Monday, July 28, 2014


I had a feeling that it was going to be one of those days...

She woke up grumpy that particular morning. Earlier than normal. Louder than normal. Intent on waking everyone else up in the house.

Stubborn, strong-willed, more feisty than any of her brothers. I love this little girl of mine, but once she wakes up in the morning, she doesn't stop. And that means I don't either.

Wild and curly hair. Wild and spunky personality. Her Daddy has nicknamed her Brownie, and I can't help but smile every time I look into those big brown eyes of hers. It's like looking in a mirror and seeing a miniature reflection of myself.

She didn't want her diaper changed. I insisted. She was mad, kicking me, telling me "no, mommy!" and that's when it happened. When I knew it was going to be that kind of day. She took one look at my Bible verse taped to the cabinet door behind her and yanked it off

Consider it all joy 

My reminder ripped in half. A crumpled mess on the kitchen floor.

This was a minor incident. Major for Evie. {Kicking Mommy always results in discipline.} But very minor in the grand scheme of all that would come later during that day.

It did in fact turn out to be one of those days. A day when I needed every single one of my reminders. A 
day when I had to break out the ice cream {again} for breakfast for two of my more mischievous ones so that I could deal with it

pronoun [nominative it, possessive its, (Obsolete or Dialect) it, objective it; plural nominative they, possessive their, theirs, objective them.]

1. (used to represent an inanimate thing understood, previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context): 

for example:  a bed covered in throw-up, a floor covered in throw-up, another bed covered in throw-up, a mattress soaked through with urine, a pair of pajamas soaked through with urine, a pair of shorts soaked through with urine, another pair of shorts soaked through with urine, another pair of {my} shorts soaked through with urine {not my own}, a dining room floor covered in throw-up and urine {multiple times}, a washing machine and dryer that have not stopped running in three days, a mattress airing out on my back patio, a pillow thrown away in the trash pile because of the aforementioned vomit and urine, a smell that reminds me of a nursing home, a smell worse than that of a nursing home...

2. (used to represent a person or animal understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned): 

for example:  a little girl who is making progress learning to chew her food, but enjoys her pasta so much that she swallows most of it whole and then throws it all back up during her nap {and then lays in it for the remainder of her nap without crying out or even attempting to call me for help}, another little girl who throws up later that night for no apparent reason {and laughs about it the next morning when I find her covered in throw-up), that same little girl who finally stops making herself sick after multiple incidents and instead decides to wet her bed (or me if I'm holding her during a raging fit) although she has been fully potty-trained for well over a year, and then the following night decides to…

{I will leave that sentence unfinished because it is more information than I'm sure you care to know. I also edited the picture so it was not quite as distasteful. Forgive me if it is too much information.}

Stinky, filthy messes. One after the other. Day in and day out. This is my it.

Consider it all joy...

James 1:2

My it may look different than yours. Mine might be stinkier or messier than yours. Yours might be harder or easier than mine. It really makes no difference, and it never does any good to compare our own its with another person's its. But what does matter and what's critically important to the well-being of our souls is that we remember that it is possible to find joy in the midst of all our its

Whatever it may be!

Even when it is hard. Even when it is frustrating. Even when it is exhausting and constant and I don't possibly see any sign at all of it letting up. Even when it stinks, and, yes, friends, if I'm perfectly honest, it stinks right now. But what I'm learning in the midst of it, in the midst of these messy, messy days, is that He is enough. His grace is sufficient. That joy is possible, not because these circumstances warrant a joyful and glad heart, but because His joy fills my heart, and that joy is my strength.

And now, more than ever, I desperately need that strength. Because I have no doubt that the Enemy would love for me to become embittered and resentful and angry at my two little girls who have such broken hearts, minds, and bodies.

As much as I would like to tell you otherwise, the truth is that at times he succeeds. My response is not always a joyful one. There are times when I have lost my temper and raised my voice. Times I've responded in anger rather than compassion. Times I've reacted too harshly or disciplined too severely. Times more than I can count when I've had to look into those big eyes, brown and beautiful just like my Evie's, and ask for forgiveness from ones who cannot even understand the words I am saying. 

It's been a humbling week.

But what I am finding is that no matter what the Enemy throws at me {or on me}, the Lord is faithfully and consistently giving me the strength I need to do what needs to be done. Is it always with the right motive, the proper perspective, and a joyful attitude? Far from it. But, more and more, I see how He is changing me. I see how He is creating in me a clean heart and renewing a steadfast spirit in me. {I have prayed Psalm 51 so many times over the past few days that I know these words by heart.} 

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, 
and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,
And done what is evil in Thy sight,
So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,
And blameless when Thou dost judge…

Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness…

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me…

Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation,
and sustain me with a willing spirit

Psalm 51:1-12

And I see Him cleaning up my own messes and dealing with my own filthy junk. Because, yes, it is there. In me. In all of us. It might not be as noticeable or evident as what comes out of S, but it is there, tucked away, hidden deep in my heart, places that need His healing touch. Anger, frustration, fear, insecurity, stubborness, pride, control. All sorts of yucky messes in me. I need His help as much as she does.

Much like what I have experienced with S, the Lord deals with one area of my heart. There might {or might not be} progress in that particular area. And just as I think a break-through is on the horizon, before I know it, something else comes to the surface that needs the be dealt with. Scrubbed. Sanitized. Disinfected. Washed clean. But all too often, I find myself back in the same spot, in the same filthy mess, all over again. More cleaning. More scrubbing. More messes. 

Praise the Lord, His patience never wears out. His grace never stops washing over me. His love for me never wavers. He never ceases to forgive, and He constantly gives me second and third and fourth and one thousandth fresh starts. His mercy always abounds. This alone brings me such great joy and hope.

As I've dealt with the messes and cleaned up the accidents, there have been times that I have literally had to hold my breath and turn away to keep from getting sick. {My other kids have actually gagged at the sights and smells they have witnessed this past week. And as you can tell from the pictures below, they have spent a lot of time outside where the air is fresh!} 

One of the things that always comes to my mind when I'm in the trenches doing this dirty work are these words from Charles Spurgeon. They've been highlighted and underlined, the page turned down for many years, but never have I understood them as fully as I do now

We were mingled with the mire: we were as when some precious piece of gold falls into the sewer, and men gather out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the treasure is found...and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should  track our devious roamings. 

Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home. Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored us!

The lives of some of God's people, if they could be written would fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvelous are the ways which God used in their case to find His own. Blessed be His name, He never relinquishes the search until the chosen are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought today and cast away tomorrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will make no failures, they shall be called,"Sought out!" That any should be sought out is matchless grace, but that we should be sought out is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it but God's own sovereign love, and can only lift up our heart in wonder, and  praise the Lord that this night we wear the name of "Sought out."

And that's why I know it is going to be ok. That's why I know it's possible to keep going and to keep cleaning up the messes and to keep giving fresh starts and to keep pouring out the grace {and the cleaner}.  

That's why it's possible to... 

Consider it all joy...

Here's another song that was part of my playlist when I was in Bulgaria. In fact, on Faith Ana's Gotcha Day, this was the song I set my alarm clock to play. And since that day, this continues to be the song that I turn on when I go into S and Faith Ana's room to wake them up every single morning.

When I pray for a smile and a cheerful voice. When I pray for love to fill my heart for these two little girls. When I pray for all the patience that I will need and the grace and the compassion for whatever it is that awaits me when I open their door. This song in the background. These words filling their room and filling my heart.

When doubts and fears creep in. When I become anxious and worried about how it is affecting all of my other children. Again. These words. {Especially these.} Through the fire and the flood, He draws His children in. The gentle reminder that comforts this momma's heart. He loves these children more than me, and He is using it all  {especially these hard things} to draw not only my heart but also each of their precious hearts closer to Him. 

So, I will keep singing it out and shouting it loud...

Sing it out, shout it loud
Cover all the earth

Let the sound of the saints

Everywhere be heard

Praise the God who has come
To cure every broken heart.

He is Lord over all

His reign will never end

Through the fire and the flood
He draws his children in

He's the light of the world
Brighter than the brightest star.

The God of brilliant lights
Is shining down over us

Breaking through the darkness

Covering all the earth
Oh, His love is like an ocean
Oh, forever overflowing

The God of brilliant lights is shining over us

Sinners come to the cross
And lay your troubles down
At the feet of the one whose mercy will abound

He's not afraid of our filth
He will never turn away

The God of brilliant lights
Is shining over us

Like the morning rises
God your light is shining
Shining over us
Is shining over us

Like the morning rises
God your light is shining
Over us

Praise the God who has come to cure every broken heart!!!


P.S. As I was finishing up this post early this morning, I came across these words and knew I should include them...

The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and storm... 
Nahum 1:3

I recollect, when a lad, and while attending a classical institute in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant, sitting on an elevation of that mountain, and watching a storm as it came up the valley. The heavens were filled with blackness, and the earth was shaken by the voice of thunder. It seemed as though that fair landscape was utterly changed, and its beauty gone never to return. But the storm swept on, and passed out of the valley; and if I had sat in the same place on the following day, and said, "Where is that terrible storm, with all its terrible blackness?" the grass would have said, "Part of it is in me," and the daisy would have said, "Part of it is in me," and the fruits and flowers and everything that grows out of the ground would have said, "Part of the storm is incandescent in me."

Have you asked to be made like your Lord? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for sweetness and gentleness and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. 

A blessing is in the storm, and there will be the rich fruitage in the "afterward."

Henry Ward Beecher


  1. Hi Melanie! Curious is you could tell me the name of the hotel you stayed at on pick up trip. I'm leaving to get Tony next week, and the Budapest is full. Also, thank you so much for you honest posts. I don't often comment, but I read every post and am always blessed.

    1. Hey Grace! So excited to know you are so close!!!! I will be praying for you and Sam!!!!

      I stayed at the Radisson Blu. (I think there are 2, but this one was right next to the big cathedral) It was a little more expensive , but I thought it was well worth it , especially since I travelled alone!!!! Email me if you have any specific questions! My email is