Something to Remember

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yesterday I talked a lot about what I DID in 2013.

With all of the driving and activities and people and excitement, there's also a lot going on behind the scenes.

I love people and I'm glad for all the practical things that I learned as well as all of the things that I enjoyed....but there's something else.

Each year stands out marked by whatever season you're in. I look back on my life and remember each year because of SOMETHING. 

* * * * * 

1992, the year my brother was born.

1994, the year my parents got divorced.

1995, the year we moved from SC. 

1996, the year of MAJOR snow and moving to another new town and starting school.

1997, the year we moved to town.

1998, the year my sister was born and Terry moved next door and my Ghidu died.

1999, the year I struggled a lot, but nothing like I WOULD struggle over the next few years. I had my favorite teacher this year.

2000, the year my brother was born, the year I got saved at VBS, the year 9/11 happened, the year we moved into a house I had always wanted (next door to my best friend). 

2001, the year I got my first camera and started writing a lot more and played volleyball on a team at school. 

2002, finishing "the herbst", public school, and the year my Grandma died. 

2003, the year I read my Bible A LOT and discovered Jane Austen. My last year of volleyball and basketball. My first year of home schooling. My first "mission trip". 

2004, a tough year deciding to say goodbye for good to a lot of old ways - especially in the hopes and dreams department. I started listening to a lot of preaching radio.

2005, the last year I visited my dad in SC. The year we had a foreign exchange student and I took driver's ed. I got my first John Piper book from the Billy Graham Association - "Don't Waste Your Life".

2006, the year we started home churching at the G's house. The year I went to that life changing conference and learned that I existed for the glory of God and what that RELLY meant. The year I  started my job at the coffee house and turned 16. 

2007 the year we moved to this house and  I got accepted to college. The year we went to Jamestown (and New Jersey) and met so many FRIENDS. 

2008 the year I graduated high school and started college. 

2009 the year my brother moved away. 

2010 the year of "dreams come true" (travel dreams) and the year I moved to MA for student teaching. 

2011 the HARD year where I struggled with "now what".

 2012 the waiting year, (ie LIVING by FAITH year) as we knew Heidi's husband would be away but we didn't know when, turns out it didn't happen until the next year. The year where there was always a "next thing", but I never knew what it was going to be. 

* * * * * 

And now 2013 is over and I'm trying to figure out how I will remember it. 

I think I'm going to have to come back in a few months because I just don't know yet.

 Will it all blend in and it will be the year of Heidi and her kids and my sister's accomplishments? Will it be the year I finally got it together and ALMOST finished college? The year of DRINKING? 

I don't know yet...Maybe just simply, "one of the best years"? 

I'm reminded of the theme from my 31 Days series (that I really slacked on)...

2013 was a year my soul was very quiet and calm and peaceful. I did a lot of stepping back and drinking God's Word and LOOKING and LISTENING. 

I saw life in an eternal perspective. A lot of my fears STOPPED. I became really okay with not having answers and not having a life that looked like I thought it would. 

So maybe that's it. The year of verbs...I helped, I drank, I looked, I listened, I learned, I believed. 

I was surrounded by so many of the people I love most and so many good times were added to my memory bank. 

2013, thanks for being all that you were. I'm not disappointed in the least bit. 

Any ideas of how you're going to remember 2013?


2013 in Review

Monday, December 30, 2013

 The last Monday of 2013.

With all of my excitement over CHRISTMAS, I kind of forgot that the year was getting ready to end. A few days ago it hit me all at once. 

With the end of the year we all think about what we had HOPED to find and experience in the days that we have just lived. We think about the good memories, the disappointments, the successes, and maybe even the devastation that will serve as markers for the year. 

And then, we start dreaming up HOPES for the year that is getting ready to happen. 

2013 is packed with so many good things. 

It's marked by growing a lot closer to my friend Heidi and meeting her brand new son. I spent February through July living with her more often than not. We cooked, cleaned, shopped, organized, sewed, gardened, hauled junk, watched movies, and took care of her two children together. 

She taught me more about crocheting. She taught me about ordering cheese dip and red ranch from Arby's to dip your fries in. She taught me about GIVING to people and SHARING with them. She taught me about taking even the worst of what life has to offer and PRESSING on in spite of it. 

We learned to make artisan bread , granola, and gumbo together. We learned all about cloth diapering, jaundice, helping a certain three year old overcome her temper, trimming back grape vines, and how to get your vehicle into gear when a safety feature forces it to stay in park. 

We baked countless cookies and muffins to stuff into care package after care package to her husband while he was away. 

We discovered Talenti Gelato and peanut butter cookie dough topped with a mini resee's peanutbutter cups topped with brownie batter. 

I am sure there are sooo many things I'm forgetting, but these are the things that come to my mind....A few years ago, I had no idea that I would be spending six months of my life alongside my friend Heidi and her kidS in 2013. Just five years ago I had no idea that a shy lady would become one of my best friends. 

August through December was spent gearing up for the county fair and then for the big get together at our house and then beginning my math class and then Thanksgiving and then Christmas. 

I read a lot of books. I set some goals for the end of the year (and kept them). I tried some new things and went some places I was hoping to go. I picked geocaching back up and found quite a few new caches. I finally have a Christmas cookie repertoire, complete with yummy sugar cookies AND frosting. 

2013 was about DRINKING. I drank in the Word of God and I have a year of growing in faith and humility to show for it. His grace became so real to me as I spent the year doing a lot less worrying. 


 * * * * * * 

Sprinkled throughout the year: 

(The lists that follow are more for me than you. You may read them if you're that bored!) :) 

Jan.// Celebrating Epiphany at home with just the family. Celebrating Jay's birthday, my brother's 13th birthday, and Ron's birthday. Hanging up a few things on the bathroom wall. My sister also broke her arm this month.

Feb.// Turner was born. Celebrating my Mom's birthday. Going on a whirlwind trip to South Dakota to see my brother. Moving in with Heidi. 

March//I came back for a weekend during the first part of March. I put together some busy bags to help keep Heidi's daughter occupied. Heidi went back to work this month so we agreed that I would keep the house and the kids while she did that. I tried corned beef on St. Patrick's day (I liked it!). Celebrating Heidi's birthday. My brother had THE LEAD role in a school play and my sister had a LEAD female role as well. 

April// Alice turned 90. She's been with her daughter so I haven't seen her since Christmas time. The highlight of this month was a homeschool conference. I met up with my friends Lauren and Anna and had  brief visit with my friend Mikaela. John and Teresa visited and I think this was the month that they took us to Heidi's favorite restaurant. After hearing about it for so long from so many people, I finally got to find out what it was all about. Other than that, I'm not sure that there was anything else worth taking note of. 

May// Celebrated my sister's 15th birthday this month. I learned to make a new pb/chocolate dessert for it.  Her cat had ONE kitten. MOTHER's DAY happened. We potted seeds for Heidi's garden, built a brick "porch" by her side door, and I did some major clean up in my flower beds. The rock climbing craziness begins. My friend Jeremy got married. 

June// My sister got her permit and started DRIVER's ED! I made a trip to a living history exhibit in Walla Walla with my Mom and brother and sister. We butchered a batch of chickens. Celebrated my Dad's birthday and Father's Day. My siblings went to another music camp. 

July// This year we went to see Despicable Me 2 and watch a public display of fireworks on the 4th (something we've never done). Then, that weekend, my Mom, brother and I helped my other friend Heidi and her family MOVE.  My Mom got to meet up with a bunch of Mom's she's been e-mailing for years and I got to go to one of my favorite parks. I got a new dresser and a desk from a lady in town. Heidi's husband came home!!! Her daughter spent a week with us. We hosted a cook out. My Mom broke her foot. My sister's cat had five MORE kittens. And we went to the water park. 

August// I was pretty lonely this month. I didn't know what to do with myself without a shadow and baby's schedule. I was giving Heidi and her family space to readjust to having her husband home. I did go up to celebrate their daughter's 4th birthday and then the next day we had a "welcome home" party at the ranch. I ran out of time to be lonely because there was preparing to do for the county fair.

September// I spent the first Labor Day since 2008 at home. We've spent that weekend at the ranch for so many years that I felt like something was missing!  I participated in my second MUG SWAP. The rock climbing continues with a campout. Jay, my Mom, and I drove over for the day and "toured" the country side and got dinner at my favorite mexican restaurant. We went to the circus. My sister started taking piano lessons with Emma. I turned 23. I "developed" a smores cake. Our house was PACKED with people and food for the big get together. My Mom finally got to go to a living history exhibit at a nearby museum. My brother stole a horse and got shot - okay, it was part of the living history thing! :) His friend Zachary came to stay with us for the weekend and they all went to an amusement park on the coldest, wettest day of the year. 

Oct.//We traipsed out on another cold day for a counry auction. ALEKS courses begin. We heard a lecture by Eric Metaxis and discovered a very yummy Chinese place (that feels just like "Cheers" because EVERYONE knows everyone). The rock climbing crew did a backpacking trip in the WILDERNESS. Attended an awards banquet for my sister's 4H accomplishment. 

Nov.//My brother turned 21! Operation Christmas Child happened at church. My sister finished her ALEKS credit. We took my Grandma out for Olive Garden. I learned to love Fiddler On the Roof even more thanks to a live play! I won a turkey and a dollar from Bingo at the turkey carnival. We celebrated Thanksgiving but my sister was sick so no one stuck around. Ron and Julie and Jay enjoyed the meal with us though. I designed some cards to go with John Piper's "The Good News of Great Joy" Advent readings. 

Dec.// Auditions for the school play happened. My brother got THE LEAD again and my sister got a leading female too. Julie had a birthday so we surprised her with cupcakes at work. The midnight premiere (of the latest Hobbit movie) complete with costumes happened again this year. My sister had her first piano recital with Emma and also did a duet on her violin with Jonny. I got my math credit!!! The night before, the night before Christmas tradition continued. Alice (and Velma who moved in this spring) had prepared cookies and hot chocolate. We found the pickle and listened to the story one more time. Christmas was different with my Grandma and an Uncle staying the night on Christmas Eve. We came home from the Christmas Eve service at church (where my brother and sister were narrators) to find my Grandma's car in the driveway. Presents happened first thing in the morning with Ron and Julie presents. Then waffles and then the stockings (which are now fancy boxes). Our simple lunch turned into a simple dinner. The goose just wouldn't cook so we sat down around 5 instead of our 2 or 3 target time. oops. 
* * * * * * * 
What were some of your hopes for 2013? 

What were some of the things that happened in your life this year? 

Add caption

Now and Then

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What midnight looks like...

Hello, ladies!!! How's life?

A week ago today I was just getting started on a little getaway. The premiere of The Desolation of Smaug was the catalyst for several days of Christmas shopping. I knocked MOST of it out. There were two items I NEEDED to find, which I found NOWHERE. I'm sure that Amazon will be more than happy to solve all those problems. 

On Monday I headed off to deliver a kitten to his new home. I have been TERRIBLE about taking pictures lately. I need a chaufeur. (This is the part where my Mom says I need a husband...)  There were trees and fog and it was GORGEOUS. But, I needed to keep my eyes on the road and I wasn't about to pull over. 

My next stop that day was to see my friend Heidi and her family. We crocheted the day away, cleaned her kitchen, broke a plate, and laughed until it hurt. Her daughter and I colored and practiced letters (she picked them up FAST). 

Yesterday evening I got to spend some time with Alice. I have been TERRIBLE about visiting her this year. She's 90 now and healthy as ever. When I got to her house she was cutting out sugar cookies. She must have had at least 10 dozen cookies ready to decorate. After a while we moved into the living room. Her gold tree stood by the window in all of its glory while she told me the Christmas story again. 

Though she has been around, Alice is not "old". Her eyes are failing her and she moves a little slower, but everything else works just fine. Years ago she memorized Matthew and Luke's account of Christ's birth and she tells them like she was THERE. 

That doesn't quite explain my absence lately, but now you know what the last week's highlights have been! 

By this time next week, the wrapping paper will be torn off and Advent will be over. We'll be getting ready to say goodbye to 2013 for good. But now is the time to enjoy these last few days leading up to the big celebration! 

Wherever you, whoever you're with (or missing like crazy), make some good memories! Enjoy what's yours because of all that Jesus became for us and share that JOY with those around you....

After all, tis the season!




The MOST Wonderful Time of the Year

Sunday, December 01, 2013

via

It's the first day of Advent! I never realize how much I have been looking forward to this part of the Christmas season until it is HERE. 

This year I'm going through a study called "Come Lord Jesus Come" that I found over at Gospel Centered Discipleship. 

Check it out, download your own FREE copy, and be ready to have a wonderful time with God this Christmas season! 

I've just finished the reading for Day One and I'm already super excited for the the next 24 days!!! 



How are you celebrating advent this year?

Are you doing any particular study? I'd love to hear about it!!! 







Just Because

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I know it's Tuesday, but I want to talk about the weekend!

After sleeping in a bit on Saturday and being all sad missing my grandparents and my brother and my friends in New England, I realized that I could watch the big parade happening in Plymouth online. I spent the morning enjoying the parade and baking cinnamon rolls, just because. 

The rest of the day was spent enjoying some bingo, a hamburger, some nachos, and visiting with my mom and friend Jay. Five hours later I had two bingos to my name!!!

Sunday Jay threw an early Thanksgiving at his house. After church we put the finishing touches on the meal and the table and then we ate, and ate, and ate. 
 
We settled in for coffee and then some pie and then we pulled out old records. When we came across a Bing Crosby Christmas one I couldn't resist. The player he has is so fancy it hardly sounded like a record player at all. 
 
There were games of Skipbo and Speed. We talked about the 50's and looked at old pictures from his travels around the world. 

Last night, I made some food I've been craving and watched "Meet Me In St. Louis".

The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are getting colder, and 2013 is coming to a close. 

The joy of Christmas makes me happy but it is also sobering. 

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, I cannot help but think about ALL of the sin....The battle has already been won and yet, I continue to cling to sin. My sin is devastating. The sin going on all around me, gets me down. 

 
 
How was YOUR weekend? 
 
What is on your mind this time of year?  
 
 





The Most Helpful Distraction

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2013 is here. 

I have to be very honest. My mind is absolutely JUMBLED right now. Yours probably is too, so I doubt I have to explain myself. 

There are two times when I attempt to DISTRACT myself from the things that have me constantly trying to catch up. These times are Sundays and every night after dinner. 

During those times I don't even THINK about what needs to be done and what it will take to get them done. During those times, my mind is at rest. 

I read, pray, think about other things, play games, catch up with friends, bake, sleep, or watch something.

It's really good to do....BUT, it got me thinking. 

During those times I succeed at turning off my "I MUST" and simply focus on what is happening at any given moment. 

The "distraction" is really just Victoria living moment by moment with God. 

It led me to ask myself the question: 
Why do I only purpose to make those moments happen during times of rest? 

They do happen, so obviously the grace of God is there...I need that same grace during my times of work as well! 

Today I'm thanking God for the fact that when I rest, I seek Him. I'm also asking God to bring me to the place where I seek Him while I work as well. 
 
It's easy to get jumbled, and weighed down by life. 

I want God to work in my heart so that I live moment by moment with Him in spite of all the chaos begging for my attention. 

As I set goals and accomplish them, as I make commitments and keep them, what I really want to be focused on and be "distracted" by is Him. 

Do you have times you set aside to tune out to the stuff that makes you feel crazy inside and tune into God in order to calm your soul?
 
I'd love to hear about it!!! 


A Walk Can Teach Us

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I just got back from a walk. Even though it's getting rarer with each passing day, the sky is a deep blue. Almost every tree is bare. Leaves are still sprinkling the ground and most every lawn is still a vibrant shade of green. 

Things were surprisingly quiet....

I came across two boys on scooters. They thought I was a teacher from the school. I get mistaken for this teacher nearly every time an elementary age child sees me out in public. 

The boys were racing and making siren noises and, as it happened, getting all the dogs in the neighborhood to bark. 

Next, I came across an old man. I don't actually know his name, but I've watched him age A LOT over the last few years. He and his wife were always together. Sitting on the porch, or in the window in their chairs, going on errands. I loved knowing that they were there watching the world go by together. She isn't there any more. I'm not sure if she died or just moved to a nursing home...And he is slowing down. I've watched as he's started to stoop over a little more all the time. His movements have become less sure.
 
Somehow, he continues to press on. I still see him sitting on the porch, shuffling to the house from the car, or doing his yard work. He declines help the few times I've asked, so I think it gives him purpose. 

Today he had a rake and a garbage can. He was carefully, slowly raking leaves and edging over with the rake to pick them up. As I struggled to keep up a very fast pace, there he was, struggling to just bend over and pick up some leaves. 

Perspective. 

A few houses down I noticed a tree. One side was completely bare and the other side from top to bottom had tons of leaves on it. Strange? I thought so. 

And then I saw another old man. He's been fixing up a house for several years now. First it was the roof. Then it was the yard. And now, it's the porch. His method involves ripping things up and starting from scratch. Almost everyday for the last few years he spends his days working on the house. 
 
Every time I see him, I wonder things like where did he come from? What does he do in the evenings? What does he think about while he works? Has this always been a dream or has he spent his whole life doing these kind of projects? 

Today I learned something about him. He does that quiet not quite a whistle but more than simply blowing air out of your mouth thing...And it made me smile. My grandma always did that. It was always a tune of some kind, louder than a hum but much quieter than a whistle. I wonder what song is his favorite? 

And then I just walked. I didn't see any more people or hear any more children playing. I passed old houses that I haven't walked by since this time last year. I thought about the people that do live or have lived in many of them...

And then I saw a woman in her kitchen window drinking her coffee. And heard the boys who had ditched their scooters and started playing soccer behind a fence. And breathed out because I was almost home. 

The quiet was still there, but now I had seen and heard. I had observed and remembered and questioned life. 
 
And the simple things that happen everyday all around me looked like something different. They looked like God putting people here and blessing them with so many things. It looked like perspective...
 
A walk can teach us something. 
 
I am here and He is there. And yet, all of these details and all of the details in the universe, are His. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Setting Goals

Monday, November 11, 2013

Have you noticed how many writers were captivated by fall? Jane Austen helped me to notice, in "Persuasion" she wrote :



My favorite piece outside of this is F. Scott Fitzgerald's "life starts over again when it gets crisp in the fall." Now, I know, it snowed the other day, BUT, it's fall until the day after Thanksgiving. 
 
Like Austen, "every poet worthy of being read", Fitzgerald, and probably even you, fall inspires me.

Fall is a time for me to reset. Resetting looks like reflecting on what has happened and resolving to adjust, change, or continue. 

This year, my fall resolves or goals look like this:

* Get the last few credits I need to FINALLY complete my degree. (College got off to a roaring start for me back in Jan 2008. I worked sooo hard through 2010. The last few years have obviously been spent NOT doing school.) - Math credits and Public Speaking credits have been waiting. 
 
* Study writing and set aside time to write. This is my "reward" after finishing ^that^. I'm putting together a list of resources that I plan to go through. 

* Find a "from scratch" recipe for alfredo sauce

* Begin journaling recipes again.

* Get your hair healthy, trim a tiny bit every six weeks no matter what. (Since I cut my own hair, it's not about saving $$...I just need to do regular trims.) 
 
* Keep DRINKING from that fountain of living water that God has led you to! If you haven't been reading, this just means read the Bible and asking God to use it to show me more of Him. 


 
What are your goals? 
 
Do you have a favorite quote about fall?





Even when...

Friday, November 08, 2013




You don't know how happy I am to be linking up with Amy for Frankly Friday.  This idea that she came up with was GENIUS. Writing these posts about whatever I want with that banner flying over them letting you know that you're going to hear something frank, is perfect.

Last night I was kicking around ideas. I saw a beautiful picture of the sun and I remembered something my friend Alice told me once.

It has been GRAY here this week. Yesterday I had some driving to do, it was the middle of the day and the fog was so thick that I had could barely see ten feet in front of the car...The house has been dark and I wondered when the sun was going to come back. 

Seeing that picture of the sun shining somewhere else reminded me that the sun HAS been shining, I just couldn't see it. 

And that's where Alice comes in. A few years ago I was at her house and we were talking about something. All of a sudden, she corrected me. She said, "Remember, the sun is always shining, even when you can't see it!" 

I stopped. And I realized that Alice was right. Even on the darkest of days, when the fog is so thick you can't see more than a few feet ahead, the sun is shining. 

God created the universe and we can be sure that the sun will rise and the moon will set and the tides of ocean will come in and go out. 

For some reason, it's very important to Alice that she remember that. She rests in knowing that what God wills will stand. She rests in knowing that the rising and setting sun are reminders that God's word is sure. She knows to trust Him.

Let the sun and the fog be a reminder today. They are His. In His hand you are secure. 

You can be sure of them, just as you can be sure of Him.


 By the way, I can see the sun again today. Somehow, the certainty faith delivers is more precious than the certainty sight insures. 






Some Things to Click On

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

via Desiring God
 Here are a few links that have had my attention lately:

* This article on praying Matthew 7:1-5 explains what I meant about living the way of the gospel.

* Here you'll find a Scripture to go back to over and over again to find truth and hope no matter what. Jesus met the conditions, just GO to Him.

* A reminder of HOW Jesus loves us. It might not be how you thought He did...

Also responsible are the books I've been reading. I finished both "Full Disclosure" by Dee Henderson and "You Don't Know Me" by Susan May Warren on Sunday. Though they are fiction, I took my time reading them.

 There was commitment to God and the caution with people in Henderson's book. Writing seems worth the trouble. Communing with God really is the main thing. And people...I'm still wrestling through my thoughts on what I learned about relationships with them from this book.

 The pain in "You Don't Know Me" had me bawling. Saying goodbye can be so difficult, even when it's best. Wishing life had a pause button doesn't change anything....Knowing it doesn't might help you enjoy the good and press on through the difficult. 

Would you do me a favor? Share a link to something you've enjoyed lately with me.

What have you learned from a book lately?



Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

November 5, 2013 that is....The first snow of winter 2013. A brown sugar cinnamon mocha. Time to sit down and write about what's been on my mind.

I've read a lot of good stuff on the internet this week. (I'll post some links for you another day.) My thoughts have been ALL over the place.


* I've been thinking about Advent. Last year I put together a set of cards with Scriptures and activities that went along with John Piper's "Seeing and Savoring Christ". Any suggestions for this year? I'm debating on using a book, an advent guide, or maybe just putting together something of my own around a theme or text. What do you do during Advent? 

* GOALS for the rest of 2013.

*My brother turning 21 this weekend. You know what the kid asked for? An eating plan, recipes, kitchen tools he might need for said recipes, a mug, and some different teas. Hear me out here, he was a lineman in football (the kind that made people flinch), he's over 6ft tall, he lives in hoodies and athletic shorts, our Grandma called him a "bull in the china shop". He's no hipster, no lady-like sissy...He's a tough guy and THAT'S all he asks. I love that kid!

* God is HAPPY. I know some people have a problem with that word because it seems fickle and fleeting. Sometimes I'm one of them. Yesterday morning I took a little bit to really think about God being happier than we can even imagine. I am a pretty serious person, I smile a lot but I'm always thinking. In my head, God is holy and just and full of joy. But, happier than I can imagine? I never thought about that....I'll be kicking this one around for a while. 

*Living in "the way of the gospel". The way that see's the wickedness in my heart and in the world and responds by calling it out and graciously continuing with mercy and hope. If it's my sin, I can confess it and go right to God. He will give me grace and mercy and with that comes joy and hope. If it's a friend's sin, they need me to help them do the same and show them what God has already been giving me. It's the gospel being the good news all the time. It's the gospel received and shared over and over again.

*The presence of God. The place everything makes sense. The place I belong. The place that keeps me living in the grace and sharing that grace with others.

*The Holy Spirit as mentor and companion. He is there. I haven't been living like it. Living without regular Christian fellowship wears on me QUICK. I've been feeling the pain lately. I've been realizing what's really missing, my communion with Him. Jesus promised that His Spirit would be the one to Help...Why haven't I been going to Him?

*God's love and provision comes without condition. It was a sunset over a wheat field that made this truth wash over me a few weeks ago. So many times things in life are based on conditions. I throw the conditions out and rid myself of the drain they place on my life. With God, HE took care of every condition and loves and provides freely and gladly. I have Him and He holds me. No matter what. He is better than anything else. He holds me better than anyone else ever can. 


 

 

So, it's snowing. The years are FLYING by. And God is showing how GLORIOUS He is, how far reaching His love is, and how He is calling His people to imitate Him. 

What's been on your mind lately? 


Glad to Know

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I've discovered something else about coming to realize just how sinful we really are. 

As Christians, with sin comes the need to CONFESS those sins. We must not sit around dwelling on the fact that we are DEAD in sin, we must move on to be glad in knowing that we are ALIVE in Christ. 

Sin is death. 

Christ is life.

By the grace of God, we are CALLED and CAPABLE of putting off the old ways of sin and death and putting on the new ways of Christ and life. 
 

 

Once again, Bilquis in her book "I Dared to Call Him Father" had something to teach me about this...She was really struggling with her sin. It was discouraging her. Things like white lies said to protect herself, anxiety, and fear were some of the specific sins she mentioned. They were overtaking her, she could not go on without them. 

BUT THEN, she learned that when she realized what she had done it was IMPERATIVE that she confess those sins. Each time she would turn to God in order to put off sin, she found herself taking up Christ. 

It's the same for all of us. We cannot walk in death and life. We cannot walk in sin and in Christ. We will sin and each time we find ourselves there, it is a call to go back. To go to God to confess, to remind ourselves of the Gospel and what we have in Christ.

 
 
It is in confessing sin that we get to SEE and to HEAR reality for a moment. We see ourselves for what we really are and it causes us to RUN to God in order to call on His strength. 
 
We ARE wicked.
 
God IS doing something about it.
 
He feeds us His Word, His truth, and His glory. He ASSURES us that, no matter what, we ARE His.
 
Walking in that looks like living life and constantly going to Him, letting each sin be a reminder of our weakness and His holiness and grace. 
 
In this, we are simply living life as God intended it. Through Him, for Him, and by the grace He supplies. This is what I mean by looking and listening.  
 
 

Click ^^^ for a list of the posts in this series.



Not Far

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In light of the bad news that I shared yesterday, I have some HOPE to offer you today. 

Even though we do not fully grasp how bad that news about us is, God does. He knows it, He knows how bad it is, and He is doing something about it. 

God has ALWAYS been doing something about our sinfulness. 


Acts 17:26-27 says,

"And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us..."


He puts His people exactly where He did, when He did  THAT they would come to know Him. 

All the while as we are deaf and blind, He is there. 

While we're running after SOMETHING, ANYTHING....He is there, THE ONE who will and can and desires to satisfy us with Himself. 

Yesterday's news should show you this: You NEED God. 

Today's hope should assure you of this: He is not far from you

The bad news is bad. But then, the good news, is REALLY, REALLY good. Keep reading in Acts 17 if you want to see just how good it is. 

A Real Problem

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Writing this series has been so good for me. For the first week or so, I got up and sat down at the computer to write before the day was really started. Having a plan of what I was going to share and taking the time to sit long enough to say it was really good. 

Then, I started something else that really needed to begin during the time I was usually blogging....And then last week was CRAZY. I had stuff to deal with and on Wednesday morning, I headed out to spend a few days at my friend Heidi's. It was my first overnight visit with them since the end of July. 

We did some painting,  hauled some junk, cooked (and I mean COOKED, apple crisp, three different kinds of chinese meats and some egg rolls, breakfast pocket thingies, and I feel like I'm forgetting something), visited with everyone at the ranch, folded laundry, and got a good dose of chatting in. I also got lots of time with their kids reading stories, playing with busy bags, doing hair, and enjoying the funny things that come out of the mouth of a four year old. So many times, I just had to smile. I didn't realize how much I had been missing all of them. Needless to say, my heart was a little heavy and a little sad when it was time to head home.

And it's Tuesday. I skipped out on six days of posts, but I'm here again. Let's just say, you might be hearing some of the posts I had planned for a while. After October is over, I'll spread whatever posts I didn't get around to writing out here and there! 

*******





The last few weeks have been about understanding God's plan in creating this world and everything in it. 

We've been inspired by Isaiah where I came across these things:

A call to look and litsen.

The bigger picture of what it is we are too see and hear. 

The role of God's Word in how we are to look and listen. 

 

And now I come with some bad news....Honestly, it's the WORST news that you will ever hear. Ever. 

You and I are sinners. We are such sinners that we actually DELIGHT in sin. We cling to it, we look for it, we run to it. We find COMFORT in sin. 

It's sickening really. 

Here is the news straight from Isaiah 42:20,

"He sees many things, but does not observe them, his ears are open, but he does not hear."

Everyday we do look and we do listen. 

In our sin we see beautiful things and delight in THEM. We can't REALLY SEE...We don't see WHY they are beautiful, we don't see WHO made them, and we even mistake terribly disgusting things as things that are breathtaking. 

In our sin our ears only hear the things that are happening around us in real time. We can't REALLY HEAR...We don't hear the REASONING of what is really there, we don't hear WHOSE glory these things are proclaiming, and we even tune our ears into things that are destroying our souls. 

We are such sinners that we use our eyes and ears to feed sin rather than to kill it. 

That word OBSERVE really stuck out to me. I'm still trying to put my finger on why...I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that our culture is obsessed with pursuing meaning and influence. 
 
We dig deep, but for what? 
 
To look in a mirror and approve of what we see. 
 
To dupe people into thinking we are something that we're not. 
 
LOOK at me. LISTEN to me. 
 
Sin.
 
Today, you and I will see many things, but we will not observe them. Our eyes will be craving MORE. 
 
Today, you and I will have ears open, but we will not hear. We will still be longing to hear SOMETHING. 
 
This is reality and it's a problem. 
 
 
Click ^^^ for a list of posts in this series. 

 





Talk About It

Monday, October 14, 2013

If you heard one thing from yesterday's post I hope it was this:

God is doing something. 

You're here to talk about it. 
 
 

 
Verses like this one from Isaiah 43:19-21 help to REMIND us of exactly what this looks like,

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise."
 
 
God is doing it.
 
He makes the way, He gives the water and the rivers and the drink.
 
He made us. 
 
We're here to declare His praise.
 
Simple enough, right? 
 
 
 
 
I think we have A LOT more to praise Him for than we even realize! 
 
Look. Listen. Drink. Declare. 
 
It's a process. And we continually get to circle right around to THANKING Him for leading us in it. 
 
Today, let's TALK about Him. 
 
 
Click ^^^ for a list of the posts in this series.

 

What Are You Saying

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Remember the bombing that happened at the Boston Marathon earlier this year?

Remember the response of Boston, and the people around the US? 

Maybe this slogan is familiar: "Boston Strong"? 


After all of that, Marvin Olasky of World Magazine had a talk with John Piper. You can check out the article and video HERE (the video is on the second page).

I heard two things:

1. Christian, you and your city and your country are weak. You need God. Our boast is not in our strength but His. If we want a slogan, it should be God-Strong. 

2. Christian, you are a witness sent to declare...This is a time for witness. 


In the video portion, Piper said,
 "You're not called to make change. 
You're called to talk! Keep talking...Get beyond, 'If I can't fix it, I don't talk.' 
You're not called to fix it! 
You are called to talk! And keep talking till you don't have a voice in you anymore." 


There again the strength, the change, the fixing is all God. We must know this and knowing this we must talk in order to point people to Him.

If they hear, there will be more voices doing the same. If they don't hear, if they get upset, if they actually hurt us, we must respond in humility. The influence of our voice will probably only grow.


Luke 21:12-13 says, But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for My name's sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness...

 
Mathew 24:13-14 says, But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come...

God's plan is that the Gospel will be preached. He sends His people to talk. 

Our God is strong and He has given us His Word that we would have something to say. 

Are you saying it?  



Click ^^^ for a list of the posts in this series.







8 Months and A Song

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Here we are, day 12!

This year has been flying by. Today a certain little boy turned 8 months old!!! I get to go see him and his sister (and their parents, of course) later this week and I'm VERY excited about that.

I look back over the past 8 months, I see the highs and lows and I also see A LOT of work that God has done. I see it in that family. I see it in my own heart. I see it in this nation - God is doing SOMETHING.

Click ^^^ here for a list of the posts in this series.









Last night my mom and I went out. We tried out a new to us chinese restaurant that was soooo good. It was pretty small but stayed busy and everyone that came in seemed to know the people that owned it. At one point, my mom leaned towards me and said, "What is this place, Cheers?!?!?" We're already looking forward to a trip back!

We also met up with some friends and went to a fundraiser. It's always so nice to visit and we had our fair share of LAUGHS...I'm sure the people around us wondered what was constantly THAT funny! 

The drive home was a speedy one thanks to a nice theology chat with my mom. If there is one thing I like to discuss, it's theology and my mom happens to be one of my favorite people to talk with. We can go on and on and on! 

Today it was rainy, the DRIZZLY kind. I was happy to put on a sweater, eat some of that leftover chinese food, and watch some movies. I also read a little bit, took a nap, and did laundry.

So, again. It's only Saturday and yet this weekend has already been such a good one! 
A friend of mine shared this song with me last week. It's been in my head ever since...It goes right along with the series and with what God has been teaching me for a while now.





What have the last 8 months been about for you? What song has been on repeat in your head?





No Empty Word

Friday, October 11, 2013

On September 25, I read something very encouraging through the Solid Joys app that was created by Desiring God. 
 
The title of the day's reading was "Life Hangs on the Word of God" which was written around this text from Deuteronomy 32:46-47:


He said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
 
 
God's Word is stronger than any other word that has or will ever exist.

Did you catch this - "for it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word..."


Throughout 2013 God has been showing me just how much I need His Word. 

I have come to see that it really is by His Word that I even LIVE. 

Sure, I can stumble along without it. Sometimes it even seems like I'm doing just fine without it. 

But you know how it goes, THEN you get back into it, you turn to it again, and BAM!!! God is there, showing you a MILLION things that are exactly what you were needing (maybe even looking) to hear. 

If we HOPE to see anything, we have to start with the Word. The Word serves as the glasses to our soul.

If we HOPE to hear anything, we have to start with the Word. The Word blocks up our ears from the lies of the world and makes sense of the whispers and shouts of truth all around us. 

Look. 

Listen.

It ALL hangs on the Word of God.

Click ^^^ for a list of all the posts in this series.


Power of His Word

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Over the last 9 days, I've urged you to hear God's beckoning and I've attempted to show you what He's beckoning you to. 

Now, it's time to move onto HOW we respond. 

 
What sets Christianity apart from every other religion is this: For everything God requires, He provides the means for those requirements to be met. 

In this case, the means by which we CAN come to see and to hear, to look and to listen, is by His Word. His Word is where we begin. His Word is where we continue. 
 
His Word awakens our souls and sets our senses on the path to truly experience His creation the way He intended.
 

Isaiah 40:6-8 says,

"A voice says, 'Cry!' And I said, 'What shall I cry?' All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever."
 
 
 
Too often, we underestimate the power of words, especially the words that come straight from God.
 
Simply put, the Word of our God will stand....FOREVER. 

Are you ready to see God's Word for what it really is? 

I'm excited to share with you some of the specific things God's been teaching me about the power of His Word!

 
Click ^^^ for a list of all the posts in this series. 

 
 
 
 


God's Mission

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

If you take one thing away from this series that I'm doing right now it would be this: For all of our looking and listening, there is one thing we are meant to observe, namely, God Himself.

Every single person that will ever exist is going to observe the glory of God. 

God's mission is to be seen and heard. 

He is THE "bigger picture" that I've been talking about. 

Isaiah 40:5 says,

"And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, 
and all flesh shall see it together,
 for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."



There are some very definitive words here...

The glory of the LORD SHALL be revealed
ALL flesh SHALL see it together

Why?

FOR the mouth of the LORD has spoken.






A Story to Tell

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Did you make the observation yesterday? If you did, you saw that we are surrounded by lies, by false offers to satisfy the longing in our soul. Every person has a longing for JOY, and PEACE, and PURPOSE, and even FORGIVENESS.

God made us with these longings. He made us with a NEED for these things that we long for. It is by His GRACE that each one of the longings is even there. 

And then, He steps in and applies even MORE grace. Through the work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we come to see TRUTH and we are SAVED. We see the lies for the useless things that they are and are ENAMORED with God Himself. Maybe you haven't been there yet, ask me and I'll tell you more!

We are saved so that our JOURNEY of SHARING the truth might begin.

LOOKING is important because if we aren't SEEING God's majesty, we cannot point it out to others. 

LISTENING is important because if we aren't HEARING God's truth, we cannot speak it to others. 

ND Wilson encourages Christians to be storytellers....Storytellers who use, not necessarily written words, but lives LIVED to tell the story that saved them. We TALK about the Gospel A LOT as Christians. We need to make sure that our lives line up. We need to make sure that we are not living a LIE.

The Gospel is OURS. It has saved us and by the grace of God, it continues to CHANGE us. The GOSPEL is the story we have tell.  

The Gospel is something that STRIPS every ounce of appeal from the lies, the false "good news"that is being offered to our souls. We must be about the business of helping people see the empty promises in the lies they have embraced and replace them with the beauty of God and His Word.

Think about the conversations you've had in the last week. If you're like me, most conversation is basically what I would call "story swapping". Make the story you swap, a story worth hearing.

 Think about the thoughts that go through your head as you deal with people (directly and indirectly) on any given day. You can tell who is angry and who is sad. You can tell who is living for something outside of themselves. Make the story you tell with your life a story of the good news!

God has been sharing His good news since time began. Let's join Him!