Fall Afresh

Hello my friend,

I’m so excited to share this with you. I’ve been experiencing God’s spirit in a new & fresh way! There hasn’t been one thing in particular that has kindled the fire in my heart. It’s been a bunch of little details & decisions I’ve made that have added up & created some spectacular results! The way I feel & see the world is so different when I’m intentional about my relationship with God instead of putting it on cruise-control & letting it just coast along. I’m so encouraged & wanted to share that encouragement with you.

This is a list & prayer I made this week. It started as a simple list of acknowledging & thanking God for who He is & what He has done for me. But it quickly grew into a passionate battle cry & fiery prayer.

Be encouraged, sweet friend! Our God is constantly calling us to His heart. Even when we wander. Even when we ignore Him. Even when we get so caught up in the to-dos of our life that we forget to put Him above it all. So this week, I encourage you sit down & think through a few things. Reprioritize your day. Make sure that He is in the forefront of your mind as you run errands. Play worship music in the background. If you can, dive into your Bible a few times throughout the day instead of stopping at your morning devotion. Pray out loud with your friend, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. Dig deeper. Lean into Him.

I pray that you too will experience our God’s spirit in a fresh & new way this week! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

 

Oh Savior, your grace for me is scandalous.
It gave me eternal life that I don’t deserve. (John 3:16&17)

Lord, your mercy is indescribable.
It took the punishment that I did deserve. (Psalm 103:8-12)

Father, you have adopted me as your daughter.
My place in your family has been bought with your very blood. (John 1:12)

El Roi, you see into the deepest parts of my soul.
You are acquainted with my every thought & action. (Hebrews 4:13)

Teacher, your patience for me doesn’t end.
It allows me to persevere despite mistakes & failures. (2 Peter 3:9)

God, your Spirit breathes life into my bones.
It nudges me to keep going when I want to give up. (Hebrews 33:4)

El Shaddai, you provide for my every need.
I lack no good thing when I follow you. (Philippians 4:19)

Immanuel, you are always with me.
Your presence gives me courage & strength. (Joshua 1:9)

El Rachum, your compassion envelops my pain.
It shows me that you are near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)

Mighty God, your faithfulness transcends our emotions, situations & circumstances.
You work everything for the good of those who love you. (Romans 8:28)

Jesus, your peace isn’t confined to my understanding.
It penetrates deeper than the pain & is more present than my heartache. (Philippians 4:7)

 

Father God,

You embody all these beautiful things. Yet you, a perfect God, intimately involve yourself in my imperfect life. You walk alongside me in every pain, hardship & trial I face. Even if the only reason you would lay your hand on me is to comfort me, it would be inconceivable that Almighty God would touch the flesh of fallen humanity. But you are love. And you go further than what I could ever ask for or understand. You wrap your arms around me to protect me, to redeem me & to change me from the inside out.

It is by your mercy that I take my next breath. It is for glory that I live today. Build me up & set my heart on fire for you! Infuse your Word so deeply inside of me that it becomes a part of my very being. May it sink into the marrow of my bones & settle into the core of my heart & mind. You have set a calling upon my life, so there is no power on earth or in hell than can stop me from stepping into my destiny!

You are faithful & what you start, you finish. My identity is found in you, so use my heart to reflect yours.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Your First Love

From a very young age, I have loved to draw & write.

When I was in kindergarten, our class was asked to draw something related to Christmas. One kid’s picture was going to be chosen to be in the newspaper. I decided to draw the silhouettes of an angel & wise men on their way to see baby Jesus. I remember thinking it was such a good idea. Brilliant even. And when I was finished with my creation, feelings of pride & joy burst from my heart as I gazed upon my final product. It was a masterpiece. Exactly as I had envisioned it. It was probably my best work so far. And to my thrill, but not total surprise, I won & it was printed in the newspaper. My pride was pure & innocent. And I just knew I would be chosen, because I loved to draw. That’s how it worked, right?

image

Don’t you love how simple some things were when you were young?

All the way through high school I wrote poems, short stories & anything on my heart really. Writing was a part of my identity. Every spare moment I had (& sometimes during moments that I should have been focusing on something else) you could find me in a corner somewhere with my pens, notepad & art book. When I wrote or drew, something inside of me came alive. I knew it was my calling. I didn’t know how it was going to fit into a “job”. But I was sure that God placed those desires in my heart, so He was going to work it out.

Well, life started happening. And those corner art sessions became few & far between.

On the rare occasions that I did write or draw, that fiery passion burned again. I would always ask myself, “Why don’t I do this any more? I love it so much. I’m meant to do this.”

But I’ll tell you why I stopped.

The world told me that I had to grow up. It stole that childlike passion & confidence. My adult brain began to compare my abilities to others, which then stole all the joy & fun of doing what I loved.

The world told me that I wouldn’t be able to make money at it. If it didn’t fit into a rational, logical, productive, grown up category in life, I had to toss it out the window. I couldn’t get wrapped up in the whimsy of what I loved to do when there were more “productive” things that needed to get done.

Can I just say one thing?

It isn’t true!

The truth is, the Lord has put talents, passions, loves & abilities inside of each of us for a reason! We don’t have to work out the details or worry about if it’s productive enough or profitable enough or constructive enough.

Drawing is therapeutic to me. It calms me down & allows my mind to beautifully wander. Writing allows me to express my heart in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise know how to do. They are both precious to me & are therefore, valuable, productive & worthwhile.

So let me ask you…

What do YOU love to do? What is it that makes you happy & enjoy the moment for what it is? What have you let go of in your life that used to bring you passion & meaning? What have you set aside that used to make you come alive?

I encourage you to take some time this weekend & rediscover your love. Draw, paint, write. Go for a bike ride, play your guitar, go build something. Sign up for that class, get that certification, step out of your comfort zone. Dare to be silly. Have fun. Enjoy it. If it brings you joy or even makes you smile, bump it up on your to-do list. Give it higher priority.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

After my sweet God, redirected me back to my love of writing & drawing, I feel more whole now. Let Him do the same for you.

Please leave a comment below & share what it is YOU love to do!

I declare my God as faithful!

Insecurity & True Identity

I remember one time during my sophomore year in college, I was required to give a 15-minute presentation in a women’s ministry course that would account for 33% of my grade. This class had become one of my favorite classes. Something inside of me was coming alive. There was a stirring in my heart that I had never known. It was changing my life.

As much as I loved this class, I had dreaded this presentation the entire semester. The morning arrived & it was my turn to give my presentation. And right before the class started…I left. I couldn’t do it. On top of being completely afraid of public speaking, I was so insecure about presenting to these other girls who looked & acted so put together & I realized anything I would say would be criticized, judged & picked a part. I would make a fool of myself.

Well, that’s what I had told myself anyways.

Because I let insecurity paralyze me to the point that I actually skipped class, I failed the entire course. And unfortunately, this is just one of the many scenarios I could share with you where my insecurity has crept in & destroyed something that could have been wonderful.

I think we all have experienced insecurity in some shape or form. Whether we are insecure about our jobs, our marriages, our friendships or simply ourselves. We know what it’s like to feel inadequate. We know how it has prevented us from doing certain things that we long to do. Or how it keeps us from building friendships with certain people because we feel like we won’t fit in or measure up to their expectations.

Insecurities hinder us & make us feel like we’re not equipped for the task at hand. It distracts us & steals our attention to focus on what we aren’t, instead of the fullness of who we are through Christ.

But oh, dear friend, your true identity is not the image you see in the mirror & it isn’t gaged by your ability & competence to do something on your own. Oh no. It is far greater & more powerful than any of those things.

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 12:9-11

When we stop focusing on who we think we are & get a good look at Who we belong to, we begin to see our true selves very differently.

It is through our weakness & inability that God demonstrates His perfect strength! Our weaknesses & insecurities are exactly what the Lord is asking for us to hand over to Him & if we do that, He will use those very insecurities & weakness to exemplify His strength & perfection!

I am a mess & in no way, am I perfect. But I can point others to the One who is! May God’s strength be seen in me. Not because of anything I am on my own, but because of who I am only through Him!

And so it was with me, brothers & sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message & my preaching were not with wise & persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

I declare my God as faithful!