SWI Review–Running the Race with Patient Endurance

Running the Race with Patient Endurance–not Perpetual Busyness taught by Mary Mohler was not something I took because I am necessarily always busy, but I find my life going from different extremes during different weeks. One week there is something every night on the calendar and I don’t talk to my husband much until the weekend. One week there is much more room to breathe, but I feel guilty that maybe I am lazy. Mrs. Mohler helped give me more insight on how to patiently endure and think about what I should be doing and what I should not be doing.

Two things especially stood out to me from the class. The first was, “If you don’t have time to pray and read Scriptures, then you are busier than the Lord ever intended you to be.” I do have time to pray and read the Scriptures, but I thought that to be a helpful and true gauge for now and the future in thinking about my time and priorities. She gave us a quote from Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung, “The answer (to having consistent devotions) is not simple willpower of I must spend more time with Jesus. That won’t last. We have to believe that hearing from God is our good portion. We have to believe that the most significant opportunity before us each day is to sit at the feet of Jesus. We won’t have to rearrange our priorities unless we really believe this is the best one.” That is what really hit me. I love to read books and I can usually find at least an hour to read each day, but I often do not see drawing near to God as my “good portion.” Do more, read more, pray more…those do not last. But a change of theology, of belief, of priority, that can last.

Something Mrs. Mohler made me realize I want to start doing with my husband (to help our marriage, ministry, and just life!) is talking regularly about our goals and have a running to do list. Mrs. Mohler said a good way to discern how you should be busy is to “say no to optional demands that don’t move you toward your goals.” I plan to start sitting down with my husband and monthly talking about weekly, monthly, and yearly goals we have to be better know how to use our time. In the same vein, another thing I want to regularly think about when making the best of my time is the question, what is it that people need from me? Do they need my “heart, love, attention? Or clean dishes and food?” Of course things need cleaned and people must eat, but I do not want to neglect the soul and heart for the sake of a perfect meal and running to do list.

Another helpful thing I learned in thinking about time and busyness is contentment and thankfulness for what the Lord has given me. I often do not seize opportunities because I assume they will be there tomorrow or the next week. I want to make wise decisions in what I do and be thankful for the time, energy, and physical ability I have today.

SWI Review-Raising Healthy Children

Raising Healthy Children by Mrs. Wellum is something I wanted to listen to to be prepared to care for other children I watch over and for possibly my own someday. I thought the class was mostly going to be about caring for your children when they are sick or hurt (because I have poor knowledge in this area) instead of eating (because we all have our own opinions on what our children should be eating) but what she did say was helpful.

On the more nutrition side, what I was able to take away and what challenged me, is to first, don’t let it consume you. Second, what are your goals? Are you going to eat with your children? Will they be seeing you eat salads and fruit? Are you going to convince them from the very beginning that water is the best thing in the world? Another thing I definitely want to remember is to not reward only with food, but with other things as well like going to the park or reading a book.

Something I learned that I think will be helpful for my ministry and my marriage if we have children is to tire boys out. :) She encouraged us that little boys need to play and run around often.

For more nurse type questions that I was seeking, she talked about concussions, losing teeth, ear infections, going to the urgent care, items stuck in the nose, and stomach aches (I particularly liked that she encouraged us to let their stomachs rest when they have stomach aches.) I am definitely not a nurse but I hope the Lord gives me grace for those situations I might have someday.

 

SWI Review-Mourning with Those Who Mourn

Mourning with those who mourn taught by Heath Lambert encouraged and ministered to my heart. Right away he opened my mind by saying that we need mourners. We need people mourning in our life to obey the command, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” I often think they need me to comfort them or listen to them. But it was such a wonderful truth hearing we need each other in grief. Something that I think will greatly benefit me in future ministry, when I will probably go through mourning with a lot of people, is “people who are going through grief are not interruptions. This is a kindness of the Lord to help you be obedient.”

Something else that was a strange comfort to my heart, was Dr. Lambert telling a story of being at a funeral where a husband had lost his wife. The husband was wailing and screaming over the casket out of grief at the funeral and a man came up and rebuked the husband. Dr. Lambert said he was shocked that the man was rebuking the husband for mourning. Dr. Lambert said he personally he thought the husband had it together pretty well considering what happened but also that mourning is good and that is what he (Dr. Lambert) would be doing or worse if he lost his wife. I often have fears of something happening to my husband and to hear a seminary professor say he couldn’t imagine the grief or how he would ever be able to handle losing his wife, helped me as I often wonder the same thing.

Another particularly helpful thing in going through grief with someone is to know mourning requires commitment. Something I want to become better at is committing to a long term process of mourning with those who mourn. To remind myself to visit them, call them, send them a note.

Lastly and most importantly, Dr. Lambert shared that mourning requires Jesus. The main comfort we have in grief is that one day all mourning will end. We were promised sufferings in this life and when we go through mourning with others we must experience it as our own loss, to be a comfort and to prepare for our own suffering someday. We also must repent when we are tempted to not care, when it is easier to feel distant. Jesus is our comfort and he will give us the grace to mourn.

 

groaning and healing

I have a few posts lined up to publish soon, but now normal things in life feel almost mean and heartless to publish when there are people suffering such great losses. The sufferings of my own life seem inconsequential when I think of what the people I know and love have experienced. The trite cares of my day fade as I groan wordless prayers for other’s heavy burdens. Life is once again put back in perspective as you remember we are not promised a certain number of days on this earth. Yet still, so many things don’t feel right or fair. It’s because they’re not. The world is not how it was meant to be or how it one day will be, put back right. I used to think it was wrong and selfish to long for the promise of a future with the Lord (heaven) because I do not like the pain and sorrow in this world. A few days ago, as I was wrestling with uncertainty, questions, and fear in my own life, Andy shared something that a professor spoke of in his class. The professor mentioned all the people written of in the Gospels that came to Jesus for physical healing. They came to Jesus for to be healed because they trusted that he would heal them (which can seem self-serving to come wanting healing, but they were also expressing trust in Christ by coming to Him.). And because they had that tiny trust in Jesus for healing, he healed them spiritually as well. I feel the same. I do not have many answers to my unending questions, my mind can’t wrap around the answers I am given, and I am often self-serving in my desire for salvation because I want to be healed from this world. And Jesus takes that tiny speckle of trust I have that he can heal me of this world and gives me the faith (that often falters) because I trust him to make everything right again some day. I don’t have many answers, and I often have a lot of angry questions, but the one thing I do know is Jesus can heal and it’s okay to come for healing even if that is only what you are coming for. A sweet friend has died and my groaning is for comfort and healing for the many that loved her.
 
 
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
 

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18

 

the welcome winter

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I’ve been depressed lately. (Why is that such a shameful word?) I think I probably have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winter is hard for some people. I feel the most alive in Spring and Summer. Autumn is nice because it is pretty and smells good. Then comes December, which is okay because of the holidays (although I’m more of a Grinch and could do without the hoopla for the most part). Next comes December 26. Home alone, put away the tree, and I sat in our cold apartment staring out at the grey sky wondering how I will live until April. How will I survive the cold and gloom while Andy is at school? What am I going to do for four months while it is too cold to go on romantic walks and bike rides? Sun shine and warmth bring me life. Gloom and cold make me want to eat all my Trader Joe’s dark chocolate and go cuddle up like a squirrel. I realized I can’t spend four months of my life wishing the time away and complaining (to who…God…he made the winter, Hannah!).

I realized I needed a thought change. I needed a theology change. I’ve been thinking about squirrels (because they’re my favorite) and how they store up and rest during winter. They cuddle in their little nests and stay warm. Then Andy said something to me yesterday and it all clicked. I said, “Why am I so lazy? Why can’t I get up early like I used to and get things done?” And he said, “Hannah, you walked home in the snow. You cleaned the refrigerator and made dinner. You are not lazy. You did something.” Sure, I didn’t do the million other things on my list and I still have not started on our January meal plan and I sleep a lot, but it’s winter and I did one thing. (Cleaning the fridge is important to me and might not be important to you. There are probably things that are important to you that I don’t care about spending time on.)

Why do animals hibernate in winter (and why doesn’t the world let humans do that, too?!) and why did God make winter when I hate winter? To rest. To snuggle. To eat more and gain 15 pounds so you don’t freeze to death. To catch up on sleep. To prepare for the next three seasons. This is the year I’m going to enjoy winter. This is the year I’m going to tell myself it’s okay to eat more (and that includes chocolate) and it’s okay to sleep more and it’s okay to snuggle more and it’s okay to wrap up in 20 quilts on the couch and listen to Harry Potter all night with my husband. Spring will come, but winter is here–enjoy it.

p.s. Andy, thank you.

food & theology

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“By cooking, we transform the mundane into something sacred. And then we share it with others.”

Food helps me remember things I don’t want to forget.

I enjoy eating good food and the memories it creates. 

I love when Andy loves my food. 

I love when he cooks the meals only he cooks. They are not my recipes, but his.

Spending time in the kitchen creates magic.

Food forms time with family, not away from family.

Cooking creates time to talk, to learn.

Cast iron skillets comfort the soul.

Food must be very important.

We need nourishment.

We were created to eat often.

Food is not meant to bring isolation, but to bring people together.

A warm dinner is fire to conversation.

There is a sacredness and pleasure in sharing a meal.

Food is a joy.