Monday, March 31, 2014

Sometimes God speaks... Sometimes He hollers

In the mornings, I typically focus on a particular Bible study and this morning's topic was Job and Spiritual Warfare. First of all, God must have forgotten it was Monday morning at 6A.M. because that is tough stuff to wade into that early on a Monday (I'm kidding - about the God forgetting thing). I barely made it through the history of the book of Job before I realized that an hour had passed and I needed to shower before the Munchkin woke up.

After my shower, I opened my e-mail to find a daily devotional I subscribe to and decided since it was quiet, I'd read through it. Some uplifting, encouraging, not so hard to swallow words would be really great after Job. And yes, that would have been great but it wasn't what I got. I moved from, "We have an enemy that fights us hard..." to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds...(James 1:2-4)" As if that was not sufficient, I open my Bible app to look up a different translation of a verse and the "verse of the day" slaps me with James 1:12- "God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" (NLT).

The good news is, I know how both stories end. Job is faithful in every circumstance that comes his way because He knows that God is faithful in every circumstance He allows to come our way. James 1:2-4 ends up like this: "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" (NLT).

I don't know what today, this week, or the rest of the year has in store for us. Truth be told, I'm a little nervous to find out. HOWEVER, I know the One who holds my future. I know in Whom my faith lies and that He will be faithful to keep His promises and to keep me in His love and grace no matter what circumstances He allows me to face.

[ Maybe keep me in your prayers just the same :-) ]

Sunday, November 17, 2013

'Tis the Season!

Life is bananas right now! I am trying to cram 8 weeks of grad school into 5 since my birthday,  Thanksgiving, H's birthday, and Christmas are all back-to-back-to-back-to-back with Christmas being held over an 9 day span on two ends of the state. Maybe I'm just nuts, but it's how we're going to roll this year.

I wanted to take a minute to share something really awesome that we're doing this year. H will be 4 this December and she's at an awesome age for understanding a lot of things that have much significance. Our conversations are a lot more interactive and opinionated than they use to be. Watching her mind grow and develop and transform is amazing. So, this year, we have decided to do an Advent calendar. On our calendar we have daily activities and a nightly Bible reading plan for December 1st - 24th. The activities are mostly the kind that involve us working together and spending time together talking. We are all pretty good at that. So, we're going to spend our time talking about the Gospel story and how it came to life. The Bible reading plan is from the Jesus Storybook Bible. I am excited about all of the fun things we get to do together and experience together, but I am mostly excited to see how receptive H's little heart is to the real story of Christmas. We've told it and talked about it all throughout the year. I am hoping that a little extra focus on the true meaning of Christmas will make a difference.

 Here is our calendar with our activities of choice:

 Here is a calendar for you to fill out with the Bible reading plan for you to follow if you have the Jesus Storybook Bible!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Excess - I am drowning in it and never really realized it. The toy box I sit next to every morning during my quiet time overflows with STUFF that MIGHT get touched once a week. On the table next to my chair is an iPad I just knew I would use more than the Macbook I also own. The iPad is mostly used by the 3 year old who has so many other toys I honestly do not know how she thinks straight with all of the options she has.

Want to talk more about excess? Walk into my closet - then check out the laundry baskets of dirty clothes - THEN check out the baskets of clothes waiting to be folded - FULL. All of them are FULL. I have a desktop computer and an iPhone in addition to my other aforementioned technologies. I have shoes that I have never worn. The number of Bibles I own is quite possibly equivalent to the number of pairs of bluejeans I own and that's a lot.

 We don't have money overwhelming us. But we have STUFF. Somehow, we have decided our lives would be better off with stuff. We have inadvertently chosen our own importance over the unmet needs of who knows how many around us! I have a wooden elephant on my front door as a proclamation of support for my SEC football team of choice. I paid $40 for that elephant - and it's adorable. The girl who made it is super talented! But do you know what I did when I spent that $40? I gave up the chance to provide 20 meals for the homeless. I gave up the opportunity to provide two nights of shelter for a woman with no place to go after fleeing her abusive partner. I opted for a fake wooden elephant for over a month of meals, snacks, hygiene, education, medical care, and most importantly the love of God for a child in another country.

Don't get me wrong, my elephant is great - but now when I look at it, I feel disgusted with my choice. Things are changing drastically around the Carr home - radically, if you will. We've been on the cusp for so long and it's time. It's time we change things from an inward focus to an outward focus. It's time we reprioritize our purpose, our heart's desires, our resources. We aren't wealthy by the standards of the world - but we have been blessed. We're on the move and we're excited to see where it takes us. It's scary, but it's worth it.  

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21  

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls.  When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! Matthew 13:44-45  

Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?” Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then. Matthew 19:16-28

 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:33-34

Friday, September 6, 2013

I need rest

I am tired. There. I've said it. I need an entire day that requires no thinking, no doing, pajamas required kind of thing. My days are long and full. Yes, I have chosen this for myself. Yes, I could give it up. Yes, I realize I am slightly nuts. BUT, I honestly feel this is the journey I must take to find God's perfect plan for my life and my family's life.
Grad school is kicking my butt. I breezed through my undergrad and held on to a social life of sorts. Now, I find myself treading water, trying to stay sane by taking breaks to randomly throw out thoughts on things other than counseling theories and transference and ethics and genograms. My days start with an alarm at 4:45A and I fall onto my pillow between 10:30P and 11P trying to slow my brain down by neurotically making lists and leaving them everywhere. I'm pretty sure I keep Mead and FiveStar in the notebook making business. I keep telling myself that December 13th is around the corner and I will be able to breathe again but I'm afraid come December 13th we will be flung into full on "leaving the country for 4 months in 4 months" mode. I've never been in that mode but I am imagining warp drive like the U.S.S. Enterprise could only dream of (oh my stars, I am so tired my inherent Nerditude is seeping out). Well, my break is over. I now have 59 minutes before naptime is over and I have to put my work away for the rest of the afternoon. Here's to hoping I finish and anticipating a Saturday full of therapy... well, reading about it and writing about it at least. How do you find a balance when life gets crazy? So far, quiet time and coffee first thing in the morning works for me. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, August 9, 2013


This morning I was sitting in the bed reading and praying when I started to think about our precious daughter in the D.R. She has a few special needs that I am not going to get into right now for a lot of reasons. However, I will say that there are days where I feel ready to face them with her and then there are days where I am scared to death I am going to make them worse. I know that God has given us this precious girl to take care of and to take responsibility for. You know why I know that? Because no one else has. No one else on earth has loved this darling girl. We are the first people on earth to love her unconditionally and we know nothing about her except her name, and a medical diagnosis that is very typical for institutionalized children. When that thought hit me this morning, I lost it. I covered the pillow in snot and tears. Our daughter has never known love. She has caregivers who also care for an unnumbered amount of children each day. She has people that meet her most basic needs that may have some semblance of love for her, but she has never known the arms of a mommy or daddy when she has a tummy ache. She has never known the peace that comes with the words "I love you, forever". Our daughter has never felt the lips of her mommy on the "owee" she received from falling on the pavement.

As these images flooded over me this morning, God whispered to me, "That was you." Me? How was that me? I have wonderful parents - had them all my life. They met my needs AND gave me love and affection. How was that me? God reminded me, "That was you before you met me. You had no idea what real love was until you realized what I did for you." That was me. I was the alone little girl, deteriorating in my sinful anguish because I had not found the embrace of my merciful heavenly Father. I had not been enveloped by the wondrous love of Christ. I was an orphan. That was me.

No longer, however. No longer am I an orphan. I have a heavenly Father who has taken me in - adopted me into His family. I have a future that is bright and full of love. Our daughter is no longer unloved. She has a mommy and daddy ready to go when the word is said - ready to drop all that we have ever known and love her, no longer from a distance. Our daughter has a sister who prays for her with us every night, asking God to give her sweet dreams. Our daughter is LOVED.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Identity does not exist because of skin color

Between writing a research paper on counseling transracial/transnational families - writing my beliefs on raising a child of a different race/nationality for our adoption paperwork - and the events that have transpired in the last few months in the media, my mind is boggled by what people, even SMART people, think DEFINES them and wherein their identity lies. This is where I've landed on the topic and I would love to hear more from people who have different opinions (keep it nice or the conversation will end)

Our biological daughter is three and a half years old. We have refused to talk about the fact that we are White and that our neighbor is African American. We do not identify people by the color of their skin and she has never asked why one person’s skin is a different color than hers. The same is true for disabilities. We encourage her to identify people by the color of their shirt so that her mind is protected from stereotypes at a young age. She'll face enough of this as she is older and I see no reason to rush into it. Upon seeing photos of our waiting child, our daughter’s very first words were, “She is beautiful! I can’t wait to play with her.” 

I am very interested to learn more about our child’s ethnic group. Her records state that she is Dominican by birth but that her mother was Haitian and her photos show that she has more of a Haitian complexion. I wonder if she will want to identify with one more than the other or if she will struggle with choosing. We have focused on learning a great deal about the Dominican Republic and their culture and lifestyle. We would be willing to learn more about the Haitian culture and lifestyle if ever we felt it would be beneficial for our child to learn, also.

Racial identity develops when a person interacts with a race long enough to identify with that race. While we are more than happy to become familiar with the Dominican culture and remind our child that there is no shame in being from a race and culture different from ours, we also hope to emphasize that our identities are not first and foremost that which comes from the color of our skin or the language we speak. We know that our true identity is formed in a relationship with Christ and our goal will be to teach our children that they are beautiful creations made in the image of God and even though our skin tones are all different and our hair does different things, we are not defined by where we live or where we came from. 

We honestly believe that if a child is not taught to focus on the color of skin but on the person, then he or she will accept and celebrate people for who they are and not what race they are. We also believe that it is great and interesting to know about our family history and celebrate the successes that have come through the struggles of our ancestors. However, we do not dwell on the past, nor do we hold on to the traditions that hold no meaning to us. Our focus is on our family in the present and the traditions we share together and the moments that bring us closer as a family. We focus on loving one another and loving others - not deciding someone's worth based on the color of their skin. I've said it before and I will say it again - God does NOT have a favorite color.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A religious rant...

In response to the SBC resolving not to immediately withdraw all involvement with the Boy Scouts -

I am very disappointed in the Boy Scouts and those in charge for making the choice they made. However, SBCs have GOT to stop running away from everything and stand up and FIGHT for what is right. Stop acting like my three-year-old who points her finger and runs from an ant 6 feet away and put your blasted shoe on and squish it! If we truly want this world to change and know the Jesus I know then we have got to put our shoes on, get out of our comfy office chairs and stop whining on Facebook and blogs about what the world is coming to and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

We are allowing openly gay children to join the Boy Scouts of America. Do you know the biggest problem I have with this statement? CHILDREN. Do you know why this is even a statement that we have to make? Because we have allowed Planned Parenthood to teach our KINDERGARTENERS about sex education. We have allowed our NINE year olds (p. 36) to learn (from liberal groups in PUBLIC SCHOOLS) about sperm and ovaries (What?! I was in 8th grade before I had heard these terms and they grossed me out even then!)

My suggestion is that Christians stop their griping, stop their finger-pointing and tongue-wagging, and walk outside of their bubbles and grab ahold of the children the world is ripping away from us and tell them that JESUS LOVES THEM and teach them the Truth before the world has the chance. Maybe then we wouldn't even have to have a conversation about allowing gay children into the Boy Scouts of America. 

"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way." Matthew 7:13