Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Pure Religion Is This"

It's a cold winter day and I have soup on the stove simmering. I'm in the mood for baking, but my heart is thoughtful and I haven't updated my blog for a while, so here I am... updating.

This morning's bible study was mainly about adoption and foster care. I was reminded that as a follower of Christ, I am not called to live a life of perfect peace and tranquility. I am called to enter the mess of the unfortunate and the vulnerable. I am called to visit them in their time of need... to offer them the nourishment that I have so liberally received. And believe me... there are messes to be entered. Right now the shelter for foster children in our community is completely full. There are hundreds of children abandoned to this kind of a life in my very own city. In the world there are millions. I was overwhelmed by the need this morning, and today I am asking God, "what do I do?" I need to take action, but what action does He want me to take now? Volunteer at the local crisis pregnancy center? What is He calling me to do in the future? Foster a child? Adopt? Maybe. I am coming to a place where I hurt enough over people's needs to make some sacrifices. I am ready for God to speak to David and to me about His plan for us to defend the vulnerable.

It's a beautiful thing to have your heart broken. I want to allow pain to transform me. I want to allow the needs of others around me to permeate my thoughts and to burden me to the point of action. I have never really wanted this before. It's not natural. I have always wanted to be happy and peaceful and to have the lines of my life drawn in such a way that no color escapes the right places. Life on this earth just wasn't meant to look that way. I'm coming to see that. It's awkward. How do you deliberately color outside the lines? How do you embrace a feeling you have spent your life learning how to flee? Heartache. Suffering. How can I learn to embrace them as gifts?

I don't know.

I know I'll find out if I continue this following with everything I've got. I am counting the cost and my heart is stepping forward. May my actions follow swiftly behind.

Monday, November 7, 2011

5:00 a.m. Thoughts

It's a little after 5 and I woke up about an hour ago. On most occasions I would be quite put out about being in any way conscious at a time like this, but wakefulness came in a gentle way this morning. The rain is steadily pouring over everything outside, and I am warm and cozy inside- the best feeling when you hear that soothing sound of rain. David is sleeping peacefully in the other room. I left the bed when I woke up so I wouldn't wake him, because he is a hibernating bear when he's sleeping; you don't want to mess with a hibernating bear... trust me. Besides, he needs his sleep. Yesterday was a long day for him, leading four services in worship at Cross Church.

I woke this morning with a sense of ache over time- the beautiful ache that comes when you remember the good things about your life. So many times I wish I've recorded more of it, but sometimes you get too busy living life to take time to ponder it and record the special things.

I remember starting to notice David for the first time as someone I could spend the rest of my life with. How could a girl in her right mind not fall in love with him? I loved everything about him, and the more I got to know, the more I loved. Love sneaks up on you sometimes. I loved his boyish grin and his eccentric shirts. I loved his bouncing gait and his attention deficit in a crowd. I loved the freckles on his face, and the red birthmark that always made it look like his pink-lipstick-adorned grandma kissed him on the cheek. And I loved to watch him with people, treating them as though they meant something and that they were important to him. I felt I understood him, and he seemed to understand me, but not in a forceful or assuming way, for there is always more to discover about a person. We discovered love together without trying, and it felt like fireworks.

The engagement and the wedding followed shortly, and we were off!! Building a life in a tiny gray house we bought with a black mailbox and black numbers stuck to it's siding. "4926" - our first address. We had the time of our lives in that little house. I personally didn't think I would ever want to live in anything bigger. I was so happy there, and it felt like that season would last forever. We built a snowman and had designated hot chocolate nights (alright... hot chocolate night was almost every night for a while). We had no television, so we would curl up in bed and watch Netflix movies on his computer (with our hot chocolate). I baked muffins, and cookies, and pies, and tried my hand out at new dinners. My favorite thing was to have the house shining clean, candles and music flickering, and dinner in the works when David got home from work. He loved it, always making a huge fuss about how great my dinner was, or how beautiful the house looked. We went hunting and fishing together (I mostly napped), and enjoyed our first family vacation with his family at Myrtle Beach, then with my family in Kennebunkport, ME. We shared Christmas Day at our own house, and swapped visiting our families between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Being a newlywed seemed to last for so long, and sometimes I feel like we're still there. Life does bring changes, though, and changes in life bring change your relationship. In May of this year we were called to Fayetteville, Arkansas where David would pastor the college students at Cross Church. We moved in June. I had never so quickly gone through so many changes in life before. We moved 15 hours away from our little gray house in a matter of 2 weeks, leaving family and friends scattered up and down the east coast in order to obey the call we knew was placed in both of us... Reach Northwest Arkansas college students with the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples among them, teaching them what walking with Christ means. David became so much more than a perfect playmate- we became partners in a mission assigned by God. The changes have been difficult at times. Packing everything you own and moving half-way across the country to start a ministry from scratch is not something you want to do every day. The stresses could have worn us down, but our relationship stands on a firm foundation. Through all of these changes I have not lost the love and the deep affection I have for that boyish grin. I still love all those things that I loved back then, but I love them differently now... not with fireworks, but in a slow steady way that happens every day.

There have been times in my marriage, just as in the other parts of my life, when I have felt identity crisis. I clearly remember mourning over the loss of my maiden name... I didn't realize how much giving up a name meant. It really is a symbol of what marriage is... self sacrifice. Of course, in a healthy marriage the self sacrifice is mirrored on both sides, making it a lighter burden, but a burden it remains, and love requires it. It requires you to put self further down and look to the needs and wants of someone other than you. It is not for the self-consumed, and it does not always pay back in full- not when you are married to a human. This is not the bitter ranting of an angry housewife. These are true words, spoken with realistic expectations.

I know God understands this truth all too well, having set the example for us in Himself. He experienced human love on a real level in the person of Jesus, and also experiences to this very day the pain it causes, having loved much with nary a returned glance from some. He experienced the ultimate sacrifice in identity. Philippians 2:5-8 sheds a beautiful light on the kind of sacrifice He made on our behalf:

"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
  Though he was God,
      he did not think of equality with God
      as something to cling to.
  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
      he took the humble position of a slave
      and was born as a human being.
    When he appeared in human form,
      he humbled himself in obedience to God
      and died a criminal's death on a cross."

If Jesus Christ, who is God can give up his privileges as God to take on the identity of a slave and a criminal, I think I (imperfect and in need of much grace) can give up my identity as an independent woman, successful in the world's eyes if I am called to it. And I am called to it. I find joy in sacrificing myself to serve David and to serve WITH David in ministry regardless of David's ability to make it worth it. I find joy in all of this because I am filled up past the measure of fullness by the love of Christ. His love compels me.

The rain is still pattering and it's now getting close to 7. Ha! Where does time go? I think I'll have some breakfast.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Life Is a Balance Beam

Sometimes you just need rain. Anything in excess is wearing. I grew up in cold New England, where winter seems to drone on forever, and summers are compiled of short but sweet memories. Summer in New England is kind of like Christmas to a little kid. You wait and dream of the day you'll be able to go out with a t-shirt on. When it finally hits 65 you practically leap for joy. Your winter skin begs to be exposed to some semblance of sunlight; even a windy 65 degrees will suffice. I can remember waiting sometimes until July to really feel warm enough to even want to swim.

So here I am in the middle of the country where hot is the new cold, sweat is the new shivering, and jackets are the new goal. 108 will take your breath away, and even 10 days in a row above 100 is a little much. Try 32. That's what just happened here. I never thought I would grow to resent heat, but like I said... too much of anything will wear you right out. You can imagine my delight the other day to hear a rumbling of thunder and to feel a cool breeze sweep in. The heat wave has been broken, and the rain is coming through! I am loving just watching the earth drink it up. I have my WoodWick candle flickering and my guitar handy. It's been a nice day.

Tonight David is taking me out on a date. I'm excited to spend some special time with him. I have a job interview on Monday, so I'm enjoying my days of no obligations to the fullest. Lately everything in my mind keeps drifting back to balance. I have loved not working and getting adjusted to our new life, but I know I was designed for a purpose, and I feel ready to take that on again. I love summer, but fall seems to beckon me more loudly every day. Our Creator is the author of balance. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. He designed us to thrive in seasons. I just think that's so cool.

So I suppose my theme Bible verse for today to dwell on would be from Ecclesiastes 3. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:" You can read the rest yourself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Coffee Shops and Familiar People

I'm sitting here at a local coffee shop called "Arsaga's" and I've officially been here for 6 hours. Holy cow. I don't know what it is, but I just got sucked in. We know the owners (they go to Cross Church Fayetteville), and the atmosphere in here was just so inviting that I haven't felt the need to leave. One sandwich with chips, a mocha latte, and an espresso later, here I am now joined by my awesome man, and I'm pretty happy.

I think I'm going to like living here. It's starting to feel a lot more like home. I'm really thankful, because this transition (though it's been much better than it could have been) has been hard.

Today we bought our tickets to go home for Thanksgiving... Woohooo!!!! I can't wait to see the family. AND to top it off, my parents are planning to come for a week in September.

Basically, today is awesome. I just had to write a little blurb about it.

Hope your day is as good as mine!

Was it a disaster or a success?

Since you've all been asking...here's the rest of it.

...and finally...it was a SUCCESS!! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Embracing Awkwardness- A Cooking Show For Your Entertainment

Ok, let's give this another try... This time I'll try to take myself seriously. Yeah right.

And here is a great example of a smooth transition.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Rachel's Cooking Dinner... In the Kitchen..."

The first take is always a little bit bumpy... right? Here's the birthday man... and the birthday man's... wife. ?

Friday, July 22, 2011

David's Birthday!

Tomorrow is David's 28th birthday. Unlike him, I am completely excited. I love his birthday. Haha! I have reminded him so many times all week about it. Every time I back into it laying down hints as subtle as an elephant knowing full well he'll refuse to pick them up.


"Lovie! Guess what happens this Saturday?!"


"Your birthday!!!!"

"Oh. I forgot."

We've been playing this game for two weeks now. I can't decide if it's the fact that he's in denial about being in his "upper 20's" or if he really cares so little that he keeps forgetting, but it makes it fun either way. I just love that guy. I hope, if you are single and you are reading this, that you wait until someone like my David comes along. Someone you would never live your life without because you've experienced something too good to let go of... that's what David is to me.

Don't be mistaken, he is not the thing that gets me fully or satisfies the deep wells of longing inside my soul. No... our relationship looks more like an awkward, stumbling, dancing attempt to understand and to love. This is not because we are failures at love, but rather because he is a man and I am a woman. Human... oh so human, we cannot "get" each other without trying very hard (sometimes with an effort that looks downright laughable, like a man straining, cheeks puffed out and red in the face to lift a heavy object). Needless to say, we are having fun in our wild attempts to understand one another. We keep the humor in things, and it helps to ease the frustration of countless failed attempts. I suppose what I am trying to say is that we are not "enough" for each other. Only One can be enough. When we remember this, our expectation shifts from expectation in each other to expectation in the One who can deliver and who does satisfy- that is the Lord. This is the way we live happily and in the depths of contentment. Through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ who is everything we need.

Anyway... I'm done rambling. It's time to head out for a day with my love!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Residency

Today David and I became official residents of Fayetteville, Ar. We got our new licenses, registrations, car tags, and registered to vote. Needless to say, David is passed out on the couch sleeping after running all over town getting this done. He'll love me for this:

It's hard to believe we've almost been here for an entire month. That's 1/12 of a year. Holy cow... seriously I never thought the day would come when I would spread my wings and leave the great mother-land of Lynchburg, VA. Haha does anyone ever leave that place?!? But they do... and here we are, hundreds of miles away proving it actually happens. 

I took some pictures of the apartment the other night so you could get a little feel for where we live. I should have taken some of the outside. We live in a huge building that's four stories tall and has two wings that stretch out like arms. I've never lived in real apartments before. It's always been a townhouse or something like that. This is the real deal. Haha!
Anyway, here's the inside (we're still working on it, so no judging!)

I painted the living room light green this week.

I'm still working on this project, but I'm painting these bookshelves and stacking them for the guest bedroom. 

Our living room is getting more cozy. :) Still waiting on the drapes though!

The front door is to the left of this picture. This is right when you walk in looking into the house .

We still need something for above our bed. Any suggestions?

This is our room looking out into the living room. We have our wedding vows above our dresser in that frame.

Our bathroom. Simple, but it works. :)

Guest Bathroom

Looking into the kitchen from the living room.

Stole this idea from a friend! All my cleaning supplies tucked away and organized! I love it. 

So I guess this is a weird idea, but I wanted this to be the toothbrush holder for the guest bedroom. It's a sand bucket.

Yes, that's a duck, and its company is a little home-made cup with two chicks on it.

Thanks Julie and LeighAnna! We love this little cup!

Ever been homesick and someone sent you a package? My Grammy did that. :) I like the red ones the best. You can tell because there's only one left. Haha!
So there's a little peak into our world. We're making it happen. David's been doing an amazing job coming up with ideas for this fall when school starts for the University of Arkansas (the U of A). I am so privileged and honored to be able to partner with him and to join in on dreaming about the influence we are going to have in this city. Greater things are yet to come! By His grace and the power of His perfect will we will press on in the goal set before us!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

All to Him I Owe

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow

This week my Grammy Lamy passed away. I think she was almost 95. The Bible says that this life is just a breath and that mankind is like a flower that quickly fades. The older I get, the more real that becomes.

This morning as I sit alone in our new apartment a rush of emotions wash over me. The strongest emotion of all is peace. It's amazing, the peace rushes over everything tumultuous that I feel. My family is all together right now 24 hours from my little apartment. They are driving to the funeral. I should be sad and lonely and depressed, but instead I feel refreshed and hopeful. I cannot be held captive in the strongholds of my physical world when all my focus is fixed on the One who never leaves me. Matthew 28:20 "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." -Psalm 73:25-26 (read the whole Psalm... it's amazing).

My portion... He sustains me.

John 6:52-59
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

He is my portion. He has given Himself to sustain me. He is all I want.

Psalm 23: 4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happenings in the Ozarks

Friends and Family!!! I miss you all. These past few weeks have been a blur (isn't all of life??), and David and I are finally getting settled into our cozy apartment. It's actually quite spacious compared to our tiny house that we left in VA!

Last week we went to The Rodeo of the Ozarks! This was the first rodeo I had ever been to, and it was so much fun! I really felt like I wanted to be a cowgirl after experiencing something like that. Watching these girls fly around the arena in their sparkly sequins on beautiful horses was a blast. Ok, so the sequins were a little much, but the horses... seriously y'all... they were awesome. I've never seen a horse all-out gallop like that before in person. It's a beautiful sight. So here are a few pictures for your enjoyment!

Landon and Morgan- New friends who come to our college Bible Study on Wed. Nights! We love them!

Trina and Jordan are a married couple with no kids that we are getting to know.  Married and no kids is a rare find around these parts. 

Will and Laura are another great couple we met! They don't have kids yet either!

Ok, so these are two extremely precious ladies who have made the move one million times easier for me by taking me under their wings. They are both amazing, godly women (Trudy on the left and Marita on the right) who I am so thankful to have in my life!

This is pretty cool... it's an actual stage that the bank "Wells Fargo" used to carry gold with. 

Ride 'em!

Before the Rodeo started they paraded all the horses and riders out into the arena. There were a LOT of horses out there at one time! There were only a few run-aways...

Look out for those hooves!!!

Just one example of the crazy amount of food that was being sold. A HUGE turkey leg is being devoured here by Will. I ordered a "Chicken Finger Basket" when I heard that only 2 chicken fingers came with it. I was sure I could handle that! Much to my dismay the chicken "fingers" were bigger than my face. 

This is the Smith family. Chris and Trudy are a great couple and I've become really good friends with their daughters Emily and Sadie. They really make us feel at home here.
Well, that's all the energy I have to post pictures for now, but I promise to post more later (especially as the apartment starts to look better).  David and I led worship this Sunday at one of the campuses for Cross Church. I just recently found out it's all posted online, so if any of y'all want to see that you can go here to watch! :) http://crosschurch.com/category/portfolio/springdale-worship-33/

To all of you who I love and are far away: I love you and I miss you more than you can know! Thank the Lord for technology that helps us all stay connected!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Home is Where The Heart Is

Today was great. My body feels tired, and I've been taking naps daily, but my spirit is so full and refreshed even despite the ache that comes from leaving mostly everything you know. Haha I just read that over and laughed. I have a knack for sounding dramatic... Almost everything I know? I'm still in the U.S. for goodness sake! But you understand...

I'm sitting in my bed right now just enjoying the fact that I can't see a single piece of cardboard in sight. Of course if I got up and walked across the apartment to the spare bedroom with all of its boxes I would be reminded of the work I have left to do, but we're not talking about that right now. We're talking about Fayetteville, Arkansas and the vast amount of color this place is bringing into my life.

I've been trying to immerse myself in this place, and in less than a week I've learned a little bit about how to get around and a little more about all the best places to go in town. The key is having all the locals take you around. And oh, the locals! Never have I met a more generous and kind group of people! This church is really being the church. They have poured their time and resources into us and welcomed us as if we were long lost family. The town has so many facets to it that I feel certain I will not fully grasp it for some time.

Well, it's officially past my bedtime and I am getting sleepy. My husband is also doing something possibly destructive in the kitchen and I feel the need to look into it. I love that guy.

Goodnight all!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

5 States in One Day

Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and finally on to Arkansas. That is what today consists of. Right now I'm sitting in the passenger seat of our Durango riding through Mississippi listening to Jonny Lang while David drives. I did try to drive myself, but ended up missing a turn and taking the "scenic route" through Birmingham. Needless to say David has resumed his post and here I am typing away on David's iPad. I don't think he minds anyway because the passenger seat is all scrunched up close to the dashboard due to the two propane tanks, suitcases, house plants, and the meat cooler in the back that holds all of our venison and beef on dry ice.

Moving halfway across the country is pretty intense I have to admit. It's definitely easier when you look at it in small chunks. When I look at the whole picture at one time my heart rate starts rising. Haha are we crazy?!? Crazy or not I am fully confident that this is what the Lord has called us to do. Tomorrow we get to move into our new apartment. We were just informed yesterday that it is actually brand new- no one has ever lived in it before. That got me pretty excited. 

I wonder what life is going to look like in a few weeks. I'm really excited to find out. When we do get settled I'll try to upload some pictures so this isn't so boring. Haha I know too many words and no colors isn't the most attention grabbing. Well... Here comes Memphis! I'll write more later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Moving On

Well, the first leg of our journey has begun. The last several weeks have been a whirlwind of events, and I haven't even had time to write about them. For 18 months we have been waiting, searching, and preparing for what God has called us to do. David and I both knew that we were called to serve in the local church. We had no idea where we would be or what that would look like, but in obedience to the call, we gave Liberty University an 18 month notice. We committed to the Lord that in May, 2011 we would move on from Liberty and step into the next phase of our lives together.

January, 2011 arrived... we still knew nothing. February blew by... still, no words of clarity from the Lord. March swept in and out without our permission, April was just as rude, and before we knew it May was upon us. Still we waited. We fasted, we prayed, and we actively searched, but we both felt a calm over our spirits.

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way..." (Psalm 37:7).

"Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."(Isaiah 40:30-31)

We waited and we rested in the promise of our God. He always takes care of His children. We committed our plans to Him, and let Him take care of the rest. In the middle of May we visited Cross Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They had a need for a University Pastor. The goal was to hire someone who would build a bridge between Cross Church and the University of Arkansas. They wanted David to do the job. As David and I spent four days with the staff in the church, excitement grew. We both felt God confirming that this was the place.

But Arkansas?

Fayetteville, AR is 24 hours from Worcester, MA where my family is from and 12 hours from Auburn, GA where David's family lives. The goal was to move closer to family, wasn't it? We wrestled with this for a week, asking God to shut the door if He did not want us to walk through it. At the end of the week, we both knew that this was not only what God wanted us to do, but it was what we wanted to do. We walked through the open door God provided, and here we are in Georgia saying our final goodbye's, all of our belongings being somewhere between Lynchburg, VA and Fayetteville, AR.

God does some amazing things when you allow Him to. What is He calling you to do? Have you answered His call? Are you willing to wait patiently for the Lord regardless of the agonizing desire to take control yourself? This weak and insignificant girl is encouraging you to try.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

From My Sister

Wow... It's been too long since I've written! God has been doing SO much in my heart and in my day-to-day life. Before I go into all of that, I really wanted to share this with you. My sister Elizabeth is one of the most amazing women I know. She doesn't have a blog, so I'm "publishing" this for her on mine. :) Hope she doesn't mind! I was just so blessed by her art of weaving imagery and words together in a way that so clearly shows what Christ does with His children! Enjoy!

  • I was a wall. I was a hard, thick, tall wall of sin and stubborn wickedness. There was no good in me. There was no hope left. I was built and surrounded. I was the wall and I was in the wall. Cold, unfeeling, yet hungry and tired; impenetrable evil festered within me.
And then You came, and instead of smashing down on me with the force of your justified wrath, You planted vines around me in the greatest act of Love. Your vines grew up over and into me, slowly penetrating each foul thought, each wicked deed, each malicious motive. Mercy in its gentle power crumbled my defense. You ruined my wall. Instead of allowing me to lie a pile of wicked ruins, Your earth grew up around me and Your vines of salvation died to plant seeds in my unfertile soil. Though I still protested against You, though I continued to fall back into my grotesque ruins, You built me up.
  • I am a tree. I am a daughter of righteousness, heir to the throne in heaven, and above all, Loved by my Creator and Father. Though sin battles within my roots, I have been planted by a seed of mercy strong enough to save the world. I am here to grow and to Love and to worship. My leaves dance with joy as the gentle breeze of my Father’s Word sifts through me. Storms come and branches fall as is His will, but He will never let me go, His strength is within me. He won’t relent until He has it all. I am Loved.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brazil, Here I Come!!!

Tonight is my last night in my cozy bed for twelve days. Over the next week and a half I will be floating down the Amazon River (and it's tributaries) on a big boat with about twenty five other people. We will sleep in hammocks under bug nets while we travel. The Rain Forest is called the "RAIN" Forest for a reason. Apparently it's been dumping rain every day in huge quantities. Let's just say I am bringing a poncho! Everything I could possibly need including snacks and my epinephrine shot are in this little duffle! 21 pounds is all it weighs. I'm pretty proud.

In other breaking news... this is Mustache March. For those of you who have facebook, you can view many more of these beautiful portraits, but I will allow a sneak peak of my husband's face for the sake of a smile, and hopefully a chuckle or two. Ok, you might end up belly-laughing, who knows?

Apparently, connecting the 'stache all the way to the side-burns is the hip thing to do these days. Who knew? Luckily, this atrocious (yet somehow beautiful... a painful beautiful) facial design only lasted about ten minutes.

Well... less than 24 hours until we leave! I better get to sleep! I'll post pictures when I come home!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Family Affair

Yesterday the girls and I (and then even David joined!) made donuts together! Here are some pictures! Enjoy!

This doesn't have anything to do with donuts, but over Christmas I found out that this pretty blanket made by my cousin is a throw not a tablecloth! It's been getting a lot more use now. ;-)

Also, this is the cake David and I made for Valentines Day! Isn't it cute?

Bright flowers and coffee make any rainy day enjoyable.

Our Inspiration

The music choice for the afternoon. So soothing.

Her excitement... also soothing... sort of?


Let the flour fly!!!

Elizabeth gives two thumbs up.

Let's drop em!

The finished product! They were so yummy!!! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Glorious Images

Last night was one of the most profound nights of corporate worship that I ever experienced. Being in an environment where everyone is on a similar page (Liberty University) for so long, I can tend to become numb to the amazing power of God and His Holy Spirit. The mysterious becomes mundane, and the Truth declared becomes "normal." The fear, the awe, the reverence, and the excitement so quickly wains when I rely on times with the church alone for a so-called "relationship" with Christ.

Church isn't enough. You need the personal touch of God in the every day things to experience the presence of Him. I have invited Him into my humanity. He has permeated everything I am. Every action is an act of adoration and worship to Him. Doing dishes, being a listening ear, making dinner for my husband, praying for my family and for those who He has laid heavily on my heart... it is all for His glory. This is the only way He showed up so powerfully in that emotional experience last night. He was not in that building alone, revealing his holy nature and surpassing worth. He is here now in my not-so-significant daily actions. He is just as beautiful and glorious when I am alone in my room on my knees as He is when literally 3,000 college students are shaking a room with their song of adoration.

I was standing in the midst of all that last night. I was in the middle of a sea of broken human beings who were reaching out to the Savior. We all cried "Hosanna" together in song, which means, "God, help us!" In the middle of this beautiful moment, the Word of God became alive to me in vivid images. It washed over me and I was paralyzed with sheer awe. I was trembling.

I saw the sky rip open and a legion of angels poured forth. They were led by the King of kings. I knew at once that this was the One my heart loves. This was the One I have been waiting for. He was riding on a white horse and was so bright that I could barely look at Him. His eyes were flaming with wrath, holiness, and perfection. A sword shot out from His mouth. A battle cry went up and a trumpet sounded in deafening power. He had come to defeat His enemy once and for all. He was coming in wrath and power and splendor. The fear of God swept over everything. The whole earth trembled and shook. A force I cannot describe with words came over the world and every speck of creation was knocked to its face. Even the trees bowed down. Angels were circling the King proclaiming Holy, Holy, Holy! They covered their faces and could not look at His glory.

In the same moment I saw the same King as a man standing in front of me. His eyes were gentle, but they pierced through every layer of my soul. They saw everything in me and I was fully exposed. Immediately I knew I had no right to even stand in His presence. He was so other than me... so much greater. I knew most of all that I should not be able to touch Him. Without hesitation he bent down below my level and scooped me into His arms. He broke through all separation. My righteousness was complete. I was perfect. I was healed. I belonged to Him.

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
-Philippians 2:5-13

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come, 
and his Bride has made herself ready; 
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"--
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.' Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, 'You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. orship God.' For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords."
-Revelation 19:6-16

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Saving One" by Starfield

What mercy was revealed
What selflessness and peace
My fate was surely sealed
Until He rescued me
His pardon for my sin
His bounty for my need
From slavery and shame
I am redeemed

And Heaven can't contain
The glory of the Son
Jesus is the Christ the saving One
His love has made a way
The grave is overcome
Jesus is the Christ the saving One

No fear could hold me down
Nor darkness steal my joy
For blood has been poured out
The enemy destroyed
Death could not hold Him down
The cross was not enough
To steal away His throne 
For He is God

And Heaven can't contain
The glory of the Son
Jesus is the Christ the saving One
His love has made a way
The grave is overcome
Jesus is the Christ the saving One

Anyone who calls upon His name
They will be saved
They will be saved

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On the Road Again

Right now I'm sitting in a hotel room in the quirky little town of Gatlinburg, TN, home of Dollywood and at least one million pancake houses.  I used to wonder what Tennessee was like when I was little, especially around Christmas time when we would listen to Amy Grant sing "Tender Tennessee Christmas" (shout out to the 90's!).

It's funny where God brings you in life.  I remember being young and thinking that "The South" was practically a foreign country where people eat grits and say things like "yes ma'am" and "y'all" and "bless her heart, she just can't help it..." Most of that is in fact true, but somehow it has become my home, and I feel as though I have always been here, even though it's really only been six short years.  Six of the most formative years they were however, and here I am, practically a southern bell (yeah right).

Honestly, though, who would have thought that the Lord would see fit to bless me with such a life? A friend and I were just talking about our lives and how blessed they really are. We both admitted to a nagging fear in the back of our minds that something bad will happen to us because things are just too good. God certainly couldn't have meant to bless us with this much, could He? In talking we realized that bad things very well may happen. That isn't the point of the matter, not really.

The Word that God gave us does not portray our Maker as a sick or sinister prankster who is out to get at us for a laugh. Neither does the Bible portray Him as some kind of a vending machine you can use for temporary satisfaction. There can never truly be a fair transaction with God because we have nothing to offer Him that He doesn't already have. The truth is, we are the needy and He is the rich. We are the helpless and He is the helper. Are you humble enough to accept this? I know I don't always want to.

Isaiah 64:6 says "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."

Our sins sweep us away. We were born into sin, and as we grew we chose to continue in sin. We are guilty by heredity and we are also personally guilty. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the garden, and we all choose to disobey God every day in the big and the small ways. These days one rarely hears of anyone taking responsibility for their own bad choices. We all want to be a victim, but it seems like no one is willing to be the responsible one. We almost never see somebody who is willing to take the responsibility for someone else's bad choices.

The Lord in His sovereign plan did all of this and more. Psalm 103:4 says "for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." The Lord God clothed himself in skin like the humans He created. He took on the form of a man, and that man was Jesus Christ. He knew that we were too weak to take responsibility for our sin. He knew that we could never pay the debt we had incurred.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:6-8

Like I said before, the point is not whether good or bad things happen to us. The point is that we are unworthy to receive anything good (yes all of us), and yet while we were insolent and hateful towards the very One who truly loves us He suffered and died for us so that we could be reconciled to Him. Some of my favorite words are "reconcile" and "redeem." To reconcile is to restore. To redeem is to compensate for the faults and the bad aspects of something. We were powerless to change ourselves even if we wanted to, but our great God made a way.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Romans 5:1-5

Did you read that? We have gained access by faith into this grace! We glory in any sufferings because God works even the temporary sufferings of this life out for our good and for His glory! I am so overwhelmed and amazed at the goodness of the Lord! How I long for the day when we will all see Him face to face in glory. Every tear will be wiped away. Every tongue will confess that He is Lord over all.

There is so much more to all of this that I can't put in this one post. If you have any questions or clarifications, feel free to comment or e-mail me at rbmacy@liberty.edu.

May our eyes be opened to the truth and our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit.