life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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Don’t Compare: We Serve a Very Personal God

Read this today and thought it was too significant not to share…

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus heals the same affliction (blindness) in different ways. One person’s healing involves spit and gradual clarity, while another’s healing comes instantaneously through Jesus’s words (Mark 8:22-26, 10:46-52).

The Daily Walk Bible draws out:

“…Why the different approaches to healing? Most likely it was because Jesus’ methods were often tailor-made to the individual’s needs.

So it is with spiritual lessons God wants to teach us. God may teach your friend to depend on him through financial problems; you learn the same lesson through an illness. Another Christian learns to walk by faith in affluence; you learn it in poverty. One person learns patience through being single; another learns it through being married and having children. In each case, it is dangerous to compare – rather than commit to – God’s perfect curriculum.”

Another reason why comparison is unhealthy – even (and especially) among our Christian walks. Each person is different and God uses & teaches each person differently. One is not better than the other.

There’s another instance in Mark where a man who had just been healed from thousands of demons wants to follow Jesus, and Jesus tells him instead to “go home” and tell his family what God did for him (Mark 5:18-20). It may seem like being Jesus’ disciple was the more “glamorous” of the two options, but God had other plans for this healed man and his community that were just as important and meaningful.

I hope God will continue to teach me this lesson because I am so guilty of comparing myself to others, and also of being hurt or offended when I sense that people don’t fully approve of my life or my decisions.

I have to say, comparison can even be a problem in marriage. Dayne’s and my spiritual walks are not the same; we don’t learn the same way or grow the same way, and we’re not called to all the same things. We’re different people. For some reason, this has been more of a struggle for me to accept than for Dayne. I keep wanting us to always be on the same page, which is just impossible and a bit ridiculous.

Why does comparison steal our joy? Because we were created and designed to live our lives, not anybody else’s.


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Apple Picking with the Landises

This past weekend, Dayne and I continued our fall tradition of apple picking for the 3rd year in a row (all the autumns we’ve been together). Every. single. year. we still think it is a good idea, and every single year we end up totally apple-d out. But at least we have fun going to the orchards and picking!

Our first time going out to the orchard together in Fall 2010.

“Apple picking” Fall 2011. (click picture for blog post about this experience)

We had a little extra incentive to go this time because it was for a double-date with our friends Dustin & Janelle. We went to Cherry Hill Orchards out in Lancaster for the first time. (Normally we go to Highland Orchards, but that is irrelevant for the sake of this post.)

Dustin & Janelle brought a bin:

Dayne & myself used a supplied box that a kind, older gentleman employee put in our car:

Said employee man also mentioned that this box could hold up to 40 pounds of apples. I think apples were supposed to be around $1 per 3/4 of a pound from what I gleaned from the confusing sign at the entrance which also said each car would be charged a minimum of $10 upon exiting. I then made it my mission to get exactly $10 worth of apples into that box, but from the combination of my limited knowledge of their price configuration, Dayne’s nonchalant attitude, and my extremely limited math skills, we ended up leaving with a total of 18 pounds (somewhere around $22) of useless fruit.

Have I mentioned I don’t really like apples?

No worries, though, because – like I said – we had a good time! Here are some photo memories of our afternoon apple picking with the Landises:

At times, Dayne will eat anything. Other times, he refuses sweet potatoes or mayonnaise.

…And still other times, he eats mystery orange berry-fruit that I have already told him absolutely not to eat. (What are these things?)

The girls.

The guys.

Hanging out, having fun 🙂 (photo courtesy of Janelle)

The orchard – a mix of clouds & sun. (photo courtesy of Janelle)

Us with our apples. (photo courtesy of Janelle)

The Kilheffers & the Landises – mission accomplished. (photo courtesy of Janelle)

We so love getting to spend time with Dustin & Janelle, and after we finished apple picking we went back to their house for games, dinner, and a fire on the patio. It’s always nice to talk about real life stuff with them; from Day 1 of our relationship I felt like we could really relate with them, and now we have lots of fun discussing the ins & outs of marriage.

Today I have a TON of apples in my fridge (not literally) that I need to make use of. I’ve already thought of applesauce (and freezing some of it), apple crisp, apple pie, apple crumble, sauteéd chicken & apples, apple chips, apple squares, and apple muffins. Then I thought maybe I’d have an apple PARTY to have people over to eat all the apple stuff. First I’ll have to peel and core and cut all of them, though… which I haven’t seemed to be able to start yet…

Click here for my post on what I did with last year’s apples.


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God Blesses Our Obedience

I had a girls’ night in with a dear friend of mine this past Friday, and she told me all about the decision God was asking her to make in one of her most important relationships. Evidenced by the amount of tissues we went through, this was not an emotionally easy or pleasant decision. In fact, it was a pretty rough decision given that she was going to have to trust God – not to give her what she wanted, but to give her what He knows is best for her in the end. In fact, that is having to trust God’s character more than anything else – that He is good and that He has our best interests, and the world’s best interests for that matter, at heart.

It wasn’t easy to watch my friend go through all the hurt that goes along with obeying what God was calling her to do, and part of me wanted to “fix it” for her, which in my limited human view would have been NOT making the decision and keeping the potentially destructive yet quite comfortable patterns going.

However, both of us had full confidence when she left that night (despite strong, selfish emotions) that God is sovereign and that disobeying Him leads to deep heartache…

Saturday morning, my husband and I got up early to go to marriage counseling. (Yes, we go to marriage counseling. It is awesome. I fully recommend it.) Anyway, in retrospect of the last few weeks, I realized that I had obeyed the Lord and grown in faith. I know because I never would have done anything like this naturally. I took a difficult situation that I felt VERY strongly about, and I surrendered my feelings about it to God and to Dayne and waited. I gave Dayne weeks to ponder the decision we had to make together without inserting my two cents everyday. I prayed through it and prayed for Dayne’s wisdom in making the decision. I talked about the situation with others in an honest way without putting Dayne down for having a different viewpoint (showing respect for my husband). And when it came time to make the decision, I gave Dayne a few days’ notice that we were going to have to talk soon so he could wrap up his thoughts and bring it up when he felt comfortable. And it came out in marriage counseling that he really appreciated the way I handled the situation. We were able to make a decision together quickly after our counseling session and now we are on the same page as a team with a beautiful compromise that I couldn’t have envisioned for us…

Last night, I was feeling really discouraged and anxious around the time I was going to have to go to youth group (I’m volunteering as a leader with my church). I didn’t feel well yesterday, and a lot of thoughts were running through my head about my health situation, my job, my friends, etc. I talked with Dayne about how I was feeling and how I wasn’t sure if it was worth it for me to be at youth group anyway, since I haven’t gotten to know the girls very well yet and it didn’t feel like we were getting the chance to connect. Dayne reminded me that it’s only the third week (see how my emotions run away with me?) and that I have to keep trying. I almost turned around twice on my way there. In fact, I warned Dayne that I might be coming home. And I had to pull over at one point to gather my thoughts and calm down. BUT I felt an extra push to go the second time I tried to turn around, and I went. And wouldn’t you know – I got to have some good conversations for the first time with four girls last night, and I finally learned ALL of their names. I love ministry and encouraging younger girls in their lives and walks with Jesus, and I know God has gifted me for it. I just have to learn to step forward in faith (with a little push from my husband) when my selfish emotions tell me to walk away. I really felt like God clearly rewarded me for obeying Him last night…

I got to catch up with my good friend from Friday night on my drive home from youth group. She told me all about how well things went when she went forward with that difficult decision. Beyond her wildest expectations. And I can clearly see God working in her life and in that relationship, and it is thrilling…

Whatever God’s calling you to do in your life, keep walking with Him. He won’t leave you when things get tough.

I’ve almost finished the Old Testament in my Daily Walk Bible (I’m in the book of Zechariah). Even in some of the most trying of times for the Jewish people (God’s temple being destroyed and the exile in Babylon – the consequences for all of Israel’s idol worship and sins), God kept promising them that He would establish a remnant in Jerusalem, and He would be with them, and He was going to send the Messiah to take care of their sins once and for all. On the other side of Jesus’ sacrifice, I can see just how faithful God has always been to His people. All He desires is for us to fix our eyes on Him and to walk in obedience with Him.

“Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. … Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” – Deuteronomy 11:16, 18-19 (NIV)

“But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge…” – Psalm 141:8 (NIV)

“Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” – Isaiah 46:8-10 (NIV)

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

“Becoming a Christian has been likened to taking a step into the unknown… and landing on a Rock.” – today’s Daily Walk Bible devotional