Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.”

Psalm 111:10 

The fear of the Lord.

This statement was so hard for me to grasp, and even now in some moments my mind immediately recoils from the word fear.

I fought fear for years. Oftentimes I still find fear lurking behind the door. Thankfully I have over three-hundred scriptures to remind me (and it) that it has no place in my vocabulary.

But then… explain to me the phrase the “fear of the Lord.”

Recently I was faced with an interesting question- you know one of those questions that may be in the back of your head but its not important enough for you to disturb because you cringe at what unpacking and sorting it out may entail.

The discussion- who God is, or more specifically what God is;

Answer: Good, kind and love.

Anything else?

As I weighed these answers in my mind, other verses flickered through my mind.

God is good, God is kind and God is loving. He is steadfast and certain.

God is also just, holy and jealous.

He wants to be our number one, because we are His number one. No good thing comes to us apart from Him and yet- we are so prone to giving the credit to someone or something else.

The education, the title, the position, the clothes, the timing…

We think we know what’s best, all the while He’s trying to bring us towards His better.

The world pulls at us, offering gods with various faces. It calls us to pursue happiness and fulfillment through greed and self-satisfaction.

And just as we begin to realize that “god” is really not all that good… it throws another one in our face that just might be the missing link to what we’re looking for.

Of course God’s love which is complete and unflinching is jealous as He watches us get used and abused by the false gods of this world.

That is why he sent His only begotten son. Because He is holy. He is just. And he cannot compromise such perfect justice, for He cannot lie or change all that He is. But He is also love.

And love found a way.

Jesus posted the bail, became our lawyer and cleared all charges. All we have to do is accept His invitation. Tragically, many of us chose to stay in the cell.

Fear of the Lord.

A good, kind and loving God. A just, holy and jealous God.

“So,” my friend asked, “you fear being punished by God? Being judged?” in reference to my personal positions, actions or lack there of.

No.

The word slipped truthfully as I shook my head.

As I sat there and thought about sin; what I’ve done, what I didn’t do and what I would or would not do ever again… as I thought about repentance and the way my heart was convicted whenever I erred in one direction or another… as I thought about my loving Triune God… as the name Jesus echoed throughout my being- my heart swelling with joy at the thought of his name…

No, I don’t fear being punished or being judged by God.

No, I don’t fear being hurt by God.

I fear hurting God.

As you read through the dozens of verses that speak of the fear of the Lord you will notice that the attributes of the fear of the Lord lead to wisdom, protection and joy.

Every single one.

Overall I was a pretty good kid, if I can say so myself.

Was it because I hadn’t had the opportunity to misbehave? No.

Was it because I am absolutely perfect in every way? Lord knows, no, not at all. (Pretty sure I just heard a heavenly chuckle and an angel almost spit out their coffee sort of reaction.)

It was because I loved my parents, I still love my parents, and few things would have been more painful for me than to disappoint them, few things would have caused me more fear or dread. I love(d) them so much.

I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior. I love the Holy Spirit who indwells in me, knowing that I am not always the most hospitable vessel.

I do not try and follow the statues and read the verses because I am afraid of punishment.

I do it from a love so deep it cuts my heart to see the hurt in Their eyes when I betray their trust.

Every sin driving the nail in further.

The nail scarred hands helping me back up and carrying me whenever I’ve slipped so far.

Nail scarred hands reaching out and embracing me.

No, I do not fear what God would do. God is holy, just, good, kind, jealous and love.

No, I fear what I might do, what pain I might cause.

I wouldn’t purposefully hurt a loved one. Many of you probably agree.

So the question then is- why would we purposefully hurt the God who loves us so perfectly? Why does He seem to end up on just the other side of the line?

The fear of the Lord to me is grounded in our love for the Lord- rooted in His love for us. For our Lord is one “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

So, take heart friends and live free of fear, remembering, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Email us at declarehopeministries@gmail.com or comment prayer requests and praise reports below. You are forever in our thoughts and prayers.

Stay tuned for some exciting 2020 news including a continuation of defining our “whys” and upcoming monthly giveaways to the credit of some of my very talented friends!! Also an inside look into what I have been up to this past Christmas break.

Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

 

God’s Gift

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call him Immanuel.”

Isaiah 7:14

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace; and with his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:4-5

I love Christmas cards. I always have.

I have held onto every single one I’ve ever received, ever.

Including this one pictured above. This is a new card believe it or not. I received it from my Bible study leader a few weeks ago.

Of course, it looked a bit different when I first received it. It was perfect, actually.

Then one night the piece of tape displaying it failed me and in the time between it’s falling and my discovery- Reyna found it. (For those who do not know Reyna, she is a just turned 1, 86 pound, fluff ball/ puppy.)

And my beautiful card was crafted into a mess of confetti.

But as I disappointedly picked up the shredded pieces of my lovely card, I came across this final bit.

And I kid you not, I almost threw it away. To be honest I threw it away.

But as I turned away, I reached back and I picked it up, wanting to read the words one more time.

The whole time my world driven vision told me it was a piece of trash. Tarnished. Embarrassing. It would be absurd to hold on to it. Let alone put it back up. Forget the fact I had just grabbed it from my trash can, Lord help me if anyone ever found out.

But… that still small whisper. You know the Christmas story is a lot of things. And if we are honest, those things are tarnished and embarrassing.

Mary was pregnant before she was married- let’s talk about that reputation.

And then she gave birth in a barn. I’ve noticed that never caught on as a trend.

Yet… that story, that beloved and holy Christmas story, is beyond the definition of perfect.

There’s not a single word to fully express the magnitude and the glory of that tarnished and embarrassing story.

In fact, you could string a thousand words together, and just of clipped the iceburg.

We are a couple days past Christmas Day, and I hope yours was perfect. However, if it wasn’t perfect according to Hallmark standards (and I get it- I love Hallmark), I hope you can see that gifts, time and life aside- the victory of that day is never failing.

On a side note, I know many returned to work today, some worked Christmas Day, and those who are off are probably counting down the days subconsciously before they have to return.

Some may have balanced the checkbook today, did school work or cleaned the house.

My point is, as we move past Christmas Day, I pray we will remember to carry it with us.

It’s so hard when it feels as if so little has changed. The world acts as if all is as it has always been.

The angel spoke to Mary. Joseph had a dream. The shepherds heard the angels sing. The wise men saw the star. And the world… the world acted as if all was as it had always been.

As I was in town yesterday running some errands I felt I could see the world acting as if nothing had changed. The store lights, in contrast to Wednesday, were back on. (Never mind some stores did not bother to turn them off at all).

And it dawned on me. We try so hard to bind Christmas to one day. We make it a box, hand it over and say “get in,” forgetting that the reality of Christmas is beyond our comprehension, let alone our box making skills.

Christmas is the time we celebrate when Jesus stepped out of the box, and into the manger. And that celebration continues all year long. It’s a priceless gift freely given, and no sale price can cheapen or negate it. No deal can sweeten it. No amount of time can tarnish or lessen it.

It’s already everything, and then more than we can imagine. As we live in a world that acts as as if nothing is changed; we hear the angels sing, we see the star and we know- that everything has changed. We see it in the pile of dishes, the chaotic filling of email inboxes and in our chewed and torn Christmas cards.

❤️ Merry Christmas friends! My prayers and thoughts are with you all as we finish one year, one decade, and head into the next.

Give Careful Thought

 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.

Haggai 1:5 (NIV) 

Channeling circa 2000 Britney Spears…

Oops… I did it again.

To be honest that tagline started out as a joke… in fact this line was going to read “No, no I didn’t get lost in the game…” But then- I realized- that yeah I did, I did get lost in the game.

B Spears and I may not be talking about the same game but I did do it again… and I didn’t mean to… I just…

I just got too busy.

Working through papers, reading through course books and deciphering class materials in preparation for final projects and exams…

If you toss in some everyday life and purposefully set aside time for family… well, it is really easy to get caught up in the busyness.

Especially at this time of year.

It was the middle of November the last time I looked up, and now we are sitting less than 10 days to Christmas…

13 days to a New Year… a New Decade.

And unfortunately for me, I get caught in the busyness trap more often than I like to admit- and much more often than any one person should…

I keep thinking I have learned my lesson, fast forward a couple months and *bam* back in the busyness trap I go.

And the reality is that school work aside, if given the opportunity I am sure I could present dozens of other reasons behind “being behind.”

The worst part is, I know exactly what I am doing. I take my proclaimed “first priority” and place it on a back burner while I knock out all the “miscellaneous” tasks.

It is at the top of my to do list, forefront of my mind and on fire in my heart- and I do everything I can to set it aside until “the right time” or “enough time” or “the time.”

First priority- placing God first. In placing God first, my next priority becomes doing what He has called me to do.

But gee, sometimes I feel He just doesn’t understand how awkwardly it fits in my schedule. “I really want to do that God, you know I do but… I really need to ________ and then…maybe…”

And as I keep putting my first priority off for the sake of accomplishing whatever it is that I have deemed in need of being accomplished first… the distance between me and my first priority grows.

Eventually that distance becomes unbearable. I am asking where He went and He is standing next to me wondering why I am yelling.

Per usual He never left, I just turned my eyes away.

Thankfully God never tires of shaking me out of the busyness trap, when truly no one- myself included- would blame Him for leaving me there to figure it out on my own.

This time around, as I was explaining about how I know “this and this” was on our to do list, but that “this and that” had shown up on my to do list- God sent me to Haggai.

To be honest, I had never paid too much attention to Haggai. Lesson learned. Haggai has a word that God knew I needed to hear:

 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

Haggai 1:5-9

Ta-Da! Lightbulb 💡

And conviction. A fair amount of healthy Spirit driven conviction.

This past month as been a struggle. And now I know why.

Because I got lost in the game. I got caught in the busyness. I was overwhelmed with concern for my house, that I neglected His house.

It is one thing to pray constantly. (And it is an important thing).

But it is another thing to purposefully stop and be still and to know. To stop and worship and to stop and praise.

Stopping and being still is important, essential really. Because in the moments when you truly stop- even if only for a few minutes- you are saying that there is no task- big or small- that is worth a portion of this moment to this privilege.

Take a moment and recall those in the Christmas story who stopped- the shepherds ran and wise men traveled.

By stopping you are not giving half or part of an offering but a whole sacrifice, whole heartedly.

And that offering, that whole, complete moment of worship and awe builds castles for the Lord our God.

As you proceed from that moment you realize that God’s call never fits awkwardly around your schedule/plans but that some of the plans you’ve placed may fit awkwardly around His.

As we enter the final countdown to the celebration of God’s ultimate plan; our deliverance through the birth, life, death and resurrection of His only son- I am overwhelmed and eternally thankful that God did not find our deliverance, my deliverance, too awkward for His schedule.

I am reminded that one character at the First Christmas was so caught in the busyness trap- he missed the miracle right outside his door. No one blames the Innkeeper, he had a full house, and certainly we can all relate to the feeling.

But this Christmas and into the New Year, Friends I encourage you to do as the wise men and the shepherds did and give careful thought to your ways, follow the star and make haste to the King.

Prayers Friends and Tidings of Great Joy ♥️✨

 

 

We Who Have Hope

 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV)

8 months.

8 months since Mom’s earthly life ended and her eternal life began.

How we cried.

How Heaven cheered.

Not only a Mom, but a Wife,Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Teacher, Friend…

The titles she carried are endless just as the light she left behind is

The heartache has been acute this past week, coming in waves. It seemed they came without ceasing. One wave would break as another came in to push me back under.

I missed Mom, I missed Jamie, I missed Grandpa… Aunt Ruth… this list could extend out excessively…

And I know that everyone skimming through this post has their own list, their own list of cherished loved ones no longer on this side of Heaven.

Loved ones who withstanding the amount of time they have been gone, still seem to have, contradictorily, been gone a moment and yet an eternity- at the same time.

And the truth is that the waves never fully cease. Complete healing is not possible this side of Heaven. There are several moments when as wave after wave breaks it feels as if you’ve gone under and you are unable to break the surface. Drowning in grief, a deep murky darkness enclosing you.

But then… Jesus.

Ironically enough- my homework led me to the reminders and encouragement I needed. Reading through 1 Thessalonians for an assignment, I could hear that still small voice.

And I decided to camp there for a while, part of me taking comfort in the fact that the Thessalonian believers had needed the same encouragement back in the 1st Century as I did in the 21st Century.

Many of those in the Thessalonica Church had been gentiles in a Greco-Roman culture before they encountered Jesus through the words of His disciples. The Greco-Roman culture had little belief or hope in any sort of resurrection. So much so, that many tombs and grave markers attempted to belittle or make light of a person’s passing and consequently, life.

I’ve included a screenshot from one of my textbooks below that personally, I had to reread several times.

(Bruce W Longenecker (2019). (p. 367). Thinking through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology.)

“I was not, I was, I am not, I care not”…

My heart cannot fathom a life devoid of hope. Without the hope of Christ, I would crumble.

Because I care, I care about seeing my Mom again and seeing my Best Friend again and all of my loved ones…

I care because I have not moved on. And the truth is I will not move on.

The same week that the waves were coming and my school assignment seemed to align with divine intervention… a TED Talk appeared on Facebook page…

Just to be sure I got the message loud and clear.

In the words of Nora McInerny, “I’ve not moved on… but I’ve moved forward with…”

I encourage everyone to hit the link below and watch this video. It is 4 minutes. 4 minutes of a message that, whether you need to hear it today or to bookmark it for a future day, you will not regret stopping to listen.

This past week we planted mums at Mom’s bench. The waves didn’t come so much that day. There was peace. And there was hope. Because in Jesus Christ we no longer have to grieve as those without hope.

That does not mean we do not grieve, just that as we grieve we recognize deep down it is a momentary separation awaiting eternal joy.

Thessalonians we get it- the struggle is real.

Paul we hear you- our hope is real, and our eyes are set.

Jesus we love you- thank you for loving us first.

Nora continues her talk, stating that “We need to remember, and help each other remember, that grief is a multitasking emotion…”

In this broken world we grieve, we move forward but we are not called to move on- we are called to rely on our hope.

We Don’t “Move on” from Grief. We Move Forward with It

 

 

Growing Pains

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 

1 Timothy 4:12

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. 

Proverbs 12:15

 

  1. Know that I should be doing homework.
  2. Know that as a grad student I should always be doing homework.

But this blog post has been waiting in my drafts long enough. Early August in fact, 3/4 of the way through my internship, facing an upcoming season of uncertainties and uncharted territories.

Nearing what I believe is the end of that period and entering a new, yet to be charted season, I can feel the inner conflict beginning to stir.

Turmoil that, when left unchecked, is known to make my battle ready self hesitate.

It is not that I fear God failing. No, I believe in him 100% of the time.

But I have struggled with believing in myself.

I have struggled to believe that I can communicate, discern and complete those tasks in front of me. Oftentimes I am self-convinced that I am getting the message wrong and surely God has called someone much more… much?

In today’s world this struggle is a genuine one. The world we live in is hardly encouraging most of the time. And if we are not tuned into what God is saying and what he has said, then who are we listening to?

No matter where you are in life or what career field you are working in, there will always be “the voices” in “the moments.”

While I hope you are not familiar with the voices or the moments, living in this world is an unfortunate guarantee that you are more familiar with them than most of us would like to admit.

You know the ones where you are “too young,” “too old,” “too conservative,” “too liberal,” “too educated,” “too naive”… and all the other “toos” that make you unable to understand. Your answer is wrong. It’s not your fault, you are just “too much” or “too little” and that is too bad.

And in these moments, in early August, amid all the voices, I found I really missed my mom.

In these moments a part of me wishes I would have grown up faster. That I would have grown up more gracefully, gliding past the obstacles and never missing a step.

Unfortunately I was one often caught between hard places, getting back up with scrapped knees and bloody knuckles. Generally walking away with a hard earned and learned lesson accompanied with a loving, motherly, “keep going.”

Mom was a great director on walking the line between “do not let them undermine you” yet “listen to wise counsel.”

So here I am, walking the line, and it is getting slimmer. Its one of those moments where the enemy has gotten a hold of one of the ends of the line, turning it into a tightrope and has begun shaking it. You’re not sure if you’ll be able to remain upright, let alone move forward without losing your balance.

And so I spent some time laying my case out to one who has all the time in the world- eternity in fact. My fragile and fear disposed heart repeating that I believed in Him, but… but… me, the me part of the plan was questionable.

God haven’t you heard? I am not ready. I am not qualified. I am too much this and not enough that.

And in those moments that still small voice whispered- but I believe in you.

I believe in you.

I created you. Who knows better what you are capable of? And remember- you are not going in alone. I will be there. And you said yourself, you believe in Me.

True.

So repeat the problem?

And the tightrope stopped shaking. Because in that moment I handed the end back to God- and stopped jumping up and down on it as I was placed back on solid ground.

I remembered that He is before and behind me. Above and Below me. Even should I fall, He is already there. My own worst enemy had been myself, and the enemy’s doubts I had adopted as my own.

And in that space, on that grounded line, I found it.

Humble Confidence.

A graceful clumsiness. Somedays you will fall. Others you will dance. But everyday you will be fearless.

Because should all else fall away you know your Strong Tower is always before, behind, above and below you. There’s no direction you can fall that he won’t be there to catch you.

As if He wasn’t enough, He has also provided family and friends along the way to encourage us and be lights in an otherwise darkened world.

People who are always behind you, some of who you will meet going forward and others who are watching the ground below you from above.

I know beliefs differ, and I do not have the ultimate answer (I am still in Bible college and God has not granted me a vision or revelation that has been withheld from others until now- not that I haven’t asked), however I highly suspect that loved ones can see us from above. At least to an extent. (I generally reference the story Jesus shares in Luke 16:19-31 of Lazarus and the Rich Man and personal experience).

With that said I also fully believe that our loved ones who have passed into Jesus’ presence are in a place with no sorrow, no tears or hurting and pain of any kind. They are in the best of places, praising our savior and rejoicing.

As much as I miss my mom, my best friend, my grandfather, my aunt and several others; I wouldn’t want them to be in that perfect place missing being here. And I know if my mom (or any of them) recalled the pain our temporary separation caused this side of Heaven, her heart would break.

So I have this hope that should my belief be correct and that they are able to look down at times, there is what I have coined as an “eternity filter.”

A filter that when my mom looks down its through the light of eternity, a light that erases the darkness of this world. While she sees us in the good and bad, she knows that the bad will not endure and the good is not even remotely close to the best. And that we have all the time in world, for one day- there will be no more goodbyes and no more ends.

On this side we see through a “world filter,” its dark and broken. Things are hard and you never fully feel like you have made the mark. There are days when the time inches by and others where it feels as if it flew in the blink of an eye.

Further evidence we are just journeying through this world. Our hearts can never fully fit into this world’s concept of “time,” for He has placed eternity in our hearts.

So lesson learned this season:

Growing up is never a task fully accomplished on this side of heaven. Growing pains mark growth, not completion.

In the moments where the growth is hard come by remember you have a Creator, His host of angels and His saints, who count it a hard earned and won Victory.

So fellow Saints, put on your Armor and remember no victory is too small and certainly no matter how beat up and bruised you may emerge, every one is worth celebrating. Moses didn’t think he could lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Peter was uneducated. David and Mary were teenagers. Abraham and Elizabeth were old.

The reality is that you don’t have this. But God does and He’s called you.

And as the prophets and the early church leaders prayed, so we pray, to continue to grow in the knowledge of God, bearing fruit of every good work. No longer seeing this world through it’s broken and twisted filter, but through the filter of eternity to which we have been called.

*Comment here or on the Prayer Requests/ Praise Reports page any prayer needs or celebrations.

*To see updates for upcoming posts and projects you can follow “declare_hope” on Instagram and “Declare Hope” on Facebook!

Thank James Pond on Unsplash for photo.

Access

In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him.

Ephesians 3:12 (CSB). 

I am assuming that I am not the only one who blinked and feels as if they missed the month of August?

Back to school, last minute vacations, fair days and all of the final summer celebrations that bring summer to a close and welcome fall in (heralded in by the infamous release of pumpkin spice everything!) 🍁

I had not intended to take a blogging “sabbatical” this summer… regardless I am back and I have missed you all a great deal!

Just to let you know where I have been; I managed to finish my three courses (and begin my new ones), wrote 1/3 of a book (which I hope to finish and share more on soon), graduated my first unit of CPE continuing my journey to becoming a certified hospital chaplain and…

Located a spot and moved into mine and Reyna’s new space!

The last few household items were put up these past few days (Thank you Grandma, Tom and Dad!) And we are officially moved in!

The picture above is when I first received the keys.

The Lord ensured I had plenty of time and I was very blessed to enjoy a “slow and steady” moving in process.

For the past two years the majority of my things were in a storage unit and then over this summer spread out between two households. So the gathering was quite an adventure in itself.

However despite the change and difficulties when making a move… and the colossal task of unpacking, I had a moment of complete gratitude.

Don’t get me wrong- this move was not one taken on as a solo gig and I was and still am incredibly thankful for every helping hand and encouraging word that continues to pour in- but this was a moment of a different form of thankfulness.

What I was thankful for had been buried, not readily on the surface, kind of out of sight. Needless to say, it took me by surprise, a sort of revelation.

As I walked through my halfway unpacked apartment I was “down on my knees” thankful to have access to things I had not seen in over two years.

Memories flooded in as I unpacked items dating all the way back to ten years ago when I first moved out to my first dorm room in Oklahoma.

And the reality is that I do not need these things. If everything I owned were to disappear tomorrow, I would be okay.

Because I have a God and a Savior and a Spirit that can never be taken from me. And at the end of the day they always hold my every hope and prayer as well as all my trust and love.

But as I look and remember, I am humbled and grateful for every blessing I have received and continue to receive that I did not and do not deserve.

The adventures this journey has taken me on and the wonderful people who have joined me along the way.

I thought about it for a moment, this concept of access. And I realized this was far from the first time I had stumbled upon a lovingly opened door.

And as I reminisced on all these lovingly opened doors of the past, some of which had also been lovingly closed- ushering me on to the next one- I found myself reveling at the door which by all human standards could have never been opened.

The greatest access I have ever been and ever will be granted is the access I have through Jesus, who opened the door that was by all human accounts impossible to open.

The key to which was something I would have never been able to possess and that which had to be freely given, the blood of my God walking alongside humanity in this broken world.

It can be hard to fathom.

But as the verse from Ephesians reads, it is through faith in Christ Jesus, that we can have bold and confident access to the throne room of the Lord.

Do you know when you pray in Jesus name, no matter where you are- on your knees, standing up, eyes open, eyes closed, a few words, many words, no words just a voiceless weeping- you have entered the throne room of God.

And you, yes you, have the full attention of the creator of the universe.  And He listens to you. He hurts with you. He celebrates with you.

In Jesus you have been given access to the Kingdom, he’s given you the Kingdom keys. You’re no longer a guest, you’re an adopted and battled for child of the King.

And our King loves to listen and talk to you. There is nothing too insignificant or small, He wants to hear about it all. He knows every hair on your head.

He is a King who has personally created you in His own image, purposefully crafted you together for a time such as this and who, not would but has, died for you.

Access.

It is not the first word I would have put on a list of thanksgiving. Yet, it is the beginning and ending of everything, in Christ Jesus.

I am excited to be writing again my friends. Please comment any prayer requests below or on the page listed in the tabs above. ♥️🙏

The picture at the top is when I first received my keys. Included below is a picture of Reyna preparing to enter our new “home away from home.” (Complete with “Give Thanks” wreath and “This house runs on coffee and Jesus” welcome mat!)

img_2247

Lord Bless the Fireflies

“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

John 12:46

I am so far behind.

Assignments unfinished.

Emails unanswered.

To Do Lists unaccomplished.

Phone calls unmade.

And projects untouched.

More often than not I find myself thinking of everything I have not done with little celebration for what I have finished…

I was probably late finishing it and therefore its completion brings its own guilt. It may be finished but not when I had hoped it would be completed. An accomplished relief filled guilt. But still guilt.

And after a period, if left unchecked you can get buried under that heaviness. Each “To Do” a stone carried on your back. And it feels for every stone you finally let go, two more appear.

One task done, two more come. The mystery of the never ending “To Do” list.

And sometimes the list seems so long, a chaotic jump from bullet point to bullet point, that you freeze uncertain of where to even start.

The bag of stones is too heavy, the mountain too steep and you are too tired. Dust covers you as you hit your knees in surrender. Some of your stones roll away. Most of them remain by your side, seemingly taunting you or calling out to be accomplished.

Remember? Remember how important I am? Remember why I am in this bag?

And you do. But you’re tired.

However, after a few moments having hit your knees something miraculous begins to take place. You rest, your burden at your side but no longer on your shoulders, and after a moment you look up. And for the first time since you have been struggling with your burden you can really breathe.

Not the labored breath of climbing a mountain with a weighted sack filled with everything you should do or need to do. But a deep, life giving, relaxing breath.

You remember that you are human. And that means something.

How awe-inspiring it is to know and be loved by a God who created fireflies.

As we go about our daily tasks and assignments we can get caught up in the imperfections and frustrations of this world. The heart wrenching realities and painful truths and exhausting call to move, move, move. Never fast enough, almost always behind…

But when we stop we give ourselves the opportunity to tap into a power beyond our own. A power who created the universe, light as bright as the sun and as magical as the fireflies.

A power who created and loves you- who loved you before any of the “To Dos” on your list even existed.

A Savior who when you look up you realize is at your side offering a hand as he shoulders your sack of stones taking your burden as his own.

Summer always goes flies too fast.

My prayer is that aside from the “To Dos” and list of hoped accomplishments, that we remember to stop and take a moment and appreciate the wonders around us- reminders that we do no walk this journey alone and our burden is not our own.

And when in doubt, look to the fireflies, they’ll remind you that the God who created you also created them, and what is more loving and reassuring than that?

*Thank you toan phan on Unsplash for the photo.