Easter 2015: Adoption, God’s Plans, and Our Identity

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My words have been mostly quiet here lately. I’ve sat down so many times to type out some words to you, but as I told someone recently, I feel as if God has frustrated my words. He has been whispering these past few months how he is doing something new. I don’t know if it’s so much of a circumstance or calling, but I feel newness deep inside. He is changing me. The words shared on Feathers are changing me. And it is today, on Easter when we are reminded of Jesus’s life, that I feel this new life the most.

He is indeed birthing something new in me. I am not sure I have the words for it yet, but it’s like a holy rumbling inside. I get the feeling it is new faith, a belief I’ve yet to experience. The more I walk in God’s path and let go more of my own, he replaces the empty spaces with Himself. Today doesn’t feel like a culmination of all his works, but perhaps a scenic pullover on this mountainous path.

I look back since last Easter and see that it isn’t just the deep in me that has changed, but our outside circumstances too. I sit here and write while I watch Jac0b play with the girls and Christ has never been more real to me. Do I need a Bible or an empty tomb to prove he is real? No, I have a little boy with blue eyes that tells me He’s real. It’s not to say I don’t love God’s word or believe in an empty tomb, but I just have this inkling that we can know that we know because of our experience with Him.

A third child was never in our plans. Our plans were for 2 kids, a dog and white picket fence. And then we started following his whispers, to be his hands and feet in this broken, broken world. We kept following the whispers until they were shouts. We couldn’t not adopt.

So we checked checkmarks and listened as friends told us we’d have a sandy haired boy. We doubted his call and waited and waited, and then, he was here. In the flesh. God’s call was no longer something written on paper or only of the soul, he was a little boy that moved in and took our last name. It is in this reality that I know Jesus was resurrected. This adoption was God’s idea, God’s path, God’s promise. All God. A dead God cannot do what He has done these past 5 years in our hearts and family. On our own, we would not have followed this path. But what a beautiful, redemptive path it has been.

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Last week we finally received Jac0b’s new birth certificate. We applied for and received his new social security card. If you look at both, it is as if the old Jac0b did not exist. He is now, and forever more, a Bennett. And yet, his past is still there. We can’t forget it or don’t want to. We honor the path he walked. It is because of that path that we more wholeheartedly celebrate and embrace ourselves as a new family. I look at him in our picture and see a little boy that was rescued from an uncertain future. He may have felt forgotten at times, but God was very busy at work to place Him into our family.

In the same way, I understand our adoption as children in Christ more this Easter. We have a past and it has gotten us where we are, but now we are part of a new family. We have a new identity. Because of His death and resurrection, our names are written in a book of Life that says we are His. We can embrace our past, but also fully live in the freedom of our present because of our salvation from that past. We can rest because he has redeemed and adopted us.

At times it may feel like He has forgotten us, but He has not. He is working all things together. We just can’t see it yet.

I look at our picture from last year and ask myself if I would rather have skipped all the hard parts and go back to where we were. Without hesitation, I would do this a thousand times over. This Easter, I believe God more, I understand my identity in Christ more and because of God’s resurrected son, I love a son that I never knew I’d have. And man, he’s pretty adorable, isn’t he?

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Feathers #005 with Amanda White [Podcast]

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In this episode, I chat with Amanda White.  Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!

 

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In this episode Amanda and I open up the episode with a chat about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Belt.

Amanda then shares the story of how she began with a desire to minister to children and had plans to become a traveling evangelist. Through a series of events, Amanda began blogging. God led her to take a leap and create an Advent eBook called Truth in the Tinsel where it found lots of success.  When she then planned the launch of her Easter eBook, she faced and overcame fears in order to be obedient in the call to publish Sense of the Resurrection, an Easter experience for the whole family.

Click to Listen

Listen and subscribe via iTunes Stitcher

Connect with Amanda

Connect with Amanda on her blog ohAmanda.com, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest

Links from the Episode

Share

I would love to connect more with you guys about the episode. Leave a comment here or we can chat about the episode on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

If you get a chance, please rate and review the episode on iTunes.  This *really* helps iTunes find us and most of all, helps spread this message of faith and hope.

Scripture

Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the Lord Psalm 102:18

 

Maybe success is measured bestBy nothing

NOTALL WHO WANDERARE LOST

“She turned to the sunlight    And shook

Feathers #004 with Jessica Leigh Hoover [Podcast]

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In this episode, I chat with Jessica Leigh Hoover.

Jessica Leigh Hoover is a wife, mama, writer and grace lover. Her family has a bit of wanderlust which has taken them all over the place including West Africa. Currently she is doing life in the hills of Western, North Carolina with her husband and 3 year old daughter. Her journey has been filled with loss, laughter and everything in between and she writes about it all on her blog JessicaLeighHoover.com

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In this episode Jess and I open up the episode with a chat about living in Charlotte and her new house.

Jess then shares the story of how her and husband were missionaries in West Africa three years ago. They came home before their term was up because Jess was pregnant. That sent them back into the professional world. After a year and a half in Charlotte they made a big leap to return to working with their sending agency stateside. After a year of raising financial support,  Jess’s husband was offered a job in his professional field again- completely out of the blue.

It was in this decision whether to remain with the agency or return to the professional field that God asked them to trust Him, even when the decision didn’t look like the presumed faithful thing to do. Jess shares how the story unfolded and the lessons they learned along the way.

Click to Listen

Listen and subscribe via iTunes Stitcher

Connect with Jess

Connect with Jess on her blog JessicaLeighHoover.com, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest

Links from the Episode

Share

I would love to connect more with you guys about the episode. Leave a comment here or we can chat about the episode on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

If you get a chance, please rate and review the episode on iTunes.  This *really* helps iTunes find us and most of all, helps spread this message of faith and hope.

Scripture

 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”
 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.

Lamentations 3:22-25

 

Sometimes God provides you in ways you (1)

NOTALL WHO WANDERARE LOST (5)

Feathers #003 with Crystal Stine [Podcast]

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In this episode, I chat with Crystal Stine.

Crystal is passionate about living authentically, chasing joy, and encouraging women to savor the season God has them in. She works full-time as the Editorial & Marketing Manager at (in)courage and shares encouragement at her blog, crystalstine.me.

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In this episode Crystal and I open up the episode with a chat about high school sweethearts, getting out for exercise and surviving cold weather.

Crystal then shares her blogging story and how years into it, God asked her to say no to many great opportunities that would continue to grow her platform and share the gospel.  She had to obey and trust that His plan for her was best.

Click to Listen

Listen and subscribe via iTunes | Stitcher

Connect with Crystal

Connect with Crystal on her blog CrystalStine.me, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest

Links from the Episode

BONUS!

If you’re at all interested in creating social media graphics, Crystal and I spent some extra time after the interview chatting graphic design and Crystal has agreed to share that as a bonus for you here.

Click play below for all Crystal’s graphic design secrets (ok, at least some of them)

 

If you loved that, be sure to check out Crystal’s new FREE 30 day graphic design course she’s offering in April.

Share

I would love to connect more with you guys about the episode. Leave a comment here or we can chat about the episode on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

If you get a chance, please rate and review the episode on iTunes.  This *really* helps iTunes find us and most of all, helps spread this message of faith and hope.

Scripture

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? Luke 9:23-25

 

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Launch Week Wrap-Up

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So we did it, guys! We launched Feathers!

Aside from iTunes being behind the ball a bit, there were ZERO issues. No major broken links, download problems or confusion.  I really thought I might be dealing with issues all week, but truthfully, it’s been one of the quietest weeks I’ve had in some time.

And here’s the best news: you guys are listening! I see the download numbers and I hear your feedback and you’re listening! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope it’s been a blessing for you as you’ve listened and I hope you’ve subscribed so you can keep listening.

Here are a few comments I’ve gotten:

“I so completely enjoyed the podcast!! I cannot wait until next week, it was excellent! Thank you for pursuing and sharing!!!!”

“Oh @bennettaj what a wonderful encouragement Episode 000 is. I can’t wait to listen to more and more.”

“It was awesome. I liked the conversational style.”

I’m not sharing to toot my horn, but to say, other people like it and I think you will too!

So I have a few more things to tell you because I want to be super clear.

The podcast IS in iTunes

Although it wasn’t there first thing Tuesday, you can now search iTunes either on your desktop or on the Podcast app on your Apple device for “Feathers” and you can subscribe.  You can also link directly over there.

Let me be really transparent for a minute and tell you iTunes is the preferred way. Why? If enough people start downloading it, rating, and reviewing it there, then it gets bumped up to this New & Noteworthy section where lots and lots more people might see it.

Please rate and review the podcast

If you’ve had a chance to listen to the podcast, please hop over to iTunes and leave a rating and a short review. This will really help!

There are THREE episodes available

Some people have seen episode 000, but didn’t realize there were two more episodes.  You can get my episode here, Jessie’s here and Kathy’s here.

I know that’s A LOT of time to spend. Don’t get too overwhelmed. Start with the quick 25 minutes intro episode and listen in spurts as you watch dishes, travel, do laundry, work out, garden.

I know it’s hard–even my sister and mom admit to not listening yet so if you haven’t, it’s OK! They’ll be there at the exact right time for you.

God has been so present with me this week

Earlier this week I started to go back down that path wanting everyone’s approval about this. I was in the shower and worrying about that pesky New & Noteworthy section in iTunes every podcaster tries to break into. I just felt the Lord whisper to me, “It doesn’t matter. I think you’re new and noteworthy. I am well-pleased.” It brings tears to my eyes thinking of it again. He is so gracious and loving to remind me that He is enough for me.

And then, last night my friend–the same one who brought me a feather from the Sea of Galilee–walked in our house for small group with a bouquet of hand-picked daffodils for me.  If you’ve listened to episode 002 with Kathy, you might remember a throw-away comment I made during the first of the podcast about spring beginning here and I thought daffodils were starting to bloom. It was a vulnerable moment for me because I felt, and maybe sounded like, I didn’t really know what I was talking about. I nearly cut it out of the episode completely, but felt like it was truthful–a lot of times I’m not sure of myself and don’t know what I’m talking about.

So, when I saw these flowers, I just really felt that through my friend’s kindness, the Lord was telling me that He’d listened and He’d heard and He’d seen me. Even in my weakest moments of this new venture, He still accepts me and loves me.

I mean, what are the chances she would know to do this this week with those exact flowers? She hasn’t even listened to the podcast yet, either.

Our pastor this week preached on John 3:16 and how God’s sacrifice of his son, and the Son’s sacrifice was a demonstration of His love.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

These flowers were another demonstration of His love for me–a wooing once again to Himself. Just like a man courting a woman would bring flowers, He presented them as an invitation to celebrate His work in me together with Him.

And so, as we finish out this launch week, I’m celebrating God’s faithfulness to help me bring this podcast to fruition, I’m celebrating your support to listen and I’m celebrating God’s love.

 

I’m so passionate for you all to experirence His love like this.  Chase after Him. Believe him. He’s waiting.