Sunday, May 12, 2013

For J.A.K.E.'s Sake

Exactly one month from today, our baby boy would be turning one. Instead, he entered this world stillborn...emptying my womb while filling Heaven with his tiny little presence at the same time.

In honor of his upcoming birthday on June 12th, my oldest child (and only daughter) wanted to commemorate it in a special way. She decided to create an "event" of sorts. It won't be a party filled with cake and balloons, but it will be a celebration & there will be gifts. A celebration of life, and gifts of kindness.

She has entitled it, "For J.A.K.E.'s Sake." It stands for "J-ust A K-ind E-xpression." The definition of "expression" is this: "The act of transforming ideas into words or actions. The manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc. without words. A look on the face that indicates mood or emotion."

She is simply asking that everyone do one or more Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.) that day in his memory. How you choose to express that is totally up to you! R.A.K. cards that you will leave behind (if you wish, and for example- leaving an unusually large tip at the restaurant-even if/especially if your waitress was having a bad day) are also being printed. They will read, "This Random Act of Kindness done in loving memory of Jake Lawrence Baker, 6/12/12-6/12/12. PAY IT FORWARD! Matthew 25:34-40, Philippians 2:3."

This is her description taken from the Event Page on FB:

"In honor & loving memory of my youngest brother, Jake Lawrence Baker's 1st Birthday (coming up on June 12th), I'm inviting you, my family & friends, to participate in J.A.K.E.'s Day! "Just A Kind Expression." Expression: The act of transforming ideas into words or actions. The manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc. w/out words. A look on the face that indicates mood or emotion." How you choose to express your R.A.K. (Random Act of Kindness) that day is up to you: Whether you pay for a stranger's meal behind you in line at the drive thru, open the door for an elderly man at the store, or simply smile at someone, every R.A.K. (big or small) matters! We're going to have R.A.K. cards for you to leave with your "victims" so they can in turn pay it forward! They will read, "This Random Act of Kindness done in loving memory of Jake Lawrence Baker, 6/12/12-6/12/12. Pay It Forward! Matthew 25:34-40, Philippians 2:3." Please message me with your address & how many you'd like and we'll get them in the mail at no cost to you. We have just one request: if you order them, please ensure you use them all!!! :) We also have a friend who is making T-shirts for those who may be interested in buying & wearing one that day. The deadline for ordering a shirt is June 4th & the price is $18. On Jake's birthday, please feel free to leave a comment here letting us know how your R.A.K. went! ♥ "

I just have to say how deeply touched I am and I stand in awe of her heart behind this effort! If any of you would like to join us in this celebration, we'd be honored.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

T.R.O.U.B.L.E.?

A couple of years ago, as my family & I were on our way to visit my husband's grandparent's, we stopped at a convenience store. While sitting in the parking lot waiting for Paul, I heard part of a message on the radio. And although I don't remember who the speaker was, it struck a chord in me and the following is a result of that. I always find word pictures or acronyms helpful and I pray that you will take this simple message to heart and will remember what to do when you're in T.R.O.U.B.L.E. ;)

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

T: Give Thanks!

1. In all circumstances!

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

2. That the battle is the Lord's! "This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s." 2 Chronicles 20:15

3. That He will never leave you nor forsake you! "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

R: Rejoice!

1. Rejoice in the Lord always!

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

O: Let it be an Opportunity!

1. To let your light shine!

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

2. To draw near to God!

"Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:8

3. To be a witness!

"But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me." Luke 21:13

4. For great joy-knowing that is serves a purpose!

"Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1:2-4

U: Understand!

1. Do not lean on your own understanding!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

2. That we won't know the "Big Picture" until later.

"Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

3. That God is your only hope!

"My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare." Psalm 25:15 "And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you." Psalm 39:7 "I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure..." Psalm 16:2, 8-9

B: Believe!

1. That God's promises are true!

"God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection." Psalm 18:30 "God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?" Numbers 23:19

2. That God is good & will work this out for your good & His glory!

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 "For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does." Psalm 33:4 "The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 "Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15

L: Longing!

1. Long for the Lord-not for substitutes!

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me”" Psalm 63:1-8 "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?" Psalm 42:1,2 "All night long I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek for God." Isaiah 26:9

E: Be Encouraged!

1. That our trials are temporary!

"For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4

2. That He is with us and we will not be overtaken!

"But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:1-3 "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fully Known, Fully Loved

I'm sure most of us are familiar with Psalms 139; the chapter in the Bible that talks about how well God knows us. The first 4 verses are: "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord." But have you ever truly thought of what that means? What that looks like? Before I got the kids up for school this morning, I started pondering those questions a little bit and these thoughts started pouring forth:

"You know my fears. You know my thoughts. You know my passions. You know my secrets. You know my pleasures. You know my pain. You know my sorrows. You know my intentions. You know my reasons. You know my victories. You know my excuses. You know my hesitations. You know my tears. You know my laughter. You know my calling. You know my questions. You know my answers. You know my guilt. You know my shame. You know my pride. You know my insecurities. You know my exasperations. You know my limits. You know my name. You know my desires. You know my cravings. You know my strengths. You know my weaknesses. You know my struggles. You know my complexities. You know my absurdities. You know my weight. You know my delights. You know my expectations. You know my disappointments. You know my failures. You know my successes. You know my brokenness. You know my scars. You know my past. You know my future. You know my bondages. You know my motives. You know my circumstances."

This list is nowhere even close to the extent of what or how well God knows each and every one of us. It's mind boggling to me to think that not only does God SEE these things...He KNOWS them!

When I was about done listing these things, I felt Him speak to my Spirit: "You are fully known and you are fully loved."

In spite of everything I've ever done or will ever do...In spite of everything He knows, He loves me...He loves you...He loves US anyway. Amazing, is it not?