Thursday, October 29

Romans 8

Deuteronomy 8 says that God fed the Israelites manna because he wanted them to learn that bread is not enough to satisfy our hunger; we need to be fed by God Himself, from the words of His mouth. i read this passage from romans this morning, then went back for seconds because of how rich of truth and promises it is. suffice it to say, i walked away feeling extremely full (: (italic and bold emphasis are mine)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.c]"> And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirsheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, October 28

livin' on a prayer

for the last year and a half, my job has been to read mail for a radio ministry that is 100% listener supported. we receive donations, orders for ministry resources, letters with questions and the occasional used and chewed up lollipop stick (yes, this really did happen during my first week there). and it all gets funneled through me. which means i also read all of the prayer requests that people write. and as part of my job, i read the requests, rewrite these prayers in a prayer book, and move on to the next piece of mail.
it struck me today that given the amount of need i've seen in the last year and a half, i should be more compassionate.
of all the letters we've received from people opening their hurting hearts and their wounded souls, i should feel more. the brokenness of marriages and families, the battles against disease and cancer and other sicknesses, the need for jobs and financial provision, the struggles with mental disorders, and the hope for healing, restoration and renewal that come from these hurts. the desires to know Jesus more and to find direction in God's will. the request that we just simply pray for them.
but these prayers come on paper. they are written words, with no faces or voices or emotional expressions to attach to them. in essence, with nothing to make them personal. but they are real heart cries.
i need to take something away from this whole experience. i want to learn and be shaped. i desire to come away different.
everyone has a story. everyone suffers. everyone has a prayer. we're not so different.
open my heart with compassion.

Thursday, October 22

'glee is about opening yourself up to joy'

wednesday evenings my facebook world is usually somewhat abuzz about GLEE. and i agree. i am in love with this show! it makes me want to be back in high school choir so bad. that and burst out in song throughout my day at moments of heightened drama!
seriously. GLEE makes my heart happy. the musical performances give me chills. something in me wants to step up and belt it out... choreography, matching outfits, passion and all!
i warned you. i'm a choir nerd.
but enough from me, see for yourself:
find me somebody to love. find me somebody to love. find me somebody to love. for the record, i think we'd all be happier if life were a musical.

Monday, October 19

people keep asking how my family and i are doing. i usually fumble over my words and don't really know what to say to them. in part because it's too much to put into a few words, and partially because i stopped asking myself that same question.

the answer?  

we are still here. we are moving. but we are different. we'll never be the same. and so right now we're trying to establish a new normal. we're grasping for how we are supposed to remember tori mae yet live our lives without her.  

we're thankful for the nine days we got with her, to shower her with love, care and affection. we envy and grieve every day since then we haven't been able to see and touch her.  

we get angry... at the 'why' and the 'what if', but we try to unclench our fists and let it go, knowing that dwelling on those things will never change the past. we have only the present.  

we cry. some days we cry a lot. some not at all. but it's part of grieving, so we're learning to let the tears come when they come and not hold back.  

we're clinging to hope that she is in a place far better than we can imagine and that she knows no more pain, sadness, hurt, suffering, tears or sorrow. we hope that one day there will be more infants to hold and love. and on another day, we will hold and love tori again.

we hold on to faith. faith that God can turn this something bad into something good. faith that He comforts us now so we may comfort others likewise. faith that He Himself is good, even though this whole thing seems so bad.

so, how are we doing? we are here and we are living.

and even though the answer that comes out of my mouth may not sound like much, i am thankful for all the people in our lives who care enough to ask.

Thursday, October 15

Loss and Life

22 days ago, Tori Mae was born. We stood at the hospital looking at a beautiful baby, this tiny little body with a perfectly round head and long fingers and toes. We experienced the wonder of new life. It was a night of hope, excitement and joy.

13 days ago, we stood at the hospital as the doctor turned around to tell us that there was nothing more he could do; my sister's baby was dead. It was a night of shock, despair and sorrow.

These last 2 weeks, I haven't had much to say. We're all just trying to figure things out. Trying to survive, trying to keep moving, trying to come to terms with any of it in our minds and hearts, trying to find our new "normal". We're struggling to simply live life in the face of loss.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Today, with grieving hearts, we will lift up one another in prayer. We will remember Tori Mae and the joy she brought us in 9 days. We will think of and pray for others around the world who have experienced the loss of a child. At 7pm we will light candles and join people across the country in remembering the little ones we have lost.

If you read this, I ask that you say a prayer for anyone who has lost - a prayer for comfort, for peace and for hope. love you always tori mae.
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