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Because He Delighted In Me

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

He drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy

from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,

but the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;

He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22:17-20‬

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To Love is to Lament

There is no such thing as a lament-free life. In fact, if your life is lament-free, you aren’t loving well. To love is to lament, to let your heart be broken by something. If you don’t lament over the broken things in your world, then your heart shuts down. Your living, vital relationship with God dies a slow death because you open the door to unseen doubt and become quietly cynical. Cynicism moves you away from God; laments push you into His presence. So, oddly enough, not lamenting leads to unbelief. Reality wins, and hope dies.

Paul Miller

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The Best Love, The Best Gift

If God is to love you, what must he give you? He must give you what is best for you. And the best thing in all the universe is God. If he were to give you all health, the best job, the best spouse, the best computer, the best vacations, and the best success in any realm, and yet withhold himself, then he would amount in the end to hating you. But if he gives you himself, even if nothing besides, he loves you infinitely.

John Piper

An All-Consuming Passion for Jesus

Bedtime Cuddles

Bedtime Cuddles

Dear Eva,

I never blog letters to you anymore, but I had to get this down for posterity.

Tonight you asked me to cuddle for the first time. We were going about our normal bedtime routine: clean up, brush teeth, read the Bible, blessing, verse of the month, climb up the stairs, sing Jesus loves me, pray while you rock by yourself on the rocking chair… and right before I placed you in your crib you said, “Cuddle? Cuddle?”

My heart just about melted and as we cuddled I told you this was “the best feeling in the world” and you said “best feeling.” *Insert crying emojis*

I asked what was on your mind you said, “Daddy? Daddy?” We talked about how Daddy was at Auntie and Uncles’ wedding rehearsal and how before two people get married they have a practice run. I told you how the bride’s daddy walks her down the aisle and hands her over to her groom. Holding your hand and picturing you one day (Lord willing) I just about cried. Then we prayed that God would bring you a husband one day who loves Jesus so much. Someone you will partner with to bring more and more people into God’s Kingdom, just as your name says.

Then I asked you how your day went and what could have gone better. You said “Grandma Grandpa house happy!” And we rejoiced that you love your Grandma and Grandpa so much.

I asked what else was on your mind and you said “Frozen Heart microphone!” And we thanked God that He gave you a voice and that you love music and we prayed that you would use your voice and your words and your music to bring people to Him.

Then we cuddled just a bit more, I told you that you were cute (“I cute!” you repeated emphatically) and I asked if you were ready to go to bed. “Yup!” you said.

As we always do, I told you you’re our daughter in whom we’re well pleased, kissed you, and placed you in bed, re-arranging your stuffed animals to encircle you. And as we’ve been doing as of late, I made sure to cover all four limbs with your Frozen blanket and tuck you in.

How amazingly sweet it is to have you as my daughter! You are truly my beautiful daughter and my heart is filled with joy as I think of you.

How wonderful it is too, to just be a child! You’re so content with cuddles and with being our daughter. You’re not weighed down yet by the weight of the world. I tell you you’re cute and you take me so easily at my word and are so happy to proclaim “I cute!”

What love the Father must feel when He looks at us, His children. As I do with you, Eva, He knows our flaws (seriously just minutes before during Bible time you threw a tantrum because you didn’t want to share the Bible with me lol), but also as I do with you, He loves us so much and calls us wonderful, beautiful, CUTE and wants us to take Him at His Word.

Last month at the Seeds retreat, Pastor Jon talked about receiving the Kingdom as a child. We listed many adjectives that describe children: persistent, eager, loud, silly, emotional… messy!! But tonight I’m reminded too of the beauty of being like a child, of being so naïve, wanting your mother or father’s cuddles, being simple-minded, and easily pleased.

Eva, I pray that you will always be able to take us, take God at His Word when we say that you are beautiful, wonderful, amazing, priceless. It grieves me to ever think about a day when you don’t believe us. I pray that you would know how to be loved, how to be treasured. I pray that you would know how beautifully, wonderfully, and fearfully you are made. Yes, you need a regenerate heart. Yes, you too are woefully sinful and need Jesus to save you. But I pray so much that you would have the quiet, humble confidence that comes from knowing God made you and that you are an image-bearer and that you are SO beautiful.

My heart bursts with love for you. And if my hearts bursts with this much love for you, I can’t even begin to fathom the love that God has for us.

Your dear, old, weepy, sentimental, adoring mother,
MGY

Lately

Lately

I never blog anymore. Blame it on the #momlife.

So I feel like, by the grace of God, I’ve been growing a lot lately.

It’s truly all God’s grace. I haven’t even been in the Word much lately.

But God is good. God is gracious.

I think I’m growing in my understanding of just how much grace He offers and affords me. That His desire is not to punish or shame. That His tenderness is extended just as much if not more than His wrath and judgment (theologians… is that correct thinking?? Or maybe it’s incorrect to think of these attributes in measurable amounts…).

I still struggle when considering God’s judgment vs. His long-suffering loving-kindness. Sometimes I still feel like His wrath is the “dirty little secret” of Christianity. But I’m understanding more that God MUST judge evil. And for Him to restore the world and humanity to its intended state, He MUST come in wrath. For Him to be good, He MUST hate everything that destroys, everything that separates us from Him. And His heart’s desire and full intent is to restore us completely to Himself for our great pleasure and His great glory. (Can you tell I’ve been listening to a lot of Piper? Lol.)

For the first time in a good while, I stayed in my seat during the closing set of worship. It felt so good to just receive and let the Lord minister to me.

I’ve been feeling stretched, and yes, as much as I hate the phrase due to all the overuse in college, perhaps a little close to burn out. Life is consumed with so much pouring out, so much ministry.

So as I stood at my seat during service, opening my hands to receive, I felt God encouraging me. I felt Him saying that in order to step into greater calling and greater ministry, I had to truly believe this one thing: that He is good and specifically that He is good TO ME.

Often I can feel His love and compassion and tenderness for other people, but I almost never feel it FOR ME. When it comes to God and how I feel He relates to me, often I see Him as a God who is just waiting to drop the axe (is that the expression?) and punish. As if He’s just waiting for me to mess up so He can discipline me. I see His grace as an obligation that comes out of Him being holy, rather than a loving expression He chooses because of the fact that He is so gracious and so kind that He loves me.

Every week during accountability, we answer this question: are you experiencing God’s love, grace, and forgiveness? And every week, my answer is somewhat. I don’t think there’s been a single week when I’ve answered yes.

Do I truly believe God is gracious to me? Do I truly believe He is for me?

If I examine my life, I can see so many small and large evidences of grace. All these times when I should have been shamed/revealed/disciplined, but God encountered me in tenderness and not wrath.

It reminds me of this article I read by Henry Cloud (it’s great, take a look!): Why You Shouldn’t Give Others What They Deserve

Not giving others what they deserve is a big part of not playing fair. To give them better than they deserve is grace. The word means “unmerited favor.” Sometimes, it means that we give someone loving limits and consequences if other things have not worked. But often, limits are not needed; only a little softness is.

SO good.

God is so gracious to me. He is long-suffering. He is kind. I don’t always feel it. But faith isn’t always about feeling. It’s about believing. It’s about knowing. (As my dear husband in recapping Todd White, his fave, recently reminded me.) I must BELIEVE God is good and that He is good to me.

When we know and believe God’s character, when we behold Him and adore Him and see just how worthy He is, then we will have fuel and passion and drive in our ministry. When we truly treasure the One we are worshipping, then our worship is not a chore, it’s a delight, it’s a pleasure. Pointing others to Him is no longer a task, but a privilege, a joy, it’s something that cannot be contained.

I’m reminded of one of my all-time favorite verses, Isaiah 42:3:

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice…

My Lord, my God is SO gracious to me. He is so kind, so tender, so loving. I owe Him everything, yet to receive His love He doesn’t even ask for anything (other than choosing to believe)! Even if I didn’t serve Him, He would still love me. Even if I didn’t grow in Him, He would still love me. Even if I spurned His gifts, cast them aside, lived life only for myself, He would still love me. Even if I followed every evil desire of my flesh, He would still love me.

As someone who struggles with self-/works-based righteousness, that is soooo difficult for me to fathom!!!

How could a perfect, holy, all-sufficient God LOVE me, without ever even asking anything of me?

I just cannot fathom it. I cannot fathom this love He has for me. Yet here I am, exercising my faith, choosing to believe it and letting my inability to comprehend His love point me even more to how great, how loving, how immeasurably precious my God is!

Amen!! :)