As I finished this post, I realized that it's kind of long. I'm sorry. There was just so much deliciousness that posted over the Christmas break, and I'm just catching up. I thought about breaking it up into two different posts, but then I didn't. It just sounded like too much work. Ha.
We are expecting ICE later tonight, and may not be able to get out in the morning. If that's the case for you, here are some links for you to read...hope you find some encouraging words here:
*Because "hospitality is not about the condition of our homes, but the condition of our hearts"...THIS post by Jessica Turner.
*"When Vulnerability Strengthens," this post by Jenni Dewitt.
*This post on "The Year of No Fear"...Oh, Aliza Latta...I can hardly believe the wisdom that comes from you.
*This, for everyone like me who is obsessed with the show "Fixer Upper."
*This post on women's ministry...ummm...OUCH, OUCH, OUCH. I've been thinking/praying about it a LOT, because it brings up ALL THE FEELINGS. Over the years, I have enjoyed the programs and fun activities the women's ministry has offered at the different churches we've attended, and I've been on the helping end of women's ministry at different churches we've attended. But I can also see what the author of this post is talking about. Fairly new to our town and our church, my daughter and I went by ourselves to a "how to decorate your home for Christmas/wrap your presents/keep Jesus as the primary focus" women's event at our church. Women from church had signed up to decorate individual tables...and the tables were beautiful. And the women had filled the seats around their beautiful tables with their families and friends. We were excited to see all of the decorations, but really...we went hoping to meet new people. My daughter and I sat at a table up against the wall that seemed to be for "overflow" seating...they were the only seats we could find that weren't "saved" with coats and purses. And even tho the program was great and the lady who spoke about keeping Jesus as the focus in Christmas was AWESOME...my daughter and I left how we came: by ourselves. And, we're Christians and we're okay and we are staying at our church and trying to plug in and meet people and we are not mad at anyone...BUT what if we were lost (unsaved) or hurting or lonely or wondering or desperate or had questions or were bearing a burden too heavy for anyone? What would being at that women's event have done to help or encourage us if we walked out the same way we walked in? It's unfair to expect the new people to do all the work involved in reaching out (and I'm talking to myself, too)...because there are people in dire situations and circumstances that we aren't going to find out about unless we make the effort to connect with them...and provide them a safe place to share and be vulnerable.
*This post was one of the highlights of my entire Christmas season. Seriously. I don't know Shay, but I have been following her journey for months. When we were in Texas, we went to a mall in Dallas. I was convinced I would see Shay (and Sheaffer from PTMT) there...you know, just roaming around shopping. We didn't see either one of them, but when I got home, I read where Shay was in China getting her little girl!
*This post by Lysa Terkeurst on "working toward being a woman who displays godly character" is so good.
*"Nothing that I can do can impress Him because He has already laid His hand on me and His Son down for me and all I have to do is receive it." This from Lisa-Jo Baker.
*"Jesus shows up at the dinner table as much as He does on Sunday mornings." I need to print this on a t-shirt. This post by Sarah Sandifer made me cry my eyes out. I moved 16 times before I graduated from High School. I am used to being the "new girl." I'm also used to reaching out to the "new girls," because I know how it feels. Jim and I have moved 6 times in our marriage. This last time, two years ago, has definitely been the hardest, and I have yet to find my place. This post challenged me not to wait on someone to welcome me...as nice as that would be. I need to step out and take the initiative to reach out to others anyway.
*And this is a precious, new blogger for y'all to read: Katie Hartis. If you read here, I had requested prayer for her husband over the past few weeks...and if you prayed for him, THANK YOU. He's got a long way to go, but he's doing much better. Katie resigned from her job at the church to stay home and help her husband during his recovery. She just has two posts so far, and both are awesome! In the first post, she writes about how her husband's illness was a wake-up call for both of them...and in the second post, she writes about her previous divorce. Check out her blog, and share it if you know of someone who needs the encouragement her words offer!
"Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." Proverbs 30:5