March 10, 2014 § 1 Comment
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
This is my prayer as I start the next week. I pray for an increase in love and a strengthened heart to remain focused on God’s truth of the gospel and his plans for my life. I wish you encouragement, and joy as you press on into your week!
March 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
My husband is a great influence in my life. He mostly silently encourages me by the way he behaves towards me and others, but occasionally, he will say something profoundly that will stick like glue. As of recently, he said:
We should always be allowing for more growth in our capacity to love.
I’m a person that enjoys the company of a few, very close friends. I enjoy this because the vulnerability required is quite high but, doable. However, it may restrict my true capacity to love like God intends. The key really is in the doable portion of my statement. Often, what is doable for me is far short of what the power of God’s grace can accomplish.
Here is an equation I’ve come up with:
God’s love= Grace x Mercy
The love that God provides is equal to his grace multiplied by his mercy. That equation is the one that takes our love and multiplies it for others. There are many things that get in the way of the correct solution:
2. Our agenda
3. Our neediness
We often are afraid to accept that loving others the way God loves is a painful process of self denial and humility. We have our own preconceived notions that if we do everything right, things will turn out the way we want them to. And, finally, our needs will be met from other sources if we believe God isn’t giving us enough. There is hope. We can have confidence without fear. We can align our agenda with God’s. And, we can be sure that all of our needs have been met by one man- Jesus.
My husband’s words have been resonating with me in my prayers. Never ceasing is this desire to grow my capacity to love by ridding myself of fear, my own agenda, and neediness apart from the grace that God provides through the life and death of his Son Jesus. No matter the sacrifices, or struggle- love by the grace of God is always worth it.
March 3, 2014 § 2 Comments
We had such a fun weekend, I thought I needed to blog about it! The truth is before we moved, I was so afraid we wouldn’t find friends or a church we could really grow in. Our experiences in Singapore terrified me of being repeated. But, I had seriously changed my attitude, and my husband made sure to do the diligence of finding us a spot to live and attend church. Thanks to him, we are very happy here!
Why was it so fun?
1. Friday nights we celebrate the end of our week at a gathering with some friends from church. After a fun day with Caleb, this is a perfect way to end the week! We love it.
2. Saturday my husband and I both flipped flopped our workouts and I enjoyed a hair cut!
3. Saturday night we went to the most wonderful surprise party for our friends here that was by far one of the best parties I’ve been to when her husband wrote the most beautiful speech about his love for her.
4. Caleb spent Saturday night with a babysitter!!! We found a great one that he loves!
5. Sunday my husband and I shared duties of volunteering in the toddler room at our church. We had so much fun working together and serving together- we have never done that!
I’m so happy we made the move. I do miss my brother, my aunt, and my in laws like crazy! But, the benefit of the growth of our family in togetherness and spiritually has been so worth it! The weather is a much added perk!
Thank you to all that are praying for our transition here! hope you all enjoyed your weekend too!
February 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
Training for a marathon teaches quite a bit. You learn quickly about yourself and where you stand with God. Often, my running, is the place where I can so vividly see “my flesh.” During a run this week, I came to the shockingly remarkable conclusion:
I love running. But, not racing.
The crowd gasps! When I run, I am constant in prayer. Depending on the type of run, it is prayer for others or myself to just get through it. I love that when I finish a run, I always come to the conclusion that Jesus knows better than me. This is why I love running.
I’ve realized I actually really despise racing. It sets up the opposite result of my enjoyable running hobby. You see, when I race- I get the prize that hangs on a wall or is used for drinking beer. But, when I run to enjoy God, I’m reminded of the upward call and inheritance I have in Christ Jesus. Running to get to God is so much more enjoyable than any prize I could obtain from a temporary well done.
I know there are many that love running for the sense of a accomplishment, and setting goals, and winning. Please do not get me wrong, it is admirable. But, it is not a treasure in heaven. No matter how we slice the dice. And, this is a conclusion, I’ve come to through the painful plucking of the Holy Spirit personally. Running for a withering prize stands very pale in comparison to the glorious riches of eternity.
I run quite a bit. For a while, it was to better my best. But, now I’ve found that in it, I’ve grown so much spiritually. I have found that racing stresses me and my family out. So, I’ve stopped signing up. And, in that I’ve found so much freedom! No driving here and there, packing my son up, and making a day long ordeal so that I could feel validated (my personal feelings when I race). Rather, I’ve chosen to embrace the joy in running that I have: fresh air, moving my body, pushing how far and fast I can go, and most of all talking with Jesus.
For everyone, these verses in Philippians can challenge us in many areas where we need to abandon our “fleshly” desires and embrace a greater view of our lives. For me that means abandoning my dreams of being an Olympic hopeful and embracing the humble, quiet call of a wife and mother.
I ask you today to be honest with Jesus where you find yourself making decisions based on your “fleshly desires” rather than based on the eternity that we have with Jesus in heaven.
Disclaimer: I write my personal struggles on here out of honest transparency. In no way, am I writing to criticize another person’s choice or lifestyle.
February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Over the past few months, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. We have settled in to our new home, and we have a gentle rhythm to our days. It has begged the question, what is next? However, something started stirring in me with regards to this question. When we are always asking, what is next?, aren’t we missing out on a portion of what is right now? I think so.
When I was pregnant with my son, all I could think about what the next race I was going to run. Mostly, I had this thought because I wanted something to motivate me, and I didn’t want to hang on to baby weight. Silly me. What I found was that I was so focused on the next step, the next few miles, the next goal, that I missed out on the present. Last night, after I tucked my little guy into bed, I looked through pictures of him as a tiny baby. I’m not going to lie- I missed it. I was so focused on me, my goals, my body, my life, that I truly missed out on the present.
I’m not going to ask what is next? anymore. Why isn’t just being a mother enough? Why isn’t just passionately loving my husband enough? Why isn’t listening to, crying with, loving my friends enough? It is enough. In fact, I’m starting to believe that the ordinary moments of life are the ones that have the most potential for God glorifying delight. It is the moments of all the normalcy of life that God has a chance to intervene through his power and grace and provide some of the most unforgettable moments.
I choose not to think about what is next? not because I’m being lazy, or too sentimental. I choose to think about this moment: the one that I have been so graciously given to take in all the sights, sounds, and rhythms of life, to enjoy and to give glory to God. This is my conclusion from many months of trying to figure it out, trying to figure out my purpose, trying to find a goal. There is only one goal: love, honor, and serve the Lord God with all my heart, my mind, and my soul- every day, every hour, every minute. That is what is next.
February 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
I was really encouraged by these verses today and thought I should share! What I love is the phrase put away from you. There is an action that we must take in order to make room in our hearts for tender hearted kindness and forgiveness. This step is an active pushing away from bitterness, anger, slander (in both our minds and with our voices), loud continual noise, and a desire to see another’s demise into the truth of the gospel in the arms of Jesus.
I also am encouraged that Paul accepts the fact that we are prone to these behaviors and thoughts. He does not ignore the fact that as humans we have all struggled to overcome these emotions and actions. He encourages rather with the truth: forgive, love with the help of Jesus.
The two ways to address the problems we face with our sin is by willing ourselves to good behavior or by the grace that comes from Jesus. We cannot be truly tender hearted and forgiving unless we embrace the gospel. We may for a while think we are doing ok on our own but, then we will stumble and the cycle of sin will begin again.
I’m full of hope today because I have confessed to all of the above and invited the Holy Spirit in to save me. I’m under no false pretenses from the great truth behind these words that I am not above any of these sins. Rather, the weight of the gospel has yet again brought me to my knees and then to my feet in worship and praise of a God that frees me from sin and invites me into his circle of love and forgiveness for all mankind.
February 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
I loved reading through the Proverbs series on The Wife of Noble Character. I learned so much about my love for God, my role as a wife, mother, and CEO of our home. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been challenged to think of a few things:
1. Is it important to have personal goals and desires?
2. How do I appropriately deal with doubt in my relation to God, my husband, and my family?
3. How do I live for eternity in a world that does not?
I have been struggling over and over in my mind with the thought of if having personal goals is a way to honor God.
For instance, how can I justify a personal goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Does it really honor God for me to give up time with family, friends, and God so that I can run up to 3 hours each day?
Does it really honor God for me to want to advance my career in physical therapy and become well known as an educated and experienced professional?
I do not have clear answers to these questions. But, I do believe that my study taught me that my relationship with God will always overshadow any personal goals or desires that I may string up. It is important to do things that provide enjoyment but, when I am seen more than God is seen, chances are they are not prioritized appropriately.
Qualifying for the Boston Marathon has no redeeming quality in my life. Considering I have been entered to run twice without qualification, I have all the proof that for me this is not a goal that sets God in the forefront. For me, it is a personal goal that has no eternal value.
Second, my career is sheerly a personal goal based on boosting my self confidence and desire to feel appreciated and valued. I want people to know I’m not just a stay at home mom. I can clearly see that my personal desire for career advancement does not honor God but, serves to boost my morale and self esteem.
Since moving to CA, and experiencing the sudden loss of a new friend, old wounds of pain, suffering, and death have resurfaced. Many times, I ask myself- why? I have struggled with grief and sadness that only can be experienced when life is lost so suddenly. Fear, doubt, and anxiety have crept in. Moments of terror or paralyzing thoughts of painful possible occurrences have shot through my mind.
I’m the type of person that prepares for the worst. My mom being suddenly ill as I was growing up made me always aware of the fact that this life is never guaranteed. But, I know based on the Word of God, that I should neither fear nor doubt. Rather than being paralyzed, I must get up and walk guarded in truth and confident in my hope to come.
Living for Eternity
This is where I struggle the most. The two categories above stem from my understanding of the world around me. To many, personal goals and desires are important. Even more so, fear, anxiety, and worry creep in when we plan for our future rather than let God guide us and lead us. I find it hard to live with hope in this life with confidence of the inheritance I have when faced with these preoccupations. However, God reminds me that when I fix my eyes on Jesus, all the cares of this life pass away and all that remains is the glorious hope of eternity in the now and the future.
I don’t know if you are anything like me and find challenges when you really dig into Scripture. But, as we move forward into exploring these challenges I hope we will be blessed. I’ve found such encouragement in acknowledging when I’m having a hard time accepting and confessing it to God so that we can move through it together.
I pray that if you have any areas in your life where you are having trouble letting go of your own success that you will experience the true pleasure of letting go of your burden.
I pray that if there are areas in your life where you have doubt, fear, or anxiety that you would be able to let go and experience the freedom that is yours in Jesus.
And, finally I pray that together we will move past the things that sparkle and shine in this life for those things that last for eternity!