Monday, October 15, 2018

Friendship Blessings

We had such a wonderful, happy visit with friends today! Some of our dear friends from our church in Virginia spend almost every October at Myrtle Beach, and since they are "only" 3 hours away from us, they make that time sacrifice to come and see us. Today they even brought lunch with them, so all we had to do was enjoy their visit... they are such sweet, kind people! 

It was so nice to catch up on what is going on at Friendship, to hear how some of our friends that we haven't talked to for a while are doing, and to share some memories and friendship once again <3. As a testimony to how much we love them and they make us feel loved, I was telling Josiah, who was only 3 when we last saw them, that we would be having some friends over, who he "might not remember, but they..." and I as I started describing them, Josiah says, "I remember them." And then follows it up with something about how nice they are to us. I mean, they made an impression on a 3 year old that lasted a whole year (well, minus 8 days according to Tori). Friends like this are definitely one of God's blessings to us in life <3!

After lunch (and a fun ice cream cake, because Miss Karen wanted to celebrate all the birthdays she missed <3), everyone had lots of fun playing games and talking. Josiah soundly won the "Find it Fast" game that Peter pulled out... I am 99% convinced he has just memorized the cards, but, you never know, maybe his eyes really do work that fast ;)... Miss Karen and I also spent a short amount of time discussing a project we are working on, while Noah especially had fun with their little dog, following her around the house, laughing, 'It's walking! It's walking!"... haha! It is hilarious to us that Noah's hair practically looks identical to the puppy's fur. It was also their first time meeting little Isaac - and Miss Karen and Mr. Jim were his first out of state visitors!

It felt like we picked up right where we left off... but the time went by so fast! We are hopeful that they may make it back down once more before they go home, with Miss Karen's sister who is planning to come to the beach for a few days as well, but we are also very thankful that this visit worked out! It's easy to take the normality of seeing people every week for granted when it's a regular part of your life... it makes you stop and realize what a precious thing it was, when you no longer have that ability! And while it is a wonderful thing to be able keep up with people long distance through technology and letters... there is nothing like being able to sit beside someone and just spend some time with them! The Lord is kind to give us these additional earthly gifts on top of His unmerited gift of eternal life <3.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Ramblings

Moments that probably made people question my sanity today:

-I hit save instead of publish on a post I was starting for my month wrap up that I typically work on all month long... soooo, for those of you who get email updates... I am sorry for the lack of background that was supposed to be given to that snippet, but you're welcome for the laugh that the randomness surely had to give you ;)...

-At our church potluck today  I realized... my life is not normal to other people. As I filled my 14th plate of food. During my 5th time in line. #ipromisemostofthisisnotmine

*me as I see a young mom trying to juggle two plates and a baby* she might like some help.
*looks down at my two plates and all the little people around me* she would probably be able to get done faster by herself. Oh well, haha!

Our day got off to an interesting start when we barely got out of the door on time and then had to immediately turn around for the serving spoons we forgot... then our van started making an atrocious grinding noise! Thankfully, Daddy can figure out almost any problem within minutes, and after stopping to pick up some power steering fluid, the noise immediately stopped. But Mama noticed the car needed fueled, and after taking the time to fill up, we made it to church just as service started. Oh, what a morning! But still, we were able to enjoy good teaching (finishing up the 11th chapter if John), the wonderful reminders of communion, and some fellowship with others, and it was a good morning/early afternoon regardless!

Our later afternoon was spent preparing for some special guests we have coming tomorrow (!), and this evening we settled in for a family movie night. While preparing for it, I managed to break a pan lid (and do you know how terrifying it is to have to fish a pan lid screw out of a pot of hot oil with kernels ready to pop at any time? Leave it to me), but we survived ;). JoJo, who never finishes his popcorn (or... like... food), finished his cup tonight, crawled onto my lap, and started to eat out of the bowl Andrew and I were sharing... and then, not too long after, gives a little "wow" sigh, and says, "...I didn't remember this movie was so long..."
We were just over half way through. Lol!

Now we're ready for a new week of projects and plans and learning, whatever it may hold for us... and, despite feeling like this is a rambling, pointless post, I am ready for bed, and, honestly, couldn't write anything more concentrated until I have had a chance to journal and chronologically catergorize if I tried, haha. I spent my afternoon catching up in my bible reading instead of writing, because that was my priority no matter my "routine"! And that is as it should be... but it also means I will have to find some other time to sort my thoughts ;). And hopefully get some pictures taken for some post ideas I have (and maybe blog on my computer instead of my phone for once, because why don't I do what's best instead of convenient? Haha...)

What are your plans for the upcoming week :)?

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Friends in the Gospel

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." -Proverbs 17:17

Friendships are something to be cherished - whether between family members or those outside of your immediate family, each person that you have a friendly relationship with has the potential to be one of the ways that the Lord enriches your life and prepares you for the work that He has for you. I don't know about you, but I find simple acts of friendship, not only from friends, but from family, and, even, at times, strangers, to be the moments that I most appreciate in life.

But what makes a friend? 

Friends usually have common ground between them. The more similarities that you have with someone, the more likely you are to get to know them more and have a mutual sympathy that builds up that relationship. Maybe it's your love of an underrated book or errily similar life goals, but you probably first talked about something that made you think, "wow, this is neat, I'd like to get to know them more!" before you actually became friends with this person. Sometimes the common ground may simply be your age, and that you feel like you can relate to the stage of life that the other is in. There are also many similarities, in tastes or situations, that can be shared between different age groups as well, and there is a lot to be gained in that difference in perspective that you each will be able to bring! But as a Christian, we have a common ground that "glues" us to other believers that others do not have. 

One of my favorite parts of the letters of Paul is the wonderful greetings he includes in each letter... greetings like, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." -Philippians 1:3-5

"Because of your partnership in the gospel". I love the story of how God used Paul. I love the personality we get from his writings, inspired by God, but also very much a part of who he was himself. Paul was eager for the truth, was not afraid of holding unpopular opinions, was firm to hold all believers to the path of righteousness... but Paul had an abiding love for people. He preached to the unsaved because he cared for them; he shepherded the church because he loved them. He literally wrote letters to people he had never met before that demonstrated a deep love and concern for them. And in the age before the ability to converse together freely and get to know each other through texts and emails, what was it that made Paul love these people deeply? They were partners in the gospel. They were heirs to the kingdom together. They were all bonded with a common thread, a life changed by God through no work of their own. That was who they were - and it bonded them together whether they had met or not, because it bonded them together for eternity. 

And because they were living in, but not of, this world together, it gave them a unique sympathy and love for each other. It was the driving force behind their friendship, and it created a desire to "bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). By prayer. By exhortation. By example, rejoicing, weeping. By working together, serving together, serving each other, serving Christ. 

As Christians, we are not just privileged to uphold one another; we are commanded by scripture - "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25) God did not make mankind to be alone; He planned from the very beginning that we would work together and serve together, love each other and sympathize with each other. And even though, in our sinful nature, we may have friendships that are not in that perfect order of using our gifts to serve God together, we have never stopped needing each other to exceed in many areas of our lives. But when God brings our heart back to it's intended state of friendship with Him, it also brings to our earthly friendships a greater purpose and meaning, one unique and joyful, by our partnership in this gospel.

So, as we look forward to our day of worship on the morrow, let's also look forward to our ability to edify other members of the body of Christ who join us in this worship. We are partners, friends, in the gospel, and we can serve Christ far better together than we can apart. 

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri ❤

Friday, October 12, 2018

Thoughts at Midnight

Here it is at 11:47, and  I am just now starting my blog post - again. This seems to happen each time I do this blogging challenge. I start the month really good, but by the 10th, it's getting just a little hard to keep up with. For a couple of weeks, I ask myself, about every other day, why did I sign up for this? It's harder to fit in than you may think. But about the 25th, I am going to be so close to the end, that I will realize that I can really do this, and I'll finish well... it's just that a lot of times the things that you feel are important or worthwhile are hard, too, you know? This carries over into all areas of life... and that's okay. In fact, it's wonderful! It shows us what is really important. It shows us where we might be holding on too much. It allows us to truly appreciate the end result. Often, these things remind us just how much our Heavenly Father cares about ever single little detail of our lives.

My day has been full, busy, insane and yet at the same time, very meaningful. Did I mention it was full? Just last Wednesday morning, I had absolutely no plans whatsoever for Friday. But today "has been another epoch in my life", and it was so neat to see how a lot of things worked together. Personally, I had a lot that happened - some of it quite unplanned by me, and some of it somewhat unexpected. But all of it so obviously planned by Someone down to the very last detail. The Someone who made the universe plans my life by every detail; why is that so hard to realize sometimes? Why do we need reminders at times? And yet, on the other hand - how gracious of the Lord to send us those reminders. Aren't you glad that He repeatedly draws us to Himself in so many ways?

So yes, my day was full (and was, apparently, the 21st anniversary of my first road trip, according to my Gramma, who drove my Granny and Aunt Donna down to meet Isaac <3). And a lot of the upcoming days may be full. I really, really wanted to write this month, because it's going to be the last Write31 challenge, and I wanted to know I had "finished well". Am I still going to aim to finish well? Of course. But my life is in a season of change right now, and that's okay. If I miss a day, I'm not going to stress about it. God has given me things to do, and I want to do my best. Sometimes, that best can take twists and turns - the journey takes stops along the way that you didn't plan on your road map. And sometimes, the unplanned adventure is just as useful or enjoyable as the one you started out on. So while I always want to do my best, I also need to learn that sometimes it's best to be "best" at a few things instead of "stretched" between a lot. So if I have to drop good things to make room for better things, that's not just okay, that's wonderful.

But don't think you'll get rid of me completely if that happens... because, remember, rest, don't quit ;).

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thankful Thursday ✽ 10/11/18

It feels like it's been a long, long time since I've done a Thankful Thursday. Truthfully, it's been less than a year and I have put together some lists in my journal... but, considering they were a weekly thing when I first opened Forget Not His Benefits, it's still quite a long time! I am hopeful that I'll be able to do Thankful Thursdays weekly again in November, but I really wanted to put one together today... so why not?! You can never thank the Lord enough for the many blessings that He has given you, and I think that sitting down to write out some of the things He has given is wonderful to help you do that.

This week, I am especially thankful for...

-Hope. And endurance. And the promise that in Christ, we have everything we need.
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe." -Proverbs 18:10

-Beauty. Beautiful words, beauty for our eyes to see, beauty for us to feel.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

 -Smiles. Isn't it amazing how just seeing a smiley person can make you feel like smiling :)?
"A joyful heart makes a cheerful face." -Proverbs 15:13

-Daily encouragement to dig into God's word. Accountability is great!
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." -1 Thessalonians 5:11

-These videos by The Bible Project (this one is for Matthew). Mama recently found these and we are going through them as we reach a new book in the bible in our read through, and they are amazing - I love them!
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." -2 Timothy 3:16

-Kindness. It takes so little for your whole day to be made brighter by a word or an action from others. God has given us the duty of being His representatives, and this is one way we can build relationships with others that allow us to share His truth more meaningfully!
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." -Ephesians 4:32

-Water. Have you ever thought about the fact that every time you find yourself thirsting for water, it is a physical, tangible reminder of how desperately we need Christ, the Living Water?
"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,"'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."'" -John 7:37-39

What about you? What are just a few things that you are thankful for this week? Sitting down and remembering your blessings doesn't have to be a long chore or something you put on your to-do list. Even just making the decision to look for one or two blessings you have been given, randomly, can help you cultivate a heart of gratitude, and give you an extra chance to worship our worthy King above all kings!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3