Why I'm not making a New Year's Resolution

I like the idea of a New Year's Resolution...

I really do. I've made them in past years, the whole "new year, new you" thing appeals to me because, let's be honest, I'm a mess. Sometimes it even starts to sound a little like faith, right? Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what lies ahead (Phil 3:13)... the old is gone, the new has come (2 Cor 5:17). And I mean, I like those verses, but... something feels... off. As much as I like the idea of making a New Years resolution... ehh... I just can't this year.

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I cannot bring myself to do it.

And here's the best explanation I've come up with:

I know that I'm going to fail.

...and quickly, too. Probably within the first couple of weeks.

Some of that has to do with me being the real-life Halfway Herbert... but a lot of it has to do with the mess my head-space is these days.

Oh, but not just my head-space.
There's also my living space, my marriage space, parenting space, God space, and most other spaces I occupy on a daily basis.

Sheesh... it's just messy, y'all.

I mean check out my "work space" up there... the shark is eating the mermaid, which is cool I guess, but... there are about twenty pillows involved and that's where I'm supposed to sit, so...

I want you to understand what's happening: these very words you're reading right now... I'm typing them while sitting on a shark that is eating a mermaid. Also, here's our Christmas card in case you didn't get one (fyi, nobody got one. because these are gingerbread people.)

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So, you see, there's just too much mess in all my spaces to add a super important goal that I know I'll fail within a matter of days, thus piling "failure" on top of all. this. mess.

And that's why I will not make a New Year's Resolution in 2018

I think there's a better way, anyway.

Why pick just one major goal for one upcoming year and why wait until January 1? Why not decide to go on a journey? Like an Every Year's Quest, taking baby steps to becoming the mom, the wife, the person you were created to be?

For me, that has to look like overhauling and simplifying EV.ER.Y space in my life. I'll write about simplifying my spaces here and there, because I think doing that will keep me somewhat accountable, and I’m telling you that now because I think that will also keep me somewhat accountable… I need all the help I can get, y’all.

But not only for accountability… also for sharing ideas and hearing ideas from you. I truly believe that simplifying our spaces (both emotional and physical) will open up so much space for God to fill with Himself and do His sanctifying clean-up of the messes we inevitably create around ourselves as mamas and wives.

And y’all, so much more than any Resolution in 2018, we need more. of. Him.

Mamas, wives, women

...if you’re with me, moving past our resolutions and into His glory has to be where we start.
Because if you look back at those verses I quoted in my intro, and if you read them in their context, I think you’ll see they aren’t about reaching some personal goal or leaving some bad habit in the past.

They are about the redeeming work of Christ in our lives.
LOOK:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” -Phil 3:12-14 (but read the whole chapter, really)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” -2 Corinthians 5:17&18 (again, just read the whole chapter)

Christ Jesus has made me His own.
All this is from God.
Let that sink in for a little bit.

Friends, let’s not make resolutions that we are bound to fail this New Year. Let’s put our hands in His and let’s let Him lead us through our clutter and our mess and into His splendid glory, into His everyday mercies, into His love overflowing and never failing.

And come back tomorrow, because I have something to share.

Spend Christmas in the Word

I have been so sporadic, but have to let you know... I have not stopped studying John! We've had to take several weeks off with the students, so I've taken several weeks off sharing here as well... I'll be back to sharing weekly gleanings from John VERY soon.

IN THE MEANTIME

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We're just five days from Christmas!! And I'm looking at this as a perfect opportunity to share this little Christmas booklet with y'all!


If you've been journeying through the Gospel of John with us, you can expect the same format for the Christmas booklet, as it will guide you through select passages in the Gospel of Luke. Click below to download!


I pray that your family's time in the word leading up to Christmas day will be fruitful, filled with growth and a deeper understanding of who He is, what He came to do, and just how much He loves you.

Merry Christmas, Friends!

The Christmas book you'll be reading all. year. long.

Oh hey, strangers!

Truth... my (emotional) life has been a little out of whack recently. I'm slowly getting it together (you know, in a "who really has it together, though?" kind of way.) Here's a quick snap shot into the December moments that are reminding my heart to smile BIG this season:

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That's our Advent Wreath from JoyWares, and y'all... it's my favorite Christmas tradition. This is our third year walking Mary and her donkey around this circle of light and each year has been sweeter and sweeter. 

And then there's The Christmas Promise.

Y'all, I realize it's December TWELTH and at this point it's a little laughable to recommend a book to read with your kids before Christmas... but y'all... ORDER THIS BOOK TODAY.

It's the perfect Christmas addition to the Tales that tell the Truth series, and again, beautifully illustrated by Catalina Echeverri. It's fun to read, it's engaging, easy for little listeners to grasp and love, and written with the same repetitive methods in The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross that keep my two SWOOSHING (obviously) and remembering the amazing truths in these pages about their Forever King... and since my face and my voice cannot stop doing bizarre things every time I open this book, I'm just gonna go ahead and copy and paste the excitement from this post: Alison Mitchell "has successfully achieved the telling of this story in the style and language that spirited parents use when we talk to our spirited kids. Excitable little family that we are, that just makes it so. much. fun. to read! You cannot read these pages without TONS of animation on your face and in your voice."

Probably going to be a year-rounder at our house (sorry Chris [not sorry]). It will live by our year-round nativity and I'll just keep trying to read it to the kids every. single. day.



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Division, Confusion, and Jesus - john chapter seven

This post is part of a weekly share of gleanings from the book of John. Click here for more information, and read to the bottom to join the conversation! 


This chapter!
It's about the people who heard Jesus speak when He walked the earth.
It's about the people who hear about Jesus today.
It's relatable, it's today's personalities and today's realities.

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"There was a division among the people over Him..." (John 7:43)
...and is there not still a division among people over Him?

Some thought He was a good man (Jn 7:12), some thought He was a prophet (Jn 7:40), some thought He was the Christ (Jn 7:41), many were just confused (Jn 7:15, 27, 35-36), and others misunderstood His birth story, leading to a belief that He did not fulfill the prophecies of the coming Messiah (John 7:41-42). Others feared believing and following him, as the result of such belief would most definitely be rejection (read ahead --> Jn 9:33-34. also NICODEMUS, guys! Jn 3:1-21 & here in Jn 7:50-52), and a verbal flogging by angry hypocrites who called anyone they couldn't sway by peer pressure (Jn 7:48) "accursed (Jn 7:49)" and "deceived (Jn 7:47.)"

Y'ALL! This. Is. Today.
I mean, I could share so many real life stories of students and friends in my life who were fearful of the fallout with peers and sometimes even family if they openly confessed Jesus as their Savior... Yes, persecution still exists and is flourishing around the lives of Christians today, sometimes even to imprisonment and death. Guys, I could have written this whole post on Nicodemus and his fear. I love that guy, because I am so much like that guy! ...but I'll save that for another day. What really stood out as I read through this is how it speaks to the exact. same. world we live in today! Right?? Some folks think He was a good man, or a prophet, or a "great moral teacher"... SO many are just confused and, lacking any real desire to understand, can't bring themselves to believe what He says about Himself. Others misunderstand the prophecies and thus believe He cannot be who He says He is.

Let's keep in mind that Jesus is a historical human who walked the earth. His humanness is written about in multiple historical sources outside of the Bible, and His existence is even defended by A LOT of atheist scholars on the subject.
So who did this very real person, Jesus, say that He was?
He says He IS God. (John 8:56-58, John 10:30-33, John 12:44-46, John 14:6-9...)

And LET'S BE REAL for a sec... if Jesus wasn't who He said He was, then... well, I could never put it in better words than this guy did:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

He HAS to be who He says He is if we want to believe He is good or Godly in any way.

He has to be God.
And He is God.
And He cries out to this divided world today the same way He did at this feast all those years ago... to a confused, angry, hypocritical, prejudice group of sinners who would reject and persecute Him to His death:
Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37&38)

He invites the thirsty to never thirst again. He turns hearts toward Himself and changes eternity for His children.

These are the pieces of this story that stood out to me, and tonight I'm responding to the words in this ninth chapter of John in prayer... that in all of the growing division and confusion about who Jesus is, my children will always desire to learn and will never stop asking questions and seeking clarity when that confusion strikes. And I'm praying for a spark of curiosity to light up in others who have not understood the Gospel of Jesus. I'm praying that my own understand would grow in depth and discernment, and that the Spirit would bring and lead conversations and hearts. Ultimately, I'm thanking God that, despite any confusion, or lack of desire and curiosity, and despite my own many failures and mistakes in walking and talking the Gospel, HE is a God who turns the hearts of His children toward Himself, crying out for each of us by name, and filling our thirst eternally. 


If you're journeying through the Gospel of John with us (or if you'd like to!), click below to download your guide through chapter eight!


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Jesus doesn't provide "enough." - john chapter six

This post is part of a weekly share of gleanings from the book of John. Click here for more information, and read to the bottom to join the conversation! 


John 6:8-13

"One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten."

John 6:16-21

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

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My head has been a little stuck in a couple of really tough weeks. 
There have been tears... and worries... and frustrations...

And when I haven't known what to pray, or how to stop crying, or where my actual sanity is... God has reminded me of these truths in John 6... that Jesus didn't just provide enough bread for the 5,000. He provided an abundance of bread! ...and friends, Jesus doesn't just give bread... Jesus IS the bread (John 6:35). Jesus gives the fullness of Himself in abundance. Grace upon grace upon grace.

...and He has reminded me that Jesus didn't just walk on water in order to calm a storm. He came to a place where nobody thought He could possibly be --three or four miles out, in the darkness, in a storm-- and He got in the boat!  Friends, Jesus doesn't just calm storms, He gets in the boat with us, He brings the fullness of His presence in abundance. Grace upon grace upon grace.... 

...and my heart finds comfort in those truths.
Yes... totally still crying, but deeply grateful to be loved by a God who is always present, even when I least expect Him... and who is always providing the abundant grace of His fullness: "the food that endures to eternal life." (John 6:27)

I pray that His words bring comfort and peace to your hearts as well, as you look ahead to whatever the day and week may bring. Soak up His fullness, friends... the abundance of His grace upon grace.

And now I have done another miracle for you. I have shown you that in the dark, in the storm, I will let nothing separate me from you. I will walk on water to be with you. And when you take me into your boat with joy, we will arrive at our desired haven.
So whether the story is about being rescued from hunger by making bread, or being rescued from wind by walking on water, the point is: I don’t just give bread; I am bread. I don’t just make the wind stop; I get into the boat.
— John Piper, Twelve Baskets of Bread and the Walk on Water

If you're journeying through the Gospel of John with us (or if you'd like to!), click below to download your guide through chapter seven!


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