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Because He Loves Me

Guys, I made a mistake. A few years ago, I was given a book. It was given as a thank-you gift to a group of volunteers that I’m blessed to be a part of. It was around Christmas time and I remember looking at it, and putting it on my bookshelf. And here’s where the mistake came in:

I DID NOT READ THAT BOOK. If you don’t know this about me, I don’t read many theology books written by women because sometimes I get tired of looking for good ones. (Some of you might identify with that and some of you might be outraged.) So when I saw that this book was written by a woman I pridefully placed it in the back of my mind and forgot about it. I should have known better. I should have known that the ladies that picked this book are some of the most biblically sound people I know. I should have read the book years ago. I didn’t though.

But God in his grace reminded me of that book a couple months back and I decided to give it a try. I have been blown away, people. There were some days I would be reading and it was all I could do to contain the love for Christ that I felt building inside me from reading this. This book is one of the most Christ-focused, convicting, and encouraging books I have ever read!

It’s Because He Loves Me by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I actually can’t think of anything negative to say, which is rare for me. I even included the Amazon link if you click that picture because, seriously, everyone should read it!

Over the next few posts, I want to share some of my favorite parts of the book but I think my absolute favorite thing about it was how entirely gospel-focused it is. Elyse starts out with the gospel and builds on that but always brings you back to the fact that Christ’s love displayed in the gospel should be the driving motivation for every single thing we do. I needed that reminder. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to do what’s right that I ignore my motivations. A short quote from the book, “I believe that most Christians think fondly of Jesus, are sincerely grateful for salvation, and remember his name as a tagline when they pray, but they don’t see his work and life as something to contemplate every moment of every day. I have to admit that until fairly recently I, too, pursued godliness without much thought of him.”

And that’s just from the intro! This book left me with a greater awe of our Savior and love for him! I’m so excited to share that with you all.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in books

 

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Bumpy Ride

My car has been broken down for almost a month now. My wonderful, used-to-be-reliable car has a cracked engine block and needs a whole new engine. To be quite honest, I kind of miss it. I miss its smooth driving, its great sound system, and its amazing AC. I just miss driving my vehicle. You know, when you know a car and how it moves and its quirks? That kind of thing.

On the plus side, my best friend is super generous and has been letting me use her car since she can use a work vehicle. And guys from my church are working on my car situation. But it’s been draining. I don’t like having Natalie’s car because I don’t like forcing her to drive a camp vehicle. To say the least, I’m not a fan of cracked engine blocks.

So this week, I suddenly remembered that I have another car that I gave back to a friend to scrap. We put the battery back in and it started up! I was beyond happy to be able to give Natalie her car back even if it meant I was driving around a rust bucket for a while.

Why am I telling you all this? I do have a point. Also this week (it’s been busy around here) we had a missionary from Romania stay with people at my church. One night several of us gathered together to hang out and someone asked me if I had walked there. I half-jokingly replied, “No, unfortunately that tub of rust out there is mine.”

Do you know what that missionary said? “What do you mean unfortunately? You have a car! That’s great! What a huge blessing!”

Immediately, several “yeah, but” statements flew into my head but in the end I had to sheepishly own up that I actually have two cars. He was floored and kept talking about what a blessing that was! Whoa, was I convicted. Such a different attitude than what I had. Suddenly the rust, the smell, mice, lack of AC, no muffler (the list goes on) didn’t seem as important. Suddenly the fact that I have a vehicle that gets me from point A to point B, that isn’t inconveniencing another person, and that simply RUNS became something to be more grateful for. And on top of that, I have an awesome friend that let me use her car for a while and guys at my church who are working hard on my car to get it fixed!

I’m so thankful for that change in perspective! I’m thankful someone was there to point out how grateful I should be and he didn’t even realize what he was doing!

So if you hear me coming, don’t mind me. I’m just going to boldly drive around my rusty, leaky old car as long as I need to (and it holds up) because God gave it to me and I’m grateful for his provision!

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2019 in blessing

 

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Let Me See Redemption Win

I woke up this morning feeling the epitome of one of my favorite songs. So much so that I listened to it on my drive to work:

I’m tired
I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing

I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I’m worn

(Worn- Tenth Avenue North)

This week has worn me out, friends. I’ve been filling in for someone at work while she’s on vacation and let me tell ya, I thought I was pretty confident in her workload until she wasn’t sitting there watching me do it anymore. Suddenly moving big chunks of money around without guidance became stressful. I made (and fixed) mistakes all week long. I’ve felt a little lost and forgetful over stuff I think I should remember.

I’ve also been in several long meetings and working on things I’ve previously committed to. I don’t have phone service throughout the day where I work so my phone gets bombarded with texts as I drive home. Yesterday by the time I got home, I had 21 unread messages and that was just since lunch time! None of these were, “Hey how are you doing today?” type messages. All of them required some sort of action or decision from me. And people wonder why I turn my phone off sometimes.

So this morning when I woke up, I felt worn. Another line in that song particularly stands out to me. It says, “I’m worn, even before the day begins.” I feel that way every day so I identify with that on a very deep level. But even more so today.

As I was driving to work, freezing because my car can’t beat this kind of cold, I came around a turn and this view hit me:

You probably can’t even see it, but there is a beautiful sunrise and right in front of me, a faint rainbow. I could even see the other side of it. And softly playing on my radio was a song about God’s faithfulness. I breathed a sigh. Yes. Thank you, Jesus, for the reminder.

Yeah, I’ve had a crappy week. But not all of it. And yes, I’m stressed and overwhelmed. But that doesn’t change who God is or what he has done. He is constant and faithful. To ALL his promises. I was reminded of the flood and how he has kept every. single. one. of his promises before, since then, and will continue to do so for eternity.

What song did I listen to on my way home? Another favorite:

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

(Living Hope- Phil Wickham)

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2019 in encouragment

 

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A Real Christmas

This weekend I got to do one of my favorite things of the whole year. The Farm where I used to work was putting on their annual Christmas event and I got to volunteer for it. This event is great- a wagon ride that stops at different scenes where the story of Christ’s birth is told by volunteer actors. The culmination of the scenes is the last one. A simple nativity in a barn and angels singing. The gospel is told at this scene which means that all the thousands of people that come to this event have the opportunity to hear the gospel. I. Love. It. 

Friday went really well but Saturday came around and it was POURING. Torrential downpours, people. And for an event that is outside, it didn’t look like it was going to be quite as much fun that night. But I was reminded that things go on and the gospel is shared no matter the weather. And I prayed. Lo, and behold, we had practically no rain for the tours and as soon as we finished, it started to rain again. Isn’t God incredible??

But this weekend, I also had a good friend of mine say something unusual to me. She asked me why I was smiling so much and said I just looked so happy and she loved it. She said she is so happy and wished her face could show it like mine can all the time.

Gotta admit, I was kind of taken aback for a minute. I had to stop and think. Of course my answer would have been different if this person wasn’t saved but she’s a strong believer and we are good friends. I thought and just realized that somehow, seeing God answer small prayers like clear skies and being surrounded by people I love, doing something I love filled me with a joy I haven’t felt in a long time.

But I think there’s more than that. Growing up, I was the embodiment of the Christmas spirit. I was ALWAYS cheerful, ALWAYS singing carols, ALWAYS excited for Christmas. And that’s a hard expectation to live up to. The last two years, I have felt very depressed and numb at Christmas but I didn’t show it. I felt like I needed to be the cheerful person that my family and friends expected me to be. And I hated every minute. I hated pretending to take joy in my favorite time of year when I felt nothing. I would enthusiastically participate in every Christmas activity and then come home and cry because I felt so empty.

And this morning at church, sitting taking communion, I realized that I wasn’t faking that joy this year.

It was real.

Amidst all the pain and difficulties this year has brought, God has given me his joy for this season and I don’t have to pretend to have it. I suddenly felt so relieved and unburdened.

So if you saw me quietly crying during communion this morning, no worries, they were tears of thankfulness. Just pure gratitude as I remembered all Christ has done for me.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2018 in Christmas

 

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The Pollyanna Project

I used to love the movie Pollyanna. As kids we would go over to my Aunt Tammy’s (who shares a very similar taste in movies as me) house and that was the movie I always picked to watch. I think it was probably her optimism that I liked the most. I was always an optimist and loved that about Pollyanna.

For those of you who (gasp!) haven’t seen the movie or read the book, Pollyanna is an orphan who comes to live with her strict aunt and somehow manages to find the good in every situation and person. She plays this game called “The Glad Game” and no matter what position you put her in, she will find something to be glad about. Of course she has some trouble at one point but I’m going to let you watch the movie and find that out for yourself!

So the other day, I had too much time on my hands to think and thoughts were creeping in about all the things I missed in life and wanted back. I found myself complaining inside. I was getting frustrated, uneasy, and unhappy and finally I had had enough of it. I sat down with a notebook and wrote out every single thing I missed from my ‘old life.’ Every thing I wished was different. Every thing I wasn’t content with. It was almost a full notebook sheet. Things like:

“I miss being able to drive”

“I miss working at the Farm”

“I wish I always felt a passion for devotions and prayer”

And then I turned the page. And for each line on the previous page, I wrote a very specific corresponding thing I was thankful for on the new page:

“I am thankful for so many friends who give me rides”

“I am thankful for my time at the Farm and that I still see my Farm family”

“I am thankful God’s Word is alive and working and he hears me when I pray”

Just like Pollyanna, I came to a point where I sat and stared at one line for a long time, unable to think of anything to be thankful for. Finally, I simply wrote, “I am thankful for salvation.” I’m glad when all else fails that I can always fall back on that and be utterly thankful and grateful for it.

Do you know what I did next? I tore out the first page and threw it away. I’ve done this same thing again since then and you know what I am left with? Pages of thankfulness. Reminders of God’s grace and goodness towards me. It may seem like a silly or simple thing to do but it really has helped. I’m calling it the Pollyanna Project (because who doesn’t like alliteration?).

We have so much to be thankful for, whether it’s big or small things. We just need to take the time to see them and express our thanks.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in thanksgiving

 

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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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Gratefulness

I have been thinking lately about the ten lepers who were healed and the one man who came back to thank Jesus. Grateful people are lacking today. I want to thank God for every thing he gives me so here are five things I am thankful for today:

1. My family- I love them soooo much!

2. Snow!

3. Kisses from my baby brother.

4. My bed. Almost every night when I crawl in bed I say, “Ahhh, I love my bed.”  Not so much that particular mattress, just warmth and comfort in general.

5. Air. I’ve had trouble breathing before and it is not fun, so I’m glad God created fresh air!

 

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in thanksgiving

 

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