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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Prayer of the Day

"Let me not murmur under the heaviest cross in the prospect of such a crown. Let me not refuse to pass cheerfully through the hottest furnace which is to refine and purify me for this exceeding and eternal weight of glory! Allow me to bear with calm serenity, whatever cross You see fit to lay upon me."
                   - John MacDuff 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It Is Well

Recently I came across a newly-released song that has been ministering to my heart these past days. The title of the album (soon to be released) caught my eye: "Farewell To Fear" by the group Finding Favour. In clicking on this song title, I knew I had found my new favorite. I wanted to share these beautiful words with you today because I think we could all use a little comfort, a little reminder that God is still sovereign and in control over all aspects of life. We just have to trust Him!

"Your Spirit's my assurance when trials may come;
I'm holding to the promise that You've already won,
It is well..."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

"Think of the brokenness, the incompleteness, the littleness of these lives of ours! 
We get glimpses of beauty in character, which we are not able to attain! We have spiritual longings which seem to us too great to ever come true. We dream of things we want to do but when we try to work them out, our clumsy hands cannot put them into realizations!
We have glimmerings of a love that is very rich and tender, without a trace of selfishness, without envy or jealousy, without resentment - a love which does not seek its own, more is not provoked, and bears all things. We get the vision from the life of Christ Himself. We say, 'I will learn that lesson of love - I will be like that!' But we fail.
We strive to be sweet-spirited, unselfish, thoughtful, kind - but we must wet our pillow with tears at the close of our marred days, because we cannot be what we strive to be! We have glimpses of an inner peace which is very beautiful. We strive after it, strive with intense effort - but do not reach it!
So it is in all our living. Life is ever something too large for us. We attain only fragments of living. Yet take heart, 'The desire of the righteous shall be granted!' (Proverbs 10:24)"
             - J. R. Miller 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

"...Wounds can be openings to the beauty in us. And our weaknesses can be a container for God's glory. Hannah tasted salty tears of infertility. Elijah howled for God to take his life. David asked his soul a thousand times why it was so downcast. God does great things through the greatly wounded. God sees the broken as the best and He sees the best in the broken and He calls the wounded to be the world changers."
                 - Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way

Friday, August 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

"I thought I'd encourage you this week with one little thought - and that's that you don't need to hide from God. In fact, do we realize how funny that even sounds? As if we really could.
So we put on a mask, put on a front, and try to only put our best foot forward to our friends, our spouse, or the outside world on social media. But that's what's awesome is God didn't die for the 'best foot forward' us. He died for the messy version. The failing version. The one who deals with shame, and past decisions, and hurt, and anxiety, and depression, and on and on. He sees us right in that. Right in the hard place. And with fiery white hot eyes of love says I see you. You are who I want to be with. I died for this version of you, you don't have to hide anymore.
His voice is tender and gracious and beautiful and calls us out of hiding. Might we step into that call today? Because that's where freedom is at."
           - Jefferson Bethke

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

"Maybe us with broken hearts simply need that - key people who break us open to see how Christ never stops holding our wounds, to break us free from all the crushing expectations, key people who simply say, 'Come, it's safe to be real here, safe to let the brokenness come.' Who doesn't need key people who free us from the old courtrooms where judgement and the scales of perfection have felt like millstones around our breaking necks? There isn't one of us who doesn't need key people who believe that the broken are the most beloved, that the busted are the brave, that the limping can lead - and that everything that looks like it's breaking apart might actually be falling together. 
And isn't this what I've been longing to be - broken and broken free to be a key person? One of the soul emancipators who unleash others into who they are already in Him, no judging skeletons in closets...
Maybe - we become a key person when we hand a key to break someone giving each other our broken hearts. 
It's always the vulnerable heart that breaks broken hearts free. 
Am I brave live not afraid of broken things?"
                   - Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way

Today, I am thankful for the key people in my life who love me enough to not be afraid of my brokenness and who are the human hands and feet of Jesus to me daily. I hope and pray that through this blog I have been and can continue to be a key person to some other hurting soul out there! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Farewell To Fear

 Over the three and a half years I've been blogging on here, I've made many confessions. I've discussed things that I never expected would ever be brought to light. I've opened up some fairly painful conversation on here regarding myself...and all of ourselves. How we're not getting it right but God the worst things are never the last thing...that redemption is always winning even if we don't readily see it. I'm going to make yet another big revelation about myself. Perhaps you've picked up on it in previous posts, but I'm going to go deeper this time. The last couple of weeks have wrecked me in the best way possible. And I've come to conclusions that have and will forever change the way I do life.
 For most of my life, I've been a fear-driven person. Never really saw that about myself since I have a pretty confident, independent spirit about me. But it's true...and I'm beginning to embrace God's given grace to face the hard truth about this fact.
Over the years, I've feared rejection; I've feared failure; I've feared success; I've feared darkness; I've even feared heights (and still do, by the way!) But the one thing I'm realizing I've feared the most is being known. Deeply and lovingly known. I've always done relationships of any kind on my terms, only letting others in as far as I felt comfortable. Then...setting a boundary when it got to be too close. I've missed out on love in so many little ways because I wasn't sure I could be known and still accepted for the worst of me.
 God has worked through two of three stages of healing in this area of my life as I've journeyed toward grace over the years: 1) to be loved fearlessly by God, 2) to fearlessly love others...and now, 3) to be fearlessly loved by others. I'm realizing just how bad at this I really am. I am slowly learning how to let God love me radically, and I'm getting the hang a bit of how to care for and love on others unconditionally. But this receiving love thing?...that's hard.
 Earlier this summer, I had a conversation with a friend who bravely spoke to my fear about some things involving our friendship going forward and the truth was presented to me in the most gentle way possible: your fears have no place here. This is the safe zone where all things vulnerable, imperfect, not right, weak can be discussed and presented to God in all graciousness and understanding. This conversation led me to begin realizing just how much I doubt others care, how much I question if their love is genuine, how much I hold back out of fear they will leave. I am not willing to let myself be known. It's that simple. And I am wrong for doing so. I'm afraid of what might happen if I let the truth about the worst of me come out. And so I put up walls.
 But what I'm starting to see is that true love takes risks. Those who love fearlessly are willing to go places others won't go. Those people change lives because their love opens closed doors so that others can be fearlessly loved. It's happening to me thanks to a couple of bold and beautiful friends in my life who are kindly but courageously letting me know that it's okay to not be okay, that grace covers all mistakes, that forgiveness runs deep, and that God is forever good regardless of my failings. They are proving one little word or act at a time that those who are my true friends are the ones who wade deep into the heart-messy without fear and bring prayer, healing words of life, and love. Those who walk away from my life are simply ones not willing to be fearlessly loved and known either.
 And so...I'm saying farewell to fear. Because I'm realizing I can't let this run my life anymore. It's been too much of a hindrance to me for more years than I care to admit. It's held me back from taking steps of faith that God and others ask of me. And I'm done with that. I'm ready to be brave. I'm ready to live fully. God cares too much and, as I've recently discovered, others care too much to let me stay in this afraid-ness any longer. It's time to put out my hands in trust and be willing to risk. God's got me...and so do my friends.
 Perhaps you've got an area of your life where you're afraid to be known and deeply loved. Maybe you struggle as do I in this place of being willing to be fearlessly loved and to love fearlessly. It just might help us both if we remember that God risked His life because of His love for us and, therefore, we are free to risk our hearts to love one another in a flawed but similar manner.
 We're more loved than we realize. So let's say farewell to fear. Let's take the faith dare and choose brave together.