The Thing About The Bathroom…

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I have a love/hate relationship with cleaning my bathroom.

That being said, since I try to be a positive person, I’ll start with why I love it…
I love cleaning it because it’s so nice to walk into a sparkling, good-smelling bathroom when I’m getting ready in the morning.
I hate cleaning it because I’m reminded just how disgusting we as human beings can be and how much “stuff” we shed when we’re in there.
I love cleaning it because it’s one of the smallest rooms in our house, so naturally it shouldn’t take too long to clean.
However, I hate cleaning it because once I start cleaning one area, every dirty nook and cranny rears it’s ugly head at me and says, “You might as well get the scrub brush, knee pads, and bleach because you’re in here for the long haul.”

Bleh.

Then I got to thinking about it (as I scrubbed and scrubbed the same 5 square inch area for 15 minutes)… Isn’t it funny how cleaning the bathroom is a lot like examining our hearts and minds through the truth of God’s Word?

We go into the bathroom to clean things up or out (…no need for explanation there), and we exit feeling relieved, cleaned up, and refreshed (Ok, I’m done with all of the bathroom analogies).

When we dive into the Word, we dive into it with the desire to learn more about Christ, to become more like Him, and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

But that doesn’t happen unless we’re willing to do a little scrubbing, or better yet, allow the Holy Spirit to do a little scrubbing in us.

Sometimes the scrubbing takes a bit of time. We get through one layer of dirt thinking we’re good to go, only to discover there was a hidden corner that we tried to cover up with the bath mat (aka pride). So we bunker down and scrub a little harder. And when it’s all cleaned up, we take a deep breath, thank God for the bruises on our knees, and walk away knowing that it was all worth it.

That fresh aroma is “a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We have been washed clean from our guilt and purified from our sin (Psalm 51:2, paraphrased). When we are clean, we can “go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).

The scrubbing might hurt a bit. It might take a while to really break through the crud, but in the end, the outcome is far better than what we imagined, and the freedom that follows is worth celebrating.

So friends, let’s get on our knees, open up the Word, and let Jesus do a deep clean to our souls. Because the end product is worth the rough process.

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Sum It Up In One Word

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It’s March. Wow. When did that happen? With patches of snow still covering the ground, it’s hard to believe that spring is so near. It’s also hard to believe that we’re 3 months into 2014.

As I shared here, this year has been a year of completing what’s been left undone.

The other morning, in between watching my 8 month old roll around on the floor and sipping coffee, I read a post from (in)courage that really helped me wrap one word around what it is that God is doing in my heart.

Follow.

Follow God.
Follow through.
Follow up.

I recognize 2013 was full of goals. Some I met, others I didn’t. So I embraced 2014 with the challenge of following.

Following God wherever he leads me.
Following through on commitments I’ve made.
Following up with relationships that need to go deeper.

It’s wonderful how God does what he does when he’s teaching us truth, especially when we’re really opening our hearts to hear it and see it. Whether it’s a blog post, a late night conversation with my husband, or a message at church, God has shown up.

He’s proved himself faithful. He’s clearly shown himself.

So what’s changed?
It’s not that He wasn’t there before. He’s always been there, proving his faithfulness and love in every moment of my life.

I’m the one who has changed.
And not out of my own strength.
He’s been changing me.
He’s opening my eyes to really see Him.
He’s giving me the strength to push past the moments of human nature when it “felt” easier to focus on the negative.

He’s telling me to follow.
And follow I shall.
Even when I have to follow up hill because I know he’s there to carry me.
Even when it’s into the darkness because I know he is the one who will light my path.
Even when I’m feeling alone because I know he will remind me that He’s always there.

So what is your word? How can you wrap up what God is doing in your life?

Because God Is For Me

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What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31

…be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

I am my own worst enemy.
A new year has begun, and I’ll confess, I did not complete any of my New Year’s goals from 2013. I’m truly bummed about it because they were all attainable goals.

My normal, natural reaction to this would be to sulk and slump and beat myself up.

In fact, that was my reaction. Until my amazing husband reminded me that I was being too hard on myself and I needed to believe truth.

Because God is for me.

I would rather throw my hands up in the air and never set another goal for myself for the rest of my life.

But God is for me.

And instead of sulking and feeling sorry for myself, I’m looking at what I did complete this year and what I will carry over into this new year and tie up.

Because God is for me.

  • I read 9 of the 13 books on my reading list.
  • I started to finish one of the many quilts on my “to sew” list.
  • I started the A Passion to Serve Bible reading plan and got 47% of the way through it.
  • I learned (and am still learning) that I can’t get my way all the time. Can I get an AMEN on God’s amazing help and grace on that one?
  • I started training for the Indy Mini-Marthon, which was not part of my original list, but happened to jump its way on thanks to this revelation.
  • I started this blog (again not part of the original list), but something my soul desperately needed to do.

So this year…this year will be a year of tying up loose ends. For finishing up what’s been left undone.

My plan is to not start anything new until I’ve followed through with the other stuff. And instead of trying to complete all of this in my own strength, I’m going to rely on God’s strength to guide me through it.

So, here’s to you, New Year. Let’s get started on finishing up a few things.

Need some encouragement and truth spoken over you so you can finished what’s been left undone? I highly encourage you to check out these great resources:
Loose Ends -Pastor Dave Crandall at Friendship Church
What’s Undone? -Beth Moore

 

The Light Never Dims

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This year has had some rough patches. It’s been flat out hard. But, in the midst of it all, Jesus has reminded me of his constant presence.

This Christmas seemed to remind me of his presence even more.

I’ll admit it, in the past, the Christmas story hasn’t seemed very “life-changing” to me.
Maybe it’s because I’ve heard it a thousand times.
Maybe it’s because I’ve allowed the world’s “Christmas” to cloud my view of the truth.
Whatever the reason, it hasn’t been truth.

But this year…
This year…
…Something changed.
Something transformed in my heart.
God’s amazing revelation has opened my eyes to the incredible life-changing truth of the birth of his son. The birth of love.
Of truth.
Of freedom.
Of a light that shines in the darkness.

This year, that miracle of a little baby, naked and cold, being born in a manger, was born in my heart.

And this revelation is one of the things I love most about Jesus. That He is forever working in us, never dimming when we try to blow out the light.

February marks the 13th anniversary of my salvation in Christ. But salvation isn’t a one-time deal. Jesus is still working out my salvation deep within me. Bringing me closer and closer to him each day.

So as we move back into “normal life” outside of the Christmas season, let us not forget that the light that made the heavenly star shine so brightly, is shining brightly in every area of our lives today. Sure, sometimes we can’t see it with our human eyes, but it’s there. It will never fade, nor dim, nor leave us wanting.

Law becoming Love.
Love born in a stable.
A stable of humility,
holding a King.
A King coming to claim,
the hearts of those He loves.
Each and every one,
who has ever breathed a breath;
Those are who He’s claimed,
you and me;
His heart beats for us.
And His love never leaves.

When the Twinkle Lights Are All Aglow

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Phew. The Christmas decorations are finally up. What used to take me one day, has now turned into a 4-day extravaganza. It’s not due to the sheer number of knick-knacks or glittery ornaments, more so the exhaustion of this busy holiday season. tree

Since Thanksgiving, life has been a whirlwind. Spinning faster than I can handle. It almost has me wishing for January, when there’s nothing going on and I can exhale a little.

But, as I’ve said before, if I keep wishing time away, I’m going to miss the time God has put right in front of me.

Like the special moment when Ethan was able to help set up the Nativity scene for the first time (the same Nativity that I used to set up in my home as a little girl).

Or the joy of spending this Christmas together as a family of four.

Or the yearly tradition of picking out the perfect ornament.

Or the blessing of making yummy goodies for our neighbors as a way to say we care about you.

Or the opportunity to reach out to our community by hosting our Rockin’ Christmas Eve experience at church.

Or the ultimate reminder that we have a Savior, who was born in a dirty stable so that we could have salvation and so we could LIVE IN HOPE and not just get by in this world, wishing the days away.

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So, while we enjoy the twinkle lights that fill our homes, let us not forget the glorious light that shines in our hearts every day of the year, not just during the month of December.

The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
– John 1:9

 

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Is It Worth It?

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There goes another tantrum.
Is it worth it?

There goes another bath time fight.
Is it worth it?

There goes another privilege revoked.
Is it worth it?

There goes another broken feeling in my oh so tender mommy heart.
Is it worth it?

So, is it worth it?

Is it worth it to endure the tears and frustration, knowing that discipline is not comfortable but yields an abundant crop?

Is it worth to feel like throwing my hands up every morning we wrestle over putting his shoes on?

Is it worth it to fall flat on my face, crying out to Jesus, begging him to guide us in this insane calling of parenthood?

Is it worth it to not know where to turn when we’re given 18 million parenting suggestions and not a single one seems to work?

Is it worth it to see the sadness in his eyes when I have to take Bear and Bunny yet again for his disobedience?

Yes.

A thousand times yes.

Because, as painful as it is right now, this moment will pass. The easy thing would be to just keep wishing each day away until he finally gets it. But then where does that put me? It puts me in the future where I’m longing for the days when he was still 3 because while he was 3 all I did was wish he was 4. Or 5. Or 6.

In the midst of experiencing one of the biggest fights I’ve ever encountered as an adult, I’m finding myself relying harder and harder on the strength that only comes from the Lord.

I find myself seeing more and more what we put our Heavenly Father through when we fight Him and decide to go our own way instead of the way He’s guiding us.

I’m finding that I’m just like the Israelites who moaned and complained about not getting their way, when God’s way was so much better than their’s.

And I’m reminded of this truth:

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

It is worth it. Only because He makes it worth it and He gives me the joy and peace and hope to live through this crazy calling of mommyhood.

Five Minute Moments

I’ve seen this done before. Set the timer for 5 minutes, then write.

Nothing has to fit together. And since my eye is on the clock while I feed my baby girl, why not do it now.

K. Go.

I could listen to Bryan and Katie Torwalt all day long. I mean, their voices, they’re passion for The Lord…it just makes me love Jesus more. Why doesn’t Spotify have their album.

My workout had a 15 minute run today. Oye! It kicked my butt. And it was a chilly run. But the leaves were pretty and the sky was bright blue.

I ate 4 pieces (yes 4) of pumpkin butter-smothered toast today for brunch. Pretty sure I could eat pumpkin butter with a spoon if it had a nice dollop of whip cream on it.

Miss Aubrey turned 4 months old yesterday. When did that happen?

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Ethan turned 3 years old last Friday. My little man is not a baby anymore. We had an indoor camping party. Complete with s’mores and flannel. Indoor because it rained. Camping because it’s fall, and who doesn’t love camping in the fall?

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Ok. There’s the timer. 5 minutes of ramble.

Let’s do it again next Friday! Wanna join me?