Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Personal Liturgy

Hands down, the best part about living in Iowa is our church.  We were really nervous to move back here because we had an unsuccessful church search during our internship summer.  I just did not want to give up the strong gospel teaching, close community, and immense growth I experienced at The Summit Church in Durham.  Luckily, God knows what he's doing!  Through friends, he led us to discover Sacred City Church here in Davenport.  Sacred City is a relatively new (about two years old) small church plant.  I believe there are less than 200 people in the church as a whole.  Long story short, we LOVE IT.  We have been so blessed to get involved right away with a strong community including meeting on Wednesday nights with our "missional community" led by our pastor, Justin, and his wife in their home.

Last week, Justin mentioned that he has his own personal liturgy that he reads, recites, and prays each day.  He keeps it digitally on his phone in the notes section.  I don't know why I never thought of that before, but I thought it was brilliant!  I sometimes copy down verses on note cards or in my notebook, but (1) it takes forever to copy long verses, and (2) who has their note cards or notebook with them all the time?  I know for sure I have my phone with me all the time, though!

My liturgy is not "perfect" or complete or theologically impressive.  It's just where I am now with the Lord.  I envision this changing often as God is always teaching me new things.  Plus, just as God helps me conquer one struggle, another one inevitably appears.  One of the reasons I have disliked liturgy all these years is that it is often recited by a congregation in a way that becomes robotic with no thought or meaning behind it.  I like the idea of creating a personal liturgy because it can be tailored to personal learning, struggles, and triumphs, and it can be a living, breathing reflection of my walk with the Lord.  Also, I want my liturgy to be a way to help me memorize scripture.

I spent a half hour last week (during a super-short Ava nap, no less) putting together my own personal liturgy, and it was a great exercise!  There's not a right or wrong way to do it, and I completely made up my method.  However, in case it helps, here are the questions I asked myself to go about creating my own liturgy:

1.  What truths about God do I need to be reminded of daily?
2.  What lessons is God trying to teach me right now that I need to learn well?
3.  What verses connect to these lessons God is teaching me?
4.  What am I currently struggling with in life?
5.  What verses connect to these struggles and might spur me on?

And that's it!  Once I found the verses I wanted, I simply copied them from my YouVersion Bible app directly into my notes section on my iPhone.  They even put the reference for you when you copy!  It was super quick and easy.  In the spirit of transparency, here is my personal liturgy for the moment.  Maybe it will inspire you to create your own!

Katie's Liturgy

1.  God is great, so I don't have to be in control.
2.  God is good, so I don't have to look elsewhere.
3.  God is glorious, so I don't have to fear.
4.  God is gracious, so I don't have to prove myself.

In Christ, there is nothing I could do to make you love me more; nothing I have done that makes you love me less.  You are all I need today for everlasting joy.  As you have been to me, so I will be to others.   As I pray, I'll measure your compassion by the cross and your power by the resurrection.

Ava is a gift from God, not to make me happy, but to make me holy.  It is a privilege to make disciples in my home, and I will strive to make the most of every opportunity and cherish the moments I have.

Don’t you see that children are God ’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep. (Psalm 127:3-5 MSG)

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22 NIV)

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV)

Doing humbling work makes me more like Christ.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:3-8 NIV)

God himself is all I need for everlasting joy and fruitfulness.  I will learn to be content and praise him in every circumstance.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:1-8 NIV)

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV)

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)

Getting more things or more time to myself or a less fussy child will not satisfy my soul.  Only the Lord can bring me peace and satisfaction.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:2-8 NIV)

My roles as wife and mom are God’s best for me.  His plan is perfect.  Willingly doing the work he’s given me without complaint is a way I can offer myself as a living sacrifice to God who deserves all I have.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1, 2 NIV)

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

I am not perfect.  I am a horrible sinner.  However, I am redeemed and forgiven.  I am worse than I ever imagined but more loved than I ever thought possible.  I will daily walk in my new identity and strive to walk with the spirit.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NIV)

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 NIV)

Am I living in a way that demands a gospel explanation? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Texas Trip

A few weeks ago, we made our first trip back to Texas since Ava was born.  Although the grandparents have seen Ava multiple times, the rest of the families were dying to see her!  We stopped in Houston first and stayed with Brent's family and then went on to Dallas to hang out with my family.  It was quite a long trip for a little baby - 8 nights!  Ava did as well as could be expected.  We had some good days and some bad days and a few meltdowns in between.  But we survived, and we had fun!  Here are a few highlights.

 Ava met her great-granddad (Brent's grandfather) for the first time.  So cute!

We loaded up on Tex-Mex.  Love my Lupe's!  So does my precious nephew Luke!

Ava got to meet Lora & Pears, my two very good friends from YES.  Ava was a bit exhausted here.

Next we headed to Dallas for some play time with Winnie & Papa C.  We started every morning with some blanket time.

  We practiced "driving" in the parked car at NorthPark mall.

Ava played blocks with Papa C.
 I had breakfast with mom at Barbec's - eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits & gravy, & coffee... for $5.80.  Yes, please.

 Mom, Ava, and I took a lovely, cool, early-morning walk at the Arboretum.

... and with any good trip to the Arboretum, we made sure to get in a full-length photo shoot.

I'm such a big girl now!  I sit up all by myself!

We took pictures in front of the door where I took bridal photos and maternity photos... and now with my little munchkin.

I love this picture.  Apparently one centimeter of water is very, very scary.

Just kidding, it's not so bad.

Ava loves her Winnie!


Time to go home!  American Eagle gave us an extra seat on the plane out of the goodness of their hearts.  (It helped make up for the hours and hours of delays!)  Ava was pretty good on the plane for a 5 month old!  See ya later, Texas!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby's First Fourth

Ava got to celebrate her first Fourth of July in Texas AND in Iowa.  We made a trip to Texas the week before the fourth (more on that later), and while we were there, we celebrated an early Fourth of July with a family reunion of sorts in Dallas.  It was really fun for my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to see Ava for the first time, and we had a great day just hanging out by the pool.  My Aunt Robyn is an INCREDIBLY talented photographer, and she took most of these fabulous pictures.  Thank you, Aunt Robyn!  You are the best!!

Ava met her cousin Ethan for the first time.  Ethan is the son of my sweet cousin Melissa, and he is just two weeks younger than Ava!  They were so cute together.

Ava also got to meet her great grandmother and great grandfather.  Grammy and Grampy now have two great grandsons and one great granddaughter!

Ava's Winnie (my mom) was glad to hold Ava when someone else wasn't!

We had some delicious lobster rolls for lunch, and then it was time to play!

It was an exciting day because it was Ava's first time to go swimming!  She was scared at first and cried, but then she loved it!  She stayed in the pool for almost 45 minutes.

 Cousin Ethan was kind enough to let Ava borrow his float!


 All that swimming wore her right out.  She NEVER sleeps on me like this, but she was down for the count!

"Never mind, guys!  I'm awake now!  Time to play!!"

 To round out the day, Ava had some quality time in a photo session with Winnie.

 Love this shot!

Then, it was finally time to go home.  Turtle says, "No more children, please!!!!"

Site Design by Designer Blogs