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My days are full of “Mommy!” , knocks at the door, unexpected people, needs, and God moments (When I’m willing to see them.) Dave’s days are full of sick children…families desperate for a touch, for a miracle, for some hope. They want him to PRAY. They need it. Dave’s days are full of running back and forth between the needs of home, and the needs of the hospital…the needs of our community and God’s call for him to GO once a month on a helicopter and love. He drives to Addis and back to bring team members into our community here—to love them in. He answers emails, urgent phone calls, his kids’ asking to wrestle. A life surrendered is a FULL life, but it is a LIFE FULL OF GOD. The task is to slow down enough to hear his voice, to see his heart in the moments of it all…to look into His eyes…to LOVE Him, and then to rest under those strength infusing wings and be fueled and filled to get up the next day and do it all over again.

Six months ago, Dave’s mom went to be with the Lord…these months, really this past year has marked something in our families’ life. It has been a season marked with suffering. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before. We have had ‘hard’ seasons, challenging seasons, losses, and the trudging through seasons, but never like this. Never like saying goodbye to a parent. For us, this was suffering. We are forever changed. Our lives have been marked by this and we are learning how to grieve and move forward. A very real and profound sadness has placed its grip on Dave’s heart. The grip of Jesus’ grace and hope is stronger though and we see gradual healing and restorative joy returning…but it is slow.

Once you’ve faced loss, looked deep into the earth and said goodbye to the one that birthed you…all loss takes on a new strength, it seems. Loss cuts us deep…the reality of life and death…the fragile gifts we hold with such assurance…the passions for life, they take a hit. BUT, God is still God. God is in all of this pain. He has taken it with us, for us and in an amazing way before us. So many things in this life we can KNOW and BELIEVE FULLY, but experiencing it and allowing it to affect our hearts and lives is another. We want this deep heart change…and this deep surrender to His greater JOY even in the loss and grief. We are asking Him to teach us and BE THIS GREAT JOY to us now—

Advent…He is coming. And He is coming back. And our hearts have a greater anticipation of this reality the more we walk through the sufferings here. We want to live poured out, but we want to do it IN HIS STRENGTH, IN HIS JOY…the reality is HE, the HOPE OF GLORY RESIDES STRONG IN US…HE must be ALL. We cannot just say that –we must trust it and live from this deep source. We cannot look to our experiences, to our circumstances, to our victories, or our own accomplishments. We can only look to JESUS.

THIS SURRENDERED LIFE…may it be an offering….an offering up of all our mistakes, all of our wrongly defined goals…an offering up of all we can say ‘Yes’ to for Jesus. I want Him to be MY GREATEST JOY. I want to walk forward through this messy world with my eyes up so I never forget to SEE Him…His GRACE surrounds me, upholds me, shields me, and brings me back to Him. To give Him thanks. To keep pouring out and loving and being filled all over again. To be a living sacrifice of JOY for His heart…for this world to see…for my husband…for my half dozen…all for Jesus, I surrender.

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