I am not a theologian. In fact, sometimes I think we can get so caught up in our attempts to interpret the intricacies of Scripture that we miss the mission Christ laid out for us.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
It moved me when I realized the first word in this commissioning I had memorized years ago, the first word is Go. Like, leave your church walls. Get to work. Build relationships with people in all nations. Baptize them. Teach them. We need some knowledge to do this. I concur.
But I read all of this online conversation and I often wonder, do nonbelievers even care? Do they see us fighting over theological details and find our Jesus irresistible? Are we teaching new believers to study and love God’s Word? Or do we alienate them by appearing to be elite experts?
Are we missing the forest for the trees, as they say?
Let’s go a step further. Walk with me into our churches. The ones we often complain about.
They’re too exclusive. Full of hypocrites. Too flashy. Too modern. Too traditional. Too boring. Too loud. Fill in the blank yourself: Too ____________.
Do these details that we pick apart every single Sunday have anything to do with making disciples? Is it really about your preferences?
Jesus never stopped practicing Judaism. He pointed out its flaws. He blasted its leaders. But if you study the Gospels, you see He still attended synagogue. Often, he taught within its walls. He traveled to Jerusalem to participate in the festivals.
Jesus lived Jewish.
He knew a place that taught us how to have a relationship with our Father had a place in our communities. The importance of fellowship and accountability. Ultimately, He saw a redeemed church. Full of believers like you and me. A structure. A people.
Perhaps, in addition to easing up on some of the debating, we should stop critiquing how folks decide to do church. And get back to what Christ commissioned us to do.
Our churches should be about welcoming, and investing in, those who choose to enter our doors.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus to the woman who hasn’t attended church in years. But life has her so desperate, she’s decided to give it a try.
Schedule some time to sit down with that new believer who has posted some questionable things on Facebook. We know living Christlike means being set apart from the ways of this world. But it takes a lifetime to figure out what that means.
Rather than continuing to debate among ourselves, start a small group or a class. If you have your debate arguments all polished up, there are believers who can benefit from your knowledge of the Word.
I find it interesting that Jesus included baptism in His commission to believers. Perhaps because it publicly shows our commitment to Christ. Water carries a tremendous amount of symbolism all throughout Scripture. Baptism carries great symbolism for us too.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
Infant or child or adult. Immersion. Sprinkling. In a church. Standing in the river. At the community pool. We teach other believers about obedience through the sacrament of baptism.
It breaks my heart to read statistics about how uneducated the average church attendee is regarding Scripture. We need to tell them about Jesus. The world needs examples of Christlike followers. But we do them a mighty disservice if we don’t teach them to study Scripture for themselves.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness... 2 Timothy 3:16
As Jesus walked this earth, He served mankind. Teaching them. Healing them. I am convicted that our time on this earth should be spent doing these very things as well.
"Let me start by saying I have no haunting tales from my own childhood Halloween experiences. It never spooked me. Seeing the scary costumes didn’t impact me one way or the other. Attending the haunted house set up in the sanctuary of my church might seem a bit strange now, but I thought nothing of it at the time.
So when we had our daughter, my husband and I weighed the pros and cons of Halloween. As parents. Together, we decided we would not celebrate this holiday...."
I'm writing about our journey to make Halloweeen an event where we can trace our own faith over at fellow blogger, Kori's, website, Just-Another-Mom-Dot-Net. I'm thankful for the opportunity to share our story. Click on this post link to read the rest of the story at Kori's site. Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Here's a Faith Filled Approach.
I received a copy of "Overrated: Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world?" written by Eugene Cho, from Family Christian Stores for the purpose of generating a review. Italicized quotes are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
And great news! Family Christian is also giving a copy of this book away to one of my readers. You can enter the giveaway below.
I like Eugene Cho. His social media posts are compelling and right on target. Still, I picked up his book rather nervously. I have vague recollections of reading the book “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream” by David Platt. A very good book but it convicted me again and again that I don’t give sacrificially. Not really.
I didn’t know if I was ready to read another book like that.
“Overrated” surprised me. In almost every chapter, the author would offer a confession. This “giving until it hurts concept” doesn’t come naturally to him either. But he can’t shake this question he also poses to his readers:
“Is it possible that Christ might be challenging us to live life with loose hands?”
The book offers gripping statistics, as we would expect. Cho also breaks down Scripture passages to help us understand how God and Jesus felt about social justice.
For a Christian it’s inescapable.
Throughout the book, Cho shares his story of living out Micah 6:8:
“Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
But he also challenges us. If God lays an idea on your heart, by all means pursue it. Know that it might take a lot longer and the process might look a lot different when it’s in God’s hands. And please, please, execute your idea responsibly. Be excellent in your execution.
“My wish is that Christians, the church, and all those who are reading this book would take more time to listen, pray, and allow the injustices of the world to break us in lasting ways, as opposed to wanting to immediately make an impact.”
This idea is the main takeaway from the book for me. Cho does a lot of research to share times people are successful in offering justice. And times when hearts were perhaps in the right place but execution led to more harm than good.
“Doing good is beautiful, but let’s pray that doing good provokes, evokes, and fascinates people toward the gospel....”
The book was excellent. A thought-provoking read. I give you fair warning though. “Overrated” will likely change your outlook. Kind of like when we really take the time to study the Bible....
“There’s a cost to pursuing your dreams, visions, and convictions. And there’s a cost to following Jesus. This is discipleship.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Saturday, October 25th. A winner is randomly selected. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be selected.
I received a copy of "Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple's Journey To Freedom From Pornography" written by Jen and Craig Ferguson, from netgalley.com for the purpose of generating a review. Italicized quotes are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
If you’re a lady and you’ve spent any time in a local Bible study, you have a favorite Beth Moore study. Am I right?
For me, that study is Inheritance. Starting in Genesis, a very good place to start, Beth teaches us about the inheritance God has prepared for all of us believers... since the beginning.
One of the key lessons I took from this study is that nothing in our lives goes unused by God. It’s all a part of our divine inheritance. He can take the most difficult circumstances, pull us right out of them and then turn around and use them for our good and His glory.
If I could sit down with Craig and Jen Ferguson over a cup of coffee, we could discuss this concept together. I might even suggest they go through this Bible study.
As a married couple, they lived through some scary times. Hard, humbling times. Times when I'm sure they wondered if even God could make something beautiful out of the mess. In their book, “Pure Eyes, Clean Heart,” they tell their story in its entirety.
As an offering.
Jen discovered a little secret early on in her marriage to Craig. He entered their union addicted to pornography. They entered into a painful cycle where Craig would say he’d try to quit viewing pornography. He’d fail. Jen would find out.
Throughout the whole book, they tell of their life events. First, from her perspective. Followed by his.
A brave retelling.
I read this book for the purpose of review. I know next to nothing about pornography addiction. However, as I read it, I realized the lessons apply to many scenarios. The Scripture both authors shared could speak to me and my circumstances too.
Any addiction. Any fallen person.
I have a lot of Jen in me. Read the following quote and see if you can relate:
“Somehow, I had fooled myself into believing that becoming the porn police was going to ensure successful recovery. Somehow, I had fallen into the trap of believing that if I said and did the right things, healing would take place.”
Truthful confessions like these were the real beauty of the book for me. As women, we have to learn how to communicate with our husbands and not belittle or mother or nag. Jen had to learn that too.
“In my attempt to control, I forgot to surrender.”
Men must also learn how to keep communicating when they’d rather escape into a less stressful reality. They have to be honest with their wife when they struggle.
“Since trust is crucial to a relationship, I responded. I found myself wanting to do more and talk to Jen more about what was going on with me. I started sharing with her about when I felt tempted. Our conversations evolved from worrying about what to do about temptation to discussing strategies to help me overcome it when it actually came.”
But most of all, we have to let the Holy Spirit teach us those things about ourselves that keep us from having a fulfilling marriage. We must realize our need for Him in this most important relationship.
For those struggling with a pornography addiction, click on the book title above and order this book. It’s that important. Even if pornography is not your stronghold, I discovered many timeless lessons in this book.
Craig and Jennifer, I know without any doubt that God will use your story for good. It’s part of your divine inheritance. Keep trusting Him to use your past to grow you spiritually and glorify Him.
In your own words:
“God is so faithful not to waste one bit of our experiences...”
She walked into our Bible study. I knew her a little bit from church. Friends with some of the ladies who already attended our Wednesday morning group.
I took great delight in watching her faith grow. We welcomed her week after week. And before you knew it, we also started socializing outside of our weekly meetings.
A few months after she’d been with us, she shared something with our group I’ll never forget. She said,
“When I first got invited to this group, I didn’t plan on going. I work with a bunch of ladies in my career at the salon. I have a ton of girlfriends. I figured I had enough girls in my life. Within my circles, you have to be careful though. If you leave the room or turn your back for a second, they might start talking about you. I have often walked back into a room only to have the conversation stop dead in its tracks. And I knew. They were talking about me. But with you ladies, it’s different. I have never felt talked about. We support one another. We have fun. We make each other stronger.”
Today’s post celebrates girlfriends. I just spent took a four-day trip to Vegas for my fortieth birthday. I met up with my mom (always on the top of my girlfriend list) and my bestest from high school. What a great way to celebrate!
In women’s ministry, I find myself surrounded by girlfriends. I’ve learned a thing or two about why it’s good for us ladies to have some real, supportive friends in our lives.
We can laugh together.
Yes, I laugh with my husband. But that’s different form the way I can get tickled with a group of girls. The jokes they think are funny that would only get a blank stare from my husband. The stories we share around a table or at the local bounce house as the kids play. Girlfriends give us a chance to laugh. Perhaps even at ourselves.
We support one another.
If we do this friendship thing well, we don’t leave any room for competition. I had a girlfriend return to work recently. Back in the workforce after years of staying at home with little ones. This isn’t about her decision to work vs. my choice to remain unemployed for now. This IS about me praying for her all day that first day back. It’s about me checking in on her after the first few days to see how it’s going. Maybe we find the time to meet up for coffee or dinner so she can openly talk about all the changes she’s experiencing.
We carry one another’s burdens... and secrets.
I wrote about the time I went with my friend to her biopsy. We all need someone to walk this daily journey with us. Someone who is always just a phone call or a Facebook private message away.
Pray for me as I prepare to talk with my son’s teacher about his behavior in the classroom. Lift my family up as we look for a job or a house. Intercede for me because I am so burned out in this chapter of my life.
If we do this sharing thing right and well, no one knows us quite like our girlfriends.
We are reminded we’re not alone.
Our daughter is an only child. I’m new to parenting and our enemy likes to constantly make me question if I’m doing it right or well.
Read this Facebook post from March of this year...
Allieisms from our road trip to a basketball tournament I worked at this weekend... 1) She gave out two autographs (something like an A with a fancy 6). 2) She told the event photographer she was 18 and getting married next week. 3) As she dribbled the ball onto the tournament court, she gushed, "I am so glad my mom is a basketball teamer so I can go on the court." 4) In the car, she said, "I wish I was still a baby. One year olds get everything done for them. It's like everyone is their maid." #cantmakethisstuffup
Our little ones say the funniest things. And we love that. But every mom I know wonders if their children are saying too much. At inappropriate times or places. How do you know when you should just let your kid be a kid? Or when you’ve got a teachable moment on your hands?
In part, you can ask your girlfriends. Again, together you’ll laugh about your adorable kiddos. You’ll swap stories about her Ms. Juniorette who did something similar last week. But you also offer and receive advice. From someone who’s been there.
I spoke with another gal recently. She is new to our community. During the week, she has a long commute to her job. She doesn’t have a lot of girlfriends where she lives now. She shared with me how hard it is to not have a confidant. How much she would enjoy joining some girls for dinner. I made note to be sure we include her next time a group of us get together. I know we can offer her just what she needs!
You see, I love my man. But I also count my girlfriends as gifts. Gifts I wouldn't trade for anything.
Blogging has given me many unexpected perks.
It seems companies and organizations realize there is a new voice out there. A way to reach consumers.
That leaves me with a big responsibility. To myself and my family and my readers. I want to deliver you quality. I want to be an excellent steward of my time. Ever since I learned how to read, I have wanted to gobble up every book I come across.
In an effort to do all this, this will be my final post this week. I am taking a week (at least) to really focus on all of these books I’ve decided to review and share with you. I won't get them all finished but I can get a good start this way.
Here are the books I have lined up:
In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar
Two women. Alone. With no provision. Can a woman who has lost everything, except her beloved mother, find hope in a foreign land?
In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Sara Hagerty masterfully draws from the narrative of her life to craft a mosaic of a God who leans into broken stories. Here readers see a God who is present in every changing circumstance, and more significantly, they see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well.
Watch for the review on this one. I'm partnering with Family Christian to give a copy away!
A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness by Marlena Graves
This eloquently written book interweaves biblical insights and personal narratives to show how God uses suffering and desert experiences to shape us into the image of Christ.
Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News? by Philip Yancey
Why does the church stir up such negative feelings? Philip Yancey has been asking this all his life as a journalist. His perennial question is more relevant now than ever: in a twenty-year span starting in the mid-nineties, research shows that favorable opinions of Christianity have plummeted drastically and opinions of Evangelicals have taken even deeper dives.
Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win by Christine Caine
In Unstoppable, best-selling author, global evangelist, and human-trafficking activist, Christine Caine mesmerizes us with true stories and eternal principles that equip us to run the race marked out for us.
Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost and Found Again by Preston Yancey
Preston Yancey arrived at Baylor University in the autumn of 2008 with his life figured out, then slowly each piece of his secure world fell apart: his church, his life of study, his politics, his girlfriend, his best friend, and his God.
Pure Eyes, Clean Heart by Craig & Jen Ferguson
In this candid account, Craig and Jen Ferguson share their personal story of the shame, anger, and hopelessness associated with Craig’s porn addiction. It threatened to destroy their marriage until they discovered how drawing close to Christ could lead them out of the pit of sinful habits, unhealthy responses, and personal despair toward true recovery.
Many people today talk about justice but are they living justly? They want to change the world but are they being changed themselves?
Watch for the review on this one. I'm partnering with Family Christian to give a copy away!
There's reading to do! I’ll be back with you soon. With a review... or eight. -T
Today’s post won’t be long. Much of Ben and Sara’s wedding is not my story to tell. I am thankful for the part I did get to play in it.
Who doesn’t like a beautiful wedding? Even when it rains. And rains. And your outdoor wedding happens inside of a well decorated tent. During the neighbor's target practice session.
I remember those years when we looked for a house. And then looked for land where we built our house. I silently promised God again and again that if He would just give us a place of our own, I would never take it for granted.
Bargaining. With the Creator of the universe.
I don’t know that God minds this necessarily. I think He would tell us to go further. Seek Him in prayer and fasting and worship. He wants us to pursue His will.
I know Sara and Ben have done that. I am certain they will appreciate their union in ways they wouldn’t have if it hadn’t come at such a high price.
We tend to value the blessings we earned the hard way. Things we paid a high price for - in years and in emotions.
But eventually this couple will get caught up in the daily grind as we all tend to do. And Ben will find some things about Sara that make him go hmmm. Sara will discover some things about Ben she never saw coming.
As a couple they will change.
And as for us, we don’t love this house every day. There are things we'd do differently if we had it all to do again. It gets dirty and messy just like every other house.
Perhaps the lesson is to stop expecting perfection. I think what the hard times teach us is that the blessings in this life carry a great deal of value. Hold them tightly. Care for them well.
And when God restores something in your life, give Him all the glory. And share the story.
I turn 40 this weekend and am so excited. Actually, looking back over the past 40 years, I've spent much of it... excited. I'm kind of wired that way. I think it's a wonderful life. I know this approach to life can annoy some people. But more often, I find it encourages people. Helps them see the glass is not half empty or half full - it's overflowing! So we're going with that.
Since we have a wedding here this weekend, I thought I'd take these quiet moments to give you my birthday post. I've learned so much along the way. Thanks for walking the journey with me! Love you all. -T
1) Years of Show and Tell taught me people enjoy telling you their stories. Listen.
2) You don’t want to be the Old Maid.
3) Every girl needs her daddy.
4) Some girlfriends are lifers. You won’t always know who those will end up being so treat them all kindly.
5) Never trust a boy who dumps you for a gal named Rhonda while playing “Help Me, Rhonda” in his friend’s Jeep.
6) You can fully expect to get your heart broken real good at least once. Don’t look back.
7) “They” were always right. Just Say No to Drugs.
8) Kenny Chesney is right... We all have a song that’s somehow stamped our lives; takes us to another place and time. For the musically inclined, it’s not one song, it’s hundreds.
9) Some of your craziest memories will happen in college. Somehow keep your head on straight.
10) Don’t rush into marriage. The single years remain some of my fondest.
11) Never stop going to church.
12) There are kind and loving elderly people in every church family. Seek them out and let them love on you.
13) When you are down and out in any way, help someone. No greater remedy for a pity party than that.
14) Guys who date lots of women haven’t settled down for a reason. And only a very small part of it is because they “haven’t met the right one yet.”
15) Mamas always have some good advice just waiting for the asking.
16) Do 90% of your grocery shopping around the outer aisles of the store.
17) As you get older, being family means learning to forgive and giving grace.
18) You’ll end up with friends who are like family. Church folk too.
19) I’ve yet to meet someone who couldn’t benefit from time with a good therapist.
20) If you go to work each day and do a thing you love, you’ve done well for yourself.
21) Never underestimate the blessing of a good neighbor.
22) Living close to family isn’t perfect but the babysitting can be good.
23) If you’ve made it to 40 and don’t desperately miss a loved one you’ve lost, you are blessed indeed. Or you haven’t loved enough.
24) Nothing you do for the Kingdom of God is for nothing.
25) I gave my life to Jesus at age seven. To this day, the smartest thing I’ve ever done.
26) I married my husband at 28. Perfect timing. Wonderful life.
27) I had my daughter at 32. Greatest miracle I’ve ever witnessed.
28) Hands down, Facebook has put me back in touch with the most people from my past. Thankful for that.
29) I played Mary in a Christmas play once. A holiday season I still treasure. #ponder
30) You’ll have friends in life who know way too much to ever make them an enemy.
31) Love yourself deeply. It gives other people permission to love themselves as well.
32) Never back down from being confident. It teaches others to do the same.
33) Maybe not in the game of life; but in a game, it’s true... it’s just a game.
34) Life has a way of coming full circle. If this happens to you, let it.
36) Sometimes when people have a problem with you, the problem is with you. Pray for discernment.
37) Sometimes when people have a problem with you, it might show an insecurity in them. Pray for discernment.
38) Take lots of road trips. Make a playlist of songs you can sing along to and hit the highways.
39) When you travel, don’t get too caught up in being a tourist. The real treasure is in seeing with the eyes of a local.
40) If you’re blessed enough to have children, prepare yourselves to see the good and the bad of you - in them.
The countdown continues for a wedding at our place this week! You can read more about that here. Today, in true “traces of faith” style, I thought we’d take a look back at how this wedding happened to end up at our place. In the first place.
I read on Facebook that Sara and Ben wanted to get married in a rural setting. She inquired about any local places people knew of that weren’t too expensive.
All of the places friends mentioned seemed far away or pricey. As sort of a joke, I said,
“You could have the wedding at our place.”
And God winked down at Sara and Ben. And us.
Let me explain.
We have a family friend who doesn’t believe in coincidences. I mean yes, things seem to fall into place at times. But is that a coincidence? That is so much of what this blog offers. An answer to the question:
Is there such a thing as a coincidence?
Our friend would say “no!” Not with God in charge. He has a name for these moments when you see God at work.
Don’t you love that image of God? He sees a need you have, in this case a location for a country wedding, and He helps us put two and two together. All the while winking down on us.
We read a book for our summer Bible study a few years back. Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge. This book takes an unconventional look at Jesus.
We know Him as holy.
We know He is sovereign.
We know Jesus to be just.
We know He loves us.
But this book (I know it’s a good one because us Bible study ladies, we still reference it) presents Jesus in some different lights.
Playful. Witty. Scandalously Free. Human.
So, Sara and I began private messaging one another. Because this conversation about a wedding had suddenly turned serious.
Sara: “If you are really offering up your place, we’d like to consider it!”
Me: “I think it’s a great idea.”
Sara: “Are you sure?”
Me: “Well, let me check with my husband.” **Note: It’s always a good idea to check with your husband.
I asked Sara what date they had in mind for the wedding. October 4.
Photo credit: Kari Stull Photography
One day before I have a milestone birthday. I turn 40 on October 5. My mom has always joked with me that I don’t have birth-days. I have birth-weeks. Sometimes birth-months.
That’s when I knew. God had found the perfect place for Ben and Sara to have their big, beautiful country wedding. And He fully planned to throw me a grand party for my birthday.
God: Wink wink. Nudge. Nudge.
We’ve had so much fun planning the wedding. They put a ton of thought and effort into every detail. We’ve worked on special projects around here to spruce the place up a bit. A handful of times, they’ve come out to Sunday lunch and our girls have played. They took their engagement photos here.
And if we’re not careful, if we don’t train our minds to think intentionally, we’ll miss God in all of this.
And God in all of this is the very best part.
Author John Eldredge shares a Scripture passage early on in Beautiful Outlaw. The story of the resurrected Christ appearing to His fisherman disciples. On a fishing trip. Because that’s what you do when you think Jesus has died and your greater purpose died with Him. You go back to everyday life. You get in a boat and go fishing.
You can read the whole story in John 21:1-12 but here is a portion:
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,“ they answered. (verses 4-5)
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some...” (verse 6a)
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153....” (verses 10-11a)
After a night of catching no fish, Jesus appeared on the scene. And His friends didn’t just snag a handful of fish. John wants us to know, it was 153!!
Note also who dragged that net of 153 fish to shore. Simon Peter.
John Eldredge brings this story up again later in his book. And I quote:
“Think back to the story of Jesus and the boys fishing, post resurrection. Remember now - what did Peter do as Jesus was being tied and tortured? He renounced him. Not once, but three times. Then the rooster crowed and Jesus - face swollen, upper lip already burst open and bleeding - looked him right in the eye. Peter ran outside and wept. Can you imagine how torn apart he was inside? How full of shame and self-loathing? The doubt that Jesus would ever want to see him again? When the 153 large fish pop into the nets, and John figures out it’s Jesus, Peter hits the water swimming like a Labrador retriever. And there, on the beach, Jesus restores him.
I wouldn’t be surprised if He arranged that whole wonderful moment just for Peter.”
Readers, another gentle reminder. I want you to soak in the truth. God restores. Stay tuned. The wedding happens Saturday! We’ll be ready.
I got in the car for a drive. I wasn’t sure where I was going but I needed to distance myself from where I was.
In moments, I had my mom on the phone. Some things are just mom-sized issues, you know? Immediately, I started raging. So full of pent-up frustration, I spilled my guts amidst a sea of tears. I had hit an emotional wall.
She listened for a moment and then said,
“Are you driving? You’re so upset you probably need to pull over.”
Life has a way of lessening those hard times somehow. We don’t forget necessarily but we get all filled up with other things. Better things.
My current season of life has given me a word.
For my dear friends...
Who are suddenly widows. Torn apart by grief. Staring at all the pieces of their life and wondering how they fit together now.
Recovering from unwanted divorce. Grabbing their children fiercely by the hand and figuring out how they’ll live this new chapter together.
Waiting, with an imperfect patience, to move into their forever home. Wondering if such a thing even exists anymore.
So many times in life we have little to offer God but our weary hearts. Souls so tired. Open hands, on bended knee, willing to take any spiritual blessing handouts we can receive.
Oh, I’ve been there. But I’m not there now.
That’s the beauty of a redeemed daughter of the King. We live our lives much like everyone else. Trying to do good. Hoping good comes our way.
But then sometimes it doesn’t. Go good, I mean. It hurts. It sucks. We get bitter and angry and frustrated.
Because even redeemed ones are human this side of Heaven.
Here’s the beauty though. The secret of every believer.
God has this way about Him. A King Midas kind of thing. Everything He touches eventually turns glorious. All glory!
One of the most challenging times in my life occurred as we searched for our forever home. We moved in with my in-laws thinking it would be temporary until we sold our house and bought a new one. Six years and a new baby later, we settled in as a family of three. I wrote about it here.
Such challenging times. Not compared to many challenges. But they were the daily, real challenges handed to us.
Now, two years later, those hard times have faded. And this property we call home has restored us.
Further, we’ve been granted a gift. We have the opportunity to pay it forward.
A dear friend went through a divorce about three years ago. She wrote about it here.
Next week, in merely days, she’s getting re-married. Her life. Restored.
The wedding, that joyous event when man and woman join their lives together in front of God and loved ones. Friends, it will take place right here.
For both of us, restored means we went through the hard stuff. We clung to our faith in God. We see now, with eyes wide open, that God’s restored is better. Always better.
Rejoicing because He restores.
And given time, we can look back at the broken times of our lives. The struggles. And we can see how every time He lifts us up.
Now, understand, sometimes that restoration may happen at the feet of Jesus. Not meant to be restored in this life.
But when we trust Jesus through the restoring process, we can join hands with other believers and sing the chorus of the old African-American spiritual:
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Give me Jesus.
Dear readers, Stay tuned to the blog this week. We have a wedding coming!