Let Go Of FoMo: How to Really Enjoy Your Vacation

“Let’s mosey,” my husband said.

I tried to decipher whether it was a pleading question or a gentle statement.

It took us about 2 years of marriage to discover the importance of communicating expectations for family activities… especially during the holidays. Now after 8 years, this is still imperative  for our relationship.

Vacation expectations are difficult to manage. My mother was the queen of “quick! quick! quick!” during our family travels. Sleeping in was a cardinal offense. If we were going to get as much out of our family time as possible, we better get going. Granted, without her go-getter mentality, we would have squandered many a trip to Disney world and the Texas gulf coast with excessive napping. The quick quick quick queen gets all the credit for the fantastic memories we all have of the experience. (Thanks mom!)

I think I inherited her crown about the time my twins started walking. I see every vacation as a buffet of opportunities. Things to do, people to see, restaurants to taste, places to explore. I am an adventurer, after all. When we venture off from our small town, my heart and mind are ready to ingest all the possibilities.

Contrast my penchant for doing with my husband’s preference for just being. He has no fear-of-missing-out (FOMO). He is not petrified at the thought of losing someone’s approval. He truly just wants to vacate on vacation (imagine that?). Leave the rushed pace of the regular work-week mentality and simply… mosey.

In order to play along with this mosey-mentality, I had to wrap my head around it first. Whereas I assumed it meant laziness or carelessness, the word mosey literally means “to walk or move in a leisurely manner.” That is actually something I would like more of in my life. The luxury of margin in the schedule, in the budget, in my expectations is often out of reach because I have been busy filling that white space.

So for one week, instead of scraping by and grasping at last minutes and last dollars, I plan to mosey. To open up my heart and hands. To loosen my grip on expectations and fear of missing out. To be bendy.

Here is my vacation agenda. More flexibility to enjoy, less expectations to fit it all in. And with every to-do list I write, I include a to-don’t list. These are the things I give myself permission to say no to.

I hope you can join me for a few days of just being.

“Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord — now and always.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭131

PS. What are you adding or taking away from your vacation list?

The Day After Thanksgiving: Is it Good Friday or Black Friday… and What Are We Really Searching For?

 

In less than 10 days, our world will come together for the most anticipated Friday of the year: Black Friday.

Long ago, I discovered some gray neutral ground for Black Friday. I do not actively avoid it, however I am not consumed by it. TBH, I appreciate the occasion for people-watching on a grand scale. The BEST part about the Friday after Thanksgiving, though, is the window of opportunity to share the some FREE, life changing truth (no catch!).

Here it is, 4 differences between Black Friday and Good Friday, and how they might make you forget every item on your wish list:

  1. On Black Friday, people stay up all night to stand in line for a deal. On Good Friday, Jesus was up all night, standing before accusers, and was dealt judgement on our behalf.
  2. On Black Friday, crowds trample each other for gadgets. On Good Friday, Jesus was trampled for the crowds to have restored relationship between God and man.
  3. On Black Friday, department stores put on-trend items on clearance. On Good Friday, Jesus put salvation and adoption into the family of God clear-of-all-charge: He made it absolutely free.
  4. On Black Friday, stores provide access to hot deals to the the first 50 shoppers in line.. On Good Friday, Jesus provided all-access redemption with the Holy God of creation to anyone who would receive it.

Though the sky, indeed, turned black on the day Jesus died, we remember it as GOOD because it is the ONLY way humanity can ever be in the light.

When we search for fulfillment via Black Friday, we get a momentary thrill. When we search for fulfillment via Good Friday, we find true rest, redemption, and eternal-filling with joy!

I might snag the perfect gift for my special-someone, at a once-in-a-lifetime affordable price, on Black Friday this year. But I will probably feel compelled to do it all again the next year.

However, because of Good Friday, I am considered special to the ultimate Someone, who reminds me to pass the true Gift on and on. For some, it truly will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear about life-giving hope.

Because of this, I cannot keep from sharing His story, “as though God were making his appeal through [me]. [I] implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:20-21‬

Whatever your reason for waking up next Friday, I pray you continue in the spirit of gratitude and kindness of Thanksgiving throughout the week.

With Hope,

Becky

PS. Don’t know where to start when it comes to Good News about Good Friday? Check out this post for some Gospel H.A.C.K.S.

Please SHARE this post to offer hope and clarity from the Friday confusion.

*This post originally appeared on November 21, 2016. It has been updated to optimize encouragement for readers of campfiregrace.com.

How A Grateful Garland Rescued November

Every year the debate continues should Christmas celebrations start before or after Thanksgiving? Here in the audacious year of 2017, the pivotal day in question has been moved to Halloween.

I am definitely not a Christmas-before-Thanksgiving hater. However, I am the kind of person that worries about someone or something feeling left out. For crying out loud, I feel terrible if I do not give each of my clothes a turn to be worn in a given month.

November deserves a turn, in my opinion. When I think about all the things I will miss if I were to wish away November so we could move on to Christmas season, I get sad. Already, we have enjoyed our kids’ first time ice skating. We marveled as our brown world got a fresh dusting of white flakes. We enjoyed candy and pumpkin seeds, and still have yet to bake the cupcake mix left on our front door on Halloween (thanks to whomever “boo’ed” us!).

Of course, many of us feel December flies by too quickly, so we get a head start on holiday cheer. I have been there before, and I realized the remedy was not in hijacking November. Rather, we can make December sacred again with a holy hurry, and a rediscovering of wonder.

Others of us find the brown, hibernating world of November to be dull and boring. If that is you, as it was once me, I encourage you to do research on the importance of boredom in our everyday lives.

But how do we rescue the novelty of November? My suggestion: make a grateful garland.

This lovely swag hangs in our dining room, heralding contentment into our home with loud autumn hues. The top strand is one we saved from last year. It displays our kids’ two-year-old “grateful hands” with a daily thanks or “yay God!” The bottom strand is the start of the twins now 3-year-old grateful hands.

To make the hands, I traced their little hands 5 times on a piece of construction paper (one for T and one for E), then stacked 2 more pieces of fall-colored paper to cut out 15 hands per kid. There are 30 days in November, so it is perfect. The paper hands get kind of curly after being stored in a ziplock bag for a year, but they look almost more like leaves that way. I stripped some fake fall leaves from a cheap “bouquet” I found at Walmart and tied them to the garland as well.

Each day, we take turns stating what we are grateful for. I write it on a hand and tape it to the garland. It just keeps getting better. Giving me a big picture narrative for our home. I pine for the day we can buy the right couch, hip frames, and fun rugs for this room. But this November, I cannot stop dreaming about the day we have 10 years of these garlands circling our dining room, climbing our stair well, and swagging over every doorframe.

I love how this simple decoration activity is giving my family an awareness of our blessings. Moreso for me, though, the garland has expanded my perspective of home-making. I do a lot of online shopping, pining for the perfect couch, hip frames, and fun rugs for our new home. I get excited when I think about the day it will feel complete. But this November, I cannot stop dreaming about the day we have 10 years (!) of these garlands circling our dining room, climbing our stairwell, and hanging over every doorframe.

How about you? How do you plan to rescue November from the holiday hijack?  Feel free to leave a comment with your ideas!
Follow me on Instagram and Facebook, and tag me in your grateful garland pics this November!

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I cannot wait to share with you all these exciting things:

  • Official Launch of Joyfully Ever After, my new Bible study curriculum for young women

  • Kickstarter Campain for Joyfully Ever After Bible Study (and how you can be the first to view it!)

  • More encouraging blog posts to equip your faith hope and sweet s’mores-with-Jesus walk!

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5 Gospel Sharing Hacks That Will Change the World

Are you tired of anxiety hijacking your chance to share your faith with a co-worker? Does the idea of evangelism spark an eye-roll reflex? Have awkward experiences tarnished the idea of gospel-sharing for you or your family?

I get it. I have been there before. Talking about church, God, faith, sin, and the afterlife can be incredibly intimidating. Many of us worry that talking about our faith will come across as

  • judgemental
  • fake
  • awkward
  • preachy
  • holier than thou

However, when we stop letting these presuppositions prevent us from talking about Jesus, we have the chance to join our Savior in changing the world.

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. 1 Peter 3:15-16b

In other words, let’s make it a thing. With practice and a few tools, talking about the good news of God’s love can become normal, not awkward, in your sphere of influence.

Here are 5 H.A.C.K.S. that my husband and I have learned along our own journey:

H. Hold the Gospel Close:

When a cup is poured into with more than it can hold, it splashes over on its surroundings. Similarly, when a Christian spends time treasuring the grace and freedom in a relationship with Jesus, he or she will overflow with joy and excitement for others to experience it as well.

  • Schedule time daily to treasure God’s love for you by reading your Bible.
  • Wake up every day and affirm your identity in Christ. Say “I am a child of God.” As children of the King of kings, we are also ambassadors of His Kingdom. The first is our primary identity. The second is our primary occupation.
  • Talk about the undeserved goodness of God’s grace with other believers. Gather often and get excited about what God is doing. Make it important.

A. Ask The Gospel:

Change your thinking from “share the gospel,” to “ask the gospel.” Most Christians think evangelism is a speech to memorize. However, the Bible is full of stories of men, including Jesus, who introduced the gospel via good questions. Greg Stier created a fantastic method for this: Ask, Admire, Admit:

ASK:  If you think your friend or family member is a Christian, ask, “what was the day like when you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior?” If they have a salvation experience to share, they will. If they do not, that will become clear and you can skip to “admire” below.

If you do not know about your friend’s or co-worker’s beliefs, ask, “How would you describe your spiritual journey?”

ADMIREFind one thing you can relate with or celebrate about the person’s answer. This is not the time to disagree. Use “I” statements to ensure the person feels loved and heard:

“I totally get your commitment to mindfulness.”

“I have always appreciated the kindness of your religion.”

“I deeply admire your resilience through so many hardships.”

ADMIT: This is not your chance to prove them wrong. In fact, this is your chance to admit your own wrong-ness. Find a piece of the person’s story that connects with your own need for a Savior. Then tell the story how Jesus rescued you, adopted you, and changed your life forever. Here’s an example:

“In my own life, I find no matter how hard I tried to balance out my good and bad, I always felt the scale tipping. But when I was 12, I finally understood that I am loved deeply by the God who created me. He sent Jesus to take the punishment I deserve for my imperfect identity. Now I have a relationship with God, not because I walked the right path, but because I trusted in Jesus to get me there.”

After ADMIT, offer a non-awkward way to continue the conversation in which you can finish your story with the G.O.S.P.E.L. (see below). Say something like, “I really appreciate you listening to my perspective. Is there a good time we can meet to talk more about this?” Their answer will clue you into their interest level:

“Yes, now please.”

“Sure, how about at _____ time and place.”

“No, I’m not interested.”

C. Carry The Gospel (Publicly):

Intentionally create built-in gospel sharing opportunities into your life. This is another way to ADMIT your need for the gospel. For example, my husband and I chose our children’s names so we could share the hope of Jesus with everyone who interacts with our family. Because of my kid’s names, I had the privilege of a simple gospel conversation with a new mom I met in the park. I asked what her child’s unique name meant; she answered and then reciprocated the question. In a few short words, I was able to give her a glimpse into the hope that I have.

“Our son’s name means defender, or intercessor. We chose this name because we believe people are completely separated from God without Jesus stepping in our place on the cross. Our daughter’s name means ‘a flowing river of good news.’ We hope she will be a life-giver and always share the good news that God loves all people.”

A built in gospel-opportunity might feel corny or obnoxious. You must discover what fits your personality and gives you that open door to be open about your relationship with Jesus. Besides the plethora of Christian t-shirts and bumper stickers available, here are some ideas:

    1. Wear stand-out jewelry that champions justice like Jesus does.
    2. Read an actual Bible in the break room (no one can tell if you read Scripture via smartphone or tablet).
    3. Say no to compromise and offer a Jesus-centered explanation: “When I accepted Jesus into my life, I decided He was going to be in charge. So even though I enjoy spending time with you, this [specific activity] doesn’t line up with my new life.”
    4. Change your name: After encountering God, Saul became Paul, Jacob became Israel, etc.
    5. Talk about what you love… if you hold the gospel close, you might naturally talk about Jesus.

K. Know The G.O.S.P.E.L.

Many years ago, we traveled many miles for a missions trip to practice sharing the gospel. We learned how to talk to people and how to ask spiritual questions. However, by the end of the trip, I was still unclear on what the actual GOSPEL was. I knew I was saved because I accepted Jesus’ death for my sins, but I could not articulate the full story of the Good News. Dare 2 Share Ministries has changed that for me. This G.O.S.P.E.L. acronym is easy to remember, and simple to regurgitate in your own words. Because the Gospel is not a hard copy of the Holy Bible. The Gospel is the Good News we know from what the Bible says. Memorize just the first word of each statement, and you are half way there:

  1. God created us to be with Him.
  2. Our sins separate us from God.
  3. Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
  4. Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
  5. Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
  6. Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!

S. Scatter The Gospel.

In a society of strategy and statistics, a Christian is understandably hesitant to invest a courageous gospel conversation in someone not 100% ready to agree and commit. However, when we step outside the western mindset, we find gospel sharing is less intimidating. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 13. about a man who planted seeds on 4 patches of soil, only to see a harvest from 1 good soil patch.

One thing we can learn from this parable is that followers of Jesus are to be faithful seed planters regardless of the result. It is not a Christian’s job to soften hearts. The Holy Spirit takes care of that. We do not have to avoid sharing the gospel until the soil is good and ready. We get to scatter hope regardless. When we stop measuring success based on results, we learn how to trust God with the harvest. We also learn to equally celebrate each opportunity in the field: planting, cultivating, and harvesting. Our measure of success is obedience: did I sow some seeds this week? If not, have I taken time to reaffirm my primary identity and primary occupation (see Hack #1).

 

What Gospel Sharing Hack do you plan to focus on this week? Share this post and beef up the disciple-making tool box for someone else too!

A Rosty Family Update: Looking back at 2016 (AKA The Christmas Card Letter That Never Got Mailed)

We have experienced heaps of Gods grace this past year. We are learning the art of intentionality: to stay present with one another, and more importantly, to connect deeply with God and the world He created and loves. Here are a few highlights of His goodness to us in 2016: 

Shine On…

Titus and Evi turned two this July. The first year of their life felt like it lasted forever, but this second year flew by! We celebrated with a galaxy of excitement and a verse that has become our family theme for the year: to shine like stars for Jesus (Philippians 2:14-16).

The Watchman…

At 2 years old, Titus is one strong and solid little boy. If being particular is a sign of intelligence, we have a genius on our hands. His playtime is important work, and please don’t interrupt, thank you very much. He is the first one awake and often last to go to sleep (sigh). For all his resolve, Titus can’t resist a hearty belly laugh when being tickled or playing chase. He looks up to his daddy and mimics Shane’s guitar playing with surprising accuracy. Both grandpas tie for second place in Titus’s heart, with our dog, Mr. Darcy, following in 3rd place. He enjoys camping, playing with the cousins, and wrestling. He has a tender side and helps Evi keep good care of her baby dolls. He is quick to thank Jesus and bless friends and family in prayer. He keeps his “guy” and “tickle” (guitar and blanky, respectively) close, which warms his mama’s heart, knowing he is still a little boy, for now. 

The Princess…

Evangeline is blooming as a cheerful, nurturing, beautiful girl. She sing-songs her way through the house cooking “Muppins” and caring for her baby dolls. She has her baby “Gigi” potty trained already, even though she prefers to take her time in that arena. We have decided to call it “potty experimenting” for a while. Evi is the articulate voice of compassion and is always on the quest to connect on a personal level. She keeps us on track, reminding us to “read Bible” and take our vitamins every morning. Our adorable girl is also quite clumsy: she will trip over thin air then blame it on Titus. Still, her squeaky giggle has charmed us all. We truly believe her obsession with all things “princess” will give her a vision for God’s kingdom now and for eternity.

Upward Adventures…

Shane is enthralled with dad-hood. Now that the kids are, well, kids and not babies, it’s a lot more fun! He teaches them kindness and quirky ways to eat chili and how to hum the Star Wars theme. Through it all, Shane keeps Becky swept off her feet. We survive winter together with lots of candlelight and hit the mountains and lakes early when the weather warms up. We topped off 6 years of marriage with a romantic adventure in Paris, Montana (seriously, check it out). 

Shane is now in his third year of full-time youth ministry (& 7th year of BCM!), mentoring and shepherding students from 6th grade through college age. His passion for music keeps us all dancing and singing together. This summer was packed with many favorites: Shane lead worship for Summit Camp, spoke as camp pastor at camp Bethel, served on the Wind River reservation with his First Baptist youth group, and relaxed with family and college students in Glorieta, New Mexico. We stay heaven-minded and always strive to SYMOTA (set your minds on things above).

Stay-Present…

Becky is turning over every blade of grass in this new season as a stay-present mama.

I am finding my passion for creativity is keeping me engaged and thriving as a mom. I enjoy teaching the kids to see the world in a unique way, to get excited about small things–like colors and songs, and big thing–like how Jesus loves everyone in the grocery store. We daily affirm what is true about how God made us: I am Kind, I am Brave, I am Joyful. The kids know this back and forth and are quick to say it to get out of time-outs.

God provides for my extrovert heart as I continue to mentor young women, coach figure skating, and study God’s Word with other mommas. In October, I was invited to speak at a local women’s conference, which again sealed the deal for my passion for communicating God’s truth and hope to others. 

Shane would like to add that my smile continues to light up the room. He quotes Proverbs 31 to me often as a reminder of how he sees me. Which floors me because most of the time I feel like an exhausted mess who cannot keep up with the toddler pace X2!

Through it all, I am discovering new depths of love and sacrifice as I learn to die to myself and serve, love, and train up Titus and Evi to have hearts after our Lord.

 

Look-Out!…

It is official! The twins have stolen our hearts, and our home. These growing two-year-olds both got their own room this fall. When we added college-student dinners, visits from our beloved family, and a desire to expand our family in the next few years, we started to feel a little boxed in. We have loved every moment of building and living in our home, but it is time for a good change. In November, we began working with a local builder to create a new house with room to grow. Also, God provided a beautiful family who fell in love with our little place on this hill. We closed the sale of our Osprey house in January, and are renting until the summer when our house on Look-Out Point Drive will be finished! 

And now we worship…

[Full Disclosure: I began this post in December, but it has taken me till the end of April to finish and post it. (#toddlermomproblems)]

As 2017 approaches, As we continue on into 2017, we hope to invest less in screen-time and a lot more in meaningful connections. Other than this annual update, I try to keep posts and pictures of our kids on social media to a minimum. They have an incredible amount of beauty to offer this world, and I believe it should be experienced first hand.

So please drop by or give a phone call (we like old-fashioned). This year is full of promise and LOTS of transition. After such a year covered by Gods grace, we are confident He will carry us on in hope and joy. So in worship of our Savior, we welcome each day. We appreciate your prayers for us always.

With Love,

Shane, Becky, Titus and Evangeline Rosty and our trusty pup, Mr. Darcy (who apparently is not photo priority anymore. Another thing to work on in 2017)

White-Knuckle Motherhood (And How To Trade It For Something Beautiful)

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”*

At what point did I stop seeking? Asking? Knocking? At what point did I decide I needed to ride out the storm instead of cry out to the one who cares?

Last weekend, my 2-year-old daughter locked herself inside her bedroom. I had heard stories of this happening to other moms, confident this tragedy would never happen to me. I know how to open a locked door. My bobby pin skills are strong.

Only this time it didn’t work. The lock was jammed. The screaming half-breaths peppered with “mo-m-m-my” were enough to rip my heart out. But I made a decision not to join in the panic.

I resolved to stay calm for my daughter’s sake. To stay strong even when I wanted to crumble with empathy. This was the time she needed to know she was safe. Having a meltdown on both sides of the locked door would have leveled-up this experience from scary to traumatic for everyone.

It was probably less than 20 minutes. My husband worked at the doorknob. My neighbor, like a heavenly warrior disguised in her Saturday morning sweatpants, brought over a “key” thingy and words of courage. My fingers stayed pried beneath the crack of the door as a small effort of being present with my girl.

Finally, the doorknob clicked. Out rushed a sweaty, exhausted heap of tears, pink pajamas, and swirly blonde hair, into my arms for immediate calm. We snuggled on the couch, just quiet, together.

At last, I uttered a half-hearted, “Thank you, Lord,” and it hit me: I didn’t even think about praying. Through that whole fiasco, I didn’t cry out to God for help, or comfort, or peace, or wisdom.

Of course, He was with me, but I didn’t notice. His presence is more than a couple fingers under my emotionally closed-off door, but I didn’t care to reach for them. My resolve was to endure the storm.

Looking back, I have been this way for a few months now. Just get through it, I tell myself. Get through the packing, get through selling our house, get through the potty-training, get through winter, get through the tantrum years. Focus on surviving the storms.

Mark 4 tells the story of another storm:

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:37-41)

How long did the waves beat that little boat down before the disciples cried out to Jesus. I imagine their thinking “we can handle this on our own,” while Jesus rested, waited, unfazed by the storm. I can see their white-knuckles, gripping the boat, riding it out.

After all, logic tells us the storm will cease…

Locked doors will get open…

Stubborn toddlers will get potty-trained…

Bosses will reward hard work…

A friend will come along…

…Eventually.

Unfortunately, this expectation of eventually keeps us stuck in the determination to endure. Get through one more week, one more hour. It will all be fine in the end.

Or it won’t, but then at least it will be over.

What if we, like the disciples, grab a lightbulb moment of SYMOTA and remember that Jesus is Immanuel: God with us.

Not only was Jesus present through the storm with the disciples, he also had the power to calm it. More importantly, as our pastor reminded us last Sunday, Jesus cared about the disciples.

Without a doubt, Jesus always provides, even when we ignore his presence. And clearly, endurance has its place in the Christ-followers journey. However, these truths cannot substitute the beauty of embracing the presence of Jesus. 

He is with us and he cares.

This relationship with Jesus is so simple on our end: seek! And Jesus meets us with His beautiful, fulfilling, awe-inspiring presence.

At last, color is returning to my knuckles as I release the grip on survival and cling to Life Himself.

6 Ways To Make Reading The Bible In A Year Work For You


Our church has decided to read the Bible in a year. 

I’ll be honest, even as a pastors wife, this seems daunting to me. I would probably not do it on my own. But the prospect of reading it as a church family—in communion with God and His people for one full year—definitely motivates me. 

  • What revival within my own heart could this journey provide? 
  • What power could God display through a people pressed in, searching Scripture together? 
  • What spark could ignite through the conversations, the accountability, the vulnerability we present when we are all, literally, on the same page? 

I can’t wait to find out!

If I am going to say YES to this intensive time in God’s Word, and reap the benefits of it alongside my church family, then I need to have a game plan. 

Perhaps these ideas will help you too!

1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier: Studies show its amazing what you can get done if you wake up a half-hour earlier each morning, particularly to accomplish a specific goal. 

2. Skip a day, and let it go: Life happens, and most of us will fail to stay on track. Instead of racking up the missed chapters and lagging behind, stay on track with the group. Its unconventional, but it has power. Briefly scan the missed chapters to catch up, the read the Scripture of the day as planned, along with the rest of your group.

3. Listen to it: Put an audio Bible on in your headphones at the gym, or your car stereo on the drive to work. Hearing names or foreign locations pronounced can simplify how your brain digests certain passages (the book of Numbers, for instance).

4. Bring it up in conversation: Use the readings to spark conversation and pursue great vulnerability with others on the Bible in a Year journey. Share what you are learning, ask tough questions, brainstorm application, and celebrate the wonder together!

5. Replace screen time with Scripture: Download the Bible app on your phone or iPad and click it first before other apps steal your attention (Candy Crush, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) Think of the go-to screen time moments: lying in bed trying to wake up/fall asleep, waiting in the grocery store line, killing time between classes, on the porcelain throne (oh come, on let’s all admit it!) are great opportunities to read a quick chapter from the Bible. 

6. Make it a habit: Sometimes, we don’t feel like reading Scripture. So we don’t, claiming it has no meaning if our hearts aren’t in it. But, we still brush our teeth, eat vegetables, work out, go to jobs, and clean our homes every day, even when we don’t feel like it. These are non-negotiable for our health and citizenship and well being. Why should our spiritual health and heavenly citizenship be any less? 

I am finding so much energy as the New Year approaches! With heart wide open, I pray for the presence of Jesus to flood our awareness as we pursue Him together. 

Download the YouVersion plan ‘CCV: The Bible in ONE Year’. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/m 

For more tips on conquering the most convincing reasons for not reading your Bible, check out my post, “10 Go-To Excuses to Avoid Studying The Bible.” 

Jesus: The Rainbow Baby For All Creation

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My sister is now 2 days past her due date for her first baby. I cannot WAIT for my niece to arrive. However, I believe my anticipation is far less emphatic than my dear sister and her husband who have waited over a year for this baby’s birth.

No, she has not been pregnant that whole time, but there exists a long and heavy load of expectancy in the timeline of a rainbow baby. My sisters story is similar to many: After miscarriage comes healing, physically and emotionally; in the midst of that—and sometimes before healing has done its full restorative work—two pink lines come into view, along with the shadow of anxiety and uncertainty of this second pregnancy. Mothers often call this their rainbow baby.

It is a long time to be in expectancy.

I can’t help but think this is how our world felt 2000 years ago. Adams choice miscarried our relationship with God right out of the garden of life. Beautiful and heartfelt attempts at new life ensued, but the law, the building of a temple, the unending bloodshed of innocent animals could not provide the heartbeat required for restored relationship with our Loving Creator.

Humanity, in longing and expectancy, was over due… past the due date by a million moments… and eager, yet hesitant, to finally see the birth of true salvation. True eternal life Himself was born, literally born! The metaphors of pregnancy and expectancy associated with the coming Messiah are not just a play on words. It is, in fact, the Word made flesh, humbly entering the time and space of spiraling earth as a helpless infant who would redeem the barrenness of our wayward hearts.

In reflections like these, I realize I, too, am overdue for Christ’s coming to truly impact my heart. Too often I am nonchalant, unaware of Immanuel. My sister could not be MORE aware of her beautiful belly; I too want to swell with ready expectation for the presence of God-with-us, both for today and for his second coming to truly make all things new:

“The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—…And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow… Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.

Revelation 4:3; 22:1, 3