I’m taking the lazy route. Andrew posted this a while back on his blog, and I’m stealing it. I’ve been a bit paralyzed to summarize God’s hand in our lives throughout the past year and a half. So I’ll let Andrew do the work. Click here to see what’s been going on.
This year I got glasses. Andrew has told me for over 2 years that I need them. But I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to take the time to go to the doctor and investigate the problem. Why? Because I thought I was completely fine. I truly thought my eyes were perfect. And then one day I gave in. I decided to make the call. Sure enough, I have needed glasses for years.
The moment I put my glasses on, I literally squealed at the lady behind the counter. It was unbelievable the things I could see. For the first time, I realized how bad my eyes were and how desperately I needed the help of glasses.
And throughout this past year, God has given me another pair of glasses. He has stripped away so many things in my life, and it has forced me to see clearer than I ever have before. There’s not all that junk hiding my view anymore. He’s taken away the safety and security I’ve hidden behind. The stuff that made me think I was OK. He had to get me to the point where I was ready to admit that I’m really not OK. I really might have a problem. I’ve seen some things about myself this past year. And they aren’t very pretty.
Halfway through writing this, I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t write another negative post. Maybe I should write about the amazing grace of God throughout this journey.” And then I realized, that’s exactly what this is. You have to look deep sometimes, put on your glasses and see the really hideous stuff that lies within, to realize how truly amazing God’s grace is.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”- Luke 7:47. And I want to love much. So here’s to confessing my depravity in hopes that God’s great forgiveness produces an authentic and true love.
1. I am selfish. Very selfish. I want things to go my way. I want things to be easy.
2. I don’t care enough about other people. I want to love like Jesus does. But I fail quite often.
3. I trust in myself a lot more than I trust in God. To surrender means I give up EVERYTHING, including control.
4. I care way too much about what other people think.
5. I’m sometimes afraid that I’m going to miss what we’re “giving up”… that I’m not going to be as happy without those things.
– Those are just the tip of the iceberg. The flesh goes deep. And the longer you wear your glasses, the more details you’ll see: the dirt, the dust, the grime you never noticed before.
But here’s the Gospel:
Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” and Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
God’s love has been so real, so deep and so faithful to me. I can’t believe He’s chosen me. Asked me to trust Him with everything. Because I am far from deserving. It’s grace beyond reason. The glasses He gave me were more than worth admitting I might have a problem. Yes, I can see the ugliness inside of me but the grace of God is more clear and sharp in my vision than ever before.
Has God ever called you to something that scares you beyond belief? I mean, shakes you to the core. Where it’s all on the line. There’s no going back.
That’s where I am.
My biggest fear has never been heights. Or snakes. Or death. Or giant bugs. Or drowning. I fear all of those things. But they only peek around the corner every once in a while.
My true, faithful, constant, life-long companion has always been my fear of failure. He’s followed me everywhere.
I’m competitive. I’m driven. I’m self-sufficient. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. I’ve excelled in school. In sports. In work. In relationships. But the root of these seemingly admirable qualities? My scary friend: failure.
I’m always trying to run from him. Or hide from him. Or just cover him up when I can’t quite seem to get away from him. And trust me, there are lots of options when choosing a cover: I can throw virtue over him. Or responsibility. Or commitment. Or duty. Over the years, I’ve become quite good at disguising my loyal friend.
But God decided He had other plans for my reliable sidekick. He set him smack-dab in front of me. And now, for the first time, we’re eye to eye, me and my fear of failure. I’ve never been this close to him before. This is the first time I’ve noticed how ugly he is. From far away he’s always looked relatively attractive and put together. Up close, I can see the grossness.
I am completely vulnerable, completely dependent and completely scared to death to look him in the eye. But here we stand.
All I can do is step closer. One foot at a time.
During my quiet time yesterday, I felt God stirring my heart to share the Gospel with someone that’s been on my mind for months. I asked the Lord to give me the words and the moment to share His good news. And then I stopped. Those two simple words rang in my head… Good…. News. And I had to ask myself this question, “What is the good news?” For the first time (I’m ashamed to say), I set out to answer this question for myself. What does the Gospel really look like? If someone asked me point blank why they should follow Jesus, what would my answer be? I sat and thought for a while and out came my unorganized clutter of words as an attempt to describe the amazing good news that Jesus offers.
It’s not just safety from hell. It’s a relationship with our Creator that fills every void of purpose in our life. It’s restoration of life past, freedom to live now and a joyful expectation of a forever with our Father. It’s the removal of our sin, the ugliness inside of us we can’t escape on our own. It’s the opportunity to trust fully: without fear, without disappointment. It’s the unconditional, full, complete love our hearts have always longed for. It’s Truth opening our eyes to see everything is about Him and not us. There is such release in that. Every longing, every desire, every failure, every success, every heartbreak, every joy, every fear, every ounce of feeling we’ve ever experienced finds its source and purpose in Jesus. We are satisfied fully in Him alone. He makes our lack whole.
There is so much more. That’s a pitiful attempt to package the sweet good news our Savior offers.
EVERYTHING in life is in constant need of repair. There is some type of maintenance, safeguarding, protecting, preventing, upkeep, conservation that is going on in each area of our lives. We have to shower. The dishwasher needs unloading. It’s time to shave. The car needs its oil changed. We need a hair cut. It’s time to change the A/C filter. There goes another tank of gas. It’s grocery shopping day. Another diaper changed. The house needs to be cleaned. I’ve got to write another to-do list. It’s laundry day. The baby needs to be fed again. We need to be fed again. You get the point.
Much of the energy we expend is given to this mundane task of preserving what we already have. We shouldn’t even have time to want more! But yet we do. We spend our time clinging to keep what we already have, yet always wishing for something more. It can be quite a miserable thought. But Jesus gives us something to think about:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
What hope that is. How convicting that is.
Here’s the hopeful part: there is so much more than this! Day-to-day doesn’t have to be day-to-day. Life doesn’t have to be about to-do lists and paychecks or “what’s for dinner?” and “what are we doing this weekend?”. That longing deep within us for something more is the eternity that God set in our hearts. Our momentary (day-to-day) affliction is producing an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. He is crafting a beautiful magnum opus with our every “Twinkle, twinkle little star” that we sing. But we must see beyond the seen.
Here’s the convicting part: 99% of what I focus on is the seen. So here’s my prayer. Lord, make me intentional about the unseen: people’s souls, their eternal future and the process of redemption taking place inside of me. These are eternal. Place eternity on it’s rightful throne in my heart.
I feel like a new person since I gave life to a new little girl, thus, a new post.
There is nothing like being a mother. I’m 5 weeks into this thing called motherhood; there is no turning back.
It is hard to put into words the life that this little life has breathed into me. She is an absolute miracle. From her tiny fingers to her perfect ears to her chubby belly, I couldn’t be more in love. She melts me.
She can’t survive without us. She is completely helpless, relying on us to provide her every need.
We feed her. We bathe her. We change her diaper. We clothe her. We sing to her. We take her on walks. We look into her eyes and try to make her smile.
There are times when her cries demand our attention. Other times, her cries are a need for rest and we let her work it out until she falls asleep.
Does this sound familiar?
It’s true. Being a parent reflects back the heart of our Heavenly Father more than anything.
He feeds me from His Word. He changes my dirty diapers called sin and bathes me clean with His mercy. He clothes me in righteousness. He sings over me every night. He takes my hand and walks with me through every circumstance. And He’s always trying to catch my attention and make me smile. Sometimes God answers my cries immediately. Sometimes He lets me work it out.
And like Kate, I don’t thank Him for His sustenance, His forgiveness, His redemption in me, His comfort or His guidance. And many times I’m too distracted by other things and forget to hold his gaze and smile. I get mad when my cry goes unanswered until I realize He just wants to give me rest.
It’s all too familiar isn’t it?
And the same way I feel toward Kate despite it all is the same way my Father feels about me.
What a glimpse this thing called parenthood gives us into the heart of our Heavenly Father.
We were convinced we were having a boy. We wanted a boy. We constantly thought about a boy. We were already calling him Jack.
Tuesday, we found out we’re having a girl.
I couldn’t be happier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now that our little baby has a gender and a name, I have never been more excited. I want to meet her immediately. I want to hold her, cover her with kisses and make her giggle uncontrollably. We are having a little GIRL!!!
Our blue-room plans have changed to pink. Jack has turned to Kate. Visions of trucks and leggos have turned into baby dolls and ribbons. I’ll take her shopping, braid her hair and paint her nails. We’ll read stories of princesses and watch the Little Mermaid. Awww… the joy of girls.
I can already see Andrew’s heart melting. Oh little Kate is going to have him wrapped around her finger in a heartbeat!
And here she is! Our little Kate…
I know it’s been forever since you’ve seen a post out of me. Uploading photos doesn’t take a whole lot of effort or creativity so here it goes. This is my best friend Lauren and her fiance, Ryan, who are some of our closest friends. They met at PBA and are getting married in the PBA chapel. They came down this weekend for a wedding and I was able to snap some engagement photos for them. Of course, it rained the entire time. So we made the best of it and turned the umbrella into a cute little prop. Here are some of my favorites.
It’s easy to look back on the past year and regurgitate all the significant moments and events that happened. But what’s the use if you haven’t learned anything from those times? There is one word that sums up the bulk of what God has taught me this year: FAITH.
I thank God everyday for community. I have witnessed so many close lives around us stand in faith when the circumstances they were facing screamed at them to do otherwise. Here a just a few of the faith stories that have impacted my life in a significant way this year.
I watched Bryon and Susan give glory and praise to God through every step of their darkness and pain. Then I helped them move into a beautiful apartment back in South Florida last month. They’re now back home with their gorgeous new daughter.
I saw Chris and Penny stand solid in their calling to adopt two children from Russia even when easier opportunities presented themselves again and again. Through two years of waiting and false expectations, I watched their boys walk through a Miami terminal this year, finally home.
I heard of my uncle’s sudden and unexpected divorce and saw his pain that came with being alone. I watched him give up his life to God and then witnessed what God does best: change a life. He’s now a man of incredible trust and faith.
I saw my close friend go through two miscarriages in a matter 0f 6 months. I watched her and her husband give everything up to God and in return be blessed with an amazing, healthy new pregnancy.
I joined with the church staff and pastors as we fasted and prayed for a building that seemed unlikely and financially risky. Then, we worshipped together August 24th in our new buidling: exactly 11 years to the day of Calvary Jupiter’s first Sunday.
I watched and joined with my parents as we prayed for a complete healing of my dad’s knee after his replacement surgery. After more than half a year of immobility and surgeries, God healed him when the odds were stacked against it. He’s walking more and moving more at age 52 then he was at age 32.
I’ve even watched my own husband step out into the unknown. Going through interim manager training last year meant that Chick-fil-a could place us anywhere in the country for any length of time. But we trusted and knew that God was in control. 5 months later, Andrew stepped into his very own store as the owner/operator.
And this year is already calling for new steps of faith. And I have learned to face them head on, fully believing, trusting and speaking God’s promises. These are some of the verses that have become so precious to me this year and I claim them as we pray about some specific things that God has laid on our heart.
2 Corinthians 4: 13, “But have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed therefore I spoke.’ We also believe, therefore we also speak.”
Hebrews 11:11, “Since she considered Him faithful who had promised.”
Luke 1:45, “And blessed is she who believed there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
Mark 11:24, “Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them and they will be granted you.”
Romans 4:20-21, “Yet with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”
I want my faith to grow deeper and wider in 2009. If nothing else, may this next year be a greater year of faith for me.