3 Reflections from Psalm 139

This passage used to freak me out. It gives me so much comfort now, but when I was wrestling with God still, it gave me no comfort at all. Where was I supposed to go to get away from God? If God could always find me, how was I supposed to hide the ugly parts of my life? These are the thoughts that would run through my head as I used to read this passage. But, no more! Praise the Lord! Here are 3 reflections from Psalm 139 that God has given me.

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3 Reflections from Psalm 139

He’s a Loving Father

When God seeks me and finds me, He does so as a loving Father, not as a Judge. You know how little kids hide under a blanket and think no one can see them? My girls still do this all the time. As soon as Daddy is home, they want to hide so they sit on the couch with a blanket over their heads! Of course, as adults, we play along and pretend we can’t see them and search everywhere for them.

Well, when God sees us, even if we are trying to hide our heads or our ugly parts of life, God doesn’t see the blanket, He sees me covered in Jesus’ blood. He sees me as loved and forgiven. God meets us where we are, we don’t have to be “cleaned up” before He’ll have a relationship with us. He wants us right now, as we are. He doesn’t see our sin, He sees His Son.

Woman hiding under blanket in 3 Reflections from Psalm 139
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

Enclosed me Behind and Before

Isn’t this such a comfort? He encloses us in behind and before. In other words, He goes before us and He takes care of everything that is behind us! Praise the Lord!! Reading this passage I immediately thought of the Israelites in the desert after they left Egypt. The Lord was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night leading them to the promised land. When they went to cross the Red Sea with the Egyptians hot on their tail, He moved behind them in the pillar of cloud to confuse and block the Egyptians from catching them.

How great that He promises to do the same for us. He promises to be with us no matter what. He will go before us to prepare the way, and He will go behind us to block the attacks of our enemies!

“The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”

Exodus 13:21-22

“The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel, and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.”

Exodus 14:19-20

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Being a mother of a preemie, this part of Psalm 139 is especially near and dear to me. You can read all about Lily’s birth story in my post My Preemie Miracle. One of the miracles of having a preemie is you get to watch part of the growth process that would normally happen in the womb in the outside world. My sister in law and I were originally due 1 day apart, so when Lily came 11 weeks early, we would look at her and think this is exactly what her cousin was doing inside the womb.

Lily was born needing assistance breathing, we got to see her grow out of that and breath on her own. She was not able to breast feed right away as preemies use more calories trying to eat than they can take in. It just tires them out too much. It was so amazing when she got to the point of actually being able to nurse! She also had a hole in her heart that we got to see close up. We wouldn’t have seen any of this in the womb.

Fearfully & Wonderfully made black and white mother and child hands in 3 Reflections from Psalm 139

Our bodies are amazingly made. The way everything works together is unbelievable. I just remember watching Lily and wondering how anyone can look at a living, breathing baby, especially a preemie, and not believe God made them and knit them together in their mother’s womb!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 3 reflections from Psalm 139. I’d love to hear some of your reflections on this passage! Drop a comment below or email me at caroline@lilymags.com

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

Joy

This year, I chose the word “JOY” as my word of the year ( Word of the Year 2019.) Well, it’s only a week in and I feel like the word is jumping out all over the place! Seriously, I’m seeing it everywhere; books I’m reading, shows I’m watching, random Facebook posts. It’s EVERYWHERE!! It’s like God said “Ok, you chose to word Joy, now I’m going to show it to you all over the place!! But, finding joy in cleaning up was not something I expected!

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Recently, I started watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” What an eye opener! The very first episode the husband is more bothered by the clutter and mess than the wife. The thing that keeps coming up in the show is, when looking at items of clothing, or collectables, or books, to ask yourself “Does it spark Joy?”

My husband and I have different expectations when it comes to being clean and tidy. It’s opposite of the “typical” gender roles. Pete likes things much more clean and organized than I would do for myself. Believe me, we’ve had our fair share of fights over the state of the kitchen (he’s usually right, but don’t tell him that!!) I just honestly sometimes don’t notice how chaotic it’s gotten, I guess I got used to it living on my own before we got married. And sometimes at the end of the day running after 2 toddlers, dishes are the LAST thing I want to do! Pete has told me multiple times, that getting rid of clutter would help decrease some of my stress. I always just sort of brushed it off. Honestly, until I watched this Netflix show, I never really understood how much it stressed him out.

In that first episode, the husband says that his family is not getting the best of him because he’s always stressed out about the clutter. Wow. I feel like I’ve been putting Pete through the same thing.

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

We are moving next month into a smaller place than we have now. Now is the PERFECT time to start de-cluttering and finding joy in it at the same time (seeing as Joy is my word of the year!) Yesterday, I went through the majority of my clothes. Each item I looked at and asked if it brought me joy. I have a garbage bag to bring to the thrift store. There were things I was just holding on to for no real reason! If the only items I have in my closet are things that bring me joy, I’ll be able to feel joyful in what I’m wearing every day rather than being overwhelmed by choices and not knowing what to wear. The next thing I want to tackle is books!

Finding Joy in Cleaning - mopping the kitchen

I never considered how keeping a tidy, uncluttered house would bring joy to our family. But, I can see it now. Sparking joy in my husband and having him less stressed will help me in finding joy in tidying up. Bringing him joy brings me joy! Not having as much “stuff” makes it easier to keep things clean. So, unless something brings me joy, why keep it? We have a coffee table downstairs that was my family’s when I was growing up, so I have a sentimental attachment. I asked myself last night, does it bring me joy? Not really.. I told Pete to sell it!

Marie Kondo

This lady is amazing! She even has her own YouTube channel with tons of tips including how to properly fold your laundry. I’ve been doing it wrong all along! the amount of room I saved in my drawers yesterday was amazing. And I can see everything without having to pull everything out. That brings me joy!

She also has a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I’ve downloaded it as an audio book and can’t wait to start listening to it!

I’d love for you to join me on this journey of finding joy in cleaning up. You can help keep me accountable! Does having a tidy house bring you joy? Are you less stressed out with a clean place to live?

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up - organized pantry
[social_warfare ]

The Secret to Joy this Christmas

It’s the second week of Advent! This week in my Advent series, we’ll be focusing on Joy! This has been a very convicting post to write as joy is something I still struggle to find day in and day out. I don’t find joy in doing the laundry or washing the dishes. So, there has to be something more, right?!? What is the secret to Joy this Christmas?

What is Joy?

What does joy look like? Pure, unadulterated joy. Here’s a picture of my daughters playing together this summer… this to me is joy.

What pure, unadultered joy looks like ~ my girls playing together

Why do we call it unadulterated? Adultery in a marriage is cheating on your spouse. Adultery in the Bible is seeking idols or other gods besides the One True God. So how do we commit adultery on Joy? Committing adultery on Joy is when we look somewhere other than Christ for our Joy.

The Secret

We look to all sorts of other places to try and find joy.

  • Marriages
  • Likes and followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest
  • Our Children
  • Being accepted by others
  • Having a successful career

These are all things that can definitely bring us feelings of joy. But feelings don’t last, they change. I want to know that joy that is in my heart and doesn’t change based on circumstances. What’s the secret to finding that Joy?

Jesus.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) Joy is in us because Christ lives in us. My girls like when we sing the song I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart, the end of the chorus says joy is down in our heart TO STAY. It’s there, it can’t be taken away because it comes from Christ in us!

The Secret to JOY this Christmas
The Secret to Joy this Christmas

Finding Joy

How do we find joy, how do we choose joy? We look to Christ. That is part of the beauty of Christmas; Christ came down to earth to restore our relationship with God. Because of this, we can have the Holy Spirit living in us and experience Joy every day. Joy that doesn’t change when things aren’t going as we had planned. Joy in the midst of sorrow.

Satan will do anything to steal our joy, to take our focus off Christ and try to find our joy elsewhere. We are so much less effective when we aren’t joyful, at least I know I am. It says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Notice how Jesus says He wants to have life abundantly? That includes joy. He wants us to have an abundance of joy!

So, this Christmas I choose Joy. This Christmas I choose Christ. This Christmas I celebrate Christ’s birth that has given this unending Joy down in my heart TO STAY! What will you choose this Christmas?

JOY!

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