whos and hows and whys
The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity

Love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

— Maya Angelou

God’s loving power longs to enfold and flood through all that we are — our subconscious as well as conscious selves; our wounded memories; our damaged trust; our fears; our shadow sides; our hidden hopes; the deep gifts within us not yet born or long forgotten; our attitudes toward ourselves, others, the world around us, and God.

Perhaps the greatest act of wonder is that as we are healed, made whole, and filled with God, we become more our unique selves, not less. We are not identical products on a factory line; we are each individually handcrafted.

— Flora Slosson Wuellner 

Parenting Advice from the Swaims

1. What we say doesn’t matter as much as how we live and who we are.

2. Be spiritual in the natural things and natural about spiritual things.

3. Showing your kids there are things worth sacrificing for.

Efficiency at its best!

Settled on our date, guest list, ceremony and reception venues, caterer, florist, photographer, premarital counselor/possible officiant, dress, invitations, and budget in one week — that was easy! :)  Of course, the best part is, I get to marry PR!  So happy, humbled, and EXCITED!

sarahhasatumblr:

There is strength within the sorrow. There is beauty in our tears.
You meet us in our mourning with a love that casts out fear.
You are working in our waiting, sanctifying us.
When beyond our understanding, You’re teaching us to trust. 

Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us,
You’re with us in the fire and the flood.
Faithful forever, perfect in love, You are sovereign over us.

Even what the enemy means for evil You turn it for our good, 
You turn it for our good and for Your glory.
Even in the valley You are faithful; You’re working for our good, 
You’re working for our good and for Your glory. 

sarahhasatumblr:

1 You have searched me, Lord,

    and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

    you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

    you, Lord, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before,

    and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

    too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

    when I was made in the secret place,

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139

Verses to Pray

1. “That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

2. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).

3. “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27).

4. “That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

5. “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

6. “Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

7. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

8. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

9. “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8).

10. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…” (Hebrews 10: 23-14).

Resolution #2: Peaceful Response

Sometimes when I’m frustrated, I take it out on the people I love most — my family.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ll look utterly annoyed, roll my eyes, or raise my voice, only to regret later that I made the other person feel terrible, stupid, ashamed, vengeful, angry, and ultimately, emotionally further from me.  Resolution #2: Especially with the people closest to me, choose a patient and peaceful response when feeling frustrated.