If you’ve ever come to the end of an amazingly full, bountifully blessed, truly encouraging weekend, you would understand how we felt after the 2018 NC FEW. Problem is, we only took about 10% of the pictures we would have liked to have taken to document the time with so many precious families. The Lord blessed the time, strengthened us, provided the help we needed, and gave unmeasured grace. Our hearts rejoice in His work!
To summarize the weekend, here are 5 highlights that stand out to us.
4.Spending time praying with and for other families
Praise the Lord for His grace, and for the opportunity to gather with other believers! “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
We often encourage one another when beginning and/or continuing projects to take things “a step at a time.” What we mean, of course, is that some tasks are simply to big for us to (humanly, anyway) tackle in a short amount of time and will therefore require several segments of dedicated time over many days, weeks, months, and sometimes years.
Another aspect is the encouragement found in Psalm 119:105 – God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light to our path, and also that our Lord will provide sufficient grace for today. (Matthew 6:34, 2 Corinthians 12:9) From these passages, we can gather the truth that, as we meditate on and delight in the inspired and inerrant Word of God, we will be directed by the Holy Spirit to take the “next step” of our lives, and that His grace will be with us in every dark time through which we must pass.
But how big is a “step?”
I know that when I have a daunting task, it only makes logical sense to work toward the goal in small increments of improvement or accomplishment. If I have a hundred miles to walk, I can’t cross the finish line in a day, or a week, or in two weeks, unless I drop all else and make walking my #1 priority. But what goes into walking a hundred miles, anyway (we’ve already considered the time factor). It’s kind of obvious, really, but at the same time, it isn’t. It’s a case of not being able to see the forest through the trees, if you will. The answer? Steps. Lots of steps. Lots of little, tiny, probably-less-than-two-and-a-half-feet-long steps. Now for a math lesson.
There are 5280 feet in a mile. Multiply by 100 miles. That’s 528,000 feet. Don’t panic yet; that’s not our final answer. And just in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s more than half a million feet. Exhausting. Now let’s divide that by 2.5, since we are assuming that a “step” is 2.5 feet in length. Relief! Only 211,200 steps to take. This should be easy; not even a quarter of a million steps. No problem.
Step 1. Step 2. Step 3. Step 4. Step 5. Step 6. Step 7. This could get old fast if you dwell on the written form for too long. Even if I only wrote until Step 22 you’d probably stop reading and turn off your computer. But this is a reality. A step is not a quarter of a mile. A step isn’t even tenth of a mile, or a twentieth. It’s just a step. That’s all.
I’ve had quite the time of it, the past two and a half years. A massive road to walk that would require head-aching, skull-stretching, mind-boggling study, experimentation, and work. To me, it was like trying to walk 1000 miles. And to make things worse, the tools I needed to have in proper working order kept malfunctioning. (Imagine if you broke both of your legs on Step 2.)
The grace of the Lord has been so evident in the past week or so. I decided, after a long time of broken-leg-healing, if you will, to try it again. To get back in the saddle. To take my walking sticks in hand and start walking. Just one step, I told myself. I prayed for grace and re-surrendered my life, time, and talents. I determined to stay at it for one hour that first day. That should be almost long enough, if not quite, for 1 or 2 baby steps, I reasoned. I next determined to set boundaries on my stopping time. I couldn’t wimp out and give it a half-hearted effort, but nor could I reinjure my “legs.” They’re still healing, don’t forget.
God’s grace has been amazing to experience. I’ve “walked” 11 Steps! Oh, to be sure, that’s only 27.5 feet – a far cry from even a quarter of a mile (which is, by the way, 1320 feet). But 11 Steps. It’s progress. It resembles the tiny, invisible growth of a seedling. It’s the beginning of the change wrought in the landscape with the passing of seasons. It’s almost imperceptible. But it’s there. It may feel like the step from a fishing boat onto a stormy sea. But there’s a Master waiting to walk with you in your Step of Faith. And that makes all the difference.
Do you ever get the urge to de-junk? I mean, really clean out?
Maybe it’s the arrival of spring that made the urge start to hit me. Or maybe it was the fact that my sisters were cleaning out their homes and sending me pictures. Or maybe it is that book I’m reading about procrastination. Or maybe it was… who know what else. But whatever it was that made the urge start to dawn in my mind, it was a gift from God.
I thrive in a tidy environment. That’s not to say that I’m always a tidy person, though. I’m working on that part. But since I’m able to work at my peak performance when I have less clutter and mess around me, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to spend time getting my personal areas in ship-shape?
So, thus it began. I went to pack clothes for a recent trip, and realized that I didn’t need to have all my winter clothes hanging in my closet through the summer. (More physical space creates more brain space for me. Margin is vital.) I pulled out a stack of items, and went to put them in their respective bins. Upon opening the bins, I found them to be almost full of winter clothes that I didn’t wear at all last year. Why keep them? I can’t. I don’t need to.
A common quote that’s been floating around our house and has even been passed through text messages to long distance family rings in my mind. “I can’t keep everything, you know.” Oh how horrifying it would be if I did!
So thus began my challenge. Can I fill a box of items to get rid of (or maybe even 2!?)?
Would you like to join me on this challenge?
With honor and gratitude to those who have given their all, and to their families who have also known great sacrifice, we wish you a Happy Memorial Day!
Though I was bound in chains of sin,
I now am free; Christ reigns within.
His love and mercy I now trust,
For Satan’s rule my Saviour crushed.
My Master is the King of Kings;
His glorious praise, fore’er I’ll sing.
Someday on heaven’s blissful shore,
I’ll praise His name forever more.
‘Till all my life on earth is done,
In me may others see God’s Son.
I’m sure your family has certain holiday foods that you look forward to enjoying each year. Not only to taste, but to anticipate, prepare, smell…. oh, the season of cozy warmth, deep spices, and quality family time! For us, it would be hard to imagine a holiday spread without our Sweet Potato Souffle from our family cookbook, Tasty Traditions. In fact, we almost crossed it off the menu this year for various reasons, but nooooo. It is now in the freezer just waiting to jump into the oven on the Big Day of Gratitude (it is also anticipating being gobbled up with delight, just like the turkey).
We hope you are all enjoying the days that are passing so quickly and savoring every delicious moment to the fullest. There truly is much for which to be thankful!