Friday, April 3, 2015

No More Excuses....

A fantastic new blog series I just starting following is #LiveFreeThursday over at Suzanne Eller's site. And yes...I know it's Friday. But sometimes I just can't pull it all together! I feel like it was really important to me to post under this topic so here it is. Even if it is a day late....

Where to start? Well, I guess for years I have struggled with accepting my identity in Christ. That I am fully forgiven, fully loved, fully redeemed without anything on my part except receiving Christ (and this is no little thing either!) is kind of mind blowing. I've grown up with the mindset that I have to do my best, try my hardest and then I can rest. So here I am, trying to fix everything and pull it all together before letting Jesus take the reigns of my life.

If I were to make a list of my excuses, I'm sure that it would be longer than my arm-and then some. But today I'm naming the ones that are impacting my walk with Jesus. Because, after all, we're called to freedom. And on the day that Jesus died to set us free, I'm declaring that freedom.

My excuses:

That I'll truly believe that I'm a child of God when I feel it (which is ridiculous, I know. But this has been more of a sub-conscious excuse I'm starting to realize).

I'll believe I'm set free when I feel good enough.

I'll be joyful when my family stops falling apart.

I'll follow the call of Jesus when it's safe.

I'll believe I can be a youth leader when I'm more qualified.

All excuses....The beautiful verse of John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us life. I already am set free, I already am forgiven, I ALREADY AM a child of God, no matter my feelings or my doubts. Even though my family has it's rough days, there is still love. There is still joy! I am choosing to follow Jesus now, and not when it's safe. That has been an excuse that has been killing me. Jesus is calling us out. Let me follow Him.

If I listen to these excuses I will never be good enough, smart enough, qualified enough, free enough, safe enough or simply together enough to start living life. And then I will look back at my life and realize that I've had freedom all this time.

I'm breaking the chains of these excuses. I'm being who God made me to be. May we have the courage to live this out.

On Good Friday, Christ died so that we may live. He died so that we may be free. As we look to the glorious Resurrection of Easter Morning, I'm praying this freedom is evident in our lives.

Psalm 107:14-15, "He has led them from the darkness and deepest gloom, He snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them."


Sunday, January 11, 2015

The adventure of 2015...

I watched as the little numbers ticked closer to that moment. That moment when hugging would erupt and we'd ring in the new year with fireworks. The moment when no one is looking ahead or behind and new years resolution haven't been spoken yet. The only perfectly acceptable night  where you can stay up until 4:30 in the morning playing such games as spoons or catch phrase and eating a ridiculous amount of snack and sleeping in until the afternoon. It's fine, because we only celebrate this once a year.

But now the sparkle has faded, the snacks have been eaten, the games put away and the fireworks cleaned up. So what now? It's now in that time between times where everything is still on break and you're waiting for life to begin again that I'm looking ahead.  2015. What will it hold? Who knows where this road will take me. But to sum up some of the things I want to be concentrating on for the new year, I will chronicling it on this handy blog. So here goes:

The Year of No Fear

I found this idea Here on (in)courage, written by Aliza Latta. It really spoke to my soul. I am such a worrier! If there has been one constant emotion in my life it has been fear. It practically defines me. But I'm sick of it. No more. No more fear. I first thought this was a great idea. But could I do it? Really? Never. A year without fear? That's insane. Surely I was setting myself up for failure. But that, my friends, is fear talking at it's finest. Convincing us away from trying, away from who we're meant to be, away from God. Because God is calling me to step out into my identity in Him. I don't know what that will all entail, but I'm so in. 

One Word 2015: Accepted

I'm sure many of us are familiar with One Word. In case you're not, you can the info at One Word or on the (in) courage blog again (in case you haven't noticed, I'm LOVING the community at (in) courage, seriously go check it out!). But my word for 2015 is..........


I am choosing this year to live my life accepted by God. For so long I've struggled to find my identity in God and have chosen to look to the world for acceptance. I've struggled with the idea that I'm ALREADY accepted, pre-approved and loved in Christ.I also want to view others in light of the acceptance of Christ. I want to see others how God sees them.

I don't know what else 2015 will hold, but I'm ready.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The things I've learned in 2014

It's so hard to believe another year has past. Another year is gone. As we all pause to take a deep breath and give 2104 one last glance, we're standing on the threshold of a new year. So here's a few of the things that I've taken away from this year:

1. To laugh at life. There were so many events this year that just taught me to enjoy the humor in life. Whether it was in light of our cabin ceiling caving in the same day as the t.v. blew up or spending the ALIVE festival (a Christian camping/band experience) in horrendous thunderstorms and 5 days of mud and flooded tents. God works even in those situations!

2. I'm beginning to learn to live in light of God's approval. Beginning to learn, trust me! But it's a start! For so long I've lived in fear, constantly striving for approval and perfection. It's been a fight to listen to the voice of God over all the noise, but the journey is so worth it. I'm learning to embrace life along the way.

3. That everyday life counts. I'm not going to lie, I still struggle with this. I thought that making my life mean something meant mission trips to other countries, or a big job, or getting married. But that isn't always the case. My life counts right now. Teaching preschoolers and my gymnastics team, going to church and school, making mistakes and learning how to stand again, facing my fears and following God. Every day counts. I can live for God's glory right here.

4. That hope is always there. Hope doesn't always have to be a lighthouse on the shore. Sometimes, it is just a small flickering flame guiding us through the dark. But hope is still there. There are times in life where that darkness seems to overtake, but God has been there showing me that small flame that has taken me through the dark. 

5. That I can overcome obstacles that at first looked impossible. I'm an introvert that has a tendency to learn towards fear. But this year I took over the competitive gymnastics program where I work and it has been a trial but it has been such a joy! I finally got my driver's license (I'm 23) because I was terrified of driving, but no more!

6. That nothing soothes my soul quite like a walk in the woods with my family. We went on quite a few adventures this year, but some of my happiest moments were simply soaking in the beauty of my Creator.

7. That 2014 has been a journey. There have been dark days but there have been beautiful days as well. God has brought me every step of the way and now I stand at the edge of 2015 ready for the year ahead.

Happy New Year everyone! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five Minute Friday:Fill...

Five Minute Friday! My new favorite prompt of the week is here again. I love being able to be a part of this and the writers who share. Head over to Kate Motaung's site to read more about it!

Fill. Here we go:

There are times you look back on life, on the moments that it holds, and your heart feels so full that it's to the point of breaking. So much joy, so much pain, love and anger, laughter and tears. There are memories that you would rather forget and then there are the memories that you want to never forget. Either way, they have filled you, filled your heart. Memories serve as beautiful milestones.

There are times when my heart aches and I wish for times past. These memories shine like stars scattered and glittering across the vast expanse of my life. Some shine so brightly that every detail is a vivid reminder. Others glimmer, but are faded. Details are blurred but the beauty is still there.
These are all memories that our hearts, our hope, hold onto.

I often wish I had realized what was going on around me, how special that time was, when I experienced it. That I had seen the beauty beneath my fingertips. If going back were possible...

But perhaps that's what makes those memories shimmer so brightly, the fact that those days have come and gone and we must hold tightly to them before they slip away. Perhaps the reason that we can never appreciate the depth of beauty at the time is because we are growing. We can only see the beauty now because of where we are. We often weep for what is past but there is joy for having experienced it. These are the lights that are scattered throughout our lives, that God uses as guideposts to guide us home.

Let them fill you.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Begin

Five minute Friday: Begin.

The beautiful thing about beginnings is that they often come from endings. You cannot begin writing a new page to your story of life without ending one first. You cannot enjoy the beginning of a new day without recognizing the end of yesterday.

To begin is to start over, to create something new. Sometimes these beginnings are scary and terrifying, but they are often beautiful.

Today I woke up and spent some time with God. The world has seemed cold lately, with pain everywhere I would look. But God reminded me that in the darkest times, I never left His arms. And with that revelation I can begin again. I can see His new mercies and joys today because today is new. Today is a beginning. Yesterday is gone, and we do not have to live in yesterday.

We cannot appreciate where we are without realizing where we've been. What has brought us to this new journey.

And sometimes these new beginnings are moments for us to see the beauty of God in creating something. Sometimes beginnings are just enough to thank God for today that is full of adventure.

Every adventure has a beginning. Where will it lead?

 What is my beginning going to say today?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Finish

I stumbled across the idea of five minute Friday awhile ago, but this would be the first time I participated. So here goes:

Finish. What is the idea that comes to mind? A feeling of rest, of peace. A finish, but also a new beginning.....

This past month I have wished for a happy ending to many of things that are going on right now. Many things that need a finish. It has left me feeling tired and worn, with the end no where in sight. But its here, in this time where we can't see the end and the road seems dark around us: it's a time of beauty and faith. It doesn't always look like that. Most times it just seems like shadows and questions, but there is hidden beauty. There is God working in mysterious ways.

Psalm 66:8:12, "Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; You laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance," (ESV). This is a recording of what God has done in the lives of His people. Yes, they went through trials and burdens and the end seemed nowhere in sight. But they became who they are because of that. They couldn't have gotten to the place of abundance without going through the trials. This is a promise that while things seem their darkest God is there. The Israelites had to go through the desert before they got to the promised land. These are the times that God gently whispers to keep going. It is worth it. Hold on. The finish will be beauty beyond imagining. We need to trust Him. And just keep going.

You can find more Five Minute Friday posts Here!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

When the ceiling caves in...

There are times in life where it seems you're so storm battered and soul weary that nothing else could possibly happen. When the floods come and the ceiling caves in and suddenly you have nothing else to hold onto. Your hope seems dim and morning seems a long way off. But there is beauty that shines through it all. A light that is only seen if you look hard enough to find it.
A light that only shines when the ceiling caves in.....

This was our preview of the storm rolling in. 

It was supposed to be a piece of cake, this putting on a new roof. It was supposed to be three, maybe four days of hard works, and then the rest of the time could be spent the way you spend vacations best. Nobody knew what a week at our cabin would end up turning out like:

It all started when the truck delivering the roofing supplies got stuck and then tore up the dirt-well mud-driveway, making it an impassable mess. After re-graveling the driveway, we thought we were back on track. Which in hindsight, is laughable. With the old roof torn off and plywood being the only thing between our living room and the storms that were rolling in, we quickly did all that we could to make sure it was waterproof.  It wasn't until three in the morning and we were woken up to someone yelling, "Buckets! Buckets! Buckets!" that we knew it didn't hold. We gathered buckets, pots and pans and when those weren't enough we emptied coolers and garbage cans to help catch the soon running indoor waterfalls. It wasn't long before the ceiling tiles crumbled and fell through, making the bystanders not sure whether to laugh or cry. The rain finally slowed enough that my family plus our neighbor, all in our pajamas, went to re-tarp the roof at 3 AM. Don't go on a roof at 3 AM. It's not as fun or adventurous as it sounds, I promise. Anyway, roof re-tarped and the rain rolls back in, making it clear the tarp did absolutely nothing. We all fell asleep hoping that was the end of it.

The roof was the slowest work of progress ever. It was one misfortune after another, leaving us at the end of the week with the new roof still not put on. You would think that was the end of it. But it wasn't

Our brand new compost toilet overflowed at 2 AM one night. That was fun. And then our TV blew up. No joke, we had the smoke and everything. One minute we're watching Frozen and we're wondering why the room looks as snowy as the TV. Oh, that's why. My brother then decides to run the TV outside without unplugging in. It was a horrible smell.

This week very well could have been worse. Our house wasn't flooded, it was only a cabin after all. But one thing after another and it just starts to tear you down. Worry clouded my vision, and anxiety stole my joy. I was trying to balance fighting family members, stress levels, financial worries and the horrible mud that had surrounded everything. The ceiling caved in and it was more than literal. I kept praying for things to go right, to find a break somewhere (if you know my family, you understand the reason for this prayer), but that blue sky never came. When the ceiling caved in and things looked its darkest, it's then God is saying "Hold onto Me." The night may look like it will never end. The sun may seem like it will never shine again."But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer." -Sam in the Two Towers.

If you're going through the shadows, keep going. Maybe it's something you deem as small, like getting a bad grade, fighting with someone you love. Maybe it's something much bigger, like your house flooding, or a loved one getting sick. Know that God cares about each and every storm. He knows what you're going through and He's whispering to hold on. The sun will shine again.

He is there even when the ceiling caves in.