At all Costs

Boy, has it been awhile friends!

It’s hard to believe Hudson is already seven months old. Today! Today is his seven monthiversary. Let’s just say, life with a baby is wonderful, radically new, sometimes crazy hard, and thoroughly life altering.  I adore my new role, but it is not without challenges. I’m learning much, and God is refining me in new ways. There’s a whole lot of sanctification going on over here.

I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like (I hope to rectify that soon), but today I have a piece featured at Risen Motherhood. Hooray!

You can find the article, At All Costshere. Hope it encourages.

Love, Ami

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https://www.risenmotherhood.com/blog/at-all-costs

*This picture may not be used apart from this blog.

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Here’s to the diving board.

Perfect Love Casts out FearI’ve never been a “dip a toe in the water” kind of girl. I’d much rather jump right off the diving board and embrace the chilly jolt.

Everyone knows it’s easier to acclimate if you go all in, right?

I tend to face life this way also. Decisions are all or nothing, and apathy isn’t a prominent character trait. I’ve been known to rush in, yet most decisions are actually preceded by intense thought and prayer.

But when I jump, I jump.

My husband and I had dated about a month when I told him I wanted to marry him. Indeed it was a bold statement, but I knew he wanted the same.

I like taking risks. Recently, however, a latent fear rose to the surface; I didn’t realize I was still afraid of future suffering. I thought I’d dealt with that one long ago. Apparently it crept up again.

Sitting in front of a man who wants to date me and has embraced my widowhood with immense grace, I finally confronted the sin lurking in the shadows.

“What if I have to walk through death again? If I let this guy in, I could suffer more.” 

Through tears I admitted the fear. Pulling me close, he spoke life giving truth.

“You know God is good. You know He does all things well. He sovereignly leads and plans the best things for your life. You may be a widow again. But you may not ever be. Because of the gospel we don’t have to fear. There is so much joy.”

He’s right.

And just like that I decided to leap. I don’t know what God plans for this man and me, but it’s time to take a risk and see what could be. I need not fear future suffering or future blessing.

For “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18.

God loves me perfectly. Jesus loved perfectly, even to death on the cross. Therefore, I don’t have to fear.

In How People Change, Tripp calls all the pressures of this life “heat.” The trials, blessings, responsibilities, sufferings, joys, and challenges, temptations—all are heat that produce either thorns or fruit.

At the potential of something new, my thorny response was fear. And in this scenario, fear is sin.

It is a result of

  • forgetting who God is.
  • forgetting what He has done.
  • forgetting who He says I am.
  • forgetting that He has provided everything for a God-honoring life.
  • forgetting that He’s committed to making me holy.

Sometimes I cherish things more than I cherish Christ—

My comfort.

My expectations for a well-ordered life.

My temptations to compare a new relationship with the old.

Therefore, I turn from fear. However, to merely change my behavior would be counterfeit and superficial at best. I need radical heart change.

“At the cross God meets us in our sin and struggle with His heart transforming grace.” -Paul Tripp.

So, I ask. “Who is God and what does He say and do in Christ?’

God is good. He is working all things out for my joy and His glory. (Romans 8) Because Jesus had joy in suffering, when suffering comes I can meet it with a settled confidence— with joy, peace, rest, and even cheerfulness.

He gives Himself.

He provides.

As I view the transforming grace of Christ at the cross, thorns become fruit, and I trust my unknown future to a known God.

As for this guy?

Well, I’m a little giddy. I can’t wait to see what God does next.

Here’s to the diving board.


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This post appeared first at anewseason.net

 

Life or LIFE?

IMG_20140628_201906752A couple weeks ago I was soundly beaten at the game of LIFE. However, my nine year old friend would surely admit it was a “cheater’s game.” But despite the loss, I’d say LIFE still ended pretty well for me. I mean a husband, two sets of twins, $90,000 a year salary, a dutch colonial home, and a lovely retirement at Millionaire Acres—what else could a person ask for?

Wouldn’t it be nice if life was like LIFE?

I pondered this as we spun the dial and took our chances.

Well, if life was like LiFE I’d be able to see the whole board. I’d get to look down a fork in the path and make a decision based on a desired outcome. Sure there would be some risks, but the end of the game is almost always desirable. Pitfalls exist in the game of LIFE, but I couldn’t see any real tragedies. A tree may fall on my house, but hey I have insurance so all is well! It’s a quick, easy fix with zero emotional turmoil.

There are no stillbirths, no terminal illnesses, no adultery, no death. And at the end of the game the one with the most money wins.

Yep, LIFE would be good.

Or would it?

It didn’t take long for me to answer with an emphatic no.

If life was truly like LIFE existence would be futile. A good retirement? You’re telling me that’s it? There’s nothing else. All the toys and riches would fade at death. That’s the end.

Life would be shallow, one dimensional without the beauty of complex emotions and devoid of depth and meaning.

It would presuppose that I am God. Or that luck is God. When I’m honest with myself, how utterly hopeless I would be without a Sovereign King who reigns over all! How overwhelmed I would feel with the responsibility to control everything.

Also, I’ve known deep love. And I would never trade it for a simple mapped out, easy path.

But what about sorrow? Yep, I’d keep that too. It’s fire that makes silver a precious metal, refined and purified.

I would rather have all the unknowns, the unexpected twists, the feelings of being out of control, the disappointments, the grief, the turmoil…

the tears, the longings, the frustrations

the JOY

the happiness, the purpose, the delights, the comfort, the rest, the peace

that comes from knowing I am not God.

No, I would not want life to be like LIFE.

For I have a God with whom it is impossible to compare a mere spin of the wheel. I have a God who is sovereign (ruling, in control) over every domain.

I have His words given to me.

“It will happen as I have planned. It will come about according to My purposes…I have a plan for the whole earth, for My mighty power reaches throughout all the world. The Lord Almighty has spoken—who can change His plans? When His hand moves who can stop Him?” (Isaiah 14:24, 26-27)

Not my plans, but those of the Sovereign God who reigns.

But how do I know I can trust such a one?”

Because God came to us. He who knew no sin became sin, that I might become righteous. God doesn’t say come up the preverbal mountain! He came down it instead.

I trust Him because of who He is.
I trust Him because I know HIm.
I trust Him because of what He accomplished.
I am able to trust Him because of the power of the cross of Christ.

“Make me to know your ways O Lord… All your paths are steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 25)

For the redeemed in Christ, whatever the path, whatever the joy and sorrow, whatever the longings, frustrations, and turmoil, we can rest in knowing they are under the cover of His steadfast love and faithfulness.

So give me real life with all its messiness. This is not the end.

I’ll take the confident expectation that one day Jesus will return, heaven will come to earth, and all will be made new.

Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And after this the judgment.

I will stand before God with Christ before me, the One who already took my place.  What a fearful thing if not.

Give me real life found only in Jesus. Give me eternity with Him.

And there will be no stillbirths, no terminal illnesses, no adultery, no death.

Yep, I’d take life over LIFE any day.