Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcoming Seasons of Change

Autumn brings a wearing away, a breaking down, a preparing for stark cold days to come.
Ground freezes in winter and the snow falls, saturating the ground before the growing comes.
Spring brings new life budding and green surrounds our hearts that have longed for new life.
Finally, summer bathes us in heat and sunshine, allowing vegetation and long, beautiful nights.

Seasons are expected, and while you may tire of scorching summer heat or dark, dreary winter, you never question the coming of the change.  You long for the new, the promised.  You know that this, too, shall pass.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the seasons in our lives.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated change.  I’m the kind of girl who longs for forever friendships and, if I could, I would put down roots in a lovely little house somewhere and never leave.  I get used to the way things are, and I don’t want to lose anything I have.

But He’s been teaching me to expect the change.

Honestly, since I started viewing life through a new lens, I’ve gained an entirely new perspective.  When you reluctantly say goodbye to the lifelong friend, you can wrap the years up in a neat little box and thank God for that season.  When you're in the midst of trial and suffering, you know that winter will, at the appointed time, turn to spring and new life will appear.  When you begin a new, somewhat scary adventure in your career, you know that this is the season He’s been preparing you for, and you submit joyfully.

The seasons are part of God’s master plan, the big picture.  Each season has its purpose.  We know that summer holds warm sun and autumn holds howling winds; we never have to question or wonder if it’s right because the Maker of the seasons is in complete control.  He paints the canvas of our lives, all the weavings in and out of the lives of others, and each stroke is beautiful and perfect. 

So when you lose or struggle, remember the truth that my God is fully sovereign and that everything is  in His hands.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
Life: Unmasked

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Come Away with Me

He calls me from darkness, from the chains of sin, from the life of nothingness.  He sees my sin, my filth, my life of prostitution; yet He seeks me out and desires my love.  (Hosea 4:10-11)

Yes, I am utterly unworthy, undeserving of love, one who should never expect forgiveness and redemption. 

Still, He gently calls my name.

Madly, I fight tooth and nail to get away.  I’m perfectly content to continue selling myself, body and soul, to the enemy.  Day after day, I answer the knock of the ones who’ve paid to steal my dignity and joy, giving myself away only to find emptiness.  But I see no way out.  No one will ever think I’m worthy of rescue, so I stop looking out the window at the passersby and hoping for someone to see beyond the obvious- that I am full of disgrace.

One day, He come to me at my lowest, when I am standing on the doorstep of death, and He carries me away.  He speaks tenderly to me in the desert and I respond, “My Husband.” (Hosea 2:14-16)

But the day always comes when I pack my bags and head back to the brothel, stubbornly turning from love, only to sell myself for a tiny handful of gold that never satisfies; and as He watches me flee, His heart shatters.  I’m running from the One who gave His everything, His very life, to love me.  And I run hard, as fast as I can, because my rebellious heart is unaware of the depth of rescue. (Hosea 2:7)

And so He comes again.

He runs to find me, and although He weeps at finding me in that darkened room, desperately wallowing in my sin, He puts His loving arms around me and takes me back.

This Redeemer does not focus on my filth; He only sees my need for a Savior.  He sees a lost and wandering child, afraid and confused.

He is my only hope.

No matter how many times I run, He comes to find me.  He comes to rescue.  He comes to redeem.

After all, He’s already paid the price; I belong to Him.  I am His bride, set apart for Him from the beginning of time.

And when I finally understand the allure of His love, the perfect joy He gives, and I strip myself of everything that keeps me from Him, baring all, I find the Lover of my soul waiting to welcome me home.  (Hosea 6:1) He lovingly lifts my head, wipes the tears of guilt and anguish from my eyes, and says, “Oh, Beloved, all is forgiven.  Come away with Me.”



Thursday, July 12, 2012

14 Days of Pure Insanity

Lying in the floor, breathing and hoping just to stay alive, I finished the workout, amazed that I could still move and wishing I didn’t have to.  This wasn’t your typical “I ran three miles on the treadmill; oh that was nice” workout; this was “I jumped and squatted and planked for 30 minutes and I’m gonna die” workout.

But I’ve never felt so good!

14 days ago, I started the INSANITY workout DVD’s by Beachbody.  This is what their website claims: “Each INSANITY workout keeps you constantly challenged as you alternate between aerobic and anaerobic intervals performed at your MAX. The result: burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour and get the most insane body in 60 days.” 

Whaaaaaat?!?!  1,000 calories?  I’m in!

Wanna know the rest?  

Must Love God

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Prison Break

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)
Oh, her orange toenail polish is so cute! Maybe if I painted my toenails that color, I’d…

Look at her hair today.  It’s long and beautiful and she knows how to style it perfectly.  If my hair was long and beautiful, I’d…

Her body is just the right size.  She looks so cute in that outfit!  I guess if my body was like that, I’d…

On a Sunday morning, in between the songs and scriptures, my mind wanders to the worshippers rather than the worshipped.  While I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, I daresay you will relate.

My struggle is deep, friends, and it’s time I laid bare my heart. 

I wear the chains of insecurity, and it’s all about appearance.

Examining my thoughts, I find that I’m spending too much time comparing and not enough time praising God for who He made me to be.  I teach young women that they are beautiful because they are His, yet I am unable to apply it to my own life!  Those who love me have always told me that I am beautiful, and while I know they mean well, I just can’t believe their words. 

I am living in a prison of lies.

I've fallen for the culture's hideous lie that I must look like the "perfect girls" in the magazines to be acceptable.  And while I've been slowly sipping the Koolaid (as I suspect many of you have been), I've forgotten to be thankful for things like hair that grows, a nose with an excellent sense of smell, and a body strong enough to do hard work.  I've been saying to my Creator, "Why did you make me THIS way?" (Romans 9:20)

And yes, I know that it’s what is on the inside that counts.  I know my righteousness comes from Christ.  I know I am the apple of His eye, His beloved, His redeemed daughter.  But, if I’m being completely honest, sometimes those things just aren’t enough for me. 

Sometimes I just want to be beautiful.

Patiently, He’s been speaking in the struggle, and this time I’ve been seeking and waiting rather than running and fixing.  And today I find this:

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16 NIV)

Do you see, beloved?  WHO you are has nothing to do with WHAT you look like.  I created you for a purpose, a calling, and that calling was decided before you even HAD a body. Let me heal your soul...

I'm choosing to change my thinking, and while I’m still sifting through it all, I do know this: Too much self-love, too much pride, too much “it’s all about me” – these are my chains.  They steal my freedom and my ability to live fully.

Sisters, today let's make a pact to be thankful for the way our Creator has made us.  We are being called out of darkness into marvelous light! (1 Peter 2:9)

As C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone.”  Do you struggle with believing the lies?  Have you overcome the insecurities?  Share your story in the comments.


Life: Unmasked

Monday, July 09, 2012

Not Yet...

Today, He speaks.
His words?

You haven't learned this lesson yet, Beloved.

And so I wait...

Always Counting...

#612 Window finally going in

#613 Workers with integrity
#616 Piano music
#617 Water- as much as I need/want
#618 The RIGHT friendships
#619 Pink toenail polish
#621 Color!
#622 TWO hands (Have you ever realized this blessing?)
#623 Making it through an Insanity workout without stopping
#624 Apologies
#625 Good books
#627 Courage

#629 Prayer for rain answered

#630 Hubby who works hard on our house


Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letterslife rearrangedfriday favorite things | finding joy

Friday, July 06, 2012

What's Behind the Mortar?

I had a window put in today.  Well, let me rephrase that: I almost had a window put in today.

I don’t know how many of you have worked with contractors before, but many times they’re not the most reliable bananas in the bunch.  We’ve done a lot of remodeling in our house in the country cove, so I’ve had several run-ins with these guys.  It usually ends up the same way- I’m at their mercy and they know it. 

The window guys were here, ready to cut out the wall, and all they needed was a brick guy.  Just one guy to remove a bunch of bricks so that the window would actually allow light to come through!  After all, windows are pretty useless when they have brick walls behind them.

Long (and stressful) story short, two days came and went, and I am still looking at a brick wall in my living room (Yes, I know that people in New York City would pay thousands for a brick wall inside, but this isn’t NYC, people!!!)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

It Can Never be a Long Time Ago

Sometimes, we just want to read Little House on the Prairie.  Living in Walnut Grove, Minnesota sounds perfect, and the thought of spending the day sawing lumber with Charles or laughing with Laura and Mary brings a smile to our faces.   We find ourselves enthralled with this tiny town, in spite of storms and hardships.  And even though we are doing the best to love where we are, something inside of us longs to go back, and pretty soon, we’re battling discontent.

Too much looking back causes us to stop looking forward.

And we get stuck.

Thoughts like, “If only my babies were still babies, then…” or “I wish my husband would just…” find their way into our minds, and we begin to seek contentment in our version of perfect, forgetting that His “ways are higher than [our] ways” (Isaiah 55:9). 

I’m reminded by Paul in Philippians that we are called to contentment.

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13)

We must learn the secret of being content in any and every situation…

Whether rich or poor.
Whether a mom of 4 or longing for just 1.
Whether friend to many or few.
Whether happily married or single and lonely.
Whether popular or forgotten.
Whether promoted at work or stuck in a boring desk job.
Whether in the college really desired or the last one on the list.

Any and every situation.


Because our strength comes from Him, the one who calls us to each and every season in which we find ourselves.  It's all for Him.  

All of it.


“When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, "What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?"

"They are the days of a long time ago, Laura," Pa said. "Go to sleep, now."

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods… She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”

― Laura Ingalls Wilder


Monday, July 02, 2012

Filled to be Emptied

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness, or trial, or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am conqueror and co-heir with Christ
so firm on HIs promise I'll stand

All of my life in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
Where favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow

The notes rang out, words familiar to me, but this time speaking stronger. 

I know I’m filled to be emptied again.

And I thought back to the lesson I’d just taught my precious girls, how I’d told them that we are to expect trials when we follow Christ.  Being a disciple of Jesus isn’t about skipping down the yellow brick road with daisies and birds as our companions.  He tells us, “In the world you will have tribulation,” (John 16:33) yet when it actually happens to us, we scrunch up our faces into frowns and demand answers. 

Why me, Lord?  This isn’t supposed to happen to me!  Can’t you fix this?

Deny yourself.
Take up your cross.
Follow Me.
(Luke 9:23)

I am filled to be emptied.

I am not filled to feel good about my life or to avoid troubles.  I am filled by the Father so that I can surrender and serve.

It’s funny, when I think of it this way, that I’m filled just to be emptied, everything changes.  Desperate to equip myself for battle or drought, I dig deep and cling tight.  And I know that when I’m walking weary through the arid desert where there is no water in sight, He will soon lead me to the springs and renew my strength.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  (1 Peter 5:10)


Always counting...
#605 Peached juicy enough to drip
#607 Afternoon with precious cuties

#608 Local place, untouched by progress

#609 Air conditioning

#610 Productivity
#611 Garden vegetables

life rearranged

miscellany monday at lowercase letters
friday favorite things | finding joy


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