Waiting in Wonder Book Launch Excerpt 2 and a $200 Spa-finder gift card

SpaFinder Waiting in Wonder

Hello all, thanks for joining me this week as I introduce you to the heart of my new book, Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting. 

As I share in the introduction to the book, biology has long fascinated me. And throughout my first and second pregnancies as I poured over the stunning details of how God formed and fashioned a fearfully and wonderfully made creation inside me, I couldn’t help but find my heart moved to praise Him! Not every devotional entry in my book goes into the biological aspects of development, but I wanted to share with you at least a few that did because I really believe that allowing your heart to truly wonder is often a very natural prelude to praise. (Click to tweet). Unfortunately, we are often too busy, too cynical, or too self-absorbed to stop and notice God’s handiwork in creation and let the artistry, wisdom and complexity move us to praise. Whether or not you’re expecting, I hope you’ll find the details of this entry as fascinating as I did and that it will move your heart to praise!

This entry comes from week 11, the week I’m just finishing in my pregnancy (did you miss our announcement?)

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Thanks so much for reading! I hope if you’ve liked what you’ve seen you’ll order a copy for yourself or as a future gift.

And now for today’s giveaway. As I was thinking about how God knows the hairs on your head and thinking about how I’d like to shower mommies this week with some love, I thought, how about I send a special winner to a salon or spa of her choice (of course, you don’t need to be a mommy or even a female to enter–and I’m sure there are quite a few awesome husbands out there who’d like to win this sweet prize for their sweet wives)! So that’s how we came up with the idea of a $200 www.spafinder.com gift certificate. So without further ado, here’s your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you didn’t enter yesterday, the iPad mini giveaway, click on over to do so! And share both with your friends! Up next? A Nikon Coolpix L810 Digital Camera (with video recording capabilities).  Wish I could enter!

Waiting in Wonder Launch Week Has Arrived and A Big Announcement!

GentleShepherd

It’s finally here! My book, Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expectingofficially releases tomorrow (April 16th) and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

This book was ironically nine months (almost to the day) in the writing.  When I began writing it, I was mid-way through pregnancy with our second son. I wrote in little snatches of time: a nap-time here, a late-night, or early morning idea there. It was a series of almost uninterrupted days of simply showing up by faith and asking God to supply the inspiration and the words. And to His glory and my surprise, each day He met me with the manna of a new idea and a few words to say it. About mid-way through the writing, my son was born, splashing joy across the bleak mid-winter days, filling the hearts of his beaming papa, his grinning brother and his melting mama with the excitement that only a new baby can bring.

And somehow, even on days when all I wanted to do was cuddle his downy-head or sleep for  a few more minutes, I felt God drawing me to set aside a little sacred space of time each day to meet Him on the blank page. And there on my own Mt. Horeb– which looked a lot like a blinking cursor on a white screen–I would find Him, burning with a word for the mamas whom He loves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Moses, and this is no holy text, but it is a book that was born in prayer, waiting, and faith. And born, rightly so, in the midst of new life.

Now as the book is finally launching nine months (almost to the day) after I turned in the first draft, I’m bursting with the joy and relief experienced by proud mamas everywhere, when they finally hold, and get to share, that treasure that was formed in hidden places and is now brought into the light.

And in God’s sweet providence, I’m launching this new book in the midst of a new season of life and waiting. Drumroll please…. I’m getting the joy of filling in the days of my own devotional journal for expectant mamas. In case, you’re wondering I’m on the tail end of week 11, and in case that still isn’t clear enough, YES, I AM EXPECTING AGAIN! Sometime around November 1st there will, Lord willing, be a gasp and cry for breath and a new day of a beaming papa, two grinning brothers, and a melting mama. And so today instead of doing all the things that authors with a book launching the next day are supposed to be doing, I was lying on an examining table listening to the flittering 160 BPM sound of new joy! Praise be to God!

So I know you’ll excuse me, if all my ducks aren’t quite in a row on this launch night eve. One of the things I’ve learned along the way is that our Shepherd is gentle with those who have young (Isaiah 40:11). He understands that the ewe with little lambs needs extra care. That’s a word of comfort for all of us mamas, who have more than we think we can handle. The Good Shepherd knows our needs. We can trust Him. I’m trusting Him tonight with all the things that aren’t quite as done or as polished as I’d like. I heard the fluttering of new life today, and that’s enough for me!

 

P.S. Are you subscribed to this blog yet? Don’t miss a post: we’ve got some more surprises coming out you this week! And no, it’s not twins! 🙂

Falling More in Love with Jesus through My Children

Let your heartLately, I feel like a woman in love. I find myself singing when I don’t mean to be. I feel this deep sense of love and gratitude and tenderness when I think of my beloved. It seems like there’s this gurgling joy that just keeps springing out of me. And it’s coming from some place deep, deep, deep inside. It’s a renewing energy inside of me and I know at least a big part of it is because I’m falling deeper in love with Jesus as I teach my children of His love for them.

It’s like this. Have you ever had a moment where you see someone loving your kids well and it just makes you fall more deeply in love with that person? Maybe it’s your husband wrestling on the floor with your sons, or your father patiently teaching your little one how to fish, or maybe it’s your sister who’s called to invite your little girl for a tea party and a sleepover. And if you don’t have children, I’m sure you’ve had the feeling: when you see someone being kind and generous to someone you love, it makes your heart swell. And that’s just how I feel lately as I teach my little ones about Jesus.

I have to confess, my own spiritual growth has been really spurred on lately by a few—I’m going to call them works of art, because that’s what they are—works of art originally designed for toddlers and children. And I’m so grateful for real artists using their gifts for children (and their parents!) that I have to tell you about them. The first two are both by the same writer, Sally Lloyd Jones. Oh friends, whether or not you have young children, buy her children’s Bible and read it. You will fall more in love with God through it. In her “Jesus Storybook Bible” she tells the story of the Bible not as individual snapshots of Bible heroes, but rather for what it is, a meta-narrative capturing the fierce and unrelenting heart of God for His people. Here’s a passage from the creation story and more specifically the apex of creation where God makes Adam and Eve:

“So God breathed life into Adam and Eve. When they opened their eyes, the first thing they ever saw was God’s face. And when God saw them he was like a new dad. “You look like me,” he said. “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made!”

“God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them.And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the winds in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid.

“God looked at everything he had made. “Perfect!” he said. And it was.

“But all the stars and the mountains and the oceans and galaxies and everything were nothing compared to how much God loved his children. He would move heaven and earth to be near them. Always. Whatever happened, whatever it cost him, he would always love them. And so it was that the wonderful love story began…”

Isn’t that breathtaking? Doesn’t it make it all just come to life for you again in a new way? Oh, how I want to be a part of that song of the stars, streams, and winds in the trees. Oh, how I want to know that perfect happiness of Eden that we will taste of once again in the new heavens and new earth! Oh, how I want to let that deep, deep love of Jesus seep, seep, seep into my soul and transform me!

Tonight, as I put my son Luke to bed we were reading from Sally Lloyd Jone’s Hug-a-Bible, intended for an even younger audience. Thanks to the beautiful creative work of Sandra McCracken, Flo Paris, Katy Bowser, and Ellie Holcomb (Rain for Roots: Big Stories for Little Ones) who took Jones’ beautiful words and put them to gorgeous singable melodies, I was read/singing with and to Luke these words:

“He made the stars and oceans blue
But says that none compare with you.
You are his treasure and great prize.
He knows your name. He made your eyes.

He is your Shepherd, little lamb.
The King of Heaven
The Great I am.”

And as I’m hearing Luke sing these words and singing these words to him, I’m holding back the tears because God loves my little ones so well and that makes me just fall more and more in love with Him. And the more in love with Jesus I fall, the more I want to teach my little ones to love Him, to walk with Him, to lean into Him, to know Him.

Last week in the days following Easter, we were leaping (I’m not kidding—and I know the visual picture may make you laugh–it made it hard for my husband to work downstairs!) around the house to this melody, also by Rain for Roots with words by Sally Lloyd Jones. Take a minute to watch this video, I think it will fill you with joy and give you a glimpse of the kingdom of God!

And Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). I think I’m learning what this means. As I fall simply more in love with Jesus, I find my heart becoming more like that of a child: exuberant, free, sincere, and full of trust. This is not my work, but His in me, a miracle of grace.

And here’s the takeaway: if you find your heart and mind numb to the things of God, maybe it’s time to look at Jesus and God’s Word again with the simplicity of a child. What is this whole story about? “Who died but came alive again? Who came to rescue you and win? Who came to make all things brand new? Who did it all for the love of you?” Sit awhile and meditate on the answer to that question and then, “Sing and dance and leap and run! His name is Jesus, little one!”

Let your heart be little, and you will remember once again what it is to worship a God so big. See yourself for the vulnerable child you are and you will remember what is to rest in a God so good and strong. Rest once again in the strength and warmth and purity of God’s love; let your heart be little and your God big.

 

P.S. I’m super excited to be able to give away next week during launch week for my new book, Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting a digital download of Rain for Roots’ cd, “Big Stories  for Little Ones,” and also two signed copies of the cd at my release party (WIW_LaunchParty[1] (1)) on the 20th to some blessed expectant mama. 

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Graveside: Resurrection Sunday

Risen

Along the seam of time
And eternity, there is a tear.
Along the fault line of temporal
And everlasting, there is a rupture.
A sliver of sky, a gash in the earth,
The size of a single human soul.

On the outer rim of beauty,
On the cusp of consciousness,
Between wakefulness and sleep
Is the waking wonder of a hope
Beyond dreaming.

It is a glimpse of the long-awaited.
It is a sigh of rest–
An unbreakable wholeness,
An impenetrable wellness,
An impermeable happiness,
An unstoppable rightness.

Somewhere on the outer rim of beauty,
Somewhere on the cusp of consciousness,
Somewhere between wakefulness and sleep,
The reality of a dream is dawning,
Breaking time with eternal light.
A first gleam growing brighter,
Across the horizon,
Beauty bleeding in the color of resurrected life.

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