June 29, 2013

adoption & the gospel pt 12

this little one has really no idea (right now anyway) what he's been saved from. right now he could still be in an orphanage with a ton of other crying, sad, lonely orphans. but God in His mercy placed amos in our home. as he grows we will tell him more about where he came from & what God rescued him from in giving him a family. he will understand more & we pray that he understands the gospel more clearly as he hears about his story. maybe when he grows amos will thank us for making him a "barker" because he will understand what his life could've been. & maybe he won't... we're not doing this for a "thank you". we're doing it because God called us to & He chose amos to be ours.

likewise, we really have no idea the depth of what we've been rescued from when God chose us & called us His own. we were dead in our sin, He made us alive & we could still be lost & alone. as we understand the gospel more we understand what He rescued us from & that should draw us to worship!
He is so good & so kind! & He has made us new!!!

(pt 1pt 2pt 3pt 4pt 5pt 6pt 7pt 8pt 9pt 10 & pt 11)

June 28, 2013


i've talked many times about how we like to keep our boys close. we have done attachment parenting & co-sleeping with all of them. we want them to feel secure in our love for them. i was thinking of what a beautiful word "nurture" is in the role of being a parent/mommy. the definition of "nurture" is "to feed & protect, to support & encourage, as during the period of training or development, to bring up, train, educate". this is it! this is what we are to do in our homes! nurture our children, train them, feed them, protect them, support, encourage, educate. we're discipling them day in & day out. we're educating them & feeding this minds & hearts, showing them the gospel. & our goal in all of this is not just to "mark it off our never ending list". in their period of development we're pouring ourselves into them that they may know & love the Lord, that they may love others, that they would be loved. to nurture... what a huge responsibility... give us grace Lord! 

i just started reading glimpses of grace & in just the first few pages my heart has been encouraged & challenged & reminded to cling to my Lord. read it friends! can't wait to learn more from this book & share more with you!

June 25, 2013

keep your eyes on the road

our 3 little boys are quite loud, crazy & dramatic. mike & i aren't very loud, crazy, dramatic people, so all 3 of them at once can be a little overwhelming. when they're being crazy it's easy to give in to their craziness & get too worked up. i was driving the other day and i thought of this analogy in regards to my children's craziness & my response to them...
when there is a car on the side of the road or an accident everyone that drives by slows down & stares & therefore loses sight of what is in front of them & could possibly end up in an accident as well.

when i give in to my children's moods & fits & let it overwhelm me & cloud my vision i will end up spiraling downward as well. i will get frustrated & worked up & myself become too dramatic about whatever they're freaking out about. 
but if i keep my eyes fixed on the Lord & focus on "driving well" He will give me the grace to respond gently & graciously to them. & how amazing to learn to not be tossed around by their moods, but choosing to stay steady on Him. 

June 20, 2013

parenting is discipleship (guest post)

oh friends, i have the very sweet privilege of introducing you to my dear friend monica today! she has been a big sister/mother figure to me over the years & my soul is ALWAYS edified after conversations with her. please please read her post below & allow the Father to give you more insight into raising our children.

If we look at the beginning of Deuteronomy, we see that parenting is DISCIPLESHIP. Jesus told us to make disciples until He comes back. If you are a mom, you don't have to look for those people who are needing to hear the Gospel. They are under your nose! (If you are like me, you suspect that Jesus put them under your nose so that in your repetition of the Gospel to them, day in and day out, you would, yourself, truly "get" the Gospel.)

Deuteronomy 4:5-8 says, "See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’  For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?"

In this, and many passages at the beginning of Deuteronomy, we see four stages of discipleship. We see Submission to God, Training and Equipping, Wisdom and Understanding, and then Witness. These are the stages for any disciple. Because of that it can be really helpful to see them as we disciple our own children.

We see in this passage that the first thing the Israelites learn are His statutes. We must remember that the first Law of God that the Israelites learned is "You shall have NO other gods before me." This is the first stage of discipleship, "Submission to God." This is also the first stage of parenting discipleship. In the 0-5 years, every child is asking, "Can I be god?" The parent must firmly answer him, "No. There is only ONE God." God has put the parent in authority over the child. Because of this the parent represents God to him. Your child wants to take you down because you represent God to him, and he wants to be god. He must submit to the ONE, TRUE GOD, and therefore you also.

After the Israelites submitted to God's headship over themselves, they were then ready to learn God's ways, His laws and decrees. Moses told them to "keep them and do them." This is the stage of "Training and Equipping," Because the child has submitted to God, and you, you are now able to fill him full of knowledge. This is because "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."The disciple can now be filled with truth and learn how to walk in it. For the parent discipler, these years, Kindergarten-5th Grade, are a time to fill their children up with Truth and the disciplines of the Faith. 

Next, you see that these statutes become the Israelites' wisdom. We see this in every disciple! As we disciple our children, we see them begin to be able to think more abstractly in the 6th-8th Grade years. In this stage, the child transitions into a young adult. He can reason and analyze. If a young adult has not submitted their life to God, they will most likely use this ability to reason as an opportunity to be disrespectful and rebellious. But for the young adult that has submitted to God, he is now able to take the truths God has given him and walk them out with discernment, wisdom, and understanding. In this stage, the parent should disciple their young adult specifically in the areas of logic and reason. 

Lastly, you see that the Israelites have become a witness to the nations. I call this stage the "City on a Hill" stage. The world sees God's righteousness and goodness through God's people and they are "wowed" at GOD! In this stage, the parent disciples their young adult in becoming more articulate with the Gospel and with Truth. The young adult begins to go on mission trips, lead in service projects, and speak with humility, knowledge, and wisdom. The young adult has become a sharpened arrow in God's hand (Isaiah 49:2)!


Monica Brenton has been a wife, mother, and homemaker for fifteen years. She graciously learned from the Lord that being a wife and a mom is her greatest calling. She loves to her encourage her husband and disciple her children. She, her husband, and her three children live in Memphis, TN and attend Centerpoint Church.

June 19, 2013


i was recently asked about how/what we feed out kiddos. this postthis post & this post might be helpful. & if you wanna read more read this & this. when jude & sammy were little i made all their baby food using this book. in a world that is all about convenience you really just have to decide you're going to make an effort to eat/be healthy. i believe it starts with nursing our little ones. are we committed to it or is it too inconvenient for us? are we willing to take the time to sit & feed them THE BEST THING A BABY COULD HAVE or are we settling for bottles of formula?
(saying all that, i know there are some mommies that cannot nurse.)

so as our family has grown we've decided to be very intentional about what our whole family would eat. & really whatever mommy & daddy eat... they eat as well. when they reach about age 2 & they start having an opinion on what they're eating... we tell them that's all that they will get to eat. we don't give them other options. they are old enough at that point that they can decide whether they will be stubborn & go hungry or obey & have full bellies. as they grow you are training their taste buds. our culture is so ridiculous when it comes to food. the parents eat one thing that may be "healthier" & then they give the kids chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, grilled cheese or hot dogs. we act like kids have to have something different & of less nutrition. & kids do want something different because their taste buds haven't be trained to know what tastes good. then these kids grow up & continue to eat poorly because they think "kids menu food" is all they like. so if our kids are going to eat well it really starts with mom & dad. we've got to be willing to try other foods & make an effort to cook healthy.

eating healthy & planning weekly menus for the family takes time & effort & money. it takes more time to chop veggies & follow steps in a cookbook than to just throw a frozen lasagna in the oven. (believe me... there are days that i don't have time to cook the way i want... but there's always time to put forth a little effort to eat healthier.)

so here's what a normal day's menu might look like for us:
(i should also mention that sammy & myself are allergic to quite
a bit of different foods so our diets have changed even more.)

breakfast- oatmeal make from gluten free rolled oats, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon & honey.
eggs for jude, amos & daddy & coconut milk yogurt with frozen berries for sammy & mommy.

snacks- fruit, frozen berries, nuts (we eat a lot of nuts in our house! walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans!), gorilla munch, dried mango.

lunch- salad, vegan cheese quesadilla with kale, leftovers from dinner the night before, almond butter & honey rolled up in tortillas.

another snack (i think it's so important to keep our blood sugar at a level spot instead of letting it dip because we're too hungry & then we end up overeating.)

dinner- this could be anything from asian, beans & rice, tempeh meals, lots of veggie sides, soups, mexican tacos, lentil meals. it varies. you can find some recipes that i like here.

a few tips:
*we keep the boys' water bottles full throughout the day & sitting on the table so they can grab them whenever they're thirsty.
*i've started letting jude go get his own fruit when he wants a snack. i want them to learn how to choose healthy options on their own.
*we try so hard to stay away from refined sugar... we have it every now & then, but we don't even have any white sugar in the house so it's not an option to cook with.
*we take snacks with us when we'll be away from the house so it's not a temptation to buy something that's not as good for us when we're out.
*READ THE LABELS ON EVERYTHING YOU BUY!!!!!!!!!! make sure you know what's in your food!!!!
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i hope this is helpful & not overwhelming. it takes time to change your diet so have grace on yourself & your family. the longer you eat healthy & teach your family how to it will come so easily to you. you won't even have to spend as much time planning your menu.
go eat some yummy food!!!

June 18, 2013

jude 1-2

FRIENDS!!!!! this is one of my favorite sermons from our church thus far!

“the greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.”
–John Owen

June 17, 2013

talkin amos

this little one has a lot to say all day long! i want to capture this more often!

June 14, 2013


isn't it crazy how seasons change? & "a season" can be last just a few days. we can be having good days, rich & full & "easy" & then life gets crazy & "hard" again! our circumstances are always changing & again it reminds us of HOW MUCH WE NEED HIM! how in the world would we handle all these changing season apart from the One who never changes?? He is our only hope! cling to Him today... whether things are "easy" or "hard". we're human & failing, but He is good & unchanging!

June 13, 2013

"the gospel in her home" (needy)

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as much as mike & i say we want to be around our kids all the time & pour into them & keep them real close & disciple them day in & day out... i hardly "feel" like doing that most days. our society is all about pushing our kids off on someone else to raise them/deal with them/care for them. it's become my natural tendency & really our society is like that because we're just selfish. it's exhausting rearing 3 little/full of energy/crazy/emotional/sinful boys!!! & most days... I JUST DON'T FEEL LIKE IT! most days i look forward to them getting in bed at nap & then at bedtime. most days i'd rather "disconnect" by looking at my instagram feed or staying busy with house work. but the truth is... they need me RIGHT THIS SECOND! & yes, i show them my weaknesses & i return to them & repent & show them how much mommy NEEDS JESUS!!! i will never "feel" like being mommy all day long apart from the strength & sustaining grace of my Savior. goodness i NEED HIM! more than my kiddos need me. we're just one big family of 5 sinners that NEED A SAVIOR!!!!! daily i'm showing them the gospel by the way they see my sin, my running to the Savior, my repentance & then His & their forgiveness of me. i have to learn to cling to Him moment by moment. & when i forget & start leaning on "al's strength", by His grace, i remember the gospel & i rehearse it for my whole family to see. teach me to be faithful Father! teach me that there is nothing i need more than You! teach my boys that there is nothing they need more than You!
it's way too much to do & handle on our own isn't it?!

"come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
matthew 11:28-30

read brit's post & tiff's post!

don't forget to share how the Father is teaching you about His good gospel in your home. you can share your link to your blog post, or share a few sentences in the comments or share a picture on instagram #thegospelinherhome! what a great way to be encouraged by other women!

June 12, 2013

the harbins

aren't they just way cute?!
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June 11, 2013

what if...

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what if our little ones grew up with parents who were always broken before the Lord? what if they just grew up understanding their need for a Savior because they saw how desperately their parents needed  Him? what if they understood that their parents weren't perfect or better than them... but just fellow sinners in need of God's grace & forgiveness?
that would be good! 

June 10, 2013

memories for miles & miles

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i recently went back to my hometown to visit family & host a wedding shower for my younger sister. i took jude with me for the weekend & one morning jude & i drove around to see a few of the houses i grew up in. goodness there are so many memories in those 4 walls, the yards & neighborhoods. i grew up there! years & years of growing & learning & being shaped into who i am now. being a kid & dreaming. "that was my whole world, it was all i knew." (listen to the song below by sara groves)
goodness this song evokes so much deep & raw emotion in me. every time i hear this song i want to cry. sweet sweet hours & days were spent playing & imagining. & there are also sad memories of loss & hurt. but as i look at these 3 buildings i am amazed at of how good & faithful my Father is! He never forsook me. in my sin & rebellion He drew me close & forgave me. in my loss & heartache... He has always been close. i grew up pushing Him away, but He did not neglect me or keep His love from me. He sought after me always!

my children are living the days & making the memories that i am looking back on now. these are the days that they will look back on. they are becoming who they will be. they are being shaped by everything we do. Father, fill our home with grace, peace, brokenness, patience, joy. be what's most important to this little family. be honored everyday in our home. 
"He has withheld no good thing."

June 7, 2013

treading water

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some days i feel like i'm just doing well to keep my head above water!! & i get sooooooo frustrated with myself! i start thinking, "what in the world am i doing with my time? i'm not being faithful with my days! i'm not spending enough time with them! i'm not discipling them well!" oh goodness!!!!!!! thank You Father for Your great grace & patience with me! oh i'm soooo thankful that just because i'm "mommy" doesn't mean He's finished with me! that i'm still His child & He still works on my heart daily! He NEVER gives up on me! & He is faithful to redeem my time & He is faithful to work in our family even when i am faithless & lazy & not relying on His grace! He works in us always... even when we don't see & we don't know His purposes! 3 sweet little hearts that run around our house all day... it's not MY job to be "god" to them... i'm just a fellow sinner that loves them & leans on my Father to shepherd their hearts & mine as i learn how to love & care for them better. thank You Lord!

June 6, 2013

"the gospel in her home" (what does it profit them?)

"for what end do you send your children to school? 'why, that they may be fit to live in the world.' in which world do you mean--this or the next? perhaps you thought of this world only and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last forever! pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes.... surely, if you love or fear God yourself, this will be your first consideration: 'in what business will your son be most likely to love and serve God? in what employment will he have the greatest advantage for laying treasure in heaven?' i have been shocked above measure in observing how little this is attended to, even by pious parents! even these consider only how he may get most money; not how he may get most holiness! ... upon this motive they fix him in a business which will necessarily expose him to such temptations as will leave him not a probability, if a possibility, of serving God. o savage parents! unnatural, diabolical cruelty--if you believe there is another world." -john wesley

what are we preparing them for? for THIS world? building wealth? building knowledge? building success? for what? what is our end goal for them? to make them "good" men & women that look out for themselves & store up "treasures" on this earth? 

we are training their hearts for the world that is to come! to meet their Maker! to love people by His grace & serve Him all of their days! to put Him before all other things & put their selves & their wants & desires last! to be uncomfortable for His sake! to seek His kingdom first!!!

"if our children become our brothers and sister in Christ, their days upon this earth are preparatory for glory that will never end. that's why our primary purpose for these children must not be anything as small and miserable as success. our purpose should be to leverage our children's lives to advance God's kingdom so that every tribe, every nation, and every people group gains the opportunity to respond in faith to the rightful King of kings." -timothy paul jones

read brit's post & tiff's post

share a photo & a few sentences on instagram of how the Father is teaching you about His good gospel in your home. use hashtag #thegospelinherhome.

June 5, 2013

the way i greet these faces

our pastor encouraged us a few sundays ago in how we greet one another in the body of Christ. he talked about how the way we say "hello" will affect how the rest of our conversation will go with whoever we are greeting. i was thinking about my days with these sweet faces... how i greet them each morning or when i've been away from them or after naps... those first few moments will affect how the rest of our day goes. it will affect how they respond to me, if they feel cherished & loved, if they feel heard & cared for. they will know if mommy is in a "good mood" or not. ;) i am, in a sense, setting the "tone" for our day. to get down on their level or pick them up & squeeze them & tell them how much i love them & how much i missed them while they were sleeping or while i was away. seems to set a happier atmosphere in our home than if we just all wake up & get on with our day. :)

what do you do to greet your family if you've been away?

June 4, 2013

the briggs

sweet little family!
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there's a burdees giveaway happening over on kateandkuby today!
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