Two Become One Ten Years Later…

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We started the ceremony with our favorite hymn, Be Thou My Vision. It was our prayer for our life together.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

We were just spring chickens on that day so many years ago. Me 20, him 22. Full of life and excitement. There was so much on the horizon, so many things to look ahead to.

I wasn’t nervous one bit. Just downright thrilled and exhilarated. I was finally gonna marry the man I truly loved. There were no thoughts of what if this is the wrong guy or Maybe I’m too young. No doubts or worries. Pure fullness of joy.

And to this day, 10 years later, I have yet to question the decision I made on that day.

Much has happened in those years. We have traveled, moved, changed careers paths, joined the ministry, furthered education, had car accidents, watched grandparents pass away and brought children into the world. We’ve experienced financial woes of all kinds, with schooling, broke-down cars, floods and wind-torn roof’s. There has been infertility, pounds gained, adoption papers, child development meetings and child diagnosis’.

Sorrow, depression, burn-out and loss.

But with all of the trial God has washed us in His love, provision and joy. Friends and family have risen up to bless us in times of need. All because of God’s grace.

And all His mercy began on September 18th, 2004 the day we decided to do all this together. There is blessing in companionship. The embrace at the end of the day when everything seems chaotic, my constant God-given companion is there by my side, as my partner for it all.

Although it’s not always roses living with another human-being. Although one of us has wrestless-leg syndrome which is irritating at night and one of us bites his nails which is totally gross. Toilet paper rolls are put on wrong and one of us always asks the other one to play with her hair when he is way too tired to do it.

We are on the same team. Working towards the same goal. And that is to finish this race of life faithful to God, and by doing so, faithful to each other.

What a gift.

I am so thankful for the gift my husband is to me. And I hope these past 10 years are just the beginning. I hope for many more decade’s. And as long as the Lord Will’s me to live, I will stand by my love as his constant companion. I will continue to be a soft place for him to land when life gets heavy. Because this whole life thing can be tragic. But together we can do it. And we will do it.

10 years ago today, I started a most beautiful journey. And I expect the next ten will be met with even more grace from God. And so I dedicate the years to come to Christ. Keep us faithful. Keep us humble. Make us more Holy. Let us finish the race well. And let us never forget our vows along the way.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

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Posted in Life, Marriage | 1 Comment

Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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I Wandered, Then Motherhood: This is the kinda sweet post every mom can relate to. And anyone who wants to be a mom can read and take notes.

Saving Dr. Brantly: Recently Matt Lauer sat down with Samaritan’s Purse missionary Dr. Brantly who was the first American to come to America with the devastating disease Ebola. If you haven’t watched it, please do. This man and every other person who has volunteered there lives to helping with this disease are true hero’s. And I love how he gives all the glory to God.

The Cure For Our Envy: I always enjoy Christina Fox’s writing. This is a helpful reminder for those of us who struggle with the green monster.

Bill Maher Vs Charlie Rose: Even Maher as an outspoken atheist can’t deny the intellectual fact that there is something particularly disturbing and I would say evil about the Islamic faith.

 

 

 

Posted in Christian Living, Culture, Let Me Direct You Elsewhere, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized, Video's | Leave a comment

Shucking Corn To The Glory Of God…

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The little town that I inhabit has corn as its claim to fame. And it just so happens that yummy corn on the cob is in season. Give it a month and my town will come alive with corn mazes and pumpkin farms. I love this time of year!

The other day, before plopping 6 delicious corn on the cobs in boiling hot water, I had the fun job of shucking them. This job is messy. But as I was pulling layer after layer of protective leaves off of the corn I marvelled at what I was beholding. The corn was perfect. They grew that way; with a cocoon of green, preserving important sustenance inside.

It’s the same for other grown food too. When a petite walnut falls from a tree it is entrapped in a hard shell to keep it safe from the elements. Banana’s always have a peel. And oranges a rind. I could go on and on.

God’s creation is marvelous.

It takes me by surprise. I am unprepared at times when I notice the miraculous in the mundane. But every day that goes by produces something to marvel at God over. And all of it was written by Him; a great writer, then spun into being and purposed for each changing season.

None of this was an accident. A mixture of elements didn’t just combust into this earth’s intricately multifaceted plantation. It wasn’t millions of years of mutation that perfected the way corn grows. All of it is the gift of an intelligent creator.

My eye exam a couple of weeks ago also reminded me that goop from the depth of the ocean was not what brought about mankind’s retina. The fact that my optometrist can see the health of almost my entire body by looking into my eyes is the greatest metaphor for how God looks into my heart and see’s the health of my soul. He created each of us intricately by connecting everything together.

Satan wants us to miss it. He wants us not to notice the supernatural in the monotonous. He wants us to explain it all away with scientific talk.

But God in His booming voice is shouting from the heavens…”I made it, and it is good!” So taste it and see His goodness, then marvel at His handwork, because all of it is miraculous.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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He Must Increase; Our Church’s Must Decrease: “A gospel-centered church is okay with its own decreasing — in reputation, in acclaim, in legacy, even in (gasp) numbers, but especially in self-regard — so long as it serves the increasing of the sense of the glory of God.”

The Osteen Predicament – Mere Happiness Cannot Bear The Weight Of The Gospel: After the Victoria Osteen sound bite went viral this week, there have been many responses. Mohler’s response is one of the best ones.

Introversion Unite! How Many Of Us Need This Shirt? I thought it was cute!

10615578_10152668528514518_6836528953167843808_nC.S Lewis vs Scientism – N.D Wilson: If you have the time, this is a really good message. If you want the flames of your heart stoked for your creator, watch it.

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Friends…

friends

Vulnerability is difficult for me. There are very few places that feel safe enough for me to be you know…really real. But those places aren’t actual spaces on the earth, but faces of people. People who will see me with eyes of understanding, mercy and love, not judgement, disappointment and scrutiny. They have ears that can handle my reality as I perceive it.

All of us have these people. And all of us should have them.

They are sent to us by God. He intended us to have real, honest relationships with each other so that we can experience community based on truth. So that when our strength fails us, others will be strong in our place. And in doing this we will experience God’s intimate care for us.

These companions for life laugh with us, give us needed perspective, take pleasure in our success’ and mourn with us in loss. They bring peace in the chaos, not added storminess. And they don’t flinch in the middle of vulnerability.

These are our friends. Not the Facebook-kind. The hand-picked family kind.

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I have them and so do you. Some live hours from me and some many miles away and in other countries. We don’t talk everyday or see each other all the time, but when we meet the masks come off.  The apologies over messy houses or cranky kids need not be explained. There is a common understanding that we come as we are.

Unfortunately I am a fallible friend, which means I know I don’t do friendship perfectly. Far from it. And that is what makes it all so much more blessed. Because with all of the ways I know I have failed my God-given friends, somehow they still love me and somehow the ties of our hearts stay knotted.

I thank God for my friends. For their loyalty and love. For the way they challenge and encourage. For how they show up in times of need. For the laughs and silliness and down-right shenanigans’ that take place when time allows for it.

To my friends, you are the greatest of gifts in this world to me. I am rich because you embraced me even with all my flaws. Thank you.

Posted in Christian Living, Life | Leave a comment

Jesus And The Fallacy Of Fairness…

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Have you ever felt like you’ve been treated unfairly?

I have.

Oh, so many times. When I worked I felt I wasn’t compensated enough for the work I did. And I definitely deserved to have more vacation time. As a full-time mom, now I find it unfair that I don’t have the same kind of freedom I once had. I deserve more me time and I really should get paid for this. It’s also not fair that other moms are able to get their hair done all the time, have more help and can afford a Starbucks every morning.

Growing up it was unfair to me that I wasn’t able to go do the same things my older sisters got to do. Even at the tender age of 3 and 4 we can have an acute need for fairness. Mom, jimmy has more marshmallows in his hot chocolate then me!

When we are little it’s petty, and when we get older we call it unjust.

Our inner desire for fairness is confused for justice. But justice is not the problem. The problem is me and my desire to please me. And most of my idea’s of unfairness are the result of envying those around me who look to have more or have it better.

Jesus gives us a parable about this very thing called the Laborers in the Vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16. Read it.

This parable is the perfect response to Peter’s question in Matthew 19:27. Peter had just witnessed the rich young ruler basically deny Christ because of the ruler’s attachment to his own money. This made Peter curious, so he asks…“See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”

Surely everything the disciples rejected to follow Christ would garner extra special standing and blessing. Jesus assures Peter and the disciples of their stature in heaven, but then he gives a stern warning (Matt 19:30), But many who are first will be last, and the last first.  Then he launch’s into the above parable as a lesson for us all.

The early laborers agreed on the days payment, and then went to work. More workers joined and then even more later in the day. When the day was done and it was time to be paid, everyone received the same amount of money. The early laborers who worked the longest with sweat on there brow started grumbling.

Wouldn’t you?

I would.

This is not fair. Wouldn’t you assume that your master was kind of being a jerk and a cheap skate? Wouldn’t you grumble and complain and maybe even confront the guy with a fool-proof argument about labor laws and rights? Then maybe you would form a union? And then who knows, maybe you would strike?

Culturally, this scripture kinda hurts a bit.

This hits a little too close to home because practically speaking it definitely represents the world in which we exist and need to navigate with a biblical worldview. And the applications can get tricky.

However notice in the text that there is nothing unjust about the master’s actions (Matthew 20:13). The first laborers got exactly what they agreed to. If there was a contract, the contract would have been abided by lawfully. If they were to be angry at anything it would be at the masters generosity…but that’s it.

Jesus (as He always does), challenges us with an upside down gospel.

The message is this: Quit your covetous hate, because the first will be last and the last will be first in the kingdom of heaven. Seniority is irrelevant to Christ. We all come to Him equal. None of our work ultimately earns us anything.

 “Significantly, many Christians who study this parable identify with the employees who put in a full day’s work, rather than the add-ons at the end of the day. We like to think of ourselves as responsible workers, and the employer’s strange behavior baffles us as it did the original hearers. We risk missing the story’s point: that God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God’s requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell, (Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, 61-62).

What we have on this earth is more than we deserve and what we receive in heaven is completely up to the Lord.

Worldly fairness is a fallacy.

We must rest in what the master says to the second set of workers in verse 6, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ Whether a person receives grace the day before his death or labors all his life for the Lord, God see’s us all as equal. And whatever HE feels is right, HE will give us.

Posted in Christian Living, Theology | 2 Comments

Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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In Defense Of Dawkins (sort of): Last week Richard Dawkins tweeted some disgusting things about abortion and children with Down Syndrome. And this is just an article about how although there was outrage over his words, the majority is on his side.

The Ordinary Christian Life: I have struggled with this plenty as a very ordinary stay-at-home mom. So this was encouraging for me!

Jimmy Fallon – Good News And Good News: I love Jimmy for this kind of stuff. Here’s an upper for you!

Posted in Christian Living, Culture, Let Me Direct You Elsewhere, Video's | Leave a comment