0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

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.❤️

0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

A Paisley Kind Of Love

Our little dog, Paisley, is such an example of so many things to me.  She is the essence of unconditional love.  To love like her, how sweet it must be!  She also freely receives love.  Paisley trusts with full abandon that we adore and accept her ALWAYS.  She is in someone’s lap at all times, and she never hesitates to jump into our arms and immediately flip over for a belly rub.  There is never a question in Paisley’s mind that she will not be fully and faithfully received.  Paisley reveres every single one of us, and there is nothing she loves more than being in our embrace.

I have been praying lately to know a kind of love for The Lord like Paisley embodies.  Oh, how I long to bask in the full acceptance, love, and satisfaction of His arms, unhindered by the seeds of condemnation that lurk within me.  I want to know complete contentment in God alone, free of the alluring distractions of the world.  I yearn to live freely from my identity as a well provided for daughter who is insufficient myself, but sufficient because of my inheritance secured by Jesus.

This side of Heaven, I will not fully understand the depths of The Lord’s love for me.  Freedom will continue to be a journey, not a destination until I see my Savior face to face.  There will always be days, hours and moments when I forget that in the words of Jesus, “It is finished.”  Because of that, re-remembering will also be a persistent pilgrimage, not a permanent place.

We are all just walking this life on a journey home, and I am mostly comfortable with all the pit stops, detours, diversions, and potholes along the way.  If I lived life as a straight line, it would perhaps be easy but not enriching.  Living, loving, lamenting and laughing all happen outside the walls of safe and structured.

I have never known how to color any way but outside the lines.  For years that was embarrassing to me.  These days, I am okay being
imperfect, because I know it is my brokenness that renders me eligible to be complete.

Cheers to Paisley who is gaining a little brother tonight.  You may want to remember her, and her brother, in your prayers.  Life gets a little rough when we get knocked off our throne, even for our furry friends.☺️

0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

His Promises Endure

I am a tremendously deep feeler in a terribly fallen world. I experience your success and your suffering, your communication, verbal and non-verbal, your actions and your inactions. I endure all your raw edges and finely buffed emotions. I sense your masks because I have worn them as well, but I long to see your soul. I carry your praises and your pain, and that is why I laugh a lot but frequently lament, too. Some people would say I am a mess. Some days I say, I am a mess. That is ok because it is in the sediment of tribulation that I discover significance when I have anchored my eyes, ears, and heart towards the eternal message that I know is always there. Right now the world sits raw and heavy upon my heart. I feel like I am in a tug of war between the desire to surrender to the sadness or continue standing despite its presence. There is only one choice for me; I know that. But, the fight is real! Thank you, Father, for your promises that endure all storms, whether we are standing well or weary.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

 
0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

I Will Try Again Tomorrow

Yea, it is the end of one of those hard days when you feel beaten, battered and bruised, sometimes literally. Your heart has been spun up and wrung out.  Emotions have swirled through your body like a tidal wave leaving you feeling washed out, weak and worn.  You have been fighting all day for this person, praying like the persistent widow for that situation, enduring physical pain necessary for healing, and filtering waves of grief and gratitude that amidst it all, curiously still co-mingle.

There is finally a lull of silence with the parting of the sun; your soul settles slightly, and you know you must choose to either concede or conquer the day’s chaos.  Then comes a gentle reminder that you aren’t in this alone.  He’s in the midst of your pain.  He is present with your people, and he is bigger than that situation.

At the end of days like this, I am so grateful that the Psalms are in the Bible.  Many days I am living them as sure as I am breathing; crying out for relief, reassurance, direction, strength and forgiveness.  Then, when the commotion begins to settle slightly I reach deep within to find despite it all gratitude, thanksgiving, worship, and redemption slowly start marching along to the beat of my broken heart.  I take a breath, and each one becomes a little deeper, a little deeper, and finally I enter a state of ailing rest, remembering that tomorrow, should she come, holds new mercies, strength, grace and fuel for the road ahead.

Today must be released to the past, and it is then when I hear the soft but resolute roar;

I will try again tomorrow!

And you friend must courageously commit also to engage again tomorrow with a fresh mind and hopeful heart!  You are loved.

0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

The Splendor of Struggle

b384045a2d1e04bb239e70626625c93c

Dear friend, whatever struggle is dominating your thoughts today is the very one that will swaddle you in strength.  It will clothe you with compassion, and it will honor you with humility.  Every painful circumstance becomes a purposeful square in the quilt you are sowing.  Embrace the opportunity in your obstacles.  Remember, when you are afraid you are available.  When you are confused, you are connected.  When you are waiting, you are watchful.  When desperate you are dependent, and when lonely you are looking.  In Jesus’s economy, weakness is the source from which all good and beautiful things grow.  May grace fill every season of growth and spring streams of joy along your journeys.

0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

Only God

ef2b5d4ff0f4aae263ab34f9ac86306d

Along the walk of life, we accumulate a lot of things and people.  Holding them tight gives us a false sense of security because we believe they are needed to keep us safe, strong, secure, happy, whole and fill in the blank.

Growing in grace equips us to begin opening our hands to what we thought was necessary to our well-being because we discover only God embodies every single thing we need.

0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

Working Harder is a Lie

3957d8b105f63e58bbca850eb7875cd2

Are you trying hard?  Maybe you are trying to be better, be happier, be a better parent, spouse or friend? Are you exhausting yourself working to figure it all out?  I often forget that I am inadequate and not in control!  I can get myself so spun up trying to figure circumstances out.

There is good news for people like me, and maybe you.  The notion that trying harder will get us where we want to be or bring clarity to problems is a lie from the enemy that we frequently feed ourselves.  Trying harder is based on our sufficiency and strength.  If I am the best I have, I am in trouble.

We were not created to figure life out. Jesus controls when or if we find out.  Working harder does not make you happier, a better person a better (fill in the blank).

The secret is not in striving but surrendering.

 

0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

The Angel of Adversity

 

Perfect love permits pain.   1 John 4:8 says God is love.   God permits pain.   No one can estimate the profit of pain until we have journeyed far enough through it to see the distance we or our loved ones have traveled.   God being sovereign could stay our suffering, but it would stifle His ultimate purpose.   Only Divine love is steadfast and strong enough to allow the angel of adversity to remain until her work is done.   Whatever pain you or a loved one are carrying today, rest assured it has an eternal purpose.   It is not your job to understand it, just to stand still under it and believe God’s promises that have been given to you.
Father, I confess that the pervasiveness of pain and suffering around me sometimes leads me down resolving roads that maximize me and minimize You.   In my flesh, solving feels more productive than being still.   Remind us all today that it is in pain we find purpose and in stillness we discover strength. May we rest along the restless roads of life and leave the resolving to You, the true healer of all affliction. Amen.

0796d0208d9efd3a9fe56226051a41dc

Courage Part Two

courage

COURAGE
noun:
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

Heavily hearted, I sat at my desk attempting to type words of support for a first time, expecting mama. Her rejoicing had collided with a reality no parent wants to hear. Still innocently nestled in her womb, her tiny one is facing circumstances aching for miracles.

Seemingly hollow words besieged me, as I typed. I sensed the inadequacy of my message in proportion to her pain. I hit send with a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. She promptly responded; my heart blessed beyond measure by the fortitude of her faith.

As I read her message, dressed in bravery, it occurred to me that trials are often the display windows through which we view God’s character modeled by His people. I have many times witnessed the process of grief unleashing the grace of God in piercing places. Here it presented again, and as it often happens, I ended up the one being blessed by her witness.

It is only when we live with the God of the Universe as our true north that we can endure the pain of this word with such conviction. Her words: “Our upmost prayer is that her little life, no matter how long or short will glorify the Lord. He is already using her, and we pray that He continues to do so.” That is COURAGE, friends!  ‪#‎PrayForAnnieRuth‬