Can I just say that God is really awesome? 🙂 Because, He really just is. Not because everything is perfect all the time. Not because it’s always sunshine and rainbows. Not because I feel like He’s awesome. Just because He is, all the time, every day 🙂
The night before yesterday, I made overnight French toast (kind of like poor man’s French toast, like a breakfast casserole sort of thing) and stuck it in the refrigerator. Sunday morning I came downstairs to stick it in the oven for breakfast, but someone had already preheated the oven and begun to let the dish bake, which meant it would be ready before we had to leave for church. And that was really cool 🙂
After talking with God for a while during the morning, I came downstairs and sat at the table with my entire family, and we prayed together, and then ate the French toast. Mom wasn’t eating and neither was Dad, but it was nice of them to sit at the table, even if we weren’t all talking. That was also really cool 🙂
It’s funny: when I’m in The City, at college, I’m always eating while doing something else, whether it be reading, studying, or writing. I’m never just sitting down with someone and eating because I always have work to do or somewhere to be. So when I come home it’s a special treat to sit at the table and just eat with the people I love. I really appreciate college for that, if nothing else, because it makes me value the things I once might’ve taken for granted.
At church, I was able to talk to Grandma Pat about how she was doing and I talked to other people about things that were going in their lives as well. During Sunday school, Pastor talked about living the gospel and the importance of both living the gospel (John 13:35) and proclaiming the gospel verbally (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:46-48). You can’t have one without the other (James 2:18), and you can’t have either without first knowing Christ and having Him as your foundation (John 15:5). It was a good reminder, because sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in trying to live out the gospel and proclaim the gospel without constantly going back to and being in communion with the One by which the gospel was created and established and written. It’s all kind of miserable and mundane and pointless without Him 😛
During morning service, Pastor Dan talked us through Titus chapter 2. I’ve read through Titus only once, and though I remember some of what it talks about, I appreciate the opportunity to refresh my brain and my heart.
Titus chapter 2 is all about teaching sound doctrine, about what men and women should be doing in the body of Christ. I really like this passage, because, again, it gives very clear instruction as to what to do. I know sometimes I get caught up in thinking things like “the Bible says nothing about this specific situation, so obviously God didn’t plan for this to happen.” This is faulty thinking, because even though the situation is specific and unique to me, or seems that way, God has provided instruction for how to react and respond appropriately via His word. But there are times in the Bible when His instruction is clear and obvious and no shades of gray exist and no points are left up to interpretation. This is one of those passages 🙂
For men, it says: “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness” (v. 2). This is really cool to me, because in today’s society, doing the hard things (being self-controlled or disciplined, sober-minded or focused, steadfast or patient, and dignified) just isn’t the thing to do. Being disciplined is almost looked down upon, and it’s weird and kind of discouraging to be reprimanded, however subtly, for doing the right thing.
For women, it says: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (v. 3-5). As I write this out, I realize that I’ve posted about this particular passage before, but it still teases my brain and pulls at my desire to be disciplined and more familiar with God’s will and desire for me. Now, technically speaking, I would not be considered an “older woman,” at least not old enough in the church to be set over “young women.” Can I counsel girls younger than I? Of course. But I don’t think that’s what this is talking about. This is older women on younger women, not women on girls.
Anyway, I would definitely be considered a “younger woman” here, though I’m not married, have no children, and I don’t have a home to run. The charge to be self-controlled, pure, and kind, however, is no less intentionally meant for me. I like the fact that God clearly charges women separate from the men while also challenging both sexes to carry themselves a certain way and to pursue a relationship with Him in a certain way. He understands with great intimacy the differences between men and women, and not only does He bathe those differences in a wonderful light, but He also uses them to bring each sex closer to Him in the ways that are most relevant and important to them. God is totally knowledgeable of how men think and how women think and how different those thought patterns are.
After church, Mom and I headed to the weight room at the public school down the road to work out. I ran, and ran, and ran, and lifted, and when we left it was raining. We’ve been able to go for long walks among the back roads and countryside of our Shire, and we’ve been able to work out at the gym for a couple of days in the past week, and I’m so glad God gave us that time together, just me and my mom. He also gave me that time to restore my sanity and refresh my body and power it up a bit. It’s amazing how He connects and uses everything 🙂
Sunday afternoon I played cards with Jimmy. As we played, we talked about what he was reading for his devotions, about video games, and we teased each other mercilessly. I have missed him 🙂 But as we played, I caught myself trying to do things for him instead of stepping back and giving him the opportunity to succeed. Let me explain. Before finals week I watched a video called “Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Guy.” Now, obviously not all of these things are true and not all of them apply to every guy everywhere. But something discussed in the video was when girls say “Here, let me do that.” Now, I never really thought about this, or even considered it to be something that would affect a guy in anyway, not because I’m insensitive, but just because I honestly didn’t know. To see if it was true, I tried, especially while at the Brock’s, to give Jacob and Uncle Doug and Nathan and the other boys opportunities to do things, not even for me, but in general, to give them the chance to succeed without my becoming impatient and just saying “Here, let me do it,” or “I’ve got it.” Yes, it was very difficult, but totally worth it 🙂
So, when I found myself doing that with my brother, silently saying “Here, let me do that,” even though it was with simple things like shuffling the cards when he couldn’t or moving the cards when he messed them up, I wondered if even with Jimmy I might need to back off. So I did, and he was much more open to talking with me and continuing to play with me.
Today I woke up to sunshine and a fresh layer of snow covering the ground outside. It was beautiful and just one of those things that God did that He didn’t have to do 🙂 “I love you, and I’m here, and you are Mine.” Thank You, Jesus 🙂
Everyone in the house went back to school, since Christmas break was officially over, and I was able to spend the entire day talking to God and thinking things through. I cleaned the house nearly from top to bottom, dusting and washing and folding and vacuuming and mopping and sweeping. It was a lot of fun 🙂 Jimmy came home from school and asked me how I was, and that was special 🙂
When Mom came home, we talked for a bit and then drove to pick Gracie up from basketball practice. During the drive, I was able to talk to Mom about different things, and it was on the way home that God used her to snap me back, in my thoughts, back to where I stopped over thinking, where I was able to be like, “Oh yeah, the world isn’t ending and I can relax and enjoy things and it’s wonderful.” 🙂 And I was again overcome with joy as I experienced God’s ability to use everything and everyone to bring me back to Him, closer to Him. He’s just awesome 🙂
Tomorrow I’m taking Sophie for a walk and meeting up with Julie. I’m also headed to lunch with her and Pastor Dan, and I’m looking forward to spending time with them 🙂 I keep thinking there’s something I should be studying for or something I should be working on, but I really just get to keep the house clean and organized while everyone’s at school, I get to spend time with my siblings and my parents and talk to my people, I get to write and write and spend time with God and I don’t have to worry about any assignments or tests or anything 🙂 And that’s wonderful. I get to just, like, relax, which I’m beginning to realize is a skill that I really need to work on. Relaxation…what a concept 😛