30 Candles {part 1}

By Thursday, May 8, 2014 0 0

My birthday is my favorite holiday. I’m hopeless so I just embrace it and pray that I enjoy the gifts (I mean more than the presents here) that come with my special day and try not to be too selfish.

My memory bank isn’t organized enough to reflect on my last 30 years, but I know that I am more grateful today than I was even yesterday, and I plan to be more grateful tomorrow and 10 years from now. I consider this a successful life, regardless of whatever other circumstances come my way.

20 years ago, ALL of these would have shocked me. 10 years ago, most would have shocked me. Today, full of gratitude, I look to the future with open hands for whatever God sees fit to give me. At 30, these are the things that define me:

    • Child of God of nearly 15 years
    • Wife of 10 years

wedding day

  • Mother of two

 

SONY DSC

I’ve done this twice!

 

  • Friend to many, a {very} few close
  • Financially, poorer over the last few years
  • Spiritually, richer {infinitely so}… and isn’t that the way it goes?
  • Called, appointed, and support-raising missionary
  • Burdened for Spain

Spain

  • Lover of God’s Word
  • Blogger
  • Disciple
  • Teacher

God is good.

All the time.

Spring Colds and Easter

By Sunday, April 20, 2014 0 0

Matt Chandler once said that we get sick to remind us that this is not our home. When I heard that, I was sick, which I find myself quite often, with two littles in my care and a bad exercise regimen. So I was struck by his statement: first with conviction that I complain, whine and wallow in sickness too much, and second with annoyance. Being sick does not “stir my affections for Jesus Christ” (this is Matt Chandler’s favorite phrase). It makes me put off Bible study, because my head is too foggy to read. When my children are sick, all their advancements in behavior go backwards 10 steps. Sickness is just time wasted, it seems.

If that’s true, our whole family just wasted two weeks.

All four of us were sick. At some point over the last two weeks, we have hacked and coughed through the night, sounded like frogs, lathered on and breathed in essential oils, used three boxes of tissues, swallowed spoonfuls of honey, used inhalers and succumbed to the need for antibiotics.

Chris missed two days worth of networking opportunities with NW pastors first because he was home taking care of me and two sick kids, then because he was sick himself. We both missed a date night that would have enabled us to hear our mission agency’s president speak. Prior to the event, I was really looking forward to this spiritual kick in the pants. All of our daily tasks took a backseat to surviving, especially because Susanna doesn’t seem to miss a beat when she’s sick. She just powers through with double the grumpies.

Now that we are coming out of the fog, on Easter weekend to boot, I am realizing I got my spiritual kick in the pants.

We don’t have Easter baskets. I don’t have a new outfit or a new haircut or even painted fingernails (these things are usually important to me, on Easter). My kids will look adorable, but it’s not because they’ll be wearing an Easter dress or a vest and jacket, which I certainly wasn’t able to go out and buy. They have outfits knitted with love by their grandma. This means more to me than any flowered dress I could pick out. We don’t even have Easter dinner plans. We were too sick to make them.

But.

Today, and every day by God’s grace, we celebrate the day Jesus Christ literally came back to life. After excruciating suffering and death on a cross to satisfy the required payment for everything that was, is and ever will be wrong with the world, Jesus walked out of the grave. So He made the payment, and then He closed the books, so that payment would never be required again.

Best of all, He had no regrets. If it happened today, He’d say, “that was totally worth it.”

There is a lot wrong in my world. At the front of my mind: a lot of people I love are sick. Sick to the point of death, if I’m honest.

Jesus understands this. Not tritely, either. On the night He was betrayed, Jesus went to pray and he asked his disciples to keep watch and pray themselves. “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’” (Matthew 26:36-39)

Jesus understands. That has been my mantra this week. When the baby only slept 30 minutes at a time, when my normally sweet little girl threw her body to the ground in tantrum, when Chris and I collapsed from fatigue throughout the day, when I lost hours of sleep sitting upright on the couch trying to calm my cough, I would remind myself, Jesus knows. He understands and He is with me.

It’s Resurrection Sunday, not a parade for perfect-looking families in matching clothes. It’s the Day Death Died, not a day for finding eggs and wearing bunny ears. It’s a day to celebrate, but I know, and Jesus knows, that sometimes you don’t feel like celebrating. That’s ok. He understands. He once suffered unbearably and came through victorious. Whatever is wrong in your world today, give it to Jesus. He can make enduring your trial totally worth it, and for those who trust Him, He offers eternal life free of suffering. This life isn’t easy, but it can be filled with hope. My week was not easy, but I am filled with hope.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. (Romans 5)

The Missing Verse

By Monday, December 24, 2012 0 0

I love the Christmas carol What Child Is This? because it points to the reason Jesus came to earth: to die.

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;

Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him!
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!

Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby
This, this is Christ the King
The babe, the son of Mary!

I couldn’t find a YouTube video of a singer who included these verses (I didn’t try hard).

May your Christmas be merry
and everything nice
May you never forget
you were bought with a price.

Christmas 2012

By Saturday, December 22, 2012 0 0

Pinterest

The angel’s words in Luke 2:10 are so missional. A reminder that Jesus Christ is good news, great joy, for all people. God may have used the disciples strategically to reach the Gentile world, amd it may have surprised them at first, but it was always part of the Plan. Christmas is for all people: not just people in the Judeo-Christian world. It is not an American holiday (although the way we celebrate is often questionable, I see a revolution forming in the hearts of a few influencers). It does not exclude Ethiopia, India or Japan.

Christ is for all people.

We got our last batch of cards out today, which probably means they’ll arrive after Christmas. Perhaps some of you will see this one before it comes in your mailbox. Sorry about that. Thank you for grace!

Christmas Card front

Christmas card back

Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas Anthem

By Wednesday, December 19, 2012 0 0

I am listening to this on repeat these days and thought I’d share it with you.

Christmas Anthem
by Landon Smith and Matt Jones

Refrain:
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Is the jubilant refrain
God is sending us a Savior
Peace on earth, good will to man.

Hear what glorious song of angels
Is now ringing through the air
Never valley, never mountain
Heard an anthem half so fair.

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Is the jubilant refrain
God is sending us a Savior
Peace on earth, good will to man.

Messengers of God’s free mercy
Are now seen by human eye
Shepherds hear the wondrous message
“Glory be to God on high.”

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Is the jubilant refrain
God is sending us a Savior
Peace on earth, good will to man.

Let us also sing the praises
Of our God so full of love
Who on Christmas sent a Savior
Sent a Savior from above.

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Is the jubilant refrain
God is sending us a Savior
Peace on earth, good will to man…