Tag Archives: all the thinks

the one with the links: september edition

september has been good to me. read this stuff and it can be good to you too:

this doozy of a post from hannah anderson: leveling the playing field

If we don’t invest our resources in equipping women, our hearts won’t be invested either. For a local congregation, this may mean budgeting to bring in a female speaker, hiring more women on staff, or helping women afford theological education. When resources are on the line, we’re more likely to care about the final outcome. In other words, when we place a bet, we’ll watch the game.

this album:

this barn-burner from scott sauls: the best and worst ways to take a moral stand

Taking up a cross…the radical, self-giving love kind that Jesus spoke about…was a deadly endeavor in the Roman Empire. Eleven of Jesus’ twelve disciples died as martyrs because they took up a cross, having assumed on themselves all of the costs, risks, and inconveniences of love.

The early church also understood that love did not guarantee their safety. To the contrary, sometimes love threatened their safety.

this lip-sync battle:

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the one with the highlight reel: september edition

have we figured out yet that i’m not terribly consistent at blogging? it sure isn’t because i don’t have any thinks to share! i have a lot of thinks, i just don’t have a lot of time to write the thinks. so basically, my head could explode at any moment from all the thinks i’ve been thinking. (i’m tired just looking at that sentence.) but today is the last day of september, and it has been a pretty good month. so many reasons to smile and thank jesus for!

smallgroupgenerations copyfirst, (and this is technically from august 29, but it is my blog, so i do what i want) this. you guys, this photo represents God’s faithfulness to me on so many levels. when i started my undergrad degree at age 21, i asked God to bring me younger students to disciple. he has never stopped answering that prayer. when i moved to north carolina 4 years ago, i was single and childless (oh, yeah … i still am) and thinking often and deeply about the idea of progeny and legacy. a friend spoke wisely into my anxiety: “those we disciple are our spiritual progeny. our legacy isn’t necessarily the children we birth- discipleship makes us spiritual midwives in that we get to be part of new birth. discipleship makes us mothers as we shepherd other women deeper into the faith.” i’ve led small groups before, both adult and student groups, and been blessed to disciple a number of women in one-to-one relationships- but recent events have reminded me of my wise friend’s words. i attended my church’s small group leader conference with my apprentice leader (far left), and we sat with my apprentices from last year (2nd and 3rd from left) and a woman from their group who is starting a new small group (far right). this new leader looked across the table at me and told me “you’re my grandma!”. i won’t lie, it took me a hot minute to understand what she was saying … and in less than a hot second, i was ugly-crying (all the emotions). i am a mess. yes, i love leading … sometimes i’m even good at it. but i’m a mess. and these women have been under my leadership during some of the messiest and darkest seasons of my life- seasons that i didn’t think would bear any fruit. and yet … i’m a grandma. God’s good that way.

famapplepicking copywe went to visit the fam earlier this month and got to do one of my favorite things: APPLE PICKING! i love fall … my birthday, cooler weather, everything apple and all the pumpkin! our chinese sister had never been to an apple orchard before, so it was really special to be there for her introduction to fall in virginia. the girls all wore flannel, and we just loved being together. arent’t my parents the cutest?!

beth copywhile i was home, i got to celebrate my beautiful friend beth’s wedding. i’ve been friends with her for over 7 years, and i absolutely love the woman that she has become. beautiful inside and out! we have walked together through dark seasons, broken relationships, and distance, and i’m thankful to have been there to cry and rejoice as she pledged to follow Christ alongside a good man. plus, it was a good excuse to wear a pink dress and gaze open-mouthed at the show the blue ridge mountains were putting on that day 🙂

the j.lo and i celebrated a year of #pennythewarriorprincess being a linton! love that pup.

we also switched bedrooms- i don’t think we’ll be making ‘the great migration’ an annual thing, but it was good to look at our home through new eyes.

last friday was monthly ‘nest family dinner. we made homemade pizza, and laughed til we nearly peed ourselves.

i celebrated 5 months of working at my new job! it stretches me, terrifies me, and delights me all at once.

so long, september. you’ve been kind.

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the one with the raleigh-versary.

i swear, every time i turn around, it’s another month- another season- another year. my raleigh-versary snuck up on me this year, and it took me til that afternoon to realize the significance of the day.

august 7.

my stuff lived here a week earlier than i did. we had loaded the 26 foot truck and my car with all our stuff, drove caravan-style from lynchvegas to raleigh, and unloaded everything into storage units at some place on capital near downtown. i went back to the ‘burg for another week to tie up loose ends and celebrate my mom’s birthday, so the date of my official ‘i live here now’ move was august 7, 2011. i drove down early that sunday morning to make it to the middle service at church, to meet the rest of my team and begin life in a new state as a church planter. i started work at starbucks two days later.

fast-forward 4 years.

i’m not part of that team anymore. i’m no longer part of that body. i don’t work at starbucks anymore. i don’t call myself a church planter anymore. i don’t live in the same place i did when i moved to this city. i don’t drive the same car, or have the same haircut.

three residences. five roommates. three jobs. four birthdays. three churches.  four christmases.

raleigh, you’ve changed me. in ways both good and bad- but all ways that were needed. i’ve lost much, in many ways. i’ve wept more tears here than any other city i’ve lived in. i thought no amount of time could make be home here, could make me love this city. but i do love it. i might have lost much, but i’ve gained even more. i might have wept rivers, but joy keeps coming in like a high tide. time has passed more quickly than i ever thought possible.

i started a new job on the last monday in april. the entire process, from first interview to first day at work, took less than two weeks. it wasn’t a job i went looking for- it was one that God brought right to me. i had been looking for another job for over two years at that point. i had searched and prayed and asked and applied and interviewed and been shut down more times than i care to remember- because it wasn’t time yet.

thinking about being in raleigh for 4 years has me thinking about time. more specifically, it has me thinking about the fullness of time, that little biblical phrase we see a few times in the new testament. we see it in galatians 4:4-5 —

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

and again in ephesians 1:7-10 —

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

did you catch that? the implication here (well, one of them, anyway) is that there was a time when it wasn’t the fullness of time. it was not yet. it was wait a little longer. but there was always a plan- there was always a time when time would be full. and do you see what was happening when time was full?! God was working redemption! God was working uniting us to Him! if there was always a plan, it means that he was always working, even in the not yet.

there has been a lot of not yet for me in raleigh. but time keeps marching on, keeps getting fuller and fuller, and he keeps working and working.

one day, time will be full- in all respects. one day, Jesus will cry, like Aslan- “Now it is Time!” in a voice that will shake the stars. the Door will open, the redemption will be in whole- not just in part!, and we will see Jesus. he will make all the sad things come untrue, he will wipe away tears from our eyes, and there will be no more pain or death. one day, revelation 21: 5-6 will be our reality. it already is, in small part- he is making all things new. he is the creator and master of time, and one day it will be done.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

happy anniversary, raleigh. i love you, and i’m glad to call you home. but you’re not my final home- our days are numbered.

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the one where i’m reading all the things.

here’s the december round-up (well, so far anyway):

bonhoeffer in advent: “God does not fill the emptiness, Bonhoeffer said. Rather, God keeps it empty, and in this way he preserves—even in pain—our authentic communion.” 

receive: an advent meditation:: (from micha boyett) “This past week has reminded me that God’s good gifts are not always easy. They are often complicated, prickly things that must be held carefully with tender hands. They are often painful and beautiful at the same time. They are unknown. The best gifts God offers us are often the very gifts that have the potential to completely upend our stories, change the direction our lives were going. It hurts to change direction.”

impatience:: (from paul maxwell) “Sometimes, all we get from Scripture for our circumstance is that God exists, and he acts, and he is not apathetic about our circumstances. These are not for listening in the major key. These are verses for “sitting among the ashes” (Job 2:8). God is working and listening very actively. “The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it can’t save, or his ear dull that it can’t hear” (Is 59:1). That’s what we have to work with. That is what hope looks like. That is also what grace looks like.

wronged by jesus:: (from fabs harford) “The minute the question comes up, I load up a weapon with theological ammunition and beat that thought into silence.  But I’m learning that silencing questions isn’t the same as faith.  I’m learning that there is a Gospel you will never know if you refuse to let the deep doubts find their way to the Light; there is a Jesus you will not touch if you walk away as if the fight is over before you ever begin to wrestle.”

and just for funsies, a cat video.

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the one where i prepare room. (or, advent is an open door)

i’m wearing a sweater today that features a spectacle-wearing fox, so you could say today is pretty good.

i’m drinking an iced coffee-egg nog concoction, so you could say today is just great.

i have polka dots on my skirt (polka dots AND a spectacle-wearing fox?! yes. YES.), so yeah, today is alright.

christmas is in 9 days, over 90% of the shopping is finished, and the house is all christmafied, so you could say today is perfectly peachy.

for some reason, the advent and christmas seasons are incredibly emotionally charged for me this year. yes, the last two years around this time was also difficult; but this year is different. last year was less raw than the one before, and much was overshadowed by sarah’s homecoming (in related news, she’s been home for a year now!). there was still an ache there- anniversaries of events that left their mark on me, but thankfully not the raw, bleeding heart that i was the year before. this year there is still an ache- a bone-deep, nearly constant, weariness- that i cannot seem to shake. but i’m beginning to wonder if the ache is the point.

advent is about acknowledging that something isn’t right at the deepest levels of us, about longing for the fulfillment of promises made to our father’s fathers long ago, about choosing to look ahead and believe that the light will come … and that it’s brightness will overcome all the darkness. advent is “how long, Lord?”, it is “can you see me? do you hear us?”, and it is all the pent-up tears that well up when we see the long years of hope deferred. bonhoeffer said “The celebration of advent is possible only to those troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” advent is “let every heart prepare Him room”.

christmas, though, is something different altogether. christmas is the birth of Hope, the dawning of the Light, it is “Now, my beloved- I am coming now.” christmas is “I hear you. I am the God who sees.” christmas is Christ becoming us in every way, so that He could save us in every way. christmas is the arrival of the One we have been waiting for- the fulfillment of promises made to Adam, Abraham, Jacob, David, the prophets and the people. christmas is that ‘something greater to come’. christmas is “joy to the world- the LORD is come!”

sister & i are doing weekly advent reading together, in the midst of all the hullabaloo that is december. we take turns reading and we invite each other to engage with hope and wrestle with longing. i’m also reading the #shereadstruth advent plan each day (side note: this is the first [and probably only] devotional written for women that i would endorse. i commend it to my small group ladies and repost content on a regular basis. LOVE it, and so thankful for this resource!), and the sermons at my church lately have had me neck-deep in luke 1 & 2. prepare Him room, indeed.

but preparing room is difficult and dirty work. preparing room is prying open the shutters on the darkest, most locked down places in me, and flooding them with Light. preparing room is confronting the fears that keep me hopeless, being willing to question my own doubts, and throwing open the door even though i don’t get to control who walks through it.

all the thoughts. all the fears. but … all the joy. there is room for all of it in Him.

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