First Line of Defense

Sorry folks . . . I accidentally took an almost two week writing hiatus. It was far from intentional, but life . . . the holidays ended, the kids went back to school, my house needed to be put back in order, basketball season is in full swing . . .

I looked up and January is flying by. One thing that is guaranteed as you get older is that time moves faster. I’m 100% certain of that at this point. I blinked and my oldest turned 12. The baby we brought home from Bulgaria has grown into quite the big girl. In my mind, I’m still the same girl I was at 16 . . . with a tad more confidence and a whole lot less care about what others think . . . but basically, the same girl. In reality? The smile lines and wrinkles and spider veins and life lessons and experiences tell a very different story.

The other thing that seems more certain as we age is that we will see those around us hurting. Those we love going through “things”. Those we know well and some we only know from afar facing down big challenges, sicknesses, and heartbreak here on this earth. And I’ve found these words slipping out of my mouth more than once lately, “All we can do is pray.” But y’all those are some of the most inaccurate words ever spoken. Because it isn’t “all we can do”. It’s everything we can do.

When those we love are hurting . . .

When marriages and families fall apart . . .

When we look upon the heartbreak and heartache of this world . . .

When sickness and disease run rampant . . .

When children are dying and starving and being abused . . .

When our own children struggle . . .

When loved ones pass away . . .

When we have good days or bad days or mediocre, mundane days . . .

Prayer should be our first line of defense. That’s not to say that action shouldn’t follow. Y’all know, I’m a big believer in putting actions behind our words. But before we move in any direction, we need to pray. When we look up and realize we’ve done all we can here on this earth we need to pray. Whether we feel the disappointment and grief of defeat or raise our hands in victory, we need to pray.

And when it’s so hard to find the words, and you’re not even sure how to pray rest assured that the Holy Spirit “himself is making intercession” (Romans 8:26). Prayer should be where we start and where we end and entrenched throughout the middle of everything we do. Because from my viewpoint, there is no other way I’m getting through this life.

Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved 

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Unapologetically Me . . .

  • I can be a perfectionist . . . to a fault.
  • I often set the bar too high for myself and others.
  • I’m driven.
  • I’m bossy.
  • I’m conservative in almost all respects.
  • I’m passionate and compassionate.
  • I’m impatient.
  • I’m funny in a very dry and unfortunately, often, sarcastic sense.
  • I get mad at people that drive too slowly . . . sometimes . . . a lot of times . . . I drive too fast.
  • I abhor crying in front of people. But, also, I cry when I’m angry.
  • Speaking of getting angry, I rarely get angry, but when I do . . . watch out.
  • I love fiercely.
  • I’m tenacious.
  • I don’t quit . . . even when I should. But when I’m done, I’m DONE.
  • I’m smart.
  • I’m organized . . . I love being organized.
  • I’m a worrier. I have a tendency toward anxiety.
  • I’m cautious . . . or responsible . . . or fearful . . . it all depends on the situation and how you look at it.
  • I love SciFi movies and books of all genres, as long as they’re fiction. And with a few exceptions, I don’t love non-fiction, unless it’s the bible, or a good devotional, or maybe, a research article or blog.
  • Sometimes I read medical studies for fun.
  • I’m not athletic, but I do have amazing stamina.
  • I love to cook, and the kitchen is where you’ll find my “fly by the seat of my pants”, little bit of a rebel, throw the recipe out the window, creative side.
  • I’m an Enneagram type 1, and the poster child for the Type A personality.

I’m me . . . the good, the great, the not so great, the ugly. I don’t believe recognizing or owning these things gives them any more or less power in who I am. Because I’m also far more than the sum of these personality traits.

And that list . . . I didn’t put it up as some kind of self deprecating humble brag. Nor did I put it up to toot my own horn. I put it up because I’ve learned, I am learning, that those things in me that are weaknesses, twisted by my flesh, are the places where God shows Himself strong. And those things in me that are strengths, I need to let God refine them and use them.

For a lot of my life I didn’t see myself as good enough. And I would try to hide the things about myself that I thought weren’t so “cool” so people didn’t think less of me. Because being too smart, or too “nerdy”, or loving SciFi, or reading too many books is definitely not “cool” <insert eye roll>. I feel like I spent so much time during the first half of my life trying to make others like me . . . trying to measure up, but never really being who God created me to be. I can remember in college, when I finally realized that people actually liked me for who I was, that was a major, eye-opening moment for me. I’ve also wondered how much easier life (junior high? high school? . . . ) would’ve been had I learned this lesson a little sooner. But the hardest lessons, those most worth learning, take time.

And, now, at almost 39, I’m more confident in who I am than I’ve ever been before. Some people will love me. Other people won’t. I’m okay with both.

And none of this confidence is because of me, but because of Him in me. I often joke that I was born an adult, and so with each passing year, instead of feeling like I’m getting older, I feel like I’m growing into myself. And there was a time, I couldn’t see that. There were a lot of years I just felt out of place. But God . . . it’s always, “but God” . . . has shown me, with each year that comes and goes, that I am exactly who He created me to be. That doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. That doesn’t mean that I’ve arrived. That most certainly doesn’t mean I won’t mess things up royally from time to time, or say the wrong thing, or offend someone. I’m still growing and learning and being refined. But it does mean that I can be confident in who I am. That I have value and worth because I’m a child of the most high King. That I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”, and because of that, I can be unapologetically me.

I say all that to, finally, say this (there is a point . . . I promise), the same God that created me, that placed the moon and the stars in the heavens, that spoke the world into existence, that sent His Son to die for my sins, He also created you. And you are beautiful, and unique, and have value because of that. So be proud of that. Own your good, He placed it there. Own your quirks and all the little things that make you uniquely you, He placed those there too. Let Him work on the not so good and even, the ugly, but never be ashamed of being who God created you to be. Never be ashamed of being truly you.

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved         

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

The Hard and The Holy . . .

I was all set to write an end of the year post about not setting New Year’s resolutions/goals, but instead, having constant and ever evolving goals that we’re reaching for and adjusting throughout the year. But then I read this quote by one of my favorite authors and apologists . . .

“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity

So much is summed up in that one simple quote. And all of the reflection, the resolution making, the goal setting, the vision boards done as one year closes and another year opens . . . all of it matters very little if we’re not seeking Him first. Like so many things in life, these things aren’t bad, they actually serve a very “good” purpose. I’d even go so far as to say we need to set goals and have a purpose in our lives, but y’all, we need to do it with eternity in mind.

More and more, as I grow (just a little) older, I look at my life and wonder, “What is the eternal effect of my earthly choices?” Because, you see, if I’m just doing things for my own personal gain and promotion, I’m missing the point.

I’m currently a stay at home mom and full time housewife. Two things I never thought I’d be when I finished college and first got married, but as our family and my husband’s business both grew, we knew it was the right thing for us. For the most part, I love it, but at times it can be exhausting in a way that working full time never was. And it’s far from glamourous or even pretty a lot of days. Sometimes I look up, and I realize that my life is an endless cycle of cleaning and laundry and cooking and reading with kids and doing homework and school meetings and programs . . . you get the point . . . and I actually love it all, but that’s not to say it’s not tedious and monotonous somedays.

But when I stop and look at what I do in light of eternity my focus shifts and what seems routine becomes eternal.

I get to stay home and keep my home in order. It is a privilege to shepherd my children. To make my home a safe and comforting place for my whole family. That’s not to say it’s always perfect or I’m always perfect. Not even close. Somedays, I’m impatient and yell. Sometimes, I’m grumpy and need just one more cup of coffee, but there’s a ministry in motherhood, in parenthood, that is oft overlooked and minimized. Regardless of how that looks for you, whether you are working in your home or outside the home, your role as a mother, as a parent, is one of the most important and holy callings of your life.

So as I look at my goals for the year, I look at them with an eternal focus. I choose to make the best choices for me knowing that they’ll help my family . . . to be healthy physically because I’m not the best version of myself when I don’t get enough exercise and eat well . . . y’all know I always say that God made our bodies to move . . .to keep my house and my life in order because that brings peace in our daily routine . . . to be present for my children and my husband . . . to be more patient . . . to spend time in the Word daily . . . to write more . . . to give my time and focus and attention to organizations and ministries that are changing the lives of hurting children and orphans throughout the world . . . to be more mission minded and less me minded in my giving . . .but to know, that none of these are the things after which I want to chase. And if it all comes to a screeching halt because of injury or illness or just a bad day or a bad month . . . that’s okay, because I’m not chasing after any of these goals. I’m not chasing after perfection and results. I’m chasing after the One for whom it all matters. I’m chasing after God.

2019 was a weird year. It had its high points and big adventures, but it also had some pretty low and scary and sad points for both my immediate and extended family. I never like to look back at a year as all of anything . . . because nothing is all good or all bad. As I look back at this past year, I see so many good things, and I see how God is always faithful in even those hardest moments. How He is there in the hard and there is a holiness in the hard that isn’t found in so many of those easy moments in life. There’s growth in the hard. There’s change in the hard. Hard doesn’t always equal bad. Hard doesn’t always equal evil. And hard and good are not mutually exclusive despite what our flesh may say. I pray for good in 2020, but I also pray for peace and change and growth in my own heart.

May you have the Happiest of New Year’s as you look forward to the start of a new year and a new decade.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved          

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer, unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Full of Grace, Full of Truth . . .

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

As a babe, born in a manger . . . as a man, crucified on the cross . . . as a Savior, risen from the dead . . . fully God . . . fully man . . . “full of grace and truth”. . .

Grace and Truth . . . two words . . . two concepts which are not mutually exclusive. Yet they often are treated, by Christians, followers of Christ, by me, as if they are.

The end of the year isn’t my favorite. After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can feel like kind of a let down. Anticlimactic if you will. And in that, I’ve never been one to make resolutions or big, lofty, or even un-lofty, goals at the start of the New Year. But last year I asked God to place on my heart a scripture for the year, and the verse He gave me comes from Psalm 19.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Because I’m still very much a work in progress, I will be carrying this scripture into a new year, a new decade. But this morning, as I often do, I opened my Bible app to read the scripture of the day, and I skimmed down to read those words in John 1:14. I’ve probably read them a thousand times over. And, as it should be, my focus has always been on the first parts of the scripture . . . the Word becoming flesh . . . the glory of the only Begotten coming to live among us. But He didn’t just come to live among us. He came “full of grace and truth”. Those words, grace and truth, are not just an afterthought tacked onto the end. They are a description of exactly Who our Savior is. Fully God . . . fully man . . . “full of grace and truth”.

So as we look forward to a new year and a fresh decade, I pray that through the power and grace of God, the words I say, the thoughts I think, will be full of both grace and truth. To speak the truth with boldness but not bitterness. To speak the truth with grace and not condemnation. To speak the TRUTH that changes lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. To think on, dwell on, meditate on those things which are pure and right and holy. Those are my goals for 2020.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved         

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Have Yourself A Peaceful, Little Christmas . . .

I could feel the panic rising in me. The fear that “it” wouldn’t all get done. That “it” wouldn’t all be perfect. That someone would feel let down. My kids had been sick for going on two weeks. Christmas parties were missed. Plans cancelled and changed. My days focused on comforting sick babies (okay not exactly babies . . . but yeah . . . ) and disinfecting and then disinfecting some more. Cans of Lysol . . . Gallons of bleach . . . Towels, and sheets, and blankets all washed then washed again for good measure. And the daily chores? The normal daily cleaning, and cooking, and running of the house? All but forgotten. So how on earth would I get caught up for Christmas? I was not keeping it all or even a little together. I felt like that particular train had derailed about 10 miles back.

Christmas time . . . the most wonderful time of the year . . . Christmas time . . . the most stressful time of the year.

But then that still small voice broke through the loudness of all that was happening.

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Christmas time . . . the most beautiful time of the year . . . not because of anything any of us can do. Not because of gifts or family or parties . . . all of which are wonderful and well and good. But because of Him. Because of a Savior come to earth as a babe and laid in a manger. Perfection in human form.

“His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace . . . ”

Christmas time . . . the most peaceful time of the year if only we’ll let it be . . . because amidst the busy-ness and bustle, the loudness of the season, He wants to be our Prince of Peace, our place of calm in the crazy . . .

May you have the Merriest of Christmas remembering why we celebrate.

“Mary Did You Know?” . . .

Maybe the most controversial Christmas song out there. Which, honestly, Christmas carols and programs and so on aren’t notorious for being theologically correct so there’s that . . . I mean there were no wise men at the manger . . . there was no little drummer boy . . . it likely wasn’t a silent night in Bethlehem . . . shall I go on?

Yet, I actually love all of these, and “Mary Did You Know?” has always resonated with me.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know

Songwriters: Buddy Greene, Mark Lowry

Which begs the question, did Mary know?

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” – Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel did not try to hide it from her . . . and later in the same chapter of Luke in vs 41-43 it says, “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” . . . “ and then just a few verses later:

The Song of Mary

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.””

God didn’t keep it a secret from Mary that she was giving birth to the Savior of the world. And Mary willingly said, “I am the Lord’s servant . . .”. I believe Mary knew. I mean virgin births aren’t exactly common. So, yes, I believe Mary knew, but at the same time there’s knowing and there’s knowing. There’s a knowing that comes from being told something by God. We believe it. We get excited by it. We are willing. But life happens. And doubts creep in even when the impossible has happened. And maybe, we also don’t fully grasp and understand what is happening.

But then there is a knowing that comes from walking through something with God. It’s a knowing that grows and becomes solidified with time and experience, and I also believe that Mary was living that as well.

Mary was not divine or omniscient. She did not have the luxury of hindsight or seeing the full view of God’s timeline, and while I believe she knew, I also believe she wondered exactly what God was up to here. There was no way she knew of all the miracles He would perform . . . all the lives He would transform. No one believed that the King of the Jews was coming to earth as a baby much less coming to save the gentiles (yes, I know . . . Isaiah 9:6-7 is pretty clear to us now).

Twice in Luke 2, the account of Jesus’s birth and childhood, we see Mary pondering what is happening:

Luke 2:19 (after the shepherds have come to visit Jesus): “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Luke 2:48-51 (Let’s just set the scene: Jesus is found in the temple among the scholars of the day after not being found with his family as they returned from the feast of the Passover. Y’all! Jesus had been MIA for three days! Three days, and they didn’t notice! Talk about free range parenting. Can you imagine that conversation between Mary and Joseph? “Well that’s just great, Joseph! We’ve lost the Son of God! How’s that one gonna look for us?!” And then they find Him conversing in the temple with the wisest of the wise. People were astounded at His knowledge, but Mary? Well remember, this may be the Son of God, but also He was the son of Mary, and she’s a Mama and was none too pleased. And the Bible even tells us they just did not understand.): “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.”

And there was no way Mary really knew all of what was to come. I fully believe God was merciful in that because had Mary known it all, I think the burden would’ve been too much to bear. I believe Mary was both fully aware and yet, totally naïve. And as a mother, I relate with Mary. I’m not raising God come to earth as a baby, thank goodness, but I’m raising these precious people that He’s entrusted me with. And even though, He has spoken great things to me about these little (and not so little) people, there are moments when I think, “What are you up to here God?” Because even though I know, I don’t always fully know until I see it through.

So theological debates aside, I love Mary, not because she was superhuman, but because of her humanity and willingness to serve God through it all . . . not because she’s to be worshipped or revered . . . worship is for God alone . . . but because I can see just a tiny bit of myself in Mary . . . especially in those moments when she just doesn’t have it all together . . . although, in this day and age, I do recommend keeping tabs on your kiddos. 😉

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved        

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Calm in the Craziness

I’m sure you’ve seen this meme floating around on social media. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it, and like most of you, I laugh. But the reality is, we laugh because it’s true. We laugh because most of us are running circles trying to keep up. By the beginning of December, I had every day scheduled to the max with everything from laundry to mopping floors to basketball games to Christmas parties and programs. Last week we had three different school events, and the Christmas party for Patrick’s office, in addition to the normal, daily chores and activities. Then . . . sickness hit our house. And everything came to a screeching halt. Amidst the mad disinfecting, because that’s how I cope (my house smells of Lysol and bleach), I was thinking about how to deal with the craziness of the holiday season so that we don’t forget the literal “Reason for the Season”. Specifically, how do I deal with things in order to keep my sanity and peace? So without further ado . . . in no particular order (except for number one . . . number one is the most important) . . . <insert drumroll here> . . . also, try to contain your excitement . . .

Courtney’s List for Keeping the Calm in the Craziness of the Holidays . . .

1. The Word . . . I’ve talked about this quite a bit, but when I’m starting to feel anxious and unsettled, I need to stop and do a self check. How much time have I spent with God . . . praying, reading the word, praising Him? Because that’s the foundation for everything in my life, and if I’m feeling off balance, this is the first place I need to stop and evaluate. Sadly, sometimes, too often, it’s also the first thing I let slip when things get crazy.

2. Move . . . and by “move” I mean my body. I learned a long time ago that I have a lot of energy. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I have to move . . . exercise . . . work out . . . whatever you want to call it . . . in order to feel my best. If I don’t get enough exercise, I find I start to feel sluggish and irritable. I don’t sleep as well, etc. And I think this how God designed our bodies. He designed us to work our muscles and move. That doesn’t mean it looks the same for all of us. For you, it might look like a stroll outside. For someone else, it might look like a run or a session in the weight room. Whatever it looks like for you, just move. I promise you won’t regret it.

3. Fuel . . . it’s sooooo easy to not fuel myself well this time of year. To not eat what is well balanced for me. And to overindulge. Especially in the sugar department, but also just with junk in general. We’re eating out more. We grab stuff on the go, and french fries always look better than salad. Can I get a witness? So I have to check my fuel source because just like movement, God did not design our bodies to be fueled on junk.

4. Just say “no” . . . Set boundaries. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Sometimes you have to look at everything going on and say “no” to some things. And that’s fine. Will people get mad or offended? They might, but if making it to every single event affects your peace and the peace of your family, then you need to be willing to say “no”. The thing is, our family needs time away from all of it. Time to just be a family with the four of us. My kids need rest, and routine (bedtime is king in our house . . . not sorry), and downtime with Mom and Dad so I rarely feel bad when I set boundaries on outside activities.

5. Grace . . . I give myself and others as much grace as possible. Because things aren’t always going to be perfect. People get sick. Plans get cancelled. And just like I need to set boundaries so do others. The thing is the picture “perfect” Christmas isn’t perfect at all. I’m sure Mary didn’t feel like things were perfect when she gave birth in a stable. And shepherds, lowly shepherds, were the first to hear about the birth of our Savior. Definitely, not perfect by the world’s standards.

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,  that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”” 1 Corinthians 26-31 NKJV

Perfection is overrated. It’s not about the things or the events or everyone doing everything right. It always circles back to number one on my list . . . Jesus. When I’m feeling like it’s all just a lot to handle, and I have no time to slow down, that’s the exact moment I need to stop the most and just remember Who it is we’re celebrating this time of year. There is nothing wrong with all the celebrations . . . the family . . . the food . . . the decorations . . . the gifts . . . all of it is fine, but none of it is more important than Jesus.

May you enjoy Peace and Rest in the midst of the busy-ness of this Christmas season.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved        

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Early Morning Musings

I was up long before the sun this morning. It’s not particularly unusual for me to wake early which is ironic because I’m not exactly a morning person. At all. I never have been, but I need the quiet early morning hours . . . the time before anyone else is up and moving . . . before everything gets going to read and pray and seek Him. To talk to my Savior about all the things.

As I’ve said before, it’s not a daily thing. Sometimes my “quiet” time is more like reading my devotional while shoveling food in my mouth and getting the kids’ lunches and snacks and backpacks packed. Sometimes my prayers are prayed while doing laundry or dropping off and picking up and running errands. And I fully believe God is there for that. But sometimes . . . more and more as I get older . . . it looks like a 4:00 a.m. wake up call . . . a cup of coffee . . . my bible and my prayer list.

Sometimes I wake up and my heart is heavy for those I know are hurting.

Sometimes it’s burdened for the people I love the most. For them to know Jesus more deeply . . . to know His heart and His love and His transforming grace more and more.

Sometimes the wake up call is for those I’ve never met face to face but still, find myself heavily burdened for the hurt and pain their hearts carry.

Sometimes it looks like conviction regarding my own thoughts . . . my own words . . . my own actions . . . and in that moment it also looks like grace. The grace that says I don’t have to be enough because He is. And He’s the one that will make me better. He’s the one that makes me good. He’s the one that makes me righteous.

Most days, it’s a little of all of these things.

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37 NKJV

This morning I read these words from Matthew, and I wondered . . . I wondered about the my own fruit. I wondered about its goodness or maybe, at times, its “badness”. In Romans 7 Paul talks about not doing what he wants . . . not understanding why he does the things he does. And I think there are times we can all relate to that.

These words above aren’t the easiest words. But they are the words of Jesus. And they’re a testament to the fact that what we say and what we do matter. Christians love to throw around grace, sometimes as a justification for their actions. But here’s the thing, what I say is important. What I do carries weight. And you know what? I’m so thankful for the grace of God because I mess up way more than I should. Because a lot of days I’m a lot like Paul, wondering why I do and say the things I do. But here’s the other thing, it’s the grace of God that transforms my heart. It’s His grace and mercy that equips me to do what is right. It’s only through Christ that I’m righteous. It’s only because of Him that my fruit is good. And that makes me want to do better.

So here I am. Up early as the sky starts to lighten. And not really sure how to wrap this up other than to say, there is nothing more important today than seeking the face of Jesus. There is nothing you can chase or do or not do that will bring more peace, more joy, more contentment than Him.

Have a wonderful Monday and a blessed week y’all! I’m off to pack lunches.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved       

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

National Adoption Month

It’s November 30th . . . I’m not sure how that happened, but here we are staring down the last month of both the year and the decade.

November is National Adoption Month and the month, four years ago, we passed court making our daughter “officially” ours. December is the month we picked her up and brought her home. So it only seems fitting that I use the platform I have to talk a bit about adoption. But I’ve also been sitting with it and really pondering what I want to share because adoption is so near and dear to me that I want to do it effectively.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 NIV

I firmly believe in family preservation whenever possible. I wish we lived in a world where adoptions weren’t necessary. Where children weren’t abused, abandoned, or starved. Where families had the resources to care for their children. Yes, I firmly believe in family preservation, but the reality is it’s not always possible or safe. Because of that, I am also a fierce advocate for adoption. I believe in it wholeheartedly. But adoption does not come without brokenness. Before a child is ever placed for adoption something, somewhere in their young life has been broken.

I often hear our daughter was meant for us. I firmly believe that God brought her to us. I firmly believe His hand was very much involved in matching us. But I do not believe that she was created just for us. There are millions of children without homes and families in this world. And the truth is, I don’t believe God created this one precious life . . . caused her to be born so severely prematurely and in such dire conditions that there was no way her biological mother could care for or provide for her . . . forced her to spend almost three years living in an orphanage where she suffered neglect and starvation . . . just so she could be my daughter. Nor do I believe she is lucky to have us. All of these children are so deserving of families. They are all worthy.

What I do believe is that we serve a God who redeems . . . a God who delivers . . . a God who takes what the enemy means for harm and turns it into good. That’s not to say it is easy. Nothing about adoption is easy. Even those who adopt infants will often tell you that there are repercussions they never imagined just from the trauma of being separated from their biological mother. Take an almost three year old out of an institution, where they’ve never experienced normal life on any level, where they have no clue what “family” is, where they learn to go from adult to adult never fully or completely attached to anyone . . . bounce a child back and forth between foster homes and an unstable and abusive home where they never know what tomorrow might bring . . . the heartbreak that comes from that is hard at best and life destroying at worst.

And yet, as I said above, I am a fierce advocate for adoption because I so believe in it. And I believe in it because I’ve lived it. I believe in it because I’ve seen these children face to face. I’ve seen their suffering and the vacancy in their eyes. I’ve walked the halls of a silent orphanage. I’ve seen children starving, and I’ve seen children dying. I don’t believe I can “fix” my child. I don’t believe I need to, but I do believe God can heal her physically, mentally, and emotionally. I believe it’s a lifelong process. It’s a beautiful and sometimes, tragic process. It’s a road we walk daily. A journey I’m honored to be on as I see God transform my daughter, not in a single snap of His fingers, but in moment after moment, day after day of learning to trust and learning to live life in our family.

I never want to present our situation as any more or less than it is. There are those whose journeys have been much more tragic and heartbreaking than our own. There are those whose children seem to come out of horrible situations relatively unscathed given what they’ve lived. I don’t share everything. Not even close because I want to make sure that I protect my precious girl as much as possible. I want to fight for adoptions and family preservation and orphan care, and I want to share our daughter’s story. But I want to be sure I do it without setting my child up as the poster child for any of it. It’s a fine line to walk, and one I’m still learning.

I, also, never want to present myself as some sort of perfect savior. I’m far from it. I often say that I’m an ordinary person called to do extra-ordinary things by an extraordinary God. What I do want is for people to be aware. To be aware that it’s not perfect or easy, but our kids are so worthy. Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to do something. Maybe, you can support adoptive parents through financial gifts, meals when they’re first home, a listening ear when they’re struggling. Maybe you can foster. Maybe you can provide respite. Maybe you can give to organizations that help these children. Maybe you can adopt.

I’m going to wrap up this, unintentionally, long post by giving you three places, that I trust and believe in deeply, to which you can give financially if you feel so inclined. Next Tuesday is giving Tuesday, and I’m going to ask that you find some way to give back. It doesn’t have to be here. It doesn’t have to be with money. Just find some way to help these children around the world.

All God’s Children International – our adoption agency that also works to prevent families from being torn apart, provides for orphans, prepares those aging out for life outside the institution, places children in homes, and works to change policy in countries throughout the world.

Lost Sparrows – works to stop the flow of children into institutions. To help families care for their children as well as training caregivers to properly care for the kiddos that do come into care.

Trulight 127 Ministries – Trulight is a local ministry that works with foster children in our area. In addition to giving financially, which I know is always welcome, if you live in the Central Texas area there are always opportunities to serve and give in other ways as well.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved       
The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Goodness of God . . .

I love technology. I love my laptop, and my ipad, and my phone, but at the end of the day, I’m a paper and pencil girl. I have a paper planner that I use to keep track of all the things . . . appointments, events, parties, games, and so on . . . and I have this little notebook that I use to, well, take notes. When I read my Bible, and I feel like God is speaking to me, I write it down in that notebook. I’ve found that the act of physically writing helps to cement it in my mind.

In the same vein, I keep a running prayer list on a random page in that notebook. And I refer back to it regularly. As prayers are answered I check them off. As requests evolve and change, I make little notes. And as new prayer requests come up, I add them.

Here lately, I feel like the list is growing faster than the check marks. Some of the prayer requests are good. They’re what I look at as a preemptive strike against whatever may come. I regularly add expecting (pregnant or adopting) and new mamas to the list, and if you’re expecting and want prayer, I’m here for it. I regularly add those going through big life changes (often good but hard) to my list. I regularly pray for health and well being and protection of those I love. I pray for transformations and touches from God. Those things are never dropping off the list.

But y’all . . . this past month or so, I’ve seen mamas rush to the ER with their very sick babies. I’ve seen people lose loved ones. I’ve seen emergencies and heart break and flat out exhaustion. I’ve been reminded time and again that there are children without families and orphans chained to beds. And I’m here for that too. All of it. I often say, “I wish I could do more.” And you know what I mean. God knows what I mean. I wish I could physically fix what is hurting. I wish I could make all things right. But, newsflash, I’m not God, and at the end of the day, prayer is real and the most powerful weapon we have. Prayer ushers us before the throne of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He is our Father, our Friend, our Creator, our Healer . . . Prayer shouldn’t be a last resort but a first line of defense.

Life is beautiful, but sometimes, life is HARD. Sometimes life is heartbreaking. You are never going to hear me say to those in the trenches of the hurt, “You just need to have more faith . . . you just need to pray more . . . trust more . . . “. That’s why we have one another. I think about the paralytic that was lowered through the roof of a house, by his friends, so that he could meet Jesus (Luke 5:17-26). There was no way he was getting there on his own. Maybe he wanted to. Maybe he didn’t. We don’t really know, but I’ll tell you this, without his friends he was staying right where he was. In that passage the Bible refers to “their faith” (vs. 20) not his faith. That’s what the body of Christ is for. Not to tell you, you need to do better or you need to pray more, but to be there to lower you through the roof to meet Jesus when you can’t get there on your own. To lift you up and come alongside you when you cannot do it on your own.

I was rowing this morning at the gym and listening to music. Working out is one of the few times my brain quiets long enough for me to “hear” God clearly (I have a very loud brain . . . God and I are working on that). And rowing is one of the few workouts I can do where I can close my eyes and not kill myself so I rowed, with my eyes closed (which I’m sure makes me look crazy but whatever), and I listened to these words:

“Goodness Of God”
Bethel music and Jenn Johnson

“I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never fails me
All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In the darkest night You are close like no other
I’ve known You as a Father
I’ve known You as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God

And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

‘Cause Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me
Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me
With my life laid down, I’m surrendered now
I give You everything
‘Cause Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me
‘Cause Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me
Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me
With my life laid down, I’m surrendered now
I give You everything
‘Cause Your goodness is running after, it keeps running after me

And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God
I’m gonna sing, I’m gonna sing
‘Cause all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God
Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God”

If you’ve lived any amount of time on this earth, you’ve been led through the fire. I think back to 2014 when, in a span of a few weeks, my world came crashing down as our first referral for the baby we met and loved was pulled, and then my grandfather went to be with Jesus. I think back to those last days of 2015 and early 2016 when we had just brought home a child, who was for all purposes a three year old infant. Who had lived all her life in an institution. Who had been starved and neglected. Who was terrified and had no clue how to live in a family. I think back to how she fought against love and comfort with every fiber of her being. I think back through fours years of beauty and four years of, sometimes painful, growth as we have walked through the fire with her. I can recall so much more than this handful of things going back so much further, but I felt like the most recent “highlight” reel conveyed my point. And here’s what I can say . . . In the fire God is there. In the darkness God is there. In the joy and the beauty and the pain and the heartache . . . God is there for all of it. And through it all, God is faithful. God is good.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved      

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.