Are We Being Judgmental? – 50 Shades of Grey

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When I posted What The Bible Says About 50 Shades of Grey, I was stunned that it went viral. Before writing that post, I literally sobbed to my husband because I knew so many of my christian sisters were being blinded by the enemy.

A nerve struck deep with many people. I wrote that post for my christian sisters. I specifically wrote that post to address the Biblical position of this book/movie in the life of a christian. And honestly, I barely scratched the surface. The post was short and to the point, but it resonated with many of you, who quickly spread it.

As our culture moves away from God, we are losing our senses. We are losing our ability to think for ourselves. We are becoming tolerant and believing the lies that we aren’t open-minded or that we are judgmental if we disagree with what we see in culture.

Over the next couple of days, I want to address some of the most common questions or comments I received. Today, we are exploring the question of “Aren’t we being judgmental?”

2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NLT)

2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says this “4:1-5 People will turn away from the truth, they will grow weary of the plain gospel of Christ, they will be greedy of fables, and take pleasure in them. People do so when they will not endure that preaching which is searching, plain, and to the purpose. Those who love souls must be ever watchful, must venture and bear all the painful effects of their faithfulness, and take all opportunities of making known the pure gospel.”

I love souls and can’t sit silent on this issue. Not to mention I am raising boys, who I pray will respect and honor women.

My post was not a judgement. The intent was an encouragement to the ones who have not read or seen it, an encouragement to stand strong for truth and oppose peer pressure, and to correct/rebuke thoughts and positions on the subject in the life of the christian.

Friends, we have the Word of God, the living Word, to guide, teach, and correct us. We have been granted access to the power of God in our lives. And we have been given permission to ask for wisdom. When we aren’t seeking wisdom, we are susceptible to believing the lies around us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 New Living Translation

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

 

We can’t stop going to God’s Word to test everything. That is where we find truth. We don’t believe it because a blogger said it. We don’t believe it because the media said it. We must test everything against scripture, especially when it is something as culturally shifting as erotica/porn becoming the new standard for book clubs and movie nights.

To navigate our culture we need wisdom, not worldly wisdom, but wisdom that only comes from God.

Proverbs 2:6 NIV

For the Lord gives wisdom. From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

James 1:5 NLT

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Here’s what happens when we lack wisdom:

Proverbs 9:13-18 13

The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it. She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city. She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says,  “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!” But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave.

Quest Study Bible notes 9:17 “The intrigue and danger of being found out can add to sexual temptation. Doing something considered out of bounds offers a thrill or heightened sense of excitement. The euphoria, however, is short-lived and soon gives way to shame, self-loathing and regret.”

Friends, we aren’t being judgmental. When we see something that is sin in the life of our sister or brother in Christ, and we expose the sin, it’s not judgement. It’s love. It’s loving them enough to take on abuse and ridicule for the sake of their souls.

We aren’t judging the person, we are judging the action and loving the person.

Stay tuned this week when we discuss “Does God really care what we read and watch?” and “What’s the link to sex trafficking.”

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What the Bible Says About 50 Shades Of Grey

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God has called me into writing and speaking out of a deep love for women that He’s placed in my heart. It’s because I love you so much that I risk writing this post today. I pray you read this through the lens of love from which I write.

I ask one thing, that you read this to the end. I’ve kept it short to keep your attention.

We were created with hearts that desire a love story. We want a rescuer. We want a man to come and sweep us off our feet. We want a protector. We want to be understood. We want to be fully known and deeply loved. We want to be the center of his attention, the apple of his eye. We want him to pursue us, chase us hard. We want to be found when we hide.

We long for a love story, one bathed in passion and excitement.

50 Shades of Grey will promise to deliver a love story full of passion and excitement. It is not a love story. You want a love story? It’s in the Bible. It’s a story unimaginable. A love story no mind could fathom or create.

You want passion? It’s in the Bible, what kind of passion lays one’s life down for another?

You want excitement? It’s in the Bible. When you read the lengths He’s gone to for you, you can’t help but pant for more of him.

Want a story of power who will come and sweep us off our feet? He’s coming on a white horse for us. He’s come and he’s coming again. (Revelation 19:11-16)

God knows these desires, and He has fulfilled and waits to fulfill every longing of our hearts. The very hearts He created, the very lives He breathed life into.

We have an enemy who knows these desires quite well. This enemy sets out to deceive us and destroy us. He takes God’s truths and distorts them. He takes God-given desires and deforms them. He takes what was meant for good, turns it inside out, and uses it against us as a weapon that will lead to death. Death of marriages, families, lives. He is death. God is life.

2 Corinthians 11:14

But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

50 Shades of Grey is nothing but pornography. Erotica is a justified term for porn. A staggering number of christian women are falling victim to pornography. It’s a story of power and dominance, demeaning to women, full of dark and evil.

There are many gray areas in the Bible. And there are black and whites. 50 Shades of Grey is no gray area according to God. It is a black and white issue.

How do we, as christian women, make any decisions? We look to truth. We look to His Word. We seek wisdom. We pray for discernment.

Women, stand for truth and goodness. Stand for integrity and holiness. Stand for purity and righteousness.

Psalm 101:3 NIV

I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.

When we purchase this book, when we purchase a ticket to watch it, we are funding sex trafficking through the back door. The very evil that outrages us and causes us to stand and fight, we take part in when we give our money to pornography. Pornography funds and fuels little girls and women across the world to be sold for vile sex acts. Pornography funds the selling of bodies to fulfill the lustful desires of evil men.

If you want to fight sex trafficking, do not read, purchase, or watch 50 Shades of Grey.

I’m pleading with you today on behalf of innocent victims to fight against a culture that is opening the door to pornography and making way for more girls to be sold, abused, and oppressed.

Life is a fight. A constant fight. We prevail. We win in the end, my friends! Praise God, He is coming to put an end to the evil of this world. We will all stand before Him. I long to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Love your christian sisters enough to say no to 50 Shades of Grey. Don’t fall into peer pressure. Speak up when others speak as if this book is ok. It’s not. It’s the enemy’s tool to deceive us and steal the joy, excitement, and passion He has for us here and now.

Additional posts in this series:

Are We Being Judgmental? 50 Shades of Grey

Does God Really Care If I Watch 50 Shades of Grey?

50 Shades and Sex Trafficking

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Why We Need To Loosen Our Grip On Life

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I spent the weekend on a mountain with Jesus. The Cove in Asheville to be exact with some lovely ladies from my church.

On the mountain with Jesus, the rubbing world becomes a touch softer. Time decelerates to allow our wandering eyes to find Him and focus with intense precision. The clock’s tick-tock becomes a soothing melody to replace life’s shrill and demanding rhythm. The cares of the world dissipate as we focus solely on Him.

I want to stay on the mountain with Jesus. Sometimes I forget that when I leave the mountain, He escorts me right back down that rocky terrain. I tend to leave God behind on that mountain. I go back into my little life and grip it with every ounce of strength I can muster.

After descending the mountain Sunday, it didn’t take long for my praising of Jesus to become grumbling and complaining. It only took an overflowing laundry basket, an unplanned menu, remembrance of forgotten tasks, looming difficult decisions, and a glance at the upcoming week to turn my eyes from the mountain top to the realities of my life.

Sometimes I compartmentalize my Jesus. You just stay up here on this mountain. I’ll come back again soon. Don’t worry, you know I come back often because I need you so much. I’ll go down and deal with life, then we will meet up here again. 

Ok, not literally, but if I’m honest with myself, my actions speak these sentiments loud and clear.

Our good friend, Moses, knows a few like me well. (Exodus 32)

He went up to meet on the mountain with God. 40 days he basked in the presence of the Father, receiving the very words from God that breathed true life into life, the commands that guide our entire existence. I imagine Moses wanted to camp on the mountain forever.

We were created to live in His Presence, doing life with Him. He’s never desired that we leave Him on the mountain and journey alone.

Moses came down that mountain to an impatient group of people. Tired of waiting on God to do what they wanted Him to do, they took life into their own hands and created their own little god. Guess smartphones aren’t the cause of our impatience after all.

Oh, don’t I do that? Don’t I take my to do list, my desire to have my husband meet all my expectations, my kids’ bad attitudes, my writing, my housekeeping, my friendships, my hopes, my anything I hold dear and get frustrated on waiting for God to be what I want Him to be for me. So I just make a little calf out of the dailies of my life. I do a little dance. And I get nothing back but more frustration, more impatience, more feelings of failure.

I leave my God on the mountain and pick up a little calf on the climb back to life. God never wanted me to leave him on that mountain. He wants to hold my hand, He wants to whisper truth over the voice of the enemy.

He wants my heart to sing His praise louder in the realities of my life than He does on the mountain with my girls.

I can’t do that when I leave Him on the mountain. I can’t take both God and my little gold calf. I must choose which to cling to and which to throw into the fire.

In theory it’s easy to choose. I choose God. In the moment by moment, many times, I pick up my little calf and stumble and grumble through my day. I think I’m holding onto God, but I’m not.

He’s always here to journey with me. He wants to swim through life’s swamp with me. He’s here for me to lay down my parenting heart’s desires at His feet. He wants to take the fears that I close my fist around and replace them with a faith that can move a mountain.

My grip must loosen. I grip the good of this life, I grip the fears of this life, I grip my desires of this life, I grip what I can’t control of this life. I grip it all. A tiny little calf I hold in the palm of my hand. I know I need to let my fingers relax and let those little gold calves of my life fall into the flames.

Freedom comes when we let it all go. We will have free arms to hold onto Him with. He is limitless. We are not. He has arms to hold the entire world at once. We have arms that can only hold a few things at a time. If we let go of everything we cling so tightly to, we can cling to Him, and He can hold everything we try so desperately to hold.

When we place ourself in His arms, whether on the mountain or in the realities of life, we are free.

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One Thing That Will Change Your Life – 5 Ways to Make It Happen

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Early in my parenting years, I came to understand that if I didn’t intentionally claim the time allotted to me, I would drift into a reactionary state of living. If I lived each day in a state of reaction, I would not parent the way I desired.

When my babies were babies, I made one small decision that has impacted me in ways that have altered the course of my days and my entire life. I decided that I wanted to wake before my kids. I wanted to shower and put myself together so I could be with them 100% when they were awake. I wanted to give them my all and felt if I didn’t have to think of myself in the mornings, things would go smoother.

For the most part they did. It helped me tremendously. However, it wasn’t the one thing that changed my life, rather it was the first step to the one thing that changed my life.

From the time I became a follower of Jesus, I began the discipline of a daily quiet time. When my boys were little, I felt all I could do was squeeze in the time around their schedules. I had to sneak times of quiet, hiding out from the kids. Much of my quiet time was far shorter than I preferred. I felt lucky to sneak in 5-10 minutes to spend alone with the Lord. I attended church, I was in a Bible study, I was in a small group. But time alone with the Lord was scarce.

My soul began to crave what it needed, what it was created to desire. Intimate time with God. Time carved out for just the two of us. A private date.

I made a decision to change how I spent those quiet moments in the morning. I had to adjust my schedule and my priorities. The tending of my soul is more important than anything I do all day long. When my soul finds rest in God alone, everything I encounter, everything I attempt, everything I dream, everything I serve finds its purpose and satisfaction.

The one small change I’ve made in 38 years that has impacted my life more than anything else is to wake when everyone still sleeps, tiptoe downstairs, and steal away with the lover of my soul.

Spending the quiet moments of my morning alone with God is a standing date. It’s not a habit. It’s not a chore. It’s not something placed on my to-do list. My time with God awakens my soul, stirs my heart, revives my spirit, refreshes my mind, and directs my steps. 

Before beginning my day alone and quiet, I failed to see the benefits. Years of sitting at His feet before anyone can need me has given me the ability to see Him and hear Him when many days I would be prone to missing Him in my moments.

Proverbs 31:15 “She gets up while it is still dark…..”

Does your soul need a little tender, loving care? He waits with open arms. He will never stand us up. He will never disappoint. He is faithful.

One thing every soul needs is time alone with God. Time with His Word. Time to praise Him, time to thank Him, time to confess, time to request.

Time. We all have the same amount. The less time we feel we have to sit quietly before Him, the more reason we have to hide away with Him.

5 Ways To Begin Quiet Time

1. Set your alarm– If you are not in the habit of waking before your family, an alarm will help you to take charge of your time before it takes charge of you. You determine the time to start your day, your day will not determine the time you have.

2. Start small – If you are just beginning to develop a quiet time, begin small and build. Start with 10 minutes. Over time you will find you crave more time with him. You will find it easier and easier to set aside longer stretches of time.

3. Set realistic expectations – Understand that you won’t do it perfectly everyday. Allow yourself grace.  Know that it won’t always happen, but don’t let it thwart your plan. Find time throughout the day, and try again the next day. If your children wake unexpectedly during your alone time, invite them in. Try not to become frustrated (like I have many times), but thank God that they are seeing modeled what it looks like to sneak away with Jesus. Invite them to join you with their own Bible. They can read or look at pictures quietly while you read your Bible, or you can read together. Have them join you in prayer, let them hear how you pour your heart out to Jesus before the day chips into your heart.

4. Have a plan- but be open to the leading of His Spirit. Determine the night before you will get up, have a devotion or bible reading plan you will use. I try not to become too rigid in what I read and study in the morning. Some days I read through Psalms and Proverbs, some days I work on my Bible study lesson, some days I simply pray and meditate on one scripture, some days I read a day of my daily Bible reading plan, some days I read from a devotion. I want to have a plan in place, but I don’t want that plan to become my master. I want to be open to God’s leading through His Word.

5. Set up a place- dedicated for your quiet time. I have a comfortable chair where I can be found every morning at 5:00am (I know that is way too early for most, the time doesn’t matter, just make it a priority). Have everything you will need nearby. I keep a Bible, journal, pen, prayer books, Bible study materials, concordance and Bible dictionary. Of course, I have a blanket and a cup of coffee as well.

Give into the craving of your soul. Spending time alone with God is not a luxurious thought, it is the one thing that will radically change your life.

 

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When Your Child Acts Unloveable, When No One Understands

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I peeked open his door and gazed at his peaceful slumber. I think he is beautiful when he sleeps. His body is in constant motion when awake, so I love to watch him at complete rest.

Then I did what I can only do with him, what would cause my other boys to wake in fight mode. With no warning at all, no gentle back rubs, no sweet good morning whispers, I rolled him fast on his back and dug my chin in hard into the soft of his back, laughing and tickling him with no mercy.

How one can go from the deepest slumber to the deepest of belly laughs, I will never understand. I stopped, and he said, “Again!” We hit the repeat button on this moment each morning. It’s the best way to assure a happy mood from Andrew.

Occasionally, he turns to what we call the “dark side”. It’s a turning of little Anakin Andrew. The good dwells there, but sin lurks and lures with fierce boldness. The good is in constant battle with the dark. It’s there for all of us. We all have a little Anakin in us. Kids just live with their guards down most of the time. We’ve learned to keep our masks on. We all know the good prevails. We must remember good wins in the end.

On my end I had done everything “right” according to all parenting books and best blogs. We had prepared what costume he would wear to school for spirit day. We had it laid out and prepared. We had discussed how the morning would go. I started the morning the way he likes. I gave him plenty of choices so he felt he maintained some control and wasn’t being bossed around. I did everything “they” say to do.

No matter how hard we try, sometimes our best intentions fail us. When a perfect parent day aligns with a perfect kid day, the stars shine bright, the birds sing joyous songs, all looks well in our world. We smile more. We laugh more. The world looks grand. We post it on Facebook. We see the good in the world around us.

There are days one of us brings our A game and the other doesn’t. We meet at the corner of I’m trying and Why Aren’t You. This is the intersection where collisions are common. In my home anyway. That is where I was this morning. Full on collision though I had followed all precautionary rules and road signs.

I heard no birds singing joyous songs. Nothing about this moment would make it on my Facebook page. It was too ugly, and I don’t want to be a whiner. Barking replaced laughing. Scowl replaced smile. The world looked grim, and a 6-year-old looked back at me with defiant eyes that said, “See if you can make me why don’t you.”

Sometimes God gives us what we need the most to need Him the most.

My heavy footsteps marched hard to the whisper, “Lord, help. Lord, help. Please, Lord, help. I can’t parent his personality well.”

A difficult child is a high calling. We must rise up to the challenge. We can’t wallow in defeat. We can’t focus on the difficult task. We must focus on the calling.

Love this child who acts unloveable, which means he needs love that much more. Show this child unconditional love when you feel like pulling back.

This is so hard for me to remember in the heat of battle. My first thoughts are always shameful. My first thoughts are usually the ones that I dare not admit. Therefore, I will confess all the more.

If I don’t take captive my thoughts, they will lead me to despair, self-pity, resentment, and bitterness. I will convince myself that no one understands the challenges I face, the difficult moments I battle. I will say under my breath, or to my poor husband who is forced to listen, “No one understands how hard this is! No one sees how hard I try to understand him and parent him well.”

This is the moment the Holy Spirit intercedes into my negative and sinful thoughts. Yes, there is someone who understands full well. The same one who created you. The same one who created him. The same one who matched you up for my purposes to bring glory to my name. Yes, someone understands.

This is the moment He reminds me that we all face difficult battles and that none of us completely understands the challenges that any of us face. Truly we don’t. But that is what He is there for. He is there to take my burdens and frustrations. He is there to listen to my venting. No one understands our lives fully, do they? But He does.

I release the world from the pressure of understanding me when I realize they don’t need to fully know me because there is One who does fully know me. And He loves me anyway. Despite knowing me full well, He loves me. A mask can’t hide me from Him. My naked heart is laid bare and vulnerable. And that very thought catches the breath in my throat.

In the most difficult moments with my strong-willed child, it’s my own sinful pride that battles hard inside me. It’s that part of me that wants things to be easier, wants things to look a certain way. The part that whispers through clenched teeth to God, “I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do, why isn’t this going the way I want it to?” It’s ugly. So very ugly.

There is no ugly, He can’t wipe clean. There are no words or emotions He can’t redeem.

It’s in the quiet that I understand this all. I rarely see this clearly in the moment. It’s when emotions settle down, when the world begins to resemble calm, when I step back. When I get out of God’s way, I’m able to see.

Filing out of our house, we scrambled late into the car. The trash needed to be moved to the curb, the dog needed to be put up, Zachary couldn’t find his glasses, Andrew forgot his coat. My jaw ached as it had not released its grip just yet.

“Mommy, mommy!” I kept right on moving. Rolling trash cans with Jacob, helping gather missing items. Andrew wouldn’t stop. “Mommy! Mommy! Look, fast!”

With less love in my voice than I care to admit, I snapped, “What Andrew?!?”

“Look, there!”

I looked up, and there it was. A spectacular sunrise. The thing about sunrises, they last but a moment. We must catch a glimpse of the moment and hold tight to the beauty. Faster than I could run to grab my phone, the sun had risen, and the stunning display was gone. I hold onto the beauty I know was there, is there, and will be there again.

Such is this life. Life as mommy. Life as a friend. Life as a wife. Life as a co-worker. Life as anything. The moments come, the moments go, the beauty seems to ebb and flow. It’s an illusion. The beauty is always here because He is always here. We just need eyes to see through the haze. For me it’s usually in hindsight. So I pray each time, Lord, help me see clearer right there in those hazy, crazy moments. Amen.

(Thank you to my sweet, friend, Angela, who let me use the sunrise photo she beautifully captured this morning.)

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Sometimes We Don’t Outgrow Homesick

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I was given a gift of a trip to New York last weekend with my mom, sister, and niece. After an incredibly busy fall, I was longing for a break, a bit of an escape. New York is definitely not a place of rest. In fact, it’s the exact opposite for me. It’s vibrant, alive, electric and eclectic, bright, loud, full of variety, and an overload to the senses. All in all, it’s an exciting place to be.

No matter where I go, it doesn’t take long for me to feel homesick.

I was the kid at the sleepover that woke the sleeping parents begging them to call my mom at midnight to come get me. Somehow I would receive an invitation again, but the pattern would repeat. Each time I promised to be braver, stronger. I would lie in my friend’s bed staring at the ceiling- this ball of nerves tightly knotted in my stomach. I’d tell myself that everything was ok, just go to sleep. The longer I stared at the ceiling, the bigger the fear monster grew. I’d shoot out of the bed, run to my friend’s parents’ room, tap-tap-tap their sleeping shoulders, and whisper, “Can you please call my mom? I want to go home.”

I’d arrive home, jump into bed, and run my hands across the sheets that wrapped me in familiar. It’s not that I was scared of something bad happening. I knew no monsters were under my friend’s bed. I knew her parents were safe and loved me. I just longed for home when I wasn’t home.

I’m 38 years old, and I still long for home when I’m not home. Yet even when I’m home, I find I long for home still. A home that never ends. A home that fulfills every longing I could ever dream up. A home that never fails, never disappoints. A home that is never sick, never dies. A home from which joy flows effortlessly. A home where peace reigns.

6:05 am Friday morning my flight left Charlotte on its way to NYC. An hour and a half later we landed, and that slightly familiar twinge began to prick at my heart. The one that reminded me I wasn’t home. The one that longed to be home. I had an amazing time on my weekend away and wouldn’t change a second of it. But the entire time I was away, I had that feeling. The one that longed for home.

I called Steve to check on everyone and told him how much I missed home. “Renee, please enjoy this time away. Don’t focus so much on what’s going on at home, that you ruin your trip. Besides once you are home for 5 minutes, we will be driving you crazy again, so enjoy being away.”

I hung up with a chuckle in my heart. It’s true. Sometimes the space makes us long for home more. Sometimes the space is what we need to see what we treasure most.

Sometimes.

Even when I’m home with my husband and my boys, there is this subtle aching. This little voice that whispers to me about home. My true home.

It’s so easy for me to get caught up in life. Daily life. This family right here in front of me. We build our home, we build up our kids, we build our marriage, we build our 401K, we build our future.

More exciting than all that we build is what is being built for us. The home we will spend eternity in.

Investing in this earthly home is important. It’s necessary. Much of what we invest in here, is an investment towards our eternal home. Not a gaining of an eternal home, but a placing of our treasures into that home where we will spend forever.

Investing in my marriage, I’m placing my treasures into the home I’ll spend forever after death. Investing in the spiritual growth of my children, I’m placing treasures in the home I’ll spend forever after death. Investing in my 401K, it’s important, but it’ll burn. It’ll be eaten away and devoured. It won’t make it into the treasury of my eternal home.

When my van pulled into the driveway, my husband, boys, and the dog were all waiting to greet me. They rushed at me with arms opened wide. They showered me with hugs and kisses and told me of all the ways they missed me. They toured me through the house they spent hours cleaning.

Home. Home felt so good in that moment. The hours leading up to bed, I adjusted back to home. And it felt good. When my head hit the pillow, that little achy whisper began to speak. “This feels good. This is home for now. But just wait for the home I have in store for you.” That little ache reminded me that this home feels good, but there is a home that is beyond my wildest dreams. No mind has ever conceived what He has planned for us.

I long for that home.

As we enter the new year, it’s natural to set goals, make dreams, and set our sights on what we want. What I want most this year are eyes to see Him in my every moment. A heart that beats for Him with each second. Ears to hear His whispers over the noise. And a life that invests in my eternal home.

I want my life invested in treasures that don’t burn. Home. True home. True rest.

[box] Psalm 119:169-176 MSG “Let my cry come right into your presence, God; provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word. Give my request your personal attention, rescue me on the terms of your promise. Let praise cascade off my lips; after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life! And let your promises ring from my tongue; every order you’ve given is right. Put your hand out and steady me since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel. I’m homesick, God, for your salvation; I love it when you show yourself! Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, use your decrees to put iron in my soul. And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me! I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.”[/box]

[box] Psalm 119:81 MSG “I’m homesick—longing for your salvation; I’m waiting for your word of hope.”[/box]

[box] If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing here to receive posts via email. You will receive a free Christmas ornament download that accompanies Seeking Christmas – Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions.[/box]

 

A Backwards New Year’s Resolution

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I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I am not opposed to making healthy changes or setting goals. I just don’t want to wait for a certain day on the calendar to tell me that is the day to make a change.

More than anything I feel like the New Year can be one more way we have to try harder. One more way we look at what we did the year before and think, ‘That’s not good enough. This year I will work harder, try more, dig deeper, be happier.” I’m not saying we don’t need to evaluate our life and make changes. Of course, we do. We should always be learning, growing, and changing. However, what I find is that many of us are searching for the one thing we are missing. So we think, “This year I will try harder. I will find joy. I will find peace. I will…..”

Many times we end up trying too hard in our search for more of what we want more than anything in the world.

The try hard life is exhausting. The grace covered life revives the soul.

The try hard life reminds us of our failures. The grace covered life tells us ‘It is finished.’

Like every year, I will not be making a New Year’s Resolution. Actually, maybe I’m making a backwards resolution. As we kick off the start of a fresh year, I surrender to the try hard life. I raise my hands high. I open my hands to His daily grace.

All I want this year is more of Him. More of His moment by moment Presence. I want eyes wider to see Him in each moment He graces to me. I want to wear grace tinted glasses so in all the minutes that I encounter, I can’t help but see Him in it.

May I suggest you release yourself of the pressure to set a New Year’s Resolution this year? Instead open yourself to His grace. Surrender your will to His. Surrender your plans to His. Then get ready to experience the life you’ve never imagined in ways you can’t fathom. When He is in it, you can’t help but change. And the person He will grow you into, you could never achieve on your own.

So today, I am thankful for a fresh start. But this fresh start doesn’t only come once a year. It’s available every day. Every moment. All we have to do is raise our hands and surrender. Let go of trying harder. Let Him do the work.

My life verse

[box] “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10[/box]

[box] “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23[/box]

[box] If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing here to receive posts via email. You will receive a free Christmas ornament download that accompanies Seeking Christmas – Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions.[/box]