For Freedom

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.

bird-cage-680030_640

 

Do you know how many times I’ve read this verse?  Lots.  And I’ve never really thought deeply about it.

Like, yeah, it’s kinda obvious, isn’t it?  It’s a verse that’s easy to skip over.

It’s so obvious but yet it is still included in God’s love letter to us.  So now I’m thinking it must be important.  🙂

Maybe it’s because Christ has set us free but we need to step out by faith into that freedom.

Have you been stuck before?

In sin?  Maybe it’s something you’ve tried over and over again to stop doing but you just can’t.  You’re stuck.

In bad attitudes?  Maybe you’re critical of others (or yourself?)  Maybe you have a habit of complaining and you just can’t seem to stop.  You’re stuck.

In guilt?  Maybe you did something in your past that you can’t get over – something you have a hard time forgiving yourself for?  You’re stuck.

In unforgiveness?  Maybe you’ve been hurt so badly that you feel you simply cannot forgive.  You’re stuck.

I know I’ve felt stuck -in fact, right now I’m going through a season of feeling stuck in a couple of areas.  But God’s loving and tender persistence is starting to pierce through.

He’s telling me (and if you’re stuck, too – hear this today, friend):

Christ has {already} set you free!!!!

He knows our situation inside and out, he knows us intimately, and he knows our future.  And he has already set us free.

Let’s not be like that bird that’s still in the cage, even though the door is open!  We are free, now we need to walk in freedom!


 

I’d love to hear from you if this resonated with you!  How can we support each other in walking in the freedom Christ has provided?!?

 

 

Advertisements

Grateful.

004-lumo-jesus-paralysed-man

(photo from www.LumoProject.com)

A few months ago my pastor touched on the story of Jesus told in Mark 2:2-12.  Four men had a paralyzed friend who needed to see Jesus.  They went to great lengths to get him into Jesus’ presence – lowering him down through the roof.

I’m going to paraphrase here, but one of the applications to real life that was given in the sermon was, as a Christian, if we aren’t the one lying on the mat, we should be one of the people picking up the corner of a friend’s mat.

This has stuck with me.  Initially I was asking myself the questions, “Whose mat am I carrying?”  “Do I even know what friends around me need to be carried to Jesus?, or am I too self-absorbed to notice?”  “What can I do for those I know who are suffering?”

These are all great questions and I believe led me to take some action that I might not have otherwise taken.  But I was looking at this story from only one perspective, and mostly thinking about it as outward actions I needed to take.

This summer, however, the WHOLE picture of this has become clear to me.

I have been the one lying on the mat.  We have been dealing with some serious mental health issues in our family (I may or may not write more about this as I do want to protect privacy).

In the midst of this I’ve been having a hard time praying about it.  I have never, at least since recommitting my life to Jesus in my mid-twenties, had a hard time praying about anything.  I’m still not even sure why it’s been hard.

But what I DO know?  I have amazing friends who have carried me into Jesus’ presence by praying FOR me, my family, and our specific needs.

It makes me want to cry with thankfulness when I think of the love and faithfulness of these dear friends.

They have picked up the corner of my mat.

Anniversary Trip

At the beginning of summer, Dave and I took a trip to Mexico to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  Our anniversary isn’t actually until October, but this was the most convenient time of year for us to be away!

We splurged on an amazing resort, Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita.  We would highly recommend it.

We’ve never been away from the kids (together) for a whole week and it was glorious.  Rest, relaxation, quiet.  Not to mention beautiful views and amazing food. Just what we needed!


I think we’ve decided we need to do this more often!

 

What am I seeking?

What do you most often ask for when you are praying?

Very often I ask God for His direction.  To tell me what to do.  

I ask Him for His peace, His wisdom, His strength, His protection, His provision.

I don’t know why this question or thought came into my head, but it occurred to me recently that maybe I’m not seeking the BEST things when I pray.

So often I’m asking for things God can give me.  Not just asking for Him.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think it’s a bad or wrong thing to ask God for specific things.  In fact I think the Bible is clear that we should be in prayer about all things.

But God impressed upon me the thought that my prayers need to have the first priority of seeking relationship with Him.

I did a quick search of my bible.  Most of the verses I found with the word “seek” in them talk about seeking God himself, not His direction, peace, wisdom, strength, or any other thing we might want from Him.  WOW!  It was like a light bulb went on for me.

Suddenly Matthew 6:33 looked new as I thought about it from a different perspective – specifically the perspective of how I approach prayer and how I prepare my heart for prayer.  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

I’m so thankful for God’s divine whispers to me.

What has God been whispering to you?

 

 

 

When your kid’s an outside of the box thinker…

…and you don’t even think about what’s outside the box.

So I just had an amazing revelation several months ago.  It’s kinda crazy that it took me so long to realize it. 

My daughter (who, at the time was shortly going to be turning 16) was asking me questions about driving while we were in the car.  You see, here in our neck of the woods, turning 16 means that you can get a learner’s permit. Anyways, we were discussing various rules of the road, and she asked me about the yellow lines in the middle of the road. She asked, “if one dotted line means both sides can pass, and a solid line and a dotted line means only one side can pass, then why are there two double lines for no passing?  Why not just one solid line?”

I had no answer!  My initial thought was- “there must be a good reason for it so why even bother asking?”  but even after googling it I still don’t know the answer. It does seem like it would save money if they only put one solid line, doesn’t it?

Ok, besides being a good question, the thing that was so eye-opening to me was, “why had I never questioned that?”

And my answer: because I am, when it comes to things I don’t have control over, a rule-follower and I don’t ask questions.  To me, there is no sense in wasting my energy and time thinking about it because there is nothing I can do to change it anyways. 

My daughter, though?  She has a totally different approach.  She’s got to see all of the options. She’s an out-of-the-box thinker. An interrogater.  Not afraid to question authority (well this one is no surprise!). A seeker of a better way.

I had never realized that this is the way she approaches life. I probably should have!  The fact is that often her questions about my decisions or actions can feel threatening to me (and disrespectful).  But I’m realizing now that in many cases she is not necessarily meaning disrespect but instead seeking. Seeking both to understand more fully and then to see if there’s a better way.

And now, understanding this, I am able to have a different perspective on much of our interactions. 

Seriously, this girl is going to change our world. I love her and now that I’m starting to understand her better, I also love and appreciate her drive and determination to make the world a better place. 

Do you have a child that thinks outside the box? Or at least outside of YOUR box?  How has that realization impacted your relationship?

Simple Teacher Gift: Potted Succulents

 

Teacher Appreciation Gift - Potted Succulents

Teacher Appreciation Gift – Potted Succulents

For teacher appreciation week last month, my daughter and I made these sweet little potted hens and chicks.

 

If you have been in ANY store lately, you’ll see lots of fake ones.  It seems succulents are all the rage!!

So I DIY’d it!  This was easy and inexpensive – especially since I just happen to have a whole bunch of them growing in my garden!  They grow and multiply quickly in my yard and I needed to thin them out. And bonus- succulents are drought-tolerant – so they’re so easy to care for.

What you need:

  • small jars, cups, pots, or bowls (check your local thrift stores – that’s where our beauties came from!)
  • potting soil
  • some small rock or gravel (we found a bag of aquarium gravel that looked just perfect!)
  • succulents
  • thank-you stickers
  • toothpicks

Place a small layer of rocks in the bottom of each glass and then fill almost to the top with potting soil.  Plant the succulents.  Add some gravel at the top around the succulents.

We used some thank-you stickers like these from Michael’s, placing two back-to-back on the end of a toothpick and then sticking it into the soil.

thank you stickers

I was so pleased with how they turned out!

Teacher Appreciation Gift - Potted Succulents

Teacher Appreciation Gift – Potted Succulents

 

 

“Yet I will rejoice”

I’ve had this passage from Habakkuk in my mind since last week.  Initially I wasn’t sure why – it was just a passage I happened across as I was searching for another verse in my Bible.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

“Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.”

StockSnap_UVHUYWF46K (1)

This idea of praising God even when current circumstances look bleak is what has been rattling around in my brain.

Life has been rough lately (maybe I’ll share in a future post) – and yet God keeps gently reminding me to look to Him rather than the circumstances.  To praise Him.  To trust Him.

“Yet I will rejoice.”

I thought the last part of this passage interesting- “…he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”   Like what does this have to do with the part before it?  This part shows up in the Bible three times – also in 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18.

The more I think about it and research it, the more I see the two ideas are connected – rejoicing in God in spite of any circumstance, and God enabling us to walk close to Him “on the heights”.  I think the connection piece is the joy.

Nehemiah 8:10  “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

We must choose to rejoice in all things.  In return, God gives us strength to deal with all that life throws at us and to “tread on the heights”.

And what does “tread on the heights” mean?  It gives a picture of living our lives above the din of our circumstances – getting God’s perspective from a higher vantage point.  As I researched mule deer and mountain goats – they live in high terrain because it keeps them safe from the predators that live in lower elevations.  That’s what God wants us to do – to not get caught up in our circumstances (predatory though they may be!).  Through choosing joy and the resulting strength from Him – we are enabled to see life from His perspective, keep our eyes on Him, and walk closely with Him.

Thank you for the hope we have in you, Jesus.