True Life

John 18:3-4 So Judas, having obtained the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, came out into the open and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” 

Jesus knew what terrible things were coming for himself and he stepped into it willing and calmly. He never fought back. That’s how significantly he desires a relationship with us. Jesus was tortured and died to give us true, real, abundant LIFE.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.

Do you get stressed and irritated about the people and agendas in our world that seem like they are attacking my way of life like I do? We must remember that Jesus is real life for us and He wants those that are attacking us to know Him too. Nothing I desire compares with Him. May we be filled to the full with Jesus so that others may see Him and want to know Him too.

So I challenge you and me today to go seek hard after Jesus. Jesus offers us life in the fullest. He doesn’t want us to worry. He doesn’t want us consumed with things that are worthless. He desires our heart be filled with abundant joy and peace. He took every sin we ever committed upon himself so we could know Him and walk with Him daily.

What steps can you take today to draw nearer to Him?

God has used Lysa TerKeurst’s Finding I Am Bible study and Matt Chandler’s To Live is Christ to Die is Gain to help me see how much Jesus desires for me to know Him and how He offers true life. I highly recommend both studies. Below is a declaration from Lysa’s study. It is just a screen shot because I’m out of practice and don’t know how to load a pdf. Click on it to take you to a clearer version that you can download for yourself.

Harvest 2020

My dad took this sunrise picture. He came out of retirement, learned to drive the semi truck, and helped us all harvest. He got to see a lot of southwest Nebraska sunrises.

We finished harvest at the beginning of this week. Lack of weather or breakdown delays made for a very intense month and a half, but we survived. We thank God for a safe harvest without many major breakdowns. Really, with the amount of rain we didn’t have, we’re thankful we had anything to harvest at all!

William, who likes to wear jeans and orange shirts, didn’t have to go along with us too much this year thanks to the help of Grandmas; but when he did come with us, he did well. Being almost 4 and lots of snacks probably helped make him successful. It’s crazy to think we’re past the point of having little kids that you can barely handle being in a combine or tractor with all day because they can barely handle it!

9 Years Ago

To those of you God is leading on a journey and you don’t think you like where He’s taking you, you can trust Him with an open hand. He is intentions for you are good, and He is worthy of your trust.

We’ve been living this small town life of ours for 9 years now. If I could have known 9 years ago what I know now I would have not been so resistant to moving here, but I probably wouldn’t have learned as much either. I had no idea how fun it would be for our kids to get to go to school and play sports with their cousins. I had no idea how many sweet friendships God would bring our way. I had no idea I would actually look forward to helping with harvest. I had no idea I would put my arm around Brad and tell him I loved where we are in our life right now. I had little confidence 9 years ago that God’s plan was good or that I would see much goodness in it on this side of heaven.

This week one one of my first friends when we moved reminded me of one of our first weeks at church. I can actually remember where we were standing when we had the conversation she mentioned. She brought up our meeting at our Bible study, which I didn’t know 9 years ago would be a meaningful part of my life. This reminder was more touching because I’m still blessed by her friendship. It hits me because I had no idea at that time that I would remember the conversation 9 years later and feel like crying happy tears about it.

You’re thinking that it must have been some deep conversation, right? It wasn’t. I asked her, “How do you raise your kids out here?” In my mind I was meaning, “How do you raise kids when you have to drive an hour to do anything with them and when their dad doesn’t show up at home every evening at 5:00 and thinks Saturday is just another day to work?” She was mourning friends that had moved and wanting to give up on friendship. Then she met me – a skeptic in a new church, new lifestyle, new town, missing everything that I left behind. I couldn’t imagine what purpose God had in moving us to rural America. I can’t imagine I really came across as friendship material, but in that conversation she decided she could be my friend; and she was a definite friend that I really needed at the time.

I have used enough words to help you see what I see in that story? All I can see is a big God caring for his people. We were both hurting people. God crossed our paths, and I had no idea He was working. My current self looks back on my 9 years ago self and just rejoices in His work.

So to you who are scared of the adventure God is directing you toward, open your hand to Him and keep stepping toward Him. He will walk with you even when you’re mad at Him. He is always orchestrating and caring even if you can’t see it.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Psalm 8:3-4

What Does Tomorrow Hold?

How embarrassing. I’m sure some of you saw my post about going to the Nebraska State Fair this year that appeared here. I said in that post, “I’m sure you’d find something you’d enjoy if you made your way there this year.”  I wrote that last year after our trip to the state fair and just picked a date in August of this year for it to be scheduled to publish. I clearly had no idea what this year would bring.

That’s the good lesson we’re learning now. We don’t know what tomorrow brings. That could be scary and upsetting if we didn’t have a great God that cares about us and knows what each minute of our life holds.

I’m finding I’m more thankful for the everyday things that I enjoyed but usually took for granted. We get to go to school today! Yippee! Elliana got to run in a cross country meet! Sweet! We can hang out with friends and family. Awesome! I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but let’s go live our best today.

If the Nebraska State Fair had much going on this year, I would be glad we could go enjoy it. I guess I’ll just have to be thankful for the time we had last year.

My Back to School Rant

I love the first day of school – getting to see all the kids back with their classmates, the new little kindergarteners braving a new world, a fresh start for everyone. This year, even though I’m so thankful that we’re going to go to school, I just want to cry.

[Here is where I deleted my rant that I have been editing and stewing about for the last month about all the things that make me want to cry. You may have agreed with what I had to say; and if you didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have changed your mind. Let me know if you’d like to have a kind conversation about what I deleted.]

Here is what I really want you to know. Fear is everywhere surrounding school this year. Fear is not good. “Do not be afraid” is actually the most frequent command in the Bible.

It feels as if we have no control and that things could just explode any minute; and because I feel like I have no control and that I’m powerless to change things I don’t agree with, I also feel like God doesn’t have the power to help me and that God isn’t in control. That is what the deceiver wants my mind to think. He likes fear because fear is debilitating and doesn’t allow for loving others well. 

So instead of dwelling on my rant, we need to pray fervently about this school year and not forget that God will show up for us everyday. He is still powerful and in control.

  • We need God to give wisdom to health department leaders to help them see the immense value of letting schools stay open and to do what’s best for children.
  • We need God to give school leaders wisdom in dealing with more challenges than normal.
  • We need God to protect the teachers and to give them energy, strength and desire to educate their students every day and to not get overwhelmed with trying to keep their students free of covid. We need teachers full of love and not full of fear.
  • We need schools to stay open!
  • We need the students to not be afraid and to be happy and excited to be at school and able to learn.
  • We need Christians to shine bright in the dark world and for more people to know Jesus because of their light.

More praying. Less fear. Less dwelling on what is frustrating. More Jesus. That is what we need, and I need to stop panicking and stop dreading walking into school while wearing a mask.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18