It has been quite the week. Caleb's parents came here to visit last weekend, my Uncle Harold died on Monday morning, Ben and Missy came to visit this weekend, Kaeli was dedicated at church this morning, and Caleb's grandma died last night. All together, it has been exhausting! At the same time, I've learned so much, been able to love and feel loved. God is so good and I have a lot to be thankful for.
First, for my family and Caleb's parents. It is awesome to have in-laws come for several days and I look forward to it! I know a lot of people don't feel that way, but I know that we will always have a lot of fun, and I also love seeing them enjoy Kaeli.
Second, I am thankful for my mom's family and that Uncle Harold is with Jesus having a blast in Heaven. I'm glad I got to spend some time with my mom and help her during a difficult time...losing her youngest brother. And that Caleb and I had the opportunity to play together at the funeral and that God brought some healing through music. I also loved playing along while cousin Trina sang "In Christ Alone." I can't describe how encouraging and spiritually challenging it was also hearing my 3 uncles share at the funeral. Sure felt like one of the most Spirit-led occasions I've been at in a long time and it is awesome to see what all God is doing in that family! Each shared fun memories along with describing what a great brother and follower of Jesus my uncle was. I wasn't ever super close to him, but have been really encouraged especially in the last couple years by his devotion and hunger for God, despite all he's been through with cancer and illness. I was encouraged by all of them to live a life thirsting after Jesus, and to spend more time in prayer. It was really hard seeing my cousins lose their father when he was just 70, and especially for his grandchildren who don't completely understand. It is just awesome to see a family where each generation is choosing to seek after God, and where I am seeing how the prayers of my grandparents and others who were gone are being answered. I want to be like them.
I am thankful that my sister got to come and be around for everything and also that she got to help spend time with Kaeli and be an encouragement to my mom. It was so fun having extra time with her even just for a bit.
It has been fun having Ben and Missy around and also getting to hang out with Jake and Laci...biking, and disc golfing! It was a good, fun break from all the emotional stuff of the week. :)
Finding out this morning that Caleb's grandma passed away was just one more thing to add to the mix of everything. I don't know what all to think, but I do wish we would've gotten to visit her more recently before she died.
It was exciting getting to dedicate Kaeli publicly in church this morning. We were given a children's bible for her. I know it will be a challenge bringing her up to love God and follow Him but I'm excited. Before she was even born, I prayed and felt like it is an awesome thing to bring kids into this crazy world, to be messengers of love and joy for Christ. That is still my prayer, that she and any other kids we have will bring joy, because of a love for God. One of the reasons we picked and liked her name, because it can mean "rejoice" and "shelter in the storm."
Psalm 8:2 has been an awesome verse I've read recently:
"From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger."
That is all for now. In conclusion, I am thankful for friends and family to love and enjoy life with and go through painful times together.
This is from Good Friday. I felt like God showed me in a fresh way what Jesus' death on the cross meant for me and for others. So here is a week and a half later, but I still want to share what I journaled anyway. :)
Jesus' death on the cross - I am actually grasping it a bit today. I don't know how to describe how I feel, but that I am really encountering God and being moved by what He has done for me on the cross. Maybe like the way I grasped it when I first asked Jesus into my heart as an 8 year old. I have some of the same emotions and feelings today. We went to the Good Friday service at Grace, where we worshiped together and ate our supper together. Caleb and I washed each others' feet. Then reflecting on different readings of what Jesus went through to pay for the sin of the world. And finishing with nailing a paper with our name & "sins" to a cross. I just forget so often what this all really means, and that it means more than anything else in my life.
I'm feeling how deeply Jesus loves us. How I am accepted completely by him. I will stand before the throne of God someday - as His child and loved by Him. I am adequate because of what Jesus did for me. Enough because of His grace. Nothing on my own.
Thank you God for your intimate and infinite love. For knowing what we need and when we need it.
We sang "Scandal of Grace" the next Sunday and these words describe exactly where I'm at.
Grace, what have You done?
Murdered for me on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
My sin washed away in Your blood
Too much to make sense of it all
I know that Your love breaks my fall
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live
Oh to be like You
Give all I have just to know You
Jesus, there's no one besides You
Forever the hope in my heart
Death, where is your sting?
Your power is as dead as my sin
The cross has taught me to live
And mercy, my heart now to sing
The day and its trouble shall come
I know that Your strength is enough
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
I have really been struggling with this. I feel like my primary role right now is to be a mom and wife, but to still have the
time for a few things on the side. I really struggle to feel completely content with that, even though I know that's what God wants me to do. Most of the time, I love being able to take care of my daughter, take care of the house and be here to support my husband. But Then I feel pressure, I guess from others, the culture, and "vibes" I get hearing people talk, that it's not good enough. That I'm JUST a housewife most of the time. I feel pressure to work more. There seems to be a negative feeling towards women who "just stay at home." Like they've got the easy life.
I think that pressure I feel makes me want to always be busy doing something if I am home and not working. I feel guilty if I have fun or chill, and am not getting something done. I have, however been trying to be more intentional about how I spend my time, and in that try to do the things that are important, and not be idle. That is different from the other feeling of needing to be busy with something, because I am trying to feel better about being home. I know some are resentful because they "have" to work and can't be home more with their kids.
Well, today I felt an overwhelming urge to be still and pray. Even when I was busy doing things today, had that sense of urgency I haven't felt quite so strong in awhile. So while Kaeli naps now, I sit and pray. I am humbled and saddened that I don't spend more time like this. If God is bigger than anything else in my life, I've neglected to sit at His feet and give Him more time like this. Saddened that for most Christians in our country this is probably the case. But He forgives and gives me grace, and it is awesome to spend time with Him and feel a greater sense of clarity I so badly need!
That is where freedom comes in. Needing freedom from the approval of men. Freedom from living by the law. Freedom to be who God made me to be and do what He alone wants me to do.
"For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"
To conclude, I have to share a link to what my father-in-law sent today.
I am borrowing this from Simon Lovell, who wrote this in L2 church's newsletter. Because this is where I'm at. Whether or not Kaeli and I sleep well should not determine whether it is a good or bad day. Or any other circumstances.
Is God unashamed to be called our God? Are we in a place of the world not being worthy of us? We claim to overcome and conquer by the blood of the lamb, but do we really? What really made these people so worthy? Well, God is unashamed to be their God because they were unwavering in their faith – though they never saw once in this life what was promised. The world is counted as unworthy of them for the same reason.
Those that “conquered by the blood of the lamb” did not throw out blithe statements of faith and “name-it-and-claim-it” philosophies – they loved not their lives unto death! “…They were stoned, they were sawn in two, and they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated…”
What makes a day a Good Day? We are so fickle that it is completely dependent upon whether or not things go the way we want them to.
What constitutes a Bad Day? Obliviously when things do not go the way that is “pleasing” to us, when our affections are not tickled, and our egos are not fed.
Life is not, and will not be dictated to as to what it shall bring – nor shall God. If the Lord sees fit that my day – according to my mislead affections – sucks – then what? Is it a bad day? Or is it a Good Day for that particular occurrence?
We are going to be sick, and when that day comes, it will be a good day to be sick. We are all most certainly going to die, and when that day comes it will be a good day to die.
Job says “…shall we accept good from the hand of the Lord and not evil?” Solomon says “…In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other…” If God sees fit that whatever it is that is pissing me off is actually good – who am I to say otherwise. Or do we not honestly believe that God is in fact sovereign and likely knows a little more than we do? He works ALL things according to the counsel of His will, AND works all things for what? GOOD.
We need to die to self. We need to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ – NOT have our affections rule our heads and therefore our lives, but have our regenerated minds rule our Affections, and tell our affections what constitutes Good. Until then we shall wander in a wasteland of disillusionment, embittered at the lack of emotional satisfaction life, church, others, or indeed anything else provides.
Look at the poor kid to the right – It was a GOOD DAY for a pigeon to crap on his head. Have a good day.
This morning my heart is filled with joy and praise to God, because He is
so awesome! Ever since our first midwife appointment, this is one of the
songs that I've been listening to a lot and singing...especially to and
from work. I am so thankful for our little miracle of life that He has
given. I love blasting this song and singing it in the car. :)I think I figured
out most of the chords to the song on the piano this morning.
God Almighty, none compares -David Crowder Band
Glory and honor, wisdom and power
Grace and fury, splendor and might
O You are splendor and might
Matchless beauty, endless light
All heaven's ringing
All the angels are singing
All heaven's ringing
All the angels are singing
You are all I need
You're my everything
None compares to You
There is none like You
Holy, holy God almighty
You are all we need
You're our everything
No one greater
No one higher
I'm really enjoying the beauty outside the last couple days. Went for a longer bike ride by myself yesterday...it was awesome.
I took these thoughts from the guy who writes the newsletter from our church in Denver. It is a good challenge for me.
"What greater tragedy than to go through life soured at the lack of needs, wants, or desires, being met in our own life - only to find you had squandered, or buried, the very gifts God had put in your life in order to meet the needs of others.
The parable of the talents is not just a pretty little story. We shall in fact stand one day before the Lord, and give a very thorough account of the way in which we handled the gifts that he has given us; those gifts being for the distinct purpose of the building of His Kingdom.
How much time and energy is wasted in the pursuit of meeting our own often "imagined" needs for happiness and fulfillment - that we then neglect to simply be about that for which we have been called? We can often live in a perpetual state of anxiety over our "needs" and "feelings", and pay little but lip service to the full and real sufficiency of scripture. Rather, we should live in full obedience to that scripture, and then truly experience its sufficiency.
When Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to "...be anxious for nothing..." I think he may have actually meant it. However, this is not simply a state of mind in which we abstractly turn off our stresses, and switch emotional modes. He tells us how we actually do it. "Seek first the Kingdom..." Again, this is no abstract term, or a game of supernatural hide-and-seek. It is quite literally to "be about the Kingdom", doing the work of it, and not sitting back allowing ourselves to pity our own circumstances.
In the act of being about the work of the kingdom, we are then promised that "...all these things shall be added unto you..." (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) It does not promise us "happiness", but rather what we need. There is though, and a peace that truly transcends understanding (and circumstance) when we walk according to, and in obedience to, the word of God. When we become bogged down with the cares of life, and concerns over our own comfort and happiness, we are actually walking in disobedience, and are then of little use in kingdom construction."