I saw a picture of a refugee running at the border with her little kids - wearing a “Frozen” t-shirt. Yes, from the popular movie. You probably saw the photo too. They are just like us, but we like to think they’re not. I’ve shied away from talking about things like this in the past to not be divisive. But it makes me incredibly sad and angry to see refugees and immigrants being treated as anything less than we would be treated as a citizen of our country, as human beings. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ People don’t leave their country, their towns, their families, their kids, their friends - everything they know - to mooch off of us. They’re coming here because they’re fearful for themselves and their families, and they’re giving up everything they know to come to our country. I know it’s way more complex than I understand it to be, but we need to accept and embrace people in need. I would rather err on the side of too much compassion than not enough compassion. I am upset that because I am a citizen of this country I am by default held responsible for how they are being treated. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I get it costs us a lot of resources to make room for tens of thousands of refugees, but honestly, we have the money. We can find the money. And for those worried about safety, about potential terrorists coming in with them, that is a valid fear. But while we’re worried about a potential threat against ourselves and our country, they are worried about a certain threat against their lives. Our safety should not be our main goal. Treating people and loving people like Jesus should be our main goal. Turning people away because we are fearful is not how Jesus says to treat people. Accepting, embracing, and meeting the needs of people who are asking for help is what Jesus tells us to do. I feel like there is not much I can do apart from praying and talking about it, so that’s what I’ll do. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A few favorite groups dedicated to these conflicts: @wewelcomerefugees, @preemptivelove, @borderperspective
I’ve been going through @pauldavidtripp ‘s advent devotional this season and I wanted to share a few favorite sections from yesterday’s reading: ‘You see, our problem is not just that we live in a broken world and that it’s brokenness enters our doors; beneath that reality is a much deeper problem. We have a glory problem. We have preferred living for ourselves over living for something and someone bigger than ourselves. In our marriages, in our parenting, in our work, in our friendships, and in the church, we have made life all about us. We have tended to reduce the active field of our concern down to the tiny confines of our wants, our needs, our plans, our satisfaction, and our happiness. It’s not wrong to want some control, or to want to be right, or to like beautiful possessions, or to be surrounded by a community of love, but it’s wrong and spiritually dangerous for those things to rule in your heart.” He continues, “How much of your anger in the last two months had anything whatsoever to do with God’s call, his kingdom, and his glory? You see, if we’re honest, we’re not angry because the people around us are breaking God’s law; we are angry because they’re breaking our law. They get in the way of what we want or think we need. Perhaps, at street level, we’re not living for the glory of God at all. Perhaps in ways we’re not conscious of, we have shrunk life down to the size of our own glory.” “The Son of Glory came to fight our glory battle so that we would be freed from our bondage to any other glory but the glory of God. May your celebration today be bigger and deeper than awesome Christmas decorations, wonderful Christmas food, and cool Christmas gifts. May you glory in the real glory of the season.” I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Paul Tripp, and highly recommend any book by him. If you’re looking for a good read that will bring you closer to Jesus go pick up any title by him!
(2/2) The popular self improvement movement is dangerous because it puts the emphasis on the self. Giving people motivation to improve themselves is great, but it becomes less than great when we begin to believe that we hold the power within us to ultimately improve ourselves. The idea is being sold that if you could just lose that weight, work out more, or eat perfectly, you would be happy. Might your happiness increase? Yes, and thank God for that! But the lie is that you will be happy. The lie is that you’ll be happy by your own power and effort from your weight loss, work out consistency, or healthy diet success. The truth is that God is the only one who can give you ultimate happiness and joy. He is the only way you’ll be truly secure in yourself because he’s the one who securely holds you. Your goals for yourself will always change, you will be tempted to always look and do better, but He won’t ever change. His view and love for you will never change, and that is the only thing that will give you the ultimate happiness. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The only long term remedy for our struggles with body image is a bigger view of God and a lesser view of ourselves. Not a weight loss program, workout plan, or diet. These things can be great and have their place, but when we make our self image our god, our view of ourselves is bigger than our view of the magnificent God who came down to be with us. If God says He loves us just as we are, who are we to criticize and nitpick the bodies he made for us? There is a time and place to improve our health, but it’s so easy to fall into making it our identity and idol. We need to deeply believe that Gods view of us is more important than our view of ourselves. When we remember who God is we will stand in awe of Him and our focus will move from ourselves and onto him, just as it should be. Our awe of Him is the only thing that will keep us secure knowing that we are both small in front of him and infinitely beloved just as we are in front of him.
Giveaway! Update: @made4oboe is the winner of the giveaway! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I want to see you guys grow in your relationship with Jesus and books are a big part of my growth with him, so I want to give away three bible studies from @thedailygraceco ! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ To enter, do the following three things: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1️⃣Follow @meaganelling on Instagram 2️⃣Like this post. 3️⃣Tag friends! (as many as you want!) Each additional tag counts as another entry. One comment per entry, please. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You must complete ALL THREE requirements to win. I will check! :) This giveaway is for US residents 18 and older (sorry international friends!) and isn’t sponsored by the daily grace co or IG. The giveaway ends at 10 pm on Friday, December 7th. I'll tag the winner in my stories! :)
Are you critical of your body? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When we are condemning and cruel to ourselves for how our bodies look, we’re placing our identity in our appearance. When we struggle with criticizing our appearance, we’re making our view of ourselves more important than God’s view of us. What are some signs you put your identity in how you look? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You’re afraid to go without makeup. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You WON’T be seen without makeup. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You frequently compare yourself to others. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You always want to change something about yourself. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You negatively critique yourself in your head frequently. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You workout compulsively, or feel guilty if you miss a day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You either compulsively shop to improve your wardrobe or completely avoid shopping because you don’t like how you look. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You’re extremely affected when someone makes a positive comment to you about your appearance. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What if you really don’t like how you look? God loves you anyway. Right now, just like you are. Becoming healthier can glorify him. Tearing yourself down does not. Either way, he loves you now. Bring your negative self image to God and ask him to show you how he sees you. If you listen for it, he will tell you. When he tells you, you’ll be blown away at his love for you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ God’s view of us always trumps how we see ourselves. Are you critical of your appearance? You’re forgetting to see yourself as deeply loved by god. You’re forgetting to see God as the awe-some God that he is. You’re making yourself too high and Him not high enough. When you put your identity in your self image, you’ll never be satisfied with yourself because the body you live in is imperfect and you weren’t created to be your own god. God loves it right now anyway, as is. Criticism and condemnation of your body puts the expectation of perfection on yourself, which you cannot attain without the hope of heaven. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (Part 1/2. You can view the entire post through my profile or wait for the second part of the post)
The other day Maren was misbehaving all day and I was really tired of it. I bent down and told her God tells us kids are supposed to obey mamas and daddies just like mamas and daddies are supposed to obey God. She yelled back NO GOD! Doesn't that just perfectly describe our natural response to God? I want to do whatever I want to do, just like her, and I don't want anyone reminding me otherwise. I'm so thankful God didn't leave us there and is instead always gently and lovingly waiting for us to turn back to him, no matter how often we say No God to him.
She's ONE! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We had a christmas cookie decorating contest, ate cake, and opened presents. She was in awe when people were singing to her and loved reading the books she got for presents. I'm so thankful for the wonderful family we have that came to celebrate with us, and all of those who wished they could be there!
One year ago at this time I was 9 days overdue with Sophia, and I’d had mostly painless contractions consistently since early that morning. Maren spent the evening playing with her cousins and when she got home we got her ready to put her to bed. We said a tearful goodnight to her, because I knew it would be the last time I saw her as my only baby. As soon as she went to bed my labor started intensely. I had both of my babies at home, so my midwife came over to check on me and then said “I’m not leaving.” I was ready to push within two hours (also ready to die), and then spent an hour and a half or more - I don’t even remember - pushing. I had a lip preventing me from being fully dilated, but I was technically at a 10. I remember declaring over and over “I’m never doing this again” and it being worse than my first birth, which I wasn’t expecting. She was finally born in one push at 2:32 am on December 1. This last year has gone so fast, but at the same time it feels like she’s been with us forever. She loves smiling, laughing, her pacifier, and mama. She's more adventurous than her sister but is more chill. She's never been a great sleeper but she's almost never crabby. She's truly a joy to be around. Swipe to see some of my favorite pictures from her first few days, and go to the link in my profile to see a blog post filled with all of my favorite pictures from our first year as a family of four.
My kids have been killing me this weekend. Sophia was sick and I was up at every hour of the day with her. Literally. She kept me up until 3 one night and got me up at three another night. And let's not even talk about the straight rebellion Maren's been giving us the whole weekend. I have no extra energy, physical or mental, to do anything but think about when I can sneak in a minute to go lay down. But instead of resting I think about all the things I'm not doing that I should be. And things I want to do, feeling slightly resentful -sometimes fully resentful - that I have to do things that hurt (staying awake feels incredibly painful) instead of the things I enjoy. Motherhood often feels like doing way more things that are hard and painful instead of things that I want to do, especially in this season of really little kids. I need to constantly reevaluate my expectations for myself, usually by the day or hour. So if you're a mom struggling with this same thing, know you're not alone. I'm laying awake with you at three a.m. trying not to cry from exhaustion. I'm putting too high of expectations on myself right there with you, even if it's just remembering to brush my teeth in the morning (that expectation has not been met today). I'm feeling resentful with you that everything about me has changed, that there's little eyes making cheerful eye contact with me through crack in the door while I'm going to the bathroom, that I don't get to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Let's remember together that they won't. be. like. this. forever. that God is good through all of it - the uncomfortable eye contact, the tearful nights, and sees our resentful hearts - and that he is still faithful to us.
My due date with this little girl was a year ago yesterday. I can't believe she's been here with us for almost a year already, but at the same time it feels like she's been with us forever. She's such a little joy to be around and I love her smiley haiiiis, her love for dancing, and relaxed personality. My favorite thing is when she falls asleep with me in bed and she lets me cuddle her for a couple minutes before she yells at me and wants to be put in bed. Stop growing so fast, little girl.