Feeble Offerings: Seeing God’s Glory in the Mundane

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV

Jochebed was a slave – a slave under Pharaoh. This Pharaoh noticed that the Hebrews – Jochebed’s people – were becoming too numerous. So he ordered that all Hebrew baby boys be thrown into the Nile.

But Jochebed had a mother’s heart that refused to harm her son. So for months she hid her boy from the Egyptian guards and then when she could hide him no longer she made him a basket.

I wonder what was going on in her mind as she wove the basket and covered it in pitch so it wouldn’t leak. Did she pray he would somehow be rescued? Maybe he would float down the Nile out of Egypt and someone would take pity on him.

But this momma who did what momma’s do, did what she thought was best for her son. She placed him in a basket and put him in the river.

Then her daughter Miriam did what big sisters do. She watched to see what would happen to her baby brother. His basket hidden in the reeds along the Nile. I wonder what Miriam thought as the daughter of the Pharaoh who ordered these baby boys to be destroyed found her little brother.

Then this audacious big sister who was likely only five or six walked right up to the princess and asked if she could find a Hebrew to nurse this baby. A big sister doing what big sisters do.

This baby was Moses, the man who led God’s people out of slavery, who parted the Red Sea. And without a momma doing what mom’s do and a big sister doing what sisters do, Moses would not have grown into a man.

If God can use a mom being a mom and a sister being a sister to so that He can bring His people out of slavery, what can He do in our lives?

Father God, we pray that as we bring to Your our feeble offerings, You will use them for Your glory and honor. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Angela

Defiance: How to Fight for Joy

Today I almost cried as I read a book aloud to my kids. The scene wasn’t poignant. No one lay dying nor was anyone confessing unrequited love. Still the darkness pressed in around my heart. The heaviness of life, friends fighting cancer, the ton of feathers falling on my shoulders, and my ongoing battle to get my foot healthy again.

They are acts of defiance. The thought came to me as I looked at the horn, streamers, and stickers on my knee scooter.

Defiance against the blues – against the sadness that makes getting out of bed harder than it should be. They are weapons in the war for joy. The battle that rages each waking moment. It is a war I cannot afford to lose because my kids need to know how to fight it. How can they know unless I teach them?

“You have such a good attitude about your injury.” I’ve heard the words and every time they feel like lies.

“Well,” I bravely reply. “I could complain and make things even more difficult for me and those around me…”

And though my words ring with truth some days they feel hollow.

My good attitude isn’t something I was born with or lucky to have. It is something I fight for. It is my battle cry to keep from falling into the dark deep abyss of self-pity and sadness. It is my cry against injustice and evil in this world.

The streamers, stickers, and horn on my scooter are visual reminders to keep up the good fight. They are acts of defiance against the tears and frustration. They help me find joy and laughter in the ridiculousness of life. Soon I remember I have a hope and a joy that goes beyond a healthy foot. They are reminders that God uses broken people and broken places in our lives to bring His glory. And so I must not allow my mind to wander, but I must think on:

“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV

These crazy reminders are not bold declarations of strength. No, they are reminders that in so many ways I am weak, but God is strong. They remind me to put my hope and trust in God alone – for He will fight for me.

Are you fighting for joy? You are not alone. Let’s battle together.

How are you fighting for joy today?

Angela

Silent Grief: Pregnancy Loss, Grieving, and Hope

It still hurts and I can’t explain it away.

There are these babies who crawled into my heart, but died in my womb. And a part of my heart still beats for them 13 years later.

Even thought I only held them in my body a short time, I began the process of planning their nursery decor, of how we would tell their older sister, and dream of who they would become.

Those dreams and plans left marks in my heart, empty places, tender spots, broken places.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 ESV

And still there is hope. There is a God who draws near to us – the brokenhearted. He does not watch from afar and He does not waste one tear we shed.

You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book? Psalm 56:8 ESV

God knows the tears and the pain and He is comforting us, He is near us, He loves us. He is using these tears to make us more like Him – more compassionate, more willing to love on babies. He is using our tears to remind us this world is not our home.

My babies I lost would be 12, 11, 9, and 7 now. They would all be grade school aged, reading. My van would be full, but this side of heaven I have some empty seats at my table. While the emptiness hurts, I know that one day I will see them all in heaven.

So until then I pray God will fill the emptiness with love for all children and with His compassion for all who are grieving.

How is God using your grief today?

Angela

Letting Go to Grow: the Startling Secret to Contentment

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 ESV

“God, I don’t understand why Sandra has a beautiful green leaf and I am stuck in this hard shell,” Lucille prayed.

“We were seeds together, God, but she let go of the flower before I did and then she disappeared. Now she is getting taller every day. I wish I had her height and if I had a leaf I would be able to serve You, but I can’t now. Not here I can barely hang on.”

Sound familiar? Fear often keeps me inert. I decide if I can’t sing like her or don’t have the resources he has or I just don’t want something to change then I can’t serve God. I fear failure and sacrifice.

“At the beginning of every act of faith, there is often a seed of fear. For great acts of faith are seldom born out of calm calculation.” Max Lucado

Often God calls us to let go of things so that He can grow better things. And there is fear involved. Fear of losing something special, of change, of growth, of saying goodbye. Still there is excitement. It reminds me of my days at the public swimming pool climbing up the high dive ladder. Walking to the end of the board heart wildly beating fearful and yet tingling with excitement. I’d bend my legs and jump – I was never brave enough to throw a flip – pencil straight into the water. God often brings us to these acts of faith where fear and excitement collide. And we have to decide if we are going to jump or climb back down the ladder.

Jumping means leaving the comfort of the ground. It means sacrificing what we know for what is next. And it hurts, it breaks us of the things we hold dear of the things we believe will make us secure. As the air whistles around and we speed to the pool below, we don’t have time to compare ourselves to others. We just trust that God called us to this act of faith and He will handle the results.

It is time we stop comparing ourselves to others and let go. In the free fall of faith, we will find our hope and joy in God alone.

I can’t wait to see how God will grow us as we let go and find contentment in Him.

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Angela