NEED

I have been quite aware of my need for Jesus in this season of life. It’s such a good thing, but it is also disturbing when you get glimpses of your mean self. The self that really envisioned me pushing a lady down who was super rude to me at the mall.  I didn’t actually push her down, but the desire was majorly there. Her need for Jesus helped me become aware of my need for Jesus.

Sometimes I am short with the kids, selfish with my time, impatient with Josh’s schedule, frustrated with my ‘to-do’ list, lazy, cranky, judgmental, sarcastic, prideful….need I go on? Gracious. What a broken vessel I am. And I encounter many other broken vessels throughout my day. And you are a broken, needy person that also encounters many other broken, needy people throughout your day.

I read Psalm 86 and could agree with the Psalmist in verse 1, “I am afflicted and needy.”

Yep. That’s me.

Then, the chapter goes on and describes God as being a listener, being gracious and good, ready to forgive, abundant in lovingkindness, the one true God, great, doing wondrous deeds, my teacher, deliverer, loving and merciful and gracious, slow to anger, faithful, helper to me, and my Comforter.

Yep. That’s God.

And the Gospel is that He came to this earth for broken, needy sinners–like me. Sometimes I wrongly find comfort in my good attitude or kind responses to mean people or I feel more lovable when I am seemingly doing the good Christian things. That is simply not true. Jesus loves me even in my sin. There is nothing I do to earn His love and nothing I do causes His love for me to diminish. This is so upside down from how we humans tend to think.

“There Is A Mountain” is a song by Caroline Cobb that expresses our need and Jesus as the meeter of our need.  This Christmas season I am most thankful that Jesus humbled Himself and set an example of walking in humility and graciousness. And I am thankful this is a gift anyone can receive. Even if you have received the gift of salvation years ago, we sometimes need reminding that we didn’t do anything to get to Jesus. And we don’t keep His love by our ‘good Christian deeds.’ He did it all and offers us all we need for all time.

“Come with open hands, in need. Come hearts broken, bended knee. A gift can only be received. Come to the mountain; He carries the crippled to the feast. Come to the table. Come sit, He has saved you a seat. Come eat and drink without money, without cost because He has paid it on the cross.”

 

 

Meet Rolo

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I could have titled this blog entry “Hell Hath Frozen Over” or “Never Say Never” or “The Sacrificial Love of a Mother,” but I went with “Meet Rolo” to keep things simple.

Mack has been begging asking for a dog for years.  He is 10 years old, and I am making all his dreams come true.  He has posted this anonymous quote he saw in a magazine all around the house where I would be sure to see it.

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So, I really didn’t have a choice in the matter, did I? This journey is a new one for our family. I remind the kids that they are at a GREAT age to learn responsibility and do EVERYTHING for this dog. And it’s my opinion that dog people are nice people.  Nicer than me. So maybe now I will learn to be a nice dog person. Worst case, I won’t change, but all of my kids will be nice dog people.

Rolo is a Lagotto Romagnolo –an Italian water dog. She seems to be adjusting quite well to her new home and family!

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The ride home went smoothly.  No problems at all!

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Wish me luck!

Proverbs: Get Wisdom

We are entering the part of the year in which all I want to do is snuggle up by the fire and read books as I admire the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree.

Alas, we don’t always get to do what we want.

So we are still getting up and doing our home school gig. I give pep talks to all of us on a regular basis– “Three weeks, kids.  Three solid, strong weeks of school and then we get a big Christmas break. We can do it. Let’s just push through and keep plodding along with what we’ve been doing. Before you know it, we will have our break!”

Since we completed our 30 Days to Understanding the Bible book, I was contemplating what kind of Bible study I wanted us to do together at breakfast to start our school day. I decided that I had been enjoying and learning so much from my daily Proverbs that I would do that with the kids. I shared with them how I read the Proverbs that coincides with  the date of the month. I ask God to point out verses for me to focus on, and He does. I write those down and then I write out my prayer on the other side of my journal–prayer relating to the verses I read.

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After I read the chapter from Proverbs, each child focuses on one verse and tells what they think it means for us. We have had great conversations! These moments are such amazing reminders to me as to WHY I home school.  These unhurried times in God’s Word with connection being made to our own lives and what God’s Word says are absolutely priceless.  It is what I value more than any other thing about home schooling. And I do enjoy other parts. But this, this is the main thing. I am not in control of many choices my kids make or will make.  I cannot determine what they will be when they grow up or what kind of character they have as they work their job. But what I am responsible for–pointing my kids to Jesus in all things–I pray I am doing well.  I have my doubts about any of my kids loving science since I might groan any time anything about science comes up and just go ahead and let me jump off a bridge rather than helping with a science project. BUT, fostering a love for God and His Word is woven into our days. Thank the Lord for His gracious work in my life that allows me to know this is the most important work of my life. 

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Thanksgiving 2017 in Charlotte

I know you’ve heard the quote, “The only thing that is constant is change.” That is so true and has become more and more personal with each passing year.  This year we stayed in Charlotte for Thanksgiving and had my sister and her family, my mom and dad and Josh’s dad here. We had a great time, and I was so happy to have them in our home.

I talked to Aunt Pep earlier this week and we reminisced a little about Thanksgiving past when Deb (Josh’s mom) was here. We would always do a craft together, work on a puzzle in their home, and just have a great time.  I remember Thanksgivings before kids, though barely. And I remember the constant busy-ness on holidays with young kids–especially at my parent’s house when there were 7 kids 4 years old and under! And I can even reach back in my mind to Thanksgiving as a kid…always at MeMe Rhodes’ house for Thanksgiving lunch, sitting at the kid table with Bentley. MeMe’s dressing and million dollar pies. And Thanksgiving dinner at my other MeMe’s house with many cousins and chaotic togetherness. But now things are different.  Some of the people that have sat around our Thanksgiving table are no longer here on earth. And all of us who gather together are older. And now we live farther away from most of our Georgia family. We have grown, matured, and experienced so much as a family.  Change is inevitable.  It’s also sneaky and often shows up uninvited.

So even though we missed many of our family members this Thanksgiving, we did enjoy time at the table with family we love. We enjoyed the beautiful weather. We sat by the fire and had s’mores. We shared stories and ate too much, too! I am thankful they all made the drive to Charlotte to be together.  We have usually been the ones to drive year after year, so this change was a welcome one….and was very much appreciated!

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, of course.  Ruby enjoys it the most of any of us.

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Irvin is always a trooper. He brings so much good food with him!! IMG_3742-1.jpeg

Marcy and Jesse enjoying the fire.

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A beautiful sunset Wednesday evening!

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I loved catching bits of time with my sister…I feel like I don’t get to see her or talk to her very much. I loved seeing her kids and watching them play and hearing their stories. And I am glad my parents or Irvin didn’t have to do most of the work at their homes (though I know traveling is not easy!). And I am thankful my home wasn’t only filled with us five like it was last year…though last year’s Thanksgiving was perfect and just what we needed then…this year’s full house was perfect and just what we needed now.

And this evening we decided to pull out some Christmas decor. I wasn’t totally in the mood, but I am glad we did it!

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I seriously cannot believe it is this time of year again. Wow.

Trip to D.C.

Josh and I had an awesome opportunity to attend the Grand Opening of The Museum of the Bible last weekend. It was incredible and definitely worth another trip with the kids in the future.

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We went on a mini-tour for just a small taste of the museum, and I enjoyed the room on Ecclesiastes so much.

We had Saturday morning to ourselves so we did a little sight-seeing.

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It was a quick, fun trip. I am glad I got a chance to tag-a-long on Josh’s trip and get a glimpse into his world.

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I hope to see you again, Museum of the Bible! With my kids and with a few extra hours to spend walking all around your beautiful building.

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God sees me doing the laundry

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Last week I had just finished folding all of Josh’s white undershirts that he wears every day. They were nicely sitting on the bed, and I was about to leave for Wednesday night church. The whole day had been full of laundry and cooking and cleaning and schooling and more laundry. I was tempted to leave the folded shirts on the bed so that Josh could see them when he got home and recognize this clean stack of shirts as a representation of all of my work from the day. And he could put them away and be thankful for a wife who does so much around here. (Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks these things at times.)

But as soon as I had those thoughts, I picked up the shirts and marched them to their proper place in the closet and said outloud, “You see me, Lord. I don’t need to leave these out for Josh to see. You see me. You know every step I take, every bit of work I do around here. You know and that is enough for me.”

And it really is. I am not saying that I always feel seen and noticed. But the truth is that God is always with me— my constant companion and friend. If there is any truth that I have experienced throughout our move to a new place, this one rises to the top. God sees me and loves me and is always with me. I hang on to this truth many days. The result is that I spend more time in The Word. I spend more time in prayer. The intimacy factor grows stronger when He is all you have.

As I was reading Matthew 6 each day this week, what stood out to me was an intimacy factor in any Believer’s relationship with God.

When you GIVE, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (v4) “so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done is secret will reward you.”

When you PRAY, don’t use meaningless repetition just to be seen and heard by men. But instead, (v6) “when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

When you FAST, don’t put on a gloomy face so that you are noticed by men, but (v17-18)) “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

So much of God’s work in my life is done in the secret places. Not on social media. Not on a stage. Not with an audience. And I am thankful for the hard places that foster intimacy with my Father who “knows what I need before I ask Him (Matthew 6:8).” What a comforting truth.