Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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“44 years ago today, the Supreme Court defined ones personhood by one’s power. As people of the cross, we dissent.” ~ Russell Moore

Because of this important anniversary, this little blog needs to make a bit of racket about it, in order to show all the dissent I have.

When Is Abortion Racism?: I do not believe that most people who support abortion rights are racists, any more than I believe there are no racists among pro-lifers. I am simply suggesting that regardless of motives, a closer look at both the history and present strategies of the pro-choice movement suggests that “abortion for the minorities” may not serve the cause of equality as much as the cause of supremacy for the healthy, wealthy and white. (Randy Alcorn – Eternal Perspectives, Sept.-Oct. 1993, p. 9)

The Power Of Pro-Life Women: It’s an old article but extremely relevant. Especially after yesterdays Women’s March. As women we should be fearless advocates of life.

Why I Pray For An End To Sanctity Of Life Day:it reminds me we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children. Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies. No human life is worthless, regardless of skin color, age, disability, or economic status. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness. And I hate it.

9 Myths About Abortion Rights And Roe V. Wade: Inform yourself on what’s true and what’s false by reading this quick article. I learned stuff I never knew before!

Lord Huron – Ghost On The Shore: Current mood song.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Dear Women’s Ministry, Stop Telling Me I’m Beautiful: This is all kinds of good and I hope it’s message many church’s receive. And I wish I wrote it! When our eyes turn to His beauty instead of pandering to ours, insecurities die…When our minds think about who He is instead of who we are, we find an identity wrapped in eternal purpose.

Church Should Feel Uncomfortable: Sorta! I absolutely agree with this article, while also understanding that the church is also for the hurting and should be a source of comfort for those people. Give it a read though! Looking outside of yourself. Serving someone beyond yourself. Putting aside personal comfort and coming often to the cross. This is what being the church means.

Worshipping With A Broken Heart: As I was saying about church and the hurting, this article speaks on that in a great way. When our hearts are broken we need the church.

Normal Christianity Is Not White: This is such a great little snippet of a larger conversation, that I believe we all need to watch. It’s so important as we look ahead to 2017 with the racial tensions that continue to wreak havoc in our world.

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December In Pictures…

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Christmas is my favorite time of year and this one didn’t disappoint. As my kids get older and bigger I feel the need to write about these special seasons to remember better when I’m older and less able to recall them. Which means this is mostly just for myself. But feel free to join me on this December reflection! Get ready for a sea of pictures.

As the picture above shows, we continued one of our most treasured traditions of going to a tree farm and cutting down the perfect tree. What these pictures don’t show you is that this was the second tree farm we had to go to because the first one, that took about an hour to get to, didn’t take debit and that’s all we had. So this picture below is mostly just relief that our long drawn-out excursion is now over because we got a good-enough tree.

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Our church put on a super awesome Christmas choir production that Lucy got to be apart of. And it was pretty sweet to watch her. She got to say part of a verse in front of the congregation and she rocked it!

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We enjoyed the sugar-high of making a gingerbread house and I realized once again how much of a control-freak I am in the process. We still had fun.

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Look how cute. Am I right?

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We’ve had one of the most snowy seasons ever. And although some people have not enjoyed it, I have loved every second! It’s so beautiful and makes everyone slow down and it also brings neighborhoods together. Lucky for us, more is in the forecast!

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All this snow has made staying inside so much more cozy. And I enjoyed so much siting by this fire with that view while snowflakes fell. I miss it.

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Christmas morning started as it always does…with me and Chris waking up super early and waiting around for the kids. This scenario will flip at some point right? Finally Lucy woke up and then rushed to scream at her brother to “get up, its Christmas”!! We read the Christmas story as we always do and got to the presents.

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We spent the day building Lego, watching Rudolph and playing new video games before loading up and heading to my moms, where lots of eating and playing with cousins took place. The girls got matching outfits from Fiji from Grandma who went there earlier in the month.

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The next day we met with all of Chris’s family at a hotel about 45 minutes from our home for a short getaway where it continued to snow even as we swam in the pool. It was a lovely time together.

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We also got to spend New Years Eve with some long-time and dear friends who were in town and it was a joy to ring in the New Year with them! It snowed again that night also.

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Now the kids are back in school, my house is de-Christmased and I’m slowly organizing our lives again. I’ve been going through clothes and toys and junk, because its purging season and time to minimize all the unnecessary stuff.

I’m so grateful to God for an awesome season of celebrating His incarnation and sacrificial love for us. I am a truly blessed woman. Which is a good place to end.

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This Year, Don’t Make Any Grand Pronouncements…

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This year, live in this truth…“If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15), instead of making grand pronouncements about this or that in 2017.

There’s a great deal of assumption that can go along with new year proclamations. I’m not talking about making resolutions. By all means, make them. And then genuinely try to achieve them. Especially if they include goals based around knowing and trusting Christ more and putting away sin. Great.

But we rarely make resolutions the way they once were intended to be made. Probably because we’ve lost our ability to resolve in general. We just can’t even anymore.

What I hear and see from most people are grand new year declarations like “This is my year!” or “This year will be all about positivity and change” or “I’m going to shine my brightest this year” – whatever that means.

Its unfocused and…well…kinda arrogant. “As it is, you boast in your arrogance” (James 4:16).

Listen, there is nothing wrong about being positive, making goals, setting out plans and working towards something. But there is something very wrong in searching for joy, peace and ultimate personal satisfaction in those goals and plans. Often times we place our hope in that one goal or in that particular plan. And when we do that, we place it above our need for Christ and our submission to His perfect Will.

Living a James 4 lifestyle is challenging.

It requires a whole lot of trust in the Lord. But there’s a good chance something will come along this year that will stumble your footing. It could be small or large. We don’t know. Notice how in James 4:15 it says, “If the Lord wills, we will live…” Which is a nice reminder that there’s a chance we won’t live. I could die. You could die. Someone we love dearly could die. Nothing is sure.

Depressing?

Maybe. But where does my hope reside? In my desire to shine brightly this year? To be positive? To lose weight? To go here or there?

Or is it to cling to Christ with whom my ultimate resting place is here on earth in the hereafter?

He fills my lungs with air, tells my heart to beat and keeps the lamp of my soul aflicker. He also sets the plans for this day and that day. The good and the bad that lay ahead are in sovereign control by a Father whose trustworthy.

I write this because I desperately need to remember it. I need to hear it most. Although I steer clear from illusive, over-hyped Facebook posts on January 1st, I struggle a great deal with releasing control of what the future holds to God. I feel it deep down inside me. It’s a battle for peace. And I lose before I even begin.

Which is why I quickly flip to James 4 and I read while taking deep breaths.

And I’m reminded of who I am. I’m a mist. My life is a vapor that in the grand scheme of time is here only moments. And yet, somehow the Creator of everything loves me – a dissolving drizzle of life. He went so far as to go to the cross for me – in all my temporary, sin-soaked, evaporating glory. It’s so absurd and yet so consoling.

Because of that great and relieving truth, I must start January submitting my plans to the King of the universe. Who gives life and takes it away. The One with whom all rest and peace is found for now and forevermore.

He knows what this year holds. I don’t.

It’s the only thing we know for sure. So let’s not make any grand pronouncements about stuff we don’t know and let the Leader do the leading.

Submit it all to Him this year.

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Christmas Is About Receiving…

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“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

My daughter recited these words proudly this past Sunday during our church Christmas pageant. And although we’ve heard this verse thousands of times, from practicing it in our home for weeks – I find myself now reflecting deeply on this simple statement. What will they find? A child; a gift.

This time of year we often try to find ways to give back. Who can we help? This is an excellent impulse! Especially when we turn on the news and see countries in the midst of the worst kind of turmoil, war and suffering. We ought to ask that question…what can I give? What can I do?

There is something about Christmas that requires even the most irreligious people to ponder ways of how to serve others in need. Because Christmas is about giving.

But first and foremost, it’s about getting.

Before stories about the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge learning the true meaning of Christmas were written. And before the Coca-Cola, red and white suited, naughty or nice list carrying Santa Claus ever became a household icon. And before St. Nicholas of old ever began the tradition that would carry on for many centuries of giving to those in need. Before all of that – A baby lay in a manger.

Angels scared the living-day-lights out of some unexpecting shepherds by bringing them into the Spiritual realm and instructing them on where to go and who they would find. Something special was awaiting. It was the perfect, precious, prophesied-about gift they would ever attain.

And they were about to receive in the fullest. Everything they ever needed.

You see before we can ever make Christmas about giving, we must receive. Christ came for us. He came down and was wrapped in cloth for the purpose of love. For the purpose of ultimate sacrifice. For the purpose of giving a free, undeserved, all-we’ll-ever-need gift. And Christmas is about receiving it.

We love because He first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:19

We receive everything because of that baby. We have been given hope in a war-torn world, the joy of the Lord and peace that surpasses all understanding.

But most of all we have been given forgiveness of all the sin we inflicted on that baby in a manger. He took it all. And so although this world still brings trouble of all kinds, Christmas allows us to refocus and reflect on how much we have received.

So let’s do that. And then lets pass it on. Resist the temptation of feeling guilty for giving your children gifts this Christmas. Don’t let too many budgetary restraints keep you from giving to the needy in your community and in the world. Go ahead and give. Lets love much because he forgave much. Lets be giver’s because we know what its like to receive. And let’s make sure to make our biggest gift to others be that baby in a manger.

Because Christmas is about receiving Him…above all else.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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The Cosmic Importance Of Sunday School: This is such an important read, so please read it! I’ve often said that I wouldn’t want to have to choose between my seminary education and my childhood years in Sunday school, but if forced I would choose Sunday school each time.

Mothers In The Church: Hear ye, hear ye all Christian women in all stages of life…read this! It is the calling of every believing woman to submit to the command to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth with image bearers. This means that for us, the term empty nester can never truly be applied.

Jesus Isn’t Threatened By Your Gift Giving: Everyone riddled with guilt over gift-giving at Christmas, take a deep breath then read this short article. Hopefully it will put things into perspective.

Even If He Doesn’t: Boy is this an important read. I wonder how many of us operate in our faith under the assumption that God’s goodness is only proved when our particular desires are met. It is possible to grieve the end of our plans while still maintaining hope for the future. It’s possible to beg God for one outcome, and still praise Him in the middle of a different outcome.

He Came Down: Your gonna wanna watch this. And you’re gonna wanna watch with lots of tissue within reach.

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Advent In A Dystopia…

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In a time which profess’ so much social, scientific and technological progress, we also find ourselves in a world of peril. Our so-called progress has still not eliminated the darkest things the human race can produce…like war, famine, murder and greed. We still find ourselves at odds with each other over all kinds of issues of the day. And every time we think we’ve nailed that final progress piece into place, more turmoil rises to the surface.

It appears as though our planet is in a downward spiral. As though this great historical narrative is indeed a dystopian.

We’re working so hard to find our utopia. But alas, I believe all efforts just add to the looming reality that the pursuit for personal happiness can only be found on the backs of others losses. One persons victory, usually means another persons defeat.

Will we ever live in a world where everyone gets a taste of the glory?

Perhaps it feels much like the Roman empire felt long ago. Maybe in a small way we can relate to that same longing and wonder about the fate of this world and where this narrative will take us.

Before an angel would confront a young girl about her own body and it housing a redeemer, God’s people knew hardship and disappointment well. They had wandered in the desert, elected kings and judges, heard the prophets and yet still found themselves wearily lost in sin and subject to the lofty whims of selfish rulers.

Where was the justice in all this? Perhaps this story won’t end as the prophets taught? Maybe its a downward spiral, with no victory.

Advent comes to us every year in the midst of tragedy. It shows up right smack dab at the center of a world in peril. The human race doesn’t put down their guns, greed and hardship just because its  Christmas time. Those things continue, we just begin to sing songs that say “peace on earth”. But there is no peace on earth. Not now. Not just because we sing it.

And there was no peace on earth when a plain and simple jewish girl came face to face with the spiritual realm and was called the ‘favored one’.

In that moment on the planet hate and crime and sin didn’t cease and desist. And yet something was happening. Something big was happening. The political climate was scary, but an ancient plan was unfolding. One that no human person seeking utopia could have ever imagined. It was a plan only someone large enough to see the whole story could have thought up. Someone who knows the ending.

Every Advent I find myself here. Wondering what’s going to happen next. We will turn a page to a whole new year soon, and what will happen then? Everything in me feels like it’s a dystopia. This story. It can feel that way.

But the Writer isn’t done writing yet. And those who call Him Lord know a bit about how this one ends. Glory and hope and justice does prevail. “Peace on earth” is in the forecast and that’s why we sing it.

Something is happening. Something big is happening.

Although today seems grim for those still stuck in sin and for those held under the thumb of a tyrannical government – we know because of that Angel encounter back in history that this narrative ends in victory. And we long for it to come. We wait in wonder of how this plot will thicken and climax until the last triumphant Word is written.

And we trust that though it feels like we’re in a dystopia…this narrative is one of redemption. Which is why we light candles in the dark – In remembrance and joyful expectancy. We see the light and we know He’s here. Our God. Emmanuel. The long-awaited Saviour. We remember His promises and breath deep His love for us.

Because the day will come…the story is already set. Hardship still stand in our way but even in the middle of it, may we echo Mary – that chosen girl’s response to the unknown and say with our eyes heavenward…

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

May we look to the light – The light of the of the world.

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