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Putting on my glasses

April 12, 2011

This year I got glasses. Andrew has told me for over 2 years that I need them. But I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to take the time to go to the doctor and investigate the problem. Why? Because I thought I was completely fine. I truly thought my eyes were perfect. And then one day I gave in. I decided to make the call. Sure enough, I have needed glasses for years.

The moment I put my glasses on, I literally squealed at the lady behind the counter. It was unbelievable the things I could see. For the first time, I realized how bad my eyes were and how desperately I needed the help of glasses.

And throughout this past year, God has given me another pair of glasses. He has stripped away so many things in my life, and it has forced me to see clearer than I ever have before. There’s not all that junk hiding my view anymore. He’s taken away the safety and security I’ve hidden behind. The stuff that made me think I was OK. He had to get me to the point where I was ready to admit that I’m really not OK. I really might have a problem. I’ve seen some things about myself this past year. And they aren’t very pretty.

Halfway through writing this, I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t write another negative post. Maybe I should write about the amazing grace of God throughout this journey.” And then I realized, that’s exactly what this is. You have to look deep sometimes, put on your glasses and see the really hideous stuff that lies within, to realize how truly amazing God’s grace is.

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”- Luke 7:47. And I want to love much. So here’s to confessing my depravity in hopes that God’s great forgiveness produces an authentic and true love.

1. I am selfish. Very selfish. I want things to go my way. I want things to be easy.
2. I don’t care enough about other people. I want to love like Jesus does. But I fail quite often.
3. I trust in myself a lot more than I trust in God. To surrender means I give up EVERYTHING, including control.
4. I care way too much about what other people think.
5. I’m sometimes afraid that I’m going to miss what we’re “giving up”… that I’m not going to be as happy without those things.

– Those are just the tip of the iceberg. The flesh goes deep. And the longer you wear your glasses, the more details you’ll see: the dirt, the dust, the grime you never noticed before.

But here’s the Gospel:
Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” and Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

God’s love has been so real, so deep and so faithful to me. I can’t believe He’s chosen me. Asked me to trust Him with everything. Because I am far from deserving. It’s grace beyond reason. The glasses He gave me were more than worth admitting I might have a problem. Yes, I can see the ugliness inside of me but the grace of God is more clear and sharp in my vision than ever before.

Failure.

March 29, 2011

Has God ever called you to something that scares you beyond belief? I mean, shakes you to the core. Where it’s all on the line. There’s no going back.

That’s where I am.

My biggest fear has never been heights. Or snakes. Or death. Or giant bugs. Or drowning. I fear all of those things. But they only peek around the corner every once in a while.

My true, faithful, constant, life-long companion has always been my fear of failure. He’s followed me everywhere.

I’m competitive. I’m driven. I’m self-sufficient. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. I’ve excelled in school. In sports. In work. In relationships. But the root of these seemingly admirable qualities? My scary friend: failure.

I’m always trying to run from him. Or hide from him. Or just cover him up when I can’t quite seem to get away from him. And trust me, there are lots of options when choosing a cover: I can throw virtue over him. Or responsibility. Or commitment. Or duty. Over the years, I’ve become quite good at disguising my loyal friend.

But God decided He had other plans for my reliable sidekick. He set him smack-dab in front of me. And now, for the first time, we’re eye to eye, me and my fear of failure. I’ve never been this close to him before. This is the first time I’ve noticed how ugly he is. From far away he’s always looked relatively attractive and put together. Up close, I can see the grossness.

I am completely vulnerable, completely dependent and completely scared to death to look him in the eye. But here we stand.

All I can do is step closer. One foot at a time.

Kate’s First Year

March 23, 2011

This is a video I threw together for Kate’s first birthday. I want to do this for every kid we have, every year. I know it’s a lofty goal but it can and it will be done. It really wasn’t hard to do if you just keep up with the uploading/organizing of video throughout the year. It’s a little late being that she is now 14 months old. But here it is nonetheless. She is the absolute joy of our lives. And this year has been the best to date in my life.

Good News

March 21, 2011

During my quiet time yesterday, I felt God stirring my heart to share the Gospel with someone that’s been on my mind for months. I asked the Lord to give me the words and the moment to share His good news. And then I stopped. Those two simple words rang in my head… Good…. News. And I had to ask myself this question, “What is the good news?” For the first time (I’m ashamed to say), I set out to answer this question for myself. What does the Gospel really look like? If someone asked me point blank why they should follow Jesus, what would my answer be? I sat and thought for a while and out came my unorganized clutter of words  as an attempt to describe the amazing good news that Jesus offers.

It’s not just safety from hell. It’s a relationship with our Creator that fills every void of purpose in our life. It’s restoration of life past, freedom to live now and a joyful expectation of a forever with our Father. It’s the removal of our sin, the ugliness inside of us we can’t escape on our own. It’s the opportunity to trust fully: without fear, without disappointment. It’s the unconditional, full, complete love our hearts have always longed for. It’s Truth opening our eyes to see everything is about Him and not us. There is such release in that. Every longing, every desire, every failure, every success, every heartbreak, every joy, every fear, every ounce of feeling we’ve ever experienced finds its source and purpose in Jesus. We are satisfied fully in Him alone. He makes our lack whole.

My goodness… now that is a surface scratch. There is so much more. That’s a pitiful attempt to package the sweet good news our Savior offers. But I wanted to try and I wanted to share because I wanted to know… what does the good news mean to you?

P.S. I realize this is my first post in a year :). I’ve decided to not put pressure on myself to post anything unless I really want to.

In Repair

September 8, 2010

EVERYTHING in life is in constant need of repair. There is some type of maintenance, safeguarding, protecting, preventing, upkeep, conservation that is going on in each area of our lives. We have to shower. The dishwasher needs unloading. It’s time to shave. The car needs its oil changed. We need a hair cut. It’s time to change the A/C filter. There goes another tank of gas. It’s grocery shopping day. Another diaper changed. The house needs to be cleaned. I’ve got to write another to-do list. It’s laundry day. The baby needs to be fed again. We need to be fed again. You get the point.

Much of the energy we expend is given to this mundane task of preserving what we already have. We shouldn’t even have time to want more! But yet we do. We spend our time clinging to keep what we already have, yet always wishing for something more. It can be quite a miserable thought. But Jesus gives us something to think about:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

What hope that is. How convicting that is.

Here’s the hopeful part: there is so much more than this! Day-to-day doesn’t have to be day-to-day. Life doesn’t have to be about to-do lists and paychecks or “what’s for dinner?” and “what are we doing this weekend?”. That longing deep within us for something more is the eternity that God set in our hearts. Our momentary (day-to-day) affliction is producing an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. He is crafting a beautiful magnum opus with our every “Twinkle, twinkle little star” that we sing. But we must see beyond the seen.

Here’s the convicting part: 99% of what I focus on is the seen. So here’s my prayer. Lord, make me intentional about the unseen: people’s souls, their eternal future and the process of redemption taking place inside of me. These are eternal. Place eternity on it’s rightful throne in my heart.

Traditions

August 3, 2010

Ok. So I know I’ve been the worst blogger in history. But I’m back. I am a blogger again.

I was thinking today about traditions. I hear about some of the neatest things that families do and I always struggle to remember them. So I started a Tradition journal today. It’s just going to be filled with great ideas I steal from other people that I think might be a meaningful thing to do with our family. I want my kids to grow up in a house filled with purpose and wonderful memories. Once my journal is filled with a number of great tradition ideas, Andrew and I can go through them and pick the ones we want to do with our family on a consistent basis.

I have two so far. They’re both stolen. But that’s ok, right?

1. Keeping our set of Christmas cards that we receive throughout the year and pulling a different card out at dinner each night and praying together for that specific family. Love this idea so much! We’ll be praying for others and teaching our kids to keep others’ needs above our own.

2. Each year on our child’s birthday – take a picture with just that child and Andrew and I. I think this is a perfect way to track the growth and change of each child we’ll have and just a small way for them to feel like they’re special and unique in mom and dad’s eyes.

So that’s all I have so far of new ideas that weren’t passed on to me from my family already. Now I want your input. All 2 of my readers. Any good tradition ideas like these that would be meaningful to implement into the Cornell household someday?


Compelled.

February 18, 2010

I feel like a new person since I gave life to a new little girl, thus, a new post.

There is nothing like being a mother. I’m 5 weeks into this thing called motherhood; there is no turning back.

It is hard to put into words the life that this little life has breathed into me. She is an absolute miracle. From her tiny fingers to her perfect ears to her chubby belly, I couldn’t be more in love. She melts me.

She can’t survive without us. She is completely helpless, relying on us to provide her every need.

We feed her. We bathe her. We change her diaper. We clothe her. We sing to her. We take her on walks. We look into her eyes and try to make her smile.

There are times when her cries demand our attention. Other times, her cries are a need for rest and we let her work it out until she falls asleep.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s true. Being a parent reflects back the heart of our Heavenly Father more than anything.

He feeds me from His Word. He changes my dirty diapers called sin and bathes me clean with His mercy. He clothes me in righteousness. He sings over me every night. He takes my hand and walks with me through every circumstance. And He’s always trying to catch my attention and make me smile.  Sometimes God answers my cries immediately. Sometimes He lets me work it out.

And like Kate, I don’t thank Him for His sustenance, His forgiveness, His redemption in me, His comfort or His guidance. And many times I’m too distracted by  other things and forget to hold his gaze and smile. I get mad when my cry goes unanswered until I realize He just wants to give me rest.

It’s all too familiar isn’t it?

And the same way I feel toward Kate despite it all is the same way my Father feels about me.

What a glimpse this thing called parenthood gives us into the heart of our Heavenly Father.