New Year’s! Remembering 2017

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We’re officially closer to 2030 than we are to 2000. That’s disconcerting.

Happy New Year! (*balloons, confetti*) Here at the beginning of this new year, I wanted to take a quick break from our regular seriousness to chat with you guys. Because it’s been a while since we’ve talked. So let’s sit down together on the couch with our coffee (and me with my hot chocolate) and reminisce about our year together.

(Actually, how about you sit on your couch and I’ll sit on mine, not because of the limits of technology, but because I am currently quarantined to my room coughing my lungs out. Hence the lighter tone of this, because I start spouting nonsense when I’m tired. But somehow very logical nonsense. Anyways.)

Writing

2017 was a big writing year for me. I became a regular contributor for the Rebelution. I was asked to join TCB’s writing team. I wrote 52 articles in 52 weeks. (Though being honest, that number was made by doing several in one week and none for two months.) But perhaps the one accomplishment that makes me inordinately happy is the fact that I just realized that Seeing Everything Else has a very suitable acronym, which I shall now use to make my life easier in so many ways. Because Seeing Everything Else is a mouthful, but SEE is nice and manageable. And ties in really well. And was completely unplanned. So yes, it makes me happy.

There’s also a lot of new faces. And when I say a lot, I mean SEE just hit over 200 followers before 2018. (Thank you guys, you’re amazing!) So I don’t know as many of you as well as I’d like. But I want to. What are you learning right now? How are you growing? What’s God been teaching you? Who do you think is the best Avenger? (It’s Cap, by the way.) Comment, shoot me an email, let me know!

Life:

2017 was just a very big year for me generally too. I thought this would be a year of quietness, a year of waiting. So I was prepared for that. But God surprised me. I had some massive events and privileges, such as Continue reading

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Christmas Isn’t the Beginning — Or the End

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Do you know where the Christmas story begins? Because often, we start in the wrong place.

Our advent calendars will start out with. “And it came to pass in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” (Luke 2:1)

But that’s not really the beginning. Some may even start earlier in Luke 1, opening with an aged Zechariah, and the birth of John the Baptist. But that’s not far enough either.

We don’t need to flip back a chapter to find the true opening of the Christmas story. We need to go back an entire Testament. This story doesn’t start with an espoused Mary, it doesn’t start with a barren Elizabeth. It doesn’t even start in the New Testament. No, the Christmas story starts with, “In the Beginning.”

In fact, we can’t even truly call this the Christmas story, for that is far too small a scope. It would be like calling the Lord of the Rings “The Battle of Hornburg” story. This isn’t the Christmas story. This is the Reality Story. The Story of Everything. The Great Story.

Because if we just begin in Luke, we miss the whole reason for the Story.

So let’s flip back the pages, and begin this Story properly. Continue reading

Another Year, Not the Same

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I turned 6 yesterday.

Not in life years, of course, but in eternity. In being born-again. Growing older in eternal life, that’s an amusing concept to wrap your mind around. But somehow, as odd and strange as that sounds, it’s true.

Six years. Six years to grow in grace. Six years to walk in the Spirit. And six years, since I first met Him.

It seems so short, and yet as if I always have known Him. And yet, even the longest life, the most years, wouldn’t be enough to know Him — why, even eternity is barely enough to sing His praises.

And, oh, how young, how foolish I still am! So ensnared in my vanity, so tangled up with pride, so caught up with those idols which long ago should have died — inside of me can be a raging, chaotic turmoil of emotions and anger and impatience and fear and — and He hasn’t left. He’s still here.  Continue reading

I’m Useless (And That’s a Good Thing)

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I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. Or perhaps it’s more of a love-hate-appreciate relationship? Let me explain.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become one of those people who love to be organized (which was an immense surprise to all parties involved). I schedule my day’s activities, I sort my study materials into little folders, and even my closet is (semi) categorized by season and color. There is an immense satisfaction in checking off the boxes of my to-do list, and one by one seeing the white emptiness disappear.

But there’s a problem. I love the idea of fulfilling my to-do list, of keeping my area decluttered, of staying organized, of having these grand New Year’s resolutions that help me to better my life.

But I am an utter failure at doing so.

Because every year, about a week or so (if I’m lucky) after January 1st, after we’ve all caught up on sleep and swept up the streamers, there comes That Day. Continue reading

What Christmas Was Meant to Do

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A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

You can recognize all these. Perhaps you barely even had to read them, they’re so familiar. They make us grin, they call forth memories, and they evoke emotions. Your heart is instantly swept away into another land, full of adventure, danger, and wonder. But very little of that is because of them. Just those sentences themselves aren’t much. There’s no elegant structure here. There’s no eloquent prose. In fact, they all consist almost entirely of single-syllable words! They’re not stories, they’re not chapters, and they’re barely even full sentences. Taken simply as words by themselves, they have little power.

No, we love them because they are beginnings. We love them because they herald what is coming next.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)

And I think this is how we should love Christmas as well. Of course, most people do enjoy Christmas. Ask most people on the street, and — unless they are the living incarnation of Scrooge or the Grinch himself — they’ll smile and agree that it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year.

His soft little hands stretched open, reaching for the warmth of His mother. Red and wrinkled, His small body was wrapped snugly, safe from the bitter winter air. Continue reading

When Stories Collide

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As you may know, this month is Orphan November, a time set apart to consider and support the vulnerable and fatherless. While I myself haven’t been able to do much on my blog about it this month because, well, we were busy ensuring there was one less orphan  🙂 ; my dear friend Christ in Me has a whole section of her lovely blog dedicated to orphan care. She asked me if I could share a bit of our story to finish out Orphan November, and I thought I would share with you all as well.

Stories are strange things. Because it isn’t the big, important people who are usually the main characters; it’s not the sunny, lovely days that move the story along. It’s the little people who become the heroes. It’s the disasters that cause the quest.

I don’t really know the beginning of your story. But I think it must have started like many others. With a brave little mother, a brave little father, and a brave little baby. I like to think they loved you dearly, you adorable little ball of sass and sweetness. But then disaster hit. Your head started swelling.

I don’t know if they knew what was wrong. I don’t know if they had ever heard of hydrocephalus. I don’t know if they tried to get the doctor’s help. But I think they must have fought for you. You were their beloved one, their beautiful baby and now —

Four months. That’s all they had with you. They give up their child. But they gave you a chance. A chance at help, a chance at love, a chance at life. They couldn’t help you, but they knew who could. So one night, a brave little baby was left at the gate of the best orphanage in the province.

And so ended the first chapter of this story. But that wasn’t the only family fighting for hope.

Because another story was unfolding in another little family.

Read the rest over at So I Fix My Eyes

 

You can read my thoughts before we left for China here

An Introduction

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Introductions are tricky things.

Here is a new person: wonderful, broken, and beautiful; here is a new relationship: laughter, frustration, and love; here is a new adventure: exhilarating, terrifying, and enchanting. All that potential, all that unknown, and all you have are words — four simple, small words — to unlock it.

Once upon a time.

“Hello, I am Isabelle.” Continue reading

Announcement: Faithfulness Fridays/Loving Mondays

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High: to shew forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. Psalm 92:1-2

We need to praise God, to thank Him always.

Period. Full stop.

I honestly don’t have to go on, nor expand this any further. Even the child who knows his catechism can tell you this. What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Now of course, this answer has an ocean, an universe of meaning behind it, yet still can be compressed into one simple sentence.

But oftentimes,  it is the simplest commandments which are also the easiest to overlook. We get caught up in the everyday chaos, the everyday drama, the everyday business; and forget. Continue reading

When God Isn’t Enough

That seems wrong, doesn’t it? How dare I say such a thing! God is the omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing, all-good Lord of all. He keeps the universe twirling, the waves roaring, and the atoms together, and I think He can’t deal with my problems? How presumptuous am I to think that He can’t fulfil my wants and needs!

And yet, we live this way. Continue reading