Spiritual Growth

Holding Plans with Open Hands

A box of pink polka dot paper products sits in my guestroom closet alongside a bag of Mickey Mouse ears. Matching Etsy printables remain unopened in an email inbox folder. A carefully curated note is bookmarked on my iPhone, ready to have items checked off. But with new restrictions coming out each day because of the coronavirus, it is unlikely that my dream “Oh Twodles” birthday party for my daughter will take place.

I know there are much more serious concerns around this global pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people are sick and many are dying. Healthcare professionals and systems are overwhelmed. Workers are losing their jobs. Yet even though the worst effects of COVID-19 have yet to enter our home, I’m still humbled by how our plans so easily fall apart. Weddings are reduced to the minimum guest restrictions. Long-awaited concerts are moved to an Instagram story. Birthday parties are postponed or even cancelled.

While I pray for the infected patients and healthcare professionals who are facing this pandemic head-on, I’ve also allowed myself to grieve plans. I can’t snuggle the newborn baby of a good friend. I can’t watch the vows of my cousin and his new wife. I won’t get to see my daughter dressed in her Minnie Mouse outfit running around the backyard with her friends. God knows that every person is experiencing differing levels of grief in this crisis, and he is using each of our situations to teach us something about ourselves and about himself.

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Resources

#ThursdayThings — Scripture Memory Tools

A few weeks ago, my sister Myrissa shared about how scripture memory has made such an impact on her walk with Christ. She also wrote about the spiritual discipline of memorizing long passages, chapters, and even books of the Bible. That may seem like a daunting task to someone who has no regular scripture memory habit, so I wanted to share a few tools that both Myrissa and I have used to grow in the discipline of scripture memory.

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Friday Friends

#FridayFriends: Scripture Memorization

Today’s blog post was written by my younger sister, Myrissa Webb. Myrissa is a senior at Auburn University studying hospitality management. She has a heart to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims and is preparing to go overseas on mission after graduation.

I grew up learning a lot of various Bible verses at church. I still remember a lot of those verses because I spent so much time reading them and practicing them. They are hidden in my heart. However, I rarely put them to use in my life and allowed these verses to dwell in me. It was not until I came to college that I was challenged by my college pastor to memorize chapters and books of the Bible, not just single verses from all over the Bible. This seemed daunting to me, but I took his tips and started memorizing Ephesians 1. Here are three ways that this kind of memorization has resulted in the Word of God dwelling in my life.

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Spiritual Growth

The Pain of Anticipation

I think that God gives moms selective memory when it comes to pregnancy. We remember the sweet baby showers, the thudding heartbeat on the ultrasound, the feeling when the doctor first puts your baby in your arms. What you don’t remember is the absolute chaos your body was in for forty weeks. As I finally leave the first trimester of pregnancy, I hope to say goodbye to symptoms either I didn’t have in my first pregnancy or somehow I forgot.

One of the worse symptoms I’ve had so far is dizziness. My mom started to get concerned, so she brought over her blood pressure cuff and glucose meter so I could monitor what was going on. As soon as she pulled out the lancet (a small needle), I knew we had a problem.

I have an incredibly low pain tolerance. I’ll admit it; just a minor paper cut has my eyes watering. She hands over the small needle for me to prick myself, and I know I can’t do it. It took five minutes before I finally handed it to back to her for her to do it. An hour after every meal, I dreaded that little finger prick—that tiny, brief pain.

I came to realize that my anticipation of that little prick was worse than the pain itself. I agonized for minutes over what would last for less than a second. Then I realized, for me, that didn’t just apply to tiny pricks on my finger. My fear of suffering could be as agonizing as the suffering itself.

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Spiritual Growth

A Prayer for Lent

One of the hardest decisions in our wedding planning was choosing the songs for the ceremony. We didn’t want to use traditional instrumental music but instead wanted to include hymns and worship songs that were meaningful to us both. The problem was we couldn’t narrow it down (and still ended up choosing five songs!).

One song that my husband wanted so badly for us to use but I refused was “Depth of Mercy.” It wasn’t that I didn’t like the song; it just seemed so depressing for a day that was to celebrate God’s love through marriage. The song begins:

Depth of mercy, can there be mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear me the chief of sinners, spare?
Now incline me to repent, let me now my sins lament. 
Deeply my revolt deplore, weep, believe and sin no more.

Wrath, lament, deplore, weep…those aren’t typical words you hear at a wedding. I wanted songs about God’s love, beauty, and grace. A song about God’s wrath would be hard to hear when we’re all dressed up and acting our best. I wanted our guests to revel at God’s creation of marriage, not squirm at his righteous justice. Now I realize that the truth of those words could have reminded my husband and me at our wedding that we were two sinners being brought together by God’s deep love and mercy.

Lent begins in two days on Ash Wednesday, initiating forty days of fasting, prayer, and giving that leads up to Easter Sunday. It’s a time of preparation for Easter, similar to what Advent does at Christmas. But unlike Advent, Lent is a somber season, where we remind ourselves of our individual sinfulness apart from Christ, the depravity of mankind, and the injustice around the world.

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Family

When Social Media is your Love Language

I remember my first Valentine’s Day with my husband almost ten years ago. As a freshman in college and a hopeless romantic, I had high expectations. There must be flowers (even though I don’t really care for them), my favorite chocolates, and a thoughtful gift. The evening must be special—the perfect amount of sweet and fun to update my status on Facebook. We ended the night with my favorite cupcakes (because that was cool in 2011) at our favorite spot in the city. I thought to myself, “I hope every Valentine’s Day is this perfect.” As he drove me back to my dorm, I promptly posted our photo with the caption: “watched the sun set over Birmingham tonight with Joseph Broderick 😊.”

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Friday Friends

#FridayFriends — I’ve Wasted 30 Years of My Life

Today’s blog post was written by my dear friend Tara McAdam. Tara is a wife, mother of two, teacher, and photographer. All of our family photos have been taken by Tara, so check out her photography on her Facebook page and website. I have been so encouraged by her friendship the last six years, and I pray her testimony of the power of God’s word would encourage you today.

I have wasted thirty years of my life not knowing who God is. I became a believer of Jesus Christ at twelve years old and rededicated my life at age twenty. From twenty years old to thirty years old, I tried countless methods of trying to know who God is. I would listen to solid Christian podcasts, read best-selling Christian books, listen to recorded sermons, soak up teachings from my pastor, and be super involved in the latest bible study. All of those things are good things, but none of those things could be my first source of knowing who God is.

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Spiritual Growth

Remembering the God of Hope

It’s almost three weeks into the new year, and probably most resolutions are already long forgotten. The buzz of a new year, and a new decade, has faded into the daily grind of work, school, meals, etc. It’s hard to remember the illustrious plans we had for the new year when our dishes and email inbox start filling up again. It’s not that those goals are any less true, we just forget them. One key I have found to successfully completing resolutions is simply to remember them.

Left on our own, our hearts and minds are quick to forget. Not only do we forget fleeting things like yearly resolutions, we forget who we are and what we have in Christ. That is why when Paul prays for the church at Ephesus, he prays, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 4:18-19a, NIV).

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