Monday, December 29, 2014

Just Like Your Dad

If you have ever met my family, then you know I am the spitting image of my mother. Seriously. We look EXACTLY alike. It's kind of strange. We are often stared at when we are out in public. Once, when I was young, I thought I saw a picture of myself in my grandmother's house, and I asked my mom, "Where was this taken? I don't remember this." It was a picture of her. Yup. That's right. We look so much alike that I couldn't even tell us apart. And you know what? 

I LOVE that. 

I love that I look just like my mom. She is the woman I admire most in the entire world. I love everything about her. She has a fierce faith and a devoted heart. She loves her God and her family. She is honest and wise, reliable and wholly trustworthy. It is an honor for me to bear such a striking resemblance to her. 

I have always wondered what it would be like to one day look into the face of my daughter and see my own self reflected. More than that, though, I have dreamed of the day when I would look at my son and be able to say things like, "You look just like your dad when you do that." 

And then God called us to this life of adoption. A life that ensures our children will NOT look like us. Part of that has been hard. There is something incredibly unique about seeing yourself in your children. Even now, so much of the discussion that swirls around the children of my dearest friends is focused on determining who the child looks like. Mom or dad? That is not a conversation that will be happening in the Knott household. 

Our perfectly beautiful son does not look like us. 

I thought that would be so hard for me. Not the idea of adopting. I LOVE adoption. Love it more than I could ever attempt to explain to you. I thought it would be hard to never look into the face of my son and think, "Goodness, he looks just like Adam." 

But then God gave me a gift. 

A truth. 

It's not about physical appearance. It's ALL about spiritual appearance. 

You see, I am adopted, too. I have been, through the saving blood of Jesus Christ, adopted into God's family. Permanently. Forever. I don't look a THING like Him. Not one bit. But He has covered me with His grace and mercy. He has washed away my sin and made me white as snow. He has made me His daughter. And I like to think that when I am following His will for my life, He looks at the angels around Him and at Jesus, His Son, and says, "Doesn't she look just like us when she does that?" 

That thought alone pulls me close to tears. And then I realized that I will have THAT opportunity with my own son. I might not be able to look at him and think he physically looks just like his dad, but I am praying and hoping for the day when I can watch him follow God's great plan for his life and think to myself, "You look just like your dad when you do that." 

Because that is what I know his earthly father will model for him. A life that lives fully and wholly sold out to Christ. And in looking like his earthly father, my sweet boy will be living a life that follows his heavenly father. And you know what? I can't think of two souls I would rather have my son imitate.

Do we do that enough? Try to emulate Christ? It is our life's calling. Are we answering? When people look at us, are they thinking we look just like our Heavenly Father? If not, we need to shift our focus. We need to point ourselves and our lives toward Him and ask Him what He desires of our lives. We need to be brave enough to follow Him, whatever the path.  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 5:1-2


Thursday, December 25, 2014

All You Can See

I have spent so much time over the last few days reflecting on how Christmas this year is so different from last year. God has done so much. Last year, we were at the beginning of a six month stretch of no movement. Rumors were flying that Ethiopia was going to close to international adoption within days. Motherhood seemed to be a long, long way off.  My heart was heavy. And I could not see how God was getting any glory from the circumstance in which I found myself.

Fast forward to this year. God has brought us our son. He has written this incredibly beautiful story that I still cannot believe I am a part of. God has not met a single expectation of mine. He has surpassed them. He has brought us this little life to love for all of our days, to raise and minister to, to teach about Jesus.

On Christmas Eve last year, I found myself sitting in church with my husband and my family fighting back sobs  and then turning away when I couldn't, trying so hard to maintain a spirit of thankfulness and trust in God in the midst of the single most difficult thing I have ever endured. I was crying out to God to give us a miracle. This plea was followed by months of silence. Months that tested and refined my faith in God. Months that showed me God is exactly who He says He is.

Last night, I was sitting in the same church, in almost exactly the same seat in tears because of all God has done. And the pastor said something that hit might right where I am. In talking about what God can and will do in our lives, he said:

"All you can imagine is all you can see." 

I love that. It's so true. All I can imagine God doing is what I know is possible. God does not exist within that framework. He is beyond it. And I am so thankful to serve this great God.

This is never more true than on Christmas Day. The day God did something so far beyond our imagination. He willingly sent His only Son to us. To be born, to live and to die in our place. To pay the price our sin deserves so that we could be redeemed unto Him. So today, I have to ask you the most important question there is.

Do you know Jesus?

Not just who He is or what He did. But do you know Him? He knows you and loves you. He chose to give His life for you. There is no greater love. And it all started on this day over 2,000 years ago. With a baby's cry.

I hope and pray that you do. That you are able to bask in the joy of His love and rejoice in the beauty of His sacrifice.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Place I Will Show You

I have a HUGE writing deficit going on. We have been waist deep in research papers at school, and that has left me little time for anything other than grading and answering questions. But oh so much is swirling around in my head.

First and most importantly, I am so humbled by all that God has done in our lives, not just in matching us with our son, but with EVERY SINGLE DETAIL over the last two and a half years leading up to the moment we saw our son's beautiful face. At so many points along the way, I doubted, questioned and even defied. I just KNEW that my way was better, that if God would just LISTEN to me, everything would work together and end up exactly right.

But I was wrong. So, so wrong.

All of those months of tears and begging and bargaining, and our son was not even born yet. How humbling. How like God to lead us through a valley that, to us, seems impossibly deep, only to bring us to the place He designed for us all along. So much of this journey has been God asking us to trust Him. Much like Abraham, we were asked to go to a place He would show us. Not a place He had showed us, but to a place that He would at some point in the future show us.

So hard.

So unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

I have always known Jesus. I cannot think of a time when I didn't. But my faith had never been tested in this way. I had never had to choose to believe God in spite of my circumstances. God had blessed me beyond measure. And then we began the road to our son. This road that we were so certain would look a certain way.

Only it didn't.

It didn't live up to ANY of our expectations. It seemed like we were hitting brick walls at every turn. All we wanted was to become parents, to adopt this beautiful child. Yet nothing was happening. If anything, we seemed to be getting further and further away from our child(ren). Months and years passed.

And we were SO tempted to pursue something else in the meantime. A concurrent domestic adoption. Another country. Something. We were committed to Ethiopia, but it looked like it would be YEARS longer. I pushed for it. Told Adam that I just couldn't take it anymore.

And he, like the Godly man he is, reminded me of Abraham. Over and over again. God asked Abraham to go to a place He would reveal. God promised Abraham a son. Decades went by with no end in sight. And then Abraham veered off God's course with Hagar. He doubted God's promise. And I did the same. But Adam steered me back, away from the temptation to pursue our own path, away from the shouts of the world, telling us to do what we wanted.

And through God's strength and grace, we managed to stay faithful. Now there is this little life, this sweet and precious life who is ours to love for all our days. God has given us a glimpse of the place He has called us to, and I am so thankful, so humbled and so overwhelmed.

So now we are praying him home. And even in that, I am learning to trust God in a whole new way. Someone else is caring for my son. Someone else is feeding and hugging and comforting my son. Someone else is feeding and loving my son. And I am here. Away from him. Trusting God to intervene and believing in His promise that He wastes nothing and controls everything.

More to come VERY soon.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A New Phase

Monday was December 1. Do you know what I did NOT do on Monday? Stalk my email for a waiting list update. For the first time TWENTY FIVE months! It was a glorious relief. No more numbers. Just his precious face. Amen to that.

I have spent so much time over the last few days tracing back through this incredible journey, and I am amazed over and over again by the evidence of God's goodness and faithfulness. Evidence that is just NOW being made visible. I am overwhelmed and completely humbled. And I'm working on getting it all together to tell you. I promise.

For now though, I want to share just a bit about this new phase we are in. Adam and I are BEYOND thankful for your love, support and constant prayer over the years. You are such an integral part of this journey we are on. Thank you for walking with us. This phase is different. There are a lot of things we cannot share. I want so much to send his precious photo to everyone who has walked this path with us, but I can't. We have to protect his privacy. Believe me...once we are legally his parents, there will be an inundation of photos!

And then there's his life up till now. There is much of our son's story that is not ours to tell, and so we are keeping it for him and not telling it to anyone. While I love to know people and be known by people, this is different. His life leading up to us is his and his alone to share, so we are starting our journey as parents out by trying to respect that and honor his privacy. It's not that we don't want you to be involved, and I am so worried that it will come across that way. It's just that this is his life and his story. He will one day grow up to be a man, and this part of his life is just not ours to share.

So we are asking for your grace and understanding in that.

We want you to be involved in his life from here forward. We want you to meet him and love him and remind him of God's love and goodness.

Much will happen over the coming months. Paperwork. Court hearings. Travel. COMING HOME! And we still need you! We still need your prayers, and we are so thankful for them and for you, for all you have done in our lives and in the life of our son. You are being the hands and feet of Jesus, and it is beyond humbling to be recipient of your love.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

His Face: Our Referral

The post I have been waiting years to write, and I don't even know how how to explain it to you. I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

Half-time of the Iron Bowl and my phone rings. Catherine, our saint of a case manager, says hello. I knew this was it, and I grabbed Adam's arm. My gracious response to Catherine? " Can you please tell me why you are calling me right now?"She told me that she was going to make my Thanksgiving a little happier, and I bolted out of the room into the kitchen.

We get her on speakerphone, and she tells us...
 We have a son. 
Shock. Disbelief. 

I will never, for the rest of my life, forget the look on this man's face in this moment. 

So completely and wholly overcome. 
So thankful. 
So overjoyed. 
So glad this woman got to be a part of it. 
 And then we saw his precious face, another face that I will never forget for as long as I live. 
It is etched into my memory. 


My main man looking at my little man. 
 God did it. He brought us here. He brought us this little life to love. 
We are so humbled, awed and blessed by God's faithfulness in our life and in the life of our son. 
 We are parents! 
And we could NOT be happier! 

We would love nothing more than to show you our son's face, but we cannot share it yet. If you see me in person, though, please ask! I am likely to have 30 copies of his picture in my purse and a few dozen more on my phone. 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." 


**I am eternally indebted to my sis-in-law to be, Farren, for being quick on her feet and grabbing her phone to record and document this incredible night.**

Friday, November 21, 2014


Apparently I'm obsessive. Who knew?

Oh, wait. You knew?

I feel like we are getting close, like REALLY close. And I have been obsessively checking my phone and my email all week this week. As in refreshing my email every three minutes and refusing to be anywhere without my phone, lest it ring and I not hear it. Some referrals went out last week, and based on those, it looks like it could be us VERY soon. My heart races and pounds just thinking about it. After all we have endured over the last two years and seven months on this adoption journey, I can hardly believe that this day is coming.

It is honestly a bit difficult to put this out there to you, to admit that I feel (for the first time…ever) like we are actually close. It's a risk. Because what if we aren't? What if things stall out again like they did exactly one year ago? What if we are waiting for months and months and months more? And the answer is this: I don't know. I don't know what it's going to look like or how long it is going to be. All I know is that I FEEL like it could be soon. And that is a first for me.

So I am petitioning you again, dear friends. Will you pray? REALLY pray?

Will you pray that it is soon? That I will be able to finally write the post that I have crafted in my head over and over again? That I will be able to share the best of news with you? That the day will come when there is one less (maybe two less) child(ren) in the world waiting for a family? That Adam and I will FINALLY know what it is like to look at a picture and say, "That is my child."?

I am trying so hard to trust God in the middle of this craziness, to rest the in the truth of His goodness. And I am so, so, SO ready for Him to write the next chapter in this beautiful story. I am ready to see the goodness of His promise come to fruition. Ready to love this little life. Ready to teach this little one all about the great God who brought us together.

"They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." 
Isaiah 61:3


Monday, November 17, 2014

My Story is His Story

I have spent a good deal of time this past week reflecting over all that has transpired in my life over the last almost four years on this journey to parenthood. Goodness, so much has changed. When I think back to specific times, times full of excitement and others overflowing with sadness, I am amazed to have come through it all. And in that, I know, is the grace and goodness of God. This journey is by no means over. We haven't been matched yet. But I have arrived in this place where I am enjoying looking at the story God is writing in my life, and I am coming to the realization that my story is actually His story.

You see, this is not the life I would have chosen for myself. Thirty is staring me in the face and motherhood is not yet in sight. There is hope on the horizon, yes, but nothing certain. I thought that by now, we would be adopting our first child to add to the two already in our home. But that is not the case. We only have one child. And she has four legs.

So this is not the story I wrote for myself when I was younger. My story was not nearly this dramatic. It's the story God wrote for me before the dawn of time. He knew all of these things would happen. He knew the moments that would fill us with joy and anticipation. He knew the moments that would threaten to drown us in sorrow and hardship. He knew the days that I would rage in anger at the apparent unfairness of it all and even at Him. He knew the moments when I would be so totally and completely overwhelmed with love for my little Ethiopians that I would cry just thinking about them.

He knew all of those things, and He is using them to write this incredible story. A story that I cannot believe is mine. He is revealing to me the depth of His own love for His children and just a tiny glimpse of the hardship and sacrifice He endured to redeem us unto Himself. He is showing me that He can strengthen a woman, this woman, to withstand the most difficult and heart wrenching of tests and that He can carry her through those tests. He is showing me that I cannot be taken away from Him, no matter how hard the enemy tries and no matter how much I want to give up and give in. He is showing me that the love between a man and his bride can be the deepest, most profound example of Christ's love for the church and that that is exactly what it should be. He is showing me that the greatest thing we have on earth to advance the Kingdom of God is love. He is showing me that a mother's love for her children will cause her to willingly endure all kinds of hardships, impossibilities, disappointments, ridicule, loneliness, desperation and heartache and that she will keep coming back for more because her children are WORTH it. And He is showing me that HE feels the same way about US.

God has used this incredible thing called adoption to open my eyes, maybe just a little bit, to the startling reality of His love for us. His children. The children He adopted through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. The children He fought for and suffered for.

So when I say that my story is His story, I don't mean that I am like God. I'm not. Trust me. I mean that He is using the story He is writing in my life to reveal His character to me. And He is doing in the most radical of ways. This is not the path I would have chosen, but God has my attention. And I am ready to see what's next.

Maybe God is doing something awesome and redemptive in your life, too. Maybe it is NOT what you thought it would be. Hang in there, dear friend. He is working. He is writing a story in your life that is actually His story. Let him.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33


Friday, November 14, 2014

Some Good News!

Well, it seems that things are starting to move again in Ethiopia! Eeeeek! We have been hearing about some referrals going out this week.

I don't know about you, but that just sets my heart a racing and swelling with hope. 

Wil you pray today that our time is soon? Like really soon? Like before Christmas soon? 

I think it can happen. And if it does, I promise to share my whole, great, big, crazy reaction with you.

I have learned so much about God and His goodness and His rock-solid faithfulness. I have learned that He wastes nothing and provides everything. He loves unconditionally and forgives always. He pursues us and waits for us to come home when we insist on going our own way. He never leaves or grows weary of our prayers. He suffers and grieves right alongside us. He comforts us through His Spirit, His Word and His children here on earth. He brings people into our lives to lift us up in our hour of need. He reminds us along the way that He is good. And He never forgets us. He asks big things of our lives, not to torment us to but to strengthen us. He puts the impossible in front of us so that He can be glorified. He allows pain and suffering so that He can heal and restore.

I have learned all of these things and so many more. And I know that I could not have learned these things if not for this incredibly deep valley we have been walking through. So while it has been (and continues to be) the most difficult thing God has ever asked of me, I know that God is here, that He is in it and that it will ultimately be far more than I could ever ask or imagine.



November has been a tough month. No movement. Learning that the way things have been is the new normal. Finding out that our expenses are significantly increasing. Lots to process and most of it is not good.

But in the midst of all of this, I sense God stirring something. I don't know exactly what it will all ultimately lead to, but I do sense that a change is on the horizon. God has been tugging on my heart lately to move forward with something I have been circling around for a long time. It wasn't some huge revelation. More like a series of events and promptings pointing me toward what will hopefully be a whole new, adventurous chapter. I just hope I am brave enough to do it.

It involves sharing a LOT of my story. Like, all of it. Yikes.

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to speak at a women's event in Eufaula, Alabama. I was able to share not only our adoption story, but how God is using it to restore, redeem and beautify my life in a way that only He can. I think that night was the spark that set this new thing into motion.

So, once again, I am trying to walk and live and breathe in faith, hoping and praying that God will guide me and use me and my life and this story to bring glory to His wonderful Name.

Hoping to share more soon. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wait List Update: November 2014

Wow. November of 2014. I can safely say that I never thought I would be writing a waiting list post for November of 2014. It feels like it can't be real.

We got our monthly update yesterday, and there was no movement.

I have to say that I am not surprised. It seems that the more this adoption process progresses, the less progress we actually make. We received an update from our agency the other week telling us that what we are currently experiencing is the new normal and we should not be expecting anything different. Honestly, I am not quite sure what that means. It was one year ago on November 1 that we became number 29 for the very first time. Now, one year later, we have made little forward progress toward our children.

It is confusing. Hurtful. Complicated.

There is no simple solution to our problem. Believe me, I wish there was.

All we know is that God has asked us to adopt from Ethiopia, so here we are. We are waiting. And it is hard and it hurts and I don't like it. I want my children home. What we are experiencing now… I honestly did not even know this was in the realm of possibility. This is so much harder than anything I could have dreamed up on my own.

But I am trying my hardest to trust God and hang on.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Deep Well Women

Do you have deep well women in your life? Women who fill you up just by being there?

God has blessed me with many deep well women. They are my mentors, my friends. They are women I love, women I respect, women I admire. They are women whose wells are deep and full of love to give. They are women God has given me to help me wade through the waters of this adoption process. And I love each and every one of them so much.

My mom. Oh, my mom. I have never known another woman like her. She is resolved, steadfast and immovable. She is determined and faithful. She knows God. And she knows that she knows Him. She is responsible for so much of who I am today. She has refused to give up on me. She has continued to encourage me and challenge me. She loves me and she dares me to live the life God has laid before me. She points me back to Jesus at every.single.turn. She will not back down. She is a fighter, a warrior. And I am honored, grateful, humbled to have her on my team.

My sister. She is THERE. She is with me. She hurts and grieves and rages right alongside me. She is the single most fiercely loyal person I have EVER known. She will fight, knock down and drag out fight, to protect the people she loves. And I am blessed enough to be one of those. She lets me be who I am with no fear of judgment. She reminds me that it is OK to be angry and hurt. She points me to the goodness God has showered upon me, even in this season of trial. I could not do this without her.

JoAnne. What was the Lord thinking when He gifted me with this woman for a mother-in-law? He out-did Himself. I love her deeply and truly. Not only has she raised the single most incredible man I know, but she has loved me and welcomed me into her family with open arms and an open heart. She is an shining example of God's grace and goodness. She loves unconditionally and trusts in the Lord for all things. She believes in His promises with an unwavering faith and handles trials with unfathomable dignity.

Betty. She is the refresher of my soul on this earth. She fills my cup when it is empty. She lets me let down my armor and hurt in front her. She reminds me that God is here, right here with me. That He loves me. She encourages me and reminds me that it is OK to be human and to FEEL. She prays for me and loves me. She mentors me. And I admire her more than I can explain to you.

I have so many more deep well women in my life, and I will write about them soon. But I want to hear about your deep well women. Who are the women who love you and inspire you? Who are the women who carry you when you can't bear to walk another step? Tell me about them. A woman's heart is such a unique and special thing, and I want to honor it. So send me an email ( about your deep well woman, and I will share it to thank her for who she is in your life. Let's link arms and honor these precious women and the love they have poured into us.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Weekend Escape

The Knotts LOVE to camp. And this past weekend, we got to do just that. Adam and I packed up the car and the pup and headed out to Cheaha State park to spend the weekend in the wild with each other and our precious Daisy girl. It was so wonderful to get out and away and just enjoy being out in the woods with each other.

We started out by hiking out to Pulpit Lookout to catch the sunset. 
Snapped this one of my best fella just soaking up God's creation. 
The view is absolutely breathtaking. 
My two favorites in the whole, wide world. 
And some love from my best gal. 
 She loves being out in the woods as much as we do. 
And she brings so much joy to my heart. 
Family photo! 
The sunset was quite worth the hike. 
 Back at the campsite... 
With the Knott family camping staples: root beer and fire. 
 Early morning fire and some breakfast with these two. 
Staying toasty warm! 
 And a morning hike to finish out the trip! 
Taking it all in. 
Good for the soul. 

I am so thankful for time away with my two greatest loves and the chance to enjoy God's beautiful creation, deep conversation and quiet peace. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Trusting God with Your Impossible

Sometimes God asks big things of us. He asks us to let go of what we want, what we have always envisioned, what we think we deserve. He asks us if we really trust Him, if we really believe that He is sovereign AND good.

And when God does this, when He asks something big, it can feel like He is asking us to do the impossible. Asking us to do something that feels so completely beyond our capabilities that there is NO WAY it can be done. But that is where God shows up. For Him, our impossible is easy.

This is where I find myself. Day after day. Minute after minute.

For me, the impossible in this life is bringing our children home from Ethiopia. As the days pass, it feels like they get farther and farther away, it feels like we will always be waiting and never be parents. Month after month goes by with no news, and we are asked to wait. We are asked to trust. We are asked to believe.

We, like Peter, are asked to get out of the boat and walk across the sea. We are asked to do this impossible thing. To walk on water.

And we can only do it if we keep our eyes on Jesus. Much like Peter, I find myself often focusing on the storm raging around me. Focusing on everything else. On the ever-lengthening process, on the lack of information, on the timeline, on people telling us to try something else. On my sadness, on my fear, on my doubt, on my anger.  I see all of these distractions, and they threaten to overtake me, to swallow me up.

And I know I have to look at Jesus.

But everything else is screaming for my attention. And Jesus is asking for it.

Everything else is raging around me, and He is quietly asking me to trust Him.

So I'm trying. I'm trying to look at Him. I'm trying ignore the crashing waves and the howling wind and the deafening thunder. And I am trying to look at the One who told me that I could walk on water, the One who told me that, through Him, I could do the impossible.

If I would just trust Him with it.

So I don't know what your impossible is. Waiting for a spouse? Struggling with a wayward child? Or, like me, are you waiting to become a parent and it just doesn't seem to be happening for you? Whatever it is, you can trust Him with it. There will be dark days, maybe lots of them Today was one for me. One that left me feeling alone and scared and angry and hurt. But even in that, He is there. He is our Jehovah Shammah, and He can be trusted with our impossible.

“Come,” he (Jesus) said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, 
walked on the water and came toward Jesus."
Matthew 14:29

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thirty Months

Can you imagine being thirty months pregnant? Thirty months waiting for the one you love to finally make his/her grand entrance into your life and change your world forever? Guess who can imagine?

This girl.

Today marks thirty MONTHS since we started the adoption process to bring our little darlings home. Thirty months of hoping and praying every day that the waiting will be over and that our world will be rocked by arrival of our children. Thirty months of love growing in my heart for little faces and hearts and souls I do not yet know.

Most of me cannot believe it has been this long. My friend, Laura Catherine, and I often talk about that fact. We really just can't believe it. And I'll be honest with you, there are days when I feel like this is all we will ever do. Days when I feel like we will always be adoptING. And I am so ready to have adoptED. I'm ready for the adoption to be over and for us to have our darlings home with us.

I'm thirty months ready.

So I hopped over to Psalm thirty, looking for some encouragement on this unfathomable day. I recommend reading the whole chapter, but the last three verses are for me today.

Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
 Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Psalm 30:10-12


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Isaiah 61

I mentioned in my October update post that I am working on memorizing Isaiah 61. It is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture. I love the hope it brings, the redemption it promises and the goodness of God that it calls to mind. And on top of all of that, it is oh so beautifully written. The English teacher in me loves the imagery and the figurative language.

The Year of the Lord’s Favor
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
 to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
 and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
 and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
 instead of ashes,

the oil of joy
 instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
 instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
 for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
 and restore the places long devastated; 

they will renew the ruined cities
 that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
 you will be named ministers of our God.

You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
 you will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace
 you will rejoice in your inheritance.

And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
 I hate robbery and wrongdoing. 

In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
 that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
 my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,

as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
 and a garden causes seeds to grow,

so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
 and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61 

There is so much to love about this chapter. It is so full of hope, and that is something I need in my life right now. At church this past Sunday, one of our pastors was talking about what hope means in the Bible versus what it means in the world. In the world, hope is something we want to happen, something we wish for. In the Bible, hope is a promise. Our hope is that God is who He says He is. That is a promise based in the sound goodness of His character, and His character is love. 

So, over the coming weeks and months, I am working on memorizing the entire chapter. While I have always loved Isaiah 61, I can't take credit for this idea. Over coffee with my cousin, Jennifer, she brought up that she had been praying this chapter over her family and mine, asking that this would be the year of the Lord's favor in our lives. I love that. And so I decided that it would be a good idea to commit the whole chapter to memory, to hide it in my heart so that on the days I am really struggling, I can remind myself right away of the HOPE God promises.

The promise that one day I will…

Receive a crown of beauty for my ashes,

The oil of joy for my mourning,

And a garment of praise for my spirit of despair.

Be called an oak of righteousness

And be a planting of the Lord for the display of HIS splendor.

I need these reminders as we walk the path the Lord has laid out for us. It is far too easy to walk in the company of doubt and fear, to keep the company of sorrow and shame.

And I want to let these things go, and instead be found in glory of the Lord and let my heart rest in the HOPE He brings.

My goal is to have it memorized by the end of the year. So if you see me, quiz me.


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