30 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 35

Have you ever found yourself stuck under water just a little bit too long? You pop out of the water, very much out of breath, and just gasp until you've found yourself again. Your heart rate is up, your whole body feels tense.

Slowly you calm down. You might even pop back into the water. 

You breathe normal. In and out.

You think back to that moment and wonder why you got stuck, why you couldn't quite get up, and you determine at least in your mind to never ever do that again!

I'm almost breathing normal. I'm so very close.

And in a couple weeks, I really think I'll be back to normal, simply determining how to enjoy the water without getting stuck.

This is vague, and potentially an odd post.

But God is good, I trust in Him fully, and I believe that He will provide for the needs in my life. They're real and big, and He's been faithful up until today.

I trust Him for tomorrow.

And tomorrow, and really today as well, I will rejoice in the Lord, exulting His salvation.

What about you? Floating? Drowning? Coming up for air? Taking a dive right into the deep?

I gotta say, I do love these Psalms

29 April 2013

11 facts

Okay. So I'm a tad bit late to the party, but a few weeks ago, Erica over at Visible Musings did a fun questions & answer post. She tagged me in the fun so I'm answering today! Erica is lovely. If you aren't a current reader, you should be! Her post is much prettier than mine, and I was just starting to add photos to this post when blogger decided to act funky and not let me add more for today. So alas, this post will simply have the two that made the cut!


okay almost go: P.S. This post is wordy. You've been warned!

11 facts:

1. I'm a weird combo of extrovert and introvert. While I notice it more now as an adult, even in high school when I took the personality tests, I flew right in the center. I'd say I'm an extrovert when I'm out in public, but if I don't have my little moments at home, I get tired. That's part of the reason I love blogging so much because it allows me to use both of these parts of myself. I get to speak, but there is nobody around. It's quite nice.

2. Speaking more into that first fact, I'm more scared going into a group of people that I do know than I am in a group of strangers. Odd yes. True. yes. Case in point, I went to a concert last weekend with a bunch of people I didn't know and I had a blast because I'm a good first impression. Maybe that's an odd thing to say, but I tend to get along with people right away when I meet them. In contrast to that fact, I also love hanging out with friends, but I enjoy it most when I know ahead of time. If a friend texts me after I've settled in at home after work, it's harder for me to go out. But if I know I'm going out, I'll almost always say yes. I also tend to love one-on-one conversations more than big group things. I just get me some overwhelmed feelings.

3. I love decorating my home. It's been really fun over the past few years as I've lived in one place. My roommates have switched, but the space remains mine. I've loved adding lots of photo walls filled with prints and art. I find my apartment really homey. I have dreams of fixing the things that bother me in it, but those will have to wait for the season when the money grows on trees. I'm thinking that is any day. Or not! 

4. I'm the youngest of four. My oldest sibling is 13 years older, the next 12 years older, and the one that's closest in age is 8 years old. Aka I was a little bit of a oooooh wow we're pregnant type of baby! I've got a great family. I'm really thankful for my relationship with each person. My oldest sister has 6 kids, my brother has one, and my youngest sister has one. It's a blast around here. 4 children have been added since this photo.

5. I moved to the city I live in now, Vancouver, to find Jesus. I had largely walked away from following Jesus and knew that I needed a new space in order to start afresh. Similar to the idea of being a new creation, not just a redone old one - I needed new. I needed a space where I didn't know anybody and where I could start living for Jesus with my whole heart without all the old temptations.

6. These facts are probably all too long. That is a fact.

7. Fresh flowers are the way to my heart. If you get me some, I'll love you forever because it means you've been paying attention. I actually buy myself flowers quite often. They make life feel a bit more bright, and I'm all about that.

8. The other way to my heart is a card in the mail. I promise it'll make my day.

9. Because of my love for receiving cards, I try to take a day every month or two to write a bunch of cards. I actually recently started making cards and am currently trying to figure out the best way to start selling them.

10. Coffee. Red wine. Amber ale. All of these also fall into the category of ways to win me over.

11. I love blogging. That's a fact!

My answers:

1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
    I'd love to learn to keep a clean house. It's one of a list of many things where I lack talent. Other areas include finances and fitness. I've been praying a bit about my finances lately. I know I need to work on them, to figure out a way to not be in dept. I'm still unsure about whether I'll blog through my process or not. I'm inspired by Brittany over at Where my Soul Belongs.

2. What inspires you or brings you joy?
     It brings me joy when I'm having a conversation with somebody and the gospel plays a big role. Whether it's one of us offering truth to the other, or sharing what Jesus has done in our life, it's my favourite. I get really really really bored and slightly agitated when I'm in a conversation and Jesus isn't mentioned.

3. In what way has blogging helped change you?
     I think having this blog has been good for me. It has forced me to stick with something. I'm not always great at long-term things; this blog is one of very few things I've really stuck with. I love that it forces me to be disciplined, not only to be writing, but also to be seeking Jesus. If I'm not constantly filling up my spirit with His truth, I won't be sharing good content. So it's a perfect little balance.

4. Favourite book(s)?
    One downfall of blogging is that reading a full book is hard! I'm so used to 300 word glimpses of stories. But, I read "A Meal with Jesus" by Tim Chester last year and loved it. I'm currently and slowly working through "You can Change" (Tim Chester), "Instruments in the Redeemers Hands" (Paul David Tripp), and "Boundaries" (Cloud & Townsend)

5. Where would you go if you could travel without any limitations?

     I'd love to travel in Europe. Not backpacking though, in nice style. I'm very jealous of Margaret of Floral & Frayed because she's heading to Greece for the summer. I'd love to do that. Greece. Spain. Italy. Those are places I hope to see one day.

6. What has been a growing experience for you in the past year?
     This past year has really been one of suffering and hurt. Not necessarily by people, but by circumstance. It's been a year where saying I trust You Lord has taken on new meaning. I can say it now with far more conviction that I could have a year ago. While I might wish certain issues had been resolved sooner, I wouldn't trade the faith I have now. Sanctification is necessary for a believer in Jesus, so I'll take the suffering if it means more hope.

7. How many times have you moved?
     I think 7. I spent some time overseas working for a hospital ship and the ship moved around so I don't know if our moves there count. So if so, a bit closer to 10 I think. Most of my moves have been in the past 6 years.

8. Do you have a favourite quote? What is it?
     "The busy have no times for tears" by Lord Byron. I've retired the quote because my best friend Christy told me I couldn't live that way anymore. But I still kinda like the quote.

9. If you could go back in time to witness a historical event, what would it be?
     I'd love to have been sitting around the mount when Jesus gave His sermon. To hear Him speak in person would have been so life changing. It's life changing just reading it, but wow, to be there. That would have been the best.

10. What nugget of truth would you like to pass on to your grandchildren?
     My parents often told us kids that love is a choice. While they meant it mostly for marriage, I utilize that truth in my life often. I have the choice how I will react to each person I encounter. I want to teach my kids and their kids and their kids to chose to love.

11. How will today matter five years from now?
     I have no idea. But I do think it will. I trust that God is constantly working in my life, and I know this because I can look back even 2 years and see huge change. I'm not who I once was. I'm excited to say that again in five years when I look back to today.

So there you have it! Got a question for me? Ask away!

26 April 2013

Sharing the gospel with myself

Tuesday. I'm driving to my sister's house to pick up my laundry. Have I mentioned that my sister is lovely and lets me use her machines so I don't have to pay? I drive around her place and there are no spots. The streets were apparently packed with cars at that time. I drove into her back alley and saw a little spot.

Hold on, let me back up.

I'm an unconfident but fully capable parallel parker. It's just one of those things. When I first moved to the city, I realized I needed to learn quickly to park my car. After a couple months of lots of practice, I could do it. But only if I was alone in my car and there was NOBODY around the area. Seriously, I'd circle the block multiple times to calm my nerves down, and then I'd park.

I've never hit anybody, and I've never not been able to do it (and when I've been super nervous, I just make my passenger park it). So this fear is dumb. It's a truly silly fear. I don't even know what the fear is. Maybe it's that I'll hit the curb or a car, but seriously, this fear - it's irrational.

Forward to Tuesday. It's been over 3 years and it's a rare moment when I lose my confidence. It happens, typically when it's pouring rain, nighttime, and there are passengers. Hello, did I mention Vancouver rains a lot?

I pulled into the alley, saw the spot, and got ready.

And my confidence sunk.

For no reason.

I tried one time. But overcompensated or something.

Pulled the car out, tried again.

Same deal.

Pulled the car out.

I listened to the words of the Kari Jobe song Joyfully playing, and repeated the words over myself to ground myself in truth to dismantle the lie that I am incapable of parking a car.
Joyfully I lift my voice in praise to Thee  
With heaven watching over me 
I raise my hands up high  
Your Majesty gently washes over me  
Makes my heart begin to sing joyfully
I spoke the gospel over myself, repeating the words "with heaven watching over me" just once, recognized that I serve the God who watched over me, and who loves me whether I can park my car or not, and then I parked my car.

I know this is a funny story to tell. But I'm learning, slowly, that the gospel applies to every single aspect of my life. It's a truth I've been hearing for months in various forms and just now am recognizing that I have the ability to put it into practice.

When I fear, I can turn to God and be reminded that I can trust in Him. (side note, did you know that the Bible records the statement "trust in the Lord" 35 times? That's a lot of times for one statement.)

When I get anxious, I can turn to God and be reminded that He knows all things. 

When I feel lonely at night, I can turn to God and be reminded that He is always with me.

When I get joyful because a good thing happens, I can turn to God and be reminded that He works all things together for my good and His glory.

When a friend is believing a lie, before I respond to her words, I can point my thoughts to heaven and ask the Lord how does the gospel apply to this? And when I do, typically the words that flow from my mouth and fingertips tend to point to Jesus instead of earthly solutions.

It's pretty basic. And it even sounds silly. But the gospel applies to all circumstances because the gospel reminds us that are we free because of the work of Jesus on the cross.

25 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 34

Oh Psalm 34, how I love you.

When I started this eternal series, I had a few Psalms which I was already pumped to share about. This is such a Psalm.

Sometimes I can't quite remember what I've shared on this space. Fear however, has been a constant in my life for a long time. I didn't ever really name it up until about 2 years ago, but a friend kindly and graciously whispered Nadine, it's called fear of man, and it's a sin.

Since then, I've had to consistently open my hands to Jesus and say well, here we are again. Ready to heal me? And each time, Jesus graciously gives me sweet mercies, yet again.

This verse is one that I cling to, not only because I need it looking forward, but because it is true.

Do I still struggle with fear? Oh yes, oh baby, oh wow, YES. I do. I wish it wasn't so, but I still think often of people before I think of God. I think of opinions before I think of sharing the gospel. I think of how whatever will look in my life and make strategic decision for my benefit, instead of simply humbling myself before the Lord.

But also, I walk confidently in the sweet grace of Jesus.

I say, okay Jesus, let's do this. And we do.

I lay my fears before Him and suddenly, they're not nearly so scary.

When I hold my fears close, they grow huge and big, scarier by the minute.

When I give my fears to Jesus, they're not nearly as scary.

P.S. My first day at work yesterday went great. I'm overwhelmed and very aware of the learning curve I'm facing, but I'm also aware that I'm right exactly where I should be.

How's life? I might not recognize you if I saw you at the store, but I do see your clicks via google analytics, and if I don't say it enough, I'm truly thankful for you sweet friends who show up here. You're lovely. You're a part of my story, because you point me to Jesus.

So really, how's life? How are things? Where are you seeing God set you free? Where are you living in chains? And if you are living in chains, why oh why are you? Comment here, or feel free to email me at asecondaryheartbeat (at) gmail (dot) com.

Jesus loves us. Let's walk confidently in that. It's amazing.

24 April 2013

Satan is a stealer.

Sometimes I see a conversation on twitter that gets me excited. Monday night was such a night. I had just finished up watching a class from the Influence Network (a lovely class taught by Jessi on the Gospel aka the best news ever) so I was pumped up on Jesus and ready to share!

    For thus says the LORD,
    who created the heavens
        (he is God!),
    who formed the earth and made it
        (he established it;
    he did not create it empty,
        he formed it to be inhabited!):
    “I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:18

Two absolutely wonderful lovelies, Brittany and Amanda, inspired by a post Amanda had shared, were talking about how Satan tends to tell us surprisingly similar lies. He varies them just oh so slightly, but typically they're just reused from yesterday because Satan isn't very creative. I jumped into their conversation and said:

I think this is something that is really and truly important for us as believers to remember.

Before I continue, I've got admit that I'm a fearful soul. I've shared this before, but any post where I distinctly talk about Satan and how he's an utter idiot, well, that causes me to fear. It causes me to wonder what will happen when I climb into bed later. It causes me to wonder how he plans to combat me.

I fight on the winning side but that doesn't stop Satan from making attempts to dismantle me.

So I'll tell that tweet to myself (aka I'm going to preach the gospel to myself, the truth that Jesus died for my sins and that Satan does nothing to offer me freedom because my freedom was paid for by Christ and provided to me by Christ) and I'll share it again.

Satan is not creative at all because he is not a creator. He's a stealer. Stealers aren't creative. God is creative.
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:1-3
 That in itself, the fact that there was nothing and then there was something, all because God spoke, that fact should cause us to rest at ease in God's ability to help us.

Side note. The ESV Bible records the word Satan 49 times. It records the word God 3930 times and Jesus 1058 times.

Do you know what Satan creates?

I'm temped to say nothing but I'll tell you a couple things.

He creates tension.
He creates disillusions.
He creates questions of doubt.

God creates other things. Many many things. All things that are good.

God creates unity.
God creates truth.
God not only creates love, God is love.

Tension builds nothing but headaches and heartbreaks.
Disillusions rob us. They utterly rob us.

And here's the thing. Jesus went through the ultimate robbing when He hung on the cross. He was robbed of His life so that those of us who call up on Him never ever have to be.

All Satan offers us is more robbing. And why oh why do we want to be robbed? Oh wait, we don't! COOL! We can rest in Jesus. Phewf!

So let's walk in the knowledge that God is a creator of good things.
And He created us.
And Satan, well, he is an idiot.
So let's stop letting his whispers fill our mind with lies.
Let's walk forward in the freedom we have in Christ.

I feel like I've shared enough of my own words for the day. If you need a little reminder of some truth, here is some for ya:

    But now thus says the LORD,
    he who created you, O Jacob,
        he who formed you, O Israel:
    “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
        I have called you by name, you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
        and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
    when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
        and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:1-2
     For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Romans 16:19-20
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 
    For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
   Colossians 1:16-17 

23 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 33

I haven't written a lot recently about school, but back in October, I quit school mid-semester. It was pretty overwhelming and I'm still not sure if it was a good decision, but it was the decision I made. I can't say I'd recommend quitting school mid-semester to anybody, simply because it will actually kind of ruin your life, but for me, I was falling apart. I didn't set out to quit but found myself with only one class remaining as I had been dropping classes like they were pennies in a fountain. The one class remaining, I quit it, since girl cannot live on one class alone, and set out to find myself.

I started looking for full-time work immediately. I was never without work, but up until January, I was working minimum wage and part-time. It was a great season to be intentional with my time, but also was really tiring and exhausting in other ways. I can't even begin to explain however, the amount of blessing I saw in that season. My parents went above and beyond the call of parenting and paid my rent, paid my bills, and accepted my very humbling apologies that I needed to borrow money yet again. My community group leaders gave me a gift card for groceries, and the day that one ran out, my church gave me one, and the day that one ran out, my sister gave me one. It was huge. It was humbling. It was utterly devastating, and yet pointed me to the God who provides for His children so very much.

Right at the beginning of January, I managed to find a new job. It was a blessing, but within days, I was pretty sure it wasn't the right fit. I stayed at that job up until today (yep, that means today I am right now finishing my role) and spent a lot of time praying and praying, praying and praying, petitioning and begging God for a job that I was passionate about. Tomorrow begins said job.

I don't trust in God simply because He did just provide this role, I trusted in Him throughout because He is worthy of my trust.

It's to the God, spoken of in Psalm 33, who I've been praying to. The God who gives good gifts to His children (Matthew 7). The God who created all things (Genesis 1). The God who gave His life so that those who call upon His name can go from death to life (Romans 6:1-7).

I'm truly excited to share that I wrote some words for my friend Katie, the lovely blogger over at a place to dwell. She's hosting a series on dreaming, calling all dreamers. When I wrote the words, I was in the trenches of waiting. I was waiting and waiting for God to respond to my prayer. I shared that I once had a dream, that I had lost the dream, and I will dream again.

I really am ready to dream again. I'm ready to go to my Jesus, to sit at His feet, to listen to His voice, and to walk confidently in what He calls me to do.

And not only am I ready to dream again - I am dreaming already.

What are you dreaming about? Where are you seeing God work?

22 April 2013

Easter (it really happened)

So, Easter was a while ago, but I'm sharing some photos from our family day together. As the local part of our family, we enjoyed some sweet times. In adequately random order, here are some parts of our day.

Porch Photo Shoot!

POND WALK with photos taken on the dock


PASKA! if you don't know what paska is, I promise you that you are missing out. I strongly, I mean strongly, suggest that you come over to my house next Easter. You'll be in for a treat. I've tasted a lot of paska in my life (hello Mennonite heritage, thank you for being wonderful)  and there is nobody as good at cooking Paska as my Mom. So take this as your official invitation. Easter comes but once a year, so paska is a treat!

 EASTER EGG (read chocolate) HUNT! We may not be kids anymore, but we do like chocolate! AND my Dad really loves hiding our stuff.

YET ANOTHER PHOTO SHOOT! Can you tell who the star is of ALL the photos?

Obviously, Easter is all about Jesus. This kinda stuff is peripheral, and fun.

18 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 32 ((plus GIRL BEHIND THE BLOG VLOG DAY!!))

So today, like many days, I'm skipping writing words about the Psalm and just sharing a lovely little video with ya today because it is:



This month is hosted by Ashley and Mackenzie. I got to know both of them while sponsoring Ashley's blog a few months ago. I am inspired by both of them to be honest about what I believe. Ashley always hosted a video chat with her sponsors and I loved it because I got to see the funny sides of both Ashley and Mackenzie, and I got to be my silly self. If you somehow don't already read their blogs, please start right now. I promise you'll be encouraged and that you'll feel like you've met a friend.

Vlog day! I truly love this day. I look forward to it all month long and so when I saw it was passions outside of blogging, I got adequately grumpy because honestly, this space is one of my favourite places. It's what I talk about when people ask me what I'm excited about.

And while I share some things in the vlog below, I'd say my passions, in case you want the cliff notes:

-blogging (duh)
-having fun
-and then the over and encompassing truth that Jesus is in everything and my passion is learning how to share Him

NOW let's watch me act as awkward as ever!

But first. Fun fact: I'm wearing pj's not because I made this late last night but because I made this Sunday night, just mere moments after I had hopped into my owl jammies. Do you have owl jammies? You should. Mine have a matching top and bottom and they are very attractive.

Okay chatting over.

17 April 2013

not put to shame

Last week I shared about kindness. It was actually one of my favourite pieces to write, because it forced me to dig deep into scripture, instead of just looking around my normal life for inspiration. I wanted to continue that today, looking at the word hope.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:1-5 
It was this verse that I went to first when I started looking at the word hope. This idea, this truth, that hope doesn't put us to shame. I'm reminded yet again that our God is not one of shame, and He doesn't call us to things that will shame us; at least not in His eyes. Our world will look at us with cruelty, the same cruelty our God faced when He came to earth. So we can remain hopeful in Him because He understands our weaknesses. God understands that our suffering will give us endurance, and our endurance will give us character, and our character will give us hope.

For me, I'd really like my hope to increase. So if that means I need to suffer more, I tentatively raise my hand and ask God for more suffering. So very tentatively.

The ESV Bible shares of hope 148 times.  Those are a lot of times

Nadine actually means hope or hopeful one. Something in me has always been drawn to the word. Naming my future children excites me, because I want to give them a name that will be filled with purpose.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23
Hope is so essential to the life of a believer in Christ. We look forward with hope. 

Hope means to desire with confidence. Isn't that amazing? We have a confidence in this desire. It's the perfect description of how I look to Jesus.

Hope really is a beautiful thing. I shared over on Amber's blog a couple weeks ago about faith, hope, and love. Among other things, I wrote "hope is a beautiful trust, a beautiful waiting for what you've heard to meet fruition".
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
I'm so excited for my hope to be complete in Christ.

Definition of hope typically are linked with the word trust.

I'm so excited for my trust to be complete in Christ.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
        my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Psalm 71:5
Despair is an antonym of hope.

I'm so excited for my despair to end in Christ.
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
        My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7
Long story short, I'm so excited for my hope to reach actuality, and I know that it will because of Christ.

I am so very excited and overwhelmed to meet Jesus face to face.

What do you hope in? What does hope mean to you? Do you find it hard to hope?

15 April 2013

in whom I will trust

Recently, I wrote of being inspired. I shared some of the things I had done that day, but I neglected to mention one other thing. I watched this video. It's beautiful and incredible and filled with a whole lotta hope. Watch it okay? K great.

"Even if we're going through a hard season, which many of us are, there's so many things in life that are just, really hard, and really shaking, and it can shake your faith, and it can shake the foundation that you have built your life on. But the only thing I know that is right and is true is that Jesus is the rock. you know, He says that in the Word, but I don't think we really understand the full meaning of what that is until we go through stuff that is just, really hard, and we have to rely on who He is."

Kari Jobe

"Things that will shake us don't shake God, because He doesn't change."

Kari Jobe

I have a lot of respect for Kari Jobe. I think her heart for Jesus is beautiful, and her voice is just incredible. I'm going to her concert on Saturday and I am so SO SO very excited for that.

I could pretty much share every song she's ever recorded, (and I kind of have here on the blog before) but I'll stick to just this one. I love this version.

What's inspiring you lately? I'm inspired by walks, people talking about Jesus, new music, old music, flowers, kids, all sorts.

12 April 2013

put it on and wear it out

The best feeling really is when somebody says something kind to me. I'm serious, kindness is important to me.

Kindness. When I started writing this, it was Wednesday afternoon and I was feeling really encouraged after my refreshing moment. On my walk I walked into a great store that held beautiful decor. I wandered around and the employee working came over and asked if I needed anything. I told her I was just browsing, but that her display was beautiful, and that I had walked past, stopped, admired, and came in.

It was really simple.
It didn't take anything on my part to share.
It was kindness.

She smiled and said thank you and seemed genuinely affected by my words.

I don't say that to boast, but to kindly ask you, when was the last time you just told somebody that they were doing a good job?

If you're anything like me, you thrive on receiving encouragement. I love me some kind words spoken TO ME.

And so I speak them out as often as I can, because that's the way I receive love.

While it might not seem like a lot, the ESV Bible counts kindness 29 times in the Bible.

In Colossians, kindness is spoken of in a put on kindness kind of way.
    Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:12-17

I like that. Because to a certain extent, kindness isn't natural on us or a part of us.

I've realized this when people push and shove to get to the front of wherever they'd like to go.
I notice this when people speak profanities towards other people.
I hear this in sarcasm and passive aggressive tones.
I watch this in my friends when somebody hurts them.

We have to put kindness on because without intentionally putting it on and living it out, we are probably without it.

Kindness obviously looks different for everybody. The way I view kindness and show kindness might not be the way you do, and might not even look like kindness.

Kindness can be a hug during a broken moment.
Kindness can be a word of truth when lies are being spoken.
Kindness can be a meal made in a busy season.
Kindness can be no words at all.

The first act of kindness, well maybe not the first, but definitely one of the firsts ones, of God was when He clothed Adam and Eve. God is not one to let us sit in our shame, which is what Adam and Eve experienced after sinning and realizing that they were naked. God is not the god of shame. He is the One True God, and He clothes His children with many things, namely righteousness.

It should be no surprise that a synonym of kindness is grace.

I see kindness as grace in action.
Godly kindness is looking at a situation and figuring out how to share the grace of God with it.
Kindness looks away from self toward others.
Kindness is intentional. Kindness requires intention.

Kindness is seen to be the opposite of envy.
And oh that envy, she's a nasty little one. Envy is creepy and doesn't even require intention. She's great at showing up, and I'm even greater at looking for her.

Kindness is looking at envy and saying no thanks, I choose love.

Another synonym of kindness is godsend.

Now that, that's just beautiful isn't it?
A godsend is defined as "a desirable or needed thing or event that comes unexpectedly".

People shouldn't be surprised that we are kind, but maybe, just maybe, we should all surprise people with our kindness.

    Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
        will find life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21

What's your favourite story of somebody being kind to you? How do you live out a life filled with kindness?

11 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 30

 Yesterday was a really good day.

I called my Mom, and speaking of the thing that happened (aka the part I won't share online), I said something similar to I think this is the first thing I've been excited about in a while.

I've been in a mundane season, life wise. God is good, and there certainly has been joy, but there has also been a lot of stretching, a lot of pain, and a lot of pleading.

With She Reads Truth (it's an online group of women reading through scripture together. I'm not very good at engaging in the community there, but I do read along), we're doing a series on prayer. Yesterday it spoke of taking your petitions to God, regardless of the size. 

A small portion of the write up yesterday encouraged me with these words:

Be specific when you pray. Don’t be afraid that He can’t handle your needs and desires.

I can't really say why, but it just encouraged me. In that moment, I asked God for 3 specific things. One related to work, one to home, and one to heart. I'll bet anybody who has been around here for any length of time would be able to guess the heart prayer.

I prayed in confidence to God. I prayed specifically and with boldness.

And something happened. Some of the weight I've been feeling, most of it self-placed weight, just seemed to disappear. The thing I mentioned earlier happened, which sparked a piece of joy in me that I hadn't have in ages.

I spent some time walking around in one of my favourite neighbourhoods as of late, spent time working on community group stuff, drank a nice latte, walked some more, went by the water, took pictures of mountains, and just enjoyed the newness that is spring.

A few of my favourite bloggers, Lindsey, Hayley, and Jessi, have been sharing a bit about being refreshed this week. I think I'm catching on to what they're seeking.

I cry to God for help and He hears me.

My mourning is dancing now. It wasn't yesterday morning, it wasn't yesterday at noon, and it really really really wasn't Tuesday night around midnight as I cried in bed or Monday night at 10 pm as I cried on the floor. It became dancing at 3:22 pm yesterday. Something happened and suddenly I wasn't as grumpy or lost.

God has clothed me with gladness.

My heart is glad.

Are you glad? I always think that the word glad is a funny one. Funny and wonderful.
What are you glad about? What do you want to be glad about?

10 April 2013

I want my words to tell a story.

A story untold will never impact a heart.

That makes sense right?

When I take the time to open my heart to somebody, or to the internet, I have the opportunity to impact them.

I pray that my words are impactful, that they point people to the God who created everything, to the Jesus who redeems, to the Holy Spirit that aides.

I've been working for months on my testimony. well I was working on it. I started writing it months and months ago, but I got overwhelmed when it came to the part of me walking away from Jesus, so I put it away.

Last week I opened a new document and started writing just a snippet of my story. I'm still working on the piece, and I'm not quite sure if it'll end up here or as a guest post for a friend, but regardless, it needs to be shared.

I tend to look down on pastors who speak with a lot of stories, which is pretty dumb of me, since Jesus spoke in stories. He knew that stories would draw people in and would remain in their memory, thus changing their life and heart.

So since I've had this gentle conviction to stop looking down on others who use share stories as illustrations, I've realized I want to tell more stories.

A true story of redemption, which is my own story, and which is the story of anybody who has given their life to God.

I want to tell stories of what I learn.

I want to push myself to share stories of things that haven't happened, because there is something kind of magical in a made-up story, especially one that still teaches something beautifully.

It's like when kids watch shows on tv. Most of those shows are trying to teach the kid something, like to share. I guess I want my blog to do that, to teach people, sometimes in such a way that they don't even know they're being taught.

I want my words to tell a story.
And I'm excited to share more of mine.

What's your story? Have you shared it online? What makes you share it or not share it?

09 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 29

This photo is from a few years ago. I was out in Ontario visiting a friend of mine. We went to Niagra Falls for a few hours. These falls are majestic.

I guess people could disagree, but I really think the Canadian side of the falls are far more beautiful than the American side. Again, disagree all you want, but then go see them in person. You'll suddenly understand what I'm talking about.

I wish I could go back to this moment, and reflect on Jesus.

I wasn't in a super great space when it come to Jesus when I went. I was probably nearly at my furthest from Him.

So when I read this Psalm, all I could think about was the power of the falls, falling, crashing, moving, HUGE, impactful, so many things.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters.

And these waters are huge.
Which means God is even huger! I'm not quite sure if "huger" is a word, but I'm running with it.

08 April 2013

Looking for somebody to listen

The other day a friend messaged me to see if I was free. I was, so straight from work I drove to her place. We walked over to a coffee shop, ordered, and I sat down, waiting for her to grab her drink.

The man sitting in the next table, an older gentleman, started chatting to me. Before I'd sat down, I'd noticed his stuff, his possessions, sitting beside him. I saw his scruffy hair, dirty hands, and numerous days old clothing.

So I sat, and he started chatting. And chatting. My friend say down, and he kept chatting. He talked and talked.

I couldn't really understand him. The combination of music playing, coffee shop chatter, his accent, his mumble, and my genuine tired body led me to not really hear him.

I sat praying, trying to hear, trying to figure out how I could be Jesus to him. He talked to, emphasis on to as his words rarely included our input, us for about half an hour. Then we left and went elsewhere so we could chat.

And it left me unsettled, because I don't know if I loved him well. I'm not seeking validation in writing this because my validation comes from Christ - but as he talked, my mind ran around. I tried to focus, and thought about the verse about entertaining angels, and the verse about loving the least of these.

And I just don't know if I loved him enough. My friend and I laughed as we walked through the grocery store after, realizing that we both hadn't understood many of his words.

He made no sense.
It made no sense.

My words don't have a solution.

I'm a firm believer that most people are looking for somebody to listen to their story, so according to that I did okay - but not great. We gave him space to talk, and maybe that is all he needed.

But is that enough? I offered to buy him food and he said no, but asked if I knew where he could get a bed for the night. I didn't so was of no help to him.

I just don't know if a listening ear was enough.

04 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 28

We're all going through some stuff right? I've got stuff all around that I'm trying to decipher, and I can almost promise you that you are too. 

I'm so grateful to have the hope that I have deep in my heart. Hebrews speaks of that hope being an anchor.

Last night at community group, I shared how that hope isn't based simply in a God who created the world. 

God didn't just give us the law.
God didn't just give us morals.
God didn't even just give us Jesus.
The work of the cross should be enough.
That should satisfy.
That should be enough for all the moments.
But God didn't even stop there.
He gave us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit hears my calls in each and every moment of my life. 
Jesus intercedes on the behalf of all who call upon His name.

Now that, that is amazing.

Where are you seeing God work today? Where are you calling and hearing?

03 April 2013

only good

As a songwriter, as a blog writer, as a worship leader, as a girl who loves to sing, as a all the things I am, I love music. I love a good sound. I'm drawn in by good music and kept in by beautiful lyrics. When I hear a song that pulls my heart in and points me to Jesus, I can't quite help but share it. Last year I had a series called Tune-y Tuesday and each week I shared thoughts on a song. It was a good challenge, one that proved to me that I could handle the walk through series that I've got going on now.

While I don't miss having to find music each week, one in a while I come across a song that just moves me. A song that causes my heart to stop striving and find the peace I already knew in Jesus.

This song is one of them. I'm not quite sure if Meredith Andrews writes her songs, but she certainly sings them very well.

Enjoy it okay. Take a minute (or 5) out of your day and just listen.

02 April 2013

{a walk through} psalm 27

I wrote some words for my sweet friend Amber. I'd love if you check them out today.

his voice

I wanted to take a minute to look back upon the first 3 months of the year and share some of my favourite words that I've written.

words on singleness and how I deal:
until tomorrow

thoughts on what the whole "unequally yoked" statement means:
unequal eggs

a part of my story I had never shared before:
the time I told my story

just a few more single girl thoughts:
how to honour your (future) husband

a VLOG AND more single girl thoughts (apparently I've got lots of those thoughts):
written down and spoken aloud, this is my heart

one of my most favourite ideas turned into reality:
a meetup of influential women

just maybe one of my most favourite posts I've ever written

speaking of favourites, this is my favourite in the series thus far
Psalm 25  

01 April 2013

I look to the hills

It feels a little funny to be using a Psalm as inspiration today, since 40% of my blogging these days looks at the Psalms. But I have to share this. Because these words, oh how they've been moving me. But first let me share why.

As I shared last week, drifting is dumb. I've found myself in this odd season of going through motions and not truly serving God. I certainly haven't walked away or stopped believing, not even a little, but I've been tempted to do both those things. I've heard whispers that Jesus isn't God, whispers that I'm not worthy, and whispers that quite frankly, need to stop.

I've written of these whispers before. I've shared what they've done to me. I've also shared what God has done.

Over the past month or so, I've noticed mountains a lot. As a kid and teen, I would hear my Mom often say look at the mountains. They're beautiful. And I'd laugh and mock her. I remember, I think last year some time, I called her and said "the mountains look beautiful. I thought you should know that" and she laughed because she already knew that.

Anyway, this month, the mountains have just looked spectacular. On my drive to work, there is one stretch where I drive down a hill facing the most beautiful sight. Each morning I think of God and how He is the creator of all things.

As I drove from church over to my parent's place Sunday, the mountains were practically screaming WORSHIP OUR CREATOR, and so I did. As I drove, I thought of these words, tried to stop crying because crying and driving is a bad combination, and I worshiped.

I look to the hills.
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of Heaven and of Earth.

Through my drive, I sang worship and just spend some beautiful quality time giving praise to my God.

I pulled into the last stretch of the drive and saw the most majestic of all mountains and nearly cried again, but this time, for a different reason.

I think I understand why people choose to worship creation. 

It's so beautiful. It's so wonderful.

Yet I cried because worship creation will get you no where.

It won't satisfy because creation can't save you.

Creation isn't something you can put your trust in. Creation isn't anything, except an arrow; an arrow pointing straight to its Creator.

I serve the Creator of the Universe.

I am saved by the Creator, who made Himself a servant, who came to earth, lived a sinless life, serving and loving, teaching and helping, who died on a cross, not because He had done anything wrong, but because He was different than expected. He laid down His life on His own accord, and bore the wrath of God on Him, and the earth literally went black.

As I read the scripture around the sermon being preached yesterday at church, my heart noted how the sun's light failed.

As I read those words of the sun, I pictured a crowd of angels in charge of blocking the sun for those 3 hours, in tears knowing that Jesus was alone and without God for the first time so that anyone who calls upon His name will never ever be alone.

I know that picture is probably inaccurate and not theologically sound, but I do think there is something stunningly beautiful and sorrowful about it.

Jesus was killed. And then He rose again, appearing like a gardener to Mary, because the garden had been brought full circle. The garden where sin had entered was now being tended by the One whom sin had never entered.

God made the mountains that I look upon. My help comes from Him.