I walked out on the back overlook on a brisk 5am morning in heart of the mountains.
The sky filled with the roaring power and majesty of our Creator and the fresh, brisk air of a new spring arriving.
The stillness of our earth sent me to a place of wholeness and redemption within this chaotic world we call our home.
We lay our heads down to the call of a symphony and while we were sleeping, He was singing songs of deliverance over us.
The trees swayed to the rhythm of the nighttime wind current and the whole earth stood still in the silence of a God busy at work.
And while we were sleeping, He was singing songs of deliverance over us.
The voice of the Lord splits the wood of the sequoias and cracks the earth's core. The barren wilderness once again sings its freedom song in expectation of the Messiah to come again.
I stood out on the overlook with a heart full of gratitude praising the Lord for the stillness of His presence.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me rest.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Isn’t it profound that we are embracing the lifestyle of God right now?
Isn’t it profound that even through this time of sickness, He hasn’t surrendered His authority?
He hasn’t laid down His sword.
He alone is my strength.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust in Him.
This was my Psalm reading for the day and it got me thinking of how often we dim the strength of God within us.
Call it like it is— tornados, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, pandemics— we have seen it all! But you know what? So has God. He does not promise that it will not come. He promises that we can find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Buried deep in His wings. Even in pain and affliction. During times like these, I find myself shifting through the pages of my tattered Bible. No, I am not afraid that I will get sick. Though, I am afraid that those I love will. My friends, my family, my sweet little ones. Why does it seem like during these times in our lives we crumble as if the strength of God is not holding us together?
I am thankful for my tattered Bible—the most powerful weapon to be used. I am thankful that in seasons of wilderness and abundance, I can shift through these pages to quench my thirst for Jesus. I am thankful for the verses on these pages that quiet my soul and remind me that God has not surrendered His control. I can dwell on the verses that make it abundantly clear that I am nothing apart from the Almighty. My soul aches for fullness in Jesus.
My table is set. I am choosing to dwell in the shadow of the Almighty no matter what rages on around me. Even in pandemics. Even in the unknowns of tomorrow.
He alone is my strength.
Sweet girl, we can still know peace without knowing what tomorrow holds. We can still know peace because tomorrow lies in the hands of the Almighty.
Isn’t it comforting to know that God makes decisions based on how far His strength can carry us?
He sits among us in this time of suffering and sickness, but there is nothing more that He wants to do than to untangle our web of weakness.
And at the end of the day, what really matters is that our eyes are on Jesus.
Lean in, my child.
I repeat this phrase over and over again. Daily.
Lean in, my child.
Truth is taken away from us in sight of fear, anxiety, and weakness. We so often find ourselves in these episodes of self-pity that we forget that God is our Helper. God is our Healer. God is our Redeemer and is breathing life into our lungs.
Lean in, my child.
Lord, help us to hear your voice today in the craziness of our lives. I pray that you are present in even in the deepest, most hidden corners of our hearts where all are afraid to go. Please, oh Lord, hover over us when it feels as if our world is crashing down.
Lean in, my child.
With His love, He will calm all fear in you (Zephaniah 3:17). With His love, He is able to part the seas and breathe new life into all creation. Relying on God requires us to deny ourselves daily and to sit at the foot of the cross and be real and raw with Jesus.
Lean in, my child.
You are in the thick of the battle, Sister.
The world is caving in to sickness and destruction and maybe you are hanging on by a thread. But let this truth sink deep into this worried heart of yours: God is here.
Lean in, my child.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Maybe you have cancer or lost a child. Maybe you are struggling in your singleness or fight the battle of depression. Maybe your body doesn’t work like it used to or you lost so much by something out of your control.
Lean in, my child.
There is a place I know where the flowers and trees awaken from their slumber. A place where the fresh colors of new life cloud over the dullness of the cloudy expanse. That place is here, right now. A place where the woods come back to life and God breathes life into all creation once again.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
It was 57 degrees out this afternoon and I could totally get used to wearing my springtime jacket!
Oh springtime, I am totally a fan!!!
The sun was out, the trees were starting to bloom with life, and I forgot, just for a second, that the winter had drained all life from the trees.
It was one of those March days where the sun is sinks deep into your skin and the warm wind brushes through your hair. It was a day of hope! A hope for a new season. A hope for spring.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.
Change is beautiful. Even the springtime thinks so!
When I think of spring, I always come back to the verse in Revelation (21:5) that says, “He is making all things new.” He is healing us in this season.
Even the deepest of roots are confident in God’s plan to renew their strength. So why shouldn't we?
Sorrow walks hand-in-hand with new blooms and it is so beautiful to finally see how God uses one season to strengthen another. Because you know what? I don’t think the magic of spring would be half as beautiful without winter.
There is something about this beautiful season that heals our weary hearts. There is something so reassuring with knowing that there is hope within tomorrow-- that God’s goodness is present with each new sunrise and that new life follows the old.
Just know, even in winter when everything loses life, there is something hopeful and exuberant about the changing of seasons. Flowers come to life. Colors fill the earth and animals come out of hiding. Birds begin to chirp and the fresh breeze blows through our hair.
I pray, sister, that God awakens your heart with the hope of a new, fresh season.
If winter has enough courage to bloom after a season of sorrow, then who says we are incapable of doing the same?
Oh, what plans God has for you and I in this coming season! There is such joy in new beginnings!
Blossom by blossom, spring finds its way into our hearts and our caged bird song begins to sing again.
Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.
The God who give me life gives life to you too, sister.
Let us wake up every single morning with joy for another day to breathe in the life of God.
I praise you, Lord, for we are wonderfully and fearfully made by you! We are given the tools to serve you well and I pray that you fill our lungs with life.
Darkness surrounds us, Lord, and that sure makes it hard to keep our heads above the water, but you, oh Lord, are able to wipe away our every tear, lead us to the foot of the cross, and help us lay down our baggage and surrender it to you.
My friend, please lay down your hurt and pick up your baggage. It is time to take it to the cross and lay it at the feet of Jesus. It is time to no longer hold on to the grip of sin and death and run freely in the God who gives you life.
I encourage you to not only bring your baggage and lay it at the cross, but leave it there.
I struggle with this so much! I live with this constant desire to be perfect (as we all do I am sure). I am a perfectionist and I am extremely hard on myself. There is no freedom in this! There is no wiggle room for grace! It is a process and God is constantly teaching my heart to be content with who He created me to be.
God says that I am enough and I am washed clean by the precious blood of Jesus. God says that He will fearlessly fight for me and that His mercy and grace is new every single morning. He will strengthen my feet to run freely on the heights and give me rest for my weary soul. He will comfort me all the days of my life and will deliver me in times of trouble. He will awake my soul and give me the joy that is only found in His web of grace.
God has overcome the world already even when darkness surrounds us. His steadfast love will guide us to our knees in surrender and though that process is so painful, it leads us to paths of abundance and harvest. Keep hanging on, sister!
I will run with the God who gives me life and I pray that you will, too.
For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.
Thank you, Lord, for breathing life into our weary souls.
Over the past few weeks, many of you have asked me to share some life updates.
So here it goes--
I have been preparing for the harvest for a long time-- and it is finally here.
Earlier this year, every day ended in tears. I would go to bed tangled in a web of worry, wake up feeling frustrated, and the cycle just kept going. I was exhausted 24/7 and my job was hard. Just ask any first-year teacher. Even if you are in the best school, which I am, nothing takes away the exhaustion and emotional baggage that you carry for your kids. It's a blessing and a curse to feel things so deeply.
When I think of this year, the verse that comes to mind is a verse in Psalm that says, “You have turned my mourning into dancing: you have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
This is my life anthem.
This past year has been a season of sowing. A season of tending the crops. A season of allowing God to prune the bad fruits to make room for the good. It will be a season that I look back on and smile because I have seen God in His rawest and fiercest form. I have seen the wind raging around me and His quiet voice keeping me still. I have seen the roaring waves when all odds were against me and His feet on the water coming to save.
I spend my days exhausted, but filled to the brim with hope because I know that He is steadfast. Don't get me wrong-- I face challenges on a daily basis, but His joy is greater.
I asked God to take away my struggle, but He didn’t. I ask God to perform a miracle, yet He stayed silent and still.
Please understand me, sister, just because He is silent and still does not mean that He is not there. He is alive and well in you.
So perhaps that’s what this season was all about-- turning my mourning into dancing and trusting Him through the unknowns. Learning to embrace the heaviness of a broken world and how to be wild and free in a world that seeks to tame.
Perhaps this season was all about learning to let go and learning how to tend a garden. Learning how to let the Sower do His job.
I pray that God is using whatever you are going through to prune the bad fruits to make room for the good, teaching you how to let go, and turning your mourning into dancing.
The season of harvest is here. Keep tending the garden.
It has been one of those weeks where I have had to bring out my old Bible. You know that Bible you haven't seen since high school and carried you through seasons of finding yourself and finding God in sticky mud? The Bible that has everything under the sun highlighted and noted? Yes-- that one.
This week, it has been my lifeline.
Jesus Walks on the Water: Matthew 14
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
My heart is heavy because I am Peter. I really pray that you are, too. I pray that you have taken a step out onto the water and sunk. I pray that you have realized that you are not enough alone. I pray that you can see your weakness plain as day and your desperate need for God so clearly.
You are not enough alone. You are only enough when Jesus is your lifeline.
During my time this week in my "old Bible", I have spent a significant amount of time reading in the book of Zechariah. Though I have read the Bible three times through (and a million chapters in segments) since, I always find myself drawn to the grit and rawness. I see the verses "let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built" and "so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong." It was God, my friends... it was He who reached down from the Heavens to say "you, my child, are chosen. You were chosen from the beginning of time to do the great and mighty work I have for you... but that fear does not belong in the dwelling place of my Spirit."
Why, oh Lord, am I so afraid?
I think of Peter and how he began to sink when he saw the wind. How he stepped out on the water and as soon as his foot slipped, he panicked and said "Lord, save me!" Jesus gripped onto His hand and He drew him out of the engulfing waters.
There are going to be times, my friends, when God will tell you to "come." Times when God will wreck us from the inside out and break down all the barriers we have built to show us why we are not enough alone. Too many people are afraid of this statement, but I am not... I will scream it from the mountain tops.
You and I are not enough. We cannot save ourselves, we cannot strengthen ourselves. We cannot keep ourselves afloat.
Only Jesus can.
The God of the universe cuts a channel for the rain and clears a path for the roaring storms. He sends rain to the deserted lands where no man steps foot and cares for the wildflowers that no eyes have ever even seen. He gives orders to the morning and places every animal and human where they belong in this world.
It is your God who arms you with strength and makes your way not perfect, but worth it. It is your God who roughens our feet to walk freely on the rocky terrain and trains our hands for the battle. The battle against flesh and blood. The battle against fear, anxiety, weakness, and pain. He arms us with strength and commands us with burning fire in His eyes "you must be brave and come to me on crashing waves." Confidence and authority spilling out like the most dangerous and life-threatening bodies of water. Our confident commander who richly refines us through fire is calling YOU to step out of the boat.
I pray that you are listening.
I will praise you, oh Lord, for you counsel me even when I do not want it nor deserve it. Your Spirit awakens me in the dead of night and sets my soul on fire. He prepares the way before me and surrounds me all the days of my life. In you, oh Lord, we take refuge. In you, oh Lord, we hide in the shadow of your wings.
Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise and your foundations with lapis lazuli."
Awake, my God, I need thee every hour.
My sweet sister,
As the new year rings in, I am sure that your entire feed is all about New Year goals of exercise and healthy eating, one-second-a-day videos, and pictures of family gatherings and giant meals together.
I just want to remind you that it's okay to lay low right now. It's okay to breathe.
Sister, please listen to me. It is okay to not make life-altering decisions today. It's okay to think more about how far you have come this year than setting goals that are mountain high. It's okay to think about the things you fought so hard to overcome or that relationship you fought so hard for and lost. It's okay to remember the messy-- to remember how even in the midst of it all, God didn't care that it was messy. He cared that you were looking at Him dead in the eyes and refusing to break the stare. Even if you were hanging on by a thread.
You do not need to know what lies ahead because you know that God is already there!
He has seen you tremble in fear, collapse in sadness, and praise Him from the highest of mountain tops this year. I pray that you never forget the sorrow and joy you endured through. It's important to remember as it was God's goodness that carried you through.
If I could leave you with one final thought for 2019, I would say that the goodness of God is a real thing. It says in scripture that in all things, we know that God is good to those who love Him. He is good in the mundane, during times of failure and victory, and when our busy schedules are swirling above our heads.
This year, I pray that you are able to find joy in the every day. Not because our lives are always steady and perfect, but because we know that God is.
I hope this year, you are brave enough to take the first step. That you are brave enough to keep going when taking "one step at a time" is gut-wrenching. I pray that you are able to see your true worth not within the eyes of men, but God. Not your worth that comes from a number in your bank account or on a scale, but your worth that is found only as a daughter of the Most High. That you are able to move past the opinions of others who do not know nor care about the full story and are able to stop pretending to be someone different and run in the freedom that only comes through the sacrifice on the rugged cross.
I pray that you are able to see the goodness of God in the land of the living and see His mighty power even in the mundane.
Sister, it is okay to be still right now.
My sweet sister,
My eyes filled with tears as I gazed upon the lit candle that was gently placed in my hand. There was magic in that moment.
This truly was a magical Christmas.
The wind blew through my hair as my dad carried me into Forest Park Church on the Christmas of 2003. There is nothing special about that date because all the memories tend to run together.
I remember sitting on the edge of the stage as grandpa preached the good news that the Savior had been born. We saw a king in grandpa... he wasn't just "grandpa," he was our superhero. He was our steadfast and fearless leader.
I think of how we would order pizza and open up our Christmas Eve present-- always cozy Christmas jammies. And how we would watch a Christmas movie and eat yummy treats before bed.
I think of how we would wake up in a scramble to jump on mom and dad while they were sleeping (until high school when they would have to wake us up. Haha!) and how we would eat the most delicious food that grandma made. Precious memories.
Then, everything changed.
Grandpa passed away from cancer, grandma went into a nursing home, their house went to a wonderful relative, and that was when all the special Christmas magic became nothing short of a passing memory. It wasn't the presents that made Christmas magical. It was family. It was our time together. It was our time spent digging into the Word of how the Immanuel divided history.
Christmas is either a time of great joy or a time of deep sorrow. I find myself longing for the Savior and longing for reconciliation within our nation and each other. There is magic within the sorrow, my friends... and it is beautiful!
But God is doing something new!
There is magic in that, too.
The spirit of the Lord gives hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak. He gives joy in the sorrow and life to those who seek.
My voice is raspy, my friends. And I fully believe that God intended for it to be that way.
No raspy voice, no healing.
Oh Lord, heal our raspy voices that long for hope.
I think of my raspy voice and how raspy theirs must have been too. A world with no hope. Generations and ages longing and crying for a Savior. "Oh come, oh come, Immanuel!"
Our yearnings finally satisfied.
My voice is raspy, and I hope yours is too.
"And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10
My sweet sister,
I am afraid to tell you that it is time to put your fear behind you and move forward.
Maybe there has been a little push on your heart to do something. Maybe a certain thing has come up during your time with the Lord.
Do you find your mind wandering to something during prayer?
Do you feel that God is asking you to step out on the water? To trust Him fully and make that leap?
It's time to move, sweet sister. It's time to be brave.
When you look back on this year, what do you see? Do you think of the strength you have gained? The boldness of your heart? Or the fear that held you back? When God asks you to step out on the water, trust Him. Be brave.
Are you living convinced that God is not "all talk?" Are you living convinced that He is who He says He is?
It's time to move. It is time to be brave. It is time to trust.
I know you are afraid... being brave often means going past the borders of our comfort zone... often taking a leap forward on something God has put on our hearts.
I took a leap forward when I moved six hours away from home. I felt alone... and quite frankly, I still kind of do. Even after half a year. I remember having a pretty raw heart-to-heart conversation with God this last July when I spent my first night alone in my new apartment. I remember pleading with Him and arguing because I felt like a fish out of water. But He told me that I had to be brave... that He was going to take me far away from my comfort zone. That He was going to introduce me to a new small group, a new church, new friends, and a new job. I had to look fear straight in the eyes and move forward knowing that He was going to catch my fall. And man was I thankful that I kept holding on... what a blessing it is to be where I am today.
Loving God and following God go hand-in-hand. There is no following God without loving Him... because loving someone means sacrifice... and we so often sacrifice our desires for His. It's raw, yet so lovely.
Sister, do you find yourself struggling in this time? Do you find your mind wandering to easier times when life wasn't so unclear?
I know I do... but I also know that moving forward means being brave. Moving forward means choosing joy when we are waiting for the blessing.
Are you content with staying where you are? Or are you ready to move forward?
My sweet sister,
let's talk about the "table." The table of Jesus.
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows."
Big things happen at this table. In fact, much of Jesus' ministry was gathering around the table; teaching, celebrating, healing, and eating.
How simple, yet refreshing is this table of His.
Let's talk about how even Judas sat at the table of Jesus the same night He betrayed Him. Jesus knew, yet He welcomed him with open arms.
Let's talk about how Jesus invites you and I to His table. How He welcomes all sinners and embraces us with compassion.
"While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, "why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what the means: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Oh sister, just come. Just come to His table.
Come wounded. Come with baggage. Come broken-hearted. Come with no strength. Come with fear. Come with family issues. Come with broken relationships. Come with pain.
We often think that the "table" is meant for others more worthy than ourselves.
But did you know that His blood covers you and that the veil was torn in half?
Did you know that Jesus conquered sin and death so that you could freely sit next to Him at the table?
No matter how excruciating your pain is, no matter how empty your well is, just come. Come to the table and rest your weary heart with the Almighty.
I know the guilt all too well. I, too, have made mistakes that I didn't even think the Almighty could forgive. But yet, I am forgiven. You are too.
Sometimes I even catch myself asking Jesus to come to my table... when I feel alone and lacking in hope. I ask Jesus to come in my sea of hurt, but He is already there... my heart is too distracted to hear His quiet voice next to me.
Why would I set up my own plastic table when Jesus has a table fit for a King already prepared for me? There is a difference between asking Jesus to come to my table and Him asking me to come to His.
Where in the world does God's grace come in when I am stuck in a sea of hurt?
Where in the world is the hope we feel in times of abundance, but never as it seems during the driest of seasons?
Oh grace, where are you in this time?
It's not found in any other place than the table of Jesus.
I am going to repeat that... it is very important. Grace is not found in any other place than the table of Jesus.
But there is a difference between settling with grace and changing with grace. When I talk about the grace of God, I am also talking about how grace comes with a conviction to change. Sitting at the table means resting in His grace, but learning how to serve and love Him better through conviction.
Be prepared to be moved out of your comfort zone. Be prepared to be molded by the potter Himself.
What will you do with that grace? What will you do with that conviction?
Sister, just come. Come to His table. Your life is never "too messy" to come.
Drink His cup that overflows and eat the bread of life and never hunger or thirst again. For man does not live on bread alone, but on every word of God.
I know a man quite well who let those rusty nails pound into His hands and feet for you before you even knew He existed. He opened the door for you to come to the table from the beginning of time. He opened the door for the bread of life and the living water to fill your cup forever.
If you come to the table, you will never hunger or thirst again.
I also know a man who looked prostitutes straight in the eyes and looked upon them with such love and compassion. Just as His Father did. Just as we need to as well. He invited them to the table... will you?
No matter what you are going through in life, just come and be with Jesus. There is healing in Him. There is a breath of life in Him. There is a time of wilderness and a time of harvest, but when you sit with Jesus, it strangely seems to make sense.
Keep holding on sister, I promise it will be okay.
Just come to the table.
Sit with Jesus.
My sweet sister,
Let's talk about Mary. Let's talk about how God gives and takes away and shows that so clearly through our girl, Mary. He gave the Savior of the world to carry in her womb and took Him away after 33 years... how painful. How beautiful. How redemptive.
It was a quiet night when Jesus was born. The city I am sure was in a hustle and bustle, but it was a quiet night in the stable and was a quiet night out as the shepherds watched their sheep at night. It was not a quiet night in Heaven, though. Heaven I am sure roared the victory over sin and death that sacred night Jesus was born. By sending His son, God had already conquered sin and death. This was just the first step of His extravagant plan unfolding.
Behold the King who takes away the sins of many! Who lived in the light of His Father with glass windows. He was watched. Every single minute.
Of course, there was no room for the Savior in the inn, but there was room in the stable behind... and for them, that was perfect. The Savior of the world humbled Himself so much as to be born in a stable. Nothing special. Nothing sacred. Nothing extravagant for the Almighty.
I think of His mama and how afraid she must have been. To be carrying the Almighty and essentially, carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.
"God is within her, she will not fall"
Take this to heart, sister. You are walking on holy ground. Let's take off our shoes, sit before the cross, and talk about our Savior. The Savior whose presence divided history. The Savior who took away the pain of others, but kept His own to prove His faithfulness.
I think of my Savior, walking the same streets with tattered shoes and quiet strength. I think of Him cuddling with his mama as a little one; fully God and fully man. Oh what was yet to come for this sweet little child.
To be torn to shreds by the ones who claimed to love Him the most and to be denied by those who pounded nails into His hands and feet. To carry the weight of the world on His shoulders, yet love us unconditionally no matter how many times we hurt His heart. What a beautiful story when sin and grace collide. It shouldn't have been that way. We deserved so much less, in fact... we don't deserve anything. Yet He turned His Kingdom upside down so that He could understand us and love us better. There is an upside down Kingdom, friends, and it belongs to the least of these. Darkness thought it had a hold on us, but did it know that God stood in victory the moment He created the world?
My oh my, come see what God has done.
Glory to the light of the world. Glory to the one who gave His life for us and carries our sorrow and joy with a thankful heart. Glory to the one who humbled Himself to be one of us: walking on filthy streets, taking a name that would be hated by many, and born in a place full of animals and straw.
Glory to the one who leads us through desert wastelands, yet promises to send rain. To the one who deeply aches for us, but sees us with fresh and grace-filled eyes. To the one who gives and takes away. To the one who fills our eyes with tears all while saying, "I have something much better planned for you."
"And I will be to her a wall of fire all around declares the Lord. And I will be the glory in her midst."
He turns our mourning into dancing!
Oh, how beautiful is this King of ours.
“Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him." But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down to sleep and I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.”
Many people are familiar with the story of Esther. A woman who was chosen to be queen and saved her people from the tragic plot of the king. She stood before him boldly and pleaded for the freedom of her people. She stood confidently knowing that in all things, God is faithful. God worked through an unequipped woman to bring forth His glory in the most scandalous way. We see God in a different light through Esther. Not the God of rainbows and sunshine, but a God who calls His brave warriors to step forward in confidence. The God who is not hindered by danger and whose love is raw, reckless, and fierce.
A wild woman wrapped in the grace of God will see every struggle as an opportunity to be obedient to her King. She does not have the time to feel insecure because she is busy serving and keeping her eyes on the one who created all things. She walks forward knowing that her weakness will bring her straight to the throne of God and will illuminate His power within her. And she knows, deep down in her heart, that the God of the universe stills her, leads her, reassures her, encourages her, comforts her, calms her, convicts her, delivers her, and sustains her.
By the fierceness of God, you are becoming a woman of courage, a woman of strength, and a woman of discipline. You are obedient in the storms of life because you know the life-giver yourself. You know that His will is found in the eye of the storm and your fear has no place to live in light of who God is and how powerful He is in you. You move forward one step at a time because at any second, God could throw you off your path and onto another. But nonetheless, you do not fear the wind and waves because your footing is made firm in the hope of Jesus.
He will meet you there.
You look dead into the eyes of fear and move forward in confidence that His rod and staff will comfort you all the days of your life. He is a wall of fire around you and a canopy from the scorching heat. He will lead you by green pastures and through seasons of harvest and wilderness... yet He is faithful every second of every day of your life. This battle you are facing is forcing your heart to take courage to mold you into the warrior that He has called you to be from the beginning of time. He will take you on paths where danger lurks at every corner, yet you bravely take strides knowing that God cannot be hindered and is not afraid of the unseen.
There is a lioness within you, sister.
This is what we see in Esther. We see how God's work "behind the scenes" established a sense of strategic fierceness. The heart of Esther reveals to us the heart of God. She had grit. She was bold. She was ravishing. She was strong. She was wild. She was fierce.
We see, through her, how God established His kingdom, how He redeemed His people, and how His heart was a reflection of it all. Even in the darkest of times, when He feels the most absent, we can trust in His promise that He has never, nor ever will, abandon His people.
As I fumbled in the top drawer of my desk for a pen earlier this week, a worn index card slipped free from the edge of the drawer. The card. I sank into my chair to read the penciled words and remember the day hard thanksgiving changed my life forever.
At my husband’s insistence, I left my stable medical practice to start a tiny clinic in the rural town of less than 200 people where we lived. The clinic was exhaustingly busy but the heavy load of Medicare patients barely paid the overhead. I needed paying patients but my schedule was already full. In the midst of the clinic's financial struggle my husband's business prospered as never before. The disparity in our two incomes was a difficult issue for us and one I felt powerless to change.
Eventually, he had an affair with a much younger woman and a pregnancy resulted. He left without a backward glance to move in with his new family.
I struggled without my husband's income. Long days seeing patients were followed by hours every night spent doing medical records after my son went to bed but the clinic was no more profitable. Because I was in solo practice, I never had a day off or a vacation. I was always on call. 24/7/365. My son cried every time the phone rang and by then I wanted to cry, too. We were both exhausted of the struggle.
In desperation, I cried out to the Lord and felt his still, small voice speak with clarity. “Close the clinic.” I knew it was right. Neither my son nor I could stand it much longer. Unfortunately, the still, small voice didn't reveal the next step.
I wrote articles for the newspaper and magazines. Tried my hand at taxidermy and failed miserably. Baked bread and sold it at the farmer's market. Became a fledgling potter. Whatever I found to do, I did it with all my might but my efforts barely kept us afloat.
On one life-changing day nearly fifteen years ago, circumstances collied with such force I felt I was out of options. My aging SUV had enough gas to transport my son to school and back but not enough for me to go home in-between. I didn't have enough in my bank account to buy gas and pay the bills so I did the only thing I could think of at the time. I dropped him off, pulled into a parking lot, and prepared to spend the next eight hours in my car.
I opened my Bible and wept more than read for several hours. Finally, I reached Psalm 50. You night recognize this as the "cattle on a thousand hills” psalm. I seized on the phrase like a drowning sailor reaching for a life preserver. “Lord, I need you to sell some of your cows and help me.” I don't know if I expected an out-loud voice or not, but I felt as if there was no response to my plea.
Finally, I cried out, tears streaming down my face, “What do you have to say about this situation, Lord? You have to do something because I’ve done all I can do!”
The quietest voice imaginable spoke in my heart. “Turn the page.”
What?? I didn't understand. Was this a call to a fresh start of some sort? Finally, I sensed the call again. “Turn the page.” Could this mean a literal turn of the page? I wondered and flipped the page. Astounding words waited for me there.
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” Psalm 50:14-15 nasb
A sacrifice of thanksgiving. My next step. Clarity burst into to my despair. I had the “calling out" part down pat but I hadn’t bothered to give God thanks in my difficult situation.
The only paper I could find was a blank index card. I pulled out a pencil and started writing. Soon, the front of the card was covered with thanksgiving so I continued on the revere side. The more I wrote, the lighter my heart became.
God didn't overlook my situation. Instead, I overlooked my blessings.
He replaced my grumbling and complaining with gratitude and hope. My heart changed that day. It took a little longer for my circumstances to change but, before long, someone called with a well-paying job I could do from home. Our finances improved and our joy returned.
The index card is faded and worn but my thanksgiving list is still visible. The sacrifice of thanksgiving didn't end all my financial worries or moments of despair. Instead, it taught me how to find my way through. In the hardest times, I start by offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving. When I do, I know I can depend on Him to handle the rest.
What about you? Are you in a desperate situation this holiday season? Does it feel as if you have nowhere to turn and your hope is gone? Could it be you’ve overlooked the blessings God has already given? Maybe it's time to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving—to give thanks when it's hard. Why not start your own list of blessings today?
Whether you're in a hard season or not, gratitude is alway the right gift to offer our Lord. This year, begin your family Thanksgiving with a new tradition. Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and watch with anticipation for how God will respond.
A few years ago, I’d moved from Phoenix back to Fresno to be closer to friends and church family. Once I moved back, I thought everything would be easy and that I would not struggle.
I was so wrong.
I landed employment at a skilled nursing facility, over fifty miles away from where I lived. The pay was lower, I had client and staff difficulties and the schedule took up my weekends.
I went from having my own place in Phoenix to now having a roommate because I couldn’t afford to live on my own.
With all the difficulties, I found myself questioning the move back to Fresno. I began to realize how much easier I had it back in Phoenix. I felt as if I had made a mistake.
During this time, I was pretty down. My thinking was pretty negative about the whole situation and often I’d come home and just check out. Instead of thriving emotionally, I found myself barely getting by. I believed things would never get better.
One night, while doing dishes, God said, “Alexis, you’ve lost your joy.”
I sighed. “ God, my life has been nothing but hard since I’ve moved back. I can’t seem to find it.”
There was a moment of silence then God said: “Alexis, there is a women’s bible study meeting tonight, just down the street from you. You should go.”
I groaned. “God, the last thing I want to do is be around a bunch of people. How will it help?”
God was silent, but the idea to visit the women’s bible study would not leave. Sighing, I decided to go. I quickly ate dinner, grabbed my bible bag and headed to the study.
I was greeted with open arms and smiles. The women were excited to have a new member join them and the timing was perfect; they’d be starting a new study tonight.
The topic was joy.
I smiled as I suddenly understood why God wanted me there that night.
For the next 8 weeks, we studied Choose Joy by Kay Warren. It’s been several years now, but her definition of joy has always stuck with me:
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things." -Kay Warren
It is now my mantra.
I’ve learned something about joy since then:
Joy is a choice.
When we keep our eyes on God, instead of our circumstances, we can find joy. In Acts 16:16-40, we find Paul and Silas imprisoned after removing a divining spirit from a slave girl who profited her masters with her fortune telling. They were beaten, their clothing was destroyed and they were chained up in prison.
At that time, they did not know if they would be spared or possibly killed.
They did not complain.
They did not lament over their circumstances.
They prayed and worshipped.
Because of this choice and their joy in the Lord, they were supernaturally released from prison and a jailer was converted.
Joy is a powerful thing!
So when you’re in circumstances that are less than ideal, choose joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). God is always with you and He sees your struggle; He’ll help you get through.
Written by: Brina SUttle
Founder & Writer, Dear Christian Sister
Paul tells us that we are to "Rejoice in the Lord, always." Through the trials of life, it isn't always easy to have a joyful heart that rejoices in God. This can feel like an overwhelming task.
But biblical joy is a state of being, a fruit of the Spirit. We can't just muster up this joy from within our selves. It's super natural. It's a gift from God, given to us through the Holy Spirit.
Isn't it so freeing when we understand that it is not of ourselves? When I think about this, I feel as if a weight has been lifted. I can't muster up the joy of the Lord, because it is His joy, not mine. I am wholly dependent upon Him and His grace.
This is why we can be joyful in suffering. We all know someone who has experienced the loss of a spouse or child, received a terrible diagnosis, or is struggling financially, who is still able to rejoice in the Lord. My great-grandmother is 103 years old. She has lost all her siblings, her husband of 70+ years. Due to a stoke years ago, she lost function on the right side of her body. She can no longer walk, and sometimes struggles to get her mouth to say the words she is thinking.
And yet, she is the most joyful, faithful, godly woman I have ever known. She is always kind. She loves the Lord. She depends on Him completely. Although she would love to be called home and live forever with her Savior, she fully trusts that God still has a purpose for her on this earth. God continues to provide for her and continues to supply her with joy in His promises.
R.C. Sproul writes that we can still be joyful in our mourning, in our sadness, our pain & suffering. "This is because the person’s mourning is directed toward one concern, but in that same moment, he possesses a measure of joy." Our joy is not dependent upon our circumstances.
One of my favorite hymns is "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." The first verse & chorus are as follows:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
We receive joy from the Lord, but we also rejoice in Him. We rejoice in His promises to us. We rejoice in His faithfulness, His loving-kindness.
As I said before, biblical joy is not something from within ourselves. It is given by the Holy Spirit. But we can take specific steps to orient our hearts and our minds to the Lord.
If you are having trouble rejoicing today, I encourage you to PRAY! Ask the Lord for a joyful heart. Ask Him to make apparent to you His glory. Cry out to your Creator. Cling to Christ and orient your heart to Him.
And READ! How will we know who God is if we ignore His Word? How can we rejoice in His promises if we don't know what they are? Even if it's just listening to the audio, hearing the Word of God turns us toward our Creator. It brings us comfort. It brings joy to hear what God has done for us. Rejoice in the Lord.
Written by: Shovorne Adams
FOUNDER AND WRITER, THE HOPE TABLE SISTERHOOD
We walked hand in hand in the wet and cold greys of a Folkestone day. Apart from the squawking of gulls and the commands of doggie parents walking man's best friend as they barked, there wasn’t much noise. The most distinct and heart-warming sound on this cold grey day was the sound of the ever-flowing sea rocking back and forth as it crashed into the rocks, flowed up onto the seashore, stopped at its boundary, swirled and then gracefully rolled back again. The sea repeated itself creating a rhythm. The nature of the sea was the best soundtrack for our autumn lovers walk.
As my hubby walked beside me he said “Do you know what I love? It’s that even though it’s cold and grey, yet we still get to see the sun shining through. It's so bright”
I lifted my head and he was so right. It was a stunning sight. The sun just hung there in the sky beaming brightly as if it was a summers day in July. Yet here we were in the grey and brown color scheme of October and the sun had boldly come to illuminate our day.
As I considered the beautiful view, I responded to my husband with what I felt was whispered into my heart “Yes it’s beautiful. Shows us that sometimes even when it’s not our (best) season we still have to show up”
Have you ever had one of those seasons? Or even one of those days? It’s just not going well. The cold and grey realities of your life’s seasons are taking their toll and you don’t feel like showing up for the job you used to love, or the relationship you used to adore, or the people you used to delight in serving? You just feel weary and detached. Present yet not present. Isolated from it all.
There was a lady in the Bible that was having an extra tough season. Her name was Hagar. Family life wasn’t working out and she ended up in a very dark season and abandoned in the desert with her son, weary, detached and isolated from it all. She got to the point where she was ready to give up.
She sat in the desert and had removed herself from her son because they had run out of food and drink and she just couldn't cope.
Genesis 21:17 - 19 "God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the boy crying from the place where he is. Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand, for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. So she went and filled the waterskin and gave the boy a drink.
Her little bottle had run out of the water, but God provided her with a well. Her personal endless source of water. But it didn’t end there, that she had her needs met. The angel asked her to get up and go and take her son by the hand and help him too. He was called to be great.
That’s right. Even though it wasn't her best season, Hagar was still called to show up. First, she had to get up off her knees, hold her head up to the blessing in front of her, show up for herself, then she had a duty to stand up and show up for someone else - her son. To take him by the hand and ensure he was well-watered.
With God by her side, she could grow through and glow through this season. I’m not sure what you are going through today, or what you feel like you should isolate yourself from in your grey cold season, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You have a choice and just like the sun on our cold Folkstone lovers walk, or Hagar as she mothered in distress, sometimes, even when it’s not your (best) season, you can still show up.
"Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Will I really have a child, now that I am old?" Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
To Sarah, a barren woman having a sweet little child was beyond the power of God. She felt hopeless... like seriously though, can you blame poor woman? Instead of trusting in the Lord, she chose someone more fitting for the role-- Hagar, her servant. Hagar was a young, fertile woman, who was almost everything that Sarah was not. Though Ishmael was birthed from the lineage of Abraham, he was not, nor would he ever become, the chosen son of the promise.
I am Sarah. And I am sure that you are, too. There is a type of waiting that shakes you to your core-- soul-wrenching, heart-crushing, painful waiting. God is there, too.
Clothe me in your joy, O Lord.
Countless times, He looks at us, laughs, and shakes His head. If only we could see the plan about to unfold.
"But Mallory, don't you know that this season of waiting has a purpose"
The minute I stop trying is the minute that God moves. He is the kind to move MOUNTAINS... not just hills. His plan is unknown to me, but His love surely is. I pray that His love has been made known to you, too.
We are exhausted. We are scatter-brained. We are anxious; often disappointed because the wait is almost too much to bear. We are all of these because this race we are running was never ours to run. Let Him fight for you. You must be still.
Clothe me in your joy, O Lord.
Whatever God has promised you is what it will be. He is not asking you to “figure it out." He is asking you to truly trust in your heart that He and He only is waiting for you there. Waiting to us seems like a waste of time... but waiting for God means digging deep into our heart and forming our desires to align with His perfect and pleasing will. According to Psalm 27:14, it's the waiting that strengthens our heart. The most beautiful part of waiting is experiencing the excruciating ache of hope. It is not just you in the waiting-- He is there too.
John 13:7 says,
“Jesus replied, "you do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
Real talk here, my friends… there are many seasons where we are left frustrated. If the desires of our hearts are from the Lord, why do we not have those things? When the timing is truly, truly perfect, He will come through for you. When those desires are finally met, my prayer for you is that you understand why the season of waiting was intentional.
Whatever you do, chase after your king. Do not let the wait overlook what He is doing in and through you in the present. My prayer for you is that you live fully convinced that God is who He says He is... and that He, too, is in the waiting.
Clothe me in your Joy, O Lord.
Psalm 30:11-12 says,
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Today will be amazing! Here is why you can choose joy TODAY:
1. God woke you up this morning
2. You are healthy and have the ability to enjoy life
3. God has aligned this day just for you
4. Someone in this world is having the best day of his or her life
5. You can read, write, and learn
6. You have access to pretty much everything you can think of
7. There is an endless supply of memes out there to give you your "funny fix"
8. It's fall!
Change is beautiful, isn't it? Take a hot minute in your day to take a walk in nature. There is SO much power in nature. Ever spent some time outside right after it rains? The smell is amazing. Ever sat on your front porch and watched a storm pass? Exhilarating. Ever wake up early to watch the sunrise? Refreshing.
9. You have the word to strengthen your heart
10. God is on your side and will fight for you ALL day
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Girlfriend, go to Starbucks, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and take a deep breath-- everything will be alright. I promise.
This is the most important lesson that I have learned thus far. Although my favorite Starbucks drink is most definitely a Strawberry Refresher, there is nothing in the world like a taking a deep breath in a place that smells like coffee.
You may call it Starbucks, but I call it "self-care"... Am I right???
In this post, I will give you 10 practical ways of self-care.
1. Grab your favorite Starbucks drink and bring your journal with you
2. Take a hot minute to walk through the leaves
3. Listen to your favorite jams for at least 10 minutes per day
4. Make a list of the things you are thankful for
5. Re-read your favorite book
6. Treat yo' self to a healthy home-cooked meal
7. Schedule time in your day for "rest"
8. Mess-be-gone: Declutter your living space
9. Wake up a half-hour earlier to pray about your day (I do this... even as a teacher)
10. Buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers
I have learned that I am worth the deep breath, the Starbucks drink, the journaling time, the nature walks, the jam sessions, the thankful-for lists, the book reading, the home-cooked meal, the rest time, the decluttering, the early wake-up time, and most definitely the beautiful bouquet of flowers. And I know you are, too.
We are worth much, much more than that, too.
Take care of yo' self, girl! His goodness is amplified when you do.
It's 2019 and I am not in Africa.
From the start of my Junior year of high school till my senior year of college, I raved about the big plans I would have after college of moving to Africa and working with the orphan children and starting my own ministry that would support their daily needs.
But here I am, in good ol' Indiana, laughing that I thought I had it all figured out. Laughing at how naive I have been to think that I could do a much better job planning my life than the one who orchestrated the entire universe. Thinking that my time was more valuable than His.
Little did I know, God would plant me right here, in Indianapolis, to teach young hearts and minds and run my ministry on the side. Let me tell you, God was showing off when He created my little sweethearts. What freedom and grace they offer to me as their teacher.
Heritage Christian School leads a year-long fundraiser called "Coins for the Kingdom". This year, we are supporting our friends in Kenya, Africa, with the money we raise. No, this is not a post asking for money, but rather an appreciation post for a student of mine who showed me the love of Christ in a way I've never seen before.
Instead of asking his friends and family for coins, he writes mini comic books to sell. He has taken this beautiful talent God has given him and is sharing it with others in such a creative way. If that isn't a prime example of blooming where you are planted, then I sure don't know what is (if you are ever in the market for a new comic book, I will pass on the message :) I adore my job.
Eternally rooted. Placed carefully by the Creator.
"It will come when your heart is ready to carry it."
My sweet friend, maybe this isn't the life you would have planned for yourself, but take a look around, exhale, and breathe in the breath of life-- the breath of everything intentional. You are firmly planted by the King of Kings and well-known in the Kingdom of the One Most High. You are not forgotten or led astray.
There is a reason why God has you exactly where He does.
Because one day we will look dead into the eyes of our sweet creator and our souls will once again dance without fear. All the money issues we thought were the end-all, all the popularity contests, the messy relationships, and all the sleepless nights will become a distant memory, and the only thing that will be worthy of his full attention will be the way we loved.
But for now, my sweet friend, are you intentionally blooming where He has planted you?
I angrily shuffled along the sidewalk's edge with my pink Barbie suitcase in hand with zero intention of turning back and going home. I turned around, took a good look at my house, and stomped off till I reached the end of the street.
Which way do I go, Lord? What now?
This was the first, and only time, I ran away from home. Even with my four-year-old wild spirit, I felt like I was on uncharted waters. I felt lost. I felt afraid.
I ran back home.
But you see, not this time.
This time, I need to be brave. Keep me close to your heart, oh Lord.
Because, my friend, one season is finished and one is beginning and ever-so-quickly does twenty-two years feel like one. A vapor.
So far away from home. But never far from Him.
May your will be done, oh Lord.
Look what great things He has done!
I am sitting on my front porch, all alone, for the very last time. What a view set before me. Everything I could ever ask Him for. A perfectly painted sky with all shades of pink and blue, the fading sunlight lightly brushing the green, and my wandering thoughts covering my heart.
But why now, Lord?
I always am ready for the next adventure. In fact, slightly restless in almost every season God has me in. It's like He holds me there just a minute extra to show that He is still in control.
But not this time. It's different.
I am not restless. I am not ready. I am not settled in this season.
But God is.
Yes, He is prepared. He is ready. He will catch me.
I spent all day packing up my furniture. Packing up my heart. Packing up my memories. Packing up my life.
You see, it's His gentle hand that pulls me from my comfort zone. Each time farther and more permanent than the last. How beautiful is His heart for me?
Clothe me in your thoughts, Lord. Oh, how ravishing and alive you are in me!
I pray for you, my sweet friend, that He is shaping you as He is me. Cling to His sweet promise! For joy comes in the morning!
"Behold, I am making all things new."
And just like that, I will look at my home one last time, filled with blood, sweat and tears, and walk forward in confidence.
Let thy will be done, oh Lord.
It's 1:30 in the morning when my eyes should be shut, But here God and I are again... in the same place as we have been the last three nights, teaching my wandering heart the art of learning how to be "His". Teaching my heart how to be still, allowing Him to fight for me, and living in the present of who He says I am.
In a wishey-washey world, where clear answers and true identities are nowhere to be found, trust Him when He says that His unwavering devotion never leaves your side; a Mighty Warrior who has come to rescue your heart. He will take great delight in you. While you were still a sinner with not one ounce of life left in your soul, His heart screamed with the most gentle whisper "I want her forever. Take me instead."
My beautiful friend, you were knitted together with such intention. You were formed with precise detail; so perfect and complete.
He saw you. When you were made in the hidden corners of the earth, in your mother's tum, He saw you and created in you a fierce intention woven into your being that was a reflection of His heart. He created in you a "home" for His beloved; a temple, a house, a dwelling place for the Spirit of the Living God. As He hovers over the waters with such divine power and devotion, He lives with such power in the dwelling place of your heart.
My friend, there is a time in life where God commands you to look past the doubt, look past the insecurity, and look past the guilt. Surging through your veins is a freedom that was never intended to be hidden or hindered. Your feet were never meant to stop running on this sacred, Holy ground.
In this ever-changing and crazy world, He has prepared a place for you.
Right beside Him.
A special, sacred place just for you. The place where God has chosen for you to sow.
Let's lay down our hearts for a minute and be vulnerable with each other. Please lay down your desires, lay down your walls, lay down your wandering thoughts, and all of your burning questions. As will I. Let's take off our shoes, kneel before the cross, and let's talk about why our hearts so desperately need His.
You see, not only is He the Creator of all things, but He is the only Way, the Voice of Truth, and the most powerful weapon to be used. He is our Savior and Redeemer to a world so full of pain and insecurity. He is our Healer when it seems as if there is no life left in us. He is our Master, our Teacher, and our Friend. He is our Deliverer in times of danger and temptation, and our Shepherd ever-so gently leading His sheep. He is our Father. But Most importantly, He is our life-giver. Our every breath we take. He is the one standing beside the bed of a dying loved one anxiously awaiting to welcome His faithful servant home. He is the one who holds our tears. It is comforting to know that not one of our tears is left behind, but rather saved in a bottle from the one who deeply craves our soul. He is the one who leaves the 99 to come find you in the middle of life's biggest messes.
And, after all this time, He calls you His beloved.
Please let Him love you.
It has been a hot minute since I have been on here, and I am oh so very sorry about not writing. But here I am, back out on the front porch that I've known so well, learning to be vulnerable with a sea of people who need Jesus just as much as I.
Let me tell you, my friends, this heart of mine has been through the wringer these last few months. Are you, too, exhausted from trying to constantly keep up?
This season has been one of "tending the field" and God has been so graciously allowing my heart to experience His faithfulness and strength in such powerful and tangible ways. My heart had been a whirlwind of emotion as I waited and waited and waited for God to show up and provide even when His voice seemed so very far away.
He is too strong to be defeated and too wise to be mistaken, and when we cannot see His work in front of us, we must trust His faithful heart. He directs the steps of the Godly and delights in every detail of our lives. Though we may stumble, we will never fall. For He is holding onto us and gives victory to His anointed.
Our purpose is found when our worn down shoes match the shoes of Jesus. This is what He craves for you. For me. For us. Jesus' invitation to walk alongside Him will require repeated shifts throughout our lives, so take hold of His promise that His protection and faithfulness will be your guide. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God and He will be your wall of fire. A canopy from the scorching heat.
Maybe this is a season of abundance for you, or maybe this is a season of tending the field. Whatever the season may be, it is not about proving your worth or trying to be stronger than you are, but rather laying it all down before the cross and letting His will be done.
He gazes through my defenses... right through my thick walls and failed dreams. I am His-- bought with His most precious blood and treasured by His most gracious heart. He has reached down from on high to take hold and has drawn us out of the deep and dangerous waters. He has confronted us in our time of disaster. For you will never be shaken! He alone is our portion and our cup and makes our lot secure.
Please remember this, my friends.
Through all the bending, breaking, and all the stretching... you are the daughter of a King who is not moved; not by death, nor by life. You are the daughter of a King who wraps you ever so tightly in His arms and pours out grace by the buckets into this life of yours.
I understand your sin is great. Mine is, too, but I also know my God... and I know His heart for me. I know His heart for you.
"I forgive you, my child."
Even here, you can trust Him.
Let me tell you, my friends, I have learned that our hands are never equipped to hold this life of ours. We can pray big knowing that our hands and hearts are too weak to hold the weight of it all.
Be patient. The process is tedious. Tending the field takes time.
Be watchful and listen carefully, beautiful girl. It is time to tend your field.