The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

He Gives Good Gifts

It was November 14, 2009 – Grace’s fifth birthday. She had friends over for a birthday party that day when I received the call.

Luke’s sister Emily had been having very bad headaches that week. She waited for them to pass, but on Saturday morning she awoke and went to the bathroom multiple times in a row. When her husband asked her how many times she was going to go to the bathroom, she replied,” I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet.” He took her straight to the hospital.

There they discovered an arteriovenus malformation (AVM) – a malformation of blood vessels in her brain – that had ruptured. The AVM was something that had been there since birth, but she had never known.

Until it hemorrhaged.

So on December 3, 2009, at the age of 25, my dear friend and sister-in-law underwent an 18+-hour-long brain surgery. There were no promises about the outcome, only the knowledge that God had knit her together in her mother’s womb, and He always does what is right. We spent those 18 hours praying, begging God for Emily’s return to health.

He answered.

There are many details I’m leaving out, and the recovery process was long. (Read more about Emily’s story here.)

But I’m so incredibly thankful. God has not only blessed us with the gift of Emily’s life, but of the lives of her two precious sons, our nephews. If she had died that day in the hospital, not only would we all be missing Emily, but we would have never known these two precious boys (the second whom we’ll meet very soon)!

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:9-11

Thank you to all of our friends and family who prayed Emily through her AVM ordeal. God heard our cries, and we are still so very thankful!

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He Is Enough

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. I would show you a picture of myself with my four adorable children, but alas, it was a rainy day and no picture was taken. Just imagine us all together in our church clothes.

Anyway, our pastor pointed out that in the Old Testament, many of the kings were either good or bad depending on the character of their mothers. For example, if a king had a foreign mother who served other gods, that king generally turned out to be one who did not serve YHWH, the One True God.

The pastor’s point was that mothers hold a huge influence over their children, and that makes a great difference in the world.

I know his aim was to encourage mothers, to validate our work, and to spur us on to more good works. But when he was talking, my first thought was, “I’m not enough.” The responsibility of my job is just too great.

I’ve seen lots of graphics floating around Facebook that affirm that “I am enough.” And I understand that message, too. God made me as I am, with the particular gifts and abilities I possess, to do the work that He planned ahead of time for me to do.

I get that.

But I want to tell you that when you tell me my mothering could sway my children to live either “good” or “bad” lives…I know that I am NOT enough.

I am certainly NOT enough to make my children be decent, honest, hard-working, loving individuals. Because I have my fair share of moments where I am sinful, deceitful, lazy, and unkind.

I am NOT enough to motivate my children to always choose to do the right thing. I can’t even seem to motivate MYSELF to always do the right thing.

I am NOT enough to influence generations to come to leave a positive mark on the world. I am just one sinner.

BUT.

But HE IS ENOUGH.

I am just one sinner, SAVED BY HIS GRACE.

I am just one sinner, motivated by HIS LOVE to do what is right.

I am just one sinner, FORGIVEN and FREE.

PRAISE GOD…HE is more than enough to influence my children and their children and 1,000 generations to live for Him.

May I always remember that even though I’m not enough…HE ALWAYS IS.

Glorious Legacy

When I think back to my growing up years, one particular image sticks in my mind: a black leather Bible, pages well-loved, cover embossed. It sat on our kitchen table, open, alongside a composition book filled with my mom’s beautiful handwriting.

I knew my mom read that Bible every day. She wrote prayers and petitions in that notebook. One day I snuck a peek in her journal, to find a poem she wrote about me, in the throes of some teenage ridiculousness. I can’t tell you the impact it made to know that my mom cried out to God on my behalf.

I wonder what my children will remember of me, when they are grown and raising my grandkids.

Will they remember my Bible open, my prayers on their behalf, my heart’s cry for them to love Jesus?

Or will they remember my face glowing from the radiance of my iPhone? My need to escape the crazy chaos that is our home?

Will they remember snuggles and sweet words, encouragement to be more like Christ?

Or will they remember my anger and impatience, my selfishness and pride?

What’s more…How will they parent my grandbabies? Will they do a good job of always getting to the heart issues, being consistent in discipline, but never disciplining in anger? Will they always remember to make Christlikeness the goal?

Or will my sinful patterns affect the way they parent, either swaying them to be too harsh or too lenient?

May God’s mercy and the power of the Holy Spirit cover our home. May He change me to be more like Him. May He protect my children and the coming generations from the sin that entangles my heart.

Despite the odds, may Christ be glorified in us.

A Beautiful Confession

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I know in many churches the Age of the Hymnal has passed into distant history. Does your church still use hymnals, or even own hymnals?

I grew up in a non-denominational church, which Tim Hawkins would call “a Baptist church with a cool website.” Really, it was too small to have a cutting-edge website…and I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s before church websites were a thing…

We always used hymnals. But I don’t really remember ever using the back of the hymnal…No, I don’t mean the index. I mean the little section with liturgical readings.

I appreciate that our Baptist church recognizes the value of church history, the church calendar, and liturgy. Our services aren’t full of pre-written prayers and rote recitation. But when a piece of prose or poetry glorifies God with its truth-telling, our pastors feel free to use it in the service.

For example, at our Wednesday evening prayer meeting this week, we turned to #621 in the baaaaaack of the hymnal. It’s entitled “An Affirmation of Faith.”

The Apostles’ Creed is well-known and well-loved. This one I have never read or heard, but I thought it was worth sharing with you. Enjoy!

We believe in Jesus Christ the Lord,
Who was promised to the people of Israel,
Who came in the flesh to dwell among us,
Who announced the coming of the rule of God,
Who gathered disciples and taught them,
Who died on the cross to free us from sin,
Who rose from the dead to give us life and hope,
Who reigns in heaven at the right hand of God,
Who comes to judge and bring justice to victory.

We believe in God His Father,
Who raised Him from the dead,
Who created and sustains the universe,
Who acts to deliver His people in times of need,
Who desires all men everywhere to be saved,
Who rules over the destinies of men and nations,
Who continues to love men even when they reject Him.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
Who is the form of God present in the church,
Who moves men to faith and obedience,
Who is the guarantee of our deliverance,
Who leads us to find God’s will in the Word,
Who assists those whom He renews in prayer,
Who guides us in discernment,
Who impels us to act together.

We believe God has made us His people,
To invite others to follow Christ,
To encourage one another to deeper commitment,
To proclaim forgiveness of sins and hope,
To reconcile men to God through word and deed,
To bear witness to the power of love over hate,
To proclaim Jesus the Lord over all,
To meet the daily tasks of life with purpose,
To suffer joyfully for the cause of right,
To the ends of the earth,
To the end of the age,
To the praise of His glory,
Amen.

(Emphasis mine.)

He Leads

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We give those Old Testament Israelites such a hard time because of their complaining and grumbling…and goodness gracious, they’ve seen God perform miracle after miracle for them and they STILL can’t remember to trust Him!?

If I had God sprinkling manna on my front lawn every day, I would never complain about His provision…

Or would I?

Because really, He does provide every good and perfect gift in my life, doesn’t He? I’ve never gone hungry. I’ve never gone to bed at night without a roof over my head. I’m clothed and fed and have much more than I could ever ask for.

Besides manna, those Israelites had His very clear direction in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was simple: when the cloud/fire moved, they moved. When it didn’t, they didn’t.

It sounds simple, but it’s not always easy to wait on God’s timing, is it? We might have a deep desire to do His will, but we’d also like for Him to tell us the whole plan ahead of time. The Israelites didn’t get advance notice. They also didn’t get an itinerary. They were just along for the ride…er, walk. Very long walk.

We know that God is moving us. He made it pretty clear that this house isn’t our long-term dwelling.

In fact, we closed on the sale of our house last Friday. We no longer own a house.

We now have 52 days to move all of our earthly possessions from this place, and we have no idea where we’re going.

That ol’ cloud/fire is on the move, and God hasn’t told us where it’s going to stop.

So my prayer is not only that God will provide us a house in this crazy-hot Forest Hills market, but that His Spirit will have a strong grip on my attitude.

I want to trust Him. I believe in my head that He has a plan for us, and I so badly want my heart and attitude to show it.

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