A Million Little Deaths


I have been mulling on this thought for a while now. It is amazing to me how easy it is as believers to be “all talk and no action”. It’s easy to say we would die for our faith if it came down to it, but when God convicts us of sin or requires more out of us in the minutes and days he has so graciously given we retreat, avoid, or totally flake out!? We are SO like Adam in the garden hiding from the all knowing God just hoping he doesn’t see us… 

In Romans 8:16-17 it says, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” So because we are His these little “deaths” or sufferings will be nothing in comparison to what He has in store for us. He is so good to faithfully use these things to strengthen our faith and grow us in righteousness.

Friend, what is He asking you to put to death or to lay down today? You can be confident in this, knowing that what He has for you is far greater than what you are hanging on to. Say yes, be faithful, and seek the one who truly suffered to the point of death for us that we would become His for eternity! ❤️ #preachingtomyself #dieamilliondeaths #allbecauseofjesus


When We Forget

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Motherhood’s got me feeling like a driving student with limited experience traveling way too fast in the dark while it’s raining on the road of life.  You know, the drives that you have your high beams set, your hands are on “ten and two” and your eyes are laser focused on the road.  As the rain is pelting down you are doing your very best to stay within your yellow lines and avoid the potholes.  Then of course the oncoming traffic breaches the horizon with their high beams and as they continue closer they forget to turn them off.  You can’t see a thing and your left with two options.  Despair in your inability to see, or remind yourself of the good advice your Driving Instructor gave you.  “Faithfully focus your attention to that steadfast, constant, solid white line on your right and trust that it will help you stay the course no matter what the other driver does.  It is the only thing you can see in the darkness.”

So, honestly I wanted to write this blog post really general and unspecific but I’m just going to be real here, because the devil lies to us all and tells us that we are the only one who struggles with _________.  He keeps us believing those lies so that we avoid community, relationships, and rest and he wants to keeps us paralyzed instead of furthering God’s Kingdom for eternity.  We keep people at a distance because it feels “safe”.  That way others can’t see the icky ugly parts of us, our families, all our flaws and our weakness.  But the reality is that we ALL need Jesus in a BIG way.

Wednesday was a really hard Mom day for me.  I was not only discouraged and consumed by my sin and unkind tone, I was consumed by my children’s sin and need for Jesus!  It was so dark and all of our sin was like the rain pouring down (like in the drive I mentioned above).  I found myself overwhelmed by this rain storm and I was literally in my bathrobe under my covers while the kids watched Despicable Me 2 in the living room at 2pm instead of schooling.

You guys!!!  I forgot.  I forgot to fight.  I forgot to take every thought captive so I could walk in obedience.  I forgot who I belong to.  I forgot to hug that perfect white line that helps us drive freely in our lane.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Mamas if you know God then you are His daughters.  Our children were created by and belong to Him!  We are FREE to obey our perfect Father out of love for Him with out the burden (which isn’t ours to carry anyway) of how our children will turn out or how it reflects on us.  His yolk IS easy and His burden IS light.  Don’t get me wrong, we have the responsibility to teach, train and instruct but we are responsible for our obedience…not for the results we hope it will produce.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

 Our God loves our kids more than we do and He has a plan for them.  He doesn’t promise that we will see the fruit of salvation or perfect obedience while they live in our homes but He does ask us to point them to Him!  So really, we not only have the freedom to obey, but we are free to repent and share our brokenness and flaws with them and show them a Mother who is in JUST as much need of a rescuer & Savior as they are.

So the next time you find yourself driving along the road of Motherhood and it’s getting dark and starts to pour, don’t pull over and stop driving.  When the oncoming traffic forgets to turn off their high beams and it’s like you can’t see a thing, keep driving!!!  Just slow down and faithfully turn your eyes back onto that constant white line and lean in.  Trust God’s calling and faithful guidance.  Remember who you belong to and rest in His truth.  He will help you stay the course and keep in your lane!

 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)

 As frustrated as I get, I would NEVER give my son away.  Never.  As I mulled over this week I was blown away yet again by the love of our good Father who gave away His ONLY Son for us.  It’s the good news of the gospel and what Christ did in our place that can give us the ultimate hope and peace in Him.

 

“There’ll be days I lose the battle

Grace says that it doesn’t matter

Cause the cross already won the war

He’s Greater

He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely

Understanding just how he sees me

And it makes me love him more and more

He’s Greater

He’s Greater

Cause I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed

When others say I’ll never be enough

And greater is the One living inside of me

Than he who is living in the world

In the world

In the world

And greater is the One living inside of me

Than he who is living in the world’

-MercyMe (Greater)

I’m so thankful that on this drive of Motherhood we’ve got Jesus!  Our steadfast, constant, solid and pure white who is faithful to keep us on course.  I’m so thankful that He doesn’t give up on us, but faithfully makes us more like Him.  

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

When the days seem foggy, the rain storms come, and the nights are so dark, He is there.  When we come around one bend just to be greeted by the next, He is there.  That white line is always there.  Our God is ALWAYS there. 

  “Faithfully focus your attention to that steadfast, constant, solid white line on your right and trust that it will help you stay the course no matter what the other driver does.  It is the only thing you can see in the darkness.”  

He wants our eyes set on Him, hugging tightly to Him and to His promises.  We can hug the white line with confidence that He will faithfully keep us not only in our lane, but securely on the road He has set before us no matter the storm.
Lord, may we learn to travel with endurance and rest in you.  May we keep our eyes fixed on you as we remember who we belong to as we navigate Motherhood.  May our generation of Christian Mothers encourage one another in truth and not keep silent believing the lies that we are the only ones.  I pray you would open our children’s eyes and ears, that they would not only see their need for you, but learn to live in the freedom and love you offer.  Keep steady (our) steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over (us) . *(Psalm 119:133) May you bless the Mama’s that are reading this, and would you please help us to not forget.  Now may we go forth and “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:9-12 ESV) We love you Father, Amen.

 

*Italics are mine


Fall into Forgiveness

Fall

It had been a rough couple of days. I had been confused, angry and frustrated with everyone. I just couldn’t figure out what everyone’s problem was. Parenting seemed exceptionally hard that week and I was having a terrible time considering my Hubby and loving others well. That night, I hastily tucked the kids into bed and ran a steaming hot bath. It was finally ME time. Now I could really think. As I settled into my glorious Calgon moment, God spoke. God convicted.

“So what you’re saying is that ALL this time I was frustrated and annoyed, it had to do with the sin in MY very own heart Lord!?” Humbling… Apparently when chaos ensues on the outside, it is directly related to the chaos going on on the inside. I immediately repented (not always the case just FYI) and sought forgiveness that was already there waiting from my loving Savior.  He is so gracious to convict us of sin and to draw us to repentance.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

He graciously reminded me that living for eternity was costly. It costs us something. So expensive in fact that it cost Jesus his very LIFE, so that we might live.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24a

Here I am just having a 2-year-old temper tantrum about the intentional laying down of my time and the cost of my comforts when Jesus died for that very thing. How incredibly humbling. This calling to be a wife and mother has proven to be incredibly sanctifying. The challenge to love, honor and respect my Husband as we intentionally share the gospel and disciple and train in our very own home has been an exceptional avenue by which God has revealed much of my weakness, sin and great need for my King. I’m learning that there is such freedom in submitting to Christ’s calling as I let go of sin and seek eternal things. This season has also been the very place I have learned about incredible forgiveness and grace.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17

The next morning It was early and the fog was still rolling through as I drove down the winding familiar roads to school. The kids were in the back cackling away…more chipper than necessary at 7:45am. Hues of gold, orange and red had laced the landscape for weeks now as we welcomed November. We came upon a bend in the road near one of our favorite parks, I noticed that this particular week the park trees were much more bare compared to the previous. So bare in fact, that I could actually see clear through them down to the river. I could see clearer now more than ever. I couldn’t help but think of what a beautiful picture that was of our hearts.

The trees are so predictably open to the change God brings with the next season, freely letting go of the dead in anticipation to the new life that is to come.

Often times we want to hang on to the dead things thinking that in those things resides joy and life, but we are so deceived. As we repent and let go of the sin we can then see much clearer. Just like when I could see clear down to the river. Unrepentant Sin only obstructs our vision and suffocates any newness of life to be had.

What is it today that needs to fall away? Seek repentance friend and let it go. I can tell you that real joy and life can only be found through our faithful and loving God who is the giver of forgiveness and LIFE! The forgiveness He so graciously gives is not only just a seasonal Fall forgiveness, but a forever forgiveness.  It truly is so lovely to let the dead things go and to see more clearly as God brings forth new life in us.

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, Acts 3:19-20a


Poured Out

Emmalyn

In the beautiful season of littles, you feel physically and emotionally spent with nothing more to give. You are busy ALL day caring, nursing, giving, pouring out and at the end of every day you feel that there is hardly anything to show for your days or your nights. You have little to no more energy to do your daily tasks, let alone mentally deal with anything else outside the home as you tread water just trying to survive this season. And no matter how many littles you do have, the hormones and emotions feel like the first time. Every time.

Last night I was reminded of the verse in 1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”. Do you know how ENCOURAGED I was as I sported my mom bun & yoga pants? God SEES me. The real me. He sees us friends, and He sees the love, intention and desires of our hearts. He knows how hard you are trying and He knows that you are saying yes to your very best right where you are. And the others that look on the outside? There is grace. There is love. There is Jesus. And He is faithful to breathe life into dry & weary bones.

When you are spent and have nothing more to give, rest in our Savior dear friend for he lives!

He is the life that sustains and revives, He brings rest to the soul and gives us new lives.

It is so beautiful how He graciously meets us right where we are and reminds us that this season we are facing is not something we face alone.  Our God, He fights for us as He gives us the faith to stand strong.  Though our circumstances may all look differently (you may not be sporting mom buns and spit up) this same truth is for you!  He truly created us for good works in Christ Jesus and equips us for those very things.  Ann Voskamp refers to parenthood as “Hard Holy Work”.  Isn’t that true for most good work that He calls us to?  Hard because we are constantly dying to self, Holy because we are doing foot work for His Eternal Kingdom, and work well because, that is exactly what it is.  Work: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

Our “Hard Holy Work” is nothing in comparison to what Jesus did on the cross.  He knows what it is like to lay down His very life for others.  To be poured out with not another drop to give.  He knows what it is like to do the hard stuff for His Eternal Kingdom, and since He has endured more than we could ever imagine (and all for OUR sake) He is our Savior who is also the great comforter.  Run to Him friend.  Mom buns and all, and find rest.  For His yolk is easy and His burden truly is light.


Just let it alone

 
Today Payton was picking a scab on his knee (ew, gross…I know!!). I told him that he had to stop or his wound wouldn’t heal properly and would scar terribly. Just let it alone son!
Then God totally stirred my heart and asked me why I kept going back, re-opening a wound and picking the “scab” that was left on my heart? He said, “daughter, I’ve got this. Just let it alone!”. 
So easily we want to go back to that wound. That thing or that person that left its mark and just pick at it. Go over every detail & replay how we got the injury and pick at the very thing God is working to heal. Friend, He’s got this, just let it alone….
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. – Jeremiah 17:14


Enough

  

I was thinking this week about how we tend to disappoint one another in our relationships & friendships.  We try to give each other our very best and still fall short.  It’s still never enough.  We are never enough for one another.  I was tempted to despair.

But then God was so gracious to remind me that we will never be enough for one another because that is only for Him to fulfill perfectly!  What a gift!  A pure never ending, never giving up, unconditional love from the one who created us.  The perfect Husband, the perfect Bestie, the perfect Sibling & the perfect Father. 

It’s exciting to know we don’t have to withdraw or avoid relationships because they are broken, but we are free to just love (free of strings or expectations) because we were first loved that way by the one who is perfect!  Such great news! 

May we continue to love one another with our faulty imperfect love & may all our short comings continue to point one another back to the ONLY one who can love us enough & love us perfectly…the great I Am ❤️

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 

1 John 3:1a


Love Perfected

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I grew up in the air force and attended public school most of my life. I also grew up in church. So my experience and time with non-believers were more often than not. In the denomination I grew up in, “good works” was the standard and supposedly was a reflection of the heart. Good works meant that you were a good Christian and you were close to God. If the outside looked right, then the inside must be right…with God.  It was encouraged to serve, serve, serve the church and save, save, save the lost. It was known that if you were a fully surrendered young person that you would go to Bible college right out of high school. I rebelled (hehe) and worked my first year out of high school to earn money for college. In fall of 2001 I was headed to Jacksonville, FL to attend Bible school. I had such great expectations of what that would actually look like. I had gone to school for years with the lost. To be able to be surrounded by other brothers and sisters in Christ would be surreal. We would worship, serve and pray together as we dug deeper into God’s word and got to know our King together…right!?

You can imagine my SHOCK to find that I was in school and in a dorm room with all these other sinners. People who claimed Christ (and some who didn’t at all) but were, lying, hurting, stealing and tearing one another down right in my own personal space.   I expected that from non-believers, but from Christians!?  That was the first time I had ever realized how much easier it seemed to love a non-believer than to love the brethren, and how we are still a broken people slowly being changed into the image of our Savior. I am SO thankful that we Christians aren’t the standard for holiness, only God is! Though I had grown up in church for years, I didn’t have much scripture knowledge, just law knowledge, or knowledge of the “rules”. Why is it that we are surprised when believers sin? Well, come to find out Paul addresses unity in the church body in many of his letters in the New Testament. How are we to coexist with other sinners saved by grace & love one another well?

Let’s look at what Paul writes to the church in Ephesus: Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  

I laughed when I read that we were to bear with one another, clearly we must not be the easiest people at times. Bear, endure, and be long suffering with one another in love, that we maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This reconciliation and love acts as a BOND to unite the believers together in Christ. The BOND of peace.

Let’s also look at what Paul wrote to the church of Colossae in Colossians 3:8-11 in these you too once walked, when you were living in them. (Before we were believers) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Ahhh the law….the list, the formula. So much familiarity and false security as we are tempted to achieve these good things alone. But as I read these, I instantly felt defeated because I KNOW I can’t love perfectly like we are called to. I am (and have always been) just like my other Bible college roommates, broken and in need of rescuing from myself as well. Though I am redeemed in Christ, I will fall short, I will disappoint, I will mess up, and I won’t live up to the expectations of others. Ever. And If I can’t achieve these perfectly, then that means I’m sure others can’t as well.

So how in the world can we display these virtues toward one another and put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony as verse 14 says?

We can’t forget (Ephesians 1:7-10) IN HIM (In Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his GRACE, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Oh the riches of His grace that He lavishes upon us. We have redemption through His blood and He is faithful to give us the wisdom, the insight and means to accomplish His purposes as we faithfully pursue Him. As we are intentional in beholding our King, and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts like Col. 3:15 says, He WILL renew us in knowledge after the image of Himself. It is His word and the work of the Spirit in us that changes us and gives us any ability to love well at all. We will be renewed in knowledge as we become familiar with His word and keep our eyes solely on Him.

Because of our sin nature, we aren’t naturally focused on others wellbeing so much as our own, and we don’t just naturally become holy because we decided to. We can’t do any good thing aside from Christ. I love how D.A. Carson explains it…

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace driven effort people do not grow toward godliness, prayer and obedience, to the scripture, faith and delight in the Lord. Instead we drift toward compromise and call it tolerance. We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom. We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation. We slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking that we have escaped legalism. We slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves that we have been liberated. –D.A. Carson

The ONLY way we can possibly love well is by a grace driven effort as D.A. Carson explained. It isn’t by trying to obey the law alone in our best efforts, because we will quickly fail. And it isn’t by solely resting on grace without any effort, and use it as an excuse to not love others as we are called to because it’s covered. It is only by the grace of God that we would show any of these virtues toward one another because though we are saved by amazing grace, we are still broken here on this earth and God is faithfully changing and renewing us bit by bit. We are called as believers to love each other this way but we won’t live it out perfectly, because there was only one person who could live this out perfectly. It was Jesus, and He lived it unto death. For us.

How freeing to break the bondage of expectations with one another and KNOW that we all will fail each other, we all will disappoint at some time or another, and we all as believers are on this journey of sanctification. May we be gracious with one another as we are all growing and are in different parts of our life story.

Charles Spurgeon once said “He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.”

We could try and muster up enough willpower and determination to just do it, and love each other well with all our best effort. Or we could by grace focus on beholding our King, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, with faith that He will continue to do a good work and that all of these things will be added unto us for our good and for His glory. One way only leads to complete exhaustion and failure, while the other leads to perfect peace in Christ.

I am soooo thankful that God took me, this legalistic Pharisaical “good” girl and showed her, her own pride and wretched heart and is faithfully transforming her into a “grace” girl. He faithfully continues to show me that only He can be the perfect standard for us, and that He is happy to use the weak and broken. Even a Bible School drop out for His honor and glory.

Colossians 3:15-17 (sisters) and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I love the song by: For King and Country-Fix My Eyes. It is a perfect prayer for the body and for us sisters…

Love like I’m not scared

Give when it’s not fair

Live life for another

Take time for a brother  (or sister)

Fight for the weak ones

Speak out for freedom

Find faith in the battle

Stand tall but above it all

Fix my eyes on You, On You

May we fix our eyes on Christ and love with a radical love like we have been loved and may we boldly and confidently love one another imperfectly, laced with grace as He is faithful to perfect us.