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.


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.