Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Morning in Hebrews

You know that feeling when you wake up on a Saturday morning after a GREAT nights sleep, without an alarm, and the sun is pouring in through the tiny slits in your closed blinds? One of those mornings when you don't have to be anywhere or necessarily HAVE to do anything... This is how I woke up this morning. I wondered, "When was the last time I felt this way? When was the last time I woke up refreshed, blissful, and with a sense of peace?" I made my way to the front of the house where Husband was enjoying some coffee, and Sperry was squeezing a green and yellow chew toy. After making a smoothie, I wrapped my gray sweater around my shoulders, headed down into the office, snuggled up on the red couch, and opened my Bible to Hebrews chapter 6. 

Every time I read anything in Hebrews, I feel like I'm reading it for the first time. Hebrews is humbling. Some parts are incredibly deep, and I fully realize that I don't understand the magnitude or depth of a passage, and then other parts are as clear as the blue sky is this morning.  

I get to Hebrews 6 verse 9... "But, beloved," Oh how I love that name! "... we are confident of better things concerning you."

Confidence. Something the Mary Kay directors have been talking a lot about recently... "I believe in you," they say.

Do I believe in me? Am I confident in me? 

The author of Hebrews, not only he, but his companions, they are CONFIDENT of better things concerning the Jewish believers. Wow, what power comes with that word! What affirmation! But, what kinds of things are he referring to?

"Things that accompany salvation.. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Hebrews 6:9-10)

I re-read the verse. So many thoughts... 

"And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:11-12)

The author of Hebrews was confident of his desire for the Jewish people, confident of their ability to be diligent, confident that they would fully experience all things that accompany salvation, confident that they would put their diligence not only towards serving others but towards becoming more like Christ. 

The author knew that there were others who (through faith and patience) had experienced all of the things that accompany salvation. So, he encourages the Jewish believers to imitate them. What do they do? How do they act/speak/live? Be like them. Why? Because the way we act/speak/live directly impacts who we become. And these whom the author is referring to were becoming more like Christ. 

How different would our lives look like if we confidently put our efforts into this kind of diligence? If we knew our diligence would actually mean better things for us. 

If diligence would produce Saturday mornings like this one...

Waking up with a refreshed spirit,
Waking up blissful because I am His beloved,
Waking up with a sense of peace due to the assurance of salvation.

Where does my current diligence take me? Who do I imitate? ... What am I inheriting? 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Enough

There in the center of my pink sheet of note paper, I wrote it out in big block letters.... LACK OF DISCIPLINE. I drew stars on either side, not to make it look cute, but to draw even more attention to the words I'd heard too often during the past couple weeks.

Several years ago my dad told me how proud he was of my self-discipline and that he didn't think he knew anyone else with so much. He was primarily referring to my healthy lifestyle. I exercised every day and ate healthier than anyone else in the family. Being the words-of-affirmation girl that I am, that compliment affirmed me for a long time.

When I saw my family doctor earlier this month, he practically shook his finger at me, "You need to live a healthy lifestyle." I was shocked! Me? Live a healthy lifestyle? I do!!!! I'm one of the healthiest people I know!

But he wasn't referring to the foods I don't eat, the supplements I take, my portion sizes, or my dress size. He was referring to my not exercising.

The self-discipline I had once exhibited so well was lacking. I wondered, if my dad were to observe my daily schedule today, would he notice my self-discipline in the same way he had before? My answer was no, because it wasn't the same.

While eating lunch today I caught up on some of my blog reading and Lysa Terkeurst's post from Monday cut deep. She provided her readers with several scriptures for healthy eating.

The two that resonated with me the most were:

"You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north." Deuteronomy 2:3

and

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19

That first verse - ENOUGH.

Enough with the excuses. Enough with the laziness. Enough with the LACKING. Enough with hitting the snooze button for an hour! So, now, turn from it.

The second verse I know by heart. I know that I was bought with a price. I know that so deep the truth runs through my veins. And since I know that full well, how dare I ignore the command to honor my Maker with my body.

There are so, so many ways to honor God with our bodies, that my thoughts on that could fill a book.

But in terms of exercise and honoring God, they go together like this...

My body is where the Holy Spirit lives. I should keep his home beautiful, inside and out.  God only entrusted me with one body for the Holy Spirit to live in and for me to use to further His Kingdom. Regular exercise helps keep it healthy. When my body is healthy, any opportunity laid before me to honor God is a possibility for me to engage in.

So, enough with the lack of discipline. It's time.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Patience

"Is it itching yet?"

"Just my right shoulder."

"That's the control. It's ok, Lindz. That's supposed to itch."

I felt so out of place. It's not typical for David to know more in a medical situation than me, and laying on that examination table after being pricked all over my back 50+ times with potential allergies I was beginning to get anxious. 

Not only could I not see what my back looked like, I couldn't move a muscle. And of course, when you're not allowed to move everything needs adjustment. I had hair sticking to my lipgloss, my nose itched, and the sky blue, halter top smock I was wearing was starting to slip down my back. 

Finally, fifteen minutes passed, and it was time to get some results. As I listened to the doctor, I only became more and more confused. 

How can this be with all of these symptoms? What's causing me to feel this way if dust mites are my only allergy? 

It wasn't the answer I was hoping for... In fact, it wasn't an answer at all. 

Honestly, secretly, I was hoping to be like David whose entire back had swelled up within seconds of beginning his allergy test. I was hoping all my symptoms could be explained by the oak trees surrounding our house, that shots would help my body desensitize, and that the symptoms would go away forever. 

It wouldn't be a quick fix. It'd be a process. We've already pursued so many other possibilities and treatments. At least this way we'd have an answer and a light at the end of the tunnel. 

But, right now, we don't. We have a next step, another doctor to consult with, and some new medicine to try. 

Even though the results weren't what I hoped for, I'm still reassured. I know that sometimes we have to walk through trials like these: situations where we don't see an end, where we don't have answers, and that are physically uncomfortable. 

James 1:2 brings me so much comfort. It says "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." When we are followers of Christ, no matter what kind of trial we're facing, I believe that God will make something positive will from it. 

The Lord hasn't failed me yet. There have been enough waiting rooms, accidents, non-acceptance letters, and tiny bank account statements to produce a discernible amount of patience inside this quiet heart. Each and every trial, even the ones that didn't go anywhere near the direction I'd prayed for them to go, has graciously been used by the Lord for good. 

So, we continue to pray, expect, and surrender. And we gratefully receive all the patience we can.  

"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet the produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

(Talking About) Finances

Recently, David and I haven't necessarily enjoyed talking about finances. When we were first married, the conversations were easy! I think because we didn't have too much to manage. And honestly, I was happy to let David take care of everything. I figured I was a part of managing our finances by saving money every way I could (clipping coupons, packing lunches, air-drying clothes, etc). But, over time, as David wanted to talk to me about our finances, I slowly began withdrawing from the conversations. They stressed me out which made me uncomfortable. I had enough "other things" to think about, and he was doing a fine job handling everything. I'd rather him just keep doing whatever he was doing, and I'd keep saving as much as I could.

But, before we even left Arkansas for our Christmas travels, David had realized something I hadn't... We weren't talking about our finances together enough, and the way our conversations went when we did talk about finances wasn't moving in a healthy direction. My growing aversions to any, even slightly uncomfortable financial conversations needed attention. Even though there are other emotionally uncomfortable conversation topics David will HELP me escape from, talking about money is different.

Why is it important for us, as a married couple, to have healthy discussions about our finances?

As a wife, I need to be engaged in the conversations my husband wants to have with me about our finances if for no other reason, than to respect him. Saying, "Honey, I trust you with our finances," isn't respect. It's just a poor out when he wants to talk with me about them and I choose not to. It doesn't matter if he's fully capable and good at managing our finances on his own. When my husband seeks me out to help him and I choose comfort over supporting him in whatever capacity it might be, I'm being selfish.

1 Timothy 3:11 says, "Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things." This verse is talking about wives of deacons, but I think it's a pretty good standard to set for all wives! And "faithful in all things," includes fulfilling my responsibilities to help and support my husband.

David and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary yesterday. Today, we sat down in front of our computer, using the Quicken software my dad recently gifted us, and we mapped out our budget for Spring semester. It was one of the best conversations we've had yet about finances. And I know it's because we both went into the conversation with our God given roles in mind, with the understanding that we are stewards of blessings, and that one of the greatest blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us is our marriage.


My great-grandmother, Doris Clark, used to say, "You can live without money, but living sure is a lot easier with it!"

I agree with her. But, I also think, while managing money might not always be easy, the blessings that come with two people trying to manage it God's way, together, within the union of a marriage is sweeter than easy. 

"Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11