service…with a smile

I am in the process of cleaning some files from my computer and ran across a little paragraph I had written approximately two years ago. 

At the time, a student had written a post on a social networking site, and I felt the need to respond.  She posed a question.  She wanted to know how her professors (of which I had been), at her Christian college, smiled through the everyday and was concerned that the “Christian bubble” had taken us captive.  She believed her institution was disconnected from the real world.  What else, other than disconnection, could explain the ability to smile and serve on a daily basis?  Were we aware of those outside of our institution’s walls, the hardships, the atrocities, the tragedies?  She suspected that if we were aware, our response would not be as such.  Did we live a life of oblivion? 

I wanted to respond in many directions…

…that I was fully aware that life wasn’t always rosy even inside the bubble.  That Christ followers are people, and people deal with anger, sadness, happiness, and fear…sometimes, on a daily basis.  One’s location doesn’t affect that. 

…that I don’t smile everyday.  There are days that my heart cries out in sadness, and my smile is replaced by tears.  Life is hard, but God is good.  He is faithful to a damaged heart.  Some days I am quick to anger, but God continues to remind me that it should not be directed at those I love.  Anger should be reserved for injustice, oppression, and exploitation.

But, I did my best to boil it down.  This was my response:

I, like every faculty member I come in daily contact with, am active in my community.  But I do not serve under the title of professor, but as Deanne, follower of Christ.  My smile is not from a bubble world or oblivion.  I experience the world every day, as every wife, parent, adult does.  My smile comes from a love that I cannot for the life of me comprehend; a love that I do not deserve but has been given to me unconditionally.  That is why I serve and that is why I smile.

Today, I would like to add this:

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another withour grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.”

I Peter 4:8-11

blessed be the ties that bind

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to share our adoption story with our friends, the Taylors, on their blog

I met my first Taylor family member in 2009; he just wasn’t official yet.  Justice was in Kids Care Orphanage in Ethiopia, waiting for God’s timing to connect him with his forever family.  Fast forward one year, and I have the opportunity to meet Joshua and Bethany in Ethiopia as they are united with their newest additions, Justice and Erbeka.  This was their second time adding to their family through Ethiopia, and they were beginning their journey as a family of six.   

The Taylors describe themselves as a “people who love God, believe the Bible, and desire to live out life in a community of believers.  In everything we do we try to glorify God and live in a way that compels others to a relationship with Jesus Christ.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

This journey called adoption connects you to other adoptive families in a way that is difficult to put into words.  But, God does that doesn’t He?  We aren’t alone; we are blessed with the Holy Spirit and sometimes with fellow travelers.   

My lenten study brought me to some hymns this past week.  This one seems perfect for this subject: 

“Blessed Be the Tie that Binds”   (words – John Fawcett, music – Wendell Kimbrough)

Deanne & Bethany in Ethiopia ~ 2010

1. Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like that to that above.

2. Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.

3. We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

4. When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

5. This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.

6. From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.

Take some time today to meet the Taylors.  You’ll be glad you did.

she chose God

Last night I was listening to a conversation Konjit (8) and Karson (6) were having on our way home from small group. 

The girls were chosing their favorite thing from two options.  So, I would hear, “chocolate or vanilla?”  “Chocolate!”  “Pizza or macaroni and cheese?”  “Macaroni and cheese!” 

The choices eventually switched to family.  Karson was given the option of mommy or daddy.  She responded with, “both!”  I, of course, smiled. 

Then Karson asked Konjit, “God or mommy and daddy.”  Konjit didn’t miss a beat and answered, “God…because He gave me mommy and daddy.”

She chose God, and this mommy is more than okay with that.


Some Sundays I have the opportunity to share the communion meditation with my church family; today was such a day.

Our sermon at MPCC was based on Titus 2:3-8.  While I was reading in preparation, there was one word that kept running through my mind: example.

Webster’s Dictionary states that an example is one of a number of things, or a part of something, taken to show the character of the whole.  Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary shares that an example is one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not imitated. 

We are reminded throughout the scriptures that being a follower of Christ means exemplifying Christ-like behavior.

In I Timothy 4:12, young believers are reminded:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”         

I have worked at a Christian institution for the past 11 years and have witnessed young people take these verses to heart.  You are never too young to exemplify Christ, and you are never too old to learn from someone else’s example.

In John 13:15 we read the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples:

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” 

He had just washed the feet of His disciples; men who were following Him, serving Him, and He washed their feet.

The ulimate of examples and we have to look no further than here:

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”                             

                                                                                                                                     I Peter 2: 21-24


my morning.

the hustle and bustle of getting four children ready for school and out the door on time. 

a husband off of work so that he can drive them into town. 

i pause. 

i grab a small individually wrapped piece of dove chocolate for my opener to breakfast. 

i’m an adult.  i made a choice.

the inside of the wrapper says, “enjoy this moment.”

oh, i will dove chocolate.  

i will.