Monthly Archives: May 2013

It’s Been a Pinteresting Week

Sometimes I forget how creative I am.  And then a week like this week jogs my memory.

Kids’ Club Crafts. I recently volunteered to help with my local church’s neighborhood outreach. Someone who has known me for awhile suggested that I might be especially useful in the crafts department. This thought was especially daunting to me, I think because I haven’t worked with kids and crafts in AGES and I’ve forgotten about how much I enjoyed it way back when I did.  Anyway, I had no idea where to start, so I prayed and went to Pinterest. As I was looking through crafts for kids, I began to realize, Hey, I can do this! I actually pinned a TON of stuff, but as I was browsing, my creative wheels started turning.  Like, this craft would be good for everybody; here’s how I can make it easier for the younger kids and more challenging for the older kids; here’s something that would be good for the girls; here’s something that would be good for the boys; here’s what I will need; I can adapt it for our group in this way. Finding crafts is bringing out my artsy side, my resourceful side, my teaching side. Yeah!

Bridal Shower Decorations. Further back, I volunteered to help decorate for a dear friend’s bridal shower. I’ve actually never had this kind of responsibility before, and again, I had no idea where to start or what to look for. So, I just put it off. But Shower Day is quickly approaching and I’d been panicked about it because I hadn’t thought about it AT ALL.  Once again, I turned to prayer and Pinterest (and Party City) looking for some ideas. And once again, I was surprised that the task was nowhere near as difficult as I had made it in my mind. I pinned some Party City products to my own board and looked for beautiful ways to set up the decorations and sent the ideas to my decorating buddies.  There are still some details to finalize, but I’m feeling better. Plus, I feel like showers are probably something I’ll be helping with more and more as my friends get married and have babies. Planning decorations is bringing out my hostess side, my design side, my planning side. Yeah!

Hand-Crafted Greeting Cards. So my best friend turned 21 in February and I made her a card. On the front it had a flower made up of different pieces of scrapbook paper. I had been mulling over this idea for several months, and I finally decided to execute it. I was really pleased about how it turned out. Anyway, I started making them in bulk a few weeks after that, and I expanded into other subjects as well – umbrellas, aces, diamonds, hearts, clubs. I’ve even started working on concepts for owls. (Yes, owls. Just something I’ve been into lately). Anyway, I have a Facebook page for these cards (which I don’t really advertise) in case people would like to order some. With the time I’ve been spending on Pinterest this week, I decided to move them to a board there as well, because I’m not just one of those people who replicates other people’s ideas, I come up with my own. (Maybe I’ll do Etsy in a few months).  Putting my own ideas out there is bringing out my adventurous side and almost forcing me to be more intentional about creativity. Yeah!

All in all, it’s been a pinteresting week.

(And I seriously hope I don’t get sued for being punny and using the word “pinteresting”).

 

Help Me Find It

I don’t know where to go from here

It all used to seem so clear

I’m finding

I can’t do this on my own

I don’t know where to go from here

As long as I know that You are near

I’m done fighting

I’m finally letting go

I will trust in You

You’ve never failed before

I will trust in You

 If there’s a road I should walk

Help me find it

If I need to be still

Give me peace for the moment

Whatever Your will

Whatever Your will

Can you help me find it

Can you help me find it

I’m giving You fear and

You give faith

I giving you doubt

You give me grace

For every step

I’ve never been alone

Even when it hurts,

You’ll have Your way

Even in the valley

I will say

With every breath

You’ve never let me go

I will wait for You

You’ve never failed before

I will wait for You

Chorus

I lift my empty hands (come fill me up again)

Have Your way my King (I give my all to You)

I lift my eyes again (Was blind but now I see)

‘Cause You are all I need

Chorus

The Truth About Me

On a day like today, the lies just come pouring in. They come through people, but really there is only one who is responsible for the attacks: “He is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). I fight lies with the truth.

I am a naturally compassionate person, but I’m not gullible, a doormat, or easily manipulated.

I am a naturally discerning person, so I usually know what’s up without being expressly told.

I am naturally introverted, but I’m really good at building lasting relationships.

(I am also good at pretending to be outgoing when I “need” to, but I’m trying to get away from that, because it’s just not me).

I am naturally confident, but I have an enemy who tries to get me to second-guess myself.

I am flawed, but I have the grace to learn from my mistakes.

I am sensitive, but I am not overly emotional.

I am quiet, but most people like me, love me, accept me, and treat me with respect once they get to know me.

I am strong, but I am vulnerable with the people I love.

I am vulnerable, but I am not emotionally dependent on other people.

I am smart, but I still make mistakes.

And I am done.

I am done giving your version of me stage time.

Goodbye lies.

Hello truth.

 

 

 

 

The Proverbs 12:4a Woman

“A woman of valor is a crown to her husband…” ~Proverbs 12:4a

A woman of valor.

A woman of bravery and courage.

A woman of fortitude.

The Warrior Princess.

That’s who I want to be!

Sharpening My Focus

Clearer vision. Narrower field.

Quality.

Letting certain things go in favor of being able to do fewer things, better.

Integrity.

Letting certain things go because they are not what I am created to do.

Maturity.

Letting certain things go because they were only for a season.

Character.

Letting certain things go because they are stunting my growth.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2a).

 

Victory

I don’t think it’s a big secret how much I like the book of Isaiah. Some people turn to the Psalms for comfort during hard times, but more often than not, I’m in Isaiah. It’s where I first understood God’s love for me and at the outset of a trial a number of years ago, I was reading through Isaiah. I have always  found immense comfort there. So I go back to those highlighted, underlined, notated passages whenever I find myself struggling. About a month ago, as I was finishing reading through Exodus, I began praying about where to go next, and I found myself wanting to revisit Isaiah. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

These verses stood out to me this week, perhaps because so much of my focus has been on victorious living recently:

“Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise” (Isaiah 26:19a).

“Your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand” (Isaiah 28:18a).

Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).  Life in Christ can be hard; we are told that suffering proves the value of faith. It can be taxing, distressing, confusing. In the midst of all of that, though, we are free and we have life because of Christ. He is the One who annulled the covenant with death, so that we can have life! And Jesus’ work was not so that we could have just any life; He says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:13-15).

Love it.

Carrots

Tomorrow marks two weeks since I had a conversation with my former pastor’s wife, Melanie. We were talking about obedience to God, walking in step with Him.

One of my acts of obedience to God was stepping down from every ministry I was involved in at the church her husband shepherds, and ultimately walking away from that local body altogether. Immediately following these steps, I quickly tried to move into other areas of ministry, but God used some people to block my way.  After that, I lost all of my bearings – I felt like nothing outside of my service to the church, and I was certain that was how other people saw me as well. Around that time, I grudgingly agreed to stay out of any church or ministry leadership positions for a year. As time has passed, I have come to value and (dare I say it?) enjoy this time of rediscovering who God is and what He desires for me. I have stopped striving, and I am more at peace than I have ever been with who I am and what I am doing. In about three months, this commitment will be fulfilled, and I will begin seriously praying and considering what comes next.

Interestingly, Melanie noted how much more rested I seemed, and she shared that she was happy for me. I was encouraged and affirmed by our time together. Before I left, she admonished me that there would be carrots along the way trying to distract me from the path God has called me to walk.  And it’s funny, because at that point I thought I had seen quite a few distracting carrots and had been resisting them quite well. But since I walked out her front door that rainy day almost two weeks ago, I’m seeing more carrots than ever before.

The you-need-to-do-something-about-this-now carrot. Before I ever even hit burnout last year, God’s mandate to me was simple: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The day after my visit with Melanie, I was hit with a situation that I immediately tried to control. I needed to persuade someone that they were choosing the wrong path. I realized quickly this wasn’t the case, and went about my life the next few days, simply asking people to pray. I can’t do anything effectively without God convicting and calling me to do it first, and even then, I’m just a vessel. He is God, He is the One who makes a difference in people’s lives.

The you’re-not-doing-enough carrot. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).  A year ago I wasn’t living like this verse was true. Six months ago I wasn’t living like this verse was true. Three months ago I was beginning to live it, but still struggling with it. But at the end of March I was at a Bible conference, and one of the speakers talked about rest.  Sometimes, as believers we take periods of rest, but our lives are not reflective of it otherwise. And yet, a life in Jesus should be one of rest, according to the Man Himself! And for some time now, I have been at peace, being who God has called me to be.  Now, I hear the accusations: You’re not doing enough, you’re doing too much, you’re wearing your heart on your sleeve, you’re not being vulnerable enough, you’re needed, there’s no room for you. I’ve been honestly feeling anxious and burdened. And that’s exactly what Jesus doesn’t want for my life. So I’m pretty much rejecting the burdens at this point, and walking in peace, knowing that where God expects me to go, He will lead.

The you’re-not-fulfilled carrot. Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b). I have just existed for most of my life, but over the past several months, God has been reawakening my heart and my life to – I don’t know, enjoy things more fully. I am passionate about certain things for a reason and it is both okay and good for me to live with that passion. The two things I tend to sometimes believe are missing are a career and a relationship with a guy, but most of the time, I trust God’s reason for withholding both, whatever those reasons may be. For nearly the past two weeks, I’ve really considered both, and how if I’d have either/both of them, I’d be able to better cope with what’s going on in my life. There’s a part of me that knows this is false, and there’s this other part of me that has whined to God and my best friend about it. I’ve been gearing up to memorize Ephesians for the past month, and I love chapter one, verse twenty-three, where it talks about Christ being the One who “fills every thing, in every way.” Jesus fills me, and so I am full!

I don’t know why these carrots keep getting dangled in front of my face, however, I do know that I can’t pursue them. I am in a period of my life where I must be still in the knowledge that God is who He says He is, I must continually rest and be at peace in Christ, and I must LIVE life abundantly, triumphantly.

You know something? I don’t even like carrots anyhow.

 

 

Amazing Grace

“The Lord has promised good to me;

His word my hope secures.

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.”

~John Newton

The Lord has promised good to me.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

“You are good, and what You do is good; teach me Your decrees” (Psalm 119:68 NIV).

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8 NIV).

His word my hope secures.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV).

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:5-8 NIV).

He will my shield and portion be.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11 NIV).

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him'” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV).

As long as life endures.

“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies … How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:5,7 NIV).

So many unplanned things over the past week. Things that have affected and changed my life, affected and changed the lives of those around me, and will continue to do so. It is during these times, during these circumstances that I look to the One who will not change – my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Truly, He “is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Oh, yes, “The Lord has promised good to me; His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.”

Calm Before the Storm

Before each of the storms in my life, God has been gracious enough to grant a time of solace. A time, I have learned, to build me up for what is to come. I love these sweet times of refreshment.

God and I had a moment yesterday, as I listened to the song “Speak, O Lord” by Keith and Kristyn Getty. I was so moved by these lines: “Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see, Your majestic love and authority. Words of pow’r, that can never fail – Let their truth prevail over unbelief.” And I needed that moment, because when it was over, my life changed unexpectedly and radically.

Right now I’m just clinging to my hard times mantra: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … NO, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loves us!” (Romans 8:35, 37).

Experience and maturity have taught me this change is not the end, but the beginning of a new spiritual adventure, but right now it just hurts. Prayers are coveted.

Speak, O Lord

Was thinking of this song today. How some friends and I sang it as special music in church a few years ago. Honestly, it made me a little homesick. I love the words, though!

Speak, O Lord

by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.