We, as finite creatures- tend to drift. To float away weakly after the pleasures of the world. We exchange the wonderful blessings of Christ Jesus, for the fleeting pleasures of sin. It’s a rip-off, but we don’t mind. It doesn’t matter to us. But it should.
Many of you have probably heard the C.S Lewis quote about the children being more content with mud pies than with the vacation at the beach. That’s us. We’ll take the mud pies, disguised to look like candy- and devour them.
But there’s good news.
We’re not given over to our sin as unbelievers are. The Lord will never forsake His own. He pursues us, He loves us freely. And above all- He convicts us. Have you ever felt that terrible poke right before doing what you know is wrong? Most of the time, people refer to that as your conscience. But did you know that the Holy Spirit, while being a comforter- is also a convicter? God doesn’t wink at sin, and He has indwelt us in the person of the Spirit. He is merciful and gracious.
I feel that the things that I have been doing are drowning out the love that I ought to have for God. I cry out, asking why God isn’t answering. Why isn’t He there? Well, He is. Sometimes God doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. Sometimes we alienate ourselves from Him. We neglect reading His Word and praying. And then we wonder why we don’t ‘feel’ Him there.
The Psalm most applicable that I can think of to repentance (turning away to return) is Psalm 32. It tells us what happens when we do not confess, and I gives us encouragement to return.
Blessed Are the Forgiven
A Maskil of David.
” Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. 7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. 11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
Sadly, sometimes it’s so easily said, and not easily done at all. I know when I’m in a ‘spiritual rut’ or find myself backsliding back into sin- sometimes the last thing I want is to return. Even though He loves me freely. Even though my current path will only lead to destruction. I still am content to wallow in the mud.
Sometimes we must wallow in the mud for a while to be brought to utter humility. We see our need of Him more clearly when He ‘hides His face’ from us for a while. But then, like the prodigal son—we return. He brings us back like lost sheep into His fold. We feast once again on green pastures. He restores our cast-down souls. He gives us drink from the clear, still waters.
“Growing up is never straight forward. There are moments when everything is fine, and other moments where you realize that there are certain memories that you’ll never get back, and certain people that are going to change, and the hardest part is knowing that there’s nothing you can do except watch them.”
~Alden Nowlan (no idea who this is 😉 )
From the above quote…you may guess what this post is about. Growing up. Getting older, and leaving behind the days of littlehood. This has been put on my mind a lot lately. I have to admit, I’ve been thinking about it for years. I think the first time was when I was six years old. The world was big, the grownups were so very…grown up. I look back and can’t help but blush at some of the things I thought as a really little girl. One thing that I think is funny is that I thought I would have a ‘special someone’ when I turned sixteen. Then it was all the story of Sindersoot (aka-Ascenputtel, Cinderella) and all those other beautiful fairytales. Well…I turned sixteen and um- yeah. I had figured out long before then that my childish thoughts were just not the way things actually normally happen. I blame the Little House on the Prairie tv series with Melissa Gilbert playing Laura. Do any of y’all remember how Mary had a ‘special friend’ when she was maybe fourteen? 🙂 Anyways…yes. The more people I meet the more funny little kid stories I come across.
The reason it’s come to my mind RIGHT NOW is my big sis, Hannah- just turned eighteen. And I will be eighteen next year. We’ve been pretty close for a pretty long time now, and I’ve always felt left behind whenever she crosses into another season in her life. We really do grow at a different rate. Everyone is just so different.
There’s one thing I’ve decided about this tricky business called ‘growing up’. I don’t want to forget all my memories. And I don’t want to be sad, depressed, or bitter about being left behind. Because I’m a unique person, who God is shaping day-by-day into the image of His Son. And I can enjoy where He’s placed me. All to soon, I’ll probably be wondering where the years went. I’ll be one of the older and (hopefully) wiser people who’re always telling us teenagers to be content. To just enjoy where we are right now. Here’s another quote about growing up:
“One of the oddest things about being grown-up was looking back at something you thought you knew and finding out the truth of it was completely different from what you had always believed.”
That’s something I can identify with. As I get older…things I thought are torn down and replaced with reality. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is often a very painful thing (depending what it is), but not always something that will devastate you. Read this Bible verse for a very telling thing about growing up.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
~1 Corinthians 13:11
Have you had any similar thoughts?
Do you have any favorite childhood memories?
What is ONE memory that you never want to forget?
p.s The cake for the post is the one I made for Hannah’s birthday. It was a two layer cake, one layer raspberry- the other vanilla. With chocolate cream cheese frosting, and strawberries on top.
This post is one that’s been set rather immediately on my mind because of some things that have been going on in my life.
This isn’t a post of self-pity.
This isn’t a post telling you it’s all someone else’s fault.
This isn’t a post to tell you if you forgive someone they’ll be automatically changed.
Sometimes life seems like those broken pieces of glass. Getting broken is painful. Being sinned against (and sinning against someone else) hurts. There isn’t an easy fix all the time. Not every relationship can be fixed by simply setting up a day, meeting,
T A L K I N G IT OUT.
People will probably be bitter, have scars, and just be hurt in general. Forgiving someone isn’t just saying you’re sorry something happened. It’s much more difficult than that. If it was that easy, probably no one would have any problem with saying it. True forgiveness is HARD and takes a big dose of grace and humility. Asking forgiveness takes a pride-smashin’ session. And forgiving someone? It takes exactly the same.
For a while, I was feeling pretty comfortable with life (probably a bad sign). There were maybe a few small arguments once in a while…nothing major though. Then, out of the blue to me (also probably a bad sign) things starting coming up. I ended up hurt. There was a lot of emotional taxation. There still is. I was also angry. I didn’t understand why it was happening to me, or what I has done wrong in the particular situation. But I can already see it being used for good. It hurts, it’s maybe very inconvenient, and it makes me sad–but God has been drawing me nearer to Him through it.
Motivation for forgiving others…
“Why should I forgive someone (especially if they don’t even ASK forgiveness) ?” that question was going around in my head. At one point, someone asked me if I hated them and if I didn’t, why didn’t I? I was so tempted to just run off feeling even more hurt. But in that moment someone else told me to ‘start with the obvious’. Now, that probably doesn’t make much sense, but thankfully- I knew just what was meant. The person I was dealing with was a ______ in Christ. Christ had forgiven them with His blood- just the same as He’d saved me. I had no right, absolutely none- to hate the person. Yes, I was hurt. But I have been commanded to love, not to hate.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
~Ephesians 4:32, ESV.
You have every reason to love, and NO REASON to hate. Especially someone who is your brother or sister in Christ. If I could remember that every time I wronged someone or was wronged- there would be a huge forgiveness party! We would all be asking forgiveness.
Welcome to my second installment of Thoughtful. The title of this is on children. I have thought a lot about children over time. It’s sort of hard not to. You go to the grocery store and you see- children. You go home (and if you have any younger siblings) you see- more children. You go to church and you see- children. 😉 I suppose you’re seeing the point here. There’s no escaping children, like it or not. The point of this post is not to give you tips on children (um- what would I know about that?), it’s to talk about my thoughts on children and give a Biblical perspective on them. I see the real need for this kind of post (even though I won’t say anything new) because it seems many people see children as an inconvenience these days.
Let’s get started…
I get accused of not liking children.
There, I said it. Why? Oh, there are several reasons. I am rarely the one you see holding the babies at church. I am rarely the one you see holding babies at all. There is a reason for that, however. EVERYONE WANTS TO HOLD THE BABIES. There is generally a long line. I am not the assertive one when it comes to holding or playing with children. Another reason is that I am not very gentle or patient with my siblings. The truth is- I’m not. I struggle rather a lot with being a kind big sister. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like children. Anyone with siblings probably knows that there is a big difference between YOUR relationship with YOUR siblings- and your relationship with other children.
I like children. (my secret is out…ahhhh! 🙂 )
It’s true I am not always jumping out of my socks when told a baby is ready to be held. But I find that with certain children I experience much more of a connection than with others. A young couple from church has just made the decision to foster three little children. A four-year-old little girl, a three-year-old little boy, and a one-year-old baby boy. The catch? The two oldest have autism (and the baby boy likely has it as well). When the couple announced their decision to DCS- the workers there showed surprise. The reason? No one had wanted to foster care for them because it was a difficult situation. The four-year-old and I played together on Sunday. Her name is Lyla (I also have a cousin named Lyla, random fact.). She chattered on the whole time and we just played together. She has a pretty severe case of autism and barely eats at all. She can’t really talk yet either. Every few minutes she’ll repeat a word if you say one. But she doesn’t communicate fluently as other children her age probably could.
This poses a question. Is Lyla less precious than other children?
Children in general are a blessing. The Bible says they are.
Possibly one of my favorite Bible ‘stories’ (they’re true, so I don’t quite get why we call them stories exactly.) is the story of Christ laying His hands on the children of some of the Jewish parents. The disciples wanted to push them away- but Christ actually rebuked them for it!
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.”
Children are the future of this generation. More specifically- they are the future of the church. They are blessings. Christ (in many places in scripture) showed that he loved them. If Christ loved children, how can I do any less?
This begins a new series of posts! They’re called Thoughtful mostly because they will focus on different things I’ve been thinking on lately. This first post is being started because I have been thinking a lot on the future- and specifically on what it holds.
Mainly, I have been thinking more on the future of this blog. I don’t want to quit writing here-ever. I just think it’s about time to think of new things to do on it. Here are some thoughts I’ve been jumping around with:
Perhaps start a new series (check! This is the newest blog series.)
Perhaps do a drawing tutorial in pictures?
Perhaps do a craft tutorial? I love crafting…and am thinking of starting back up now that I’ve cleaned up my ‘studio’. (more on that later)
Those are my thoughts on it thus far.
Another thing that’s had me all excited about the future is the acquiring of a new lens! A kind friend gave it to me, and it has changed my photography experience. Why? Because it goes to the minimum f-stop # of 1.8!!!! That makes for a great popped subject and a way more blurred background. I love it, and believe it will help with all my portraits from now on. Bonus? It’s a small lens, not at all heavy and it goes to 52mm max. Here are some sample photos:
Another thing that has me thinking is school. I have a lot and not a lot left. It still feels like so much and yet I only have a few courses left now. I always like watching my siblings do their school…mostly because I can take photos of them being studious.
Then I am so excited about the future crafting possibilities now that my studio is all the way clean for the very first time (I never finished unpacking at all).
The future of cooking. It’s no secret that I really like cooking. I enjoy it…but I would actually prefer to cook for a smaller bunch for a while. One thing I look forward to in the future is the possibility of someday cooking for my own family.
Writing! Maybe I’ll actually get something published someday?
Hope you didn’t find my thought ramblings too dull, or weird…