Thankfulness Roundup Monday, Part 3.

Sometimes thankfulness is hard. Because I don’t understand what God is doing. I don’t know what’s around the next turn in life. I hope these thankfulness posts don’t come across as too “rainbowy.” Because sometimes life is hard and uncertain. But choosing to believe that through it all God is the same and that he is good, is essential. And that’s a little bit where i’m at this morning :).

 

650. Friends tIMG_20140427_180204hat are old and new

651. Z-O-O.

652. Best friends who drive 11 hours for a super fun weekend!

653. 80’s music, I mean come on.

654. Cuties during my observation

655. Teachers who are so invested in their kiddos

656. When my little NAKOMA reader remembers plurals!! And is on cloud 9 because of it.

657. Watermelon helmets.

658. Long car rides by myself, time to think

659. Super sunshiney days!

IMG_20140427_195942660. The Farmers Market is back open.

661. Big sister and Brother in law coming to Madtown.

662. Jessalyn, I love that lady. How did I get such an amazing best friend?

663. Fresh rosemary

664. Thrift shopping.

665. That Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

666. “Faith is reason gone courageous.”

667. A sister that is adorably crafty.

668. A beautiful younger sister that dances.

669. Weird/funny snaps fr om the brothers. Mostly of IMG_20140427_202200animals?

670. Sweet e-mails from parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,

IMG_20140427_213235    
bless his holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

(Psalm 103:1-5)

Love,

Rachel

 

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living in crocus season

In February I genuinely believed that I would never see grass again. The snow had been on the ground for about 4 months, and I just didn’t think it would ever be gone.  Everyone from Madison told me that this was the worst winter in their experience. Which is good because any Wisconsin Winter from here on out should be relatively easy. But we’ve had more below zero days in Madison than have happened in decades.

And here it is, April 20th, and I can see the grass.

Granted, it snowed twice this week, but it’s in the mid 60s right now.  During my 5 hour drive to Iowa this weekend, I listened to a podcast on faith. The pastor talked about living in Madison during the winter. About how the cold weather is, and how it is one of the most life sucking, monotonous seasons. The speaker noted that the crocuses are always the first flower to bloom. And there is a time in Spring, where the crocuses are in bloom, but the snow will still fall on them. And that time, with snowy crocuses, is where we are living in 2014.

You see, we’re in limbo. Jesus has died, and is resurrected, and we can see the evidence of him (and of hope) everywhere. But we’re still living in a broken world. And this state of living in a season where there’s snow, but there’s enough evidence of summer and warmth to put on our flip flops on. To trust in something bigger, to trust that winter doesn’t last forever, but that summer is promised. Those snowy crocuses, which give us the evidence that God is faithful should inspire us to live wearing tank tops, and eating ice cream out of cones, and putting on our sunglasses.

 

Happy Easter, dear friends.

 

Rachel

 

p.s. to listen to the sermon, click here: http://www.blackhawkchurch.org/sunday/this-weeks-message/message-archive/?sermon_id=192

Monday Thankfulness Round up, Part 2.

Trying to make a habit of starting off the week with thanking Jesus for the good stuff. Why thankfulness? Because God is always good, always love, always. But sometimes I suck at remembering that, and I never want to lose sight of the goodness of the God that I love.

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625. Snapchats from Truett. Pure sweetness.

626. 6 hour long skype dates with best friends. Just being.

627. A Jesus and a faith that makes sense when I reason.

628. Phone calls with the mama.

629. So many packages in the mail this week, yay!

630. Dad and Josiah on a Saturday date? haha. Glad that he’s in our life.

632. Bets. Always bets.

635. IMG_20140414_104537That when I abide in Jesus, he’ll make my joy full.

636. That I built a shelf, yippee!

637. Time to read and slow down.

638. Chatting on the phone with the little broseph. That he won a 70’s costume contest. Haha. Classic Ben.

639. Catching up with Sarah, that she is blogging and Etsying so hard. Get it girl.

640. That all men will know that we are his disciples, when we love one another (John 13:35).

641. That he alone is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

642. Saturday baseball games, for freeee!

643. Encouraging IMG_20140414_104701texts from Carly.

 

 

He is good.

Love,

Rachel

Thankful Monday, Part 1.

It just seems like a good idea to start a week out with thankfulness.  So here are a few things that I’m thankful for this week.

 

Sharing Netflix with siblings. Having too many people on Netflix for it to load.  For some reason, having a Netflix that’s overloaded warms my heart. Haha. And it probably only warms my heart because I played the “i’m sick, let me watch” card on them.

 

Having a dad who I spent a lot of Saturday on the phone with, as I was navigating through Home Depot. We’re pretty sure i’m going to be skyping him when I start my next project. He’s seriously the bees-knees. And his Birthday was yesterday, so if you see him, tell him happy birthday!

 

Having people to do life with. Sam and I have the beginnings of a tradition for when life is not as sunny as we’d hope. I storm her apartment (perks of living close!), and we drink a glass of wine and watch an old chick-flick. Yesterday was one of those days. I’d like to think it’s a solid coping mechanism, but either way, it’s nice to have “go-to” people.

 

What are you thankful for this Monday?
Rachel

A transformed lens.

Snippets from my journal yesterday:

 

Lord, this true understanding of transformation is new to me. Of being in the world, but not of it. Of setting my mind on things above. Of continuing to study and earn a degree, work and become financially stable, to build friendships, all the while with only one thing mattering.  To truly know you and make you known. In the midst of career choices, bad grades, sickness, successes, and moving, marriages, debt, and a multitude of other decisions, still this one thing matters. To know you and make you known, today. 

It makes life so beautiful. Because you are found in all things. And our purpose is found in all things.  In transitions, and ordinary days, and struggles, you are to be known (and praised).  With the right lens, you cannot be missed.

Lord, i’m unbelievably horrible at daily walking in the gracious though that to joyfully know & make you known is my prize. Transform my lens. Help all of my “successes” and “failures” blend into a gray. And make vibrant in my eyes my life’s work: knowing and proclaiming the depths of your love. 

Great Expectations

Well, with a wee bit of a sniffy nose (i’m amazed i’ve lasted this long without any sickness) I think i’ll settle down and blog this evening. I have had a thought that has been on the backburner of my mind for a few weeks new, so i’m going to have a go at it and see if it ends up being anything worth reading.

At the beginning of November I  began the Live Dead Journal, a 30-day challenge to pray for unreached people and to investigate my soul’s willingness to follow Jesus. I’m presently halfway in, at day 15, and let me tell you, some days it has been quite the kick in the teeth.  Day 6 in particular has been pestering me, and is a topic that I am still processing. The topic of day six was our expectations in following Jesus.  Honestly, i’ve always been game for following Jesus. Being stretched, and learning more about him. Potentially travelling to new parts of the globe and experiencing new culture. Doing something that is culturally upstream and counterintuitive. It sounds like an adventure, so i’m in. My rosy, unrealistic optimism thinks that following Jesus will be the grandest, most rewarding, fulfilling experience. And actually, it may be.  But what if it’s not? What if it is hard? What if I never see the fruit? What if I am rejected? What if i’m alone? What if I never feel the sense of reward? Will I still go?

The author of day 6, a missionary in Sudan, notes where she landed after her missionary experience didn’t play out picture perfectly: “I’d forgotten that it was my part just to obey, that Jesus is just my reward–that he can do as he sees fit with me, my family, and the work in Sudan…only Jesus makes it worth it.”

“What do you expect dying to self will feel like? Will it be pleasant? Painless? Problem free? What do you expect it to feel like when you live dead? Do you expect people to understand, support you, praise you, clap for you? Do you expect the devil to cheer and every demon in hell to yield to your noble aspirations?  Do you expect to be welcomed or affirmed by your peers and understood by your parents? Do you expect people to get in line to support you financially? Do you expect that your plans will be changed, your timing delayed, and your will continually crossed? Do you expect to surrender once in an air conditioned church, kneeling on a carpeted altar with a handy box of Kleenex perkily waiting to be plucked…and then from that point on to sail without contrary winds into God’s sheltered will? Or do you expect God to wring the self out of you in a painful and lengthy process, using circumstance and shattered expectations–then surprise you with how good it feels to have His image stamped deeply onto yours.”

The journal ended by compelling the reader to write out our expectations of what following Jesus will be like. So now, tucked in my Bible is a reminder that reads:

  1. I expect it to be a lonely journey, with many people not understanding or supporting.
  2. I expect to go through long seasons where I can’t see God, and have to follow and trust him anyways.
  3. I expect God to ever be involved in my life.
  4. I expect to be transformed.
  5. I expect God to be glorified.

I’m just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of what following Jesus is like. It goes beyond kissing orphans, and the accolades of others. It pushes past nice thoughts, and meaningful sentiments. It doesn’t stop where the road is flat and the sun in shining.

It’s going to be hard. But Jesus is our reward.

Love,

Rachel

Creating Culture

Since school hasn’t been particularly pressing, I have had the luxury of reading for fun. I have started reading Andy Crouch’s book, “Culture Making.” I’ve wanted to read Culture Making for a while, and since I am currently living in a different culture, there is no time like the present! In his book, Crouch talks about the many ways that Christians can engage with their culture. The options that he discusses are critiquing, condemning, copying, consuming, and creating culture. Crouch contends that while there are many different responses to culture, the only way to truly change culture is to create it. It makes sense if you really think about it. I can talk about how much I hate raunchy movies, I can avoid watching them. I can critique their flaws, but unless a viable alternative is offered, that culture won’t change. (Unfortunately, there are no Rachel DeRoos films currently in the works 😉 ). This concept is true on the smaller scale as well. Rather than hiding from culture, and staying “holy” tucked away our homes, you and I have been blessed with the opportunity  to follow Jesus’ example, and engage in the culture God has placed us in.

The “Rachel DeRoos” culture is one that is weirdly obsessed with terrariums, easily geeks out about psychology, loves a good taco, and would be content to spend hours in a library. Unique, but nothing earthshaking. But there is another part of “Rachel DeRoos” culture: the part that finds her truth, worth, and rest in who Jesus is. The part that just wants to know Jesus. The part that tries to follow him regardless of the difficulties. The part  that won’t compromise, regardless of the setting. I genuinely hope that those aspects of my culture create culture.

I have been made much more aware of my culture since being here in England. I’m the only one in my flat who drinks coffee, or enjoys a good PB & J (so American!). But more deeply, I have chosen to spend my time, and live my life much differently than most college students. And that is just fine. We are called to live noticeably differently.

Andy Crouch puts it well when he says:

“God’s plan for history had never been to escape from history.”

But he wasn’t the first one to think of this:

“You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

-Matthew 5:14

Love,

Rachel

P.S. How are you creating culture today?

Brits Bible Study

So, I’ve joined Christian Union, which is a part of IFES (which InterVarsity is also a part of). It’s all connected, I promise. Anyways, I went to their first Bible study last night, and I just loved their very British comments on the Bible. Imagine all of these being said in a British accent:

“I’m really just rubbish at following Jesus well.”

“What Jesus did for us is just massive.”

“I mean that was loads of people.”

Charming. And good to study the Bible too.

Love,

Rachel

Prayer While Abroad

Hello Friends,

 

The two week count down starts today, and I’ve assembled a little list of things that i’d really appreciate if you prayed for me during my time abroad. It’ll be a big change, and i’d love to know that I am being covered in prayers.

  1. Safety. I’ll be doing alot of travelling by myself, both arriving to and around England. I’d really like to avoid  any scary situations.
  2. New Relationships. I don’t know anyone in Hertfordshire, and i’ll be staying in an eight person flat. I’m really looking forward to building new relationships, and I ask that you would pray for boldness for me, as I begin new friendships. Pray that God puts people in my path both who I can bless, and who can bless me. I really want to be Jesus to those around me.
  3. Mental Sanity :). From what i’ve heard, being abroad can sometimes be emotionally trying, so while a little homesickness won’t kill me, I’d like keep my wits about me.
  4. Growth in Jesus. I really want this experience to deepen my knowledge and love for God and his people. It’ll be very different not being in a Christian community, but good to live among people who will likely be very different from me. I think this temporary displacement will serve me well.

 

Thanks,

Love,

Rachel