Monthly Archives: April 2016

04/27/16

Seeing Brokenness as a Blessing

I recently read this devotion from Micca Campbell on Proverbs 31 blog and it bowled me over. So many of the thoughts that I had been having as I look around and see brokenness all around me.

I hope your heart finds peace and comfort as you read these words.

The Blessing of Brokenness 

“I clenched my teeth and closed my eyes as I waited for the explosion. My favorite lamp had fallen to the floor and smashed to smithereens. Somehow, in the scattered fragments I saw a picture of my own broken life.

As I carefully collected the shattered bits, tears stung my eyes and the pain of brokenness surfaced again. It’s a deep hurt. The kind not easily healed. My heart was crushed as if it had been stomped on, broken and discarded. Unable to progress in my work or relationships, I became a hostage to my own sadness. I felt weak and desperate for hope.

No one enjoys the pain of brokenness. Normally it calls for a letting go of something near and dear to us. At the time, it doesn’t make any sense. Yet, since the broken lamp, I have learned that brokenness leads to an unexpected good.

It’s for this reason that God breaks us. Not to cause us undue pain. Not because He doesn’t love us. Instead …

God breaks us to bless us.

He chips away anything that keeps us from finding our true life in Him.

God targets an area of our life that we’re unwilling to submit to Him. Perhaps it’s an unhealthy relationship we won’t release. It could be laziness that’s stunting our spiritual growth. Or even a bad habit that’s standing in the way of experiencing the fullness of God.

Whatever the cause, our tendency is to hold tightly to these things because we believe it’s what we want. We’re convinced they please us by providing the joy, pleasure and fulfillment we seek. But God knows the truth. Only He can truly satisfy our deepest longings. All else is counterfeit to His provision.

Therefore, God selects the tools it takes to break our self-sufficiency and cause us turn to Him. When we give up our independence, we gain a new perspective of God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

A great picture of this process is found in our key verse. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

Unless the kernel is buried and dies, it will produce nothing. It will remain a lone, solitary stalk of corn. Imagine passing a field that only hosted one blade of corn. You might ask, “Where’s the rest of this farmer’s harvest?” However, if the kernel dies, it will produce a great harvest.

Consider the life of Jesus. On earth, He was like a single stalk of corn. Yet, through His death, burial and resurrection, His life continually produces a harvest of souls.

In a similar way, as long as I live a selfish life fixed on my own wants and desires, I will produce little. On the other hand, if I die to myself and live according to God’s plan, I will yield a productive life that’s beneficial to God and others.

It sounds difficult, I know, but the unexpected good of brokenness is that it revives the life of Christ in me. I become less and He becomes more. That’s a good thing!

The more we become like Him, the more we become like the true selves God intended. The more love and patience I have in my heart, the more joyful and content I am with others.

Think of it this way. For the wheat to reproduce itself, it had to die. For Christ to reproduce Himself in others, He had to die. If I desire Christ’s life to be reproduced in me, I, too, must die to the lure of the world and my own selfishness. Then, I will experience the fullness of God I desire and reproduce disciples of the same kind. Jesus put it this way:

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25, NIV).

Sometimes God has to break me to bless me. As challenging as that can be, I’m thankful. Because honestly, I want the life God wants to give me instead of settling for the counterfeit.”

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24 (NASB) 

I want all of that life that God wants to give me, never settling for the counterfeit. Chip away anything in my life that keeps me from finding true life, love, joy, and contentment in You.

xoxo…

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04/19/16

Throwing an Engagement Party

Sweet roomie Katie is getting married!!!

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And I couldn’t be more thrilled for this next chapter of her life with her love, Bill. They are such a sweet couple that have dedicated their relationship in service to the Lord and we wanted to celebrate them well during this season!

What I served:

  • Cheese Board
  • Creamy Herb Dip with fresh veggies
  • Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets, assorted dipping sauces
  • Assorted store-bought cupcakes… {just wait til you see these beauties}
  • Champagne, Fruited Water, and lemonade

The secret to this menu was selecting items that could be-

a) served at room temperature

b) many of the recipes could be made ahead & stored until party time

c) were primarily store-bought and could be assembled and presented as if it was homemade. Listen… No one has more fun just because you made everything!

d) ensure there was something for everyone

And, with this menu, I think we achieved that! And it was tasty, minimal stress, and easy to prepare & present. And all the guests left no longer hungry.

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So, here was my Game Plan:

*Always, always, for any kind of a gather or get-together, lay out a game plan; a timeline to ensure that not only does everything get done, but you actually have given yourself enough time to get it done!

  • 2-3 weeks ahead of the party, send the E-vite to the guests, ask for RSVP or Regrets Only so you know how many to plan for.
  •  3 days ahead of party. Shop time! Go ahead and wash the veggies before storing them. Keep the cheeses in their original packaging and place in refrigerator. Do not wash the fruit you plan to serve until day of party.
  •  2 days ahead of party. Set out plates, cups, glasses, and serving pieces. Visually see how you will present the food on party day. {this is always the step in the process that gets me the most excited about hosting}
  • 1 day ahead of party. Make the Creamy Herb dip and slice/prep the veggie dippers. Chill down the drinks and pick up the Party trays that you have ordered, which in my case was chicken and cupcakes… 2 main food groups.
  • Day of party. It’s go time! Make sure drinks are perfectly chilled. Assemble the cheese board, allowing the cheeses and salami to come to room temperature, reheat the chicken nuggets so they will be nice and warm at start of party, and set all the other items out including herb dip and veggies along with the cupcakes. Allow to sit at room temperature about 30 minutes prior to first guest arriving. That way, if you have any early arrivals (and you always will), you won’t be scrambling around at the last minute as they look on. I want my guests to think I am calm, cool, and collected, and as a result, they settle in and have more fun.

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In the way of decorations, I really didn’t do that much since our apartment is rather cozy and we were expecting lots of our friends and family in attendance.

I did do one large, but simple & understated flower arrangement in center of the food table.It was a grouping of 3 pots of white orchids with gold & white polka dot tissue paper wedged in between to keep the pots covered, but also to add a little flair!

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I think they turned out pretty well.

And there were a few other subtle details too…

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Happy Engagement Katie & Bill, but even more importantly, many, many blessings to you as you begin your lives together. May it always bring honor & glory to your Savior, Jesus!

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We love you!

xoxo….

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