Ever feel that you are thankful in the way that this little Gnome is happy? That its fake. That underneath the surface you are pretty pissed that life has turned out this way? Yeah, me too. I have already repeated it to many of you who read this silly blog of ours, but I will say it again anyway.
Last week a friend of ours let us know that he has never met anyone who is anxious, worried, or fearful who is not ALSO confident about what is best for them or those they love.
In other words, if I know what is best for me and life isn't going as planned (which inevitably happens for all of us), I get worried, anxious, fearful - or in my case angry because things are going to hell. If I am confident that CHRIST knows what's best for me, and that HE is GOOD, then I will not worry, fear, or become angry over my circumstances, instead, I may even learn to be THANKFUL for them, because I believe that CHRIST works these circumstances into my life FOR me and not against me. Does that mean that I believe this? Not really, but I want to. Time to repent. Jesus, forgive my confidence and my pride, I believe I know what's best for me and consequently I am the angriest person I know. If you don't have mercy on me, I am going to wither away into a mean old man someday because I got a bad deck of cards. Please revive me with your righteousness and help me believe! Amy and I are growing more thankful, thanks to your prayers. Praises for Jesus:
  • He makes a PRAYer out of a willful man like me
  • He has given us a wonderful woman to watch over Brighton two days a week for less than it is worth to us.
  • He has given us three times so far where Brighton has slept for 3-5 hours!
  • He has lifted us up in our community, and MANY people have volunteered to help Amy and I get sleep or have a date night.
  • He has made work hard so that I won't be overconfident in my abilities - and keep praying for help! (wow, that's hard to be thankful for)
  • He has given us friends who need our prayers, which helps us know we are NOT alone, and in a community of people who also need Jesus.
  • He has given Amy a job to work hard at in a place that needs a lot more weakness to fight the bootstrap army! (...pull yourself up by the bootstraps...army)
  • Praise Jesus for being so darn beautiful in our messy, broken world


The Smith's are Christ - needy

Friends, In case you didn't get the email: We need your prayers. Not that we didn't need them since the last prayer letter, we're just too self-assured to ask that often.I tend to think that most people see an email like this and begin to strategize ways of cutting Amy and I out of their lives because being this hungry for prayer makes me uncomfortable - it must make others uncomfortable. So, messed up, uncomfortable, broken (feeling a lot like the awkward smelly man that you wished wouldn't sit next to you every Sunday at church), I ask all of you for prayer:
  • Pray for thankfulness. Amy and I disdain our present circumstances and we are anxious instead of worshipful.
  • Pray for sleep if you pray for anything at all. Pray that Brighton would turn a corner and begin to sleep for longer. This week he has been up on an average of every hour, and often doesn't go back to sleep. Pray that we would have the guts to ask people to watch Brighton while Amy and I catch a long nap.
  • Pray for Mercy, and for merciful hearts. We need the Lord's mercy now, and we want very much that this time would teach us to offer others mercy more quickly.
Please let Amy and I know how we can pray for YOU also. We want to be part of a culture of prayer. If you care to know more detail, why we need these prayers, read on: A supervisor of mine was recently commenting on my generations shock at realizing that life is hard: "I've been reading the Psalms for awhile now, and its clear - life has sucked for a long time." Amy and I have both been shocked again, for the umpteenth time to find out that life is extremely disappointing, and that our expectation for consistent health, and good welfare, is a poor one - in fact we have believed a lie. We are both extremely exhausted. We have probably not had any less sleep than many parents of newborns, I don't think we are a special case, but I ask for prayer for us because this lack of sleep is causing me to stumble, is causing both of us to stumble. I have become a enemy to myself and my family. I cannot think and so I react to everything like an animal. I have been angry at just about anything worth being angry about. I have yelled at Brighton several times this week. (mind you, it was in private, so that no one would know I was yelling at him). I shut down in a way that leaves Amy feeling left alone, and I retreat to the things that ask nothing of me. Mostly my artwork on my mac - which is quickly becoming an idol of rest and solitude for me. I love my family more than anything on earth, and I am failing them utterly. I believe a lot of it has to do with NOT getting enough sleep. If I were more rested I could adequately approach Jesus for help, as is, I am struggling to believe in him at all! Does this sound intense? Yeah I think so too, and life doesn't have to be this intense, but I think it gets here when our perceptions about life are not centered in the eternal hope of Christ, and instead are latched on to a temporal hope that Jesus must make our immediate lives better or else he's a liar. If you're like me, you have often mis-used Scripture to back this up. Convinced! Please pray, And again, please let Amy and I know how we can pray with you. Lets be a culture of Christ needy people, so that Christ-needy people don't feel pitiful, but feel CHRISTIAN!, Love yall, Matthew


first smiles

Way to go Matthew for capturing some of Brighton's first few "camera smiles". We're enthralled with his new sounds, coos & baby laughs...and could probably sit and play with him for hours if we didn't have "life" to do. Check out his crazy bedhead pics on the minismith site.


Prayer for the Needy

Hey friends, Please pray with us, our raft just flipped. (Please let us know if you care to STAY on this prayer list)
  • Pray that God would remind us that HE is our king. Pray that our Father in heaven would remind us that HIS sorrow for our fallen state is far far greater than our puny wimperings. Pray that Amy and I would rest rest rest rest in JESUS.
  • Pray that Amy and I would find or be given wisdom concerning our call, our careers, and our son. Without God's Merciful wisdom in our lives, we will move into survival mode and make decisions from our flesh, not from the Spirit.
  • Pray that we (especially ME- Matthew) won't despise our son (in the deepest darkest most septic parts of our hearts) for making us less versatile people, less agile and free people, less needy people. I know, its sick, but I felt a twinge of it this morning, and I hate it, please pray that God crushes Satan's face in my heart!
  • Oh yeah, and keep praying for sleep, we feel like the walking dead!
  • Pray that God would call others to the kingdom work he is calling us to, through prayer, financial support, and living missionally.
Care to know the circumstances behind these needs? Amy received a call from her employer this morning (she is currently on maternity leave). To make it short, they offered her a $10,000 raise and a new position as Senior Operations Analyst. My wife is crazy smart! Her employer knows it! But Amy also has seen a dramatic change in the last two months as our son has dug his way into Amy's heart and now he has taken up shop there. Hallelujah! That's great news. It also means that we are having to face what to do in the meantime. Three choices are for Amy to
  • return to work and spend $10,000 a year on daycare,
  • return to work for two months until January 1, when, God willing, I will have raised enough support to go full time at World Harvest.
  • Find another job (which would hopefully allow for Amy to either work from home, or work with Brighton in hand - so to speak)
The problem with no. 2 is that Amy will likely have to accept the new position in order to go back to work at all, and if so, she will be trained for the new position, and then in December offer her resignation for January 1. We feel this is manipulative and awkward. Obvious problems, and/or hurtles for 1 and 3. A 4th option, might be to counter her employers offer by subtly reminding them what an asset Amy is and suggesting/asking if they might consider a work from home, or work mostly from home position for her. HIGHLY unlikely, although it was also unlikely that the Red Sea would move in two opposite directions and up and create a trough which the hebrews could move through, but pharaoh and the "bad" people could not! So, WHO DO WE BELIEVE? THE ACCUSER, OR THE KING! PLEASE PRAY. Love all yall, Matthew (& Amy and Brighton)


nap time

Ahhh...don't we all wish we had more of it? Here's our little man bundled up and getting ready to snooze. It's been a hard week of 1 hour chunks of sleep through the night, but last night...after many prayers from ourselves and our friends...we were graciously offered a better night of slumber. "Better", in baby world, means a good ol' four hour chunk. I was so excited when I woke up at 2am, expecting to have woken up at midnight, that I ALMOST woke up Matthew. That would have defeated the purpose :0) So now we head in to our day just a little more rested. Or at least with our eyes MOSTLY open. And we were also greeted this morning with the exciting news of the birth of our dear friend's baby last night. Little Clara Beatty has finally arrived and we are thrilled to meet her and congratulate her parents this afternoon. What a crew we'll be - the Hasse's, Beatty's and ourselves - all with new babies to keep us leaning on Jesus when our bodies fail us in these sleep-deprived days!


Sunday Evening

We are heading to bed, but before we do I wanted to sound the call for thanks. This has been a week of heart change for me, and I know that many of you who read this pray for me. I have had several confrontations this week about something I did, or didn't do when I ought to have. My normal habit of defense is waining and I saw several instances of doubting my own unique ability to be right above all others, and began to believe that I may need to learn A LOT in life. I should add, my wife thanks you, and if Brighton could, he would too. We feel very loved.