Saturday, October 29, 2011


"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." 1 Peter 3:3-4

This picture is from our recent time in Palm Springs. A lovely young woman, Bethany Fankhauser, captured this picture of Emma. I love it for so many reasons... but, the above verse from 1 Peter is painted on the wall in Emma's room. I love that in this picture, I get lost in her eyes. I can see there everything good that the Lord is growing in her-a beauty that is oozing out of her insides, and spills out onto the outside. Oh Lord, make me so much more concerned about the beauty that comes from within, both for myself and my sweet little girl.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dear Noah

Today you are five years old!!! I love to snuggle with you! You have so much personality. You love Star Wars like your older brother (even though you haven't seen the movie!). You love riding your bike, and you have been swimming everyday with your swim vest. You are usually on your own timetable. Sometimes, it seems like your head is in the clouds. :) You are one of the most affectionate little boys I know. You are so very talkative when given an audience. Today, at the thrift store, mommy found an Anakin Skywalker costume and a Stormtrooper costume. You didn't even want to go to the pool today because you were playing with the costumes and the little lego guys you got for your birthday. Even with your missing tooth, you still have that "million dollar smile." You remind me to be affectionate. You are reading quite well for a five year old, and you surprise me sometimes at the things you can read. You are doing well in math as well (Saxon 1), and you love to learn. But, your favorite thing to do right now is to play legos with your brother. It is so fun to see you growing and learning. It is hard to believe that you are five years old!! Our prayer for you, Noah, is that you would continue to enjoy life as much as you do, and that you would enjoy Jesus so much that you would cause others to want to love and enjoy Him as well.
With love,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Worship Time

Sorry for the blurry photos.

It was so sweet!!! We had a worship gathering Sunday morning with some of the families here in Palm Springs. Dave led worship for the kids, and Ben shared a little devotion with the kids. There is not much sweeter than starting the day hearing kids pray, sing, and read God's Word aloud. It was such a special time, and sweet to share it with other families who love Jesus.
From what Ben shared:
Have you ever had a secret? Something really, really wonderful and exciting, that you wouldn't know unless someone told you? Like, that your mom has made cookies, and your brother is playing in the backyard.... he won't know about those yummy cookies unless someone tells him!!! We wouldn't know about God unless He decided to tell us about Himself!!!
"The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known." Psalm 19:1-2

"From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God." Romans 1:20

Ezra Lucas Knight....

Dear Ezra,
You are three years old now!! You are so full of life! We celebrated with the cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house. You felt so special. You got to bring cupcakes for snack to your class of friends at Group Solutions. On the morning of your birthday, you went with Daddy to get doughnuts. We found a garage sale that had some cool Star Wars toys. We packed up and headed to "Spalm Springs," as you like to call it. Palm Springs is such a great time for you-you basically go from riding your scooter, to your bike, to the pool (where we swim for hours), back to the bike or the scooter, until you crash for bed. A bunch of the families went and made carmel apples tonight, but you feel asleep on Daddy's lap before you ever got an apple. :)
Ezra, you are such a special little boy. Our life is infinitely more exciting because you are in it. This morning, I want to tell you thank you.... Although many moments with you are challenging, you have been such a special influence in shaping my own heart and mind. You have pushed me to the very limits of myself, and helped me to find that Jesus is sufficient and sweeter than He ever would have been had I had enough strength on my own. You constantly remind me of the gospel, and that everything good is from God's hand of grace. You have completely destroyed my ability to perform well as a mom...and in that, I have discovered the love of Christ more abundantly. I would never be the same without you, my Ezra Lucas Knight Hester. You bring so much life to this family, and we love you so much!! Happy Birthday, "sweet boy!!"
You are a treasure!!! I love you, AND I like you.
Love, Mommy

Monday, October 17, 2011


There are many things that we do in a day at home. One of my favorites is sitting around reading really, really amazing stories. This morning we were reading from a book called "Out of Darkness", set in the time period of Ancient Rome. There is a young Jewish boy whose mother is very ill. He befriends a blind, Roman beggar boy, and together they begin to hear rumors of a man from Nazareth with the power to heal. Two of my favorite scenes from today's reading:

"You make me ashamed in so many ways-especially your laughing response to difficulties."
Amplias shrugged. "Light is a better response to darkness than are clouds, it seems to me. And laughter is a thing of light, isn't it?"

And the next:

(Amplias, the blind boy, speaks of an encounter with Jesus):
Amplias nodded his agreement. "We were small. No. We are small. That's perhaps the clearest sensation I recall of my moments here with the Nazarene. As I knelt before him I felt that although my eyes couldn't see him, my heart was looking into the face of all that has been, or is, or ever will be."

Wow. Two amazing thoughts for me today-light is always a better response to the darkness of this world. What a fantastic thought, that I can bring light through laughter into our world today with my children.
And the second. Well, there are hardly any words, but this is exactly what I felt yesterday. I was at a church meeting with some amazing women, and I was paired with a friend to pray. As we did, I felt as though we had entered into the very throne room of God. I felt as though I was there, in the presence of Jesus. The very presence of everything that has been, everything that is, and everything that ever will be. Because of the cross, I am able to bask in that presence. And that presence changes everything.
Today, I am just so privileged to be here, at home, enjoying Jesus with my kids.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Sifted as Wheat

“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:31-32

As mothers, we so desperately want our children to succeed. We pray for them, we nurture them in hopes that they will choose well. And with that, comes what is sometimes a panic-stricken desire for our children to avoid failure. Now, don’t get me wrong: no mother sits around dreaming of ways for their child to fail. Jesus gives us these amazing words in Luke, showing us that He is not afraid of failure.

Here, Jesus comes to Peter, and really to all of us (the “you” in chapter 31 is plural!!). He says that Satan has asked that he may sift us. Now at this point, Jesus can pray for many things. He could pray that Peter is strong enough to resist the temptation to deny Jesus. He could pray that he would only deny him once, instead of three times. He could even just pray that Peter would be delivered from this sifting all together. He could have said, “NO!” to Satan. But he didn’t. Jesus’ view goes far beyond the mundane, and daily. His point of view includes all of eternity past and present, and yet to come. And so Jesus prays for what will work the most good for Peter, the disciples, the church, and what will bring God the most glory.

From our perspective, it seems so easy... The best thing would be for no sin. And yet, we know that isn’t the story of the human race. We always choose sin. And so, God writes an even grander story: redemption. He prays that Peter’s faith would not fail, and that after he has returned, that he would strengthen his brothers.

Wow! This is difficult as a mom!! But if we desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ, we must make failure part of our instruction. Our children, and our disciples, must be taught how to fail, just as much as they must be taught how to succeed. We must be willing to let grace shape our discipling. Grace does not mean that we remove the standard, or lower our expectations for our children. In fact, grace requires that we hold God’s Word out as the standard. But grace also bends itself down to the one who has not met the standard. It picks them up, dusts them off, and encourages them to continue on. It says with encouragement, “Your faith will not fail!!”, and it exhorts the fallen to rise again and encourage those around them. Use those failures to strengthen those around you. Don’t waste your failures, but instead, hold them out to the world as shining examples of God’s grace toward you.

I was convinced (and convicted!) of this one day as I sat sharing my testimony with a friend. I wondered later, if I had held back any of the wickedness of my sin and failure, in order to make myself appear not “quite so bad.” Right then, the Lord spoke clearly that I withhold glory from Him when I refuse to show how bad I really was. Every failure, every mistake, every sin, is a beautiful picture of the redeeming power of God’s love. Because, by His grace, I am not that person anymore. And so, I bring the most glory to God, when I am painfully honest about my failures, and use them as opportunities to strengthen my brothers and sisters.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Life Lessons from Surfing...

When we first started having kids, we did take them to the beach... but just barely. What I mean by that was that we just didn't always do it well. We were just getting by in our beach visits-and poor Ben, hasn't spent nearly as much time on a surfboard in the last ten years as he did in the previous ten. ;)

Anyhow, he has gently encouraged the kids to get on the board, or get out in the ocean. But recently, he was really feeling like it was time to take them out on the board whether they wanted to or not. Really, we were in agreement that they should TRY to learn to surf, and if they just didn't like it after that, then we wouldn't push the issue. Well, when we announced our beach day this morning, we also informed them that they would each get a turn with Daddy on the surfboard (except Noah since he is still coughing). There was fear and trepidation all around, except for Ezra who has been talking about "surfing with Daddy" for days now.
But, Emma took it the hardest. She was so distraught that she laid on her bed and moped for a good hour. Finally I called her in and we had a great chat. I explained that sometimes, God asks us to do things that are scary. But when he does, he always gives us everything we need to obey Him. And, He many times does not give us those things ahead of time, like an hour before we are to get in the water, but He gives them just at the time we need them. I assured her that Daddy would do whatever she needed to feel safe: hold her, stay right by her, etc.
I also cautioned her in letting fear get the best of her... because many times, we get so worked up in fear, and then we find that it's actually too windy to even get in the water, or the waves are too big and it's not the right day.... Our Father is so much more concerned about our heart, and our willingness to obey. (Side note: Emma wondered how we knew that God was asking her to go on Daddy's surfboard, and I assured her that it was us asking, not God. But it was a very good lesson for her to learn, nonetheless.)
And so, they each had a turn with Daddy on the surfboard. And it turns out, that Emma had the best time of them all. She paddled on the board all by herself, and even jumped off the board into deep water and swam back to the board all by herself. Caleb and Daddy got hit hard by a wave on their way out, so he was a little traumatized. He recovered and pressed on, and although I don't think I could say he enjoyed it, he was proud of himself for his bravery. And Ezra, well, he enjoyed telling everyone on the beach, "I surfed with my Daddy. I was scared."
And yet, God, in His grace, gave each of them everything they needed to obey. And I was reminded that if I just cry out to my Father, He will give me everything I need to obey as well.

"Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go." Joshua 1:7