Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthright, by David Needham

Birthright intrigued me before I even started reading the book. The title worried me a little – do I know who I am? What if I’m one of those Christians that doesn’t know who they are? What if this whole book is going to point out all of my “Christian” failings?  What if, deep down, I’m not good enough to be a Christian?

Oddly enough, those fears were real.  My brain knows that you can’t earn salvation or be good enough. My heart knows it most days too, but somewhere in this dark place in my mind, there’s a little nagging voice that will always say, “You’re not good enough.”

I’ve always struggled with this – this belief in Satan’s lies that I’m a failure.  In the last five years, God has done amazing work in my life, bringing healing to this area of self loathing: a bible study on Galations affirming that I can't earn salvation, my husband’s continuing grace in my life,  my family’s love and support – everything in my life has been speaking to me that I am loved and forgiven.  In fact, I’ve even seen progress in my life and walk with God - proof that I’m growing and maturing in my walk with the Lord.

But, somewhere, unresolved, was this little seed that was still planted in my mind, reminding me that I will never be good enough. “True,” I told it, “but I’m forgiven. I may not be good enough, but Christ has paid my price.”  This always felt right, but it never erased the quiet doubts that others would see me and view me as the failure that I knew myself to be. There was always the thought I was messed up inside – trying hard to don Christ’s love, even living in His Spirit – but still broken inside.

And then I read Birthright – not that I am completely over hearing the nagging thoughts - but now, I have seen my new identity. One I think I knew was there, but that Satan kept lying to me to cover up.

I knew that if I abided in Christ, he would help me resist temptation and, more than that, not desire sinful things, but to realize that while abiding in Christ helps, He has done more than that for me – He has literally given me a new nature.  To believe that, to my very core, takes the fear that who I really am will come out and be seen by all. It changes it to a belief that I am a new creation in Christ. One that, yes, will be tempted by sin, but one that is no longer a slave to sin. In light of my new nature, I am not only a sinful person who is forgiven and trying hard to love the Lord and live in His Spirit, I am a child of God who delights in His Spirit and who is free from my old sinful self.  

David does a better job explaining it than I can summarize, but I suppose the imagery of an adopted child is what I imagine - a girl from the streets who is adopted by a wealthy and loving family. She will always worry that the friends of that family will forever to see her as the street girl she was; no matter how many pretty clothes she wears or how perfectly she speaks, no matter how vehemently that family proclaims her as theirs, that nagging feeling will linger in the back of her mind. But the child born to that family, will never have those doubts and fears.  It would never cross her mind that she didn't fit with her family - she is their child and is confident in her identity.

And that is what Christ has done for me. I am no longer that street girl. I am the child born of God. That nagging feeling can leave, because I am more than adopted, I have been given a new nature, and have been made a child of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - 
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old things have passed away; behold, the new has come."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Story of Grace

I hear the steady sound of breathing as my husband sleeps... His warm back is pressed against mine. The darkness of the room is deep as I lie cozy beneath the blankets, pondering what she has asked of us... of me.  She wants us to share our testimonies.  She asked us to tell how we are different now than we were before Christ.

My testimony... the words burn my heart. What testimony?  I have only known unfaithfulness in my walk with God. I have only known failure. That familiar self-hatred eats away at my heart again. You have nothing to share, the enemy lies.  You are not a different person. You'll never be like them - righteous and holy. You will never be able to share about how you are different because you aren't and will never be different. You are selfish. You are worthless. You are a failure. 

The tears fill my eyes as I listen to the liar. And yet, I hear His voice there too, whispering truth. You are my daughter.  You are forgiven.  You are washed clean. You are Mine. I have made you holy. I have given you a righteousness that is not of your own.  I love you. Your testimony is of Me.  Your story is My faithfulness.  I will never let you go. I will show you the surpassing riches of My grace so that you will be the evidence of My love.

As His words pour into my heart, banishing the enemy's lies, I listen as He tells my story the way that He has written for me.

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness."  My testimony is one not of my own works, but of the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards [me] in Christ Jesus.

I grab my iPhone from the dresser next to the bed and quietly type the story that God has given me. I will share my story with these women and pray that others will see Jesus in it. I will pray that His grace to me will show others His love for them. I will tell them that I, myself, am not different;  It is Christ in me that is.

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."  - Philippians 1:6

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stolen Time

It is quiet. The only sound is the anxiety pounding in my head that says she'll wake up at any moment.  That beautiful little girl who consumes my life now. The precious little eyes and smile that take up every free moment I possess.  The lovely little cheeks that prevent me from thinking about myself anymore...

In my quiet, stolen moment, I pray for a little time to myself. A little time to breathe, to write, to quilt, to shower... what was it like to shower without listening for a little voice?  I choose writing. The whir of the computer is oddly calming. It feels so full of potential. The anxiety stays - will I be able to finish this one blog post?  Too many posts started and left unfinished these days.

My empty oatmeal bowl sits beside me.  I remembered to eat breakfast, this once. Boxes are everywhere on my floor. My attempts to simplify these days have created a mess that is hardly simple. Baby toys are littered between the boxes. I should be cleaning now, not writing, but I'm choosing myself this time, not my to-do list. Even as I write it, I wonder if it is selfish, stealing these little moments and doing something for me. The things that need to be done grow and grow and I find myself shrinking beneath them.  And yet, as the shrinking happens, I redefine myself, this child who is growing into womanhood.

I try not to put my insecurities on him. This poor husband who loves me when I don't deserve it.  Sometimes my heart wants to put my feelings of self-hate on him.  Choosing to create stress in his life in the hopes that he doesn't notice all the things I didn't get done today, again.  Even now, in the beauty of Christ's grace, I try to earn love. Even now, after five beautiful years of marriage, I'm trying to win his love that has always been freely given.

In this stolen moment, I'm choosing not to earn this time. I'm choosing to receive love not because I deserve it with my clean house and my clean life, but because love is offered. I'm choosing to be okay with failing. I'm choosing this silent moment for myself and fighting the feelings of worthlessness for doing so.

I hear her little voice in the monitor babbling. My heart is swollen with love for her. This little person I gladly give my sleep and energy to.  This little love that fills my life. This child who does not steal my time but receives it freely given.

Just Write

Friday, July 22, 2011


I feel like everything around me lately has been pointing to one thing: world poverty.

It sounds so far away - world poverty. And living in America, it is far away. From our hearts. From our thoughts. From our lifestyle.

But lately, all I can think about is the suffering of people around the world. Of children, like my beautiful Little Miss, dying from starvation..  all I can see is their faces and their pain.

I watched a movie yesterday, while I was sick, about a woman who does relief work in another country and I cried for the children around the world who need what I have to give. I watched a movie about WWII and I cried over the atrocities that were committed against mankind and continue to be committed all over the world under different banners... I read a book about the calling of Christ and what it means to be Christ-like called Radical and I was ready to sell everything and GO before I even finished reading... I read a blog about famine in southern Somalia and knew that I cannot ignore the world's needs any longer... I read a blog about apathy in the American middle class and I cried about how easy it is to ignore the suffering of the world when we have SO much....

I read about a girl who is younger than I am by years and has adopted 13 children and lives with them in Uganda.  She not only cares for these children of hers, but she feeds 1,600 children from the community each week. She started a program for women to help them sell necklaces to the US. She provides medical services to the community each week with other volunteers who have joined with her over the past few years.  She started a program that sponsors 400 children's education... God is literally changing the community of Masese because of her faithfulness and her willingness to serve.  And she is only 23 years old...  (

And I sit here in my four bedroom home with more stuff than I need and my very American middle class life and I no longer wonder - I know - that I am missing out on the calling of Christ.  I serve my friends. I serve my neighbors. I'm minorly involved at my church. I love people. I seek peace. I read my bible. I pray. I tithe. I support international relief organizations. But my faith is dead because my works mean nothing because I won't go and God has called us to go. My faith is dead because Christ has made it clear that his followers do not accept a mamby-pamby watered down version of Christianity - they take up the cross and they follow Christ to the hungry and the sick and the needy and the orphans and the widows. They suffer for Him. They die for Him. They give up their family for Him. They give up their friends. They give up their desires. They give up their homes. Their comfort. Their pride.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Mark 16:15-18

"And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.  These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Marrakesh with Nate & Ruth

Marrakesh is one of my all-time favorite restaurants!  During my pregnancy I had the most intense cravings for it and probably tried to convince/guilt trip/force my husband to go there EVERY night. I'm not kidding. He tried to control this craving, since it wasn't a cheap option to be fixated on (darn women who want pickles and peanut butter! My husband would've supported that. Spending $50 on dinner every night just doesn't fly with the hubby for some reason...).

Now that the crazy uncontrollable cravings have abated (thank God for NOT being pregnant anymore!), Andy and I went out to dinner at Marrakesh with our lovely newlymarried friends, Nate and Ruth.

Since it was Ruth's birthday the next day, we decided it would be our early birthday dinner celebration for her.  It was so good to catch up with them and reminisce on all the little things you discover about each other when you get married...  Things like girl hair. Everywhere. In the shower. On the floor. In the sink. On the bed. On the couches. I'm pretty sure that Andy found my hair in the most unexpected places. Welcome to marriage - here's some hair.

Anyway, here's the Hubby who is now fully acclimated to the hair covering I've brought to our life:

The lovely Nate and Ruth (Happy Birthday Ruth!) who are still discovering the joys of cleaning hair from your shower drain:

And my absolute favorite part of going to Marrakesh (besides the lovely hair-adjusted company), the Bastilla:

And my favorite main course, the Delicious Apricot Chicken (yes, Delicious does need to be officially  included in the title of this dish):

Any surprising/interesting adjustments that you experienced when you moved in with the love of your life?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rhododendron Gardens and Wahkeena Falls

I love being a stay at home mom! I get to invest my time in people I love and enjoy the beautiful outdoors DURING THE WEEKDAY!  Since summer lasts for only a few short months in Oregon (and I'm determined to finish off this clinging baby-weight now), I've made a goal to do active things during the day to help shake the weight (42lbs down and only 9lbs more to go!).

Tuesday, I went hiking at Wahkeena Falls (near Multnomah Falls) and we made a quick 1/4 mile hike detour to stop at the Multnomah Falls lodge. It's so great to be active and get out and about. The hike was awesome - intensely uphill at some points - and a fantastic beginning to my goal to be healthier and more active.

Mom, Little Miss, and I at Multnomah Falls!
 And then today (see how good I'm doing - twice in three days!), we went to the Rhododendron Gardens in Portland and walked around.  It was probably the geriatric version of a hike (light walking) but I'm just glad that I was moving around with people I love.

Aren't our babies adorable in their matching carseat/strollers?  This photo makes me laugh because it looks like they're intentionally ignoring each other!

 I love my daughter's smile!

Mom and I by the small water feature at the Rhododendron Gardens.

Any new goals in your life?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fashion Trials

So my sister and I have decided to be more fashionable. Actually, I've decided to be more fashionable; she has always been pretty hip.  As such, we played with her hair from a how-to photo I found on pinterest and ransacked her wardrobe to create this:

Isn't she so cute? I heart her!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Who knew it was so cool?

I'm only slightly addicted to it. Thanks Nate. :P

Some favorites that I've found over the last seven hours hour of pinterest time wasting:

Source: None via Elisha on Pinterest

Source: via Elisha on Pinterest

I think Little Miss would look pretty stinking cute in the last two!

Blogging Again

I'm blogging again thanks to my lovely friend Lauren who reminded me that I like blogging and that every post doesn't have to be a production of perfection.

I was putting too much pressure on myself to come up with grammatically correct brilliant marriage advice while being hugely  pregnant AND working at a 40hr/week job AND commuting three hours a day AND somehow trying to squeeze Andy, sleep, & food in. Even now just thinking about it all is exhausting.

Now that I've officially erased all memory of those miserable nine months and have replaced them with happy thoughts of Little Miss, I think I'm ready to join the world of bloggers again.

Little Miss at 8 weeks:

I'm glad to be blogging again!