Monday, April 30, 2012


Sometimes, it feels like everything that is challenging and difficult seems to converge in the same six week period. And that is exactly what is happening right now. I need a new job (not a bad thing; I was planning on moving in a new direction in the Fall anyway. But Summer is coming much more quickly than Fall is.) I'm actually officially graduating next week! Considering I've hardly done anything school related in the past few months, I'm not sure why this seems like such a significant transition, but it does. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that up until now I could still pretend that I was a student since I didn't have a full-time job and could hang out on campus if I wanted. And then my dear roommate is beginning to pack everything up as she prepares to move in with her soon-to-be husband.

All good and right things. And yet so much change. There are so many feelings and thoughts echoing through my head and heart. And it feels as if all security and peace are gone. But these feelings are not reality!

My reality is found in the Lord Jesus, and in Him alone. "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay." He is constant when so many things in my life are changing. He is sovereign over those changes. He is interceding on my behalf before the Father. And He withholds no good thing from me.

I'm learning all over again my need to rest in Christ and in the sovereign perfect plans of the Lord rather than in my own ideas of what would be best. And I am convinced that I will continue to relearn this over and over again until I see Jesus face to face. But by His grace, I will be still and know that He is God. I will cease striving. I will remember where my security is found.

"On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand - all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Links 4/28

In Praise of my Unspectacular, Pre-Pinterest Wedding - I love this. Such perspective on what is truly important.

Hypocritical Leadership - A wonderful piece from Tim Keller. "In this way, the ministry will make you a far better or a far worse Christian than you would have been otherwise. But it will not leave you where you were! And it will put enormous pressure on your integrity and character."

Why the Kindle is a Really Bad Kisser  - Pretty much sums up my thoughts on the Kindle. Though the idea of owning one is definitely growing on me, this is what is holding back from buying one.

3 Simple Ways to Encourage Your Pastor - "Most of us, most of the time, love our pastor, and are grateful for him. Few of us, however, understand that he needs encouragement. What even fewer of us grasp is how we can be an encouragement to him. Here are three simple ideas."

That Idol That You Love, It Doesn't Love You Back - "I’m convinced that the reason there is so much shallow Christianity in our culture is because many people never displace the idolatry in their lives with Jesus, but instead simply bring in Jesus as an “add on” to their life, keeping their idolatry firmly in the center."

What Two Vases Taught Me  - "In God’s Providence...I heard these simple words: 'Everything flows from the presence of God.'" A peace-giving post from True Woman about finding rest in Christ.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Birthday Surprise

I have never been one to do big birthday celebrations, but it is very special to me when people care enough to do something. Yesterday was my 21st birthday and since I'm away from home now, I wasn't expecting much. But my roommates surprised me with breakfast and flowers early (and I mean early...) yesterday morning. And then yesterday afternoon, a quiet afternoon with a friend from church turned out to be a small surprise party with some dear friends. God has given me such a gift in these dear sisters in Christ who encourage me and love me through all of my sin and trials.

I think that it's easy to underestimate the power of our encouragement. What my friends did was not big and elaborate - a bouquet of flowers, mini cupcakes and a few cards. But it meant a lot. The Lord has chosen to create us so that our words and our actions have power and impact. Yesterday I had the great pleasure of being reminded of that.

Never Forsaken

I heard these lines from a poem from Elizabeth Barret Browning in a sermon by D.A. Carson on the ironies of the cross. They have led to great reflection on the security that we have in Christ. 

"Yea, once Immanuel's orphaned cry this universe has shaken.
It went up single, echoless, 'My God! I am forsaken!'
It went up from the Holy's lips amidst His lost creation,
That of the lost, no son should use these words of desolation."

He has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Blessed assurance!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Need for Jesus

I was talking with a friend from school today just about this semester and the transitions that I've experienced with graduating last December, coming back from my first missions trip to Thailand, and then getting a job. I've struggled in a lot of ways, but a lot of it was due to the fact that I wasn't expecting the transitions to be as difficult as they were. I didn't prepare, and I was blindsided by the difficulties.

One of the reasons that I've struggled is that I have arrogantly been blinded to much of my sin. As I was talking to this friend, I was reminded that when I don't see my sin, I also miss out on my need for the Lord Jesus. And the less I see my need for Him, the more I struggle. The less I think I need Him, the more apathetic I become. And since all of my desires and needs ultimately find their fulfillment in Him, I find myself empty when I do not seek Him.

When I do not pursue Christ, I miss out on what is the most beautiful and marvelous life that I can experience. May the God of grace, the giver of all good gifts, give us such a true and right and extensive perspective on our sin that we can only, only, look to His precious Son.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Follow Him

"Jesus said to him [Peter], 'If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!'" - John 21:22
I have always loved this passage in the book of John, where Jesus tells Peter what his life ministry will involve and how he will die. But Peter, always full of questions, looks over and sees John, and asks Jesus, "What about this man?" And Jesus response is that it doesn't matter what will happen to John; Peter knows whom he follows and where the Lord has asked him to go and that is enough. 

I am so much like Peter. I constantly look at those around me and compare what the Lord has given them to what He has given me, usually ending my comparison with a discontented "Why me?" directed at God.  

But Jesus' response is always the same: "You follow me!" I follow Him who died for me, who guaranteed by His righteousness that the Lord would be for me and not against me and would work all things for my good. I follow Him whose sovereign plans are perfect and whose timing is better than my own. I follow Him who created me, who both created and knows my deepest desires, weaknesses, strengths fears, plans and passions. Why do I question and compare? There is much rest to be found in knowing Him who I follow.

But more than that, and this is what I realized recently, He goes before me. Following has always seemed to be a very hard and heavy thing to me because I do not know where I am going, He hasn't promised that it will be easy, and it often means leaving behind comforts that I have come to love and walking into unknown territory. But it is not unknown to Him - He has gone before me! He has walked there first and now I only go where He has gone.  

It seems so simple now but I had never realized before the grace that is found in truly following Christ. Yes, sometimes (often) I will be asked to leave what is comfortable and easy, but I will not just be walking away from something. I will be walking towards Someone, Someone who is infinitely precious and valuable and for whom I desire to count all things as a loss compared to the greatness found in knowing Him.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend Links 4/21

The Lies of Feminism - An interesting perspective on the expectations placed on young women.

Three Questions to Ask Before You Post Something on Facebook - Stephen Altrogge on considering the wisdom of what and how we post on the internet.

The Secret of Contentment - "Burroughs states, 'A soul that is capable of God can be filled with nothing else but God.' This, ultimately, is the 'secret of contentment': to know Christ but to press on to know Him more in all areas of life."

Want to Work at Google?  - A fascinating list of questions that you might be asked if you were to interview at Google.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Of Preschoolers and Bikes

One of my three-year-olds was riding his bike around today while loudly making a siren noise. Finally, I was bothered enough to say, "Can you please stop making your siren noise, buddy?"

He looked up at me, dismayed. "No!"

I asked, "Please?"

He excitedly gestured towards his bike. "Well, well, it's just making noises!"

"Oh really," I said. "Are you sure you're not the one making noises?"

He looked at me as if it was the worst logic he'd ever heard. "No, it's my firetruck," he said emphatically.

Oh, of course. Can't argue with that!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pure, Unmingled Good

An encouraging truth from Charles Spurgeon.

"He has a right to lead us wherever He pleases. We are not our own, we are bought with a price - let us recognize the rights of redeeming blood. The soldier follows his captain, the servant obeys his master, and so we must follow our Redeemer, to whom we are a prized possession...

Let us put our complete trust in our Leader, since we know that in prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, His purpose will be worked out, and that purpose will be pure, unmingled good to every heir of mercy."

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Significance of the Mundane

I love my job. I really do. Working with kids can be incredibly rewarding and I love the times when something clicks and suddenly all your work has been worth it in the life of a four-year-old. But though there are some very special moments, most of my job is accomplished in the little things - the actions that seem insignificant.

I remind one of my three-year-olds for the upteenth time that we use our words and not our hands. I listen to the lisping ramblings of one of my little boys about the pirate ship he received for his birthday. We go over what a triangle is and what an oval is and why they are different for the third time in one morning. I pick up another little girl with a skinned knee, give her a hug and find a band-aid to sooth the pain. I sing another song, tell another story, do another craft. Day after day after day.

And somehow, it all matters. These little moments add up into something that actually changes lives. They lay the foundation for the future of these precious kids, for good or for ill. And yet I so easily forget it and fall into the trap of thinking that it's alright if I get frustrated this time - they should have known better. Maybe they should have. But I can pursue love in all things. I think it doesn't matter if I tune out of this rambling story about a pirate ship or a dolphin named "Winter", considering all the others I have listened to. But I forget that to my preschoolers, listening to their story is demonstrating that they are valuable, that their words have meaning.

But more than that, I so easily miss that it is in the mundane that the foundation for the gospel is laid. I have the privilege to show these little ones that Christ is my everything, that He is infinitely valuable and good, and that His redemption has changed me, given me hope, and can do the same for them.

Growing up, I don't remember my parents expressly preaching the gospel to us, though I know they did. What I do remember is that they faithfully lived it. I remember, and by the grace of God I believe.

Because of the sovereign way that the Lord works, the mundane matters. God used it to save my life and He can do the same in the lives of my preschoolers. My faithfulness in those "insignificant" moments can and will be used by the Lord for the glory of His name and the good of the kids I have come to love. I demonstrate my love for Him and for them by doing everything for His glory. And if I cannot be trusted with these little moments, why would He trust me with ones that I would call significant?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekend Links 4/14

Worship: More Than a Warm-Up for Preaching - Mark Altrogge on how worship is meant to allow the word of Christ to dwell richly in His people.

What Should I Do When Feeling Completely Overwhelmed - "What we discover is that the more we are persuaded that we have all that we could ever want or imagine in Christ Jesus we discover we don’t need to do this or do that to try to satisfy our souls." A beautiful reminder of how the gospel impacts our to-do list.

The Father's Cup - Amazing love. "He’s speaking it all into being: the soldiers, the priests, the thieves, the friends, the mothers, the brothers, the mob, the wooden beams, the spikes, the thorns, the ground beneath him, and the dark clouds gathering above. If he ceases to speak they will all cease to be. But he wills that they remain. So the soldiers live on, and the hammers come crashing down."

David Platt on Missions  - When John Piper and Ligon Duncan are calling it the best sermon on missions they've heard you know it's going to be good.

Friday, April 13, 2012


This whole week I have just felt kind of out of it, for no real reason. It has been a good week but I just feel weighed down and burdened and, honestly, kind of cranky. There have been a lot of transitions that have happened in the past few months, between finishing school, coming home from Thailand, and starting a new job, and I'm facing a lot more as I look ahead. Change is not my favorite thing, however much I try and pretend that I like it, and it rarely makes my life simpler. But the longer I live, the more I'm realizing that life gets increasingly complicated as it goes on.

I like to know what to expect and to feel like I have some control over what is coming. But by God's grace He has gently been reminding me that, not only am I most definitely not in control, but I don't need to be because what is unknown to me is known by Him and is part of His good, perfect, sovereign plan. Change doesn't have to be hard and scary because He goes before me. I think that part of why I've been feeling burdened because I want to know and control things that He has not yet ordained for me to know.

But it's ruined a perfectly good week. Worrying doesn't change anything and it certainly doesn't make me feel any better. And so...I don't know. I know where true rest is found: the precious Lord Jesus, who has promised that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And I know that stressing and worrying changes nothing. But what it looks like to live that knowledge is a different story.

I suppose the simplest commands in Scripture - to cast all your anxiety on the One who cares for you, to not be anxious in anything but to seek the Lord in prayer with thanksgiving - can also be the hardest to practice. And so the words of the hymn have become my quiet prayer:
"Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content whatever lot I see
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not What I Ought to Be

Such a precious reminder of the grace of God from John Newton. Oh, how my heart resonates with his assessment of himself!

"I am not what I ought to be — ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be — I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be — soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, 'By the grace of God I am what I am.'"

Truly, my hope is Jesus.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Car Troubles, the Unknown, and the Sovereignty of God

About two and half weeks ago I purchased my first car. It's been so fun to have the freedom to go where I want when I want. Everything has been great. That is, until this morning. I was sitting in our driveway, and well, to make a long story short, I ended up backed up onto a lovely rock. At first glance, everything seemed fine, other than some scratches that now decorated the back of my car. But then my check engine light came on, and then I started to hear some strange sounds.

For all I know, nothing is really wrong, and it's all just a fluke or whatever is wrong is really minor. But right now that is all unknown and since I really don't know much about cars, I am left with the many possibilities that I can imagine, none of which sound particularly wonderful at this point in time. And that's the hardest part for me: the unknown. Once I know what the situation is, however bad, I can face it. But until then, I'm left with my imagination...and my rest in the sovereignty of God.

While I'm certainly not excited about the prospect of having to fix the car I just bought a few weeks ago and I have definitely replayed what happened wishing that I would have done something different, I also find great peace in the God who knows what is unknown to me and works everything for my good. This too is not outside of His provision and loving care. He sees, He knows and His timing is perfect. And in that precious truth there is rest.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Sometimes the hardest step to take is the first one...I've had this blog for nearly four months and just haven't gotten around to writing the first post, mainly because I am just not sure what one should write about in an opening post. So here it is: ultimately, I want this blog to encourage my sisters and brothers in the Lord to pursue Christ and His glory above all else by sharing what the Lord has been teaching me. And so it begins...