Jen&Meg: Two Unique Hearts loved by One God

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In college Jen and I hit it off right away as non-traditional students (married moms who are a weeee bit older than the traditional college student).

Though our connection was obvious from the start, we quickly learned that we aren’t exactly alike.

Jen is orangized while I lose kids in laundry piles.

She assigns notebooks for each area of her life with pens that she seems to have no problem locating while I search for the receipt I wrote a list on the back of with an orange crayon.

She made me ranch dressing spiced with plants from her windowsill. I fed her slightly burnt frozen pizza.

I’m laid back while she struggles with perfectionism. She feels guilty for resting while I often rest tooooo much.

Where she is strong, I am weak. Where she is weak, I am strong.

I think God does that on purpose with our friends. We don’t have to all be exactly alike to love our friends.

As different as we are, we are both loved by the same God who we share a passion for writing about.

Two unique hearts loved by one extraordinary God. And we want you to know that no matter who you are He loves you too.

After many lunches of discussion, Jen and I are excited to have launched our shared Facebook page.

Not only do we share both our blogs and other articles, but we also have a weekly Bible discussion called Coffee and Conversations where we invite others to dive into weekly topics with us.

I hope you will check our page out! You can find us here:

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Oreo covered faces: Fulfillment on Earth

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That moment when a hollow aching from deep within rises up and searches for more.

More what? I can’t help but wonder.

More is a word that generates many images.

More stuff: fancy cars; bigger homes; trendiest fashions; and latest technology.

More fun: vacations; day trips; dinners out; living the life…

More money: to fund everything listed above.

More fulfillment.

Is there such a thing being more fulfilled?

The definition of fulfillment: satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character.

This is the more that I have been searching for; at the same time, though, this is the more that I will never achieve.  I don’t think total fulfillment will ever be reached until we stand in the presence of God.

Certainly we can, and should, develop our character and seek knowledge here because our calling to Christ is to back up our faith with these things:

Knowledge, virtue, self-control, brotherly affection and love. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

All of those things revolve around character development, but what we must realize is total satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment will never be achieved while we are still fighting our sinful natures.

Until the day we stand before Christ, we will never fully know who we really are.  When we look into the face of our Creator is when we finally understand that who we are is nothing more than HIS.

Which in reality is a whole lot.

We belong to Him and what this means is that an eternity of true contentment—fulfillment—awaits. It is there that our questions will finally be answered.

Still, there must surely be depth here in this place where I have temporarily made my home.

That through the dishwater my hands sink into, I can pull out joy and understand that this is my earthly calling and that in reality I do not need more.

So instead of total fulfillment here, what I am looking to is purpose.

To find purpose in the small duties I so often dread is the closest I will ever come to true fulfillment because they are the same ones that make life better for the ones I love.

My boys.

I have been given what will seem like only a moment in time with these two.

To teach them. To mold them. To give them the tools to serve God.

The willingness to put my own desires underneath their needs.

In this, perhaps the closest we can come to earthly fulfillment is through sacrifice.

I believe that is the example that Christ set for us. He purpose on Earth was sacrifice for His children.

I truly believe that during my time in the world I will never come closer to the face of God than I am right now—as I look into their beaming Oreo covered faces.

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Wait…OREOS?! From my under the bed stash.

Some sacrifices are easier to make than others.

Bombs in Israel: Dirt on my floor

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The room is lit by the rays of the sun, and I am cleaning floorboards to the beat of  newscasters discussing the ISIS threat.

The kids are in the background grumbling about their part of the chores, and the dog is stretched out on the same hair-covered spot on the couch I plan soon to vacuum.

Life. This is mine, but not really.

As my elbow grease builds, I just keep on talking to God.

Rambling to Him (and we all know I ramble), I shake my head and think He must often find me so silly. The sky bright through the window, it shines on my Voice of the Martyrs book “Tortured for Christ” sitting on the table.

All the horror the world is facing as this comfortably seated and well-dressed newscaster shares her thoughts on a situation none of us will likely ever understand.

And I just keep scrubbing my blessed floors. 

Where is my place in the plight of His creation? I keep asking. 

Here I am, a product of where I was born and living the life I was given, and I am conflicted about whether to feel grateful or guilty for my blessings. In reality I am both.

I decided just to ask Him.

My chatter quieted and I listened for something greater.

What He showed me was my floor.

He put right here for a reason; I cannot say exactly what that reason is. I cannot question His plan but what I can do is every single thing He asks me to do while I am here in this place.

Whether it seems significant or not.

Today I have been told to feed my children (and believe me there are days He has to remind me to do that) and in the meantime to teach them about who He is.

I have also taught them–and myself–that there might come a day when it is our turn for persecution.

Either way, I know He has a plan.

The Potter who handcrafted the song bird…

The Scientist who put the laws of gravity in place…

The Comforter who sits in the cells of the persecuted…

The Protector who guides the missiles of His people…

He has a place for me in His plan.

He has told me to pray and to stay aware.

To pray can sound a little bit like a cop out.

“Prayers!!!!!” A common theme in our comforts to one another as we scroll through a social media news feed.

Sometimes it can seem a shallow promise, but truly it isn’t when we pore ourselves out for the needs of others.

God hears and He answers.

I will truly pray for those who are persecuted, and I will truly pray for those in greater trials than me.  

When those in prison in the Eastern world are asked what we can do to help, they ask that we pray, so let us pray.

I will also bring awareness when and where I can. Like through this blog, so I can ask you to pray too. That we can all remember how blessed we are, and also to remember that this moment can quickly turn to another, darker, one.

That is His plan for me right now, and no matter how small it may seem that is what I will do.  

And I will keep asking for more to do, because my life is truly His.

So is your life.

He has a plan for you too. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for it, but remember it is all in His time.

Always start with a prayer.

Go to the Voice of the Martyrs website to learn more about praying for persecuted Christians:

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Caterpillar Funerals and Thankfulness

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As a mom, I seem to pick up a lot of odd jobs around our house.

I am a secretary to my technology challenged husband who believes that to “google” something is a violation of the ten commandments–thou shalt not google thy neighbor’s wife.

I am also a why guru.

I can tell you why the sky is blue instead of purple.

I can tell you why Batman and Spiderman do not hang out on weekends–that I know of at least.

I can also tell you why after three hours on the job I am banging my head against a brick wall.

Last week I got another side job: I am the reluctant caregiver of caterpillars.

These fuzzy little leg-clad creatures were very proudly collected by my five year old who decided that he wanted to study metamorphosis.

I am pretty sure that one smiled at me on Tuesday when I gave it a dandelion, but maybe that was just me since I’m an approval seeker and all.

However, here is something about caterpillars you probably don’t know (and maybe don’t want to know): they eat a lot and they poop a lot.

Therefore their home is in constant need of more leaves to eat and always needs cleaning out, both of which immediately became my job.

I have to admit, though, I became sort of attached to them.

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When I was asked to speak at the first one’s funeral I was quite honored.

The second one’s funeral, however, I was not asked to speak and found a notable suspicion in my children’s attitude as I offered condolences at the body viewing.

By the time the third funeral rolled around, I was outright accused of murder.

Actually, I don’t blame them, as I am not completely convinced of my own innocence since I have no prior caterpillar experience.

Oddly enough, though, I was never fired from being the caretaker of the two that remain.

They seem to be in fine health thus far.

When my kids drag these little critters around, it always makes me think about how thankful I am that God didn’t make me one of those critters.

This thought process kind of put me on a whole new path of thankfulness when I really started thinking about it.

I have always been thankful for what I thought to be the little things in life: my family, my home, my health.  Of course these are wonderful gifts that we should thank God for daily, but suddenly I realized that thankfulness needs to go back to the basics.

We have to narrow our mind to the very basics of what we are, a creation of God.  Thankfulness truly begins at the realization that God was not in any way obligated to create life.

We owe over very existence to this fact.

He could have created emotional zombies. Instead He created us as passionate creatures, capable of love and hate, joy and sadness, and pleasure and pain.

Without all these emotions life would not be worth living, but here’s the thing: God was not obligated to make our life worth living.

He did that because He wanted to, not because we deserved it.

We are His creation, and our destiny was His to create whether it was one we liked or one we didn’t like.

He could chained us up and made us answer to His every whim, but instead He wanted us to willingly serve without a cracking whip.

Not only did He decide to create humans, he decided to make you and I humans.

He could have made us bugs.  You could have been that poor unfortunate caterpillar who died in the hands of an inexperienced caretaker.

Of course, I am not confessing to anything.

Victory: The spider selfie!

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I touched a tarantula’s hairy butt.

I think he was totally offended and he kind of jumped (which absolutely mortified me) but then he just went on with himself.

Backtracking…

It wasn’t exactly the way I had planned it.

Every spider I saw I thought was the one. The one in the garage, and in the shed, and then one really unreasonable one discovered in the laundry room who still hasn’t come out from under the washing machine.

So, who would be the selfie spider? None of those guys.

The problem was that I didn’t really know those spiders and we didn’t have any mutual friends or anything. So instead I called the town’s new pet shop and asked if they had spiders I could take a selfie with.

“Well that’s weird, but sure!” the shop owner told me. I get that a lot.

The next day I gathered my family and off we went together for mommy’s spider selfie, because we are all about conquering our fears right now.

So…my selfie was with an enclosed tarantula.

Here it is…

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If you can’t tell from the picture, I was totally freaked out. My hand jerked back about five times before I actually touched that spider.

BUT I DID!

Well and here’s the thing: I am still scared of spiders. My spider selfie did not cause me to suddenly embrace all eight legged creatures as friends. What it made me realize, though, is that I can do what needs to be done.

My fear conquering summer is not about becoming totally fearless, but learning to trust God.

Fear builds barriers, while God builds trust.

Some fear is good; next I plan to tackle the dark (and yes I am still scared of the dark) but I certainly will not be wandering around in the oncoming and reportedly damaging storm.

Because being careless doesn’t equal being fearless. I don’t ever plan to pick up a poisonous spider, because I don’t really want to die or get really sick.

I knew this guy was safe, but I was still afraid. Sometimes God calls us to face our fears, and sometimes our loved ones need us to face our fears.

In August I will have a cancer preventative surgery (hysterectomy) and I am really afraid, because I haven’t had anything like that done before.

However, my family needs me to be brave and so I will be.

Sometimes–meaning all the time–we just have to trust God.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.–Psalm 56:3-4

I know His plan for me exceeds what I could ever dream of, and fear will hold me back from it.

This doesn’t mean that I think God will rain on my finances or that he will provide me with a life greater than what I already have–because believe me I already know I am blessed.

God’s plan for me is to live for eternity because the place He has prepared for me will exceed anything I can conceive of here. I must be brave enough to follow Him down whatever path He sends me down.

it might be a quick trip (any moment could be our last) or it might be a winding road to Heaven. Either way, I have to understand that this life will go nowhere if I cower down to everything that He asks me to do.

Even if it means touching a hairy tarantula’s butt.

Tackling Fear: The Spider Selfie

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Fear has always been a barrier in my life.

I am here to say that I am just flat out tired of being scared.

This revolution started last summer.

I have always been too afraid to drive in St. Louis traffic, but last summer I forced myself to drive to Kentucky to visit my brother and his family–which requires me to go right through St. Louis.

My husband couldn’t get off work, but I decided that seeing his house was more important than my fear of heavy traffic. So I loaded up the kids and drove about five hours to my big brother’s house.

Amazing what is a small task to many is such a big thing to others.

I was so proud when we sat in traffic so close to Busch stadium we could almost see right in.

I did that! I got us there!

Well, I know it was God.

It felt so good to finally give God control; I honestly don’t believe he wants us to live in fear.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.–2 Timothy 1:7

So I am taking fear by the horns.

One selfie at a time.

I plan stick my smiling face right in the middle of everything that terrifies me just to prove (mostly to myself) that fear does not control me. I am going to take selfies of all the things I am afraid of over the coarse of the summer.

Certainly I believe that we should use the brains God gave us–I fear some things for a reason.

I won’t take a The House is on Fire selfie–go ahead with the cooking jokes I know you’re thinking it.

There will be no Jumping off a Bridge selfie either–not even with a bungee cord. Although in some way I will be addressing my fear of heights.

I am starting small, though.

I am starting with a spider.

Really, I don’t even understand what I find so frightening about spiders. They are pretty creepy with all their legs and eyes, but then again I figure I must look pretty weird to them walking around all two-legged and stuff.

Plus, the fact that they have eight eyes should really scare the spider more than it scares me–especially the one that hangs out in my shower sometimes.

Just sayin’

Nevertheless, I have feared them my whole life and I plan to get over it.  So I have been searching for a friendly spider to pose with…so far it hasn’t been too successful because the only one I found so far ran off too quick to grab and get a selfie with–I did get a pic of it hightailing it around the corner though.

spider selfie

Send me pics of your own fear tackling selfies and join in my efforts.  Meanwhile I will be working on a list of my own and posting those to you as I get them.

I will get a selfie with a spider if it kills me.

And then if it does I guess my spider fears were totally legit.

Hmmmm.