Breathe

We arrived on Maui yesterday. As we drove from the airport to our villa with the windows down, I listened to these words on the radio… ‘Every time I tried to tell you, the words just came out wrong. So I’ll have to say I love you in a song.’ Along the road people had just pulled over to camp, surf, eat. The fresh air, mountains, tank-tops, flip-flops, and sound of waves crashing… all a little slice of heaven (and what felt a bit like a slice of 1970). A girl can breathe out here. Oh, how I needed this.

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I’m so 2011

I’m sitting outside of a store at an outlet mall. If you’ve been following my blog at all, I can hear you yell ‘No, don’t go in there!’

I’ve given up shopping for clothes this year. It’s been three pretty easy months thus far. But it’s getting hard… like painful. The sun is out, and it’s time for a summer wardrobe. I’m at the point where I just stare at my closet then sigh and turn and walk away with the ever-popular ‘I have absolutely nothing to wear’ look on my face.

Though I vowed not to buy any clothes this year, I realized early on that I was going to have to buy a few items to wear for business purposes, since I also started my own business this year. I’ve held off, because I’m still losing baby weight (not sure it’s actually baby weight anymore, but I’m using the excuse anyway). I just tried on a few things (or twenty) at Banana Republic, my favorite. I walked out with nothing. I’m still discouraged about my body, though I know I’ve dropped some weight recently. It doesn’t help when you run into four Barbies on the way to the dressing room!

Anyway, I’m once again reminded of why I’m doing this experiment. It’s for my heart. No one cares what I wear or what I look like, especially my Lord. He looks not at man’s outward appearance but rather at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). I am a Christ-follower first. A wife and mom second. My worth comes from those things. I love fashion, but I won’t let it define me. My hope this year is to just continue solidifying that truth in my mind and to take a radical step toward that end.

And so I head into store number two, thanking the Lord for making me the way He did and for loving me even when my clothes are so 2011.

His creatures

I believe in God. Though that statement probably doesn’t surprise you, there are days I struggle with it. But this morning I’m lying in bed thinking about the human race. I can’t articulate why, aside from the fact that it often swims around in my mind when I hear of tragedy.

As a race, we are so multifaceted. If there was no God, I have to believe we would operate somewhat robotically. We would go about our lives merely seeking ways to provide food for ourselves and our young, as other animals do. We may protect our own, but ultimately our goal would be survival. Right? I’m no scientist, but from where did our depth come? We love, we pain, we have passion and longings… ah, the soul. And those aspects of our being whisper …God. We really are made in His image. He made us to carry characteristics of Himself. We are beautiful creatures echoing traits of the One Who made us. I may be a romantic, but it’s only because He is too. His love for us is deeper than the depths of the sea. As Job says – who can fathom it? (Job 11).

Ponder what it means that you have traits of our great God.  You have a combination of His characteristics that no other human has.  You are unique; He made you for Himself.  Put aside your concern about your outer appearance, who accepts you (and who doesn’t), whether or not you’re intelligent enough.  Your worth is in Him; He looks at you and is amazed… He is your Father, and He loves you.

Beauty

I am becoming radical about my body. Not in the fake tan, dyed hair, slathered on makeup, 3-hour-a-day workout kind-of way. I am truly accepting my body the way that it is – the way God made it. Not to say I am slacking off. I still feel the responsibility of taking care of this temple that carries the Holy Spirit.  I still try to get up and work out almost every day and try to make wise food decisions, though that’s a daily battle having children.  But ever since I had Noah, I’ve come to realize what a beautiful thing God has made in me (not to say there aren’t days I still struggle, of course). It is significantly more amazing to carry, birth, and take care of two children, than it is to focus daily on making sure I’m top-notch beautiful and physically fit. I recently read an article in a parents’ magazine about how a mother completely lost her sense of modesty when she had kids.  She talks about how liberating it has been to have such a lack of privacy…

‘I no longer waste time fretting about a pimple or a few extra pounds.  Now I’m the pack leader, the protector, the endless source of wisdom, comfort, and Cheerios.  Words like natural and graceful have replaced ugly and awkward in terms of my body… In fact, it’s a pretty amazing machine.  It can run on four hours of sleep, fueled solely by caffeine and Goldfish, and manhandle 50 pounds of squirming kids… Who cares if I have a bit of a tummy?… I’m too busy trying to keep my daughter from eating floating bug carcasses to care if anyone snickers at my poolside jiggle… I have come to appreciate my new mommy shape.  Where I used to have pimples, I now have laugh lines.  My once perky B-cups have become stretch-marked reminders of the children I’ve nourished.’ (Rebekah Hunter Scott)

At the end of my life (and right now, really), I don’t want to be remembered for maintaining a perfect figure and having a great haircut. I want people to remember me as beautiful because of the kind of mother and wife I was.

I don’t have to work on it; I am beautiful now. So are you.

Afghanistan

Yesterday and today I am praying for Afghanistan.  In this country, there are 48 languages.  Only one language has an interpretation of the entire Bible; another has only the New Testament; and seven have random parts interpreted. OUT OF 48.  Can you imagine it?  I don’t even flinch when I pick up my Bible.  I expect that I have it waiting and I can read it any time I choose.  It still stuns me that there are people around the world who can’t even read the Scriptures in their own language.  Lord, raise up more translators.  May your glory be known through Your Word as it reaches more and more people every day.

His Namesake

In reading through Jason Mandryk’s (author of Operation World) word on prayer, I came across a quote that is both convicting and motivating…

‘Here lies the supreme missionary motivation. It is neither obedience to the Great Commission, nor compassion for the lost, nor excitement over the gospel, but zeal (even ‘jealousy’) for the honour of Christ’s name…no incentive is stronger than the longing that Christ should be given the honour that is due to His name.’ (John Stott)

In all we do, let us honor Him. Let us concern ourselves with HIS glory and HIS namesake. All too often I am struggling for my own glory… Does she like me? Does he think I’m a good mom? Am I pretty? Will they think I’m smart enough? Will I fail? Does he believe in me?… I don’t consciously recognize how often I seek my own glory. Everything I do should bear the question, ‘What does this make of God?’ Worrying over my own reputation is foolish and a waste of time. It doesn’t matter if I’m smart, or pretty, or whether or not I fail. What matters is HIS GLORY being made known to the world through me.

It may be worth asking yourself who’s glory you sought today.

On we go…

Reading through the Word is going really well. Every now and then I miss a chapter or two, but I’ve found time to catch up. I’m currently at the end of Genesis; I will have completed Genesis and Job. Only 64 books to go. 🙂

In regards to prayer, we began praying for the world in general for the first few weeks.  We are now on to the continents… we have prayed for America and are now moving on to Asia. One of the sweetest things thus far about this challenge is to see Noah’s heart to pray. He used to pray when he was very small and then, one day, decided he didn’t want to anymore. Thankfully he has had a renewed vigor for praying! It melts my heart every time he talks to the Lord in that adorable little voice of his.

Thanks for walking alongside me during this journey. Please pray for continued motivation and desire to finish well.

small

I am so small. I sense my fragility tonight more than I have in quite awhile. I continue to grieve for a dear friend of mine who recently lost her husband to suicide. As I told her, I often pray for her and sometimes in those moments I feel unbearably heavy, like someone of very large stature is standing on my chest. It’s like I almost have to catch my breath. I wish I could say that I’ve stopped asking the Lord why??, but I haven’t.

Uncoincidentally I’m reading in Job right now, just finishing up chapters 38 & 39. The Lord explicitly describes his unmatchable power to Job (if you need a moment of humbling, please read these two chapters). I couldn’t resist and moved on to chapter 40, though that’s part of tomorrow’s reading:

“Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.”

Lord, I, too, am of small account. In my view, even much smaller than Job. I have spoken too many times. You are so mighty, Father. You number the clouds, command the morning, and hold storehouses of snow. My life is but a breath. Please continue to exhibit your power when tragedy strikes. Praise You, Lord, for You are good.

The Map

For the last eleven days, I’ve been praying for the world, in general (following Operation World schedule). It’s been wonderful. I start out by laying in bed at night before I go to sleep and just allow my mind to think about the world and start to pray as I feel led. I’ve noticed it catches my attention during the day. For instance, a few days ago I stood at the door of my pantry looking at the four or five shelves full of food. It made me think of all the starvation in the world and how most people on this earth would see the food in my pantry as a feast fit for kings. Praying for the world for eleven days is already changing my heart.

The map and book I ordered came in the mail. Photos are below. Tomorrow Noah and I begin praying for Africa. Lord be with us as we seek You and connect with You regarding all the nations of this world… all of which you’ve created and loved. To You be the glory.

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