I admit it! During the holidays, I undoubtedly have FOMO, fear of missing out. I don’t want to miss a single invite if it means getting together with my friends having ornament exchanges, favorite things parties, or just being in their homes admiring their beautiful décor.
I'm no Scrooge--I'll have a minimum of two decorated trees in my house! And, I will probably have one or two "angel" ornaments on it. But I know something about angels--and Hallmark missed the memo. I don't want anything resembling a real angel on my Christmas Tree because it would scare my grandkids.
Persistent in Prayer
I woke up the other day with an ongoing desire on the forefront of my mind. You know--the one that becomes a prayer request and soon consumes your thoughts as you wake up and fall asleep. Sometimes our prayers are intense for a short season and then an answer comes. Sometimes they linger for months and even years. This particular prayer is the later type. It has been on my mind and heart to varying degrees for years now. Sometimes I read deeply into God’s Word searching for the way to pull an answer into existence. Sometimes I turn to “self-help” books to see what kinds of tips and tricks will help to get me “there”. Sometimes I try to carry the burden myself feeling like “I’m the only one”. At other times I’ve reached out to God-fearing friends and mentors for encouragement and prayer. Sometimes I write off the desire as an unreasonable expectation or something I should just not worry about. So, I get busy and forget about it…almost.
This quarter we are doing something a little different with book club. We are offering one book that we will all read, then get together (in person or ZOOM TBD) to chat about it. The Fall Book Club selection is Praying Women: How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say by Sheila Walsh. From simple talking between you and God to a powerful weapon against the enemy, this new book by trusted Bible teacher, Sheila, will encourage, motivate, and train you to pray. Praying Women is available at Mardel or Christianbook.com, both for 40% off.
“Hey, your dog just took my garlic bread!” Daisy, my sister’s Shih Tzu, was sitting on the floor sweetly staring at me, but I never expected her to jump up on the couch, snatch my bread, then stand there ever so proud of herself. With the initial disbelief quickly subsiding, I grabbed my camera to take a picture. I’ve been doing more of that lately—stopping to take a picture of something that strikes me funny. Capturing these moments is a way I’m working to train my brain to pay attention to the good stuff, the light-hearted stuff, even the weird, unusual stuff that just needs to be frozen in digital-land. This way I can look back at it and smile.
Our staff always loves to hear the stories of other peoples’ journeys and how they ended up where they are at in life. For the next few months, we are going to be sharing parts of our stories so you can get to know each of us and how we ended up here at Asbury and in Student Ministry! So here’s a little bit about me…
Isn’t it ironic how one second we can pray for something and then turn around to complain about whatever it is that we’ve been given? At the beginning of 2020, you may have prayed for more precious family time with your students, like the kind you received over Christmas break. At the beginning of your student’s spring semester, they may have been praying for less stress and anxiety when it came to expectations at school. However, when sickness hit our world at a rampant pace, you may have wished for your “normal” schedule to come back instead of having schools shut down and working remotely in close quarters with your family. We all had two options during this time on how to react: to pray for your situation to change or to find the silver linings in the midst of chaos. If you were like me, maybe you did both!
I am living in a world where I feel I have to have it all together, all the time. When I only see the best from everyone on social media, it can make me feel extremely inadequate at times and wonder if I am enough. From making sure my kids become followers of Christ, succeeding academically, performing their best at their extra curriculars, and connecting socially with peers to spending our finances wisely, making healthy meals, keeping up with my own mental health, body and spirit, as well as being a supportive and encouraging wife. Then there is providing volunteer opportunities, life experiences, and vacations for my family so we can “make unforgettable memories.” It is overwhelming and exhausting! As we walk through the uncharted territory of 2020 the normal thing to do is look around and see how others are responding. Do I send my kids to school or keep them home, wear a mask or not, discuss my political views aloud or keep them to myself? Jennie Allen’s book, Nothing To Prove, was a perfect reminder that Jesus is enough and He does not participate in the rat race! I desire to have God first in my life every day. Over and over, Jennie Allen shows that when we think our world is falling apart, when we feel worthless, when we think there is no hope - GOD IS ENOUGH!
I hope you have enjoyed our current sermon series BUT… We have looked at circumstances that several Old Testament people were in and then how God came in and made a difference. I especially like the story of Esther. Thank you to Sarah Johnson and Melissa Ivey for helping to make the life of Esther come alive for us. (I love seeing how God is working in the lives of our young adult staff here at Asbury).