mountains among skyscrapers

 

Walking the streets of Santiago with the hustle and bustle of millions of people. The air heavy. Cigarette smoke lingers. Voices, music, cars sound all around. Eyes down, thoughts all over the place, I block it all out. I walk with purpose, on a mission to catch the metro to continue the mundane, until I’m stopped at the corner. I hear myself audibly gasp. A smile spreads and I laugh aloud as I look up, as I look before me.

There they are. The mountains. The Andes. They stand before me, peeking between skyscrapers and above buildings. There they are in all their glory just like usual, but this encounter is different. This encounter changes me.


As I stood on that street corner, the Holy Spirit spoke boldly. The lesson learned, pondered, taught, nearly forgotten, but recently remembered. Full circle you could say.

The lesson was simple: I AM WITH YOU. The picture was breathtaking: the mountains among skyscrapers. The importance was more than I could have known or understood in that moment.


With my eyes lifted, a goofy grin on my face, I knew the truth. The buildings stand tall, but the mountains stand taller. The skyscrapers loom, but the mountains are still present. My fear, my uncertainty, my inadequacy rise to the heights of the Costenera Center. Anxiety and unknowns grow until I can’t see anything else, until lifting my gaze above them is too much. But there they are, those mountains, waiting to be seen. Amidst the chaos of the city, the Andes stand firm, unchanging. Amidst my overwhelming thoughts, God stands. Just like the mountains, He stands unchanging. He stands with me.

Fear grows, but the Lord makes His presence known. Commitments take over, but He is unmoved. Unknowns remain unknown, but He makes Himself known. Uncertainty addicts, but He refuses to give us up. Life overwhelms, but He surrounds with provision and protection. Everything is too much, but His “with-ness” is enough.


“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2

This verse and the picture of the mountains among the skyscrapers all scream this one truth to my forgetful soul: He is WITH me. He is Immanuel. He is GOD with us. It’s who He is.

As the Andes surround Santiago on every side, so does the Lord surround me, so does the Lord surround you.

There will be rooftops moments where the mountains clearly surround like the walls of Jerusalem and our souls rest, in unmistakably seeing their presence, and sometimes all we get is a glimpse of them between buildings. But no matter the moment, no matter the time, the mountains are there. They never change, never move. They’re constant. What changes is our posture. Are we looking up or down? Are we looking around, walking blindly by? To see the Andes around Santiago one has to look up. One has to choose a different posture, that of expectancy. We can always expect to see Him. We should always look up, ahead, between. It is only when we change our gaze to the steady, the unmoving, the Mountain in our midst, that the breakneck speed world turns slow and finally our souls can rest. For when we know the Presence before us, we know the One WITH us.


Despite seeing from the rooftop, I somehow forgot about the mountains, about their faithful presence despite the buildings in the way. I forgot about THE Mountain, the One that is bigger than all of my distractions and uncertainty. But a truth-telling friend reminded me, “When the distractions, the seemingly impossible tasks, the skyscrapers of life start to cloud our view, we are reminded of the mountains; never moving, never changing, never faltering. Just like those mountains, my God never leaves me, never changes, and is always WITH us. Remember THE Mountain, the Mountain forever WITH us.”

I’ll remind you and me now. Whether your view is from the rooftop or the streets below, your surroundings, the mountains, our God, remain the same.  We change. He does not. We move. He does not. We are easily distracted. He is always present. He dwells within and without. He is the Mountain among our skyscrapers. He is God WITH us.

 

 

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thoughts on His love

His love is constant and enduring. It knows no bounds, not of time or place.

His love is a flame that can’t be dimmed. It spreads like wildfire, in the best of ways.

His love is fire and rain. It’s refining and cleansing and quenching.

His love is wind and snow. It’s moving and pure.

His love is among us, a light in the darkness for all to see.

His love is extravagant. He gives us all of His heart not just parts.

His love is not anxious or afraid, instead it calms all our anxious storms.

His love is rest, our safe place.

He can’t be outdone in generosity for He is the God of abundance.

His love is gently aggressive, outrageous and unexplainable.

His love is forever engaged, present in our present.

His love keeps every promise to us until eternity.

His love is good. His love is wild for us. It’s unashamed in its intensity and devotion.

His love is uncontrolled and uncontained. His love is proud of us.

His love is faithful and devoted. He will have His bride.

His love is WITH us for His very essence is love. It’s who He is.

His love is this: “My life for yours.”

lessons about us from the view

I imagine God forever in His heavenly workroom with a table covered in clay, a potters wheel, tools, every color of paint and brushes strewn about in joyful disarray. He’s singing, dancing, having a party while creating every piece of earth. He’s carving mountains and painting sunsets. He’s flattening some parts and making other parts rise to heights that leave you breathless. He’s shaping lagoons and sand dunes. He’s coloring the sea every shade of blue. He’s a creative genius at work.

With that image in mind, here’s the thing I thought as I stood exhausted, makeup less with bed head and dirty clothes before a beautiful lagoon surrounded by volcanoes.

God does this just for fun. He does this just because He can. He creates because He’s good and beautiful. And I am part of that good and beautiful. He says I am His masterpiece. He whispers that not even this before me is created in His image like I am. 

Standing before some of the most beautiful views I have ever been privy to and that was what I thought. I have now hiked the Andes, swam in saltier than the Dead Sea lakes, been surrounded by volcanoes, watched too many yet never enough sunsets and seen water too blue for words. Yet every single view has left me speechless, in a flurry of thoughts.

You see, there I was awestruck at His creation, His creativity and glory and I realized something. I am seen as more beautiful than all of this. In that moment the Lord challenged meHow can I declare beauty in everything around me, yet be hesitant to declare the beauty in myself? How quick am I to marvel at the mountains, but how slow to marvel at my own skin? How easily do I gaze at oceans and foliage in wonder and then question my own design?

The thing is, what I marvel at is God’s leftover. He colors rainbows with His leftover paint and fills lagoons with salt water, because why not? But when He makes humans, when He makes you and & I, He plans every detail beforehand to reflect Himself. He takes the most delight in hand crafting each of us with unique characteristics that mimic His. He molds us on the wheel, carving every detail of our being. He laughs when he paints our freckles & birthmarks because they’re part of his creativity. He gets messy with every paint color when He comes up with never before seen eyes & hair. He takes joy in forming our arms & legs because He knows exactly who they’ll hold, serve & the lands they’ll travel. He paints the sky & carves the mountains with the leftovers from His real masterpieces, us. His real creativity & joy comes out in the dreaming up of every man.

So how can we hate on ourselves while admiring the majesty around us? How can we feel insecure when we are created in the image of a God who made THESE masterpieces?  These pieces of creation are stunning and they aren’t even made in God’s image. They’re just made for His glory & our enjoyment. We are the ones made in his image. We are the ones who display the breathtaking beauty and awe of God himself. We are the ones worth dying for. We are the ones molded around His character. We are not His leftover, but His dazzling design. We are not an afterthought, but His forever first thought. What joy & rest we can find in the TRUTH that we are His masterpieces more loved & treasured than the most breathtaking view in all the world. I dare you to believe it.

The Comparison Trap

Guest writer: Audrey Davis

Comparison is something knit into our sin nature, but through the power of the Spirit we can gain FREEDOM. My dear friend Audrey learned an awful lot about comparison in her summer of some serious boldness and she has thankfully agreed to share what the Lord has taught her. It’s such an honor and privilege to have heard these lessons on comparison (and many more) from Audrey and I’m grateful you get to learn from her too! 

Comparison. We’ve all experienced it. If you’re anything like me, you’re very familiar with it. It happens in the blink of an eye. It’s ever so subtle, so that at first we don’t even realize we’re doing it.  Then before we know it comparison has consumed our thoughts.

The Lord has surely done a number in my heart this summer. He has humbled me, revealed himself to me, brought me near to him, and shown me little glimpses of what He intended life to be like. But of all things he has taught me this summer, the one that stands out among the rest is a lesson in comparison.

Comparison is:

  1. A lie from the enemy.

Satan is a liar. When comparison fills your thoughts, it tends to cloud things, making it hard to see the truth. When you compare yourself to others, know that it is not from God. Jesus is a truth-teller. Jesus is life giving. Comparison is NOT life giving. I think Satan has us convinced that life is a zero-sum game. That if someone else experiences a win, then it must mean that I have experienced a loss. That if someone else is praised, then it must mean that I have failed. That if someone else receives a compliment, then it must mean that I am not good enough. My friends, this is a lie. There is no room for this in the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is a positive-sum game. When my brother or sister in Christ experiences a win, I also win.

  1. A thief of joy.

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before, but it’s 100% true. Comparison can diminish joy in an instant. One moment you can be confident in who you are, and the next you can be listing off all the ways in which you don’t measure up. We’re left sitting in a puddle of insecurity and doubt. So we try to change ourselves to be more like celebrities, our classmates, or our friends. And what for? So that we can be less than God created us to be? He didn’t make a mistake when He made you. Don’t settle for being a second-rate version of someone else when you can be a first-rate version of yourself.

  1. A choice.

Satan is a tempter. He tempts you and I every day. He even tempted Jesus. Whenever Satan tempts you to compare yourself to others and see how you stack up, it takes a deliberate, conscious decision to say no to that. But the good news is that YOU get to choose which voice is going to be louder. You get to choose if you’re going to believe lies or truth. You get to silence those lies by calling on the name of Jesus (whether that looks like worship, prayer, opening your Bible, or simply loving on a person). The choice ultimately is yours. Don’t let Satan tell you differently.

  1. Centered around me, and not around Christ.

Comparison often stems from a place of low self-esteem.

It comes from the belief that “I am not good enough.”

This lie manifests itself in many different ways.

Maybe for you it sounds like this:

“I am not smart enough to be a doctor/teacher/minister.”

“I am not pretty/attractive enough.”

“I am not spiritual enough.”

“I am not thin enough.”

And do you know what those statements lead to? They lead to a nasty trail of jealousy and comparison. Those statements turn into this (fill in the blank):

“I am not as smart as _________________.”

“I am not as pretty/attractive as _________________.”

“I am not as spiritual as __________________.”

“I am not as thin as _______________.”

The problem with each of these statements? They all start with “I.” They automatically put the focus on myself and not on God. They find every little thing that is wrong with me and magnify it by ten. The equation is simple, really:

Low self-esteem = High self-focus

My mind was blown when a dear friend and mentor shared this statement with me. For the first time in my life, I realized that my low self-esteem was directly correlated to a level of self-centeredness. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Amidst my tears and struggles in that moment, she assured me that God, when he humbles us, does so ever so gently. He does not condemn us, but rather he in his great love invites us into his grace. She also assured me that one could be healed from this disease called pride. All you have to do is simply turn your gaze heavenward. Stop dwelling on all the ways in which you think that you are not enough, and look at all the ways in that He IS enough. Take a moment to stop focusing on self and instead focus on the One deserving of your attention. When you do this, you are free from worry and you are free to listen.  And if you listen, and I mean truly listen, I think we can hear God saying this back to us:

My Dearest _________________,

Why do you compare yourself to others? Why do you wear yourself out trying to see how you stack up to everyone else? Don’t you know that I made you to be YOU? Why are you letting jealousy take root?
Your value does not lie in your abilities. It doesn’t lie in what kind of grades you get. It doesn’t lie in how many likes you get on Instagram. It doesn’t lie in others opinion of you. It doesn’t lie in how many times you’ve failed. And it doesn’t lie in how many times you go to church.

Your value lies in the Jesus in you.

So do not worry so much. You are good enough. You are adequate enough. And when you fail, I am there. Where you lack, I will give you strength. I will get glory, even in your weaknesses. Trust me.

Know this:

You are fully loved.

You are mine.

You are valuable & incomparable to me.

I would do anything for you.

 Because that’s who I AM.  A good, good Father. The world doesn’t get that, and you are going to be constantly tempted to compare yourself, my child. But remember, your value doesn’t lie in your abilities. It doesn’t lie in your beauty (which is immeasurable, by the way). It doesn’t lie in who the world tells you you are.

Your value lies in who I say you are.

And I say this:

You are fully loved.

You are mine.  

You are valuable & incomparable to me.

I would do anything for you.

Love,

Your Heavenly Father

_________________________________________________________________

One of my close friends pointed out to me that I’m really good at preaching this message to others, but I’m not so good at believing this about myself. It’s easy for me to see others for who they are in Christ, and not what they believe about themselves or who the world tells them they are. I decided it was time to start practicing what I preach. And do you know what I found?

Freedom.

Freedom from my fears of not being enough. Free from my fears of being disliked. Free from all the lies that the enemy tries to convince me of. Free from the lie that if people knew me fully, then they couldn’t possibly love me. Free from the self-condemnation that comes along with comparison. Free from being so focused on myself. Once I was free from these things, I became free to believe other things.  Free to like myself for the way God created me. Free to trust that he made me on purpose and for purpose. Free to rest in his unending truths. Free to focus less on myself and more on Him. Free to be both fully known and fully loved. Free to see myself the way that he sees me.

My prayer for you today is that you would have the strength and courage to say YES to freedom and begin to see yourself the way God sees you.

a harvest story

Most of life is spent planting seeds. Planting seeds of faith, hope, joy and love. Planting seeds and praying they grow. Praying that someone waters them. Praying that the seeds fall on soft soil hearts. Beyond the initial planting and occasional watering and prayer we are removed from the growth process. But sometimes you get to experience the harvest and let me tell you harvest time is my favorite time!

After a long ten days being a camp counselor, I was tired. I loved each of my campers and was learning so much from them, but I was definitely doubting my influence. I was praying to be content with simply seed planting in my campers, trusting that God would do the watering. But then God decided to show off and let me be a part of another one of His incredible harvest stories.

“Let us not grow weary or lose heart in doing good, for in due time and at the appointed season we will reap a harvest if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9

A friend sat us down and said we needed to share, so share we did. I told my story. She told hers. Our mutual brokenness quickly bonded us. She was vulnerable and real and the raw hurt of it all ran deep. But Jesus ran deeper. I could feel her pain, because her pain had been my pain a couple years ago. But that reminded me that my pain, our pain, is always His pain too. My heart broke for her, but His heart had been broken for us both because He loves His daughters that deeply. Just as I wished I could give this girl a glimpse of the complete freedom to come in surrendering everything to Christ, so the Lord desires to show us all that we have in Him. For everything I felt, He has felt it a million times over again for all of eternity.

In the simple act of sharing our stories with each other, His mighty healing power brought redemption beyond my imaginings. I, and then we, prayed freedom & hope over her in Jesus name and He delivered wildly. He lavished freedom upon her, because that’s just who He is. In His great love for this dear girl, He rained hope & grace & redemption on her. He set her feet upon the path to freedom and ignited the Spirit within her. The joy she suddenly had in the Lord was written across her face and it was beautiful. I was content. I was in awe.

As if that wasn’t enough, a few days ago I got a text from this sweet new God-friend, that reminded me again just how powerful our God is. I’m writing about it here, because I can’t help but brag on God. Only He can do things like this.

“I don’t even know what to say. I am so thankful that the Lord saved YOU and I hope you know how greatly you have changed my life with your story, encouragement, and truth. I will forever treasure the words you have spoken over me and that you have written. You have shown me for the first time what freedom and bravery look like and I am overflowing with hope and joy that I haven’t felt in SO long. After reading your letter I threw away my hidden self-harm blades which I NEVER thought I would be able to do. The Lord is working through you in mighty ways, Arden, and I hope you never doubt your influence because it is more powerful than you know. “

Yes, praise the LORD, you read that correctly. She threw them away. Those blades she kept hidden for times when she needed to inflict the depth of pain she felt inside. Those blades that had cut deeply into flesh with the hope of inflicting some kind of pain that might possibly mimic the intense self-hate she felt. The blades that were used when the voices got too loud and the hopelessness and worthlessness overwhelmed. She threw them away. She did what I couldn’t fully do for years and I’m in tears. I happy danced and happy-cried and gave thanks in my room, because GOD IS SO GOOD. He is mighty to save.

But she didn’t just throw away the blades she used to hurt herself. She threw away her old self that was coated in fear, shame and hopelessness from years of bondage to anxiety, depression and anorexia. She threw away the old and embraced the new that God offered. He had been patiently waiting for her to take the complete newness she received at her salvation. She took hold of hope and joy. She’s clinging to Truth in the face of lies. She’s throwing all kinds of chains off and dancing out in freedom.

She wrote “bravery is a choice” on her hand everyday for two weeks. But she did more than that. She actually made the choice to be brave. In throwing away what she had used to cope with pain & hopelessness & the devils lies, she chose brave. The enormity of that action still leaves me speechless. I don’t know if anyone who hasn’t experienced this kind of bondage can understand just how brave you have to be to make such a choice. She chose to believe the Truth when the lies where much easier to believe. She chose hope when most would choose hopelessness. She is BRAVE because she is choosing Jesus and He is always the bravest choice we can make. 

I could go on and on about this girl, this story, this God. But there are a few things I want you to take away from this story. First, and most importantly, GOD IS AWESOME. He deserves all honor and glory in everything, but especially in these moments. These moments where our lives are used by Him are beautiful. They are another opportunity to point back to Him who did all the work. We are just His instruments. I am simply an instrument in His complex orchestra. And I will praise Him forever for the opportunity to have a front row seat to see the way He works. Second, the Holy Spirit is real. He is alive and working within us and around us. I never want to forget how the Holy Spirit moved in this situation, how thickly he saturated every aspect of it. I pray I never forget that He’s working right this very moment. I pray I never cease being blown away by the power of the Spirit. Lastly, I want you to see the power of shared stories in the hands of the Author of life. God wrote your story and it needs to be read. You need to share it, because other people need to hear it. Others need to see living, breathing testimonies of God’s redemption. Sometimes it seems pointless, but as a wise Audrey once said “never doubt your influence.” Never doubt the impact your story can have on another’s story.

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.  2 Corinthians 9:6-9

This girl blessed me more than she knows, because just as she was given hope through me, so was I given hope through her. It’s not everyday that I get to see this kind of fruit. Most days are seed planting days. But God throws in these joyful harvest days to remind us that we do not labor in vain and that He is constantly at work. Every smile, every word, every action are seeds planted, parts of the stories being written around you.

So I thought camp was seed planting season, but apparently God had other plans. Keep planting seeds in Jesus name. I promise God will blow you away when you get to experience the harvest moments and be a part of a joyful harvest story such as this one.

what brave looks like…

A young girl, barely a teen, yet carrying enough fears to last her a lifetime. Sitting in a lamp lit office clutching a pillow. The one way she hid. Time and time again. Week after week. Month after month. Sitting in her safe place. The one place where she could let her walls down and let herself be seen. The one place where she did not fear being vulnerable, being real, being honest. The one place where anxiety held no ground. She was not brave. She was tired and afraid. 

A couple years had passed since that initial visit. So much change and redemption had occurred. But her office remained my safe place.

Because years had passed and she had watched and guided me through them from her chair and her prayer, she knew the words I needed to hear.

Amidst my seemingly endless fear, she knew that I needed to be encouraged. I felt hopeless still, despite so much healing. I was discouraged and disheartened at my own anxiety, my own inability and weakness. I wanted to be strong. I wanted anorexia and its co-occurring “friends” to be in the past, but I couldn’t seem to shake them. Not entirely.
It was at the end of a session, amidst this season of wrestling for freedom, that she spoke Hope & Truth over me. She leaned in from her grey arm chair, looked me right in the eyes and said the words that are printed in leather on my wrist & in my heart: “Arden, this is what brave* looks like. This, this right here, this pain & struggle, is what brave looks like. You’re brave not because you don’t fear or fail, but because you are afraid and you have failed but you keep fighting.”

That struck me to the core and has stuck with me since. It’s truth, those words she spoke over me. And they’re the same words being spoken over all of us.

Because my brave isn’t that different than yours. My brave is giving thanks in every circumstance. My brave is smiling through disappointment and rejection. My brave is trying again when I fail. My brave is fighting for freedom when bondage and sin and fear and bitterness and despair and doubt are easier. My brave is giving up control and trusting God with my body, my future, my dreams, fears. My brave is doing what’s best for me even if other people don’t understand. My brave is being vulnerable and sharing the story that God has written with my life. My brave is standing secure in who Christ made me to be and claiming my inheritance in Him. My brave is choosing life. So you see, my brave really isn’t that different from yours.

Listen to me, YOU are brave too. That struggle you’re dealing with. That disappointment you feel. That grief that threatens to overwhelm. That fear that is debilitating. That sadness that numbs you to the world. It’s all part of what makes you brave, not what makes you afraid.

This is what brave looks like. I know that the moments we need to hear those words the most are the very moments where those words are the hardest for us to hear. In the midst of fear and failure the last thing we would ever call ourselves is brave, but let me tell you that is when you are most brave.

When you are at your lowest but choose to look up, that’s brave. When you examine who you are as a human and hate everything you see, but choose to give yourself grace, that’s brave. When you are afraid, but choose to step out in faith regardless, that’s brave. When you think God made a mistake with you, but choose to believe what He says about you, that’s brave.

The list could go on and on, but notice something about every statement above. It’s a choice. Bravery is a choice. You have to choose to be brave. It doesn’t just happen. It’s hard, messy work, but it’s worthy work.

So you who feels like you are the furthest thing from brave, hear me out. If you are choosing to keep fighting when surrender would be easier or choosing to endure danger** and pain when there is a safer option then, by definition, you are choosing brave. If you are choosing grace, love, and forgiveness when the world is telling you anger, and bitterness are more rewarding options, then you are choosing brave. I really believe that if you are wholeheartedly choosing JESUS and the life we have in Him through the cross then you are choosing BRAVE.

And that choice, that brave Jesus choice, leaves you a force to be reckoned with.

 

*brave: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage

**danger: the possibility of something unwelcome or unpleasant

 

 

 

A letter to the girl who listened…

To the girl who listened. From the God who always listens.

You did the hard thing. You said no, when all you wanted was to say yes. You took the hard way, instead of the easy way. You took the road much less traveled, when the easy road was right there with your name written all over it. Chances are friends were telling you to pick the easy road. It was a good road. I would’ve been there. You would’ve seen me.

But instead you picked the hard road. There are only a few people on this road. It’s not quite a party. A few friends advised you to take it and a few friends might be travelling it with you. Your name wasn’t written anywhere on this road, but My name was. That’s why you picked it. It seemed like the wrong choice, but you saw My footprints and you knew.

You heard My Spirit’s promptings at the gate and you listened. You listened when it was much easier to tune Me out. You said “yes” to me when you could have easily said “no” without major consequences.

Do you know how happy you made Me? Yes, I’m the God of every living being and am forever being praised in Heaven and on earth, but do you know that YOU brought me joy when you said yes to Me? Hearing you choose Me over him made me smile. I chose you over My Son because I love you that much and I love that you chose Me over man, because you love Me that much.

I know you think you caused hurt beyond repair, but I’m a God who redeems and heals all brokenness. This is no exception.

I know you think you broke a heart, but actually you’re part of the building. Sometimes things, people, have to be broken down before they can be built back up. It hurts, but it’s worth it.

So the decision you made was a hard one, but you made it because you listened to my Spirit. I want you to know I see this. I see your obedience and I will honor it (Jeremiah 7:23).

So you chose not what was necessarily “right” but what was right for you. That is one of the hardest decisions to make. However, I promise I’m enough for you. In fact, I’m more than enough. I could never reveal to you all that I am, because it is simply too much (Exodus 33).

So you said no to something good in order to wait for something better. You may not see it now, but your hard decision will be worth it as you see the work that I am doing and will do in your heart. I will not leave you undone. I will finish the refining work in you (Genesis 28:15).

So you kind of regret your decision. You think maybe you heard the wrong voice and made the wrong choice. Maybe people are saying you were wrong, but if they are it’s because they don’t understand My thoughts and plans for you. They can’t. They don’t know that this is part of the making of My people. This is part of Me refining you into the most beautiful gold (Micah 4:11-12).

So you’re on the hard road now. Maybe you’re wondering why you  chose to listen. Maybe you’re looking over at the easy road and wishing you were there. The grass is always greener, right? But let me tell you something. That road over there was a good road. I would’ve been there. You would’ve seen me. But this road is a better road for you because on this road you won’t just see me, you’ll feel me.  You’ll know me more. You’ll depend on me. You’ll have no choice but to cling to me and let me carry you.

To the girl who listened…let me continue to speak to you. Let me satisfy your every need. Let me heal your heart. Let me love you. 

 

 

Let’s Lead A Rebellion

Ladies, enough is enough. It’s time to call it quits. It’s time to put your foot down. It’s time to say, “NO.” It’s time for a rebellion.

Rebellion: refusal to obey or accept normal standards; resisting convention

Now, if you know me, you know that I am one of the least rebellious beings on this earth. I am a people-pleaser. I will do everything in my power to not rock the boat or cause confrontation. I was the person that would cry if I thought someone was disappointed in me, the kid that was afraid to order food or go shopping in case what I picked wasn’t “right.” I was the person that would lay down and invite you to walk all over me for fear of causing a problem.

I am not rebellious. I am not someone to call for a rebellion, which is the very reason that a rebellion is desperately needed.

I know that I am not the only girl that has felt like she’s too much and not enough. I know I’m not the only one who has felt unworthy. Unworthy life, of being seen, known & loved. I know that my sins are not unique to me. I know that the lies I believe(d) do not stop with me. I know that feeling ugly or (dare I say) fat is not something that only I have faced. I know that I’m not the only one who said nothing when they wanted to scream or followed along when they wanted to lead. I know I’m not alone in this. You’ve probably experienced the same.

Friends, let’s lead a rebellion. Let’s start a revolution.

Revolution: a sudden, complete and radical change

It’s been a long time coming. But the time is now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month or year. NOW.

Let’s lead a rebellion against lies. Against shame. Against fear, anxiety and depression. Against evil. Ultimately, against Satan himself.

Let’s be defiant. Let’s resist and rebel against the standard of perfection that sucks the life out of us. Let’s revolt against the idea that we have to show everything to be worth anything. Let’s stop the comparing game and start saying, “good for her, not for me.” Let’s be people that stand strong underneath the pressure to gossip, be exclusive, and form cliques. Let’s fight the arrows (lies) that fly with our shield of faith and breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:10-18). Let’s declare over our lives, and the lives of those around us, “I am enough.” Let’s declare worthiness over every soul and every story.

Because you see, the battle is not with each other. We are allies, not enemies. The battle is against Satan, the thief who came to steal, kill and destroy all joy, hope and godly relationships (John 10:10). So, let’s join together and fight for Truth.

Let’s be the people who stop the cycle, put an end to it all. Let’s not settle for bondage, but fight for freedom (Galatians 5:1). Let’s be a generation of women too overtaken by our Jesus to care about anything else. Let’s rise up and be bold enough to ask hard questions and have real conversations. Let’s look at each other and the world in light of God’s grace and glory.

It’s time for a rebellion and it starts with you and me.

*This posts theme courtesy of the ever lovely and insightful, Caroline Morris. Thank you for spurring this rebellion on*

 

 

Reflecting & Preparing

2015 is quickly drawing to a close, yet the clock still ticks reminding me of the coming year. The new year, full of promise and possibilities. Full of hope and determination. The new year points to Jesus and the newness He gives though the cross, through forgiveness and radical grace. It’s a reminder to reflect and prepare.

New year. New beginning. New experiences. New trials. New goals. Everything new. Wrapped in shiny paper just waiting for hopeful fingers to unfold. But what about the goodbyes?

The goodbye to the old year. The adios to that bad habit or stressful job. The see you later to the fears, the victories, the secrets. What about those?

The new year calls for both hellos and goodbyes, both reflecting & preparing. You can’t do one well without the other. You can’t prepare for a new year without looking at the past to see what worked and what didn’t. But you also cannot reflect on the past to the point that you forget you have a glorious future set before you. So, friends, let’s join in reflecting on the past year and preparing for the new.

Reflections of 2015

  • Isaiah 61, Psalm 46:5 & 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • I have a choice between my “two rooms” & what goes in them (post to come)
  • Jesus understands (post to come)
  • Change is bittersweet
  • Performed final show with Concert Ballet
  • Started a blog on a whim, but Jesus had cool plans for it
  • Loved giving my senior thesis & won the award
  • Graduated high school
  • Was a bridesmaid & watched 3 sweet cousins get married!
  • Dance parties are good medicine
  • Ask me how God showed up over & over again this year
  • Can now say & believe “God is GOOD.”
  • Close relationships are hard, but oh so good
  • Finished first semester of college, loved it!

Preparations for 2016

  • Theme: BOLD & Brave
    • These are the words God placed on my heart for this year and they are so fitting given all that I’ve learned and been challenged with in 2015. Living bold & brave through the Holy Spirit. 
  • Study: Galatians, Esther, 2 Timothy, and all things Holy Spirit
  • Daily
    • get the Word in (quality over quantity)
    • be still & silent (silence over screens)
    • laugh until it hurts (best stress reliever ever)
  • Habit to Break: checking phone first thing in the morning
    • As Ann Voskamp says, “first 10 minutes always with my first Love.” Instead of getting social media and my to do list in my head first thing, I want Jesus to be the first thing on my mind.
  • Habit to make: Praying before eating
    • I’ve been challenged with this one through reading A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester and realizing just how deeply connected food and God are.
  • Blog: post twice a month as led (but all things with loads of grace)

*If you need a good place to start for your new year preparations, check this out.*