This past week I had the opportunity to go on a song writing retreat with the community of Austin Stone residents. We spent nearly 2 days eating meals together, writing songs, and sharing our stories with each other. The retreat gave me the opportunity to grow in the craft of song writing. This year I helped write 2 songs with 3 other residents. This taught me the value of co-writing and the value of camaraderie over comparison. Tuesday night we had a song share and were all blessed and encouraged by the songs God had given us and by the collective talents and gifts that were evident in each song.
Last Saturday was Jahnabell's 2nd birthday. We spent the day celebrating her with G-Ma in Salado. Jahnabell is such joyful little girl! I cannot tell you how much of a blessing it is to be her Daddy.
Yes, that is a huge paleo cookie that Dusty made for Jahnabell's birthday. It was pretty amazing! We gave her the dollhouse that my Dad and I made a few years back as a prop for the Windowpane music video. We got her some furniture to put inside including a miniature crib and baby. She loves anything to do with baby's right now. She is so sweet and smart and it is simply amazing to watch her grow up!
This week and last has been simultaneously joyful and difficult. I am reminded daily that I must abide in Jesus so that I can truly reflect His love in all my actions. It is evident that apart from Him I can do nothing (John 15:5). Apart from knowing and believing the truth of God's word, I strive to lead my family in a very human way. But this striving turns to joy when I abide in Him, when I stop and listen, and when I dwell richly on and in his word. This passage in John 15 has been a great reminder for me this week.
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." John 15:7-12
Furthermore I can be confident in the hope God has called me to and press forward with endurance because of what His Word says! I know personally, I have to remind myself of this every day (even several times a day). This is what I know to be true!
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.