January 2017

I’ve isolated myself from social media for nearly two weeks, so I felt it was time for an update.

It’s been a blessed isolation. With all the plates spinning, it’s been increasingly difficult to just think. My life was/is dominated by appointments, responsibilities, connecting, leaving little to no time to process or truly rest. Rest had become almost exclusively catching up with social media, which really isn’t a rest at all. Studies have shown that social media can be, although seemingly fun on the surface, a stress inducer, because it floods our minds with extra information that is either not necessary, negative, too short, too long, et cetera. The presence of social media disrupts our attention several times a minute, forcing a shift of focus. Also, it’s addictive, so when separated from it, an unhealthy user will grow anxious. Opening and using it becomes a reward, although it does damage while being used. And I didn’t even realize how much until I walked away over a week ago. I’ve been able to focus, be productive, and pray more, so I am grateful. I am also grateful for your continued patience and support, even if I haven’t been communicative, so thank you. I have no intention of returning to social media anytime soon.

So where are we?

Currently, I am in the process of closing on the home. Between this and work, the thing that has fallen to the wayside is the movement towards becoming an official nonprofit, but that is intended to be picked up again once the house is closed on. The home inspection was on the 27th and came back very positive – the main concerns are exposed seams and minor electrical work. Next steps are finalizing insurance, contingencies, and closing.

So… on the subject of needs, they are plenty. To be honest, it’s still difficult, even after leaving social media. There are spiritual and physical needs that must be met.

Physically, with many ties to the spiritual, finances are of course a concern. It was rather terrifying watching a $375 check go to a home inspector, followed by my check for rent since it is the end of the month. I didn’t realize how much I rested in my diligent savings. I loved my comfortable cushion of untouched money. More expenses are to come, and my monthly expenses will increase after moving, so please pray the Lord provides for those. I have no doubt He will… yet I still succumb to doubt and self-reliance.

Spiritually, then, I ask for prayer in trust. God has never failed before and will not fail now. He has made this possible and made the calling clear. I can and should trust more that He will see it to fruition. Pray also for my spirit – with the home-buying process, it’s been extremely easy to slowly adopt the mindset that this is my house, my responsibility, my future. The ministry-centered mindset has been difficult to maintain as I make meetings and deadlines. I’ve seen my heart slowly begin to turn toward excitement for self-glorifying reasons: “I’m going to live in this beautiful house where I will be able to live and do what I want to do.” This is not how it should be. This is not what will bring me joy, as much as the devil has been telling me it will. This is not what began this process in the first place. It was a redeemed heart of servitude and sacrifice. It was a sanctified spirit of gratitude and God-glorification. Please pray that I come back to that, as I am quite certain it is this self-centered drifting that causes much of my worry about the fate of the home.

Pray that I have spiritual discipline in reading the word and prayer. Pray that I delegate time and resources wisely, balancing rest and labor, and effectively using the time of labor as it should be used. I would love to have multiple tracks going: registering as a nonprofit, closing on the house, raising awareness and support, meeting with potential tenants – but I am one person, I am not God. I cannot handle all of that. So it’s one thing at a time right now. As much as that drives my urgent mind insane, it’s a truth I should learn to be grateful for. Praise God I can’t do it all. He knows I wouldn’t do it well, and He knows that my reliance on Him is far more valuable than my success in my efforts.

Yesterday I was at work and, having arrived early, I had a few spare minutes. Feeling dry, I opened my Solid Joys app. I read God’s words speak: “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32)

And then, encouraged, I read the 26th’s, which I’ll share here.



The Giver Gets the Glory

Devotional by John Piper

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.(2 Thessalonians 1:11–12)

It is very good news that God designs his glory to be magnified through the exercise of his grace.

To be sure, God is glorified through the power of his wrath (Romans 9:22), but repeatedly the New Testament (and the Old Testament, for example, Isaiah 30:18) says that we should experience God’s grace so that God gets glory.

Ponder how this works in the prayer of 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12.

Paul prays that God would fulfill our good resolves.

How? He prays that they would be done “by [God’s] power.” That is, that they be “[works] of faith.”

Why? So that Jesus would be glorified in us.

That means the giver gets the glory. God gave the power. God gets the glory. We have faith; he gives power. We get the help; he gets the glory. That’s the deal that keeps us humble and happy, and keeps him supreme and glorious.

Then Paul says that this glorification of Christ is “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus.”

God’s answer to Paul’s prayer that we rely on God’s power to do good works is grace. God’s power to enable you to do what you resolve to do is grace.

That’s the way it works in the New Testament over and over. Trust God for gracious enabling, and he gets the glory when the help comes.

We get the help. He gets the glory.

That’s why Christian living, not just Christian conversion, is good news.



This – this – is all I wanted when I began. This is all I desire now, this is all I desire to desire. I hear my divided heart, “Lord, I believe – help my unbelief!”

So lastly, please pray 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 for me.

Thanksgivings:

  1. God’s faithfulness spiritually and physically. He provides.
  2. The women that I have come to know and love, that they are meeting and growing to know and love each other.
  3. The support, encouragement, and prayers of the body of Christ in this process.
  4. That the house was found, and the process is going relatively smoothly. Also that the sellers are people of care and integrity – more than once they have shown this.
  5. For the glory that God has already received in this process, from believers and unbelievers alike. I am so encouraged how, through His work here, He is making His name and nature known.

I’ll update you again soon…

With love and gratitude,
Emily

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