here’s to imperfection {week 2 Advent round-up}

I would tell you that I faithfully led an Advent “family time” every single day of Advent thus far and that every time my kids were perfect angels and that we sang hymns together after reading the Bible because they all wanted to praise Jesus rather than beat each other up or build with Legos. But all of that would be a lie. A big, fat, stinky lie. *sigh*

 

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The truth is that we’ve missed a few family days of Advent and our family time is often marked with someone pushing someone and someone else saying “STOP TOUCHING ME!”

BUT…we press on. I press on. Trusting that God is bigger and that He is ultimately the One who pursues hearts and opens eyes to the absolute beauty and scandal of the Gospel.

On that note, I’ve been going through the then came Jesus study alongside you in my own time with the Lord. And God has been so gracious to meet with me personally. The day that probably hit me the hardest from week 2 was day 3 — the reminder that the thorns in life could actually be the gift that usher in Christ’s strength.

 

the gift

 

Y’all. God is so good. He is. And if we are His child, then nothing can touch us without going through His hands — not even the thorns. He sees from an eternal perspective. He’s doing a million things with every one thing He does. And He can be trusted.

I think I just had a little personal church session.

 
Fill me, Lord…

What about you? If you’re walking through then came Jesus, what has God shown you this week?
 

everything marked with grace {Week 1 Advent round-up}

Originally I was going to go a different direction for this “week-end-round-up” post. But instead, I’ve decided to show you how Jesus is invading my dailiness. Because that was one hope I had when I wrote then came Jesus for Advent. I prayed that God would graciously use it to reveal Himself to us in fresh ways. And that He would use it as a doorway to invade our everyday lives, leaving a wake of soul-sanctification.

So welcome to my personal therapy session. I will now process some stuff that’s been stirring in me this first week of Advent.

 

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I’ve mentioned (in pity-party-ish tone) how I can struggle with parenting in general and homeschooling in particular. It’s all very challenging to me — understatement. But someone a little older and much wiser said something yesterday that I can’t shake. However, instead of giving you the details — because your life situation is possibly way different from my current life situation — I’ll give you the general overview.

In short, everything — every relationship, every challenge, every trial — in the life of God’s child is marked by His grace. Everything. You may want to pause here and determine whether or not you believe that radical thought.

 

Everything is marked by His grace.

 

It comes back to God’s definition of good and holy versus my definition of good and holy. His definition has eterity and sanctification and transformation in mind — like sending a baby, born of a virgin, to die for the sins of man. My definition of good has present comfort in mind (and coffee).

But if God is who He has revealed Himself to be in Scripture — which I completely believe that He is — then everything in my life as His child is a mark of His matchless, pursuing, endless grace. Because everything goes through His hands of love before it can touch me.

I don’t always like His allowances. I don’t always feel the good. But victory over circumstance comes by faith. Victory comes when, by the power of His Spirit, we wrestle our hearts back to places of truth in the midst of challenges. Like Mary, receiving God’s radical, unexpected plan for her life with praise on her lips.

Instead of fear, we turn our hearts to faith, “God, you have me here with purpose.” Instead of pity-parties, we declare His faithfulness in our lives, “Lord, You faithfully and purposefully brought me here and You will faithfully carry me through.” Instead of a critical spirit, we ask Him to love the unloveable through us, “Father, she is just like me — thirsty for a drink of Your living water. Love her through me.”

Instead of blaming Satan, we remind our souls of God’s eternal sovereign movement in His children’s lives, “Lord God, the enemy may mean this for evil, but You work all things together for the good of those who love You. I love You Lord. Have Your good way.”

Everything in the life of God’s child is marked by His immeasurable grace. And reminding my heart of that truth shifts something in me. It stirs up praise.

 

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

 

Whatever life circumstance you find yourself in this Advent season, Jesus is present. If we are His then He has called us to this place with purpose. He has good here. He has transformation here. He has grace, even in this. May I be found praising Him in the midst.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Either directly from the then came Jesus study or life in general,

  • How is Jesus invading your dailiness?
  • What has He taught you about Himself this week?
  • Which was your favorite/most challenging day of the study?


 

“then came Jesus” begins today!

If you’re joining me on this Advent journey, then today is day 1. And I’m WAY excited! Well, mostly excited. I did have to confess places in my heart that get tangled with “the approval of man” as I wonder if people (a.k.a. you) will like the study I wrote. And God graciously, quickly reminded me that this (like most everything else on planet earth) isn’t about me. And then I praised Him because He’s so good. So good.

 

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Also, after I confessed my fleshliness, God prompted to pray for you. Because I believe that by God’s absolute grace He is willing and ready to do something new and fresh in us this Advent season. So I’m asking Him to move powerfully in each of us, that we would walk into Christmas morning with greater freedom and unspeakable awe at the love of God displayed in the Lord Jesus. May it be so.

Lastly, I wanted to give you a quick word of encouragement. And it begins with a story of an app. {Insert dramatic music here.}

I (sometimes) use an app called “my fitness pal” to keep me accountable to healthier eating and consistent exercise. It’s an app where you enter the stuff you eat and it tells you when you’re reaching your daily limits, yada yada yada.

But I did something stupid with the app the other day. I contemplated not entering something I ate — I can’t remember what it was but it was probably fried and salty — because I didn’t want to go over my calorie and fat limit on the app for the day. ON THE APP! Do you catch the hypocrisy and idiotness?

My point? We aren’t who we are “on paper.” Or who we tell the world we are on social media. We’re who we are in the dailiness of life. And Jesus wants to invade our dailiness.

 

We aren’t who we are “on paper.”
We’re who we are in the dailiness of life.
And Jesus wants to invade our dailiness.

 

This study isn’t meant to be something we check off of our good Christian color-coded Advent checklist. It’s not meant to be something we are “on paper.” It’s meant to lead us into the presence of God so that we come out on the other side changed. It’s meant to deepen our love for Jesus. It’s meant to awaken our soul afresh to the beauty and freedom in Christ.

So this is day 1 of the study. I pray that the God of the universe radically meets with each of us through its pages.

(I’ll be back on Friday or Saturday with a week-end round-up. Make sure you come back then to share what He showed you this week.)

CLICK HERE to find out more about the study. It’s not too late to join in!

 
Fill me, Lord…

What do you hope to “gain” from this Advent study?
 

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