A Wife Loved Like The Church

He Is

Posted on: April 11, 2014

I sincerely wish that we had news to share that was “exciting” or allowed others to rejoice along with us in triumph. But I can’t. Our situation hasn’t changed, our lives are still up in the air.

But, over the course of these last few months God has taught me more than I can fully unpack at one time. Yet, I want to try to give you an update. I want to give God glory.

Romans 4:20 says

No unbelief made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.

As I sit here and reflect on all the ways that God has preserved us, cared for us, comforted us, loved us, I am moved to tears. Y’all, we serve a good, good God. I seriously forget that sometimes. I forget how amazing He is just because He Is. Not because He gives us things, not because we feel happy (or feel anything for that matter), but because HE IS. He is faithful. He is merciful. He is all-knowing. He is our source of comfort, our provider, our rock and our fortress. He is true to Himself. He is our God and our Father. HE IS.

God deserves every bit of glory in our lives. He deserves to be praised when we wake and when we go to sleep. He deserves to hold the highest position in our lives, in our thoughts, in our hearts, because HE IS.

He is a God whose grace is sufficient.

He is a God who called/who chose/who claimed me for His own.

He is a God whose blood was shed.

He is a God who rescued.

He is a God fully worthy of every moment of my life.

When I compare myself to God, I see I am weak, I am faithless, I am wrathful, I am a sinking ship.

But….

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  

1 Corinthians 12:9

In our suffering, in our weakness, in the darkness that covers us, God isn’t telling us to fend for ourselves, fight our own battles. No, He is whispering into our hearts – “My grace is sufficient for you.”

He is sufficient.

So friends, if there is one way to sum up all that I have learned in the past six months, it is simply that HE IS.

 

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Have you ever had words forming in your head, in your heart, only for them to get stuck? They just can’t move through your fingers, through to paper. I feel like that is where I have been for months.

Stuck.

I looked up stuck in the dictionary. It is the past tense of stick, which means to hold, cleave, or cling; to remain persistently or permanently.

I have to ask myself, “what am I clinging to? what am I refusing to let go?”. When the words won’t come, when what I am thinking or feeling just won’t release. What keeps me stuck?

Often I wonder if I’m afraid to feel all the feelings. Those feelings of pain, anger, fear. Those feelings of joy, happiness, relief. Afraid of the bad because it hurts so. Yet afraid of the good because it is so fleeting.

But what growth do I have if I stay stuck? Even if unstuck means pain, at least I’m moving.

So bare with me as I attempt to get unstuck. As I attempt over the next few weeks to let the words flow. They are sure to be confused, to be jumbled, as they unstick and move out of the muck. But move they must.

Do you want to know a secret? I love New Year’s resolutions. While I front by calling them pretty ridiculous, deep down I really love them, sorta like watching Hart of Dixie. It’s the idea of setting a new course, of improving yourself no matter how small, that is really exciting to me. 

This year I set out to stop wearing makeup. Weird, right? I mean, why makeup? Because I’m an odd duck like that and do really bizarre things. Actually, the full story is – I found myself unwilling to leave the house without makeup on. I’d do it, mostly because it’s not always feasible (8 am school drop off is just too dang early sometimes, ya know?) and who actually puts make up on to go running? Still given the choice I didn’t leave home without wearing at least coverup. What better way to break a habit than to give it up completely? I’m extreme like that. In fact, our family calls it “being Atwood”, since being extreme runs on my side of the family.

So when I felt this little makeup demon rise up inside me, I knew I had my 2014 resolution – The Year I Stopped Wearing Makeup.

Now, in all fairness, I’ve not sworn off makeup completely – mostly because I just can’t (or rather just don’t want to). Here are my two makeup rules ::

1. Only wear mascara and lipstick - I can remember my mom telling me that all the makeup a woman ever needed was mascara and lipstick. Who knows why, but I figured there has to be some deep, philosophical reason. Or, maybe my mom just knows that mascara makes our genetically light eyelashes look normal and lipstick is always a good idea. So I made the rule that I can wear mascara and lipstick anytime. Funny enough, out of sheer laziness I actually haven’t been wearing either one lately.

2. Special occasions - Now, this one could have some loose interpretation, but here’s how I define it – Any major event that calls for me to look more dressed up than usual (think special date night or large group event, but not just a typical date or GNO). So far, I’ve only had one special occasion earlier this month when I did in fact wear makeup.

A good three weeks in, and I’ve found that the less makeup I wear, the prettier I feel and the more self confidence I have – ironic, huh? Though, truthfully, when my face broke out like a teenaged girl for certain *cough* reasons *cough* (thanks for that part of the curse, Eve) I found myself longing for makeup. I felt awkward and silly with all those pimples covering my cheeks for the world to see. Good thing I have Invisalign braces and not traditional braces. Things woulda been real bad then, am I right?! 

And just so the whole world can see, here’s me sans makeup ::

Makeup Free Selfie #nofilter

Makeup Free Selfie #mascaraonly #nofilter

What’s the strangest/funniest/weirdest New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

Wednesday I started my first paying job since Julia was born.

The story is one that has been woven together by God. Truly and completely. I have pieced together how it all happened, seeing the story through different eyes. It’s all quite amazing when you hear it and realize how God orchestrated every little detail.

In December, I contacted the director of Hannah and Joseph’s preschool to ask about any job opportunities teaching. She wasn’t aware of anything but promised to keep me updated if something became available. At the same time in December, Sharon, Hannah’s co-teacher from last year, felt the Lord tugging at her heart to step down from teaching to focus on her family’s new ministry at church.

In January, the director emailed asking if I would be interested in subbing. At the same time in January, Sharon informed the school of her decision to focus on her family’s ministry. While sad (because Sharon is an amazing teacher with a warm, loving heart), everyone knew Sharon was doing what was best.

When I went in for my interview for subbing, I had been praying that a teaching position would be open. So when I was informed one had opened, I was thrilled. I wasn’t given much information, just the age range of the students. When I got home, I told Jonathan that while I had no idea of which classroom I might be in, I really hoped it was with Hannah’s other teacher from last year, Pam. I had gotten to know Pam well during Hannah’s time in her class and had just fallen in love with her. 

The next week I met with the director. She told me a bit more about the role and the classroom. I jokingly shared my hope of working with Pam, when she told me… The co-teacher position was indeed with Pam.

Funny, how something that seems so insignificant in the “big world” means so much to me. How God, even in the small things, is providing, is comforting, is showing how deeply He cares. How He laid it on Sharon’s heart to move in a different direction. How Sharon’s obedience to God opened up a position for me, with the teacher I hoped to lead alongside. How the classroom I’m in, already feels like home.

There are times when you get to see a glimpse of your story unfolding. How each step lead you to where you are. How each detail has been covered, each loose end tied up.

While this new job may seem small to others, it is ever so big to me.

What’s that? Christmas is less than a week away and I still haven’t finished getting/making all our gifts? Me falling behind on tasks? Puh-lease, that never happens. Except pretty much all.the.time.

The day after Thanksgiving, I spent about an hour looking through endless cards websites, trying to craft the perfect Christmas card. Our pictures this year were cute and hilarious {not that I’m biased}, but I couldn’t decide on a single card I liked. In a moment of frustration, I announced “That’s it! I’ve had it with this dump!” and vowed to not send out cards this year out of sheer stubbornness. Way to go with the grinchy attitude, am I right?!

Fast forward a few weeks and we start having Christmas cards arriving in our mailbox. Oh stars. I have some sweet, beautiful friends and family.  It warms my heart to see all those faces and relive some amazing memories. It simply makes this time of year even sweeter.

And then it hit me – I haven’t ordered a single Christmas card. By this point, it really is too late {unless we call them New Year cards – or if we’re really honest, Memorial Day cards}. Which means, I’m missing out on sending cute little cards, with cute little festive stamps, to all my sweet friends and family. Le sigh.

But, I’d hate to deprive you of the great pictures my friend Erika took, so I thought I’d share them with you all the same ::

Family Picture

 

Kids

 

Jonathan and Sarah

 

Kids - Joe Joe Crying

Merry Christmas y’all!

Today has been a hard day. I’ve felt anxious and overwhelmed. There isn’t any specific reason for it, just a tugging at my heart of heavier things.

I want to curl up and sleep, block out the low feelings for a little while until my cheery self returns.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

I read those verses today. Delivered from the domain of darkness. Transferred to His kingdom. Redeemed. Forgiven.

There is such comfort there. Comfort that this darkness can’t hold me. I am redeemed from it.

I may still feel like curling up, resting from the world a bit. But in that feeling, I can cling to the hope that this world is not my world, this darkness does not have dominion over me. I am redeemed. I am forgiven. I am His.

I’m starting to think that perhaps the most divisive issues among Christians aren’t theological issues but holidays. Celebrate Halloween? “Shameful! Pharisee!” Tell your children about Santa or that dreaded Elf? “You should tie a stone about your neck! Jesus is the reason for the season!”

Listen, I’m not knocking celebrating Christ’s birth. If Jesus wasn’t born all hope would be lost. We would be in utter darkness. In him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). Without the pivotal moment of Christ’s birth, everything would be for nothing.

Here’s what I am saying – lighten up. Celebrating Christmas isn’t a command. Nowhere does God tell us to celebrate Jesus’s birth with a holiday. Nowhere does God say that Jesus is the reason for the season. Actually, if we want to become pedantic, Jesus is the reason for ALL seasons. Perhaps {and this is a super radical thought} rather than harping about celebrating Jesus at Christmas, we could, I don’t know, celebrate Him all the time? Whoa. Mind-blown.

Honestly, our family doesn’t do Santa. Or that elf {which I harbor really negative feelings toward. But that’s a whole other post. Ha!}. While we decorate, things are kept low key. Our kids get just a few presents. We use December as one more chance to talk a lot about Advent. But, we also blare secular Christmas songs, watch Elf and Charlie Brown’s Christmas, bake dozens of cookies and bask in the beauty that is this time of year.

Ultimately, Christmas is just one more chance to talk about Jesus. It shouldn’t be seen as the only time we celebrate Christ’s birth. It’s just one more chance to celebrate it. Putting Christ in Christmas is ridiculous, because Christ is already in Christmas. Just like He is in Memorial Day or Grandparents Day. He’s there because He is always there, in everything. Because in Him and through Him all things have been made. We don’t need Christmas time to celebrate Jesus. We celebrate Jesus all the time because He is worthy of our praise.

This Christmas let’s make a truce. Let’s not shoot arrows at one another for our personal Christmas celebrations. Let’s not grumble when a parent lavishes their children with gifts {“spoiled brats!”} or roll our eyes when someone doesn’t “do Santa” {“ohh… so high and mighty! Pish.”}. Instead, let’s realize that Christmas is one more chance to talk about Jesus, not the only chance to talk about Him.

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