En Vogue

If you could live during any other time period in history, when would it be?  Why?

Something about the whole Victorian Era is just intriguing to me.  Downton Abbey.  Jane Eyre.  Pride and Prejudice.  Basically any BBC period drama (I realize these are highly fantasized, and it was probably not all that magical of a period, but this is my imaginary story).  I love the propriety of it all–the customs, the courting, the simplicity.  They must have had a lot to talk about then.  Let’s face it, when rules are rigid, even the tiniest infraction turns into salacious gossip (“did you see Master So-and-So walking with Miss Such-and-Such?  Shameful!)  However, sit my husband down in front of a Downton episode, and he’s asleep in 2.4 minutes.  Don’t ask me how.

Think about how crazy our generation would look to Elizabeth Bennet.  The women are all wearing pants.  We are all walking around staring at little boxes that let us instantly talk and write to each other.  We drive everywhere, using our little boxes to tell us how to get where we’re going and what the traffic is like.  We put our food in boxes and press buttons and it comes out hot.  We put our dishes and clothes in boxes and they come out cleaned.

On the flip side, can you imagine living in a time when this was all the rage:1775_carlota_joquina_by_m-4

I’m a mom of two.  It’s a struggle to get me out of yoga pants at this point.  I can’t imagine putting on all of those……layers.  Plucking my hairline back ala Mona Lisa.  Cinching in my mommy waist with a corset.  What did they wear for maternity, I wonder?

Times change.  God does not.  “I the LORD do not change” (Mal 3:6).  The same God that breathed into Adam’s lifeless body ages ago gave my daughter her first breath six months ago.  The same God who split the Red Sea in two as the Israelites safely passed through knows what I ate for dinner last Tuesday.  The same God who called out Jeremiah as a prophet commanded you to go and make disciples (Matt 28:19-20).  How are you doing on that, by the way?  Of course, you knew we weren’t going to make it a day here without a healthy dose of conviction.  At some point, you’ve gotta eat your spinach.  I like spinach.  (Food again?)

“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.  Your ways, O God, are holy.  What god is so great as our God?  You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.  With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and of Joseph….The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.  The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.  Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.  Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.  You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”  Psalm 77:11-2

 Do you give God credit for the miracles in your life?  DO you praise Him for the seas He has parted for you to walk through when there was seemingly no other way?  Last night I sat watching as my mother-in-law celebrated another year of life.  At this time last year, she was too sick to open her birthday gifts.  God heard the prayers of His saints and granted her more time (Isaiah 38:5).  An absolute miracle that I credit only to the one who made her.  The medicines, the doctors, the hospitals….they were all from Him.  How gracious He has been to us.  

It’s easy to forget answered prayer.  Even the Israelites had to remind themselves of what God had done for them.  They forgot quickly and repeatedly.  God doesn’t necessarily scream from the heavenlies, “here you go!  Here is an answer for you!  I have done this!”  Often, it’s much more subtle than that.  Remembering His miracles, what He has done for us and for others, in modern history and in ancient history, is absolutely empowering and worship-inducing.  But we forget, and/or don’t give Him the credit at all, robbing God of the glory that’s due to Him.  Remember that His favor is unearned–that’s why it’s called grace.  “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them.  They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.  But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Therefore you did not desert them…” (Neh 9:17).  Glory.

It’s a good idea to write answered prayers down.  Jot them in a journal or in the margins of your Bible.  Start your quiet time praising Him for who He is and the miracles He’s done.  Keep reminding yourself of what He’s capable of and what He’s brought you out of and through.  It will pull you into the gospel-centered place you want to live–“under the spout where the glory comes out.”  Some people keep “gratitude journals” or recount things they’re thankful for, but those things are worthless and actually idolatrous without crediting the glory to whom glory is due.  “…They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised.  Amen” (Rom 1:25).

Take some time today to praise God for the miracles in your life.  For the answered prayers.  Thank Him for His grace toward you when you forget.  He’s so in love with you.

“Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting:  Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.  You alone are the LORD.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”  Neh 9:5-6

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