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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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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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the holiday.

It was fabulous holiday.

This beautiful three day weekend was exactly what I needed.

As my family would be happy to tell you – I did attempt to work.  Nobody was having it. Nobody was home. So back to Tulsa I went and happily relaxed with my family, my boyfriend (yay!!) and of course my sweet little Hollie.  How was your weekend? I hope it was refreshing, relaxing, and FUN!

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This weekend was the first time in far too long that my family has been together. But the brother is finally back in Oklahoma, the boyfriend came to visit from his fancy internship in Houston (proud of him!!!), and we even got to spend a wonderful evening catching up with extended family – we were finally together. Woohoo!

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Having the boyfriend in town was something of a last minute surprise, but with a little teamwork and help from my daddy – we got him here! Three days together was kind of wonderful, but after 2 years of long distance it can also be a bit of a challenge. I think sometimes we forget how to be in the same room with each other. The weekend was full of fun with dear friends and family and the sometimes difficult task of putting someone else first – thinking of him first. I’ll be honest…I’ve done better. I can’t say that I handled the adjustment to living life so closely with another person with much grace, but we made it through. It was a weekend of growing pains for our relationship and for myself, but it was good (I can’t believe it had been almost 2 months since we had seen each other – woah!). We survived it together with much laughter and the blessing of being close to family and friends, and definitely a great deal of introspection on my part.

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It was a weekend of new adventures….my first rodeo in the pretty town of Claremore, OK…meeting new people and making new friends, and the start of some exciting things J Thank you, Lord for this beautiful weekend, and thank you for allowing me this time to reflect before the busy week starts tomorrow!

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Goodnight friends.

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Let’s Dance.

Psalm 30:11

NIV “You turned my wailing into dancing; 
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy”

KJV “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness”

NKJV “ You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; 
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness”

The Message “You did it: you changed wild lament 
into whirling dance; 
You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.”

ASV “ Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing”

It does not matter what translation you look it; the message is clear. The Lord has turned mourning into dancing. It’s not just that God puts us back together and we are happy again, it’s so much more. It’s not just that we no longer mourn, but that we can DANCE!

When I’m so excited I start jumping and twirling with arms over head, I’m more that just happy, I’m more than fine, I’m full of JOY! That’s the kind of transformation God likes to bless us with. I love that these verses give all credit to God – “YOU did it” “THOU hast turned for me” “YOU have turned” God does it all. He alone replaces our mourning with joy. He alone provides the healing we need to dance.

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Forgiven

I’m the type of person who tends to be very hard on myself.  When I mess up, sin, and fall short I’m the type of person who beats myself up about it.  I have no trouble believing that God forgives me, and I find that it so much easier to forgive others than it is to forgive myself.  I believe that Christ loved me so much that He died for my sins, my mistakes, my mess-ups, and all the negative feelings associated with them – He took it all – the sin and the fallout.  I usually find that when I hurt others they too can forgive me; it may take time and healing, but forgiveness is there.

Forgiving myself and really letting go takes much, much longer.  However, not forgiving myself is also a sin, and by grace I am forgiven for that too.  So here goes forgiving and loving myself.  Forgiving myself for falling short this morning, and forgiving myself for things done years ago.  Jesus did not die so that I would continually beat myself up over my shortcomings.  We all sin, we all fall short.  Perfect is not an option, and why would I want to be perfect? If I were perfect I wouldn’t need grace.  I’m glad I need grace.

The mind-set that I have to hold on and continue to punish myself for things that I have called sin and asked the Lord’s forgiveness for, is not of Christ.  It must be dealt with because it rises up against the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness that Christ gladly offers.

Lord, please forgive my unforgiveness. By not forgiving myself, I am not fully accepting what You did that day on the cross.  You have forgiven me, and the matter is settled. I am washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. I am complete in You, Yeshua Ha Meshiach.

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Frodo and the Gospel of John

John 1:1-18

 

Before reading this you should know I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan.  I read the books when I was a kid, and absolutely love the movies…hence this blog about Frodo and the Gospel of John.

The beginning of the book of John reminds me of a Lord of the Rings movie.  It’s in the way the narrator introduces the story of Christ; to me it sounds so much like something the orator at the beginning of the Fellowship of the Rings would say.  It’s beautiful, mysterious, and ominous.  It’s the grand opening for what it is to come; it hooks you.  I think it’s beautiful, powerful, and vague in such a way that draws you deeper into the story.  In the way it begins you get that feeling like you know something big is coming, something that you don’t yet fully understand, something that may be beyond you to fully comprehend, but that is still occurring right before us.

In this book we begin with creation; “The Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”  The wording of the passage is inspiring; it makes me want to jump in and learn and try to understand the story of the one who made all things, who is the Word and who is with God.  The book of John was clearly written by a storyteller, who wants us to reflect and think on the scripture. It is different in style from any other gospel, and I think that is what captivates me about it.  I just want to let the word wash over me as the writer lays it out in a way meant to entice, and to force us to think on the nature of Christ.  Because that is exactly what the opening does in its vacuity and powerful language, we can’t help but want more.  This being, the Word that is life that is the light of man, something darkness cannot understand, is profound and it is bigger than our imagination – the ultimate higher power. And then, like Frodo being introduced for the first time in the Fellowship, the narrator turns to John.  John is introduced as a bridge between something powerful and unknown – something he cannot fully understand, but he continues to use his life to make the glory of the Lord known to us.  John attempts to explain the power, glory, and light of the Lord through his understanding and experience; which likens to Frodo trying to convey the power of the one ring to those who have not experienced what it can do.

The book of John wants to reveal the glory of Christ, not only convey the magnificent life of Christ, but also to allow the reader to dwell on the character and nature of God.  John 1:12 says, “yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” The language, in its subtle yet strong way, clearly indicates power.  It conveys the higher power that is Christ.  That he came as man, but He is God, and he alone gives us the right to become children of God.  That’s incredible.  He is bestowing something upon us.  It’s majestic and worthy of pause and consideration; that because we believe he gives us the right to become children of the Living God. Amazing. We can come to him, but it is because he allows it that we are born again of God.  We believe in his holy name, and He bring unto himself.

I think the Gospel of John is beautiful, and yes when I read it I am often hearing the voice of the orator of the Lord of Rings in my head.  It’s the beginning of an adventure, a quest, and a journey that will impact the world.  The world as we know it does hang in the balance of people understanding the glory and the light of the Lord.  Frodo understood the magnitude of his quest to Mordor, and I hope that along our journey to follow after and share the glory of Christ, we do it with the same sense of urgency, fortitude, and zealous adventure.

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the LIVING book

For me some of the happiest, most joyful, most comforting, and just plain exciting parts of the Bible are the blessings written for those who hear the word.  Specifically, I am drawn to the blessings found in New Testament scripture. Such as the letters from Paul, which often begin with “grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Blessings like this are found throughout the entirety of scripture.  They are often short and sweet and buried within the introduction of the text, and far too often I skip over them and plunge right into the heart of the message, but I have found that these blessings are so very important.

They were blessings first written towards the early church, but they are still very much alive today.  They are written for those who hear the word and for those who read the word; they have blessed not only the people of the early church but every generation since. I do not think that these greetings and prayers, for those who come in contact with the word, could ever dry up or expire.  The Bible is the living word of God, and the blessings it has for the people are just as relevant today as when they were written.  Those prayers uttered so long ago, that were lifted up for those who embrace the scripture, are still working in our lives today.  We are so blessed to have some of them in writing here before us.  In my mind those prayers being uttered, for grace and peace, span the generations of believers; and so I find it uplifting and joyful to spend a moment reading and reflecting on the implications of those words.  This book is living, it is His gift to us, it is His holy inerrant word, and it is full of blessing because of how He loves us. Enjoy it.

Romans 1:7

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Ephesians 6:24

Revelation 1:3

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