The tour.

Pictures pictures pictures!! Let me show you our house!

This is the front on a snowy South Dakota day:

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This is just inside the front door looking to the right into the living room and dining room:

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Our beautiful plum accent wall in the living room:

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And finally the corner and window of the living room:

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Looking from the dining room into the kitchen:

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And another view of the kitchen from the other direction (looking toward the dining/living room area):

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Looking from the kitchen into the great room:

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And from the great room back toward the front door – you can get a sense of how open the upstairs is!

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The door in the middle of the picture above is just a coat closet. I’ll spare you. But to the right just around that corner is this little half bath:

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The view from the upper deck out back:

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And this is straight down from the deck. It’s hard to tell now because of the snow, but there’s a pre-built fenced-in garden area!

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Now on to the downstairs. This is just to the left of the front door when you walk in. And yes, we’re drying some of our rugs on the railing…

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The master bedroom:

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And the master bedroom accent wall:

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The master bathroom:. You can see the walk-in closet in the mirror. Just opposite the mirror, but gracefully not shown, is a little toilet/shower room.

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Now back out into the hallway. The storage room and laundry are just to the right of the bottom of the stairs, or just outside the master bedroom doorway.

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Ok, now down the hallway:

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This is the first bedroom, which we are clearly using as an office right now. You’ll notice some white on the wall… we had some refinishing done in the house when we fixed the plumbing and we just haven’t painted this or the other bedroom yet. We’ll figure out what we want in these rooms eventually….

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The two bedrooms have another full bathroom in between them. Again, I’ll let you imagine the small toilet/shower room past that dark doorway.

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And the second bedroom/guest room. Again, ignore the white unpainted splotches of finish work… we’ll get to it. I promise. As well as putting an actual mattress on the bed….

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Finally, I’ll let you see the back of the house too!

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Thanks for humoring me!!

What is the gospel?

Do you know? I find it helpful to remind myself often – daily if possible. Believe me, I need to hear this often. I need to remind myself that this applies very personally to me, not just to everyone else out there.

God created everything we know – spoke it into existence with the power of only His voice. Galaxies, oceans, flowers, birds, clouds, stars, giraffes. And in the midst of this beautiful, God-glorifying, mind-boggling creation, He stooped into the dust, shaped man and woman, and breathed life into them with His own breath.

And we rebelled. We used God’s own breath to curse Him. And I mean we. I am not sharing this from a place of self-righteousness. I’m just as guilty.

Sin entered the world and the curse tainted everything: the world groans under its wait and humanity spiraled out of control. Sin affects all of us. But what is sin? Is it merely breaking the rules?

Sin is so much deeper – it is a condition that affects the depths of the human heart. We are not sinful people because we sin – that is like saying you have a cold because you cough. Sins are just a symptom of a deeper problem. We sin because we are sinful – we cough because we have a cold.

To be blunt – sin is death. It is not merely a “problem” for which we need self help. It is death that blinds us to God and his goodness, that bitters our taste for the sweeter things of heaven and teaches us to desire the muck of darkness. The Apostle Paul calls this the flesh or the sin nature. It is who we are in our rebellion – ungrateful, God-hating, self-indulging. We ought to give God His breath back.

Some people grasp this very well. I’ve heard people say before they were “too sinful” for God ever to forgive.

However, most people, I find, when asked why God would hypothetically let them into heaven, answer that they’ve been pretty good.

What does it mean to be good? Just what does God require?

In short, God requires complete, total, flawless perfection. Not a single sin once ever. Not a single inclination to indulge temptation. Not a single seemingly good action done for selfish reasons. He requires spotless, holy purity. Not goodness compared to other people around us. Goodness compared to Him.

No one, not a single person, can measure up to this.

So now what? Many people shirk at the idea of a wrathful and just God, preferring to focus instead on His love and good intentions toward us. The reality, though, is that His love and goodness demand His justice. He would not be a good or loving God if He turned a blind eye to the murderer who took a life, the rapist who destroyed a young woman, the anger and insensitivity and selfishness of someone (everyone) who has wronged another. We even desire His justice – mostly when we ourselves have been wronged in some way.

And God’s grace and mercy and love and goodness and beauty would be in no way ever compromised if He condemned every single person who ever sinned against Him – that is, every single person who ever lived – to an eternity in hell, the just punishment for our rebellion.

But.

Instead, to display His glorious grace and immense mercy, He Himself came to earth as Jesus Christ. Jesus lived, fully God and fully human. He experienced every temptation common to man and never once sinned. He did live life as a perfect, spotless, holy, pure, sinless human.

And then, God poured out all of His wrath for us on Jesus Christ as He hung on the cross.

Let me say that again, because it is so important and so incomprehensible. God, being a just God who, in His goodness, had to fully and completely punish every sin and rebellion ever committed against Him, chose to pour the full measure of his wrath and anger and punishment out on Jesus, who deserved absolutely none of it.

And then He chose to give the full blessing and favor that Jesus deserved for His perfect life to those who trust in Him.

Why did Jesus come and die? He came to live the perfect life that you and I never could hope to live. He came to take the full measure of God’s punishment for the sin-infected lives you and I do live so that there would be no punishment left. And He came to give the full measure of God’s blessing and favor which He deserved to those for whom He died.

As John MacArthur once said, “God treated Jesus on the cross as if He had lived your life, so that He could treat you as if you had lived Jesus’ life.”

Too sinful for God to forgive? Christ knows the full measure of the depths of your sin – He took the full punishment.

Good enough to make it on your own? You mock the life and death of Christ and fail to grasp His grace.

Repent of the rebellion and place your trust and hope in the work of Christ and the grace of the Father.

Questions or thoughts? Please comment or send me a message. If you’ve never put your faith in Christ and want to know how, I encourage you to find a community of believers. Find a good church (one that is passionate about the Word of God – a good basic measure of that is how much Scripture is used in the services) and speak to the pastor or elders. It is important to find solid Scriptural teaching and loving community as you learn and grow.

Finally, I will leave you with a video my husband and I love. We have been trying to incorporate reminding ourselves of the gospel into our daily lives, and many times simply re-watching this video has been helpful.

The road goes ever on…

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
~JRR Tolkein

It is hard to believe that after all this time we are finally on the threshold of our next journey. The house is (mostly) packed up and ready. Tonight is the last night we spend here in our own bed. We pick up the trailer tomorrow afternoon, and then Tuesday we wave goodbye as we depart our first home together and set our sights on our next.

Such a significant transition is pregnant with mixed emotions. (No, that’s not a hint. I’m not pregnant. Everyone calm down.) I am thrilled and excited and hopeful and determined and optimistic and content about where we are going. I know this is what God is calling us to, where we are meant to be. I am sad and grieving and remembering and regretting leaving such a wonderful home here and such incredible blessings of friendships and family.

I was unexpectedly confronted today with just how much our lives here have meant. I honestly did not realize what kind of impact we’ve had here until people started telling us this morning. It is humbling. I wish I had been more aware of it all during my time here. I trust God is working in spite of my near-sightedness.

I am VERY aware of the impact the people here have had on us. I am just so incredibly humbled every time I think about who God has placed in our lives – both the friends we have had over the past few years here and also those whom God has so graciously allowed us to know for even just the past few months here. (Oh how I wish we had more time!) It is so so hard saying goodbye to such a loving, giving, sharing, fun, God-honoring community of people. They will be so incredibly missed.

This has always been my home. Even the years the military took my family away from here while I was growing up, we were always “from Colorado.” For the first time in my life, that will be changing. I realized a few days ago that there will come a time (at age 52 precisely) where I will have been “from” South Dakota longer than I have been “from” Colorado – provided God allows me to live that long. It is a strange thought to me, a new way of thinking about myself.

I will miss my family here – being close to my parents, seeing my sister on her school breaks. (I’m telling you guys. You need to move to South Dakota. Job shmob.)

And speaking of jobs – leaving a job that I have truly enjoyed and a team of coworkers I have grown fond of seeing day in and day out.

Yet I step over the threshold and move on to far-ahead things, looking forward to the Road that goes ever on.

A new mission in life – encompassing a career, a passion, an opportunity of its own.
A new community of God-lovers, truth-seekers, fellowship-makers.
A new calling requiring believing, trusting, going, doing.

But the same, steady, constant, faithful God who is in all, above all, and through all.

Grief mingled with joy. Heading forward even as we look back.