In other fun news, I have the best husband ever! :) I mean, you probably already knew I felt that way, but this weekend Joe is taking me to Kansas City (it's my belated Mother's Day gift!) So fun huh? We are staying at a resort and spa and we will go to the plaza (where we got engaged), and just have a fun weekend together! Joe's sister Mary has moved back to Iowa so she is going to watch Roman for us. I am so excited! I have to find a swimsuit first, though...that I am not so excited about. To me, swimsuits are the worst item of clothing to have to shop for. But, on a positive note, Chrissy told me that she got a really good one at Action Accents in Des Moines...might have to try that.
Roman is finally not hating grass, so it has been a blast to watch him run around outside. He loves to chase bubbles and kick his bouncy ball around the yard. We just had the living room baracading system perfected...not sure you can baracade a yard without a fence, though, so we have to do a lot of chasing.
I hope you're all enjoying spring as much as we are!!
Ever wondered why bad things happen to good people? We have all wondered. We have an omniscient God so what is the purpose of our suffering? This video is a beautiful witness to God's loving plan for life...it's a reminder that God can use anyone - anywhere, anytime. Sometimes you hear people talk about "quality of life". How can we measure such a thing? And even in the midst of intense pain and agony, we have to remember that life is not about us. Our sole purpose in life is to be a mirror reflecting God's glory to the world. God, help us to see you in every situation...in the face of every man woman and child. Help us to embrace the life that you so generously give to us - from womb to tomb - even when we struggle to see how you will use our circumstances for good.
Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
PS - don't watch this video at work or school (unless you like people to see you sobbing). It's extremely emotional, but I promise that you will be blessed.
This quote is from a book by Max Lucado, entitled, "It's Not About Me". I am only on page 50, but it's pretty safe to say I will probably be recommending this book to a lot of people. I love the way that Max Lucado writes. He does the most amazing things with words. The topics of his books are usually nothing of mind-blowing complexity, but bring so much clarity to issues that we have been discussing for years.
I loved his book "In The Grip of Grace". Again, if you have been a believer for a while, you have probably heard quite a bit about grace, but he gives such an intense emotional reminder that God's love is nothing like ours. Both books are pretty easy reads, but really cut straight to the heart of the matter.
"It's Not About Me" is all about making life more Christ-centered rather than me-centered. As I had mentioned in a couple of posts already, God is really showing me that I am disgustingly selfish. Sometimes it's hard to admit that we see things in our life that need to change - and it's even harder to change them. But, as I am reflecting on how selfishness plays itself out in my life - I am realizing that it is really at the core of all sins.
At first when God was laying this on my heart I was saying "No, I don't want to go there. I don't want to see what you have to show me about that". But, not allowing God to come into those dark corners of my heart is like telling a doctor that you don't want to hear about the cancer inside of you. For a while, you might go on living your life in ignorance of the disease, but eventually it would spread and cause great pain - greater than the pain of hearing the reality of your condition. On the other hand if you give the doctor permission, he can guide you to healing. I'm not sure why we resist God's desire to heal us. Do we really think that our sin is better left to fester inside of us? Do we actually think that he would say "You have cancer, I don't love you anymore"? How absurd.
I am reading a book right now about anger and becoming offended. I will not share the name of the book, because I disagree with the author on a number of his interpretations of scripture and some of his ideas. I am still reading, however, because he makes some really intersesting points about forgiveness. I really like that he clearly states that truth should not be compromised in order to keep people from becoming offended. However, when we become offended by people, we give Satan a foothold in our life. Being offended leads to bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, hatred, and a plethera of other sins. I am realizing that having an unforgiving heart comes down to having a selfish heart. God is infinitely forgiving of me and of whoever I might be offended by. It is my job to give myself in total self-donating love to that person; to show them Christ's love. It doesn't matter what I feel that person's obligations are. It's MY obligation to pour myself out to that person without hesitation.
One thing that has really spoken to my heart lately, is the story of David forgiving King Saul (1 Samuel 24). Basically, Saul and David come back from battle and all the women in the town talk about how many more men David killed than Saul. Saul becomes offended by this, and soon pursues David with the intent of killing him. Twice David has the opportunity to take Saul's life. And, in fact, was encouraged to do so by a companion. I mean, if God gave them a situation where David could get rid of a man trying to kill him, why wouldn't he take it? But David refuses both times. David knew that Saul was the Lord's annointed. He knew that God would deal with him. Why can't we see that an opportunity to get revenge is also an opportunity to have mercy?
I tend to hold grudges. Often times, I feel that I have forgiven someone but when a memory comes back to me - about something that I was offended about - I feel resentment towards that person again. I am struggling with how to keep forgiveness in my heart. So, here are some thoughts on forgiveness that I have been studying.
The definition of Forgiveness (From the American Heritage Dictionary):
1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.
2. To renounce anger or resentment against.
3. To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).
"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."
"A man is as big as the things that make him angry."
"A stiff apology is a second insult."
"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."
1 Samuel 24 (David forgives Saul)
Genesis 45 (Joseph forgives his brothers)
Luke 23:34 (Jesus forgives his enemies)
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
-Lewis B. Smedes
Christopher West uses an analogy using tires to explain why people in our society sometimes live the way they do. He says it's as if we are all driving around in cars with flat tires, but we have never seen or driven cars with full tires, so we think our flat-tire lifestyle is completely normal...we don't know there is a better way to drive our cars. It is the same with our lives. People settle for less than the best because they don't know or understand that there's a better way. His point is that most of the time people don't desire to live their life with flat tires, but that they need us to share the gospel and they need us to show them what love is meant to be...to give them hope of living life to the fullest.
Christopher West often refers to the body and sexuality in terms of how it was "in the beginning". In Eden, Adam and Eve were naked without shame because before the fall there was no such thing as lust. It was so cool because the other night we were talking about the tire analogy again and one of the girls said "So, it's kind of like when God was breathing life into Adam and Eve he was inflating their tires". I thought that was really insightful. I'm so proud of them.
So, the girls in our small group really loved that analogy. The front of the shirt has a tire that says "Theology of the Body" - around the tire it says "I'm living my life with full tires" and on the back it says "This is the body....a witness to love - John Paul II"
I really love them a lot. The best part of the analogy, though, is that, as Christians, we can live in victory, with full tires, but when we get to heaven, we won't even need our tires. Heaven is more than re-inflating our tires, because we will be able to fly. :)
For those of you who have read/heard/studied anything about Theology of the Body, you probably know how much potential it has to change peoples' lives. For those of you who haven't studied any Theology of the Body, I highly reccomend it - especially if you are married or are preparing for marriage.
John Paul II shows through his teaching that the meaning of life is to love others as Christ loves us - through a total donation of self, through agape love. Agape love is always free, total, faithful, and fruitful. He shows us how our body, when we use it the way that God intended us to, makes this mystery of love visible to the world.
The girls in my small group are, in a word, AMAZING. I have learned so much from them. The picture is of our group presenting/giving their testimonies to a youth group who is starting Theology of the Body for teens. They are passionate about sharing God's original plan for love with others. How refreshing! These women of God are truly the future of the church - I believe that their evangelization will change people's hearts for Christ. Praise God for the way that he is working in them!
That is because I was wearing one black flip flop and one brown flip flop.
This dandelion is the first flower I have gotten from Roman (with a little help from daddy). It totally made my day. :) He is getting so big!!! I just thought you all would like to know that these are the words he can say now:
- I see you
- If someone says "one" Roman says "two" - I really thought I was making this one up, but my mom says he said it the other day at her house
- Animal sounds for duck, cow, sheep, monkey, and bird
- Ba-Pa (Grandpa)
I might be forgetting a couple...anyway, I think he's the sweetest, smartest child EVER.
I imagine that my blog will mostly contain updates on our fun little family and also some journal-ish entries about things that I am learning. So, hopefully it will be worth reading. Enjoy!