Flowers, short sleeves, and flip flops.
Allergies, pollen, and sunscreen.
Growing up in a Christian home, I was very familiar with the term “grace.” I understood it on a deeper level when at age 8 I accepted Christ into my life. I called my grandparents to tell them and exclaimed that I felt like a butterfly! In my childlike faith, it was that simple. In some ways it is easy to define, and yet God’s grace is beyond what my human mind can comprehend.
I think we all fear judgement, and this especially seems to be the case when it comes to sharing our faith We fear backlash we might receive, questions we won’t find the words to answer, friendships we might lose. So how do we conquer that fear and share the Word? How do we go about bringing others to Christ?
One of the sweetest blessings of walking through life in Christ is how gently and kindly God has answered so many of my prayers. Not always the way or time I thought would be best (there have been tears), but always, always what was and is actually best. It’s almost like I should always just ask and trust him because he’s in control, you know?
If you’ve been around church or Christians for any length of time, you may have heard someone say, “Just lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus.” Have you ever really thought about that? The concept sounds great, freeing even. But in reality, what does that truly look like? How do we lay down our burdens and troubles?
A few years ago when I got pregnant with twins, I was so excited at the thought of having not one, but two little ones to love. I thought God was fulfilling my dream of a big family. My two older children are wonderful, but the Lord gave me a desire to grow our family. After seven years of praying for more children, God finally answered me.
In the six weeks following Christmas, all three of my kids have birthdays, which means they receive a lot of presents in a short period of time. After the first awkward incident when my son looked at his grandmother and said, "But that's not what I wanted," we learned to prep them before parties and family gatherings when we knew they would be receiving gifts.
I keep hearing people say “new year, new you!” The problem is, I don’t feel new. The year is barely a week old and I feel overwhelmed and overburdened. I feel like I can’t do even one more thing, that the tasks ahead of me are too many. Work. Home. Friends. Family. Laundry. Dinner. Cleaning. I feel pulled in so many directions that I can’t possibly do it all, like I am not enough. I feel like the needs of those around me are too great. I just can’t do it.
Christmas is such a busy time of year! Between attending holiday parties, Christmas shopping, baking cookies and decorating, I sure do have my calendar full. I love all the festivities, but they can also wear you out.
The busyness also makes me think about how I am prioritizing my time. I’m fully participating in activities of the season, but am I sharing the great news about why we celebrate it in the first place? We have such a blessing to share!
When I was in my early twenties if someone asked me something along the lines of “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” I would offer an answer that included something about a fabulous job. But if I was honest with myself, I fully expected to work for about 2.5 years after college, then get married and blissfully slip into homemaker mode and get started on the five children I had always wanted to have.
As I am writing my first Willowdale blog, I question how I ended up here. I mean, just three years ago, if you simply invited me to go to church, I would have secretly giggled to myself. I know, because three years ago, I was invited to church, by someone I barely knew. And I giggled. In my head, but still.
Here in South Asia I attend a church on Sunday evenings. This time of worship includes boys and girls of all ages who come from four different homes that care for vulnerable and at-risk children and youth in the city. They all have different stories and backgrounds but the same desire to learn about Jesus.
When I was a teenager, I identified as an athlete. I played field hockey for my high school and college teams. My worth depended on how well I played. It felt great my senior year to win the league championships with the winning goal, but I didn’t know how to view myself in the years following a career-ending knee injury.
As the calendar turns to November, I usually start focusing on Christmas. I'm an early decorator for my favorite holiday and really don't do much for fall. So, my three pumpkins get put away in favor of trees, snowmen and twinkle lights. A few years ago, one of my boys asked me why we didn't decorate for Thanksgiving.