Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Loved greatly

“Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.” -Ephesians 1:4 AMP

He chose me. Me! And not only did He choose me, He chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world. Before I was able to perform. Before I was able to please. Before I was able to disappoint. 

He picked me out for His very own because He loves me. And yet my worthiness has absolutely nothing to do with me. My worthiness is bound up with Christ- so I can't boast, can't lose it, can't do anything but say thank you. Talk about freedom. Makes me want to whirl around with arms out wide and sing at the top of my lungs- and live grateful- love bold.

Into the Desert

"living, rather than preaching, the presence of Christ in the world" -Charles de Foucald

"...their life is more or less hidden from the world..."

"It is inseparable in so many respects from that of their neighbors; but the life of prayer and devotion finds practical expression in their availability and hospitality to others..."

"The search for God- and God alone..."

these are the words that are guiding me as I ask God what He wants of me this lent.

After the winter holidays, festivity and feasting what my soul needs is fasting. And I could not be more excited about the book that will guide me this year. The Desert. I have always loved the wisdom of the desert fathers. This book is speaking my heart language.

And my word for the year, lean in, is also guiding my lenten practices. I am leaning out of facebook, so I can lean in to the relationships around me. I am leaning into the hiddenness of this season. I am not just seeking God in solitude, but also in availability and hospitality to others. I am leaning in to small, everyday moments via my instagram: #monochromaticlent. My goal this lenten season isn't to give up all kinds of crazy things, but to truly and intentionally live out my highest priorities on a daily basis.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Spur One Another On

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:24-25

Comparing. Competition. Discontent. Pride. Jealousy. These are a few of the dangers of life in community. As a team we have been wrestling with these issues and God is beginning to bring light and freedom and health. We are so grateful. We have a long road ahead, as teammates come and go. But we are doing the work- and the Spirit is honored. 

Whether you are a missionary on a team, a member of a church, a supporter of a missionary, a part of a family, or just person who has friends- the threats of comparison and competition are real. So what can we do about it? A few steps we are taking as a team:

  • Share someone else's successes or victories- at prayer meeting let someone else tell about your most recent God-story. You will be encouraged and there is no temptation to brag. God gets all the glory.
  • Encourage one another. 
  • Serve together. Even if you are involved in very different ministries- take time to invite someone else to join you on a project. They get to see the nitty-gritty details, failures and successes, and you get support!
  • Celebrate together.
  • Focus on who God is- everything else will be put in proper perspective.
How do you fight the temptation to compete?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's Winter Here

Winter in New Jersey: 2013
There is a chill in the air. I light a candle and pour a cup of tea. It's quiet here {this very minute. I'm sure the baby will cry any minute}.

I've always felt that the season of life with infants is similar to winter. I gave birth to my first born on November 30, the cusp of winter in New Jersey. And enjoyed my maternity leave cozied up with my first baby. My second was born in June, and was an entirely different experience {a story for another day. let me just say that I am grateful we were not cooped up for months on end with him}. And then my third was born in December in the states during our Homeland Ministry Assignment. In July I had Rebekah here in Uganda- the land of eternal summer- and it still feels like winter around here. Don't get me wrong, I love babies. And I will be the first to admit I hate winter {Thank You, Lord, for sending me to tropical Uganda}. So the metaphor isn't perfect, but bear with me.

Winter is a particularly intense season. Harsh temperatures, violent storms, immensely happy holidays... not all bad things, just intense. Seasonal depression is a real thing- so is postpartum depression. Some days are just long, and hard, and threaten to suck the life out of you. Oh, and the getting ready to leave the house. Don't even get me started. All you want to do is stay inside and snuggle.

Shaker Village: 2013
You must be prepared for winter. You stock up on survival items. You cook warm, nourishing foods. You celebrate with family. You lean in to your home life. You always have a warm mug of something in your hands. It is a simple season, where you focus on the things that really matter.

And even in nature things lie dormant, keeping the most minimal energies flowing. Trees do not produce fruit in the winter. And so I give myself grace. I lean in to the beauties of this season and I do not demand much fruit from my days. I feast on the stores I laid up in the years before this baby. And I trust that spring will come again, as it always does.

Are you in a place where it's winter? Read this.
I'm linking up at The Grove on the word: metaphor

How else is life with a baby like winter? Leave it in the comments!

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