you give life

I am learning that I need to spend time with the Lord daily, not because I have to but because I need to. I need it like water, like the air I breathe. I can work and labor to change myself into the women I feel looks best before the Lord. I can go to church, I can serve and volunteer, but if I do it all on my own strength…it doesn’t give God glory and it doesn’t draw me closer to him. I need to look at the Bible and my time reading it as a way for me to understand the heart-beat of God. If I only spend time with the Lord to place that elusive check in the box of completion, I miss the exhilaration and expectancy of God’s voice speaking directly to my heart.

(a gift for you- use this image as a screen wallpaper for your phone)

 

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit run down (See my last post Wave After Wave). I’ve been moving a mile a minute from activity to activity, keeping up with the rapid pull of all that I have to do. I’m longing for rest and peace. Usually when I start to feel like I am gasping for breath- that dry feeling deep in my soul- I realize that my time in the Word has been lacking. Oh, I have been spending time in my Bible…but it has become more of another thing to check off of my mental “to-do” list. Another thing that I HAVE to do.

I am a bit slow when it comes to learning new things. I often have to run into the same wall, banging my head over and over again before I realize that I need to change course. When that “Aha!” moment comes…it knocks me off my feet. Today was one of those moments.

In prayer this morning, before I even made a pot of coffee, I poured out my heart before the Lord asking for help to face today. With a deep sigh and an ‘Amen’ I stumbled out of my bed and head first into another schedule-packed day. In the rush of getting all four kids ready for school I was struck by how ragged my patience seemed to be. How quick I was to jump to correct and react rather than come along side and encourage. As I drove away from dropping them off at school, I was humbled by the gentle conviction of the Lord. I have been coasting on fumes. That dry, parched feeling of my heart was due to my lack of approaching the Lord, expectant and ready to be filled.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active.

God’s word is alive with his presence. They aren’t merely words on a page- they give life, they renew, and restore. When I open up his word, I should anticipate breathing in the goodness of God. Taking in the life-giving words of truth that can change and perfect my heart. I need his word. It’s the breath in my lungs. I can’t exist without him.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I am learning that I need to spend time with the Lord daily, not because I have to but because I need to. I need it like water, like the air I breathe. I can work and labor to change myself into the women I feel looks best before the Lord. I can go to church, I can serve and volunteer, but if I do it all on my own strength…it doesn’t give God glory and it doesn’t draw me closer to him. I need to look at the Bible and my time reading it as a way for me to understand the heart-beat of God. If I only spend time with the Lord to place that elusive check in the box of completion, I miss the exhilaration and expectancy of God’s voice speaking directly to my heart. Oh how much more of the Lord we would know about if we came before him with hands wide open to receive!

We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies, energy, power, and strength.

-Charles Stanley

I can’t keep coasting on fumes each day. I need to slow myself down, put aside the “to-do” list and simply immerse myself in the Word. Turning on worship music that focuses on scripture, pulling out my journal and Bible while my toddler watches a movie, or finding a podcast sermon.  I need to sit at the feet of my Father God and have Him restore my soul and realign my heart to his.

 

{great are you Lord – colby howland}

 

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Free giveaway!!!

giveaway!

 

GRAND OPENING of my Etsy Shop!!

To celebrate, I am offering this original hand painted watercolor 8×10 painting ‘HOPE’

(frame and matting not included)

for FREE!

I will draw at winner at random seven days from now!

TO ENTER: Hop on over to my instagram account

a shiny print shop 

Good Luck!!!

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coming this spring

Spring 2015 Thryve MagazineI’m so honored to share a bit of what the Lord has been working on in my heart in the Spring Issue of Thryve Magazine. Keep a look out this March for my article titled: repurposed. This sweet magazine has the most tender heart for encouraging women to live their lives as a beautiful offering for the Lord. I cannot urge you enough to stop by their site- you will be blessed and refreshed.

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wave after wave…we are not alone

That is the picture I am clinging to right now. A new wave-set is forming in the horizon. I'm feeling tired and unable to push myself up to catch a breath. I know I'm not alone; I don't have to be afraid. My heavenly Father is beside me, lifting me up so I will not be consumed. I'm still scared. I'm still weary, but he is teaching me to be a bit more adventurous in the midst of it because nothing will happen to me that isn't outside of his will or purpose for my life. I'm clinging to him. I'm learning more about trust. I am slowly understanding that he will never leave me or forsake me.

 Psalm 57

{For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.}

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God, who fulfills his purpose for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly purse me; God sends his love and faithfulness. I am in the mist of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts- men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. They spread a net for my feet- I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path- but they have fallen into it themselves. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.


I’m struck by David’s grateful, praise-filled heart in the midst of intense persecution. In the midst of difficulty and fear, David trusted the Lord. He held firm to the promise that God would protect and save him. David unswervingly focused his heart on praising the Lord while his enemies pursued him.

I wish I was more like David.

My life, recently, feels like I am standing in the ocean, right in the place where the waves break. Wave after wave repeatedly hitting my body, feeling like I am about to be toppled over with the next crash. I’m weary, fearful, and I am struggling.

Have you had moments like this?

I can’t tell you that I found some new insight into how God works in the midst of trials. That wouldn’t be truthful. I won’t wrap this up in a “thankful moment of joy” and say that it is so amazing to be in the midst of this trial. I wouldn’t be real.

But I can tell you this with absolute certainty…I know I’m not alone.

I can’t help but remember when I was younger. My family used to camp up at a beach near Santa Barbara. My aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins were there with us. We would spend hours out in the ocean. Wave after wave, jumping over the swells as they passed us by. My favorite thing to do was to wade out a bit further in the deeper water past the shore break. The only time I was brave enough to wander out there was when my grandfather would go with me. I could barely touch the sand with my toes when the waves would come. Seeing the wave crest before me, struggling to lift my body up- I would call for my papa. My grandfather would then lift me up so that the wave wouldn’t crash over my head- often making him go completely underwater as I was in his arms. I felt brave. The bigger the wave, the more exhilarating it was because I knew that my grandfather would not let me go…

That is the picture I am clinging to right now. A new wave-set is forming in the horizon. I’m feeling tired and unable to push myself up to catch a breath. I know I’m not alone; I don’t have to be afraid. My heavenly Father is beside me, lifting me up so I will not be consumed. I’m still scared. I’m still weary, but he is teaching me to be a bit more adventurous in the midst of it because nothing will happen to me that isn’t outside of his will or purpose for my life.

I’m clinging to him.

I’m learning more about trust. I am slowly understanding that he will never leave me or forsake me.

Wave after wave…we are not alone.

{we will not be shaken – bethel music}

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bound together in love

Ephesians 4:1-6  "Therefore I, as a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body, and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.”

 

Ephesians 4:1-6

“Therefore I, as a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body, and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.”

Oh how this passage convicts and empowers me as a wife. Patience with my husband is such a struggle at times because I am so head strong with my convictions. He is such a deep processor, needing time to soak in and work through his decisions. Such wisdom is found in his handling of tough choices that come up daily in regards to our family.

I need to make every effort to step back and watch how God works through him. Letting him shine, letting his gifts be used in magnificent ways. With humility and gentleness I long to be the wife he needs me to be so that he can then rise up to the the man God created him to be.

I am thankful for this calling in my life.

What a privilege to be bound together in love with this sweet man God brought in my life.

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the sweet scent of a life in Christ

Out of the abundance of what we are graciously given, we can't keep this to ourselves. We are commissioned to be a daily testimony of God's goodness and love. This is a terrific responsibility. I love how Paul asks if there is anyone competent to take it on. He understands his limitations. None of us has the ability on our own to be the most effective minister of truth. We can tidy ourselves up, use eloquent words, dress up our lives with "good deeds", but if this is done without the power of the cross at work in our lives...it is worthless.  It is ONLY in the grace moments of our lives where people will see God's love. It is only in being honest and real with our story- the struggles, the weaknesses, and the victory and recovery from our sins.

2 Corinthians 2:15-17 MSG

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.

This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap.

We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.

It is because of Jesus that we have freedom and victory from our sinfulness. God leads us by the hand, like a proud papa, showing the world his love while releasing a life-filled fragrance of hope. Taking us, with dirty rags, and filthy sin-stained hearts, washing us clean with the redemptive blood of his beloved Son.

No longer do we walk with our heads held down in shame; we are renewed and restored. We are able to daily dwell in the presence of our Father as he lovingly looks us in the face.

Out of the abundance of what we are graciously given, we can’t keep this to ourselves. We are commissioned to be a daily testimony of God’s goodness and love. This is a terrific responsibility. I love how Paul asks if there is anyone competent to take it on. He understands his limitations. None of us has the ability on our own to be the most effective minister of truth. We can tidy ourselves up, use eloquent words, dress up our lives with “good deeds”, but if this is done without the power of the cross at work in our lives…it is worthless.

It is ONLY in the grace moments of our lives where people will see God’s love. It is only in being honest and real with our story- the struggles, the weaknesses, and the victory and recovery from our sins.

All that we are is only because we were saved.

We were rescued.

That is the sweetness of grace. That is what people will be drawn to. And unfortunately, it is also what will repel others from us. Pushing us aside, and wanting nothing to do with us.

In our hearts we give off the fragrance of life in Christ.

How do you smell?

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