Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Inside the front cover is scrawled in pale pencil, "To Beverly Louise Stafford from Uncle Bob."
Years ago when my Grandma distributed her possessions among the children and grandchildren, she gave my sisters and me her tea cup collection. My mom and aunts got her a tea cup each year (so the story goes) during their growing up years. These are the three that fell to me. (Ignore the wrinkly cloth, please.) It's so wonderful to have these lovely cups that belonged to her. I love my grandma! She is nearly 90 and one of the spryest, most energetic, and sharp-minded people I know. She never misses a birthday or anniversary. Someone once called her the oldest teenager they had ever met. She's a wonder.
I'll be posting sporadically, if at all, for the next week as I take something of a sabbatical to spend time with my sweet ones and plan this coming school year. If I do pop in to post, it will be days of vintage...Showing some of the fun old things I've picked up here and there.
Elizabeth and I saw instructions for a Fairy Princess party on Semi-Homemade the other day. It was such a cool idea, I thought I'd post the menu here so I don't lose it...And in case anyone else wants ideas for such a party. We may do it just for fun before summer is out, and invite the other staff moms and daughters. We could add tea for an elegant touch. That would be such fun...
Here's the menu:
Fruit wands (skewers) with honey yogurt dip. These were stuck in half of a peeled and de-seeded cantaloupe, turned over to make a dome. The dip was place in the other half of the cantaloupe, which made a bowl.
Cream cheese/strawberry sandwiches, cut in star shapes and garnished with a decorative toothpick and a strawberry.
Butterfly cookies--sugar cookies with M&M's to decorate the wings.
Garden cupcakes--iced with pastel icing, decorated with sprinkles and flower decorations.
Some kind of sparkling fruit drink.
Doesn't that look like fun?
What are some other ideas for a party like this one?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Today is one of those lump-in-my throat, want to sit down and cry days in our homeschool. You know, when the first grader is asked easy, easy preschool math problems and she looks totally blank...I am looking at her with disbelief because we had this concept long ago and have gone over it so many times since...And her daddy is looking at me like, "What have you been not teaching this child?!" Oh dear. So I guess it is time for some extra drill and review. She really despises math, but she's been doing so well and having such a good attitude during lesson time. She must have just had a flake-out moment, because I know she knows this stuff. Maybe some reinforcement pages will help. Here are a few sites for free printable worksheets that I found. Thought I'd pass them along in case I am not the only one whose child needs some extra drill.
Billy Bear Printable Math Worksheets
Saturday, July 21, 2007
After a week of being gone every day, I am so glad to be safe at home again. I was out of my routine, and all my normal tasks (which I'm not so good at anyway) have piled up. I'll spend today doing a mountain of laundry (10 loads or more), piles of dishes, and deep cleaning every room of the house (which each seem to have a little extra job that needs to be done as well). I'll probably keep my sweet ones by my side like the mama in the picture above. It just works so much better that way, especially in this rambly house where I cannot always tell where they are. Hopefully by the end of the day, I can approach a peaceful Sunday with a tidy house and clean clothes for all.
Sarah, who's 2, is my only child who has been afraid of the dark. She doesn't like to go to sleep with the light off, and if she wakes in the middle of the night, she gets up and turns on the lamp before she goes back to sleep.
A couple nights ago we lost power for several hours. When she tried to turn both lights on (apparently by feel, because you couldn't see your hand in front of your face), she panicked, so I brought her to bed with us. Of course she rolled around and kicked and talked in her sleep and kept us awake for a few hours. But when the electricity came on and my lamp blinked, she woke immediately. Her voice was heavy with relief. "Hank You for light, Mama!"
Thursday, July 19, 2007
As I mentioned earlier this week, we're in the middle of Vacation Bible School at our church. I feel fortunate to have been involved for many years in really wonderful children's work in several different churches that shares Christ's love without being pushy or manipulative.
I used to greatly underestimate the importance of such ministries to children. Parents should be responsible to teach their children about God, I reasoned...And so they should...But some parents don't know Christ and even those who do don't always do what they should. But even if they do, families are designed to live in communities of faith and our children's ministries should reinforce what the children of faithful parents are already being taught. How wonderful for little Christians to have the encouragement and influence of teachers who love Jesus!
I think what convinced me of the importance of children's ministry are the stories of several wonderful friends, all of whom came to know Christ because someone cared enough to reach out to them and bring them to church. Most of these friends are now serving God and raising generations (children and grandchildren) who are making a difference in His Kingdom, all as a direct result of a friend, family member, or neighbor who cared enough to bring them to church and/or share the gospel with them. What a joy to take part in having that type of influence in the lives of children and their families who might otherwise never hear about God's love for them! And likewise, what a joy to help reinforce the discipleship of godly Christian parents and to see their children now growing up and serving God alongside me! I can look back over the years and the children I've taught and it brings such encouragement to see that some of them are grown-up young people who work for Christ and share Him with others.
I think a lot about the kids I've taught over the past 10 years, since I first began at 18. They never fail to win my heart. I know I've made a lot of mistakes in my teaching through the years, but I have to trust that God will take even those mistakes and use them to touch these precious children to grow up to be good, whole, people who love Him and others. This week I look at my room full of sweet second graders whom I've come to love so much in the past four days, and I wonder what will become of them. In just a few short years they will be in middle school and high school, making choices that will impact their lives forever. What if they make the most important decision of all because of some small impact I can make? What if they choose to become Christ-followers because I joined with others of His apprentices to tell them Jesus loves them? My prayer each time I get to teach these sweet ones is, "Lord Jesus, let me make a difference."
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Not that I always live up to that...But it's a wonderful sentiment. Merely functional items are depressing.
This is my stationery basket. I took all my cards and stationery out of their packages, tied them with pretty ribbon, and put them together in the basket. (Actually the front one was already be-ribboned in the package, so much the better, right?) Way nicer than a box full of ugly packaging. It's a lot more fun to write notes when my stationery looks so pretty! I can't take full credit, I think I originally got the idea from Mrs. Wilt. But it works for me!
Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon.
Monday, July 16, 2007
See, I can't even come up with an interesting title. I'm exhausted. I was already behind, and it's Vacation Bible School week. I love to help teach 15 endearing second graders about Jesus! But it feels like everything is piling up...So blogging might be light this week, and likely for the next 2 or 3, actually. I'll be in and out, but don't expect anything consistent.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I was so inspired by the cute cupcake art in this post at Sis Boom Daydreams. (Apparently it was designed by Susan of When I Was Your Age, but I don't see anything like it on her web site...So maybe it was a custom design, or a prototype? Don't know.) Anyway, I borrowed her idea and Elizabeth and I made cupcake cards with our new scrapbook paper from our brand spankin' new Hobby Lobby.
Elizabeth cracked me up, because she had very definite ideas about her card. Never mind that the colors don't match, she had to have some blue. The flag had to be pennant shaped. And that cherry simply could not go without a glitter stem. She wrote a note and gave her card to our pastor's wife today. She couldn't wait to use the pretty card she made. It makes me happy to see her enjoying creativity (especially when it's something we can do together), and then sharing her creations with others.
Last night while Billy and I watched a movie I tried a monochromatic look. They are fine, but I think I like the color contrast in the original art, and my first card, better. I didn't realize till I was looking at the pictures that the polka dot paper made it into every one of these cards. Do you think I like that paper?
Sorry these are so dark...It's raining today.
Friday, July 13, 2007
August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week! Just a heads-up if you're a blogger who plans to join in all the WBW blogging. I'm collecting a few ideas to share during that week, and I'll be linking to my posts from last year too. (Wow, I have finally been blogging long enough that I can do that!)
On that note...Yesterday I was at a playdate with our just-forming MOPS group, and two moms with babies discreetly nursed their little ones in the restaurant without a problem. Now maybe this is not unusual for some of you, but most places I've lived are still in the dark ages in regards to breastfeeding, and it's pretty taboo to nurse in public. I've met more nursing moms and seen more nursing in public in the past 3 months than I have in my entire 7 years of marriage put together, which is greatly encouraging to me. I don't know if this area is just more accepting of breastfeeding, or if it's actually becoming more accepted overall. This would be a good thing, since this state has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the nation, which is causing great concern in the health department and medical community.
A first commandment of frugal living is Despise Thou Not Free Stuff. I found this little vintage bowl on a free table at an antique store (along with this silver tea pot), and fell in love with it. I keep it on my dresser to catch stray pennies, or my earrings when I take them out last thing at night.
Show and Tell Friday hosted by Kelli.
During the month of July, Amazon offers many magazine subscriptions at already-low prices with an instant $5 rebate at checkout. Now they offer a wide variety of magazines, I'll tell you right up front, so not all of them are wholesome. But there are quite a few good ones, and I plan to renew my Country Living subscription this way...It works out to be about 60 cents per issue as opposed to the regular $3 or $4 you pay at the newsstand.
Frugal Fridays hosted by Crystal.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I have a history of fear and worry. By the grace of God, I've largely overcome it, but it still raises its ugly head and tries to get a foothold every now and then.
Last night our pastor taught on Luke 12:22-34. He said this about worry:
Worry is a sin directly against God. It says to God, "You are not enough. I do not believe you can meet my needs. You are not big enough to handle my problems. You are not sufficient to take care of me."
I didn't realize my sweet husband was a step ahead of me and already ordered the book So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, a book I commited to read as a result of this conversation. It arrived yesterday.
First impressions: Very beautiful, quality book. It's much nicer than it looks in the picture, and feels good in the hand.
It's heavily footnoted, which at first gives the impression that it's well-researched. However, even a casual flip through revealed that many, if not most of the works cited are from Vision Forum, the book's publisher, or Ladies Against Feminism, a ministry that works closely with Vision Forum. This is relevant simply because it reveals that much of their "research" comes from within their own organization.
A few pages in, I find that they have many wonderful things to say, and compelling philosophical arguments for the rebuilding of the traditional family. I've been on the same page as the Botkin girls regarding this issue for years. My concern is how they determine this must play out on a practical level, and how they use scripture to support their view. That's what I'm anxious to find out. I'll write more as I get deeper into the book.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Like some of you, I really love Bath and Body Works, but they are pretty expensive, at least for my frugal sensibilities. So I look for bargains, like the 75% off clearance deal going on right now.
Here's another way to get B&BW products for deep discounts. They have really good promotional offers. If you get on their mailing list, you will get a little card about 4 times a year that offers a free item from a particular line of products if you buy any other item at full price. Usually the free item can be up to a $12 value. It also has an expiration date.
Now this is not a good deal if you go in just looking for something to buy, or if you get snookered into impulse purchases (which is why they are trying to get you there). It is a good deal if you go in with your guard up and with a plan. Determine in advance that you will not buy anything besides what you're planning to purchase (unless, of course, you find an excellent deal on clearance as I did yesterday). Then know what you want. I honestly can't bring myself to spend $10 or more for a bottle of lotion or bubble bath very often, so I buy either two items in my signature scent, or one thing for me and one to put back as a Christmas or birthday gift. If I'm shopping with a gift card, all the better. I will even do this if the card is good through, say, the end of August, but I know I'll need a gift in December. This is especially good if I already planned to get them a B&BW product. Just buy in advance.
Our friend Carla Emery used to call it being a smart fish or a dumb fish. Most people have been fishing at one time or another. If you've been fishing, chances are you've had your bait stolen by a smart fish. For really great promotions (whether B&BW, long distance service, whatever), be the smart fish. Take the bait, but don't get hooked.
And now for the question...What is your favorite B&BW fragrance? Mine is Warm Vanilla Sugar. Mmmmmmm...
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Bath and Body Works has a bunch of stuff 75% off right now. They have quite a few large fancy lotions and body butters (in fruity and lavender scents, which I like) normally $15...So you can get them now for just a few dollars...But the best bargain I found were small bottles of verbena and lemon lotion, normally $5, so on sale for $1.25. I only got 2, but I should have gotten a dozen. These would make great little gifts, especially included in a gift basket of some kind, or as stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, etc. They are in pretty bottles, and who's to know you got them on clearance? Very nice. I've been trying to buy small things like this, either to have on hand for unexpected birthday parties and the like, or for Christmas gifts. Not long ago I found several Christmas gifts for my kids at deep discounts.
Speaking of that, one of my favorite frugal places to shop is Tuesday Morning. They are a closeout store, and like any closeout store they have a lot of junk...But many treasures are to be found, especially in the stationery and cooking sections. You have to be careful because sometimes the savings are relative ($200 for a sheet set that was originally $600, for example), but I got several very nice gifts there for under $10 each.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I've had a week with fewer commitments than usual, so I took the opportunity to decorate and organize. I spent part of this afternoon on Silas' room.
He loves to sleep with his army sleeping bag, which is just fine, but it didn't look very inviting, or very neat. I've been wanting to buy him a spread, but today I simply asked, "What do I have in my hand?" I dug around in the cedar chest, looking for something, anything, to put on his bed, and found this pretty afghan that Billy's great-aunt made us when we got married. I had forgotten all about it. It was just right. No money spent.
The bed itself came from a garage sale. I am not sure; it might have even been free.
The big middle picture is a signed pen and ink print that we got at a garage sale. I got the other pictures from an outdated calendar I bummed off my brothers, and framed them in frames people had given us. Total cost for this little arrangement: $1.
These beautiful signed lab prints belong to Billy. I believe he got both of them as gifts. They go perfectly on the big wall opposite the bed.
This kid-sized gun rack came from a garage sale, too. I think Billy got it for $2 or $3.
The thing about "What do I have in my hand?" decorating is that you can't be too much of a perfectionist. I think it boils down to contentment. Silas' room does not look like a designer room, although if I had the time and went to the effort I could do that for a reasonable cost as well. But I'm happy with it the way it is. He is too, and that's what matters. Thrifty decorating also means patience. Most of the time, if you want to save, you don't just go out and buy the whole ensemble at once. You have to wait for those good deals to come along. But I don't mind. I guess I'm strange, but it brings me a great deal of satisfaction to have made my little guy a cozy space so frugally.
Show and Tell Friday hosted by Kelli.
Frugal Friday hosted by Crystal.
Last night I was sorting through some memorabilia and found the folders full of letters Billy and I wrote each other during out courtship, along with the journal I kept. I spent about an hour traveling down memory lane, and in all honesty I could have spent a lot longer than that!
Anyway, I discovered a written disagreement we had about a scriptural issue, and for the first time in my life, he introduced me to the term "proof text" (a term I used in this post about the book So Much More). I can't believe I had been a Christian for so long and no one had told me that there's a right and wrong way to interpret scripture, but I know I'm not alone in this. I have to chalk it up to the lack of personal discipleship in a lot of churches. Stuff like this is important. So if you're interested in the ins and outs of biblical interpretation, Billy is our guest blogger today (unbeknown to him *g*). Here's what he wrote...I hope you enjoy the conversational tone...Remember, this is from our correspondence.
...The real problem is with the Interpretive Principle...It is called proof-texting. [The people we're discussing] are finding Scripture to fit and match their lifestyle and choices. They find a text (Biblical passages) that "proves" what they believe. This is a dangerous principle of interpretation and is absolutely wrong. If there were Scripture passages that deal with [our issue of disagreement] then those passages need to be exegeted to determine God's word on the matter. There are no such Scriptural passages. This form of interpretive principle is wrong every time. It is just like what situational ethics says: "Your choice depends on the situation." [If you approach the Bible like this, the meaning of] each Scripture passage can very with each person. The Bible says Scripture is not of any private interpretation. There is a certain meaning for each passage of Scripture. Following are just two of the many passages that deal with interpretation.
(Gen. 40:5NKJV) Then the butler and the baker of the kind of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man's dream in one night and each man's dream with its own interpretation.
(2 Pet. 1:19-21 NKJV) And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
The use of "proof-texting" can lead to any kind of doctrine. This is the way cults are formed, with private interpretation. I could use this method and come up with a doctrine of education in which a Synagogue system would be God's chosen way. A doctrine of clothing--we should only wear the type of clothes God's people wore in the Bible--it is God's chosen way. A doctrine of healing--let's forget modern medicine and just trust God, He is the Great Physician--you are not really trusting God if you use modern medicine, [because it's not] in the Bible. Just trust God, He will heal you. (Those that die didn't have enough faith, poor them.) A doctrine of drinking only water or wine at meals...A doctrine of wealth...You can see where this can lead...
By the way, we resolved the issue of disagreement quite nicely, and here we are today!
I have to say, since this was all new to me, and I was already a tiny bit intimidated by his pastoral position, I felt a little...How shall I say...At a disadvantage against his seminary training. What I didn't understand at the time is that you don't have to go to seminary to learn how to interpret scripture. A couple good resources:
How to Study the Bible by Kay Arthur (I must admit with some consternation that Billy go this for me and I haven't read it yet. Shame, shame.)
The Christian Research Institute also has some excellent resources for learning to interpret God's Word for yourself. I like what Hank Hanegraaff says, "You can do it as well as I can and probably better." CRI ministered to my family in a wonderful way as we recovered from errant "Christianity" prior to my marriage.
The figs are ripening in abundance. It looks like our neighbors are going to let the tree stay until harvest is over.
We can pick bowls full like this every single day. Today would probably yield several bowls. I haven't been able to make it out there this evening, so I suppose tomorrow we'll have a double harvest.
And there is still much fruit yet to ripen. Not bad for a tree that's growing out of concrete.
Meet Nellie and Emily, two cute little retro ladies I printed for Elizabeth a long time ago...
With their extensive wardrobe. For the life of me, I don't remember where I found them. We cut them out and played paper dolls yesterday as one of the final lessons in Elizabeth's home speech therapy.
The girls got all dressed up and had a tea party. Emily was a bit of a blabbermouth, but Nellie, the hostess, was kind and gracious. Uh, in case you were wondering, Emily was played by me. It's fun to have a little girl so the little girl in me can come out and play. Do we ever really outgrow dolls?
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Once I figured out what I was doing, it went a lot faster than I thought it would. I don't think I did things the scientific way, but I at least got it going in the direction I wanted it to go.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
As a Christian, I base my life on God’s Word, the Bible. I want to obey God, and I want to raise my children to obey Him.
I’ve wanted this ever since I first came to know Christ at age 12. I can’t say I’ve always been successful. Sometimes I’ve been willfully disobedient, and other times I’ve tried so hard to be obedient that I went overboard and tried to “obey” commands that weren’t even there. I pulled scripture willy-nilly from here and there thought I was being “led by God.” My heart was sincere, but sincerity won’t do you any good if you aren’t sincere about the right things. In fact, obeying extra-biblical rules or principles will put you in bondage and can even bring unforeseen disaster to your life.
That’s why I’ve been so saddened by the sudden popularity of books like the Botkin sisters’ So Much More and the corresponding documentary, Return of the Daughters (due to come out soon). I hope that I can present my thoughts as kindly, sweetly, and humbly as possible, for it’s not my goal to beat anyone over the head or to be mean-spirited toward anyone. I speak as one who lived and taught self-imposed extra-biblical principles for many years, principles that hindered me and others in ways I deeply regret.
Now to be fair I will admit that I have not yet read the book. I have read reviews by people who have read the book (both supporters and detractors) and I’ve viewed the movie trailer. I plan to read the book and possibly review it further at that point, but I think I understand enough about the gist of the message to comment a little.
Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin are beautiful, well-spoken, sincere young ladies. I’m sure they are wonderful girls who love the Lord and desire to serve Him. One commendation by their supporters is that “they back everything up with scripture.” Well, my friends, it is one thing to use scripture to support your views (the theological term is proof-text), and quite another to correctly interpret scripture by an objective method and thus gain your convictions from it. The basic premise of their materials (as I understand it) is that God’s will for daughters is that they should remain in the home until marriage, serving their fathers as help-mates to him, as they prepare to be help-mates to a future husband.
This idea is presented in the most appealing terms. The movie trailer is simply breathtaking. There’s just one problem. You won’t find any such command in God’s Word.
Now understand, I stayed home until I married. I spent most of that time just serving my family. I’m traditional and home-loving. There is nothing wrong with that. But it deeply troubles me when young girls like the Anna Sofia and Elizabeth try to tell other girls that God’s desire for them is to stay at home, simply serving their families (and their fathers in particular) until they marry (or forever, if they don’t marry), because God never said that.
I believe, like the Botkin sisters, that we should cast a godly vision for our daughters (and sons, too, for that matter). However, unlike the Botkins, I don’t believe that vision must be limited to being helpers at home. I believe that God’s vision for our unmarried daughters can be much greater than this. In fact, the apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 7:34 that the desire of an unmarried Christian woman is to serve the Lord--not to serve her father. When she marries, her concern becomes how to please a person, her husband, rather than God alone. This runs counter to the teaching purported by the Botkins. To them, serving one’s father (a person) as an unmarried girl is the only way one can serve the Lord.
I understand that they even go so far as to criticize the missionary work of Amy Carmichael and Mary Slessor, single women who dedicated their entire lives to serving God and others in foreign countries. Instead, they hold up untried teenagers as “heroines of the faith” simply for deciding to stay home until marriage. Does anyone else see the irony here?
It’s like a sword in my heart when I see people recommend this book as second only to the Bible in its importance for young women (as several did in the Amazon reviews). My heart is so broken that this erroneous, extra-biblical teaching by two young girls would be seen as more important than any other spiritual book ever written. Where is our discernment?!
I have held back from writing anything about it because I thought that surely its influence could not be that widespread. Frankly, I was leery of even giving it more press than it’s already gotten. I've hesitated, too, because it will sound just plain weird to a lot of my readers--weird in a "How could anyone fall for this?" kind of way. But it seems that everywhere I turn (at least among certain segments of home schoolers) I see it recommended. I am blown away...amazed...grieved...that this hyper-patriarchal model is becoming increasingly viewed as biblical. I am not speaking without experience here. Not only have I myself fallen prey to teachings not expressly found in scripture, I have also seen this very teaching lived out with truly tragic consequences.
Please, before we jump on the bandwagon of a “visionary” teaching that looks so good, let’s lay aside our feelings and hold it up for a stiff comparison to God’s Word. Don't be deceived. I beg you, don’t subject yourself or your daughters to a yoke that He never laid on the shoulders of His children.
For some well-reasoned discussion on the Botkin sisters and their teachings check out these two conversations:
Online Interview With the Botkin Sisters
(This is about the interview, not the interview itself. It links to the interview, however.)
Warning: They are long!
Wow, I can't believe it! Lady of Virtue has given me the Rockin' Girl Blogger award! I didn't even know she read my blog. Thank you, Lady of Virtue. I have to hand it to a mom who has 14 kids and still finds time to blog.
Now I need to name 5 girl bloggers that I want to award...That's hard...I read so many wonderful blogs...But here are a few of those many Rockin' Girl Bloggers...
Christina hasn't been blogging for long, but she has the sweetest blog! I love to read what she's written. Her love for Jesus overflows in her words. Besides, her blog is pink! What's not to love?
Katie is expecting her 5th biological child, but the 12th child in the Bettendorf family. She and her husband Jeff have allowed God to grow their family by adoption as well. They have just come through 4-year-old Jillian's episode with cancer. Katie's faith and dedication to God and her family are a wonderful inspiration. She definitely rocks.
Windy and her daughter Hannah, and Gina are my cousin bloggers! It is so cool to have family with blogs so we can keep up with each other! But even if we weren't kin (yeah, I've been in the South too long...relatives), they are still super cool people with great blogs. They all take amazing pictures. So artistic.
I want to be Debra when I grow up. I know I've mentioned it before, but it is so awesome to see someone who is allowing God to change her more and more into the woman God wants her to be. And she puts it into words that help us understand what that process looks like. I love Debra's blog. I'm not sure how she feels about being described as "Rockin'," but I'm going to give her the award anyway.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Yesterday sweet Cherry mentioned the love of God. Her statement started me on a train of thought and brought to my heart an overwhelming thankfulness for God’s love for me. I thought of these verses from the Bible:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
I’m so grateful that God loves me so much that He came to rescue me from my own brokenness in a broken world. I’m overjoyed that because of His love, I can live a victorious and abundant life. I delight in my knowledge that the depth of His love has changed me on the inside, given me a fresh start, and redeemed me from a dark pit. I’m grateful that I’m not merely religious, but that I am called His friend. And I’m awed that He wants me to join Him in sharing His love with a wounded world so that they, too, can experience His redemption and healing, now and forever.