When grief hits…

The past five years I’ve seen death more than I have in my entire life. In five cases, it hit on a personal level, while I’ve also seen it hit people all around me. I don’t know if there is an age where you are just more aware of death or if it comes at a point in your spiritual walk with Christ. I wonder (to myself) if I am alone when most nights I cry myself to sleep praying for God to reveal anything in my life that would hinder me from His presence, praying that if this be my last night that I approach Him humbly with fear and blameless before Him, and yet praying that it not be last night. Selfishly begging that God give me another day with my husband, my boys, my parents, etc. Crying out that He give me another day to see my husband’s smile and my sons’ laughter.

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I feel ashamed over it because shouldn’t I want to be in His presence along with my two babies that are already there. I should want to be in His presence, and yet every night my prayers ask for another day on this broken earth. It seems ludicrous.

To be absent here is to be present with Him.

Our life doesn’t truly begin until it has ended.

Yet, every night, my prayers seem to fight what is to come… the grave, the grief, the loss. The inevitable. The fall.

When I shared these feelings with Reson he (annoyingly and perfectly) said, “Maybe God is happy to have His daughter crying out to Him, seeking His presence. He may keep you praying in the night so when He does call you home, you are blameless before Him.”

Perspective.

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Reson’s view of me before my DNC 2015

Every morning opening my eyes from sleep and thinking… I need to pee. But then thinking… Thank you for another morning. Oswald Chambers spoke these words, “But it is better to enter into life maimed and lovely in God’s sight than to be lovely in man’s sight and lame in God’s.”

Maimed to be lovely.

Ann Voskamp in The Way of Abundance writes, “There is the truth: Blessed — lucky — are those who cry. Blessed are those who are sad, who mourn, who feel the loss of what they love– because they will be held by the One who loves them. There is a strange and aching happiness only the hurting know– for they shall be held.”

Loved and held. 

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Rainbow Benji 2017

Ann also writes, “When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ.” Simply put, we are broken so that God’s power can be seen (John 9:3 NLT). May we see the broken and run to it. May we be broken so that it may bring nights of tears and prayers, it will bring us closer to the Father.

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Christian Motherhood Thoughts

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I have been thinking about Christian Motherhood a lot lately and not just because it is Mother’s Day tomorrow. It’s on my mind quite a bit as I’ve been intentionally spending time to myself getting healthy. I think one of the hardest things about going for a run is that it forces you to reflect and think about what is going on. The past six weeks, God has used this time of me running to show me things about death, pain, perseverance, the Church, life as a Believer in Christ, and mother/parenthood. I won’t lie, there are times when you want Him (yes, God) to shut off because you are doing the ugly cry in the middle of a run and your sons are thinking an EMS call is in order. However, it is necessary pruning. The cuts are deep as He reveals our flesh issues, the cutting hurts, but He is faithful in pouring out His grace. He’s pointed me to passages in His Word, and I have caught myself (again) crying over His Words. 

Which leads me back to the Christian Motherhood thinking, and I pray I have give the thoughts clarity and justice. I have the joy of being a mom to four boys, and there is nothing lacking. I’ve had strangers pity me because 1) I have ALL boys. 2) There is FOUR of them. Reson and I learned after the third to share with those same people: that God has given us four opportunities to raise strong godly men that will possibly be wonderful husbands and fathers one day. Men that will stand up and love God, His Word (truth), and people. I’ve had people ask if we will try for a girl, and the answer has always been “No.” We have always simply wanted children. I’ve had people tell me I NEED a girl. On the flip side of the pity, I’ve had people tell me I am “lucky” because I only have boys because girls are harder (funny as I’ve heard the opposite from others). I think it safe to say that raising children, whether a boy or girl, is HARD! Sinful humans that require our love, nurturing, attention, counsel, money, food, and well everything.

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You will never hear me say that boys are harder than girls, or girls are harder than boys. The reality is another mom of four boys may find it turbulent while another finds it relaxing. Each child brings about their own ease or hardship. Here’s what I know, God gave me four boys, and when I read Scripture, I have an uphill battle. The world is pushing that men are: glorified babysitters, believe they are superior to women, incapable of doing the hards things, and “boys being boys.” In certain areas, people will treat my boys differently due to being men and due to “white privilege” (this is not a debate, so no comments in regards to this). 

When I read Scripture, I see how this is contrary to what God says. As their mom, I must teach them without shame or regard to what others say that they do have a different role than women, that this role doesn’t make them superior to women, but it gives them a responsibility to uphold how God views women and fight for women. I am grateful that they have a wonderful example in their dad.

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Many children lack this example, but my boys will not be able to use their dad as an excuse for mistreating a woman (or another human being for that matter). They’ve seen us harshly disagree and more than not joyfully agree; they’ve seen me begrudgingly and joyfully submit to Reson’s leadership; they’ve seen that it didn’t happen because Reson bullied me into it; they have seen the open discussion between the two of us and that we were both heard; they have seen that though Reson is head of our home, he values and cherishes my option(s). They are still men doing dishes, sweeping, mopping, playing with dolls, painting finger nails, cooking, laundry and doing “women jobs” because they are simply “people jobs”.  I must teach them without regret that we are to speak TRUTH with a great amount of LOVE. I love how Paul tells Timothy in his first letter to him that he needs to beware of false teachers as they teach different doctrines and gives him the charge to teach the truth of the gospel. Then Paul says this, “The AIM of our charge [sharing the gospel] is LOVE that issues from a PURE heart and a GOOD conscience and a SINCERE faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 [emphasis by me]. I must teach them that people will disagree and not like them because of this, but they must always LOVE. Just as Jesus did, they must meet people where they are, share the joy of their life in Christ, and LOVE the heck out of them. No matter their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, life situation, clothes, whatever LOVE THE HECK OUT OF THEM. My sons, anyone reading, you can greatly disagree and LOVE others. Jesus did not on the cross. I must teach them that just as God states that their wife submits to their headship, God commands that they MUST submit to Him. If they don’t submit to God their life will be in shambles. Jesus taught perfectly what submission looks like as He submitted to the will of the Father. Submission is not weakness or inferiority, but reveals in our lives the obedience, self-control, trust, and love we have for the Father, for the Son, and the Spirit. I must teach them to fight their flesh every second of everyday because their desires can lie to them about what they need or want. They have to know that praying to know God’s heart and desires will lead them to a life of true joy. They need to understand that the enemy wants them happy and comfortable in the world. I pray that they feel uncomfortable on this earth because IT IS NOT THEIR HOME. I pray that for me when I feel entitled to things that I have no entitlement to. I must teach them that even in life’s hardships God is their sole Comforter and Provider. He will sustain them and keep them. 

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I could write more about what I need to teach them, but what I love is that though I don’t have a daughter I know that after reading Scripture it is an uphill battle, too. Parents to girls have to fight a world that is telling their daughters to constantly fight, degrade men, claim “my body my rights”, and “if you got it flaunt it”. I am grateful that my parents raised me to be strong but submissive, fight but know the right battles, loud but quiet, beautiful but modest, capable to do things that is a “man’s job”, and be selfless. I know that I would have to teach a daughter what proper submission to her husband is when a world says it’s bad, that her body is a treasure for her husband and not the world (that’s not being forced to wear only turtle necks, skirts, etc), that she should be treated as a strong capable woman that can make intelligent and valuable decisions, and no can take away her voice when she is being mistreated, hurt, or devalued. She would learn how to take care of a home, but know how to change a tire, check the oil, mow, build a house/tree fort/whatever. All things that I was taught how to do, but have no problem doing alongside my husband or letting him do. Things that don’t change my role as woman, but taught me that many “man jobs” are simply “people jobs”. Just like teaching my boys, she would have to be taught all of the above and more.

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Simply point motherhood/parenthood is HARD. Sin entered the world and families are broken because we are broken people in desperate need of a Savior. Motherhood stretching us thin, making us feel inadequate, and realizing we don’t and never had it all put together or figured out. Motherhood through God’s grace teaching us that we are not good moms, but that God (Christ’s death and resurrection) is the only thing that makes us good. Motherhood, when we fully embrace what God teaches us in it is JOY. It is a gift. One of my favorite parts in a recent movie was when two girls made wishes, and one turned to her mom asking what her wish was. She thought and said (I paraphrase), “I wish happiness for you, you, and for your father.” My son Logan immediately says, “She wishes happiness for everyone but for herself.” Being in the car at the time I looked at the rear view mirror making eye contact with him and said, “That’s because she is already happy, and she has everything she has ever wanted. I would have to agree with her.” To which Logan said, “Ohhh… wow!” Only God. Only God uses a secular film to help you realize that as a mom because of HIM, I have everything I want. I have joy. Moms everywhere only seeking to make their children and those around them happy. Even if the mom in the film wasn’t happy in her life, I think she still would have said that because that’s a mom. A true mom (woman) loving those around her so much that all her wants and desires fall to the wayside and finding out that what she really wants and desires is right in front her. Finding to true joy righting front of us is truly a gift from God. It isn’t karma, our doing, or luck. Only God.

I pray that this Mother’s Day brings you a joy in what you have right in front of you. In the pain, loss, hardship, disappointments, and grief, I pray you find the joy of the Lord in every ounce of it. I pray for a renewal in strength to keep God in the forefront of your parenting. I pray that as weariness sets in that you would turn to God for help and support. I pray that you have other Christian women that can pour into your life in some way. I pray that you get rest. I pray that you know that you are loved and cherished not just by God but your family in Christ. 

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Readjustment Period

It’s been almost a year since my last blog post, and I would think of it as our family’s “Readjustment Period”. Many things happened between my last pregnancy update and our son’s birth that it is hard to even remember what all happened. However, even with pregnancy brain, I managed to document those months on Instagram.

Our little man was born completely healthy. He managed to complicate the pregnancy again by being breech. He would not turn on his own.

Relying solely on God’s given gift of baby womb whispering and swift hands to our Doctor, he was flipped at 37 weeks. It was incredibly painful, but I will forever be grateful having the songs of Housefires in my ear as Doctor Barnes and Midwife Laura worked together to get him flipped. Once he was flipped, a huge relief came over my entire body. It is hard to explain, other than imagine a square trying to force itself into a circle hole. As you turn the square, it becomes a circle and slides right through. This kid dropped and the relief was wonderful! Trusting is a difficult thing when you can’t see what it really happening and all you feel is intensely sharp pain in your pelvis, abdomen, and ribs. I was sore for a week. I refused to lay flat until he was born, and I walked. I didn’t want to risk this little guy flipping back.

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Right and high (Before) and Left and low (After)

The weather was insane. As one week we were in winter and the next you would have thought that summer had rolled right in. I was forgetting that this was a January baby. At our 37 week visit, we decided that for Benjamin’s safety and for a less risk of him flipping back we would schedule an induction for January 16th. We decided that we felt more comfortable having Dr. Barnes on-call in case he did a last minute flip, and that was the day that our Midwife Ashley was delivering. She was with us for most of my pregnancy, a fellow youth pastor wife, and we thought Benjamin owed it to her for giving us all a hard time. He is our “116” baby. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” We could’ve had him match with a 7 birthday like his older brothers (05/07, 10/17, 03/27), but he was already making a name for himself in our household so we decided to give him the 16 (but 1+6 = 7, we will take it, his dad was born on the 25th 2+5 = 7). Yes, we are number people.

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The night I went in for my indiction. Brody was heading to bed, and I wanted to mark his final night as the “baby” of the family. He has turned into a wonderful “Big” brother.

My labor with him was fast and very hard. I remember looking at Reson as I was in the bathroom saying, “I don’t think I can do this. I know I’ve done it like this every other time, but the epidural is sounding like my only option.” Reson, graciously, said, “No. You can do it. You know you don’t want it. Let’s see where you are at with this.” Needless to say, he was out soon after. I had gone from 4 to 10 within a half hour. He didn’t take long like the others, and this shouldn’t have surprised me. However, it did. He came out before lunch and immediately stole our hearts.

We struggled with his bilirubin levels, and through God’s grace we were able to still have a successful nursing relationship. We found playing outside to be our only means to enjoy the bilirubin journey as the light therapy treatment was taking a toll on me emotionally. Our breastfeeding journey has been a challenge, but we are still going strong, seven months later.

We took in a brother and sister that needed a place to live as they transitioned to a new home, Easter came, a trip to visit the Ark Encounter humbled us, and before we knew it summer was about to approach.

However, before summer fully kicked off, we experienced a huge loss for our family. One of our church members, who became a part of our family and great friend, passed away unexpectedly. She was someone who we vacationed with, ate weekly meals with, and she was one of my greatest encouragements. As a youth pastor’s wife, life can get really lonely when it comes to friends. She was/is a huge loss for me.

Father’s Day was celebrated, Summer came, Youth camps passed, and poof… summer was gone and school started. The boys are growing out of their clothes, and my husband and I are many times just trying to stay above the mess of Legos.

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I lost a cousin in November, my husband lost an uncle this month (August), and our parents have each had health complications/issues. We are both juggling our walk with Christ together and individually, marriage, four boys, ministry, family, and just being still.

The boys in the months of July and August had infantigo/impedigo and Hand/Foot/Mouth.  It only took us 11 years to experience these, and I wouldn’t wish them on any family. Our oldest moved up to Middle School putting him in the youth group with us. Our church transitioned from one pastor to another, and our Worship Pastor felt led to work outside the church and move to Florida. Not having him, his wife, and daughter with us was another loss for our family, but we are grateful for how God has worked it.

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Being the Youth Pastor in the middle of all that can be and is hectic. Though hectic, God placed a wonderful man to shepherd our church and family as an Interim Pastor. Since moving to Georgia (7 hours from all our family and friends) 5 years ago, this man, his wife, and sons have always treated us like we were their’s. Today, he is our Pastor. God’s hands have kept a tight hold on us.

God is stretching us, pruning our hearts, and making us realize that we HAVE to rely on Him. Our joy solely comes from Him and Him alone. Our ability to just be comes by His grace. Our “Readjustment Period” is still in progress as we try to figure it all out. We struggle with the juggling act, but we know we are His.  Some days I want to throw in the towel, but He reels me back in to endure.

As Romans 5:2-5, Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produced endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

So much comes and goes shy of a year…

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Pregnancy Update

I am always greatly surprised by how different each pregnancy is. I can remember distinct things about each one: sicknesses, events during the pregnancy, and how labor/delivery went. The difference in pregnancies always amazes me because it’s my body, “how different can it be?” However, it seems that each pregnancy represents just how unique and different each of my sons are. Each pregnancy reminds me that child bearing (not just labor) is our God given curse. 


Benjamin is making his mark into our family. He seems to realize that he is in for quite a treat when he enters into his family. As the previous blog post shared, we will be in for some extra monitoring of our little guy. Currently, my BP is normal (120/70), his weight gain is normal (13oz), and he is moving around just like he should. After our next visit, we can expect longer more frequent visits with monitoring and ultrasounds to make sure he and I are progressing the way we should. Surprisingly, he will be the most photographed Holt boy to date with these ultrasound visits. There is no recommendation from the high risk doctor for an induction at this time, and for that we are grateful. We know the importance of each week/day he stays growing in the womb. 


Our prayers are:

– Benjamin and I will continue to be healthy and progress normally. 

– Since each visit will be roughly a couple of hours and more frequent, we are discussing what to do with the boys during those times.

– Continue to pray for Reson and the boys for understanding and patience. This pregnancy has proven to take a toll on me that I am not used to. They have been incredible troopers so far.

– My endurance. Soccer season has started and the holidays are approaching. My body is very quick to tell me when enough is enough. Those times have been hard because I really do have to stop. I’m not used to being limited like this. Pray that I am able to still enjoy the boys playing soccer and the holidays even when these spells happen. 

Thank you! 

Update on our Pregnancy 


A week ago, I had to fill out some intensive paperwork about my previous pregnancies (6), my miscarriages (2), and my living children (3). As I was filling everything out from their weights, deaths, births, and complications I was reminded just how precious every new life is, even the ones that are shortened way sooner than we’d like. 
As our sweet fourth son grows and moves around his mommy haven, the past couple of weeks have been a time of trusting in God’s plan for his life and our’s. We were told through our genetic screening that some red flags were raised with my AFP levels, and that there was a possibility that our son could have Spina Befida, brain abnormalities, and other organ problems. I wish I could say that anxiety and fear was not an issue, however having gotten the news with Reson being out of town for the weekend, that day/night was a full blown pouring out with just God and me. Him meeting me where I was at crying out to Him. A God that loves us so much that He meets us right where we are. Grace. 
It wasn’t a lack of faith in His plan for our son. It was more of a mourning period of what I had envisioned for him and his life. The next day crying only happened wishing Reson was home so I could just hug someone. It was a weekend where you wish your mom and best friends didn’t live seven hours away. Each of them texting me and loving me through my fleshly thoughts. My boys had no idea what was going on just that mom was a hot mess, dad was away for work, and they were on their best behavior. Grace. 
After two weeks of waiting, two weeks of our prayers being to accept His will, two weeks of me sharing with my Father my desires and praying they match His, we had our level 2 ultrasound this morning. It took over an hour to get footage of every part of his body. We sat watching in silence seeing him swat at whatever was probing into his haven. He flipped showing us that he indeed was a boy. Some moments I missed as I had to turn away from the screen so that we could see him in a better angle. It was interesting watching Reson as she spent minutes over his brain, kidneys, and many times him turning away. He showed the Holt/Calves stubbornness that each of our other three have. Grace.


Each time he turned away from the area she was looking for, her pressure would intensify. It was uncomfortable, and I thought, “What things I’m willing to do you for you already little man.” I think one of my favorite things about sitting in the silence watching my husband, the tech (aka “Poker Face”), and our son was seeing our boy alive, and watching his four chambered heart pump. I can’t read ultrasounds, but seeing him play with his hands and mouth, kicking me to get away from the probe, and just seeing his movements I was just blown away with his life. It didn’t matter what came out it. He is alive, all 9oz of him. Grace. 


Reson asked me weeks ago what I thought about in naming him, Benjamin Daniel. I liked it, but no decisions had been made. However, as today was approaching and I looked at Benjamin in more depth being, “son of my right hand” the right being a symbol of strength and power. He was the final son of Jacob and Rachel. Daniel meaning “God is my Judge.” I couldn’t see him being named anything else. You see, before we found out we were pregnant, God told me very sternly that I would not be going to Peru with our church this year in November. When I shared it with Reson, he was in shock because he knew that was not coming from my will, but God’s. I have been in complete peace over that decision since I made it. I couldn’t understand why, and then a month later we found out we were pregnant. Grace.
We know that Benjamin has no birth defects after our ultrasound, however still due to my elevated AFP levels we have risks of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and stillbirth. I will be seeing my regular doctors in a couple of weeks to see what precautions and measures we will be taking with these possible risks. I still have a peace that this little guy is in great Hands. His Father has hand crafted him. Though my flesh may shed tears for unknowns, I stand reassured that he is far greater loved by His Creator, and “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. Grace.
So, if you made it this far, I’m asking for your prayers. Specifically, my prayer desire that I pray is in line with His:
 ⁃ Benjamin – that he will grow as he is suppose to, and that he will be a healthy strong boy at the time of his birth.
 ⁃ Luk, Logan, & Brody – that they are understanding to whatever our schedules need to be for check-ups, and for understanding if risks occur.

 ⁃ Reson – that he remain focused on God’s truth so that he can continue to be the supportive husband and daddy that he is, giving us the advice we need because of His truths.


 ⁃ Me – that my body will remain healthy. Preeclampsia can be a very dangerous thing, and can cause many things to go wrong for me.

 ⁃ All of us (boys, us, family) – peace. Through it all, that our eyes will be set on His and that peace covers each of us. 

Thank you! 

A Mom’s Prayer

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When Luk was about six weeks old, I began praying differently about my relationship with him. There were things that transpired during that time, and God made me realize that I wasn’t guaranteed any amount of time with him. My prayer for me as his mom would be that when I need to let him go, God would allow me to let him go with a peace, comfort, and strength in my heart, my life. This has been a prayer that has been said for all my children. I didn’t/don’t want a spirit of worry or fear to harbor inside of me. God brought this thinking into my mind again through both of our miscarriages. No moments of meeting until I am in His presence, and having a peace knowing they are with their Father who loves them far more than I ever could. 
Whether in marriage, death, good/terrible choices, or going away to camp with no communication, my prayer is that I have the ability to let go when He tells me to. God is working in my heart that whatever happens to my boys whether good, bad, or ugly He is Sovereign, and He is doing His work in their lives. Francis and Lisa Chan wrote in “You and Me Forever”, that we are not our children’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit. There comes a point when we train them and they submit to our parental authority, and then a shift in their authority occurs because they have submitted to their Heavenly Father’s authority. 

There are small steps in this shifting, age, maturity, and we see evidence of the Fruits of the Spirit in their lives. While in Peru, Luk came up to me saying, “Mom, God wants me to talk to that man over there.” We went and talked to the man, and I will never forget the conversation. Before ending in prayer, Luk was bombarded with a man complaining about the state of the world and how unfair things were. Our interpreter lovingly shared with Luk what the man was saying, and later shared how surprised we both were that he was saying these things to an eight year old. However, despite the man’s complaint on the injustices of this life, war, and economic turmoil, Luk said, “Well, that’s why we all need Jesus.” 

Peru 2014


I wish I could say that response was from his parent’s training, but it wasn’t. I am more excited to say it was a God-given response. Luk shared how God had been telling him to talk to people on the streets, but hadn’t. That day, the tugging kept happening, and he knew he had to do it. He did, and God displayed His glory through an eight year old. I came to the realization right then that as much as I have to be alert to the Holy Spirit talking to me, I have to be alert to when He speaks to my children. It is all a part of letting them go when I need to. It’s praying that God would show me when He’s calling them to do something and that I submit to Him allowing Him to do a mighty work in their lives. I have to say when they are young it is not easy at all especially when it’s out of my comfort zone and not on my agenda. 


Anyways. All that to say, leaving Luk at camp with no one I know, with no real contact has been one of the many to come experiences that have stretched me in this area. I praise God for his faithfulness in bringing me a peace during our time a part. I miss his presence, and I can’t wait to hug his neck (that’s if he hasn’t passed me in height while he’s been gone). However, I am incredibly excited to hear how God has stretched him during his time away. There’s beauty in the God’s pruning, etching, and chiseling. Though it “hurts like hell”, it’s worth it. I promise; it’s worth it! 

A “Normal” Day

There was nothing substantial about today. It was the usual day for us as the oldest did his school day, the middle read his books to me, and the baby played throughout the house. The boys had to clean their room and had to be asked numerous times to finish the chore. My husband was in and out of the house as he did his day in ministry.

However, amongst the quiet neighborhood with children playing everywhere around us, I am reminded that on the other side of the world the bombs are blaring. Children are screaming in terror. Mothers and fathers are running with their families toward freedom. Extremists make their entry into that freedom more difficult.

I sip my raspberry tea with “My Favorites” album playing in the background reflecting on numerous things. I am remembering what the first portion of the book Desiring God says, “God is not worshiped where He is not treasured and enjoyed.” further John Piper writes, “I must pursue joy in God if I am to glorify Him as the surpassingly valuable Reality in the universe. Joy is not a mere option alongside worship. It is an essential component of worship. We have a name for those who try to praise when they have no pleasure in the object. We call them hypocrites.”

After pursuing the act of eucharisteo — meaning “giving thanks” intentionally, I’ve realized that to have joy truly is a pursuit of God. A pursuit to glorify Him in ALL things. I was never raised to be a people-pleaser but a God-pleaser. This has not always been easy for me because we are in a world where people-pleasing is almost expected. What’s interesting about this expectation is we think that we deserve people to please us. There is a God, the Creator of the Universe that commands our obedience, yet we simply deny Him what He rightfully deserves and give it to mere humans, mortals.

Why is this even a struggle? Why are we more inclined to please the people around us, but not the God that created us? We seek a temporary happiness because “it brings pleasure.” It is rarity that I have experienced true joy trying to please a person. However, when my focus turns on bringing God glory, pleasing Him with His will for my life, joy is the gift. God commands that we find the joy in loving Him. We find joy by loving the image bearers of Christ, people.

What I think we forget is the pursuit of Christ, first. He commands our obedience. He commands that we take up our crosses, daily. He commands that we reject sin. He commands that we seek righteousness.

As the world reeks of sin through acts of terrorism, racism, pridefulness, injustices, and far too many other dark acts, it is indeed just another “normal” day. My heart aches for the lost. My heart yearns for people to find true joy through their pursuit in Christ. As I look at reflections Piper has on God’s commands, my heart desires to “love mercy” (Mich 6:8), suffer joyfully (James 1:2), that I give cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7), and one that I have struggled with lately, God give me the desire to tend to your people eagerly and joyfully (1 Pet 5:2, Heb 13:17).

Lord, it is a “normal” day. In my pursuit to find joy in You may it bring ease to follow Your commands because when I follow Your commands, I show You my obedience, it gives You the glory You deserve, and it will result in a joy that is only found IN You. Amen.