Us Lately…

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I feel like I haven’t written a personal post in quite some time and therefore I really should. At least for the two of you out there who have any interest. So here it is, don’t mind all the grainy pics!

Where to begin really…

I feel as though I must begin with the most positive change that began this time last year. As it was then that we began looking into transitioning into a new church within the same city we are currently living. For various reasons and for what I can only explain as the stars aligning (or just God’s sovereign hand acting as it does) we found ourselves ready to move on and into the available position of our now current church.

What a great move of God that was.

We have found home. And I really can’t express how important that is. No, it is not rid of human error and sin and complexity and drama that church life brings, and it may not be our forever-home as I’m not completely sure that exists. But it is absolutely where the good Lord has placed us and where we want to be for a long time.

Our church is a true joy in our lives. And a place we feel like we belong in. This past year has been a journey of new beginnings all over again, only infused with a lot of hope.

I’m so thankful to be where we are.

I never wrote about the kid’s birthday at the end of last year. But we combined them again and celebrated in November by taking them out with a bunch of their friends to see the Charlie Brown movie. It was a good time!

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We also had a wonderful Christmas which was a true blessing. I was so happily surprised to have another illness-free holiday! It was a great time with friends and family!

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We also got to ring in the New Year with dear friends of ours which was also a real treat. Here is us before the ball dropped!

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Benjamin has gone from kindergarten to grade one and has become quite the tall and lean little fellow. When I look back at pictures of him when he was one, he looks almost the exact same, only stretched out. His smile is sweet and his personality even sweeter. School is not where he finds his joy. Its been a challenging year so far and continues to reveal so many unknowns for us. But I love that he can use his very vivid imagination to play with his Lego’s for hours. Who knows maybe he’ll become a Lego expert one day!

My boy is the product of many prayers. And his life hasn’t been much different. The Lord is working, even amongst the unknown, He knows what He’s doing.

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Lucy is experiencing all the fun of kindergarten. She is making lots of friends. And I get to hear all about Tiana and Melanie everyday after school and the drama that goes along with girls trying to be friends. Her spunk has not faded nor her emotional ups and downs. My girl is loud and chatty and always up to something. She is also accident prone and puts my nerves on edge with her clumsiness and over-active courage. She sings, dances and loves to color.

She is sensitive to the Lord and sensitive in general. And God is at work in all the unknowns that face us regarding our girl.

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I have had the absolute pleasure and undeserved gift of being home while the kids go off to school in the day. I bake for the family and cook and clean. I write and I work on projects around the house. Painting this and moving around that. I volunteer in the kids classes and at the church and I couldn’t possibly love it more.

This is my sweet spot. Right here. This.

And I couldn’t be more grateful.

Yesterday evening, sitting alone in my living room. The kids asleep and my husband out playing basketball, I was overcome by the sound of rain outside.

I had to hush my thoughts so I could just stop and listen. Enjoy it. What a beautiful sound. And a rush of thankfulness came over me.

My home, this city, my family, this season.

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Every one of these things is undeserved and every one of them could be ripped from my grip in one second. And so that is why my worship is for the giver of these gifts. Not the gifts themselves. I’m so grateful that whatever happens God allowed this season in the story of our lives.

And that is how I shall end this family update! So from my crazy family to yours, have a lovely day!

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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The R-Rated Tongue: This is a pointed post describing the damage the tongue can have. It is poignantly compared to a wildfire wreaking havoc on an entire city. So it would do us well to consider the weight of our words.

Why You Should Read The Qur’an In 2016: Well this would be a challenge! My Muslim friends often want to know if I’ve taken the time to read their holy book…I can challenge them to read the Bible for themselves. Additionally, when they know I’ve read the Qur’an, they know I take my own faith seriously. I’m not just blindly accepting the faith of my fathers or the faith of the West.

The Difference Between A Tantrum And Sensory Meltdown: There actually is a difference. And only people who have children with a special need usually know that. So to aid your own judgement of others, this is a helpful read!

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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How To Be Spiritually Miserable: 1,3,7 and 10 were particularly challenging for me. Ugh. I hate that these things are so true for me. Give it a read and see if maybe some of your current misery is being spawned on by none other than yourself.

Why 734 Pastors Quit (And How Their Churches Could Have Kept Them): Many seminary programs don’t even require courses on the people side,” said Stetzer. “They’re focused on theology, biblical languages, and preaching, which are important, but almost half of the pastors felt unprepared for dealing with the people they were preparing in seminary to lead and serve. Wowzers. This is one of my greatest concerns about seminary. But its great to see that its being addressed now!

7 Pro-Choice Resources: Just in case anyone is wondering. Last year this conversation was brought into the forefront, so lets keep praying that things will change.

How To Balance Truth And Grace – Russell Moore: In a culture that gets this confused so easily, here is a helpful short video.

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Stepping In Ancient Footprints…

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Almost everyday I go for a walk at a park that is right across the street from my house. In the last couple weeks we’ve had some wet snow immediately followed by very cold temperatures. What this has done to my beloved walking track is create huge patches of ice upon ice. Which makes for a tricky walking experience.

However I learned quickly that in order to not slip and constantly catch myself from falling, I had to step in the footprints of the people who came before me. Their tracks have created firm, shoe gripping spots for me to step in.

When I tried to walk outside their tracks onto the slick ice, I lost my balance and had to catch myself by grabbing a chain link fence beside me. This, as you can imagine, was pretty embarrassing. No matter how cool I tried to play off the slip (I was just working on some dance moves… ahem), it was no way to finish my walk.

Relying on those who have come before me, was of great benefit to me in that situation.

And same goes in situations of faith.

 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. ~ Psalm 119:130

Mentoring is something I believe in strongly. Partly because I seriously am not sure where I would be if I was never built into to by strong men and women of the faith. And partly because scripture seems to scream of its significance.

We need each other.

All of us.

I am so simple without the help of those who have been journeying patiently ahead of me. And I covet the unfolding of their words as they instruct me in my times of need. Their words are indeed lights in the darkness. Illuminating my understanding, so that I might run a little faster in this race.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. ~ Proverbs 13:20

How many of us labor in vain for wisdom when we surround ourselves with foolish folks? What good is the desire for righteousness when our company is made up of those with an opposing desire? I don’t mean we should cloister ourselves off from the world and shun those outside the faith. But the proverbs stands true. Your inner circle; those who you would call your true companions better be people desiring the strengthening of godly, scripture inspired wisdom or you’re in trouble.

Walking in the way of the fool is like me trying to walk on the ice. No matter how confident I try to do it, it’s most certainly a lost cause.

I will fall.

Passed saints from generations of old have left behind many bodies of work that have been grips to sturdy my journey. When I read biographies of theologians, missionaries and just men and women of faith, they speak to me from the grave as those who have finished the race. And I can read their words with hope of the glory they now find themselves in. What a beautiful thing. What help.

But I first must admit that I need their help.

You see, admitting our need for each other in the faith is the kind of humility that brings us closer to Christ. Jesus Himself surrounded Himself with companions. And, although, He never needed them in the way that we do, He modelled to us how the Christian walk is best done.

Through learning from those who have gone on into glory. And in community with each other. Older folks coming along side younger ones to mentor and encourage and instruct. And all of us together spurring each other on in wisdom and faithfulness.

The church is a gathering of sinners in need of help for the journey.

But our greatest help…our most secure steps to walk in are the ones that are laid out for us in the Word of God through the life of Jesus Christ. When we pick up and allow the full council of God to instruct our path we step in ancient footprints.

Beautiful impressions that lead us to heavens gate.

So even in the midst of the depths of loneliness, we have our most precious companion. No matter the circumstance our most trusted friend is always there. Jesus, our great high priest, will never reject or fail us. His Word is mightier than any work of man. And our council shall come from Him first.

But thank heavens for the faithful footprints of others. God is so good that He gave us Himself and each other.

Steady yourself on the path of wisdom, with the aid of those who love Jesus. And then reach out your hand and steady another.

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. ~ Psalm 145:4

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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What I’ve Learned In 20 Years Of Ministry: Whether you work in ministry or not, read this. Please do. I found his first lesson astounding. But all of them are super helpful and I think my husband and I will read this regularly.

Slain In The Shadow Of The Almighty: It is always good for us to look back at the saints long past and be encouraged and challenged by their ministries. Do yourself a favor and read this post about Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Flemming, and Roger Youderian who were speared to death on a sandbar called “Palm Beach” in the Curaray River of Ecuador.

Action Movie Kid: This is fun!

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Heaven Will Not Be a Hall Of Mirrors…

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There is no more present message on my Facebook feed from both Christians and non-Christians, then the message that the way to true wholeness and satisfaction in life is to silence our critics and love ourselves more.

This is the great message of our time.

I need to love me more. I need to accept me for who I am and then I will be content with myself.

Self-realization resulting in self-exultation will bring me joy.

And the people who are most prone to eat up and pass on this directive is women. Women with low self-esteem. Which is pretty much the entire population of women in todays culture (myself included).

But we love this message, especially when it comes dressed up in an inspirational meme. Maybe its a picture of a lady standing on the edge of a cliff with her arms in flying position. Her hair and her very flowy dress lapping in the wind. The caption says “Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line.” Can you picture it?

Maybe its the kind of thing that makes you smile. Maybe your Pinterest account is riddled with these memes of self-love.

My Facebook feed is regularly clogged with posts like this. And all of it is in an attempt to encourage. It’s a twittery world out there, in which we try to either build each other up or tear each other down in 140-characters or less.

But is any of it actually beneficial?

My dear Christian women…Is better self-esteem our greatest need?

“Heaven will not be a hall of mirrors, in which you like what you see!” ~ John Piper

Is heaven going to be a place where we focus on our feelings about ourselves? Is God refining us as women so that one day we will stand in front of a mirror and like what we see?

Or is He holding us over a fire now in order that one day when we stand in front of Him, He likes what He sees?

There is a need in the church today for women to start getting it. What I don’t mean by getting it, is getting the perfect work-out routine that will produce the best results. Or getting the best face contouring haircut. Or getting a ton of likes on that glammed up selfie.

There needs to be a revolution of women in the church who see their deep need for Christ and who put all things aside that distract us in our pursuit of His glory in our lives.

His glory.

Not ours.

“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” ~ Isaiah 48:9-11

How can God say this? Is He just an ego-maniac?

God is declaring His ultimate sovereignty over Israel in its affliction. And He is explaining that all of it is done in the preservation of His own name. The reason He can speak this way is because He is in fact…God. He is Holy. He is pure. He is set apart. He is the true and perfect one. The beginning and the end. And because of that, His glory is of great importance to Himself. And should be for us also.

When we believe and pass on the message of self-exultation, we lie to our friends and neighbors.

God cares about His own glory not out of ego-driven rage but out of love for His people. He knows that it is He who holds the key to salvation and righteousness for all. And so we must decrease so that He increases. All for the sake of ourselves and for the world who so desperately needs Him.

He does the saving. Not me.

And so we must give the glory where glory is due.

One day we will arise and go to Jesus. And in that heavenly place we will see His almighty and perfect face. Our satisfaction will be enjoyed not because we attained a certain volume of self-love here on earth, but because Christ first loved us. Deep in our own sin. He loved us.

May our joy in this life be made full because of that reason alone. May it carry us on into God-glorifying acts of love towards others. And may it shock us out of our navel-gazing desire for our own self-exultation.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Six Simple Ways To Minister To Ministers: Pastors need to be pastored too. Ever wonder how you can encourage them. Here are six ways!

When Sparkling Unicorns Meet 1 Peter: I love what Jen Wilkin is doing in the world of Women’s Ministry. And I echo and champion her vision that she lays out here. Her new study on 1 Peter looks awesome, and will hopefully be picked up by many women’s ministries!

The Harmony Of Truth And Love: This is an important article to clarify what can be a tension within the church. These two things tend to be in competition with each other, but they shouldn’t be. Read and enjoy!

The Oh Hellos – Like The Dawn: I was recently introduced to this band, which I know makes me behind in the times. But better late than never! This is a good song!

Posted in Christian Living, Ministry, Music, Theology, Video's, Womanhood | Leave a comment