Extraordinary Beauty in Your Ordinary Life

Five Minute Friday: BEAUTY

God can use the ordinary moments in your life to glorify himself by conforming you into the image of his Son. That is precisely what he intends to do.

Gloria Furman

A mother weeping over a wayward child, love spilling onto a soaked pillow.
A wife overcoming exhaustion to minister to her husband when he returns home downtrodden after a long day.
A missionary drinking tea with the locals, struggling in her second language.

 

There’s beauty in the ordinary though it may not always be obvious outside of your Instagram feed. God does miracles on ordinary days and uses ordinary people to accomplish His will in the world. He transforms brokenness into bellowing declarations of His majesty — it’s the kind of business He’s best at. He brings glory to Himself and beauty in our lives as He shows off who He is by making us more like Him.

beauty

Beauty is dying to self and humbling ourselves before a holy God even if it is manifested in wiping noses and matching socks. The most glorious moments of our lives are often the hardest to live out because the most beautiful story ever told required blood, death, and sacrifice, and we are called to retell that story each day in both the miraculous and the mundane.

When we look around, we may only see the mess, but we trust that the God that makes all things new, brings life out of death and shines light into the darkness is at work to redeem it all. We keep our eyes on Him — a miraculous display of transformative power. Little by little, we being to resemble Him in the smallest of ways as this transformative power touches each part of our lives. Is there anything more beautiful than that?

Tell me something beautiful God has done in your life this week.

Talk to me in the comment section below!

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Peace in my Inability to do #Allthethings

Five Minute Friday: WHY

I glance at my to-do list and see #allthethings that went undone this past week. I moan as the thoughts begin to flood my mind, “WHY can’t I keep up with it all? WHY am I such a bad mom? WHY can’t I be a better help to my husband?” I aspired to do #allthethings. I planned to do #allthethings. So, what happened? Certainly the answer lies in my inefficiency, my inadequacy.

Somewhere in the middle of this self-deprecating sesh, Scriptural truth drowned out the noise of negative emotions:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8

I don’t have to do #allthethings — no one asked me to. But the things I choose to do and the ways I choose to serve others should be done with a cheerful heart. Not because it needs to be done but because I have intentioned to do it and to do it with a proper attitude of service. But how can I do this when I’m knee-deep in monotonous tasks and overwhelmed by my own inability?

Photo by Michael Carnevale on Unsplash

I rely on the grace of God which abounds to me. It is more than enough and is greater than #allthethings in the world put together! That changes everything. His grace is never out-matched by my lengthy to-do list or naively ambitious aspirations. He gives the measure of grace I need each day to do the things that really matter — to love my children and my husband, to serve others around me and proclaim the name of Christ as I go.

In his abundance, I find –though I may not be able to do #allthethings– I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And I’m so grateful for #allthethings He has allowed me to do for Him today.

 

Gospel Rich in an Impoverished Land

Five Minute Friday (a few days late!): PRIVILEGE

My heart is often heavy and I feel insecure about our position of wealth among those around us who have much less. I worry about the way we decorate our home, what we eat each day, or how we spend our money on other things. I am generally satisfied with our discipline with money, but I still find myself feeling guilty over my privilege while others around me struggle to make ends meet.

While I am certainly open to ideas of how to meet the needs around me in productive ways, I have also been comforted by the words my husband has spoken to me time and time again: “People won’t resent us if we share our wealth with them.” It’s amazing to me how he can get right down to my deepest fear even if it was not even close to being clearly communicated. I fear being resented.

Photo by Niels Steeman on Unsplash

I know I can’t control the feelings of others towards me, but I do believe there is wisdom in this advice. I’ve since found great joy in inviting others into my home to watch our “Internet TV,” eat desserts made in my “foreigner-style” oven, and even wash clothes in my washing machine. Children particularly enjoy our abundance of toys and books. My son’s school has even borrowed some Dr. Seuss books for the last few weeks! I try not to show up empty handed when visiting friends, and I try to offer up my best even when unexpected visits occur.

Yes, we have inherent privilege in terms of financial wealth. But it occurs to me that we also have a greater privilege. We have Gospel privilege — a privilege many in this world do not have. And this is the why of it all — much more than materially wealthy, I am spiritually wealthy. I have received the immeasurably precious gift of the Gospel and will inherit eternal life.

So while I share any material wealth I acquire as I follow God’s urgings to give and to open my home, I am also impressed to share my spiritual wealth. Not in an effort to not be resented because, as it appears, many resent me for telling them a truth that is hard to hear because of what accepting our message would mean in this culture. Rather, I share my gospel privilege so that others may be rich like me — Gospel rich.

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I Agreed to this Life but Sometimes Can’t Remember Why

Five Minute Friday: AGREE

I agreed to this life — living overseas, church planting, and raising my kids in a foreign land. It has certainly come with a few surprises and plenty of challenges. While sometimes it may not be all I expected or dreamed it would be, it is what I wanted. When the reality of what this all really means hits me in the most disheartening ways, I have to remember that. I have to remember why I started if I want to keep moving forward.

Photo credit: Florencia Potter on Unsplash

I agreed to serve Jesus because He gave His all for me, and I am compelled to do all I can to magnify His great love. 

I agreed to work alongside my husband as we cross-cultures to share Christ because I trust him completely and believe in him wholeheartedly.

I agreed to learn a language and culture because there are millions of people that haven’t heard the Gospel in their heart language, and I may have the opportunity to change that — even if only for a few.

I agreed to raise my children away from the comforts of our home and our family because Jesus is worthy, and I want them to know that more than any other lesson I could teach them.

Jesus is worthy. Because of that I will agree to keep serving Him every day He gives me, trusting one day that the impact of that decision will far exceed my expectations.

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What Motivates Me Most

“It is only an appreciation of His love that can motivate genuine obedience.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick

I was teaching my Sunday school babies this past weekend our first lesson in the series, “What’s in the Bible?” I did an overview of what the Bible is, who wrote it, how many books and chapters it contains, etc. The pre-teen boys in my class snickered and elbowed one another when I compared God’s word written for us to a letter penned by a husband living in a faraway country — a well-understood concept here — to his great love back home.

In this letter, He explains His love for us in great detail. He shows us through the acts of love He recounts to us. He tells us He will be coming back to take us home with Him so we can live out our heavenly ever after with Him for all eternity. He tells us who He is and what He is like. We gain confidence as we learn more of His great love for us, and we are inspired to faithfulness and to obedience. We are motivated to move towards Him in love and towards others in showing His love.

 

But the greatest part? He’s not far away. He’s right here with us as we wait for Him to sweep us up to spend our days praising Him for all the goodness He embodies. He is love, and He is with us every day and every step of the way. We love Him because He loves us so well, and He empowers and enables us to obey Him as we respond to Him. His perfect love obliterates our fear to live a life loving Him back.

I hope my babies at home and in my Sunday school class — which strangely enough is on Saturdays — will understand it. I wish with all my heart they will open up the letter and read it for themselves. That they will see the heart of our personal God who desires to have an intimate relationship with each one of us, wretched as we may be.

Until then, I’ll keep telling them. And I better keep telling myself, too. I want to obey Him with all my heart, and that starts in within my heart where I’m instructed to dwell in His love.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. (John 4:16-19).

Linking up with Kate at the gang at Five Minute Friday