Monday, October 26, 2009

Hearts of Servants...

These are my parents. (Can I please look like my mom when I grow up?) They...are amazing.

Justin, the baby of the family, went to college in August...and my parent's first order of business as "empty nesters" was to take my grandparents to DC- where they've always wanted to go. Every museum and cemetery imaginable. The hearts of servants.

Since my dad's parents aren't as mobile as they used to be, this took lots of work, patience, and MILES of walking pushing wheelchairs.

I just got off the phone with Granny and Grampa-- we normally don't talk that long on the phone, just a quick catch up...but this time, they told me every last thing they did and saw-- down to what they ate and how sweet my mom was in getting all their bags together and through the different security checkpoints of museums. Granny kept saying that its a good thing my parents like to walk!

When a toiletry bag was discovered to be missing the first night (containing an important charger) my dad drove from DC back to Charlottesville and then BACK AGAIN in the same night to fetch it. Arriving back at the hotel at like 2 am, only to start a day of walking and pushing a wheelchair just a few hours later.

Mommy and Daddy, you guys take honouring your mother and father to a new level. I love watching you not conform to the ways of this world...

The love of Christ shines bright in you!!!
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Thursday, October 22, 2009


YPD is our teens discipleship group on a Saturday morning once a month. About 20 or so of us gather together in Junction 26 (a room in the church building...that's just what we call it) and share what God is doing.

Last Saturday was amazing. The girls really opened up and seemed to be a help to eachother- I love watching it all unfold...seeing them interact and the Lord draw them closer to Himself.

We were to pick a specific way to enjoy the Gospel this next month, and email each other what it was so we can ask how it went when we meet next month.

I thought, in updating you, I'd just copy and paste my email to them from Monday:

Well I don't know about you, but getting psyched and encouraged and ready to fight my sin and enjoy the Gospel on Saturday morning at YPD...sure seems to decrease by the time Monday morning rolls around and my alarm is going off. None of you are sitting in my room oozing with joy as you talk about what Jesus has done in your life. No music is on. No one is around. And no one is going to know if I read…or if I’m paying attention to my reading… (well, no one except God. But He can seem not-so-exciting in the morning. It grieves me to say that, but that’s my sin. That’s what I can feel like. And God already knows I think that. In fact, He poured out His wrath for that sin on His innocent Son…and now, its not on my record anymore…)

Anybody else feel like me?

Something I’m going to try for the next month, is dedicating my drive to work to enjoy the Gospel more. Whether I'm listening to, or quoting aloud portions of Scripture (the Psalms I recorded on my ipod) or "The Gospel Primer", or praying, or actively listening to music...not just having it on because its nice, but for the PURPOSE of engaging my heart to worship God.

This morning I quoted The Gospel Primer and prayed a bit. What struck me as I reminded myself of these truths is something God keeps repeating to me recently in various ways: He is not “nearer” or “more pleased” when I’m wrestling with something and suffering in life then when everything seems fine and is going well. You see, my last few years have had some pretty massive challenges and trials one after another…and now that they have “settled” a bit, I’m often struggling feeling like I’m not growing, or God would get more glory if I was struggling. NOT true! His grace is to enjoy for even when things are going great! He’s not in heaven wishing things were hard so I’d be running to Him in desperation like before. Instead, I get to run to Him because of my love for Him!

What about you? Did you remember to do your “new idea” this morning? If not, don't feel condemned; remember: Jesus has paid it ALL! (What are your plans for tomorrow?)

Anyone get to read Week 1 Monday’s devotional? What’d you think?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Am I cheating?

"It feels like I'm doing it all wrong. It can't be like this- I'm missing something. What have I forgotten? What's been lost? What sin am I blind to?"

Those are the thoughts/questions that can run through my mind as I feel like I have an "unaffected heart" and wonder if I'm abusing grace.

I can try it all. Getting up earlier. Reading the Bible slower. Reading different passages. Fasting. Reading other books. Crying out to God...wanting to do "my part." (Ha! as if this wasn't all HIS work...)

As the storms of life have seemed heavy and one after another in the last several seems as though my most "normal" relatings to God have been out of tangible desperation, weakness, or confusion. This isn't a bad thing-- but when life is sunny and bright with no rain clouds in I think something is wrong?

(Haha...yep, I do! But, its not. This, with the help of others, I am slowly learning...)

When the sun shines bright I can enjoy running to God out of abundant love for Him! God doesn't promise to only grow me when things are hard. It's not more holy or godly to have trials and pains than to enjoy the gifts the Good Giver bestows. (ah, do I really believe that?)

I find myself saying, "Really?!" to all the answers of grace I've received about my questions over this weekend. After hearing Pete's message this morning and being so affected by the holiness, humility, and love of Jesus...or Dave's message tonight-- Christ knew even the ways I would fail Him before He chose to save me...and here it is: grace abounds to me. It's nuts! It's crazy! It's not only undeserved, its ill-deserved...and yet...

here it is...

Mine. Grace unmeasured, vast, and free. It knew me from eternity.

It's all of grace. No matter what season of life I'm in, who my friends are, who I live with, what decisions lie ahead of me, what my time with the LORD looks like, how my "performance" has been in the last weeks or months...'s all of grace. God does not love me any more or any less. Jesus Christ took EVERY sin that I have or will commit throughout my lifetime...and He gave me His perfection.

I want to do as the Israelites did in Exodus 12:27...bow my head, and worship.


I have a pound, lets go spend twenty!

Yesterday my LIFE girls and I went shopping in Cardiff (Capital of Wales, 15-20 mins away). I drove the Newport girls (loving this driving thing) and we had far too much fun.

Rowanne tells of the angry drivers we came across:

I'd never driven into Cardiff to meet others before...I learned a lot. =)

After parking woah far away (yay for the lady who gave us her parking space AND her ticket so we could park for free!) we walked to meet the rest of the girls who we'd met at the train station and then had to leave to find a place to park...what was I thinking?! Terrible planning...we had some very patient, gracious mothers.

Shh, don't tell the other girls we got ice cream...

(Gap team, this is for you: "If you could ask God any question, what would it be?" "Why Topshop?" It's all I could think of the whole time I was in the store!)
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Eleri and Alex- my two year 8 girlies

Lois was the only one to actually get coffee in her drink!

Carys (if I'm not mistaken, this was her first Starbucks drink!)

Also Rachel's FIRST Starbucks ever! I was so proud to be apart of this experience- I think they're hooked to Chocolate fraps now. Just look at that excitement!
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i heart them.

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Carys, me, Eleri, Lois

Back Row: Caroline, Carys, Rachel, Megan, Alex
Front row: Lois, Rowanne, Eleri

...and to think...people actually buy these...and wear them!

Megz, Cali, Roo, me, Lo
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Project from Orlando

I received the email below today. Let me preface it by letting you know that "the sweet ladies" are both of Lindsay's grandmothers and her great-aunt Ruby. They live together and have kindly let me keep my belongings in their attic while I've been in Wales.


Hello dear friend...Ariel, Linds and I went over to the sweet ladies house to make dinner for/visit with them a few nights ago. While we were there, we decided to ransack your personal belongings. The attached photos are the result...enjoy! =)
-- ~Stephanie Lightfoot

(With absolutely no need to confirm, I assure you that this is each friend's interpretation of how I worship while singing. I've seen it before, haha, and it makes me laugh every time. They know me well! lol, just look at those facial expressions! I should probably be embarassed.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Do you ever have those mornings? Days? Weeks? Am I the only one?

Where you're aware that you're not as affected by the amazing news of the Gospel as you think you "should be." You're not marveling. Or breaking out in spontaneous worship in your heart. Jesus died for my sins. Great. I'm glad. Good news.

...but it lacks EFFECT. It doesn't stir love within. It's just...information. Good information, sure. We know it well. Say it with a smile and up beat voice. But our heart remains stagnant.

When I'm in that place, and by nothing but the sheer grace of God, I can see that I'm in that makes me cry out and plead for change like nothing else. Welcome to my morning.

We can do all the "things" we "should do" when we're in that place. Pray. Read the Bible. Worship in song anyways hoping our actions lead to a shift in our hearts...but what it comes down we need God. That's it. Plain and simple. He is the Changer of hearts.

As I begged this morning for the Savior to not let my heart grow hard, to cut to my heart with how my sin grieves Him, to reveal His righteousness...nothing happend. Hours of trying to speak truth, and read quotes...trying to amaze myself. I can't.

And yet, slowly, as the day went on...little glimpses of Scripture I came across in typing something up for a pastor (yes, my job rocks), or a word here, or a sentence there...and the sweetness began to gradually sink in. As I typed away, I was reminded of a quote in (I believe) Nancy Lee Demoss' book, Brokenness.

This is a rough quote from what I remember:

God must make you hungry before He feeds you,
Strip you before He clothes you,
Make nothing of you before He can make something of you.

And in that moment, as the quote ran through my head, I realized I could be grateful for the times I feel "unaffected"- its in those times, if I lean on God, and beg for mercy...that hunger can grow. And when hunger grows, truth is beautifully satisfying.

Luke 6:21, "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied."

I'll never "arrive." I'll never be sufficiently amazed in this life by what Jesus has done for me. But a good thing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spa Day!

Yesterday my LIFE girls came over to the Mc Cans for some haircuts. We turned it into a spa day where they got to pamper and be pampered.

They each got some goodies: a nail file, bobble (hair tie), face mask, flannel (wash cloth), book mark with their name on the front and a verse on the back, and instructions for how to give a manicure.

The girls each brought a kind of "spa food" (like cucumber sandwiches) to share. And I nicked Sarah Paso's orange slices-in-water idea. Delish.

A spa day would be incomplete without chocolate!

We went around to all the "stations" and I explained the proper order of each treatment so the girls would know what to do.

Let the fun begin!

The girls took turns washing each other's hair to save time- so I could just go from one haircut to the next. It was brilliant!

We cut a loooot of hair off.

Eleri made over. How beautiful...

After everyone had gone, I taught Alex how to curl Caroline's hair. (They are the family I live with.) So fun!

What a great day of enjoying girlie things. Chocolate, nail varnish, curing irons, eye shadow, and of course...High School Musical 3.