CarrieBeth Sherwood

Living in the Present

By CarrieBeth Sherwood

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There are lots of negative aspects of social media, I admit. But ever since Instagram became popular (2012, 2013?), I have found the online community of Christian women to be life-changing for me.

At any given time, you would find about 150 screenshots on my phone of inspiring posts that I don't want to forget. Now, of course, my main direction and instruction is found in the Bible; in studying God's precious word. But I feel like God has put social media in my life so that I can have access to wisdom from women who are going before me, and pointing me and others to Jesus.

There have been times in the past when I was drowning in babies, work, and responsibilities and I didn't have many opportunities to be with other women. I could have felt so alone in those times. However, social media allowed me to feel connected and spurred on, even in those seasons.

My most recent inspiration came from Jess Connolly; she lives in Charleston, South Carolina where she is a mom, author, artist, and pastor's wife. She recently posted:

"I almost made a huge mistake. I've had this idea that I'd pick a date on the calendar that would feel 'normal' and I'd count down to that's the truth for me and for you.

ABUNDANCE IS HERE. Joy is a promise from our Father in the busy, broken, beautiful, easy, boring, stressful-ALL THE DAYS. Abundance is here. This is it. This is life. Now is where I get to worship, to love, to rest, to talk to Him, to laugh, to trust, to smile. Abundance is here."

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This spoke to my soul because I feel like I LIVE in the in between. I have had three different jobs in the past five years and am even looking to transition to a new job in the near-ish future. I am 8 1/2 months pregnant and patiently waiting for our new baby to arrive. We have lived in 6 different houses in the last 6 or 7 years. There is always something I am looking towards where I can finally settle in and just BE. But this post inspired me to do what Jess says and worship now. Right here. Love now. Be with Jesus.

The Bible says that the enemy's plan is to "steal and kill and destroy" but Jesus came so that we may "have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10) It would thrill Satan for us to put our worship on hold until we "arrive."

But there is no ARRIVING until we get to heaven. Until then, my lifelong goal is going to be to live in the middle, worshiping and serving and being until I see Him face to face.

God's Compassion Towards His Children

By CarrieBeth Sherwood

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A few weeks ago I was lying between both of my boys; my husband was out of town so they seized the opportunity for a sleepover. I have two, one 6 and one 7. They are total opposites in every way. While both are incredibly sweet, one tends to have more trouble obeying and doing the right thing (with a happy heart).

While I was between them--one curling up and falling straight to sleep and the other one pretty much happily jumping on the bed, not doing what he was supposed to do--I had a thought. Technically, the one who obeys most of the time should be my favorite. Now, I know parents don’t choose favorites, but some demeanors and attitudes are just easier to work with. Anyway, it would seem that a child who was obeying and trying to please should be the most appreciated, but what I noted at that moment was that, although it is nice to have a child who obeys, I also feel so much compassion and love toward the one who struggles to obey. It sometimes breaks my heart, but in the sweetest way, prompting me to pray for him often and seek out wisdom on the best way to parent him. One of the children is easy, but one of them causes me to seek after God in an even more real and desperate way.

One of my favorite parenting books ever is “Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. She says,

We think that compliant children will teach us about his grace and the gospel, and they can. Compliant, believing children are frequently reflections of his great kindness. But The Lord also teaches us of his grace and the gospel through difficult children. We learn what it is like to love like he loved. We learn to walk in his footsteps, and it is there, in our personal 'upper room', where we learn how to wash the feet of those who are betraying us. It is there, kneeling before our rebellious children, that the real power of God is demonstrated.”

Parenting a difficult child is a perfect reflection of how God feels about parenting us, his adult children who are often just as difficult, if not more, as a rebellious child. Psalms 86:15 says,

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.

We can take away two things from this verse and this lesson that the Lord revealed to me.

  1. God’s unconditional love and compassion for us does not depend on if we act perfectly or not. He loves us and wants to be with us even, and especially when, we are struggling to obey or live the life He has called us to live.

  2. It is also a great reminder that when our children aren’t being perfect (isn’t that daily???), that God loves us in our imperfections so we can let that love flow through us to our children.