Making Room for God

excerpt from Walking WIth God by John Eldredge

“Sometime earlier this year, I noticed I was drinking too often, or more precisely, drinking for the wrong reasons. I’d come home exhausted and frazzled from the day, and I’d turn to a glass of wine or a beer as a sort of refuge and relief, a way to find some peace. Some people use food. Or television. For me it was alcohol. And that’s not good. I began to see it as a reaching for joy – joy in a bottle, joy within my grasp. Yikes. This does not have a good future written on it.

And so God gave me a kind of grace to give it up. To make room in my life for him. It was really that simple. I noticed that when I came home frayed and weary, what I wouldn’t do was simply take a few moments to be with God and ask him to comfort me, to be my refuge and peace. I decided to try that instead.

And so something I’ve enjoyed over the years i gone now. And I have no idea if or when it will return. What I notice is a kind of spaciousness now in my soul in the evening. Room for God.”

I read this excerpt shortly after a conversation with some friends about drinking. I never experientially understood the statement, “I need a drink.” It made sense when I thought about people drinking away their troubles, translation – getting drunk. But when I hear people who I know don’t drink to the point of getting drunk say this, it didn’t make sense to me. I guess I’ve never experienced any kind of escape or calming comfort from a glass of wine or a beer.

But, I can TOTALLY identify to what Eldredge is talking about. But instead of a glass of wine or a beer, I turn to the TV or the 360. Instead of joy in a bottle, it’s joy in a box.

God, grant me the grace to give it up – to make room in my life for him. God, will You be my comfort, my refuge and peace.

His Love Never Quits

I am not a writer. I do not enjoy writing. And honestly, I don’t think I have any thoughts or nuggets of wisdom worth sharing through a blog. It’s not that I don’t have my fair share of thoughts. My wife will attest to that. Pretty much every conversation we have starts with me saying, “So, I was thinking…”

So, here’s a stab at sharing some of my thoughts through a medium I hate doing. (No one reads this anyway)

Since the end of February, Amber and I have pulled back from the mission field to focus our full time efforts on raising our financial support – which translates to Truman sending emails, making calls, and meeting with people, while Amber’s full time energy (and I mean FULL TIME energy) is spent making a baby.

Anyone who has been through pretty intense financial stress or has raised missionary funds knows that it’s pretty all-consuming. Needless to say, this is the reality of this season of life for us. And it’s HARD. Sometimes Often I wonder, will our support ever come in? God, don’t you hear our prayers? It’s YOUR work that we’re doing. Surely, You know that, right?

But I am thankful that I read this this morning:

“Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. 
   Thank the God of all gods, 
      His love never quits. 
   Thank the Lord of all lords. 
      His love never quits. 

 4-22 Thank the miracle-working God, 
      His love never quits. 
   The God whose skill formed the cosmos, 
      His love never quits. 
   The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations, 
      His love never quits. 
   The God who filled the skies with light, 
      His love never quits. 
   The sun to watch over the day, 
      His love never quits. 
   Moon and stars as guardians of the night, 
      His love never quits. 
   The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn, 
      His love never quits. 
   And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression, 
      His love never quits. 
   Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand, 
      His love never quits. 
   Split the Red Sea right in half, 
      His love never quits. 
   Led Israel right through the middle, 
      His love never quits. 
   Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea, 
      His love never quits. 
   The God who marched his people through the desert, 
      His love never quits. 
   Smashed huge kingdoms right and left, 
      His love never quits. 
   Struck down the famous kings, 
      His love never quits. 
   Struck Sihon the Amorite king, 
      His love never quits. 
   Struck Og the Bashanite king, 
      His love never quits. 
   Then distributed their land as booty, 
      His love never quits. 
   Handed the land over to Israel. 
      His love never quits. 

 23-26 God remembered us when we were down, 
      His love never quits. 
   Rescued us from the trampling boot, 
      His love never quits. 
   Takes care of everyone in time of need. 
      His love never quits. 
   Thank God, who did it all! 
      His love never quits!

Psalm 136 (from The Message translation)

I’m thankful to be reminded of this truth. Is it still hard? Yes. We’re still not at full support. Do I feel good about needing to scramble to figure out a way to pay our bills so we don’t go into credit card debt? Do I feel good thinking about what’s going to happen in September when Hudson comes into this world, and our financial situation hasn’t changed?

But, (and it’s a big BUT) I am thankful that I have a Father whose love never quits.

Celebrating New Life on Good Friday

Peaking out from under the recent snowfall, I noticed when we returned from our trip to New York City, that the bulbs we planted in our empty front flower bed in the fall had begun popping through the soil.  Every day, as I see these beautiful, vibrant blooms opening up one by one, I am reminded of the new life that I have in Christ.  How perfect that God planned for spring, the season that we celebrate Easter and the death and resurrection of Christ, to be the season that we are surrounded by new life in His creation as well.  I adore this time of year when the snow melts, the grass is greener, flowers begin blooming after the cold winter, and signs of life are all around us, replacing the death and cold of winter with warmth and life.  It is a sweet reminder of the life that I have been freely given in Christ. John 11:25-26

Why is this Friday so good?  When Jesus said “It is finished,” He was saying, I’ve “Paid in Full” the penalty for us all.  Because Christ loved us, He who was perfect and without sin, paid for our sins so that we could have new life in Him.  Are you celebrating new life this Easter weekend?

“Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the grave!”

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
Amazing Love
Now flowing down
From hands and feet
That were nailed to the tree
As Grace flows down and covers me

(Grace Flows Down, Christy Nockels)

I am reminded of these lyrics today that we sang during our wedding ceremony.  You can listen here.

I also wanted to share the wonderful ideas I found on Faithful Provisions for celebrating the true meaning of Easter with children in creative ways.  If you don’t yet have plans to talk about the death and resurrection of our Savior with your little ones this Easter weekend, you still have time to check out these two activities that are a perfect way to share in this holiday as a family.  They are planned out for you, including recipes, scripture to read together, and conversation prompters.  Get in the kitchen tomorrow and make Empty Tomb Cookies or Resurrection Rolls together!  Because we desire to have meaningful family traditions some day with our own children, I have these activities bookmarked for the day when we have a family of our own.

I would love for you leave comments or link to posts where you have shared about special traditions that you have in your family to teach your children about the death and resurrection of Christ.  How do you mark Easter weekend with your children?