October 4, 2011

morning view

I am a morning person, undoubtedly.

It's not just because my body automatically wakes up at 7am on my days off, even when I haven't gone to bed until 1 or 2.

It's not just because sometimes when I'm falling asleep at night, I'm already excited about what I'm going to eat for breakfast and the thought of that first cup of coffee.

The thing about mornings is . . . it's just so peaceful and untouched. When the sun first comes up, while most of the world (or at least my neighborhood) is still asleep. It's still, it's calm, there's a cool breeze in the air. Before the day gets started and things get kicked into gear . . . it's just a moment to take a deep breath, to start fresh.

I have a choice each morning . . . what or who will I trust in to get through this day? Will I lean into the Gospel more and learn to rely more fully on God? Will I trust in my own abilities, understanding, resources, or the things that I can see? Will I allow my frustrations, insecurities and fears to take the wheel? Will I allow my circumstances to dictate my attitude and my tone for the day?

I hate waking up in a bad mood, and that definitely happened this morning. I think it was a combination of lack of adequate sleep, not being able to turn my brain off, circumstances, etc that did it.

It's definitely not how I want to start the day. I want to listen to Paul when he says:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
-Phil 4:5-7

To rejoice in the Lord, in the Gospel, in reconciliation. Not that I'm going to ignore my frustrations/problems or try to brush them under the rug, but that I choose to find joy and validity in God - rather than finding those things from other people, relationships, my job, money, or other circumstances. That I won't allow those struggles to define me or take over, but that I'll surrender them to God and trust that no matter how things turn out, He is at work and He is good. Even when things seem chaotic and I just can't make sense of a situation. This is not easy, but I think it's what we're called to do.

And I might have to clarify the difference between joy/rejoicing and happiness. Happiness is more of a superficial high and is a result of when things are going the way I want them to. Joy is deeper . . . joy can resonate within me as a result of knowing the Gospel and my status with God, even when I am unhappy, when my circumstances are not what I want them to be, even when I'm wrestling through something with God.

September 11, 2011


This used to only be one bush. And it used to look attractive (promise).

There are certain things that come along with home-ownership . . . like not being able to call the maintenance man to change a lightbulb (in my defense, it was too high to reach), having to change one's own air filters (which reminds me . . .) and then a little bit of "garden" work you could say.

The people who lived here before me planted a few bushes and flowers behind the patio. It looked really good when I first bought the house. Buuuuut do I know anything about maintaining plants? Absolutely not. Do I want to know anything about maintaining plants? Only if it is extremely necessary. Hence, my patio now has a mutant colony growing through the bushes.

Shortly after I moved, my dad came over and showed me which plants were weeds, how to get rid of them, etc. I even bought a hose to water the flowers.

I've seen that hose . . . maybe twice. I mean, it keeps raining, so I'm good, right?

Well, if I would have kept an eye out and picked weeds on a regular basis, you would actually see something aesthetically pleasing when you sat on the patio. But now it's the little shop of horrors.

What happens is, I'll be sitting out on the patio and notice this and think, hmmm - I should do something about that. Then I get distracted because I have to go to the gym or make an appointment or return an email or learn a new Nicki Minaj song.

So . . . the next thing you know, there's a monster living behind my patio.

I thought about it today (while still not doing anything about it . . . I mean, I'm going to have to buy gardening gloves before I can tackle that junk) . . . and how it resembles the state of my heart.

Whenever I let some behavior, attitude, sin pattern unchecked (and fail to "prune" my heart), it slowly develops over time. One day, the garden (I know I don't have a garden, but let's just call it that for now) looks gorgeous and manicured. Two days later, a few weeds appear but they're harmless . . . plus, I've got other things to tend to. Two weeks later, that sin has completely ravaged my heart and taken over.

I allow life's distractions (those little things I think are so urgent) to take over and keep me from maintaining my heart where it belongs. Until enough time passes for it to cause more of an effect than I realized it would.

Just a random thought from today . . . maybe I'll remember to buy gardening gloves one day . . . or just wait for winter to come and take it out . . . survival of the fittest, right?

September 3, 2011

In Regards To Myself

(I am listening to Underoath right now, which inspired the title of this post)

Learning things the hard way . . . or (re)learning that life is a process - a life-long process.

I have found myself asking God to give me patience, the capacity to trust Him with my life, contentment, etc. And you know what? I've discovered that I sometimes (more often than I'd like to admit) expect these prayers to be answered by a revelation, or a single moment in which, I'll wake up transformed from the girl I am now into the most patient, trusting, peaceful person ever.

Then I get frustrated and impatient because I'm not changing fast enough, or God isn't magically transforming me overnight. Then I realize this, and have to laugh at myself.

I'm glad He doesn't answer prayers or behave in a way that I always expect Him to . . . because He is so much bigger than my perceptions of Him. I still have so much to learn about His character and His ways.

Paul, in Philippians, writes:

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
-Phil 4:11-13

Notice that he says he's learned to be content . . . not that he was born with this ability or magically became that way overnight. Having learned something is a process . . .

I was listening to one of JD's sermons on this passage last week and it was really encouraging just to be reminded that God uses our struggles and our failures to teach us, refine us, to build character and to bring us closer to Him.

I am finding that the frustrations and struggles that I'm walking through are the answer to my prayers for patience and for the ability to trust God. I can't become patient overnight (that would be ironic) . . . I have to process it over time and through a trial. How else can I learn these things if I don't have to work through them?

Honestly, the times in my life where I've had to work through a process and really wrestle with something are the times where I've grown and learned the most. And those are the times where God has reminded me of His immense patience and faithfulness . . . thank goodness He's more patient with me than I am with myself.

August 28, 2011

what the what

I'm just gonna throw it out there . . . I think that Christians are terrible at dating.

Ok, ok . . . maybe it's just me, maybe not all Christians are bad at dating . . . but I sure feel like the Bible is clear about certain topics (morality, marriage, child raising, salvation . . .) but we're left in the dark when it comes to dating.

Maybe it's because I'm looking for a list of rules or a certain protocol to follow (going back to my legalistic/type A sinful tendencies, whoops) and it's just not there.

Also, we (or, again, maybe just me) gravitate towards taking it a little too seriously. There's truly nothing wrong with getting to know someone through dating. Just because we hang out doesn't mean that there are wedding bells in the future. For the longest time, I've waited for the perfect person to drop in front of my face before I would even consider the idea of dating. Part of my problem is that I don't want to take a risk . . . I want to know that a potential relationship will be safe, or will definitely lead to something before I even will get to know the guy. It sounds crazy, right?

It goes back to trusting God . . . trusting that He is going to lead me where I need to be, even if the road is more winding, broken and rockier than I'd prefer. I want everything to be spelled out before I even begin the journey. I want a safe, predictable, easy path. Well, life doesn't work that way . . . and it's actually better that it doesn't. How boring is predictability? How would I ever learn anything if I didn't have to rely on God or take a step out in faith? Without struggle, how can we truly grow?

Sometimes I wish that I could wake up and magically be more patient or at peace with my circumstances. But these things take time . . . you don't learn a life lesson overnight, or even in a week (most of the time).

If I believe that the Gospel is true, and that God is who He says He is . . . then I know His character. I know that He is all I need for everlasting joy. Regardless of my circumstances. I know that He loves me regardless of what I've done or what I will do in the future . . . and that He has a loving control over my life, where He is working all things (even my sins, mistakes, and all the bad things) together for good. That means that He'll provide for my every need. He disciplines me to teach me patience, how to trust, how to deeply depend on Him every day. . .

But how does dating fit into this? I just feel like dating is so silly, and that it's unimportant. It's not like I'm dealing with a huge problem, a terminal illness, injustice, etc.

Sometimes I feel like God cares about the big issues, but silly little things like this, I'm left to figure out on my own.

But that doesn't make any sense, does it? Scripture says that He is our Father and that He loves us more than our earthly fathers can, and that He'll give us everything we need to have life to the full. So, that must mean that He loves us holistically and cares about every area of our lives . . .

To think that God doesn't care about this would take away from His character and His love.

I'm still having a hard time wrapping my mind around this.

Again, life lessons take time to process . . . and I can tell that I'm going to wrestle with this one for a bit.

August 26, 2011

Source: None via Kimberly on Pinterest

August 18, 2011

right thru me

You see right through me . . .

Sometimes it's embarrassing to talk to you
To hold a conversation with the only one who sees right through
This version of myself
I try to hide behind
I'll bury my face because my disgrace will leave me terrified

And sometimes I'm so thankful for your loyalty
Your love regardless of
The mistakes I make will spoil me
My confidence is, in a sense, a gift you've given me
And I'm satisfied to realize you're all I'll ever need

You looked into my life and never stopped
And you're thinking all my thoughts
Are so simple, but so beautiful
And you recite my words right back to me
Before I even speak
You let me know, I am understood

And sometimes I spend my time
Just trying to escape
I work so hard so desperately, in an attempt to create space
Cause I want distance from the utmost important thing I know
I see your love, then turn my back and beg for you to go

You're the only one who understands completely
You're the only one knows me yet still loves completely

-"Am I Understood" - Relient K

Sometimes I just need to rest in the knowledge of the Gospel.

Also that God knows me better than I know myself, and He is the only one who loves me unconditionally, the only one who understands me completely . . . the only one who can see right through me and still pursues me to no end.
That Jesus is the only one who offers soul security and that level of intimacy that I crave.

And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
-Deuteronomy 31:8

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
-Psalm 139:1-12

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Matthew 11:18-29

August 2, 2011


Oh, hello old friend. Here I am again, wrestling with you once more.

I find myself back in this struggle where I get frustrated because people don't respond to me or act the way I'd like them to. I must remember that people are messy and imperfect (and I'm one of them!) and they were never meant to meet the deepest needs of my soul.

While I know this and must return to this truth again, there's a difference between expecting someone to be perfect vs. desiring someone to be a good friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, role model, family member, etc. Does that make sense? I don't want to settle, but I also cannot expect perfection. There's a balance, I just don't know exactly what that looks like. I guess that's why God put friends and counsel in my life, to see outside of my cray cray thoughts and speak into my life.

So I get frustrated with people and choose to have a "whatever" attitude, listening to songs by Nicki Minaj, Pink, Beyonce, Ke$ha and Mariah as a defense mechanism . . . but then God reminds me that if He extended such grace and patience to me, how can I deny others of this love and generosity? Then I start to get back to where I need to be . . .

Aaaaanyway, that's only a part of what I wanted to get out of my system.

In light of eternity, nothing else seems to matter. Seriously. If the Bible is true, if there really is a heaven and hell and if God spared His son to bring us into His kingdom . . . and if one day we get to spend eternity with him, what can really touch us?

If you set your mind on the eternal, the struggles of this life seem so trivial and fleeting. Yes, you're going to have pain and plenty of trials, but Christ is walking with you through those things, and they can only do so much damage.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

July 25, 2011

this song is in my head right now and I lurve it

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I've had just enough time

And I'll be wearing white, when I come into your kingdom
I'm as green as the ring on my little, cold finger,
I've never known the lovin' of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand,
There's a boy here in town says he'll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I've had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I'll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

My small group is reading through Crazy Love by Francis Chan right now. One excerpt from this week's chapter was very challenging (well, the whole book is challenging, which is one of the reasons that I love it) . . . a quote from John Piper, and I'm going to post it:

The critical question for our generation - and for every generation - is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?

John Piper, from God Is The Gospel
Can we seriously consider this question?

Am I honestly so in love with Christ that I am secure in Him alone, not in anything of this world, or of the blessings he graciously shows me daily?

I want to only fall more deeply in love with him as time passes, and for my life to shout of worship . . . I want to be completely enamored and fulfilled in Him alone.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

July 19, 2011

Anchors away

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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
-1 James 1:2-5

So many things in this life are uncertain. Just think about it.

Especially when it comes to people. and the future.

Whether it's a friendship, friend groups, relationships, current circumstances or stage of life, wherever you are right now - nothing is guaranteed, and things seem to constantly shift. Even if you fight against it.

I hate the pain of rejection - but then again, who really doesn't? I'm one of those people that wants everyone to get along all of the time and wishes everyone could be BFF's . . . my sister told me that I'm a pacifist, and I think she's right.

Anyway, I was thinking about the uncertainty in relationships and the fear that accompanies vulnerability . . . in addition to the fear that latches itself onto the relationships that you have with friends and family - what if this person moves, what is something disastrous happens to them, etc. etc. (ultimately the fear of losing loved ones, or the fear of being hurt by them)

J.D. preached an awesome sermon on fear a few weeks ago, and it came to mind.

It's times like these, when these fears or insecurities threaten to jar my spirit that God reminds me of who He is and who I am in Him.

Even if I am rejected, disliked, hurt by those from whom I crave relationship, my ultimate security and validation is not found in people. It doesn't change the fact that these things still hurt and still upset me, but I am reminded that my God will never let me go. That I am secure in His grasp, even if others turn away from me.

He has promised to never leave or forsake us, and when God makes a promise, He keeps it. God is not fickle, He is just, true and holy. Scripture even says that it is impossible for Him to lie, and that our hope is anchored in Him. (Hebrews 6:17-20)

Nothing can separate us from His love . . . He is immensely faithful and remains the same, when I am all over the charts, emotional, and doubtful.

People will ultimately disappoint us in some way or fashion - we're human, after all. We weren't meant to find lasting satisfaction, joy or fulfillment in anything or anyone other than God - no human can fulfill your soul's longings. I promise that if you get to know me, I will disappoint you too. I hate to admit it, but I'm just not perfect ;).

If I am anchored to God and His word, then I won't be as devastated by the things of this world that let me down or don't work out the way I want them to.

If I am secure in His love, then I won't rely on a friend, family member, or spouse's love to be perfect. I can in return love more fully, forgive more fully and have a generous spirit if I truly grasp the Gospel.

Like I mentioned before, it still hurts to be let down or rejected, but you know what? Romans 8:28 says that God is working everything together for our good, and I believe that. God works through painful circumstances daily to bring us closer to Him and to reveal Himself. It's called sanctification. In the pain of our struggles and trials, God is working a greater purpose.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 8:38-39
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . .
-Isaiah 49:15-16

July 14, 2011


It has been way too long since I've posted . . . so this may not be very eloquent.

One of my best friends from college who I don't get to see too often came to visit today. I love hanging out with her. It's always amusing how we can stand each other because we are basically opposites.

Anyhow, as expected, we got to reminiscing about college and we were looking through pictures (we took more pictures than normal people, I'm sure), videos, etc. of those years. It's always a little bittersweet because I still miss those days. I miss the friendships I had in college, I miss the tight community that only the college environment and groups like InterVarsity can provide. I miss random trips to the beach at 10pm (and later), having energy at late late hours, crazy roommates (and random escapades like ER visits near midnight), small group, retreats, road trips to see favorite bands, and basically everything except the schoolwork . . .

I wish that I could have that kind of community now, but life is just different and community is different once you're removed from the college atmosphere. I think that I also found comfort, security and validation in the relationships I had in college, and I want to find that again. I know that humans are not meant to give that kind of validation to other humans, that's a void only God can fill. It was just easy during those years to allow other people to give me that secure feeling, if that makes sense.

I was reading Psalm 139 today, and was just reminded of this . . . we long to be known and loved, and how God fulfills both of those needs perfectly. I want to look to Him for my soul's longing this way.

You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:1-18

Maybe I've been the problem, maybe I'm the one to blame
But even when I turn it off and blame myself, the outcome feels the same
I've been thinkin maybe I've been partly cloudy, maybe I'm the chance of rain
Maybe I'm overcast, and maybe all my lucks washed down the drain

I've been thinking 'bout everyone, everyone you look so lonely

But when I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars I see someone else

When I look at the stars,
the stars, I feel like myself
"Stars" Switchfoot

May 26, 2011

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly . . . God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
-Romans 5:6,8

Sometimes our struggles or anxieties will not just go away . . . frustration can't be cured by blaring Linkin Park or a really good workout session (although sometimes it really helps). Sometimes depression and anxiety seep into your bones and start to eat away like acid at your spirit, if you let it get that far. It's not going to heal by slapping a band-aid over it, it's not going to dissolve in your sleep. Giving me a pat answer ("it's going to be OK") or a verse out of context will probably make it worse.

That's when I truly need the Gospel (OK, I need it all the time, but especially right now). I need the truth of God's word to saturate my being and remind me of who He is.

Do I believe that He is who He says He is? Do I believe that He will provide for me, because He's the God of my salvation? Do I believe that He loves me enough to not only rescue me from death, but that He'll rescue me from myself right now? Do I believe that He's bigger than my worst fears, my own emotion and the sin that I struggle with? Do I choose to depend on Him daily?

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
-Ephesians 3:17-19

Do I believe the Jesus of the Bible? That His days were spent healing the lame, the sick, the blind and spending time with prostitutes, tax collectors and outcasts? If so, then do I identify with these people? Surely He is compassionate over me in the same way because I am the crippled, the poor, the needy. I am the rebellious sinner. I was dead in my sin, without God and without hope - and He did everything necessary to save me. I am broken by my own sinfulness, crippled by these anxieties that I have allowed to take over and define me.

Will I look to Him to heal these areas of my life and soothe this pain? Will I trust Him with my life and look to Him for everything? Do I trust that He is enough, even in the wilderness and if things don't work out the way I want them to, that it will still be alright because He is with me?

Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him
-Psalm 103:1-13

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Matthew 11:28-30

May 24, 2011

Sick Cycle Carousel

Random thought . . . you never realize how much you use a muscle group until you're sore the next day from doing an ab workout . . . it's like really? I'm feeling this while driving down 540? aaanyway . . .

I don't know if anxiety is just my own sin manifesting itself, satan's advances on my life, or a combination of both.

If you can predict a pattern of behavior by past experience, then why do I struggle with doubting God's character and how He will act in my life?

I fall into this cycle where I paint the worst possible scenario for my life. I blow things out of proportion and predict what will happen today, tomorrow, years down the road - when in reality, only God knows what lies ahead.

God has never given me more than I could handle (often times it's painful and a struggle, but it never killed me). He has always provided for me, even when things looked bleak with no hope. He has blessed me in ways that I never could have expected or asked for. So why do I freak out so much and struggle with anxiety? Is it a lack of trust? Is worry just one of my weak spots?

Like I said . . . whatever the situation is that's causing me grief, I anticipate the absolute worst possible circumstance, then freak out about it. And you know what? Even those events that cause my stomach to knot in anticipation never turn out as bad as I think they will. Honestly, they never do. So why do I still fall into this cycle?

Shouldn't I look back and let God's faithfulness, presence and provision give me confidence for the future?

I also find it incredibly easy to focus on the negatives and forget the positives. Every flaw or mistake I find in myself, I magnify it and let it define me. I allow my shortcomings to negate anything positive.

If only I could grasp the Gospel more deeply. If I could just see the cross with my own eyes, I would better realize that Christ died for broken sinners who don't have their junk together. God created me and loved me before I could even form rational thoughts. That I could truly understand that I have a Father who loves and wants to care for fallen, messy, frazzled, anxious, needy humans who plague themselves with silly things like guilt and a full spectrum of emotions. That He would have paid that price regardless of how many mistakes I make or how often I flog myself with negativity. That His grace and his love reach deeper than I will ever understand . . . and suddenly I could realize that I am accepted and that we all have struggles and flaws . . . and God wants to not only redeem us, but wants to work through imperfect people.

May 22, 2011

Fed to the fire

Transitions are overwhelming! Sometimes life seems to happen all at once and before you know it, walls start closing in.

I didn't realize how busy moving/unpacking/getting organized would be . . . Target has also become my second home, and I've never been so excited to buy a trash can in my life. I have been swimming in a sea of paint chips, and it totally consumed me until I finally picked (I think) colors that will work on the walls. I also didn't think about all of the things I now need . . . a garden hose, of all things - and flowers? You mean I have to prevent those plants around the house from dying? yeeeah, about that . . .

I feel like in the midst of transition, everything else takes a backseat. When you're trying to adjust to a new situation, it consumes you . . . and even though it's temporary, it's a little distressing.

I feel like my time in the Word is suffering because, well, I thought I had a hard time focusing before . . . but now, I sit down and immediately remember 10 people that I need to email, cookware that I want to buy, let me search for an area rug, oooh loft is having a sale, how can I organize my closet, when will I get this paint on the walls, I need to write up a lease, it's time to clean the kitchen again, I need to get my car inspected, I want more candles, why does my shower door make that god awful noise (seriously, someone help), oh my laundry is done - dang it, I gotta climb those steps again and my hamstrings are burning from yesterday's bodypump class . . . which reminds me, I need to go to the gym today, my grandma's birthday is tuesday so I should send her a card, oh I need to clean the kitchen. Did I mention the kitchen needs attention?

YEAH. I feel like ADHD on crack. And then I'm in a bad mood because I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day and I haven't even spent time with God this morning.

And then I think . . . look at the calendar. I have a test to study for, I've got to figure out the paint situation, I have to go to a meeting for work, trips out of town, weekly obligations, etc. etc. etc.

How can I balance life right now? I feel like my coping mechanisms have been blaring Nicki Minaj and drinking iced coffee while running around this town doing a million errands (but then the coffee keeps me from sleeping well at night, another stressor) . . . yeah.

How can I be a good nurse, a good friend, a good roommate, a good daughter, a good small group leader, and be growing in my walk with God . . . and still maintain personal obligations and appointments, not to mention a clean house, a healthy diet, a healthy workout regimen, and mental sanity? How can I do all of these things well? I feel stretched in a plethora of directions - and I'm just a single woman in my 20's.

If I feel this crazy when I'm only responsible for myself, how in the world can I ever function in a relationship, or a marriage, or a family? If I am this overwhelmed now and I don't know how to balance responsibility and health now, how can I ever take on more or survive in a different stage of life?

Logically, rationally, I know that God does not give us more than we can handle. In my head, I know He will give me grace to handle whatever comes my way. But this present moment is a whirlwind and the thought of the future is threatening to knock me off my feet. My mood is waning and my heart feels faint. I don't want my circumstances to dictate my mood and steal my joy, but that's how I feel - so I might as well be honest about it.

Everything inside me tells me that once I clean, organize and decorate this house, and knock out my to-do list I'll be normal again. But I know that if I could just focus enough to spend time with God, my soul would find rest once again.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

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 5:6-10

May 9, 2011

Rolling In The Deep

Sometimes life hits you like a gale force wind straight in the face.

One day, you're straight up chillin' in a green pasture, bored or attempting to be patient with your circumstances . . . and then everything is flipped the next day.

Isn't it funny how not just one thing changes, but almost everything at once? The future freaks me out a little, especially when I can't make out the horizon.

Especially when past mistakes and past experiences haunt this present moment.

I find myself faced with two options when faced with the uncertainty of the future.

I can either allow the fear of failure to take control and paralyze me from moving forward, or I can choose to (very shakily) take a step out in faith (with my eyes squinched closed and teeth clenched) . . .

It's not the absence of fear, but choosing to take action in spite of my fear.

It's making a conscious choice . . . yes, I may make a mistake (and most likely will - I suppose I'm human after all). Looking at a risk and weighing the possibilities. Do I take a chance, knowing the probability of failure, or do I stay static and miss out on life?

Yes, I may very well fall flat on my face and be shattered to pieces. But it's trusting that no matter what tomorrow brings, I am walking with a God who is immensely faithful and has me within His tender loving care. Knowing that no matter what the future holds, it will be OK because He'll give me the grace to handle it. Even when things don't work out.

That He is who He says He is . . . that I can trust Him with my life, that His love will never fail, that He never expects me to be perfect or have it all together - even when I put that pressure on myself.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

And this is how I choose to live,
As if I'm jumping off a cliff,
Knowing that you'll save me,
Knowing that you'll save me.
And after all the stupid things I did,
There's nothing left there to forgive,
Because you already forgave me.

Every breath that I inhale is followed by exhaling.
Trust the one Who never fails.
I know you will never fail me.
"Life After Death And Taxes" - Relient K

April 24, 2011


Can I be honest?

It is far too easy to just coast through life. Too easy to get caught in the day-to-day tedium, to let the little things take over and become urgent.

I woke up this morning, and thought two things:
1. Thank you God that you died on the cross, and
2. I need to lose weight.

Do you know what I gave more stress and emotion to? I don't want to answer that . . .

How scary, that the fleeting things of this world can take over so quickly, when the Gospel is of utmost importance and there is nothing more precious than a relationship with Him.

I want to be captivated, so swept up in the beauty of the Gospel and the beauty of the cross that everything else fades . . . and I give more weight to my relationship with God than my relationship with the scale (and other silly things).

The skies lay low where You are
On the earth You rest Your feet
Yet the hands that cradle the stars
Are the hands that bled for me

In a moment of glorious surrender
You were broken for all the world to see
Lifted out of the ashes
I am found in the aftermath

Freedom found in Your scars
In Your grace my life redeemed
For You chose to take the sinner's crown
As You placed Your crown on me

In that moment of glorious surrender
Was the moment You broke the chains in me
Lifted out of the ashes
I am found in the aftermath
And in that moment You opened up the heavens
To the broken the beggar and the thief
Lifted out of the wreckage
I find hope in the aftermath

And I know that You're with me
Yes I know that You're with me here
And I know Your love will light the way

Now all I have I count it all as loss
But to know You and to carry the cross
Knowing I'm found
In the light of the aftermath
"Aftermath" - Hillsong

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith . . .
-Philippians 3:7-9

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
-Isaiah 53:5

April 23, 2011

I came to a realization . . . or an awakening the other day, and it wasn't pretty.

I have been going through the motions lately in a few areas of my life. Now, when did that happen? I feel like we arrive at these places, only to look around and wonder when the transition from intentionality to complacency transpired.

Intentional. Purposeful. That's how my life should be, yet sometimes I find myself in this rut and can't remember how I got here.

I don't know another word for intentionality, so I'm going to use it over and over . . . isn't it funny how much it can make a difference?

Intentionality can make or break - almost anything. Think of your relationships, your small group, your job, your house, etc. etc.

Chances are, your friendships and relationships did not just happen by accident. Both parties put in some kind of effort to maintain that relationship, and if you work at it, it can be wonderful, ever evolving and growing.

If you were going on a date, would you prefer to have someone who is thoughtful and paid careful attention to detail beforehand - choosing a restaurant he knows you like, dressing to a T, greeting you with flowers? Or, would you rather go out with someone who just "showed up" to a McDonald's and didn't think to brush his teeth or shave (or change clothes from the night before)? And then expected you to pay?

My walk with Christ can be ever evolving, changing, growing for the better. If I choose it to be that way.

My small group can be dynamic, growing, changing, challenging - if I choose to lead that way. Or, I could just show up (like I feel that I have been lately) and just go through the motions . . . and let things stay static.

I believe that intentionality improves everything, but it is definitely the harder road. It is so easy to just float through life and let your feelings, desires, emotions, fears, etc. take over.

The problem with intentionality is that it takes conscious effort, time, dedication and planning. In the ideal situation it is also selfless, giving, and challenging.

Have I become so focused on my own comfort or fear of failure that I have let go of being intentional?

April 16, 2011

Clarity for 0.125 seconds

I am chronically guilty of . . . comparing myself to other people.

As one of my friends pointed out last week, comparing yourself to others can be a joy killer.

I know it's true, yet I still fall into the trap of this cycle way too easily.

Sometimes, I am right where I need to be. I'm not worried about the future, I'm trusting God with it and focusing on the present moment. I'm reflective and thankful for where I am, for what God has given me in provision - meeting my spiritual and physical needs. My soul feels content and secure.

And then, I go and mess it up . . .

There will always be someone who has a better personality than me, someone who is prettier than me, more talented, more successful, funnier, smarter, stronger, bolder, more spiritual, more mature, someone who has the things I think I need but don't have, someone who eats whatever they want, doesn't work out and still manages to look like this . . . I could go on and on . . .

Then I find myself feeling like a failure, hopeless . . . that I will never obtain the things I want (or think that I need). I must be missing out - I am way behind in life. I must be doing something terribly wrong because I see other people my age way ahead of me . . .

Sometimes it's easy to forget that God is working in each of us, and sometimes our pace is different than our friends or whoever we're comparing ourselves to. Sometimes it's easy to overlook God's provision and work in our lives because we're too busy looking around and coveting what everybody else has, or where they are in life.

I get so frustrated at myself for struggling with the same things over and over. I get so aggravated for struggling with contentment so frequently. But you know what? We are supposed to depend on God daily . . . it's not a one-time transaction and we're left to wander around our whole lives self-sufficient. We are brought into this beautiful relationship where we can call Him "Abba", Daddy - every day [Luke 11:1-11] . . . we are to pour out everything to Him - to trust in Him and wait on His timing . . . [1 Peter 5:6-7]

My struggles, my weaknesses are actually a blessing because they allow me to depend on Him, rather than myself. My imperfections glorify Him . . . when I lean on Him instead of striving to be self-sufficient.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
-2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And every now and then I have a moment of clarity where I realize that maybe I wasn't built to crank out push-ups every morning . . . maybe my size is OK and maybe it's healthy to have more than 5% body fat and I should just let that dream go . . . . nahhhh.

February 21, 2011

Closer To The Sun

Change is such a funny thing.

Sometimes we hate change . . . but it can also be exciting.

Sometimes we get too comfortable in our current circumstances and start to think things will always be the same (guilty as charged) - oftentimes that can be a comfort, but it can also be drudgery. I think it's good to get outside of our comfort zones - how else will be know what we're capable of, or what God has for us if we are too afraid or complacent to step out of them? I am a fan of challenge and progression.

Unexpected change . . . life throwing you a curve ball . . . can be blessing in disguise.

I don't remember the first time I heard this quote, but it just came to mind:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.
-Charles Swindoll

It reminds me that there's a difference between reaction vs. action in life . . .

My natural reaction at times is to allow fear and my silly predictions of the future take control. On the opposite end of that, I can take action and choose to trust God with my future and choose to seek Him daily . . . I can do all that's within my power in my current circumstances and leave the rest to Him. And I can stop freaking out about the future.

Trust is a funny thing. When we choose to trust God, our worries start to melt and lose power over us. However, it is extraordinarily difficult. So often I try to rely on myself and I allow what I can see in the present dictate what I project will happen in the future.

And you know what I've discovered? God's plans are so much better than anything I could come up with on my own. Whenever I let go of my sense of control and let Him have the reins, I am always amazed at the outcome. (I guess He really does know what He's doing - why am I surprised?)

I laugh at myself for being so afraid to trust God. But I am perpetually guilty of withholding that trust . . . guilty of not believing that God will take care of me better than I could ever do on my own. Who I am kidding - if God is who He says He is, I have absolutely no excuse to not fully rely on Him with every breath and aspect of life.

Another action we can take is to be thankful. When you stop and realize all that God has given you in salvation it will blow your mind. Then add to that His provision over your life. It's too easy to focus on the things that we don't have and to compare ourselves to others. That's why it's so important to add thankfulness as a way to daily surrender.

Aaaaanyway, that's just my two cents for today. I was inspired by this devotion I've been working on and how important it is to make a daily choice to trust and be thankful. I have by no means mastered this, and I am more often a hot mess than anything else . . . and again I am just reminded of God's faithfulness throughout my crazy, ADD-esque life.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us . . .
Ephesians 3:16-20

February 10, 2011

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care"
But you've got the love I need To see me through

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough
And things go wrong no matter what I do
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you've got the love I need to see me through

When food is gone you are my daily meal
When friends are gone I know my savior's love is real
Your love is real

You got the love

Time after time I think "Oh Lord what's the use?"
Time after time I think it's just no good
Sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose
But you got the love I need to see me through

"You've Got The Love" - Florence + The Machine

February 6, 2011


I'm done with winter.

It's not just the cold, but the lack of sunlight that slowly wears away at my soul.

Last weekend it was sunny and in the 70's . . . and I felt like I could die happy - all of my cares just evaporated when I stepped outside.

I don't want my circumstances to dictate the state of my spirit - but not only does the temperature outside tell me it's winter, but this season of my life feels like a winter as well.

Do you see what it does to me? It makes me extra dramatic.

Anyway, I'm just praying that this month will fly and that I can put things into perspective instead of dwelling on being stuck in a rut right now. I guess I'm human after all. It's times like these that I know joy runs deeper than happiness or my circumstances, and I'm thankful that there's more to life than my limited human understanding of it.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:1-8

January 25, 2011

Pardon Me

. . . for sounding like a broken record.

I find myself learning the same lessons over again, and I almost feel that therefore I am not making progress, but I'm human after all . . . God is patient with this impatient child, and I need some reinforcement in my life.

I intentionally took time off from work this week to rest . . . but ironically, I am horrible at resting. I thrive on busyness and tend to gain self-worth from my schedule. I panicked at this week's empty schedule and started filling it as fast as I could . . . then spent all day yesterday cleaning, running errands, working out, out of guilt for having a day off.

This is totally counter-productive. I took time off of work so that I'd come back refreshed and rested. If I spend this week feeling guilty and frantically trying to keep myself occupied, I will come back to work feeling exhausted or as if I'd never taken the time off to begin with.

I guess you could say I had an intervention from the girls in my small group last night - they insisted that I take time to shut down and truly get away, even if I am staying in the area.

I know they're right . . . and I do want to actually take a vacation. I'm just really bad at it, unless I do something intentional - so I'm working on that. Isn't that ironic? That I have to work at resting because it doesn't come naturally?

Part of it may also be that busyness is a distraction. If I'm too busy to sit still, then I'm too busy to think about the things in my life that I'm unhappy about or don't understand. I'm also too busy to get bored. Clearly I cannot handle being bored, let alone sitting still. If I'm too busy to sit still, then I'm too busy to become occupied with my impatience.

Lately I've been caught up again, feeling that my future is going nowhere, that things will never change, and that it's all my fault. I've been scheming and predicting the future, and my predictions never look too hot. I've been under the hallucination that I'm in complete control, and my circumstances are the result of my own rebellion, mistakes and foolishness. Therefore, I get frazzled, stressed, anxious.

Well . . . let's face it. God is a God of peace, not disorder (1 Cor. 14:33)
and He wants all of me, even for my thoughts to be in His loving care (2 Cor. 10:5).

When I'm freaking out and allowing fear to paralyze me, I'm disregarding God's character. I'm forgetting that He is in complete control, even when I cannot see what He's doing. I am not surrendering my thoughts to Him. I am forgetting His promise, I am forgetting what the Gospel is all about. That He will never leave nor forsake me - He made a covenant with me, and it's on lock. Going back to the last post - He works all things together for good, and nothing will be able to separate me from His love (Romans 8:28-39), not even my perceptions of my circumstances or my perceptions of Him.

Anxiety and worry, especially about the future stems from unbelief. Satan will use any foothold he can grab, and all too often I find myself in these cycles for too long before I realize what's happened.

It's not my job to worry about the future (Matthew 6:33). My job is to live a life that is fully dependent on Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
-Proverbs 3:5-6
When I think that the future, or the straightness of my paths, is within my realm of control, I'm giving myself too much credit.

If God is who He says He is, then He's calling us to live a life of peace. A life where we depend on and lean on Him - even when we don't understand, even when we're impatient, even when things aren't working out the way we thought and hoped they would.

Wouldn't it be so much easier to live this way? To trust, as He's calling us to, that He is in complete loving control, and that He uses all things for His plans over our lives? Instead of allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, to walk in faith, even when our steps our shaky, knowing that He's gone before us and will always be with us?

Not depending on my own ability to see, my attempts at predicting the future, my fickle emotions that can change with the drop of a hat?

I cannot see into the future, even though I sure try a lot. I am not called to worry about tomorrow, this week, this year, or even the next 10 years.

What I can do is choose to live today. To take this day and acknowledge Him. To let go of my anxiety and false sense of control. To surrender. To trust, to rest, to deny myself daily. To remember God's character and promises.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
-Psalm 62:5-8

January 22, 2011

I don't care

Sometimes . . . I just need to be human.

Does this happen to anyone else?

I mean . . . all I want is to be the perfect Christ follower, to volunteer and be on mission 100% of the time, be the perfect employee, the perfect friend, perfect daughter, perfect sister, perfect roommate, always be happy, eat healthy 100% of the time and have a sculpted body with 0% body fat (and never desire unhealthy food). Oh and to always look cute.

Then I have these groundbreaking moments where I realize that I've put all of this pressure on myself with silly, unrealistic expectations that I will be this amazing robot/angel woman or something.

You mean it's OK to get angry sometimes? You mean it's OK to be disappointed with life? You mean it's OK to make mistakes? It's OK if I get frustrated with people? It's OK to eat something other than spinach every meal of the day?

whaaaaaaaat . . .

Thankfully, even when I am frustrated at life and/or myself, when all I want is to run until I can't breathe, when I just want to throw things and scream, there is someone who calls me adopted - someone who wants to calm my frayed nerves with His presence.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 8:37-39

This passage is one of my all-time favorites, one that I come back to often.

Today, be mindful of this. That nothing can separate us from His love.

When I hate myself, when I am sick and tired of it all . . . while I expect myself to be absolutely flawless, He never does. He called me to Himself when I was dead, when I had no idea who He was. He called me to Himself before there was any heart change in me. After all, He came to seek and save the lost - not shiny diamond robot girls.
(Ephesians 2, Luke 19:9-10, Matthew 9:12)

His love is like a balm to my splintered spirit - He alone can revive this exasperated soul.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
-Romans 5:6-8

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Matthew 11:28-30
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