Monday, October 17, 2016

Dear Weary Christian

Dear Weary Christian,

Life is tough.

I know prosperity gospel preachers will tell you if you do "this" or act "that" way, God will bless you and it will all be great.

But that is just.not.true.

Look at Paul.  Sold out, turned around and laid out for Christ.  Yet, he was nearly stoned to death, beaten, persecuted, chased away, imprisoned and ultimately (it is presumed) executed.  He consistently referenced a "thorn", he had a hard time seeing, he spoke hard truths and lived with great abandon.  Many Christians quote Paul's words in Philippians 4:13 as a battle cry before they charge in to their own high hopes and desires from this life...

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. 

I despise that.

I have come to loathe the random quoting of this passage as Christians claim a share in glory and a right to do their will because "Christ will give them strength".  The greater truth is one verse before...

I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need.
- Philippians 4:12

Paul isn't saying, in verse 13, that he can do ALL things as he determines.  No, he is reflecting that through all of his ups and downs, it was Christ who strengthens and sustains.

Oh, dear, weary Christian, what a beaten path we walk.  One where persecution still runs rampant.  One where family turns on family.  One where darkness seems to close all around and the air grows thin.

But reach out, weary Christian,  reach out and feel.... you are not alone.  Many walk this path with you... or have gone before you on this beaten ground.  Christ is next to you... often carrying you... and your brothers and sisters in the faith are all about you.  When the darkness clears, you will see.  Weary Christian, you are not alone.  Jesus knew...

If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  
John 15:18-19

These heavy burdens and dark places are a part of our walk in Jesus' footsteps.  He beat down that path before we ever did.  He knows our hearts and our worries and our troubles. Many times the hard truth is, He doesn't plan to remove them from us... instead, he uses them, uses the broken, fallen, state of this messy world to GROW us. 

I heard it said recently that you can't be brave without being afraid.  A hard, simple truth.  I have also observed over the years how you can't know how truly bright Light is, until you have experienced absolute dark.

Oh, dear, weary Christian.  My heart aches for your dark places right now.  I know, because of all the dark places I have walked, yes, I know.  But I would walk through those dark places again and again and again for all the powerful and wonderful things God has shown me and grown me in through them.  I believe with all my heart God will do this for you too.  Draw strength and comfort from Christ...

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 
- John 16:33

Be reminded and empowered by God's Word through Paul...

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- Romans 5:3-5

...and don't give up.

Keep your eyes on the Cross and keep marching ahead.  No matter how dark the night gets, light will come and you, dear, weary Christian, you will claim VICTORY over the enemy and joy as the result of obedience.

I pray for you today, weary Christian, if this is you, be strong, have courage, believe Christ and not the mesh-up of the world (and even a few "well meaning" Christians) around.  And if this is not you right now, dear Christian, I trust it has been at some point.  I pray you will reach out to someone in your life right now who this is for, someone who needs to know this path has been beaten and the light will be magnificently bright when the darkness fades.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Life Lately - The BIG Announcement

It's a whirlwind romance the likes of which I have never seen before.  Their big, beautiful story is too much to articulate in today's post but I can tell you, I am honored and humbled that God would choose us to witness and be part of something so amazing.

This week, a wonderful young man, with a heart to serve the Lord in full-time ministry, approached my husband and asked for our oldest daughter's hand in marriage.  After a line of questioning to measure his worthiness of our beloved daughter, said young man received a hearty affirmative. 

An hour later I gripped the phone while tears welled up and my heart exploded in response to the emotional voice on the other end, "Mom, he just asked me to marry him!!!"

The picture is a bit fuzzy for the late hour and my nervously excited hands that day (engagement photos this weekend) but the band declares: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." from Proverbs 3:5 is engraved around the band.  Ashley likes the extended version... "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
Their short season of dating (only 5 weeks) has been a testimony to that passage.  From that spark when they first met and found out how uniquely called they were to each other, to the world around them (except for close Christians) telling them they were crazy.  Every challenge, every turn, has been met with fervent prayer and trust... trust that this relationship is not man-made... trust that God is doing something bigger then each of them... trust for his hand and the working out of every conflict and every road block.... and God has been evident in response to their (and our) prayers.

How did we get to here?  To this season of being the "mother of the bride"?  At one point I looked away for only a second and when I looked back... I saw that glow.  That awesome, wonderful, amazing, powerful GLOW that only a love fostered first by Faith can grow in a couple.

I am honored.  I am humbled.  I get to stand witness to this Great Work God is doing.  I get to have a part and I get to call a new young man 'son' in less then 3 months!  I am not worthy of such a great blessing but I pray to be used by God for His Glory in all of it.  After all, a story like this can't stay under-wraps... everyone needs to hear the amazing Work God is doing here. 

In the midst of wedding planning, homeschooling, holiday making, and new house for the young couple prepping, I will come back and share more of this amazing journey!

I pray you see God working, not just in the big ways, but in all the little turns of your life this week!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Gates are Open: Back from Obscurity

October has drifted to a landing in the midst of the autumn leaves.  I can't believe I managed a month and a half without a blog post... brought to you by a nearly broken computer and off-sync photo uploads!  But God is still good.  I wondered if I would ever be able to blog again as I struggled with navigating through the dysfunctions of my computer.  Then, I was blessed with a memory chip for my phone which I can now use to transfer photos and, through serving another ministry family, a new hard drive to fix all the funkiness!!  I feel so blessed to have an in-house I.T. guy in this digital age! I still need to learn how to transfer my pictures, which I will do this week, but re-boot is finally  here and I am joyful to be typing again.

I didn't know how I was going to start back up.  A writer's block article on Pinterest this week encouraged me: when you don't know what to write... just start writing... it will all flow out!

So my bust-back-out of obscurity is to say I AM BACK!!!  and to share how I really do plan to restart Menu Monday!!  Though, with our new school schedule and a new project going on, I may only post Menu Monday every-other week.... the Jury is still out.

The other project is something I hope to share with all of you soon: Christian Homeschool Pre-School curriculum!  It is a project 9+ years in the making and I finally felt God was saying to get off my duff and get to it!!!  It is geared towards the busy homeschooling mama who has olders and littles in tow... yet it can be used even by the least busy mama to spark learning and introduce basic concepts.  My preliminary format is currently in the works and being tested by a local friend.  Once I get the bugs worked out and an uploadable format I will share it here for ya'll to try!

So the gates are open and I am excited to be typing again.  Stay tuned as content starts kicking back out!!