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Tuesday
Aug192014

A role to play

 

"Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.  according to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy,use it according to the standard of one’s faith; if service, in service;if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12: 4-7, HCSB).

As I read these verses, I started thinking about my own family. We're all different. My husband is a bit more reserved than me, he things before he speaks (an admirable trait!). My daughter is vivacious, and high spirited, while my son is a bit quieter, less talkative, but such a silly, easy going little man. We're all different, but we come together as a family. A family with different members, different roles to play. Mother, Father, sister, brother, over the years, we'll work together to get things accomplished. As our kids get older, they'll take on more chores around the house, be responsible for their own hygiene, for eating well and exercising. As their parents, it's our job to teach them these things. To raise them up to be responsible humans. And to raise them up to know Jesus.

I think moving every few years as really shown me the importance of a church family. The importance of being surrounded by like-minded people, people who fill in the gaps when our extended family can't be close. Family that prays, encourages, and even makes meals for you from time to time. Family that visists you in the hospital, offers to watch your kids, notices when you miss a Sunday. Military life isn't always easy. Moving every few years is downright rough. I truly miss the people we've left behind, in other states, at other stations. But, when I look around, I realize how much God has blessed us, right here, right now. The friendships we have may be different than we expected, but they're filling specific roles, filling spaces that we didn't realize were empty. They're filling different parts of the body. Being our hands, our eyes, our prayer warriors. 

It's beautiful how God provides, even when we don't realize it. 

This post went a slightly different direction than I was expecting, but it's beautiful, just the same. It's left me excited, thinking about all the beautiful people in my life. Far and near, they've encouraged me, changed me, and continue to invest in me. And for that I'm thankful.

Family, both biological and spirtual, is a beatufiul thing.

 

 

Thursday
Aug142014

Irrevocable Calling

 

"God's gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29, HCSB).

There are many things I don't know about this world. I look at my children and they puzzle me, they're such individuals, always changing, always challenging, always causing me to troubleshoot in a new way. I look at the world aorund me and see people I care about suffering, grieving, going through hard times. I can't completley wrap my head around pain, around suffering. There's just so many things that I can't fully answer, can't fully grasp.

But I do know Jesus. 

I that my identity is found in Him.

He created me to do good works.

He has called me to be a child of the king.

He has called me to live a life of worship to Him.

Isn't that really the most important thing?

If so, then why to I demean myself? Why do I criticize? Why do I chose to focus on all the things I do wrong, all the areas of life that I fall up short? Why I am often my own harshest critic?

In doing that, I'm criticizing the very person God created. 

I'm criticizing the clay He formed into a unique vessel.

I'm forgetting that He has good in-store for me, that He doesn't make mistakes.

I'm forgetting that He created me to serve Him.

He created me to live this life as a daughter of the king.

His calling on my life is real. It's true.

Not false like the lies this world tells me.

I belong to Him.

His plan is a beautiful one.

His calling is real.

His gifts, His gifts are beautiful things.

My mind is filled with all the callings and gifts He's placed in my life. Maybe they're worth writing down, journaling about, pondering over, recognizing, dwelling on.

And don't forget the last word in the verse up above. God's calling on our lives is irrevocable. It can't be changed. It can't be undone. It's final. His calling is set in place. It's up to me to live out that calling. Seek out what God wants of me. Spend time in His presence so that that calling can be realized in my life. Open up my heart, and my ears. Listen to my heart of hearts. 

Is Christ's calling evident in your life? What gifts and callings has He placed on your heart?

Tuesday
Aug122014

The Potter

 

 

 

"But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?” Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?" (Romans 9:20-21, HCSB).

 

The imagery of a potter and his clay has long struck me. He created us with a distinct purpose. Both our outward appearance and inward traits are unique, our own, and so beautiful. We are no mistake. He breathed life into us, knowing every day that we would live upon this earth, "before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16, NIV). 

"And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory— on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As He also says in Hosea:
'I will call Not My People, My People, and she who is Unloved, Beloved. And it will be in the place where they were told,you are not My people, there they will be called sons of the living God'"(Romans 9:23-26, HCSB).

Way back in Genesis, we read about God's great plan, how He promised to make an entire nation out of one man's descendants (Abraham). The Israelites have long been God's chosen people. Out of Abraham's line eventually came Jesus, who would bridge the gap for Jews and for Gentiles. The People who were not His people would have a way to become His people. They, too, would be called the sons of God. 

Jesus Christ bridged that gap, His death and resurrection made it possible for all of us to have eternal life. Not through any acts we have personally done, but through accepting the great price Jesus paid for all of us.

I loved reading these verses from Romans this morning. It was such a great reminder of how intentional God is. He is the great Potter, who makes no mistakes when forming His clay. I have a specific reason for being here, my looks, my likes, my dislikes, my passions, the things I enjoy here on earth, are for a reason. He created me to serve Him. To bring glory to Him in everything. And through Christ, I, a Gentile, am a part of the Kingdom of God. 

Eternal life wasn't just for the Jewish nation, but for me, and you as well.

There was always a plan, from the beginning.

Isn't it nice knowing that God didn't make a mistake?

He placed you here on earth, in the family you're in, with your strengths and weakness, for a very distinct purpose.

Live in the freedom today. Live in that knowledge today.

Be encouraged, friend. The Potter made something beautiful when He made you!

 

Thursday
Aug072014

Thankful Thursday

 

I'm in the mood to be thankful. To continue to see everything I'm doing right. My tendency is to see the wrong, to get discouraged by the gaps, instead of noticing all the moments of light. The moments where God shines into my life.

Being a parent is truly one of the hardest things I've ever done. The long hours, the decisions on how to respond, the disciplining, the general wrangling.

Emma came home from her first day of Preschool today. She happily chatted about her new friends, about her classroom, about walking in line while they were in the hall. She told me how she listened to her teacher, how she reached out and befriended the new girl.

And my heart, my heart swelled. 

My vivacious girl did well.

As much as she tests me at home, she thrives.

She loves school, learning, befriending, interacting with others.

She listens to authority.

She's considerate.

She's a hard worker.

I, am doing something right.

I am not a complete failure, like my head tries to tell me on the hard days.

My pastor recently said something in church about the head verses the heart. He said that studies have shown that if the head says one thing and the heart says another, we'll follow our hearts.

My girl has a good heart.

She truly does.

I may, at times, focus on her head, her head that choses to disobey, to talk back, to give her Mama a rough time.

But her heart, is sweet.

It truly is.

And I pray, as she gets older, that she'll take that sweet heart and turn it to Jesus.

I thank God for this beautiful child.

And for the reminder that I really am doing ok.

I think sometimes well all need reminders like that.

 

You are doing ok, friend. You really are. Take a moment to look around you and see the beauty God has placed in your life. Shove the dark aside, and search for the light. There's promise there, and hope. Always hope. 

Tuesday
Aug052014

The good in today

I am not someone who has it all together. I haven't yet fully figured out how to balance housework with family and writing, and other day to day responsible. I strive to feed my family fresh, from the earth food, but sometimes my kids still eat sugary cereal for breakfast. There are always dishes in my sink, dirt and dust somewhere on the floor, and various toys and piles of papers throughout the house. I was focusing on trying to pick up last night when my one year old son fell, and busted his mouth. He was crying, blood was streaming, and I felt like a truly, horrible mother. I'd turned my back for a minute. I was trying to balance all of the responsibilities of motherhood. 

Some days are just hard people, just hard. 

When I focus on all the things that have gone wrong in a day, I feel pretty hopeless. Pretty beat up. 

Until.

Until I let things shine in the proper light. 

Until I let God show me how things really are.

 

The moments when I praise my daughter's hard work, her face shines, her eyes sparkle. The moments when we silly dance across the kitchen floor, because what else would you do at seven o'clock in the morning? The moment when my daughter hugged me, and I hugged back. The laughter, the kisses, the hours spent cuddling, building puzzles, answering every question under the sun.

Thinking of the things I've done right fills me with happiness, fills me with hope. There's nothing like stepping back and seeing things for what they are. There's nothing like finding the beauty in a day.

And so, take the time to look around you today. Ask yourself what you're doing right. Be encouraged, knowing that God does have good and beautiful plans in store of you. You may not see it yet, but hope is there, a sliver of light, of hope is shining through.