Among many other things, the retirement auto-withdrawal from Ron's paycheck has taken months to finally get corrected.  The one thing I thought I was good at going into this transition was budgeting, and we haven't hit the budget in the last 3 months.

Ron and I determined we were starting to sound more like business partners than life long, lovingly committed spouses because we spend so much time talking about the budget.  Because the budget is important, we cannot just sweep it under the rug while talking only about "fun" things, but we can limit the time and heart energy we spend on it, and we can adjust our verbiage from worry to gratefulness regarding the subject.

Now, rather than telling Ron all the things I couldn't buy at the grocery store this week, I will send him a text after my shopping trip and tell him something healthy were able to buy with our funds, and thank him for working so hard to provide for our family.  I will also thank him for joining me on this faith journey.  I also dare to ask, "how are you doing with all these changes?", and realize that if the answer isn't overwhelmingly positive, it isn't because I have failed - his honest answer is an indication that he trusts me with the truth of what he is facing.

With these seemingly minor changes of focusing on the heart rather than our "failures", I have found that Ron and I are laughing more and enjoying all that God is providing - both our needs and our desires. 

Other Thoughts
  1. Stay connected with friends/family - for fun, prayer, tears, etc.
  2. Stay healthy - Our bodies are a living sacrifice for God.  Don't get so focused on the transition  that you don't take the time for healthy eating, exercise, medical checkups, etc.
  3. Have some fun! - In times of change, it is easy to forget to have some fun, and it may be a different kind of fun than before.  For example, Ron and I don't get out to listen to live music as much these days (okay... never), but we have wrestled for a few minutes even when the boys weren't around!
  4. Embrace humility - You will not be perfect through the transition; you will not be perfect following the transition, and neither will your family members.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Life is a journey, not a destination."  Simply take this time to grow spiritually and relationally.
I am so thankful that, though there have been some difficult moments, our days are filled with joy; there is a peace that passes understanding, and I feel like we are in the midst of the promise given to us in 1 Peter 5:10:

"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."

If you have ideas/thoughts on joy-filled transitions, please share them with me as I do not feel that our transitions are complete!