26 November 2013

an analogy on surrender

I'm in a Bible study on Monday nights. We're working through a book by Linda Dillow called Satisfy my Thirsty Soul for I am Desperate for Your Presence. I've shared about it on my instagram account quite a bit these past weeks.

My favourite thing about the study is that I just get to attend it. I lead a community group on Wednesdays and spent the last two year apprenticing as a leader, so it's so refreshing to get to go somewhere and not feel pressure to be leading well. At this study, I simply get to participate.

Anyway. A few weeks ago, we were talking about the word surrender. It's a tough word to comprehend, and an even tougher word to put into practice.

As the rest of the girls (is it odd that I use girls instead of women, even being mid-twenties, it feels odd to refer to myself as a woman or a lady. Hm. Anyway.) were chatting, I had an analogy float into my mind.

I held onto it for a few minutes, as the discussion continued. I kept praying really Lord? This? Really?

Eventually, I shared this:

Have you ever played the card game go fish? You have cards in your hands, and the other person asks if you have a 2. If you have a 2, you have to put it down, but if you don't, you essentially get to tell them to look elsewhere.

Surrender is like that. The Lord is constantly asking us what we're holding onto. The things we haven't yet surrendered, the things we're holding closer.

Do you have a 2?
Do you have a 7?
Do you have a jack?

If we have them, we have to give them Him. There really isn't another option, because that's how the game works.

Sometimes we're in a season, a season I find myself in rarely, when the things He asks us for aren't in our hands. In those moments, we don't have to surrender them up because we already have.

The problem is that during the game, we're constantly drawing up new cards. Some new cards that might resemble an old card. 

So even if we gave up the 2 a long time ago, He might ask us for it again. And if we have it, we have to give it up.

It's a simple analogy. Not complicated, but I've found it helpful.

So often I think of surrender as I give it to God and then I never have to deal with it again, which is odd because my sin patterns show me that I tend to repeat things over and over. I give something to the Lord and find that I probably have to give it back to Him again the next day, and the next. Eventually I might be able to last longer than a few days, but it's pretty easy for old sins to creep back into my hands.

Surrender. It's constant.

I think the most beautiful part of the game is that we too get to ask things of the Lord. We get to ask if He has 8 or a 9 for us. Sometimes He tells us to go fish, but sometimes He gives us exactly what we asked.

I've found that the things He doesn't have to offer me are typically replaced by something better.

21 November 2013

{a walk through} psalm 81

Here are a few songs I've been singing aloud lately and the lines in them I've been chewing on most:

Bringing reconciliation
To a world that longs to know
The affections of a father
Who will never let them go

This world tells me trust what I can see
Lord, won't You help me believe what I believe

this song I've only been able to listen to a couple time. it makes me cry to hard to listen through.

You broke into the silence and sang your song of hope
A melody resouning in the deep of my soul
You have come running
You tore down every wall
All the while you’re shouting,
“My Love you’re worth it all”

May my prayer like incense rise before You
The lifting of my hands as sacrifice
Oh Lord Jesus turn Your eyes upon me
For I know there is mercy in Your sight

What about you? What's your songs right now?

20 November 2013

places of peace: sand, sun and sea

I think that everybody has places of peace, spaces where their heartbeat slows, their fists uncurl, their tired eyes see clearly and brightly.

For me, one such space is the ocean. 

I stand knee deep in the blue clear ocean. Settled. I look at my feet and watch beautiful fish walk by, as if I am their neighbour instead of the foreigner I am.

I listen to the waves tell their stories of old. "This one time" they say, over and over, whispering tales of glory and sorrow. They know that their life ends once they hit the beach, so they waltz around together, biding their time until fate lands them home.

As I step out of the water, the sand slips beneath my toes, like a young child learning to walk. The last waves call to me, beckoning me out of the land and into the water. I pay them no attention. I'm ready for the sand.

The sand. Oh, my toes sink in. With each step, I'm unsure if my feet will make it to the next step.

The sand grabs on to my toes, like a dear friend embracing one who has been gone too long. I let the sand hold on. I've missed its presence.

The water, the waves, the sand, and the everything - they've each let my worries wander away. I can no longer the issue I set out to solve when I arrived.

And the sun. Oh. It holds on like a baby to its mother. It clings to me and I don't mind. I hold it dear, near to my chest, because all to soon, its day will end and its embrace will set.

18 November 2013

intention means nothing

intention means nothing without action

While at Influence, I was privileged to hear from Shauna Niequist.

There are numerous things that she said that have stuck out to me. I wrote quickly as she shared her thoughts, but there was one line in particular that has actually impacted my everyday.

If it it just a vague intention, it won't happen.

She urged the importance of follow through. 

How if you say hey I want to hang out with you, you have to follow up with what's your schedule? let's get it written down.

Since then, I've been making a better attempt at being intentional.

I follow up "oh you wanna do coffee" with "when works?". And then I open up my calendar and get things down.

It's simple but it's necessary.

Intention means nothing without action.

How are you intentional, or better, how do you take action?

15 November 2013

naptime prayers: pray without ceasing

I've been working as a nanny for a few weeks now. Much of my days now include feeding, cleaning, diaper changing, and a nap time schedule.

My favourite part of the day falls in the moments right before her nap. The babe I nanny has a set little nap time routine that we go through before each nap. We walk through the apartment, saying goodnight to the lights and the blinds, the sink and the cat. I sing a song, and then I pray.

For some reason, one I'd like to call a spiritual battle type of reason, prayer has been hard for me the past few months. Once in a while I've felt the way I used to feel during prayer (freedom), but often I feel like I'm pulling teeth. My own teeth. Ouch.

I still do it because I know it's necessary and because I believe that someday the hardness of it will end. 

Something being hard isn't reason not to do it, specifically something we're commanded to do.  

Pray without ceasing.

This moment of prayer, in a dark room, holding this little babe, has become a sweet refuge for my heart. I've always been able to pray best when I'm alone anyway, so maybe that's why since I know she doesn't understand the words I'm sharing to our Lord and Saviour. Maybe it's the holding her and knowing that even if she never remembers these moments, it's a good thing to do - to model prayer to her. Maybe it's the darkness, that I can't see much, that I have to pray softly.

Whatever it is, these prayer are intimate. They're honest. They're me and Jesus and this baby and it's a sweet time.

So often in life, my prayers are lists. Asking God for things, seeking Him for my issues, and for the issues I see around me. But just before nap time, that's when I simply pray to Him. I'm at my most repentant, at my most ready to hear from Him.

I lay her in her bed, say goodnight, and meander out of the room. It's a small apartment so the lights have to stay out and I can't make any noise during her nap, so it's a good time to come over here and write. 

when prayer is hard

13 November 2013

november goals: passion isn't inevitable

A goal that I have for November which I forgot to share when I shared my goals for the month is this:

More passion

I've found myself feeling dull. Feeling quick to say no to fun plans and yes to burdensome things. 

A few weeks ago, I felt like I lost my mind. I didn't and that's an exaggeration of sorts, but I just came to this moment where I was so overwhelmed by all the things in front of me that I couldn't cope. I went home and got honest with myself about my limitations. 

I wasn't being wise with my time. I wasn't stewarding it, wasn't respecting it, wasn't letting it be used well. 

That moment of truth happened to be during my month of "quiet". 

In my mind I feel like I've shared much about that quiet month but in actuality I haven't shared much. I've written much about it, in my journals and all over evernote, but here - it's harder to share about something when you're not sure if you were a success or a failure.

I had sweet intentions with quiet. Intentions of quiet nature really. But instead I just filled my time more and more and more. And when I had quiet, I wasted it watching tv shows and in other mindless ways. 

More passion. 

In our mastermind group, the Sunday before the week I lost my mind, I shared how I wanted more passion. How I was tired of this numbing business, this endless tired. 

So November is for far more passion. 

I'm scaring myself with the things I say no to. I'm saying no to opportunities that seem actually incredible because while they sound excellent, they're not well timed. 

As in somebody offered me an incredible job that would fill every evening of my life until January. An incredible job. Like I could write a lot of paragraphs about why it would be a dream job. I had to say no because I want to be a good human who has time to love God first and also love people super well.

I'll never steward well the things I'm doing now if I keep adding more and more things to my to do list. It will topple.

I'm not turning down every opportunity that comes my way, but I'm being a little more hesitant with my yes.

In fact, lately, I've decided that my to do is to do less. I'll share more about that another day, but it's been helpful to remember that. That doing less is better than more.

My yes list is good right now. It's life giving and fruitful and good. My no list is difficult. No is a hard mentality for me to live out. No is also a sweet learning curve to get through - getting over my yes girl lifestyle.

I'm saying yes to bowling, to drives to get coffee in America instead of here in Canada, yes to going to documentary screenings and pie for dinner. Yes to waiting in line forever for breakfast. Yes to books and selfies and silly faces for days.

Busy and tired are inevitable. Passion is not. I'm seeking out passion. 

It's a goal that only I can measure. And so well it's measuring itself out well. 

The idea of more passion is something I want to speak of more often.  

Expect to hear how life is being lived out with more passion. 

What do you do to live a passionate life? What do you say yes to, and what's hard to say no to?

11 November 2013

create new things

Months ago, a friend showed me a preview of anther friends blog. It was beautiful. I knew the code to get in so every once in a while I would pop over to look at it getting done because I just thought it was so beautiful.

Around that same time, I started considering a new blog design. Started looking at colours, and really started mulling over a tag line. I knew I was ready for a secondary heartbeat to be finished, and for nadinewouldsay to be the name. But a tag line. That's what I wanted. Something that made it more than just nadinewouldsay and that showed my purpose.

One day, I came up with it. I wrote it down, and stored it in my heart. I thought about in constantly, so grateful I'd finally put in a sentence what my heart was. 

Another day, I popped back over to that site I mentioned earlier. To my horror, I saw my tag line there. 

I had no idea if I had seen it there and thus been inspired, or if I'd been inspired elsewhere and her line happened to be the same.  

I felt hurt. 

Not by her or anybody. But I was sad. 

I hadn't set out to steal something but I knew that if I used the tag line I would be stealing.

I know in my heart that coming up with that line wasn't sinful. It wasn't wrong or bad or hurtful or ill intentioned. But if I ever put it up anywhere online, it would be sinful. It would be hurtful and unkind.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 

As a lover of Jesus, the God OF the universe, the Creator of ALL things, I can trust that He'll give me a different line for this space. It might take me a while (because that one was SO good and said exactly what I wanted to say), but it'll come. 

My job is to create NEW things, inspired by the One who makes all things new.

Kim of oh, sweet joy! wrote some good words on a similar topic. Before I'd even read Kim's post, I had already been mulling through similar thoughts myself. Her words are worth a read.

She shared of being on the opposite side of where I am. As somebody who had created something and had is stolen. Reading her words confirmed to my heart that I needed to honour God and this friend's tagline by not using it for myself. I had already decided that I wouldn't use it, but now I knew I couldn't use it.

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 3:17

Blogging is only honouring to God if I do it FOR HIM. I give Him thanks for this online space, I give Him all the glory, honour, and praise. And I trust that He's going to give me a new tag line.

Update: Because I have curious and gracious friends, I'd already received a text before 6am asking about this, a friend kindly sharing sympathy that I'd not been able to have this line. I wanted to share here what I shared with her, because what I shared with her is the point of sharing this story. I'm not sharing this story to gain sympathy. I'm sharing it to point out that sometimes we're given option to sin, to steal, to take - but that we don't have to. We can choose a better path. We can follow our Lord Jesus who chose to humble Himself from God to man. If Jesus can do that, then I can easily give up a tagline.

My friend had just said that she was sorry for me.

No it's okay. I wrote the piece last week but I feel like I came to terms with that ages ago. I just felt like people needed to hear that we can't use the things that aren't ours if they aren't ours first. And that we have to trust God will give us new things. 

08 November 2013

pie for dinner.

Mid day I got the text suggesting pie. 

It made perfect sense. Why wouldn't we go for pie?

I drove to where Tami was after work and then we went to get pie. 

As we walked up to the pie shoppe, I got nervous because the doors were closing but the girl working smiled and let us in. She was funny. She told us what she had to offer (and quickly unoffered the gluten free pie - maybe somebody else needed it), we choose our pie and went on our way. 

Since my current space is a bit cramped for much company, we went to hers. 

I was hoping we'd end up there. Her space is so beautiful. It's always beautiful. 

We made tea, ate pie, watched a movie, chatted, played with her dogs, and I was home before 9. 

It was delightful. 

I love friends where it's easy peasy. Where the conversation can get deep if it needs to and stay light if it wants to go that way instead. No pretense friendships.

The friends who know that two pies is better than one because that way you can share and try more variety. Not every friend is a sharing friend, which is fine. I just like the sharing friends more. 

Friends who grab you slippers and cover you in blankets. The ones who let their dogs slobber on your face and say things like "You're an auntie everywhere you go. To all the kids. Now to all the dogs". 

Friends who would let you stay forever if you needed to stay but who would tell you to leave if they needed you to leave. 

I like those type of friends. 

Tami is one of those.

07 November 2013

{a walk through} psalm 79

I've been thinking much about my {a walk through} series lately, and how if somebody has arrived anytime after I started the series, they might be wondering what is going on.

Last year I started recognizing that I needed to make scripture a bigger part of my life. I wrestled with it, largely because I wasn't sure how to incorporate my own personal study here on my blog, without it coming across as a devotional, which isn't what I was aiming for.

There's nothing wrong with devotional style blogs, or blogs that spend a lot of time unpacking scripture, but I really wanted to just read a verse and just share what it made me think. No Greek, no Hebrew, no fancy hermeneutics. Simply sharing how a holy word impacted me.

I also wrestled with it because spiritual discipline takes that second word - discipline. I knew I wasn't making scripture a priority, so I had revamp the way I viewed it. I needed to see scripture as food, necessary for life, tasty and healthy.

This series has taken on different styles throughout the year. I sometimes like scrolling back through each Psalm in my images files because I can tell when I liked blue and when I liked ombre, and when I really liked bubbles. Lately I really love real images instead of simply coloured backgrounds (though today I am not proving that true). No matter the season, I always love colour. That's true in normal life too.

It's been a stretch for me as a designer, so much so that this is the first time I've written down that maybe I'm starting to think of myself as a designer. Not in a fancy, formal, or paid way. Just in a I like to make all the images on my blog and sometimes they don't suck kinda way.

Anyway. The heart of the series has always been a few things:

be in the Word.
blog consistently about what you learn.
be okay if some weeks you don't share what you learn.
make and share images.

Up until my October break, every Tuesday and Thursday, I popped in with a Psalm. I started at Psalm 1, and have been slowly working my way up. It's my most long term project probably ever, and I love it. Some days I share thoughts on the scripture, some days I just share other things.

I say that I love it, and I do, but I realized something over the month off. Making the images for a twice a week series takes a lot of time. It takes away from writing time, and it takes away from life.

So I'm switching it up a bit. Because Mackenzie told me I could. It's true. We were chatting last week and I said that the series felt a bit burdensome and I was thinking about ending it, but how that felt like a cop out. She told me it wasn't a cop out. Yay friends. So instead of ending it completely, I'm revamping it.

Instead of twice a week, I'm just going to share one Psalm per week.

One thing Jessi & Haylie pushed at influence was the idea of a funnel. How we need to take all the things we do and funnel them down to the things that give us life. So this is me funneling down this series so it's a bit more life giving to my time.

Come by any Thursday. We'll be here. While you're at it, pop by anytime okay? 


06 November 2013

A Cup of Writing

I wonder how writing works for others. I crave writing. 

I crave it similar to the how I crave a cup of coffee in the morning. I can cope, even cope well, without a cup of coffee, but I sigh deeper and smile wider if I have a large cup at the start of my day.

So too writing. I can go without. I'll be okay. I appreciate joy and cheerfulness enough that I can live both out most of the time. Even without time to write.

But if I write, things clear up. Emotions (typically the irrational type) settle. Decisions almost seem to make themselves.

I don't need a topic, though writing within the challenge of one is a good one.

I treasure the moments, the chances to take hold of the thoughts that race, the ideas that float in and out of my head.

I can do without. I'll really be fine. I will however, do better with a nice cup of writing.

What's writing to you? Is it comfort? It is escape? It is a means of peace?  

05 November 2013

Setting Goals: November edition

When it comes to change, I so often set a huge goal and then when I fail quickly, I quit quickly.

Hayley encouraged her readers to link up to share their November goals. Then I read Anne's goal update, as I do whenever she shares them, and I felt like maybe it was time.

Like I mentioned, I'm a big goals person - but not a good goal setting person.

As my sister wisely said to me on Sunday, in regards to an entirely different issue but that also fits here, "You're quick to escape".

An escape mentality is one that has been mine for much of my life, and it is one that has grown larger and wider, higher and deeper over time. My tendency to escape has stopped me from accomplishing numerous things.

It's stopped me from setting goals. It's stopped me from accomplishing goals.

When smart people talk about goals, I always hear the words actionable, measurable, and other fancy ones like that. So I'll try my best to keep them at that.

1. Keep eating breakfast and lunch every week day.

This one should be the easiest. The family I nanny for provides food for me. It's amazing what having to sit to eat with an infant does for your own eating. As I prep her food, I prep food for me. As I hand her her food, I eat my own. I know this sounds silly and obvious, but it's been a huge shift for me. I'm not a breakfast person, and I'm a buying lunch fiend. It's unhealthy and not very smart. I had mostly fixed the problem back when I was working full time, but being unemployed for two months wrecked my good habits.

I'm on week three right now of eating breakfast and lunch every week day. I still don't always eat dinner, weekends are just fair game.

I've noticed change already. The change is small and it'll take time to see significant change, but it's happening. Little by little.

2. Pick one picture for social media.

At influence, I was super thankful to have my friend Megan take pictures for me. She listened to my ideas and we had a blast. I'll share more of the photos over time, but this one is probably my fave. I feel like it captures me pretty well.

This one doesn't feel right for all social media since it's not a head shot. I'm pretty sure I'm close to picking my favourite (which is hard to do when your friend takes a bunch of great pictures), and I'd like to have it up online in every social media area by the end of the month.

Now is when I sheepishly admit that I am only setting two goals. But Anne told me that two sounded good. So . . .

Two it is.

What are your goals for November? Have you linked up yet?

04 November 2013

An ode to suite 103.

October. Oh October. She made me say goodbye to an apartment that truly was a home.

In November of 2010, I moved into that beautiful space with a dear friend. A few roommates later, it was time to say goodbye.

Moving out of that apartment was a hard decision. That space was where I felt safe. It was home. It was comfort. It was beautiful.

Many tears met that living room floor, not simply because of the move, but over the years I spent living there. Laughter was often heard echoing its hallways. Tasty smells filled the whole place. Friends were welcome, words were always, and a fresh cup of coffee could be brewed in just a couple minutes.

I have distinct memories of people dancing around, of the one time we got a noise complaint, of the loud people downstairs who should have gotten more noise complaints, of the sincere peace that seems to just permeate the walls.

It was the perfect space for a good conversation.

Suite 103 was where I started to find myself. I realized how much I appreciate beauty, how I need beautiful things around me in order to be at my best. Sometimes I think I miss the wall space for its scripture and big window for its light on the couch more than anything else. I loved that home.

I've only a couple times pointed my car that way instead of my new space . I've only a couple times driven by just because. I've only a couple times woken up and been disorientated.

I sure do miss that space.

What's your home space? Where are you at your best? I'd love to hear.

01 November 2013


October. Woosh. It's over.

Quiet. Quiet was good. Quiet was necessary.

October was a month filled with sweet rest. It was filled with loud laughter, long conversations, flights, retreats, family, friends, and so much.

I journal wrote a lot. I read books well I read one and a half but that is huge progress for me. I went for long walks, took pictures most of which got deleted from my phone when it busted, boo, and did my best not to waste the days.

I had so many words to share, and I'm truly ready to share them.

So pop back next week and I'll start.