His Piece, His Time

I like puzzles.  Chaos turned into order. Each piece in its spot.

But, have you ever done a puzzle and found a piece that seems like it should fit?  So, you shove and push, maybe manipulate the edges a little to try to make it fit because for some reason you’ve decided it is the one?

a6f91adb68e4a0bcc523c94cc3aa7897I find myself doing this to my life.  Sometimes forgetting that God has the perfect piece He is preparing and holding for the perfect moment.
My job isn’t to try to find something else to fit a spot, but to wait for God to show me that perfect piece at just the right moment and then act in obedience.

I don’t need to try to strong arm things into working that He doesn’t intend for me.  His piece, his plan is so much better than the ways I try to make something work.

  • S

Please Be Ridiculous!

What is faith?  Hebrews 11 describes it as” confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  I like to think of it as belief in action.

Like Joseph (as in Jesus’ earthly dad, not technicolor dream coat).

Joseph responded repeatedly in obedience every time God directs him…and these are crazy  directions by all earthly understanding!

“Mary, though pregnant, is a virgin.  Marry her!”

“The king of all the land wants to kill your baby.  Leave!”

The king has died go back to Israel…oh wait, there is a bad ruler there. Go to Nazareth!”

do-itThese are NOT normal commands.  Yet, Joseph obeyed.

God would have ensured Jesus’ success as a perfect sacrifice regardless of Joseph – because His love for us is too great.  BUT, Joseph listened and followed God.  He played his part to bring God’s perfect will of how Jesus would come to us.

I want faith that responds to the seemingly ridiculous…

because often the seemingly ridiculous leads to the mirculous!

  • S

 

Enemies

They will fight you but they will fall. For I am with you and will take care of you. Jeremiah 1:19

 

They will fight.

Sometimes I forget who “they” is. It feels like Chis (a lot sometimes). Earlier this year it felt like other relatives, and somedays it feels like Nici Bear and Bug, with each snack, nap, show, activity.

And somedays it’s my mom or my sister, or my friends and questionable choices. Satan takes a lot of faces, he takes relationships because that’s where we’re most vulnerable. And he waits until we’re tired and feeling depleted; however, the verse (the promise) continues, “they will fall.”

They, Satan and his army and their many forms will not win this war.

enemiesMy flesh is weak and my mind even more so; they may take some battles. But my heart is firm and His promise prevails. So I may feel the battle scars and look worse for the wear and feel soul exhausted, but perspective is critical. I am at war with heavenly realms. This fight, this season is much bigger than my little life.

 

Satan is digging in though, so I must be some sort of threat, so I cling to a bigger truth,

 

“I am with you AND I will carry you”

 

It’s ok to be too shell shocked to walk or talk or continue, He will carry me because continue we must. Earth is a holy battlefield, exhaustion and setbacks are inevitable. However, we are not each others enemy.

 

It is part of Satans plan to make it feel that way at times, our soul purpose is to help one another, to share God’s love.

 

It’s our job to identify the enemy and pull of his many many masks.

  • J

First World Issues

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing Love.

Psalm 107:6-8

 

In the midst of debates and elections and news and broadcasting and refugee crisis and bathroom dilemmas…this struck me.

Loudly.

History repeats itself in so many ways, so many times.

And still, throughout the trouble, God delivers and we sing praise.

 

Sitting in so much privilege, it is easy for me to say this, yet its true nonetheless.

 

So many of my issues are first world inconveniences.

first world

We have no hot water today.

 

We have running water. We have a microwave to heat bottles. We have coffee. We have all the food we could want (even if it’s not brownies). We are safe. We are warm. We have no doubts about which bathroom to use. Or fears in using them. We know where our entire family is and where they will grow. We have healthcare even if it is frustrating.

 

I am blessed. Yet sometimes I sit in the trouble that is small and forget it’s a puddle I can stand in.

 

I pray for eyes to see and a heart to discern daily ways to actively participate in the glory of God. To help those struggling get to a place they too can see His grace.

 

“it is a good think to be without trouble, but it is a better thing to have a trouble and know how to get grace enough to bear it” Ann Voskamp

  • J

Just a Little Push

So, pretty much all my question holes for next year have been filled in.  (At least all the ones that can be at this point.)  I’ll be teaching in a new district, in a new school.  

Truthfully, I thought God might be taking me out of education…but He answered the prayer I had been praying: close every door except one- so I that I would know his will.  So, I figured God would be using my skills I had been developing to teach new kids in a similar (if different) setting.  Again, I was wrong.  I’ll be teaching in a different context.

Why do I always think I know God’s plan?  He seems to always direct my feet to the path that I didn’t see coming.

But, I’ve been praying God’s will not mine for a long time.  That is clearly what He did and not at all in the way/path I had visioned (so very typical for our relationship).

c0e88c4798c48923b13f422b9c7f3325It does make it easier to go into the new and relatively unknown knowing that He picked this place, this job for me, and me for them.  There is so obviously work He wants me to do there and something there for me to grow in as I serve him.   

I will admit though- I feel a little better in the short term when God pushes me out of my comfort zone along the lines of my vision.  But, God’s ways of pushing me out of my comfort zone is just never any of the ways that I expect.

But ultimately, His vision is so much better than mine -both deeper and longer than anything I see.  And I really do want Him to use me in ways He sees fit. I want Him to put me in places where He can use me and it pushes me to grow.  He always knows best and I hope to always go where He leads with a willing heart.

Be full of joy all the time. Never stop praying. In everything give thanks. This is what God wants you to do because of Christ Jesus. Do not try to stop the work of the Holy Spirit.- 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19

– S

I Love New Beginnings

I love new beginnings, probably too much. I build this internal hype and, inevitably, let down when things stay dramatically the same.

 

Time never stops, each midnight signaling a new day, a new moment, a new beginning, for a new year from that moment forward.

 

new beingningsI don’t need big hype, just an alarm clock and some daily perspective. Heck, I don’t even need an alarm clock as most nights I see midnight in-between binkies and bottles.

 

But it’s a new year none the less, and I love a good excuse for some fresh initiatives; so here are some of mine:

  1. Every clothing item purchased equals one given away. It was going to be simply no new clothing in 2016; I decided to be reasonable, while still trying to keep my mind on humble purchases.
  2. To choose love over being right, over anger. This will require a lot of practice.
  3. Practice being a part of Team Vacca, rather than in charge. Future blogs and instagrams will permit you to follow my progress and failures, I have no doubt.
  4. Make a new habit of uplifting words coming forth more than complaints.
  5. Make it a larger habit to “ask the Lord” and not just randomly write about my issues.
  6. Enjoy meals and snacks without overindulging, and without guilt for living.
  7. Pray as a family more…currently our family prayer sounds like…”dear Jesus thank you for the food, please let it taste good and Nici sleep all night”…yeah we could use some work.
  8. Get my bear tattoo. Needs no explanation.

 

So there you have it. Some of my goals for 2016 narrowed into a simple list overflowing with big changes.

  • J

Love is Illogical

Life is weird and unfair and earthly circumstances are unjust. And yet God is merciful, His will perfect, and what is left feels like a perfect contradiction, an ugly fleshy world ruled by a loving God. Its 100% illogical and faith isn’t tangible (except for those who choose to believe) and so Satan steps in.

 

And faith can shrink or strengthen in times like this.

 

God’s at work in my soul, my home, my family. So it only makes sense life feels heavy; Satan is pushing down hard and, truth be told, winning my attitude all too frequently.

 

Yet, I persevere.

 

Satan’s favorite place to play is in the minds of those willing to do God’s work. The enemy works in as mysterious ways as God. Using earthy logic against us. Its been his go-to tactic from the beginning…

 

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” Genesis 3:4-6

 

Unconditional love isn’t logical. Repetitive forgiveness isn’t logical. Helping those who hurt you isn’t logical. Giving freely isn’t logical.

 

illogical loveAnd yet God calls us to do those things. To physically turn away from earthly things, earthly logic.

 

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:15-16

 

He says love your neighbor as yourself…and your enemy (Mark 12:31)

Help those who harm you (exodus 23:5)

Forgive way more times than is logical (Matthew 5:44 and 18:21)

To give freely (Deuteronomy 15:10 and 16:17)

 

And so logical responses and arguments mean nothing, they promote a lifestyle I do not long for; at the end of everyday I am called to crazy illogical love.

-J