Grace and Love For the Holidays

As we prepare to see our families for the holidays, let’s not forget to prepare our hearts to show grace and love.

Adobe Spark (12)Holiday season is quickly approaching and I cannot wait. Cooler weather is coming and with it approaches apple pies, giant feasts, and and the switch from PSLs to Peppermint Mochas! I’m so pumped to get together with my family for Thanksgiving and eat ALL the food. Pretty sure Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I’m here for it.

While I’m stoked to see all of my family together soon, I know that my excitement is not necessarily shared by everyone. For many of my friends, going home for the holidays can be a source of stress and tension. Families are messy collections of broken humans and when brokenness is the center of our family, it’s hard to celebrate and be thankful and show grace.

If this is true for you, I encourage you to read the story of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9.

Context:

This story takes place after David is anointed king of Israel. The previous king, Saul, had been trying to kill David for years but instead of killing Saul when he had the chance, David shows mercy to him and agrees to extend grace to Saul’s household once he’s king.

The Summary:

David is coming off of some awesome war victories and is starting to settle in as king when he asks if anyone from the house of Saul is around to show grace and fulfill his promise. He gets in touch with a servant of Saul’s, a dude named Ziba, who has a crapton of kids and servants of his own. Ziba lets David know that Saul’s son Jonathan, who happens to have been David’s bestie when he was alive, has a son who is still alive but he’s lame and lives over in this crap town, basically in disgrace. In fact, the son’s name is Mephibosheth which actually means “seething disgrace.” David is super excited that he found his bestie’s son and asks for Mephibosheth to be brought to him.

One thing to that’s important to understand is that in that time, when a new king took the throne, it was typical for him to kill anyone from the previous king’s household so that there was no chance of rebellion or anyone questioning the rights to the throne. So when Mephibosheth shows up in front of David as someone who technically had a claim to David’s throne, he was probably terrified that this is how he was going to die. And yet he shows honor to King David by paying homage and offering himself to the service of the king.

And David’s response? He stays true to his word to Saul and honors his bestie by calling Mephibosheth by name and offering him a permanent place at his royal dinner table. Not only that, he gives Mephibosheth all the property and resources he acquired from his grandfather Saul when he took the throne and offers Ziba (and his crapton of kids and servants) to work the land.

According to custom, David had every right to kill Mephibosheth on the spot. It would have been easy, the poor guy probably couldn’t run anywhere. David could have done anything he wanted to Mephibosheth and that would have been his right as king.

And because of his parentage, Mephibosheth had every right to try to take back the throne for his family. In fact, Mephibosheth could have totally been awful to David in this whole situation. He could have been bitter and resentful towards David that his whole life had gone to crap, despite his royal blood.

And yet what do we see here? Two men, humbling themselves before each other and showing grace and gratitude.

If you keep reading in 2 Samuel, you’ll find out that David continues to lavish grace and goodness upon Mephibosheth and his family and Mephibosheth’s response is disinterested in worldly possessions and he’s just grateful to be in the presence of David.

Such an awesome foreshadowing of the gospel! As sinners, we don’t deserve God’s grace, we deserve death, just like Mephibosheth. But like David, God just wants to know us and show us grace and bless us beyond what we can even imagine. And when we humbly accept that grace, worldly things become distracting and we find that we just want more of the presence of God.

I hope that as you head into the holiday season with some maybe uncomfortable family situations on the horizon, you remember to give and receive grace humbly. No human on earth will ever be fully deserving of our love and grace; we’re all broken people living this life together until Christ returns. But maybe we can enjoy more of the presence of God right now to make tense and stressful interactions in the future a little less so with a few words of grace and love.

Fall 2017 Reading List

My fall 2017 reading list is here! What are you reading next?

Adobe Spark (7)I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer in books. I can’t tell you how many hours days of my life have been spent with my nose deep in some amazing-smelling paperback. I love being drawn into new and exciting worlds led by characters that grow and change and transform the story. Here are just a few of the books I’m planning to read this fall. Want to join along?

The Woman in Cabin 10 (Ruth Ware) ♦

Lo Blacklock is a journalist for a travel magazine who scores the assignment of a lifetime – a week aboard the maiden voyage of a luxury cruise ship with only a handful of cabins. When Lo becomes the sole witness of a girl being thrown overboard, the ship continues as if nothing has happened because all passengers are technically accounted for. While she is sure something has gone terribly wrong, Lo keeps readers on their toes as they (and the other characters) question her credibility and above all ask “who done it?”

Pretty Girls (Karin Slaughter) ♦

When Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister vanished into thin air over twenty years ago, their lives went two very different and very separate directions but neither has recovered from the trauma of their shared loss. When Claire’s husband is killed, the sisters find commonalities between his death and their sister’s disappearance that lead them on a twisty journey to find truth, redemption, and revenge.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling) ♦

The HP series is my go-to fall read but for the sake of reading new material instead of books I’ve read 1,000 times, I’ll just stick to Chamber of Secrets which I connect the most to Halloween.

“The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware.”

(If you need a plot description of this book, I’m sorry, we just can’t be friends.)

The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah) ♦

Set in WWII era, German-occupied France, two sisters are leading separate lives striving for survival, love, and freedom, and demonstrating the resilience and durability of women above all else.

May I Have Your Attention Please? (James Corden)

James Corden’s memoir has been on my reading list for a while now. He just absolutely cracks me up and I’m super interested to hear how he became the man he is today.

Sacred Marriage (Gary Thomas)

Sacred Marriage delves into the differences between having a happy marriage and having a holy marriage and how God designed this sacred covenant to train us to love Him and others better. My life group at church will be going through this book together and I can’t wait to see all that God will teach me and Jake!

Turtles All the Way Down (John Green) ♦

This is John Green’s first novel since The Fault in Our Stars and I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t even research what it’s about. At this point, I’m such a huge John Green fan, I would read his grocery lists. And so should you. (Read any of his novels, I mean…)

Thoughts? What are you reading? Have you read any of these yet? Do you have a favorite book? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

*This post has been edited to include ♦ which signifies that I have finished reading this book. If you would like to talk about a book that I finished, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Fall Bucket List You Won’t Want to Miss

Death to mosquitoes and life to winter scarves, fall has finally arrived! Here are a few things I’m looking forward to doing this autumn!

Adobe Spark (6)Y’all. Last Friday was the first day of fall and if you saw my insta post that day, you know that I’m pumped. Not for PSL’s or Pumpkin Spice Anything. I’m pumped for the decline of mosquito season.

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Austin the mosquitoes have been TERRIBLE this summer. But fret no more, the end is near. Yes, it’s still in the 90’s-100’s outside but soon, my friends, it’ll be in the 80’s.

In celebration, I’ve thrown together a list of things that I can’t wait to do this fall! Some things are Austin-specific, some are not, and I’ve made sure to call out my dog-friendly ideas with a * as well. Stella is just as pumped as I am! 

  • Tailgating.* I’ll be honest and say I’m not a football fan but I do enjoy hanging out with friends and eating junk food in an unconventional way (like off a grill on someone’s truck bed). Plus, Jake’s an Aggie who always appreciates my participation in his school spirit 😉
  • Hiking.* We love hiking the Austin Greenbelt but it’s been too stinking hot lately. I’m excited to take Stella to explore new areas for hiking this fall!
  • Kayaking. Jake just did a ridiculous thing (he bought an inflatable kayak) and we have yet to take advantage of it for fear of being eaten alive by mosquitoes in the evenings. Cooler weather and fewer mosquitoes make perfect conditions for evening kayaking along Lady Bird Lake!
  • Onion Creek.* For those who, like me, have not been to the Onion Creek park, it looks amazing and has a great off-leash area for dogs! The Austin Parks site boasts playgrounds for kiddos and lots of trails for hiking, biking, blading, walking, you name it!
  • Visit a pumpkin patch. I feel like this is just a necessary activity in fall. Like, it’s not really fall until you’ve surrounded yourself with tons of orange gourds. They’re popping up all over the place but if you’re not sure where to go, you can find one around Austin here!
  • Transition my wardrobe. I know this one doesn’t seem as fun but I’m SO excited to put away my summer tanks and pull out all my beautiful winter scarves! Winter capsule wardrobe, here I come!
  • Orionid meteor shower.* Jake and I had our first date watching the Super Blood Moon Eclipse back in September of 2015. Ever since then, I’ve loved celestial events! The Orionid meteor shower will happen sometime between 11pm October 20th – dawn on the 21st and should be able to be seen from most of the U.S. (assuming weather conditions play nice). I’d love to pack a picnic and some caffeine and watch “stars” shoot across the sky!
  • Trying out a Pumpkin Juice recipe. My inner (and outer) Harry Potter nerd has always wanted to try pumpkin juice and what better time to do that than the fall? I’ll be trying out a recipe from friends over at Favorite Family Recipes if you want to join me!

What are you most excited about this fall? Is there something specific you look forward to every year? Have a different Pumpkin Juice recipe I should try? Let me know in the comments!