Abide study: week two

This morning four ladies gathered here in my living room for week two of our study of I John 1,2&3.

After having some snacks and getting our coffee, we moved to the living room where we talked through some of the questions we answered during the week. I loved hearing some of their thoughts and ideas around what we studied in our homework. Most notably was our discussion around confession of sins to God and to one another. If God already knows our sins, what’s the big deal in confessing them? That conversation transitioned into our fellowship with others and what hinders us from moving beyond surface friendship especially within the church. Such rich conversation!

I remembered a silly analogy, but a helpful one around this topic. Suppose it’s a sin to eat chocolate ice cream, but vanilla is perfectly acceptable. Now I love vanilla and always have. It’s by far my favorite. I’m not even tempted to have chocolate. So when Susy-Q gets chocolate ice cream every other week, I am quick to judge her. “Why can’t she just pick vanilla? It’s clearly the right choice. It’s obviously the better choice. I don’t even know what she sees in chocolate ice cream. It’s a shame really how she has no control.”

All the while, I have never even once been tempted by chocolate ice cream. My compassion for her is at zero. And that is the true shame.

This could apply to any sin. Could it be that the particular sin I’m so sickened by that YOU are involved in is not a problem for me or a temptation for me because of the type of family I was raised in, which was not my own doing at all. And why is it that when I sin, I am quick to give myself all the benefits of the doubt because I seem to think I’m more deserving of patience or grace because my sins aren’t that bad or aren’t too “out there.”

I can move towards more genuine and deep friendships if I’m willing to listen with humility and graciousness when someone shares something their struggling with. And I can share more freely if I realize how much God loves me and forgives me and cleanses me. We need each other! Sometimes we need to go first; other times we need to be the safe place for someone to confess and ask for prayer. But we can be guaranteed shallow friendships if no one is willing to be vulnerable. It takes all of us showing up filled with the Spirit and aware of our own need for God’s Grace and forgiveness in order for true fellowship to happen.

Jen Wilkin’s teaching was so good. She mentioned the scene in Elf where Buddy the Elf hears about Santa coming to the mall, and he yells, “SANTA!!!!! I know him!!!!!” And John is writing to a group of churches in Ephesus filled with people who did not meet Jesus face to face or hear His teachings with their win ears, so he is telling them, “JESUS is eternal life. I KNOW HIM!!!! I saw Him. I touched Him. I heard Him. And I’m gonna tell you all about Him.” I was challenged to examine if and how I am being a witness to Christ in this broken world. And how can I be an advocate for others through prayer? Who needs me to pray for them and am I serious about those prayers?

Another nugget that was so good was about light. John wrote using the contrast between light and darkness and clearly states that in Jesus there is no darkness at all. Jen spoke of a paver in her garden that got flipped over and what was under that paver was lots of icky creatures that had been hiding in the dark. Light exposes. And light also helps things to grow. Am I letting the light of God’s Word and His spirit guide me and shine on my heart anything that needs to be exposed? And am I seeing growth in my life as a result of walking with Jesus? I should!

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”❤️

My statement for the week that Jen asks us to fill out is:

Knowing that God is faithful and forgiving shows me that I am selfish and a justifier of my sin when I should be a confessor and repenter of my sins.”

This week I want to pray and ask God to help me be more grateful for His sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for my sins and not use His grace as an easy out to give in to my flesh. Jesus died for me to have access to God, and He continues to be my Advocate. That’s amazing truth to think about; it should cause me to live differently.

This was a little all over the place but I wanted to get down my thoughts before moving on to week 3.😊😊

Perspective Shift

If you need to know the worst case scenario or you need a list of all that needs improvement or ways life isn’t going so great or is just too hard, I am your girl. This is not a nugget of truth I’m proud of. I’m working on shifting my perspective to a more positive outlook instead of always being on the ready with a bullet list entitled, “Needs Improvement.”

So this week I decided to make a list of what I am doing that is good and right and helpful and on the right track. It helped!

1-I take my supplements. And not just one, but several—vitamin D, multivitamin,Adrenal Rebuilder, & Omega 3 daily and curcumin a few times a week.

2-I got help when I needed it for my low energy and poor sleep. That resulted in a thyroid medication, progesterone and testosterone. my hormones are happier than they’ve been in quite a while.

3- I drink enough water and even add electrolytes daily and creatine almost daily.

4-I strength train three times a week and it’s the highlight of those days. I’m getting stronger and stronger…hello 175 deadlift and 255 hip thrust, among other things. I actually like the gym! It’s the easiest part of my health journey these days. That’s a miracle.

5-I get at least 5,000 steps a day, but usually close to 10,000.

6-I get between 120-140 grams of protein every day.

7-I get extra collagen daily.

8-I switched to a very clean half caff coffee (Fabula).

9- I still wake up and have my time in The Word and prayer time every morning. I think I pray more in this season of my life than any other season before now.

10- I opened my home for a weekly Bible Study!

11-I tried a barre class all by myself today.

12-I am persevering and building endurance under a certain situation that I’d rather run away from.

I’m sure you could come up with your own list, and I challenge you to write it down. Be proud of yourself. Take note of what you’re doing right and good! You can make a “Needs Improvement” list another day. 😊

Abide Study: week one

Today was the first week of Bible Study in my home! This hasn’t happened in way too long, and I’m so glad I finally decided to follow through and host again. We’re going through the Abide study by Jen Wilkin. We will be studying 1,2, and 3 John. Today was just the introduction, and yet I was so encouraged. As I was starting fresh coffee and getting some snacks put out, I heard the words to a song about the Word of God. “The Word was, the Word is, the Word will be forever and ever.” I looked up some verses about the everlasting quality of the Word of God. There were quite a few and it reminded me that I’m never wasting time learning and studying the word of God. I was reminded that two things last forever—the souls of men and the Word of God. So what better way to spend my Thursday mornings than studying the Word with a group of ladies?!? My heart was greatly encouraged today.

I’m looking forward to diving deeper into some of the themes Jen told us to look for—purity of the gospel, assurance of faith, historicity of Christ, what an ethical life looks like, hallmarks of love, what to do with false teaching, and obedience. 😊

Taking the good with the bad

Yes, it’s sad for the girls to be gone. Yes, I like having their two sweet faces and personalities under our roof. But it’s time to have them gone. It would be more strange if they wanted to stay here when it’s time to start using their own wings out in the world. So as much as I miss them and wish I knew a little bit more about their days and nights, I am learning to enjoy some of the positives.

For example, currently there’s a sense of peace that each kid is on mission somewhere being productive and learning. And having a lot of fun doing it. They’re taking steps toward adulthood and independence every single day. That makes me happy.

Another huge positive is a clean house. And no more dorm room piles in every corner. No more wondering whose laundry is in the washer. No more late night friends over playing card games and no more walking by rooms where a child is “just resting” at 1:30pm while they watch a show. That’s not real life, and it annoyed me when it happened.

So today I’m choosing to be happy for the positives of launching young adults.

The house cleaners come tomorrow, and they’re probably going to be amazed that this is the same house as the one they cleaned a few weeks ago!

Two College Girls

I’m truly not sure how this happened so fast, but here we are with two of our kids in college! I’m so utterly exhausted at the moment that I don’t know where I am emotionally in regards to this. A four day nap would help me, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

We sent Mack off to his first day of Junior year, and then we hit the road with a plethora of stuff in tow.

We unloaded Ruby’s stuff on day one. It was a breeze getting her all set up!

We checked into our air bnb and then went to dinner at one of Molly’s roommate’s house. They were so kind to have us over and feed us.

The next day was all about Molly! It was a little more work getting her all set up but we got it all done. And Molly liked it, which made me happy! I don’t see her spending much time in her room though.

Josh is the best. Just an amazing dad and made sure Molly had everything she needed. We love him so much!

I’m so excited for Molly in her first year. I know she will make good friends and have a blast all along the way. I think she is such a free spirit that being enrolled in a college and doing what so many others are doing can seem unappealing. But once she finds her groove there will be no stopping her from having a great time and learning so much. Living with people might also help her find her voice and get some practice with confrontation in a healthy way.

The new cafeteria is amazing! And the food was delicious. We even tried out the new ice cream machine!

I miss them already! And I already sent mail because someone forgot their laptop charger😵‍💫 but I snuck in some fun surprises too.

We are praying the girls walk in all the purposes God has for them. I pray they learn more about who God is and how He made them. I’m praying they obey God in each moment and also get glimpses of what obeying Him could look like in their future. I’m praying for strong Christian friends to surround them and also that they would be a light for Christ to those they interact with. This is a special season of their lives and they get to be in a very special place…together! I’m beyond grateful for the ways the Lord provides for our family. And sending two kids to Liberty is near the top of the list. Go Flames!🔥