Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday Ten: What to Remember During Holy Week

{Beautiful print by Ruth Simons of Gracelaced}

Whether you chose to observe Lent or not, there is a heaviness to this week. Following Palm Sunday, we remember the road that Jesus took to the cross for us. We consider our sin and the weight of our shame that He bore for us. We read of how He was stripped, scorned, and shamed by those who mocked Him and spat in His face, begging Him to retaliate. So what do we do with the knowledge that our Savior died to bring us new life? Do we allow it to inform our every decision? Do we allow His grace to transform our hearts? Or do we let the Easter bunny and Peeps be what we look forward to this Sunday?

We have a glorious hope, my friends. Not because we can finally go back to eating chocolate or trolling social media or whatever little vice we attempted to give up during this Lenten season, but because He came for us. He pursues us. He loves us, and thank goodness, Sunday's coming and the grave is empty. Here's what we can cling to as we wait for the stone to be rolled away from the tomb:

1. He is faithful. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

2. He is sovereign. (1 Timothy 6:15-16)

3. He is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

4. He is good. (Romans 8:28)

5. He is love. (1 John 4:16-18)



6. He is omnipresent. (Psalm 139:7)

7. He is full of mercy. (Lamentations 3:22-24)

8. He does not condemn. (John 3:18)

9. He is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

10. He is gracious. (Psalm 103:8)

Read along with me at www.shereadstruth.com as we learn about The Holy Week and discover what Jesus endured each day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Tunrade Schumann



Y'all, I am so excited to introduce to a very dear friend of mine. Tunrade and I grew up together at Piedmont Baptist Church in Marietta. We have many youth group and praise team memories. We led worship together for our youth group, and I was so excited to watch her date and eventually marry her now husband, Rob. Tunrade is an amazing woman, and I have loved watching how the Lord has grown her into an incredible wife and mother. She may only be a year or so older than me, but I definitely look up to her and am grateful for her influence! You will love her heart of wisdom.


Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Hi, I’m Tunrade! I’m a just-turned-30, Nigeria-born, Atlanta-raised, Texas resident. I grew up in metro Atlanta and attended Kennesaw State for my music education degree. While there, I met a super cute boy with blue eyes, mad guitar skills, and a love for Jesus. We got married in 2006 and had our first child 15 months later. We went on to have 4 kids in 6 years, which has been a whirlwind. My husband is “Minister of Christian Arts”, which is a fancy word for worship leader. In our 9 years of marriage, we have served at a church plant in Georgia, a small town in Arkansas, and now in Lubbock, Texas. I am a musician, a runner, and a professional curl tamer. I spend my days living out God’s call for me to educate my children at home.

How did you come to know the Lord?

I was fortunate to grow up with a believing mother, and a father who came to Christ while I was very young. We were regular church attendees, we faithfully attended Children's programs, and both of my parents served in various ministries at our church. I especially enjoyed our Bible Drill program, which instilled in me a deep and lasting love for scripture memory. I knew it all, but I just didn’t get it.


I could quote Ephesians 2:8 (For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast), but I spent much of my early childhood trying to be "good enough" to earn God's favor.


I knew what Romans 3:23 said (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God), but I never really considered myself to be a sinner. How could I be, when I was trying so hard to be good? How could I be a sinner, when I was one of the best behaved kids in my class?


When I was 10 years old, I was watching a drama presentation around Easter time when I began to feel the Holy Spirit's conviction over my sin. I realized that no matter how good I tried to be, I was still a sinner and I needed God's grace. That morning, I repented of my sin and gave my life to Christ. What a relief to know that Jesus paid it ALL!





What do you think it means to be a person of influence right where you are?

My favorite passage of scripture is Colossians 3:17.


And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


That is my life’s goal, and what it means to be a person of influence. I have been specifically gifted by God for His purpose, not for mine. And my gifts are for service, not for status.


I’m a wife, a mother, a friend, a teacher, and a musician. In each of those roles, am I pointing to Jesus? In my Christian relationships, am I edifying the body? In my relationships with non-Christians, am I living the Gospel?



What is the best piece of marriage advice you've been given?

Grow. Together.


My husband and I fell in love 11 years ago. We loved each other as we were, but we also loved what the other person could become. As the seasons of life come and go, we need to adapt. Both of us. Together.


For us, growing together means serving together on my husband’s worship team. It means taking the time to pray together and share struggles. It means being bold enough to confront sin in each other’s lives, and being humble enough to receive rebuke from one another.


Lately, growing together means going out to our shed after putting the kids down so we can work out, Netflix, and chat. Those 2 or so hours every day are a necessity.
What does it mean to you to be a mom who encourages her children to love the Lord?

Phew. That’s a tough one. Every time I think I have this whole parenting thing figured out, my kids get a little bit older, new issues arise, and I have to relearn how to be a mother.


One thing I do know is this: Point them to Jesus.


When they succeed, praise God. When they mess up, offer grace. When they are struggling, show compassion. And (this is a tough one for me) when I screw up as a mother, apologize to them.


My children don’t need a perfect mother; they need to see an imperfect parent relying on Jesus. Conversely, I should not expect perfection from my children; I should present them with the truth of the gospel and let the Spirit do His work in their lives.


It is far easier said than done. I never truly appreciated my parents’ patience and guidance until having children of my own.


What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

And last but not least: coffee or tea?

Neither, really. When my husband leaves with his morning cup, I’ll take whatever is leftover in the pot. If I have a rare quiet afternoon with nothing to do, I’ll make myself a cup of tea. I can take or leave either. Cheesecake, however, is a different story.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March Goals

Unwritten life goal: try a macaron. Check.

Well, friends, I am officially more than halfway through spring break. (Cue depressing music.) Each spring break, I have nothing short of one billion things that I want to get done in my time off. This year was no exception. So far, it has been a good break; I've been able to sleep in, see friends, and cuddle with the fur baby. The week is flying by, and I am hoping to be able to end the week with the determination to finish this school year strong! Let's review my goals from last month:

Monthly:
continue memorizing James
read Hands Free Life
observe Lent
start training for a 5k
clean up my closet (it didn't happen in January...)

Weekly:
same as last month, but also: plan blog posts and observe social media free weekends

Daily:
instead of love on Ror, I want to encourage him. Something about that wording makes it more intentional for me. 
I took out stretching because I wasn't really doing it. 
quote James

I was able to get a lot of my monthly goals done in February! Technically I cleaned up my closet last weekend, which was the beginning of March, butttt...I began reading Hands Free Life but put it aside when my copy of Looking for Lovely arrived and finished that instead. I still didn't begin training for a 5k. Womp womp. But! I will be walking/jogging in a 5K this weekend! I have quoted James at least weekly, but it hasn't happened daily. And I am enjoying at least 24 hours social media free each weekend. :)

Here's how things have changed for March:

Monthly:
finish reading Hands Free Life
spring cleaning- deep clean the apartment (ew ew ew)
submit a writing piece to (in)courage 
plan for Easter weekend

Weekly:
work out 3x a week
talk to at least one family member on the phone (not just text)
meal plan
plan blog posts
social media free Saturdays

Daily
pray
read the Word
encourage Ror
encourage someone else
give thanks
drop the jar (more on this later)
quote James

That's what my goals are looking like these days, friends. There are some days with a lot of empty check boxes and others where they are almost all full. Lots of grace around these parts. What are you working towards?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

New Website Address!

Friends, just in case you missed it, Jessica Miller no longer exists. Ha. I have now changed my domain name, so you can find An Immeasurable Joy at www.jessicanmathisen.com instead of www.jessicanmiller.com. Add that to your Bloglovin and Feedly feeds. :)

Tuesday Ten: Top Ten Looking for Lovely Quotes

Over the past few years, Annie F. Downs has become one of my favorite authors. I don't just love her because she also hales from Marietta and is a Georgia Bulldog (GO DAWGS!), I love her because her writing is real, vulnerable, and authentic. She is equally funny, witty, and inspiring with her transformative (I think I just made up a word?) stories that make you feel like you're not alone. She gives a whole lot of grace because she's been given a lot of grace. I just love her.

Annie's new book, Looking for Lovely releases in a little less than a month, and friends, you've got to get it. You just have to. It will challenge and inspire you while moving you to laughter and tears. So friends, this week's Tuesday Ten is dedicated to Looking for Lovely. And trust me, it was hard to choose just ten quotes! My book is underlined and starred up the wazoo. 




1. What Paul says in Romans, and what you and I know from our lives, is hope is an expensive commodity, not easily won, always fought for, and the result of a process that may take some time.That WILL take some time. 

2. I want us to learn to look for the lovely all around us and collect it, hold it close, and see how God drops beautiful things into our lives at just the right time to help us step forward on our own paths. 

3. I'd see the sun set behind Green Hills Mall, turning the sky one hundred shades of evening...It was the tiny bit of lovely that helped me hang on and show up. God was doing a big work. I knew it, I just had to keep showing up, even when it hurt or felt hard or wasn't AT ALL what I wanted to do. 

4. I'm watching for a miracle like I watch a movie because I'm expecting one. 

5. You have to be brave to believe that you are made on purpose- to go after your passions and walk in who you were made to be. When you believe God made you on purpose, you are willing to be brace because the root questions are already answered. 



6. The only way you can fully experience the next level is by experiencing some pain. 

7. God gives us permission to feel. There's no demand on your life to bite the bullet and be stronger than the hurt and pain. Yet the directive is the same: rejoice in your sufferings, persevere in them, let your character grow, and watch as hope blooms. 

8. That's what music does. It holds you together when you think you'll fall apart. It reminds you of truth. It grabs your hands as you try to cross the finish line. It fills your ears with peace when it feels like there is no peace. 

9. I believe you are shaped by the people you surround yourself with, and I am deeply shaped by the people around me. 

10. A good balance of grace and perseverance pushes us forward without destroying our spirit when we don't meet a goal, and it continually brings us back to our goals, dreams, and desires in order to remember why we began, how far we have come to get here, and where we ultimately want to go. It gives us permission to not be perfect but to strive toward excellence.

And there you have it, friends! Go pre-order your copy now! It releases April 5th, and right now on Amazon it is only $9.70! That's less than your last mani. :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Elissa Ewald

Today I am very excited to introduce to a friend I've known for quite some time. Although she is one year younger than me, we attended the same school from middle school to college. We were in orchestra class together- both content to sit in the second violins section because first violins were to much dang work. In college we were involved in the same campus ministry, and then there was that one time she asked me to go to Kenya with her on less than a week's notice, and I said yes. She's a gem. :) Seriously, though- Elissa loves people well. She still sends mix tapes via snail mail; she's a gifted photographer-all those wedding and engagement pictures I throw up on this blog every 2 seconds-her work. Her heart is pure, kind, and selfless, and everyone needs one of her in their life. So without further adieu, I give you my sweet friend, Elissa Ewald.




Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
My name is Elissa Beth Maria Ewald. I have two middle names which has always made filling out forms on standardized tests a bit more challenging. I am a daughter of the most high God, and learning more about what that looks like every day. Most days it feels like a lot like running to my father with tears and scratched up knees, but I’m hoping it’s beautiful, too. I love doing life with people, particularly if it involves impromptu dancing and/or singing. Or food. I love good food and the power it has to bring people together. I am drawn to people’s stories, and love getting to be a part of telling and sharing in how God is telling His story in the lives of people today. I love turner classic movies and card games and puns.
How did you come to know the Lord?
I grew up in the church, but can honestly say that for the majority of my childhood only went because of my love for General Tsu’s chicken. If you didn’t go to church, you didn’t get to go out to eat, and since I grew up in a huge family, going out to eat was a rare treat you never wanted to miss. I decided I wanted Christ to be my savior in middle school, but didn’t know or really care what it looked like to be a follower of Jesus until the end of high school and my freshman year in college. God began to draw me in, and it has been a crazy adventure ever since.
What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?
Oh goodness. I’m pretty sure I don’t do this most days, but I think it means living out of who God made you to be in whatever circumstances he has placed you for the time being. I think it means trusting Him enough to be fulling invested and present in the life He is unfolding before you and resisting the urge to cling too tightly or want the gifts more than the giver.

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your job?
Right now I work at a church, in a job that I wasn’t looking for, but God stepped in and opened up an opportunity. I get to work with and for a community of people learning what it means to love, most days imperfectly, and are pursuing God and each other in the mess that life brings. I’ve seen God bring healing and freedom into my life and the lives of those around me, and seen people fight for God’s glory in relationships and their families, repent, and choose love in seemingly impossible circumstances. Even on the hardest days, I know that doing the hard work of pursuing God in community with believers has to be part of what Jesus meant when he talked about bringing God’s kingdom to earth.
What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?
My favorite has always been Hebrews 10:23…”Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?
What I’ve been clinging to lately is that the most true thing about me is that I am loved, more than I can ever understand or imagine, by my Father in heaven.
And last but not least: coffee or tea?
In the words of Lorelei Gilmore: Coffee, coffee, coffee. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Currently: March

I am so excited that March is here, but I am also incredulous that February has come and gone. Thank goodness for our extra day with the Leap Year; how fun was that? There has been so much going on lately, and I am ready for a break. Next week I will be on spring break, and I could not be happier about that fact. :) Here's what's going on around these parts:

I loved seeing my best friends this weekend! #bifflesforlyfe

wishing: Oh man, I wish we already had a house. We are still in the thick of house hunting, and it is equal parts terrifying and exciting. We are so grateful for the apartment we have, but really looking forward to four walls we can call our own. 
craving: Confession time, y'all. Yesterday I had a bit of a rough day, and I was craving Doritos hard after one of my kids had some for snack. On the way home, I stopped at a convenience store, purchased a bag of Doritos: Cool Ranch, and demolished them before stepping foot into my home. I live less than ten minutes away from work... 
going: It is spring break next week, and I won't be travelling since Rory has to work, but on Sunday we are going to the Fox Theatre to see The Sound of Music and I am so crazy excited! It was Rory's Valentine's Day gift to me, and I can't wait!
wearing: My mother-in-law got me some fabulously amazing slipper socks that I have been wearing around the house, and they are to die for. 
learning: Prayer should not be my last resort. Maybe more on that later, but I need God like I need my next breath. 

What are you up to these days?

Linking up with Anne and Jenna today!

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