Monday, December 9, 2013

Mary's View

A couple of weeks ago someone asked me to name my favorite Christmas song.  I'm a big fan of the traditional Christmas carols, but my absolute favorite Christmas song is "Breath of Heaven."  I love imagining what Mary was thinking and how frightened, yet excited, she must have been.  A few years ago that led me to write the following poem about Mary's view of the birth of Christ...

Mary’s View
How, Lord, shall I nurture as divine a life as this?
Why send Thine hope through such a one as me?
Mine bosom is not fit to brush the cheek of this sweet Child.
I am lowly, Lord, and He is Majesty.
Mine eyes behold such glory when I look upon His brow,
And I cannot fathom all His shoulders
I’ve pondered in mine heart the depth of all that is to come.
Yet, now mine arms embrace Thine Truth declared.

This gentle Babe, now born of flesh, beneath the moonlit sky,
Shall light the way for all who long to see.
His brow shall bear the crown that is above all other crowns,
And He shall rule throughout eternity.
Faithful ones will long to touch His garment,
And the wise will bow to worship at His
His name shall be esteemed above all other names,
Emmanuel, the Highest, Servant-Priest.

Still, I wonder at the favor Thou afforded unto me,
As I gaze upon this One to be adored.
As Thou proclaimed, mine womb brought forth this Savior, Prince of Peace,
This King of Kings to reign forevermore.
O’ grant mine heart the strength to be Thine servant,
To carry out Thine plan as Thou
To foster this great One as Thou wouldst lead me,
As Thine hand fulfills Thine prophecies of old.

Kari Whitworth Whaley ©2004

Thursday, November 7, 2013

National Adoption Awareness Month

He doesn't look like me.  He doesn't look like Scott.  He has dark skin and the most beautiful rich, brown eyes.  His tender heart is unlike that of any person I've ever known.

I see his dad in him all the time.  Selfless.  Kind.  Faithful.  Funny.  They're two peas in a pod.

No, they don't look like each other.  They don't share DNA or the same blood type.  But, they're no less father and son.

Franklyn came into our family through adoption.  I can remember as a child thinking that adoption was the most incredible, amazing thing.  I was completely in love with the idea of adoption as a little girl and always knew I wanted to experience it when I was older.  Once I found out where babies came from, I was even MORE convinced that the only way I would ever have children was through adoption. But, once Scott and I decided we were ready for children, we longed to bring a child into this world the way most people do. I dreamed of being pregnant and having the blonde-haired, blue-eyed child we were sure God wanted to give us.  Well, our desires didn't line up with His will.  And we are SO glad things worked out the way they did.

Our adoption journey was incredible.  God worked in the most unbelievable way to bring Franklyn home to us in a short three months.


Adoption is a pretty remarkable thing. It paints a beautiful picture of God's love for us.  

a·dop·tion : the act or process of giving official acceptance or approval to something

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. [Galatians 4:4-7]

I was once an orphan.  But, through God's grace and mercy I came to faith in Christ at the age of 16.  I was a sinner.  Now I'm a sinner redeemed by grace.  I was accepted into God's family because I chose to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I chose to recognize my sin and accept the fact that MY SIN was the reason for Christ's death on the cross.  I'm still a sinner.  I still mess up every day.  But, I'm no longer an orphan.  I'm a part of God's family.

Franklyn was once an orphan as well.  He needed a home.  He needed a mother and father that would care for him, teach him and love him.  We chose him.  We chose to bring him into our home and give him all of the rights and privileges that come with being our son.  He will carry on the Whaley name and he will inherit all that we leave behind.  (disclaimer: there may not be a lot left behind!)

Franklyn accepted Christ a couple of years ago.  At that time he was also adopted into God's family.  God chose to bring him into His family and assign him all the rights and privileges that come with being His child. Franklyn chose to accept God's gift of salvation.  He is to carry on the name of Christ.  He is to be an example of Christ in a lost and dying world. Along with that, he inherits eternal life.

Adoption is costly.  Scott and I were blessed to be able to afford to bring Franklyn into our family.  In the same way, adoption was costly to God.  His Son, Jesus Christ, paid the price to bring us into His family.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  Take a moment to consider how adoption has or could have an impact on your life.  Maybe God is leading you to examine the idea of bringing an orphan or a foster child into your own home.  Maybe you're not a Christian and God is prompting you to see Him for who He really is.  

We brought Franklyn into our home to give him a hope and a future.  But, the hope and the future we offer him is nothing like that offered to him by God.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Success vs. Value

I saw a quote by Albert Einstein this morning.  It said something about striving to be of value rather than striving for success.
                                     v. strive: to exert oneself vigorously; try hard.
That made me think a little about what I'm striving for in life. 

                     NEWS FLASH: I struggle ALL the time
                   with my self worth.

Whether I realize it or not...  Whether I GRASP it or not.... I AM of value to God.  He formed me and He saw value in who I would be before He even created me.  Why is that so hard for me to really believe?
I tend to compare myself to others way too often.  My mind is usually flooded with, "I wish I could do that like she does," or "I wish I had a degree in [fill in the blank] so I could do that."  Living in a world with things like Facebook and Pinterest makes it hard for my envious eye to restrain itself.
Like a lot of people I mistakenly buy into the idea that my success in life is based on worldly things.  I fall for the lie.  I look for different things to do, different things to buy, different things to make... things that I think will lead to a feeling of success or even value.  Deep down though, I know the truth.  The truth keeps smacking me in the face.  It's a good smack.  It's a God smack.
He knows.  He knows that I am already valuable.  He knows that He has placed inside of me a purpose.  He's gifted me with ways to fulfill that purpose and He wants me to see the same thing. 
We recently started a small group study at church that focuses on what you would do if you only had one month to live.  That smack I mentioned a second ago?  The first night of the study was the first time I felt it.  Well, not really the first time.  But it was the first time in a long time that I let the 'smack' sink in.  I knew right away what God was leading me to do. 
I love to write.  Writing is therapy for me.  I like to write poetry and I like to write about how I see God at work in everyday life.  He poked at my heart that night.  Well, actually He smacked me.
So, here it is.  Here is my first attempt at doing what I know God wants me to do... doing what I feel He has gifted me to do to fulfill His purpose for my life.  My life is valuable because I'm made in His image.  I am valuable because He loves me.  My purpose?  To lead others to Him.  To use my gifts to show others His love.
So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:31
We're here for a reason, friends.  It's not to outdo our neighbors with a better front porch display for Christmas.  It's not to make the other class moms jealous when our child walks in with the best treat bags for the Halloween party.  It's not to induce envy with our most recent Facebook posts.  [Speaking from experience here]  Your purpose and your value is found in Him.  Without Him life has no meaning, no purpose.
So, let's not strive for success.  Let's not even strive for value.  Those endeavors are in vain.  Instead, let's just strive for Christ.  In Him, and in Him alone, we should find our value.