Monday, November 28, 2011

Because He Loves Me by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

This months book club book was wonderful and spoke right to my heart. A couple of weeks ago I came to the realization I did not love God enough, but was (and still am) struggling to understand how to love God as I should. What does that really mean? What does it look like?
Then this book was recommended for book club. I had been wanting to read some of her material anyway (I'm in the middle of her parenting book) so I was excited to see what it had so say. The title says it all: Because He (Jesus) Loves Me. Without the love of Christ, we cannot truly know love nor can we express it. I can only love God because He loved me first. What a relief!
Because I am in Christ, this is my identity and I have to remember this every day. Unfortunately this human mind forgets. She calls this identity amnesia. When we forget who we are in Christ it becomes difficult to fight sin, love God and love others. I have grown up in the message of the Gospel and it has become a bit mundane, but it shouldn't. The Gospel is all we have! Without it there is no hope. As I listened to her expound on how much God loves me that He crushed His Son and poured out the wrath I deserved onto Him, I realized how much I need to remember this every day and how it should change me. I need to hear this over and over. We all do. 
I need to go back and re-read this book when I am feeling better and can take my time, but I am thankful for a book dedicated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a breath of fresh air. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


During the month of November I have seen many people on Facebook saying one thing they are thankful for a day. Instead of doing that I am doing one post with 30 things I am thankful for (one for everyday in November and 30 is a nice round number). So here goes:

1. First of all I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Without Him I would have nothing to live for and nothing to give because He has given me everything! Thank You, Jesus, for the cross!
2. Next is my wonderful husband Jim. God has blessed me beyond measure with him as he is constantly strives to learn what God wants him to do and to be the best husband and father he can be.
3. My eldest son, Jamey, who is now 2 1/2 and learning so much. Not only is he learning, God is teaching me so much about myself and His love for me as we train him in the ways of the Lord. He brings so much joy.
4. My only daughter, Lillian Josephine, is now 18 months and is finally starting to walk. She is so full of life and brings so many smiles to our home. She is teaching me how lacking I am in my abilities to care for her perfectly, but I have a perfect heavenly Father who is capable of teaching all of His children perfectly.
5. My youngest son, Reuben, is 2 1/2 months and is so sweet. He is starting to light up when he sees my face or Jim or his siblings. God has used him to teach me how to let God guide my life and priorities as having 3 under 3 was not my idea, but exactly what God knew I needed to teach me. Children are truly blessings from the Lord and there are so many things that children can teach us if we allow God to use them.
6. I'm thankful for my family. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home and have a family who are believers. They have also supported Jim and I as we journey through seminary and onto where ever God would lead us next.
7. I'm thankful for FBC Smyrna, our home church, who is filled with brothers and sisters in Christ who are also supporting our family as we journey down the road on which God is leading us.
8. I'm thankful for Sojourn Community Church, our church body in Louisville, who is filled with brothers and sisters in Christ who are helping us learn and grow in this current phase of our journey.
9. There are so many people who are struggling right now, especially with the job market being down, so I am thankful that Jim has a job. And not only that he has a job but a job who has worked with him and his school schedule, has great benefits and is stable.
10. I'm thankful for SWI (Seminary Wives Institute) that gives me a small taste of seminary training as well as practical ministry training to aid in my learning.
11. So many are without and I am thankful that I have a place to live and food to eat as well as the means to have these things.
12. I'm thankful for cameras, which are a luxury, that I can capture sweet moments with family and friends.
13. I am very thankful for the friends I have made here in Louisville who challenge me and love me even when I am unlovable.
14. This week I am so thankful that our family was able to drive to Asheville so see family, especially my Pappy, who may not be in this world much longer.
15. Another luxury I am thankful for is a computer that allows me to keep in touch with friends and family who are not near by.
16. I am so grateful for all of the resources out there to help me learn, most recently with homeschooling.
17. There is so much I do not know and I am thankful for those smarter than me.
18. This should have been higher, but I am thankful for the Bible, God's Holy Word that leads, guides, directs, and cuts deeper than a double edge sword.
19. I am thankful for books! I wish I could read and read and read, but that is not what I am able to do now, but I love to read when I can.
20. I'm thankful for writing. I love to write and I would like to do more, but for now I will write when I can.
21. Yet another luxury I am thankful for is a car. Well, I should say a van that can carry my family and our stuff so that we can get where we need to go in a timely manner.
22. ICE CREAM!!!!! Yes, I love ice cream and I'm so thankful that this yummy food exists.
23. I'm so thankful for Air Conditioners and Heaters. Something I often take for granted, but so many die from freezing or over heating and I'm thankful that we have a way to help us stay warm or cool as needed.
24. I'm thankful for music, especially music that leads me back to worshiping my great God.
25. I'm thankful for clothes and shoes.
26. I'm thankful for parks, trees, grass and the beauty of God's creation that is all around me.
27. I'm thankful for airplanes so that we can go into all the world more easily.
28. I do love movies and TV shows, so I am thankful for media, though sometimes I believe I would be better off with out it.  :)
29. I am thankful for clean water. So many do not have clean water and I am blessed to have access to clean, drinkable water.
30. I am extremely thankful to live in a country that is free, so that I can live my life according to God's plan for me, even if others do not approve.
I wish I could list all of the people I am thankful for, but it would go on forever and I would inevitably forget someone. There are so many people I am thankful for and most likely if you are reading this, you are one of them. :)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! And do not forget to thank the One from whom all blessings flow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saying Good-Bye?

You always know the call will come. About 3 weeks ago it did. "Pappy has cancer." Not at all surprising for a man who smoked well over half his life. The next week we found out how severe: stage 4 in his lungs, liver, stomach and esophagus. Even with treatment (radiation only since he is not physically strong enough to do chemo too) the prognosis is not good with an estimate of 4-6 months to live with radiation being palliative. Originally we had planned not to travel the week of Thanksgiving, but with this news and Jim's work schedule we decided to head to Asheville, NC for a couple of days at the beginning of this week. It was a long trek down the mountain for a 48 hour visit, but it was so worth it. And of course with this visit it makes me wonder, did I just say good-bye for the rest of this life?
What's worse, for me, is I allowed the situations around me and my fear to keep my from asking him about whether or not he has a relationship with Christ. I tried to look for the opportunity instead of making one. Something this important cannot be left to the right set of circumstances, but so much of the time that is what I do. In Christ we should not have a spirit of fear, yet fear so often dominates and Satan loves it. I hate giving him the satisfaction. So now I am really wondering, did I blow my last opportunity to share Christ with him? I pray that he really is saved, and when I have prayed about it I have had peace and I hope that peace is from the Holy Spirit and not just wishful thinking.

I love my Pap so much and I pray that he loves Jesus and will be in God's kingdom when this life ends. I know that God will do whatever will bring Him glory.

Pap meeting Lillian and Reuben and the first time seeing Jamey in two years! Two years is far too long.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Busy Life

I honestly do not know where to begin as I have gotten so far behind. Having three children is quite a new adventure. I love it, but some days I'm not sure how to do it all. My biggest struggle is time management. There are so many things I need to do as well as other things I want to do. Prioritizing is different and I feel like I'm starting to get it a little bit. God is teaching me so much and I want to write down everything, but I don't have time. School is going well with Jamey and Lillian is getting interested in letters and reading now. Reuben listens in as we do school and seems to be stimulated by it. It's amazing how alike and different our kids are. Even as a baby I see similarities to the other two as well as stark differences. The other struggle is getting fatigued and when you have a few moments with all the kids asleep you cannot remember what all you wanted to write. Thus is life, but I love it. I would not have it any other way. God has blessed us so much, though we do not deserve it at all, and I will take the fatigue to be able to love on my babies just one more day.