Ephesians 4.9-10

Today I am thankful for His descension AND ascension. 

Ephesians 4.9-10:
“(What does ‘He ascended’ mean except that He also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)”

This is the foundation of the love of my life.  He descended; He knows me.  Truly.  He gave everything up for me.  He understands.  Everything I go through, everything I think and feel.  He descended, in order to. 

He descended all the way to a manger, a feeding box, in a smelly cave-like environment, in obscurity and humility.  Through the blood and tears of human childbirth.  Born to give us second birth.  A generation – nay, a world – living dead.  He descended, to resurrect us all.

But this Christmas I pray I remember that He didn’t stay in the manger.  He didn’t stay in the “lower, earthly regions.”  He didn’t stay on the dirt to which He came for us.  Glory to God – He ascended!  He fully came; He fully left.  Upward, even to the point of “higher than all the heavens!”  He who came to know me and feel me and resurrect me, left.  So that I don’t just have a love affair.  I have eternal life and supernatural power.  I have position above every circumstance, trial, tribulation, bad news, death, disease, pain, disappointment, hurt feelings, betrayal, and failure of this little life… I am IN HIM, and guess where He is.  Not the manger.  Not the streets of a dirty town in the Middle East.  Not a bloody deadly cross.  He is HIGHER THAN ALL THE HEAVENS.  He came so I could forever be IN HIM.  He left so I could forever be… Alive.  Safe.  Secure.  Well.  Whole.  Above.

In Him. 

So, although I’ve never read it before for Christmastime, Ephesians 4.9-10 is my advent meditation today.  Parenthetical, yet so, so powerful.  He is coming back for me.  But even until then, He has secured my life, my soul, my all, higher than all the heavens… and I get to live today – even today – there, IN HIM. 

Let Him fill your whole universe today.  He didn’t ascend in order to just keep time and wait for the alarm to sound that it’s time to come pick us up.  He ascended in order to FILL THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.  His Spirit is alive in you and alive in me, if we have trusted Him as our Savior and Lord.  We are seated in the heavenlies.  We have been blessed – or in other words, “good-worded” – with every blessing (“good word”) in Him.  Everything wonderful that could ever be said about anybody has been said about us.  Because we are in Him.  Let’s let Him fill our universe this season.  With security and confidence, let’s let Him splash out onto the others in our paths so that they, too, can be good-worded and free.  That is the only reason He waits. 

Come, Lord Jesus.



I have had a beautiful birthday, and now I have a BIG announcement…

This is how all my babies start (post-birds-and-bees stage, that is).

I could show you pages in old journals (had I the time to dig) from 1998, 2001, and 2005 that had these scribbled names, respectively:  Camryn Mae Reeves, Carson Elizabeth Reeves, and Callie Amelia Reeves.

[Actually, if I had the time to really dig, I could show you journals dating as far back as fifth grade with first names like Tiffany, Samantha, and Lauren… and last names like Fox (as in Michael J.), Knight (as in Jonathan, from New Kids on the Block), and… well, let’s keep the locals secret, shall we?]

So here we are.  2012.  And there’s a new name in my journal.  A new name the angels are speaking.  Because God made me a mom.  Is giving me the gift of a daughter.  Naming rights and all.

This time’s a little different than the previous three.  Rather than being tucked away in my belly region making me sick with nausea and love, Clara Rebecca Reeves is tucked away somewhere across the globe… Somehow I think giving birth will prove easier than the fight it’ll take to find her, pick her up, and fly her home.

All the sweet adoptive moms don’t want to tell me this is true.  Maybe they’ve just erased the pain from their memory, now that they’re back home with their bundle of joy.  I remember holding my newborns and thinking, “The pain was nothing compared to this joy.”  But in month nine, when I felt like I was going to explode if someone didn’t take this baby out of me yesterday… I was terrified, and rightfully so.  Today I’m excited, and happy, and can’t-wait… but I am also already utterly terrified at the unknown that lies in front of me in the next one to six years.  Unknown pain.  Unknown tears.  Unknown things that will go wrong.  Unknown wait.  Unknown building, hut, home, or orphanage.  Unknown bed or lack thereof.  Unknown face, suffering from unknown scar and disease and neglect and disorder… Mine.  

Did I mention unknown wait?

So we’re adopting.  Speaking of unknown, we don’t know anything yet.  We don’t know what country.  We don’t know how old.  We don’t know what medical or developmental conditions.  We don’t know how much.  We don’t know how long.  I’m open to all your questions.  They’re easy to answer.  “We don’t know.”

It’s like we have a marathon to run, and all we’ve accomplished so far is waking up, and getting out of bed.  [We told God “YES” about two months ago, and this morning, after birthday breakfast & coffee, still in our pj’s, we clicked "SEND" on our formal application.]  But today will be consumed with one thing:  The 26.2 Miles.  On marathon day, you don’t plan a shopping trip or a family reunion or a clean-out of the garage.  It’s marathon day, for cryin out loud.  What I’m trying to say is, my blog and my life will be primarily consumed with this adoption until Clara comes home.  And for those of you who are a part of my life or my blog or both, I’m truly sorry for that.  It will get old, I am sure.  You will think, “I am so tired of hearing about this adoption.  Can’t she talk about anything else?”  Nope.  Sorry.

But I want to promise you, friend, two things.  I don’t take these two things lightly.  I remember when all our friends were having babies and suddenly every conversation was consumed with what Sally Jane and Johnny Bob could and couldn’t do that was just sooooo precious or sooooooo hilarious or soooooooo earth-shattering.  That is not what I’m going for when I say I’ll talk about our adoption nonstop.  I am so extremely serious about the following two promises.  Here are my two promises to you, my friend, until I bring Clara home:

1-    I will never say (on purpose) that everyone (that’s you) is supposed to adopt.

2-    I will never (on purpose) ask you for more than a prayer and $10.

I will explain each of these promises in detail in future blog posts.  Speaking of, this is the last post for this blog.  Coming soon is a new blog address that will knock your socks off (haha), which I’ll share with my husband Dan.  It’ll be a place you can keep up with Clara’s story, plus other surprises.  But today is just an announcement.  A celebration!  Good news!  Can you believe it??  The Reeves are gonna be 6!  Not 5!  Its pretty stinkin’ exciting.  And I just had to share it with you.   On my birthday blog. 

P.S.  I realize that there’s a good chance Clara is old enough to have already been named.  We do not know if we will be able to name her or not.  (Yet another unknown! J)  But with all my babies, I’ve gotta call them something when I’m talking to God about them.  Poor Camryn was Colten Whitfield forever, because I just knew she was a boy.  Haha!  God knows who I’m talking about.  For now, she’s Clara Rebecca.  A future blog post will explain precisely why.  But I just wanted to get that straight from the start.  Thank you for praying for her today.


back to school prayers for parents | day five | Psalm 127.3-5

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?

Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.

Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!

Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.[1]

One of my best friends told me last week that she thinks my love language is gifts.  No way, José.  (I mean, isn’t that the most selfish and greedy and terrible love language of ALL?)  I say it’s words.  I love words.   Right?

But as I look up from my computer screen today to the rest of my desk (minus the mess), here’s what I see:  an old typewriter Dan gave me for Mother’s Day this year (sweetest gift EVER)… a stack of books I L-O-V-E love, given from him to me on various sundry occasions [if books were a love language, there’d be no debate]… a photo of little nineteen- and twenty- year-old us, under the sprinkling rain with the smoke rising from Hot Springs’ famous hot spring below, with a brand new shiny-sparkly-diamond-solitaire-engagement-ring on my hand and tears all up in my eyes… a canvas of the painting he had commissioned for me last Christmas… and a dainty, fragile, ivory and gold china coffee cup, a gift from our first bridal shower, which stays on my desk to remind me that this marriage is a priceless, precious gift from God that I’ve got to treat with the utmost care lest it chip, shatter, or break, each day.

Uh, yeah.  I think she knows me.

So it means a lot to me that God says, “You know what kids are?  They are not a project.  They are not a burden.  They are not a financial responsibility.  They are not mess-makers, talk-backers, picky-eaters, stinky-roomers.  They. Are. A. Gift.  From Me.  To you.”

Mr. Rogers taught me a lot.  [Random, I know.  Lol.  But truer than you know.]  One thing he taught was this:  When someone gives you a gift, your gift back to him or her is… “Thank you.” 

Do you know the feeling when someone says, “Thank you” and reeeaaaallllly means it?  Don’t rush past those moments.  Don’t mock humility and deny the recipient of your gift the honor of giving the gift of “thank you” back to you.  Receive it joyfully.  I think God does.

So today, for my last first-week-back-to-school prayer, I’m gonna pray what I should’ve started with:  A simple, “Thank you.”

Let’s pray:

Lord, thank you for __________________.   She is a priceless, precious gift… the best gift ever!  I can’t believe You thought to give her to me.  I can’t believe You love me so much, that You would do this for me.  You know me so well… You love me so well… She is absolutely stunning.  I love the way she _______________________________________.  Thank You for making her so ­­­­__________________, and __________________, and __________________, and __________________.  Thank you for thinking of me when You made her so ­__________________ and __________________.  I want to take the utmost care of her, Lord.  Help me to do so.  Thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You, for the gift of __________________.  I love her.  And I love You.

It may take some work to fill in the blanks.  I believe with all my heart that’s the work we’re called to as parents, every single one of us.  How can we pour courage and affirmation into them every day if we haven’t first articulated this most simple response to God? …the One who made them with His own hands, wrapped them up and sent them with one address on the tag:  Us. 

Being the gift-receiver that I am, three things I know about gifts:  They’re to be enjoyed; they’re to be used; and they’re to be taken care of.

Lord, help me today to enjoy _____________.   Gifts are to be enjoyed.  Forgive me for forgetting.

Lord, help me today to prepare _____________to do what You created her to do.  Help me see the distinct ways You’ve made her special, to applaud and pour into those uniquenesses, and to direct her toward the mark of Your glory and the service of her generation.

Lord, help me today to care for _____________ the way You would care for her.  Body, soul, heart, emotions, hormones [Can you tell I have girls??], mind, ALL of her, Lord.  Help me to care for her today, keeping in mind that as an arrow in my quiver she is both a powerhouse for Your kingdom AND just a hollow reed of wood.  Fragile.  Prone to splintering, even shattering.  Organic.  Carrying the weight and the force of a battlefield.  Victorious. 


"Observe here, Children of the youth are arrows in the hand, which, with prudence, may be directed aright to the mark, God’s glory and the service of their generation; but afterwards, when they have gone abroad into the world, they are arrows out of the hand; it is too late to bend them then."[2]

[1] Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: The Bible in contemporary language (Ps 127:3–5). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
[2] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Ps 127:1–5). Peabody: Hendrickson.


back to school prayers for parents | day four | Prov. 13.20 & 27.17

Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.[1]

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. [2]

Over the years, I think my husband and I have had more conversations about school choice than about pretty much anything else.  Maybe not, but every August it sure seems that way.  We have thought through, researched, prayed over, [read: over-analyzed] nearly every year of our daughters’ educational careers, starting when our oldest was five.  [Okay, okay… so we started talking about where she’d go to kindergarten before she was born.  Big deal.]

Our approach to choosing what school vs. homeschool vs. private school vs. this school vs. that school is: We take it year by year.  Every year, every option is on the table.  Every option.  So far, I stand by our approach.  I end up with a peace every Fall, that we are exactly where God wants us to be, although I may not understand the reasons why, and although it may be the last place I thought we’d be if you’d asked me in June.

But before that peaceful Fall breezy peace, when we’re in the spring and summer seasons of the year where we’re laying option after crazy option on the table, the heat gets turned up.  And I start to really sweat. 

That season ten years ago, when our oldest was about to be kindergarten-age, and we were making our very first obnoxiously over-analytical school choice – and totally freaking out about it, I might add – a wise, wise, wise, wise, wise friend said something to me I’ll never forget. 

[You see, she was an expert.  Here I was a green newbie preschool parent.  But she?  She taught sex ed to junior highers.  And not just at one junior high school.  She traveled from junior high to junior high all over town teaching sex ed (abstinence).  That day I just knew my friend could tell me which school system to put my five year old punkin into… the one where nobody ever has sex or does drugs or talks back to their teachers.]

But she didn’t.  Instead, she gently but firmly shook me out of my freak-out and into the reality that by the time my daughter is in junior high, the name of the school she attends won’t matter nearly as much as the company of friends she’s a part of, within said school.

We still pray over school choice each year.  But silly me.  It’d make so much more sense to spend so much more time praying over their friends.  Over that network of people they’ll hang out with at the reunion twenty years from now.  Over that circle of kids that will be in each other’s homes and in each other’s business.  There is no perfect school.  But there is a perfect gift – I’ve experienced it myself, so I know! – of a true friendship that makes you love God more and more everyday, and makes you a sharper (not duller) person because of it.

This morning as I was praying for those friendships for my girls, the Lord called to my mind the specific friendships He blessed ME with in my growing up years.  I remembered faces and names, without whom I seriously don’t know where I’d be today.  So I tried something new, and I invite you to try it, too.  I prayed for that specific kind of friend for my girls.  Like, “Lord, I pray for ­­­­­­­____________ (my daugher), that You would give her a ­­­­­­­____________ (the name of one of my friends growing up), someone who will ­­­­­­­____________, ­­­­­­­____________, and ­­­­­­­____________ (all the ways God used that specific friend in my life.)  It turned into a beautiful prayer too personal to share on the world wide web.  But suffice it to say, I’m overcome with gratitude today for the friends He placed ever-so-strategically in my life.  And I’m overcome with trust today that He will do the same for these three daughters of His that live under my crazy care.

Let’s pray:

Lord, I pray for our family’s wider circle today. 

I am not naïve enough to think that my voice is the only one speaking into them day after day.  And the older they get, the more tuned-in to the other voices they are.  I pray today for all of ­­­­­­­____________’s relationships outside of our home.  I pray, Lord, that You’d give her the gift of a friendship that is like “iron sharpening iron”… a mutual encouraging, challenging relationship with someone her age with whom she can be held accountable and be sparked to make right choices and fall more in love with You.  Today.

I pray for the gift of a mentorship relationship with someone older and wiser than ____________, whose voice reflects what we would say, but in a way that ____________ will receive and listen to.  Today.

As ____________ becomes more and more independent, I pray You strategically place friends and mentors in her life to protect her from harm, to increase her wisdom, and to make her a sharper (not duller) student, friend, sister, daughter, and lover of You.  Today.


[1] The New International Version. 2011 (Pr 13:20). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[2] The New International Version. 2011 (Pr 27:17). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


back to school prayers for parents | day three | Isaiah 44.1-5

If you’ve read my previous two posts, you’ve caught on that I’m using the Matthew Henry Commentary this week to add some quick input to how to pray these Scriptures.  I’ve joked with the Lord that me and Matthew Henry are praying for my kids.  “Me and Mr. Henry here again, Jesus.”  Though it’s not my all-time favorite commentary, I like that.  Something about the oldness speaks to me.  Lest you look at the footnotes and think Mr. Henry wrote this stuff in 1994, try 1708.  Yep.  Three whole entire centuries ago.  He’s the guy Charles Spurgeon and George Whitefield read.  And that’s just cool.  This scripture prayer in particular is informed by him.  I hope my introduction of commentary blesses your experience of praying these passages as much as Mr. Henry has blessed mine.  Today we’ll use the old 1611 King James Version just for fun.

                  Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant;
                        And Israel, whom I have chosen:
                  2       Thus saith the Lord that made thee,
                        And formed thee from the womb, which will help thee;
                        Fear not, O Jacob, my servant;
                        And thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
                  3       For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty,
                        And floods upon the dry ground:
                        I will pour my spirit upon thy seed,
                        And my blessing upon thine offspring:
                  4       And they shall spring up as among the grass,
                        As willows by the water courses.
                  5       One shall say, I am the Lord’s;
                        And another shall call himself by the name of Jacob;
                        And another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord,
                        And surname himself by the name of Israel. [1]

1.  Who are we in Isaiah 44?  

We are Jacob, Israel, Jeshurun.

In this address, God uses three names interchangeably:  the name Jacob, carrying connotations of deceit against a brother; the name Israel, which literally translates, “he struggles with God;” and the name Jeshurun, which means “the upright one.”  Sounds like an identity crisis waiting to happen.

In historic context, they were a people who had made a mess of things.  Screwed up.  Again and again.  And again.  Couldn’t get anything right.  Ornery.  The s- word.  (The one that ends with "tupid".)  Or, as Mr. Henry more politely put it, “Jacob and Israel had been represented, in the close of the foregoing chapter, as very provoking and obnoxious to God’s wrath, and already given to the curse and to reproaches.”[2] 

But in the very first word of Isaiah 44 lies the answer to any crisis of identity.  Herein lies their very definition.  Who they were.  Who WE are.  One word.  “YET…”

“Yet now, hear, O Jacob my servant!”

My whole life is hidden in that word. 

It has made all the difference.

And, according to Isaiah 44.1-5, it has made all the difference for my three cutie pie kiddos as well.  Ornery as they may be, on any given day.

The amazing news of Isaiah 44.1-5 is that all this mercy, all this grace, all this happiness, all these blessings, all these promises, belong to me AND MINE.  You AND YOURS.  Yep.  The kids. 

This is a promise straight from the mouth of God, straight to the ears of parents.

Mr. Henry says that the people of Israel are a figure of us.  We are “gospel Israel.”  (I like that.) 

2.  What does Isaiah 44 promise?

First, a promise for us… 

The One who made us, chose us, and called us… helps us.  We don’t have to be afraid.  Though we feel bone dry.  Empty.  Spent.  Done.  Yet…

Those that are barren as the dry ground shall be watered with the grace of God, with floods of that grace, and God will himself give the increase. If the ground be ever so dry, God has floods of grace to water it with.”[3]

Second, a promise for the world…

Galatians 3.16-29 talks about the “seed” mentioned in Isaiah 44.3.  It is Jesus Christ.  He is “the Seed to whom the promise referred… so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe” (Gal. 3.19, 22).  What was promised to all who believe?  (Yes, it really is true; all you have to do is believe.  a-MAZ-ing.)  The HOLY SPIRIT.

Thus, finally, a promise for our children…  the next generation…  the rising church…

An outpouring of blessing, like water.  But not just any ol’ plain ordinary everyday blessing.  I’ll let Mr. Henry take over here:

The water God will pour out is his Spirit (Jn. 7:39), which God will pour out without measure upon the seed, that is, Christ (Gal. 3:16), and by measure upon all the seed of the faithful, upon all the praying wrestling seed of Jacob… [that's us!]...

This gift of the Holy Ghost is the great blessing God had reserved the plentiful effusion of for the latter days [that's now!]: I will pour my Spirit, that is, my blessing; for where God gives his Spirit he will give all other blessings.

This is reserved for the seed and offspring of the church [that's our kids!]; for so the covenant of grace runs: I will be a God to thee and to thy seed. To all who are thus made to partake of the privileges of adoption God will give the spirit of adoption.

Hereby there shall be a great increase of the church. Thus it shall be spread to distant places. Thus it shall be propagated and perpetuated to after-times: They shall spring up and grow as fast as willows by the watercourses, and in every thing that is virtuous and praiseworthy shall be eminent and excel all about them, as the willows overtop the grass among which they grow, v. 4.

Note, It is a great happiness to the church, and a great pleasure to good men, to see the rising generation hopeful and promising. And it will be so if God pour his Spirit upon them, that blessing, that blessing of blessings."[4]

Let’s pray:

Lord, I thank You for calling me Your servant… for choosing me… for making me… for forming me in the womb.  I need help.  Help me, Lord.

Help me to not fear, for I am Your servant, and You’ve chosen me.  Though I’m bone dry, I pray You fill me.  Thank You for the gift of faith to believe in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  I believe.  Therefore, I am Yours. 

I am Yours, and so I pray Your promise for me and mine.  All _________ needs today is Your Holy Spirit.  I pray for an outpouring of Your Holy Spirit on ­­_________ today. I pray You pour out Your blessing on her, that blessing of blessings.

[Eugene Peterson, in The Message paraphrase of the Bible, titles this passage, “Proud to Be Called Israel.”  This isn’t some kind of mean, intolerant “Christian” pride.  But a deep-rooted, unshakeable security in WHO THEY ARE.  And THAT’S what I pray for today...]

Standing on Your promise in Your Word, Lord… 

I pray for _______, that in the dry and thirsty land of ___________ (name of school)... today...  she will know, beyond a shadow of a fear, that SHE IS YOURS. 

That her identity would be wrapped up, encapsulated, and found... in the YET of the gospel.  In YOU.  Jesus.  In You.


But for now, dear servant Jacob, listen— yes, you, Israel, my personal choice.
God who made you has something to say to you;
the God who formed you in the womb wants to help you.
Don’t be afraid, dear servant Jacob,
Jeshurun, the one I chose.
For I will pour water on the thirsty ground
and send streams coursing through the parched earth.
I will pour my Spirit into your descendants and my blessing on your children.
They shall sprout like grass on the prairie, like willows alongside creeks.
This one will say, ‘I am God’s,’ and another will go by the name Jacob;
That one will write on his hand ‘God’s property’— and be proud to be called Israel.”
(Isaiah 44.1-5, The Message)

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Is 44:1–5). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[2] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Is 44:1–8). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[3] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Is 44:1–8). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[4] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Is 44:1–8). Peabody: Hendrickson.