Friday, November 25, 2011


Living in Boston, in my college days, this store became one of my favorite places to shop for fun urban styles.  I love looking back on those days and thinking of lessons I've learned since then.  Lately, I keep learning about a very different h&m.  And its an h&m that I so desperately need.

I'm talking about humility and meekness.  The Lord has been teaching me about these character qualities for many months now.  I have felt o so convicted of my pride and my impertinent ways.  I like to think of humility as understanding God's place and meekness as understanding my own place.  When I think of who God really is and the love and grace that he has shared with me, I am instantly humbled.  I can see and feel how much higher, and greater, and more amazing my God is.  And knowing that about my God is what motivates me to be meek.  Life experience has taught me that there is plenty that I can do on my own, but when I remember who he is, I want to do things with Him and in His way which is always better for me in the end.  I read online somewhere that meekness is great power under perfect control.

I went to woman's conference recently.  It was my first time going to this sort of thing and it really was a lovely time.  I learned many many things that day and one of the things that struck me was the amount of "you're worth it!" and "you deserve so much more!"  and other such self esteem boosting quotes that I heard that day.  Maybe I'm not like most other women, but I knew even then that these weren't the kinds of things that I personally needed to be hearing right then at that moment.  Self esteem hasn't been a big problem in my life really.  If anything, my problem has always been my pride.

Maybe its because I've been raised in a post women's rights world where songs like "Anything you can do, I can do better.  I can do anything better than you!" have been used to promote a woman's equal ability to the things a man can do.  Maybe its because I grew up as the right mix of girly girl and tom boy rolled into one.  I loved playing sports and such as a kid.  I also loved keeping up with the latest trends.  When I thought about what I wanted to be "when I grew up" I was never held back.  There were times when I wanted to be a lawyer, there was even a time when I wanted to join the military and be a soldier.  In all of this, I always still wanted to be a mom.  Of course, I couldn't see how any kind of profession would ever get in the way of that.  It didn't cross my mind once that having both a profession and a family would require an immense amount of juggling and balance.

My pursuit of humility and meekness has led me to think about all these things.  It seems to me that, as a whole, our culture has begun to teach, especially to young girls, that humility and meekness are not qualities to be desired.  Of course we discourage pride, its down right unattractive!  But we do not encourage humility let alone meekness.  Perhaps this is in response to a past and present misunderstanding of these qualities.  Or maybe its a response to many woman feeling these qualities imposed upon them simply because they were born as girls and not boys.  But humility and meekness are characteristics for us all!  Christ Jesus himself is the best example of humility and meekness that I could ever think of!

Philippians 2 says, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  Our Lord, Jesus, gave up everything despite being worthy of it all.  He really could do and be anything.  Yet he humbled himself and chose to be one of us.  And he gave God, our Father, absolute control over the outcome of his life.  Lately, I feel challenged to do the same.

Lord, I am willing to be whatever you want me to be no matter how lowly it may seem and I will give you absolute control over the outcome by practicing obedience to you!

Give Thanks

    Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
        make known his deeds among the peoples!
    Sing to him, sing praises to him;
        tell of all his wondrous works!
    Glory in his holy name;
        let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
(Psalm 105:1-3 ESV)

We have way too much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!  God is good and has showered us with blessings!  One thing that I am particularly grateful for this year is that God has always been faithful to bless us for following his will for our lives.  He has asked us to do some things that don't always make the most logical sense.  He has also shown us each time how doing his will makes plenty of eternal sense!

The Lord led Sean and I to get married at a younger age than most of the world gets married these days.  After getting engaged, many people suggested that we wait to get married at least until we had both finished college.  This advice still makes a lot of logical sense.  If we waited until we were finished college we would have been far less busy as a newly married couple.  We also would have had the opportunity to have jobs that were supported by our degrees and we would have therefore been much more financially secure.  Somehow we just knew that waiting was not right for us.  We have now been married for 6+ years.  These six years haven't been easy but the Lord has begun to teach us how to love each other in a way that honors and glorifies Him and at the same time allows each of us to feel more satisfied and secure in our love for each other.  This has been a huge, challenging blessing to learn and pursue.  I am so grateful that God has taught us this and that we know have so much more time to learn and grow in our love for the Lord and each other!

God also led us to start a family at a much younger age than most of the world starts a family these days.  We were once again advised by many people to wait til we had a chance to work and pay off debt and be more financially stable before we started this next phase of life.  This advice also made a lot of logical sense.  But again we felt that this just wouldn't be right for us.  I felt so blessed to welcome my twin boys into the world at the young age of 22!  It has not been easy to do this so young.  Many of my friends still haven't started having babies and we are now on Carroll Baby number 4!  We have been overjoyed to pursue raising our kids in a way that honors and glorifies God.  We have much to learn but we keep pursuing this lesson as well.

2 years ago the Lord led us to take our 18 months old twins on a missions trip to Peru with us.  Many people didn't understand why we would want to bring our children to a third world country with us.  It didn't make a lot of logical sense.  But by the Lord's grace we were able to bring them with us and have felt so blessed by that time serving in missions together.  We had unique opportunities there to  connect with the people we meant.  It wasn't easy.  There were definite bumps in the road.  But the Lord blessed us for responding to His call with an enthusiastic yes!  

There are many more adventures in store for this Carroll Family.  We have been practicing listening to the Lord and doing what he says.  I don't know where he will lead us next but I pray that we will again respond with an enthusiastic yes to whatever the Lord would call us to do and wherever the Lord would call us to go!

So, this thanksgiving, I am grateful for my wonderful husband who has been by my side learning each lesson along the way, for my beautiful children who are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of another sibling with us, for the new baby that God is knitting together in my belly, and for the eternal perspective that God has given me to seek first his kingdom even if it doesn't make the most logical or worldly sense.  Thank you Lord!