New Seasons, New Beginnings

It has been an INCREDIBLY long time since I have written a blog post. I originally began writing after my life-long best friend began writing blog posts anout her life and what God was showing her. She inspired me to start my own blog, and I looked at it as a way to reflect on what Christ was doing in my life and how He was growing me in Him. 

I must admit that I’ve often thought about writing again, but decided against it because I was in a place in my life where I was not willing to reflect on my sin and allow the Holy Spirit to convict me enough to learn some spiritual lessons. I must say, this last year has been a rollercoaster. It’s been full of some of the best days and worst days I’ve seen. As I sit here holding my sweet three month old baby girl, I am overwhelmed with abundant joy and severe pain. I want to hold her indefinitely. I want to be here to see her smile, wipe away her tears, and just be her whole world. But, the reality is, I can’t. I long to be the wife that has dinner on the table, a clean house, and can give the love of my life 100% of me. I want to be the mother who spends her days taking her baby to the park, holding her just a little too much, and seeing every milestone she meets first. But I realized through the Holy Spirit’s gentle conviction that even though I can’t be everything I want to be, I can be the woman God has called me to be. I realized that as long as I’m doing what is pleasing in His eyes, I can rest in His peace. And the even better part is, I don’t have to do anything for Him to say, “You’re enough.” Because of Christ, I can have freedom to just be Caroline. I can lay down each night with the peace that My Father adores me. So, to all the mothers, wives, and women out there struggling to balance the juggling act that is your life, my encouragement is this: rest in Him. Know that you are enough in Christ. Know that He paid the price of sin for you, and strive daily to glorify Him. That’s it. That’s all. It doesn’t matter what the world says about you because if He is Savior and Lord of your life, you are His. 

Becoming a Titus 2 Woman

I’ve had the great privilege this week thanks to a dear friend to read a book on the importance of being a Titus 2 woman. I would encourage my lady friends to grab a copy of Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney because it holds wonderful truths about our roles as wives and mothers as it pertains to Scripture. On that note, I would like to take the time to just scratch the surface of what I learned through my time studying God’s Word and reading this text over the past two weeks. I must say first and foremost that this is quite the controversial topic, especially in our society today, but I believe that this is an essential truth taken directly from Scripture that can impact our families and make a lasting difference. 

While reading Carolyn Mahaney’s book, an overwhelming sense of joy grew in my heart. I was so encouraged that God not only chose me to be a helpmate for my husband, but He also gives me joy to serve in my home while I perform seemingly mundane tasks. Ultimately, our marriage is supposed to be a picture of our relationship with Christ as believers. My role in my marriage to Adam is to faithfully serve him and put trust in God to lead him. In turn, Adam’s role in our marriage is to love me sacrificially as Christ loves the church. Now, for some of you ladies, the thought of serving your husband automatically brings up a negative connotation. But let me encourage you to look at serving as a privilege because it is the best way to show your husband that you love him. As a wife, I have many times where my heart is marred by sin and “serving” seems like a bondage rather than a joy. Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit who convicts me of this sin and reminds me that I should find joy in servitude. After all, Jesus came to serve and actively served while on Earth (John 13:1-20). Therefore, like Jesus I should count it a joy to serve faithfully in my marriage and in my home. I must admit that my heart grieves on numerous occasions when I hear wives complaining about their husbands constantly to others. How hurtful would it be if you walked up and heard your husband saying some of the things that you say to others about him? Instead, we should be looking for ways to speak well of our husband. I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband who loves me sacrificially, and I realize that many women are in a much different scenario. But again, let me encourage you through the words of Titus 2:5 that we are to show love, self-control, kindness, diligence, and submission to our husbands so that “the word of God may not be reviled”. It is not our place to not serve our husbands and children even if we are not getting anything in return. Contrarily, we should serve, as it is a way for others to see the Gospel through the way in which we live. Even when it seems that we are not getting anything in return, we have hope because God promises to work everything for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). By our love and service within our home, we are being a light of God’s love and grace to our husbands, children, and those on the ouside looking in. So be encouraged sweet friends! God has called us to be Titus 2 women, and it is a tremendous blessing if we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to show the love of Jesus. 

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (‭Titus‬ ‭2‬:‭3-5‬ ESV)

Sin and Sacrifice

As we continue to study through 1 John at Integrity, my eyes have been opened more and more to the weight of sin and the glory and grace of my Heavenly Father. There are two truths that weigh heavy on my mind as I continue to study the first 2 chapters of this book: 1. We are completely and utterly sinful 2. Christ’s glorious work as a propitiation for our sins. The first truth is very easy as a proud (sinful) person to skim over and say, “Yeah. I know I have sin” and leave it at that. But as our pastor pointed out, we as believers must try to grasp just how sinful we really are. We sin because we are sinners from birth, not sinners because we sin. Without the grace of God, we would all be Hitlers. When I really thought about that concept, that without God’s grace I would be just like those people we imagine we could never be like, it helped me to really understand the weight of my sin. Living on this side of the cross, I often miss the true contrast of myself and God in His perfect holiness. As you revisit stories of the Old Testament, you are able to see more clearly God’s holiness and His wrath against sin. As a believer, it is important that we have an acute awareness of our sin because that awareness elevates the work of Christ. This is where the second truth comes into play. Romans 6:23 explains what Christ’s work on the cross did for us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I understand propitiation to be a sacrifice, where Christ was without sin, yet took on our sin, bearing the wrath of God deserved for us, and was slaughtered so that God’s wrath on sin might be satisfied. That means that through Jesus, we can freely approach the throne of God as righteous people. Through Christ’s shed blood, we now have eternal life. Some may beg the question then “Does that give me a free pass to sin as much as I want?” The answer is a definitive No! If I truly grasp Christ’s sacrifice for me, it will lead me to honor Him with all that I have. After all, we have been called to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).
So as I have studied on and meditated upon these truths the past two weeks, the prayer of my heart is that the Holy Spirit would lead me to recognize any sin in my life and live a life that glorifies the work of Christ on a daily basis. I also pray that I would not take lightly my sinfulness, but rather strive with all my being to walk in light of the Gospel. My hope for you is that if you are a believer, you too would examine your heart and repent of any sin in your life so that you can bring honor and glory to your Heavenly Father. If you are not a believer, my prayer is that you would recognize your sinfulness and also your need for a Savior. After all, your sin leads to death, but you have been promised life through the work that Christ has already done for you.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (‭1 John‬ ‭1‬:‭9‬ ESV)

Living in Light of the Gospel

Our new series at church has really hit home the last few weeks as we have unpacked the first few verses of 1 John. As I mentioned in my last post, we have been studying what living in light of the Gospel really means. Whether it’s leaving behind a legacy that points to Christ or having fellowship with others, I’ve been struck with the overwhelming truth that being a follower of Christ shows most evidently in my daily life. The past week I have been studying the book of James, which practically highlights what it looks like to be a follower of Christ Jesus. As I have studied the first few chapters, I have been convicted by the Holy Spirit of putting action to my faith. I am reminded through James that in order to put my faith into action, I must trust in the One who conquered my sin. Through Christ, I can live out His truth. Through His Spirit, I can bring glory to His name. As I continue to struggle and fight to win the battle over sin, the prayer of my heart is that Christ would be glorified through what I do. So, if you find yourself, like me, fighting to overcome sin, place your trust daily in the light of the Gospel: Jesus!

Leaving a Legacy

It’s been a while since my last post, and I have been struggling with what to write up until the last few days. God has been gracious enough to speak to my longing heart, and I just wanted to take the time to share with you what He has been teaching me over the last few weeks. We have recently started studying through 1 John on Sunday mornings at our church, and while we have only started unpacking the first four verses of chapter 1, it has been full of wisdom and truth. The highlights of these verses that have stood out to me this week are what leaving a true legacy would look like in the life of a believer, and how true fellowship with Christ leads us to a desire to fellowship with others, especially other believers. I have the great opportunity of meeting with some amazing sisters in Christ on a semi-weekly basis, and the truths we studied this past week in Colossians 3 reiterated theses truths in how we live our daily lives. As we were talking about the passage, Colossians 3:17 struck me in a different light. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Although I have known this verse for years now and recited it weekly throughout high school, the Holy Spirit gave me eyes to see it truly apply to my personal life for perhaps the first time. Whether it’s cooking dinner, doing laundry, or caring for a sweet and lively 2 year old and precious 8 month old, I have the chance to honor God with all that I do. Merriam- Webster defines a legacy as “something (such as property or money) that is received from someone who has died.” While on the surface this sounds like a solid definition, I would like to argue that a true legacy goes much deeper than money or material items that are left behind. The Holy Spirit reminded me through the life of John that leaving a legacy is not about us, but rather all about Christ. So, my prayer is that my life points not to all of the things I get accomplished in this life, but how Jesus can use my life to bring Him glory. With that prayer in mind, I have to daily ask God to help me surrender myself to Him and to take my daily tasks as a service to Him. I’m not sure where you are in life right now, but remember and hold fast to the truth that everything you do can be used as a way to give God glory. After all, He paid the ultimate price through His death on the cross, bearing our sins, so that through Him, we may have eternal life. May you and I rest in that truth today and leave a legacy of Christ.

From Death to Life

I have had the wonderful opportunity the last few nights to study the first few chapters of Romans during my time of devotion. I am amazed at how the chapters flow, making us aware of our sin, and then moving to the great testament that is Christ’s death and resurrection. It never ceases to capture my heart when I read about God’s great love for me. How He sent his only Son to die so that through His death, I am justified and at peace with God, if I put my faith and trust in Him. How sweet it is to hear how much I am loved, and of no doing of my own. It humbles my heart to know that even while I was still a sinner, Christ Jesus loved me enough to die in my place so that I can have eternal life with Him. I was also encouraged through the reading of Romans 5 today that even my sufferings should cause me to rejoice because through them, I can clearly see God’s love being poured out over me. I’ve had the wonderful privilege to share with a remarkable group of ladies over the past few weeks in our Life Group, and in our conversation last night, this passage rang especially clear to me while we were talking. As we fellowshipped together last night and shared our hearts with one another, I was struck with an overwhelming sense of peace as I remembered how God had used my past struggles to bring Him glory. As I shared with these precious ladies how God had redeemed a difficult situation in my life and brought peace through it, my heart was brought to gratefulness that my Savior could do such amazing work. Although it breaks my heart to see my fellow sisters in Christ in the midst of suffering, it is such an encouragement to know that God is sovereign over all and will use our suffering to bring Him glory. Be encouraged as I have with these verses:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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 produces 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.” (Romans 5:1-5 ESV)

If you are in the midst of a trial in your life, take heart knowing that we are dearly loved and rest in Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. To Him be the glory!

Search Me, O God!

I have been contemplating this post for a while now, trying to figure out what The Lord would have me write. After much thought, I am finally ready to update everyone on how God is speaking and moving in my life. Sorry in advance if this post is lengthy, but I have a lot to share. First, I must praise my Savior for His grace, love, and mercy. He is so faithful, and I am thankful that He is slow to anger and abounding in love for me because I mess up so much. As many of you are aware, my husband and I are on a journey of being apart during the week while he is in training. I stand amazed daily at how Christ can take a situation such as ours and make it so beautiful and use it to bring glory to the Father. He has truly used this time to grow us in our love for one another as well as growing me closer to Him. Although this journey has had its ups and downs along the way, I am a firm believer in the fact that God uses times when we are at our weakest to grow us in our love and affection for Him, producing a strength unlike anything we could fathom. Despite the overall growing process, I have been going through a rough patch here lately, allowing sin to creep into my life. Here is where it pains me, but I must be honest because confessing my sin will not only hold me accountable to all of you who are reading, but I know that through my struggle, Christ’s work in my life will bring Him glory, which only He deserves. I must confess that here lately, my desire for the things of God was growing dimmer, and I was becoming reluctant to read His Word on a daily basis. Though my heart still longed for closeness with my Father, there was something in my life that was keeping me from that sweet fellowship. This past Sunday as we were studying in church the evidence of a revived life, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit about the attitude of my heart, especially towards reading His Word. We were discussing how the Israelites begged for the Word to be read in Nehemiah 8, and how they desired so much to hear, they stood listening to it being read from early morning to midday. As we read that passage, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart saying, “Would you be willing to stand that long to hear the Word preached? Is your desire that strong for the Word?” As I began to examine my heart, God helped me to understand that I had been allowing selfishness and a lack of discipline to slowly crowd my heart, pushing out the desire for Him. So, as I lay in bed last night, I asked Christ to forgive me for the sin that I had allowed to take over my life, and I asked Him to return my heart to desiring Him and His Word. As I awoke this morning, the first thing that entered my mind was wanting to hear from Him. God is so faithful and so good! I have been amazed at how He has answered prayer today, and I am so thankful to serve a God who is alive and active! The great thing about this truth is the fact that He desires the same thing for you. I have been reminded that I am nothing, but I serve a God who is everything. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b). He is so gracious to allow us to be a part of His plan, and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve a God who “…did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). So, if you are struggling with a similar situation, let me encourage you to ask God to give you the desire for more of Him. I can attest to the fact that He is faithful to give us those desires! I am excited to see where God takes me from here, and I am thankful for the preparation that He has given me in the days that lie ahead as we wind down on this current journey and begin yet another one! 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24