Random Ornaments

I find it ironic that I’m posting about Christmas ornaments on Thanksgiving day (ok, ok, I didn’t actually get this up until Friday). As I watched my daughter decorate our tree yesterday, I kept thinking about the displays you see in stores or at homes fit for magazines. The ornaments all match a specific theme and are neatly placed on the tree. Our tree, however, is filled with random ornaments.
Some ornaments were purchased, some gifts, others are collectibles from past years. A few are from nicer stores, some from dollar stores, and then there’s the hand-made ones from the kids. They all make up a tree that can tell a story about our lives and our family.
I was thinking about how all those random ornaments mirror real life. We are all from different backgrounds and yet we can still come together to make something beautiful. I think about how Jesus called people from random backgrounds into His ministry to redeem the world. How tax collectors, fishermen, and other sinners helped to lead the way for the rest of us. I’m thankful for the random people God chose to speak into my life and show my His way.

Some of my random ornaments:

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Saying Goodbye to a Dead Dream

As I prepared my old Casio keyboard for sale, I felt the agony of a dead dream that I still continue to chase, in some way or another. I will never be the musician I wanted to be and though I will still write song lyrics and poems occasionally, it’s time to stop chasing that dream. I can’t play piano well enough to get the music from my head onto the keys and I will never hear any of my songs played as I imagined them. Though it’s a painful and empty feeling I’m left with, I know I need to let go and get my head out of the clouds.

Selling the keyboard and giving away a guitar I thought I’d learn to play is, in a sense, a finalization , a closing of a disappointing chapter of my life. I know I should have some kind of a God-given dream, but I have no idea what it is. I hope that with letting go of such a frivolous dream, I’ve made room for God to reveal His plan for me.

Lord, I’m ready for a new chapter, a You chapter, in my life. Please reveal Your plans for me. Amen.

Another year comes to a close

As another year comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year. I feel like I let the whole year slip away without really accomplishing much in my life; like I’m just watching it pass by, rather than really living it. The things that should be most important always seem to take the back seat.

I’ve enjoyed watching both my children grow, seeing my daughter get her first pointe shoes, and watching my son’s hair grow into an uncontrollable curly mass (he says he’ll get it cut in February). I’ve assisted my husband through his usual duties of Bible study leadership and Mexico mission trips, as well as giving moral support as he works his way through college courses. I even tried oil painting!

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I’m hoping that in the new year I’ll be able to spend some time on myself to grow spiritually and physically healthier. I really want this to be the year that I get into the good habits of reading my Bible and exercising daily. I’d like to possibly start a journal. I definitely want to make this blog more of a priority and try to post more regularly.

Happy New Year to all my fellow WordPressers. May God bless you and your families this coming year.

Perspective

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“The bottom line is this: The problem is not that God is not here or that he is inactive; the problem is that we don’t see him. Our perspective on life is often tragically godless. We miss the one thing worth seeing, the glory of the ever-present God. When this happens, our lives are not built on the foundation of God’s glory, which was intended to give our lives a starting point and a destination, a reason to get up and the strength to go on. Every aspect of my existence was meant to be filled with the glory of God. Everything I think, every decision I make, every word I speak was meant to be shaped by a humble acknowledgement of his claim on my life. I was created to live for his glory.” ~Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands

I often fail at having a God-focused perspective. The busyness of life and my own worries keep my running endlessly on a hamster wheel. Carving out time to regularly read my Bible and pray has been a challenge this year. It is my hope that, as the year winds down, I’ll be able to get into more of a habit of spending time with God and getting off that hamster wheel. By fixing my eyes upon His glory, I know that my perspective will be realigned to what is true and right, which will give me peace and strength to face the daily challenges of life.

Worn

I’m tired, I’m worn…”

With my husband taking college online and all the other family commitments, I’m finding myself tired and worn down most of the time. Most of the household chores and family responsibilities have come crashing down on me these days. Plus, we’ve taken in a preteen girl from my daughter’s school, which has only increased the stress and drama in the house.

My heart is heavy…”

When we took this girl in, we were trying to do what we thought God would want – to take care of those in need. But I have found that I am not capable of giving the help and support she needs. My heart is heavy with failure: failure to her, failure to still be able to give my own family, especially my daughter, the love and attention they need, and failure to my faith that this task of love feels more like a burden. 😦

Life just won’t let up…”

I’m so overwhelmed with everything that I can barely see past the moment. Things keep coming my way and piling on higher and higher. I’m trying to keep up, but it’s getting harder to keep going.

And I know that you can give me rest…”

But I’m so crushed, I can’t even cry out. My heart aches, but my voice can’t find the words to speak. I know that God will see me through this short season, even though it currently feels like it may never end. He always hears prayers, even weak or silent ones, and will answer in His perfect time.

Craving Philippians 1:27

Our church is doing a Bible study, we’re calling Crave. One of the verses we’re studying this week is Philippians 1:27 and I just wanted to share my thoughts about this verse.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

My translation of this verse: In all circumstances (good, bad, neutral), control my behavior in a way that’s appropriate to my citizenship of heaven and that will serve to spread the good news of my savior.

For me, this is one of those verses that reminds me of how much more our actions, than our words, can speak for us. If our behavior stays constant even through oppression or attack, it is a larger message about the gospel of our salvation and how we portray our “king” to others.

It can, definitely, be a convicting verse if – like me – you find yourself doing things contrary to what you know to be right (gossiping, for example). I can, so easily, fall prey to my circumstances and become bitter and angry or speak with a venomous tongue about something I don’t like, especially if I feel it’s some kind of injustice.

This is not to say that our actions do all our “preaching” for us. I think, though, when people see either the changes in us from the Holy Spirit or see us handle all circumstances with a strong faith and remain joyful, they will want to know our “secret.” This is one of the ways that doors can open for us to spread the gospel to those around us and to share where our hope and joy comes from. Even if they don’t choose God immediately, I believe our actions can have a lasting effect on people and that, in time, they may also choose to accept salvation.

We are not daughters and sons of a pauper, we are daughters and sons of a king and as we move through his kingdom, we should portray the love, grace, forgiveness, and compassion that our king extends to us. In so doing, we can be the light that we’re called to be.

Stained Glass CrossDear Lord,

I know I fall short, many times, and do not conduct myself in a manner worthy of Your gospel. Please help me to slow down and consider not only my actions, but my words, and how they can affect those around me, for good or bad. Let the words that fall from my mouth be as sweet as honey and no longer bitter as vinegar. Touch my heart each day, as I awake, to remind me that I’m a daughter of an almighty king, so that I may carry myself as such throughout the day and shine Your light into this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

A Child’s Wisdom

Do you really have a life? If you do what does it have that is important to you? God says he will give us that life. All we have to do is accept Jesus into our life. Our lives are nothing without Jesus. We can pray to God but never have Jesus with us. People say all we need is money to provide for us. No, Jesus is our money he will provide for us. Jesus died on the cross for us. He can save us. If we accept Jesus in our life we will go to heaven and be free of sin. John 3:16 says God loved the world so much he gave his one and only son and any one who believed in him will not die but have eternal life. God has a plan for us, and part of that plan is to accept Jesus and go to heaven.

My daughter, age 11, wrote this recently while we played a game of Monopoly. It is amazing, at times, the depth of understanding that children can have on a particular subject. As Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” (Matthew 19:21). Their minds are not filled with the garbage and baggage that fills our adult heads and I always think that’s what can make it easier for children to accept Jesus on faith and to grow faster in their faith than some of us adults. Jesus also said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children,” (Matthew 11:25). Sometimes, our children are wiser than us in matters of faith.