The Unadventure: Everyday Tasks with Eternal Perspective

adventure, encouragement, eternal perspective, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, island, Jesus, The Valley of Vision
“Teach me the happy art of attending to things 
temporal with mind intent on things eternal.”

The Valley of Vision

There are many wonders about island life. There are also many lies. There’s this one about how I lie on the beach all day sipping smoothies to a live reggae band, breeze in my hair and enticing novel in my hand. But I don’t. 


Perhaps once a month there will be a magical day like that, but most days are ordinary days, days much like anywhere else. I stand in grocery store lines and swerve to avoid hitting people in traffic. I feel too far from certain people I love.


I do laundry, make dinner for my husband, and sweep the floor. I yell at Sue (the dog) to stop barking at the poor cat who broke her leg and subsequently took Sue’s favorite shaded spot. And I open my arms wide, hoping to get some breeze. It can be so very hot. Shirts do not last me very long here. Just sayin’.

The island is great for adventure, from hiking, to snorkeling, to interacting with so many diverse cultures. I love it. However, it is not those activities that define my time here. It’s playing with my dog. It’s kissing my husband goodnight at the fire station and driving home alone. It’s laughing at the hilarious toddlers we teach in Sunday school who always think Eric is my dad.


There are days I have looked down into the sink and thought, what am I doing with my life?! And then God reminds me that living for Him involves the everyday things, the mundane things, the boring things.Sometimes those are the greatest mountains we can know.  



All these “little tasks” are ways to take care of my family and can be ways of showing Christ’s love and commitment.

Am I doing these things with joy, with love for Him and trust in Him? Sure, wild adventures are great, but it seems to me that what defines a person’s character is not what they do when the epic music is playing in the background, but what they do when it’s not. 

Those dishes matter. That laundry matters. They matter because the people using them matter. And while Jesus performed miracles for a few years, it seems that He spent most of His time on earth in His dad’s shop. Just remember that. 

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

Photo Credit: Google (free) Images/allkyhoops.com



Advertisements

DON’T Let It Go: Pull Yourself Together, Sweetheart

Jesus, Let It Go, princess, pull yourself together

One of last year’s favorite songs was “Let It Go” from Disney’s princess movie, Frozen. Dragging my kind husband to the theatre, I watched with bated breath, and enjoyed the cute film about two young princesses looking for love and the freedom to be themselves. It was both sweet and surprising, had lovely graphics, and overall I enjoyed it very much. The music was powerful and reminiscent of the Beauty and the Beast era of animated fairytales. 
“Let It Go” was heard everywhere, from the little girl in Sunday School, to television, to moms making renditions on youtube. I even heard it during my trip to Cambodia! The song is ridiculously catchy, and it was heralded as a beautiful song for young girls and all female-kind. I read a blog post of a father telling how the song was a great leap for all women, as there are many false expectations that are felt due to the culture. 
And I understand. There are few things more invigorating than “letting your hair down” and “dancing like no one’s watching.” I love being authentic. Life is so flat and false, otherwise. But while I agreed in part (I am a woman and know society’s pressures), something else gnawed at me: we seem to be “letting go” of everything, and there will be a price to pay. 
                                                                                                                                                        
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!
Let it go, let it go
This is the current mantra: “No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!” Inhibitions equal limitations, and absolute beliefs equal chains. “Don’t tell ME what to do! I decide!” From our bodies, to our language, to the way we treat others, we are just letting it all go. How long will it be until we have nothing left? Perhaps we should keep some of it together. 
Contrary to popular opinion, there IS right and wrong and having an overt absence of rules never leads to freedom, but rather folly. This kind of ideology leads to such a silly and selfish view of the world, let alone completely opposite of God’s loving order and authority He put in place.
Rules are like fences. They are meant to keep us safe, not bound. When we place ourselves under God, we are both bound to Him and free in Him. But there is never true freedom unless there is surrender. Imagine if our country had no rules. Well…maybe we shouldn’t imagine that. 
I realize that some religious and political groups have severely overstepped their boundaries and left many with such a disdain for authority and rules. This is legitimate, but may we not allow the hurts and abuses of the past to grant us a false entitlement to make chaos of our lives.
So go ahead and let it go a bit. Do a crazy dance, wear a crazy outfit. But pull some of it together. We need you too much.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” 
Galations 5:13-14
Keep the Faith,
Audrey Ann
Photo Credits: 
Photo 1: Disney/Google Images/starburstmagazine.com
Photo 2: Disney/ Google Images/chicagonow.com
“Let It Go”-written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
performed by Idina Menzel

This Genocide

Christian children, conflict, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Iraq, Jesus, love

 children who fled the violence in Mosul
There is so much noise, so much clamor. I open up cnn.com with one hand over my eyes. I don’t really want to know; I want to pretend it has all died down. It’s just another “run-of-the-mill,” Middle Eastern conflict, right? And then I hear of children beheaded…systematically, the man said. It is chaos, this world. The persecution of Christians has been going on since Christ’s return to heaven, and it’s been rapidly rising in the last century, but now it makes the news…even the liberal news. My people, God’s people, are hurting, being forced from their homes with only the clothes on their backs. It is that or death. It shakes me, jars me, and reminds me of the reason for living: Jesus, and that this war (not merely of flesh and blood) is real.
I go to Pinterest to get my mind off of it. “Paleo dinners,” “fall styles,” and “small home decor” are my search titles. But I am really searching for escape, for peace, for forgetfulness. I skip over to Facebook and find my friend, Carrie (missionary to Cambodia) facing things head-on and offering ways to get involved and help the situation. She’s one of those who faces things. I want to be one of those, too.
children from Mosul carrying water to refugee camp
Opening my Bible, I read these beautiful verses of response when David was dealing with those who would cause harm to God’s people: 
“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them…for You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11a, 12
“Be angry and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.” Psalm 4:4-5
Sometimes when atrocities occur (such as the beheading of children), we are tempted to question how God can truly be there with them and allow it to happen…at least I do. But He is there, and He WILL be there with them and meet them on the other side. This conflict began with Ishmael and Isaac (the account starts in Genesis 15) and it will only end with Jesus. 
Watch the video:
And here are some ideas of how to be involved:
Keep the Faith,
Audrey Ann


Photo 1 credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
Photo 2 credit: pinned by Kurdo K on Pinterest

Waiting Is an Action Verb

Christian women, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Jesus, waiting

“Annnnd…ACTION!” You don’t have to look very hard to realize that as a culture, we are addicted to action, to adventure, and to thrills. From movies to Go-Pro cameras, we are always looking for the next adrenaline fix. We connect such escapades with the value of a life. “He went skydiving! He is so lame,” said no one ever. We feel that a quiet life is a waste, right? So, punch your fist in the air and shoot off into the galaxy, just like Superman. Oh, wait. That’s pretend.


My husband is a firefighter. And while there is much to be done in other areas of his job (medicals, flight line emergencies, etc), there just aren’t that many fires around here. Due to frequent storms and the mold caused by humidity, island homes are principally made from concrete, rather than wood. Therefore, they are quite resistant to flames.


But his job is not merely to fight fires, it is to be ready to fight fires. He has spent thousands of hours training (both himself and others), pouring over literature, practicing with the trucks, and organizing materials. I am so proud of him.

Isn’t he darling?

                                                    


We say we want the battlefield of life: the front lines, the excitement. However, are we willing to train in the quiet moments? Are we willing to sweat and study when the pressure is off? Are we willing to wait?


Waiting is an action verb. It requires discipline, resolve, and choosing to make the most of the moment, even when that moment does not offer what you want. 


I remember when I was praying and hoping for my future husband, I learned that waiting was one of the greatest challenges. And the waiting continues for our entire lives. We are always waiting, waiting for that next thing we desire in life. Perhaps it’s a spouse, perhaps a child, a job, a house, a severed relationship we want mended, or maybe it’s just a well-deserved nap.

But true waiting is not sitting idle. Waiting involves trusting in God and doing what is necessary to prepare. It requires faith and steadfast courage on the days when hope seems futile and our dreams like fairytales in another tongue. 


There are days I feel like certain dreams may never be fulfilled, but as I lay them before my Savior, I realize that He does not require me to have the answers of tomorrow. He simply wants me to do my best with today, to prepare, to work, to train for that next thing. Even if I never see that dream come to fruition, I know that I will see my Lord one day. In the end, all we are really waiting on is Him. And as we wait, He is there. 


Keep the Faith,
Audrey Ann


“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long.”
Psalm 25:5