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IMG_2327_vintagei’ve never really “failed” at something that i tried really hard at before. sure, i fail at certain exercise attempts or keeping a strict diet… but have i ever failed a class? a test? nope.

so that’s why a little letter last week rocked me. it had big words, without explanation, typed in very unsympathetic font: FAIL.

ack. i failed? how horrible! how embarrassing. i actually felt like i had sinned.

Husbuddy said that was silly, we all fail. we’re not perfect. it never says, “thou shall not fail in the bible”.

see, i know that. i know i’m not perfect. actually, i know that i’m pretty mediocre at pretty much everything i do. i was never on top of my class or anything, but i’ve always at least PASSED. even when i thought i had “failed” my freshmen french class in college, i still got a C {oh the horror}! i was totally embarrassed to tell my parents, and i had all sorts of excuses lined up-like my degree was time consuming, i had taken too many credits that semester, i had visited the teacher’s office hours every week!  but that C still hung over my head and i was ashamed.

this time, i have no excuse. i paid a lot of money to take a test, that i need to pass in order to finish my architecture education… and i FAILED.  and i feel shame and horror at the same time.

but then i hear a whisper.

i hear a whisper that says to me, peace. you need ME.

i was reminded. i NEED God more than anything. i can do NOTHING without Him. i will always fail without Him. in my head, sometimes i may think that i can do it myself…i can work hard enough, study long enough, push myself hard enough, almost that i can save myself if i just work hard. but God gently reminds me, through a letter with big ugly words, that i need Him more than anything else.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”

Psalm 73:26

does that take away my frustration with myself? not really. but it does take away my shame. and i am humbled. and i am thankful that God reminds me over and over and over that i need Him.

we all NEED Him. we will all fail without Him. can i get an amen?

xo-kimberly renee

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There are only a couple more days left in July to order your very own Custom Verse Sign!! The funds made from these signs will go to support our church’s sister church in Russia!

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See this post for more information. Thanks friends and don’t forget to order by the end of July!

whew. this could be a really long story! it’s a story of God’s providence in our lives to bring us to this place. it’s a story  that’s a work in progress.

back in December, scratch that…it starts earlier. back in 2008 Husbuddy applied to go to Seminary… ha, ok, that’s going to make a really long story. and you’ve been around for the seminary part! what you didn’t know, is that originally Husbuddy went to seminary to continue on and do his PHD and then become a professor or teacher. that was what he thought he wanted to do.  but through a couple rather large, life altering events that happened while we were in Princeton, God’s voice was heard in Husbuddy’s life.

God called Husbuddy to preach. to teach and to love His people. to be a Pastor.

whew! at first it was a shock to me.  we moved all the way from Idaho to New Jersey to become a professor! it was still ministry that we felt called to, but to be a professor meant to me to have a stable profession of teaching at a college. {little did i know then… that’s not really a stable job…but that’s what i thought} but then God started to work on my heart. i was reminded of the many times that i’d asked Him to use me, to use us. i was reminded of the very reason i had started dating this man back in 2004…because i had been shown that we could glorify God better together, then we could on our own.  {i had made Husbuddy work pretty hard at pursuing me for a while until God revealed that to me…hee hee} we are a team. i knew that then, i know that now. i don’t necessarily know my part of the “team” here yet, but at the time i just tried not to worry about it.

last year, Husbuddy graduated from Princeton Seminary with his MDiv. Techincally, he could have started looking for a pastor position then. but we felt called to go to the northshore of Boston {read about what i said about that calling last year, here} so that he could study more about how to preach. that’s why we were in Gloucester for year. he graduated in May from Gordon Conwell Seminary with his THM in Preaching.

now, at least theoretically, he knows better how to preach. this was really important to him because he feels that declaring God’s word is one the most important things a pastor does week in and week out… that makes him tremble with fear because God’s word is such a mighty thing! he learned so much this past year, and he is excited to be able to put his theories into practice…

now, back to December…Husbuddy was starting to apply to every pastor position in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church  {or EPC -our denomination} he could find. as most first time pastors do, he got turned down a lot. he didn’t have enough experience! it was ok, i knew that God wouldn’t bring us this far without a plan for our future, but the stress level this winter around our apartment was rather high.

thankfully, Husbuddy is very type A- as in, totally organized and on top of scheduling- so he was very diligent in getting out his resume and information. he kept me informed about which churches said maybe and which ones said no…but honestly they all blurred together in my head. i only kept asking about “the one in Pennsylvania” because at first i was annoyed that he even applied there.

…ok… give me a break. i was annoyed because it was only TWO HOURS away from Princeton, NJ! hadn’t we just left that area? weren’t we wanting to live closer to our families and in a different part of the country? {there are so many reasons i did NOT like NJ} BUT little did i know, two hours away was really a million miles because of how different it is here, that’s a relief :)  but more on that later…

really, my annoyance just goes to show how ignorant i am and how if i really trusted God with my future like i said i did, i wouldn’t have been such a baby. 

anyway, this “church in Pennsylvania” kept in touch pretty regularly. one of the things Husbuddy was most impressed with was that they were prompt and always kept him informed about the next step and what was going on. THIS IS HUGE for my type A man. so many churches completely blew him off and never even responded to his emails or phone calls. that’s one of his biggest pet peeves… so the fact that this church in Pennsylvania was responsive encouraged him.

then one day he got asked to do a skype interview.

after that… he got asked to come down to meet with the church! and they asked me to tag along!

that weekend was an amazing weekend of witnessing God’s providence and peace. it was full of peace because by the end of it we KNEW without a doubt, this was where we belonged. we felt that if we said “no” to this church, we’d be saying “no” to God’s providence.  after that weekend, we KNEW that we belonged there and that God had been working -both in the history of the church and in the history of our few years- to bring us to this place.

***

we moved almost two weeks ago. it feels longer.

we moved with thanksgiving in our hearts and hope in our steps because we were just following the road that has been divinely marked out for us. we are SO thankful and SO humbled that God actually had a plan for our little lives and that He has chosen to show us just a glimpse of how He is working.

we are also so thankful for these amazing people. we have been SO BLESSED you guys! so blessed. i can’t even describe how welcomed and loved we’ve already felt!  we are excited for what these next weeks, months and years will bring with our new family and friends.

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Husbuddy has now been an assistant pastor for 6 days.

that means i have been a pastor’s wife for 6 days. i have no idea what i’m doing in that department, but i figure i better just show up,  love people and God will do the rest. {i have lots of things to talk about here, but we’ll leave that for another day} 

and that’s why we moved to Lancaster, PA.

thanks for reading our story! hopefully the testimony of God’s providence gives hope to you. God IS working in every little detail in our lives. He wants to use us if we will let Him. and guess what, there is peace in that.

xo-kimberly renee

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, where as wordly grief produces death.”

2 Cor. 7:10

for some reason, yesterday, this verse really stuck out to me. i couldn’t put a finger on why though. so i thought about it a while. and i read the little footnotes at the bottom of the page. the footnotes say(roughly):

godly grief = remorse caused by having lost God’s approval … and the consequence is a resolve to reverse conduct & LIVE FOR GOD.

wordly grief = remorse brought about by losing the world’s approval… leads to a resolve to regain that approval & this produces death (or divine judgement).

(emphasis mine.)

i thought about that and wrote that down in my journal. it is lingering and i can’t stop thinking about it.

whom do i serve? Jesus says i can’t serve 2 masters! i wrote this down in all caps in my journal too. God is trying to show me something…

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i’m convicted because at the end of many days, i am filled with worldly grief. i worry about my job. i obsess over it. i let it consume me with bitterness. i worry about friends and whether they like me or not. (totally dumb, i know, but you’ve all been there, am i right?) i worry about whether what i do fulfills me. i feel empty when i’ve tried to do things with my own strength. like anything i could do could fill my heart. my soul.

i’m totally convicted that my frustrations and the bitterness that i am so often filled with is worldly grief. i regret things i’ve done or haven’t done in my day because it may look bad to others. i worry about what people think about me.

and it hits me: worldly grief is when i’m focused ON ME.

i long to live each day open to godly grief. because godly grief means i’d be focused on Christ. my heart would be in the right place and i’d repent of my selfish nature daily, with no regret.

oh Lord, help me to have my focus right. to serve YOU, my One True Master. when i get caught up in the troubles of this world, may my grief be godly, seeking only your salvation, repenting(turning away) from my selfish nature.

And i remember that my word of the year is JOY. i realize that the first step to true joy is not trying to find it in this world- but to repent of my selfishness – to have godly grief.

***

i am so thankful when the Lord reveals something to me… even if it’s hard like this and convicts me the core. i’m thankful because it means that He wants me to draw ever closer to Him.

and i realize that i want to draw closer to Him too.

(can i get an amen?)

thanks for listening to my heart, friends. has God been teaching you anything lately? calling you to Himself in new ways? i’d love to hear about it!

xo-kimberly renee

{ps- i promise to get back to japan photos soon!}

sunshine  streaming in my window is one of the most glorious things.

it makes me smile! especially when it’s SO cold outside.  i just want to slow down and soak it in. everything is looks so good when the sunshine is streaming in.

sunshine

i think it makes puppycakes happy too.  if he’s not propped up on a pillow like a king somewhere he’s definitely sprawled in the sunshine. soaking it in.sitting in sunshineafter a long week, taking a few moments to soak up sunshine is so important.

it reminds me of the many blessings in my life. little blessings and big blessings. i start to list them in my mind.

it reminds me of how good life is! i start thinking of all the things that are good. i can’t even count them all, there are so many good things.

it reminds me that the sun still shines even when it’s cold. even when life is hard, there are still little ways that God says He loves me. i try to notice the little ways. i try to open my eyes to the little gifts sun rays.

sitting in the sunshine reminds me to praise God for every little gift!

especially sunshine. :)

xo-kimberly renee

snowflake quote

i love this quote i found yesterday while reading a new book, “Grace for the Good Girl” i love it because it is. so. true.  i’ve been letting this quote be a reminder to me. may it be a reminder to you too! especially going into lots of quality time with family and friends!

xoxo-kimberly renee

 

 

who should we pray for? we should pray for others…others includes those close to our hearts and those who aren’t. today, let’s start with praying for our leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

it is good to pray for our leaders.

especially as we drive along and hear the incessant ads from the politicians go back and forth. sometimes i get so annoyed with those ads and i just don’t want to hear any more slander from grown up men acting like little boys pointing fingers…

but God calls us to pray for them. and all leaders. our bosses. everyone who is in a position to lead us. because they are human too… they are fallen. they need Jesus. and God cares for them too. so, together, let us pray for them.

{this is day 25 of 31 days of prayer! almost done! we’re all almost pros at prayer! ok… not at all… but it’s been fun to think about it for the past few days, thanks for being here!}

“Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
 Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

psalm 5:1-3

it’s ok to cry out to God. it’s ok to ask him to listen to your groaning. in the morning, call out to your Daddy in heaven in prayer.

{this is day 24 of 31 days of prayer. to see other bloggers who are posting 31 days in a row, click HERE}

 

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God

Romans 8:26-27

ok, so maybe today we should finally start talking about the parts of the Lord’s Prayer. first of all, remember what  i said yesterday: i am not a theologian so I do not claim to know that much… but i’ll share what i do understand and hopefully that will encourage you to do some research and see what else you can find!
the first part of the prayer is a praise:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.”

we are saying who God is to us. we are saying that He is greater and holier than us. We are praising Him as greater than everything. we are stating that HE IS GOD and WE ARE NOT! it’s kinda silly to say it like that, but don’t we all think we’re in charge of our own universe? we put ourselves in the place of God. so, reverence for HIS name seems to me like a good way to start when you’re talking to the creator of the universe. ;)

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

here, to me, we’re asking God to come. we are recognizing that our will is not good enough. we are recognizing that Gods kingdom is the perfect one and this world will not last. we are asking for God’s will to be done- not ours. we are asking for God to reign over our world on earth, our tiny little lives, as He reigns in heaven in all His might. this seems HUGE. and humbling because we’re not trying to be our own god ourselves by asking for our will to be done… nope- we are stating that we’d rather trust in Gods perfect will than our own. that’s scary. so often we think we know what’s best for our lives, but here we are asking for God’s best will in our lives.

Give us this day our daily bread,

now we are asking God for our needs. and really, what is our basic need? to be provided for. our daily bread. it can mean literally and spiritually. God knows what we need to survive. we need HIM and we need our basic things like food. ha. He always provides. this is a prayer for trust, really, because when we say, “this day” we’re asking for TODAY. not for tomorrow. we’re asking that he provide for our needs TODAY. and we’re trusting that He is going to give us everything we need. this is really convicting to me because i’m a huge worrier. i’m always worried about tomorrow. this is teaching us to only ask for what we need today-because God’s got tomorrow already in His hands. all i need to do is ask for God’s spirit to feed me today because He will provide.

and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

this one is hard. how often do we actually expect this? what we’re saying here is, ‘Lord, forgive me like i’ve forgiven those who’ve sinned against me’ …um… i don’t know about you, but i’m not very good at the forgiving others part.  if what i’m saying here is, Lord, forgive me like i’ve forgiven my husband, then i’m not asking for much. say, as an example, that i haven’t forgiven him for everything, that i’m still holding onto something. then i’m asking God to forgive me like that? yikes. we’ll talk more about this tomorrow, i think. our sins ARE forgiven by the blood of Christ, no doubt about that. but there is a call that since we’ve been forgiven for everything, to forgive others like Christ forgave us…which means we forgive everything. yikes.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

as far as i can tell, this is a request that God would keep us from temptation in order to protect us from sin. temptation is not a sin. Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days and yet the bible says, He was perfect, He never sinned. so this prayer, i think, is asking for God to protect us. we, of course, will face temptation in our lives, but this request is asking that God protect us with His loving hands from things that are too big for us at the moment. we are asking that He would deliver us from evil. either evil that is going in our lives right now, in the world, or in the future. we all face evil, and we are giving Him the authority to protect and deliver us, asking that He be God in our lives. putting into the perspective that we can’t deliver ourselves from evil or temptation, we NEED HIM.

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phew. that was a whirl wind and most likely a not very good explanation of the Lord’s prayer. i’m humbled that i don’t know it and understand it as well as i want to. but now, maybe we can all take the time to really research and dig deep into what these words mean!

join me on our knees, friends.

xo-kimberly renee.

{this is day 17 of 31 days of prayer, thanks for being here! click here to see the other prayer posts.}