28 February 2014

the oldest I have ever been

Tomorrow I turn the oldest I’ve ever been. I turn 25.

Photos from community group this week. The girls made me brownies.

I’m really looking forward to it. When others are running around complaining about getting older, I’m sitting in my corner praying to simply be old. Something about being older always seem idealistic to me. Almost as if the older I get, the more together I’ll be. Right? Somebody tell me that someday I'll be more together please!

One theme I’ve been praying for the past two months specifically is one of belief. I’m reminded constantly of the verse that says “I believe. Help my unbelief”.

Back on the first of the year, I sat with friends and we wrote out our goals and resolutions for the year. I’m not one for goals, and I typically am not that resolved, so it was an odd thing to actually fall into the new year cliche of goal making.

One of my goals related to health and fitness. The goal was to exercise 1-3 times per week. Two months in, I hit 2 times pretty much every week. This week happened to be a 1 time week, but I fit in some nice walks so I figure maybe they counted. Don’t worry, I usually don’t count them. In case you were worried. In which case you shouldn’t be because worry isn’t a fruit of the spirit. Sooooo no more worrying.

Another was to maintain three friendships that I already have. I’m the queen of new. I love new. I get bored of things typically three months in. I feel as though I’m doing alright with this one. Two friends immediately come to mind as friends that I’ve been intentionally getting to know more, being more vulnerable with them, letting them be vulnerable with me. It might seem like a silly goal, but it was my best friend that suggested it. She’s seen my flaky friendship in action so she knew the need to push me on that one.

Amongst a pretty decent list of goals sat one other one that goes back to the I believe, help my unbelief statement I mentioned earlier. I wrote down: Believe that God loves me for me.

It’s been an interesting journey letting God teach me that He loves me. You can’t force yourself to believe in love but you can lean into the love until you realize you actually are leaning on something. God’s love is tangible and moving, active and real.

So 25? 25 is the year I walk in the knowledge that the Lord loves me. And it’s the year that I pray every single day that the Lord will keep teaching me to believe.

There’s a song by the band Love & The Outcome that says this world tells me believe what I can see. Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe.

That song, at least that line, is going to be a banner song for 25.

And in honour of my birthday tomorrow, I’m giving away a copy of the cd the song comes from.

Be sure to enter below! I hope you win.

   a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 February 2014

give it a year


A friend of mine, who recently was denied access at the border and therefore denied access to a six month internship she was heading to posted this the other day. 

The post resonated with me, both because my life has not looked like I would like it to, and because I had just posted a link earlier that day to a post I wrote last year. I had instagrammed the image from that year ago post and shared some thoughts. 

Below the picture I shared: I just looked back a year on my blog, to see what was happening. As I read the words, all I could think was "give it a year". It's amazing what a year can do to a life. This year is truly different. It's been filled with good changes and for the first time in a very long time, I'm looking at the future with joy in my heart. It IS okay if you're not okay because maybe, just maybe, in a year (or hopefully sooner), things WILL be okay.

As I read the post on a beautiful mess, I felt a sense of relief. I'm not one for looking back. It's both healthy and unhealthy I'm sure. 

Regardless, I felt a freedom I hadn't felt. Since graduating high school, I've lived in Africa, gone to Bible college, worked as a server, gone to college for a medical job, and worked in the medical field.

Am I still in that field? No. Sometimes I think my life would be easier if I had stayed in the field, but the 21 year old me didn't know that. 

Amongst other things, I've worked reception at a finance office.  I've checked groceries at Safeway. I've booked mammograms at a call centre and worked at an after school daycare centre. I've worked one on one with children with autism. I've worked front desk at an optometrist office. I've been a nanny. 

In there, I've gone back to school and dropped out of school. I moved three times in 2010 and moved twice in the past six months. 

This laundry list of my life has not gone as planned. I've been called flaky and have been told that I am not willing to commit. I've been encouraged to keep looking until I find myself and I've been encouraged to suck it up and just deal.

This life ain't one where I know what the future holds. And other than knowing if I ever get to be married (because it’d be nice to know if that’ll ever happen), the future isn't something I'm hoping to glance at. 

I wrote "give it a year" because you never know what a year can bring. Life could go in any direction at any time. That's the beauty of life. Sometimes is a difficult beauty, like a caterpillar getting ready to go through metamorphosis. It's not a pretty process. And this is a cliche example. But eventually - butterfly. 

I’m entering butterfly season I think. Things are changing, and I’m really excited.

24 February 2014

Worship is

I hit a moment of exhaustion on Friday. I was literally face down on the floor attempting to avoid tears while the baby played around me. 

You know those weeks that are so full, of good things, not even bad things, that you forget that your body really does need rest to survive? Oh, you don’t forget that you need rest? Well, lucky you.
Last week was one of those weeks. I was out every night and most nights I was out past midnight. Smart right?

So Friday. I was done. I woke up in the morning already feeling done. I was exhausted and tired and finished and all I wanted to do was stay in my bed forever. So I went to work, and had a great morning with the baby. We had fun playing and went for a nice long walk, and it was lovely. But then she didn’t nap, and anybody who has ever hung out with a baby knows that naps are necessary for babies (and their nannies and/or mamas).

So we started playing but I found myself face down on the ground, just trying to not cry. Trying to grasp some sort of joy deep in my heart that could sustain me for the next few hours.

I grabbed the keys, locked the door, and took the baby for a walk to the front lobby. I put on worship music, sat on the floor, started to sing, and she ran around the room.

We stayed there for over half an hour, just worshiping the Lord in our own ways. 

It was so life giving and refreshing, to take my weary soul to the Lord and find rest. To give the baby a room larger than her living room to run around.

Anytime anyone walked in, she would race towards me and sit in my arms until they were gone. Or she’s smile coyly at the many dogs that live in her building.

Worship is so sweet to me, because it’s isn’t simply singing. It isn’t simply any definition. It’s many definitions.

On Saturday, the worship team had a meeting at church. We ate waffles and then defined worship. It was interesting to hear all the various definitions, because all were correct.

Worship is music. Worship is intentionality. Worship is everything that we do, and not always to the Lord. Worship is insert more definitions.

In that moment, sitting on the floor, smiling at the baby, hugging her whenever she’d come close, worship was inviting the Lord into my weary soul. Worship was entering His rest.

Worship is inviting the Lord into our weariness and entering His rest.

What does worship mean to you?

17 February 2014

to finish what he started

god is faithful

The baby had a diaper rash, which is code for "I felt like I was torturing her when I went to change her diaper". 

A few times during the day, I carried her to the bathroom, stripped her, and placed her in the tub. All for her good. 

I turned the water on, kept my gaze on her, waited for the water to warm up. She already started to cry. This was all for her good. 

I placed water in a cup and poured it over her bottom, cleansing her wounds. All for her good. 

I had one arm wrapped around her, my face at when face, whispering calming words as she sobbed. I knew this was for her good. 

It took time to clean her well, to ensure that her wounds didn't stay dirty. It took time to finish up, and I held her as she sobbed. She didn't know it was for her good. But I did. 

As I went off for my weekend, and remembered her painful tears, I remembered that God does things I don't understand

I only put her through pain, and I knew it was painful, because I love her. I wanted her to heal, to get better, to no longer be in pain. 

I had to hurt her for her healing. Because I care for her. It was all for her good.

Scripture tells that we can cast our cares upon The Lord because He cares for us. 

A few weeks ago, I felt like God had me in the tub. Wiping my bottom, figuratively of course. Pushing on hurts and digging into my crevices. 

It didn't feel good. And I sure hope it's done. 

But I also am more whole now than I was. More healed, less wounded.

God is faithful to finish what He started. 

And I know that the things He does is only for my good. 

13 February 2014

{a walk through} psalm 93

in his belt

Reading through this Psalm, I was reminded of back in the fall when I talked about the idea of having a belt of truth to wear each day.

How the truth we believe in, as scripture tells us in Ephesians, is like a belt - that it physically holds up out pants! It holds us together. It keeps us from having our pants fall down on us.

As in, when we’re in a moment of temptation, the truth we know keeps our pants on, it helps us say no to sin and yes to faithfulness.

When we are tempted to worry, we can consider the lilies of the field, how our Father cares for them, and how He cares for us. (Matthew 6)

When we are tempted to be rude, we can remember that we are to throw off the former things and put the things of Christ. (Colossians 3).

When we are tempted to take things into our own hands and not trust the Lord, we can remember that a man might make plans but the Lord establishes what actually happens (Proverbs 16).

When we are tempted to withhold forgiveness and sit in our bitterness, we can remember that we are to forgive (Matthew 18), and also that Christ bore the wrath of God for our sins and forgave us while on the cross (Luke 23) and that should remind us that we had better not be withholding forgiveness.

I'm really grateful that God has given a big 'ol book filled with truth and wisdom. And I'm thankful to walk through these Psalms each week, hopefully learning just a little bit more all the time. 

11 February 2014

truth and wisdom

truth and wisdom

I’m six weeks into a little bit of a healthier lifestyle. I say little bit because I still love wine, oreos, and cheese. Nothing will change that.

But I go for walks nearly daily, runs a few times a week, and try to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch during the week.

It’s satisfying to notice the physical changes in my body, and I’m excited to continue on this healthier lifestyle.

The other morning, as I was thinking about it, smiling that I’m one belt loop tighter than I was a couple of weeks ago, I had this moment of desire for a different beauty.

A few Sunday’s ago, after church, a friend commented about a part of the sermon that confused her. It hadn’t confused me, so I clarified it.

That’s the type of beauty I desire.

To know truth and speak it, to seek it, to want it, to gain it, to love it.

Truth and wisdom are far more beautiful than anything else I might seek.

I want to refresh the way I look at beauty. While I love my red lipstick more than the next girl, I could wear a lot of blush every day, and I feel like a woman when I use my purple shampoo, nothing compares to the beauty of Christ in a life.

07 February 2014

blogging is

Do you ever open up a scripture, start reading and feel your heart fill with possibility? Just see the truth and feel impacted, pushed, pulled, inspired, encouraged, just excited about the Gospel?

That’s how I felt when I started working through my She Reads Truth devotional yesterday. The devotional over on SRT yesterday was phenomenal. Be SURE to read it.

AND NOW, this passage that inspired me! It’s awesome and worth taking the time to read.

     That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
     This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 1 ESV)

Isn't that amazing? Ah, I love it! I love scripture that speaks of light and darkness because it's so visual and easy for me to make sense of.

Verse four was the verse that caught my heart, and reminded me why I’m here on the internet.

And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Each time I write and share the things that God is doing, my joy is being made complete.

The reason being because my joy is in Christ, in the salvation He has offered me, in the grace upon grace that He has poured all over me

And it’s my joy to share the things I’m learning.

I got a comment recently from someone who was thankful that I’m not a lifestyle blog.

Do you know what I’d like to be? Like, what I wish this blog was? A lifestyle blog.

But I just can never get that lifestyle blog part down. I don’t have a pretty enough style, fancy enough house, snazzy enough camera.

And I don’t mind.

Because my joy finds its completion when I share the Gospel.

And each day, when I show up here, somewhat less often lately, I share that joy.

This season is one of learning. I recognize that. 

I asked God to teach me to believe that He loves me, and He is teaching me. He’s not letting me rest in any sense of unbelief.

Blogging is a sweet expression of my joy.

It’s my joy to show up here, whenever I do, to share what I learn.

Dear reader, whoever you are, I’m thankful and grateful for you. You’re helping my fulfill my joy. 


06 February 2014

{a walk through} psalm 92

In general, I wouldn't say I'm a forsure type person. As in, there aren't a lot of things that I feel super strongly about. Well, that's not true, but I'm definitely not a fan of committing.

Or maybe it's more that I don't like admitting I like something because that makes me known.

I know, we're getting deep for a Thursday.

A few weeks ago, on adventure day, Christy and I were driving and I commented to her that I was listening to boy music more often. We had had a conversation three years prior (I remember what people say to me) about how I listened to girly music.

I'd been somewhat offended at the time, and had determined that that wasn't true.

As we listened to my boy music, she told me it wasn't boy music.

She also told me that I don't like being known.

I’ve been reflecting on that since then, trying to wrap my mind around why that is the case for me.

I’ve got thoughts, and I’m writing them, but today I want to share something that I for sure know about myself, and that I’m happy to share.

I love playing on worship team. It’s my joy. Leading worship at church is one of my most favourite things to do. Looking at songs for weeks in advance, listening to the arrangements over and over, mapping out my charts, underlining the words that matter to my heart as I practice.

I love it.

When I read this Psalm, I loved that it spoke about worship.

Worship became hard for me last year. Physically and spiritually hard. It’s still not always easy, but for whatever reason, for my entire life, I’ve always felt freedom on stage. I’ve felt a freedom to worship God with an abandon I know nowhere else. I think it’s because I know my music, and I’m not thinking, and I’m praying for my church, and I’m thinking through scripture that lines up with the words, and I’m just mindful of Christ and thus worshipful in my heart better than normal.

Two Sundays ago I was not on the team, but I was mindful. As I got ready for church in the morning, I was already praying about the service, asking God to speak. As I drove to church, listening to worship music, I asked God to give me back my abandon. To worship Him with freedom and no fear. And that Sunday I worshiped, alongside my church instead of on the stage, with a freedom I had not felt in months. It was incredible.

Worship. I love it.

Being know. It’s scary.

And that’s all she wrote.

05 February 2014

love beats hostility

As I was writing yesterday’s post, I looked at Hebrews 12 for a few minutes. As I scanned it quickly, one verse stuck out to me.

"Think of all the hostility Jesus endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 12:3)

I read it and was encouraged to remain strong in Christ, and also was reminded of something that made me sit up at pay attention.

The majority of the hostility that I endure on a daily basis is self induced.

I’ve certainly gone through seasons where the hostility came from others. There’s a reason I decided to work as a nanny and not have co-workers in my day. I got hurt last year. It's scary to consider a different job than the one I have now, the one where it's simply me and the baby.

But right now? It’s my mind that is hostile. It’s my thoughts. It’s my self mutilating hatred of self.

As I pondered the hostility I put myself through, the questions I ask myself over and over (why can’t you just . . .), the glares I’ve given myself in the mirror, the late nights without sleep as I’ve considered over and over the day behind and the day ahead - I was reminded of something simple.

Self hostility doesn’t have to continue.

And it’s been a lot less lately than nearly any season prior.

I have friends who call me out when they hear me saying things about myself that I should not.

I have a God who brings scripture to mind when I feel overwhelmed and under qualified

I’ve been asking God to help me believe that He loves me. Knowing He loves me is doing odd things to my self-loathing, as in it’s slowly discontinuing it. It's that darn grace of His. Grace changes us..

Hebrews 12 ends with some solid truth:

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (verses 28-29).

The love of God is valuable because God is a consuming fire. His kingdom cannot be shaken. He is worthy of all worship. Wow.

His love makes me want to love myself. 

That’s what true love looks like I think. When we know that we are fully accepted by someone, we start to fully accept ourselves. 

I’ve never been in love, but I think I might be on to something.

hebrews 12

04 February 2014

Accept the grace.

The other day l was out for a run and partway through I realized I was on a long one, longer than normal (I follow an app and sometimes forget that I should pay attention to things like time). I was exhausted and done. 

I was running around a lake and made a beeline to a bench to give my weak legs a break.

As I sat, saddened by my weakness, awkwardly wheezing and out of breath, I experienced grace. I felt a rush of grace, physically almost, just cover me. 

I accepted it. I accepted as God spoke over me that He loves me right now, exactly who I am now. 

It’s my new motto for February.

Accept the grace.

I’m working through my newly arrived PowerSheets, creating good goals and doing self evaluation. As I write things down, I’m remembering that God loves me now. 

He loves me tomorrow, loved me yesterday, and truly cares for me as I am now. He’s going to do good work as I lean into Him and take faithful steps in the direction He points. 

He’s also going to stay with me, even when I feel my knees physically buckle under the pressures of the day.

I’m remembering my verse for the year.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
(Hebrews 12:12-13)

As I wheeze my way through each run, I’m letting the grace already on me be felt.

Scripture tells me that from His fullness I have received grace upon grace. I believe in grace.