Friday, April 26, 2013

Burning to Shine

It seems to me that when we suffer, we often look just at ourselves. It is our default. We wonder:

How will God work this together for my good?

What sin in me is He trying to pull out by the roots through this trial?

How can I grow and learn in this?

Will I grow stronger or will I crumble all to pieces?

And I think it is good to ask these things. But throughout these past couple of years (most especially after reading Dark Threads the Weaver Needs by Herbert Lockyer), I wonder if we don't ask enough:

How can I look through this window of my pain in order to see more clearly my friend's pain? (to borrow Lockyer's thoughts)

How can I walk faithfully through this so that others may look at me and say, "Who is her God"?

In what ways could I live out 2 Corinthians 1:4 to comfort others with the comfort I have received?

What are the gifts in this pain? Gifts that I can pass on to other hurting people?

And this morning, Streams in the Desert has this to say:
"We cannot be of great use to others without cost to ourselves...if we are patient and submissive, it is almost certain that we are a greater blessing to the world in our time of suffering and pain than we were in the days when we thought we were doing the most of our work. We are burning now, and shining because we are burning."

May we faithfully burn when we come to the fire! In order that we may shine!

Friday, April 19, 2013


God knows that there are heavenly whispers that men cannot hear till the drought of trouble and perhaps weariness has silenced the babbling brooks of joy. And He is not satisfied until we have learned to depend, not upon His gifts, but upon Himself.
(Perry Ainsworth, Springs in the Valley, 10/18)

How sweet and wonderful are His gifts! These gifts—people, relationships (and marriage!), comforts, sunshine—are beautiful. And I love them.
But I cannot depend on them. And how very often I find that I AM depending on them. For joy. For fulfillment. And when those gifts are not given—or when they are removed—I find how very much my heart depended on them.

When months of joyfully hoping for a baby turns into years of aching, empty arms. A spot unfilled in our hearts and home.

When, just before Christmas, a hospital bed is delivered to our home—a bed for my young, handsome husband to die in. And that sweet child for whom we prayed is naively delighted with Daddy’s new bed.

When I give up my house—and my life as I knew it—so I can make ends meet. Financially and emotionally.
When a migraine stops life for a day.
When, for days on end, the sun absolutely will not show itself and the daffodils cannot spring up for all the snow that covers them.
When a friend's great blessing causes little pricks of jealousy.

It is at these times I see my dependence on the gifts, rather than the Giver. Our hearts are weak, aren't they? Our emotions change like the wind.
And so God is faithful to silence those joyful, bubbling brooks—perhaps for a moment or maybe even for a lifetime—to show us Himself. To remind us of the only One who will satisfy these hearts.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Wedding

Happy wedding day to my sweet friends, Ari and Tomm! You and your relationship has been a blessing to many. I pray you may serve the Lord even more in your marriage than you have in your single days. I love you both!

(Erika is a flower girl. Hold your breath. I am. And I may be bribing with candy.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Great Gift

Today is Erika's special day. It's her adoption day! Three years ago, our little family of three drove to the Ramsey County courthouse for our long-awaited certificate of adoption. After we satisfactorily answered a series of questions, the judge signed that document. The one that made Erika forever ours.

That certificate made official what we felt in our hearts since the day her dear, pregnant birth motherwith her swollen belly against metold me, "You're her mom."

Today I celebrate my sweet girl and the unique and beautiful way she came to us. I celebrate her birth mother too, whose unfathomable sacrifice has resulted in my greatest of gifts. Oh, I wish her daddy were here to celebrate with me!

I tell Erika often that she is my GREAT GIFT. Last night she asked, "Like a present?" Yes, Baby, like a present.

Erika, here are some pictures from your precious first year. I am overjoyed and forever grateful that "I get to be the one."

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Update

I decided today to post an update of sorts—how life is for my girl and me.
Easter was the first major holiday repeat—the second go-around without Chris. Several people told me they were praying for me. Thank you, my friends. It really was not bad at all. I feel in many ways that there are no more scary unknowns these days. Being done with the year of "firsts" is very relieving.
Drager Family—Easter 2013

Erika is getting smarter every day, and this week her mama got her enrolled in preschool for the fall at her daddy’s school!
Work is going so well for me. I don't talk much about it much on here, but I am continually amazed that I have the kind of job that excites and fulfills and provides.
Tax preparation made me a bit nervous this year, but all is quite well.
Our St. Paul house has been rented to a lovely couple.
I have knitting projects coming out of my ears. (Good thing for that job to finance my hobby!) Maybe soon I will post some pictures of some of my recent projects.
Last Friday, I rejoiced with my dear friend and her two best people (her husband and sweet baby) on the adoption day of that little one.
And... Spring truly DOES seem to be coming, despite its late start.
Life is sweetly blessed.