Tuesday, March 22, 2016

FOTS: Goodness

For several months, probably a couple of years, honestly, lessons in my walk with the Lord often point me back to this issue of the heart called ... my motives.  And it's got me thinking about goodness.  The dictionary defines the word good as being "morally excellent," "virtuous," "righteous" ... things like that.  While those are decent definitions, I've been learning that goodness has so very much to do with grace.

Ya see ... no one is good (Romans 3:10-12).  Only God is good.  Even Jesus, who was God in the flesh, didn't consider Himself good ... but pointed to God, alone, as being good (Matthew 19:17).  But the longer I exist on this planet, seeking after God and striving to know Him better, I continue to learn that although we are not good in and of ourselves, we are good according to God.  Once we put our trust in Jesus, God sees goodness, not sin.  I think another definition of goodness is "without blame" or "blameless."  And that's exactly how God sees us because we are washed by the blood of Jesus!

Is this hard for you to swallow?  Well, get in line!  I have struggled for over 10 years with this thing called grace.  It's for everyone but me ... at least, that's what I've somehow brainwashed my mind into believing.  But by God's GRACE, He is retraining my mind, slowly but surely, teaching me to embrace His grace for myself ... specifically, He is teaching me "practice instead of perfection."  He is showing me in His Word and through my daily encounters with Him and through teachings at church that I am good.  I'm not good because of anything I've done.  I'm good because of what JESUS has done.  And His grace is MORE than sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Quickly, I wanted to bring us back to my first sentence about motives.  Another key Truth that I want to share concerning goodness is our motives.  The motives of our hearts also reveal whether or not we are allowing goodness to reign in our lives and grow as a Fruit of the Spirit.  Yes, we are good because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross and because we have accepted His free gift of grace.  But I think we manifest goodness in our lives by examining the condition of our hearts and choosing pure motives and actions rather than our fleshly desires.  We are human beings, so we are going to sin ... I get it.  But what are our motives?  I can honestly say, that from a young age, my greatest desire has been to honor God with my life.  Have I messed up?  Heck, yeah!  But my motives are almost always pure.  I want to please Him.  And I think that is something else God considers good.  At least that is what I'm learning ... it all comes back to this phrase: it's a heart issue.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

FOTS: Kindness

I've been thinking about a couple at our church whom I so admire.  They are amazing folks with hearts of Jesus!  And I've been thinking about them for this kindness post for awhile, so let's go!

Brent and Rene' Lacy.  This couple started coming in to my mom's cafe' a few years back, and they were so friendly and open ... and they became regulars.  Well, my mom sat and chatted with them as often as she could, and one day, she was bold enough to ask them about where they stood with Jesus.  They put their trust in Jesus during that conversation and have been coming to our church faithfully ever since.  And wow!  What a blessing they have been!

To me, the word kindness goes so much farther than just being nice to someone.  Kindness is about putting yourself in the other person's shoes, trying to see where they are coming from and then serving them just where they are, no matter who they are.  I guess I think of kindness being a synonym to servanthood.  Just my opinion.

Well, Brent and Rene' are servants who exude kindness.  Ever since they started coming to our church, they have found countless ways to serve our church family.  They pretty much ran the church garden by themselves last year ... I know Richard Smith helped, and forgive me for any others who may have helped ... but I know Brent and Rene' put in a ton of work in the church's backyard last year.  Rene' reaches out to families in our church on a weekly basis, helping them take care of chores and projects and anything else they may need.  They have helped my parents with projects around their house and at my mom's cafe'.  They chip in and help at all kinds of events at Calvary on a regular basis.  And I know there are so many other things that they do.  And I know for a fact that they do it because they love people, and they love Jesus.  That is what kindness is all about: serving others in love.  My family and I have been so privileged to get to know them and call them our friends.  I am so grateful for their salvation and for the hearts of kindness God has instilled in them.  They truly do share kindness wherever they go.  And they go a lot of different places because they literally do not eat any meal at home! ;)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Haddie is 10 months old!

What Haddie is doing and learning these days ....
Finally holding her own bottle! ~ Drinking lots more water from her bottle ~ Drinking much less formula and eating more table food ~ She hardly ever eats from a spoon because she wants to feed herself ~ Learning to clap ~ Has a new face that is to die for ... she bends her head down so you can barely see her eyes and then grins - so funny and precious! ~ Standing on her own a lot more ~ Using her walker a lot more and getting fast! ~ Likes to make us laugh ~ Starting to play games and responding to games like peek-a-boo and leaning your head back and forth ~ Loves Baby Einstein more all the time ... Meet the Orchestra is her favorite! ~ Loves music, especially musical instruments ~ Has been introduced to the show Daniel Tiger a bit, and we can tell she already likes it ~ Likes board books, especially ones that have objects you point to and say the name of ~ Carries her Little People around with her everywhere ~ Still a big fan of her pacifier, especially when she's tired or riding in her car seat ~ Quite the daddy's little girl ... she's been dismissing mommy for daddy these days! (Daddy sure doesn't mind) ~ Tries to climb the stairs a bit ~ Loves to eat food (and other things) off the floor .... mommy needs to sweep more often - haha! ~ Haddie just found out last week that she's gonna be a big sister ... around November 3rd of this year!

What Mama is doing and learning these days ....
I'm pregnant again!  Happy birthday to me! :):):) ~ Still working at this thing called balance ... learning that it's a never-ending battle ~ Trying to work out more of a routine for me and Haddie ... as best I can ~ Slowly reading the books on my 2016 reading list ~ Starting a study called Fervent with the Ladies' Tuesday Morning Bible study - so excited! ~ Trying to find ways to make money as a Blogger .... probably should find more TIME to blog first, huh?  Ha! ~ Loving to read my friend, Emily's blog ... it's awesome!  Check it out at www.emilymacd.blogspot.com ~ Excited that we are paying down our debt and making plans for the future ~ Been using the myfitnesspal app, and I really like it ~ Continuing to learn that dependence on God is my purpose ... so I am doing exactly what God wants for me when I choose practice instead of perfection :) ~ Still practicing cultivating a heart of thankfulness ~ So thankful for my cleaning job and job at The Porch ... they are tremendously helpful to us ~ So thankful for a husband who loves me unconditionally, is always willing to work at communication and finances and overcoming struggles TOGETHER, and who is working so hard to provide for our family in multiple ways ~ So thankful for my beautiful Haddie girl who challenges me, warms my heart, and makes me laugh ~ So thankful for my parents and Darrell's parents who help us with Haddie in so, so many ways ~ I'm so thankful for this season to live with my parents ... we are paying off debt and making plans for the future that would not be possible without their help ~ I'm thankful that Haddie is actually taking a NAP, IN HER CRIB, so that I can get a few things done (yes, if you can't tell, this is not a normal thing for her) ;) ~ Can't wait for the warmer weather so that we can go for family walks/bike rides at the park ~ So hopeful for God's workings in our lives and marriage and family ... excited to see what He's got up His sleeve! ~ Absolutely loving being a mom, and it's growing all the time ~ And excited for our new baby a comin' :)