A Few of My Favorite Things {October 2015}

by Elizabeth

Ladies’ Bible Class at my mom’s church. I don’t often get a chance to have deep discussions about Scripture with other ladies in real life, and this class has immeasurably blessed me (even though our travel schedule doesn’t allow me to attend all the sessions). We’re going through the Gospels chronologically, and I’ve been reading them through the Biblical Imagination lens that I talked about last month. I’m seeing all sorts of new things in the Gospel accounts, and it’s been fascinating, thrilling, and convicting. On a tangent, tell me your favorite Gospel and why in the comments! Mine has generally been John and not Mark, but I’m seeing each book in a new light now and appreciating each book for what it offers.

Going on regular walks with my husband. We used to walk together all the time, both before and after kids (during the stroller stage at least). But now, being in Phnom Penh, there aren’t a lot of great places to walk. So being able to walk in both my mom’s neighborhood and on some beautiful walking paths has been so enjoyable.

The joy of finding that old friends are still the same. It’s amazing to me that after four years, the people we were close to before moving overseas, we still feel close to. We can slide right back into relationship. We may need to update each other on our lives somewhat, but it’s comforting to know that the years and years we poured into relationships this side of the Pacific weren’t wasted. We’re different; we’ve changed. So have our friends. But I’m realizing that with Christ, our love doesn’t have to change.

The chance to witness Jonathan’s pastoral counseling. I’m not usually in the counseling room with him, but I had the opportunity this month to watch him in action. I was amazed. I had no idea he was so good at what he does. He listens carefully, sees straight into the heart of a person, and has such wisdom in knowing how to help them meet Jesus. All I can say is, um, wow!



Cloudy with a Chance of Faith by Katrina Ryder. I shared some of Katrina’s work last month. She is someone who definitely needs be on your radar. It’s hard to find someone who is both dedicated to Scripture and brutally honest about real life and raw emotions. Katrina is just such a person, and I so appreciate her writing. Incidentally, because of her discussion of God’s glory being in the cloud, when I got to the Transfiguration with my Ladies’ Bible class, I read the phrase “a bright cloud overshadowed them” with new eyes.

‘What’s wrong with a hug?’ on Christianity Today. So many things to love about this extremely important anonymously-written article. As someone who was abused in this way, I’m so glad someone is bringing attention to it. As someone who “paid the relational price” for trying to deal with abuse in a church setting, I’m glad someone is talking about this. And as someone who is trying to protect her children from abuse in another culture, even when it offends an adult, I’m thankful someone wrote this article.

It Would Be So Easy to Use Money to Solve This Problem. But We Won’t. Here’s Why. by Andy Gray of Alongsiders. I personally know Andy, along with Craig Greenfield, the founder of Alongsiders, and I really respect how they approach money in their ministry. Jonathan and I have first hand experience of “when helping hurts” from back here in the States before we moved overseas. To explore issues of ministry among the poor more deeply, I also highly recommend Craig’s personal blog.

Free Wine by Robynn Bliss. More grace, pure grace (from a blogger/writer I get to meet soon!!!).

Why Connection Matters (More Than Connection Groups) by Amy Young.  “Disconnection was never meant to be our story so God started rewriting it immediately.” I really appreciate how Amy expands the possible areas of disconnection in our lives to include disconnection from God, ourselves, nature, and others. As an aside, I love Amy’s focus on Eden in her writing in general.

When Someone You Love Dies and You are Far, Far Away by Rachel Pieh Jones. “She will be buried well, surrounded by loving family and I won’t be there. . .I am not with those who are mourning. I’m not with those who gather around food and photos and memories. I’m the hole, the absence, the space. I’m not with ‘my people’ to close the door on that life and to look into the faces that have her nose and his chin and to say, ‘I love you. I’m glad you are in my family. I see her living in you. I treasure the legacy I see in your children.’” It continues to amaze me that different people can experience grief from afar so similarly.

Giving Grace to People in Crisis — the Sequel to Stupid Phrases for Stupid People by Marilyn Gardner. Actual, wonderful things to say to people in crisis.

A Final Note for Those in Crisis by Marilyn Gardner. Because it’s ok to offer grace to people who don’t or can’t offer it to us. Which to me, is some of the best news of all.

When God Doesn’t Heal by Tanya Marlow. I think we all need this message sometimes; we all have things in our lives that God just doesn’t seem to heal. We all walk with a limp of some sort. Tanya is deep and you need to be reading her; here’s another good one from her this month.

Here’s Why We Need the “Mentally Different” by Glennon Melton. I love this take on mental illness, and I think it’s true — when we see the world as it really is, it’s so overwhelming that it’s hard to cope. And when we’re fine with the world as is, maybe we’re just not paying very close attention.

When Loneliness Threatens to Swallow You Whole by Elizabeth Esther. “What if my loneliness is homesickness for God? What if loneliness is homesickness for home I’ve rarely known, a home more Person than place?” Breathtakingly beautiful and true.



The orbits of the planets and their moons in correct time ratio (NOT size or distance). Goes through one full earth year. SO COOL.

Forgiveness by Kay Bruner. “Forgiveness says, ‘I want to be free.’ Forgiveness is my job. Healing is God’s job.” I found unforgiveness lurking in my heart this month. As I read through the Gospels with my Ladies’ Bible Study, I kept encountering the words of Jesus to forgive. I had this creeping feeling I was harboring unforgiveness (again, bummer), but I didn’t know what to do with it. I underlined Jesus’ words, I wrote them in my journal, but I knew I still hadn’t forgiven. I watched Kay’s video, I read Anita Mathias’s post on forgiveness. (Anita is another deep thinker and writer from whom I always learn something; you really need to go check her out, too.) Then suddenly one morning I was ready to forgive, to lay it all down again, to release people from their debt to me. It wasn’t a big emotional experience like it sometimes is. It was just a deep sense of peace and a firm conviction of what I needed to do. And so I did it. I felt such a burden lift off me. (By the way, Kay will soon be publishing an e-book on “forgiveness in the real world.” I got to help edit it, and so I can tell you ahead of time how very good and fresh it is.)



Adopted by Jeff Bourque. We sang this song in college, and I haven’t thought of it or sung it in years. But it came to me out of the blue this month, and at a time when I really needed its message. A time when I needed to preach the gospel to myself. The song is based out of Galatians 4:3-7, and to listen to it, scroll down the screen in the link several times until you get to “Adopted.”

Hallelujah, God has spoken and I know this changes everything.
Hallelujah, praise Him only sing the slaves adopted by the King.

Glory be to my Father who reigns.
For I met Him and I cannot be the same.
When in bondage to Jesus I came.
He took my place and He changed my name.

I Feel His Love by Laura Hackett Park. Love this song. Again, it came to mind at a time when I really needed it, especially that last chorus. As Laura sings elsewhere, sometimes you “gotta sing your way into the Truth.” Plus I love the story of how she wrote this song.

My faith, it lifts the weight of pain from lonely and mistaken days
Of hiding behind deep dark lies of worthlessness and selfish pride

My faith is my belief in truth that God above loves me and you
And He gave us freedom, He gave us life To walk in love through Jesus Christ

I am confident that neither life nor death can keep me from the love of Christ
Keep me from the love of Christ
And though I cannot see, still my heart believes
And I am filled with joy inexpressible

I feel His love dwelling up on the inside of me
All those years bound in shame, He is setting me free
His love goes deeper than the pain that I feel
His love is stronger than depression and fear

Great Are You Lord by Steve and Vicki Cook. My youth group used to sing this in high school, and I haven’t sung it in ages. But we sang it at church one Sunday morning this month, and I remembered why I loved it so much.

Holy Lord, most holy Lord, You alone are worthy of my praise.
O holy Lord, most holy Lord, with all of my heart I sing.

Great are You, Lord, worthy of praise.
Holy and true, great are You, Lord, most holy Lord.

Oh How I Need You by All Sons and Daughters. Love their message, love their earthy sound.

Lord I find You in the seeking, Lord I find You in the doubt
And to know You is to love You and to know so little else

Great Are You Lord by All Sons and Daughters.

You give life, You are love, You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken

Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise we pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise to You only

All the earth will shout Your praise, our hearts will cry
These bones will sing great are You, Lord

Tree by Justin Rizzo. Another oldie-but-goodie that came to me this month.

Unmovable, unshakable, let my roots go down deep
Unmovable, unshakable in You

I want to be like a tree planted by the streams of living water

This will be my song God, this will be my prayer
Until the end, until the end

I Need You Now by Matt Redman.

On this thirsty desert ground, in a dry and barren land,
I bow down, I need You now

You will call and I will come, to Your river I will run
I bow down, I need You now

Oh, living water. Oh, God, my Savior,
If I ever needed You, I need You now
Oh, living water, Oh, God, my Healer,
If I ever needed You, I need You now

Eden by Phil Wickham. Phil Wickham’s music has an ethereal, almost other-worldly sound to it. Several years ago his music was my entry point into the more emotional, Spirit-filled music of the International House of Prayer (and others). At one point this month, after not having listened to Phil Wickham for quite some time, I had a sudden need to listen to this song. It expresses my longings so well. (You’re Beautiful is another good one of his.)

When the first light brightened the dark
Before the breaking of the human heart
There was You and there was me

Innocence was all I knew
‘Cause all I had to know was You
We were running underneath the trees

I want to see You face to face
Where being in Your arms is the permanent state
I want it like it was back then
I want to be in Eden

I remember how You called my name
And I would meet You at the garden gate
How the glory of Your love would shine

And I remember when the stars were young
You breathed life into my lungs
Oh I never felt so alive

I want to see You face to face
Where being in Your arms is the permanent state
I want it like it was back then
I want to be in Eden

To be naked and unashamed
In a sweet downpour of innocent rain
I want it like it was back then
I want to be in Eden

Where my eyes can see the colors of glory
My hands can reach the heaven before me
Oh my God I want to be there with You

Where our hearts will beat with joy together
And love will reign forever and ever
Oh my God I want to be there with You

2 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite Things {October 2015}

  1. Thanks so much for the shout-out! Your words made me happy 🙂

    I really enjoyed reading this whole round-up – there were so many posts that you made me want to go and check out. I’m really liking this space you have here. Thanks for including me in it.

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