Be Free Fridays: free to mess up (Meg)

I have this problem.
Sometimes I open my mouth and say things that I regret even before the words come out.
It’s like inside, in slow motion, I’m going… “nooooo” just as I’m saying something to someone that I love. Sometimes, words can just plain hurt… knives going into open wounds.
And the worst part – those words usually come out to the people I love the most.
Am I alone in this?
The very people I want to hurt the least are the very ones that my words puncture the most.
This week I did this. And this weekend, I’m learning what it looks like to be free in the gospel in a very practical way.
I’m learning how to be free to mess up. I’m learning to be free to fall down.
If you’ve ever watched a small child learn to walk, you know that with every few steps they fall. They occasionally look around to see if anyone saw, and usually their loving parents, or anyone around really, will encourage them that it’s okay and help them get back up.
God is my father.
And how often do I fall? In his loving kindness, he looks at me and says, “It’s okay, Meg, you only fell down! Let me help you learn to walk.”
The gospel shines through these times in my life. God isn’t a father who demands his young child to learn to perfectly run before she has even learned how to walk yet. He has a standard of holiness, yes, but in his grace he sees us fall, anticipates it even, and then he empowers us to not just fall and stay there, to not just mess up and sit in our mess, but to get back up and continue to walk with him. Because he loves us.
My tendency is to try and pick myself up, to try and act like I didn’t just fall. My tendency is to try and not need his grace and forgiveness. Sometimes it’s hard to accept. Even from the people we hurt, much less from God himself.
But the reality is that God’s grace is sufficient – his power is made perfect – in our weakness {2 Corinthians 12:9}. The reality is that he isn’t expecting us to run when we’re just learning to walk. In his tender care and grace, as our perfect father, he gives us freedom to be who we are and to come to him. And he loves us.
So, this weekend: join me in resting in God’s grace and in the freedom that we have to mess up. Not to take advantage of, not to shrug off our sin, but to come to him as we are – learning to walk – and to experience his love… to ask him for help, to acknowledge our sin to him in its entirety, and to see him reach out his hand to us.
What are areas of your life that you tend to try and fix on your own? In what ways do you find yourself hoping God didn’t see you fall so that you can try and come to him with your act together? In what ways can you experience his grace by going to him, and seeing the freedom he offers through the gospel – freedom to mess up and to still be loved?
I’d love to hear how God is showing you this tender grace in your lives. Add a comment below to share of his goodness through the freedom you are experiencing! Praying for you girls this morning that you know the true freedom that comes from God alone. Happy Friday!

Seven Questions (Brooke)

 Brian and I are huge Relevant magazine fans.  We count down the days between each issue and we are faithful listeners to their weekly podcast.  We love their take on life, music, and faith in today’s culture.


Anyway, in the latest issue there is an article by Jon Acuff called “7 Questions that will change your life”.  They are simple questions but I think if you actually take time out and sit, breathe, pray, think, and write out your answers these questions could bring out some things in you that you didn’t know was there. It’s extremely important to s l o w down and evaluate your life.  So, grab a pen—a good cup of coffee/tea–your journal and take a moment to pause. You won’t regret it.


Here are the questions:
1. What are some things you want to do with your life? {What do you want to be true of your life?}
2. Who really knows me? “Think about who knows the best and worst parts of you and still chooses to be in your life.” (Celebrate these people!)
3. What am I awesome at?  Maybe consider asking the person or people you put down for #2 this question about yourself— they may see things in you that you don’t see. (Oh, and btw it’s okay to be awesome at things-God put those things in you!)
4. Am I still learning?
5. Will social media come back to haunt me in my later years?
6. Am I a selfish jerk? 
7. If my life were a movie, would I cheer? “Sometimes we need to step outside ourselves and see what the story really looks like.”


I’m sitting down this weekend with these questions and I’m excited to see what happens. 
love to you! 
Happy Thursday.

What Will You Share? (Lindsey)

On an unsuspecting fall day in 2012, my good friend Elizabeth shared with me the mystical gift of beer bread. After working hard to make other breads from scratch, I was so relieved to learn of one that technically only required sugar, flour, and a bottle of beer; no kneading & not much measuring. Since I learned of it, I delight in making it for others. It’s so easy and I love sharing the recipe (see recipe below).
Elizabeth and I grew up in the same church, love 90’s music, baking, and crafting. I was so grateful to my friend Elizabeth for sharing that recipe with me. Because she shares many of my interests, I knew that if she was excited about it, I’d probably like it too.
Elizabeth is not only a great baker; she is also a role model for me in telling people about Jesus. She tends to look for every opportunity to talk about how Jesus has changed her life and made it better; how He has made it more fulfilling.
On an unsuspecting day many falls ago, there was a woman who encountered Jesus and was told about a gift even greater than beer bread.
In John 4:10-13, Jesus told the woman that God has a gift for her and that His gift will satisfy her. She would finally find contentment with what God gave her.
And she did.
God’s gift was so satisfying and exciting that John 4:39-42 tells us that, “Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
The woman had a specific sphere of influence that didn’t need to be told in a persuasive way or with eloquent language. Her village needed to be pointed to Jesus and invited to know Him.
Elizabeth told me about the recipe. I looked it up and found out everything she had said was true. The Gospel offers a similar guarantee of satisfaction to all who receive it.
Often we are hesitant to share the most beautiful part of our lives. We forget that the Gospel is for everyone. Too commonly, we imagine that the Gospel somehow fits in our own lives in a unique way and that it wouldn’t make sense to just anyone.
Maybe not everyone would be as excited to receive a new recipe as I would but a drowning person is happy to be thrown a life preserver. While it is not for us to decide who is worthy of the life preserver or to whom we “feel comfortable” throwing one, we do have a natural sphere of influence and that is not by mistake.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul writes that he and others did not only share the gospel but they also shared their own lives. We all have our own villages to point to Jesus. We are messengers who are blessed with the roles of pointing people to Jesus in the scriptures and delighting in the results.
Honey Beer Bread
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 4 Tbsp. (half stick) butter, melted (**You can double this if you’d like**)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x 5x 3-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. (I recommend popping your honey in the microwave for a few seconds beforehand to make it easier to stir in!)
Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. (Use a pastry brush to spread it around if you’d like.)
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve immediately.