Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Memory of the Righteous is a Blessing

The memory of the righteous is a blessing... -Proverbs 10:7a

7 years ago this afternoon, my Aunt Connie and I held Mom's hand as she was ushered from this cancer-ridden world to the glorious joys of Heaven. I have never known someone so ready to meet Jesus. People would visit her in the hospital and tell her about their loved one in Heaven. She would normally say something kind if she could respond, but make sure to tell them that she was most looking forward to going home to see Jesus. I am so glad she is getting to experience the joys of being in the presence of Jesus, but oh how my heart misses her. 

I think this year has been sad in some ways as I wish Knox could have known her Grandma Betty and Mom could have loved our sweet girl. However, as I have thought about Mom a lot this week, I think about how much I miss her but I do not miss her having to fight cancer. So on this days and in the days past of grieving and the days to come, I rejoice that as a believer, there is a precious promise of Heaven. A place that God has prepared for those that love Him and trusted in Him as their personal Lord and Savior. The joys of that place are told to be indescribable, and I love these words from Revelation 21:3-5 "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

For the past 7 years, I have seen God's Words to be trustworthy and true and anxiously await when these words are accomplished. The memory of Mom have truly been a blessing, just like Proverbs 10 says. Thankful that God doesn't leave us alone in our grief, but provides sweet comfort. I love these words from Matthew Smith... listen to it here and read the words below:

I journey forth rejoicing 
From this dark vale of tears 
To heavenly joy and freedom 
From earthly bonds and fears 
Where Christ our Lord shall gather 
All His redeemed again, 
His kingdom to inherit-- 
Goodnight, goodnight till then 

Why thus so sadly weeping 
Beloved ones of my heart? 
The Lord is good and gracious 
Though now He bids us part 
Oft have we met in gladness 
And we shall meet again 
All sorrow left behind us-- 
Goodnight, goodnight till then 

I go to see His glory 
Whom we have loved below 
I go, the blessed angels 
The holy saints to know. 
Our lovely ones departed 
I go to find again 
And wait for you to join us-- 
Goodnight, goodnight till then 

I hear the Savior calling-- 
The joyful hour has come 
The angel-guards are ready 
To guide me to our home 
Where Christ our Lord shall gather 
All His redeemed again, 
His kingdom to inherit-- 
Goodnight, goodnight till then

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Morning Mercies for May 15

Love these words by Paul David Tripp this morning...

"One of the reasons God has called us to gather together regularly is because we are so forgetful. We forget who God is and endeavor to live based on our own merit and strength. We forget who we are and the empirical evidence that we lay down every day of our desperate need for redeeming grace. We forget how broken is the world in which we live, so we live with unrealistic expectations and naivete toward temptation. We forget how magnificent our resources are in Christ, how complete His provision is, and how precious it is that He is always near. We forget how wise, encouraging, protective and freeing God's Word is. We forget our need for the body of Christ; that our spiritual life is meant to be a group project. We forget that we have not only been blessed to be recipients of God's grace, but have been called to be tools of that grace in the lives of others. We forget that there really is an enemy who prowls around to devour us spiritually. We forget that life can never be found in physical creation. We forget that we have been created to live for a glory that is bigger than our own and for a kingdom that is greater than what we would construct on our own. Yes, we need to gather again and again, and through worship, preaching, and mutual fellowship, to remember what we would otherwise forget."
-Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies - May 15

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Asking forgiveness from an 8 month old

I read this week about how God is so different from us... you are probably thinking duh, He is God. Very true, but I was reading how he is slow to anger and patient with us. A week or two ago, I had a bad night Wednesday night into Thursday morning with KC. She was awake at 12am, 1am, and 2am. Somewhere in that time, I got frustrated. I was so rude to her in my words and actions. I know lack of sleep will make you do that, but I don't want that to be an excuse. She was just hungry. The day before I had read these words from Psalm 145:8, "The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." There are other passages in Scripture that say the same thing. The character of God is so different than how you and I naturally respond.
I woke up on Thursday morning convicted of how I had acted and felt towards my little girl. I was quick to get angry, she was just being a baby and was hungry. Babies have rough nights and are awake at strange hours. So, when she woke up from her morning nap, I sat down in front of her and asked for forgiveness from my 8 month old. Because babies are awesome and don't really understand what it means to hold a grudge, she put out her hand and smiled at me. I kissed her hand like usual and she laughed. We went on about our day, and I was reminded once again of my sinfulness, need for grace and forgivness, even from a baby.
So, I stand thankful that God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, even when I am not. I have to work at being slow to anger and showing love when it is His character and how He acts and responds according to the truth of His word. I'm thankful that He uses a sweet baby in my life to remind me of my need for grace and to show that He desires to work in my life to make me more like Him. 

One of my favorite pictures from recent days - she loves unfolding laundry.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thankful for the Unexpected and Happy 3rd Anniversary

Four days after my last post, we had a baby girl. Being a mom affords very little/no free time, especially for blogging. :)

Life in the past almost 8 months has been a bit unexpected. I worked for 3 months of KCJ's life then things changed and I have been afforded the wonderful opportunity to stay home with her. My mind keeps going back to how thankful I am for the unexpected things that have happened in my life. Since it is our 3rd anniversary - a little reflection on that!

Getting married was unexpected to me. In some ways, I think I was going to be happy being single. I was in my late 20's and did not really think that there was anyone who would put up with me, meet some incredibly high standards I desired in a mate, and the list goes on. To say that getting married was unexpected would be a true statement. To say that getting married to Adam was unexpected would be a huge understatement. He was younger than me, annoyed me, was a musician, and the list goes on. He was a friend and I was fine with keeping it that way. Over the course of a few months, something changed, not sure I can pinpoint exactly when or what, but my relationship with him was definitely something unexpected. The fact that I am married to him just baffles my mind some days. I know it was God who changed both of our hearts. I am thankful for our friendship that led to a greater relationship. I love his musical talents and how he uses them to serve the Lord. He puts up with some things about me, that well, I am thankful that he does. He still annoys me at times, and the fact that he is younger, well... we survive. (He will finally hit his 30's this year and I plan to enjoy that!) God has blessed us in so many unexpected ways and I am thankful for the opportunity to live and enjoy life with this man. Adding a little girl to our family this year has made it even sweeter as she adores her Daddy. I would not want it any other way.

So, as we celebrate 3 adventurous years of marriage, enjoy some of my favorite photos. Thanks to our friends Patrick and Maddie for capturing the special day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

6 Years Later...

On this day, 6 years ago, my precious Mom traded her cancer-ridden body for the joys of Heaven. I'm sure she would say it was the best day. As much as it hurt my heart, I'm thankful for this day. I have been thinking about her a lot as we are waiting on our little girl to arrive. Here is one of my thoughts/memories that has played over and over in my mind in the last few days.

Mom always read her Bible in the mornings on the couch. Often, you could wake up (if you got up early enough), and could find her there with her Bible, small devotional book, and blanket to cover her feet. From the time I was little, I would remember getting up, going to sit on the couch with her and covering my feet up with the blanket. Sometimes, I would just lay there and go back to sleep. Other times, I would ask her, "Whatcha reading, Mom?" She would finish her reading and begin to tell me about the chapter or passage of Scripture she had just finished. It was never like a formal thing or sermon, but more like this is what God's Word says and what I learned today or what I have learned in the past from this Scripture. One of her favorite verses was 1 Peter 3:15, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" A song we sang growing up had these simple words, "Be ready to give an answer, know what you believe, write God's Word in your heart before you wear it on your sleeve..." Each day, Mom wrote God's Word on her heart and did not miss many opportunities to tell others about Jesus.

My prayer as we await the arrival of our precious KC is that she will be like me and ask, "Whatcha reading, Mom?" I hope that I will respond like my mom did and be able to tell her of the greatness of Jesus, what He did, and how His Word tells us these things and even more about Him. Today, I'm thankful that Mom told and continued to tell me. 

Miss her much, but always thankful for our promise of Heaven.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One Resolution

I made one New Year's Resolution this year. Seriously, for those who know me, I normally have a long list of things I want to strive for in the coming year. I love the New Year and the "fresh start" it seems to bring. However, after looking back on New Year's Resolutions of the past and realizing that I fail miserably, I'm not making a long list of things.

Before I tell you my resolution, some background if you will. Over 2013, I think the Lord dealt with my heart and exposed some things that I had tried to cover up or maybe just not deal with. I love a good theological discussion or debate and appreciate those types of conversations that I can have with people, but I feel like I was lacking in a major area. I know a lot of Scripture verse thanks to a faithful Mom and Dad who taught them in our home and school, but I fail at putting them into practice. I was especially challenged by Paul David Tripp when I heard him speak in May about living for God's kingdom and not my own. It is safe to say that I spend a lot of time living and seeking after my own kingdom.

These thoughts, plus a few conversations with Adam, brought this New Year's resolution to the forefront of my mind. My desire is to put this simple verse into practice in my life, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." -Matthew 6:33. That is my desire and prayer for 2014 that I will spend my time seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Each day this plays out a little different, but my desire is for my "kingdom" to become nothing and God's Kingdom to become what I seek after and what I strive for other's to see. 

For your information, I have already failed at this many times this year and each time God has lovingly reminded me that I was seeking after my own kingdom instead of His. It has produced some ugly times of confession, but I am thankful for God's grace even as I struggle in this area. 

One resolution I have... to seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness. I have great expectations that God is going to change many things in my life - desires, ambitions, plans, and so much more as I attempt to practice His Word. Thankful for grace when I fail and the strength He gives to persevere. May His Word become something you practice as well.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Who He Says He Is...

During this Advent season, I have been reading through a short devotional thing I got for free on Kindle, Make Him Room, Advent Devotions by Kirsten Oliphant.  The passage a few days ago was this familiar one from Isaiah 9:2-6---
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

"Jesus carries weighty names because He is very God made flesh and born of a virgin. His works reveal His character just as His names point to His identity. When we were far from the Lord, the Prince of Peace reconciled us, and He provides peace now even in the midst of our circumstances. We are assured that His Word and promises are true because He is the Mighty God to carry them out." -Make Him Room, Kirsten Olphant
I have been challenged by what she said that Jesus was truly God in the flesh as He came and His identity has and continues to fulfill names in every way... Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. My problem comes when I don't believe that He is who He says He is. Every time you see a name of God listed in Scripture, that is Who He Is. His Word and His identity show us who He is. My lack of faith comes in when I don't believe that God is mighty and desiring to bring glory to Himself through what He deems good for His children. When I don't believe that God can bring about peace in my heart and life, He has not failed to live up to who He says He is, I have failed to trust God fully. This Christmas, I am rejoicing and more mindful of the God of Scripture being who He says He is, because through the challenges of this year, He has shown His identity. He is the Faithful God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, and so much more.

My challenge and prayer for myself and others this Christmas season is to trust God for Who He Says He Is. Not in a what He can do for me kind of way, but that the God who is clearly seen on the pages of Scripture is everything He promised to be to a world lost in darkness. The great Redeemer came in the form of a newborn babe to save His people from sin. All of Scripture points to Him and tells us who He is. May your faith be strengthened and encouraged this Christmas as you see Him for who He truly is.