Category Archives: True

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

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Summer Movie Messages: Finding Dory Vs. Me before You  

 

“Becky is eating a cup!”
I am pretty sure this is going to be the running joke for my name for the rest of the summer, thanks to Finding Dory. Truth be told, my husband cracked up every time Marlin or Nemo made a reference to the squawky, wacky-eyed loon.
I think I relate to bird-Becky more than I’d like to admit. I have a similar distractible affinity for popcorn… and s’mores… and, well, food in general. However, I appreciated the role that Disney and Pixar wrote for the awkwardly frazzled bird. She came through for the helpless fish, despite her obvious disabilities, and was a crucial part in bringing about the happy ending.
This is in sharp contrast to the “hero” of Me before You. I have to admit, I wanted to see it. The romantic previews for this film had me, and all my gal-pals, ga-ga to see it. But after reading Plugged In’s perspective of the film, I became sick to my stomach, I decided not to support it in theaters. (Spoiler: the disabled man and romantic interest commits suicide in the end).
This article also addressed the controversial issue of Hollywood’s highlighting assisted suicide for the disabled. Both articles’ opinions on the subject gave voice to my own, which hits somewhat close to home.
Two years ago, I watched as a close family member endured a horrific accident. By God’s grace, he miraculously recovered. And yet, he has had to learn to live with disabilities.
And we thank every day he chooses to say YES to life, to his family, to God’s plan. Because of their situation, he and his wife have shared the gospel many times with others with disabilities and chronic pain. This man has learned to thank God for his accident because it has given him a platform to share HOPE!
What faith! What courage!
This is why, in a world where assisted suicide for the disabled is glorified as heroic, I appreciate the message Pixar promotes: it is the mentally disabled Dory, and even “Becky,” that prove their value by saving the day.
If choice is the word for the day, then may we all choose to see the image bearers of God in each wheelchair, assisted living center, or socially awkward situation, like the ones this Becky gets herself into far too often when cups of popcorn are involved.
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I am Made Alive

Dreary winter clinging to the month of March.

Sickness hovers over my family like the low stratus clouds overhead.

Unending desire to wear sandals, yet feet confined by well-meaning but still-restrictive socks and shoes.

Motionless shadows, missing the sunbeam’s instinct to change things up with every passing second.

Hibernation is lazy living, but requires such mental work to skirt the pit of despair.

Mopey days pass into worn-out nights, but I can’t recall actually doing anything in the last 9 hours.

Husband is traveling; loneliness tempts me to withdraw, sink in, and fade.

Broken stroller wheels and worn out legs halt my energetic-walk initiative.

Muddy streets make dirty cars. My attempt at “wearing” Spring into existence fails when a sleeve of cheery white brushes against the dust-caked vehicle.

Apathy settles in, and flows out, of my thoughts, actions, media choices, and my words.

Have I lost all sense of life, passing through each day like the stuffy hot air passes through our heater vents?

Zombie-like, I muddle through the motions. The house is clean, the laundry done, the babies fed, but my senses of adventure, hope, and laughter seem to be on vacation.

Maybe that’s what I need… a vacation?

Or perhaps what I really need is 2 pumps of delicious truth with my morning latte.

A bit of Scripture-sunshine to pierce the self-absorbed darkness of my heart.

I need the same encouragement Paul gave to the people in Ephesus: you are alive with Christ!

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But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Eph. 2:4-5

This truth about my identity rings clear above the hum-drum noise of my circumstances. I have the choice to stop living as one dead in her sin, one decaying with passing time. Though I sometimes feel like I am falling apart, that is not who I am. No, I am not a corpse, I am alive!

God has given me a new identity. I can live as such! As one who is alive with Christ, I can embrace each day with energy not found within myself. By the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, I can breathe deep, worship, smile, and wake up with happy anticipation.

In order to do so, I think I need to fall at the feet of Jesus a little more often. His stash of strength, vitality, joy, and hope is a bottomless one. As David Crowder Band put it, “I need You to be the thing that I need… Let me feel You Shine.” (The following version is way better than the one I just plunked out on my living room piano.)

I need to recognize when I make good things, like vacations, summertime, a sense of accomplishment, and a good ole’ fashioned nap, into functional saviors. They may bring reprieve, but they do not bring life. When I find my will to live, to be truly alive, in Jesus, I can find it inexhaustibly: “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

Hallelujah, I am alive, and therefore, I can really live!

For more about this truth, see my series on Zombie Christianity.

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Attention Strike: How I am so DONE hearing about Yoga Pants and 50 Shades of Everything

God bless the internet. Social media has given everyone in our society is in a unique place to have an opinion about everything. Our opinions can be heard in a broader circle than in our personal interactions. There simply isn’t room for that many soapboxes and bandwagons in day to day conversation.

I realize some topics are imperative for us to address. And I am immensely proud of my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ for speaking truth to their sphere of influence. I would like to applaud many of the articles, blog posts, and comments that combat unhealthy or ungodly choices. I wrote one such article just a few days ago.

However, I am personally exhausted by it all. Can we not dignify each negative trend with a million responses?

I get it. The word on yoga pants being a temptation was educating. My husband and I had been having a similar discussion only a few weeks earlier resulting in a shopping trip for me to find new work out clothes (and I found some fantastically adorable and comfy running pants that also honor my body, God, and my husband).

Articles exposing the dark side to 50 Shades of Grey have been insightful. But if I’m honest, I knew all along I didn’t need to read those articles. I have known for some time that erotica and movies based off of erotica are incredibly dangerous to my spiritual health.

These blog posts all over my Facebook feed are like flashy magazine columns highlighting “what’s trending in SIN this season.” Some people really need to be educated on these topics. However, for a lot of us, it is somewhat backwards. The more articles we read about why we should avoid sin, the more we are thinking about not thinking about sin. And that, my friend, is flirting dangerously close to actually thinking about sin. It’s the purple elephant in the room (if someone tells you not to think about a purple elephant, you inevitably will).

I realize the short answer to this annoyance is simply GET OFF FACEBOOK. And I do. I limit my time on social media, and I choose to spend time in God’s Word instead. I even utilize that handy “unfollow” button when a friend posts stuff I don’t care about seeing.

However, I do live in this century, and I do enjoy keeping up with people through Facebook. So I have a proposition for my readers, my social network associates, and my respected friends:

Instead of sharing one more article or opinion on these subjects, could you just straight-up ask me how I am doing?

 

Or better yet, send me a personal message on how God is impacting your life right now.

 

Or a comment on what you are reading about in His Holy Word.

 

I am truly praying that God would “bless” the internet with His presence. That when I log on, I see the evidence of His love, justice, holiness, and creativity everywhere.

Let’s allow today’s big topic become tomorrow’s old news. Let’s give Jesus the attention he deserves.

God Bless the Internet

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I am not Helpless

A friend gave me an amazing sheet of paper the other day. I tucked it away in my journal for a daily peek. It is titled “The Truth about my Identity in Christ,” and there are 100 verses.

In a season of massive identity shift, I am excited to start internalizing these truths. Today, number 91 reached out and wrapped my exhausted heart in like a blanket of encouragement.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

This phrase is often misunderstood in our post-modern culture. We often read it and emphasize the part about “doing all things.” Sounds like a sweet deal. Anything I want to do, I can get it done because Jesus gives me the power.

But that is not what Paul, the author of the letter to the Philippians, is communicating through this verse. In context, Paul is talking about his ability to live in all circumstances, through the power of Jesus. God called Paul live in circumstances where he had very little, and God also called Paul to circumstances where he was flourishing financially. Both situations require the power of Christ to live in, and to live well in.

The point of this verse is not the “things” we can do, rather the “who” we can call on.

Any circumstance that God leads us to, Jesus will give us the ability to thrive in. Our focus must be on him, not on our own prerogative.

  • Today I do not need more coffee
  • I do not need more sleep
  • I do not really need a shower
  • I do not need a break from my kids
  • I do not need another Netflix binge
  • I don’t need a distraction from my situation
  • I do not need a handful of chocolate chips as a reward for “getting through it.”

I. Need. Jesus.

I can meet today’s circumstance and thrive in it because of Him. I need to focus on his goals and his prerogative and his “things” that I can do because he enables me to.

I am not helpless because I am not about me.

When I focus on God’s expectations for my day…

When I tune into the proclamation of Jesus over my identity as redeemed daughter of the King of kings…

When I make the conscious effort to notice how He is strengthening me for my specific circumstance, emotionally drained or flourishing with laughter and energy…

When I call on Jesus…

I know I can do it.

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