Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Very Messy Christmas Blessing: The Rosty 2015 Year Update

Christmas card 2015Our family photo is a pretty accurate description of our life this year: messy and very sweet.

This year wasn’t just full of messy moments, it was also full of blessed ones! In 2015, Shane and I celebrated 5 years of marriage, the twins’ 1st Birthday, and another grace-filled year of youth ministry. The twins learned to walk, and are now running in 2 different directions. We parents are enjoying the exercise and adventure of getting to know Titus and Evangeline more each day.

at least they try to clean up after themselves!
at least they try to clean up after themselves!

We continue to sing and make music together as a family. Evi joins in with her joyful chirps and Titus cannot be ten-seconds away from his ukulele, which he strums proudly.

kids 2015

A summer full of camping and road trips with the twins gave us a chance to explore our world with fresh eyes and renewed excitement. The twins come alive around their favorite people: both sets of grandparents and the entire youth group/college ministry students. God has truly blessed our family through such welcoming community.

This season, we are reminded that Perfection was born right in the mess of our humanity. He denied his rights to get on our level: our exhausting, sin-filled, fractured mess. His holiness did not deserve death, like the rest of us. However, Jesus took death in our place, providing perfection to us in exchange for our self-inflicted destruction. His power to rise from death—our deserved death—gives us confidence of victory.

IMG_7769By trusting in Christ, we have freedom from exhaustion of constant failure. We can find wholeness and restoration in our relationships. And we gain peace with God that will last forever! This salvation does not just affect our eternity, it affects our today. We have days in which the kids dump baking soda on the floor, or undo the freshly folded laundry, or spill one more supposedly-leak-proof sippy cup…but these are also days that are filled with sweet snuggles and joyful giggles. The hope from Christ fills each moment when we set our minds on Him.

 

Thanks for celebrating each messy wonderful moment with us!IMG_7554

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One Good Reason You Should Hurry More (#AdultsNeedChristmas)

hurry more at ChristmasChristmas time is here! Between parties and packing, shopping and wrapping, we have a bunch of rushing to do. Even our carols are characterized by words like “busy” and “bustle” (which means “to move in an energetic or noisy manner,” in case you were wondering).

There was a bustling at the first Christmas too. But this expedited pace wasn’t a rush to the next office party, or a last minute baking frenzy for an unforeseen cookie exchange.

No. This was a sacred rush, a hurrying of heavenly proportions. This was the shepherds race to experience the divine:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

Luke‬ ‭2:8-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The shepherds dropped everything they were doing and HURRIED OFF to find the Savior.

It wasn’t a Black Friday sale scurry.

It wasn’t a distant-relatives house relay.

It was a rushing to experience Jesus.

Adults need this kind of holy hurry.

This heavenly hastening to align ourselves nearer to the Savior of the world.

hurry to JesusWe need to re-ignite that kind of excitement, urgency to chase down the sacred like the shepherds did.

The shepherds abandoned their expectations to advance toward the eternal. Jesus’ coming was life-changing enough to take some time off.

To drop everything to experience proximity.

To then tell others about it, and spread the good news of great joy for all people.

Lord, the only thing I want to hurry up for this Christmas is you. Give me that sense of unsettled urgency to experience Your presence above all else.

Campfire Check In?

What will you let go of in order to experience proximity to the Savior this season?

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What Adults Need at Christmas: A Heart for the Lost

rediscover a heart for the lostThis morning I sat cuddled on my couch with cocoa and Christmas cookies, reading my Christmas devotional book. I was practicing stillness, making room for Jesus in a full day. I had to turn off White Christmas and ignore the gifts that needed to be wrapped. I had to silence my inner to-do list and just listen.

A dear friend from our church recently blessed me with The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. The pages of this book presented a challenge for me to do something “that would be venturing big for God.” (Day 11)

I began to imagine what would be that difficult thing for me. What I could step outside of my comfort zone to encounter our faithful God in a powerful way? I glanced up from my reading and saw my neighborhood in the crisp light. So many houses, filled with couples and families all preparing for winter’s chill. In my minds eye, though, I saw ablaze all the homes that no preparation for eternity. From my knowledge (and I am not trying to be judgmental here) much of our neighborhood is destined for eternal separation from God.

My heart has ached for this neighborhood before. I know families swallowed by pride and culture and religions that lead to bondage. I take my dog on walks, passing homes filled with the riches of this world; my heart is heavy for they do not know the riches of a relationship with Christ.

Earlier this month, I motioned to simplify the holiday to-do list. After consulting with me, myself, and I, it seemed like a good idea to nix the neighborly gifts this year. After all, we go all out to love on our neighborhood for Halloween, and have prioritized sharing sweet blessings every May Day.

In my simplification, I was serving myself (and arguably my family). However, my consensus eliminated Jesus, once again, from HIS ideas for Christmas time.

I am convinced one way adults can rediscover the wonder of Christmas is by rediscovering Christ’s broken heart for the lost. Globally or locally, there are people in our path who need the Savior. It is why He came, after all:seek the lost

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

Sharing simple gifts with my neighbors is one way I can invite them to our church’s Christmas Eve service. It also promotes relationship, displays kindness, and prayerfully provides openness to conversations over the fence when the weather gets nice again. It is during such conversations, I pray, God will steer toward our joy and purpose in Christ.

Like a redeemed Grinch, I think my heart grew three sizes today!

I am not so much burdened as I am hopeful for God’s great grace and mercy to bring light and salvation to the lost this Christmas. 2016 is a year of hope, I believe, and I choose to act upon such belief. My heart is not made weary by war and refugees, electoral candidates and the decline of the church. On the contrary, having a renewed desire to see the lost found in Christ gives me energy and excitement. Because I know the salvation of the world, both spiritually and physically, is not up to me. It is simply my privilege to join my God in the work He is already doing.

I know what my challenge is today (thank you, Ann Voskamp for prompting me thus). I am joining Jesus’ mission by putting neighborly gifts, along with time spent in prayer for each family, back on my Christmas bucket list this year. It is a small service in comparison to the cross, but that act of love has already been finished. I just get to tell the life-saving story.

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:1-11

Join me in finding inspiration and hope in these lyrics: “The giver of life was born in the night, revealing God’s glorious plan to save the world!” (Who Would Have Dreamed by ason Hansen and Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace Music)

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Make Room: #AdultsNeedChristmas

make roomThis week, I was talking with a young woman from our local college. With finals and end-of-semester projects looming overhead, my friend is stressed. Add to that an inconsiderate roommate situation, which left her sleeping in her dorm-room hallway one night.

My heart ached for her. What she needed was solace. Peace. Rest. All the things I have been striving to rediscover this holiday season. So I invited her to stay in our guest room whenever she needed. To which she shrugged a thank-you, and the subject changed.

I walked by the guest room that afternoon and realized why her reaction was so half-hearted and faithless. That room was a PIT!

To keep some sense of order in the rest of the home, that room has become a catch-all for new gifts, wrapping supplies, shipping boxes, old toys for donations, unfinished crafts, laundry, etc.

I am telling you, there was no room. A giant canvas resided on the pillow side of the bed, 5 opened and half-unpacked craft boxes dominated the bottom half. Kids toys (and the containers meant to, ahem, contain them) littered the floor. Cap it all off with the kids bright red pop-up play hut, like a cherry on top of the toy pile.

No. Room.

Convicted, I remembered the story of Jesus birth, accommodated by a barnyard of animals instead of a generous hostess.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Through the years of reading this story, I have assumed that, given the same position, I would have invited Mary in. But now, my own inconsistency was heralding the reality from the pile of junk. Even though my words said, “you are welcome,” my home did not.

What a perfect picture my piled-up guest room displays of my heart-condition at Christmas. The spaces meant for Jesus to take up residence are filled up.

  • I’ve piled up the approval of others in the room meant for satisfaction in Jesus.
  •  I’ve stashed good chunk of my holiday accomplishments in the space meant for worship of the King of kings.
  • I have compromised that corner table in my heart, where Jesus and I share sweet moments of rest and romance. It’s strewn with lists and Christmas cards that need to be addressed.

Again…..

No. Room.

make room pin

I have successfully eliminated room for Jesus in His very own holiday! I have re-created the busy Bethlehem. That night, I stayed up late making our guest-room guest-worthy. As I sorted through the mess, I also sorted through my heart. I keep repeating this line from the song, Be Born In Me, by Francesca Battistelli: 

“The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy…”

Lets us allow Jesus’ words to open our hearts, our arms, our homes, to welcome Christ this season, however he chooses to enter our reality.

Campfire Check-in:

How do you make space for Jesus in this season?

PS: I am not talking about having an immaculately tidy home for Jesus. I’ll talk about Embracing the Mess at Christmas NEXT!

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Adults Need Christmas: How to Rediscover Wonder this Season

adults need christmas 2Does it feel like we just did this? I feel like we just finished Christmas of 2014. I found my Christmas to-do list like it never left my coat pocket. And I jumped right back into the routine of checking off each item. Now that my kids are old enough to enjoy it, I have focused even more on completing traditions. (Thanks to Pinterest, I have a host of new ideas and traditions to implement…oy vey.)

People all around me are going through the motions in a similar way, oblivious of the wonder and relief that Christmas is meant to bring. We get so caught up in making it perfect for the kids, we miss God’s intention for our own hearts.

In many ways, these five weeks from Thanksgiving to December have been commandeered by our enemy. Peace and joy have been traded for

  • Exhaustion
  • Busyness
  • Conflict
  • Numbness
  • Rushing
  • A stagnant maintaining of traditions

I am convinced that, as a grown woman, I desperately need Christmas. (Sorry Kranks, no skipping Christmas for me). This is the season we celebrate God’s plan for our redemption, salvation, and peace for humanity. Perhaps we need to find a way to redeem, save, and implement peace in the season itself.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some ideas on how to rediscover wonder, power, excitement, giddiness, and peace this Christmas, like…

But for now, I’d like to hear from  you:

adults need christmasCampfire Check-In:

What deprives Christmas of its wonder and delight for you?

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