Thursday, April 23, 2009

Challenges

During a college interview I was asked if I was a competitive person only I can't remember how I answered. If asked the same question today I would give a responding yes. I like a good challenge and often am competitive with myself. I used to have musical and academic pursuits that fulfilled my competitive nature but now turn to more self focused goals. I am in the midst of two challenges right now. I've been working out pretty hard recently and can do a real push up more than a couple times so I am doing the 100 push up challenge. The goal is to perform 100 consecutive push ups. I am excited and am feeling very strong right now. It is a 6 week program and I am only on week 2 but feeling pretty good about it. I will let you know when I complete it. For more info you can always check out the website: http://hundredpushups.com/


The second challenge is a five year Bible study plan. Justin got me a NLT study Bible for Valentines day and I am loving it. I thought I was too much of a scripture snob to enjoy it but am loving reading it. They have a 5 year study plan in the back and Justin is trying to get some others on board with going through it together. Of course I jumped on board as I often do when a challenge is presented. I've read the Bible through a handful of times, and have studied several books but I am looking forward to studying the whole thing over the next few years.

I love reading scripture and allowing God to teach me new things through passages I've read so many times. As I read the creation account again this week I was/am amazed at the goodness of God. When I take time to reflect on just what God did to create this world and what Christ did to redeem my life I recognize that when I cooperate with Him He can do anything. God showed me this week the parallel of the creation story to my own life. My life can be brought from chaos to order, my darkness made light, my emptiness filled. Surely if God did this in the created world He can do this in me, His creation. The challenge to this is that I need to believe God is who He says He is and that He does what He says He does. Lord, You deserve all praise and worship the rest of my life.

Psalms 33:6-9
6 The Lord merely spoke,
and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
and all the stars were born.
7 He assigned the sea its boundaries
and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
8 Let the whole world fear the Lord,
and let everyone stand in awe of him.
9 For when he spoke, the world began!
It appeared at his command.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fresh eyes

One of the best things about being a parent and working with young kids for that matter is seeing things through their eyes. Everything is new, exciting and an adventure. Spring brings so many exciting adventures to our house. The birds, flowers, trees and I guess just about everything is exciting. Thursday we went to the Morgantown mall and Lydia stopped to pick a few dandelions on the way out. She loves dandelions and what kid doesn't. She considers dandelions picked anywhere but home special and gets very excited by holding them. Since the grass at the mall hadn't been cut yet the median at the entrance is full of dandelions. She was so excited to see them and said "That looks like such a pretty garden."

The dandelion is considered nothing more than a lawn weed. It spreads rapidly and is not a desirable part of a well kept lawn. I myself have always had a special place in my heart for dandelions and other flowering weeds. I even forced my family to go to the wildflower farm on a family vacation growing up. I'm not sure but it is just the thought that there is beauty out of something that is supposed to be a mistake. I need to know that not everything is perfect but there is still the opportunity to have beauty. Not everyone will see beauty in the dandelion but maybe we should. If we look at it with the eyes of a child it is just a flower but if we allow the influence of our intellect our experiences and others around us to cloud our judgment it quickly becomes nothing more than a weed.

For me there is something special about looking at flowering weeds and seeing the beauty. I like to think that the weed has been redeemed for a different purpose than just being a weed. There are many weeds in my life that God wants to redeem and make new. He alone can work all things out for the good, in fact this is His desire for my life. Although the work Christ did on the cross is complete He is still working in my life and the lives of all who have placed their faith in Him. He is still in the process of creating beauty from ashes, making all things new and completing the work He began in me.

As I posted previously my desire is to live and organic life, live in a way that is real and honest. To live this way will undoubtedly not be a weed free existence. God is not done with me yet. Some weeds need to be taken out at the root which can be a painful experience but there is no better gardener to perform this task. He also wants to use my painful weed experiences to show others the beauty that comes from a surrendered life. I need to take an inventory of the weeds in my life and allow God to have His way. There will be some uprooting of certain behaviors and attitudes that don't belong in the garden of my life but there will also come some new beauty to my life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday reflection

I woke up early this morning (5:30) and spent some time in reflection before the day started. I wanted to read Isaiah 53 and really focus on what it is Christ did for me on this day so long ago. I love reading that chapter and trying to really recognize what a huge gift God has given me. Verse 11 really stood out to me today, "When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins." For me it seems that the longer I've been a Christian the more I recognize just how sinful I am. I recognize my attitudes and thoughts cause me problems and how much God wants to be invited into every area of my life. This verse struck me because I recognize that apart from His saving grace I have nothing righteous in me. The work Jesus did on the cross made me righteous. Nothing can be added to or taken away from that. I do not deserve this grace and extravagant love but God wanted so much to be in a relationship with me that He took upon Himself the punishment for ALL MY SIN. I couldn't decide which of those words to emphasize because each is so important. I have indeed SINNED, it is indeed MY fault and He has removed it ALL. Today I will rejoice in knowing that.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Organically me

O.K. I'm going to let you in on something that I have been working on here and there over the last several years. I have read 3 different books (maybe more) that have encouraged me to come up with a life mission statement. As a person who likes to put into action good ideas that I read I have attempted to do this a number of times. Never have I come up with something that is "organically me" shall I say. Of course I don't think it is an easy task to come up with a mission statement. There are so many things that I want to do and be and work on. In the past I always saw examples that were so good but when I tried to use them I never felt ownership. If you have a quote that means a lot to you or a statement of faith that you have seen elsewhere that is a great thing but I wanted something that was completely me.

There are many definitions for the word organic, most of which deal with life growing without pesticides and such but one definition of organic is
arising as a natural outgrowth. That is the kind of life I want to live. I want to live organically with all of my life being a natural outgrowth of my relationship with Christ. There are so many things that clutter my life and take my focus away from where it should be, therefore living organically should acknowledge those things and more forward. Circumstances, relationships, struggles and sin are all areas that when dealt with and allowed to can bring about the natural outgrowth of Godliness. 1 Timothy 4:7 says "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." There may not seem much correlation between discipline and natural outgrowth but I think there is on further inspection. The Bible is full of stories of people who were real, transparent and organic before God but who also chose to discipline their lives to follow God's commands. I want to explore the depths of organic living with Christ in a world that desires to see what is real.

This brings me to my life's mission statement. I wrote this in a moment of inspiration on February 21st of this year. It has been29 years in the making and may be revised as the years go but completely reflects where I am at right now. May this inspire you to consider what your life's mission statement is and what level of an organic life you want to live.

Megan's Mission Statement: I desire to know and love God more and to consistently have my actions, attitudes and thoughts reflect a passionate love for Christ, recognizing this can only be accomplished because of and through His grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring cleaning

I love spring. The time outside, the emerging colors, the freshness of everything around. Things that have been asleep are waking up and it is a wonderful feeling. I also like to clean so the appeal of spring cleaning to me is wonderful. I know a woman who does fall cleaning since she is in her house more in the winter but I still find spring to be my favorite time to clean up.

The funny thing about cleaning is that it never lasts long. I have done what I consider to be deep cleaning on the top floor of our house. I've moved furniture, dusted, scrubbed and vacuumed most every nook and cranny. I find cleaning to be fun and enjoy completing a task, I just wish that all the effort that went into it lasted longer. The girls rooms for instance took no time at all to be cluttered and messy again. I don't consider the basement and garage to be my domain for cleaning but I still like to have some kind of order there as well. I am so grateful that my girls inherited the cleaning gene from me and can only hope that it lasts as they grow.

I also take some extended time in the spring to look at my life and set some new goals. Maybe that is because the new years resolutions have died down a bit or have been completely forgotten but whatever the reason I like to take an inventory on where I am at and where I am going. I've been spending a lot of time reading Romans recently. As I confessed in my last post that I have been choosing a poor attitude as of late that does not reflect the blessed life that I have nor the God honoring life I want to lead. In my personal spring cleaning I've been feeling the stirrings of some dreams and desires that have been dormant come alive. It is always a bit scary to recognize the passions that seem to fade away in the midst of a busy life but sometimes even scarier is the possibility of being called to actually act on those passions.

Romans 5:2 says, "Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory." I live an incredibly blessed life and I want to recognize even more just how much this is an undeserved privilege. The grace of God in my life is an incredible transforming power and I know that it is completely undeserved. I also know that God desires for me to face with confidence and joy that which He has called me to. What a blast it will be to share in God's glory with all who place their faith in Him. So as I head in the direction of cleaning up my attitudes and exploring God given passions I will walk in confidence and joy where He leads.