Mark and Messy Disciples: a review so far {Blogging through the Bible}

Have you ever started a project that turned into something much, much bigger than you'd expected?

I have.

In fact, I do it all the time... (for example, refer to my idea of refinishing the wood floors in our house). I start with the idea and I understand the basic concept, but the actual execution is much, much more intense that I expect.

This devotional series in Mark has been no different.

To be honest, when I started exploring the book of Mark, I kind of thought that pointing out the mistakes the disciples made in this book and then how we as Christians make the same mistakes would be somewhat uncomplicated. What I didn't realize was that this series was going to expose me.


Failing Followers: rejecting the hard truths {Blogging through the Bible}

This past Fall, I sat in our little sterile hospital room in the NICU. I'd just woken up from a nap on the makeshift couch-bed that had been my sleeping spot for more than a month, and my little guy snoozed peacefully in his crib, monitors quiet and his little heart rate bouncing happily on the screen.

It had been a long, long journey. I was worn out, tired from waking up every three hours at feeding times, tired because my body was recovering from surgery, tired because even with all the monitors and nurses, I was terrified that my baby would stop breathing, tired because periodic breathing sucks. The night before had been particularly rough- for some reason my poor tiny baby had been throwing up his feedings, spectacular enormous spit ups that didn't seem normal to me at all, and I was worried. I'd changed his little outfit three times overnight because he just kept soaking it.

My phone rang- it was my husband. I answered the call and relished the sound of his voice- I was tired from missing him, too.

"I have some sad news," he said, and I heard my big strong husband's voice catch a little. "Bear died."


Failing Followers: missing the miracle {Blogging through the Bible}

A few years ago, I was walking home from my job in the office of a Bible Camp to find a camper, a middle-school aged child, alone in the parking lot.

My first, split-second reaction was, He's not supposed to be there. Where is his counselor? Chapel started ten minutes ago.

And then I noticed how still he was. He was just standing there, stock-still (not typical for a middle-school boy). His eyes were fixed on a spot just beyond him.

There was a deer, not a hundred yards away, peacefully grazing on the grass at the edge of the gravel parking lot.


Our Farmhouse: An Easy Wall Paper Back Splash! {a farmhouse remodel how-to}

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We bought our 1930's farmhouse a few years ago, and between work, play, and having a baby, we've been chipping away at remodeling and reclaiming it. We really bought this house for the land (21 acres of Iowa gorgeous!)--- the house needed quite a bit of work. From refinishing the hardwood floors (quite a project), carpeting the living room, and painting EVERYTHING, we've made some good progress.

But there was one major eyesore that we couldn't decide how to remedy... the kitchen back splash.


Failing Followers: paralyzed by the need {Blogging though the Bible}

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In the morning, I wake to the sound of my phone alarm chimes or to my son cooing in his crib next to me. The sunlight streams through the window to my room, and as I greet the day, everything is quiet and calm. It's a far cry from my college years- living in the heart of the city with car horns and sirens breaking the stillness. Back then, there were people who lived just on the other side of a thin wall, or a stone's throw across a dingy alleyway, and now my closest neighbors are almost a mile away (if you don't count the cows).

And yet, the world seems noisier somehow.

Especially this past week.

I open my computer, or turn on my phone, and the peace of my cozy little haven is shattered, crashed in on by the hurt. By the need.

Because our world, my friends? Our world is loud and it is needy.

There is so much hurt.


Failing Followers: forgetting who we follow {Blogging through the Bible}

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Working at a Bible Camp was an awesome experience.

Trevor and I both served in outdoor ministry for several years- and we loved it. Even though both of us had behind-the-scenes jobs, we were still plunged head-first into what I'd call "Camp Culture."

You know, campfire songs and their corresponding actions, large group games in which counselors chase children wielding tube socks full of flour. I know that when someone yells, "God is good!" you're supposed to shout, "All the time!" and then they'll say, "All the time!" to which you respond, "God is good!" And I know about ninety million mealtime prayers... all put to song, also with hand motions and lots of clapping.


Failing Followers: the pressure of popularity {Blogging through the Bible}

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When I was in middle school, I was painfully aware of who the popular kids were.

There was one girl in particular... I wanted to be her so badly. She wore name brand clothing she bought from the mall, and I wore hand-me-downs from my cousin. Her hair was perfectly blonde and never had fly-aways; mine was always pulled back in a frizzy ponytail. She took dance lessons and moved so gracefully, even playing volleyball in gym class... and I... well, I was the girl who tripped over her own feet and ducked when the volleyball came my way.

But even more than her clothes, her perfect hair, and her grace; I wanted to be known like she was. Everyone at school knew her name. She was famous- well, as famous as a twelve-year-old in a Wisconsin suburb could be.

I spent those three years of my childhood wishing I could be someone I wasn't- looking for just the right shirt at the second hand store, brushing and brushing my hair, joining the school musicals in hope that I could maybe glean just a little bit of that popularity for myself.