Sunday, August 24, 2014

7 years ago



7 years ago on this day, I was going through our 2nd miscarriage.  Jason was 10,000 miles away on business.  My heart was shattered and I wondered how a loving God could ask me to endure through this.  Many tears and many questions later, here we are with 3 precious children.

I know that all stories will not end the same as ours, but I do know that God is faithful.

Even when we are not.

He is the only one who can TURN ASHES INTO BEAUTY.

ONLY HIM.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. ~Isaiah 61:3


Friday, August 15, 2014

breaking point



I reached it.  This morning.  I woke up after a restless night of sleep.  Heart pounding.  Head rushing.  I try to breathe a prayer to God that His Spirit would flood me.  That my spirit would relinquish.  

I knew things had to change or I could spiral out.  I wondered why I reached this point.  

My years of trying have come up short.  My level of hard work, my "everything is ok" mentality, my control issues.  They were not enough to keep it all in order.  

Thank you Jesus for this revelation.  This breaking that left me paralyzed without the Spirit interceding.  

Where do I go from here?

Mystery.  

Mystery is sometimes maddening.  Yet, faith building.  In the most beautiful sense.  

My steps so far have been slowing to quiet my spirit.  

To let go of my "good girl" persona and admit to myself that I cannot save myself.  

Only God.  Only God.  Only God.  

What a beautiful testament that God will give us new hearts.  

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations." ~Ezekiel 36:25-27

I realize part of my journey is letting God come in and heal me from some pains that I have pushed down.  I only trust Him to do that.  The only one who can turn ashes into beauty.  That's who I want to fix me.  

Lord, come.  You are so good and trustworthy.  Lead this ragamuffin to abundant life.





 

Monday, August 11, 2014

greatest joy


I am definitely a person who gravitates to other people full of joy and optimism.  I likewise tend to distance myself from negative people.  And I wonder how much negativity is satan-filled.

God is FILLED WITH JOY.

Let me say that again, God is JOY-FILLED!

God is the one who gave us wonder, who gave us cute little feet for tickling, the ability to laugh, animals with a playful nature, children who thrive just playing.  All good things come from Him.  

But simply there is not a single being who is happier than God.  If you believe differently, you are believing a lie.

Likewise, I believe satan is miserable, pathetic.  And he wants everyone to be sucked into his misery.

If you feel like someone in your life is working to make you miserable (just like they are), pray.  The Lord may be showing you their nature.  Not to say that we cut people out of our lives.  God may ask you to do that, but we need to shine Jesus to the hurting world around us.

But BEWARE.

Jesus says,
"Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves..." Matthew 10:16

If you are being dragged down by someone, be shrewd.

Consider instead to:

Seek His Joy.  It is EVERYWHERE.  Shine it!  Embrace it!  Thank God for it!  It glorifies Him when we are satisfied in Him!

Let's increase His Glory!!!

seek truth

 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  ~John 8:32

How easily we can be deceived because someone "appears" to know all the answers.  


Let's be clear.  


There is one Truth.  


One Word.  


All from our perfect Father in Heaven.  


It disturbs me that so easily we can accept false teaching because someone seems to know more than us.  But be careful, because satan is good at what he does.  


Deception.  


If you want to know truth, go only to the source, The Bible.  


My dad told me often how my great-grandmother questioned the church she was going to because they did not trust the members to read The Word themselves.  I love that she was wise enough to know that she can study the Word through the Holy Spirit's revelation.  She was a little rebel in her days because she would host bible studies and they would get in the Word together.  I love that!  


God is there.  Trust Him.  He is the giver of truth.  


I admit there are some amazing books out there.  I love to read others' perspectives.  But we have to be so careful to hold tight to one truth.  Though someone's intentions may not be to deceive, they are at the core, human beings.  


We have one book written by God.


ONLY ONE.  


If you dig in further to John 8, you see that these well-versed, extremely religiously educated descendants of Abraham had one father who was not who they thought he was.  Jesus called them sons of the devil.  


That is sobering.


Be cautious and discerning.  


There is one truth.  

Friday, August 1, 2014

know me


I have for the last 10 years been one of those people who is not too keen on religion.  Jesus and faith are where I will hang my hat, which, really, I want to find a cute hat.

Anyways, religion I believe was created for good.  The enemy has used it for bad though.  However, I don't bemoan that fact because regardless of the bad in this world, God is still and will ALWAYS be on the throne.

With that said, I had an epiphany yesterday and I like the word "epiphany".  I am very committed to time with God.  Every morning I wake up with time in the Word and study.  Prayer accompanies that.  My "job" is very missional so I feel like every aspect of my life can be a way to glorify Him.  I have been working through discovering idols in my life because we're doing No Other Gods with my ladies' bible study (which is a highlight of my week...seriously, if you don't have a good bible study group, find one, or start one...I promise you it will bless your heart and soul!!!)  As I am trudging through idols in my life and other strongholds, I always come back to why it seems to never change.  Why am I still in this place?  Why do I feel dry?

As I was pondering this, I felt Him say to me, "Just focus on knowing Me. No more, no less."  And it hit me that I've been doing all the "right" things and missing the One I need.  It really struck me how it all boils down to relationship.

I can so glibly say that.  That it is essential that as Christians, we need a relationship with Him.

But it struck me that I was saying it but not living it.  And I say that with the fact that I read the Word everyday.  I pray everyday.  I do.  But I'm missing knowing Him and Him knowing me.

I liken it to the fact that I have a relationship with my children.  I am around them all day long.  I know their needs.  I provide for them.  I teach them.

But after my epiphany yesterday I sat down with Bella and just looked at her.

Really looked at her.  

Watched her pretty smile.  Observed what she liked to do.  Asked her questions.

And it's like Jesus said, "Yes, this is what it is to know Me."

I'm not sure where I go from here.  Except that I told God honestly I want to know Him.  He tells us we can pray boldly.  (How awesome is that?!)  And so in that truth, I asked Him to show me Him.

I don't want a dry faith.  I want an "in season juicy peach" kind of faith.  If you know what I mean.  I want it to be as I'm biting into a luscious peach and having to eat it over the sink because the goodness of Him is pouring out on me.  I know He is faithful.  He never disappoints.

So I'm praising Him for already answering that prayer.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

photography 101: lesson 1

One of my long term goals is to have a better comprehension of good photography so that I can use the camera as a tool of creativity.  A big belief of mine is that we are all creative, whether we choose to believe it or not.  If you doubt this, recall that we were made by the biggest, most amazing artist in all the universe.  And reminder:  He created us in His image.  So by default, we are creative.  Get over yourself if you think you're not.

YOU ARE.

Embrace it!  Celebrate it!  Deny it NO MORE!

I have a nice camera but I'm embarrassed to admit that I know hardly anything on the ins and outs of it.  So here we go...by blogging it, (hopefully) I'll be more accountable about following through with learning it.

Lesson #1:
Aperture (f-settings):  one aspect that controls the amount of light that enters the camera when a picture is snapped.  The larger the aperture, the more light that will enter and vice versa.

Aperture settings on the camera are called F-stops.  Confusing part of the f-stops are the higher the number, the smaller the aperture (opening).
f22 = small opening
f1.4 = large opening

A maybe easier way of understanding is low number = large opening

The aperture selected can be because of the depth of field you are trying to achieve.

Very shallow depth of field = the main subject is in focus but the surroundings are blurry (low f number)
*The following 2 pictures have a low f-stop, and a shallow depth of field



Very larger depth of field = all ares of the photo are in focus (large f number)
*The following 2 pictures have a high f-stop, and a large depth of field


So go ahead, I dare ya, find the f-stop on your camera and go crazy!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

June Goals

For the sake of intentional living, I have committed to monthly goals and they really seem to boost me along.
Even if I don't complete them all, at least I'm making progress.  I have to be careful I'm finding that I do not allow achieving my goals an idol.  Goals are there to push me to live a life of worship.  I do not want to worship achievement.

My June goals were:

Scripture to memorize: You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.  ~Isaiah 26:3

Write 2 love letters to Jason

100 Pushups/week: I made it to 100 one week but the other weeks I averaged 85-90, still not bad. Oh and these were a combo of modified pushups and real pushups.

Run 1 morning/week

Read 1 Homeschool Book

Ask about mentoring: Will have to include on my July goals.

Reading:

Complete The Ragamuffin Gospel

Begin A Thomas Jefferson Education

Begin Grace for the Good Girl



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

whole: mind body soul


Something I'm passionate about is having a holistically healthy mind, body and soul.  It saddens my heart to see so many Christians living unhealthy lives.  A lot of times, we can think that our bodies don't even matter.  We're going to heaven, right, so who cares if we die early.  I think that is wrong thinking.  I think we can potentially miss out on a whole lot of our calling if our bodies cannot keep up with our soul and what God is leading us to.  So I think it is right to care for the bodies God has blessed us with.  

I disagree with the obsession of our bodies.  I workout not to have a perfect body (because no one ever achieves that).  I workout so that I can do the things I need to do in my daily life.  Also I'm simply a happier, more focused person.   

Like I've said before I discovered Fit2B and I love it.  

Just yesterday I was reading a blog about another resource that centers their workouts around God.  I did one of their workouts this morning and I loved it.  I worked up a sweat all while having attention on God.  How awesome is that!  

Isn't that what we're supposed to do anyways?  

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~1 Corinthians 10:31

So check out this post that has some free workouts from Revelation Wellness.  And just move and thank God that you have a body that can!  I promise you'll be happier because of it!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

don't hold back

I am a big fan of Dr. Ben Carson, not because he's in the spotlight lately but because he has been a childhood hero for me.  And when we heard him recently he reminded us to not be politically correct.  To say the things on your heart, from your heart.

A Facebook friend had recently shared her opinion on a controversial Supreme Court decision.  I disagreed with her because of core beliefs.  I struggled whether or not I should say anything.  But I decided to.  Because there are so many out there who generalize people.  Liberal vs conservative.  Christian vs non-Christian.  And honestly I am sick of it.

If we are going to get anywhere in this country, we have to stop getting on our sides and start reaching out to have true conversations.  Jesus sure didn't shy away from those who disagreed with him.

I follow that though with a heart of love.  We are going to get nowhere if we look at life as a competition.  We are all brothers and sisters because we are all made in God's image.  We have to stop separating ourselves from people who are different from us.

Speak out IN LOVE.