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Purpose Amidst Imperfection 

Nestled amidst the sunrise of a fresh week and all the promise it holds is an ever faithful reminder of my inadequacy. I am presently, but peacefully aware that I got more wrong than right last week, and that will surely be my truth this week as well.

My keen sense of insufficiency poses a different purpose for me now, though. Growing in grace teaches me that it is no longer about striving for perfection only to be frustrated, but seeking purpose amidst my imperfection only to be furthered.

 It is an incongruent truth that on the other side of our failures is an intention designed for our prosperity. 

Understanding that falling down is not a shameful thing, but a sacred tool is the genesis of praise. Praise opens the door and welcomes gratitude right into our hearts.

When gratitude is our guest, we see through all the heavy right into the heart of the holy, and joy becomes a source of our strength. 

This week, friend, I pray you have eyes to see and ears to hear all the beauty that your brokenness beholds, and your heart will sing, it is good and it is well with my soul.
You are loved.❤️

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Tears

Large trees in snowy climates are designed to drop their branches when the weight of falling snow gets too heavy for them to bear. It is like a dance planned by a Director that is out of the trees control. The Choreographer knows exactly when the branches need to release pressure so they don’t break. Our tears are a lot like that, also. They are not on our timetable, and that can be both frustrating and sometimes awkward. Like the beautiful tree branches, though, we were designed by God in such a way to let go of building burdens so we may bend but not break. Isn’t it amazing that our Father was so attentive to every little detail, even the timing of our tears? He crafts exactly when they will fall so He will be there to capture them all. He is holding you amidst your burdens today, friends. He is the Creator and the Caretaker of every last tear. Rest in His arms today. You are loved.❤️

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Show Us Your Glory, Lord

As I was walking to the beach in hopes of catching a beautiful sunrise about an hour ago, I was singing these words from a song, show us, show us your glory, Lord. God showed off for me as He often does! This photograph, (totally raw and unedited), is evidence that every new ending and every new beginning, although sometimes painful, beholds great beauty. Be encouraged, dear friend. If you are confronting a difficult transition from old to new, there are better days ahead. Forgetting is often impossible, but choosing where to focus our attention and perspective is not. Tim Keller says everything given was necessary and everything withheld was not. The former things, realized and unrealized, have fashioned a wide portion of the person you are. Purpose is a predecessor of praise. Pursue the purpose in every ending and beginning knowing that grief and gratitude co-mingle in this life and peace, joy and hope within you will reside. Lord, help us remember your work never needs editing, even when we think it does! You are loved, friend! ❤️

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The Little Life of Fear

Fear causes me to live a small, sheltered life.  She tells me lies like, you are in control by suffocating your existence into the fangs of an illusion.  I don’t desire to look back on a little life that reads, she was shackled and scared.  Fear will guarantee that outcome.  Faith assures me I can do adventurous, big things because my first breath and my last are already determined by a Father who loves me and desires me to live free not frightened.  I live proportional to my level of belief.  When I forget my destination I am incarcerated.  Not all prisoners live behind visible bars.  It is only when I remember where home is that I live the life that was ransomed for me. Today was about leaning into fear, and saying, not today pesky, friend!

 

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Not What We See, Whom We Know

Sometimes saying it is well with my soul guts us to our core, even still, we can say they will be done. It is not well because our circumstances are favorable, but because our Savior is faithful, and we have experienced His character enough in the past that we trust Him with the present. Lord Jesus, present us a faith that is constant, not circumstantial. Sometimes we are The Israelites, needing to see to believe. As we walk through the hills and valleys, help us remember you are the same yesterday, today and forever, (Hebrews 13:8), and when that truth reigns in our hearts, we can persevere. Whatever you are confronting today, friend, I pray you keep believing not in what you see but in Whom you know. You are loved.

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Control

Control is an insidious intruder. I have to be very intentional to guard myself against it, and even when I am aware, it is tricky. It sneaks into every relationship and situation often undetected. One reason control is so deceptive is that sometimes it is called “helping,” and isn’t that a noble thing to do? In some situations, yes; but often when I find myself saying, “I am just trying to “help” you, that can frequently be transposed to mean, I am trying to control you or the situation. When I dissect my misdirected helpfulness, fear is often at the root; and I have come to learn that although sometimes fear is an understandable reaction, it can also be an UNBELIEVING reflection that says God will not get it right. Lord Jesus, you are in control, not me. Sometimes hidden fears lurk in the deepest recesses of my heart, and I seek a false sense of safety by “suggesting,” fixing or doing which only translates to control. Help my unbelief, Father. Give me the grace to lay my fear and desire to “fix” within your power, not my performance.

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A Delicate Yet Decisive Wind

As I was sitting outside in silence for a few minutes, the most subtle scene grabbed my attention. The wind blew my back patio gate back and forth before resituating it in a different direction. I was immediately awestruck by the thought that the wind, although invisible and in this situation barely audible, is so powerful. The gate is steel, and the wind was not blowing hard; and because of the weight of the gate, it would appear only movable by human hands. The wind, however, delicately yet decisively, rearranged its coordinates in the most humble manner. God is like that, friend. He may be invisible but never idle, always capable of shifting that which seems stagnant. By nature, we want to take charge because the inconspicuous illusion of control deceives us into believing in our sufficiency. Although you cannot see God, and maybe you are standing under circumstances that bear the weight of the world, do not concede to what you see, cling to what He says. Your Father is able, and when the time is right; He will change that which appears concrete. Ephesians 3:20, Isaiah 60:22.

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Backdrops For Blessings

Manna for your moment from my yard. Notice that every individual dew drop is distinct in its resting place upon the rose. This picture reminds me that like the rose catches the rain, God catches every tear. He compassionately holds each one with singular significance and gives them shelter until the Son tenderly wipes them away. God never wastes your tears. Sometimes they are tokens of joy and sometimes pain, but not one goes unnoticed or falls in vain. Every part of who you are matters to Him. When you feel the least loved or lovable, remember that like the dew finds respite upon the flower, we find refuge in The Father; and hope accessorized with faith whispers, moments when we feel bruised are backdrops for blessings.🌹

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You Already Are Accepted

My selfish desire is for everyone to be pleased with me, because of this, the relationships in my life that I am insecure about cause me to be anxious.  I never know if I am enough or am doing enough to be loved and accepted by the other person.  I begin to believe the lie that I have to perform in a way that pleases that person to gain their acceptance.  That is bad news and not a healthy or peaceful way to live.

A relationship we have to earn will always end in our hearts getting burned.  

Here is the good news of the gospel of Jesus; we do not have to do good works to be loved and accepted; we do good works because we already are loved and accepted.  Isn’t that a breath of fresh air?!  A relationship we have to earn is one that will always end in our hearts getting burned.

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Resurrection Living

Every year around Easter time I reflect on the amazing truth that after Jesus’ crucifixion came His resurrection. When I think about what that sealed for me, I cannot help but rejoice. It was the genesis of the greatest hope the world had ever known. A displaced stone and an empty tomb ushered into eternity new life for followers of King Jesus; securing victory over death, guilt, shame, fear, and condemnation. How wonderful that news is for you and me!

The resurrection of Jesus handed us a priceless gift including all the assets we need to live a joyful life. But I would be remiss if I also did not take the time to ask myself honestly, Today, am I living in the darkness of Jesus’ crucifixion or the light of His resurrection?

Often fear is a frequent “friend.” Sin is my sneaky shadow and circumstances can hollow my heart of hope. This life can easily conform me into a pattern of crucifixion living when I neglect the conditions of my head and my heart. May we never forget the crucifixion, friends; but we must remember Jesus did not die for us to get stuck there. He did not die for us to live small defeated lives. Yes, all stories have seasons of suffering, and many do not end well. It is only the stories of believers living under the resources of a selfless Savior that have the certainty of happy ever after.

I will be honest. I long for this life to look like a Hallmark movie. When I am persisting horizontally, I am defeated by my desire. It is only when my eyes are fixed vertically on Jesus, and I am persevering out of the provisions secured by His resurrection that I can live a victorious life because I know how my story ends and there is a big red bow on top!

Lord Jesus, thank you for procuring paradise for me. I pray that I along with all your children would remember the royalties afforded by your resurrection. May we cast off the weights of crucifixion living, and rest under the shelter of your resurrection. We love you, Lord. Thank you for loving us enough to ensure what we could never do for ourselves. I ask that you would grant us the grace to live from the promises of the resurrection, not just during the Easter season, but through all seasons. Amen.