Friday, August 24, 2012

Psalm 91



I was reading Psalm 91 and was thinking, "God, here it seems you are saying bad won't befall me if I trust in you, but bad things happen to faithful Christians all the time." (I am glad we serve a God who will listen to such words from my questioning spirit without immediately striking me with lightning.)




I still cannot understand the seeming-conflict with that truth of pain and this scripture—and it is the crux of where my fears hit (What if I have one of those "bad things to good people" disasters?)—yet I think the main key is at the end of the verse above: God will be with us in trouble (91:15) and has ultimate comfort and perfection—Heaven, where no bad will befall—ready for us (91:16). Christ's death gives us the chance to be delivered from death, and whatever happens here, we know we have the opportunity of being forever in His light (56:13). So I have to pray for my trust in Salvation to be solid and pray safety over those I love and pray for freedom from fear with words that echo one of the most honest men in scriptures: “Lord, I believe—help Thou my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).


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Friday, August 17, 2012

James 3:13


Thinking this morning about the phrase "actions speak louder than words," but I feel like the James 3:13 (above) brings a new phrase we should live by: "actions and words must align." 

My words cannot distract from my Christian life any more than my lifestyle distract from my testimony. Why is it, further verses also question, that we find it so easy to spew out negativity and filth? 

I think it is because we must be letting those things creep into our hearts some way from somewhere. We need to pin point the areas of our lives that breed these evils that tend to show themselves through our words. I am trying to think today of what those things are in my life. What can I replace them with? I cannot leave a void--my heart craves to be full of something. 

What can I fill it with?

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friday favorite things | finding joyBeholding Glory



Monday, August 13, 2012

My Grandmother's Legacy

I am part of a prayer group, and each Sunday I reflect on and pray about Heaven. I've been thinking of Heaven a lot lately, and my grandmother's passing last week has only further fueled my ponderings.

At my grandmother's funeral, her brother-in-law (a preacher) talked about the generations she has left behind, the legacy of Lola Bell—it is a fine legacy. We have some oddities here and there, but we are all believers raising our families in Christ, and that is something my grandmother was proud of. 

Her brother-in-law also talked about my grandmother's little girl, who died after only a few hours of life, and how they will get to be reunited. And a couple people at the funeral mentioned that we are sad because we will miss her presence in our life—not because of any fear about her being gone forever.

I feel Heaven is something I struggle with, to be honest with you all—my grandmother has been in decline for a while, and I've wished Heaven for her—so I know that my deep heart knows there is a Heaven, a place I knew she could go and finally have peace again. But lately the idea of getting old feels threatening to me rather than welcoming. My knee is bothering me and may need surgery, my grandmother passed (my third grandparent to leave this earth), and I turn 30 this year. My mortality seems so real.

But there is immortality in Christ. My prayer right now, today...this week, is for us to have an unshakeable faith in knowing of that immortality, and a peace that grows from that—and lives that reflect that knowledge and press to share the peace and hope of our Savior.

My grandmother's life has also made me think a lot lately about how to make this true in my life: "this is my story, this is my song: praising my Savior all the day long" (Fanny Crosby). The song is "Blessed Assurance," which is one of the things I want most in life. So does the chorus give us the secret: that giving our lives to Christ will give us the assurance of His love and presence and of Heaven, which is the ultimate example of His love (in that His death makes it possible for us to go there)?

Married for 61 years, faithfully following my preaching grandfather through various mission fields as a united team, Lola Bell Carter Hilliard was an excellent example to me of giving her life away. The past two weeks I've felt her spirit pushing me to do the same. I haven't figured out exactly how God wishes me to do so, but I am spending the entire week in prayer for my purpose to become obvious to me. I've come to these truths so far:

  1)    I need to give thanks more.
ü  Give glory to God in everything you do, giving thanks (Colossians 3:17). 
ü  Don't be anxious: bring everything to God in thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6).
  2)    I need to look outward more than inward, finding ways to help others in quietness and   kindness.
ü  Love others as I have loved you, and in this action, people will know you are Mine (John 13:34-35).


I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.

Palmer Hartsough




I keep hearing I look like her: the only better compliment I can think of is hearing I am like her. She was true beauty.


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The Alabaster Jar

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's My Body, and I'll Cry if I Want To

Why, body? Why do you fail me so?

I decided to kick it hardcore this week: no meat, no wheat, no dairy--exercise every day. Problem #1 = I've injured my knee running, so I cannot do that for a while (if ever again), so I thought I could do my favorite work-out: the 80s Buns of Steel. Problem #2 = that work-out is on VHS, and we just replaced our old DVD / VHS combo unit with a BluRay player.

So, because I was so dedicated to the cause of health and weight loss, I found a Pilates DVD. Problem #3 = while doing a valuable bun and ab movement, I pulled something in my back, rendering myself useless for twelve hours. Taking a pain pill leftover from birthing my 9-month-old seemed like a good idea to help me make it through a long day at work, only (Problem #4 =) the pill made me sick.

I know it's easy to make excuses to put off being good to our bodies, but I hope my excuses are valid. I'm the type, sadly, who says things like, "Well, I already cheated once...bring on the dozen donuts" or "Well, I cannot work out today since my back is stove up and my knee won't bend...so I might as well eat pizza." No no no...that's not how it works. Right?

First Corinthians 6:19-20 says my body is a temple. How little do I treat it so? With all the demands on my mother-wife-professor-editor-friend-daughter-writer life, I often forget about the demand of my temple. Eating poorly is easy. Ignoring exercise is simple. 


And let's move even further. What about my prayer life? This temple will crumble without spiritual quiet time and reflection.

This temple may have seen better days, but I am coming to realize that bringing two children into this world is one of the holiest acts it has ever accomplished. And if doing so has expanded the foyer, so to speak, then I need to do what I am physically able to in order to restore...and then realize that some things are perhaps lost--but worth the loss.

It's my body. Some days it makes me cry. Some days it makes me feel like an 80-year-old. Some days it makes me proud. Some days it surprises me. But it's a gift, and I should be grateful and take great care.

 ModCloth red dress, I love you. 


A TJ Maxx or Marshall's find below: I had a seamstress friend shorten it as it fell in an awkward spot on my leg. I never used to buy something unless it fit perfectly, but I've learned it can be worth thinking about alterations if a dress is excellent in most cases. 


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pleated poppy WIPWednesday