Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I have to admit my mind spins too much most of the time.  And like most people I get on the "crazy cycle" at times.  Life in this modern world can get busy, too busy sometimes. 

When 2014 dawned I found God leading me to simplify, to cut back on commitments and re-focus on the most important.  I reduced my number of commitments.  Yet, life kept spinning.  I slowed down for spinal surgery.  But, I recovered and jumped right back in.  I wasn't running as much.  Still, my heart felt unsettled, restless.  

I hear people complain about winter.  I've complained about it plenty of times myself.  However, the last few years I've seen the beauty in it.  No, not the snow necessarily (but if you have eyes to see, it is beautiful too) or the cold or the wind or the ice.  The beauty I see in it is: the call to rest

  “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”
Psalm 116:7

We had an unseasonably warm December.  But now it's January.  It's well below zero today with much more wretched wind chills.  A fresh layer of snow fell last night.  Schools are closed (not that it matters much to us homeschoolers), roads conditions are hazardous and we don't have to go anywhere.  On days like this we hunker down.  Once our chores and school work are done (farmers and homeschoolers don't take snow days), we play games.  We eat soup and other comfort food.  We snuggle up on the couch together with a good book or movie.  I enjoy time with my family!

When I find a few moments to myself, I am still.  I find time to read, write, reflect and breath.  I might even taken a nap.  I give my mind a rest and just "be".  I find rest for my harried soul. 

I've had time to talk to God about what He wants for me (and my family) in 2015.  I hear Him whispering, "Don't forget how good it is to rest."  And I realize winter isn't all that bad.  In fact, it's the season of rest God knew I needed. 

I certainly am not an expert at this resting thing.  It has taken me time to rein in my spinning mind and restless heart.  Still, I'm glad the rest came when I saw winter as a chance to quiet my soul.

How about you?  Will you spend this winter feeling restless and complaining, or will you be intentional and find rest for your soul? 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Another Lesson I Learned From My Child

Motherhood can be so humbling...especially when it's your children who keep teaching YOU things. 

I'm a homeschool mom.  I spend my days with my two boys.  I teach them reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.  But we also talk a lot about character and Biblical truth. 

Recently our family fell in love with a foster child.  He spent weekends bonding with us.  We all enjoyed him so much and it felt so perfect, a great match in every way.  We thought he would soon come to live with us, that he would become our son/brother. 

Then, as the termination of parental rights hearing neared, after the child had already spent several months in foster care, some distant relatives who had never met him and live in another state came forward.  They decided they wanted to be considered as the primary adoptive family.  In our state (Iowa), relatives to the fourth degree of kinship (!!!) receive preference over foster/adoptive families.

I've found myself irritated at "the system" and the laws in our great state of Iowa.

I've found myself frustrated that caring DHS workers can't make decisions that seem to be in the child's best interest, like turning away distant relatives who don't even know a child and live all the way across the country, because of laws that don't make sense and seem to even frustrate them.  Have we lost all common sense?

I've found myself so angry that this precious little one will remain in foster care much longer than necessary, remaining in limbo and unable to get settled into his forever family, because of relatives who don't seem to be thinking of what is best for him.  If they pass their home study process months from now, he will be drug off across the country with complete strangers, having everyone and everything he knows disappear from his life, and without any transition into his new home.  Perhaps they think he's too young to remember.  They're probably right, but he won't forget the feelings associated with such loss and change.  It's unfortunate that they don't mind putting him through this when it could be avoided.  He's a real person with real feelings.  We have developed a relationship with his foster family and would continue his contact with them, the only family he's ever really known.  It's a great loss for them too.  It just doesn't seem right! 

My heart has been breaking over the loss of this little one!  I've prayed.  I've cried.  I've consoled my two little boys many times as they mourn this "little brother".  I've asked God "Why?" many times...with no real answer.  I've asked for strength, wisdom and peace for everyone involved.  I've tried to remain faithful and faith-filled, trusting the One in control of all things.

Last night our 7 year old, Andrew, brought up this little one in conversation again.  We both agreed, we miss him.  I asked him, "Have you been praying about it?"  He quickly said, "Not really."  My heart cried out, "Have I taught you nothing?!"  Then, I calmly asked, "Why not?"  And here it is...the moment when it felt like a 2x4 across my head...

He said, "Well, I believe God is doing His best.  We already prayed about it and I don't think I have to just keep on asking.  He's doing His best, Mom."

"Oh, yes, Andrew, you're right!  We need to thank God that He's working."

When we prayed together before bedtime I thanked God for the lesson I received from Him through my son.  For the reminder that He is doing His best...just as we asked Him to.  Oh, to have the faith of a child!

I remembered a quote from author and speaker, Susie Larson, "God's will for you is your best-case scenario."

I don't understand why.  I'm still frustrated with "the system".  But, ultimately, God is in control.  I can choose to trust that He's looking out for our best interest, and the best interest of this darling child.  I will keep praying that God's will, will be done and that we and others involved will cooperate with Him.  I will thank Him for hearing and answering our prayers.  I will praise Him for giving us His BEST.    

Thanks for the reminder, Andrew!  You are part of God's best-case scenario for me.    :)

Andrew with the pumpkin he carved for me this fall :)

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.  Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."  Matthew 6:7-13

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11
For the word of the Lord holds true,
    and we can trust everything he does.
He loves whatever is just and good;
    the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.
Psalm 33:4-5

Monday, November 24, 2014

Joy In the Ordinary ~ Fun Day Monday Returns

A few weeks ago my sons and I made a cake with lots of sprinkles.  It wasn't anyone's Birthday or a holiday or anything.  It was the middle of the week.

Who needs an excuse to celebrate?  Life is a gift from God, one to be celebrated.

Susie Larson says in her book "Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places" (I am paraphrasing) when we take time to play it communicates to our children that all is well and more rests on the shoulder of God than on ours.  Susie's words are full of wisdom. 

Our family has been through some real ups and downs in the past week and a half.  It's felt much like a roller coaster ride.  Then today, more news came that brought (more) tears and saddened our hearts.  Yes, we wonder why.  We can't see what He's doing exactly.  This life can be tough.  But we trust that God is in complete control!  We want to communicate that loud and clear to our children.

So today, we keep counting down the days to Thanksgiving by modeling gratitude for our kids.  We've been going around the table at dinner time and writing down what we're grateful for.  Not as elaborate as our Thanksgiving Tree last year, but it works.  :)  We keep walking forward in faith, trusting that God sees all of this, hears our prayers, answers faithfully and rightly, that He loves us and has good plans for our family.  We keep celebrating the gifts He's given us.

There is so much hope, joy and peace in knowing Jesus.  If you know Him you have much to celebrate.  I encourage you to join us in taking the time to celebrate His goodness in the ordinary; to pause to give thanks to the Giver today!

Cake with sprinkles, anyone?

Jesus said, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."  John 10:10

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hard Can Equal Easy

Last time I wrote about my friend Janet and the struggles she faced in this life; how she endured and grew in her faith in the process.  I wrote "I can honestly say I don't want easy.  I want to endure the hard stuff with joy and faith. To set my eyes on things above.   To finish strong!"

I've thought about this quite a bit recently.  I meant what I said.  But I want to make something a bit clearer.  The thing that really marked Janet's life wasn't that she faced hard times, it was the fact that she faced them with peace and even joy.  She could do so only because she had a thriving, dependent relationship with the One true Savior, Jesus.

Not wanting easy doesn't mean making it hard on ourselves.  It doesn't mean striving and straining to do more or be more.  It doesn't mean taking on fifteen things when God's only called us to two.  There's a name for that: perfectionism.  Perfectionism is the opposite of peace.  And peace is found in God Himself through Jesus Christ (Phil 4:6-7).     

In this life we will face trials.  Life can be tough!  It's inevitable.  That's part of living in this world.  But we don't need to go out looking for crosses to bear.  We don't have anything to prove to God, or anyone else.  I heard a quote recently from Luis Palau, "God is not disillusioned with us. He never had any illusions to begin with." We need to be discerning to follow His lead...only where He leads us.

When we know and follow Jesus closely we can face the ups and downs of life with peace in our hearts.  We can choose to rest in His love for us.  We can know where our hope is found, in Him.  We can know we are not alone and that we can Trust everything He does (Psalm 33:4).  We can even find joy in the process (James 1:2-3).  Life will be better, easier in that way.  We can be grateful for that.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. 
Matthew 11:29-30
In this way hard can equal easy!
How about we hang up those heavy yokes of striving, proving and perfectionism...
To  choose to trade them in for His yoke
which is easy and light...
Learn from Him,
Find rest for our souls,
Put on His peace.
Even, and especially in, the "hard".


Sunday, November 9, 2014

We Want Easy

The truth be told, we want easy.  We often say, "We want your will LORD" while in our hearts we think, "Surely your will is to bless me."  We prefer to coast along in ease and happiness.  We believe a loving God would want to shower us with "good".  And He does.  The thing is: His blessings often come disguised in hard things. 

Today a friend of mine died to this life.  She lived well.  She died well.  She suffered much.  For over forty years Janet struggled with her health.  She experienced pain ongoing.  It wasn't easy.  It was hard!  But it was in these struggles that she drew closer to the LORD.  She did  not become bitter or angry.  She did not grumble and complain.  No, she chose a better way.  She was gentle, kind and prayerful.  She chose to rely more heavily upon the LORD.  She relied on His strength and His truth more than her feelings.  She was humble, yet strong, so strong.  Her strength came from the LORD.

In the last weeks of her life she lied in a hospital bed waiting on impending death; waiting to meet the Savior she'd served and relied so heavily on.  She asked why she was still here and wondered aloud at what HE had for her to accomplish each of her last days.  She knew He wasn't done with her yet.

She was assured that He was in complete control.  She took every opportunity to tell of His goodness; to give Him glory and point others to Him even from her hospital bed.  She didn't waste a breath.  She was intentional.  She gave life giving words.  She didn't fear the future.  Yes, she hated to say goodbye to her loved ones left behind.  But she eagerly awaited seeing face to face the One with whom, through both hardship and joy, she had developed a true relationship. 

Janet didn't have an easy life.  But it was in those struggles that she developed her faith muscles.  It was in them that she developed perseverance.  It was in them that she had an opportunity to set a beautiful real life example of  "To live is Christ, to die is gain" (Phil 1:21). 
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

We often think we want easy. We want to be spiritually mature, lacking nothing, but we don't want the testing and trials that seem to get us there.  Just like a teenager or 20 something desires the nice cars, homes and cash flow his parents and grandparents worked for years to attain.  It takes doing the "next right thing" to get there.  It doesn't usually come easy.  It takes time and effort, patience and endurance.  It's often hard.     

I don't know how many times I've written this.  I say it again and again because I'm preaching it to myself.  God did not promise us easy!  In fact, He said we will face trials.  We live in a broken, fallen, sinful world.  It's not a matter of if we will face tough times, it's a matter of when.   Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." 

See, He didn't promise us that we wouldn't go through tough times, maybe even for a long time.  He did promise He would go with us; protecting us, strengthening us.  Then, as we see Him work, our faith will grow.  

When I consider all of this I can honestly say I don't want easy.  I want to endure the hard stuff with joy and faith. To set my eyes on things above.   To finish strong!  I want to be more like Janet.  Because being more like Janet means being more like Jesus.

"Fight the good fight for the true faith.  Hold tightly to the eternal life (eternal purpose) to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses." 
 I Timothy 6:13

I'm thankful Janet endured.  She fought a good fight for the faith.   I'm thankful she pointed me, and many others, to Jesus.  She was a great example and will be greatly missed.  Yet, what a joy and comfort to know she is in Heaven now; in the presence of our Beloved Savior.  She's completely whole, free from pain and sickness.  She received the ultimate healing!  Thank you, LORD, for answered prayers and for the life you gave Janet...both earthly and eternal!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Building Faith Muscles

It seems like it would be easier not to change things...

It seems like it would be easier to leave our family structure the way it is; everyone knows their role.   Our boys are getting bigger, more self-sufficient. Although we always thought we would like a bigger family, we've become quite satisfied  and content with the one God's given us.  Life is good.

It seems like it would be easier to avoid the stress; not to have to wait on court dates and judges rulings, important phone calls, DHS decisions that could change everything; to depend on a bunch of people we don't know to do their jobs and to do the right things.  Easier to stay where we're comfortable.  To avoid the anxiety inducing variables that seem to accompany every adoption process.

It seems like it would be easier to just stay home rather than running off to visits, drop offs and pick ups. To avoid the chaos of going back and forth, changing routine and having to say goodbye again and again to a child we wish we could keep with us.

It seems like it would be easier not to have to answer so many questions.  While it's nice people are interested (and praying), it's not easy explaining over and over again; hearing everyone's comments and opinions.  It's even harder to know what to say and what not to say.  There are rules we need to follow.  (But I don't want people to stop asking.  We'll share what we can...and ask you to pray)

It seems like it would be easier just not to. Not to set ourselves, and our two biological children, up for potential heartbreak.  It feels risky. There are so many unknowns, uncertainties and undetermined details.  We've been investing in, and now have fallen in love with, a child we're not even sure we're ever going to get to  call "ours".  And no one can tell us if we will or won't.  No one knows but God.

Yes, it seems like it would be easier.  But would it?  The real question is, is it suppose to be easy?!

We didn't go into foster care and adoption because we were seeking easy and simple. We began this journey because we felt the LORD prompting our hearts. We felt called. We had a desire to help children. We saw the need. We wanted to obey God.

Let's go back a little...

Honestly, it would have been easier not to go to ten weeks of three hour classes an hours drive away.  To go through background checks, fill out mounds of paperwork, be analyzed and have three home studies!  But we kept stepping forward in faith believing we would be used of God to make a difference in the life of a child or two.

It seems easier not to...

Then we see the face of this child; smiling, sweet, precious.  A completely lovable child who deserves a stable, loving family; one like ours.  A vulnerable child who depends on strangers to make right choices on his/her behalf.  A child who is worth the effort!  A child who fits right in to our family and brings much joy to our hearts.  It becomes obvious...this is why we're doing this!  We only want what's best for this dear little one; dear to us and dear to God.  It's really not about us, or our comfort level.  We would never turn our backs on this little one.

Then we hear another uncertainty, a huge hitch in "our plans".  Then another one.  Things I can't share.  But, trust me, they are anxiety inducing. 

"But God doesn't call us to be comfortable.  He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through."  Francis Chan

Yep, today it seems easier to avoid all of this....but it wouldn't be.  God has called us here for such a time as this; for such a child as this.  We love this child already.  God loves this child much more!  We pray.  We hope.  We believe.  If we never get to adopt this child, we will still be better for having known him/her.  We've already learned quite a bit through this process.

God whispers to our hearts, "You say you trust me.  Do you?"  We are building faith muscles that apparently needed a bit more exercise. 

Things may not go the way we think they should.  He never promised this life would be easy.  In fact, He told us in His Word that there would be trials of many kinds.  BUT He did promise that He would walk closely with those of us who love Him.  He promised good things for us who love Him. When we're coasting along,  in ease and comfort, there's no need to cling to such promises.  It's when we recognize how much our lives are out of our control that we turn more fully to Him. 

So for now I meditate on scriptures like this one...

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

When I consider these verses I don't want easy...I want to be a woman who walks in faith, develops perseverance and fully trusts the God I serve to do what is best; knowing His best is truly our best case scenario.  I will ask for what I want.  I will do the next right thing. Not because I'm so awesome...because I serve a God who is!! I will remind myself that He is God and I am not.  It is a choice to believe what His Word says; He has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and we can trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I've had a bit of experience with Faith in the Waiting.  It's definitely not easy!  But I can choose faith.  When my flesh feels anxious because I can't see what He is up to (which is often) and my heart is troubled, it's just another opportunity to take Him at His Word.  I pray we will, and believe our faith muscles will be strengthened in the process.

As we continue to wait I will find joy in the honor to know and pray for this little one.  We will love on this child as if he/she is staying forever.  And I will remind myself...

"Don't let your heart be troubled.  Trust in God, and trust also in me (Jesus)...I am leaving you with a gift ~ peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:1, 27
"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It's Okay Not to Be Okay

Is it?  Is it okay not to be okay?
I've spent so much of my life being "strong".  As a young girl I built up walls to protect myself from the feelings of grief and loss, fear and sadness I felt.  I decided I would no longer allow myself to cry; to me a sign of weakness.  I refused it.  And for years, I pushed back the tears, to the point where they just didn't come anymore.  I still felt things.  I just didn't often show it.  I put on a smile.  I was an extra good girl.  I was "fine" always.

I grew up in church.  I went to Christian school.  I knew all the right words and phrases.  I knew the right scripture verses.  I saw all the "perfect" people; how private they were and just how strong, and always okay, they were.  I learned how to be strong, or at least how to fake it.  Although no one ever said it, I learned by example you hide weakness and try to overcome it.  To look good, because we're suppose to be strong...and full of faith...always peaceful...full of joy...never wavering...and never weak.  At least that's what I learned.

Yes, scripture does teach us to look to Christ for strength and peace and joy in all circumstances and not to waver from our faith.   But that's not ALL scripture teaches us...

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
 A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
 Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

Really?  Did you catch that?  A time to cry.  A tie to laugh.  A time to grieve.  A time to dance.

crying: none

It's not a sin to cry...or grieve.  It's not a sin to be sick, weary, downhearted, disappointed, angry or depressed either (check out David in the Psalms, my friends).  We do not have to feel guilty for it.  It's okay not to be okay all the time.  In fact, it is healthy to work through those normal, human feelings.  Yes, there will be a day when we will laugh again, there is a time for that too.  But that day doesn't have to be today.  Today we can cry on His shoulder because He understands.  Yes, Jesus, understands...

He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.
 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
Isaiah 53:3-4

Paul asked the LORD to take his afflictions from Him, but...
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in (your) weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  
II Corinthians 12:9-11
If we are never weak, and honest about it, than how can God be shown strong in our lives?  If we're so dependent on our own strength how will we ever boast in His strength in us; how He works in our very real, broken lives?  How else can we learn just how sufficient His grace is for us?
Dare I say it?  It is in the times of sorrow, weakness and trial that we turn more fully to the One who is our true strength. It is in those times that we allow Him to do His work in us and realize our utter dependence on Him.  It is when we draw closer to Him...and we recognize just how close He is to us.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 34:18
We should not despise this refining, sanctifying, maturing time.  Some Christians seem to think that if we were better Christians these trying times would not come or if we had stronger faith things would go well for us or that God promised us smooth sailing.  God did not promise us that hard times would not come.  He did promise us that He would walk through them with us, protecting us. 

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
 When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
 For I am the Lord, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 43: 1-3

What a beautiful promise!  Once we've walked through the difficulties of life, we can, in turn, comfort others with the same comfort we have received.  We become witnesses to His faithfulness.  Our faith is strengthened.  If we never experienced hardship, how could we relate or know how to comfort those hurting around us?
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 
II Corinthians 1:4
How can others be blessed if we're never honest enough about our weaknesses and pain to allow them to comfort us, to pray for us, to help as the hands and feet of Christ should?  It's a double blessing, for us and them.  What if we're so busy being strong and courageous that we make others feel as I felt, that being HUMAN is wrong?  We live in a fallen world where troubles come.  Life is not easy.  We need each other.  We are the body of Christ...
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:4-7
In recent years I have been humbled time and time again.  Hard times and hard things have taken me to my knees in prayer.  .  I began to clearly see that walls I built around myself for protection were really a barrier.  Thankfully the LORD has opened my eyes to see my need for HIS strength...and the support of His people.  My definition and understanding of true strength has changed.  Those walls are slowly coming down, stone by stone.  I know I can't do it alone.  Sometimes I need help.  That's okay.  It's okay to cry.  It's okay to be weak and vulnerable, to be REAL.  It's okay to allow others in.  It's okay to not be okay all the time, not fully anyway. 
It's in Him and His people that I find comfort and hope.  And it's in the hard times that I have matured the most.  I have seen the goodness of the LORD.
No matter what you or I are going through...
There will be a day when we will see the good He promised to us in all of this, in everything (Romans 8:28). 
There will be a day when we feel strong again (Philippians 4:13). 
Even in the midst of this we can find joy and thankfulness in knowing HE is near (Psalm 145:18).  
He is our hope (Psalm 33:20). 
He will turn our tears to gladness (Psalm 30:11). 
We will be okay...as long as we keep turning to Him. 
But it's okay not to be totally okay today...
Just keep going to the One who heals and allow Him to bind your wounds.
(Psalm 147:3)
Joy will come in the morning!
This song by Jason Gray has recently ministered to my soul.  Take the time to listen...and be blessed.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
Isaiah 61:1-3