Who are You Following?

A Dozen

 

It was a normal pregnancy check-up appointment at 5 o’clock on a Monday evening. My husband joined me at the appointment, so a friend of ours was watching our six and four year old. I had no expectations that we would need to call our friend and ask her to keep our children for a little longer than we anticipated, but that’s exactly what happened.

A normal appointment turned into an induction, labor, and delivery. Five hours later, Gibson Beckett joined our family.

A dozen years ago.

Gibson has been unexpected in so many ways. I did not expect to get pregnant. I did not expect to give birth to him on February 23rd when I was still a week away from my due date. I did not expect a toddler with blonde hair and blue eyes. I did not expect the way he has brought so much joy to our family.

But the unexpected things of life are sometimes the very best and this is absolutely true when it comes to my Gibson. His passion for reading, for learning, for space, for computer programming and for all of the things that he tries (baking, sports, camp, piano, video games) is an inspiring thing to behold. His eyes light up as he talks about the things he is passionate about.

As deep as his passions run, his compassion runs just as deep. He genuinely cares for others and is developing a sensitivity to the emotions and needs of the people around him. He is quick to give hugs and kisses. I hope this never changes!

A dozen years of having our bright eyed, fearless, sweet boy has brought great joy to our hearts. So today, we celebrate Gibson. Happy birthday, my precious son! You are so loved!

Just One More Chapter

I don’t always get to read without interruptions in one of the most magical places on earth, but when I do, you better believe I take advantage of it. This past week, my family spent a few days at our friend’s home in the Adirondacks and it was warm and cozy inside and cold and absolutely stunning outside. Snuggling up with a book was one of my favorite parts of our time away.

Most of my family members love to read as much as I do. One was reading two books, another three and I was reading four while we were there. It’s just what we do.

We had a conversation about why we read so much at once. One of my less avid readers does not understand this concept. He is unable to focus on more than one book at a time. But for me, I like reading a fiction book that is a complete escape as well as a fiction book that has a little bit more of a depth to it. I love reading my Bible and a devotional book each morning. And then, I am usually reading one or two non-fiction books at a time. I tend to read books on homeschooling, writing, and Christian living. I also always have a book on my Kindle that I am reading aloud to my kids.

I was able to get away from my normal routine last week, but most of the time this isn’t an option. I came across this quote from Mason Cooley recently- “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.” With a book, I can always find a place to go.

Currently reading…

“One: Unity in a Divided World” by Deidra Riggs

“Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness” by Michael Card

“A Dance in Donegal” by Jennifer Deibel

“Arcane” by Sever Bronny

Looking forward to reading…

“Beyond the Front Door: Cultivating Rhythms of Abiding in Jesus” by Elizabeth Giger

My book club book (I can never remember the title!!)

Do you want to read more, but you struggle to find the time? It may be a season especially if you are a Mom with littles! Give yourself grace. You will be able to find time to read again. Plan to read for fifteen minutes to bookend your day. Set a timer if you need to. Maybe start the day with nonfiction and end with fiction. Choose one day of the week to read for an hour and then do it. Have a book that you read a chapter only on Sundays.

Remember the wisdom of Dr. Suess:

The more that you read the more things you will know.

The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.

What are you reading right now?

 

Unmovable

During a particularly dark season in my life, I was driving with my kids in the car when the song “Even If” by Mercy Me was played on the radio. When the unmistakable voice of Bart Millard sang, “But God when you choose to leave mountains unmovable, Oh, give me the strength to be able to sing, ‘It is well with my soul’ “, I started sobbing.

God had chosen to leave some mountains in my life unmovable and my heart was breaking. I had faith that he could change the situations. I prayed that he would change me where I needed to be changed. I prayed desperately for healing. But the mountains remained.

What I have noticed in my life is that there is a shift that takes place in my prayers as a result of moments like this. I shift from praying for the mountains to be moved to praying that I would remain unmovable in my trust in the Lord. Sometimes the heartache in our lives doesn’t change. Sometimes it just gets worse. We pray that our loved one would be restored to health and instead they pass away. We pray that we would extend grace and love to others and instead we respond unkindly yet again. We pray for reconciliation and instead we lose relationships.

How can we sing, “It is well with my soul” when our world is falling apart?

Our ability to truly believe that “it is well” rests in where we choose to focus our eyes. When we are focused on expecting certain outcomes or results to our prayers, we will be disappointed (and even devastated at times). But trusting in God’s perfect plan for our lives, believing that he is lovingly writing our stories even when we would not choose this particular adventure, allows us to find peace that passes understanding.

When the mountains don’t move, we can remain unmovable, trusting our completely trustworthy God.

And then we will have the strength to sing, “it is well with my soul”!

Who are You Following?

Yesterday my family went on a hike to Auger Falls in the Adirondacks. Our friend had recommended the trek because even though there has been a lot of snow in this part of the world, the path to the falls was well travelled and the snow was packed down. This was absolutely true, but we didn’t find this well-packed foot trail until the return trip. We blazed our own trail to the falls through mounds of snow. We quickly discovered that we needed Dad to lead, so that we could follow in his footsteps.

It was a rough, but beautiful journey. At one point, I sunk into the snow all the way up to my waist and my foot could not even feel the bottom. You can imagine how challenging this was for our short legged family members! But my husband’s footsteps were sure and steady. Following him made it easier on the rest of us. The river and the falls in winter was worth the trip! It was breathtaking and I could not stop smiling. Following the foot trail back to our van was as easy as my friend suggested. We laughed at ourselves! Of course we would take the path less travelled!

As we walked along, I thought about how important it is to follow the right person. At different times, my boys would decide that a different path was a better option and they would forge their own way. But they would quickly return to following their Dad. It is much easier to follow someone else through deep snow than it is to try it on your own.

In our lives, there are many paths and people that we can follow. Sometimes we don’t know until retrospect whether or not we made a wise choice. But I would suggest to you that we are all on our own journey. This means that our paths and our experiences are all supposed to look different. It is appropriate to follow others whom we trust. However, it is extremely important that we do not look to any human to follow blindly. No person is perfect. We must weigh their words and their leadership against Truth.

As followers of Christ, we can know that we are following the right path, because Jesus is Truth. But we can only know that we are truly following Him when we are seeking to know Him more. In John 10:27-30, Jesus said this:

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (NIV)

Are you listening to the voice of your Shepherd? It is appropriate to follow others as they follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), but we must make sure that they are not asking us to follow them, but that they are always pointing us to the Way, to Jesus. If a leader is doing anything that is contrary to scripture, be careful in following their steps. If a leader is quick to point out the shortcomings of others, but slow to acknowledge any faults or wrongdoing in themselves, be wary.

Our God is the only Wise judge. His love is unwavering towards his sheep. He loves them and beckons them to follow.

So who are you following?