56. My kids knowhow to chew food and feed themselves. I know this seems silly, but there are thousands of children whose disabilities make these tasks impossible.
57. Homemade jelly that actually sets
58. Elliana’s “Watchadoin?” and the way the kids come together over their love of Phineus and Ferb
59. Dalal- or broken bell jars:
The people were freezing. They had abandoned their homes in the valley. Villages were left like ghost towns when the people
fled up the craggy mountains. There they crawled in between the rocks, wedging their lives into caves and crevices. They bed their children down on cold stone floors and cooked over smoky fires on rocky ledges. They were like wild wolves, or bears, but
with less to protect them. So they stayed as close as they could to the mouths of their caves, wearing the mountain like a turtle wears its shell, and their children grew up in darkness. The people were hungry, too. Every day the men went out, chilled
without by the mountain air, but more so by the fear within, down into the valley. They crept like thieves among the green fields and well worn paths where their children’s bare feet used to run. They worked in the fields without talking, the work moving slowly as half the force stood futile guard. It was not that the fields would not produce. In truth, every day the wheat and barley seemed to have grown higher. Their green stalks waved in a teasing dance when a mountain breeze dipped through the
valley, and they soon turned golden, and ripened before the farmer’s eyes, but the very fullness of the kernel, the golden glow of the field, creased agony around the eyes of the farmers, and bent their mouths with pain. Any day the harvest would be ready to eat… any day…
After Joshua stepped down as leader of God’s people they dispersed to their own cities and fled farther and farther from God until God turned them over into the hands of an oppressor. An enemy came driving them out of their homes and into caves for shelter; their oppressors gave them just enough breathing room so that they could work and prepare the harvest, then they would sweep in
and carry off what the Hebrews had grown leaving them hungry, scared, and broken in their caves. Dalal is the word the Bible uses- it means broken, hung low, impoverished, languishing, depressed. I have been dalal- not just in the past but right now- this very week. Over the past two years I have wandered farther and farther from the faith that carried me through my own conquest of Jordan when Torey left- and led me into the victory that granted a safe home for my children. I have wandered off and sought after what seemed right in own my own eyes- what I wanted, but God is faithful, and He doesn’t leave us without correction- so I fell into the hands of the Oppressor. Now I am not saying that God handed me over to Satan like he did Job, but the choices I made left my mind open to the invasion of lies. Lies aimed at hurting me, preventing me from loving and discipling my kids, and at destroying the family I had dedicated to God. I believed the lives. I enslaved myself to them. I know this is strange to think
about- but although it sounds ridiculous I bet you’ve done it too. Have you ever told yourself how stupid you are to have done a certain thing? Or how hideous? How unlovable? How unworthy? Have you ever truly believed that you are anything less than an awesome parent invested by God with a job He perfectly made you for and delights to see you do? Have you ever thought you were a failure? At anything? Or everything? How about at life? Have you ever laid in bed and cried before your eyes were even open because you just knew you were going to get it all wrong again? Maybe not, I realize I am more crazy than most- but have you ever believed that others were better than you? I bet we all have and that’s the lie Satan got me to believe. I believed it until I was dalal- broken, languishing, depressed. Only it wasn’t depression, it was oppression, because more than just being the result of a chemical imbalance or life circumstances it was Satan’s attempt to destroy my family- to rob me of my harvest and joyful laboring.
When Gideon was alone at the lowest point, trying to sneak and thresh at least some of the harvest before it was snatched from him God spoke to him and gave him the victory. It took faith, and Gideon was unsure and kept asking God for signs, but in the end, the light broke out above the valley and the enemy destroyed itself. Isaiah 9:2 says “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. On those living in a land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” And Isaiah 54:17 says “No weapon fashioned against you shall prosper and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from me, declares the Lord.” God’s people have been oppressed since time began, sometimes because of their own sin, and sometimes because that was how God could show them Himself. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with depression- but I’ve just realized for myself that for a Christian that bell jar isn’t just depression it is oppression aimed at stealing our harvest,and just like Gideon- victory comes with the light- the light of truth, the light of God’s word. I finally heard from God on the threshing floor- although for me it was sprawled across my mom’s bed, and His voice sounded an awful lot like hers. That encounter has brought me back into the light- not without oppression, but now, not without a torch. I now know I can do nothing without Christ and I am holding on tight to my torch- the light of Truth- trusting God to defeat the Oppressor.
62. nursery workers
64. That God speaks to us
65. Talking with someone who has needed Christ as much as I have
66. The gifts of being in God’s family: hand me down clothes, accountability, encouragement, God’s words to me