Monthly Archives: December 2010

God’s Gift of a Wife- from Micah.

Hello followers!

Thanks so much for showing interest in our lives and reading the updates that Sarah has provided (I’m very thankful for her doing so too!). We hope that they will in some way be beneficial to you enjoying Jesus in any way the Spirit makes that happen. We also hope that it provides information for you to know how to pray for us!

It is going to be difficult to narrow down what to write about so I’ll write about what is easiest for me: my wife and what marriage has taught me. I call Sarah God’s “chiseling tool” because she is always changing me in ways that I enjoy.

The King of Israel, Solomon has the reputation for being wise. I vividly remember being in Aaron Proffitt and Jon Halterman’s bible study a few years back (when almost all that I knew about Christianity was that I claimed to be one!) when studying the topic of marriage that the verse in Proverbs, which was written by Solomon, came up “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”- Proverbs 18:22.  Although at that time I really did not personally understand the wisdom of Solomon I am so grateful that the Lord has changed my priorities to finding joy and appreciating the “good thing” that I found, and that I continually am privileged to pursue.

It is extremely easy to love Sarah. What you see of her is consistent 24/7. Although she is a sinner undeservingly saved by the grace of God because Jesus received the wrath that she deserved for her sins so that we could substitutionally receive Jesus’ righteousness, just like me, she loves the Lord and lives a life that resembles the life-transforming power of God. She is a doll. I love to hug and kiss her. I love to sit beside her in all situations. I love to go to sleep and wake up cuddling her.  I have no shame and do not risk my masculinity in saying such cheesy things! I can honestly say that somehow I love her more than 6 months ago (we got married 6 months and a day ago!) and more than the first day of dating.

That being said, I think it’s beneficial for us to reflect on some of the most significant things that people have said to me that have been such great little gold nuggets of advice. They all are of course to be built upon the foundations of God’s word and specifically what He has told us about marriage. Most beneficial for Sarah and I to remember is that our marriage has the ultimate purpose of mimicking, being a picture of, pointing toward, showing evidence of, and revealing the same relationship that Jesus has with His bride, the Church. This is best unpacked by Paul in Ephesians 5. Simply, I am to love Sarah as Christ loves us (yes, unattainable, I know), and Sarah is to strive toward resembling the respect and leadership that we are to show the Lord, Jesus Christ (as undeserving as I am!).  Also, “what God has joined, let no man separate.” That’s our goal. Our “honeymoon stage” will no doubt fade in ways, but we are obedient first to God. He is a wise law-giver, and I trust that when Sarah and I are old, no matter what we both make each other put up with, we will be glad that we stuck to our promises to one another in our vows.

Sarah’s father- “Be upfront.” I think that’s all he said but it struck a loud note as Sarah and I have continuously emphasized it (he told me this the day I asked permission to date her and it was a great benefit).

Jeremy (my brother: he wrote me an email of advice after I told him I was going to ask Sarah to marry me)- “do everything with her. Exercise, pray, read, worship, sing, travel, coordinate, plan, etc..” Kicking off unity with a month long road trip was a great catalyst to this practice, but it is still beneficial today.

Kevin Anderson (while he was teaching about marriage from the discipleship course in bible study this past year)- “Husbands are to love their wives into submission” Ephesians 5:22 says “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” Yes, wives should submit to their husbands but true submission is “service with a (genuine) smile.” It is a result of how the Lord loves His bride, the Church, that we (the church) submit to Him with joy, and not out of discontent!  It is also a result of the Christian not acknowledging and appreciating the Savior if he or she does not enjoy following his or her Lord’s leading. The point is that the Christian enjoys serving the Lord because of the Lord’s love for the Christian! Submission is subsequent to love. My wife and I need to be in unity, and that requires me constantly being eager to lavish her with Savior-like love. So, Kevin should at this point be thanked by Sarah and any other wife who’s husband reads this and responds to Paul’s advice!

Paul Fiske- “Don’t take anything personal” I didn’t realize that this was actually good advice until we got married….and then we lived together. Previously nothing was really said or done that would have bothered me!

Bill and Cindy Evans- “Hit the knees to to pray and seek God’s guidance before anything else.” The Spirit is eager to search my mind, Sarah’s mind, and God’s will. Even better He is eager to guide is through any and all things no matter what the situation.

Dad- (he said that while we were engaged) “once you get married she’s going to put you in the washing machine” (referring to my standard of cleanliness around the house) He was right…I now clean.

I was writing more, but just deleted it because this is far too long! Thanks for reading and I hope that you’ll continue to pray for Sarah and me. (I need a job too!)

Although Christmas is past let’s continue to remember the incarnation and live like He died for us!

Micah

P.S. Most beneficial book that I’ve read pertaining to being a husband is “Exemplary Husband” by Stuart Scott (no, not the ESPN guy!). So good that I unregrettably got it for my groomsmen! For men and women: “This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper. Both can be used as a topical guidebook.

 

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Thinking on Traditions and Truth.

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

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For years the questions of holiday traditions swirl in my mind each time a holiday comes around.

I don’t get all crazy about a lot of things having to do with Christmas… it’s not that I am a scrooge or anything.  I just don’t see how a lot of things we do to celebrate have anything to do with the bible or what we say we are celebrating.  They are just common traditions and a lot of them stem from stuff that is kinda weird if you ask me.  I know, I know I am in a small percentage than the rest of the world. 

However, it doesn’t mean I am against doing a lot of those things it just means I question everything I do and why I do it.  I never want to do anything for doing it sake, or because everyone else does it.  I want it to have purpose, I want it to remind me and others, I want it to teach, I want Him to be the center and I want Him glorified.  Also, if I am ever so poor I can’t afford a present worth a dime or am homeless or whatever the case may be, I don’t want it to mean “we can’t have Christmas this year”.  I can celebrate that The Word became flesh and dwelt among us in a lot of ways… when thinking about how we will handle holidays in the years to come I just want to make sure I am not doing things because they are commonplace traditions but because they glorify my Creator.

Micah found this cool book “Treasuring our Traditions” check it out, she has a lot of good ideas about how to have biblical traditions all year round with your family.  _________________________________________________

So, even if our Messiah wasn’t born exactly on December 25th, even if the wise men came to visit him when he was a toddler not a baby in a manager.  Here is what is SO true about why I recognize His significant birth:

The Heavenly Son, the Word, through Him all things were created, became flesh, left His Heavenly Throne Room where He was surrounded by Angels singing about His Holiness. 

He humbled Himself to be born in a stench manger to a family that was going to be looked down upon because of His “illegitimate birth”, to a family that wouldn’t recognize who He was, to people that mocked Him, spit on Him, accused Him of being demon possessed, antagonized Him, and eventually crucified Him.  He came to a broken world full of perversity, sorrow, and pain.  He left His Father and became a babe. 

All so that I and many of you could be set free from the captivity of sin, from Satan’s reign, from hell, from death once and for all.   He was His Father’s perfect plan of redemption. 

The world still lays in sin and error pining, but there is a way to get to the Father and be justified.  His Son, my Messiah.  He paid it all.

Oh heck yes this weary soul is going to rejoice!

How do you rejoice over the Father sending His Son with your family and friends?  I’d love to hear ideas.

 ________________________________________

One of my all time favorite and beautiful carols

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Adornment of Women

As I think about this for myself, for my future daughters, for my nieces, my friends, etc I found the following links extremely beneficial.  I won’t try to preach it to you myself, as I struggle and teeter with what is “okay” for a woman representing Christ to wear, I think it would be hypocritical.  Plus, I’m not here to judge anyone or make anyone feel condemned for what they feel like is “okay”.  I will submit the questions though- What message are we sending about ourselves by the way we not only dress but how we act?  What message are we teaching our children, boys and girls, about what women are supposed to look and act like?  What message are we sending about what God’s word has to say about these topics?  Do we believe Him or do we believe our culture?  It’s pretty tough stuff I think. 

Before you go clicking on the links, I’ll give you a heads up of what they may be like…

In the words of John Piper, in one of the sermons linked at the bottom “no ladies I don’t think you want to say that with those jeans!” 

Her body, her self, her god

A challenge to women

Is modesty an issue in the church today?

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God

How to Submit to the Righteousness of God

A Woman Who Fears the Lord Is to Be Praised

Holy Women Who Hoped in God

The Soul of Modesty

Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World   

tough stuff women… whatcha think?

Week 2

Just a little update of the second week in our new city.

Sunday- we checked out a church called “By Grace”.  We also made cookies to take and meet new neighbors.  Funny/weird story– so we have neighbors directly across from us, and two right below us.  There are only two apartments on the second floor though… us and them.  So we knock, they were home, talking, lights on and didnt answer the door (our doors have peep holes… just saying).  So I left them at the door with a little “Merry Christmas” tag from Ashlee Proffitt Design and wrote from your new neighbors at —-, (Im not putting our address on a public blog) God Bless.  Well, they were still there when I got home from work Monday, and Micah said he heard them going in and out all day! haha they were gone by the time we left that evening though… so strange.  However!  a couple days later we had a red card on our door that said “we’ve lived in apartment complexes for over 10 years and have never had neighbors be so kind”.  They aint seen nothing yet! 😉

Monday- We played walleyball at our apt’s indoor court.  Then we went to Lindsay and Zach’s house for chicken parm. mmm.  We had met them at a church on Sunday.  They were sitting behind us and we turned to say hi, and they immediately suggested getting together.  What an awesome, God loving couple, whom we happen to have a lot in common with, right down to the length of time we courted and months till we got engaged!  They said they would be our friends even if we didnt go to their church hehe

Tuesday-  Micah left me for a couple days to go to Charlottesville for a conference with Uptick.  That evening I went to a kingdom group(that’s what they call bible study) with Lindsay and Zach. 

Wednesday-  I did a lot of running of errands, groceries, shopping(as my mother in law puts it(“Isn’t it fun to buy presents for people?  Just think how happy God was when He sent us ours!”) and cleaning…because we had GUESTS on Thursday.

Thursday- Lindsay brought me coffee to work!  what? how sweet is she?  Micah came home, we also had Lauren and Andrew over to visit!!! So thankful they sacrificed a lot of time just to come see us for a short amount of time.  We probably got to hang out the same amount of time they had to spend in the car.  Oh but how sweet it is to have dear friends willing to do things like that.  One time Micah said, “Andrew is my Lauren”.  We love you guys.

Friday- Micah and I had a fun night in.  We played raquetball (at the community center in our apt), monopoly deal (thanks to the Bergeys for getting us hooked on that, and we miss you guys).

Saturday/Sunday- Mommy, daddy, and Caleb came!  Lots of eating, visiting places, church, Its a Wonderful Life, raquetball, something the boys called pain pong… and just overall bonding.  I love family.

I’m so thankful and gearing up for week 3.

Week 2

stay tuned… its shaping up to  be a busy, good forecasted week 🙂

Week 1-

We got into town on Sunday morning (so I guess it hasn’t actually been a full week yet).

It was so hard not to drive all the way down to Aletheia or stay in town a little longer with family, but we were moving that day.  We needed to move.  We had said our goodbyes, no need to delay…  I was surprisingly unemotional in comparison to what I thought I would be like.  I didn’t even cry.

I just have/had so many thoughts, emotions, and ideas running in my mind and I guess you could say that pure thankfulness and gratefulness (to a God who provides our needs and then some) is taking over more than sadness, missing, what-ifs, etc.  When the peace of the Lord rules over your life it is harder not to just trust where He leads, than be sad about what or who you are leaving.  He led us here, to Newport News, VA.

I didn’t stop unpacking from 1:30pm to 10:30pm except when my poor husband reminded me he was hungry for dinner.  Whoops!  We’ve been eating off placemats on the ground (don’t feel sorry for us, Mr. Downs is building us a beautiful table by his own two hands-I’ll eat off the ground for a year to have something that special).  Think of all the meals, memories, mistakes, etc that will be made around that table! Ah I love it.

We found a super deal on a couch and chair on craigslist.  Originally bought at $2500 (I’m sorry- WHAT? Who pays that much for couches?)  They were asking $400, I wrote the guy and was like look I don’t want to spend more than $200 and I realize that is half of your asking price, but if you can’t sell them by whenever you need them gone, let me know.  He wrote back and said I could have them for my asking price and offered to deliver for $20!  How awesome!  As my dad would say, “Trace she’s got a mouth” (haha sister you will appreciate that).  My dad has a lot of fun sayings.

Anyway, I’m trying to be good with money and spending etc.  I promised Micah if we got the 2-br place I wouldn’t go to the store to fill it up (I didn’t even need to!).  Our apartment is super cute, and thanks to family and friends we haven’t bought anything but the couches.  It’s hand-me-down (mostly from my Aunt Linda), wedding presents, wedding gift cards, etc.  So thanks everybody!

Micah has been to two churches down here, I’ve only been to one.  We also checked out a kingdom group (aka bible study) the other night.  Today Micah had lunch with a guy from there.  We got to exchange some information with other married couples there so that was neat.  I’m trying as Micah would say “to approach every option with grace and discernment” rather than being critical because it doesn’t meet the standards that I got being at Aletheia… haha well even if I have high standards my whole life, I wouldn’t trade that biblical training for anything!

Work has been a pretty easy adjustment for me.  I was already working for the company for two weeks before we moved here.  It is only three minutes from my house and in one of the cutest parts of town.  Plus, I have double screens here on my desk.  Whoa- that makes work a whole lot faster!  The office environment is pretty laid back.  The graphic artists are a hoot.  They have taco bell Tuesday, wear a tie Wednesday, they play darts every afternoon… yeah it’s pretty hilarious.  Plus, two people I had class with in graduate school work here so it is nice to see familiar faces even if I don’t work directly with them.  I love being salaried.  If I wanna come in at 7 and leave at 3, 8 and leave at 4, etc I can.  As long as I get my hours and work in, it’s nice.

There is a holiday party at work tomorrow, and then this thing in town called “HollyDazzle” (yeah, not sure… we’re gonna check it out though).

Micah is fine, in case anyone is asking at this point “what about him?”  He adjusts extremely well.  He is getting school work done, being a sweetheart doing miscellaneous things while I’m at work, takes me to work and picks me up, makes me breakfast, etc  🙂  He will probably look into jobs soon, and he even promised to make a guest writer appearance on the blog!  Whooo- look out for that one in the next month or so.

Even though I’m (we’re) doing well, sometimes the tears do well up in me…

– like when we were at a church on Sunday morning and the PPT for the worship songs had blue mountains in the background.  Three thoughts- 1) why am I not just paying attention to the lyrics and singing my heart out for my God? 2) I’ll miss those mountains 3) Aletheia would never put mountains on the background of our PPTs. LOL

– like when the a lady at bible study was a good mix of Ann Kiracofe and Ashlee Proffitt.  At one second I was so happy of a reminder of them, and the next I was sad that it wasn’t them.

– like when I think about not getting to see my best friends fall in love, or their children grow up, or that church grow, or the lives that have changed so much (I love seeing people grow in love with the Word and the Author of it).

– like when Bill and Cindy send us a beautiful looking and smelling wreath with a sweet note about missing, loving, and praying for us on our new mission field.

The knot in my throat is getting pretty large now, so I’ll stop. 

Thanks for caring enough to read!  If you want our address send an email to: MicahandSarahDowns@gmail.com