Things have been busy but good around here. Most notably, Paul and I traveled to Tennessee last weekend to have Christmas with my children and their families, along with their father and his wife. It was a wonderful time of celebrating together, and all of us were grateful for the healing and grace that allowed us to gather. My daughter and her husband hosted us for a delicious meal, and my sweet granddaughter was passed around and cuddled. She’s a gift!
I knitted some gifts this year. Below are a scarf for Anna, and a cardigan for Kenna. I forgot to take a photo of the scarf I made for Caroline:
(I couldn’t resist getting Kenna some skinny jeans! Jersey-lined, with an elastic waistband!)
We continued our tradition of visiting McKay’s, and I finally stopped by Genuine Purl and picked up a skein of yarn I can’t get locally. We also had some Mojo Burrito.
Outside of Genuine Purl, these leaves took my breath away:
Caroline cut my hair, too! I got the luxury salon treatment and a new do! (Photo by Caroline – @haircrash on instagram):
We gave the kids record players! (totally Paul’s idea!). We celebrated to the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin:
Paul washed dishes, and I snuggled sweet baby girl:
I’ll leave you with this one (photo by Will). It cracks me up every time I see it!
Gotta run — super busy Saturday!
From Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives
God does not forgive you based on the quality of your confession or your resolve to be a better person. But you keep thinking otherwise. Your standard is what you would do to someone like yourself, and chances are that you would not let the incident pass quickly. God, however, forgives for his own name’s sake. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). There may be no finer words in Scripture. God bases his forgiveness on himself and his forgiving character, not on the quality of your confession.
From The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:
Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. ~ 1 John 3:20
Many people who sincerely want to find themselves on the other side of forgiveness have bought into myths and misconceptions that have defeated their best attempts at following through. For the next few days, I’d like to help dismantle four common barriers that can easily keep us frustrated on our journey to relational freedom.
First is the assumption that forgiveness and good feelings should always go hand in hand. You may have genuinely trusted God to help you forgive your offender. But then the phone rings. Their birthday rolls around. A situation flares up where they handle a similar circumstance in the same insensitive way, and you feel your emotions start to heat up again.
That’s when you might conclude, “I guess I haven’t really forgiven because if I had, I wouldn’t still feel this way.” But forgiveness cannot be proven by our feelings, any more than it can be motivated or empowered by them. Forgiveness is a choice. And feelings often aren’t. So it’s quite possible to forgive someone the right way — God’s way — and still have thoughts flash across your mind that seem to contradict the decision you made.
Forgiveness is not like planting tulip bulbs, where you never have to think about tit again, and everything just naturally comes up nice and pretty in the spring. No, life goes on. Sometimes old feelings turn up when you’re not expecting them, needing to be handled and replanted. But that doesn’t negate what you’ve done. It simply gives you a new opportunity to let the Lord reign over your emotions. When you don’t feel forgiving, that’s when you just keep forgiving — by faith.
Oh, how I needed to read this!
~ Barnabas Piper on All the Radical I Can Manage:
…sometimes faith isn’t radical; sometimes it’s just holding on. It’s not intellectual in the slightest and neither is it particularly well-argued. It doesn’t seek to change the world or do anything dynamic. It is not on any mission and it’s not a unique use of gifts. It is just holding on tight because that’s all it can do at the time.
~ 5 Encouragements for Everyday Work
~ A prayer for greater freedom from the past in the present: “Time alone heals nothing; but time + your grace can heal most things.”
~ An excellent piece on The Human Shield:
I bring this up because this is something that I have noticed lately and that I believe is a real problem in Christian circles. Whenever someone says something about anything that might be interpreted as a standard, Christians bring out the victims. A Christian woman says girls should be modest, and all everyone wants to talk about is sex trafficking tragedies. A pastor says our kids should not be in day care, and we can only see the women who have been abandoned by selfish men. Someone says we should be thankful for bread, but the conversation becomes entirely about the sorrow of the people who were put in a coma because of wheat allergies. Someone says wives should submit to their husbands, and the whole world shrieks and waves their arms about battered women. We act like serious Christians don’t have the time (or the malice) to talk about little details of the Christian life. But Scripture takes the time to mention it, and I think it is important that we not shrug it off like we know better.
The thing is (and the heart of the matter), is that the hurt people are often not putting themselves there. They are brought out. They are held up as a human shield between Christians and conviction of sin.
Do read the whole thing.
~ Six benefits of ordinary daily devotions.
~ Here’s a Kindle deal on The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, a book I’ve been enjoying recently. I don’t know how long the deal will last.
~ Can’t or Won’t quotes from Tim Keller.
~ A really discouraging article on the extension of adolescence to the age of 25.
~ When Christian women make different choices.
~ I’m nearing the end of Season 4 of Breaking Bad, and I found this post — Badly Broken — interesting:
But Breaking Bad is not just a drama; it is an all-too-realistic depiction of the corrosive effects of sin. Try as we might, we cannot fully distance ourselves from what we see on-screen because the truth is that we are all Walter White.
Yep. A dear friend says we’re all just a bad decision or two from having to hide a body.
And on that cheery note, I’ll bid you a Happy Monday!
From Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:
What kind of legacy are you leaving for your children — and their children? If they take their cues from the way they see you respond to pain, disappointment, and loss, how will they respond to life’s tragedies? How are your responses shaping their view of God? Have you considered the impact that your forgiving spirit (or your bitterness) will have on future generations?
On the myth that forgiving means forgetting from Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:
We may be tempted to think how wonderful it would be if we could just forget all the pain — how much easier to forgive, if we didn’t have to deal with all the memories. We could all wish that God would just take that divine eraser of His and in one fell swoop purge from our minds all those negative images of the past. Right?
I’m not so sure. I have discovered that the most stinging memories from the past can be powerful reminders of the grace and forgiveness of God, living monuments of His mercy in my life — markers that keep me dependent and trusting.
Further, the memory of past hurts can provide a powerful platform for ministry to other hurting people.
If we had no memory of how it feels for our hearts to be exposed and laid bare, damaged by the blows of sin and injustice, how in the world could we ever understand the pain that people around us are going through? How could we possibly be tenderhearted and compassionate toward them? And how could we reach out to them with His comfort in any sort of meaningful way — if we could not identify at least to some measure with suffering’s sting?
Those memories help us realize how easy it can be for someone to find herself consumed with anger and sinking in desperation. They give us the ability to look others in the eye and say, “I’ve been there. I know. And I’m telling you, His grace is sufficient for you.”
…What God has invested in us is not just for us.