Things Learned in 2010 – the short list

I don’t mean to follow anyone else’s of trend with blogging but stay with me. It is the end of 2010. I don’t think any year has ever flown by so quickly. I have said before that this year has been full….full of every emotion, many lessons learned…just life in general…it has been full and it has been quick.

So, here is a short list of some of the things that I have learned in 2010.

My children will continue to grow me daily. This wasn’t just a short season or phase. They will continue to stretch me. They are awesome, unique and I am grateful for the lives that God has entrusted us with.

My husband grows in awesomeness! How has he challenged me you may ask? I am blessed to have married a man who calls me on my business! I heard someone say in a conference setting “you know those days where you walk around slamming cabinets and doors and…”. I immediately turned to the amazing woman beside me and said “there are husbands who let their wives get away with that”. And I laughed. While I have my moments and my hard days, I find myself grateful for a man who loves God and loves me enough to call me on my business. There are many things that I am grateful for about my husband but I am trying to keep this short. This is just one of many things I have learned in 2010.

I am reminded that while people will fail you, the truth (and by truth, I mean the Truth) that they have spoken into my life is not negated! That truth is still truth regardless of their shortcomings…the truth wasn’t about them anyway. They were a vessel God used.

You never outgrow freaking out when it comes to walking in faith (thanks to Francis Chan for the public reminder). Wouldn’t it be awesome if you reached a point of “loving Jesus-ness” that it wasn’t difficult to walk in faith…it suddenly became simple, you never sweat and the impossible never ever made you hesitate…ever! Of course, then it wouldn’t be called faith and it would require nothing of us. Instead, it requires everything we do have and a lot of what we don’t. Thank God for grace!

Waiting tables again was actually part of God’s great plan! LOL! I work with some amazing people. I am reminded of the mission and purpose of the Church. People need Jesus!

To end my short list of 2010 (have to keep it short because unless you are Beth Moore or Mark Driscoll, people won’t read long blogs), I have learned a lot this year. I have been reminded over and over again, that the grace of God is what allows us to do and be what He has purposed. 2011 – READY…SET….GO!!!!

A steaming hot bowl of perspective..

This Christmas season, the word “perspective” keeps ringing in my ears. The reality of how truly blessed I am and how much I have. I blame (in part) the charity water (charitywater.org) photo of the day. Every day, via twitter, I get to see people all over the world getting to drink clean water. These photos are incredible. They are beautiful. They are of people drinking water. For me, it puts a lot into perspective. Life is so much bigger. We all have an effect on each other.

I’m strongly reminded of others. I am aware that some family Christmas dinner tables look different this year compared to last year. I know next year, I will get to celebrate my first niece or nephew’s first Christmas. Christmas will look a little different. That is an exciting thought! I know that others look different for reasons that make their hearts ache. Whether it is due to the loss of a family member or a family member is serving our country and away from home…whatever reason it may be…life looks different. That friends, is proof that every life has a profound impact on others.

Looking back on a very full year, one filled with every emotion, many thoughts, lots of awesome and some challenges. I am truly grateful. My prayer is that the effect my life has on other people is one that reflects the heart of this season. We celebrate the greatest gift in the history of the world. We celebrate John 1:14 – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

Take that Santa – thoughts on Santa Claus and Grace

It has been an interesting Christmas season in our home. While we have never told Cephas that there is a Santa Claus, thanks to movies, he is fully convinced. He asks about Santa all the time. He asks if I know Santa and if we are friends. I am keeping the whole “mommy was Santa’s helper at the mall” part a little secret for now (took pictures of screaming and happy kids for two Christmases). I have never said “you better be good, Santa is watching”…I have been tempted by that little fib but never said it.

I’m not sure how I went from thinking about Santa to God’s grace but it happened. In a frustrated “mommy moment”, as I was preparing to leave for church…A moment of feeling like I wasn’t measuring up and a little “epic fail” pitty party…thoughts of Santa Claus and grace went running through my crazy brain.

If it really was dependent on how “good” we were, none of us would get gifts for Christmas. None of us would get anything or get to do anything or ever have the chance to be anything…ever! We would ALL have stock in coal…there would likely be a lot of it. In that moment, I just sat and thought about the grace of God. In our weakness, He is strong, His grace is sufficient and His love…well, it is so far beyond what our brains can comprehend.

Take that Santa!

Sometimes….I shut up!

Sometimes we get to the end of ourselves and can’t keep our mouths shut any longer. Sometimes silence is the enemy, it holds us and others captive. I’ve written before about the power of our voices. They are strong and they have purpose!

Sometimes we get to the end of ourselves and find the opposite to be the case. I have had those moments and season where I get to the end of myself and shut up! Sometimes it’s because in prayer, I finally stop telling God what I think His will should be. I know that some of those seasons have been seasons of the unknown…and I keep telling God that I don’t know….like He doesn’t already know that. There is a reason that we are told to “walk by faith and not by sight”. I get to the point where I am done talking. I know…miracle of miracles! As a woman who uses all her allotted words for the day (and sometimes, I feel like I borrow them from someone else just to keep going), silence is not my norm.

I was reading through parts of Isaiah yesterday, more specifically Isaiah 40. I love this in Isaiah 40:12-14. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance. Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? With who did He take counsel and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?

Yesterday, this shut me up!

He is God! His love is without measure (Ephesians 3:18-19).

These words encourage and challenge. We always respond in some form or fashion. There are times were these truths compel me to speak…and there are times where these truths silence me and there is nothing I can do but be still…

Challenge me…

I have found myself in this place quite a bit. I read something that is so bold that it practically takes my breath away. I have to pause for just a moment. I am often reminded of my mom telling me, as a teenager before singing a song about surrender “Oh Chan, are you sure?” I always sang it and I always meant it.

This is what I have gone back over and over…and over (you get the idea) the last few months.

Bob Sorge in his book Secrets of the Secret Place says this (oh…and go buy this book!!!)

“You can pray nothing more dangerously sublime than to say “”Holy Spirit, let Your burning jealousy have its consuming way in my life, until every competing affection and false god is completely burned away and until one raging, all-consuming passion fills my entire being – love for the altogether Lovely One, the Man Christ Jesus”.

I literally had to take a moment before I could go back and read. Another moment before I could go back and honesty pray that prayer. Clearly, there is a lot in me that needs His consuming way. Is this comfortable? Not even a little bit. Worth it…always! Does it take guts to pray that prayer….uh huh! Pray it anyway!

He also says this about humility-

“He is everything, and as we are joined to Him the poverty of our personal identity is lost in the fullness of His eternal greatness”.

“He dignifies us that we might have something to lay before Him in humility and devotion. God dignifies us – with sonship, glory, acceptance, royalty, purpose, significance, wealth, honor, salvation, wisdom, revelation, understanding, status, character, holiness, victories – so that we might enjoy the highest privilege of casting it all at His feet”.

This is what I continue to be challenged by. There seems to be a lot that challenges me lately…