Christian,

Remember who are. Remember your name, the name God gave you, and go out with joy, proclaiming His glory as you personally know it. You are the child of the King of Kings, the Almighty: He cherishes you in ways too wonderful to comprehend on this side of Glory. You are the bride of Christ: prepared to walk down the aisle, washed clean and dressed in His glory. Do not focus on your failings, do not doubt His goodness, but dwell on His faithfulness, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2).

Photo Credit: Alain Martinez Photography

 

Gospel Imagery Explosion

Photo: {alittleperspective.com}
 
I was just reading Psalm 30 today: it is an incredible love story. David wrote it for the dedication of the temple. When we dedicate ourselves to God, we leave behind our old lives and are given new identities. When we mean what we say, when we really humble ourselves before Him, we become both His child and His bride — He is the father in the story of the prodigal son; He runs out joyfully meet us with open arms. He forgives us, washes us clean, heals our wounds, adorns us with glory and feeds us only the best. He is Hosea, we are Gomer, but now we can rejoice, for He has made us beautiful.
 
 

 

Hero

“Jesus is your knight in shining armor. He is the love you have been longing for. He is your dream come true. He is your hero. He is Aslan, the Lion of Judah, and the Lamb of God. He is the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Mighty One.

His name is like a kiss and an earthquake. His gaze is on you. He has pledged his love to you and betrothed you to him forever. He is unchangeable, and his love will never fail you.

How do you respond? Love him. Adore him. Worship him.”

Stasi Eldredge in Becoming Myself

What the 9th Commandment Means

1. God’s will is that I never give false testimony against anyone.

2. I twist no one’s words.

3. I do not gossip or slander.

4. I do not join in condemning anyone without a hearing or without a just cause.

5. Rather, in court and everywhere else, I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind; these are devices the devil himself uses, and they would call down on me God’s intense anger.

6. I should love the truth.

7. I should speak the truth candidly.

8. I should openly acknowledge the truth.

9. I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.

Yikes. Count me convicted.

 

Check out Kevin DeYoung’s whole post, The Ninth Commandment is About Much More Than Lying, at TGC.

 

Modesty of the Heart

Here’s a scenario:  You and Jesus have the surfboards strapped to the top of the VW, headed to the swell.  What would you be comfortable wearing in front of Jesus?

Frankly, I think Jesus would be more concerned about the condition of your heart than the size of your swim suit.

If the condition of your heart is one that has gratefully accepted the mercy and grace and love of Christ, you will probably carefully consider your swimwear purchases.  If you are exuding that love, you will not turn a scornful glance onto the unknowing bikini-clad 16 year old.  Strike up a conversation and love that bikini-wearer like Jesus!  Who knows what kind of home life she has.

Love this post from Pearl’s Oysterbed, The Heart of the Bikini Clad

New Adventure

On Monday we started educating our girls at home. We hired a wonderful gal to tutor them and are so thankful for her! Miss Laura is doing a fantastic job and the girls are really enjoying school. This arrangement leaves me ample time to work with my 2 and 3 year old boys during this exciting and busy stage. But then this happened yesterday:

my poor foot

 

Have you ever heard the saying about ballerinas being incredibly clumsy off stage? Well, it is true. I haven’t danced classical ballet in over a decade but the klutz in me thrives on! The x-ray (and pain) indicated a hairline fracture.  I’m seeing it as a prime opportunity to work on being peaceful and joyful in the midst of chaos and pain.

Psalm51:8

In the mean time, I found this post, The Gospel, Boxed Mac & Cheese and Me, by Mandy J Hoffman very encouraging! Check it out!

Reproof is a Blessing

 

But however much receiving reproof goes against our native instincts or catches us off our gospel guard in the moment, we have this great hope to grow into: The love of Christ for us is the skeleton key able to unlock for us the power of rebuke. With him in view, the one “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), no longer must reproof be an assault on our very foundations and deep sense of worth, but it becomes a fresh opportunity for growth and greater joy.

It is another grace of the gospel that by the Spirit we can grow skin thick enough to hear any reproof as a pathway to yet even more grace. It is the gospel that gives us the wherewithal for truly leaning into rebuke and receiving its bounty.

Only in Jesus can we find our identity not in being without fault, but in being shown love by God when we’re still sinners and chock-full of faults (Romans 5:8). With such a Savior to steady our feet, we can embrace rebuke for the blessing that it is.

 

Read the whole article over at Desiring God in Embrace the Blessing of Rebuke

 

Answered Prayers 2014 No. 7-10

The last two months have been a whirlwind, filled  with
clearly  answered prayers  and wonderful challenges.
 I haven’t
kept up  with writing them here so my apologies for the lengthiness
of this post.
 Feel free to skim and rejoice, or, if it blesses you,  to read or
comment and rejoice.  
As always, I’d love to hear from you and pray for you.

Prayer No. 7 Update:  Still working on body image issues (I suspect this will take a long time), but definitely feeling more peaceful about being bigger then ever before. I’m really enjoying food now —  I can genuinely thank God guilt-free for what is put before me, regardless of caloric and fat content. This is such a relief!! I gained 5 pounds on our week-long cruise vacation and it didn’t stress me out very much. I came back and my pants were a bit tight (lunge!), but I just kept with my regular routine (cardio twice a week and resistance 3 times a week) and the first 3lbs fell of in one week. I expected the other 2lbs to stick around for a while, but then I got some sort of stomach bug. My weight is back to my new normal (155-160 ish) and I’m feeling beautiful more often than not. I’m not afraid of my mirror or the scale, in fact, I hardly notice them anymore.  I still have rough days and I expect I’ll continue to have them periodically, but considering what a substantial burden this has been to me in the past, I’m very thankful to see a dramatic change in such a short time. All praise and thanks be to God! I recently wrote a 2 part article on beauty that expounds on this topic, click these to read them: Gospel Beauty Part One and Gospel Beauty Part Two.

Answered Prayer and Request No. 8: Earlier this year we moved from a town where my husband was gainfully employed to a town where we had no necessities lined up despite our best efforts. God answered our prayers quickly, by providing a wonderful house, in a great area, in our price range — it was the first and only house we checked out! Then within weeks of moving, God provided my husband with a good job that is supplying excellent health insurance. We are very thankful to be getting medical assistance with some long-term problems both my husband and I have been experiencing. We are continuing to pray for work that would support our family more adequately (another part-time job might be ideal) and for the Lord to bless my husband’s med school application this year. We would appreciate your prayers.

Answered Prayer No. 9: I’ve always struggled with friendships. Partially because I’m introverted and possibly because my people skills leave a lot to be desired. I’ve only ever had one amazing, sister-like friendship, but God called her home many years ago and since, I’ve had many friends, but struggled to find deeply encouraging, push-me-towards-God, truth, goodness and beauty, “Gospel” friendships. Last year, I was complaining (yeah, I know I gotta knock that off) to my husband that I felt so alone that it physically hurt my tummy. In the last several months, in the midst of reading books, articles, my Bible and hearing some really fantastic sermons, I realized that I’ve been grasping at friendship. I expected people to fill God shaped holes in my life — which was unfair to others and a type of idolatry on my part. As the months of friend-less-ness past and I prayed and consciously pursued a different type of friendship with my Maker, I felt the ache gradually dissolve. My appreciation and love for Christ grew and I felt (noticeably, says my hubby) less intimidated and insecure then I have in years past. I began to enjoy a better friendship with my husband, too. I feel loved, filled, and happy despite not having had actively sanctifying female friendships in my life.  Then, last week, we visited our old town and it became a funny scheduling tetris to fit in visits with all my friends into a 48 hour time period. I never did get to see all of them so we already have plans for next time I visit or they visit me (hint, hint, you know who you are!). Without me having noticed, God provided a bounty of new friends who have become my go to gals for friendly honesty, love and encouragement. So, Answered Prayer No. 9 is two-fold: 1) I’m thanking God for uprooting my “need” for friends and 2) for giving them to me anyway. I’m now praying that God give me the strength to cherish my friends and be a blessing to them without becoming desperate. All that we have belongs to Him and it is just when He decides to give and take away.

 

Answered Prayer No. 10: During a recent chat, the subject of  motherhood and last babies came up. I’ve always been rather sentimental and when I knew my last baby was going to be a boy (which is what I was secretly hoping for), I cried as I sorted and gave away the bulk of my girls’ used baby clothes. The thought of not having anymore baby girls saddened me so much that I couldn’t bring myself to Goodwill the items and opted to give most of them to friends who were expecting girls. Of course, hormones were definitely contributing to my over-reaction, but they were founded on a real sin in my life.

During my last (HG) pregnancy, my husband and I prayerfully decided that 4 children was a good place to stop having babies (for a host of reasons). A few days after Liam was born, my husband got snipped. I was sad about not having any more babies and took comfort knowing that if God wanted us to have more kids, no surgical procedure would stop His will. Right before Liam turned 6 months old, I was forced to wean him earlier then I wanted and my body transitioned into early onset menopause (turns out long term starvation can do that, who knew?!). I was only 28 at the time, but took/take it as a blessing from God on our decision to avoid future pregnancies. Initially, I was sad and figured the feeling would continue forever. I thought I’d just become accustomed to “baby fever” and it would become a way of life. However, something changed and I don’t know exactly when:  I can honestly say that I’m glad to be done with the baby stage of life! I don’t want to get pregnant again and it has nothing to do with not liking children. I adore my kids and enjoy holding my friends’ newborns! They are all gifts from God, but I don’t desire to have more of my own anymore. Of course, if God decided to give us a miracle baby, that would be ok, too, but the sadness is gone.

Babies are awesome and I’m thankful not to have one anymore. I am thoroughly excited to be in this new stage of life! Liam is 2 ½ now and it is great! He is fun to be around, I’m sleeping 8+ hours a night, we read books together and are starting to have conversations I can understand.  The perks are endless — my husband and I don’t have to plan sexy time around newborn nursing habits or our annual calendar wondering if I’ll be on bed rest for the next 9 months, let alone the financial repercussions — we can just enjoy each other! Its crazy! I’m enjoying copious amounts of both work, play, joy, and peace on a daily basis.  Dare I ask, is this contentment I’m feeling?

I think part of the reason I was initially sad about not having any more babies was because I didn’t trust God to bring goodness in a new season. I didn’t want the newborn stage to end because what if the toddler stage wasn’t as good? Having newborns was wonderful, I love that stage, but I’m happy to report that this new stage is equally as wonderful! Not better or worse than the childbearing years — just fantastically different! I’m learning to enjoy the stage I am in without grasping at it to continue. This is an answer to prayers for faith and contentment. I’ve asked that God help me trust Him with my life and to teach me how to be joyful in whatever situation I’m in.  I’m learning that my discontent and worry are not crises of circumstance, they are evidence of a crisis of faith. Of course, this is another ongoing life lesson, but it encourages my heart to see progress.