Celebrating the Gospel Every Day in 2017, Part 2

img_8332I love a good party. The food. The décor. The games. The dessert. The entertainment. The people….and THE PLANNING. I know, I know…I’m one of those crazy people that probably enjoys the planning as much as the party itself. I’m a Pinterest party junkie. If I could make a job out of just researching and planning parties, I would…maybe someday???

I love to celebrate. Amidst all of the hardships, heartache, sin, and evil that is in this world, I still believe there is much to celebrate in the life God has given us. Babies, promotions, baptisms, graduations, engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, milestones, accomplishments, meeting a goal, life, beauty, joy, love, friends, family, children…it’s a long list, but I love to celebrate it all. And do you know what all these parties point back to? Our GOOD, GRACIOUS, LOVING Father. He created all the good things in life, and I just want to celebrate them all! Because in this world that is still full of darkness, we need hope. We need pure joy and fun. We need to laugh. We need to enjoy the good things and give thanks!

All the good things in this world, all the things that we celebrate…they are in no comparison to the party that is awaiting us in heaven. When Jesus returns and sin is no more, the party in heaven is going to be like nothing we have ever experienced. It will be wonderful, glorious, and beautiful. And we will be celebrating with the One who created all the good things that we celebrate. All the good will be packed into one marvelous party with our Lord and all our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will feast with Jesus, our Bridegroom, at last. It will be a day that is too magnificent to describe.

Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:

“Praise the Lord!
    For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
    and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
    and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
    For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

Revelation 19:6-9

The Every Day Celebrating of the Gospel

So how do you celebrate the gospel every day in a practical but meaningful way?

Well, it’s not very realistic to throw an party every. I don’t have the time, energy, nor the money to do so. But really, how am I going to celebrate the gospel every day in 2017 that fits into daily life and mothering? How can I help my daughter to celebrate the gospel with me in tangible, simple ways?

That is what I am setting out to do this year. I want to gospel of Jesus Christ to be alive in our home every day. I want the truth of God’s amazing grace and salvation through His Son to fill every ordinary and extraordinary day in our lives.

Here are just some of the ways I am going to celebrate the gospel every day:

  1. Being in God’s Word first thing in the morning. Since last spring I have been using a Bible study tool called She Reads Truth. This wonderful organization goes through books of the Bible weekly and/or monthly. Depending on the study, it can be two weeks long or up to seven weeks long. I love these Bible studies because they are purely Scripture based. No fluff. No extras. Just the pure Word of God. They have their studies available online for free or you can order their study books. (Their study books are gorgeous by the way and make me so excited to read every morning…see pictures below.) The study books often have maps, descriptions, timelines, and even recipes that tie into the book’s theme. I have never been so excite to study God’s Word.
  2. Singing songs and listening to gospel-based music. I am still working on this one, but I want our breakfast time to be a little family worship time…a time to celebrate the gospel together. I play the ukulele, and I hope to learn some worship songs on it soon. Otherwise, we will sing praise songs or hymns a cappella. Music is such a wonderful way to celebrate! I haven’t gone to many parties that don’t have music. During the day, Corra and I will listen to gospel-based music stations on Pandora or listen to Seeds Family Worship, which puts whole Bible verses to music for kids to learn.
  3. Giving thanks to God out loud. This is one I am still becoming comfortable with. Many parties involve speeches, thanking someone of importance. I often forget to give thanks to God when He blesses me in a given day. Sometimes it’s just thanking Him for our food. Sometimes it is more significant like an answered prayer request. Sometimes it is thanking Him for helping us avoid something hard in our day. And sometimes it is even thanking Him for the hard lessons we learn each day as mother and child. I want our celebration of the gospel to be filled with thanks to our gracious, merciful God.
  4. Reading books that help me learn even more about God’s grace and how to parent with grace. I love parties, and I love to read. It is my goal to read books this year that will challenge me, grow me, and help me learn even more about God and His grace. Right now, I am reading “Give Them Grace” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. It is a parenting book, but it is all based on pointing your kids to Christ when they sin. Josh and I also read to Corra at bedtime out of the “Jesus Storybook Bible”. Sally Lloyd-Jones takes the most key Bible stories and weaves them all together into a tapestry of Jesus, His love and His sacrifice for us. Even Josh and I learn from this book.
  5. A little party every day. God gave us so many good things to enjoy. Sunshine. Food. Friends. Nature. Play. Art. Every day I want to enjoy doing something good with my daughter. Whether it is baking something yummy, coloring, taking a walk to the park, visiting a friends, dancing, going to the zoo,  or swimming at the pool, I want every day to be filled with something good that God has created. I want us to enjoy a gift from God every day and praise Him while doing it. It can be helping out a friend in need. It can be talking on FaceTime to a loved one. It can be getting an ice cream cone at Chick-fil-A. Whatever it is, I want us to remember that all of it is a gift. We don’t deserve these things, but we get to enjoy them and celebrate God’s goodness and creativity every day!

I hope to come up with some more ideas as the year progresses, but I think this is a sufficient list for now. Some days it won’t be perfect, and some days I am sure I won’t feel like celebrating. But I know that even on the hard days, God will still whisper to me through His Word, “I love you, Sierra. I will celebrate for you today. Don’t give up celebrating and inviting the whole world to join in with you.”

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us the greatest gift to celebrate–our salvation and our inheritance with you in heaven. Amen.

To God Be the Glory,

Sierra Leanne

Do you need to celebrate the gospel every day?

What ways would you do it in your home? Share your ideas at the bottom of the page!

Corra’s 1st Birthday was so much fun to plan and host!

Enjoy taking a look at my Pinterest party boards! Click on the pictures below.

Celebrating the Gospel Every Day in 2017, Part 1

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For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

 

I am not perfect. I know I will never be perfect in this world.

So why do I still try to be?

The Good and the Bad of 2016

As I look back on the past year of 2016, there were lots of good moments and lot of bad moments:

The Good: seeing Corra grow into a sweet little girl who is curious about everything. She is such a joy in my life. Every day is a new adventure of learning and discovery. Her little brain just seems to be working overtime these days. She is so tender and loving; she loves spending time with people. She needs quality time with those she loves and is very social. Often times she will come up to me and point to her toys and say, “sit?” with a sweet face and urging tone–she wants me to sit and be with her while she plays. How can I say no to that face???

The Bad: this past year I have raised my voice, been angry and frustrated, selfish, indifferent, impatient, and ungrateful towards Corra. Somedays I wonder, “who am I, and why am I so frustrated, angry, and tired sometimes? Why does this job feel harder than anything I have ever done in my whole life? It’s just one sweet little girl! I used to teach 20 little people at a time all by myself! The demands of a mom and housewife are tough. Even Josh says that my job is harder than his, and that is saying a lot because being an engineer is no walk in the park. Being Corra’s mommy has stretched me beyond anything I have ever done. There are days when I just don’t feel like I am cut out for this job, but then I remember that God gave her to me to raise and disciple. Even though I am most certainly not a perfect mom (or perfect person in any shape or form), I am the just the right mom for her. I am so thankful for you, Corra!

If I learned anything in 2016, I learned that I need the gospel every day. I need to hear the gospel and about God’s good grace every day. I cried many days this year telling myself that I am not good enough to be Corra’s mom. The lies in my head said that I shouldn’t get angry, frustrated, or impatient with her. I need to be perfect if she is going to have the best chance of being the woman God wants her to be.

I put too much pressure on myself this past year. I put a burden on myself that one should not have to carry. I can’t bring Corra to salvation by being the perfect mother. I can’t really do anything to make her believe in Jesus. I can teach her and proclaim the Word of God to her every day, but it will be God and God alone that brings her to Himself. I pray daily that I can be a tool to bring her closer to Him, but I don’t have to be perfect to do that.

The Beauty of the Gospel

I believe the gospel with my whole heart, but I have such a hard time living it. If I want Corra to know that she doesn’t have to be perfect (or do anything) to earn God’s love, I need to model that and show her that in the way I love her. I want her to know that I love her no matter what. I want her to come to know Jesus as her Savior, and that He will love her no matter what. Ultimately, I want her to know in every fiber of her being that she doesn’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, and she can do nothing to lose it. All she has to do is believe that she is made righteous through Jesus’s righteousness. There is nothing more beautiful than the truth of the gospel.

I am learning that God’s will for Corra’s life will be done. I have to let go of trying to control everything (I think I will always be learning that), especially Corra’s outcome in life. I will never be perfect in this life. There were so many messages in my childhood that told me I needed to be perfect in order to be a good Christian. It is a lie I believed for many years, and I am still trying to let it go. Satan wants me to believe that I have to be perfect to earn God’s love. He wants me to parent with the fear that I am going to mess Corra’s life up with every mistake I make. Satan wants us all to believe that Jesus just simply isn’t good enough to save us-that we have to try harder, be better-reach perfection. He wants us to doubt God’s love for us, rely on ourselves, fail, and ultimately fall into sin and despair.

I don’t want Corra to ever believe the lie that she has to be perfect. Ever.

But I need to let go of that lie too. For my sake and for her sake, I need to hold onto the gospel with my whole being, with my whole heart. Leave the lies of the world, of perfection, behind. Leave the lies that I am a horrible mother and will mess up my daughter’s future. I want to stop trying to be perfect for God, but instead obey Him because He is awesome. My wish for my life and legacy is that I will have glorified God with my whole life out of love and thankfulness for His great love. God has us both in the palm of His hand. He offers grace, forgiveness, guidance, truth, and freedom when I obey His Word and let perfection go.

God’s love is so deep and vast for His children. I have tears welling up in my eyes as I write this, because it has only been in the past few years that the truth of God’s deep love for me is finally seeping into my soul. I still have a long way to go, but it has changed my life.

Celebrate the Gospel Every Day!

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For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit…

Ephesians 1:13

My ultimate goal for 2017 is to celebrate the gospel every day. And I am so excited about it! In big ways. In little ways. On ordinary days and extraordinary days. I want the message of God’s grace and the gospel of Jesus Christ to permeate my daily life in a profound way. I want Corra to see that Jesus and his salvation is a thing worth celebrating every day. I want to let go of the chains of perfection and comparing myself to others, and live in the deep truth that I am worthy because I belong to Jesus. I was nothing before I knew Him, but now I am considered a child of God.

Every day at lunch, I pray that Corra will seek, knock, and find the truth of the gospel as I have. I pray that she will not seek perfection as the world seeks it, but that she will seek to know God with her whole heart. I pray that her obedience to God’s Word will not be because of a drive for perfection, but because she is so thankful for God’s salvation and wants to glorify Him with her whole life. I don’t have to be a “good enough” mom. God is good, and Corra is a precious gift from God. You are in God’s hands my sweet Corra Grace, and I love you so much.

 

Do you need to let go of perfection? Do you need to celebrate the gospel every day as a reminder that you are made perfect through Jesus, who is perfect? I pray that you will soak up the gospel every day this year. Don’t walk towards Jesus, RUN into His awaiting arms as a child runs to her daddy.

To God be the glory,

Sierra Leanne

***Stayed tuned for the second part of this topic in the next week or two. I will write about the more tangible ways that I will celebrate the gospel every day as a stay-at-home mom: Celebrating the Gospel Every Day, Part 2