Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Break the SILENCE

The ceiling fan is buzzing, yep... my oils are diffusing and I lay in bed watching the shadows from the tree outside of our window dance on the ceiling above. I'm not sure what time it is, because I refuse to pick up my phone scared to know how late or early it might be. It is quiet, yet my thoughts are loud and conflicting. I quickly focus my head and heart on what I know... that my God sees, hears, and is in complete control over ALL things. 


Finally, 5:30 comes and alarms begin to sound. After a snooze or two, Jared gets up and heads straight to our front window, pulls the curtain to the side to check on his grass seed that he planted. The time and attention he gives always results in a lovely yard outside of the Cooper Cottage. This particular morning, I thought to myself about how a seed taking root in order to sprout and grow required struggle, care, time... all in SILENCE. 

Yes, we live in a culture where we are experts at distraction and distance. We are more connected than ever, yet more disconnected than ever. We schedule every moment of each day even if with just noise. We avoid SILENCE. It makes us uncomfortable. Maybe because it is in the struggle of SILENCE, true growth actually takes place. 

BUT... why does suffering or struggle seem so SILENT?

The tiny baby in an orphanage stops crying and is SILENT after their needs go unmet. The street kid hides in SILENCE waiting to pick food from the trash. The foster kid is SILENCED by the system as they are sent from home to home. The young girl who is trafficked is SILENCED by fear. Addictions are fueled in SILENCE. The anxious and depressed work tirelessly to SILENCE the voices in their head while suffering alone. The diseased and disabled are SILENCED by the difficulties they encounter day to day. After years and years of infertility, she is SILENT about her story and full of shame. 
Our world is FULL of suffering... from terrorism to tragedy to when you can't even imagine anything more evil or terrifying to suffering that is subtle and yes, SILENT... It's everywhere we look, but do we really SEE it? And why don't we hear it?  

As a child of God, suffering should be expected. BUT, friends, because of the cross and the empty grave, it is NOT eternal. Because God our Father sent His Son to die on a cruel cross, He experienced suffering to the fullest extent that we may know, believe, and trust in Him. Because of His ultimate suffering, we are able to OVERCOME and BREAK the SILENCE with a SONG.

Is God trusting you with SILENCE?
Friend, embrace and even celebrate the SILENCE in suffering, because it is there where God grows you and gives you a song - a song that can be used to sing of His goodness and grace. Then, choose to sit in SILENCE with others and together sing the songs that were written in the secret, SILENT places of suffering, sorrow and shame by our God who overcame sin and death. Then three days later, He was resurrected that we may experience ETERNAL life with Him in glory where we will forever be separated from suffering.

These words are not just based on my own "type" of suffering, but instead have resulted from a lifetime of choosing to walk with and see suffering in all shapes and sizes. Over the years, I have found myself drawn to the SILENT, secret and yes, scary places of suffering, and it is there friends, where I have seen God the most clearly and felt Him in my Spirit the most deeply. Yes... scary, terrifying, ugly, unfair, inconvenient, unsafe, BUT isn't that the reality of our world? And that's the reason, friends, the Gospel is such GOOD NEWS! Suffering gives the Gospel a SILENT stage - a place where chains are loosened and true freedom is experienced here as we prepare for and anticipate eternity there!  

"Suffering is a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you." Mother Teresa 

We may never experience the type of suffering Paul endured, but there is such beauty in the truths found in his letter to Timothy that can be applied to you... to me... today... every day... as we live in this world full of suffering and actively choose to walk with those who are suffering even in SILENCE. Walk through this letter with me allowing the Holy Spirit to speak life into your soul that has experienced, is experiencing or will experience some type of suffering.

2 Timothy 1:8-12 "So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return."

2 Timothy 2:1-13 "Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is."

2 Timothy 3:10-17 "But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work."

2 Timothy 4:1-5 "I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you."

This week, we celebrate Easter. A time we acknowledge Jesus' suffering. And... because of the cross, and because Jesus gloriously conquered death and the grave, we can not only endure suffering, but can also celebrate it knowing that... "Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and JOYFULLY look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." (Romans 5:1-5) He endured our suffering that we may be full of JOY and sing in SILENCE and YES, OUT LOUD of the goodness and grace of our God!

Adoption Update: We have one of two little beds set up here at the Cooper Cottage while piles of paperwork remain on our kitchen table and we anticipate our Colombian home study to be completed any day. After it is received, we will complete our dossier to be sent to Colombia, then anxiously await our travel date. Along with paperwork, phone calls and emails, our days are filled with education on our little guy's special needs and a lot of nesting for this momma. THANK YOU to our village who has walked with us on this broken, yet beautiful path. Your continued prayers are most appreciated as we desire nothing more than for God to be glorified through this journey. Please continue to be in prayer for the following:
- Our preparation for parenting
- Our kiddos' spiritual, physical, and emotional health 
- For those in Haiti and Colombia caring for our babies
- For the Haiti matching process to continue to progress as we wait for a referral
- God's provision and the grant writing process. We are taking a huge step of faith, knowing that our God is able. God has provided $30,000 of the estimated $75,000 needed in order to bring our babies home. Please prayerfully consider helping support us financially. You can make a donation by going to or in order for your gift to be tax deductible.  

Worship in Waiting: 
"Look and See" The Village Church
"This I Believe (The Creed)" Hillsong Worship

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