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The Myth of the Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4

 

As I write this, it’s pouring down rain on the construction site/trash pit that is my lawn.

It’s a very, very long story, but let’s just say that the “simple” covered deck project we commissioned, the one that we believed would be completed in 5 to 7 days, is about 30% completed—and well into Week 4.

My heart is not feeling gentle or quiet—it’s way too cluttered with anxious thoughts.

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I Will Obey.

Read it! Psalm 119

I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

(vs. 8)

Think it through

So now that we’re reading and loving the law, it’s time to actually do what it says.

I’ve written posts on obeying God’s laws before (this one springs to mind), and I mean what I write! So why, like Paul, do I clutter my own spirit with disobedience?  Why do I do what I don’t want to do?

There are many answers to that question, but the one I want to focus on today is this: sometimes I’m not set up for it. I haven’t made decisions before go-time is upon me, and I’m making a (bad) decision in the moment.

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Need To Know Basis

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.

Philippians 2:13 (HCSB)

 

Lately I’ve been getting pretty frustrated with TV shows and movies that feature characters who are being left in the dark about what’s going on around them. “I can’t tell you that now,” their fellow characters say. “You’re on a need-to-know basis.” Or, “I can’t explain now, we don’t have time. We’ve got to go!”

As my husband will attest, I often look up from my crochet project and yell, “Just tell them already!”

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It’s Not Easy Being Queen

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

 

I hate to admit it, but I’m a bigger fan of historical fiction than I am of actual history books. I love to read about Tudor-era women fighting for better marriages and higher positions and more power… even the chance to be queen. But when they get to be queen, they’re still not happy: they know they’re not the king.

We Christian women are the queens of our households, and we love it—but we know we’re not the kings. Although our homes are our dominions, the Bible clearly says that our husbands are the leaders of them.

It’s a challenge to be in charge of the home and yet not be the leader of the family. (Even if you’re feeling skeptical here, please keep reading… it will be worth it.)

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#PraiseHimAnyway

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.

-Psalm 34:1

 

For the last couple of years, my little family has been making fun of all the hash-tagging.

This began when these symbol-led phrases started popping up on the bottom of our TV screen. I think I noticed it first on shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race. (Yes, we still love those two!) #TribalCouncil #Blindside #UTurn

It was just too easy to roll our eyes at those. Soon we were joking in hashtags.

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How to Avoid Pinterest Panic

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done,

and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”

— Galatians 6:4

 

I may have mentioned that I really love Pinterest.

I love recreating Pinterest activities with all three of my kids (even my very patient teenage boy—and my very, very patient husband!).  There are so many great faith-related pins… and hosting fun theme birthday parties is totally in my wheelhouse. All those ideas are just waiting to be discovered, and organized!

But Pinterest is getting a bad rap.

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The Sunday Conundrum

The Sunday Conundrum: Ode to Logic, Commitment to Lord

(Today I’m letting my math nerd self shine through!)

 

Most Sunday mornings, I face the conundrum. Sometimes I start wresting with my duality of mind on Saturday night—even as early as Friday afternoon.

It’s a dichotomous pondering: To work, or not to work.

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Why DID Jesus Cry?

Read it! John 11

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

(vs33)

Think it through

At least that’s the version I’ve always read. As an old-school NIV girl, I’ve read over and over that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” and assumed it meant he was incredibly sad, grieved. The NKJV reads similarly: “…he groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”

But I was surprised to find that two of the other versions in my side-by-side Bible (the NLT and The Message) used different words: “a deep anger welled up within him.” Both versions describe him as angry when he arrived at Lazarus’s tomb, as well.

Angry.

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Throwing Off Our Chains

Read it! John 8

“…and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

(vs32&33)

Think it through

Viewing ourselves through the lens of truth is difficult.

Jesus told the Jews that his teachings, the truth, would set them free, but they just looked at one another and shrugged. They were living in a land where they were officially free—free to live and love and work and marry and worship their God. (Sound familiar?)

But Jesus explained that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Not free, but bound by the habit of repeating our mistakes and the consequences of each choice. And we often miss this crucial perspective altogether.

Here’s some truth I frequently fail to see:

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How Not to Serve Lemonade (or Jesus)

No one wanted my lemonade.

My husband, Travis, and I were serving at a soup kitchen, and my job was to serve the lemonade. I poured twenty cups, arranged them in a neat four by five rectangle, and waited for the thirsty patrons to arrive. And they came… but they all wanted water. I stood forlornly with my hand gripping the pitcher, a dismal failure as Chief Lemonade Pourer.

This is what Travis jokingly calls the “Serve with Shan” effect. Alas, it seems that whenever I participate in a service project there is no one to serve. Three hours volunteering at a donation center with but one lonely drop-off. Six hours at a food pantry with only three shoppers.

And here’s the one Travis teases me about the most: a nursing home visit during which not a single resident wanted to visit with us, despite how I was waiving around my three month-old baby. Didn’t they want to meet my smiling bundle of cuteness?

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