Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
The sermon this week was on Ephesians 5: Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
The sermon was great and had many points that were relevant to me and that I will continue to think about and pray about. My biggest take away was when the preacher shared how there are certain things in the church ministry that can bring down the community. He shared that he puts safeguards and barriers on the top three things that are identified as bringing down the church ministry. His examples were finances (he doesn’t know who gives or how much and instead has a weekly financial report overall but doesn’t want it to taint how he treats each individual member), laziness (he and his staff have office hours, put in for vacation, etc.) and sex (he has two people that immediately receive notification if he were to go to certain websites on his personal iPad, phone, etc. and he will not be alone in a car or anywhere with a female). These are just quick examples of extreme lengths he has gone to in order to put barriers so that the top offenders don’t ruin his relationship with the church.
This got me to thinking about my most important relationships. I am going to take some time first to identify these things in my life that have the power to ruin my relationships. On my run yesterday I started thinking about it in three categories. My family, my friends, my work. David and I are going to identify the top things that could ruin our relationship from both of us. They might be different for each of us, but we are going to honestly identify them and set up those barriers so that we can’t falter. I want to do the same things with my friends and at work.
For work, I can tell you that stress and insecurity are at the top of the list. I worry and second guess a lot that I do. I try not to talk too much about it outside of work, but my job is pretty stressful and I have a boss that isn’t always the easiest person to understand or please (*she is a wonderful person and boss, I just have my struggles as anyone does. This isn’t anything bad about her, it’s my own insecurities.).
For my relationship with my friends, I can tell you right now that among the offenders will be jealousy/competition, busy-ness, and gossip. My father in law talked to me recently about how as his kids were born and his sister started having children, he decided right then that he was going to be nothing but happy for his nieces and nephews. Bam. Right there if you decide that you don’t have room for competition, jealousy, or gossip. I want to love my friends and their kids in this way always because I know my friends and know they are doing their very best at parenting. I want to celebrate every detail of their children with them without comparing Annabelle, worrying, or jealousy.
You see, the beginning of this chapter in Ephesians says that we should walk in the way of love, just as Jesus did. Are the things I’m saying and doing portraying love? If I am gossiping to a friend about something, am I demonstrating love? If I am too busy to meet a friend for coffee, am I demonstrating love to that friend? If I am jealous of someone else’s vacation am I showing love? I feel like something clicked for me yesterday. If you are demonstrating love, there isn’t much room left for gossip, greed, mean words, or laziness. This will be a constant battle, but I am going to try to work on these situations and try my hardest to first demonstrate love – then there won’t be time for the other things that God says shouldn’t even be spoken of in our presence. I would never want anyone to think of me and associate greed, envy, jealousy, or gossip above love. There’s not room or time for all of it.
Our friend lost their ten month old daughter a couple of months ago. They are choosing joy every day. They are open and share their joy with others. If they can choose joy, I can choose love. That’s what I plan to do. Sounds simple enough.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Yesterday was beautiful!! I couldn’t wait to pick up Belle and grill and play outside all night. I’ve always said that Annabelle and I weren’t meant to live in the Midwest. We are both at our best while we are outside in the fresh air. I bundle that little thing up anytime it’s above freezing (which has been next to NEVER this winter) and we head outside even for ten minutes.
We have been blessed with some signs of Spring weather the last couple of days. Annabelle even got to play outside at daycare with the big kids! As soon as we got home we headed straight to the deck to grill out, eat dinner out there, and to walk around and explore.
She loved “helping” David clean up some leaves around the pool and hold my hand and walk everywhere. She points to things and says “hmm?” which I have found I say a lot! I tell her the names of those things, colors, and then let her touch them and try to give her words to describe them. We did this for an hour last night. I know she would do this for hours on end, and I could too! It’s one of my favorite games – watching her learn.
Last night she slept better than she has in months! This weather is good for our souls.
Just look at those pants and shoes covered in dirt. I love it!
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I know a girl who is working so hard to provide for her little family. She’s a single mom with two adorable kids. She works hard to give them the safest and best care possible. She keeps coming up just a little short. I’ve had many conversations with her and have had a tiny view into her life and tried to help in ways that I can. It has really hit home with me. The circumstances she is overcoming or worrying about are ones I wouldn’t have thought anyone in my town truly deals with and ones I wouldn’t have to ever really think about. Anyway, this post isn’t to tell her story though. I never feel that it’s my place to share other’s stories.
This is just a little background about what God has been telling me in the past few months. This friend, together with a sermon a couple of weeks ago, has really inspired me to ask God what he wants me to do with the money he has lent to me. It’s sad, but I have to admit that I’ve not committed to asking God for help with my finances. This sounds so stupid to me to actually say. But it’s true. I thank him for my career and money that provides, and I thank him for things like my house and other material blessings. And I definitely thank him for my hard working husband who provides for us and handles all the money because goodness knows I wouldn’t have a clue. But I haven’t truly asked God to show or tell me what to do with money – I haven’t asked him how much we should give to missions this year, or how much we can spend on gifts, etc.
I’ve talked before about little challenges I’ve tried (and failed or quit) like No Spend November and the likes. Today there are some posts on Instagram for a mini-challenge for Lent to not shop. I think this is a great idea! I am going to give it a full try. I will try to not spend any money on things for myself or things that I don’t need. I know that’s a loose definition. What I mean is that I’m going to buy groceries, gas, medicine and vitamins, and things like that. But I’m not going to buy shoes, clothes, jewelry, candy, Starbucks, etc. And I’m going to take it one step further and try to keep track of these things I pass up and do something with that money.
Wish me luck! And if you are interested in this little challenge, look up the1yearwardroberesolution on Instagram. She has great tips!