New Year, New Ambitions, Same Me, Same God

The dawn of the new year is upon us. Gyms are flooded with hoards of people, myself quite possible among them, committed to their health and the health of their body. Finances are scrutinized. Bible plans are picked up with new vigor and dedication. For at least a week.  I used to work for a coffee shop. After December’s madness, the business died down and January became a barren wasteland. Inevitably, by the time Valentine’s Day rolled around, it picked back up and we were operating at full speed, making warm beverages full of chocolate and slathered in whipped cream for those who had already abandoned the diets they were so committed to at the start of the year.  Resolutions for the new year are helpful. Resolutions for the new year are helpful. Goals guide and shape us. They give us something to strive for, a lens through which to make decisions about our daily life. But they are not what defines us.  Because even though I have new goals for this year, who I am as a person did not magically change overnight. When the clock struck midnight, I kissed my husband and cheered hopefully for better times to come than the year before. But I did not magically become a person who enjoys salads or dislikes shopping. The ushering in of this new year did not usher in a higher state of holiness than the person who had previously been struggling to read her Bible and spend daily time in prayer.  While this year has brought new opportunities for me to commit myself to becoming a better version of who I am today, nothing has innately changed about the world. There are days when that causes me to despair, to wonder how I can become the holy and sanctified person God has called me to be, but those are the days I am not rooting myself in the truth of who I am and who God is.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8, ESV When the clock struck midnight, I was still a sinner in desperate need of the mercy of God. But God? He was also still the same, yesterday today, and forever. When the clock struck midnight, I was still a sinner in desperate need of the mercy of God. But God? He was also still the same, yesterday…

Read More

Can We Wait for Christmas?

For most of us, the Christmas celebration began long before we finish eating our Halloween candy. When the clock struck midnight, the fall decor was consigned to basement bins and the wreaths, stockings, nativity sets were brought forth.  Before Advent had even arrived, we rushed past the waiting and to the fulfillment of God’s promises at Christmas. Is it because our hearts can’t stand the waiting? Are our hearts so broken that we even join in the longing of God’s people? Advent beckons us to enter into the long wait God’s promised people experienced. From the moment that forbidden fruit was plucked from the tree, we were torn from the life we were intended for and have been waiting, longing for the world to be made whole. Because we trusted in the promise that the Messiah would come.  Can we stop for a minute and think about the weariness of the world before the Christ child appeared? Because I’m pretty sure that we are still an aching, weary world waiting to see Him again. We are aching from years of saying, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom the bride You won! And when we skip over Advent, over the waiting, I fear we sell ourselves short. Because when we ignore the waiting, when we bury it deep down and pretend that all is well in the here and now, we send a message to our hearts and to those around us that we do not believe we are waiting for more.  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war,…

Read More

41+ Delightful Gifts for Christian Women (A.K.A. – My Christmas List)

I was hestiant to share a gift guide this year because Christmas is about so much more than what is under the tree. However, I also love celebrating the greatest gift of all by sharing gifts with those around me. And since we all are likely giving and receiving gifts this Christmas, I wanted to share with you a few items that I came across this year and would love to see under my tree that would be a perfect addition to your list or for the Christian woman in your life. Last year, my tree sheltered quite a considerably large pile of books nestled underneath it. This year, there are again many books at the top of my list but there are also a few hygge surprises, hospitality tools, and some new faith growing finds I wanted to share with you.  Here are 41+ Gifts for Christian Women Note: This post does contain affiliate links which means that I may receive, at no additional cost to you, a small percentage of sale made through the links below. See my sidebar for my full disclosure.  Bibles on My Christmas List:  This might seem a little odd, but I love using different types of Bibles! While I primarily work out of my journaling Bible, I also love my study Bible and readers Bibles. Here are a few more I’d love to add to my collection:     Hospitality Finds on My Christmas List:  I am a huge propnent of simple, easy hospitality. My go-to is to offer guests popcorn (an easy snack) and/or tea. However, when I am feeling particularly domestic, I also enjoy making freash bread (although not currently with the ease of a breadmaker). Also below are a few of my favorite games to play when hosting.  Hygge Finds on My Christmas List:  You guys know how much I love hygge. Here are some practical (and some totally impractical) hygge items on my Christmas list. While these are completely superfluous, they are all lovely and bring a smile to my face. As you can see, several items involve warmth because, while my heart is so excited to be back in Michigan among family, my body still misses the warm Hawaiian weather.    Books on My Christmas List:  You all knew this part would come eventually! Here are the books on my Christmas list (and a few old favorites to add…

Read More

How Zechariah’s Doubt Taught Me To Trust God’s Faithfulness

When the angel, Gabriel, announced to Zechariah that God has heard his prayers and would be fulfilling his desire for a child by granting him a son who would prepare the way for the long-awaited for Messiah, he did not respond in faith. He doubted what the angel was saying and that God would be able to use them because of their circumstances.  Instead of seeking to trust, Zechariah, a priest, a man of God, doubted what God was capable of doing.  While I would love to stand here and say that I would not doubt, that I would stand strong and believe in the promises of God, but my attitude often shows otherwise.  Doubt seeps into my mind and like Eve in the Garden and Zechariah in the Holy of Holies, I wonder if what God has promised is trustworthy. Because in the day to day struggles of life, it’s hard to see the good and perfect plan He is working out for my life.  God has given me His word, and but like Zechariah, I often doubt it with my actions, if not my words.  But Zechariah didn’t let his sin, doubt and His disbelief in God’s power, define him. He demonstrated faith in angel’s message and later shared that he trusted God’s fulfillment.  He declared before all Gabriel’s words about his son and God’s faithfulness. And he continued by sharing that this Messiah would save His people by forgiving their sins.  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;     for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people     in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God,     whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,     to guide our feet into the way of peace. – Luke 1:76-69, ESV Do I move forward, move on, from sin into a life of holy living or do I let the sin in my life define me? Zechariah sinned, but he moved on in repentance, and instead of doubting, boldly proclaimed what God could do.  Because what he was proclaiming was that God’s people would be free from their sin. Instead of being pulled away from Him, they would be drawn close once again.  Zechariah’s prayer shows…

Read More

Making Mary’s Prayer of Adoration Mine

When the Angel came to Mary, she responded with belief that God would work the impossible. But her faith isn’t the only area of her life to be modeled after. And as we approach Christmas Day, looking at her joyous proclamation of God’s faithfulness is a model of prayer that we all should follow. Her prayer, the Magnificat has become a beautiful model of prayer over the last year for me. Often, I struggle with prayers of adoration. I burst forth with requests and can even muster up some prayers of thankfulness but when it comes to sitting at the feet of the Lord, adoring Him, I falter. But Advent brings me back to the story of Christ’s birth and Mary’s proud proclamation of adoration for our God.  My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior -Luke 1:46-47, ESV She wasn’t just offering up prayers, she was living a life that magnified who God is and what He had done in her life. Her submission to His will and desire that, no matter how difficult the path, her life be used as a living sacrifice, exemplify adoration in deed, not just words. But the rest of her prayer shows us how eyes open to God’s mercies, ready to adore Him. His mercy is for those who fear him     from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;     he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;      he has brought down the mighty from their thrones     and exalted those of humble estate;     he has filled the hungry with good things,     and the rich he has sent away empty. -Luke 1:50-53, ESV Her eyes sharply observe the mercy of God. She sees the strength He gives to the poor, the good things He fills the hungry with, and the remembrance He gives the lowly and forgotten. Mary reminds me to open my eyes, see God at work, and respond with adoration.  Can I praise Him this Advent? Perhaps more necessary, can I open my eyes to see Him working? Instead of rushing through this season, can I slow my movements and slow my mind to bear witness to what God is doing around me? Maybe it’s observing the beautiful workings of Creation or asking a neighbor how God’s working in their life. Today, I’m going to pray and thank God…

Read More
1d4a7af8d08de24801fc74d62774cf0a8fadd0f88f77b989ab