The Light Shines in the Darkness

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it John 1:5

light

The darkness will never overcome the light.

Prayers for mercy, grace, and supernatural comfort for all affected by the tragedy in Newtown, CT. May the light of Christ and the promise of new life be a beacon of hope during this season now pierced by heartbreak.

 

Sunday Thoughts… on a Monday

Couldn’t quite get my act together last night so here are my Sunday thoughts, a day late!

1. Thanks for your comments and messages in response to my last post about not knowing where I’m headed with my career. Not surprisingly, a lot of you aren’t sure either. I’m glad we could all take a little sigh of relief that we aren’t the only ones walking around without a master plan. Phew! Also, there’s always this:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I’m holding onto that while life continues to unfold. I hope you will, too.

2. It was my birthday on Saturday and our original plans for the day had to change because Tyler had a last-minute work emergency. I decided to curl up with my coffee, the Jesus Culture Pandora station and my Bible to spend some time in the Word. Sometimes I like to flip randomly to a page in the Bible and see where it takes me. I ended up in the book of Romans and after a few verses, came to this, which I immediately scribbled down into my journal:

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. Romans 5:2

Birthdays are a time of celebration and getting lots of attention, gifts, and treats. You could even say birthdays are about undeserved privilege because really, my birth was something orchestrated by God and delivered by my sweet Mom (yes Dad you did have something to do with it but let’s not go there haha).

I had nothing to do with my birth yet I get the benefits of being celebrated every year. A pretty good deal if you ask me.

And if you think about it, on a much bigger scale, this is what salvation is like.

Then, as stated in Romans, we are to share this glory with others. Not reluctantly share it but joyfully share it.

Tyler and I had already decided not to make a big deal out of our birthdays this year and thought it might be nice to spend the weekend doing some random acts of kindness. This reminder from Romans felt like a little encouragement from God. So we spent the weekend focusing on others and being a little extra generous. And then we got to celebrate a precious dinner together because some special people were extra generous to us.

It was a very happy birthday indeed.

3. My friend Laura, sister of my heart, shared this quote in her latest blog post, What’s Upset When You’re Upset:

“No matter the jarring, a jar of fresh water can’t spill filthy water. When you’re upset, you upset what’s really in you.”

I love that I read this on Laura’s blog because she continues to address the presence of sin with a courage and conviction that really pushes me to examine my own heart. She writes, “I can be friendly and delightful to people who do not annoy me, or make me feel unloved, or undervalue me.  But anyone can be friendly and delightful in good circumstances.  The Bible is clear about that, it is no great accomplishment to love those who love you.

Amen! And leading back to #2, we aren’t even deserving of the grace we get, so why do we require others to earn ours? Thanks for those thoughts, sweet Laura!!

Hope you all have a wonderful week :)

Unsure of Ourselves

I was feeling the pull last week to write about marriage, being our one year anniversary and all. But what on earth do we have to say, 12 teeny, tiny months into an institution that has been around for thousands of years? What do we even know about marriage?

Well, not much!

Okay, that’s not entirely true. We had an excellent six months or so of marriage counseling and a lifetime of societal examples to prepare us. However, like most anything in life, you have no idea what you’re getting into until you’re actually in it.

And boy did we have a lot of adjusting to do when we came home from our honeymoon.

What were we going to cook for the week? And who was going to cook?
Where were we going to tithe?
What time did we need to get up in the morning so that we could both get to work on time?
When would we see our friends?
Would we go to the same small group or separate ones?
Who was going to clean the bathroom?
What was our budget going to look like?

In fact, we’re still figuring out almost all of these things. There was no manual waiting in our mailbox telling us what would work and what would make us crazy.

As we settled into our new life, we had to adjust to each other, unrealistic expectations and all. It’s not that we thought the other person was going to be perfect all the time but are you ever really prepared for the first time your spouse fails you in some way? Or how about when you fail your spouse? Or when you don’t agree on a big decision? What about when you are so fed up with having to share your space or your time or your money?

We get upset. We resent. We collect hurts and then we fire them off like ammo the next time we are provoked.

And if we’re not careful, we find ourselves digging our heels into that place of hurt and disappointment; leaping back to it at the slightest offense. We allow the enemy to infiltrate our hearts and attempt to weaken the union God has created in our marriage.

I didn’t know what Tyler and I had to say about marriage until this statement from a book I’m reading (The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness) jumped off the page at me:

“So when it comes to identity, modern people have things completely back to front: Professing to be unsure of God, they pretend to be sure of themselves. Followers of Christ put things the other way around: Unsure of ourselves, we are sure of God.

Let’s be honest here. Tyler and I are unsure of who we are as individuals and also who we are as a married couple. We can’t promise that we will always be patient or kind to each other. We can’t promise that we will always love Indian food or watching football on Sunday. And we can’t promise that we will always agree on the big decisions in life. Tyler and I know that we are going to fail each other. We are human. We sin.

We don’t know what God has planned for us or what He might be pruning within us. But we are sure of Him and His promise for our lives. He already proved to us how His love doesn’t fail.

In those moments where I want to scream at Tyler (or in the moments after I do), I have the ultimate marriage counselor to go to… prayer is our 24/7 marriage hotline. But I have to humble myself to make that call. I’m not going to pretend that every time Tyler and I have a fight, we stop in the middle of it and fall on our knees in prayer. It’s not easy to let go of the anger, disappointment or resentment that we feel. Or to admit that one of us was wrong. Or that we don’t know how to fix the problem ourselves.

But we know that God gives us an abundant grace that covers our sins again and again.

We both believe that Jesus died for our sins and that we have a new life in Him. In accepting His grace, we are made new. Every single time. I can’t think of a more effective form of couple’s therapy. Can you?

So one year into marriage, this is what we have to share: God is the only thing we can be sure of in this very uncertain world.

And honestly, what a relief.  We don’t have to have this whole marriage thing figured out on our own.

Phew!