Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.

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On today’s episode of Heart Lessons (Episode 30 … what?!) my special guest is Emily Chapman Richards, oldest daughter of singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman and bestselling author Mary Beth Chapman. We chat about what it was like growing up in her home with her father being who he was, the origins of her passion for adoption and orphan care. Emily also shares what it was like to lose her youngest sister just months before she got marries. We talk about her time living in Ireland and how that impacted her in a big way for pursuing a more dialed down pace of life and embracing time for rest and relationships even in the middle of a busy day. Emily’s heart lesson is just so perfect, she shares a verse that reflects how, when our anchor is firm and secure in the deep calm of Jesus, it doesn’t really matter what the storm is like on the surface. I love that insight and I know you are going to love hearing from Emily.

Heart Lesson: Drop the anchor of your soul into calm waters despite the storm on the surface. (from Isaiah 30:15)

Connect with Emily: blog // facebook

We Mention:

Compassion International

Show Hope

Choosing to See

Steven Curtis Chapman

Queen’s University Belfast

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I almost never get political. Even just anticipating the potential of an argument gives me hives. I dread confrontation like most people dread the stomach flu. And since opening up to political conversation likely introduces one, if not both, of those things I typically avoid it as much as possible.

I also subscribe to the philosophy, “Don’t show your ignorance.” I feel very strongly about not opening my mouth to argue for or against something that I am not 100% certain about. I prefer to quietly collect data from trusted sources and opinions from those I respect and then ponder what is the best choice for me and don’t really talk about it after that. I know it might not be the way you handle subjects like politics, but I trust that you can at least respect that it is my way.

But I don’t want to be absolutely silent about the political climate out there and the upcoming presidential election. But I do want to speak from a place that I know and wrestle with on a day to day basis.

I’m talking about the effects of this election on the future of my children.

Just like many of you, I’m sure, I have thoughts and worries about the America my kids will grow up in. I wonder what it will mean for them to be a Christian in a society that no longer places value on the things we will raise them to value. I wonder what will happen under leaders who, at the very least, model poor character choices themselves. I worry about the stability of the country and the toxic environment in which my kids will have to grow up. The impending election just casts a giant spotlight directly onto these concerns.

But when I get really overwhelmed by my anxious thoughts I stop and think, Surely I’m not the first Christian mother in the history of the world to have ever had these thoughts? I think about how absolutely anxiety-ridden a mother’s thoughts might have been during the Cold War as she wrestled with the real possibility of a nuclear attack on her young family. I think about what it was like for enslaved mothers whose reality was a hostile, abusive, and oppressive environment for herself and her sweet babies and she had to continue to trust the Lord through it all. And I think about the mamas of the early church age whose political leaders would actually search these women out and drag them and their families to the coliseums where they would be torn apart by lions and other ferocious beasts just for sport and simply because they claimed Christ. I don’t think I am alone in these thoughts. I certainly come from a long line of devoted Christian women who couldn’t help but think, God, what are you doing here and how will my precious children be affected? 

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There was another population of mothers, this time in the Old Testament, who surely felt this heaviness as well. The Israelite mothers in Jeremiah’s day, the ones who were told that they would experience seventy years of captivity in the land of Babylon. And let’s suffice it to say that Ancient Babylon was about as pagan, as heathen, and as far from pleasing in the Lord’s eyes as a nation could possibly get. There were certainly a great many fears an Israelite mother had to wrestle with and things they had to protect their children from on a daily basis.

But do you know what the Lord told His people in the midst of this captivity? What He expected them to do as they lived among a cruel people whom they likely feared on a great many levels?

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.

Jeremiah 29:5-7

The Lord commanded His people to not only live, but thrive and build lives there in the land of their captivity. Did He know how uncomfortable and hard it would be for them to live among a people whose lives were in such vast opposition to what the Holy God of Israel expected from His people? Of course He did. But that didn’t change what He wanted them to do while they were there.

Build houses, build lives, pray for the peace of the city … and a few verses down, the part we likely all know very well:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

I don’t know what the future holds for our country. But I do know that we are not the first generation to ever feel confused about the leadership the Lord allowed to be placed in authority. And I know what the Father’s expectations are for His children even when we feel confused and outnumbered and attacked on all sides.

So no matter what the outcome of this election or the dozen more I will see after that in my lifetime, I will do what I can. I will do what I can to raise my children to be kind, compassionate, and dedicated to the Christian way. I will raise them to love good and hate evil and always reach out to those in need. I will raise them to look out for each other and show them how families stick together. I will try my best to grow them in an environment that would be pleasing to the Lord, no matter what it might look like outside our front door. And I will trust that this is God’s plan – His good plan – for us, for our country, and for the world.

Risen Motherhood also touched on this subject … take a listen here

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  • Kathy Bowling - A very good focus,God will still be sovereign no matter who is president.Just have to hold onto thAt as hard as we can.ReplyCancel

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My precious girl,

As I write this you are fast asleep in your crib, covered with a soft pink blanket, your Frozen soundtrack playing quietly in the background. But as you read this you will find yourself in my shoes – a midday break from whatever you call your work, sneaking in a few moments for rest and reflection.

I want to write this to you now – right now – as I’m in the midst of the same phase you’re in so that none of how I feel right now is lost over the years. I want you to hear me as a mom to a daughter writing from the place you now stand in. Hear me loud and clear, sweet one, because I bet we feel so similarly right now.

(Continue reading on the JellyTelly Blog >>>>> )

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Click here to listen to Amy on Heart Lessons, Episode 2

We Mention:

Giant Slow Cooker

Uninvited, by Lysa Terkeurst

Present Over Perfect

Postpartum Doula

Caramel and Cheese popcorn

Flushed Away

Nacho Libre

Princess Bride

Costco

Adrianna Papell

Salon OH

Holy Wedding Day

Everyday Heart Lesson: There is enough of God’s creativity in the world for all of us and enough of God for everyone.

I hope you enjoyed this episode! If you love the Heart Lessons podcast and the accompanying Lighthearted segments, don’t forget to rate/review on itunes … it’s super helpful for the show 🙂

Check back in with me on instagram later this week and I’ll be asking you one of these questions!

Thanks guys … have a great week.

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Recently I shared a prayer request with a woman well past my current stage of life. I told her I felt very tired these days and when I was tired I struggled to be patient with and speak kindly and gently to my children. As I shared my mind went back to a time earlier that week when I lost my cool and yelled at my sweet kindergartner and watched the tears well up in his blue eyes. True his actions needed correction, but certainly not that way. Bleh.

Anyway, I told her my request and she prayed scripture over me. I assumed she would choose to pray a verse that included the words “patience” or “self-control” because those were my very obvious points of depravity. But instead she chose this verse:

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And she prayed that as I care for my children each day that I would be keenly aware that the Father is watching me, singing over me, and rejoicing. He is resting in His love for me as He watches me with a kind smile and an overflowing heart. And she prayed that I would know this in those hard moments and that they would move me to act as someone who is loved and cherished instead of someone who is discouraged and feels alone.

I can honestly say I have thought about this prayer every day since she prayed it over me.

I had never thought of that verse as one that can be used for a normal hour on a normal day. I thought of that verse as one where God comforts after we’ve done wrong or as we are walking through something hard. I thought of it as the Lord sitting and rejoicing with me after I’ve labored tirelessly at a ministry thing. Almost like a verse of debriefing, “The Lord will rejoice over you and sing with you and rest in His love for you when your relationship is in need of reconciliation.” That’s what I always thought of that verse.

But to meditate on that verse and see that the Lord rejoices over me and is in a general state of happiness and contentment just watching me live my life – it has truly been life-changing.

I know what that is, too. The other day my husband asked me to name one of my most favorite simple pleasures. Almost without hesitation I told him that I find such simple joy and pleasure in those times when I can sit and watch my kids play. I love just watching them and it brings the most contended peace to my heart and soul and I can feel myself smiling from the inside out. There is nothing sweeter than resting in your love for your children and rejoicing over them as they experience life. And I’m starting to see that God has those same feelings toward me.

Now when I feel discouraged and exasperated I stop and think, I am not alone in this moment. The Mighty One is rejoicing over me. I am not laboring in anonymity and namelessness. Someone is watching me in my everyday work with a contended smile in His heart and a song on His lips. And that realization has made it easier for me to choose to respond to life in a spirit-filled way rather than with the irritation and exasperation that would otherwise be my default.

I feel like this is part of the moving from duty to delight that God is trying to teach me. That I am someone special to Him and He does not give love based on my performance. He is for me, just as I am always for my children. Except Him being for me is devoid of any trace of sin or selfishness. Just a pure joy and a pure love from a Father watching over one of His own.

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  • Brittany - Really love this, Sarah. It gives me a lot to contemplate. I am also going to share it with a friend who has been discouraged lately.ReplyCancel

    • Sarah - Yes, it’s such a great prayer and truth.ReplyCancel

  • Holly - Wow. So simple. So intricate. Hard to accept, yet easy to relax in. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel