The Beauty of Motherhood: A Tribute to My Mom

The older I become, the more keenly aware I am of just how much I resemble my mother. I will admit that I have not always understood her or her motivations and often failed to see her own humanity. Some of my teen attitudes and actions toward her make me cringe in regret now. Becoming a mother has a way of setting the record straight and finding new respect for your own mother. The magnitude of the job is hard to imagine until you live through the struggles and joys of the task. And, the realization of how you can change the world through God-centered motherhood is overwhelming when taken on in our own strength. (more…)

Who gives the increase?

blueflowerIf I plant and water, and nothing grows, does that mean I failed?

If I open my home for a Bible study and only one person shows up, does that render my time useless or wasted?

I see missionaries in certain fields being faithful to live in a foreign land while going years to see a handful of people come to Christ or to build a church home. Are they wrong about the call on their life? Have they misinterpreted God’s instructions?

How about the Christian mom who pours her heart and life out before God through her children? If her children do not rise up and call her blessed, did she fail in her life’s work?

What must we do and what is God’s part? We can find the answer in I Corinthians 3. (more…)

Book Review: Seamless by Angie Smith

seamless

Seamless

Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story

by Angie Smith

I was looking for a new Bible study a couple of months ago and found this 7 session study by Angie Smith. I had never heard of her before, so I read a little about her prior to purchasing it. I was intrigued by her love story with Jesus and the journey that led to her redemption. I was also just drawn to the simplicity of the book. My heart and mind needed a clutter-free, simple book. This definitely delivered on those criteria. Unlike Angie, I grew up in church and heard Bible stores repeatedly for years, but somehow they had become rote and stale. I found her simple journey through the Bible refreshing. I was able to see God working in new ways as I revisited forgotten passages of Scripture. (more…)

Book Review: Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

simplytuesday

As I finished this book tonight, I found myself wanting to reread parts of it and copy quotes that I found encouraging before returning it to the library tomorrow. I may have to recheck it out at some point and revisit it. I related to so many things that Emily, the author, shared. It is so easy to get caught up in being busy and trying to accomplish great things for God. She reminded me that there is purpose in our everyday Tuesdays where the mundane, simple living happens. I forget that God asks us to plant a seed in faith and then watch Him grow it into something beautiful and purposeful. In our eyes, things are only good or worthwhile when it produces big results and outcomes. We are prone to base success on numbers and worldly measurements. But, success in God’s eyes is allowing Him to love us and then reflecting that love to others. It is in realizing our smallness that we see how great our God is. We are not meant for fame. We can’t handle it. Yet, we don’t want to feel invisible or lonely, so instead of relying on God to fill these holes, we work to build a name for ourselves. She delves into many aspects of why we are not satisfied to simply be who we are in Christ. It is very thought-provoking.

Simply Tuesday encouraged me to find joy and peace in my smallness, because that is where God has taken up residence.

Christ is building His kingdom in us. I don’t work to produce a certain result. I work to glorify God “in all things” – that includes the laundry, cleaning, dinner-preparing, child-rearing, etc. on a mundane Tuesday. Instead of viewing Tuesday as a holding place for a more exciting weekday, I was reminded to see it as a place of worship and beautiful, simple moments.

Side notes: I love her bench analogy throughout the book. I would love to visit her cul-de-sac and sit on their neighborhood bench and chat. But, more importantly, I hope to be able to sit with Jesus daily and receive my daily bread without constantly thinking about what I have to be or do to feel content. He is contentment. He is life. I pray that I am not so busy “being busy” to miss experiencing the life He has to offer me.

Book Review: Audacious by Beth Moore

audacious

This Christian living book was a gift from my husband on Christmas. I was spending a great deal of time reading fiction over Christmas break, so it was kind of hard for me to want to pick this book up at first. I was just in a mood to read light and easy literature. But, by the time I reached page 15, I couldn’t put it down. I have now made audacious my word for the year. It is a fairly short read at 178 pages, and I will definitely be revisiting it in the near future. My highlighter was put to work as I was reading and soaking up the truths that Beth shared from Scripture. It renewed my “verve”, as she puts it, to want to love Christ with every part of my being. The truth is that God has “set eternity in our hearts”. We may not want to want Him. We may try to silence Him and ignore His existence, but it is still there. Fulfillment will never come without Him, because we were created to know Him. He doesn’t just want us to love Him for His sake alone, but through Him, we can audaciously love others in ways that seem radical to those who don’t know Him. It challenged me to remember that His Word is precious. It is the very mind and heart of God being displayed to us. Without being in Scripture, we are likely to be tossed to and fro with worldly ideas. If you never desire to know Him through reading Scripture, you will never fully experience what He has for you in this life. (more…)

Belonging

My grandparents and I a few years ago at Christmas time.

My grandparents and I a few years ago at Christmas time.

A few weeks ago, I called my grandparents to check in on them and say hello. My grandfather, who is hard of hearing, answered the phone and had to ask me several times who he was talking to. Once he realized whom he was speaking to, he said he would pass the phone to grandma since she could hear better. But as I waited for her to come on the line, I heard him holler at grandma and say, “It’s our Terri”. Even as I type that, I find myself smiling and feeling so loved. I don’t think he had any idea of how that impacted me. He essentially claimed me as one of his grandchildren. It wasn’t a Terri they knew from church or their neighborhood. “It’s OUR Terri”. I am a part of their family, and they claim me!

This small interaction made me stop and think about how much greater it is to know that I am “God’s Terri”. I belong to him as a result of my faith in His Son, Jesus. Galatians 3:26 says, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus”. Not only am I made in the image of God and likeness of Christ, but I am also claimed as one of their children. That is such a humbling reckoning to be known, claimed, and loved by the Creator of the Universe! I am thankful to have been chosen, called, and redeemed through faith in Christ. Everyone can have this relationship. Everyone can belong to the Father. John 3:16 makes it clear that He came to redeem the WHOLE world. He chooses all of us, but not all receive Him. He is waiting to make you His own. As great as it is to be loved by my grandparents, I will never get over belonging to God’s family.

Isaiah 43:1-3 is a beautiful passage about how God sees His children. It was written to the children of Israel, but the message applies to all of His children. (more…)