Happy Valentine’s Day! Below are some thoughts and quotations that I gathered from my Commonplace Books, on the theme of love.
My prayer for you today is that you will learn to love others more deeply as you more fully comprehend the love God has for you. If you are a natural-born pleaser/achiever like me, it can often be difficult to realize and remember that God’s love for you is not based on any merit of your own. He loves you in spite of all your failures and sins. He loves you, and not because of anything you have done or anything you are currently doing. You cannot and you will not measure up. His love is undeserved, yes, a thousand times yes, and that is what makes God’s love toward us so exceedingly precious.
This truth has come home to me over the past few years, and it repeatedly brings me to tears, because it speaks to my soul.
“How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He would give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.” -Stuart Townend
God’s love was expressed in a supreme Sacrifice. Wherever there is true love, there must be giving, and giving to the point of sacrifice. Love is not satisfied with giving trinkets; it must give at the cost of sacrifices; it must give blood, life, all. -F.B. Meyer
Without social media, it’s harder to share daily life. Although we feel that exiting Facebook et al. was the right decision for us to make, I have to admit I miss it.
So here is a “patchwork” post… various items of note, combined into one rambling post, kind of a “facebook not facebook” if you will. 😄 I’m hoping to do one of these every month. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or hear from you personally!
Here I Stand – A life of Martin Luther – by Roland Bainton
I’ve been trying to read this book for quite a while. I’m ashamed to even admit how long it is taking me! But, I’m determined not to give up. I found out that Joshua is also reading it for his Reformation History class. I’m struck by so many things as I poke along through this book. Here is one quotation:
“I will tell you straight what I think. I am a Christian theologian; and I am bound, not only to assert, but to defend the truth with my blood and death. I want to believe freely and be a slave to the authority of no one, whether council, university or pope. I will confidently confess what appears to me to be true, whether it has been asserted by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it has been approved or reproved by a council.” -Martin Luther
Luther only made this statement after hours and hours of trembling on his face before God. He didn’t strike out on a limb without knowing Whom he really must answer to. God help us to raise warriors with this kind of courage! And help us to be those kind of warriors ourselves!
Joshua has taken on a new venture. He is now the string bass player for BJUGrass, and has the opportunity to travel out several times this semester to minister in churches and various venues. This weekend he is in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. All those violin lessons and summer Fiddle Camp experiences have paid off!
The lines of separation between good and evil in our society are now drawn more clearly than ever. Evil is definitely raising it’s ugly head and gleefully having a heyday. As we observe the chaos of our times, one phrase keeps coming to my mind: “There is no future in that.”
Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and re-reading Psalm 37, which speaks to the same theme– those who have a future, and those who do not.
God has made His world to work by certain unchangeable principles. He tells us who will have the future. Although we find ourselves living in a time that is not for the faint of heart, take courage and take comfort from this Psalm, which presents a clear contrast between the good and the evil.
Repeatedly mentioned in this Psalm is the phrase “inherit the land.” This phrase strongly implies a future.
Although I’m not much of a crafty mom, I do love tie dye. Olivia received a tie dye craft kit at a Christmas gift exchange and so we took our opportunity for a little mid-winter crafty fun! This kit was for dying a bandana and three scrunchies.
Once a month on our chat group, these ladies and I (see picture below) share a product with each other— we each choose something we enjoy using and can recommend. These sweet girls have graciously agreed to allow me to share these products with you here. Each of us will share one item each month, highlighting four products for you, from our various ages and stages of life. From apps to appliances and everything in between!
But first… introductions! Left to right, below: me, my daughter Katie (17), my sister Beka (just had her first baby, an adorable boy, in November), and my sister Rachel (mother of three lovely girls ages 7 and down).
As a woman, there is an undeniable pull to my home, to my nest. This is what I call a “grounding force,” placed into the heart of a woman by Creator God. We must stay deeply rooted and grounded during such turbulent times.
We need to make a deliberate effort to step out of our paralysis of fear and all that we cannot control, and step into some positive action right here in our homes. Even a small amount of energy will begin to build upon itself, and you will find yourself looking around at things you can control, a place where you can make a difference and create a peaceful haven, a place where you can have real and lasting influence (the kind unknown to Twitter) in the lives of others, and thereby have real influence in the real world.
Here we are in that odd week between Christmas and New Year’s, when we find ourselves tired/happy/reflective, out of our normal routine, but also trying to do something useful if at all possible. Here are two useful things that I’ve learned to do in the week after Christmas. They don’t take much effort, but as the years go by I am more and more thankful that I’ve gotten into the habit of doing these simple things. So, I thought I’d share!
1.) File away the family Christmas card or letter into an album. Mine is a simple binder that now contains our Christmas letters and/or cards, going back every year, all the way to 2006. I use plastic page protectors in the binder to hold the extra cards and letters, labeled for each year. It’s an easy way to gradually collect memories and thereby create a treasured family heirloom.
It’s a weary, weary world right now. Maybe you feel it too. It’s a bleak horizon and I can feel the grayness in my soul. A personal weariness, a national weariness, a global weariness. This is a strange subject to write about merely days before Christmas, I agree. But somehow, the joy of Christmas also brings out the weariness of the world.
I was texting someone recently about this, and she replied: “It is a weary world! We took some treat plates around to some neighbors the other day and I realized fully for the first time how elderly our town is. At least 50% of the town is retired, some of them very elderly. Several people invited me/us to stay and chat, several said they love seeing our family walk by…one neighbor stopped back by and dropped off a gift for the kids and said ‘I’m so glad you’re my neighbors!’ And we received three Christmas cards and two thank you cards back in the mail! One of the cards says, ‘nice to see a family together.’ So many lonely folks…I told my husband that our ministry may be to just walk around town as a family and be a little corner of togetherness in people’s lives…the older people seem to really resonate with seeing our family out together.”
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the LORD; let it be to me according to Your word.'” Luke 1:38
What a response to the announcement she had just heard from the angel. Some say Mary was incredibly honored to be the recipient of this incredible announcement. Others say it would have been shocking and frightening; a major shake-up in Mary’s life. Probably it was both at the same time. Whatever emotions she was feeling, whatever thoughts were racing through her mind, no doubt her world had just been turned completely upside down. And yet, what do we find in her one sentence response?
We’ve probably all been there. Excited kids on every hand, freshly fallen snow outside, and suddenly you find yourself lost in a bin full of mittens, gloves, scarves, hats– all sizes, shapes and colors, and no matches in sight. Arghh! Just get these kids outside to play already!
I decided this would finally be the winter to conquer the winter gear problem, once and for all (if such a thing were possible). (Spoiler– looks like it might be possible!)