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Deep Thoughts on Coloring Pages

I am not a creative person. There are probably several people reading this right now who would disagree with that statement but I know a crafty person when I see one and I am definitely NOT one of them. You know those people that look at something on Pinterest and actually MAKE it?! I don’t have those skills unless someone is holding my hand every step of the way.

However, with the ability to read mysteriously gone for now, I’ve had to get a little creative with my devotions and they have taken a mildly crafty turn. I’ve been using coloring books. Yup, you read that right. The person who loves a good theology book is using coloring books for her devotion time. Ironic, no? I’m sure you’ve seen them- the “Adult” coloring books that are supposed to help you relax (unless you are Type A) and these ones have Bible verses on them. So I color a page and meditate on the verse while doing so. It usually takes me at least two days per page because of the detail.

The other day, I finished up this page:

img-5513.jpgAs I looked over the completed page, I chuckled to myself about how much time I had spent on that border versus the words. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a lot of times, that is exactly what we do with the gospel. The gospel is so simple that a child is able to understand it but we try to crowd it with extra stuff sometimes and spend way more time on that when we should just be focused on Christ.

You can find other analogies too. What if that center box represents Scripture and the border is everything else in your life. What do you spend more time and energy on? What is your focus on? Do you allow the busyness of life to crowd out your time spent with the Lord or is it the other way around?

All that to say, I guess you can learn stuff from crafts. Well, I don’t really think I learned it from the coloring book… 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2017 in Devotions

 

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Running Towards Gratitude

I’ve been feeling a little bit better recently. I’m finally starting to see results from my “time out” and I’ve gone from having 5-7 seizures every day to last week having roughly 2-3 a day. Which is awesome!

I’ve been taking a lot of walks recently. And gradually, I’ve pushed myself to go farther and farther on these walks. Sometimes it’s been accidental (I wonder where this road comes out?) and other times I am testing my body and brain to find its limit. Probably not what the doctor would order but…

Anyway, with all this walking, I’ve just been itching to go for a run. It’s been sooooo long and the weather has been beautiful and I thought, surely if I can walk 4 miles, I can do a short run, right? So this morning I woke up feeling a little extra ambitious and thought, this is the day, I’m going for it. I had walked a route yesterday that was about 1.7 miles so I planned to run that same route.

I started out nice and easy and within the first 2 minutes I could feel the pressure building in my head but I wasn’t giving up that easy. I pushed and pushed until it got to the point where I was kind of scared that if I kept going, something drastic might have to happen (like a horrible ambulance ride, ugh.) So I came down to a walk and looked at my running app- 1.02 miles.

Instantly I felt this sense of defeat. Defeat, because I didn’t complete the run and walked back, which I hate doing. If you had told me two years ago that soon I would barely be able to run 1 mile, I would have laughed at you.

But in that walk back home, I had time to pray. I realized that it’s a blessing to be able to do all the walking I’ve been doing in the first place. It’s a blessing that I’m not shut up at home all the time, but can be out and about doing things. And what I really should be doing is thanking God for that one mile, instead of discarding it in disgust. I kind of needed an attitude change and to remember all the things I have to be thankful for.

And so today, I am grateful that I could not complete a run so that God could remind me of his goodness and give me time to thank him for it.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in epilepsy

 

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A Temporary Traveler

So you may have noticed that things look a little different around here…like I completely changed the name of my blog and stuff like that…

My domain was giving me all sorts of trouble (which is weird since I own that domain, but whatever) so in the end I just decided to start afresh.

I’ve been contemplating time lately. And feeling a little convicted. How much time do I spend on things that are of eternal value and how much do I spend on things that are temporary? As I thought about a regular day, I realized that not a lot of it was spent doing things that are of real worth.

And that’s how the new name came about. I remembered that this world isn’t my forever home, it’s a place I’m called to minister in for a while. I pray that as you read, you are encouraged and we can praise the name of Jesus together.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2017 in blogging

 

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When Dreams Fall

I always thought that dreams had to be something big. Like a dream job, how you want to change the world, or the perfect marriage. But I’ve recently learned that dreams can come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t always have to be something life-altering. Sometimes, a dream can be something that is small but important to you. Actually, I think that is really the key: importance.

How did I come to this conclusion? Hmmm…when I first tried to understand the idea of not working for a while and needing to rest, I hated the thought. Mostly, because I am not very good at resting. I like to be doing stuff and I like to be working so the idea of giving that up frustrated me. But suddenly a wonderful thought popped into my head and slowly a dream started to form. I started to envision all this time that I would have to study God’s Word and do my devotions. I thought about quiet time without time restraints and unlimited hours to read great books and really get closer with the Lord. And I got a little excited. I ordered a few new books and stared at them, waiting for the time to come where I would finally have time to read them.

And the time has come. Do you know what? I can’t read. This has happened before, right when I first started having seizures, but I find myself really unable to read for any length of time. My eyes jump from line to line and the amount of focus it takes to read is so incredible that my head starts to pound and I get worn out very quickly. Everyone tells me to get audio books but I am the worst auditory learner IN. THE. WORLD. It’s like background noise and I just tone it out. (I’m sure some of you are thinking I’m crazy but maybe you don’t like reading at all so picture something else. 🙂 )

In my disappointment, my heart and mind cry out “Lord! How can this be good?! How can it be good for me to not be able to read your Word? I don’t understand!”

And you know what? I will honestly say that I don’t know the answer to that question. But I know that I don’t need to know all the answers and I can also honestly say with Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I read this simple quote the other day and I feel like I should write it down and put it up all over my apartment so I don’t forget it! It said, “And if not, He is still good” Just let that sink in. You can put whatever thoughts you want in there and it won’t matter:

He. is. still. good.

What a beautiful thing to rest in.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2017 in contentment

 

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Jumbled Thoughts from a Jumbled Mind

I’ve been wanting to post for the last week or so but every time I start to think about what I should say every cohesive thought I’ve ever had leaves my brain, so I would like to apologize in advance for what may follow here.

Hmmm…what to say…well let’s get you up to speed here. I’m done working now and I’m visiting my parents and younger siblings for a couple weeks before I move into my apartment around Labor Day.

Thought 1: Do you know what I have discovered that is different this time compared to other times I’ve come to visit my parents? I have discovered that Ohio has become my home. Of course PA will always be my home and hold a special place in my heart but I have a certain sense of belonging in Ohio that I don’t feel as much in PA anymore.

For instance, I have always called my parents’ church my church for the last four years (even though I didn’t live here lol) because I felt most at home here. I didn’t know that had changed until I walked through the door of it on Sunday and realized how much I missed my church in Ohio and all the people there. And suddenly I realized that it had sneakily become my church without me even knowing it!

Thought 2: My family loves me a lot. My Mom and Dad go out of their way to do things for me, even if it means playing Candyland when that’s the game I pick to play. 🙂 Also, I can barely move the next room without David asking me where I’m going because he’s afraid that I’m going somewhere without him.

Thought 3: Sometimes I don’t want to learn God’s lessons. It’s so much easier to say that your purpose shouldn’t be wrapped up in your job than it is to live that. Sometimes it’s hard to even tell until your job is gone. It’s a lesson that I need to learn but God’s school isn’t always fun.

BUT I am SO thankful he knows me better than I know me! I am thankful that he can look into my heart and show me how to be more Christ-like!

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in growing

 

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A Pause in the Music

Around one year ago, I posted this on my Facebook page:

“Often in a piece of music there appears a pause. The pause is put between the notes for effect and to emphasize the beauty and majesty of what is coming next. Sometimes God adds a pause into the constant rhythm of our busyness and gives us time to focus on Him. Just like in a great piece of music, without the pause we would not be able to see the beauty of what is coming and what God has planned to do in us and through us. Let us rejoice when we find ourselves in one of life’s pauses. Let us seek Christ, wait on the Lord, and choose to glorify Him. Let us rest in God’s goodness and faithfulness and allow Him to mold our hearts so that our perspective is changed when the rhythm of the music starts again.”

I wrote that after a conversation with my best friend based on something she had read (giving credit where it’s due here, people).

Today, I find myself about to enter into a pause in life. At the end of August, I will be leaving a job that I having worked at and loved for 4 1/2 years. A job that I have poured myself into with all my heart and energy. A job where my co-workers are my family and I love them as such.  A job where we speak freely about Christ and impact others for the kingdom.

It took a lot for the Lord to bring me to this point. I remember last summer, crying as others around me were pushing me to work less and I felt like I had already given up so many things that I loved. I cried out to God and begged him (or perhaps told him?) to allow me to continue working. That he could have everything else, but not my job. Don’t ever tell God something like that. 🙂

But over the last couple months it has become very clear to both my doctor and finally to myself that this isn’t working. Something has to change. My brain is losing its capacity to handle multiple things at a time and that is basically what I do all day long. And so it’s stressful because I can’t manage things anymore. Which leads to seizures. Which make my head hurt and then I can’t focus. And it’s this never ending cycle that meds aren’t beating. My body has never had time to recover since all this started, which happens to be 15 months ago today.

So what is the plan you ask? The plan is rest. I will be done at my current job at the end of August but still plan to live in the area. I have promised to take at least one month off of all work and see how my body responds and if the meds start to work with a little less stress on my brain. My prayer is that that month becomes one of healing and of drawing closer every day to our Savior.

And so currently I’m in the middle of a full force symphony, but I am with mixed emotions waiting for the day when God brings that pause.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2017 in epilepsy

 

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What is Church Membership?

My Young Adult group at church has been reading this book and it got all of us thinking: what does it really mean to be a church member? Is it filling out some forms and saying your testimony before a congregation? Is it showing up on Sundays and Wednesdays (maybe) to be fed with God’s Word? Does it mean you have to serve in the nursery once in a while or teach a Sunday School class every so often? What exactly is it? And what ISN’T it?

As we studied, it became very apparent that most people, including us, come to church to get something. We come to be fed. We come to be nurtured and encouraged. We come to be served, whether that’s by those doing worship, providing childcare, or even holding doors. And we have come to expect those things. In some ways, this is appropriate. The church SHOULD be providing for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of those who come in. The congregation should leave feeling encouraged and cared for.

Are you ready for the kicker? YOU ARE THE CHURCH, PEOPLE!! You! You are the person who is called to care for the person sitting next to you during service. You are the person who should strive to encourage others and make them feel truly cared for and to ask how their spiritual life is going. YOU! It’s not up to the church leaders. We have gotten so used to saying, “Well, if the church would only do this….” that we have forgotten that WE are that “church.”

What if, instead of coming to church expecting to GET something out of the service or out of worship…we came with the mindset of…”How can I GIVE to my church today?” How can I serve my church? How can I feed my church? What does that look like in real life?

Our group has been learning a lot lately about what it means to truly love each other and how to care for the church. As I have been challenged, I would also challenge you to look at your own heart: do you go to church to get or to give? How can you better serve Christ at your church?

This might be a daily mindset struggle (it is for me sometimes!), but I think in the end our churches will reflect the character of Christ so much clearer and this verse would actually become a reality:

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in church

 

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