He Will Hold Me Fast

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in his holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
‘Till our faith is turned to sight, When He comes at last!

Beautiful Hymn written by Ada R. Ha­ber­shon in the early 1900’s

Purpose in “wait”

One of the toughest answers to prayer is “wait”. The black and white of “yes” and “no” can be difficult, but the closure that comes with a definitive answer is typically easier to wrap the heart around with time. But “wait”? “Wait” is a different story entirely.

In a recent heated time of prayer, I came to God in exasperation and there may or may not have been have been a little yelling. . . (side note to mention how great it is that we can come to God in all our rawness and real-ness. . . We don’t have to hide our yuck from Him; He already sees it all and still loves us!) My heart was quickly turned toward the book of Job. . . Job was a God-fearing man whose faith and trust in the Lord were tested in ways that are unfathomable to most of us. Satan challenged that Job would turn away from the Lord when all of the blessings from his life are taken away, so God allowed Satan to strip away everything Job knew and loved. Unbeknownst to Job, he was to endure an incredible testing of his faith; his family, possessions, reputation and health were stricken. What was his response?

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”.
Job 1:20-21

After wrestling with God the placement of Job’s faith, trust and love were again revealed:

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job 42:2-6

This challenged me in my wrestling with “wait”. Is my hope in circumstance, or do I have a living hope in God? Is my faith dependent on what I see and understand or on the invisible yet ever-present Lord? Do I trust in His sovereignty? That His way is best? That His intention is always for my good in making me more like His son?

Our Pastor taught through Matthew 17:14-21 this Sunday which further challenged me to examine my faith. Did you know it grieves the Lord when we do not trust him completely? Seems like a simple enough concept, but think about that for a second. God GRIEVES over our unbelief. Does God require perfect faith from us? Absolutely not, God only requires faith like a mustard seed. . . So tiny and seemingly insignificant; but in his graciousness, he takes our tiny mustard-seed faith and allows us to move mountains. We can only humbly offer our imperfect faith up and cry out “I believe! Help me with my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Our faith is strengthened when our prayers aren’t answered right away. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). God intentionally uses “wait” to strengthen the faith of his beloved Children.

And so, what if I take matters into my own hands? Do what I feel is best instead of waiting on the Lord? Sometimes my best intentions are a picture of weak or misplaced faith. . . What happened during the war between the Philistines and Isrealites? When the Isrealites decided it would be a good idea to bring the Arc of the Covenant into battle. . . Trusting that it would surely save them? They were all killed and the arc was captured. (See 1 Samuel 4). There is no substitute for authentic faith.

 

 

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
Romans 15:3

Recipe – Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Summer is upon us and we are constantly looking for ways refreshed ourselves and beat the heat! This is a favorite in our household; the Matcha Green Tea flavor is crisp and refreshing without feeling too rich and heavy. I usually double this recipe since we have two ice cream makers and we like to share.image

If you have a Kitchen Aid Ice cream maker attachment, consider tenting it with aluminum foil. This attachment required a lot of troubleshooting as our ice cream would never freeze up. After many failed experiments I found refrigerating the custard overnight and tenting with aluminum foil did the trick!  I am sure our warm climate causes the bowl to melt faster than it can freeze the ice cream. Just wrap foil around it as pictured below – viola, more insulation!

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If you don’t have an ice cream maker I recommend this tried and true Cuisine Art. We’ve had ours for almost 10 years and it hasn’t disappointed!

How do you know when to stop churning? Your ice cream should be frozen throughout; it will still be soft (similar to soft-serve ice cream) before it is put into the freezer but there should be no liquid left. If you stop the churning prematurely, you will end up with very hard, dense ice cream once you put in in the freezer.

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Also, make sure you grab a super-cute, messy-haired, paddle licker; they are handy to have around for clean up.

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Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: about 6-12 hours

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 T (to taste) Matcha Green Tea powder
1 C Whole Milk
2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Large Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
1 C Sugar

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk the Matcha Green Tea powder to remove any lumps. Add 1/2C Whole Milk and whisk until well blended. Add the remaining Whole Milk and Heavy Whipping Cream, whisk until blended.

2. Transfer Matcha, Milk and Cream mixture to a medium sauce pan on low until heated throughout, mixing frequently and being careful not to scald the milk.

3. Meanwhile, mix the Eggs, Egg Yolk and Sugar in a large bowl. Add about 1C of the heated cream mixture to the bowl and whisk until well blended. Add remaining heated mixture, blend well with a whisk.

4. Allow the custard mixture to cool on the counter for 10 minutes, blend with a whisk once more. Refrigerate mixture for at least 6 hours (I recommend overnight).

5. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your ice cream maker for churning instructions (usually 25-35 minutes)

6. Serve immediately if you prefer softer ice cream, or place in a airtight container in the freezer for a few hours to firm up. Enjoy!

Family Sabattical

The idea of a family sabattical is a new one for us… But is one we have been praying through recently. After walking through much difficulty in the last three years we are in need of rest and re-building… We have asked God for a year… A year to purposefully seek out how to build our family up… To be intentional in pouring into our hearts that which is eternal… To build family culture and traditions, discover together, grow alongside one another, bond closely,better understand each other. To answer “What does it mean to be a Beal?”

I see the need for this in all of us. I see a growing frustration on my son because of the hurry… He needs slow, he needs steady; hurry hurts and exasperates him… Hurry makes him crumble. My daughter is full-speed-ahead; she has a great ability to accomplish much in a short amount of time, but has a tendency to run circles around others and sometimes pummels over them… Quite literally. She needs to be taught the value of slow… The beauty of being in the moment… The richness in being present.

My husband is a very hard worker in need of rest and reprieve. He has graciously held us all up in a time of major struggle, and with his graduate work just about complete, his tank is nearly dry. Time to pour into his own heart is crucial.

My heart, mind and body have been weary from working through a lifetime of grief and loss, treading water while my husband has been in school, homeschooling the children, etc. It feels like we’ve been living life as if it were an emergency.

But now the quiet… What to do with it? There has been so much hard… So much intense in these years that quiet felt suspicious. There has been so much fear, rejection, loss, pain… I began to fear the silence, waiting for the next blow to surely come around the corner as it always has. I fear it no longer. Learning to embrace this season has brought so much freedom. We are entering a season of intentional rest, intentional building up of our family identity, intentional loving of others, intentional pursuing of God together for His glory.
He has shown you what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Free Indeed

Beautiful Song on the radio today. . . rejoicing in freedom.

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

“Dear Younger me”
by: Mercy Me 2014

5 Aspects of Women

With summer fast approaching, I have been working on a summer reading plan for myself to get through the seven books that I’d like to read. It’s easy for me to get caught up in children’s literature, which is definitely not a bad thing, but I need to make time to be a cultivated Mamma (or more simply, a cultivated woman!). Taking some time to pour into myself makes a world of difference for my heart and allows me to better pour into my family. It is difficult to fill cups from an empty vessel!

As some are taking the time to consider summer reading, I wanted to share about the Bible Study I had the privilege of working thru this year. The two-volumed “5 Aspects of Women” impacted my heart in a dramatic way, more than any other study I have taken part in. 5 Aspects of Women is written like a Theology course, there are some difficult and touchy theological topics covered and there are some things that just made my brain hurt and I’d come away with confused eyebrows for a while. This study is definitely worth the challenge of working thru, I highly and confidently recommend investing the time to complete this course.

When I joined this study, I was coming out of a very hard place – I had been working thru a painful past, just coming out of a battle with clinical depression and was at a place where rebuilding was necessary. God used this study as part of a rebuilding process that has forever changed my heart and life. There are so many things I have learned, so many ways God has changed my heart during this time that honing my thoughts into a few points is challenging for me, but here are three major ways I was impacted.

First, My identity is solidified and secured completely in Christ. It’s not something I need to search for, much of it is revealed in His word and is a matter of faithfulness. In the first volume (Mistress of the Domain Redeemed), Barbara Mouser quotes Revelation 12:7 explaining that overcomes will receive a “white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” and writes:

“Those who receive the stone will have the thrill of seeing their whole lies fit together and make sense. Deep down the will know – this is my substance, this was my fashioning, and now, this is my name. You are a unique image of God. Your domain is a unique stewardship inside history,and your life course in a new version of human history. These are the Christian answers to the question of identity, and very rich answers they are.”

This gave me so much courage and hope to face the hard; not just the hard that is behind me, but the hard in the daily grind. “This is my substance, this was my fashioning, and now this is my name”. He knows al my yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s and has a purpose for every breath I take.

Next, God is sovereign in choosing me to be a mother and is faithful to provide every bit of strength and wisdom that I need to embrace my calling with joy. There was a time that being a mother was very difficult for me; obviously the calling to motherhood is a difficult one at every stage to some degree, but I resented being a mother. The nurturing, teaching, and training was all very foreign to me and did not “kick in” like everyone said it would. I was raised in a difficult environment with parents that made it clear my existing was burdensome. I learned to have compassion (from afar) on my parents in their fallen state as I came to understand that I cannot not expect any less from them. . . They do not know God, therefore they lack so much of what they need to be caring parents. However, God graciously called me into his family. . . He called me precious and adopted me as His; therefore as a daughter of my Abba father, I have every example of love and training necessary to pass these things along to my children.

Last, but certainly not least. This study has changed my marriage. . . In too many ways to list. I think it started with examining my role as a helper-completed to my husband. I have looked to him so much for happiness in the past, for him to complete what I was lacking. There was a constant growing of resentment in my heart when I was let down. When the nights got later and later with him being in school and I was left to take care of everything else I would occasionally become angry and frustrated. Learning that I was made “from man and for man” (one of those possibly touchy Theological statements!) rocked my world in so many ways. God used this seemingly simple truth to change my heart toward my husband. I have learned to come alongside him, patiently stand behind him rather than pummel over him, and fill in the gaps where he needs me most. I desire to see him excel in his work and I deeply desire to be the helper he needs me to be, not only the helper I think I should be. I have learned to study him, what are his desires, likes, needs? What makes him happy, discouraged, frustrated? How can I best come alongside him? God has graciously helped remove expectations and replace them with a desire to serve my husband and give him more honor than myself. (. . . And can just add in here that he’s pretty amazing?!)

If you would like to further investigate this study, you can find more information and access the MP3 transcripts a of the lessons in the 5 Aspects of Women course for free online at 5aspects.org.

5 aspects

Note: This post was not sponsored in any way. . . Just straight from the heart!

Well

For Thirty One months I have journeyed, sometimes not knowing how I would survive. . . sometimes not wanting to survive. Thirty one months of raw – pain like I have never experienced. The demolition, the wrecking. . . then the clearing out of the mess of it all and rebuilding. My Thirty One month pilgrimage has come to a beautiful end. Only this isn’t an end, but a beginning. A re-birth of sorts. . . a gift from a kind and faithful God.

I rejoice in the work God has done. . . He has taken a shattered vessel and put it back piece by piece in a new and beautiful way. He helped me to claw my way out of the valley, set me upon the Rock and gave me life, peace, hope and joy. This feeling of overwhelming joy and gratitude coupled with ache is unlike any I’ve experienced. Navigating through a new season is never uncomplicated and knowing what’s best next can be a struggle. Simple yet profound-to-my-heart words repeating in my head “It’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are. . . and you are well”.

He has made me well. . . it is well with my soul.

Hallelujah.

When weakness really is strength. . .

Weary eyes nod off at the lunch table; toddler demanding and infant conducting a continual test of vocal cords.

Dishes tower high, laundry baskets overflow, two weeks and a half left in the month and not enough money to feed a bird, let alone a family of four, too many things to do. . . and Husband comes home late from work. . .again.

Then, the vise twists once more and I snap under pressure.

and she. . . that girl with they messy hair all in her face, a band-aid on her chin and a stuffed rat in arm.
This gift from God. . . she is Jesus to me in this moment. She looks at me with her big brown eyes and furrowed brow.

“Mommy, you have a grumpy heart”. And that grumpy heart of mine sank down to my toes.

 

 

Why is it so easy to walk thru life without a hint of joy? Hope? Trust?

Why does weakness cast such a shadow of doubt in this weary heart of mine? Doesn’t he say:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”?

Self reliance steals the rest that is found in GOD reliance.

I held that girl tight, wept and prayed for a changed heart. “Let me be weak Lord, and trust that you can do so much more in my

weakness than in my self reliance.”

Therefore [let us] boast all the more gladly about [our] weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may dwell in [us].

2 Corinthains 2:19

. . . Repost from 2012. Reflecting.

Lessons from Lupus

Two weeks have passed since recovering from the flu and pneumonia, today I can feel relapse trying to creep in. . . My lungs are struggling to open up, and I am trying to avoid the discomfort that comes with taking a full, deep breath. If my body gives in, it will be my 3rd case of pneumonia this calendar year.

Why? Biologically. . . Autoimmune disease. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (commonly known as SLE or just plain ‘ol Lupus) with Psoriatic Arthritis is the current standing dx. Simply put, my body doesn’t always do what it should and it often does things it shouldn’t. I get sick easily without much warning, my organs are unpredictable and I break bones and tear connective tissue more easily than the “typical person”. Overworking my body, extreme stress or simply being exposed to an infection can potentially lay me out for weeks at a time or in the hospital for a quick “tune up”.

 

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Why? The big why? Because God is sovereign, his plan for my life is perfect. I believe he intends to use my weakness for His glory.

Some things I’ve learned from having autoimmune disease:

– My life is not my own. . . I was bought by the blood of Christ and my “broken” body can still honor God. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
– Compassion. . . I can come alongside others in similar situations with kindness and understanding.(Galatians 6:2)
– I can rejoice in my weakness because my weakness is a picture of God’s strength. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
– Even if I don’t get to what it looks like see it this side of heaven, I can trust that he will use this for good! (Romans 8:28)
– Christ empathizes with me and goes before me in all my sufferings. This is a truth I can lean on when I feel alone or misunderstood. (Hebrews 4:15)

Some days are hard, thankfully most days aren’t right now, and all days are covered in grace.