Don’t Put All Your Eggs into One Basket

We’re reading through Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands and we’re working on chapters 4-6 this week.

Last week, my friend Lisa brought me eggs, and I found myself recalling this farm-y saying over and over again: “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.”

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And as I read Instruments, I kept thinking of that “one basket” and realized that when we love or serve anything other than God, we’re putting all our eggs into one basket, and it’s the wrong one at that! I envision Ma Ingalls gathering her eggs and putting them carefully into a basket to sell in town. Now imagine that her basket has no bottom to it and consequently, can never be filled.  Yet, she keeps dropping the eggs in over and over again as though eventually with enough energy, persistence, or creativity, the basket will somehow fill.

We do the same thing when we place our hope for happiness in things that weren’t meant to and can never deliver hope.

I’d just be happy if…

If only I had this…

Things will be better when…

That one thing. That one thing that can never deliver.

It might be a good thing that your heart dwells on for just a little too long.

It no longer becomes a “nice to have” but morphs into an “I must have” or else. Your fist tightens and your heart clings a little too tightly. An expectation, a demand, my ideal version of my life.

You hand craft this little idol in your heart and you now set out to worship it. You come to believe that you can’t live without it or you’ll never he happy. You make “provisions for the flesh” to accommodate it. You spend time and money on it. You get mad when someone else has it. You wake up thinking about it and go to bed dreaming about it.

“What our heart clings to and confides in is what we truly worship.”

We all worship. The question is who or what are we worshiping.

I think we often use God and others to get what we want. Let that sink in. Instead of loving God and others first and best, we use them to accomodate our own ends. We wouldn’t actually say that, so we re-name the terms to make it more palatable, but the end result is the same. We use God and people in our idol-serving, mini-kingdom-building endeavors.

We want to reign supreme, so we live life independently of God. We resist the authority in our life. We war with anyone who doesn’t see life on our terms. Life as an idolater is unhappy and hard, and when we are conflict we tend to blame others when our problems are really the fruit of our own idolatry. We’ve sown a harvest and now we are reaping it.

“All human desire must be held in submission to a greater purpose, the desires of God for His kingdom.” Instruments, pg. 85

God has a plan for our lives. He is going to use us for His kingdom purposes. I think the biggest lesson to learn from these chapters is that God will not use someone who is sinning to get what he/she wants. In fact, God will continue to make your life hard and resist you.

“The goal of God’s grace is his own glory, as he calls out and purifies a people that belongs to him alone. When he owns their hearts unchallenged, these people will be eager to do what is good in His eyes…His jealousy for our hearts is not a threat, but our ONE TRUE HOPE. Our God is eternally unwilling to share our hearts.” pg 85

I hope as you read, that you are encouraged to change as the Holy Spirit leads you and to do what is right regardless of what others around you are doing. Don’t wait for your husband to change before you change. Don’t wait for that prickly person to straighten up before you do what is right. You are responsible for you and God wants all of your heart now.

This is a wonderfully challenging and convicting book and one that will be life changing if we are meek enough to receive instruction. Let me know what you’ve learned so far in the comments or in the FB group.

Happy reading.

Summer Book Club Starts Today!

I’m super excited to start our summer book club, going through Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp.

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You can still jump in last minute if you like. To do so, you’ll want to get the book (available for instant download on Kindle) and join in the private discussion group on Facebook Here . (You need to request to join and I’ll approve you shortly.

I made this short vid whilst holding a camera, book, and computer…not a good plan. Next week I will have a better set up, okay? :)

Also, everyone should download the  Summer Book Study  schedule.

This week, we’re reading chapters 1-3 and discussing the main themes, lessons, favorite quotes, and our “ah-ha” moments on the FB group or in the comments here or on FB. We’ll talk about misplaced hope and worship, and about not putting all of our eggs in the wrong basket.

I hope you are as blessed by this book as I have been. Here we go! :)

Some Lesser Known Lessons From Elisabeth Elliot {pt 2}

Yesterday I shared some of my notes from lectures by Elisabeth Elliot. Today I’ll share a few more words that may bless you from her life.

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From Let Me Be A Woman

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience…it looks for a way of being constructive.
Love is not possessive.
Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
Love is not touchy.
Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.
It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.

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elisabeth-and-kidsFrom Quest for Love

“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.” 

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This quote has been taped to my fridge so many times during the years. It was such a help to me during my early motherhood years!

“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”

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From Keep A Quiet Heart

Why is God doing this to me? When I am tempted to ask that question, it loses its power when I remember that this Lord, into whose strong hands I long ago committed my life, is engineering a universe of unimaginable proportions and complexity… yet He makes note of the smallest seed and the tiniest sparrow. He is not too busy to keep records of even my falling hair. Yet in our darkness we suppose that He has overlooked us. He hasn’t.

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From Keep A Quiet Heart on Jesus sleeping through the storm

He slept in the calm assurance that His father was in control. His was a quiet heart. We see him move serenely through all the events of His life–when He was reviled, He did not revile in return…Jesus in the unbroken intimacy of His Father’s love kept a quiet heart.

Purity of heart is to will one thing. The Son willed only one thing: the will of His Father. That’s what He came to earth to do. Nothing else. One whose aim is as pure as that can have a completely quiet heart, knowing what the psalmist knew: “Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure.” (Ps. 16:5) I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned.

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A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace.

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What do we really want in life? Sometimes I have the chance to ask this question to high school students…I am surprised how few have a ready answer. Oh, they come up with quite a long list of things, but is there one thing above all others that they desire?

“One thing have I desired of the Lord,” said David, “This is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…”

In the parable of the sower, Jesus tells us that the seed which is choked by thorns has fallen into a heart full of the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things.

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An Empty Chalise, Lecture

If we are true servants, we won’t make a fuss about the fact that that’s not my job.

“Let thy love abound in our hearts and sweetly and powerfully constrain us to all faithful and cheerful obedience.”

Mary was a shining example of servanthood. She was a child, really, and she loved God. Jesus said, John 14, a clue to what it means to love God…if you love me, do what I say.” The singing and the talking and the praying about loving God does not come close to obedience. The only valid test of our love for God is our obedience.

“We love because he first loved us.” and it was his love for God that was shown in His obedience. (Jesus) “The world must be shown that I love the father and will do exactly what He says.” And that is still true. The world must be shown that we love the Father and will do exactly what He says.

Mary’s response to the angel…she was troubled…but she was a girl who knew how to keep her poise, but the words, “The Lord is with you.” The angel said, “You have found favor with God. You will be with child, you will name him Jesus…His kingdom will never end.”

What are the limits to our love? The Lord says, “If you love me, do what I say.” Can you search your heart and see what the Lord is telling you to do that you are evading? Are you consciously disobeying? If we are to be made proper servants, proper servants, we surrender all our rights.The servant is at someone elses orders. He has no agenda of his own.

So, ask, Lord, What are the limits of my love?

Am I supposed to love that woman in the church who makes things so hard for everyone, or that woman on the committee, that difficult person…difficult spouse.

Do we love enough? True love is always sacrificial.

“Behold the handmaiden of the Lord.” Let it happen as you say it should.

Mary said, “Yes, Lord.”

Betty Stam: “Anything you say, Lord. I give up all my own plans and purposes and accept (receive with both hands) thy will for my life.”

When people ask me about finding the will of God in life, I tell them that my experience has been that if we are obedient in this present moment, this one day–because we have no guarantees of tomorrow– that tomorrow’s guidance will be perfectly clear when tomorrow comes.

“In acceptance lieth peace.”  Amy Charmichael. Obedience is the proof of love.

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The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.

 

 

Lesser Known Lessons From Elisabeth Elliot

Like many women, my life is better for having read and heard the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot.

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I appreciated her gracious, no-nonsense approach to teaching, perhaps because I am from New England where emotions tend to take a back seat to common sense.

She spoke truth and didn’t apologize for God’s Word, and she didn’t conform God’s word to the whims of the women she spoke to.

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I have to admit that she was one of the only women that I actually enjoyed hearing speak. (I have a hand full, and she topped the list.) She practiced what she preached, and her experience from her own authentic walk with God gave her credibility. She challenged her listeners to get to know God in an era where everyone was trying to find themselves to be fulfilled. She didn’t care if her message was popular or not because she lived for the approval of One and encouraged us to do the same.

There are many tributes to Elisabeth this week, all sharing her wonderful quotes. Today I want to share some of my personal notes from lectures I listened to over the years. Hopefully they will bless you as much as they’ve blessed me.

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From a Contest of Wills, lecture

Are we accepting the will of God? Are we prepared humbly, and gratefully and faithfully to receive his will and say “Not my will be done, but Thine.” 

He knows better than we do. He is a loving Father and he knows what’s good for us. I hear mothers talk about having a “strong willed child.” My question is, “What kind of Strength is it?” Is it strong enough to pit His will against yours?

Jesus in his agony in the garden said, If it be possible let this cup pass from me. But if it is not possible nevertheless not my will, but thine be done…and that is strength of will.

{A strong willed child} does not have strength of will… it is just stubbornness. Everyone of us is born a rebel.

A contest of wills. We will never have a quiet heart until we bring our own will into harmony of that of God. There will always be conflict and anger….One of the reasons I wrote, Keep a Quiet Heart, is because I don’t seem to meet many women who have a quiet heart.

Whose agenda are you accepting? Have you decided that you are angry with God, because He has not conformed His will to yours? What pride and presumption. Presumption is defined this way: audacity, insolence, arrogance, effrontery, shameless boldness…presumption.

If God is my heavenly father and laid down his life for me, isn’t is reasonable to assume that he knows a whole lot better than I do what’s good for me? Angry at God? Our heavenly father wants nothing but the best for any of us.

God is in control, and I am not at the mercy of {circumstances.} So I can keep a quiet heart.

Whose agenda? God’s or mine?

God knows what you need and also when you need it.

When He withholds that one thing we believe will make us happy, we’d do well to remember his promise, that he’ll meet all our needs.

I get so many anguished letters from women and they feel that God is withholding that one thing in the whole world that would make them happy…

Whose agenda? A contest of wills. Is it my will or His? My God shall supply all your needs. And if you don’t have it, you don’t need it today.

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A Quiet Heart Means Confidence in God, lecture

How can we quiet our hearts before the Lord?

Lord, give to me a quiet heart, that does not ask to understand, but confidence steps forward in the darkness, guided by thy hand.

We live in a world of noise. So where can we find quietness? Quite often it’s hard to find physical quietness, but it is always possible to have a quiet heart.

Where does it begin? It comes from a long, steady, sustained gaze at God himself. The life of Jesus. Jesus lived a very busy life…people plucked at his sleeves, asking for things, arguing with him, believing him, disbelieving him, interrupting his prayer times. Jesus had a quiet heart because he only did one thing, the same thing that you and I have to do…the will of the Father.

When I keep that in mind, it completely changes the look of things. My life, my heart, it changes my home and how I do things.

That doesn’t mean that I forsake the laundry or peeling the onions for soup.

Our inner eye is directed toward God.

I am doing the laundry for God.

I am peeling the onion for God.

Everything in my life is an offering…my body, life, heart, emotions, time, work, possessions, sufferings, joy, work, is an offering to God and that gives me a quiet heart.

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Glad Surrender, lecture

Contentment is a command. My mother used to say “Behave yourselves.” Contentment is really taking yourself by the scruff of the neck and behaving yourself when you are feeling discontent about anything. It’s being still. “Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side, bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.”

We often confuse meekness with weakness. Meekness is teach-ability. Are you teachable? Or are you only selectively teachable? Sometimes God assigns to us very strange counselors, but we aren’t meek enough to receive it from THAT person.

From my favorite devotional that has been around for a hundred years, Daily Strength for Daily Needs by Mary W. Tileston

If we wished to gain contentment, we might try such rules as these:—

1. Allow thyself to complain of nothing, not even of the weather.

2. Never picture thyself to thyself under any circumstances in which thou art not.

3. Never compare thine own lot with that of another.

4. Never allow thyself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were, otherwise than it was, or is. God Almighty loves thee better and more wisely than thou dost thyself.

5. Never dwell on the morrow. Remember that it is God’s, not thine. The heaviest part of sorrow often is to look forward to it. “The Lord will provide.”

E. B. Pusey.

Heb. 13:5, “Be content with such things as you have.” That’s a command. We are to trust that God does know what He is doing. We have a Father who is faithful, fortress, friend, and helper. Do you believe that? That’s truth. You can’t possibly be contented without trusting that God does know what He’d doing…

Psalm 16:5 is one of my life verses. “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup and have made my my lot secure.” Isn’t that a calm, peaceful sense that we have when we realize that God has assigned us our life, lot, and portion…

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Continued tomorrow.

What are your favorite lesser known lessons from Elisabeth? Please share with us in the comments or on FB.

Vlog Announcement: Summer Book Club

You guys, I have an exciting announcement! We’re doing another summer book club and this year we’re reading one of my all time favorite and most recommended books,  Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp.

This will be my fifth read-through and let me tell you, it’s life changing!

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We begin Monday, June 22, so you have a week to get your book and join the FB group.

Here’s the vid announcement which I put off for a good week because I had the worst cold. I’m telling you this so you’ll overlook the bags under my eyes and my hoarse throat in the vid. ;)

Who needs to read this book?

  • Anyone dealing with helping children, teens, women, or friends.
  • Anyone in ministry!
  • Anyone who has a marriage that is crumbling, who feels overlooked, undervalued, and unloved.
  • Anyone in relational conflict.
  • Anyone who feels that they are sinking under the weight of discouragement because of circumstances that are out of her control.
  • Anyone who is searching for something more in their Christian walk and ministry.

I LOVE reading books with a friend  and discussing what I’m learning but I can’t always commit to getting together once a week to discuss it. That’s why I’m a huge fan of online reading groups.

I hope you join us every Monday for the next 5 weeks. You can order your book here: Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands via Amazon.

In the FB group you can connect with other women, discuss what you are learning, share your favorite quotes and “ah-ha” moments, pray for each other, and just have fun. If you can’t commit to reading on our time table but would still like to read it at a slower pace and join in on the FB group, that is fine as well! No pressure! :)

Any questions? Feel free to ask here or on FB. :)

Things You’ll Love

This week Hope and I have been sick with colds. We’re both on antibiotics now and are on the mend. Yay for modern medicine!

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We watched Paddington as a family and it was really sweet and funny.  We also got a pre-screening link to view Beyond The Mask and loved it.

SOO, {ducking and bracing} I rarely LOVE Christian films for whatever reason (acting is weak, humor is corny, low budget, all of the above, I don’t know. Don’t hate!) but I will watch them because the messages are usually wholesome. This was NOT the case with Beyond The Mask. The filming was right up there with the best movies I’ve seen and the acting was wonderful! It was full of action and romance that wasn’t trashy, and there was no foul language. Highly recommend!

I spent some time reading At Home with Madame Chic and am really enjoying it. I love the detail that Jennifer Scott puts into life. I also love that she lives her life with high standards regardless of what anyone else is doing around her. We only get one life to live. We might as well live it well!

Some days I was so sick that all I could do was listen to an audio book. By the way, if you’ve never tried Audible you can get two free audio books right now by signing up for their free trial. You’re welcome.

Some favorite reads around the web this week:

Why venting your emotions is the worst choice. Just so much common sense here.

The Small, Happy Life “We don’t all have to shine.”

How are you doing today? Insightful article by Anne about the questions we ask when people are grieving. I agree with Anne that the question should be, “How are you doing right now.”

In Defense of Doing Nothing. A Stanford dean tells us why we should let our kids just live during the summers.

Things have been slow around the blog lately. We all know that life happens and blogs go cold. We’ve been in the midst of carefree hospitality and setting priorities so that we aren’t so busy “serving” that we actually forget about God.

DID I MENTION THAT MY SISTER IS COMING HOME IN FIVE DAYS? We were just together in May, but we love having all the kids together for a few weeks each summer. YAY!!

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What have you been reading and loving this week? Let me know in the comments section here or on FB. I hope you are all bronchitis-free and enjoying this lovely summer.

*post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Mothering in the Moments

 

I was discouraged.

I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes one day when my kids were small. Their noises were a blur in the back ground. I stared, eyes glazed over and mind a million miles away, out the picture window into the back yard. I was looking at the pond but not really seeing it. Warm water was running over my hands and then a trickle of cold. I noticed. I looked down and noticed what I was doing and felt the cold water and it brought me joy.

Seems dumb to remember the cold water, but it was really at that moment that I noticed it and in that moment that I felt present.

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Alive.

For those of you who’ve never experienced discouragement, let me tell you that some days can seem flat and for lack of a better word, “unfeeling.”  Numb. You hardly recognize pain or joy. You’re too overwhelmed to notice. You just rush and do the next thing. Like an assembly line, you do the work over and over again until you do it mindlessly.

You are productive but not present.

You feed your kids, but it’s all efficient instead of nurturing and relational.

You clean your house but it’s all form and function instead of praise and thanksgiving.

You go about your schedule, never missing a beat, and all the while you are actually missing everything.

You don’t notice your daughter’s excitement when her bubble blows up big and she cups it in her hand un-popped. She tries to catch your eye, but you don’t see.

You miss your son’s slumped shoulders, a sign that he’s discouraged.

You miss real relationship because you half-answer the kid’s questions instead of really engaging them.

Have you been there, too, in this stint called motherhood?

I wonder if we get discouraged because we don’t know what we are doing, or how it will all turn out, and we fear we are investing our lives into a pursuit with no guarantees.

I don’t know much but I do know this: mothering that is not done in the present is a waste of time, energy, and LIFE. It’s thankless and devoid of thanksgiving.

How you live your days is how you live your very life.

When you mother in the moment you notice, and feel, and discuss, and teach, and enjoy. (This is where grandparents excel!)

I really think that every mom can be a good mom and increase her own joy

if she would just be all there in the mundane mothering moments.

I know it’s hard and seems tiring.

I’ve done it both ways and my kids are older now, but  having come out the other side, I think it’s MORE tiring and draining to not be all there.

Mothering in the moment looks like

  • noticing the birds singing outside enough to mention it to your kids.
  • pointing out the beautiful cloud patterns outside your window.
  • being happy just to share in the happiness of others. To have the mindset that all goodness is a reason for happiness and I can be totally happy to share in your joy because I saw “goodness” and goodness is a gift whether it was my possession or blessing or not.
  • taking interest in what interests your child
  • looking them in the eyes when they talk to you
  • talking to them. Relationship, relationship, relationship.
  • teaching them to notice. Really notice life around them.

Peter used to ask me the same question every night: “What did you do today?” He honestly wanted to know. I used to answer with generalities:

“Oh, we did school.”

“I took the kids to Suzuki lessons.”

“Went to the park.”

The truth is that many days I felt like what I did was hardly worth mentioning. The moments felt insignificant and I was tired, like I was on a treadmill that was always moving but never progressing anywhere.

But mothering in the moment changes your perspective. It takes you off the treadmill and plants you firmly in a time, a place, a moment.

In the moment you can notice the ducks, clouds, warm sun. You notice the smell of the freshly cut grass.  You taste and enjoy the ice cream.

You don’t just acquire, you possess. You don’t just do, you enjoy. You don’t just plan, you partake.

In short, you notice and appreciate and give thanks to God for these mundane moments that you can never recover and can never relive..

Are you in the middle of the mundane today? Notice the moments. Do one thing at a time. It will increase your joy!

My Favorite Summer Make-Up Products

First up: My daughter Emily arrived safely in Switzerland!! Thanks so much for praying for her trip. My mom-heart can’t take those cross-Atlantic flights!

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite summer products. I’ve always loved looking through my sisters’ make-up bags and seeing what they use, so I figured it would be fun to share my bag of tricks with you. I use a mix of drug store products and salon products, and if I find something that works I am cultishly loyal to it (some things I’ve used since High School.)

For summer, my routine is pretty basic. If I use anything, it’s a tinted moisturizer, some lip gloss, and mascara.

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I’ve always used St. Ives Apricot scrub but I found this one that has mint and smells better, Acne Free Energizing Wash. It’s cheap, like $4 and lasts forever. I exfoliate, pat my skin dry, then use St. Ives Timeless Skin (which gets horrible reviews of Beautypedia.com for some reason, but works great on my skin!) plus a little L’Oreal True Match foundation and mix it together for a hydrated coverage. I hate heavy foundation and find this mixture gives me just the right sheerness.

On days when I’m super tired or my skin looks dull, I love Maybelline’s Master Prime. It’s a pinkish illuminator and I put it on my cheek bones, nose, and anywhere else that I need some “glow.”

I’ve also discovered that nude eyeliner can make tired eyes look a little more alive, so I picked up this inexpensive NYC eyeliner at Walmart and it does the trick. I apply it on the inside of my bottom lid. I don’t typically wear eye liner in the summer. If I do, I just swipe brown eyeshadow on the top and bottom lids to give a little definition.

My sister Amy got me started on this cream blush from Mary Kay. I use the color Sheer Bliss. It’s transparent and natural looking.

My most expensive beauty trick is this Matrix Oil Wonders. It cuts your blow drying time WAY down, which is a blessing for people with super thick hair.

Also, not pictured but WAY up there in the indispensible department is my ELF Chubby Stick lip gloss in the color Sangria. I get mine at Target for a dollar and it’s sheer and makes my lips super soft. My kids all use mine which is why I couldn’t find it for the picture.

 

That’s about it. Does your beauty routine change in summer? What are your favorite drugstore products?

A Supreme Priority that Changes Everything

I’ve always noticed patterns. Maybe it’s the artist in me, but patterns and correlations jump out at me immediately in art, nature, and when it comes to life in general, but not so much when it comes to my own life.

After having a week of company a dear friend warned, “Take care of yourself. You’re always sick after company.”

I was shocked. “I am? I hadn’t noticed that.”

I’m the mom who makes sure everyone gets their daily supply of vitamin C, protein, and leafy greens, but who skips breakfast (and sometimes lunch) in the bustle of it all and then I wonder why I get shaky.

I’m the mom who takes kids to their gazillion doctors appointments when I haven’t had a physical myself for nearly ten years. (I know.)

supreme priority

Last night in family devotions Peter shared an interesting correlation between lack of love and all the other vices known to man.

Every sin ever committed had , at its root, a lack of love for God and others, and a super-abundance of self-love.

He read 1 Cor. 13, the love chapter, and then went on to explain that love is really the singular fruit of the Spirit that is the basis for all other “fruit.”

He read this excerpt from Ray Steadman on the fruit of the Spirit:

 “It has been pointed out that all of those qualities really are manifestations of the first one, love — that, after all,

joy is love enjoying itself;

peace is love resting;

patience is love waiting;

kindness is love reacting;

goodness is love choosing;

faithfulness is love keeping its word;

gentleness is love empathizing;

and self-control is love resisting temptation.

Love is the key; love is the main thing. This chapter, therefore, is setting forth that quality of love which is the work of the Spirit of God within us reproducing the character of Christ. Now once you have love all these other qualities that are part of the fruit of the Spirit are possible to you.

If we have the love of God in our hearts, then we can be patient; we can be peaceful; we can be good, loving, faithful, gentle, kind, and all these other qualities.

But without love all we can do is imitate these qualities, and that is what produces a phony love. One of the most deadly enemies of the Christian cause is phony love. That is why, in Romans, Paul says, “Let love be genuine,” (Romans 12:9a RSV). When you come into the church, especially among the people of God, love must be genuine. If it is not, it is hypocrisy. If it is put on just for the moment, if it is an attempt to put on a facade, to act like you are kind, thoughtful. gracious, faithful, and so on, but it all disappears as soon as the situation changes, that spreads death within the whole community. Genuine love, however, will produce all these qualities. ~ Ray Steadman Commentary”

I was thankful for this correlation because I am a “woman who loves God”, but truth be told, sometimes I don’t.

And I’m a woman who loves people,  but some days I wish people weren’t so needy. (Translation: I’m selfish some days.)

And this is not okay because I want my life to be characterized as being a loving mom, wife, friend, and neighbor.

So I need this reminder every day and I need God’s “shed abroad” love in my heart overflowing my life every day.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of blaming circumstances or limitations for my lack of love and joy because I know full well that I am 100% responsible for me and my own actions, reaction, and affections. I know the Source. I choose to draw from Him or not.

I know that you, too, want to love God and others well.

Imagine what loving God supremely would look like in our homes, communities, and churches? Imagine how it would change every interaction.

Selfishness and personal pettiness would be kicked to the curb. Moodiness and a critical spirit would be replaced by care and concern for others. Serving others would become the norm.

This is what we need today in our homes and desperately in our churches.

It may seem simplistic but this is the need: more love to Thee.

Maybe its simplicity makes it easy to ignore. We’re often enamored more with things like being known as wise women or discerning women, when what we need desperately is to be known as loving women.

It goes back to our primary purpose and calling. It’s the only safeguard for our heart when trouble comes and dreams are broken and the unthinkable becomes our reality.

And loving God is easier when you know Him and His great love for you. His ridiculous, super-abundant, chasing, steadfast, restorative love for you.

Today, have one aim: to love God. Then watch as His love runs in and fills you and overflows your life so that you can love others the way you’ve always wanted to.

5 Surprising signs of life we hate

I don’t know about you, but there are things in my Christian life that I wish weren’t part of it. You know– all the doubts, insecurities, and shortcomings that are part of the equation in our fallen flesh.

I’ve not been online for various reasons (watching Little B, Bek’s graduation, getting Em ready for her missions trip, planning upcoming construction/renovations) but I wanted to post this quickly to address a common thread in my inbox lately: unpleasant parts of our fallen life and spiritual growth that give us anxiety.

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I wanted to give you hope, because these inner struggles are actually signs of life and evidences of God’s grace, and when we recognize them as such, we can move forward with a sound mind and peaceful heart instead of getting stuck in guilt and self-condemnation.

Fears from your correspondence:

1. “I don’t pray enough.” Can I just say that I can’t imagine anyone thinking that they actually pray enough. Every time you feel guilt about not praying enough, recognize that the Holy Spirit gives you the desire to pray, and that feeling of “not enough” is a sign of His grace in your life. (And then pray! :))

2. “I constantly fail.” Who doesn’t? Don’t believe the lie that so-and-so is perfect. They aren’t. They just struggle in different ways than you do. When you realize you’ve failed, confess it and move on and do then next right thing. Don’t compare yourself to others. Look to Christ.

3. “I’ll never change.” That is not the voice of God telling you that, but of self-condemnation and the Accuser. It’s true that you’ll never be perfect, but in Christ we do have the tools to change and the Holy Spirit’s job is to prompt you towards change so that you’ll look more like a member of the “family” of God. If the Holy Spirit convicts you of an area you need to change, this is another evidence of His refining work in your life. Rejoice!

4. “I’ve ruined my ministry by ________.” You may have ruined your reputation, but unless you’ve built your ministry on a house of cards of your own false goodness or some lofty pedestal of “perfection”, your sin handled properly is ministering gospel grace to those around you. The only way you can ruin your ministry it to sin and not make it right or to promote yourself and your own reputation instead of giving glory to Christ. People know you aren’t perfect and don’t expect you to be.

5. “I must be the world’s worst mother.” The horrible mothers in the world don’t give this a thought. The end. You are an imperfect mother on assignment from God to do your best with the tools you have now and to point your kids to Christ. I’d wager that your awareness to your own shortcomings actually means that you are a pretty amazing mom who gives yourself too little credit.

Don’t just believe your thoughts. Run them through the sieve of Scripture and see truth and discard lies. When you are in Christ, you are loved, accepted, and being conformed. It may seem painful sometimes, but we can take comfort knowing that God is working for our good. He is for us!

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2 Thes. 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

1 Thes. 5: 23, 24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.