Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas...It's a RAT! Seriously.

So here's the deal.
There is a rat in my apartment. No joke.
Some of you may be thinking...."This sounds familiar...is she re-telling a story?"
NO. No re-telling of any crazy story that happened way over a year ago (2 years in April).
This is live, real life, happening right now craziness.
If you want in on the situation from last time. The links are below. I blogged about the whole experience and several people thought it was quite hilarious.
You'll probably want to check them out, start from the beginning to get the full experience:

1. A Not So Fun Experience
2. A Not So Fun Experience Part 2
3. It's Not Over...It's SO Not Over...
4. It Keeps Getting Worse...But I'm Trying To Be Thankful
5. Rat #3 and I'm Still Trying To Be Thankful
6. It's Starting to Look A Little Brighter
7. I Don't Want to See Anymore Turds
8. Rat #4, Day 11
9. Rat Update

So here is this story...
(I didn't find it as funny as last time...so I didn't pull out my camera for any pictures.)

It was a lovely evening and I had just gotten home from an appointment and I stopped to get the mail. I love getting mail at this time of year. Christmas cards are my favorite.
I was going through the letters and I received my kid in the mail!
My World Vision kid.
Tsebo is his name and he is cute and black and from Africa. He has the cutest cheeks in the world. I was oooing and ahhing over him and breaking as I read about his life and prayed for him.
I went and finished getting my stuff together to go coffeeshop it up with Jen and I decided that I was going to take my kid with me and I was even going to give Jen a picture of him (they give you extra pictures and she suggested getting one to put on her desk to pray for him...afterall...she did talk me into getting him). So I grabbed my scissors and the thought crossed my mind to bring my other kid from Compassion along and I could pray for both of them.
His name is Mike and he is from Kenya. His picture was on my refrigerator.
So I turn on the light to the kitchen, with scissors still in hand, smiling and thinking about these sweet black babies and maybe even thinking about how I need one.
When ALL OF A SUDDEN a RAT goes running across my kitchen floor.
Ruining all thoughts of sweet black babies.
I screamed. I should have thrown the scissors at it, I'm regretting not doing that. But with my aim I probably would have taken everything else out but the rat.
My roommate, Dana, is at home in Florida. My old roommate Hilary (who was with me the last rat situation) is now married and has her own rat fighting man.
I was by myself. Alone.
Thoughts ran through my mind of calling the fire department. Calling my friend Matt. Or just getting some balls and dealing with it right then and there.
So what do I do?
I leave as fast as I can, all lights left on, and I call my sister...in Iowa.
It took me several tries of squealing through what happened before she understood the situation.
Then she laughed.
So I get to Thunderbird and Jen is waiting for me.
Laura says on the phone, "Get Jen to help you she's real scrappy like that."
Let's just say Jen was only semi-appreciative of that statement. But yet...she was very helpful.
We packed up our things right away and headed to Walmart to find some traps.
I'm going to go ahead and confess that at this point I was being a real big poop. I didn't have the best attitude. It was REAL quiet in the car ride.
We get the traps go back to my apartment and Jen being the scrappy brave person that she is...starts moving the oven, getting down on her hands and knees, and let me just say that she is wearing flip flops.
You may be wondering what I am doing during all of this.
Well...as soon as she started moving things around I hightailed it out of there and on to my dining room chair.
I stayed there for awhile. Just in case.
I did shout out some encouraging, "Jen, you are brave!" comments and offered her close toed shoes.
We looked behind the oven and poop. Lots of poop.
At this point I'm shaking my head saying, "this is not good."
I think I even said, "that little bastard". sorry. it's true.
So "we" set up the traps and I get an overnight bag and we head out to continue our Thunderbird time, then for a sleepover. No way am I staying in my apartment knowing that little...guy...is running around.
My management people know what's up and they are handling it a lot better than my last apartment! thank you!
I promise that I will be better about documenting with pics and video (like last time!) We'll see what I come home to today. ugh.
All in all...I've screamed once and cried twice. Not too bad.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You're Here (LISTEN TO THIS NOW!!!)

I heard this song on the way to work today. It is my new FAVORITE Christmas song.
Listen to it NOW! Oh my. It's on repeat.
Here are the lyrics, take in these words:

You're Here by Francesca Battistelli
Hold on now, I gotta take a deep breath
I don't know what to say when I look in your eyes
You made the world before I was born
Here I am holding you in my arms tonight
Noel, Noel, Jesus our Emmanuel

You're here, I'm holding you so near
I'm staring into the face of my savior, king and creator
You could've left us on our own, but You're here

Don't know how long I'm gonna have you for
But I'll be watching when you change the world
I look at your hands, they're still so small
Someday you're going to stretch them out and save us all
Noel, Noel God with us, Emmanuel

You're here, I'm holding you so near
I'm staring into the face of my savior, king and creator
You could've left us on our own, but You're here

Someday I'm gonna look back on this
The night that God became a baby boy
Someday You're gonna go home again
But you leave your spirit and flood the world with joy

You'll be here, I'm holding you so near
I'm staring into the face of my savior, king and creator
You could've left me on my own, but You're here

Hallelujah You're here
Hallelujah You're here

Monday, December 21, 2009

Grace by Saving Jane

Jen told me about this.
uhh...yeah.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hope In the Lord

From Elisabeth Elliot:
"It is faith He is looking for, a quiet confidence that whatever it is He is up to, it will be a wonderful thing, never mind whether it is what we have been asking for."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh. No.

um. I feel real bad for this guy.
Not sure why these two songs were put together.
Not sure why he didn't think through the fact that he doesn't know the words AT ALL.
There are just so many things about this video that make me laugh. Watch it a few times. It never gets old.

I'm A Dancer. I Swear.

I swear I was meant to be a dancer.
I absolutely LOVE the show So You Think You Can Dance.
I can't help but move my body while I'm watching the show. I don't even realize I'm doing it. My shoulders start going, and sometimes my feet.
I absolutely LOVE this dance. Love it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comfort Ye

I'm loving this song today by Daniel Renstrom it's called Comfort Ye :

Comfort ye heavy laden, the Son of God has come
His kingdom shines with lavished mercy, for those who's hearts are drawn, are drawn

Those who dwell in darkness see, the light of Christ invades the night
Shining from His cross of anquish, His death brings many life

In Christ we know hope for the hurting
In Christ we know love for the lost
In Christ we know no other one can save, can save

Comfort ye weary Christian, for just as Christ was raised
He will soon return to gather those, who follow Him by faith

Immanuel, God with us
Son of God
Hallelujah

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

So this is what happens when you acquire brothers later in life. An innocent little photo opp in the snow...to show all my texas peeps. To show how snowy and cold it is here. When out of nowhere...this happens...I have NO idea what is about to happen. just look at my face. NO clue. (great timing Laura!)
This would be a shovel full of snow. Thrown at my head. While I'm trying to take a cute picture.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Program

I made it!
I'm in Iowa...it's snowy and cold. wow!It so warms my heart to be with my family. Love them all.
Laura, Lily and my mom picked me up at the airport and before they got there Lily asked if they were going to my house. She said..."you know...with the escalators."
She totally thought I lived at the airport.
Love her sweet little heart.

Wanted to let you all know about the Christmas program I'm singing at. If you are in Iowa and in the Iowa City area you should come.
Here are the details:

Parkview Church
15 Foster Rd. Iowa City, IA

Services:
Saturday 12/12 4:30pm
Sunday 12/13 8:00am, 9:30am and 11:00am

Come and check it out...and come say hi! Would love to meet you!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Broken, Beautiful, Heaven, Yearning

Last night I went to a concert. Bethany Dillon, Phil Wickham and Shane and Shane.
If you have been reading my blog lately you know that I've been in a funk.
I felt God move last night through these musicians and these brothers and sister in Christ. So thankful for God using them and speaking truth to me through their songs.
Here are the songs that I loved and felt God through:
Beth went first. A couple of her songs spoke to me:

So Close:
I'm so close to being so far away from You
I was wrong, but it takes so much to say it to You
Like a broken husband and wife
Who never talk but share their nights
I'm so close to being so far away from You
I have nothing when I'm living apart from You
Outside, creation groans
To lose our darkness and be made whole

For my feet are close to slipping
Speak to my heart in time
You have promised, so I do believe
You won't forget this wandering child

Still, I'm so close to being so far away from You
Though I know no one on their own makes it through
My soul clings to the dust
So in Your life, let it be enough

I'm so foolish to believe that I can escape Your love

For my feet were close to slipping
You spoke to my heart in time
You have promised, so I do believe
You won't forget this wandering child
You're so close when I feel far away from You
You're so close when I feel far away from You

The other song that she did that got me was a song called "Beautiful"
I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention
I thought I could be strong
But it's killing me

Does someone hear my cry?
I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart
And be amazed
I want to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won't you help me back to glory

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed
I love to hear you say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love and beautiful

She ended this song with "nothing but the blood". um...awesome.

Then came Phil Wickham and all of his songs about heaven. I was like...seriously?!
whatintheworld.
Here is one:

You wrote a letter and You signed Your name
I read every word every page by page
You said that You'd be coming, coming for me soon
Oh my God I'll be ready for You

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song

I hear Your voice and I catch my breath
"Well done my child, enter in and rest"
Tears of joy roll down my cheek
It's beautiful beyond my wildest dreams

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing

Here is another: "Cielo"
I'm walking through the bright white gates
Breathing in and out Your grace
All around me melodies rise
That echo with a joy inside
So I start to sing

But I can't sing loud enough
I can't sing loud enough
When I'm singing for You my God

With a thunder roll and a brilliant light
Your glory bursts and the heavens shine
Saints and angels stand in awe
Captured by the beauty of it all
So I fall to my knees

But I can't bow low enough
I can't bow low enough
At the vision of You my God

I can't hold it all inside
I'm reaching for the One who brought me out of death and into life.

Now I can't lift my hands high enough
I can't lift my hands high enough
When I'm reaching for You my God

Oh my heart. It yearns for Heaven.
Shane and Shane did this song: Yearn. (except Bethany Dillon didn't sing with them...I was a little sad.)

Holy design
This place in time
That I might seek and find my God
My God

Lord I want to yearn for You
I want to burn with passion
Over You and only You
Lord I want to yearn

Your joy is mine
Yet why am I fine
With all my singing and bringing grain
In light of Him

Oh You give life and breath
Through Him You give all things
In You we live and move
That's why I sing

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hammock - FAIL

This completely made my day. I've watched it SEVERAL times. Cracks me up every time.
My sister posted this on her blog. My nephew Will was trying to build a hammock.
FAIL.

Beautiful Weepiness

So, as I reflect on my week last week, here is what was going on (sorry it's long):

I was weepy.
I don't really know what my problem was.
I just felt blah and to be honest there was a feeling of just wanting to give up. I'm tired.
I guess this is part of my high highs and my low lows. I've been told this is part of being an artistic type.
Artsy/creative people have high highs and low lows...any other high/low artsy people out there?!
I know that I have not been in the Word. I need to be.
I have not been praying faithfully...I need to be.
When I look at it all this way, all I see is "I've Failed."
I've failed at all the things I know I should be doing to be a "good christian".
When I'm in this funk...I have to go back to grace and to God's love for me that is NOT dependent on being a "good christian".
If that were the case, we would ALL be void of a GREAT, SATISFYING love.
He gives us His love and it is never ending, it is deep and true, it never leaves.
We had our First Tuesday Prayer meeting last week. It was about suffering. Embracing it, enduring it, praising God in it.
Aaron asked me to sing with him and when he sent me the setlist I immediately thought, "There is no way I'm gonna get through this. I have nothing to give. I will cry through the entire thing."
I just humbly asked the Lord to just give me what I need...if that was to make it through the songs without tears. Awesome.
If it was to lose it through every song. Awesome.
I was choosing to believe that He knew exactly what needed to happen. I asked Him to remind me again and again that this wasn't about me.
It was a powerful night.
It started out by a good friend of mine being in a REALLY crazy goofy mood. He said over and over again, "I don't know why I'm so hyper!" (I know. God was using him!)
During sound check Aaron was playing different funny styles of music on the piano and my friend was interpretive dancing to it.
I laughed so hard.
Tears.
Not weepy tears, but laughing tears.
I started feeling the weepiness go away.
How could it not when a big black man goes pirouetting across the front of the church. :)
So not only did I make it through the songs without crying...but God gave an amazing strength that took away the weepy feeling completely.
He gave me a joy and a peace that didn't make sense and a love for His people as I saw many who worshiped with tears as they raised their hands in surrender praising God for their suffering.
It was a beautiful night.
As I left to go home that night I started feeling the heaviness come back.
I started thinking about all of the things going on around me. I have been told of so much suffering going on in different friends lives. It just hurts. I hurt for them and I don't know what to do.
I got in bed that night and opened up and read Psalm 121. Here is what it says in the Message translation:
"I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won't let you stumble, your Guardian God won't fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel's Guardian will never doze or sleep. God's your Guardian, right at your side to protect you- Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke. God guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always."
I went to bed believing that He is my help and all I need.
Wednesday I was still a little sad, but I didn't cry.
I was sad that I was going to miss an opportunity to help a friend of mine who was having a benefit for her non-profit.
She had asked me to play a 45 min. set. But the night ended up falling on Wed. night. Recovery night. I had already committed to leading worship that night @ Recovery and as I prayed about it just felt like I needed to be there. So I declined the opportunity.
As I got ready for worship and as we started Recovery still felt a heaviness that I didn't understand and I remember asking God what it was that He wanted and why did I need to be at Recovery that night.
The teaching was all about letting go of control and admitting that we are completely powerless and that we CAN'T do it. As much as we try and we think we can do certain things in order to have freedom, or to achieve what we want...we CAN'T do it.
We can't faithfully be in God's word.
We can't faithfully pray.
We will fail.
BUT GOD.
Releasing ourselves to God and admitting HIS power over our powerlessness will give us freedom, HE will give us faithfulness.
I felt myself yearning for that. Realizing how much I try and control, and realizing how much I want freedom.
We get to the open share time (that I usually lead) and another leader ends up leading the discussion. So I sit. Quiet. Still heavy.
Fast forward...to the end of the night I was walking out to my car with a friend and another girl from the group. She had been coming the last few weeks and I don't know her other than from our times together in open share.
I tell her goodnight as she heads to her car and my friend and I stand by my car talking for awhile.
Pretty soon this girl comes walking over to us and says "ok. this is random. I don't know you but I feel like God is wanting me to ask you how I can pray for you."
First of all...I noticed this girl hanging around longer afterwards while we were putting chairs away...she walked out to the parking lot with us...got in her car...started it...then turned it off, got out of her car and walked over to us...
"I just couldn't shake it and I was just going to leave...but I just couldn't...so is there anything I can pray for?!"
whatintheworld. who does that?!
It was awesome.
I don't know this girl. She doesn't know me. But God was up to something.
So I started sharing with her about my week. Completely thinking I was not making any bit of sense.
I get done sharing and was like, "sorry...that probably made no sense at all."
She said, "you have no idea how much this makes sense to me. It's crystal clear."
She went on to say that during our open share time, she noticed my face and how it had looked different than past weeks and that she knew something was up.
She also said that she got the sense that I loved on people well and that maybe I just needed to be loved on.
It was all very interesting...and very cool.
She kept apologizing about how random and weird it probably was.
Random and weird and AWESOME!!!! It completely made my night.
That she got in her car...started it...then turned it off and knew that she couldn't leave without asking to pray for me.
God.
This is completely God. Not me, not this girl. GOD!
Do you see it!?
God continues to show me His love. How I don't deserve it, but how freely He gives it.
The rest of the week was up and down. God really showing up and showing me that He cares, that He loves me, that He never leaves me.
I continue to hear of suffering all around me. People who are hurting and going through really hard stuff.
Friday night I woke up at 3am sobbing uncontrollably.
I had a dream about my dad.
It was the same exact dream that I had a couple of weeks ago that woke me up crying. I could not stop crying. I went to get a drink of water and when I walked into the living room I noticed on the wall a picture that my dad made. It was hanging on the wall.
It wasn't hanging on the wall before.
My roommate hung it up the day before...and somehow didn't see it until that moment.
I lost it again.
God shows His faithfulness. He is good. He is my comforter. He is my Daddy.
Yesterday was a sweet day leading worship with the Andy Melvin band. I am SO thankful for my church. SO thankful. I can't even tell you how blessed and humbled I am to be alongside some pretty amazing people.
It was a beautiful time worshiping Jesus and leading His people to a deeper place with an unspeakable joy. God shows up in power and moves in ways unimaginable.
If you've made it this far. Thanks for reading!
Just wanted to be transparent and real.
I read this, this morning and will end with this, it's from Spurgeon:
Psalm 29:11 "The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace."
David had just heard the voice of the Lord in a thunderstorm and had seen His power in the hurricane whose path he had described; and now, in the cool calm after the storm, that overwhelming power by which heaven and earth are shaken is promised to be the strength of the chosen. He who wings the unerring bolt will give to His redeemed the wings of eagles; He who shakes the earth with His voice will terrify the enemies of His saints and give His children peace. Why are we weak when we have divine strength to flee to? Why are we troubled when the Lord's own peace is ours? Jesus, the mighty God, is our strength; let us put Him on and go forth to our service. Jesus, our blessed Lord, is also our peace; let us repose in Him this day and end our fears. What a blessing to have Him for our strength and peace both now and forever!
The same God who rides upon the storm in days of tempest will also rule the hurricane of our tribulation and send us, before long, days of peace. We shall have strength for storms and songs for fair weather. Let us begin to sing at once unto God, our strength and our peace. Away, dark thoughts! Up, faith and hope!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

REAL Christmas Music

I'm a huge fan of Christmas music. But not a fan of over the top cheezy, Christmasy Christmas music, if that makes sense. Ok...well maybe some cheezy Christmas music.
But I'm more of a fan of Christmas music that is worshipful, that points to the REAL meaning of Christmas. The fact that God chose to come to us as a baby, Jesus. Such a sweet beautiful, powerful TRUE story.
I've been lovin Chris Tomlin's new Christmas album. It's worship. Get it and worship.
One of the songs that I have been loving is called "Born that We May Have Life". Here are the lyrics:
No reputation, no stately bearing
No palace bed for royalty
But a star in the heavens
A sign full of wonder
Announcing the coming of the King of Kings

Rejoice O world
Your Savior has come
Through the love of a virgin's womb
Son of God, Son of man
Born that we may have life
You were born that we may have life

A throne in a manger, the cross in a cradle
The hidden revealing this glorious plan
A child who would suffer
A child who would conquer
The sins of every woman, the sins of every man
YES!! REJOICE!

December 12 & 13 I have the unique privilege to fly to my home church in Iowa and lead a couple of songs at their Christmas program. One song is called Here With Us by Joy Williams. I sang this song several years back and they wanted me to sing it again! SO honored. Another powerful worshipful song...here are the lyrics & a video:

It's still a mystery to me
That the hands of God could be so small
How tiny fingers reaching in the night
Were the very hands that measured the sky

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King here with us
You're here with us

It's still a mystery to me
How His infant eyes had seen the dawn of time
How His ears had heard an angel symphony
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King here with us
You're here with us

Jesus the Christ
Born in Bethlehem
A baby born to save
To save the souls of men

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King here with us
You're here with us
Another favorite Christmas album is Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God.
A sweet song that pictures Jesus' birth is Labor of Love. Here is a video and lyrics:

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyway that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
And no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
Every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph by her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
On the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the Maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
Every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
Little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love
Ok. I could keep going with all of the amazing Christmas music I love. But I'll stop for now.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Soul This Morning

A couple of things touched my soul this morning.

My Utmost for His Highest:
The way we continually talk about our own inability is an insult to the Creator. The deploring of our own incompetence is a slander against God for having overlooked us. Get into the habit of examining in the sight of God the things that sound humble before men, and you will be amazed at how staggeringly impertinent they are. "Oh, I shouldn't like to say I am sanctified; I'm not a saint." Say that before God; and it means - "No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are chances I have not had; so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn't possible." That may sound wonderfully humble before men, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.
Again, the things that sound humble before God may sound the opposite before men. To say thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified, is in the sight of God the acme of humility, it means you have so completely abandoned yourself to God that you know He is true. Never bother your head as to whether what you say sounds humble before men or not, but always be humble before God, and let Him be all in all. There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purposes, and yours may be that life.
And from Spurgeon:
In the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the Lord Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory?
Nor is the Lord before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm. Dash at it boldy, ye soldiers of the cross, for the Lord of hosts is with us!
Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in himself and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. He will always be both able and willing to grant us strength and succor till fighting days are gone.
Let us not fear nor be dismayed; for the Lord of hosts will go down to the battle with us, will bear the brunt of the fight, and give us the victory.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beautiful Lily

Tonight I got to tuck sweet Lily Margaret into bed. We prayed together and then she told me that she couldn't close her eyes. :) So I sat with her and rubbed her hair as she closed her eyes. It was very sweet. As I sat there looking at her sweet face my heart was falling more in love with this sweet little one. I started asking God to protect her and that she would know her worth in Him. That she would know and believe with confidence that God has made her and designed her beautifully and uniquely. That she would continue to shine with beauty. That she would not doubt her significance and worth and her beauty, and that it is only because of Jesus.
She is SO beautiful. I'm thankful for her sweet little heart.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flaws & Fat. Just Bein' Real.

So I'm gonna be real honest here.
I've been battling something today. It's something that I battle with OFTEN. Too often. I've seen the ways that Lord has released freedom in my life regarding this and I've also seen the ways satan grabs hold of it and shakes things up.

Today seems to be a day when satan is shaking things up.

BUT I'm reminded today by a good friend of mine, she texted me this:
"Oh how satan loves to try to rob us of our joy and praise around this time of year! But thanks be to God who has overcome and all glory and praise is due to him!!"

It happens stronger when I'm about to go home to Iowa, when I haven't been back in awhile. The last time I was back was last January.
Since January, I have probably gained 20-30lbs...I don't even know for sure cause I've forced myself to stop getting on the scale. I just know that it's a lot.
I've had a lot of weird health things going on and I stopped exercising. And to be honest...I love food. It has just gotten a little out of control.
Anyway...I battle with the way I look. I battle with every time I look in the mirror I see flaws and fat. I battle with coming home and not having been home in awhile, seeing people I haven't seen in awhile...wondering if they will think I'm fat.
It's silly.
I know.
But it's a battle. I struggle.

Last night I had a photo shoot with a friend who needed a model for her class. As I drove there I kept praying, "Lord, give me Your eyes to see me as You see me." I had some sweet friends pray for me too. The night was fun and didn't think about it...much.
My friend emailed me some of the pictures today, and I've been battling all day. She did an amazing job...but when I look at them I see flaws and fat.
WHY!? Why do I do this to myself? I've been asking the Lord today to change my heart and to change my eyes.

I'm choosing to claim the promises that God says. I'm choosing to believe them until the Lord changes my heart, and He will. He will mold me and remold me until my heart is like His. That's a big process.

My sweet friend that texted me earlier also sent me this from "31 Days of Praise" by Ruth Myers. I will read it over and over and over and over:
I give thanks to You, O Lord, and I stand in awe of You, for I am wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works! Thank You that You uniquely designed and created me, with the same care and precision You used in creating the universe...that You formed me in love exactly to Your specifications...that You embroidered me with great skill in my mother's womb.
I'm grateful that my looks, abilities, and my personality are like a special picture frame in which You can portray Your grace and beauty, Your love, Your strength, Your faithfulness, to the praise of Your glory. I rejoice that You have gifted me for the special purpose You have in mind for my life.
It's wonderful to know that you are not the least bit dissatisfied with my inborn talents, intelligence, aptitudes, appearance, and personality, for Your hands have made and fashioned me. I am one of Your original masterpieces! I praise You that You are greater than all my failures...that as my Potter, You are able to mold and remold me, as I submit to Your wisdom and skill...that as the Master Artist You are able to take away my sin and through Christ make me a new creation in Christ Jesus to the praise of Your glorious grace.
I worship and bow down; I kneel before You, my Maker.
So I write all of this, just to be real. I struggle. I deal with junk. This is just a small part of the junk. There are MANY women and men who struggle with this. Just thought I would share my part of the battle.
God has won the victory, I have to daily surrender and ask Him to take control. I have no control over this...as much as I try and try. I have NO control. But He does. I have to release it to Him.
That's Recovery people!
So that's me today. Being raw and real.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jen's Post

Read Jen's post about what is happening in 2 days.

2 days!

2 days I can't wait!

So today I have two doctors appointments. a Photo Shoot. Laundry.
Tomorrow I have one doctor appointment, packing, then Jen is coming over to spend the night cause our flight leaves at 6:20am Wed. morning. Thats ridiculous.
Then Wednesday is the day! YEAH!!!
We decided we are documenting our trip with lots of video and commentary. It's gonna be awesome.
I hope these 2 days go fast, and then I hope the rest of the week is really long.
The high temps in Iowa right now are in the 40's. AND it's supposed to snow on Thursday. whatintheworld. I'm going to freeze. I'm a complete wimp now that I have been in TX for 3 years.

Laura told me today that Noah asked if Jen was bringing her kids with her. Laura told him that Jen was like me...a single girl and not married yet. His response was..."Well...what are they waiting for?!" She tried to explain to him that we were waiting for the right guy to come along!
I was kinda thinking in my head, "I know right!? c'mon guys!"
Noah. He is funny.

Jill told me today that Will wondered if this visit was another surprise for grandma! Some of you may remember THIS from last year. Oh man. That was great. But no surprises this year!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let This Change Your Life

This blog post should change your life somehow.
How will you let it?
I'm battling so much after reading this.
God, what do you want me to do? I can't do it. I don't know what to do. But YOU can and YOU do know what to do. Use me somehow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

9 Days!

9 days until I get to be in Iowa. I can't wait. It's going to be SO much fun.
My friend Jen is coming with me. I'm not sure if she's ready yet for what she will experience. She told me today that she needs to start mentally preparing herself.
I have envisioned getting off the plane, coming down the escalator, seeing my family waiting and then they all run to Jen. :)
I'm going to completely play my "baby of the family" card right now and say that I have a feeling I'm not going to get all the attention when I'm back. :( boo.
Whatevs.
It's gonna be legendary.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Inner Voice of Love

I read this on Jen's blog awhile ago and have been reading it again over and over this week. SO good.

"You are very concerned with making the right choices about your work. You have so many options that you are constantly overwhelmed by the question "What should I do and what should I not do?" You are asked to respond to many concrete needs. There are people to visit, people to receive, people to simply be with. There are issues that beg for attention, books it seems important to read, and works of art to be seen. But what of all this truly deserves your time?

Start by by not allowing these people and issues to possess you. As long as you think that you need them to be yourself, you are not really free. Much of their urgency comes from your own need to be accepted and affirmed. You have to keep going back to the source: God's love for you.

In many ways, you still want to set your own agenda. You act as if you have to choose among many things, which all seem equally important. But you have not fully surrendered yourself to God's guidance. You keep fighting with God over who is in control.

Try to give your agenda to God. Keep saying, "Your will be done, not mine." Give every part of your heart and your time to God and let God tell you what to do, where to go, when and how to respond. God does not want you to destroy yourself. Exhaustion, burnout, and depression are not signs that you are doing God's will. God is gentle and loving. God desires to give you a deep sense of safety in God's love. Once you have allowed yourself to experience that love fully, you will be better able to discern who you are being sent to in God's name.

It is not easy to give your agenda to God. But the more you do so, the more "clock time" becomes "God's time", and God's time is always the fullness of time."

The Inner Voice of Love
Henri J. M. Nouwen

Conformitron

This video will change your life.
I'm proud to say...these are my friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beautiful Grace

Life is beautiful.
No matter what. Life is beautiful.
God created and what He creates is beauty.
Life. He created.
I can see Him. All around me, Him.
Beauty.
To bless. To glorify. To love.
My life is a mess.
Because of Beauty this mess is beautiful.
I'm learning to trust Him, but I seem to fail.
Grace. He is good.
I know He is there. All around me, Him.
Beauty.
To bless. To glorify. To love.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Beautiful Thing in College Station

I had the privilege of joining the Aaron Ivey band on a little road trip to College Station, home of Texas A&M (aggieland.) last night. There is a "little" ministry there called Breakaway. They meet every Tuesday and there are around 5,000 students that show up. Yeah. Crazy.
This week they had to meet in this auditorium:
We had to do two services to fit everyone. It was packed out.
God broke into that place and moved powerfully. It was awesome. SO much fun. GREAT people. HUGE God.
My friend Ginger rode with me. The van was full of guys and so we followed them up there. I'm kinda glad I wasn't crammed in the van. I have a feeling it might have been kinda stinky. A van full of guys...c'mon.
So Ginger and I rocked the GirlPower and represented the ladies.
She shot this pic to take note that they say "gig 'em" every chance they get.
We are heading back up there next Tuesday and I can't wait! SO worth the REALLY late night and getting up early for work.
So humbled and thankful that God has called me to this ministry where I get to worship Him and lead others into His presence. Where I can see His spirit move through His people as they sing, shout, clap, raise their hands. It is a beautiful thing.

21 days

I can't even stand it. These sweet little faces I get to see in 21 days. I seriously love being an aunt. How can you not love these kids?!?!



Look at those dimples. Seriously. ohmyword.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome to America!

Just read this update on Aaron's blog and I have tears:
Hard to believe I’m actually typing this. Story has arrived in the USA!!!!!! And her last name is “Ivey.” God has worked the miraculous!!! No doubt.

I’m writing this from my phone, so bear with me… Jamie & Story landed in Miami a few minutes ago… Now they go through immigration & customs where US officials will scour through all our paperwork (again) before she’s allowed in. Shouldn’t be any hold ups or problems. Story is still sick. Not sure what’s up. Jamie will take her to doctor asap.

I am in Arkansas and getting on a flight home tomorrow to see my baby girl! I got to see her a few weeks ago and she was starting to warm up to me. Looking forward to seeing her in a carseat in our car tomorrow!!

Amos is still in the process. My heart breaks for my son today. His sister is no longer with him, and I’m sure he wonders if papa is really EVER going to take him home. Keep praying for his adoption process. Since they are not biologically related, they are 2 totally seperate adoptions. He has a ways to go as he’s still in MOI. But that boy will have his day!!!

Praise GOD for all that He’s done and continues to do… And thank you all for sharing in the struggle AND rejoicing!!!

SO thankful for God's provision, His perfect and GOOD plan and His faithfulness.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Story is Coming Home!

Thanking God over and over today! My good friends Aaron & Jamie will finally bring home their daughter, Story, from Haiti!Jamie is on her way right now to pick her up and will be home tomorrow night!
They have been in this process for over 2 years.
Please continue to pray that everything goes smoothly in bringing her back and also PLEASE pray for sweet Amos. He is still in the MOI stage of the adoption. Pray for his sweet little heart as Story leaves to come home.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Heart Corruptions

O God,
May thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to thee.
I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me.
I am undeserving, but I look to thy tender mercy.
I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; thou art full of grace.
I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin;
All my powers of body and soul are defiled;
A fountain of pollution is deep within my nature.
There are chambers of foul images within my being;
I have gone from one odious room to another,
walked in a no-man's-land of dangerous imaginations,
pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.
I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself;
I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles;
I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away;
I live bare and barren as a winter tree,
unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt.
Lord, dost thou have mercy on me?
Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride,
at the false god of self,
and I lie in pieces before thee.
But thou hast given me another master and lord, thy Son, Jesus,
and now my heart is turned towards holiness,
my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to thee.
Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride.
Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life,
from everything that is natural to fallen man,
and let Christ's nature be seen in me day by day.
Grant me grace to bear thy will without repining, and delight to be
not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned,
but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long,
and lifted from the quarry to the upper air,
where I may be built in Christ for ever.
--The Valley of Vision

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweetness Happening!

Some exciting things are coming up that I'm really looking forward to...

1. This Thursday night: Derek Webb in concert.
2. November 3rd and 10th I'm heading to Texas A&M to lead worship with the guys at Breakaway. It's supposedly pretty cool. :)
3. November 6th & 7th I'm getting away by myself for a little retreat! Some friends are letting me stay at their "retreat house". It's going to be a time to get some serious songwriting done and to just spend some uninterrupted time with Jesus. It's gonna be so sweet.
4. THANKSGIVING BREAK. Oh man. I cannot even wait. In 37 days I'm heading home to Iowa to visit my family. One of my best friends, Jen, is coming with me. It's going to be LEGENDARY. The last time I was home was 10 months ago. WAY too long.
5. December 8: Shane and Shane in concert. I saw them a few years ago and they are incredible live.
6. February 4-6 is the Verge Conference that my church is putting together. It's a conference that will be focused on how to build missional community wherever you are. Some amazing speakers are going to be speaking including my pastor, Matt Carter and Mr. Francis Chan. Aaron Ivey, the guys and I will be leading worship. SO excited!
7. Recovery. God continues to amaze me at what He is doing through this group. I've been going to Recovery since last January, went through a step study, got a sponsor, still going through the 12 steps...leading worship once a month and now leading an open share group. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this has changed and is changing my life. EVERYONE needs to go through a recovery program. No matter what. DO it. It makes sense. Living life will make more sense. It is so hard, and painful at times. God shows you things that you never even knew existed. Hurts, habits, fears, and pride. But it is so worth it. This community of broken, imperfect, real people has opened my eyes to the reality that we are ALL broken, imperfect messed up people. Some choose to live it out with other people and some people choose to put on a mask of "I've got it all together" while stuffing the mess away.
I'm excited to see how God is growing this group. He is releasing an amazing freedom in His children.

So much goodness. I'm thankful and I'm full. God is good and I am undeserving. Such sweetness.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grandpa's Funky Shoes

My mom wrote a sweet post on our Things With Wings blog.
My grandpa is 84, has emphysema and is on oxygen 24/7. He can't really do much.
My mom has been amazing as she watches her parents get older and start losing things that were once strong. She serves and loves them constantly. She is being Jesus to them. It's beautiful.
Anyway, my grandpa used to be really crafty. He would make things out of wood, paint, and do all sorts of other things. He hasn't been able to do much of that anymore, but my mom will bring over some little wood pieces for him to paint to pass the time and so that he can be creative again.
The other day my mom got him some new tennies. His old ones were worn out and falling apart. The next time she came over she found this:These are his old tennis shoes! He painted them! How precious is that?!
My grandpa is funky. And they kinda look like some sort of African flag.
Maybe he's African...which could explain my hair.

A Cry for Deliverance

From "The Valley of Vision":
Heavenly Father,
Save me entirely from sin.
I know I am righteous through the righteousness of another,
but I pant and pine for likeness to thyself;
I am thy child and should bear thy image,
Enable me to recognize my death unto sin;
When it tempts me may I be deaf unto its voice.
Deliver me from the invasion as well as the dominion of sin.
Grant me to walk as Christ walked,
to live in the newness of his life,
the life of love, the life of faith, the life of holiness.
I abhor my body of death,
its indolence, envy, meanness, pride.
Forgive, and kill these vices,
have mercy on my behalf,
on my corrupt and wandering heart.
When thy blessings come I begin to idolize them,
and set my affection on some beloved object-
children, friends, wealth, honour;
Cleanse this spiritual adultery and give me chastity;
close my heart to all but thee.
Sin is my greatest curse;
Let thy victory be apparent to my consciousness,
and displayed in my life.
Help me to be always devoted, confident, obedient,
resigned, childlike in my trust of thee,
to love thee with soul, body, mind, strength,
to love my fellow-man as I love myself,
to be saved from unregenerate temper, hard thoughts,
slanderous words, meanness, unkind manners,
to master my tongue and keep the door of my lips.
Fill me with grace daily,
that my life be a fountain of sweet water.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Valley of Vision-The Smell of Old People

I just got this treasure in the mail yesterday. I ordered it used from amazon.com It's old school and it smells like old people. I LOVE it. I seriously smell it all the time.
Is that weird?
Whatever. It reminds me of my grandparents basement.
Last Tuesday at our prayer meeting, Matt read a prayer from this book that completely wrecked me out and I knew that I needed to get this book.
I read this today:
O God, the Author of all good,
I come to thee for the grace another day will require
for its duties and events.
I step out into a wicked world,
I carry about with me an evil heart,
I know that without thee I can do nothing,
that everything with which I shall be concerned,
however harmless in itself,
may prove an occasion of sin or folly,
unless I am kept by thy power.
Hold thou me up and I shall be safe.
Preserve my understanding from subtilty of error,
my affections from love of idols,
my character from stain of vice,
my profession from every form of evil.
May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore thy blessing,
and in which I cannot invite thy inspection.
Prosper me in all lawful undertakings,
or prepare me for disappointments;
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with food convenient for me,
lest I be full and deny thee
and say, Who is the Lord?
or be poor, and steal, and take thy name in vain.
May every creature be made good to me by prayer and thy will;
Teach me how to use the world, and not abuse it,
to improve my talents,
to redeem my time,
to walk in wisdom toward those without,
and in kindness to those within,
to do good to all men,
and especially to my fellow Christians.
And to thee be the glory.
SO good. There are prayers for all topics. What I absolutely love is that the people who wrote these prayers are old guys (Including my man, Spurgeon). They lived a long time ago. The things going on in the world were different, but yet the battle with our souls is the same. The desire to bring Jesus glory is the same.
I love it and I think you should love it too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sterling the Super Hero

I don't know this little boy. But I'm praying for him today. A lot. His name is Sterling and he is pretty much a superhero.I have been hearing his story and prayer requests on Twitter today. (again...God uses Twitter. weird.)
He is in surgery right now getting a brain tumor removed. Pray for him.
Here are some specific requests that I got from this guy's blog:
  1. A successful surgery. - What’s the definition of “successful” here? Well, according to Roger, one simply where Sterling comes out of it. I know that sounds serious, but that’s because it is.
  2. Getting the whole tumor. - The doctor has told them that he expects to get about 85% of it with the chance to get the whole thing. Evidently, there’s 15% that’s in a blind area, and the doctor isn’t willing to risk going into that blind area. Totally understandable. However, the way they’ll remove the tumor, evidently, is by “drilling” into it so that it collapses on itself. Hopefully, the hidden 15% will collapse with the rest so that it can come on out. Roger equated it to a gummy worm being stuck in your kid’s car seat. You pull on it hoping the whole thing comes out, but there’s a chance the end breaks off. So, pray for the whole worm.
  3. Good recovery. – They say that kids bounce back a lot better than adults. So, that’s good. And Sterling’s a strong, active kid (as you can tell from how good he is at soccer). So, I fully expect this one to be easy. However, we definitely want the Lord’s hand fully in Sterling’s recovery. They’re expecting a seven-day hospital stay followed by about three weeks at home. However, he could be up and going after a couple of days. There’s just a number of factors on which that depends.
  4. A benign tumor. – This is just the beginning of a bit of a journey for Sterling, Roger, Becca and their family. The prayer is that the journey isn’t made any more serious.
  5. Strength for Sterling. – I can’t imagine having to process this for myself, much less being a four-almost-five-year-old. It’s a lot to deal with for sure, but I know that with God, Sterling can get through it for sure.
  6. Peace for Roger and Becca. – Probably the hardest thing for them to have right now.
  7. Guidance and empowering for Dr. Wellons. – This is Sterling’s main doctor, at least the one that’s going to be holding the instruments in the O.R. However, we’re seeking the help of the Great Physician. I want Him to be the one working in and through all the doctors and nurses.
Sterling's dad is on twitter and his latest update says this:
"OR Update: skull cap removed, all going well. Working their way toward tumor (slow process), going under microscope. Confirming U2 playing."

Keep this little guy in your prayers today.

Courrier EP on iTunes. GET IT.

Go now. RIGHT now and get this EP.
Courrier : "Like the Cold of Snow in the Time of Harvest"
These guys are legit. I have been playing this CD over and over in my car since their release party Thursday night.
Get it on itunes. You will love it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Adoption

My good friend Zach posted a video of a sermon he did on adoption. Here is a clip of an illustration that he gives with his daughter Mya. She is lovely!

Untitled from Zach Nielsen on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New Music --Todd Agnew & Chris Tomlin

New Music out today!!!

Mr. Todd Agnew.
Todd and his family attend my church (Austin Stone). I have gotten the privilege to lead worship with him a few times. Amazing musician, amazing heart for Jesus.
Check out his new CD "Need". He is real and his songs are passionate about the struggles of life and the joy that is in Jesus.
Here is a quote from his website:
"One after another, we learn that we have a real need to be loved, to be rescued, to be redeemed, to be restored. Those are universal needs and they are all met in Jesus. It's a matter of trusting God to help me walk through that...even though I don't know what I'm doing."
Mr. Chris Tomlin.
Chris used to be one of the worship leader at my church before he moved to Atlanta to help start the Passion City Church.
He is releasing a Christmas album, "Glory in the Highest" today! SO excited for this.
Go get some new music!

COURRIER

You will need to check this out.
Some good friends of mine are releasing an EP this week. They are REALLY good.
Check them out and listen to their music www.myspace.com/courriermusic
You can also follow them on twitter www.twitter.com/courriermusic

So here are the details:

EP info:
Courrier “Like the Cold of Snow in the Time of Harvest”
EP release Party in Austin, TX: La Zona Rosa, THIS Thursday, Oct. 8th, 8pm, with Jets Under Fire and The Canvas Waiting
EP drop Date: EP will be available on iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, etc., on Oct. 13th.

Seriously don't miss out on this. These guys are the real deal.
They were on the Austin morning news today! Here is the video--

Thursday, October 01, 2009

HopeFest

*****HUGE NEED*****

Volunteers are needed for this year's Hopefest. It is a celebration happening in the St. John's neighborhood where booths and resources will be available for the community.
They need 400 volunteers and they currently have less than 50 signed up.
This is 9 days away.

Hopefest is happening on October 10 from 9:30-3pm @ Reagan High School
Go to the website to get more information and to sign up.

Spread the word/blog about it, tweet about it, facebook about it...and SIGN UP TO HELP!!!!!
This is a HUGE deal. Last year they had over 4,500 people show up to this event.
They cannot do this with 50 volunteers.

55 Days until Legendary

The personalized google desktop countdown has been set.
It's official.
55 days.
I will be in Iowa seeing my family and friends for Thanksgiving!!!
I can't wait!!
This trip is going to be a little different. The legendary factor will go through the roof...because...get ready...
One of my best friends, Jen, is coming home with me!!
I'm pretty sure it's gonna get out of control real fast.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1 Peter 5:6-7

So humble yourselves under God's strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the weight of your anxieties upon Him, for you are His personal concern.
1 Peter 5:6-7

Monday, September 28, 2009

Argyle Socks Meets Monday's Fabulous Moment

oh. my. word.
My sister just sent me this picture and it just might be Monday's Fabulous Moment.
My Lily knows how to work the knee socks.
She is truly lovely! I need her now.
I love being an aunt, but not when they are so far away. :(
Here's another cute one...

"Ooo Baby, Here I am..."

So it's Monday morning. Monday's are always hard...after a full day of leading worship on Sunday. It makes getting up to be to work at 8am a little difficult.
Today I've got my ipod in and am listening to some Stevie Wonder.
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" is the song that is waking me up and getting me going!
At one point a little dance move came out of me as I'm sitting at my desk. It happened to be as my boss was coming around the corner. Nice. I don't think he saw me though! haha!
what songs do you listen to that get you going in the morning?!
Let's make a playlist.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exchanging My Inadequacy for Jesus' Adequacy

I read an Elisabeth Elliot devo and this particular one was talking about a friend of hers who was born with no legs. This friend encouraged a family who just had a baby with no arms or no legs. This is what she encouraged them with:
"I am convinced without a doubt that a loving Heavenly Father oversees the creative miracles in the inner sanctum of each mother's womb (Psalm 139), and that in His sovereignty there are no accidents."
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Creator calls a butterfly. As humanity we see only the imperfect, underside of God's tapestry of our lives. What we judge to be "tragic--the most dreaded thing that could happen", I expect we'll one day see as the awesome reason for the beauty and uniqueness of our life and our family. I think that's why James 1:2 is a favorite verse of min. Phillips' translation put it this way: 'When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends."
"I pray that your roots of faith will grow deep down into the faithfulness of God's Loving Plan, that you will exchange your inadequacy for the Adequacy of Jesus' resurrection power, and that you will be awed as you witness the fruits of the Spirit manifested in your family."
SO good. I love the part about exchanging our inadequacy for the adequacy of Jesus' resurrection power. I'm claiming that today.

Who Reads This Thing?

Who are you?! I want to know. I know there are some readers out there and would love to meet you if I don't know you!
Those of you I know...who are you? Who reads this thing?!
Don't be afraid...let me know who you are!
Leave a comment.
I do my fair share of blog stalking. It's ok.

Monday, September 21, 2009

God is Wooing Us To Heaven

"Heaven is not here, it's There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for." --Elisabeth Elliot

Friday, September 18, 2009

{Weepiness & Craziness} welcome to my life

I was weepy yesterday. It sucks. Today is better...I think.
Sometimes my best writing comes from when I'm in these weepy states and sometimes not...so we'll see what comes out.
I'm all about being raw and real lately. So just throwing that out there as a disclaimer.
When God is moving and digging into places in your heart it hurts sometimes. Those places that are still very much alive with self will hurt when God gets after it, there is still life there, it will hurt. He wants those things to die so that He can take that spot and give life back. His life. There is no room for self.
As I reflect on yesterday, there were so many things going on around me and inside of me. It's hard and frustrating to understand why I have days like this. I should be happy, I should be joyful. I generally am that way...so why the tears? Why the sadness? Why this day?
The ups and downs. It's hard.
It makes me start questioning if I'm not trusting God enough, or praying enough, or reading His word enough.
God doesn't really work like that. He doesn't punish based on our efforts to try and DO. I have to remind myself of that.

Titus 3:4-7
"When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life."

God has shown me, through a couple of amazing men, how necessary these times are. These men struggled with depression, the ups and downs, the tears, the not so joyful days.

David (man after God's own heart)-
Psalm 40:1-2 "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along."

My man Charles Spurgeon (one of the greatest preachers in the 19th century)-
"Fits of depression come over the most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy. I note that some whom I greatly love and esteem, who are, in my judgment, among the very choicest of God's people, nevertheless, travel most of the way to heaven by night."
"Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith's rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide."

Joseph Hart (hymn writer)-
Come ye sinners poor and needy Weak and wounded, sick and sore Jesus ready stands to save you Full of pity, love and power I will arise and go to Jesus He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Come ye thirsty, come and welcome
God's free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh

Come ye wear, heavy laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry till you're better
You will never come at all

View Him prostrate in the garden
On the ground your Maker lies
On the bloody tree behold Him
Sinner, will this not suffice?

God is and has always been faithful. I am the unfaithful one. I'm so thankful that His grace covers over and over and over again.
I'm seeing how He provides in abundance.
I have amazing friends around me who love me so deeply and who encourage me daily. They know how to make me smile and laugh. They know how to just let me cry. They know how and when to pray for me.
I'm so humbled.
The day was full of hugs from God through them.
I got to spend the evening with 4 amazing women who seriously bless my life like crazy. It was the perfect way to end the day.
We went to Charlotte's softball game and at this point Kate had not arrived so it was just Jen, Ro and I...
We were told that we needed to cheer more. So we did. We got real obnoxious and the three of us even did the wave. Several times.
Ro stole my shades and looked all fly...
And she even showed us her pole sliding skills...even though she was afraid of heights.And at the end of the night she ran up to Jen and did this...I almost peed my pants right there in the parking lot when I mentioned something about her booty and she looked at the pic and said...."That girl got donk! I'd be like 'ooo can I have her number?' You gotta send me that pic". I about died.
Ok. not sure how this post started out talking about weepiness and God's love and grace then ended with...well...this.
Welcome to my life. :)

Black in Heaven. Yeah.

Jen and I explain to Ro why it is that we are gonna be black in heaven.
yeah. I said it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Man Worth Waiting For

So...here is a real honest post.
I am continually stirred when God starts showing me the condition of my heart.
I am stirred to realness, to vulnerability, to be honest with myself, with others and most importantly and first with God.
I was sharing with a dear friend of mine the other day about how all around me are couples coming together and getting married.
I'm 28. I'm single. With NO one interested.
I am generally very ok with that. I have prayed for God to keep my heart and for Him to keep guys away until the right one comes along and in His timing. I am thankful that He has done that. I've also prayed that He would continue to heal my heart.
During this season of seeing friends come together in marriage, I have also let doubt in. (my friend was quick to say..."doubt is not from God."...OK!!!)
I see these guys who love so deeply and live sacrificially for their girls. I know they are not perfect and they will not be able to love and live perfectly and that Christ will be the only one to satisfy and to give them the ability to love and sacrifice.
I find myself doubting that I will be loved like that. That someone would actually love me and sacrifice for me and want only me.
Enter...the Holy Spirit.
Jesus.
His love is complete. His sacrifice is complete. His desire for me is complete.
This man...whoever he is...will fail me, will not love me and sacrifice for me the way that I yearn to be loved and sacrificed for and desired.
I'm so thankful for Jesus.
I know that He yearns to give me the desires of my heart. He wants to give me sweet gifts. I'm surrendering. Surrendering to His will not mine.
My friend shared this with me in an email:
"Ultimately, its surrender. A 'Thy will, not mine be done' Placing not only our hurts and wrongs in his hands, but also our hopes and our dreams in His hands. He is the God of all hope Romans 15:3 and He cares for us!! He is the perfect Father, who wants to give every good gift to us.
I think when we dwell on His correction a bit too much that it slides over to just seeing Him as our disciplinarian, but we must never forget that He loves us with a love so amazing and unimaginable. He rejoices over us-His precious ones. So the truth is everytime our dream of "him" (the man of our dreams and the whole wedding thing) occurs what if you begin to pray for him and surrender it all back to God?
'God I give this dream to you and know that you can and will provide something so much better than what I can imagine and I just give it back to you. Please lead and guide "him" to your heart. Fill him up with you, Spirit, so that he can walk in a manner worthy of your calling."
As a wife, praying for your husband will be one of the chief things you will get to do to serve him in love. What if we started now!?"
I'm praying for this man, and he is worth waiting for! :)