Monthly Archives: February 2015

What I learned this month.

I’ve always enjoyed the end-of-month link up that Emily Freeman posts on her blog, so this month I thought I’d join in on the fun. What a great way to remember some of the highlights from the month.

What I learned in February…

  • Baby kicks are amazing. They are by far the best part of this process. I want to always remember that this is the month that my baby started moving and kicking like crazy! I love it! I want to know what he is up to when they are BIG kicks and I so wish I could see him every time it feels like he’s just kind of wiggling around. My husband is convinced all this movement means that our little one will not like to stay put for very long, that he is already wanting to come out and see us. That may be true, but this little guy of mine had better stay put until May.                                                                                    
  • I’ve been learning so much about shame and vulnerability this month. Through my own study of scripture and the journey God has been taking me on, but also through the research found in Brené Brown’s newest book, Daring Greatly, I am learning what shame does in our lives and how to respond to it. It’s been a very interesting process.
  • This year we did Valentines day a little differently…we skipped the usual fancy date night and drove up to Fort Worth to see one of my husband’s favorite musicians, Dwight Yoakam. Definitely not my favorite, but I think I’ve learned to appreciate my husband’s favorite country music a little bit more. It was incredibly worth it to see my husband so in his element. 
  • I’ve learned, or maybe my husband has learned, that I simply cannot go into any store that sells baby things and not come out with a little something. Baby jeans – he NEEDS those. Baby hat with bear ears – Really, how will he make it home with out it?! Baby boy button down – of course he has to have it so he can match daddy.
  • Houston has officially turned me into to a wimp when it comes to cold weather. As my friends send pictures of snow and mention how nice it must be to not have to do deal with that, and how great it must be to live somewhere where it doesn’t get very cold, my response has become “ummm excuse me! it’s very cold here! It’s 48. I’m freezing.” Yes, I’m officially spoiled. A couple days of 40 degree weather down here and I feel like it might as well be snowing.

February you have been a great month!

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self preservation and faith.

There is a beautiful metaphor in Anita Johnston’s book that describes letting go of the very thing that has saved your life. She describes a drowning woman thrust into the water and faced with intense rapids who is able to grasp at a passing log to hold on to, to save her life. However, when faced with the task of swimming towards those who would save her, those who are shouting, “let go of the log!” – those who would pull her out of the water, she can’t let go. She cannot let go of what has become her lifeline – she cannot let go and so she remains in the water.

There are many versions of this metaphor floating around, but this one really got under my skin and opened up so many questions on self-preservation. My little brother once looked me in the eye and said, “the thing you are resisting, the thing you are fighting against, is the very best thing for you. You are fighting what God has to offer.” How often have I relied on my own strength to pull myself through a struggle? How often has God provided me strength for a season, something good, that I refused to let go of when He asked? Like the women in the story was given a log, God often gives us what we need in the moment to prepare us for something bigger, but how often in my stubbornness and limited view do I choose to hang onto the log.

Why do I consistently return to the bondage of self-preservation? I call it bondage because any form of attempting to save or preserve myself is ultimately sinful behavior and keeps me from Christ. It is ultimately something keeping me from seeing God, a type of sin that easily gives way into doubt and anger. When I’m relying on myself there can be no real growth, no real change, and often what seems good is really rather fleeting.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When it seems like I know best, like I can make choices and choose a path for my life better than God can, I am reminded of this verse. I am reminded that it is ok to admit my own weakness, that it is ok to be humble before God, because He is enough. I do not have to save myself from whatever hard things are coming at me because He is enough and He will provide. Again I am reminded of the metaphor above, my trust should be in God, not in the log. Yes, the log is good, with the log God saves us from drowning, but real trust is letting go and having the faith that as He continues to move us forward to the next thing He is still good, He is still enough. Hebrews 11 tells us over and over what faith can do, and that it is through faith that God fulfills His promises to us, it is through our faith that we are able to keep moving forward in Him.

“God you are so good to us. You continually save us from our selves. Father, help me to rely on you alone, strengthen my faith so that my pride and my desire to have everything figured out would not keep me from letting go and trusting you. You alone are my protection, my source of security, and my provider. Father, forgive for the times I try and take things into my own hands, forgive me for trying to save myself. Help me to rely on You always, and not simply that gifts that You gives. I pray I will look past my circumstances and keep my eyes and my heart focused on you, Lord.”

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mistakes.

Fear of failure, fear of messing up, or fear of making a mistake are common idioms throughout life. I hear them everywhere, everyday. They are always there to curtail my dreams and shovel worry upon worry into my day.

It says in Job that, “you cannot thwart the plans of God.” I love that. I turn to it often, and I’ve blogged about it before. To me this sentence is so powerful as it speaks truth but also shows how prideful we are as humans. My failures are not so big that God can’t use me. I will always make mistakes; some will be big, and some will slide by frustrating me alone, but I will make mistakes. That’s ok. I can’t make a mistake that will stop God’s plan from happening. Yes, I can disobey Him. Yes, I can ignore what He’s asking me to do. I can definitely choose sin and up away from what He intended, but I can never walk so far off the path that He won’t graciously take me back and fulfill His divine purpose in me. He is the God of second chances – He always forgives – He always wipes clean. There is no mistake that removes hope. There is no failure that counteracts grace. There is always mercy.

I am so glad that I am not big enough to mess up the plans of my Father. I cannot say the wrong thing, text the wrong thing, blog the wrong thing and lose His affection. If God wants me somewhere, and I’m living under His authority then He will put me where I need to be. I think it takes obedience and faith, but His plan is awesome and powerful and my mess-ups or failures will not sway it. I feel like we spend too much time worrying about the little things, the little mess-ups and mistakes, and not enough time just surrendering to God. Whether it’s something small, or something that seems too huge to ever be forgiven – God is working it out for us. He’s God. He’s much bigger than anything we can ever do, and His plans far supersede our imaginations.

 

 

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