Friday, June 29, 2012

Fear of the Dance

I am terribly uncoordinated at times.  The fancy footwork that is expected of me brings confusion and before I know it, I'm standing completely still, unable to move my feet.

I fear the mistakes, the mess-ups, the falls.

I fear the dance.

Unwilling to step into territory unknown, I freeze, accomplishing nothing more than, well, nothing!

But I'm in need of the practice, the one-two-three's, the taking-it-slow, the not worrying about falling.  It's the practice that makes the stepping easier and conquers the fear.

And when I find my step, my Teacher cheers for more, because He knows what the practice will produce.

Finally, leaving behind the fear, I dance... and I live.

Beholding Glory

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wearing Clothes that Fit

Standing before the doors, staring up at the sign of red letters, I was pumped!  This store, full of low-priced clothing, was ready for me!  We were going to have a lovely hour together, and I would exit with arms full of cottons and prints and cute summer coverings!

Guess what?  That did NOT happen.

First of all, this store is major sensory overload!  Music blasting, x-small tanks and too-short denim from floor to ceiling (literally), and preteen girls everywhere, frantically sliding hangers across poles to find that perfect outfit.  As if it wasn’t already enough that I was hitting my afternoon I-really-could-use-a-nap feeling, all of this was wearing my mind thin.

After thirty or so minutes of sliding hangers and touching shirts (why do we have to touch every article of clothing we pass?), and when I’d had enough One Direction and Kelly Clarkson blaring in my ears, I headed for the fitting room, five pieces in hand.  As I tried each one on, hoping for a miracle, I became more and more annoyed and less and less excited about this decision to check out the store.  The shirts made me look like a balloon and I found myself wondering why they even make this stuff, but I guess when you’re a size zero, you can wear things that look like sacks and it doesn’t matter; you still look like a size zero!

And that’s when the voices started to sneak into my head. 

You’re not good enough.
Look at how pretty all of these girls are.
You look ridiculous in that.
Just give up!

Insecurity has long been a friend of mine.  Always faithful, always there, always willing to offer opinions and advice and LIES.

When I have a need to be the best in every area, and something threatens that, I crumble, falling victim to the deceit of the enemy.

I want to be lovely and beautiful in the eyes of the world, yet I am told by my Savior that I AM lovely and beautiful in HIS eyes!  The reason?  Because I am His.  I am beloved and I am “clothed with strength and dignity” (Proverbs 31:25 NIV), not with the latest fashions or the cutest hairstyle.  Why do I continually strive to please the critical eyes of the culture around me when I already have the favor of the Lover of my soul?

“Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:14 NIV)

Please visit my dear friend Meagan's brand new blog today 
as she reveals her struggles with insecurity and body image.  


Always Counting...
#585 Making my backyard beautiful

#586 Good neighbors
#587 Friends without judgment
#590 Design work that's fun!

#592 Getting school work done
#594 Moving on
#595 Old movies
#599 2 Corinthians 10
#601 A surprise gift from a friend

#602 Walks outside with hubby

#603 Happy dog

#604 I'm a writer today!

Linking up today--

life rearranged

friday favorite things | finding joy

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Result of Risk

It's risky to put yourself out there.
In writing, in friendship, in life.
We risk saying too much or just falling flat on our faces.
And so sometimes we play it safe to avoid the fall.

Sharing our fears and needs with others is something we all desperately want, but too many times, the risk seems too dangerous for us.

We fear we will take one step too many and plunge right off the side of the cliff.

But didn't our Savior risk ALL to create a relationship with creation?
There is no greater risk than leaving the perfection of heaven to live and breathe on this fallen earth amongst fallen, sinful people.  He was beaten, He was mocked, He was persecuted.

They even tried to throw Him off of a cliff.

His risk led Him to the cross.
The place of torture and murder was the result of His risk, yes He sacrificed everything for love.
For relationship.
To give.

You see, for Him, it was only about giving.
It was worth the risk.

The really good things always are.

Beholding Glory

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Piling up Plungers

Have you ever seen American Pickers on the History Channel?  Two guys, Mike and Frank, travel the country buying people’s “valuable junk.”  Rummaging around in barns, garages, basements, and even old general stores, these pickers find treasures like historical documents, antique tin toys, and old car dealership signs.  Sure, the “stuff” they find is interesting; I mean, who wouldn’t want to run across a Civil War letter signed by Robert E. Lee?  But the most interesting part about the 60-minute show is watching the characters they spend their days with. 

These guys (and gals) have spent years and years amassing (hoarding) anything they can get their hands on.  They fill their garages to the brim with piles of bicycles, movie posters, old television sets, and tools, and once the garages fill up, they build more buildings.  Sometimes they fill their yards, too.  Everywhere you look, it’s junk, junk, and more junk.

But these people don’t see it as junk.  To them, it’s treasure.

The haggling that takes place when Mike and Frank want to make a purchase always intrigues me.  Usually, they ask the seller what he wants for the item, and 9 times out of 10, the price is way too high.  So then the bargaining begins.  To see the faces of these “collectors” when they realize that someone is daring to lessen the value of their prized possessions is eye-opening.  You see, something happens when we surround ourselves with the “stuff” of this world.

Pretty soon, we lose touch with reality.

Last night, I saw a guy who’d spent years and years digging out tunnels under his home just to store his possessions.  This guy was a little eccentric anyway, but once you made the journey into the “caves,” you realized just how eccentric.  Vegetable cans held mounds of earth back.  An old wooden refrigerator was doing the job of a wall.  One “room” had 6,000 brightly painted two-by-fours, and another was piled with plungers.

Yes, I said plungers.

And there in the heart of the earth I saw the heart of man.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 NIV)

Sometimes we love our “stuff” so much that we rarely come out above ground to see the sunshine.  And when God asks us to “sell” it, to give it up for Him, we hold tightly and haggle with high numbers.  Many times our response is simply, “That’s not for sale.”

And the Lord who has picked us to be His children walks away empty-handed.

There is a story in scripture that I’m sure most of us have heard. It’s about a guy known to us as the rich young ruler.  He comes to Jesus to ask, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16)  The answer Jesus gives isn’t exactly what the young man was hoping for.  He wasn’t told to give more money to the church or sell off a couple of his sheep.  Jesus answered him and said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” (v. 21) The next verse is the most disheartening.

“When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (v. 22).

Don’t misunderstand the point here.  Jesus is not saying that we can’t be His followers if we have a nice house or own clothes and shoes.  He is saying that when our wealth (job, car, house, family, friends, pride, accomplishments, desire to belong, etc.) becomes so important to us that we’re unwilling to trade it for eternal life, something is wrong.

We can’t take up our cross if our hands are too full.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Again, the kingdom of God is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46 NIV)


Life: Unmasked

Write it girl

Monday, June 18, 2012

Just Stop Listening!!!

"Do not pay attention to every word people say.." --(Ecclesiastes 7:21)
Just some simple encouragement today to guard yourself against being a people-pleaser.  Don't let your security or direction find its foundation on the words and opinions of others.  You live/write/parent/work for an audience of One-- Jesus Christ.  It's when we begin to perform that we trip and fall.  

Always counting...

#568. Hardworking contractors

#569 A visit from Mom

#570 Courage to do the right thing

#574 Lunch with Mom

#575 Morning sun on pines

#576 The Word of God

#577 Sunshine after days of rain

#578 Ripping out a bookcase to make room for a window

#580 My crazy cat

#581 Blooming lilies

#582 Farm-fresh watermelon

#583 A new healthy snack

#584 Growing vegetables

life rearranged

friday favorite things | finding joy

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An Open Letter to the Fatherless

To the fatherless on Father's Day-

You still remember the moment you got that terrible news, yet you can’t even really remember his voice anymore.  His face is fading, and sometimes you think that without pictures, it would disappear completely. 

He was your hero, the target of your affection, your one-and-only for so many years.  Daddy’s girl, you were one of the lucky ones.  To have a dad who stuck around and really cared was becoming more and more rare as you grew up, but not once did you question his love and commitment to you.

He played such a huge part in who you’ve become; he raised you to be his little princess, hoping you’d one day understand what it meant to be a queen. 

Memories linger, the ones you’ve gone over time and time again in your mind, hoping to hang onto any little thing you can. 

Dear one, although you are spending this Father’s Day thinking you are fatherless, know that your Heavenly Father promises to love and care for you more intensely than any earthly father can ever dream of doing, no matter how hard he tries.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. (Psalm 68:5 NIV) 
He will never leave you or forsake you.  He will not be painfully taken by a heart attack or cancer or an accident.  His voice is always clear and He craves your affection.  He will lavish love on you and His commitment is ever perfect and strong. 

You who feel the weight of loss on this Father’s Day, you who are fatherless, let your Jesus wrap His loving arms around you.  He is your King, and you know what?  Your daddy would be so happy to see what a lovely queen you’ve become. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Feasting on Cheesecake and Chocolate

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied.  It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world.  Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” (John Piper, A Hunger for God)

Clothes, soccer games, American Idol, The Hunger Games, a clean house, the perfect blog post, date night, hide and seek with the kids, promotions at work, quiet afternoons on the porch, music, chirping of birds, chocolate, social media. 

Filling our time and fulfilling our desires, these things give us great happiness.  When we’re feeling stress and frustration, we find the perfect mindless show on television or grab the cherry cheesecake from the fridge.  And we indulge, if only for a moment, in something that brings a smile to our face or tempts our taste buds. 

What’s wrong with spending a quiet afternoon on the porch sipping on sweet tea?  Didn’t God intend for us to enjoy the little moments in life that renew our souls?  Of course!  As I write this, I’m sitting on my deck, feeling the morning breeze in my hair and watching the sun make its slow climb into the blue sky.  And I am happy!

But, as I sit here, I am in danger.  Danger of enjoying the things God gives more than God Himself.  When I begin to worship the created rather than the Creator, I invite the sin of idolatry.  When we are more concerned with friendships and motherhood and marriages and having a clean house than we are with basking in the love and freedom of Christ, we are missing the point.  This is what the enemy wants! 

But look at all of this wonderful stuff around you!  It will all make you happy!  Spend your time and resources on it.  Taste and see that the…“stuff” is good?

And we nibble, finding happiness here and there, in small doses, but always just enough to fool our human minds into thinking this is all there is. 

When the things we love become our only focus, they quickly cloud our vision, and most of the time we don’t even recognize it, for this is the deceit of the enemy.  Working for worldly pleasure and human affirmation is the trap that steals our desire for real joy, simply because we’re enraptured with mere shadows of real joy. 

Who or what do you need to scrape away from your soul?  What takes your time and energy away from Jesus Christ?  What do you love too much

Remember, anything PLUS Jesus is idolatry.

Sit at the table of God today and feast.  Don’t waste time nibbling at the undercooked morsels the world has to offer you.  Don’t fill up on less-than-stellar appetizers when the main course is on its way.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Psalm 34:8 NIV)
Found the Marbles
Life In Bloom


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