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Saturday, November 19, 2011

What’er My God Ordains Is Right

Throughout this season, I’ve had many dear friends speak Truth over my life through scripture, song and quotations. This have been so meaningful to me – especially when I was incapable of seeking Truth for myself. I wanted to share these sweet nuggets of Truth that have greatly encouraged me and still do. Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to love on me!

In a random segue, I just received news of the unexpected death of a six-month-old child. News like this is absolutely heart wrenching. I tear up unexpectedly just thinking about it. At least for me, tragedies like this cannot be explained outside of the sovereignty of the Father and the promise He is good, faithful, and right in all He does. He will receive glory from this child’s short life - even in loss.

In light of that, the song, “What’er My God Ordains is Right” keeps rolling through my head as well as this quotation from a sermon about sanctification and suffering. My prayer for you is encouragement through Truth – no matter what you might be facing.
“Part of what sanctification does is to create a certain kind of toughness. Not the kind of toughness that causes you to be numb to what’s going on around you. And certainly not the kind of toughness that causes you to be independent. But the kind of toughness that says ‘I understand that what’s happening here isn't surprising; what's happening to me isn't accidental; what's happening is part of what God's doing in my life, and what God is doing in my life is good; God ultimately has something to do for me that's going to be a blessing.’ And when all of this is over and done with I'm going to say: ‘God you were right to let me go through that time in my life. And what that produced in my life was good. And when you were walking me through this you were not being a dictator over me, you were being a father to me.’”
Russell Moore (SBTS), "Life in the Mist: James 1:1-8"

What'er My God Ordains Is Right
Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Holy His will abideth.
I will be still whate’er He does,
And follow where He guideth.
He is my God,
Though dark my road.
He holds me that I shall not fall
Wherefore to Him I leave it all
Whate’er my God ordains is right,
He never will deceive me
He leads me by the proper path,
I know He will not leave me
I take, content,
What He hath sent
His hand can turn my griefs away
And patiently I wait His day

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Here shall my stand be taken
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My God is true,
Each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart
And pain and sorrow shall depart

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our grown-up little girl!

It seems like an oxymoron to call our little one “grown-up” but it definitely seems time is flying by with Alexa Hope. She celebrated 20 months of life on Sunday. I can’t believe she’s closer to two than one!! The next thing we’ll know she’ll be learning to drive a car (actually, she likes to do that now – without keys – of course).

It’s late so Mommy’s going to do her best to make this post short & sweet. Here’s a top ten glimpse into the life of our sweet pea this month . . .

1. HANGING OUT Alexa’s a little monkey. She will hang on anything with a ledge – like the kitchen table or the kitchen counter. She loves going to the park to play on the “monkeys.”


It’s a major accomplishment to get her out of the tub. Even the drain doesn’t scare her. She just says “goodbye” to the water and stays in the tub until it’s empty.


Alexa’s cousin, Connor, has type 1 diabetes so we joined “Connor’s Crew” in Tulsa for a walk to support Connor & the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Alexa walking with Rylen, Kylie Hammack & Ilene Hammack.

Taking a drink break from the arduous one mile walk.

Alexa enjoyed checking out the informational signs posted along the walk.

And . . . here’s the man of the hour, Connor Hammack, with his cousin, Layton.

Alexa spent her first weekend away from Mommy & Daddy. She did so well. She enjoyed special time with Mimi, Pop, Aunt Hol, Rylen & Layton. She also received a visit from a very special friend, David P.


We had the privilege of celebrating the precious life of a very sweet girl.

Liberty Westerman opening up the stacking toys Alexa gave her. Alexa also has this toy and really enjoys playing with it (thanks Ama & Opa). It was a hit with Liberty too!

You know Mommy was a big fan of this birthday treat!

Yep  . . . Liberty was too!

Alexa’s vocabulary continues to grow. She enjoys talking on the phone, reading books, especially her Bible, and singing songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Her current favorites sayings . . .
-- “Mere” – for “come here” (clearly we need to enunciate better)
-- “hold you” – of course, this means she wants us to hold her but it’s far more precious when she wants to hold us
-- “Lexa” – she normally shouts her name when we’re playing peek-a-boo and she wants us to find her.
-- adding “it” to any verb – like it, need it, ride it, hang it, hold it, swing it, do it, etc.
-- saying opposites – light/dark, stop/go, open/close (She thinks closing doors is great entertainment until she’s in a room & the light’s are off).
-- unfortunately, “no, no, no” has become a new catch phrase (we’re working on it)

This girl loves her hats. Here she is modeling a bit-too-small beanie – such a ham!


Okay, so not yet, but she can spend a long time in the car “driving” as she tells me. There are no keys in the ignition and she is supervised but she thinks she is Miss Independent. Here she is rocking out to some music with Mimi & Pop. Mommy wasn’t invited in the car.


Alexa’s begun to entertain herself more and more. It’s great fun watching her imagination at work. Here she is playing with her cars. By the way, they are awesome. They are called Automoblox (thanks Mimi & Pop).



Although reading is probably her favorite activity, she still enjoys watching a video . . . be it a home video or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Whew!! Ten things took me a lot longer than I expected. Can’t wait to see what she’ll be up to next.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Operation Christmas Child & the Greatest Gift

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Yes . . . you did read “Christmas” in the title. As far as I’m concerned the Christmas season begins as soon as the pumpkins are put away. And, the first thing on my Christmas “to do” list is Operation Christmas Child. We started this tradition last year when Alexa was eight months old. I couldn’t wait to stuff boxes with her again. It was so sweet when Alexa and I put the lid on our stuffed boxes, we held hands and prayed for the two little girls who would receive these boxes. We prayed they would enjoy their gifts but ultimately come to know Jesus as their greatest gift and share Him with their family & friends.
Flashback – Lil’ Alexa helping Mommy stuff boxes last year.

This year, Alexa Hope relinquishing the suckers. This was difficult for her to do.

Operation Christmas Child distributes shoe boxes filled with gifts to children (ages 2-14) all across the world (130 nations to be exact). OCC provides a way for these children to experience Christmas in a way they never would by giving them a shoe box filled with toys, toiletries, candy and educational materials. The end goal is that these children will be introduced to the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ.

Once the children receive their box, they are invited to participate in a 12-lesson Bible study and discipleship program called The Greatest Journey. If they complete the course, they receive a personalized certificate and New Testament in their language. I read several testimonies of children who received Christ after completing the course. As one gal from Latvia said, “Thank you, dear God, that you love us and that you sent your love through the people who gave these gifts. . . .Thank you for the best gift—Jesus Christ.”

Isn’t that beautiful? Something as simple as toothpaste, coloring books and candy can illustrate the love of Christ to those who need Him. So, I challenge you to also fill a box that would not only bring a smile to a child’s face but also bring the hope of Christ into their lives. It’s one of the few gifts we give each year I believe really makes a difference.

There’s still time!
--For more info check out:
--When you print your label online, you can actually track your package and see where it ends up.
--National Collection Week is November 14-21
--Please pray – OCC will reach their goal of distributing 8.5 million shoe boxes to children around the globe. Children will accept Christ and share Him with their friends & families.

This is how it starts. Testing to see if we can get everything in the box. Our boxes are going to two girls ages 2-4.

Alexa always feels it is important to test out the gifts. Here she is trying to put a bracelet over her head. It was more challenging this year for her to understand why she needed to give these gifts away – especially the candy.

Keep stuffing, sweet girl!
She was ready to close the lid but we still had a few more items to get in there.

Hooray!! Packed and ready to go. Merry Christmas sweet girls – we love you!! And more importantly, Jesus loves you more than you could ever imagine!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Keep a Quiet Heart . . .

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure.” Psalm 16:5
Lord, give to me a quiet heart
That does not ask to understand,
But confident steps forward in
The darkness guided by Thy hand.
--Elizabeth Elliot

I have been cautious to share too much of my heart on this blog because I fear it could be misinterpreted or misunderstood. And yet, I’ve felt the Lord gently nudge me in that direction over the past several weeks. I feel like He’s affirmed through His Word and my time with Him that I need to be more transparent with others – that I need to share what I’m learning through this season of healing and trusting (even the yucky stuff). In essence, He’s said (although not audibly) – “Kels, if you’re not sharing and applying what you’re learning then you’re not being being a good steward of my faithfulness. My dear child, don’t waste your waiting.”
And thus . . . I’m going to try and share more faithfully the truths the Lord is revealing to me in the hopes it will encourage you in your own walk, and perhaps, draw you closer to our Heavenly Father (whose greatest longing is to be fully known and fully glorified through our hearts and lives).
You would think that almost half a year after the loss of our 2nd child, I would’ve moved on . . . I would be through grieving, through missing our “hope deferred,” and through wondering if we’ll ever have another child. But nothing could be further from the truth. I think about our loss every day – sometimes several times a day. Although I’m definitely healing and I’m so grateful for that – sometimes the hurt grips me (especially when my body, my bloodwork, or my doctor reminds me things still aren’t right). Sometimes Satan whispers horrible lies in my ear and sometimes I believe them. Those are the rough days. I know all of you can relate to your own “rough days” as well. 

However, our Lord is ever faithful. He never stops showing Himself to me in the most personal and loving ways. His timing is impeccable. Sometimes, He smiles at me through a scripture or a song. Sometimes, He reveals Himself through a chapter in a book and sometimes He simply manifests Himself in a random act of beauty – like a perfectly formed flower or my daughter’s imperfectly formed toothy grin. His message is always the same – I love you, my child. I have a purpose in all things. I know what I’m doing. Trust me. Seek me. Surrender.   

And so, that’s exactly what I’m learning (rather relearning) to do. Give Him my heart, my longings, my hurts, my fears, my life and simply believe in Him. Easier said than done – right!? It’s a daily, moment-by-moment sort of thing. In laymen’s terms – it’s death and sometimes I’m not too found of letting go. But, it’s necessary. Let me rephrase that – it’s absolutely necessary! I’m just a jumbled, useless mess otherwise (just ask my husband).

And so enough rambling . . .

--The excerpt below is from a book called, “Keep a Quiet Heart,” by Elisabeth Elliot. It’s a brilliant book written by a woman who genuinely walks with God. I have omitted parts so as to keep this post to a more reasonable length. I pray it encourages you – no matter what you may be facing – to keep a quiet heart.
“Purity of heart, said Kierkegaard, is to will one thing. The Son willed only one thing: the will of His Father. That’s what He came to earth to do. Nothing else. One whose aim is as pure as that can have a completely quiet heart, knowing what the psalmist knew: “Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure,” (Psalm 16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things which happen to us which do not belong to our lovingly assigned “portion” (This belongs to it, that does not)? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty?

Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter . . .

A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace. . . All is under my Father’s control. My portion. Mu cup. My lot is secure. My heart can be at peace. My Father is in charge. How simple!

My assignment entails my willing acceptance of my portion – in matters far beyond comparison with trivialities, such as a death of a precious baby . . . We can only know that Eternal Love is wiser than we, and we bow in adoration of that loving wisdom.

Response is what matters. Remember that our forefathers were all guided by the pillar of clouds, all passed through the sea, all ate and drank the same spiritual food and drink, but God was not pleased with most of them. Their response was all wrong. Bitter about the portions allotted they indulged in idolatry, gluttony, and sexual sin. And God killed them by snakes and by a destroying angel. The same almighty God apportioned their experience. All events serve His will. Some responded in faith. Most did not.

”No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Think of that promise and keep a quiet heart! Our enemy delights in disquieting us. Our Savior and Helper delights in quieting us. “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” is His promise (Is 66:13). The choice is ours. it depends on our willingness to see everything in God, receive all from His hand, accept with gratitude just the portion and the cup He offers. Shall I charge Him with a mistake in His measurements or with misjudging the sphere in which I can best learn to trust Him? Has He misplaced me? Is He ignorant of things or people which, in my view, hinder my doing His will?

God came down and lived in this same world as a man. He showed us how to live in this world, subject to its vicissitudes and necessities, that we might be changed – not into an angel or a storybook princess, not wafted into another world, but changed into saints in this world. The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.”

And so, my friends, I am asking the Lord to show me what it means to keep a quiet heart – to rest and abide in His loving grip of grace & to know it’s the sweetest place to be. He’s been faithful to answer my prayer (when I pray it) with His peace that passes all understanding. I pray your heart will experience His peace today as well.