Tuesday, November 25, 2014

For when we feel justice has not been served

Last night, I sat on my parents' bed and watched the Ferguson decision. A few months ago, I sat and wept and wrote about why Ferguson and Michael Brown matter. And today I find myself in the same position. This morning I woke up and scrolled through Twitter, tears welling in my eyes as I found myself frustrated and hurting and just so very unsure of what to think or believe about the state of our nation.

My heart hurts as I think about Michael Brown's family, because they lost a son. My heart hurts as I consider Darren Wilson, knowing that he did not wake up that morning expecting to take a life. My heart aches as I think about the futures of my ten sweet chocolate faced babies whom I love and adore and spend my days with at work. My heart hurts.

I cannot pretend to know all that happened that day in Ferguson. I cannot feign ignorance towards a race problem in America. I cannot turn a blind eye to the hurt and despair within our nation. And yet I have no answers. As I read through various perspectives, what is clear to me is one thing: we are in need of peace. Peace does not come through arguments and protests. Peace does not come through prejudice and harsh words. Peace is a Person, and that Person is Jesus Christ.

Peace is a Person & not a place & we can run to Him, stay in Him, walk in Him & in Him, reach out, peacemakers in a world that's pain-making.- Ann Voskamp

So where do we go from here? How do we move forward when we are hurting and angry and confused and just so very sad? We continue to pray. We work towards understanding by seeking to listen to others who are not like us. We ask the Lord to give us eyes and ears that are humble and aware. And we recognize that justice is not ours to execute, but rather in the hands of a mighty God who holds our tears in His hands.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8

Monday, November 24, 2014

thankful thoughts

Well, friends, it has been quite some time since I sat down to write in this little space. I still write just about every day in my journals and planners, but this space has been neglected. I don't know if I could say that I was burnt out, but I got close. I loved being a part of Blogtember, and I wanted so badly to fulfill each day of Write 31 Days, but things just got crazy, and I was no longer writing because I wanted to, but because I felt like I had to. And that is not beneficial for anyone, least of all me. I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath, just dying to know what all has been going on in my neck of the woods. 

Let me tell you that I am so thankful for this season, friends-literally and figuratively. I love fall so very much. Watching the leaves turn and enjoying cooler temperatures is something that I look forward to each year as we say goodbye to the oppressive heat of summer. Knowing that the cooler temps are ushering in a season of sweet celebration with Thanksgiving and Christmas makes everything even better. 

This fall, I've had the privilege of studying James with a group of women from my church. James is a short book with so much conviction and power in every verse. There are so many lessons to be taken from the words penned by Jesus' brother. The Lord has been showing me just how important it is to be thankful in all things. In the first chapter of James, he writes that we must rejoice in our trials, saying that we should  "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." {James 1:2-4} 

If everything were perfect all the time, we would fail to recognize our need for a Savior. And so He gives us these trials that we hate but must endure in order to draw us closer to Him. If the desire of our heart is to be made like him, then we will thank Him in the trials and in the blessings. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reminds us to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." {Emphasis mine} That last phrase just keeps on running through my mind- it is the will of God for us to be thankful. He desires that we have grateful hearts at all times. So let's fulfill His will, not only on Thanksgiving, but each day. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Women with Vision: Jennifer Brommet

Jennifer and I met through quite serendipitous events. We both were the last minute additions on a trip to Kenya this summer. The way that the Lord brought us together is just so Him. Jennifer is an incredible woman with a sincere heart for the Lord and a desire to see women (and men) walk in freedom through the power of the Holy Spirit. She and I quickly became close through our week together in Kenya, and I am so grateful for the way that the Lord allowed us to come together not only as friends, but hopefully as partners in ministry. Be encouraged by her today, friends.

Tell us about yourself! Who are you?
I’m Jennifer Brommet, and I live in Cumming, Georgia with my husband Remco. We’ve been married 28 years and have two daughters, Carina and Sophia. Carina lives in London, England, finishing a master’s degree in screenwriting and Sophia is a sophomore at Berry College majoring in theater. I love being creative, with a background in art, graphic design and photography. One of my favorite times of work was as the Art Director for the Billy Graham Association which eventually took me to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where I met and married my husband! Our marriage mission is to help as many inside and outside the church come to a saving and intimate relationship with God, and have been in various ministry work most of our married life.
In 2008, God called me to start and direct True Identity Ministries, Inc., a nonprofit, nondenominational ministry with a passion for helping people come to understand and embrace their True Identity in Christ, setting them free to be all God designed and desires for them to be. I love to write with God and have written a book, True Identity, sharing my own journey from severe rejection and depression to freedom in my true identity, and write a weekly blog. Since going through breast cancer treatment in 2011, I cherish each day even more as a gift from God. Most importantly, I am a precious, redeemed daughter of the most high God!

How do you define a woman with vision?
To me a woman of vision is one who is solidly living in her true identity and is passionate about an intimate relationship with God. She desires to embrace all that God has called and purposed for her to do, and is willing to step out in faith, and outside her comfort zones, to answer that call. She is about God’s Kingdom work here on earth and investing in things of eternal value.

What are three things you want the women of our generation to remember?
1. God loves you, is passionate about you, and has an exciting purpose and plan for your life! 2. You are a beautiful, one of a kind, masterpiece. 3. Be there for one another, truly care for one another, and invest in lasting friendships.

Give us your life verse- the one that keeps you going.

Romans 8:28 - “ALL things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” This verse has gotten me through the darkest days and deepest valleys and I have seen this promise come true over and over again.

Describe your perfect day, from sunup to sundown.

I have 3 kind of perfect days - “Me”day and ministry days.

1. The weather would be sunny and warm - around 75 degrees, (I hate being cold!) with a clear blue sky.  I would get up around 8. After a light breakfast, I would have a peaceful quiet time on the porch reading the Word, journaling, and basking in God’s presence in listening prayer time. I would then workout for about an hour, shower, dress in comfortable clothes and then spend time outside in a beautiful setting enjoying God’s magnificent creation and taking photos. I may also do some writing. I would then love to spend the rest of my day/evening with family and friends sharing a meal, great conversations, laughter, faith encouraging stories, and praying with one another. If time, I would then do a little reading or knitting before turning in to bed.

2. Getting up around 8 on a warm, sunny day and spending the day/evening in ministry, witnessing God transforming lives, and encouraging others in their faith.

3. My other perfect day would be waking up in Kenya and spending the entire day and evening with beloved Kenyan brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing the True Identity message and encouraging them in how to share it with others!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Currently: November

READING through the book of James with my Bible study. So very good. So, so good.

WISHLISTING lots of Christmas albums! I love Christmas music so much; I've already started listening to it. When there is the slightest hint of a chill in the air, I feel like Christmas just needs to get here already. So I eagerly await the most wonderful time of the year with a killer soundtrack. :)

LOVING this beautiful fall weather we've been having. Chilly mornings and evenings with some great temperatures that are just right during the day. 

APPRECIATING the abundant and wonderful mercies of Jesus.

CREATING lesson plans that do not bore my children. Ha.

ON THE HUNT FOR Christmas presents for my family. 

EXCITED ABOUT all that is to come with this holiday season. 

Linking up today with Jenna of Dearest Love. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Women with Vision: Suzanne Chambers

Friends, today I have the joy and privilege of introducing you to yet another incredible woman. The Lord has blessed me with some amazing friendships, and today, you get to meet my dear friend Suzanne. While our friendship is somewhat new (a couple years old), I feel as though we have a history together. Her oldest daughter and I went to school together and had a mutual friend that we were both close to during our time at UGA. Her second daughter and I also share a very dear mutual friend, and her younger two are in the youth group where I serve at church! Each member of her family is dear, but I have had the great joy of getting to know Mrs. Chambers over the past year or so as she has led me in Bible study. Her love of the Lord and His word is unparalleled and truly moving. She is a wonderful wife and mommy, and I am so grateful for her presence in my life. I know you will be encouraged by her words of wisdom. 

Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

I am a wife, Mom, teacher, Bible study leader, caregiver to my elderly parents, educational consultant, and mentor to young women.  I love sharing my life with others so we can learn from one another and enjoy the process.  Mostly, I share my flaws and failures because that’s the easiest to learn from, I think!
How do you define a woman with vision?

Women with vision – wow.  I don’t know the answer to that.  I admire women (and men) who have great ideas and grand plans to do great things. But  I am not one of them.  I just strive to focus on taking the next step of obedience, whatever that may be.  Perhaps the Lord is protecting me from potential problems that could arise from “dreaming big dreams” – perhaps if I were to do that, I would wind up following my own agenda and seeking to satisfy my own ego rather than seeking His glory.  I am not saying that all those who long to do big things have those issues – I just think that might be a potential problem for me. The Enemy isn’t terribly creative – he doesn’t usually let us put our ego to death....he just suggests ways we can make it look spiritual by transferring its satisfaction from the world to the church. 
So, all that to say, I guess I don’t have a definition of “women with vision”.  My hope would be that we just seek to know God and make Him known in the place He has us right now.  If He wants to move us to the next place, that is up to Him.  He will make that plain.

What are three things you want the women of our generation to remember? 
What do I want this generation of women to remember?  The two greatest commandments – Love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength.  And then love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.  And make no mistake about it, we do love ourselves.  In spite of all the dogma about self-hatred,we do love ourselves.  We go to great lengths to please ourselves, to protect our own well-being (emotional and physical), and to prop up our own esteem.  So the lesson I’d love to see us learn?  To die to ourselves and live to Christ.  And to enjoy every day forever the incomprehensible reality of God’s immeasurable love!
Give us your life verse- the one that always keeps you going. 

Wow.  One verse?  Can’t do it.  I will share several that sustain me -
Psalm 84:11 – The Lord God is a sun and shield; He gives grace and glory.  No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
I Thess 2:13 – And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the Word of God’s message, you accepted it , not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
Ephesians 3:14-21 – For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth derives its name, that He would grant you , according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit, in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

Describe your perfect day- what would you do from sunup to sundown?

My perfect day.  Sunup to sundown......hmmmmmmmmmm  Well, at sunup, I’d still be asleep!  To be able to sleep a little late would be divine.  Then I’d wake up at the beach and be able to have a cold TAB on a balcony overlooking the ocean and spend some good time in the Word.
Next, fix a yummy breakfast for my family and then laugh and sing together for a while til we felt like walking on the isolated beach.  All my family together.  Everyone would be content and sweet, just happy to be together.
The rest of the day would be spend building sandcastles and playing in the water. Maybe riding bikes but not too much. :) Lunch would magically appear as would dinner.    That evening we would sit around a campfire on the beach and sing and share and just enjoy one another.  As the day came to a close, Jesus would appear in the sky and take us all home!  That would be my ideal day!


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