Not Without a Fight

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…
Hebrews 12:1-2b

I am so ready for autumn.

Despite the fact that we are past the half-way mark of October here in Tennessee, summer still clutches the land in hot, greedy fingers, baking the earth and dulling the splendor of many leaves. Oh, am I ever ready for him to go!

I, too, am in a different season of life with some remnants of the previous period still clinging, hesitant to depart. Still, I can sense the slow decay of years creeping into my body and the exuberant arrogance of adolescence creeping into my children.

As the reality of age sinks in, I am beginning to truly see the overwhelming need for endurance in my walk with the Christ — and in everything else. For well over a decade now, I have run this race and now I find myself on a long stretch of the narrow path far beyond the starting point and yet equally far (it is likely) from the finish.

There is no going back, not that I would want to. My life before Jesus holds nothing of interest now. There is literally nothing to do but press on, pushing through the teenage angst, through the crazy of our schedules, through the wild fluctuations in hormones and need and nearly everything except for my Jesus. This is where it gets real; where tenacity is the only thing that gets my tired old bones out of bed to spend time with Him each morning. This stretch of road requires endurance.

It’s no small wonder that I think of running this race in somewhat literal terms. Being physically fit has always been fairly important to me, and when youth was my season,  it was also easy. Before I knew Christ, it was to the gym I turned when I found myself dealing with deep-seated anger issues — working my body until I literally did not have the energy to sustain fury any longer.

Then I had two babies, then meningitis followed by another baby. Enter migraine and the beginning of the slow decline.  I had to learn to lessen the intensity and so I took up walking, often with my dogs.

After several years of wonderful, sunrise walks and talks with my Father, I began to have pain in my left foot. Typical of me, I ignored it for months until the swelling became ridiculous and the pain developed both depth and intensity.

Finally fully annoyed, I had it checked out.  Diagnosis: arthritis in the joint of my big toe. The podiatrist told me that running is actually easier on this joint than walking. So guess what? I started running.

Running worked splendidly for some time until I was hit with sacroiliitis. Oh well, I can still do pushups and burpees so long as I keep that big toe joint from bending, right? Wrong — tennis elbow saw to that.

So I started swimming.

At my age, fitness is not a game; it’s a requirement. Should the Lord decide to prolong my homecoming, I would very much like to be able to pick up my grandchildren and play with them on the floor.  And so I will not go down without a fight.

Just so, the season is changing in our culture. While some vestiges of respect for Christianity remain in America, more and more often Christians are viewed with open scorn or worse. The whole idea of God and Jesus no longer carries the weight of reverence it once did.

Thanks to social programming, most people know little of God except what they read in internet memes or hear in passing. Even among professing Christians, few have read the entire Word of God; fewer still in its original, ancient languages. On top of that, there are any number of distractions to pull at our attention and prevent us from maintaining that absolutely vital connection with the Lord.

But my friends, this is where it gets real. Now, while we can see the bald truth behind Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian church to “make the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

This is the stretch of the narrow road that requires endurance.

Newt Gingrich is credited with saying, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of the hard work you already did.”

As a disclaimer, I know nothing of the man, but whether he is a lunatic or a staunch and steady guy, the quote is no less true. Brothers! Sisters! We are called to endurance!  Sacrifice is a part of who we are if we are truly in Christ. To live as He did would be to endure anything, everything, even undeserved mockery and bodily harm for the sake of God’s good name.

The fact is that following Christ will cost us — and will likely cost us in increasing measures. Are we willing to pay? Are we willing to ask God to open our eyes and see at our own sin, no matter how painful, and to repent? Are we willing to lay aside our comforts in order to fast and pray? Are we willing to skip that TV show or the extra 30 or so minutes of sleep so we can read His word with a prayer on our lips, seeking His wisdom and guidance within its pages?

This is when it counts; here. Now. When it is not easy. That’s what endurance is all about.

So let’s do it! Remember, spiritual fitness is no game, either. Let’s run together, challenging one another, motivating and pushing each other to greater and even greater heights of faith. Together, let’s praise God for the trials we meet, knowing that each one is producing His character in us. And whatever we do, let’s cling to our God and resolve not to go down without a fight.

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37 thoughts on “Not Without a Fight

  1. Good encouraging words 🙂 I needed a dose of this as of late. The days are evil aren’t they? We would be wise to use them up for Christ as much as we can.

    I grew up a star trek nerd and there’s a line that Captain Picard has, a pretty famous one, from First Contact, concerning a war they are in, ‘The line must be drawn here! This far and no further!’ We need a deep resolve, a tenacity to see each obstacle and downturn, and upturn (which is arguably the more difficult one), through to Christ.

    I couldn’t agree more that here and now is when it counts…but this world is setup to make us feel the complete opposite. Everything saying it just doesn’t matter, or not until 10 years from now, or not until _______.

    To your point of walking down the list from number of people who read Christian memes to reading the whole Bible to reading it in Greek or Hebrew…I think one of my bigger struggles is that I sometimes feel like an island. I have one person in my non-internet circles that I am close to, a dear brother in God, that shares these intersts in Christ. Not saying anything special about where I’m at in Jesus, just that if I randomly stopped 20 people at my church on Sunday and asked them if they enjoyed reading the word or if they had studied the word in the original languages, or if they spent volumes of time alone with him in deep intimate communion, most will say sometimes or no.

    Then the middle ground of the church who don’t do these things, or sometimes do, are the ones who actually administer the flock. Enter Laodicea. It’s not hard to see we’ve depreciated pretty far from where we should have been, or have been in centuries past.

    On the flip side, being a SG leader, we have to have grace and understanding, while still standing in truth, and walking the line of nourishing the relationship with others while providing Godly guidance. It’s just a turbulent mix.

    I don’t know…I agree fight and fight well, but I’ve definitely been struggling here lately.

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  2. I guess there’s just the bigger issue of living passionately in the archetypal laodicean church that I think we find ourselves in for the most part in america. It’s just…ugh!! I was talking about it with my dad the other day…the culture in a lot of today’s church seems to set the bar just extremely high in some areas, like we don’t even want to give of a whiff of sin in this area so we’re staying 20 feet behind the line just to be safe, but in other areas, they just don’t care, and sin enters in. It’s frustrating. And then a lot of the relationships I’ve started to encounter as I get deeper and deeper just are surfacey. Geez Heather, I’ve had several people in positions say they want to get closer to me and get to know me…after the first hangout, there’s very little follow up on their side 😦 lol. The lack of longer term relational pursuit plus the appearance of “sin-aversion” limitations in the culture, make Laodicea a tough place to flourish in my experience.

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    1. I can understand for sure. I have also been struggling, so this post was partially just for me — to remind me to keep on keepin’ on no matter what. I like the line from the Star Trek movie. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but that’s a good one and very applicable.
      I think one of my biggest struggles and the one I grow the weariest in is fighting my own sinful tendencies when it comes to all this stuff that you were talking about. I have a tendency to fall one of two ways: either I start to feel self-righteous and become critical of other believers or I feel so alone that it turns to abject despair, somewhat like Elijah when he fled Jezebel to the wilderness and pretty much told God he was all alone. Neither one are good places to be, so I have really been praying lately that I would be able to handle the sense of feeling alone in my pursuit of God without letting these two perversions creep in. It’s crazy because I know I am NOT alone– if nothing else, He is there — but so many times it really does feel like it even when my head knows it isn’t true. I think I’m in a hard place, too, where there just is no breathing room with the kids at their ages. One of the ways I enjoy spending time with God is walking outdoors (especially hiking, but walking is good too) after reading the Bible. I can kind of talk it all out with him in those walks, but lately with the older two going to private school and still having one at home there just isn’t space for it. Part of this post was to remind me that “in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” I am praying for contentment in my circumstances… It’s tough sometimes. Life hasn’t exactly been a fairy tale, but there are times that I can appreciate that because it just makes me more ready for Eternity! 🙂

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      1. Talking it out with God is required for me, daily. I need it bad. I’ll do the same, I’ll get into the Word, but then there’s at least one large issue on going that I need to give to Jesus and sit at his feet and listen to his words on. Whether it’s my own sin, my own redemption, a certain person, a certain issue, whatever it is, I have to talk it out with him.

        I feel for you on not having the time. That’s the one big difference that my wife really admires about my path is the abundance of time that I get to myself. It’s the 1 1/2 hour total daily commute time, plus the lunch break, plus the time when I’m doing chores after everyone goes to sleep. I have a lot of extra processing time with Jesus, time to worship him, and she doesn’t get that with the schedules with the kiddos. It’s a give and take. I take extra time for me and God, but give up time with being at home because I’m working. It’s just different paths God has made for us.

        Amen, I totally agree that there are times that make us more ready for eternity. I feel like God loves contrast and there’s nothing better to contrast this world with the next than when things don’t line up with our heart’s desires. Because that makes us long for fulfillment with Jesus. Or as CS Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

        You will definitely reap, and reap well one day! In due season! I know what you mean about the two paths of falling…it’s either the critical of others route or the complete despair route. There is some critical commentary though of where things are on the macro spiritual level that, parsed out from my own sin, I think are really true. But then the lesson from that analysis winds back to your last point….it just makes me ready for eternity. My SG for instance is interesting, it’s slowly cultivating depth, but it’s a far cry from the rich friendship and fellowship we will enjoy with others in our Father’s house one day. It goes back to fighting the good fight, to fight to establish that here on earth, ‘your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.’

        I think I’ve discovered that through the loneliness that my love relationship with Jesus is really, really powerful for me not just in theory, or on paper, but also in situ. This love relationship actually performs well, not me, but Jesus does, under duress. Like 1 Timothy 3:10, “They must first be tested.” It’s like speed testing a race car and it performs really well under stress. Not that I handle the stress well, or don’t sin at all through the process, but it’s there. And there’s just an overwhelming flood, like an ocean relentlessly pouring out onto the beachhead, of Jesus’ Spirit flooding me when I’m alone. Sometimes I just have to choose to pursue him in those moments and then viola! I am drowning in him, literally. And it’s a sweet swim in his love.

        I’ll keep you in my prayers for strength in fighting the good fight! Extra resolve and an outpouring of his wonderful love and presence during the lonely moments. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job for him 🙂

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      2. So true! This is just a different season, and I’m going to have to figure it out. It won’t last forever. I guess I was spoiled before when I could get an hour or two with the Lord in the mornings. It’s been a little better the last day or so when my husband put his foot down and told our youngest she couldn’t get up at 5:00 when I do. Then I at least get 30-40 minutes with just me and my Savior. Still, it feels rushed. Today was good because my man didn’t have to go in early so I could leave the youngest home working on school while I dropped off the older 2. It gave me a half-hour drive back home alone with Him. It’s just different. I have considered getting up earlier, but already I am so, so tired… However, I know if He calls me to it, He will provide the strength for it.

        Hope you can find some good quality time with your wife this weekend! That was the tough part about when our kids were young. We had three in 4 years, so when they were babies, I was often just worn out by the time they were in bed and it was tough to have any energy left for my husband. There were health issues that added to that, of course, but still. I am so glad you have the time with the Lord, and I pray that your wife will find that He can fill her as easily in the little spaces as He can in the longer ones. Maybe I need to think of it that way at this season, too. 😉

        You are right, too, in learning to pursue Him in the moments of stress. I used to have a major anger problem (it was the way I was raised), and I remember learning to stop and take a breath, to seek Him or recite a Scripture or two in the moment before reacting. I still am learning, of course, but I can see that He has brought me a long way from the starting point when I remember to look. 😉 It is Him. It is all Him; all that is good in me, that is. I love the C. S. Lewis quote you used, too — one of my favorites. A year or so ago, I read Mere Christianity as a readaloud to my kids. Some of it was over their heads, but it brought some good discussion.

        Gotta run — crazy weekend ahead and I need to grade some assignments. Have a lovely, grace-filled weekend!

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      3. I used to have an anger sin issue myself. It took years of work with Jesus, but its, for the most part, been healed (though I can be ornery and cranky if I don’t get my sleep and before I have coffee in the morn! Lol!) If we are truly pursuing Jesus in our lives, he’s going to address major sin issues we have. He’s dealt with some many things inside me, and still many more to come, but we’re moving toward perfection, so Jesus is going to heal our whole selves.

        Tomorrow is my girl’s morn to sleep in. And I had a deep mug of home roasted Yemen coffee during conversation at small group tonight…I don’t foresee tonight being a night of lots of sleep haha! It’s interesting, I’ve really felt God impressing upon me listening to him during my sabbath (which is about to start)…I’m really unplugging, from music, internet, social media, and I’m really going to just spend the next 24 hours fully present in the presence of the Holy Spirit… I’m taking my journal, I’m staying up to worship tonight just me and him, I’m going to really go deep into him this sabbath…I feel that is what he wants.

        Ps our small group is going great. We had a great conversation about Jesus and the church during group with another couple, it’s a real blessing. I feel the Spirit knitting us together 🙂

        I hope you really are blessed with the time you do get with Jesus, those stolen moments are precious with him, and can be few and far between, especially for moms. So prayers for close times with God! I want more and more of those myself, never can get enough.

        3 in 4 years is pretty good!!! We had 2 in 3, and now up to 3 in 6 1/2. But understood, it requires a lot of time and attention! I haven’t read Mere Christianity yet fully, I need to put it on the list.

        How’s the book coming? Have you had time to write lately?

        Hope you have a lovely weekend too 🙂 enjoy your family and especially Jesus!

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      4. Yes, anger is definitely something He has healed in me mostly, too, but I daresay it crops up more often that I would like to admit. Still, I’m not a yeller anymore. 😉 Speaking of not enough sleep and coffee — I pretty much ran on coffee for a long time. It’s pretty rare that I get more than 6 or so hours of sleep. I know it’s not healthy, but there it is. And I love, love LOVE coffee even though I can’t have it every day anymore. It can be disappointing, but on the flip side, I truly appreciate my coffee days!

        I hope you had a lovely Sabbath! I love days when I can really focus on Him, but they are somewhat more infrequent than I would like right now. I have been convicted by Isaiah 58:13 and try hard to spend at least one day a week “not going [my] own way, or seeking [my] pleasure, or talking idly…” I don’t always make it, but to be honest my real goal is somewhat more like Brother Lawrence’s — to be constantly aware of Christ at all times in my day. I’ve go ta long way to go. .

        Glad your small is going well! May the Lord bless it with depth in Christ and unity in the Spirit. It can be really wonderful, but it takes time to get there and you’ll always have off days or even off seasons. We’re having a very sudden attendance problem, but it’s mostly been health-related. It’s just the way it goes.

        Thanks for asking about the book! It’s coming along OK. I actually laid it aside for a couple of weeks in part because the kids had a lot going on and there just wasn’t time, but also because all of a sudden every word I read during the rewrite seemed hopelessly corny and ridiculous. I had hit a wall, but I just picked it up this week again and its going a little smoother. I just can’t decide on whether or not to send out queries at this point. :-/

        Hope your wife’s foot is better and you are fully replenished and refreshed after your Sabbath rest with our Lord!

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      5. Oh I still have those moments too, mostly they are either before I have my first cup of coffee or days that I don’t have enough haha! Oh I’m sorry that you can’t drink it! That would really hurt me. I truly enjoy coffee, from roasting it, to the smell after the grind, to pouring a french press and sitting around talking with Jesus or family over a cup. Mmmm…love it.

        I went way too long getting less than 6.5-7 hours a day. I’ve really had to make it a priority…it’s been affecting my day, my concentration, probably my blood pressure too…and I’ve also missed out on letting God speak to me in dreams, so I’m working (in progress) on making sleep a priority. Not there yet, especially because I LOVE being a nightowl (give me an 11pm french press and a laptop and some background music and I’m good to go!)

        Thank you so much on the Sabbath, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t as good as I hoped, it was ok, but Sunday was fantastic. Got some things cleaned out spiritually on Saturday and Sunday was the rest day. How was your weekend and sabbath? I hope it was lovely too! 🙂 are you off to a good start this week?

        I think we definitely enjoy the same “giants” of the church…Brother Lawrence is a great choice and love your summation of his work (the practice of the presence of God) that constant abiding in our Beloved Jesus, oh its heaven 🙂

        Gosh, I remember writing and rereading it and thinking the exact same thing, *facepalm* how could I be that corny? Lol. Well I’m excited to hopefully one day read it in print! Do you send of queries before finishing? Or are you at the “debugging” and proofing staging? I remember a long time ago waiting for the replies, oh it was torture haha! Are you going for an agent or straight to publisher?

        Her foot finally healed up, mostly! Her foot fits into her GoWalks now, and the swelling is better. Thank you for asking! I hope I never get bit by one of those critters!!

        Hope you have a lovely afternoon!!

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      6. Lol, well with coffee, it really isn’t so bad. I can still have it 2-3 times a week without major consequences, so it really does make me appreciate it more! We have never tried roasting our own beans, but once we got a French press, we never looked back. We’re pretty spoiled with it. 😉

        Glad that you got some things cleaned out on your Sabbath. Mine was pretty good. Not as much time in the Word as I had hoped, but an excellent time of worship at church and a little before and after. Funny story: I had started to write a prayer in my prayer journal when my husband nudged me during service… our worship leader had just asked for some prayer warriors to go to the back in case anyone wanted to pray with someone and she was trying to catch my eye. I didn’t get back to my journal until Monday! It was good, though…

        Ha, my husband is the night owl in our family! I used to be, partly because I was an insomniac before having children. However, a chronic lack of sleep has taken care of that! I try to prioritize sleep, but it’s just tough right now. There’s just a lot to pack into a day…

        As for the book, those are pretty much the questions I have to figure out! I think you can send queries so long as you have enough to work with and can set and meet a reasonable deadline for finishing. Honestly, I think getting an agent would be good but I’m not sure how to go about it. Most people recommend conferences for that, but there’s the time/money factor again. 😉 I’m pretty much in the revising and proofing stage. The rough draft is done; just trying to polish the rough edges and figure out if there’s anything extraneous.

        So glad her foot is nearly healed! Sounds like a pretty miserable way to be, especially with little kids. A mama needs both feet and both arms, too.

        Have an excellent day!

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      7. I completely missed your comment the first time around on here. My bad! Ah, french press. That is my story exactly. My wife actually doesn’t drink coffee, which means more for me 😉

        Haha! I’ve had way too many moments like that in service. I’ll get into my prayer journal, or I’ll be reading something in the word, and I will completely miss something in church. Lol! And actually at our old church, the country club one, I probably spent most of the sermon with my head buried in the word instead of listening.

        It’s weird I’ll have a surge of energy right around 10pm and bam! I’m ready to stay up until 1am. And then I’ll wake up the next morning, groggy as can be, making a pact with myself that I’ll never do that again. It happens daily now lol. I can operate on ~6 hours of sleep, less than that and my body will just want to pass out. Agreed, there’s way too much to pack into a day. But it’s good work, God’s work for me, so I’ll take it 🙂 I remember what it was like not having the work and how badly I wanted it.

        I just sent our queries for agents. Now, that never worked for me so I don’t recommend it lol. Conferences are a good idea, I never tried that. Makes sense though, especially to pitch your work to an agent in person might help marketability. I enjoyed that season of life though, insane amounts of time with Jesus, staying up all night drinking bookoos of coffee, and writing until dawn and sleeping all day. I loved it. I wrote 8,000 words one night working on a book haha. I think I worked like 18 hours that day or something crazy.

        Hope you have a wonderful evening!! 🙂

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      8. Wow! Unfortunately, when I had time, I was not yet saved and so I squandered so much of the time I had. It’s a huge regret, but still God has restored a great deal. It makes me passionate to talk to my kids about wasting time, although it is hard for a teeenager to imagine how quickly it will slip through his or her fingers. . .

        My husband does drink coffee, so we share but we just make plenty (when it’s a coffee day for me, that is). When we were first married, he drank his coffee much weaker than I took mine, but since I’m usually the first up and the one to make the coffee, he was eventually won over. 😀

        I did just meet a lady who is a published author, so I hope to talk with her about publishing someday soon. Right now I’m in survival mode– just trying to get through the basics each day with school, housework, parenting, etc. We had parent/teacher conferences at the older kids’ school yesterday. That was s first. It’s a small school and the conferences consisted of each teacher sitting at a table while the parents took turns going to them. Some teachers had a very long wait! It was a little crazy, but I joked that all my previous parent/teacher conferences looked a whole lot more mad since they consisted of me talking to myself!

        Well, speaking of school… gotta run. Have an excellent Wednesday!

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      9. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the coffee club we have at my office. But every day, midafternoon, we have a french press and we talk about life and God and family. The other day we talked about what we would change if we could go back.  Mine was i wouldve learned Hebrew and Greek earlier and I would’ve learned how to cook before I met my wife. I have had seasons where I wasted time, or rather, would have allocated it more wisely.

        I tried to get my wife to drink coffee again this morning. No dice. I drink coffee black, like abyss black, syrupy. I usually have a layer of silt at the bottom of my cup. I made her a cup of very, very weak coffee a couple months ago…it was pretty cute how she really just didn’t like it. Coffee is an acquired taste for sure!

        I hear ya on survival mode. I have to frequently put my Greek and Hebrew on the shelf so I can do everything else, which is mostly just more time with my family. I’m a sucker for them! 😉 that sounds a little crazy with conferences! Is the switch over still going well for you all? Homeschooling is going great for us now, the co-op we joined is good, it doesn’t take over too much on curriculum (they only meet every week, plus play dates) and our daughter feels like she is making more friends. So thumbs up on that one!

        Hope you have a great afternoon!

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      10. The coffee club sounds amazing! What a great way to get to know some folks. I guess you’re right about coffee being an acquired taste. I started drinking it in high school because I worked full-time and needed the help to stay awake and keep my studies up. I barely remember it… It’s just been a part of life for so long!

        Yeah, I’m really struggling through the Hebrew right now. The kids just need a lot at this age. It’s kind of funny because I equated having teenagers to having very, very large toddlers, and a friend of mine said the very same thing. It’s good, just… different. 😉

        So glad the co-op is working out! They can be a real blessing for sure if it’s the right fit. My older two are doing great in the private school — making friends and straight-As so far. So far, so good, although we’ve hit a bump where the 10th grade class is going on a week-long field trip to New York, but we can’t really afford for our son to go. He is not happy with us right now, but… not much I can do about it. We did give him the option to pay half, but he declined so I just keep bringing him back to that.
        Hope your evening is lovely!

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      11. It is fun. The guys are believers here and some are not, and the conversations we have are in the deep end of the pool, so we can start to bring up things of God easily. I want to get some more unbelievers in so we can expand the conversation and maybe witness to some people. We’ll see!

        Me too. I missed my Greek class last night and we had to reschedule to next week, which was a bummer. And I just don’t get a ton of time to study on my own these past few weeks. Hey, do you happen to use an app by any chance for vocab memorization? One way I’ve found is somewhat effective is having a vocab app on my phone and then when the kids are doing their own playtime, or if I’m waiting in line somewhere, on the elevator, or whereever, I can just pop it open and do a little study “in between” the cracks of time in my day…that has helped with me. Except then it comes down to, do I spend an extra 90 seconds with Jesus worshiping or do I look at my app and do vocab or do I respond to the texts that I’m two days late on? It’s just a time allocation issue at that point for me, but, ugh, it’s never enough! I can’t wait for our glorification because then, time will be under our feet instead of driving us along.

        Very, very large toddlers?! Oh my! That is funny! Well, glad that it’s still a few years off, I’m not ready for my babies to be that big. So glad to hear private school is going well. My wife had to pay for her trips when she was in choir, they were week long trips too.

        Anything interesting or new in your world with God? As far as reading the Word? So this is funny…at the office today I’ve been listening to Revelation in Greek and then I opened up another tab and put on some dark ambient music. It is EPIC! Haha!

        So ignore this if I already told you this like yesterday and I’m just having a brain drain…we’re switching from DHS to this private adoption agency…it’s getting real. We are probably 3-5 weeks out from getting a child in our house. Perhaps siblings. So we’re going to have one, maybe two sisters, come into our family very soon. Our kiddos are super excited too. Can’t wait 🙂

        Hope your day is lovely! The sun is shining here and it’s a little too warm…I’m ready for that brisk northerly fall chill.

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      12. Wow, no, you hadn’t mentioned switching to a private agency. That is awesome! I’ll keep praying for your family as you go through this. Adoption is glorious but there can be some very tough stuff in there, especially at first. May the Lord bless the transition and give you both the strength you will need!

        That’s too funny about listening to Revelation in Greek with the music. I can only imagine… gives me something to aim for. 😉

        I hear you with the time. It’s always squeezing. I do have an app. It has most of the vocabulary flash cards but it does leave a few out. Still, it’s good enough and I try when I can, although I often have my youngest with me and we chat instead.

        I have been feeling like my time with the Lord has been so cramped lately. We’re still in Ephesians, but I can’t get enough. Still, there is so much good stuff in there. Yesterday, a lady came to our group that has been missing for a while. We had an incredible discussion and several identical insights. Later, she confessed that she’s in a bit of a dark place and really hadn’t wanted to come. I’m so glad she did! But yes… there is just so much in Ephesians that it would take me forever to get it all out. But the one thing that really struck me lately was Psalm 29, especially the last 2 verses. I have just been listening to everyone rant and rave and fume about the election, and it is just getting crazier the closer it gets. The last part of Psalm 29:10 says, “The Lord sits enthroned as King forever…” I just love that right now. It really only matters on a temporal basis who gets elected. Either way, pretty much everything is following Newton’s 3rd law anyway (aka, the Law of Entropy), and the Bible is pretty clear that it will get much worse before the Lord comes again, so I can’t get too stirred up… even though I do sometime.

        It is still pretty warm here, too. We had two days in the 60s and now it’s back in the 80s during the day although we get some bits of fall in the mornings and evenings. I am ready to pack away my shorts, though! I love the cooler weather, but I am hoping to get some of it before December. 😉

        Have a great night, and I’ll pray for your adoption AND for some unbelievers to join in on your coffee club discussions.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Thank you for praying for our adoption 🙂 We’ve heard the same thing about the difficulties at the beginning. Prayers are appreciated! I’ll keep you updated as things progress. Right now we’re really just beginning with the private agency, but they were pretty confident we would have a child in our preferences pretty quickly once the paper work cleared. So a month away give or take a week. There’s going to be some spiritual warfare, there’s going to be some messiness, pain, hurt, fear, anxiety, resentfulness, we’re getting ready to board a plane flying out of our comfort zone and land in Baghdad. We’re going to get shot at and probably hurt many times through, but we just have to do it. We have to. The desire to do it is just overwhelming, it’s from God. It is. Literally overwhelming.

        I’ll pray for more time for you with God, more space. I hate that cramped feeling with him. Ugh, I like wide open pastures to be with him! You know, I have been struggling with slowing down. Ugh! I can’t do it. I used to be able to. But right now,the past week or two, I can’t do it. I will get alone, go into the library and just sit there before God. I usually enjoy it SO much…just being present before him. It feel great. But I literally feel like my soul has so much momentum of just, I don’t know, being busy, or being engaged in something else (I can’t put my finger on it), that I spend a few minutes there and then just get up. And I keep coming back to the same place of being still before him, and I’m really struggling. This is a test. It’s a listening test too, because my tinnitus has become more noticeable in the evenings and it almost only “flares” up when I haven’t been paying attention to Jesus. When I haven’t been listening to him. So prayers for that would b really great, because I am uncomfortable, plus i can’t sit still before our sweet Jesus. Ugh! I’m frustrated with myself.

        Oh that’s wonderful about this lady from your group opening up. I love it when that happens, when someone opens up their heart and you can go in and actually love on them and listen to them. It’s wonderful.

        I love what you had there from Psalm 29. I’m heading to bed soon but I’m going to read your latest post tomorrow, it looked good and was on this subject from what I could tell from a quick glance. I know what you mean…I really just want to tell everyone obsessed with fighting about this, let’s go Frozen on this one and just. let. it. go. It is, it’s crazy, it’s out of control. My candidate choice didn’t make it past the primaries and I really am not vested in this fight. And yes, there are some nuances here and there and there are some issues that are important to us (like we’ve discussed), but I can’t agree more with what you said here, Jesus is Lord, he controls this place, all the glory goes to him. This is a temporal fight and who knows, whoever wins may just be a catalyst to ringing in the antichrist. And that is all layered in with God’s plan. I like your application of Newton’s 3rd law there. I’m a total nerd at heart so keep the physics references coming 😉

        I work at a tech company and the dress code is super laid back. I’m still wearing shorts and sandals to work. I’m ready to start wearing a nice warm sweater with my boots. It’s been 80s here too. The morning and evenings are fall-ish too. Our accounting VP works remotely from Alaska, outside of Anchorage. My buddy was showing me some pics she had on Facebook from her backyard. Oh goodness, it was a winter wonderland with tons of snow everywhere, white mountains in the background. I want that. My wife is a beach and southern girl. I can do that, but at heart I’m more of a western guy, deserts, mountains, and especially snow. Hopefully, we’ll get a good old blizzard here in the next several months and I can stay home from work with my babes snuggled up by a roaring fire. That’s like my dream!

        Hope you have a great night too! 🙂

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      14. I will definitely keep praying for the adoption and for your difficulties with tinnitus and slowing down. I know what you mean, though. I went through a season where we were so, so busy and most of it was being busy serving God. However, it was too much to the point where I was basically saying, “Sorry I can’t really talk right now, Jesus, because I’m just doing so much for You!” He had to sit me down pretty hard to get my attention, and then I did slow down! It is hard once you build up momentum. I know I get to the point where most of the day is so frenetic that if there’s a quiet space, I find my mind running through a zillion other things rather than focusing on God. May He give us all the ability to just be still and know Him, finding rest and peace in His presence!

        I have a couple of friends who used to live in Alaska! I guess you get pretty tired of snow and slush up there, though. My husband is from Minnesota, and God would almost have to write it on the wall in His own finger to get him to go back north. He hates the cold! Poor man; we once went north to visit his mom in the winter, and the first thing she asked him to do was to shovel snow off her porch (it was a couple of feet deep). I took a photo of him and slammed the sliding door JUST in time to miss a shovel full of snow that he launched at me. I just couldn’t help myself, though! We get some laughs out of that pic every time we see it.;-) Another friend’s parents are from Maine, and her dad claims that they strapped a snowblower onto the back of the car when they were moving so that he could stop and settle in the first place someone asked him, “What’s that?”

        I’m a mountain girl myself, though I grew up in the Smokies. I’ve seen the Rockies and love it there, too. I like the beach also — really, I just love everything in Creation! God made so many wonders that I enjoy seeing the beauty in all of it. I can’t say which I like more, although I suppose I do dearly love the green and the seasons (when we get them). 🙂

        May your day be full of grace and peace!

        Liked by 1 person

      15. He usually has to sit me down pretty hard to slow me down haha! I can really get my wheels spinning. I know what you mean, I can turn into a Martha pretty fast if I don’t watch out. My sabbath is starting, so I’m focusing on resting at his feet this next day. I need it!
        That hilarious about the picture! My wife and I have had some fun times in the snow, best times were getting snowed in on Christmas many years ago. My friends from Iowa loathe the cold with a passion and always give me a funny look when I tell them I want snow haha! The snowblower story is too funny!! Oh man, that would be great to see in action.
        And amen, I love all of creation too!
        Hope you have a great weekend!! 🙂

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      16. Thank you! It’s been a crazy past 24 hours. We had layoffs at My work yesterday (my job is safe) and tonight as we were heading out the door to go to a co-op bonfire and cookout my poor wife lost her car keys. We spent so long looking for them and we just couldn’t find them. I felt awful for my wife because we were supposed to bring the bowls, utensils and hot dogs. And then, right after that, when was changing out baby’s onesie, I found a small lump underneath our newborn’s nipple. Which freaked us out! We called our pediatrician and they basically said it’s pretty common, especially in breastfed babes (we breastfed our other two and never had a lump so this was a new one on us). I guess it’s due to momma’s hormones being passed on to baby. Apparently baby can even, sometimes, express milk…this dad’s mind is blown. Lol. I learn something new every day haha! Anyways our well child checkup is in 2 weeks, they said if it’s not gone by them they’ll check it out, but they’re not worried 🙂 whew, thank you Jesus!

        Well, the family is in bed and I have a book that needs to be read and a cousin who needs someone to talk to about something their struggling with some I am going to head out. Hope you have a beautiful weekend 🙂

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      17. Wow! Sounds like a crazy weekend! So glad that the baby is OK. I have actually heard of that although I don’t think we experienced it. Pretty wild, though! I nursed all my babies, too. It’s amazing how everything that affects mama can affect those little ones, too. Glad your job is safe as well. Layoffs can be nerve-wracking.
        I had a crazy thing happen yesterday. Apparently, an old friend from my pre-Jesus days has been looking for me because she found a box of stuff that was mine when she moved recently. The crazy thing is that inside the box was the baby book my mom made for me. I have felt so horrible for years about losing it, and when I was a new believer, I prayed that it would somehow turn up. Even more crazy is that a few days ago, I was really weeping before God about how many people I have prayed to come to saving faith in Christ for years and still no sign of it… I guess He is reminding me that just because things don’t happen in my time frame, it does not mean that they won’t happen!
        Hope you got a good talk in with your cousin. Happy Monday!

        Liked by 1 person

      18. What a great story! And encouragment. I have a number of people that in past seasons I have ministered too heavily and years later they still remember. The seed we sow is not all lost and God can make forests grow from one seedling that we thought had been kicked off the path and lost. Some of them I am sad for, many I have given over to God. Several I don’t feel pain for anymore, after years of hurting for them, but I have peace over them. They’re still lost in the dark, but I have peace that God can still lead them home.

        Oh I could and would never ever live without Jesus. Not for a day. I can’t imagine life without him. Ever.

        Happy Monday to you too!!

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      19. It really is humbling and encouraging all at once. You just really never know. I’ve been reminded so many times that God is at work even when I don’t see it, and He usually works through actions or words that surprise me! He is so good. I am just meditating on the second part of Ephesians 5:4 and on 5:20 about giving thanks in everything. My mind can tend to wander to regret for a past I cannot change or sorrow over loved ones who do not know the Lord, and I have been really convicted about giving thanks anyway — in all circumstances… It’s amazing how just literally saying or writing out what I am thankful for each day refocuses my mind on Christ and off of the rest! I guess I can imagine life without Him because I used to live it, and it scares me enough to do literally anything it takes to keep away from that sort of place.

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      20. Giving thanks is wonderful. It just brings me into such a joyful place with Jesus. Have you ever read Ann Voskamp? Her book One Thousand Gifts is lovely and it always reminds me of verses like those. I used to really struggle with my mind going to past sin or past pain. But the last several years I’ve really been healed from it. there are a couple days out of the year when my mind wanders back. There’s a couple songs that I only listen to in order to feel the pain that I listen to those couple days. But even that I think is fading away. Jesus truly does heal, wholly. And then the sins before tha t, I honestly don’t even remember. It might as well never happened. And youre right, God does work through things I never expected!

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      21. He truly does. I am prayerfully trying to figure out how to bring adolescence into a place of praise and gratitude right now! It’s just a tough age, but we have been talking about how we should “rejoice with those who rejoice” instead of feeling jealousy. But ultimately it is a heart issue, and so I am praying fervently for my children through their teen years while still prioritizing family Scripture and prayer times. But I have also been convicted that I need to be more vocal about gratitude for my salvation, for answered prayer, even for tough or painful lessons. God uses all of them, and I am praying for the strength to model giving thanks in all circumstances! I will be honest, though — I’m not a big fan of Ann Voskamp. We were given an advent book by her some years ago, and I found her writing so flowery that it was difficult to follow. I have heard of the Thousand Gifts, but I can honestly say I haven’t read it. For me, the best thing is just keeping a gratitude journal. Writing down specific things I am thankful for at the end of each day really focuses me more on God and less on myself. 😉

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      22. A gratitude journal is a good idea. I did that for a short time, but stopped. I need to do some kind of debriefing with God each day…I do already, but not where it’s been turned into a process. Haha, understand about Ann! I’ve felt like that too at times, mostly about her FB posts. But I got some really good stuff out of her first book. But to each their own 😉
        Rejoicing with others instead of being jealous is a tough one! Mature believers struggle with that one, prayers for the Spirit to continue his good work in your bringing your kiddos hearts to perfection 🙂 I need to really being myself into a deeper place of gratitude, especially when God gives me literally everything I have. ‘Always give thanks…’

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      23. Amen… that’s the truth. I am literally trying to make a practice of giving thanks in everything… and I do mean everything. I have thanked Him for migraines and other things, but it isn’t my habitual response yet. I am starting a conversation journal with my kids, though, and hoping to really work on some good praise, gratitude, and open a different channel of communication with them. I am just hoping and praying they will participate willingly! I got the idea from a friend and God just kind of kept it in my mind until I did something about it. Hoping to start this weekend. 😀

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      24. I’ve started to get to that place too, of thanking him in situations that I loathe or am terrified of. I got tested in several situations like that and I remember during the middle of one of them, telling God that I just wanted to worship him through this time and be tested well. Next time I need to throw in more emphasis on thanksgiving as well.

        I like the idea a lot! I might have to steal that one when my kiddos get older. We do, before praying for dinner, go around the table and say what we are all thankful for every night. It’s good, it makes us understand God gives us everything, not just our daily bread. I want to teach my kiddos a thankful heart, receiving with open hands from Jesus, not clinched fists.

        Hope you have a great weekend! We’re taking a trip just me and my wife and our newborn, getting out to focus on each other and God and get restored before adoption. Man, oh man, the spiritual warfare has been INTENSE!

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      25. I scanned your post… so sorry to hear about the spiritual warfare, but it isn’t unexpected. I am so glad you are getting away! I remember once we had an evening away with just our newborn, and it felt just like being alone, really! 😉 So awesome for you. May you both have a wonderful, refreshing time!

        I stole the idea of the journal from a friend of mine. I just gave them to the kids today, but one’s sick and the other two have a sleepover birthday party to go to. I love the idea of saying what you are thankful for at dinner every night! Great idea. I am the same — praying my kids will just truly be thankful and will love Jesus with all they are. The teen years are tricky — I recommend reading Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, “For Parents Only” before you get there. It’s helpful not to get caught off guard with what goes on in the teen brain!

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      26. Oh my goodness, you are so right, it is exactly like being alone!! lol! I forgot how easy it is just having a newborn with you. We had a wonderful time. Thank you 🙂 It was very restorative, we came back together and are stronger and ready to do this in Christ! I remember you warning me on the spiritual warfare that would begin as we got closer to adopting (and also as we bring our new child in). I know we just pulled into Rivendale here, we’re not even halfway on the warfare on this front. We have a long trek through the Misty Mountains and Rohan before we are arrive! But we’re restored for now 🙂

        I’ll have to check our the Feldhan book! Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂 I’m so not ready for my kiddos to become little adults, but at the same time, I can see where their personalities will be at in 10 years and I am a excited because I think they will be super fun to be around, in a different way than they are now. If that makes sense?

        Our kiddos did really good at the grandparents house. So good that they really didn’t want to call us on day 2! 😦

        How was your weekend?

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      27. So awesome! I am glad you stuck it out (I glanced through your post but haven’t had time for a thorough read). Ha! Yes, you have a long journey through many perils and plenty of orcs to battle along the way, but you’ll have respite along the way. Even when you venture near the fires of Mount Doom, there is hope in the strangest and smallest of places. 🙂

        I will say the teen years are fun in a lot of ways. There are plenty of high-strung emotions and angst, of course, but they are really becoming little men and women and we can have some wonderful conversations. The hardest thing, I think, is watching them try to figure out who they are. A questioning of parental values is a necessary, but sometimes distressing, part of it.

        Our weekend was pretty tame. My son had a nasty virus, so we all did a lot of resting, which was good. It was finally cooler here, though not yet cool enough to pack away the shorts!

        Liked by 1 person

      28. It’s cooled down here a tad finally! I’m feeling it right now as I wait in a YUGE line to vote that is out the church, in the parking lot and partly wrapped around the building. Chilly evening! But it’s supposed to warm up here in the next few days 😦

        So how was the 24 hour prayer day?

        I’m excited for those conversations when they start reaching that age. That will be fun. Oh no, I’m sorry to hear about a nasty virus in the house. That’s never fun! Especially if it spreads…it makes our house feel like a CDC quarantine ward haha. Hope you had a happy Tuesday!!

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      29. Good! Here, too. Today didn’t hit 70, so it felt like fall for a change. 🙂 We early voted just because my husband’s schedule was too crazy today. I could have gone, but I figured I may as well go with him.

        The prayer was awesome. Still not entirely focused (someday, but right now I am still homeschooling one). I love fasting, though, when I am sure it’s God’s calling on me and not just me. If He calls me, He usually protects me from migraines and I find that I am very focused. For now, that includes on the kids, but someday I’d love a retreat where I can just spend it all with Him!

        Yeah, when stuff spreads it can get unpleasant. It’s not as bad now that they are older, though. There were times when they were all little that we wondered if we would ever get out of the house again! Haha!
        Have a great night.

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      30. Hey! Sorry I’m behind a bit in responding. It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Our weather is the same. I’m wearing the sweater to work every day. love it!

        I’m so glad to hear it went so well!! I understand completely about the focus part. Fasting is a necessary part of life in this world. We have to break free from our own little addictions and pleasures so we can reset ourselves and recent on Christ alone. I’ve done it a couple times too when God hadn’t called me to fast…it’s kinda a waste in that situation lol. That’s really cool that he protects you from migrants during fasting. I love hearing that, he wants you focused so much on him he intervenes in other ways to allow you to do just that.

        I hear you on the retreat idea. I might do that myself one day. Just go out to the mountains or a lake, just me and Jesus and spend an overnight with him. Maybe I’ll do that one day 🙂

        Hope you are having a fabulous week! Blessings!!!

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      31. I would absolutely love that kind of retreat. Maybe someday. I have fasted before just out of repentance, and there has been a time or two when I ended up with a migraine. But if I ask Him, He usually gives me a pass. 🙂

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  3. Aaah! I forgot — it wasn’t the kids’ activities that kept me from the book the last couple of weeks. It was the organizing/scheduling for the toddler class curriculum for church! Good thing I remembered — tomorrow’s teacher is going to need it!

    Liked by 1 person

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