perfect weakness

He could have done anything. He was made new after all. Resurrected—a new body, a plan fulfilled, finished. Everything that needed to be done was completed. Redemption realized. Death defeated. Forgiveness extended. Grace fully poured out.

Yet, at the conclusion of His glorious act of love, He makes a radical choice in His perfect resurrection—He retains His scars.

His hands, His side, marked by pain; they remain marred, unchanged.

This goes against my plumb line perception of perfection, does it yours?

Why does our perfect savior retain His scars? While I can’t know His reasons, I can look to His example.

POWERFUL TOOLS

Instead of covering His scars, He used them to uncover the doubt of who He was. Rather than showing weakness, they displayed His power over sin and death and became a powerful tool in His ministry. Where He could have sought physical flawlessness, He focused on relational restoration.

perfect weakness

What does His example mean for our painful past? Could our deepest wounds accomplish this? Is it possible for our scars to be a tool that uncovers doubt about who Christ is? If so, are we willing to use our weaknesses for Christ’s glory? Are we willing to trust that in our weakness, Christ becomes our strength? If His stripes healed us, if He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3), will we embrace that healing? Instead of trying to cover the scars, do we dare to put them on display?

 

Satan whispers,

Hide.

Cover.

Cower.

Deflect.

Deny.

Retreat.

Recoil.

 

Scripture claims,

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 5:15, 16)

Confidence.

Grace.

Mercy.

Help.

Let us be a people who embrace our Savior’s example. In displaying our scars may we find these words, first given to Paul, ringing true for us, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

What scars do you bare? Are you hiding them or using them?

Audible vs. Scribd: why I’m dumping one for the other

Yes, you read that title correctly. Book lovers rejoice, if you love ebooks and audiobooks, the tapestry of your literary world is about to become richer (and cheaper)! I recently stumbled upon a goldmine of a resource: Scribd. In fact, I was so excited that I stayed up until 1:00 AM perusing this online treasure trove. The following night I crawled into bed at a more reasonable hour only to enter a dream in which I was telling a room of strangers about my new digital discovery and why they would love it too! I woke up realizing that I need to share my excitement with you. Perhaps in the process, I can clear my mental cache and move forward into other important areas of life. So without further ado let me introduce you to my latest online crush, Scribd, and explain why it is going to replace my audible account.

WHAT IS SCRIBD?

Think of it as a Netflix for books. Scribd offers thousands of ebooks and audiobooks at your disposal with no limits for just $8 a month. Let that last part sink in a bit. No limits. $8 a month.

That no limits part is brand new so if you’ve been tempted in the past by Scribd’s “3 ebooks and 1 audiobook” per month option—those days are gone and the Scribd future looks unlimitedly awesome.

Audible vs. Scribd

HOW DOES SCRIBD COMPARE WITH AUDIBLE?

MY AUDIBLE BACKSTORY:

I’ve been an audible member since February 2015. In those three years, I’ve built up a pretty impressive library of 165 books! I found ways to get the most out of my audible subscription by starting out with a “Discount Gold” Monthly subscription (which you have to specifically ask for as it is not advertised) paying $7.49/month for the first 3 book credits. Then, I’ve transitioned to the (also unadvertised) “Silver Plan” paying $14.95/month for one book credit every other month.

Finally, when I’d bought all the books we could hope to listen to, I downgraded to an Audible “ListenerLight” membership for $9.95/year allowing me to continue purchasing books at their member discount price if desired but halting the book credits. Meanwhile, I watched the daily deals and occasional sales, snatching up good books in the $3-$4 price range and I paired free kindle books with the discounted whispersync audiobook option on several occasions. (Click over to this post for more details on all of these options).

Audible vs. Scribd

However, as you can imagine, even calculating the most conservative numbers possible (if I’m purchasing most of my audiobooks at a sale price of $3-$4), I’ve spent at least $500 for my audible listening library! At $8 a month, it would take me a little over 5 years to equal that price with a Scribd subscription. Continue reading “Audible vs. Scribd: why I’m dumping one for the other”

shocking surprise | Death Valley National Park

Seeking to return to our Idaho roots where we can reconnect with treasured friends and settle into a brief stationary rhythm, we begin a northerly ascent. Leaving the palm tree warmth of Southern California, we are now in search of snowy evergreens. Along our route, Death Valley National Park places an unexpected pull on my curiosity cord and we pause our progress to take a peek.

Death Valley shocking surprise

LOW ELEVATION AND EXPECTATIONS

I know nothing more than the fact that Death Valley is the reigning champion of high heat (134 degrees) and low elevation (282′ below sea level) as we descend into her depths. To be honest, my expectations are also low. I anticipate a dry, desolate, wasteland. Right out of the gate, she shocks us in a way we could never have expected.

Death Valley shocking surprise

EXCITED EXPECTATION

Enough margin is built into our afternoon that when Trent asks if we should stop at the Father Crowley Vista overlook, I affirm the idea and look forward to my first view of the valley. Pulling to a stop, we hop out of the truck. The air at this upper elevation of 4,000 feet is chilly but we don’t expect to linger long. Making our way to the edge of the overlook, the wind whips at my hair as I lean over the railing and capture my first glimpse of Death Valley. Continue reading “shocking surprise | Death Valley National Park”

the sea of sanctification | Ventura, CA

Perched atop a wall of immovable rock, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I watch as my kids create an imaginary world.

sea of sanctification

Each child sets up shop in a different location, collecting treasures: sea glass, red wood, seaweed, and driftwood.

Their shell currency allows them to conduct commerce amongst themselves while they build and expand their rocky residences.

BEACHSIDE TREASURE

I’m invited to peruse and shop at my leisure. Soon, I’ve discovered a brilliant excuse to invest in the purchase of driftwood: new curtain rods. Over the course of the afternoon, my living room becomes more personalized as the factory rods are replaced with decorative driftwood.

Later, as I walk through the campground I notice that I am not alone in my driftwood acquisition. Nearly every RV I pass has a stash laying about. In a lifestyle that fosters minimalism, the popularity of this beachside treasure does not escape my notice.

PAINFUL PROCESS

What could be easily overlooked, however, is the inherent pain represented in each piece of wood. Devastating wildfires, followed by substantial rains resulting in fatal mudslides have recently swept through this coastal area. An influx of driftwood debris has ensued.

Birthed from deep devastation and death, a treasure trove has washed ashore. Continue reading “the sea of sanctification | Ventura, CA”

my caring coddiwomple community | Fulltime Family Rally

We’ve often said that this full-time traveling lifestyle has thrust us into a season of “feast or famine” when it comes to community. While we are in close proximity to other traveling families, fireside chats, meals and general life together often abounds quite effortlessly. Conversely, the opposite is also true. When we are alone, especially for long stretches of time, a feeling of isolation is not uncommon.

Fulltime Family Rally
A time of feasting: Instant Pot Potluck: Photo Credit: Staffan Lindström

A TIME OF FAMINE

Our first few months on the road felt very isolated. We knew there was a community out there, it was just a matter of finding them. Six months into our travels I wrote a post where I listed the highs and lows of our nomadic lifestyle. In it, I noted our lack of outside relationships as one of our lows. Three months later I wrote a post titled “Is it possible to have community on the road?” Below is an excerpt from this post.

Without a doubt, there are relationships to be had if you are willing to pursue them.  Herein lies the rub. At times there is a choice between the pursuit of the location or the people…

Should our travels continue beyond this first year, I anticipate that the pull between places and people would begin to yield much more heavily toward people. As a result, I expect that we would begin to pursue places which are in close proximity to the people we wish to see rather than the reverse.

In three short months, our entire outlook had improved in this area. One key factor to finding our tribe was attending a Fulltime Family Rally.  Rallies are in place to help families connect and create opportunities for relationships to develop that can continue down the road (both literally and figuratively). Some have even likened it to “speed dating for families”.

Fulltime Family Rally
Before and after: rallies helped my daughter make new friend connections

OUR FIRST FULLTIME FAMILY RALLY

We attended our first rally in Tallahassee, Florida last February. We came to it new to fulltime travel and very parched of community. The Florida Rally was huge, with over 80 families present. Seeing so many families all in one space really allowed us to get a better grasp of the size of the community we were joining. As we started to learn the number of years that these families had been on the road (some as many as 7+) and see the number of kids (and pets) they were traveling with, we began to see that this lifestyle could be sustainable. Continue reading “my caring coddiwomple community | Fulltime Family Rally”