EXTRA STRENGTH: REBIRTH DAYS

A friend asked me yesterday via Skype my thoughts on why we started celebrating birthdays in the first place.

There’s no mention of this kind of celebration anywhere in the Bible, so where, she mused, did it come from anyway?

I’m sure someone, somewhere who is burning with curiosity can consult with Mr. Google and discover the answer relatively quickly; I am not her. But her question got me thinking about the beautiful things in our lives like relationships and celebration.

Birthdays in our house are big deals. These days remind me of the beauty and wonder of new life as well as what is and the hopeful anticipation of what that life will hold, do, be. I hold so tightly to these celebrations of our births, guarding fiercely these days of joyful remembrance and hopeful anticipation, planning purposefully and lavishly for each one in our family. Birthday celebrations are reflections of the individual we’re celebrating that day, and we often go around the dinner table recalling a favorite memory with that person or our favorite thing about that person. Birthday celebrations often end in our home with a blessing for what’s to come. And every year (starting this one), I began writing in the children’s birthday books (created as a way to preserve memories and thoughts and all.the.feelings because cards get lost) about what we see in their lives, what we hope for their lives and what they’ve been in our lives.

As I reflected on these celebrations and why I hold them so closely, my mind went immediately to how God lavishes the best gifts in the world on us in the form of people. He’s done it in my own life with my family and circle of friends, and on a much grander scale by sending us Jesus, wrapped in the swaddling clothes of a baby boy, our Savior.

It is God’s way to celebrate life.

And so we do. We celebrate these lives we’re given in all of their beautiful messiness. We take the time at least once per year to honor the God who gave us these very unique lives because daily these lives bring something to the table  — our dinner table, the lunch table at school, the tables at the coffee shop, the train tables at church — that wasn’t there before God made it so.

And this is so for everyone we encounter, so what if we encountered everyone with a spirit of celebration? What if we, instead of simply passing by, put to words the very things we see God doing in their lives? What if we began calling them by their very names and naming them as what they are — creations of God meant to do and be very specific, individual, beautiful people bringing much to each of their respective tables… including the tables at which we find ourselves sitting with them.

I think every relationship in which we commune might look pretty different, and I think each day of being in relationship with the people who sit at all of our respective tables might look at a whole lot more like a rebirth day than just any other day.


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Hyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and two girls and author of Undercover Mother. 

Extra Strength: More than You Can Imagine

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

Extra Strength

We are Church: Serve {Sunday, August 23, 2015 }

By Hyacynth Worth

I don’t have enough to fill these people; this is my bathroom confessional.

I’m sitting on the edge of the bathtub behind locked bathroom doors praying for Jesus to help me because there is not enough of me for four children. 

Why did I ever think I could do this mothering thing in the first place let alone mothering four kids?

Just moments prior I’d run into brick wall after brick wall after brick wall with each of our children within moments of each other, and in those moments, as each situation spiraled deeper out of control, I spiraled further down the hole of doubt, fear and anger. 

I knew when the tears started welling, I needed a mommy time out, so I all but dove into the bathroom, intent on hiding from children who were hungry, and I’m not talking for popsicles, though they would disagree. 

They are, indeed, hungry for popsicles all of the time, any time .. and they also are hungry for time, for emotional regulation, for connection, for guidance, for help, for physical love, for a listening ear … If I said hungry, I meant ravenous. 

As I’m praying and gathering my patience, thoughts and resolve, four little fingers slip through the crack beneath the bottom of the door, a small but demanding voice following on repeat, “mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY.”

My prayers turn from politely frustrated to desperately real and really desperate. 

“There’s not enough of me. I am not cut out for this. I don’t have enough to fill these people. There are four of them, and one of me, and there’s simply not enough of me to meet their needs. What made me think I could do this?! I’m failing all of the time!” 

I’m rapid-fire confessing this to Jesus like a kid spills his guts when he’s caught red-handed taking from the cookie jar, and I hear the Still-Small Voice say, “I know. But there’s enough of Me for all of you. And you have Me, so you do have enough.”

I remember in this moment of bathroom confession the prayer we’ve been praying throughout our whole adoption journey, throughout the time our family has grown from four to six, “Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more than we could ever hope or imagine, to Him be the glory,” and I remember all of the ways God has shown Himself bigger than all of the impossibilities, bigger than the challenges, bigger than governments and rules and policies and bigger than our own fears and inadequacies. 

It’s as though Jesus Himself is reminding me that He doesn’t call the equipped, but he equips the called. 

And I know that I know that I know I was called to this service — to mothering, to raising another generation of minds and hearts that will seek to love and live in God’s love and truth. 

I know that this is where my “deep passion meets the worlds great need.” (Vantage Point3) 

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This remembering of God’s faithfulness and God’s goodness and God’s love, fuels my mind enough to slowly will my body into taking a deep breath, inhaling the love of my Father, standing up, unlocking the bathroom door and scooping into my arms the small child on the other side. 

And because of His goodness, His Spirit living inside of me gives me enough for the moments that follow, multiplying my little and making it enough. 

I sit and ponder these moments in my own life, and I know that it’s true in my own life, what Pastor Josh Petersen said during his sermon on Sunday when he was talking about how Jesus and the disciples fed the multitudes of people with very little in Matthew 14: “There’s an interesting progression that happens. Jesus gives them a task, or an opportunity, and he says, ‘feed these people.’ Then they take what they have, Jesus blesses it and then He says, ‘go serve the people.’”

And how about you? Where is that place where your deep passion meets the world’s great need? Go there. Know that you’re bringing little. And know that He’ll make it more than you could ever ask or imagine. 

Now to Him be the glory as we serve in His likeness. 

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Hyacynth Worth is beloved to God, wife to John, mom to two boys and two girls and author of Undercover Mother. 

Be Challenged:  

This week pray about where you feel God may be leading you to serve. Ask God to reveal to you where your deep passion meets the world’s great need.

Extra Strength: Wanting to Be Wanted

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 

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Extra Strength for Selfie: Wanted

About a year ago, I became overwhelmed with emotion as my past began to hit me.  All the sin, all the guilt, all the shame was overwhelming me. I tried praying it away but that didn’t help. I felt weaker and weaker. I began reflecting on the people who didn’t want me and who had tossed me aside. Then I wondered who would want me. Yes I am married but that doesn’t mean I get the “wanted” stamp of approval. Trying to fight back the tears I went to my husband and asked him, “Why did you want me when no one else did?”

I wanted to ask my husband this because prior to being married, I had been rejected by so many guys and I was not the one that was chosen. I poured out all of me but I remained empty. I looked for love in all of the wrong places and could not find it anywhere. Yet while I was pursuing all the wrong things and people, I was in fact being pursued.

God had his eye on me long before I knew Him. He was in pursuit of me and would not let me go. He looked for me even in my darkest places. At times when He found me I would pull away. because I didn’t feel worthy. But he wanted me. No matter what I did, He wanted me and He never stopped until He had me.

The challenge then came that I needed to live the life of a wanted woman. That means no more running away from Him but running to Him. No more trying to hide my sins but exposing them so that He can wash me in forgiveness and restoring me to wholeness. He needed to show me that I was enough and that I didn’t need to do anything hoping that someone would want me I could simply just be me.

When I asked my husband that day why did he want me when no one else did, I didn’t know what answer to expect.  Afterall there had to have been something missing that made them not want me.  My husband answered me with the answer I needed. He said that not being wanted by others did not mean that something was wrong with me, it meant that something was wrong with them.

Pastor Josh’s message confirmed that truth, and it made me realize how far I had come. I went from feeling unwanted to knowing that I am wanted by God. I was able to see how God is constantly making me whole in Him. I no longer feel like I need someone else to be complete because I have Christ; I never thought I’d be in this place because honestly I had desired my relationship with my husband more for so long. But each day God is moving my heart toward desiring Him more.

I can feel His tugs and His gentle nudges drawing me near, wanting me to spend time with Him.  It is His consistent pursiung of me, His wanting me, that makes me want Him more.  And that “wanted” stamp of approval is evident in the fact the He chose to die on the cross for ME, because He . . . wanted . . . ME.  It’s great to finally know I am wanted.

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.


Be Challenged:

  • The next time your past seeks to overwhelm you with thoughts of who you were remember that is not who you are. It never was. Look at people not for what is obvious but for what may be hidden.  Appreciate the beauty that lies with in and don’t add any new stains.