Monday, November 16, 2015

She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And up she grew so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothing at all

| Shel Silverstein |

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I think the hardest part of sin isn't asking for forgiveness, 
but allowing yourself to be forgiven.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

In the midst of the awfulness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. The right hand not of restraint nor of correction nor of chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, in is ineffable peace and comfort, the sense that "underneath are the everlasting arms," full of sustaining and comfort and strength. When once His touch comes, nothing at all can cast you into fear again. In the midst of all His ascended glory the Lord Jesus comes to speak to an insignificant disciple, and to say "Fear not." His tenderness is ineffably sweet. Do I know Him like that?

There is despair in which there is no delight, no horizon, no hope of anything brighter; but the delight of despair comes when I know that "in me dwelleth no good thing." I delight to know that there is that in me which much fall prostrate before God when He manifests Himself, and if I am ever to be raised up, it must be by the hand of God. God can do nothing for me until I get to the limit of the possible. 

| Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest |

Thursday, October 15, 2015

His praise is not from man, but from God.
It is God that owns & accepts & crowns our sincerity because He sees not as man sees.
...for My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways

| Romans 2:29 + Matthew Henry's Commentary + Isaiah 55:8 |

Because it is not my job to know, to understand, to control, to predict. It is my job only to trust.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the Law. 

His praise is not from man, but from God.

| Romans 2:29-30 |

I read these verses and I think of myself and I think of my friends, and I cringe because I see the lies that we've all been told and how far from the light they have led us, all the while we thought we were doing exactly what was asked of us by God. I think of myself growing up and all the of the praise I received and all of the praise that I sought and all of the confusion I felt because I was doing all the right things but I felt so empty. I think of myself the past couple of years and I think of all the praise I did not receive and all the praise I did not seek and all the shame I put on myself because I was doing the opposite of what I thought was right. And I think of myself now and I think of all the thanks I feel  because I can see that God is there and He loves me and He is listening and I can see that He has always been there loving and listening, I just wasn't looking for Him. 

 We are told to attain to high standards, to behave in a way that makes society smile, to have regular church attendance, to do a daily devotion, to pray about big life decisions before we make themWe are told that these things make us good people and they make us Christians and they give us a good life. But if you've lived for a minute, you know that they don't.

Because Christ did not ask us to do any of that and He did not die for that. He did not die so that we could pretend like we have it all together; He did not ask us to have it all together. He does ask us to leave everything behind and follow him and in exchange He doesn't make us feel like good people, He makes us complete. He looks at us and knowing that we are far from perfect, loves us anyways. He realigns our thoughts from thinking about here to thinking about Home. He opens our eyes to see the bigger picture, to feel our purpose, to experience and to share love and grace and redemption in an undeniable and infectious way. He prepares us for Home, and He invites us to help prepare others. And when we see that, when we see what Christ has for us and we see that He is not looking for our checklist, but for our love, the opinions of men become laughably insignificant. When we can stand in confidence in what He has for us, 
the expectations of our peers, of the Christian culture, of society, they all shatter, 
because in the face of God they have no voice. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks 
for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses 
in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers 
that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and 
all the good things that a good God gives.

| Ann Voskamp |

This season has been one of thanks. There's been lots of good and there's been lots of learning, and I am filled with thankfulness for it all. Thankful for all that God has been doing, thankful for seeing His hands in everything. Thankful for being given open eyes and an open heart that wants to seek Him. Thankful for wanting to be present in life. Thankful that even though it's been a long past couple of years and in spite of everything that has happened, God has brought me here, to this place, in this moment, where I can see that it wasn't for nothing and that there is a purpose behind it all.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, I will seek.

| Psalm 27:8 |

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You are so loved and you matter more than you could ever know.

Friday, August 28, 2015

God reminded me how beautiful we all are to Him, 
after all, we were created in His own image, 
and He looks at me, at you, in all our sweat 
and dirt and brokenness, and says, 
I choose you. You are beautiful.

-Katie Davis

How easy it is to forget that even in the midst of my relationship with God, the sweat and the dirt and the brokenness will always be there, and He will always continue to choose me in spite of it. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An Ode to the Ache

"Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage"

To anyone and everyone who has ever shared their story with me, this is to you.

At 21, I have seen and felt more hurt and loss than I thought I would have. But the older I get and the more people I meet, I appreciate the strength of the human spirit more than ever. I am amazed at how much we are able to overcome. Hurt and loss that should not have to face, but that we do face and then go on to operate as seemingly whole hearted beings in a world that does not allow us to do so. But at the end of the day, what breaks my heart and what stands out the most is the need that we feel to be so strong during the times of hurt and loss. We all know and have felt these things, yet we do not want anyone to see our weakness in the midst of them. We close up and walk tall as if everything were as it should be, all the while we are coming apart on the inside.

In thinking about all of this, one particular experience from a couple years ago always resonates with me. I was a few months into what felt like a ridiculously long time of loss and hurt, when a mentor that I had in high school reached out to reconnect with me. I met with her and when she asked what was going on, I candidly told her everything, as if I was talking with her about the weather. I didn't need her pity and I was doing just fine accepting that sometimes shit happens. It wasn't even a second after I finished speaking that she gave me a hug and then looked me straight in the eyes and reassured me that I did not have to be "okay". She gave me permission to grieve and to be angry and to face all of it for what it was. I don't think it was until that moment that I gave myself permission to grieve and be upset about the things that were happening in my life. I will always be thankful for that meeting we shared.

To the person who is still hurting, you do not have to be strong. True strength comes as a product of experience and is not self imposed. To be strong in the midst of hurt is to be numb, and there is not life on the other side of that. You are not alone. There are many things in life that we have to face alone, and grief is not one of them. We all have experienced too much of it to not be able to lend a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. There is a season for everything and sometimes the season is sad and painful, but better and brighter ones will come.

To the close friend or the relative or the loved one; show up. It feels uncomfortable and comes with a long list of doubts... "I don't know what to say.",:What if I'm smothering them?", "What if they want to be left alone?" The list goes on, and despite how insignificant you think you are, it took less than a minute for someone that I hadn't talked to in months to help me more than any counselor could. I'm not sure that we realize how much weight our actions carry and the potential benefit they mean for those around us.

The point I'm meaning to make is that we must not mistake grieving for weakness and strength for numbness.  In order to properly grieve and in order to properly support the grieving, we have to let ourselves be seen by those that we love. We have to get comfortable with vulnerability and trust those closest to us, whether it is with our truths or with our help. In the words of Brene Brown, vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.

To the handful (okay, probably more like two handfuls) of you that have inspired this entry, know how thankful I am for you.You are the bravest people I know, with more strength than I knew was possible. You have helped me get through things that were by no means easy. You listened to me tell you about the not so easy things and helped me work through them. You opened yourself up to be honest and vulnerable with me. You trusted me to know your hurts and your losses. You inspire me to cherish human connection and embrace vulnerability everyday and you will always have a very special place in my life and my heart.

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