Formula for Courage

image of the cross mexicoInspired by Psalm 28. Thank you, David, for sharing your heart!

I praise you, Lord.

I tell of your goodness and power.

I speak words of love and adoration aloud.

I bring to You my needs.

I petition You and You lean in to hear me.

You hear me and You strengthen me.

You empower me and You protect me.

Trust wells up in my heart and praise breaks forth from my mouth.

I gladly sing of your goodness.

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 28:6-7

The Lord’s

No created thing can bring fulfillment, heart change, or security

No created thing holds all truth, power, or wisdom

No created thing can be trusted, believed in, or relied on

But God…

My Creator

The Creator

I belong to Him

No other name shall be placed upon my hand

No other name shall hold my future

No other name shall I proclaim

I am the Lord’s

His name is upon my hand

Stamped on my soul

hand the lord's

Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
    others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
    and will take the name Israel. Isaiah 44:5 

Looking Up

I am downcast when I look to myself

I am lost when I look to myself

I am defeated when I look to myself

Oh, but when I look to You…

You are my Shepherd

You are my Maker

You are my Truth

When I look down, I see myself

I see my faults, my needs, my weakness, my inabilities

I look to the sky

I need to tilt my head, my gaze, my mind upward toward the heavens

The treetops, the clouds, the sky all remind me of You

My Shepherd, my fulfilling Creator, my Sovereign Truth

cross and skyflowers and skypalm tree in windpalm treessky above ruinssky at beachsky at pyramidssun on water

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

A Perfect Heart

When I seek mercy and justice

When I offer mercy and justice

When I receive Your mercy and justice

My heart is renewed

My heart is cleansed

My heart is healed

When I seek Your way

When I offer Your love

When I receive Your Spirit

I behave as a woman following You

I love as a whole person

I give from a complete vessel

When you come to me, oh Lord

When you walk with me, oh Lord

When your Spirit fills me, oh Lord

I am set free

I am made alive

I will walk with a perfect heart

I will sing of mercy and justice; to you, oh Lord, I will sing praises. I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101:1-2

The Way of Holiness

The Lord’s highway for the redeemed.

The Way of Holiness.

His path to glory.

Set aside for those who acknowledge their need.

Those who accept His hand.

Those who reach for His cleansing.

Those who grasp onto his purifying redemption.

He says,

“Enter in to Zion! Enter with singing. Rejoicing. Everlasting joy. Here is your crown of righteousness. Breathe out your last sigh of sorrow because there will be no more. Gladness and joy will be your breath now.”

Follow the Shepherd up the Way of Holiness.

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Yes, Lord! Lead us in your Holy Way! Thank you for your goodness! Thank you for your plan of redemption. You are good. So good. Amen.

 

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35:10

Chosen

In our house, we love to celebrate. We don’t love the planning, stress, preparation, and clean up of elaborate celebrations. But, we enjoy remembering special days with a meal, treat, outing, phone call to a grandparent, or small gift. Some of these occasions include losing a tooth, learning or achieving something new, a pet’s birthday, and our daughter’s adoption days.

August 17th and October 1st are our daughter’s adoption days, the day we celebrate having made their adoptions final before our family and a judge. The day they officially became Ostreims.

This year, we celebrated by giving each girl a shirt, which reads “Chosen” on the front. That one word summarizes so much of our adoption stories.

Chosen: selected from several; preferred; to want; desire.

“No, you didn’t grow in mommy’s tummy, sweet girl, but we chose you. We could have waited for a different baby, but we chose YOU,” I remember explaining to my inquisitive 3-year-old with her endless questions. This explanation seemed to bring her a feeling of importance and uniqueness.

But, as the years have gone by and parenting has become more challenging, I have come to accept that it wasn’t me who chose my girls, but it was the Lord who chose us all.

Receiving that long-awaited for, yet unexpected call from our attorneys’ office that a birth mother had chosen us to parent her child, we didn’t experience much of a choice. Well, of course we could have said, no. It would have been possible to say that. I guess it would have been possible but the Lord had a grip on our hearts and our minds so that it didn’t feel like we had a choice. Once we heard about this baby yet to be born, we were chosen. She still remained in her birth mom’s womb, but she filled our hearts every waking moment. She was all I could think about. She was all I could talk about. When my  eyes finally met hers, hours after she was born, it was like I already knew her. God had already knit my heart to hers. So, although, it was possible for us to have waited on another baby, God made the choice and let no man interrupt God’s choice!

The same is true when we heard about the baby that was to be our 2nd daughter. I remember being at a park with our first-born when we received the call about our 2nd child. I was speechless. Dreaming of this child, soon to be born. How could I explain my thoughts to my little 2-year-old running around at the park?  How could I make her understand that she was chosen to be a big sister?

When our youngest daughter’s adoption day came this year, she ripped into her package and was delighted to find that she had received a Chosen t-shirt, just like her big sister. “But, you know, I really feel like the one that was chosen. It’s the greatest honor I know to be your mom!” I hugged my girls closer.

“Mom, you need a Chosen t-shirt!” my oldest daughter exclaimed.

I really started thinking about that phrase “Chosen” and the privilege it holds. Of all the moms God could have chosen for my girls, He chose me. He chose me? He chose me.

Yep, I need a shirt, too!

Chosen fam pic

Chosen

Living as orphans,
In need of refuge
Chosen

Selected from among many
Esteemed above the rest
Chosen

Sought after
The preferred choice
Chosen

Redeemed, restored,
Remade and rejoiced over
Chosen

Longed for, planned for,
Sacrificed for, loved
Chosen

Before the creation of the world
Holy and blameless
Chosen

Amongst the living for a purpose
Created for more
Chosen

 

This Christmas season, dear one, can you stop and reflect on your Creator, choosing you? Before the world was formed, He chose you! You were planned for. You were selected. You were created for a purpose. You are loved!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Like You?

The following poem is really a compilation of “who is like you” questions I wrote each morning for the last few weeks during the beginning of my quiet time. I have really been encouraged to be in awe of the Lord God Almighty. My response to this awe is to ask the Lord, who is like you? The answer? None other than the Lord. 

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? Exodus 15:11

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Who is like you, Oh Lord?

Who is like you, waiting on me, listening with patience and kindness?

Who is like you, pouring out endless grace and mercy?

Who is like you, filling my days with purpose and focus?

Who is like you, Oh Lord?

Who is like you, steady from beginning to end?

Who is like you, holding my past, present, and future?

Who is like you, full of power, strength, and sovereignty?

Who is like you, Oh Lord?

Who is like you, Father to the fatherless?

Who is like you, protector of the weak?

Who is like you, guide to the blind?

Who is like you, Oh Lord?

Who is like you, a King in a manger?

Who is like you, humble and meek?

Who is like you, born to sacrifice?

Who is like you, Oh Lord?

Who is like you? Oh, who is like you?

 

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