Tag Archives: Gospel

Five More Things I’ve Learned While Nannying

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The following post is a continuation to this article, previously posted on Unlocking the Bible. I recommend reading the original article before continuing.

Ten months ago, I was an assistant editor for a magazine I fiercely loved and firmly believed in.

In a swirl of happenings, God mercifully rerouted my dreams and plans and, nine months ago, I started nannying two kids that I fiercely love and firmly believe in.

My days are spent with a 3 year old and 15 month old and my nights typically end with my clothes and hair being hugged by pancake syrup, paint, peanut butter, and an assorted sprinkling of crumbs and stickers.

Spotify now constantly asks bizarre questions like, “Do you want to jump back into your Thomas the Train playlist?” and “Explore other titles similar to Puppy Dog Pals and Disney Favorites,” and the backseat of my car is now accessorized with children’s car seats and a few rogue toys. The bottom line: life is a lot different than it was nine months ago.

And though I aspire to be a nanny like Mary Poppins, this profession highlights less of the magical spoonful-of-sugar moments and more of my weaknesses and acute need for a Helper of my own.

Here are five more things I’ve learned during the last nine months of nannying.

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When Goodness is the Trial

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For me, 2017 and 2018 are a study in contrasts. 

Last year was dark and stripping. Depression came, people left, the wilderness was stifling and sanctifying. The painful shaking out of all my dreams and plans was healing and holy, necessary and good. And, while I wouldn’t particularly love to go through everything again, I would repeat it all in a heartbeat in order to be where God has me today and to know Him as I do now.

Because of the lessons in the wilderness, I can tell you with more conviction and clarity than ever before that God’s Word is true, His promises are real, and His grace is sufficient. His character is flawless, His methods and ways are good, and His purifying fire never gets a degree hotter than He intends. He is trustworthy in our trials, torment, and terror, and He calls us to lean into all of those things in order to receive what we crave most: more of Him.

It’s in that receiving we quickly learn that He is better than the fulfillment of any and all earthly desires. Jesus is better. I want to go to my grave declaring it to be so. He is better than our hardest battles and deepest sorrow, better than an easy path or comfortable lodgings in this world. He is better than relief from trials or realized dreams. And, as I often repeated to my forgetful heart last year, knowing Him is better than knowing what He is doing.

“If every good thing He has given were to vanish, we would still be safe in Christ––and our basis for gracious gratitude would have no reason to be changed at all.” -Mary Mohler, Growing in Gratitude

But what if those good things aren’t removed but instead stay and multiply? What about trusting Him in seasons of abundance? I know He’s better than His gifts, but how do I accept and enjoy those gifts without shutting down from fear of their removal?

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June, July, and August Reads

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As previously mentioned, a lot of things happened over the last few months.

Though books have long been some of my most faithful companions, they took a backseat in June and July. However, the sunny days of August had more room for those magical portals of the written word and, for my sanity’s sake, they were devoured.

Here’s what’s been filling my heart library. I’d love to know what’s filling yours!

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”
-C. S. Lewis

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We Wrote a Song?

Once upon a time, Joseph Durham and I wrote some songs and now one is on iTunes and Spotify and it’s just so bizarre.

In February 2017, life was a little bit crazy with a lot of relational newness, strains, and one trial after another. I didn’t know it then, but we were on the threshold of a wilderness where the light would soon fade, the storms would get rough, but the Lord’s hand would still guide.

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When Your Heart Breaks: Jesus Stays

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“Broken hearted one, Jesus Christ knows all your troubles, for similar troubles were His portion too.” -Charles Spurgeon

The middle of May was hard.

Though the spring sun was shining its way into summer, clouds were rolling into my heart and the horrible, unwelcome darkness of the depression I thought was conquered slithered into my soul.

The following is a raw and bitter-but-trying-to-preach-and-believe-truth journal entry from May 25. Maybe someone else needs to be reminded, as did I, that there is One who will never change His mind about us.

“For the Lord will not forsake His people;
He will not abandon His heritage…”
-Psalm 94:14

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April Reads

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I used to think I was a writer who reads.

False. I’m a reader who writes. I stuff myself with the words of others (mostly Scripture) then those same words are recalibrated and rearranged and flow out much easier (but still not easily) than trying to write from an empty word tank.

And, while we’re chatting about words and writing, may I just admit how ridiculous it feels to call myself a writer? Sitting on an airplane recently, the passenger next to me asked what I did. “I’m, uh, a writer,” I said with a swallow. It feels shallow and hollow and self-promoting, as though I feel I have something to offer that no one else does. But that’s simply not the case. I’m a product of all I have read and this month’s intake has been necessary and refining in both word consumption and production. (For more on my love of words and writing: The One Where I Talk About Writing.)

Sometimes people comment on how much I read and guilt swirls in my stomach from reading so much and too fast to properly drain each book of its wisdom and delight, but absorbing words, however fast or slow, is the only way I can a) survive and b) even attempt to string together coherent sentences or paragraphs or articles that might spark joy and hope in others.

So, here are the books that filled my word tank this month (listed in the order they were read). What’s filling yours?

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February + March Reads

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“Be careful what books you read, for as water tastes of the soil it runs though, so does the soul taste of the authors that a man reads.” -John Trapp

The following books have filled my soul’s tastebuds over the past couple months. I recommend feasting on pretty much all of them.

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Disobedience, Relationships, and the Idol of Self-Protection

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Admitting I need or want people is terrifyingly hard.

Accepting, much less confessing to someone that I need or want them in my life automatically gives them an incredible amount of power, and I’m scared of being manipulated.

No one wants to be taken advantage of. No one wants to feel used. No one wants to hold out their heart only to have it shattered by broken trust or the selfishness of others.

But it happens. And I’m learning that, even if it does, I still need people, and God-honoring relationships are worth having your heart shattered for. Just ask Jesus.

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Waffles, Authority, and the Color Pink

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It was a typical morning. 

The 2 year old with wild blonde bedhead was in her booster seat, the 8 month old played happily in his high chair, and I was cutting up strawberries and waffles.

On the days I nanny, this is the normal 7 a.m. scene and I love it.

It’s time for food. It’s time for talking. It’s time for theology.

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Singing in the Fire

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As previously mentioned, Susannah Spurgeon is my new bff. 

Here’s a snippet from her biography Free Grace and Dying Love (which I cannot recommend more highly). It’s long but one of the most encouraging things I’ve ever read. Wherever you are and whatever season you’re in, I hope it ministers to you too.

At the close of a very dark and gloomy day I lay resting on my couch as the deeper night drew on, and though all was bright within my cosy little room, some of the external darkness seemed to have entered into my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. Vainly I tried to see the hand which I knew held mine and guided my fog-enveloped feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering. In sorrow of heart I asked, ‘Why does my Lord thus deal with His child? Why does He so often send sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does He permit lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?’ These fretful questions were quickly answered, and though in a strange language, no interpreter was needed for the conscious whisper of my own heart.

For a while silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the crackling of an oak log burning on the hearth. Suddenly I heard a sweet, soft sound, a little, clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window. ‘What can it be?’ I said to my companion, who was dozing in the firelight; ‘surely no bird can be singing out there at this time of the year and night!’ We listened, and again heard the faint plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet mysterious enough to provoke for a moment our undisguised wonder. Presently my friend exclaimed, ‘It comes from the log on the fire!!’ and we soon ascertained that her surprised assertion was correct. The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak’s inmost heart. Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all went well with him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight flecked his tender leaves with gold; but he had grown old since then and hardened; ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up the long-forgotten melody until the fierce tongues of the flames came to consume his callousness and the vehement heat of the fire wrung from him at once a song and a sacrifice.

Oh! thought I, when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed are we purified and our God is glorified! Perhaps some of us are like this old oak log–cold, hard and insensible; we should give forth no melodious sounds were it not for the fire which kindles round us, and releases tender notes of trust in Him, and cheerful compliance with His will. As I mused the fire burned and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely set before me. Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard, apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before.

-Susannah Spurgeon

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