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Sisters in Christ :)

John 15:12-13 – “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for {her} friend.”

I have learned the wisdom and the incredible value of this scripture this past year. There is such a huge importance in having a sister in Christ.

First we must understand how God loves us. John 15:12 says this: “…Love each other as I have loved you.” So……How does God love us? He loves us with an agape love. Let me break that down: Agape love is divine, unconditional, selfless, self-sacrificing, active, thoughtful, kind and never-ending. 1 John 4:9 & 10 says it better…. “God showed his love for us when he sent his only son into the world to give us life. Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.”

I think there are a few things we can take away from this verse!!

1. The source of agape is not the character of the loved rather the nature of the lover. God doesn’t love us because of who we are. He loves us despite of who we are!
2. This quality of love is absolutely unconditional. It is not given out to the worthy, but to the unworthy! It isn’t inspired by achievements or accomplishments but by need.
3. The goal of this love is the good of the loved. This love seeks the best for the other no matter the cost. “God sent his only son…..”
4. The evidence of this love is action. “God showed his love for us when he sent his only son into the world to give us life.” This love doesn’t just feel and speak – it acts. Agape chooses to act in the best interests of another.
5. The extent of this love is sacrifice. “…the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.” Without sacrifice there is no love…because love’s very nature is to pour out, not to self-serve. Love does not act only when it is convenient – but rather it acts no matter the cost.

I have a very special friend, she knows who she is – and we both believe that God has set our friendship up in a very unique and divine way.

If you are feeling like you really need a sister in Christ- a precious friend, a confidant, a source of encouragement and support ….ask our Heavenly Father to supply that friend. If he has laid it on your heart to be these things for another… Ask our Heavenly Father to show you to whom you may be that friend.

I am a better person because of my precious friend. She is honestly an answer to a prayer I prayed for a long time! I feel like I am a more confident woman in being a wife to my husband and a mommy to my babies because of her. She prays for me when I ask, and she prays for me even when I don’t ask. She brings new perspective into light and she isn’t afraid to speak up when she believes a choice I have made isn’t “God’s best.” Neither one of us is perfect, but neither one of us expects the other to be perfect. That’s the beauty of it all, we are unworthy of a friend and yet The Lord has blessed us abundantly anyway. Thank you, Lord!!

I am praying that you may be encouraged! Yes, you!!! God loved us first so that we may pass that amazing love on to others!

So go…. “Love each other as brothers and sisters and honour others more than you do yourself.”

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The ‘Slop Bucket’!

You know, sometimes The Lord just really amazes me! I receive emails daily with devotions in them….every once in a while the devotional I read is so very timely! Today’s was one. I figure if I need to hear this, chances are someone else out there needs to too- so here it is.
Lord, please touch our ‘slop bucket’ and fill it with compassion and forgiveness to the “mean people” in our lives!! Amen 🙂

Have a blessed day!
Mandy

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

Recently I met a friend for coffee.

This is one of the great bonuses of having my son home from college. He needs money. I need time. My daughters need activity. So he took them to an indoor fun center that is the delight to many a child.

Not that I was feeling like I needed a break from all the family togetherness.

But my friend needed me.

So, we met and chatted and processed a situation I wish we didn’t have to process — mean people.

I know I should say that people aren’t mean. Sometimes people just do mean things.

And I know there are always two sides to every story. Glory be do I ever realize there are two sides. But during the holidays when “nice” is usually served up in high fashion, even the slightest meanness can seem really huge.

And knowing that in years past, my friend had spent way too many days crying during the holidays made me sad. For her. For the people who were mean to her during this time. For the reality that we Christians can be mean sometimes. We can be sharp and cutting and too tired to find the right words.

Not long ago, I got an email from someone who was too tired to find the right words. I still don’t understand what caused her to be in such a tiff. And though I made my fingers type words back to her that were gentle and graceful, I will admit that what I really wanted to do was get in her face and tell her a thing or two. Boy did I have the perfect comeback. Because I can be mean. Just like those people who hurt my friend.

We are all more alike than we care to admit.

And not that I want to wax philosophical today, but here I go anyhow.

There’s a bucket inside each heart where hurts are dumped. Little hurts, big hurts, past hurts—they all get dumped into this slop bucket. We think we’re fine because the hurts are contained. We think we’ve dealt with the hurts because they aren’t rising to the surface that often. But then someone comes along and kicks that slop bucket with a mean word or two and it spills over.

Sloshing. Spilling. Leaking. Staining. And every word we speak in response carries some of what’s in our slop bucket.

So here’s the thing.

Slop can be good if it’s been turned into compassion. Some people have let Jesus touch their slop, mixing in mercy, grace, forgiveness, and a love that reaches just beyond what we’re capable of on our own.

But too many of us have let our slop bucket sit and ferment in pride, resistance, our right to be right, and bitterness that cuts off our potential to grow into the woman we’re designed to become. So, instead of compassion, the harshest judgment drips out with each of our words.

Compassion. Judgment. The reality that every girl has a slop bucket.

These are good things to think about over coffee when you’ve sent your kids away to play.

Dear Lord, You are worthy to be praised! Help me lean on You to heal all of my hurts and frustrations. I know that only You can change my slop into compassion, and for that I am grateful. Soften my heart, Lord, and continue to transform me into the woman You designed me to become. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Proverbs 31 Ministries

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hubby: Spiritual Leader!

I read this today and had to share! I believe one of our roles as Christian wives is to allow our husband room to grow as leader of our home. We may not agree with every decision, we may even feel we could do things ‘better’ however, I think we will be blessed by making the decision to allow our Heavenly Father to guide our husbands and giving them the space to grow into the spiritual leaders God has made them to be.

Read below- praying you feel blessed by this blog post!

Admittedly, I’m not the most decisive of women. There are many times, like when I was buying our washing machine, and I wished that my husband would just pick which one we should buy instead of letting me make the call.

You see, I’m happy to let him make the decision—as long as it’s one I’m happy with.

I believe that the role of a husband is to be a leader for his family, to be their shepherd guarding them in safety and guiding them to the best pasture. I believe this is the role that God has called husbands to and, in doing so, He will equip them to make the decisions necessary.

However, that all comes into question when my husband has the choice to say ‘No,’ when I am looking for ‘Yes.’ It’s in those times that I want to grab the shepherd’s hook from his hands and tell him, ‘Here, we’re going this way.’ Essentially, I can be afraid of what his decision might be.

It’s been a journey for me to learn to let go of the decision-making ropes and watch my husband flourish as he takes up the reins. It’s been a journey for me to take this step of faith—to trust our lives in his hands—and watch how beautifully they’ve all worked out.

When we were first married, I was keenly aware of this need to allow my husband to make decisions for us. I had to make the choice to step back and let him do this for us. One of the first decisions I handed over to him was that of our finances. It was not because I do not like numbers; in fact, the opposite is true. I have tracked my spending for years, always searched out the best interest rates, and got straight A’s in calculus and economics.

But I knew that for my husband to grow into his own as a leader for our family, I needed to start learning how to step out of the way. At first this was difficult, especially when I saw how much we were spending on eating out and other miscellaneous purchases. I wanted to put my foot down and say, ‘No, we are not spending money on that.’

Instead, I swallowed the words and waited. We kept a budget and soon, by his lead, we were reigning in our spending. Soon, we paid off all our debt. Then, we rejoiced when we saw that our eating out budget had hit $0 for the month.

I trusted him with those financial decisions and then watched as they blossomed—and continue to do so—under his care.

When we were deciding on a church to attend, I made the intentional choice to let him make the final call. We talked about our opinions, I told him which ones I definitely did not want to attend and then let him make the final decision between the two that remained.

Truth be told, I had a favorite. But I did not tell him because I did not want to bias his decision-making. Because this was a big decision for us spiritually, and because I believe that his role is to be our spiritual leader, I deferred to him. And then he picked the other church. For a time, I was really disappointed, but today I know that he did in fact make the right decision for us as we’ve really developed a family at our church and been able to dig deep roots there.

Each time that I’ve consciously stepped back and let my husband make a decision for us, my trust for him has grown tremendously. I’ve seen how submission can be beautiful and how the Lord has blessed his decision-making skills. I’ve seen firsthand how he really does take my needs, feelings and future into account—his love manifested in his leadership.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Christian

 

Elf on the shelf 🙂 A new Christmas tradition for the Hill family!!

It’s always such an exciting time of year- Christmas! Celebrating the birth of our wonderful Lord and Saviour… The time set aside with family and friends… The songs, the music… The yummy food… It’s all great! What’s even better is sharing all of those things with your children! Starting traditions, making memories!

This year we have started a new family tradition! Elf on the shelf! 🙂

‘Fargo’ our Elf on the shelf has made his very first appearance in the Hill home and we can’t wait for the kids to discover him!! 🙂

Here is a little info on the tradition of “Elf on the Shelf” 🙂 Find out more at: http://www.elfontheshelf.com

Have you ever wondered how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice? The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition is the very special tool that helps Santa know who to put on the Naughty and Nice list. This interactive holiday hide-and-seek tradition is perfect for children and families of all ages.

The tradition begins when Santa sends his scout elves out to Elf Adoption Centers. Waiting for their families to bring them home, these patient elves hibernate until their family reads The Elf on the Shelf, gives their elf a very special name, and registers their adoption online. Once named, each scout elf will receive its Christmas magic and become a part of the family’s Christmas each and every year.

Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!

Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot! While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.

On Christmas Eve, the scout elf will listen for Santa’s bell and then fly back to the North Pole until the next season, wishing every girl and each boy a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy. Join the tradition and adopt your own Elf on the Shelf now!

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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Thankful, oh so thankul!!

It has been a long time since I continued on with my gratitude list! It’s about time I pick up where I left off….

281. A beautiful, warm, sunny and happy summer!

282. Family vacation!! Just 6 more days and we will start our journey east!!

283. Cake making fun!! I have been so busy with orders lately…I LOVE it!!!

284. Time with a friend who is visiting from away! Catching up, yummy cake, laughter and even a few tears!

285. A healthy,growing baby boy! He just melts my heart away. I seriously couldn’t be more proud of the joy that he is and has brought to our family!!!Image

286. My beautiful brown eyed, blond haired girl! Isn’t she something?! Her innocence and curiosity bless me every single day I have the priviledge of being her mother!!  Image

287. My blonde haired green eyed boy! Every day with him is a new adventure! An adventure I absoutely would not change for anything else in the whole wide world!  Image

288. Wisdom. I know whom I serve, and I will not sway from doing so. Nothing and no one will become a greater priority than God alone.

289. Laughter. It really IS good for the soul.

290. THIS beautiful family is MINE. Somedays I wonder what I ever did to deserve them….but I am so thankful every day that I can call them my own.Image

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Spencer’s first photoshoot!

Well, our little man was one month old yesterday! Hard to believe isn’t it?!

We had his newborn photos done yesterday as well by “Creative Edge Images” 🙂 A couple of them have already been edited so I thought that I would share them with you. She took a bunch, so I can’t wait to see the rest!

Hope you’re having a wonderful day! 

 

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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Baby Spencer…

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Just a quick update to say that baby Spencer is HOME and is doing well 🙂 Eating very well, and adjusting well to the increased volume of attention put forth by his very very excited big brother and big sister!!!

Thank you so much to everyone that has called, emailed, texted, facebooked, stopped by for a visit, sent flowers, brought flowers, brought food, gifts…etc, etc, etc!!! We are so so blessed to know SO many wonderful people! A VERY special thanks to my Mama who has been an overwhelming blessing to our family since she arrived a week ago! She goes home tomorrow and we will miss her for SURE!

I’ll update as I am able. 🙂 Three kids are keeping me much busier than I thought, lol!!!

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized