A Book and a Story

Do you remember that book I wrote? The one that went through a publisher and an agent and then back again? That book that had me wondering if anyone would be able to read it outside of my family since it lived in my computer? 

I'm always amazed by God's hand, His work, His timing, His plan. I knew He wanted me to write that book, and I looked back at that time period and wondered how I even had the time to write it. When did I do that? Because I certainly couldn't see how I was able to carve out the time. There are a lot of people in this house and they like to interrupt a lot. I like to hang out with them, too, so my time's a little consumed. 

Anyway, It happened because God wanted it to. He made a way. And even over the last two years when it stayed tucked away in a Pages file, God was doing things His way. His way is always, always, always better. Remember that, because your thing might not be a book but it's something, and God has a perfect plan for that. Perfect, my friend.

More than we could ever ask for or imagine.

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I signed a contract last week with New Growth Press and Key Life Ministries, but here's the kicker: if I could have hand-picked a publisher and a ministry to work with, these two would be it. How it all came about is entirely God's doing, and I can see how He was working in that time period when I was wondering why I'd even bothered. This was why. Both the publisher and the folks at Key Life are committed to a gospel-centered, grace-filled message that puts Jesus squarely where He belongs: in the center. All over, really. These are the people I want the book to run around with.

If you're new to Preschoolers and Peace and wondering what the book might be about, I can guide you to the latest HomeschoolingIRL podcast (where my hubs and I hang out), in which we tell our story of over-the-top trials and total faith overhaul. Just click over:

Thank you for reading! I'll update you on the book and you'll be the first to know when it comes out. Promise. Oh, and I do have more posts planned for next week! Really, I do!

-Kendra


How a Virus, a Car Accident, and Septic Shock Changed Our Lives

I haven't told you our story, have I?

Some of you very loyal readers walked our narrative with us, but some of you are brand new to Preschoolers and Peace and may not know about our most trying period of 18 months that turned us entirely upside-down and pulled us closer, closer, still closer to Christ than we'd ever thought we needed to be. Because we thought we were pretty great stuff.

I found our 7-week-old in a coma. 

Just like that he was rushed to Children's Hospital where we were told to sleep with our cell phones that night because he probably wasn't going to make it.

  He was so bloated, he looked like a different baby than the one we'd arrived with.

He was so bloated, he looked like a different baby than the one we'd arrived with.

 

The short story includes liver failure, kidney failure, heart damage, and brain damage. The long story includes a brain full of massive dead spaces and a boy who can see even without the part of the brain that sees. His story is a miracle, and God has been glorified through our Mighty Joe.

Somewhere in that ICU, I cried out for more of Jesus. I defiantly stood against the folks who were telling me He wasn't enough, that I had to add my works into the glorious grace He already performed, and the rumblings of a personal earthquake rolled underneath the surface, threatening to upend what was upside-down.

6 months later I ran over our 5-year-old with our 12-passenger van.

In our driveway. And she lived, but CPS accused me of trying to - what? - kill her, I guess. Because what a mother needs most after her worst nightmare comes true is to then be accused of behaving like a hideous monster.

Beach Babe.jpg
 

She lived. She stood up in that driveway and walked to our front door. She sat in a tiny wheelchair recovering from a fractured pelvis for 6 weeks, but she was alive. Is alive. And she, too, felt a miracle.

Closer, closer to Jesus. No more Jesus + me.

We were recovering. I still thought I saw the people from child protective services peering in my windows, threatening my love and good parenting, and my hope was askew. Should have been in God, not my good mothering or the government.

We found Caroline in septic shock.

It wasn't the flu. It was a ruptured appendix that had filled her body with infection. 15 minutes of surgery to remove the appendix; 45 to clean out the pus. It was everywhere. Another surgery to place drains deep in her abdomen. And again another that skirted her femoral artery, threatening her life. 3 weeks in ICU.

Caroline-ER .jpg
 

The earthquake was in full amplification. We couldn't stand on our old foundations of religiosity or knowledge or theology or our view of God and the church. We could only stand on Jesus because all the rest was crumbling around us into the faults that caused the great gaps that had once threatened to swallow us whole.

I'll take Jesus, just as He is. Because through a virus, a car accident, and a case of septic shock, Jesus steadily and quietly pulled us in and reminded us through the chaos that He is the only hope we have.

've written a book about our story, and it's coming this year with New Growth Press. Thank you for encouraging me to write it.


Trials and the Fear of God

Do not let your peace depend on what people say of you, for whether they speak good or ill of you makes no difference to what you are. True peace and joy is to be found in Me [Jesus] alone. He who is neither anxious to please nor afraid to displease men enjoys true peace.

~Thomas a Kempis

I pierced my nose last fall. When asked why, I say, Do you want the short answer or the not-so-short answer? The short answer is, I've always thought tiny shimmering studs in a woman's nose are beautiful. Feminine. Graceful. The not-so-short answer is that I have finally learned to fear God more than I fear man. 39 years of living in grave fear of what others might say about me or my choices, and I know this goes way back because in high school a friend had the courage to say to me, "You know, everyone isn't talking about you all the time". Ouch. Guess I thought so. When you experience for yourself that it is Almighty God who can snuff out our time on earth in one heartbeat, you tend to see Him for who He is: Omnipotent, All-Knowing, Sovereign. My fear of His power rose exponentially, but my fear of man fell into the garbage heap where it belongs. We're not talking about a Biblical issue or sin here. I'm open and receptive to hearing about what ails me, and the Holy Spirit does a very steady job of revealing my short comings while at the same time breathing life-giving truths into my soul. You might not like nose rings, you might associate them with something negative, and you might never, ever do that to your nose. That's ok. What's not ok is when we take the role of cosmic policeman either by imposing our own extra-Biblical choices onto others, when we measure our spirituality by outward marks of insignificant details (think nose piercing, highlighted hair, or a trendy hat... or homeschooling, dresses only, exclusively Christian music), or when we assign a role to God that He Himself doesn't own (that cosmic policeman...) Why, after being unshackled by the freeing grace of God, do we want to put ourselves back into bondage? Fear God and God alone.

If the fear of man is a form of bondage for you, you might gain great insight from Edward T. Welch's When People Are Big and God is Small. I found it very helpful.
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Trials and the Sermon That Spoke to My Heart

Britt and Kate Merrick have been through the fire with their five-year-old daughter Daisy.  What Britt says about turning to Jesus reminds me of what my husband always says about our response in trying circumstances: What's in your cup is what's going to spill out when it's knocked out of your hands. What is inside your cup? Listen to Britt deliver a sermon entitled When My Heart is Overwhelmed just six days after Daisy's diagnosis of stage 3 cancer. Hope, isn't it? ♥
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Trials and the Answer For Very Messy Lives

"Ronnie was no longer certain of anything.  She had been wrong about so many things: her dad, Blaze, her mother, even Will. Life was so much more complicated than she had ever imagined..."

Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song

Life is complicated.  We like to package things neatly in black and white, but that's just not the way it is.  We can craft little perfect worlds of seemingly spiritual platitudes and ideals, but when the rubber meets the road, it's never neat and tidy.

See, here's the thing:  pagans cared for my children when they were in desperate need.  Women who went to college.  Women who put their children in *gasp* public school and then go to work.  If we hold to these extra-Biblical models that women ought not have higher education and ought not have a job beyond the home, then what do we do when things are messy?  Complicated?  What do we do when we feel the utmost of gratitude for women who are there in the ER, in the ICU, on the pediatrics floor? Dear, Godly women like my sister-in-law who have Godly homes, loving marriages, children who follow God,  and a job?

I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water.  When we are given a husband and children, that's our calling.  But does that look exactly the same for each one of us?  Does the outworking of our faith look exactly the same as someone else's?

Some of my readers are wondering what in the world I'm talking about, unaware of some of these ideas circulating around homeschool circles and permeating choices.  Others of you are firmly in that camp and have just decided to stop reading Preschoolers and Peace.  That's ok.  We've been marginalized for our choices in the past two years, choices that reflect how God has transformed our family.  We're getting used to being black sheep ;)

I am confident that I will stand next to Baptists and Pentecostals and Fundamentalists and Methodists and Arminians and Calvinists and Mennonites and a whole slew of non-descript believers in heaven because they love Jesus more than their platitudes. Love Jesus more than your platitudes!  Evangelize the world for Jesus, not a lifestyle!

Be in the business of giving people hope.

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