I just finished going through a study of Ruth with the She Reads Truth community. I've gone through the book of Ruth probably more times than any other book in the Bible and I NEVER get tired of it. It's a story that captivates my Taylor Swift kindred spirit-ness more than any other. It's a sit on the edge of your seat kind of love story, totally worthy of some catchy Taylor Swift tune, but it's so so much more! There are so many lessons to be learned from Ruth about so many things: grief, spiritual mothers, healing, God's plan, and more. But the thing that overwhelmed me this time about this wonderful little book in the Bible, is that Ruth's love story is MY love story. Ruth's love story is YOUR love story. Ruth's love story is OUR love story whether we have earthly romantic love or not.
She Reads Truth said the following about Ruth:
"God used our Ruth. He gives us a glimpse of what a Redeemer looks like, both loving and just, through Boaz. He has redeemed you like Boaz redeemed Ruth. Their love story is our love story. And in the most public way possible, He redeemed us once and for all, a people for His own possession. Sisters, go forward today like Ruth! Loved so genuinely and so incredibly by the One Who redeemed you to be His. You are loved. And you are His."
I'm in a strange season where my life kinda sorta feels like a Taylor Swift song some days (with butterflies, smiles, and the fun and frustrating kind of confusion). However, whether this mystery thing in my life becomes something or doesn't, whether it's fleeting or will last, it doesn't and can't compare with the way God's love for me, for you, for us, overwhelms me! As a single woman, I dream about a Ruth and Boaz romance. It overwhelms me to hope (I want to say know, but hope is as good as knowing) that God would send a man into my life who would redeem me. Who would love me in spite of any past mistakes I've made and any future mistakes I will make. Who would love me, my flaws, my quirks, and all. A man who would redeem the broken family I was born into by becoming my family and creating our own family. That kind of earthly love is a dream I hope I do have one day. But that love is also something we all already have.
After finishing up Ruth, completely overwhelmed by how Boaz loved her, how God loved Ruth by providing for her, and how God loves us by making this story our story in that He sent the ultimate Redeemer to redeem us forever, I was driving to work and this song by Bethel Music called "We Dance" came up on my playlist. The lyrics read:
"You steady me. Slow and sweet, we sway. Take the lead and I will follow. Finally ready now, to close my eyes and just believe that You won’t lead me where You don’t go.
When my faith gets tired and my hope seems lost, You spin me round and round and remind me of that song, the one You wrote for me. And we dance!
And I’ve been told to pick up my sword and fight for love. Little did I know that Love had won for me. Here in Your arms You still my heart again. And I breathe You in like I’ve never breathed ‘til now.
And I will lock eyes with the One who’s ransomed me. The One who gave me joy for mourning. Oh, I will lock eyes with the One who’s chosen me. The one who set my feet to dancing.
We dance. Just You and me. It's nice to know I'm not alone. I've found my home here in Your arms."
Thinking about that song with the hope of hoping God will send an earthly man to me to love me that way, with the power of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus loves the church, brought me to tears. But then, thinking about my Savior and how He already, has always, and will always love me that way brought on full force weeping aka ugly crying. I pray today wherever you are and however loved you feel on earth, that you will understand and embrace God's love for you.
Let's make our own rules,
Not long ago, it was prom time at the Lockwood Lair. Two of our three daughters headed out for a night of fun with their friends. I think one of the hardest parts of preparing for that night was dress shopping. Abbie and Alex tried on close to twenty dresses each, several during a trip to Missouri. They both have different tastes, but for fun they would try on the same dress. What looked great on one made the other one look like they were playing dress up. As I was watching the dress picking process and giving my humble opinion as a mom, I couldn't help but think of the verses in Colossians 3 that talk about our spiritual wardrobe.
When we become Christians, Christ-followers, we are given a new wardrobe. Our old sinful nature doesn't fit us any more. Paul says in Colossians 3:9-10 (The Message) "You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you are dressed in a new wardrobe." God strips us of that old life and gives us a new one. We undergo a transformation. I love the illustration of throwing our ill-fitting clothes in a fire. It means we are completely getting rid of it never to wear it again. Besides, who doesn't want a new wardrobe?
Paul continues in verse 11 saying, "Every item in your new wardrobe is custom made by the Creator, with His label on it. The old fashions are now obsolete ... from now on every one is defined by Christ ..." I can just imagine the label saying "Made especially for you, handcrafted by the Father." We are no longer defined by the world, but by God. We are chosen by Him for a new life of love.
Paul even tells us the items that are in our new wardrobe. In Colossians 3:12-14 he instructs us to "Dress in the wardrobe God has picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear LOVE (emphasis mine). It is your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it." As I write this, I'm being convicted. Am I always "wearing" love? Do I show compassion? Humility? Am I disciplined? No, no, no and NO. Why not? I think sometimes I try to pull out my old wardrobe. I look in the mirror and see my new clothes through the lenses of my past. I let the past dictate what I will wear, sometimes trying to mix and match the two wardrobes. Ill fitting clothes DO NOT go with custom made, tailored ones. I think that is why Paul instructs us to "burn" them. We can't wear them again and shouldn't want to either.
A new spiritual wardrobe is ours for the asking. God is waiting to dress us; all we have to do is trust Him and let Him do the work. We are the most beautiful version of ourselves when we are dressed in Christ's love and righteousness.
Embrace life to the fullest,
You may or may not have noticed (hopefully you did!) that we took a little unannounced, seemingly unintentional break from blogging and social media. I (Kasia here), wish I could tell you the break was for some super fancy reason like fasting from social media, visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (I seriously have GOT to make that happen in my life), going on a European vacation, writing a book, meeting the man of my dreams (we've gotta make that happen too), or something of the sort, but that's definitely not the case here. Anyone with kids or anyone who works in education knows that April-May is insanely busy. I don't have kids, but I do work in higher education. In the midst of normal end of the school year craziness, April and May also involved finishing a job I've worked at for the last 3 1/2 years, packing up and moving out of an apartment I lived in for 3 1/2 years, starting a new job and all the transition that comes with that (being the new kid, feeling like you'll never know anything related to your new job, etc), moving into a house, and adjusting to life with roommates (I've lived by myself for roughly 5 years). Oh and I turned 31. 31 somehow sounds a little less magical to me than 30, but 30 was the best year of my life thus far, so high hopes. But 31? It doesn't sound as cool as 30. Sometimes I think transition should be a four letter word. Anyone with me?
I reluctantly made the wise choice to take a break from blogging on any blogs until I was somewhat transitioned. The TWU faculty and blogging team was so supportive and covered me in prayer and encouragement through all the changes. That was huge considering that taking that break meant not managing and posting their posts here either. So thankful for those ladies! I'm not transitioned fully or anything (are we ever?), but my house is enough unpacked, my new sleep schedule feels somewhat normal, I know a few things at work (emphasis on few, as in three or four, no more), I'm a little less sad about the wonderful chapter of life I finished by leaving my former job and apartment, and all my free time is no longer occupied by packing, unpacking, moving, reading policy and procedures, and freaking out about all the change happening.
As I thought about transition and coming back to this writing space to write and post things, I was also reminded of how often I have to come back to Jesus. I had a whole Starbucks day planned to find my writing rhythms again, get organized, prep posts, etc. I made myself start with Jesus, knowing He inspires my words, but honestly, I wasn't very excited about it. I've been feeling the weight of my sin and how the lack of a good outlet, like writing, was manifesting in finding it harder to resist sin, and, full disclosure here, NOT resisting sin.
I'm gonna chase a quick rabbit here and say, let's stop being afraid to confess that we sin to one another! I don't think we should brag on our sins by any means. Confession isn't bragging; it's brokenness. But I think decades and decades of "proper" Christian women (and men) pretending they are perfect, sinless, and have it all figured out and together has done a lot more damage than good. [End rabbit chase.]
I've been reading through Nehemiah with the She Reads Truth community. I was a bit behind so I decided to catch up before I started writing. As it normally happens when I feel the desire or reluctant need to pursue Jesus again, I was utterly and painfully broken. Stories about the Israelites always have that power for me. They surrender to God, things are good, things get bad, they blame God, they turn away like whoa, things get worse, they come back, God rescues them, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Nehemiah tells a similar story. Things are bad. God rescues them. Things are good. And again, they forget. Nehemiah ends with them forgetting again and turning away. It doesn't end with them coming back.
I'm sure there is a lot of theological insight to be discussed here and tons of commentaries written about it, but the way it affected me today wasn't complicated at all. It was simple. I was shattered. Psalms 16:2 says, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'" As I was being mad at myself that I always have to come back and frustrated that I can't just simple stay, I was reminded that I have no good apart from Him. I have no good in me apart from Him. I could list all the things I'm good at and that He's gifted me in, and those are real; He does and has made me "good" and good at things, but I NEED Jesus. Though I get frustrated with my human nature and its ugly tendency to wander, I am so thankful for my desperation and need for Jesus that always brings me back.
So all that to say ... we're back! Physically writing here again and spiritually always coming back to Jesus again and again and hope you will too. Be patient with us as many of our team members have kids that are home from school, summer vacations, transitions, and less time to write. Our goal is to continue to bring you two posts a week on most weeks. Feel free to let us know some topics you'd love to hear our ladies write about too.
Let's make our own rules,
Meet the Authors