Friday, April 17, 2015

Echoes of Sacrifice and Blessing

Like many families, we're big fans of HGTV's Fixer Upper. We love Chip and Joanna, we've got a soft spot for Waco (sic 'em, Bears!), and it's so fun to have a guilt-free show our whole family can watch.

I've never met the Gaines, but Joanna recently shared some of her story via video at  The Gathering Waco - the first ever city-wide worship service held at Baylor's McLean stadium last month.

One of the most fascinating things Joanna shared was laying down her dream of Magnolia Market when she felt the Lord asking her to stay home with her babies. In the video, she describes closing the store doors and crying. In her words, Joanna felt like it was "the end of a dream."
And yet, she heard the Lord also say, very clearly, "Joanna - if you trust me with your dreams, I'm going to take Magnolia further than you could have ever dreamed."

Joanna willingly sacrificed her gift and dream to the call of the Lord that likely didn't make sense in the world's eyes.
And yet now we know the rest of the story.

When worship leader Christy Nockels shared her story with David Mathis on Desiring God a few years ago, (five minutes - SO worth watching) she shared a similar experience. The momentum of her worship band, Watermark, came to an abrupt halt when Christy felt the Lord ask her to "take some time to be a mom" to her two little ones at that time.

It didn't make sense, and it probably brought an onslaught of raised eyebrows from agents and those in the music industry. But in "reluctant" faith, Christy "closed the doors" on touring to be home. 

She says that in laying down her career and all things familiar, "I have watched Him do God-sized things in my ministry that I would have never imagined I would be able to be a part of and do as a mom with three kids."

Christy goes on to say, "The song I write in my playroom as a lullabye for my kids goes on to become an anthem... He loves to do that... He can take the little things in our hearts and homes and amplify them with His glory."

Christy willingly sacrificed her gift and dream to the call of the Lord that didn't make sense in the world's eyes.
And yet now we know the rest of the story. 
Christy's new album to be released this month, April 28

Just last night Corbin and I attended TCU's FCA end of year banquet, and Clint Gresham who plays with the Seattle Seahawks shared part of his story as the keynote speaker. Once again, the trend of sacrifice and blessing continues. Clint was promised a 5th round draft pick out of college by the Houston Texans, a team he dreamed of playing for. The 5th round came and went without the offer. But in the flurry of post-draft offers as a free agent, he felt the Lord's caution to accept the Texans' generous offer, and to go instead with a considerably less offer from the New Orleans Saints. In Clint's words, he "hated" those months in New Orleans and questioned whether God had truly pointed him in that direction.

The day before training camp, the Saints cut him. So on that 7-hour drive home, unemployed, Clint questioned the Lord's guidance even more. But before the day was over, the Seahawks called, and by that night he was seated in first-class en route to Seattle, just in time for the start of training camp the next morning.

Clint willingly sacrificed his gift and dream to the call of the Lord that didn't make sense in the world's eyes.
And yet now we know the rest of the story.

All of these stories echo a rhythm of sacrifice followed by blessing. The original story, of course, is that of Abraham and Isaac. God's call on Abraham - yikes. If you're like me, it's pretty radical that God would ever ask this patriarch to sacrifice his SON. But God did ask, and then of course provided the ram. It was Abraham's faith  - his willingness to give up that which he held most dear, his firstborn and only son - that granted him favor with God, made him a friend of God, and then placed him in a position to be the father of God's chosen people.

In the incredible distress and anguish of binding his son to that wood on the altar, Abraham believed God. He believed that God would fulfill his promise of making Abraham's descendents as numerous as the stars in the universe, it just might not look like Abraham imagined.

Joanna's vintage store.
Christy's worship-leader, song-writer career.
Clint's free-agent contract with professional football team he'd dreamed of.

All following in the rhythm of sacrifice and blessing that Abraham experienced with Isaac.
Each with a unique platform that God constructed from their faith journeys.
And all offering hope and encouragement that when the Lord asks us to lay down our gifts, our dreams, we can trust His good, acceptable and perfect plan.

We may or may not see His platform of glory through our lives this side of Heaven. And we can probably bank on His plan looking a little different than we imagined. Regardless, Praise God that He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or even dream of.

Lord, should You call us to willingly sacrifice our gifts and dreams when it doesn't make sense in the world's eyes, we trust that You know the rest of the story.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 3.23.13

- The first "Gathering" here last weekend. An hour or so of worship for high school students, organized by these talented kiddos. Really special.  

Essie got to sing a couple of "Ellie Holcomb" solos
Basden, Kelcy, Essie and Hannah
- Lisa's gentle reminder, just a few months out from losing Shirley Mama, to not take our parents (and their role of grandparents) for granted.

- Saturday afternoon with Randy and Lindsay and their sweet girls. First time to get to meet baby Kinley (barely pictured - in her Momma's arms in background!)
Allie, Basden and Morgan
- 2 "new" antique keys

- Our Easter tree, inspired by Carol Brazo in her chapter on "Lent" in No Ordinary Home. Maybe we didn't get it decorated until day 27, but hey - it's up before Holy Week. Love this tradition of reciting God's stories from Genesis to Revelation.

- Vacuuming up Essie's tooth in the car wash while she was at gymnastics. She'd lost it in the car on the way to gymnastics. Oops. Before bed, when I explained and apologized, she said tearfully, "That was the tooth I was going to save to show to my children."
Her solution for the Tooth fairy
- Small group pizza dinner

- I wouldn't have believed it, and I wouldn't have planned it this way, but there are some blessings to four kids sharing a bathroom.

- Young Life's paint wars!

- Hud's track meets - oh my gosh he is fun for us to watch. Such a treat. Anchor in 3 relays. 

Love this kid
- How quickly the Lord can clear my heart of bitterness ~ I just have to get out of myself long enough to remember to ask Him.

- How Friday evening found them

- When Moses asked the Lord who will go with him when he leads the people (he sounds exasperated), and the Lord says, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” Ex 33:14. That looking into a full day, a full week, I can count on His presence AND His rest.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Friday, March 20, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 3.20.15

- A few days over spring break just at home, with no real agenda, lazy mornings and slow evenings with very few responsibilities.

- Getting to read in the mornings with Essie right next to me, a book on her lap as well.These are just things that simply don't happen during normal weeks.

- Coffee with Jessica C ~ sweet time with a sweet woman. I admire her transparency and deep love for you, Lord. And the way you orchestrated our convo with Nick ~ crazy. You are indeed in the details.

- Baseball tournaments rained out (with gorgeous weather over the weekend). Boo. Practicing thankfulness in all things.

- TCU v. BU baseball game Friday night ~ we were a bit out of place in our green and gold, and Baylor lost 3-1. Could have been much worse, however, and it was a fun evening with Branson and Hudson with a Fuzzy's dinner afterwards.

- Girls getting sleepovers at both Mama and Papa's, and Cappy and Daboo's.

- Hair cuts! Free and convenient - and good!

- A date with Corbin at Blue Mesa, we both love that place. So nice to get away to a quiet dinner amidst our home filled with kids all week.

- A Spring Break sleepover

- A quiet Saturday morning - don't quite know what to do with ourselves!

- Cinderella with the Sanders girls - great outing, great friends, great film. Lily James is just so stinking fun to watch on screen.

- Watching Bran and Hud have fun together.

- Papa taking Bran and his friends fishing several times last week. Sweet investment.

- Finding Essie's pics on my phone.

- A drive to 7R for a cancelled horse lesson. Again, thankful for all things. Really hate seeing Basden disappointed, but the Lord knows, and He will use it.

- That we still enjoy the park behind our home.

- Watching Hud run at his first track meet ~ wowzers. He's not just a fast runner, he's a determined runner!

- Daboo helping Es with homework

- The mullet - Frederick - is GONE. Praise God. At Bran's request.
How many brilliant business men are up at midnight (after a late-night track meet) cutting hair??! This one!

- Encouraging words from friends.

- Elvia!
Her hard work blesses us so tremendously
- Our Tanglewood / McLean Moms in Prayer group, and Paschal Praying Moms. When I feel out of control in parenting (and I am - so often - cannot control things), I know the Lord is. Praying with these SCHOOL moms makes all the difference in our weeks. And seeing answered prayers for other students and teachers is so incredibly encouraging. 

- This - tomorrow night - curious and excited to see what the Lord has in store through Bran and his friends "gathering" for a night of worship (?!)

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hudda's Night Out

This written by my dad, aka Cappy. He jotted it down recently and sent it to me in an email, and I'm posting here with his permission. The power of an engaged, loving grandpa (or two)  ~ tremendous.

One evening Charles called and said we were heading out for a spur of the moment man’s dinner, the two of us, Cap and Papa, and oh yes, Hud. My immediate response was "Count Me In" with no further thought.
He said we would meet at Olive Garden.
Not my favorite place.
On second thought, I might have some things to do.
But I was certainly up for a quick meal with my co-padre Papa, and of course, Hud. I think Hud was about nine.

We arrived at Olive Garden and it was packed, shoulder to shoulder. Charles was at the desk about ten feet in front of me and turned and mouthed, “forty-five minutes," with a nod and a smile down at Hud, standing next to him. I finally squeezed over to them and suggested that there were plenty of places where we wouldn’t have to wait. With a flurry of his eyebrows and a grin, Charles mentioned that this was Hudson’s favorite place.
Papa and Hud
I looked down at Hud and asked him “What is your second favorite place?” Charles deftly moved in and continued an on-going conversation with Hud. Something about fishing gear.  He craftily drew me in, nodding and including me in the conversation. My thoughts of getting home in time to do anything settled into the background.

Finally seated at our table, we perused the menu. I was looking for the least worst item and quickly chose an old standby. Charles led Hud through the menu, several times.
I was intrigued.
Hud and Cappy

As Charles touched on each item with Hud he approached the selection with care, as if each one was special… as if each item was of value, an experience not to be passed by too lightly. I watched mesmerized as something beautiful was happening. As Charles led Hud through the options, and then back and forth, discussing the special ingredients in this one or sauce in that one, it became apparent that what Charles truly valued was not the selections, but it was Hudson he valued. What Hudson thought and did mattered to Charles. Charles respected Hudson’s opinion and listened to him. It was evident that Hudson knew ingredients and sauces just as well as he knew fishing lures. Charles had seen to that in dining experiences with Hud through the years. It was very obvious that, to Charles, it mattered greatly what choice Hudson would make. Because Hudson greatly mattered.

Waiting for our selections, Charles led Hudson through several discussions that primarily resulted with Hud voicing his opinions. Hud fit right in, knowingly making observations and judgements with ease. When the food came, they discussed the ingredients again for a moment and then moved back in to the prior conversation. I don’t know that I have ever seen such a beautiful experience.

To be clear, this was Hudson’s night. And I was truly glad to be part of the evening.

That night Charles led the two of us on a great experience of adventure and learning… two more in the lengthy and significant procession of boys and men that have been loved and mentored by Charles Wilson.

Footnote - Papa knew Hud needed some encouragement and attention, and he knew just how to administer it. 
Baptisms ~ April 2007
Papa's prayer with Hud's sweet grin

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hudson ~ "Where I'm From"

The following is an essay Hudson wrote for a school assignment earlier this year. I posted Branson's "Where I'm From" last week, and wanted to share Hud's here as well. Love his words.

Where I'm From
Hudson James Wilson

I am from ping pong, from pool basketball, and gaga. 

I am from the pillows, blankets, and soft carpet in the pool house.

I am from the slackline, and the big magnolia, the odd circle of dead grass, and leaf piles in my front yard. 

I am from Ross Purdy, and Chris Wolfe cracking jokes, and telling me to "suffer quietly" while pinching me. I am from Paul Gerrish giving me Idaho horse bites, and the excitement of snowmobiling in Chama. 

I am from spending Christmas in New Mexico, and Thanksgiving at Bourland. I am from my middle name, and the Lodge, and Cappy's plane. 

I am from Yukon, Cross and Ruby. I am from TCU baseball, and Tanglewood Elementary. 

I am from "Feed the dogs" and "It's alright."

I am from a strong Christian belief, and Ryan to Kevin. 

I am from Daboo's hamburger straganoff, and my mom's breakfast casserole, I am from November, and dark skin. 

I am from Basden's blue eyes that match Yukon's, the shaking hands of Mama drinking wine through a neon straw, to the steady hands of Papa nailing wood to make a raft. 

I am from the family that comforts me, and the good family reunions celebrated twice a year. I am from the James and Wilsons that I call my family.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 3.9.15

 - MORE snow... this is kind of getting a little crazy here in Fort Worth!

 - Snuggling with Daddy
One reason we love snow mornings
Mini snowman

- Corbin's first week of work ~ very full, a little overwhelming, but he's thrilled to be there.

- Reconnecting with so many old friends through Remembering David. Corbin and I are certainly not the only ones missing him.

That Basden’s 5th grade year is not hard on me. She is so responsible. So precious. 

- Jim taking Hud along with he and Jennings to Angel Fire for a few days ~ that Hud gets to snowboard AND see his cousins - a gift! And for Jim driving 24 hours to get them there and back (!)
Jennings and Hud
Foster and Hud
- THIS. I find this so stinking hilarious.
- PHS baseball tourn in Abilene. Two of the days were rained out, but we still got in two games Saturday. First game - great. Second game - could tell none of our players had eaten since 8am. Oh well. Fun to watch the boys and learn names / numbers.

Bran and Matthew
- A cold and kind of rainy couple of days at the lake. Time with both sets of grandparents, Marc and Grey.
Marc's nearly imperceptible photo bomb ~ funny kid
Bran, Grey, Marc
- Celebrating Papa's birthday with a humongous chocolate cake.


- Girls enjoying 7R's heated pool (brrr!)

- Guys' hike


- Very glad for Spring Break, although it's kind of weird following all of those FWISD snow days.

- Space for baseball players on a rainy Monday of spring break (and that they stopped to eat lunch on the way over to our house!)

- Grateful that all of this ice and snow slow the last couple of weeks down, but looking forward to the sun too!

- "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all the day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders." Deut 33:12.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12