13 August 2014

{a walk through} psalm 119


Can I just say that this is a verse I can get behind? Specifically the first part. 

I would like to have good judgement, to have a lot of knowledge. Not necessarily book knowledge, but a knowledge of how to live a good life and get the things that I would like. 

Right?

Yet I kind of think that this is not the knowledge this text is speaking to. 

Because of the second half. 

Teach me for: I believe in Your commandments. 

This kind of teaching, this kind of learning, it comes out of already known truth. 

In the times of this scripture, Jesus wasn't yet a "thing" to anybody. He wasn't really a bit deal yet. 

But today? Today He is. 

So thinking about the commandments that the writer would have been alluding to, and to the commandments I know to be my life call from Jesus (love God and love others), I need to rethink my learning. 

I don't want to learn for my benefit. I don't want to learn more things so that I feel fantastic about myself.

I want to learn truth so that I can spread the Gospel. For the glory of God and for the benefit of His children. 

24 July 2014

{a walk through} psalm 116

I had arrived home weary.

It frustrated me that I was weary, because life was in a good place - nothing was actually going wrong, why was my soul sad - yet I knew that there was only one place for me to turn.

In my old apartment, I had my spaces for weary. The first space was my living room floor. Next was my bed. Worst case scenario was my car. I’ve had the same car for so many years now that it is one of the most safe spaces I ever encounter. My car’s name is Drew - Drew has heard many tears, fears, hopes and joys.

I have lived in the same basement suite now for nearly seven months. While it is home, it still has not become a place of peace for me. Well, that’s not quite true. It is a place of peace, but I rarely feel like the space is capable of holding me if I break. I think that idea might not make sense to anyone but myself. 

I trusted my old apartment. I trusted its walls and its creaks and its windows that leaked anytime it rained. 

For whatever reason, this new - albeit not really new anymore - space has not yet gained my trust. 

That night though. I was weary. The day had not been bad, but my heart was feeling tender and unsure about things.

So much of my life currently feels like a delicate dance of trust and hope. The lovely part of this season is that it is not a sad dance. It is mostly beautiful. Yet beauty is not void of tension. Beauty is the eyes that can still shine amidst the tension.

I walked in, shut the door, and walked to my room. I closed my bedroom door and moved to the floor. I knew that the Lord was the only one who could meet me where I was.

I knew that He would mend the hurt, but He would only do it if I told Him every single thing that hurt - He would only heal me if I let Him into my hurt.

First I begged Him to let me cry.

Tears are one of many things I have never felt that I have any type of control over. Tears are an unknown to me. They are beautiful and necessary and absolutely loved by me yet I rarely feel as though they arrive when I would like them to arrive. 

So first I begged Him for tears. I wanted to be honest before the Lord and that felt only possible if my throat would be sore from crying. 

I’m not sure if that will make sense to anyone. But that’s how I needed to arrive.

Ellie Holcomb sings: “my throat is worn out from calling for help and I am praying You’ll restore my life”. 

I was worn out because I had not been calling for help.

I had been pretending. 

I had told myself that it was in the name of being angry and not sinning, but really it had been because I was not quite sure how to approach God with my anger. 

So finally I did. 

I told Him of a way that He had hurt my feelings. And then I told Him of another. 

I listed off my hurts, adding in my worries and fears, and I asked Him to step up and be the God that He is.

I whispered and wept, honest before my God in a way that I had missed for a very long time.

I believe that it is when I am most honest before God that He can do the biggest amount of showing off. As in, when I stood up from my space on the ground, an hour later, I was no longer weeping. My tears had dried, my fears were gone. I was no longer unsure about what my life looked like. I felt refreshed and excited, ready to walk faithfully in the things He has before me.

The Lord healed me of my hurt and handed me hope.

If I had not gone before God - in an honest and healthy way - I would not have experienced His healing.

This weeks Psalm reminds me of that night. 
It reminds me that God is gracious and merciful and righteous. 
It reminds me that it is absolutely necessary to call out to God in brokenness. 
It reminds me that God is faithful to respond.

When I was brought low, He saved me.

That is good news.


Psalm 116
I

17 July 2014

bloom.

I saw a tweet about tonight’s five minute friday and couldn’t help but want to join in. I feel like a fraud as a blogger since I haven’t written a post (outside of posting images for the Psalm series) since MAY! Yeep. I miss this space. But I also am determined to be a good student in this season of education. So there’s that. Anyway. Premise aside, here’s a blog post from the absentee blogger.

five minute friday


The prompt is bloom, which makes me chuckle because well, I haven't blogged in a while so the idea of writing FOR my blog and not for a professor is both incredible and also seems like maybe I've forgotten how. 

Bloom though. Back to that. 

Last year was last year. It's been written about. It happened. Then the season of rest happened, a season where God just bandaged and bandaged and let me heal. He quieted me and calmed me and changed me and reminded me that not only was His grace sufficient, His love was too. 

So then this year. This season. It's bloom. What else is it but that? It's the spring buds popping up after a long winter, refreshing the spirit and cleaning the dust. 

This season is singing loudly, dancing wildly, laughing until my belly hurts and all the things. 

It's deep feeling, learning what it means to simultaneously rejoice with the rejoicing whilst also mourn with the mourning. That's a delicate dance I'm desperately wanting to dance well. Both mourn and rejoice, sometimes in the same moment. Because I'm sure Jesus would have. 

This is the season of bloom. It's the brightest I can remember. It's my favourite to date.

In church we sang Desert Song on Sunday and gosh I remembered all the times when all the hard parts of that song rang true. 

But this time I knew my line. It came at the end. 

This is my prayer in the harvest (in the bloom), where favour and providence flow.
I know I'm filled to be emptied again, this seed I've received I will sow. 

Amen. Amen. 


Five Minute Friday

{a walk through} psalm 115

27 May 2014

the broken beautiful


nadinewouldsay


I saw last week that Ellie Holcomb had released a music video for The Broken Beautiful and immediately I clicked over to watch it. If you’re like me, you open music videos into full screen during your first watch. You watch fully, appreciating the textures and colours and stories you get to see. 

If you’re not like that, will you be for a minute? I’ve put the video below and I think it’s just beautiful. I think it’s worth your time. 

Watch it in full screen and then come back and read what it brought up in my heart.




Last year was the broken year. The whole year wasn’t broken, but the last five months were. 

Losing my job was probably the most hurtful thing I’ve walked through. It’s something I rarely talk about, mostly because when I do, it brings up hurts.

Whenever I think about it, and the hurts arise, I quickly pray blessings over my old co-workers. I don’t get to see them but I trust God with their salvation. I beg for it. I beg that He’ll do the good work only He can do to show them Himself.



The broken year. I went from a full time job to nothing at all.

In that moment of sincere brokenness, at the pushing of some wise friends, I fund raised to go to the influence conference. And it was beautiful. It was a beautiful part in the broken. 

So many moments from that conference are still treasured in my heart. Hugs with so many girls that I loved. Wisdom spoken over me by friends I respect. It was a weekend of peace amidst a broken season.

I got home and immediately had to move. That was the kicker for me. It was one thing to lose a job, but truly, the home was harder. It was hard to walk away from that apartment. I’ve only twice driven by it since I moved out in September because I can’t. I drive by and all I feel is loss.

 I soon found myself a new job. It wouldn’t start for a few weeks which worked well since a family vacation was upon me.

Again, it was beauty amidst the broken. 

I spent much of that week sitting myself, journaling and processing. I played with nieces and nephews, chatted with siblings, shared a room with my parents, and felt sweet joy in the sorrow.

I got home, spent a lot of time by myself going for walks, and soon started my role as nanny.



Nannying was beauty amidst the broken. Nap times were where the Lord healed my sorrows, and awake time was when He taught me patience and love.



It was amidst this season of healing, this quiet little time for my heart be healed by the Lord, that I started considering the future.

Not right away. From October to February, all I thought about was each day. I wasn’t looking at the future. I wasn’t making plans.



I even told the Lord that I wasn’t making plans because any plan I had ever made had been foiled by Him. Talk about dramatic.



This one day in February, for reasons I won’t share here, my heart got hurt by somebody. 

It got hurt and I let myself get sad for a few days. I also invited some friends into the sadness with me, as in I let them speak to me even while I didn’t really want them to.

One reminded me of our purpose in Christ. She kicked me in the pants. I let myself have that night to be sad.

The next morning I woke up and decided to think about the future.


I started thinking about what I wanted, about where I want my life to go, about the dreams I hadn’t let out of my heart for a long while.

I let myself trust in God again with my dreams.

I decided to go back to school. I started creating a new website (it’s still in the works). I made goals and accomplished them.



Recently my Mom said that while she wishes last year didn’t have to happen the way it did, since it more or less wrecked me, she’s glad it did. 

Because the hurts pushed me to healing.

My hurt pushed me to look to Jesus in ways I had never had to.

I'd never needed Christ as much as I did this last year.




And these are the thoughts that came to my mind from that music video! Yikes. so many thoughts. 

Where has God healed you? Where are you broken? Are you letting Him come into those spaces?

22 May 2014

{a walk through} psalm 107

If Psalm 105 was a reminded that God is in charge, and Psalm 106 was a reminder that it is important to remember, Psalm 107 shows that repetition is important. 

This Psalm shares ways that The Lord redeemed His people. 

Verses 6, 13, 19, and 28 all share the exact same words. Right after sharing a way that the people of God were in distress each verse reads: then they cried out to The Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 

Four times in one Psalm. Seems important hey?

Following each of these comes another piece of repition (verses 8, 15, 21, 31): Let them thank The Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondeous works to the children of man!

Four times? Seems important. 

Repition is important. I think this Psalm is given to show that God is continuous in His faithful redemption. 

The Psalm ends this way (v. 43):

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of The Lord.

Psalm 107

20 May 2014

seeds: the story of hope becoming truth

nadinewouldsay

A small seed becomes a big tree, over years and years. 

No matter how big the tree, once upon a time the seed was small. 

It had to be planted as a seed in order to become the large tree, the huge bush, or the beautiful flower it is now. 

And I think the Lord does that in our lives as well. 

In the middle of our broken places, God plants little seeds of hope.

Hope that one day things will be different.

He promises us Himself.

We don't notice them at first because we're hurt.

The planting feels normal. We're used to feeling pushed and moved.

Eventually though, soon after the planting, we stop and notice the new life. The buds. The sprays of green popping out of the brown dirt. 

We notice and marvel, wondering what will happen next.

Then we stop paying attention for a bit, still very much in our hurt and mess. 

Sometimes it feels quick whereas other times it takes time, but no matter what, the seed keeps making action. 

The seeds have grown, are digging in and continue to take root.

Over years and years the tree grows. 

And suddenly we are standing under the shade of a tree that once was hope and that now is our truth.

The Lord has done what He said He would do. He has given us Himself and He is enough.
 
When I finished writing this piece, I remembered this quote by C.S. Lewis and felt like it also said what I hoped to accomplish with these words above.
 
Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different

15 May 2014

{a walk through} psalm 106

Psalm 106


Akin to last weeks Psalm, Psalm 106 is one that shares a bit of a story. It's a retelling of things that have happened. 

One thing I've learned through studying the scripture is that it's important to remember. 

To remember the stories of old and see God's faithfulness. 

To remember the iniquity of all. Mostly to recognize the iniquity and sin in ourselves. If we don't realize that we are the deprived sinner, we will never ever recognize how very glorious the Gospel is. 

We need to remember what God actually has promised. Culture, even church culture, gets confused about what promises God has given us. Spouses, children, and riches aren't promises of God. New life though, through the work of Jesus, that is promised. 

There were a few sections that stood out to me specifically.

Verse 13 says "but they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel". It made me want to remember. To study His truth, to know His works and to wait only on Him. 

Verse 24 says "then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise". Reading that verse made my heart want seek more faith, a faith that doesn't despise where He has me. 

Verse 45 speaks of God remembering his covenant for "their sake". Sometimes I forget that the cross hurt Him. Obviously I never forget that it was physically painful, but sometimes the loss that Christ suffered for me - I forget that He did it for my sake.  It's amazing and genuinely the best thing ever. Thank You Lord. 

It is good to remember His words

What have you studied lately? Anything sticking out as you think back as truth to cling to? It's all truth to cling to, but what is impacting your life?



12 May 2014

a narrative of hope

Picture with me for a minute, will you?




You're sitting at home, in the middle of your mess. And gosh, it's messy. There's hurt on your lap, and tears on your cheeks. Wounds mark your arms, some self made, some others induced. You're just in the thickest of the thick and you're all by yourself.

Your phone rings and at the other end you hear a voice that you're pretty sure you recognize. It's an old friend, you quickly realize, and you're invited over: come right away.

You're not the only one invited though. There will be at least ten others, so gather your things and come on over.

You look around at yourself and your surroundings. You could really use a long shower and a lot of makeup to cover up the tiredness of your life.

But your friend insists: come as your are.

So you do. You put on a sweater because it's not the warmest day. You grab your keys and you're out the door.  

Soon, you arrive at your friend's home. You look around and see an array of people.

Some look like you. Raged and tired but with gratitude in their eyes. Others look fresh and lovely. You recognize one of the girls who just looks the most beautiful because her whole being is joy filled. You recognize her from a season past, when her eyes looked vastly similar to your own.

You all come in, carrying in the days and the week and the months you're walking in. 

Your friend welcomes you with care: I'm glad you came.

They offer to hang up your sweater since the house is warm but you hold onto it.

Another person beside you gives up their coat. You see track marks on their arms. You're a bit surprised that they shared, but at the same time, you realize you don't have to hide. But you keep your sweater on for good measure. Maybe it'll get chilly later.

You all sit down at the table, and instead of food, you share your lives. Each goes around, sharing the day they're in. Some are the saddest tales whereas others are the happiest. No matter the tale, all are beautiful.

You notice one thing in common, a similar thread that lines the table. You're all broken.

All of you. The ones whose stories sound so very happy have the deepest understanding and compassion in their eyes. The darkest story of all comes from the brightest eyes.

The stories go late into the night. 

When you go home later, you realize something.

You forgot your sweater. You must have taken it off at some point. You hadn't even realized you'd done so.


a narrative of hope


This narrative above is one that came to mind as I heard this song below. It's by Francesca Battistelli and I think it's a glorious song. A beautiful one, one worth sitting in for awhile.

   bring your brokenness
    and I'll bring mine
   cause Love can heal what hurt divides


I envision a table surrounded with broken people. Because that's what we are. And when we invite others into our mess, and when we allow ourselves into others, beautiful things happen. The Lord moves.

We hear truth we couldn't hear on our own. And we speak truth that others couldn't hear on their own.

Letting others in brings freedom. 

You are not alone. 
 
Your story is not just your own. It must be shared.

There is hope. That hope has a name. The name of Jesus.

Our narrative is one of hope because we trust in the name of Jesus.

And Jesus reigns. He reigns. Yes! Jesus reigns.






09 May 2014

God meets us in our mess.

freedom in christ


One of the things I’m most passionate in my heart, and I hope it comes across in the way I live my life, is that I think it’s unwise when Christians try to act like their life is all put together.

Christ didn’t come for the healthy. He came for the sick. We need Jesus because we’re broken.

God meets us in our mess.

I so wish that I could sit down with women everywhere, Christian women specifically, the ones who have bought into the lie that the Christian life is one of perfection. That cleanliness is actually related to godliness. That a filtered life is enough.

I'm tempted to buy into the lie that I'll find good elsewhere.
Yet I only, and I mean this, I only find goodness when I seek the cross of Christ.

The only place I find goodness.
The only place I find freedom.
The only place I find wroth.

Truly truly, these are only found in Christ..

I’ve been reflecting much much much lately about how doubt is a good thing. 

It’s a very good thing, I strongly believe, to sit in the freedom of the cross and talk to Jesus about our doubts. It’s a good thing to say I don’t believe this right now Lord. I know I should, so I need Your help to remember Your truth.

I believe God meets us in our mess. He meets us when we’re honest. 

 

08 May 2014

{a walk through} psalm 105

Psalm 105


I went into this Psalm wanting to hear from God. I've been praying about having an expectant heart, of expecting God to show up. 

That's a new prayer for me, but it's also been a good one. The more I pray it, the more I see Him move. 

I noticed quickly that there was a beautiful theme in this Psalm: God chooses what happens

Flip to the Psalm if you can and watch what happens. 

He is The Lord. 
He remembers. 
He confirms. 
He allows. 
He summons. 
He sends. 
He makes. 
He turns hearts. 
He speaks. 
He gives.
He strikes. 
He delivers. 
He shows. 
He remembers.
Praise The Lord. 

This list isn't even exhaustive. It really only captures a part of the Psalm, and without the statements being ended, it's barely even enough to share. The entirety of the Psalm is incredible to me.

I wrote a few notes as I read. I was reminded that God chooses what happens. This is a good thing since He knows all things. He determines where things go, how things happen, what doesn't happen. He allows sun and rain on the good and evil (Matthew 5:43-45).  

I was reminded that the Lord remembers. He remembers His promises, His covenant. He is faithful to complete His work. Praise Him for that. 

My heart was full and encouraged as I studied this Psalm. 


What about you? Did you take time to read it? If you did (or if you will now,) let me know what stood out. I'd love to hear. 

02 May 2014

may goals



Each month Hayley of the tiny twig hosts a link-up for goals. I haven’t made it each month, but it’s been fun when I have.

May Goals:

1. Run. I started running again on Tuesday. It was glorious, so much so that I wrote about it Wednesday. In May I want to run more. At least twice per week but optimally more!

2. Educate. I start school on Monday. I have a full semester and want to do really well. I've never not worked while being in school before but this time I'm choosing to call education my full time work. In May I want to learn well and earn good marks! 

3. Write. I've eluded to starting to write about the things I avoid writing about. I'm my quite sure how much time I will have to blog given my school schedule, but I'd like to figure out a good posting schedule for the summer. Right now I'm thinking I'll aim for twice a week, one random and one Psalm. 

4. Laugh. Can’t measure this one at all, so I’ll have to make sure it happens often.

Quick little look at how April went:

1. Be ready for school. I’m not! But this weekend I'll go get some supplies). 

2. Be obedient. I'm still trying to listen and walk in the ways He’d like me to go. 

3. Better rest. Still working on learning this one. Maybe some day right?

4. Grace grace grace? I'm still walking in it and have no intention of stopping.

29 April 2014

A fresh start

January began a slow creep out of unhealthy. 

It was slow but successful. January was easy. I went for runs multiple times a week, ate relatively healthy, and felt great.  

February continued similarity. I felt healthy even while still knowing that healthy itself was far. 

March. March wasn't good. The first two weeks were so busy that I didn't have time to run. I'm all for making time for the important things but for those two weeks, I was busy in the worst way. 

Mid march I went for a run. It felt great to be back out after a couple weeks away. So great that I went again a few days later. Again it felt great. 

Well, it felt great until the last few minutes when I suddenly was overwhelmed by pain. The type of pain that led me to call my mom, sit on the sidewalk, and cry. 

I was discouraged. I had finally stopped having knee pain when running and had felt like I was about to hop back into a good rhythm. 

The pain scared me and the 6 blocks of excruciating pain that I had to walk were tear filled and oh so very slow. I'm not a push through the pain type girl. I'm very much a wuss and so running ended. So did healthy eating. 

March turned into a write off month. 

April ran similarily, until I went for a walk two weeks ago. The walk, alongside my Mom, went through trails near my parent's home. 

As we weaved up and down the trails, I started running. It made sense. My body felt ready. 

I got home a few days later and felt ready to run again. The busyness of March had followed me though so finding a time proved difficult. 

Until last night. Last night I ran. And it was glorious. 

My version of running is still app aided, with walking/jogging intervals, but it's sweet to my soul to get out and run. 

And last night was extra great because I decided to run to a worship album instead of my normal pop beats. 

I love my pop beats (I actually very much love top 40 - fun fact right there) but as I alternated between walking and tuning, my soul participated. 

I mouthed words to my Jesus as I huffed and puffed along. 

It's always the right day to start again. A fresh slate comes alongside new mercies, I really do believe. 

What's your fresh slate? Where do you need to simply start?



17 April 2014

{a walk through} psalm 102

As I sat down to make the image for this Psalm, I opened up Psalm 102 over on the ESV website. I read it, and it was one where I wasn't sure which words to focus on.

Was I to focus on the first two verses? The words resonated so clearly.

     Hear my prayer, O LORD;
     let my cry come to you!
     Do not hide your face from me
     in the day of my distress!
     Incline your ear to me;
     answer me speedily in the day when I call!
Psalm 102:1-2 

One of the things that I’ve loved studying the Psalms over the past year and a half has been seeing how much emotion seems to be allowed. I think I grew up kind of thinking that emotion was bad, at least before the Lord. Learning that He accepts my emotion? That’s been freeing.

Then verse 7, it struck out with its beautiful imagery.

     I lie awake;
     I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
Psalm 102:7

Verse 12 reminded me of how powerful God is. I had just finished listening to a sermon on Jesus in the days before He went to the cross. The imagery of God’s power (not a fake image, a true image) mingled closely with His humility before the cross in my mind.

     But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
     you are remembered throughout all generations.
Psalm 102:12

I think it was because of all these other verses, the words I was reading and truth I was encountering that caused me to start weeping as I read the next few verses.

     Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
     so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
     that he looked down from his holy height;
     from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
     to hear the groans of the prisoners,
     to set free those who were doomed to die,
     that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD,
     and in Jerusalem his praise,
     when peoples gather together,
     and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.
Psalm 102:18-22

. . . To set free those who were doomed to die. Wow. That line. It hurt me a little bit, in the best way. Jesus sets us free. His work on the cross, His death and resurrection, the fact that He was fully dead and experienced being forsaken by God, the fact that He was raised from the dead, the fact that those who call upon Him, they receive life! It hurts me because so often my life doesn’t display the truths that I profess.

I want to record the truth! I want to keep writing so that those who come will see and know that the Lord Jesus Christ was ruling my life. I want not only the typed words I share to profess it for me, I want every aspect of my life to point to the Gospel, to Jesus Christ my King.

Verses 25-27 also caused me to just pause my day, to consider all who God is, to worship Him for who He is.

     Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
     and the heavens are the work of your hands.
     They will perish, but you will remain;
     they will all wear out like a garment.
     You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
     but you are the same, and your years have no end.
Psalm 102:25-27

He is God. He is worthy of all worship. He will remain forever.

Do you believe? If you don’t, you can! Simply confess that Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and turn from the things that keep you from Him. I promise He will accept you if you call upon His life. 

Psalm 102
 

14 April 2014

Bless the Lord

I still remember her words vividly:

Nadine, I know you trust God through suffering, because I've seen you do it and I'm watching you do it. But do you trust that He has good for you?

That was at the very beginning of last fall. 

After having my eyes open to the fact that I didn't, I became determined to believe rightly. 

I prayed almost daily, simply asking for belief. I asked God to show me His love, to remind me who He was. 

It took awhile, mostly because I'm a stubborn sinner, but lately I've noticed myself having what feels like new beliefs. 

I believe that God has good for me. And that belief is changing everything - my confidence, my joy, my hope, my sorrow. 

Bless The Lord, His faithfulness ensures forever. And ever and ever and ever. 



08 April 2014

Friendship is

We sat down and ordered drinks and chatted life. They talked the boys in their life and I listened and gave my (obviously good since I’m not currently dating) advice and it was nice. It was just friends chatting. 

One mentioned a certain fear and the other spoke truth into it. Another brought up another fear and again truth was spoken. She mentioned this and I spoke into it. She mentioned that and she spoke into that too. I spoke of things I was terrified for - callings I am feeling from God, the type that make me weak in the knees and give a stomach aches. The type of things I wrote about yesterday

And they cheered and spoke truth and listened and loved. 

And I noticed. 

I recognize how that's what friendship is. 

Friendship is the listening and cheering. It's speaking truth into the lies our friends believe and listening silently when they really just need an ear. 

Friendship is saying "yes you can" and whispering "maybe you shouldn't”. It's the good and fun and dark and dirty. 

Friendship is the sitting beside, standing with, walking alongside, and holding close. It’s the letting go and the saying goodbye.

Friendship is late night runs for bad food, paying too much for a morning mimosa, fitting three on a bed, laughter that hurts. It's the tightest hugs simply because you can. 

Some friendships are for such specific seasons and others span seasons on end. 

Friendship is many things. It’s living life in community, and I really think that community is how we make it from here to the end.


friendship is


What does friendship look like to you

07 April 2014

It's time to tell our story.

This is a post that has been rumbling in my heart for weeks and ages but it's never felt like the right time. Or really, I've just been scared. But after reading words by a friend today, I knew it was time. 

I wrote the following words, just the italized ones, to that friend in an email just now, and then I came here and wrote the rest. It's loosely edited and all my heart.

I'm excited to hear the parts of your story that you share. I too have felt this similar rumble in my heart, one that's making my knees tremble with fear because it's terrifying to say yes to the story God puts us in. There is so much of my life I like sharing, and that's easy, but I feel this tension to start sharing the parts that don't shine quite so pretty, but that just absolutely wreak of the Gospel. 

I feel this tension right now. So strongly. To tell the stories of what is actually happening. I’ve never lied here, and I’ve never painted a perfect life, but I’ve also written little about some of the biggest things going on in my life.

I want to write more about being a worship leader. How I prepare and how I love it. How it’s hard and beautiful and how it’s changed so very much over the past year or so. How my prep is some of the most important work I do for my church.

I want to write more about being a community group leader at my church. It’s one of the sweetest challenges in my life right now. I told some friends recently that during group I usually have the tensest stomach because I feel such a need to make sure the Gospel is spoken, and how it’s also one of my biggest joys. I’m more aware of my failures than my successes as a leader, and I want to write about those things too. I want to share the ways I’ve really failed, the spiritual battle that shows up every single time I prepare for group, the words that the Lord has given me in the midst of it all.

And then there’s the things I don’t want to write about. But that I have to.

I don’t want to but need to and will be writing about being single. The past few weeks have held some of the clearest words from God I have ever heard. And it’s been terrifying. I’m always good at the beginning of things and terrible with the follow-through so I’m trying to listen to Him with such a heart of obedience. Because I’d like to follow through with the call I’m hearing Him tell me, even if it utterly terrifies me.

In the talks of singleness, I’ve got a whole bunch of subjects I’ve been writing on, and trying to study up on. I think there are a whole lot of lies that we’ve been told as singles, and as marrieds, and as everybody in the church. I don’t think anybody set out to lie deliberately  but I think Satan set out to just put confusion on top of singleness and I really believe that he has been succeeding. I want to write about the lies I’m hearing and I want to more so write out the truth that the Gospel shares.

In the talks of singleness, I want to talk about what it looks like to trust God fully with your life and also be so very lonely. Not incomplete, because Jesus completes, but definitely lonely. And how that’s not sinful. Oh friends, lonely is not a sin. What we do with our lonely can be (and often is) sinful, but the feeling of being lonely really isn’t sinful.

I want to talk about how Jesus has shifted my heart over the past few months. I want to talk about how Jesus has changed my life. I want to talk about the Gospel and how I was dead and now I am alive!

Yesterday the pastor said: God is not a god who makes bad people good. He makes dead people alive.

That’s what I want to share. I want to share what it means to be alive in Christ.

So I am going to!

Will you join me? Will you start writing the words that are scary to pen but necessary to hear? Your heart needs to be willing to write them, but even if you’re not willing to share them yet, will you write them?

Will you grab a new journal and a pen, or use your typing fingers, and will you start writing?

Because I need your story. I need it so desperately. I need to know I’m not the only one living in the tensions of this life.

Will you join me?

Because it's time we all tell our story.


tell your story

04 April 2014

April goals (plus a March recap)

setting goals


Things I wanted to have happen in March:

1. Set up all the walls. Mostly done. Still have a couple walls to finish, but little by little, the place is becoming a home.

2. Share some pictures of my home here on the blog. Didn’t happen, but honestly, I really and truly don’t care. I filled my month with fun, and that’s more important to me than pictures.

3. Keep making healthy choices. Ugh. Didn’t happen. Between busyness, sickness, genuine body issues during a work-out and all the things, health got set aside. 

4. Invite people over for dinner. YEP! This one I did, and it felt great! I think I had people over 6 times! Yay. I love that type of community so it was truly life giving.


Things I’d like to have happen in April:

1. Be ready when school starts May 5th. Books. Pens. Papers. All the things. Including a heart ready to submit to the schedule that is education.

2. Be obedient to the things God is saying. God’s saying specific things and I’m trying to listen well. And not simply listen, but step out in faith.

3. Better rest. Less lazy. I’m far too good at doing things that are leisurely and lazy but yet I still find myself tired. I want to figure out what actually gives me rest.

4. Grace. Grace. Grace. I’ve felt super burdened lately to speak more life in this space. With school starting in May I’m not sure what this space will look like over the next year (I’ll be finished school next April) but I want to just pour out grace because Jesus offers grace!


03 April 2014

{a walk through} psalm 100




Psalm 100


That’s a lot of exclamation points for the Bible, don’t you think?

As I looked at Psalm 100, (p.s. we’re at PSALM 100!!!) I noticed a bunch of beautiful and happy words. A heart excited to worship, acknowledge God, know Him, love Him.

I looked it, and I felt sincere joy and excitement over who God is. And then immediately I felt burdened.

Because I can easily remember when I haven’t felt that joy. I remember long seasons, some recent, some longer ago, when living out (and sometimes even simply believing) these words would have been hard.
 
Well maybe that’s not what stood out to you but to me, I noticed a fiery passion.

And I think when you feel that fiery passion, you should live it out.

But when you don’t, I think you should invite God into the hurts and the wounds. You could say things to God like, My feelings have been hurt, and it feels like by YOU! And You’re God so I know that You are good and loving but my heart is hurting. Will you give me more of yourself so I can remember the truth I know?

I wrote a post last year about how it’s okay if you’re not okay, and I shared the image on instagram recently, and I think sometimes we just need somebody to come alongside us and say that it’s okay if you’re not okay.

Sometimes we need the friends who say that it will be okay again someday, but sometime, gosh, we need the friend who sits beside us, holds our hand and doesn’t let go.

This has been a new season for me, to not feel like life hurts. It hurt for so long, for such specific reasons. And all of a sudden I'm feeling joy again, the joy I prayed for so very desperately.

But I'm sitting beside a sister who just lost a baby, a friend torn over a decision about a boy, another friend whose plans got thwarted by politics, a Dad who is sick, and just a list I could keep writing of people walking in broken seasons who are genuinely broken.

And the way they feel is right and okay. The way you feel is okay too! The Bible is clear about not sinning in our anger, and sin done against us or around us is never an excuse to sin, but grace and grace and grace and grace and there is so much grace

I remember last year, sitting on the floor at church, sobbing as the entire church sang the bridge of oceans. I heard everybody singing "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders" and I was sobbing "Please no further. Please no further. You've pushed my trust to the edge. PLEASE Lord. No further".

There's a place at the table of God for the broken, because truly truly, we're all the broken. Jesus is the mender, the healer, and in His goodness and grace and even His timing, He heals us. And I think some of us get to be healed here on earth of the hurts and I think some of us won't know healing until heaven.

brokenness
 

So today I leave you with a beautiful song called a reason to sing by all songs and daughters. Just in case you’re not okay and you’re not quite sure how to express yourself to God. I find peace, or at least some peace, when I sing this song. The first video is the song and the second is a beautiful description of the song that the writers shared. I really resonate (as a writer and as someone who used to write a lot of songs) with much of what they said, specifically in the first 2 minutes.

31 March 2014

amen and thank goodness



I've been doing some writing and reflecting on hope. More so reflecting with wishful thinking to write it out. So here I am, sharing some of my thoughts.
 
Hope really springs up. 

I shared part of this on instagram on Thursday.

Some days it's easy to remember truth. And then other days it's harder. Today has been a harder day. So I'm looking at this image, one I'll use in an already written piece for next week. For weeks I've seen little pieces of life on the oddest and ugliest places. My favourite thing about hope is that one day I won't have to hope anymore. Heaven is the fulfillment of all hope. On the long and dreary days, even when my faith seems small, I'll place whatever hope I can find in the truth that one day hope won't be necessary. Jesus is the fulfillment of hope. Amen and thank goodness.

Spring itself is a sweet demonstration of our hope. I believe that we need all of the seasons to fully experience hope. If we didn't walk through the dismal winter, would we care for the sunshiny summer days? Spring comes before summer. It isn't just winter and then summer. There are these other seasons, these transitional seasons. Spring. Autumn. Such pictures, to me. Of grace and hope and mercy and goodness.

Talking with a friend recently about transitions. We always want to be out of transition. We want the calm and non-crazy. We want the consistent. But truly, when is that going to happen? And even more so, are we promised it? We’re promised eternal life without pain and sorrow, but not here on earth. Here we still live in the mess and muck of a sin filled world.

Which is why we need that beautiful hope of ours.

That beautiful hope that finds its fulfillment in Christ, and that will not even be needed in heaven! Need I say it again? Amen and thank goodness

The one reason I keep thinking about how hope springs up is because I keep seeing flowers in odd places. In rocks. On the sidewalk. On a wall. 

And then that odd planter eek thing in the photo. On an ugly wall in a random alley - hope springs up. 

Amen. And thank goodness.

21 March 2014

grab a book

Last night I did something absolutely marvelous. It was a bit off character for me but nonetheless felt quite lovely.

I didn’t do anything.

Or more specifically, I rested. I decided to simply grab a book.

After getting home from work, I made a quick decision to grab a book and read. I sat at the edge of my bed, staring at the many books I’d like to dig into. I considered each, but felt my gaze lower to the bottom shelf. The bottom shelf holds my non theological books I simply read for fun, aka the books I never read.

My eyes scanned through until I saw one in particular. The Princess.

I grabbed it, walked to the living room, opened my front door, sat on the couch, opened a coca-cola, bundled myself in a blanket and started to read.

I read for the next hour and a half until I had to chat with a friend. I chatted, but once we were done, I wandered back to the couch for more. As I sat and grabbed the book again, now enjoying wine instead of the long-finished coca-cola, the idea of a bath occurred.

Hm. That sure sounded delightful.

So I walked around to find Epsom salts, my pi’s, a freshly poured drink and grabbed the same book I was now a hundred pages into.

For the next two hours or so I sat and I read, literally soaking in the rest.

I was ready to be done the bath and few minutes before finishing the book. Yep, almost 300 pages in just a couple hours.

I’d written on instagram earlier:

Sometimes I think it's important to grab a book you've read at least ten times, one that won't teach you anything, and that isn't on your goals list. Too settle under your favourite blanket, drink coca-cola, and let your heart rest for awhile. Anybody agree?

I think everybody agreed. Or at least the comments and double tapped hearts made me think so.

Self-care is such a buzz word. I always always always hate buzz words. Especially when I feel like a buzz word is for a particular group, self-care being for moms.

Yet as a single girl, with a fully schedule, who loves people and community, serving and all things gospel, rest matters. Self-care matters. 

I meant what I said when I said: read a book that won’t teach you anything and that isn’t on your goals list.

I’m always working to make things count, to make them matter.

When I go for a walk with the baby, I walk really fast so I can count it as exercise.

When the baby is in the bath, I’m lying on the floor beside her doing sit-ups and push ups and squats.

I fill up every minutes of everyday with purpose. I read books and blogs and I think the things I do are good. I think they’re from a pure heart that is seeking righteousness.

But Jesus rested. He really and truly did. Jesus rested amidst storms and sought solitude from a world that desperately needed Him to offer them Himself.

And then, at the proper time, He did offer Himself. Fully and completely, in the biggest act of grace and compassion the world had ever seen.

I can’t claim to do the things He did, and I hope never to have to bear a cross. But I do want to seek first His Kingdom.

And I think, well, I’d be willing to say know instead of think, that I’ll find His kingdom when I seek His presence for my rest.

Which is exactly what I did as I read The Princess last night. A book I’d read maybe even a dozen times, that surprised me with its sweet teachings of the rest and grace we find in Christ.




Self-care. What do you think? Valuable? Buzz word? Am I off in my perspective? I hope not. But let me know your thoughts on self-care.