Significance In The Gospel

Rather than filling my life with things that make me feel significant, I'd rather fill my life with significant things. Nothing is more significant than the Gospel - the precious, life giving truths of justification by faith in Christ.

God is not punishing you, if you are in Christ Jesus. If you are in Christ Jesus, you have been removed from "first Adam" (oh, how I wish I had more time and space to unpack it!) and God will never punish you. He already poured His wrath out on Christ.

Punishment is just that...punishment. You pay for your sin. Jesus paid it ALL.

Discipline is designed to make you great, girlfriend. It is an indication of His great love for you, and the potential of Christ in you bringing God GREAT glory.

The more you delve into the grace-gospel, the more you better get prepared for greatness. The more you understand the Gospel, the more your life becomes filled with significant things..and the more discipline you will encounter. (Read: "the more you will be held accountable for having right relationships with those in authority in your life, with those who are your peers, and with those under your authority.")

I Am Defined by My Delights

"She who delights in luxury is dead while she lives." I Timothy 5:6 - my paraphrase, but it is accurate - as in "study the Greek" accurate. Go ahead and check it out for yourself. (Yes, the context of this passage applies to "widows indeed" in the church, but use your sanctified logic...why wouldn't it be applicable to any woman who calls herself a believer in Christ?)

I am defined by what delights me. I pray I am found choosing relationships over money. I pray I am found delighting in family more than what finances can purchase for me. (No amount of assets or acreage can get you even one healthy relationship!) I pray I am found putting the priority and emphasis on being a faithful friend, over acquiring social status through strutting my luxurious stuff. I pray I am found valuing people over "personal peace and affluence" - a phrase originally coined by Francis Schaeffer.

Want to really live? As a woman, do you want to really have a full life? Find delight in loving God and loving others - be busy, every day, doing both. The latest automobile or appliance, the loveliest acreage or apparel just won't do it for you. To value "stuff" is the best way to be dead while you live.

Another Great Example of Granny Chic

(This image from the blog Sofie's Haus)

What a great example of "Granny Chic"! I love the mix of color and even pattern. The blog, "Sofie's Haus" is one of the very best photography blogs I've run across - featuring lots of fashion and interior design. I swear, I love me a good Sofie outfit. Every one she puts together and then photographs is a study in style.

Note the large leather bag, the mix of fabric pattern, the boots, which are a nice wedge heel, but not too high. The cute cardi just tops it all off, pulling together an adorable outfit that would look becoming on any woman from 50 years old, down to 25 years old.

Sofie may not be specifically attempting to define "Granny Chic" for us (she is in her late 20's I believe) but she sure does nail the look, almost every time. Her fashion aesthetic transcends generations.

I often copy her, and I am a 45 year old grandmommy. And I would love to have her manicurist as my own, but I probably couldn't afford her manicurist. Sofie's nails ... even her nails .... tell a fashion/style story. Spend a little time looking over her blog, and you will easily see. Sofie uses various colors on her nails - all of them Chanel - and manages to put together a beautiful style post that is a study in color theory.

From fingertips to toes, and the pretty clothes worn between, this blog is almost always a great example of the eclectic, intelligent, yet sensual style that is becoming known as "Granny Chic".

The Exquisite Writing of Hal Borland

"November is the evening of the year, the bedtime of the green and flowering world. Now comes the time for rest, for sleep. So the coverlet is spread, the tucking in begun. Next should come the lullaby, but the lullaby singers have all gone south. The pines and the hemlocks will whisper good night instead."

Relationships Can Be Restored

Maybe this winter can be your spring and mine? God is able! Do the right thing, say the right thing, to the right person. Don't do the wrong thing, and say the wrong thing. Don't say the right thing to anyone and everyone but the right person. Relationships are worth it. Someone, somewhere is waiting on you to fix it. They are missing you. Fix it soon. Love is alive...

In Which Sheila Declares

...that she is thankful for:

her girlfriends...and her best friend, The Preacher...and her children, her four plus two more sons in law...

for Snoopy cartoons...
and birthday presents that are still coming in...
for 25 years, this year, with her Renaissance Man - preacher, builder, musician, auto mechanic, handy man, world traveler, computer techie, Bible student, and sous chef...

Ford trucks, and most country music
the maxi dress, her big front porch, and smart phone

Sheila is fantastically grateful for her Grandson. The Cutest Ever. Even though he has already discovered biting. And squealing in rage. He's still perfect. Amen.

for her parents, sister, and brother

for petite blondes who drive Mustangs and make her smile and buy purple shirts especially for her son's basketball games. A better girlfriend a mother's son never had.

for nice girls from Minnesota, utterly brunette, visiting my home and family this Thanksgiving (Josiah, she's great!)

for the mighty, amazing, unending, unfathomable, better-than-we-know grace of God
and for the gospel of Jesus Christ, the effect of which is a true, unselfconscious, humble and durable holiness

that she serves a Joyful King

that she didn't earn and doesn't deserve, yet she is insanely and sloppily blessed

for the way her God breaks chains - even hers, even specifically hers. Those old bondages, so gone!

for the changes her God has made in her life this year - even this year, even specifically this year. Changes some would consider pretty near drastic. And beautiful.

for life-long, well weathered friendships...for the grace men and grace women who stick and stay...

for new friends...especially the outstandingly good looking and highly accomplished ones. They don't intimidate her, she's too busy taking notes and admiring them.

for new opportunities

for old friendships, rekindled...for uber talented friends who cook, garden, landscape, sew, love all my kids and spoil my grandson and blow up things on the fourth of July...

for friends with beautiful, kidney shaped swimming pools in their new party home...and for young college friends...

for a pastor with uncommon courage, a church family with uncommon love and faithfulness, a network of supportive apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers...

"In Which Sheila Declares" that she. is. blessed.

Where Does Your Hope Rest?

Do you cherish hopes for yourself? You should. Are they big hopes? They ought to be huge - much bigger than you could ever accomplish. Super-sized hopes? Fuggetaboutit.

Take that hope, and GOD-SIZE IT, sisterfriend!

But know this: if the bedrock of those hopes is not the mighty grace of God, if you aren't building your dreams on His unmerited favor, you run a very great risk of obtaining every bit of what you've been hoping for, only to discover none of it satisfies.

Some have asked me, "What about my part? What about self discipline? What about setting high standards?" Mostly, they are entertaining a false choice to begin with. Shoot, people have left my church over that false choice, and it is truly a pity, because they are missing out. They couldn't understand that there is no choosing between God's grace and high personal achievement.

It's all in where your hope of glory lies, see.

Whatever made you imagine for a second that the grace of God, when activated in your life, would leave you to your own devices, or set the bar too low? It is God, after all, who is living on the inside of you! It is God, after all, at work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. He provides the initiative, He infuses the self control, and He gives strength to the weak. In that context, set the bar as high as it'll go.

Your part is to harbor a great and massive hope, ever move towards that hope, and believe the Gospel as applied to your present situation. All of Him, none of you. He alone is Maker.

Maker of all.

It is He who hath made us, and not we ourselves.

And when we get to the end of this life, what will we find ourselves saying?

"It is He who hath made us, and not we ourselves," that's what. No self made men in God's kingdom. By the grace of God, I am what I am. Sola, sola, sola gracia!

I have quite a store of hopes and dreams for this, my second half of living. I have caught a right fine second wind. Sequel-mothering suits me to a "T", my heart is enlarged for the generation that follows behind me, and doors of opportunity are swinging wide. I yearn to bring God GREAT glory with my one, well-lived life, spent loving others. I actually think I can do great things. Because this life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

See here: "Christ in me, the hope of glory!"

That's where my God-sized hope of accomplishing big things comes from.