27 May 2014

the broken beautiful


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


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.