4 weeks and 29 Luthers

Hello all!
We’ve been slowly acclimating to the heat and time change during our five days in Fresno. And we’ve been loving opportunities to see some of your beautiful faces! How surreal to be in your presence again!
We want to make you aware of a few opportunities to see us during this short stay, along with our main purpose in this Summer Home Ministry Assignment: to invite new (and old) people to join God’s work in the lives of our neighbors, our students, and their families. Scroll down to see upcoming opportunities to visit us.
We are searching for partners to join us raise $1500/ month (which can also be given as special gifts)!
And, Martin Luther has joined us and offered his services to new monthly partners! If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you’ll have seen him enjoying his travels from Germany on his 500th anniversary of the Reformation. You may not realize it, but Luther is the father of modern education and is VERY excited about our work at BFA! We’ll share more about that soon.
We have 29 Luthers to give to new monthly commitments (or increased current monthly commitments!) At $50/month, every Luther could have a new home and our goal met! (Though, we will give a Luther for any monthly commitment). Follow our thermometer over the next 4 weeks and watch us progress to our goal!
You can give NOW by clicking HERE. Send us your confirmation email and we will get your Playmobil Martin Luther (complete with Plume and German Bible Translation) to you! Or sign up and one of our following events:
Tomorrow, Saturday, July 8th, we will be at Petunia’s Place. Marcy has a book signing for her children’s picture books and Reclaiming Hope from 1pm – 3pm at 6027 N Palm Ave, Fresno, CA 93704. Come join us!
Sunday, July 9th: Ice Cream Social!
Join us on a HOT day at Chris and Dana Johnson’s House for an ice cream social, where we’ll share what we’ve been up to, our future plans, and cool down with a sweet treat. *Please bring a chair and an ice cream topping*
We will also be at the Bridge Church all day this Sunday (and each Sunday) in a variety of Sunday School classrooms and in the service. This Sunday, we’ll be in the Trinity Sunday School Class at 9:30am.
We hope to see you soon!!!

Should {Five Minute Friday}

Joining in today with another Five Minute Friday. Today’s word theme is “Should.”

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Should

A master to so many.

A master of mine. For too long.

Too long.

A banner that flew over my mind, shouting out demands, always too late.

If only I had… what if… it would have been better if…

You should have.

You should.

Commands motivated by guilt, targeted at the insecure heart.

Only the weak in spirit fall for it, for the cries that say, “you’d be someone if you… because you should, you know.”

Always with a tinge of “I know better than you” behind its disdainful look.

A good mom should…

A good Christian should…

a good wife should…

or should not…

But should has had control too long. No more will I succumb to what should be or should have been. Instead, I plant myself in now. In what is. in what was. In what can be.

And I own it.

I own the mistakes I’ve made and will make, and trust that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). No mistake is unused by Him.

No longer will the regrets of should overshadow the joy of God’s grace. I allow God’s conviction and not this world’s should-full regrets, because “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

What is, is.

We can move forward, informed and learned by the lessons of life, by our mistakes, by failures. Or we can sit and wallow in what could have been or should have been. Wasted years of precious life.

Instead, I choose to live as honest as I can, raw, authentic, broken… and rejoice! Because “he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me'” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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*I’m trying to figure out where my comment bar has gone… hopefully I’ll get that taken care of soon!*

Embrace {A Five Minute Friday Post}

Wow, it’s been awhile.

I can’t begin to explain the last months or years of my life and the way circumstances can sneak in and rob the energy or desire to write. Some days I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around life enough to put words to it.

It’s been a season of listening. Of learning. Growing. Changing.

Of practice.

Practicing the hope I preach. The faith I stand on.

Practicing belief.

And trust.

Messing up and practicing mercy. And grace. And forgiveness.

And today, suddenly, I can write again. The air has cleared enough, the weight lifted enough, the timing just right… enough.

For words.

So today I once again join the Five Minute Friday crew in taking five minutes to write to a theme, unedited, and sharing it with you. The word is embrace.

Start:

Oh, the things I never knew I’d be asked to hold. The weight I had no idea I’d be expected to carry. And the failures in trying. The times I dropped the load and wept, knowing I couldn’t carry it any longer. The shame and the fear… that I’d said “yes” in my naivety and pride to carry this burden, only to find myself weak and inadequate and not-enough… and that in this revelation, my “yes” would destroy everything. Not just me. But my children. My marriage. My world. Too late.

With a passing pat on the back, cheer of encouragement, the light of hope, I’d pick the weight up again and keep walking. Keep trying. Keep believing.

But sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing.

And sometimes the right thing looks like the wrong thing. And it feels like failure and guilt and condemnation and despair… if we let it. Because that weight has a voice. A loud one. A demanding one. A controlling voice.

It demands our service while playing a tape of lies to motivate us in fear. Lies that say, “A good person would never…” “A good Christian would certainly…” “A good mom wouldn’t dream of…” ” A good wife always…” And with tears streaming, we press on. I pressed on. I wanted to believe that I was better than my fears told me.

But you know what? I’m really not. And that’s the thing.

I want to be the glittery image of all things put-together and right and disciplined and controlled and, well, perfect.

I want to live up to my idea that my worth comes from my achievements and my successes and my heroism.

And this keeps me lugging that weight around, hoping that just around the corner, I’ll arrive. I’ll cross the finish line and get my medal, my medal of value and worth and lovability. I’d be worth love. If I could find that finish line…

But then He stepped in. Shook His head with the most tender compassion. “Did you think I’d leave you like this?” He said, gently coming to my side. I wanted to make Him proud.

“See?” I said. “Look at me! I’m doing it!” My legs shook under the crushing weight.

And He knew.

He gently lifted the weight from my shoulders and set it down. My arms ached. Shoot, my whole body ached. And it felt so good, SO GOOD, to set it down. I almost felt like I could fly. “It’s time,” He said. “Time to put that away. I don’t need you to carry that. I don’t need you to do or be anything.

I just want you.”

And now I could see the burden more clearly, now that it wasn’t bearing down my soul.

Rotten. Filthy. Decaying.

Worthless.

It had been such a strong voice, so confidant and driving.

But it was nothing. And everything. And still only death.

And He took it from me.

Wrapped in His love, I finally felt myself rise. Felt His affection, not for how far I’d traveled or how much I’d done along the way, but for being.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

My ragged, frayed clothes didn’t put Him off. In fact, I sensed they drew Him to me.

This road had been long. Hard. Treacherous. And He’d been with me, step for step. The times I thought I was strong enough to carry… He’d been holding up the back, letting me struggle. And grow. And change.

Because sometimes it’s in the adversity that we discover who we are. Who we’re meant to be. Our true worth. And it will never be because of what we’ve done, who we know, the size of our bank account, or brain, or home.

This is what I’m learning to embrace. Not to hide my mess and call it clean. Or to pretend and call it real. To try to bandage and cover my cracks and crevices and craters of heart, soul, and mind… but instead, to leave them exposed.

Because THESE are where my need lies. And it’s only in my need that I meet my endless lovability and grand worth.

In Him.