The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Nothing Can Separate Us

It’s been one of those mornings…not yet 10:30 and already 2 children have been sent back to their beds for disrespectful behavior. I want to blame it on Mondays, but it’s certainly not contained to this day of the week. Sadly. I bet it would be easier to navigate if I knew it was only going to be like this on Mondays.

We’re studying the book of Romans this year in BSF, and this week we came to Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Not a thing can separate us from His love. What a beautiful truth.

One question in our lesson drove this home – asking us to paraphrase this passage, using our own struggles.

Is there anyone else out there that struggles with wanting to *earn* God’s love? Sure, I know that’s not how it works, but still when I sin over and over, I feel I’ve failed Him and that He probably doesn’t like me so much anymore. Sounds silly when I type it out…

In 2017, I read a book called Unseen by Sara Hagerty. I walked away reminded that God loves me, likes me, delights in me, in the quiet places where I’m not seen by anyone else. He doesn’t just tolerate me because He has to, but He actually delights in me just because I’m His creation. (Go read the book. It’s worth your time.)

So, along those same lines, here is my personal paraphrase of Romans 8:38-39…

For I am sure that my pride, my yelling in anger, my selfishness, my frustration at constant chaos, my fear of failing as a wife and mother, my desire for human affirmation, my greed for nicer things, my dirty floors and walls and laundry piles…none of this will separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

Despite the dirty places in my heart, He loves me. Despite my constant failures to act righteously, He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.

Nothing can separate us from His love. What a beautiful truth.

(Note – I know the pictures of my sweet girl don’t have much to do with the text…but isn’t she pretty?)

Remember and Hope

It’s not quite 8am, and I’ve already slipped back out of my church clothes to stay home with a sick kiddo. This parenting thing proves to keep us on our toes, always.

It’s the last day of 2017, and I find myself in a contemplative mood. The new year tends to drive us to remember. And to hope.

In His wisdom and grace, God instructed the Israelites to erect altars of remembrance; one particular example is found in Joshua 4. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites had finally passed over the Jordan River to take the Promised Land as their own…As soon as the whole nation had crossed, God told them to take 12 stones and construct a monument, so that when their children asked “What do these stones mean to you?”, they would tell their children of God’s great faithfulness. They would remember all He had done for them.

Oh, how forgetful I am and how I long to remember His faithfulness.

This year, we have experienced God’s goodness in countless ways…and I want to record a few here so when life might seem darker and harder, I can look back to this memorial and remember.

At the top of my list is Lilah’s adoption.

We are forever grateful that God chose us to be her family. She is a precious treasure to us; she undoubtedly has our hearts. Reaching the point of permanency with her was a sigh of relief. She’s officially ours. Forever. Praise God for His amazing, undeserved gifts! I can’t imagine our life without this amazing child, and I trust that He has good plans for her future.

{in front of the Duomo in Milan}

Next…we were so blessed to be able to take a family trip to visit Luke’s sister (and fam)…in Italy. You can imagine the preparations for 8 people to travel to a foreign country: passports, packing lists, entertainment for the kids for a long flight, diabetes supplies so 2 of our family members could stay alive…you know, that sort of thing. 😉 God was so gracious to work out getting Lilah’s passport in time (which involved a new birth certificate, a new Social Security card, and lots of prayer). Our Jehovah Jireh provided the funds, the vacation time, and surprisingly inexpensive tickets (relatively) for us. (If you’re a Michigander, check out flying out of Toronto…It was less than half the cost per ticket than flying out of GR.)

{Lago D’Iseo…a wonder of God’s creation}

I could fill up a whole, long blog post with details and pictures about that trip, but let’s just suffice it to say that we had an incredible time visiting family, visiting missionary friends, and exploring an enchanting country. It will go down in the Rumley record books as an amazing experience.

{Quality cousin time in Italy}

Third…Just over a year ago, my friend Amber and I were so privileged to help lead a friend to faith in Christ. Of course, God did all the work in drawing her to Him; we were just there to help her to do what she knew in her heart she wanted to do. What an amazing experience to see an adult acknowledge that life is void without Him, and over this year, to watch her learn more about Him and His Word, and ultimately fall more and more in love with Him. Some of you out there are discipleship pros…but for those of us who have essentially only discipled our own kids or church kids, this is incredible. There’s no other word I can come up with to see a rebirth before my very eyes. I praise God for reminding me that He still works to draw people to Himself, even people that no one would anticipate coming to faith. He is SO GOOD.

{An unforgettable evening – the night of T’s salvation – 10/2016}

I want to remember His goodness to us.

I also look forward with expectant hope.

I don’t know what 2018 holds for the Rumley family. I know that we have plans, but if I’ve learned anything in this crazy life, it’s that God’s plans aren’t always the same as mine (though they always prove better). We plan to continue homeschooling. We plan to keep parenting our six (not much choice there, ha!). Luke and I plan to go on another missions trip…

But here’s what I HOPE

I hope that, by this time next year, I’m a more godly woman.

I hope that He shapes and molds me into His image more and more.

I hope that He works on eradicating my sin, showing His awesome light into the dark places of my heart – exposing anger, selfishness, unfaithfulness, pride, etc, etc, etc…I need His light to battle my dark. I hope that He goes to war with Satan for me.

I hope that 2018 brings us more unsaved friends who are yearning for life lived to the full – only possible with Jesus. I hope that I will seize opportunities to share Him with people who are longing for Him, even if they don’t know it.

Let’s face it – I’m not getting any younger, and I’d love to drop a few pounds (a common resolution, no?)…but I hope that this next year, I become more beautiful because I’m more like Him. He makes me beautiful when He radiates through me.

Jesus gives me hope. If you don’t have His hope, there would be no better way to start a brand new year than giving your life to Him. You will not regret it, friends.

Tell me – what are the things that you want to remember from 2017? And what things do you hope for in 2018?

Fourteen

{To Luke}

We were barely more than teenagers when we stood together in front of our family and friends 14 years ago and vowed our lives to one another. We were so young and in love and probably pretty naive. But we meant what we said.

In the years after I wore that sparkly white dress, I’ve learned many a lesson about what it means to love someone.

It’s a whole lot harder than I realized it would be, but so much more satisfying, too.

I love that line in Andrew Peterson’s song Dancing in the Minefields: “And this is harder than we dreamed, but I believe that’s what the promise is for.” Thank you for keeping your promise.

Thank you for being faithful to me, despite seeing some of the worst of the yet-unsanctified places in my heart. For keeping your eyes on Jesus and directing my eyes there, too.

For coming home for dinner every night, and wrestling the boys, and juggling various utensils in the kitchen to make them all laugh. Thank you for choosing to love Kai and Li just as well as our first four.

Thank you for making me laugh all the time. We’ve had our fair share of tears together, and I treasure the laughter you bring to our home. I have so many memories of laughing until our faces hurt in our bed together at night. I know not everyone is blessed to have a spouse they can laugh with. I don’t take that for granted.

Thank you for being someone I can be proud of. At work and church, people know they can count on you to be a hard worker and to act with integrity. I don’t take that for granted, either.

I treasure you. You are a beautiful gift to me. Here we are, fourteen years (and six kids) in, and I feel like we’ve hardly begun this amazing life together. Happy anniversary, love.

Normally our pretty pictures are taken by our amazing friends at DaveTree Photography…but because of busy lives and cooling weather, these were actually taken by our dear daughter, Grace.

Celebrate Character

Friends, parenting is hard.

It doesn’t matter if you have one child or 10 children…it.is.hard.

Chaos, noise, stepping on Legos, nonstop dishes and laundry, dirty diapers, attitude problems (ours AND theirs, ha), bickering…Need I continue?

There are so many worthwhile and rewarding things about parenting, too, and those things give us warm fuzzies and inspiration to keep on walking this crazy path.

I’m increasingly thankful for the village of people God has placed around us to help us raise our kids to love Jesus. We’re blessed to not only have families that are God-fearers, but an astounding church family, too. The more God-fearers helping to point my kids to Him, the better!

Here in the Rumley house, our main goal of parenting is to train our kiddos to love God and use the gifts and abilities He gave them to be productive members of His kingdom. I love having a good grasp on our parenting mission, and I love, love, love having fun ways to help us on the journey.

One way we’ve celebrated our kids in the past is with the red plate. This is a long-time Rumley tradition, and I remember being so thrilled to receive our red plate from my mom-in-law at one of our bridal showers.

We have used the plate mostly for birthdays, salvation anniversaries, job promotions (for Luke), school achievements, etc.

But now a new special plate has joined the cupboard. It’s called the Family Honor Plate. Instead of celebrating occasions, this plate focuses on celebrating good character in our children.

Galations 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit that should be evident in our lives if Jesus is in charge: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I can’t think of any better traits to celebrate seeing in my kids’ lives!

Take a look at the kit that I received:

As you can see, the plate comes plain white, with “Family Honor Plate” printed in the center and the fruit of the Spirit listed inside the rim. It comes with all the supplies you need to paint it any way you’d like.

I intended to make this a whole-family project, allowing each person in my family to paint 1/8 of the rim…but life is busy. So I ended up painting it myself, when the kids were all in bed and Luke was away at life group, with some nice instrumental Christmas music playing softly. *sigh*

I used some paper bags (thanks, Aldi!) to protect my dining room table, mixed some of the paints to make colors I enjoy…and away I went.

As the instructions said, I let it dry for an hour and then popped it in my cold oven and set the temp for 350. After it heated up, I baked it for 30 minutes, turned off the oven, and left it in there to cool.

Isn’t she pretty?

What I most look forward to is learning to seek out good character traits in my children. These days, I feel like I do more correcting than praising, and I hope that I can tip the scales the other direction. I want to build up my children with words of affirmation. I think this plate will be a beautiful tool to help do that.

You can purchase your own Family Honor Plate (or learn more about it) on their website or on Amazon. It costs $39.95, which is comparable to the ol’ red plate. 😉

Also included in my review pack was a product called “Table Thyme Discussion Cards.” These are available on the same sites, and sell for $19.95.

The cards are intended to spark good discussion around the dinner table, and we have already enjoyed some great conversation with our kiddos. Here are some sample questions:
What is your favorite thing to do before bedtime? Why?
What do you do that makes your parents very happy? Why?
What is your favorite room in the house? Why?

That’s just a quick sampling of some great discussion-starters…another tool to help families grow closer together. I’m a fan.

I’d love to hear from you if you have other ways to encourage our children to strive for good, Godly character! Please share!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. All opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Winner of the ESV Illuminated Bible Giveaway

Thanks, friends, for entering to win your own copy of this beautiful Bible! I was so encouraged to read about the many ways you like to spend time in God’s Word. Keep up the good work!

I used a random number generator at random.org to draw a winner…

Congrats, Darby! I hope this Bible will inspire you to spend more time with the God who loves you!

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