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grace

younger me, don’t live so afraid.

Posted in faith

Lately, I’ve had reason to look back into my middle and high school years and self. And those are the words that come to mind:

Girl, don’t be so afraid.

This past weekend we celebrated my only niece’s 13th birthday with a blessing brunch, we dubbed it. My encouragements (things I would’ve told my 13-year-old-self today) to her were:

  1. You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, and not everyone will like or love you, and that’s okay.
  2. You will never regret choosing Jesus and His way of doing things, over the temptations, tendencies, and promotions of the world.

In all honesty, I walked through middle school and early high school years timidly, paralyzed with fear of making a mistake or being thought of as out of the culture-loop. I was insecure about my appearance because I was afraid of being confident and feeling beautiful exactly as I was, believing the lie that comparison was better. I was afraid of letting the weight of who I was – my hopes, dreams, quirks, passions, interests – bear on those around me, for fear that I’d be judged or put on the spot.

I didn’t idolize the ‘popular group,’ or even want to be one of them, but I did want to blend in, and be someone other people wanted to be around. 

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making choices like Jesus would

Posted in faith

Thanksgiving week this year was full. Full of family, laughter, conversations, shooting guns, being outside, delicious food, a few tears, lots of grace.

I was driving out to my parents’ house asking Father for help. God, please give me wisdom and discernment in my choices. Bless our families with good quality time and rich conversation. Be honored by our words and actions and thoughts. In His goodness, He gave me a visual.

Two sisters, different personalities. Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while busy bee Martha is frazzled and distracted.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” v. 41-42

The greatest possession is close fellowship with the Lord as our ‘portion’ in life, says the ESV Study Bible. “It will not be taken away from her” — neither now to help Martha in the kitchen, nor for all eternity.

And Father said, stay at my feet, stay close, rest and trust Me. 

Instead of feeling like my mind is distracted and frazzled and busy like Martha, trying to please everyone and make the perfect choice.

Jesus was a man who lived on this earth. He walked, talked, overcame, felt physical needs, spent time with other humans. He valued close fellowship with his Father.

“Jesus came to reveal God to us. He is the defining word on God—on what the heart of God is truly like, on what God is up to in the world, and on what God is up to in your life. An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence. To know him as he is, is to come home. To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness. To be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all.”

To experience him and learn about him and know him is transformative.

God is cultivating in me a longing to know Jesus like I know my best friend or my husband.

To wonder about him when doing mundane tasks. To imitate how he speaks to both friends and strangers. To prioritize life as he prioritized life. To learn how he responds well in tricky situations. To love him by my service. To listen to him. To learn his mannerisms and tendencies. To know his heart.

I’m reading a book by John Eldredge called Beautiful Outlaw, about Jesus and his personality. All the quotes in this post are found in the book. It’s an interesting read.

He woos, he confronts, he delivers, he heals, he shoots straight, and then he uses intrigue. He lives out before them the most compelling view of God, shows them an incredibly attractive holiness while shattering the religious glaze.

I’m learning it this way… Holy Spirit is God in us; He is companion, wisdom, comfort, guide, and more. Jesus is our example for life; He lived a life that pleased God. Jesus is our brother to learn from. God is Father; He is creator, judge, powerful.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality. Your humanity, and your life. This is the reason he came. Anything else is religion.

I sometimes underestimate the power of knowing Jesus as if he was a physical person in my life today. I sometimes underestimate the stories of the Bible.. passages that tell of his expressions, his words, his way of being, his view of the world.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality.

Forgive me, Father. Thank you, for sending Jesus to live perfectly and die sacrificially.

If You Don’t Want To Be Lovely….

Posted in inspiration
(This one is close to home, friends. This comes from a heart triumphant from weary years of fighting perfectionism and a distorted self-image. I want you to read this as though we were sitting across from each other in rocking chairs or comfy couch. I want you to hear this as if I was a good friend, with a bear hug and lots of love.)

Question your value constantly.

Insecurity is unattractive. And it doesn’t feel good. Fight against the self-hatred, the discouragement. Fight against grumbling over what you aren’t and pride about what you are. If you want to lack in real beauty, never stand in your true identity. You are valuable. In Jesus we are fully known and always loved, exposed yet never rejected. Jesus declares his affection for us when we are at our very worst as well as at our very best. Is God the most important person in your life? If He is, you are treasured always. He has made you His own. Because of Jesus, everything that is true about Him is true about you in God’s eyes. You are valuable in a way that cannot be changed because you are His. 

“Start being brave about everything. Drive out darkness and spread light. Don’t look at your weaknesses. Realize instead that in Christ crucified you can do everything.” St. Catherine of Siena

See strangers and even friends as competition.

You’ve heard the words of Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, there’s no room for contentment. If there is no contentment, there’s hardly a chance for strong beauty. If you don’t want to be lovely, in appearance or attitude, see your peers as threats. Your beauty is not supposed to be the same as someone else’s.

God designed us for supporting and connecting and cheering, not competing. Please know that someone else’s success and beauty and growth doesn’t have the power to diminish your own.

“Our riches are the kind that free us from having to be affluent or thin, or intelligent or networked or famous or anything else that the world says we must be in order to matter. Our riches are the kind that assure and reassure us that we have nothing left to hide, nothing left to fear, and nothing left to prove. Because Jesus took on himself the full freight of our shame, we are no longer under pressure to exhaust ourselves with endless and futile efforts to make something of ourselves. We now have an inner resource that can liberate us from preoccupation with self. We now have an inner resource than frees us to treat all people as our equals. We now have an inner resource that endearingly and compellingly invites us to join God in his mission to love.” Scott Sauls

Build life around your external appearance.

You are not your physical features. Be a woman of substance — physical beauty is continually fading. Your physical features can do little to genuinely help someone or the world, but your heart, soul, and your mind? With the Spirit of God in you, you can do incredible things. Build your life around strengthening your inner person.

“When God and His glory are made our end, we shall find a silent likeness pass in upon us; the beauty of God will, by degrees, enter upon our soul.” Stephen Charnock

Put your worth into bubbles that burst.

A sure way to lose your true beauty is to build your life on shifting sand: talents, looks, accomplishments and possessions. These things are temporary, and can change at any moment. Real beauty transcends time. If you seek your worth in anything but God and His unchanging love and pursuit of you, you will be up and down constantly. If you anchor your worth to being well-read, handsome or pretty, wealthy, funny, smart, or even religious, instead of in the smile of God over you, those things will eventually destroy what’s truly good in your life. You’ll be unsteady, probably a little miserable, and easily discouraged. God created you for more.

“Get alone with God and preach His Word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.” John Piper

lately

Posted in lifestyle

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This post is a heart and mind spill.

Lately I’ve been praying a lot about a large storm called Matthew. For people who have lost loved ones, for those still in its path. Our God is far bigger than a storm, but it’s still a little scary.

Lately I’ve been learning about Holy Spirit. Who He is, and why He is given to us.

Lately I’ve been catching up on the new show This Is Us. Have you watched this yet? What do you think about it? I think it’s creative writing, definitely different.

Lately I’ve been jamming/watching Bethel’s mountainside worship. You can view it here, it’s pretty beautiful.

Lately I have loved wearing my Raven + Lily jewelry, like you see below. “Raven + Lily is committed to providing beautiful and unique modern minimalist products that are made by hand, follow fair trade standards, and honor our eco-friendly commitment.”

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Lately I’ve been inspired by the words of Jonathan Edwards.

To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.

Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.

Lately I am loving the community I’m blessed to be in. From a church women’s retreat to small group in our home to phone conversations to written letters. People are the coolest. They are the greatest gifts of this temporary life.

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Lately God has touched my afresh. And I’m heart and soul grateful.

Whoever is reading this post, I pray grace and peace and God’s favor on you. Thanks for reading. :)

how the Psalms help me picture God

Posted in faith

Lately my spiritual growth has been marked by the words, “taste and see.” Meditation, prayer, quiet are examples of practicalities.

I’m a creative individual, a visual person, you might say. In this fresh season of learning and change, the taste part has been easier than the see part.

So what did I do? I asked God to help me see. I was even super specific, Lord, give my heart’s eye an image. 

I don’t need to literally and physically see Him with my eyes, that won’t happen in this life, we live by faith not by sight, but maybe to taste and see Him is to dwell on the beautiful, marvelous person of God. 

I didn’t “get” anything supernatural, but the next day I was prompted to read through Psalms to see how God is personified with human characteristics, or even specific details of His being.

So I read, flipping page after page, jotting down verses here and there. I’d like to share some of them with you, in case your heart ever longs to see God, and struggles a little like I did.

  • He is a shield around me. Psalm 3:3
  • He lifts my head, like a Father would a child. Psalm 3:3
  • He holds my hand. Psalm 73:23
  • His dwelling place is lovely. Psalm 84:1
  • He is robed in majesty and strength. Psalm 93:1
  • He is my safe place. Psalm 4:8
  • His voice is powerful, full of majesty. Psalm 29:4
  • His face shines. Psalm 67:12
  • He is a hiding place. Psalm 32:7
  • He shouts deliverance over me. Psalm 32:7
  • He looks down and sees me. Psalm 33:13, 18
  • In His light, do I see light. Psalm 36:9
  • His hands support me. Psalm 18:35
  • The heavens declare His glory; the sky proclaims His handiwork. Psalm 19:1
  • He is my friend. Psalm 25:14
  • He is beautiful. Psalm 27:4
  • He is my helper, the upholder of my life. Psalm 54:4
  • He is a Rock. Psalm 62:2, 6
  • His right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8
  • His house is good, His temple is holy. Psalm 65:4
  • He listens to my prayers. Psalm 66:19
  • He hides me in the shadow of His wings. Psalm 17:8
  • He lightens my darkness. Psalm 18:28
  • His way is perfect. Psalm 18:30
  • He is glorious. Psalm 29:1-4
  • The heavens are the work of His fingers. Psalm 8:3
  • He sits enthroned forever. Psalm 9:7
  • He is king. Psalm 10:16
  • His words are pure. Psalm 12:6
  • He covers himself with light as with a garment. Psalm 104:2

I bolded some of my favorites.

Are you experiencing anything new or fresh about God lately? I would love to hear about it.

photo via unsplash