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Downton Abbey in Midtown

Downton Abbey in Midtown

I’m not even a little bit ashamed to say I love Downton Abbey. I watched every episode and lived for each chance I got to see into the lives of these characters I came to love. So when I saw that there was a Downton Abbey exhibit opening up LESS THAN A BLOCK FROM MY APARTMENT, I could not wait to go! Unfortunately, life has been in the way for quite some time, but with family here who are also fans, we finally made it happen.

And since I know I am not the only fan…here are some shots of the exhibit…just like you were there!!

The exhibit starts out with you appropriately downstairs in the servants quarters….

oh hi daisy!!!…

I’m pretty sure my grandmother had this exact one..ha

 

and the chasm by which the worlds were seperated…

 

so we headed upstairs

to Mary’s bedroom.

 

The costumes in this show were so beautiful.

 

I found the one 1920’s gown that fits my hips…:)

 

We had so much fun. This exhibit is open on 57th and 7th. If you’re in midtown… it’s a beautiful exhibit.

 

Thanks for checkin in guys! love ya’ll!

love,

the grizzards

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Getting Cold in NYC!!

Getting Cold in NYC!!

It feels like Christmas! And I don’t just mean the weather. New York has this magical ability to smell like Christmas… universally. No matter what “your Christmas” smells like, if you come up out of the subway and step onto the streets… you smell it! It just feels like Christmas here and I love it!

We got to have breakfast with friends today, which put us walking by our normal entrance to the park… the girls begged and I caved! We spent the rest of the morning rock climbing, flying through the air, and doing all sorts of things that give this momma a heart attack! But the kids had a blast! And we managed to get a few shots…here are some of our favorites.

 

Thinking about investing in an actual camera this Christmas, so you’ll know if the quality improves!! ha

Thanks for checking in! Love you guys!

Love,

the Grizzards

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When Mommying is Hard

When Mommying is Hard

 

We’ve all those days, right? At least, I hope we have. Otherwise, I am just the exception that has that day when I feel like the absolute worst mom in the world. Have you ever just lost it on your kids? Or equally horrible… felt absolute apathy in parenting. Have you had those days when you feel like your feet are too heavy to lift off the floor to take the next step? Have you felt like every time you transfer weight from one foot to the other, the slight shift in gravity was enough to lighten your head to the point that it may be possible to just fall straight to the floor? Have you mentally begged in your head for everyone to either just shut up or obey your every command without hesitation or rebuttal? Had a day where you wish you could walk out the door without warning and engage in some good old retail therapy? Ever had a day when you were convinced that if you hear the word “mommy” one more time, you would haul off and rage hell on anyone within ear shot? Somehow, I just don’t  believe I’m the only one that has had a day like this before.

This was my yesterday. People kept asking me how I was doing, and I was always surprised at the honest response in myself. It would make sense for me to be emotional, but I haven’t been. My answer is that I’ve been kind of numb. I’m hoping that is God’s peace, but it feels different than what I’ve felt in the past when I believe I’ve experienced divine peace. It’s been something that I didn’t understand, so I couldn’t explain it to others. I kept saying, “I’m sure it’ll hit me soon.” Well, I think it hit, just not in the way I expected. I thought when it did, it would be sappy, emotional, sad, or excited… but it didn’t. It hit with me being completely overwhelmed. I just didn’t have the emotional capability to organize thoughts, plans, and children for the days ahead and it took its toll.

So what do we do when we’re spent? When we don’t have the emotional capabilities to take on the day. I am not making this list because this is what I do every time and so I am the authority on how to do it right! Quite the opposite. I am the chief screw up, and these things are the only things that work for me to get me back in a healthy and Godly place.

1) Acknowledge your need

A very wise philosopher once said, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” Ok, it was Dr. Phil, but it’s true! We so often, adhere to a modern feminist idea that states “I am woman, hear me roar!” It’s as if understanding your need for other people makes you less of a woman, less of a mom. And in a day of Pinterest and Facebook comparisons, we think we see other moms doing their job effortlessly and don’t understand why we can’t be like them! We all know that that is not real life, but it still gets to us. It’s ok! You cannot change the circumstances surrounding you, but you can change the you within the circumstances, but not if you won’t acknowledge your need. Take a breath and give yourself permission to say…”I’m having a rough time.”

 

2)  Ask for help

Sometimes, it’s ok to text your husband in the middle of the day and say, “it’s been a rough day. I need a tag when you get home.” And then go! Just go! Anywhere! Just go where there are adults and no kids. Go where there’s absolutely no one! Go wherever you want. Just take some time. I know some women that genuinely feel bad about asking their husbands to help with the kids when they get home. Let me just say this… YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT A BABYSITTER. He does not need to be compensated or given a 24-hour notice before being asked to watch HIS CHILDREN. Now, I am also not saying that you should disregard the fact that he’s worked a full day as well. But you both have, and you need to share the load of “after work hours” work. And sometimes, you need a break. Trust me, he’d rather you go away and reset then be at home and just lose it on everyone.

How many times have we heard “please call me if you need anything”? Now, be honest. Have you ever called? Ever? We’ve said it to our friends, and we genuinely mean it. I want to help a friend that’s overwhelmed or going through a tough time. I WISH they would call, so I can show love to them, but I never call them when I need help and they’ve offered. BREAK THE CHAIN. Call that friend, so when she is going through that tough time, she knows that she can actually call you. Let’s be there for each other in more than just a philosophical way. Put that intellectual brain and soft heart to work in action and love the people around you. And allow them to love you in return.

 

3) Prioritize your time.

It is 2017 and the opportunities to waste time are endless and obvious. Put down the phone. Turn off “Real Housewives of that place that you’ll never go and can’t afford and just makes you hate your life”, The Bachelor or Scandal and look at your kids. Revel in their laugh, their games, their play and make a choice. A choice to ignore the rest of the world because what matters are the little eyes that look up to you. Don’t neglect the great for the good, or in some cases…the crap you shouldn’t be filling your mind with anyway.

 

4) Go to bed!

This one is absolutely the hardest for me. I am a nocturnal animal by nature and I have trained my kids to go to bed later, so they sleep in later…since I am famous for being able to sleep till 3 on occasion (not a joke…happened several times). When I finally get the kids in bed (at 9:00…yes, which needs to change), I feel like I actually have time to do the things that I enjoy. They are all good things. I love to take relaxing baths while reading, I catch up on my Tivo, get into the good cleaning, organize whatever project I have undoubtedly become obsessed with, or plan the next day. None of these things are bad, but I often find myself up at 3:00 am and still going strong.

There is a reason God rested on the 7th day and it’s not because He was tired. It was because He knew WE NEEDED TO REST. I often feel like I don’t want to go to bed because I don’t want to waste the time. But sleep is not a waste of time. We will all be better moms if we just turn the brain off and shut our eyes. Go to bed moms.

God wants the best for you. Jesus said that He came to give us life and life abundant, but sometimes we get frustrated and we allow our circumstances to steal the joy that Jesus makes possible. Joyce Meyer said, “ I am not going to let the enemy steal what Jesus died to give me!” We got this, moms! Let’s acknowledge the need we have, be humble enough to ask for help, prioritize our time, and get some sleep! Let’s encourage each other and be real about challenges we face.

Those days will come. We can’t change our circumstances, but we can change how we respond to them! We got this!

 

 

Calling

Calling

I was only 12 years old when I sat in my mom’s car. I was sobbing. I’d had the opportunity to do some traveling and singing throughout my younger years… I always thought I was going to be a singer when I grew up. But being exposed to “the life” on a small scale (a VERY small scale) showed me that I actually hated it. I couldn’t handle the stress and pressure. I didn’t want to adopt to what other people wanted me to sing… it just wasn’t for me. But I had an identity crisis because of it. I didn’t know who I was anymore because I thought I was called to this. I cried out to my mom and said, “mom, I don’t want to be a singer anymore! I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life!”
To which my mother responded, “Baby, you’re 12! You don’t have to know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. You have to know what you want to do right now.”
But I thought I was supposed to be a singer! I was so confused.
I feel like Christians do this alot. We put great importance on the idea of “calling”. It’s something that seems to weigh really heavily on a lot of people including myself. A lot of times we stress ourselves out worrying about how to discern God’s calling?
“Am I supposed to take this job?”
” Am I supposed to date this person?”
” Am I supposed to stop pursuing the dream?”
” Am I supposed to move home?”
“ Am I supposed to… whatever!!”
 It can be really overwhelming.  Especially for those in their college years. We feel like there are really big decisions that we are making as young individuals and we have to get it right or we could mess up God’s perfect plan, right?
Now in church lingo, we’ve come up with a solution to this problem… we call it God’s permissible plan, right? You have God’s “perfect plan” that you get if you make every decision perfectly and you have this ESP kind of relationship with the Holy Spirit where you can just tune in perfectly to His direction and His voice, so you never miss out on God’s absolute best. But if you can’t make every decision just right…that’s ok…we have God’s permissible plan, which basically means, when you’re human and you don’t make the perfect decisions to lead to your perfect life then God has a back up plan! This was meant to alleviate stress from our lives and help us not all pull our hair out. And while it sounds good, it still leaves us completely stressed about trying to reach that unattainable “perfect plan” that we’re supposed to be shooting for! We can’t miss the call of God because we want the perfect life.
Christian culture glorifies “the call of God”. I remember when I was at Liberty we had a married couple come speak at convo and their testimony went something like he was “called to full-time vocational ministry when he was 16 and little did he know that the exact same night, in a completely different town, she was called to full-time vocational

ministry too!” Now, it sounds like I’m making fun of them and I don’t mean to. They are serving the Lord together and that’s great. I’m a bit biased against this story because when I first got engaged to Jordan, the culture was so that when people found out that Jorda
n was on track to become a worship leader full time, they would look at me and say, “when were you called to ministry?” I would look back at them and say, “I’m a Christian. We’re all called to ministry.” I knew what they meant, but I’ve always been confused by the question.
Now, there is nothing wrong with someone feeling a heavy burden to want to lead God’s people in His church. I am the daughter of a preacher and the wife of a worship pastor. I love those incredible leaders, but I believe we have overused and misused this phrase. It’s what I like to call giving a “heavenly measure to an earthly weight”.

It may seem like semantics, but our words become our message and we need to know what we are telling people. Words are important. Words become our message, which becomes our belief and belief shapes our worldview. It affects how we view God and everybody else!

So let’s talk about the word…calling.
We use it often in reference to a specific direction we believe God has ordained us for. But, in scripture, “the call” is primarily speaking about being called to faith in Jesus or being called to intimacy with Jesus. In my study (feel free to correct me if you know of one), I have yet to see a time in scripture when this word is used to denote a specific job or responsibility. Why? When it comes to work, it matters less about where or what you do and more that you do it for the Lord. He cares more about your obedience to becoming Christlike than a job title or salary.
Look at 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

  • is this passage saying that he elevated the more ignorant to places of scholastic superiority to the intelligent because they were chosen?
  • did he favor a weak man over a strong to win the ancient Olympics because the weaker athlete was favored by God?
no! because the calling has nothing to do with the occupation. It has to do with the election (not talking about Calvinism “election”, but simply those that have accepted the call of God to intimacy with Him)!
1 Peter 5:10 says it this way:

has called you to what?? …”this eternal glory in Christ”.

Of course, there are instances in scripture where God gave very specific instructions to someone to go somewhere or do something specifically. But this is never used to describe a “call of God”. We need to be very careful before we give a heavenly measure to an earthly weight.

We get so frustrated when searching for our calling or the answer to a question concerning what we should do or go or whatever because we want to know  God’s calling.. the answer is…He’s already given us His calling. If you know the Lord, you have answered His call, now we are to live a life deserving of the call according to Ephesians I think. His Word gives you the answers you need. It will tell you who to marry, where to go, what to do, and who to be and the answer to all of them is Jesus. I know that sounds like an oversimplification. No, it does not give you the name of your spouse, or the salary to accept, or the town to move to, because this book is not about us. We read it in the hopes of finding fixes to our problems, but this book is a book that reveals the nature of God. When we read it to get to know who God is, it comes alive. When we read it to find fixes to our problems, we get confused because you’ll read it through the lens of your circumstances. This is why the story in Luke got mislabeled “The Prodigal Son” because someone read the story and thought it was about the son that fell away. If you’ve read “Prodigal God” by Tim Keller, you’ll read this story completely differently. When you read it to learn the nature of God, you see that the story was not about the son that left but the God that stayed! Don’t read the Word looking for fixes to your problems or answers to your questions unless the question is “Who is God and how can I be like Him”?

Once that answer is “I’m growing like Christ”, “walk in a manner worthy of the call”… do it as a barista, do it as a mom, do it as a teacher, or do it on Broadway. Live your life WITHOUT FEAR! We are not called to live in fear, we are called to live boldly. Walk boldly into what you WANT. Because you know that what you want is something that will glorify the Lord because you’ve already established your calling to Christlikeness.

Rest in the knowledge that you can live your fullest life and be very happy and fulfilled in WHATEVER you are doing with the purpose of making Him known. That is the call to which we all live.

How to NOT irritate New Yorkers!

I’ve been in New York for 3 months now. I am not what anyone would call “adjusted” yet. I am learning new things every day and with each new day comes some stupid mistake I made that made it perfectly obvious that “I ain’t from ’round these parts”. Please, no one read this as me telling everyone reading that I fit in as a New Yorker with all of my 60 days of experience! ha But I can tell you there are some golden rules here that are fairly obvious if you spend more than a week on these streets. So scan these over before your next trip to the Big Apple and see if you don’t get yelled at less!

 

  1. Download Citymapper

There is nothing more frustrating than rushing to get somewhere, finally making it out of the train station only to be stopped by someone blocking the exit while they figure out where they need to go next!

We all know the subway system can be frustrating and daunting! I believe I told you about the time that I took Jozzy to Brooklyn and got on the wrong train! I know many people that visit here and they are trying to have a go at navigating by using google maps or something ridiculous! Trust me, you’ll be looking to visit the Statue of Liberty and end up in Washington Heights or somewhere.

The City Mapper app makes New York so much easier! Download it as soon as you book your flight for a visit! It has absolutely saved me. I would never feel confident about taking the girls out on my own without it.

 

I’ve created  a route for you on the app so you can see how it works:

city mapper app

 

When you first pull up the app, tap on the “Get Me Somewhere” button. (If you input your hotel as “home”, it will speed up the process when you’re out)

Type in the location of where you want to go. If you know the address or corner, that’s the best, but if the spot is well known, it will be able to pull it up. I used the Statue of Liberty as our make believe destination for this trip!

 

 

city mapper ap

 

Once, you’ve chosen the destination, it will take you to this screen. The top shows you your options for how to get there and how long each option will take. Then the “suggested” section gives you the most popular routes. So this page suggests you take the “1” train and it will take you approximately 50 minutes to get there. I know what you are thinking… “hold up! doesn’t the Uber icon up there say 15 minutes? That’s what I’m doing!” And you may want to choose that, but if you click on that Uber icon, it will show you the prices for Uber pool or sole rider. For this ride, it was between $21-$29. A subway ride is $2.75, so for all of you trying to do New York on the cheap…keep all those cab and uber rides in mind.

Note that option 2 is significantly shorter on the “2” train, but you will have to transfer to a bus, meaning you will have to exit the station, purchase another fair for the bus and wait for it to arrive. If you have a family, I’d opt for just getting on the train and jumping off when you get there.

city mapper app

Let’s say we chose option 1 on the “1” train. Click on that and it brings up this page.

It will tell you what direction to walk (and if you click on the “walk” it will show a gps tracker with directions to make sure you’re walking the right direction), what corner the station is on and WHAT DIRECTION TRAIN TO TAKE. This is what got me in trouble in Brooklyn. I got on the right train but the wrong direction! It will even tell you what section to get on so you are closest to your exit.

It tells you how many stops you will have before leaving and even which exit to take, so you can cross the street as few times as possible.

This app has been amazing and it will keep you from lining the sidewalks, staring at the sun, trying to figure out which way is which and where Broadway intersects and such.

DOWNLOAD IT!

 

2) Don’t hog the pole on the train!

I learned this when a friend of mine looked at me and chuckled as I casually and coolly walked onto the train and draped my arm around the pole so I could check my phone before I lost signal. He said, ” you’ll learn not to hog the pole.” I didn’t know this was a thing… oh it’s a thing. You’ll see people give the stank eye if they walk on and you are leaning on, wrapped around or monopolizing the pole. It doesn’t even have to be that crowded. Common courtesy is to leave room for multiple people around the pole. Of course, Jozlyn thinks the pole is there simply for her dancing skills ( if you remember the end of the Coney Crazy video… it happens all the time!)

So when you step on the train, if you can’t find a seat and end up standing with the pole…unless it is just super empty, try to be conscious of how much space you take up around the pole.

 

3) Don’t walk slowly in the middle of the sidewalk.

 

This is similar to the problem we talked about with the subway and some of this may be resolved with CityMapper, but sometimes, walking in the city all day is just tough! I get it… I pretty much fall into bed after lugging my two littles around all day. Keep in mind, New Yorkers are always going somewhere, and it’s not that they are usually late, it’s just that they are contending with schedules and unknowns constantly. They know that the train they need comes in two minutes and they are exactly two minutes from the station. If you need to rest or need to slow the pace a bit… DO IT! Just make sure that you’re not taking up the main sidewalk or you will probably get trampled. Walk along the building and take your time.

 

 

 

 

4) Don’t take up the whole escalator.

So you know how there is that unwritten rule about the escalator or moving sidewalk in the airport… or the highway that all the bad drivers ignore?? Ya know, the one that says the left lane is for passing? Well, New Yorkers honor this fairly religiously on the escalator.

If you are holding onto the handrail with your left hand, you will get pushed to the right side by some executive who can’t be late or something. Notice…everyone moving is on the left, everyone planted is on the right.

 

5) Don’t stand in the middle of the corner on the sidewalk.

New Yorkers tend to have a sixth sense about when it is safe to cross an intersection, right? I still find myself peering a good distance down the road to see how fast I can sprint with my youngest in her stroller and my oldest on a scooter, but everyone else seems pretty nonchalant about this gift. I know when I first got here, I pretty much would wait until I saw the little white guy on the sign lit up that meant I could walk. The problem was I was standing on the sidewalk on the corner. That’s where I’m supposed to be right?? Well, not really. You see, if you have a “stop” signal, that means the people headed toward your corner from the other angle have a walk signal, and if you are standing right on the corner, then you are about to get trampled. Ideally, if you can, stay right up on the curb, or, if you’re not in a hurry, stay behind their path to cross the sidewalk, so they can pass quickly and you can avoid any major collisions.

 

There are so many things…little things, but basically, be aware. Be considerate of what’s happening around you. Life moves very fast here. If it’s too fast for you, that’s fine, just be considerate of those who are trying to live their lives normally amidst your vacation.

This place loves tourists. It depends on tourists. But New Yorkers live here every day and these little “helps” will keep you from getting trampled or cursed at. 🙂

Love you guys!

Love,

the Grizzards

 

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A Reminder…

We have been so fortunate to be able to sing at some pretty cool places, with some pretty amazing people. At our last church, Jordan was able to write and record on a project called SONGS OF THE PEOPLE. Go get it on itunes if you haven’t heard it…so good. This was one of the tunes from that record. Jordan sang it this morning in a slightly different manner than we had done it before! ha.

I was struck by the pure nature of the song done this way. It occurred to me that some may feel that there is a song that they love, but they don’t have the resources to accomplish it; the orchestrations, the production equipment, or what have you. This piece was done (and beautifully done) with full band, choir, orchestra, and praise team behind it. Here it is done with one servant strumming a guitar, singing a reminder of God’s grace.

I am one that can put man-made restrictions on my praise sometimes. Praise God! He does not put such restrictions on how we praise Him.

 

 

What is Christlikeness??

What is Christlikeness??

How many times have we all heard the term “Christlike”? A million right? If you have been a believer trying to pursue spiritual growth, it is likely you have as well, but what does this term actually mean? What does being “like Christ” look like practically speaking? Is this characteristic even possible? Are we to pursue something that is actually not attainable to mere humans? After all, the attributes of Christ are powerful, sinless, humble, righteous, perfect, loving, and holy. I don’t know a single person who, even if they tried relentlessly could achieve this. So why would the Bible tell us to strive for something that can never actually be realized? Does it? This has been a question that the Lord has been dealing with me heavily on.

My pastor touched on this message tonight, and I loved it. Although, he would be the first to admit that this subject is far too exhaustive for one message. How can we discuss the idea of Christlikeness in one night? You can’t, but in all of my years of sitting under pretty amazing pastors, I’ve learned that the best messages are not those that pretend to give you all the answers. The best messages are those that leave you with a lot of questions; questions that you HAVE to go and wrestle with God to have answered.

I recently had someone I love very deeply warn me about the tendency I have to make my life revolve around the cerebral, particularly in my faith. He said it led to his “not really feeling anything, but doing things because he knew he should, not because he wanted to”. I tend to see things very black and white. I lead with my head and don’t understand those that feel things very deeply. In my immaturity, I looked down on the spiritual health of people who experience God differently than I do. God has wrecked me of that. I make decisions with pros and cons lists, with logic, and with a tendency toward arrogance. What killed me about this friend was that I understood this warning. I appreciated it because I know that in my flesh my faith can become all about right and wrong. It can become all about what I should DO instead of who I should BECOME. This loved one said that his life was so much better now that he is not bound by the “rigidity that comes with our faith”. The problem is, this is part of our faith. Absolutely it is.

God gave us the law in Exodus, and Jesus upheld it in His life. More than that he said,

 

 

So what is the first step to being Christlike? I believe, Scripture supports that it is obedience…and not just lawful doing what God says to do and not doing what He says not to do, but a submission to God’s authority. That means even if we disagree or don’t understand. Even if it makes absolutely no sense….like leaving the comfort of friends, family, an amazing church and going to someplace hard… obey…submit.

I recently did a post on David and what it means to be a man after God’s own heart. David understood this concept of obedience better than most. This is why he was given such an austere title that we all try to emulate thousands of years later.

But what about those times when we obey and we don’t get what we wanted or what we think we should? We all know the right answer….it’s all in God’s hands. But it sucks when it actually happens and often that answer is just painful when we’re in the middle of it. How do we deal with the disappointment? The best example of this is Jesus.

Remember the prayer in the Garden? Jesus prayed that God would take this cup from Him… and God didn’t. Jesus prayed for an outcome that didn’t come to pass, and that had to be disappointing, but the end of His prayer is paramount…” not my will, but thine be done”…OBEDIENCE- a submission to God’s authority; even if it’s painful…even if it costs us something. Something like comfort, position, entitlement, sex, authority, ministry, or a relationship.“ A submission to God’s authority” is the beginning to a life of Christ-likeness.

What happens when we show that kind of obedience? Go back to John 14:21

 


 

So when we obey God, He manifests Himself to us. What do we get when we obey through disappointment or pain or denial of self? We get intimacy with God. We cannot know God without understanding the HUMILITY of obedience.

But, there is something else we must strive for before we can say we are living lives striving for Christlikeness. “The greatest of these is love”. Christians have such a hard time with this. While straddling the line of grace and righteousness, some believers take a foot off of one or the other and lose their stability altogether. We MUST remain with feet planted firmly on BOTH. You do not have to relinquish your stance on righteousness to be full of grace, and you do not have to be full of judgment to be holy.

 

(Somewhat of a side note, but I feel it’s an important note: Obedience leads us to encounter God, and scripture teaches us that we CANNOT ENCOUNTER THE LIVING GOD AND REMAIN UNCHANGED (James 1:23). Anytime, someone has a genuine encounter with God, there is life change. If there is no change, there was no encounter. But this is a 

charge FOR BELIEVERS.)

Christians often use this as a club with which to bludgeon non-believers into moral and biblical obedience. It’s not going to work. Grace upon grace upon grace for those that have not yet encountered God. My mom used to say it this way, “you’ve got to expect lost people to act like lost people”, and we’ve got to stop being surprised when people who don’t believe in Jesus don’t act like Jesus… THAT’S WHAT WE’RE FOR. And crucifying them for their perceived immorality ain’t gonna do anything to advance the Kingdom. God is not surprised by the degradation. Jesus, after all, raised holy hell on those in the temple and showed mercy to the tax collectors and prostitutes. Judgement here on Earth is for believers to keep each other accountable in love. Grace, church, grace.

 

That’s the love piece, but we are to never forget the “righteous” piece…that’s the head part.

 

The law is still in effect. It is still important and still applicable. The law was the physical embodiment of God’s call to righteousness and humility for His people. He wanted them to strive for morality and to recognize that they could never attain perfection. It is because of this that we have Christ- the embodiment of the complete gospel; righteousness and love.

 

 

We cannot have just one or the other, or we do not have the faith. We can struggle with one or the other but show me a judgmental pharisee and I will show you an idolatrous pagan who worships the tool of the Bible more than the God of the Bible.

Show me a spineless, compromising heretic and I will show you someone who worships the creation of God more than the being of God. You must understand the need for both- righteousness and grace.  This, sadly, is what my friend didn’t quite understand. If you miss one, you miss God.

So what is it? What is the special formula to becoming Christlike? I believe that scripture supports the idea that to be like Christ, you must have a practicing life of obedience that leads to encountering God. This encounter compels us to a life of loving His children. “For those who love Christ, keep His commands”…and “the greatest of these is love”.

 

Would love your thoughts. Leave a comment.

 

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A MONTH IN A MINUTE!

We have had an incredible September! I am so excited to kick off fall in New York! This place is magical.

 

Here’s a sneak peek into our first month of fall!

 

 

Love, the Grizzards

AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART

 

I have always loved this adage. I cannot count the number of times someone has encouraged me from a pulpit to strive to be one “after God’s own heart”. It was very often from my dad, but since he was also the preacher I always envision him saying it from behind the large, elaborately carved, wooden pulpit he used to stand behind when he was a preacher in Mississippi. To be someone after God’s heart meant to love Him before all others. To align your desires with the desires of the Father. Of course, it didn’t mean to be perfect but to understand the importance of daily strife toward Christlikeness. I wanted to live daily so that everyone could tell that I lived for the Lord. I wanted to look different than those that lived for themselves and didn’t know the love of God that impacted my whole life. I wanted to be able to discern His voice above all of the other voices of the world that called me away from things that God would desire for me…like a sheep knows the voice of his shepherd, I wanted to know my God. This was the picture of someone who was  a “man after God’s own heart.” Except that’s not what the Scripture says. Now, of course, all of these things are good things and can be found in one way or another in other scriptures… but it is not the definition given in scripture for how to be one after God’s heart.

This passage is very often quoted by those aspiring to bring motivation to their audience listening, but it is very rarely completed. An incomplete passage of scripture is very often a dangerous miscommunication. The completed passage says David “was a man after God’s own heart, for he will do ALL of my will.” Ouch. The Lord gave us the instruction manual on how to be a believer like David. He wasn’t perfect! Far from it! He basically hung out on a rooftop with binoculars so he could lurk at a naked neighbor… the guy was downright creepy. He was an adulterous, arrogant, murdering, lying, compromising, lazy, fearful, entitled aristocrat. But God could use him… because He was willing to be used. The only qualification to be a man/woman after God’s own heart was to do ALL of God’s will. Samuel was directed to David after God removed His blessing of Saul. Why did God do that?

 

Command. Just one command. He is not talking about the 10 commandments or the law. It would be impossible to keep all of the commandments for anyone….even the chosen King of Israel. There is one command that was given that was disobeyed. God commanded Saul to destroy the Amalekites, but Saul kept some of the spoils of the victory for himself and his people even telling Samuel of his intention to sacrifice these pagan spoils to God. But Samuel said,

 

 

You see? Saul obeyed the Lord MOSTLY… until he saw what would be beneficial to him. “This makes sense God, so I will do this and I’m sure you will bless it.” Even though he was given clear instructions from God. He did what God told him to…MOSTLY.

David did ALL of God’s will. Now, there’s the hard part. What’s God’s will? The big picture is the same for everyone. God told us in his word “Go and make disciples”. That’s it. That’s what we as believers are called to do. Go and find an unreached people group in your own backyard or across the world and be the hands and feet of Jesus. We were created for God, but we are called to his people.

We hear the word “called” very often.

“I was called to serve as a missionary to Africa.”

“I was 3 years old when I was called to full-time ministry.”

“I’ve been called to leave this church and go do that ministry.”

We’ve heard it so often in the church that we’ve probably become very numb to this word…I know I have. It’s a weighted word that means that God has commanded an action of some sort usually for a ministry or evangelistic purpose. And often used in scripture to note those of us that are “set apart” or “called out” as believers. But often it’s used to justify a move in vocation or location. (this is not what the bible says, this is just Kayla talking..) I feel that Christians sometimes feel the need to spiritually justify everything. I was talking to a girlfriend of mine, whose husband is in ministry. Her husband had a ministerial position at a church, a very demanding one that dominated a lot of his time. He was offered a position at a different church. The pay was roughly the same, but he got more vacation time and it gave him more time with his wife and kids. When asked why they decided to move, my girlfriend would say, “it was just a great job opportunity.” Now, I’ve always loved this girl, but I seriously loved her more. It is important to note that there is nothing super spiritual about sacrificing your family for your ministry. Your family comes second to God himself, of course, but not to your church…and there is a difference. There was no need for the “churchy answer” of “ well, we just feel the Lord calling us to this church”…even though that may be true! It was a great job opportunity to allow this man to do ministry to which he was “called” in a place that allowed him to provide for his family both financially and emotionally. That word holds significant weight and if we use it sparingly, it will hold its value much better and maintain our reputations as wise prophets of the Word.

So what’s the little voice that answers the prayers of His people? That’s God’s direction to enable His calling. I am in no way saying that someone who says “I have been called” is mishearing the Lord. Just encouraging caution when using words with a heavenly weight by giving them an earthly measure. “Now that’s just semantics, Kayla! Calm down!” Yes, it is!! Words mean something and when we say them, we are teaching theology as believers to those younger in the faith than we are. And in this age of social media where catchphrases can “catch fire”… be wise.

David was by no means perfect, but he was obedient. He was obedient to do ALL of God’s will. Is that even possible? Can we do ALL of God’s will ALL the time? Yes… if not then scripture would be less than true..so how? Well, it obviously does not require a sinless life or David most certainly would not be a candidate for such a title. From what I can surmise from reading the scriptures the difference between a leader like David and a leader like Saul is that Saul may have obeyed but for his own gain (like the elder brother in the story of the prodigal). He followed God for the victories in battle that gave His kingdom security and His pride applause from his people. When God removed His favor, his people applauded another and his heart was led to envy revealing that his obedience was never to God for love of God but for love of self. David’s heart beat for what God’s heart beat for. He desired to do what God wanted him to do for the love of God and the glory of His name. He was obedient to follow the Lord’s instruction and repent when he failed Him. He recognized his humanity and submitted to God’s deity. He obeyed when spoken to and bowed to the real King of Israel. He failed, but fell on his face before a holy and worthy God. He was a man after God’s own heart that did ALL of God’s will.

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A day with my baby

A day with my baby

It is so strange to spend a whole day without Jozzy, but I know she is absolutely loving her time of playing and learning with a bunch of kids! I always love hearing her talk about her day when I go pick her up, BUT I swear it feels like I am just meeting my youngest daughter. Kenny tends to come alive. She is goofy, and silly, and energetic and she loves to make believe. She loves to put on my heels and grab a purse and proclaim “Bye Mom! I go to work!” I’ll tell her bye and then she’ll return and say, “I’m back!”

Today, we went to Central Park, which we’ve done a lot but not just with her. We had a blast and she wanted to do a little photo shoot. Jozzy always loves taking pictures, but this time, Kenny was the center of attention and she loved it.

 

 

Love,

the Grizzards

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I'm Kayla. Mom of two, wife of one and new New York transplant. We're a family of four fumbling our way through our new normal in Manhattan! We're excited to learn as we go... we can't mess this up too bad, right? :)

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