6.26.2015

The story within...

Can a Bible hold hurt and pain? Or is it merely the person holding the Bible who carries the hurt and the pain?

I've carried this Bible to church and my room. To the outside- the outside of my home and the outside of me.

I've searched it's pages.
I've asked God to speak to me.
I've highlighted and written and underlined. And learned.
I've cried reading it.
I've read the book of Job in almost two days. The anxiety and fear that kept me so near to Him that week. The pain I now remember and pause... paralyzed thinking of how it could happen again.

But I'm stronger now because of Him and this Word I'm free to carry where I want. A freedom I sometimes take for granted, but very rarely forget.

Your Bible and my Bible they carry stories. Stories of how God has seen people through and fulfilled His promises even in the gloomiest of days. Our stories are carried within our Bibles too. The highlights, the worn pages, the notes. They speak forth His praise much like the stories written within, though they aren't the same as the very holy Word, they are still good and His mercy is still shown.


--
Shame and fear from the past threatens me this morning. Healing is coming forth like a blooming flower. One little bulb, one little seed, one little growth, someday becoming a flower. The growth bearing pain... to grow there must be pain, right? Even if the pain is scary. Joy comes in the morning, remember?

 I may be afraid at times. Afraid to confront the past. Afraid to move forward. But my God is with me. He is here. Here in the mess. He creates order out of chaos. My chaos. Your chaos. The world's chaos. So the story might be plastered across my face or your face or it might be deep within your heart, festering like a disease. We must release the pain to receive the joy. We must release the hurt and receive the grace. We must release the past and receive the hope for the future.

The Bible I have held by myself or next to an incredible person, has a story within it that is both mine and not mine. It is the story of a God who used His wonderful Word to paint beauty instead of ashes.

Thank You, Lord!!!

6.24.2015

Hard

So many people quit things because it's hard. Sometimes, they don't even attempt at doing anything in life because it's hard.

Hard doesn't mean 'don't do it'. Hard means you're gonna learn to stick it out in endurance and perseverance and in the grace of God. You're gonna learn to lean on the Maker and trust Him. Hard means you might have some nights where you think you can't do it anymore and you're on the verge of quitting when God breaks through or your spouse speaks truth to you or your family encourages you and tells you to keep going.

There are many hard things.

  • School
  • Work
  • Marriage
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Church
  • The Christian life
  • Etc.
All aspects of life can be hard. Very few will seem easy. I work out on a regular basis and let me tell you, it's HARD. When it's 90 degrees and you still have to get off your butt and run... yep, it's hard. 

My point is this: hard is not an excuse. We can't use it to not even attempt at living life. We need to push through the hard and realize that it is a part of life. We need to look to God and let Him help us along. We need to LIVE. 

Hard is not an excuse. You can _____________ (whatever your hard is) because we can do all things through Christ. It might be hard, but we got this. Let's lean on Him and LIVE! 

6.17.2015

Anything - Jennie Allen

Anything by Jennie Allen is a book written and centered around a prayer and the journey that ensues after praying, and meaning, that prayer.

I read this book last year, if I'm remembering correctly. I marked a few places in it and read it in about a day and a half. I love honest people with honest writing and honest storytelling and with this book, that's what you get.

You might be wondering, well, what was the prayer? Oh that.  ;) Yes, the prayer was that Jennie and her husband would do Anything to get to that place where they were satisfied with God and living the life He wanted for them.
anything.

Anything is a hard prayer. It's a hard lifestyle. Anything can mean so many things. It can mean giving up your home or giving up your money. It can mean giving up your shopping addiction or giving up your constant coffee runs. It's not the giving up we need to focus on though. Rather, it is the gaining we should place focus on. We gain more of Christ. We gain becoming more like Him. We gain less world-focus and more love for people. As many things as we lose, we gain in the spiritual realm.

I think that's what Jennie wanted people to see in this book. It's not that we lose anything, but that we gain because of Christ.

This new-edition copy includes an updated letter from the author, Jennie Allen; a study guide included at the back of the book, and an exclusive chapter titled Since Anything that is pretty much self-explanatory, what they've been doing since the book was written.

Be sure to grab a copy if you enjoy a challenge or just need a little boost in your walk with the Lord. You won't be disappointed. :)

*Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. All views and opinions expressed are mine.

6.07.2015

Imperfections and the perfect God

I'm not perfect.
I'm really not that Christ-like yet.
I am a work-in-progress.

Sometimes I read my Bible too fast and don't take enough time with the Lord.
Sometimes I am REALLY selfish and hurt people because of it.
Sometimes I have this perfect image in my head and when it doesn't come out like I wanted it, I get upset.
I can be drama queen.
I eat my food too fast or too much of it.

Those are just a few of the things I struggle with. I can also be a shop-a-holic... and it's gotten so bad that I have to limit myself from it.

Sin.

It gets me everyday no matter how hard I run from it. No matter how many times I look at the cross and go to church and take the notes and read the Word and pray prayers. Sin gets me. But Christ gets me more. He is there, covering me in the blood, teaching me to love, forgive, be free!

Yes, I am one hot, stinking mess. Yes, Christ is a great Savior. Yes, together we will conquer the trials and sins of this world. He's not finished with me yet...

6.05.2015

Siren's Fury - Review

We all have things within us that can be good or can turn to bad. We all have fears that threaten to either harden us or bring about compassion and love.

For Nym, she comes in contact with both.

Mary Weber's first book, Storm Siren was so excellent and thrilling. I knew the second one would be just as good and had anticipated it coming out. When it did, I grabbed it. (Literally. Y'all I stayed up till 11:00pm at night just to ensure I got my copy to review... I would've bought it had I failed. ;) )

Siren's Fury picked up where Mary's last book left off. From joy and excitement to chaos and confusion to more battles in need of winning. Nym is right in the middle of it and less prepared for it than she knows.

When faced with many trials, Nym struggles to make the right decisions. The ones she makes can lead to good or bad and the results so far are shaky at best. Will Nym find the courage she needs to do right even when everything within her screams not to? Can she overcome the darkness both she and her former trainer, Eogan are faced with?

A must-read this summer!!! Great for all ages, it's a page-turner, and you might have a few late nights until you finish this one. Great job, Mary!! I can't wait for your next book! (Oh yes, there will be a third book coming next year!)

Note: I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions expressed are mine.

5.30.2015

Thoughts. Literally.



''Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.'' - Philippians 4:8


Life would be so different if we actually thought like this. If I actually thought like this.


Instead of thinking about myself all the time. Instead of constantly putting myself and others down. Instead of forgetting my worth and letting the world tell me who I am. Tell us who we are.


Why would God want this in the Bible? Can you see His goodness in this??! I see it now. For the first time. God knows that the battle in our minds is one of the greatest we will have on this earth. So He tells us what to think on so we won't have to struggle so blindly. It's not like He said, 'Don't think on __________ (bad stuff).' and then left us to figure out what the good stuff is. No, He tells us what the good stuff is, it's right and lovely. It's pure and noble. It's excellent and praiseworthy. THESE we think on.


Some days, though, my thoughts and I have the biggest battle. I pray. I ask God for help. And then I wrestle.


Some mornings I wake up feeling very dark. It's like being in a little bubble of clouds and there's no sunshine. All you feel is coldness and sadness. It's the days I live in the 'I cannot' that God's 'I can' shine so brightly and give me more strength even in just the thought of nothing is impossible for God than my weak self could ever give. It's a wrestling match for sure because darkness and light just don't co-inhabit. So the dark shows up, the light feels snuffed but then somehow the light overcomes. Crazy but beautiful.


Then there are the days where I feel like I can take on the world. Those days are joyful and hopeful but guess what. Sometimes things go wrong and those are the days that the disappointments hurt way more than you would think. I'm a feeler so when this particular disappointment happens (you know the one that hits in your stomach and makes you feel like you're gonna throw up?), I'm on my face again reaching for help... again.


And here's a thought... do you ever get tired of asking for help? I saw a billboard yesterday that said... Hand out UP. I like that. I sometimes think of God giving me handouts and He's just waiting for me to mess it all up and take it all away. Yeah, I know. Faulty thinking but aren't we sharing how we need that true, pure, noble, lovely thinking here? I've lived in my failures for my entire life. I've listened every time I've heard, 'You're the problem.' I can take it, that's what I tell myself. I can take it. So no handouts this time, right?


Problem is, HE already took it ALL.


I do mess up. I have MANY failures but Jesus took it. Look at the cross. There goes our failures and here comes His victory forever! He must just sit in Heaven looking at me like, 'Daughter, will you please understand now? Let it go.' But I don't. I feel I can't. All these thoughts scattered in my brain from early childhood until now. How my dad didn't want me. The rejection I felt. The pain of never fitting in at school. The pain of being the overweight kid and the bullying that happens. The pain of being the misunderstood. The 'odd one'. The pain of letting down my family. The pain of letting down my God. The pain of just knowing with all your heart that you will never be perfect and you never be good enough.


He knows it all.


Every thought. Every failure. Every old replayed memory, He knows. Every pain. Every tear. Every angry thought. Every single broken moment, God knows.


Maybe my thoughts will never exactly look like Philippians 4:8, but I believe that the longer we hold onto our way of thinking, the longer we let our thoughts drag us into ______________ (despair, fear, anger, hatred, dislike, unhappiness, fill-in-your-blank) the longer we will miss the noble, pure, holy, lovely, admirable things. We can't just put a stop on those old thoughts, but through Christ we can do all things. All means all, as my Sunday school teacher always says. Maybe if we just have enough faith in His all we can begin taking up thoughts that lead to joy, hope and peace in Christ. Amen?

5.22.2015

Review: The Choosing - Rachelle Dekker

Alright. So, I am so excited to talk with you guys about this book. When I read the little description for The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker, I thought... YES!! I want to read this!! 

So of course I got it from the lovelies at Tyndale to review.

I thought it was going to be a book similar to the type fiction you find with The Hunger Games or Divergent series. I really enjoy that type of fiction so I wanted to read this and see how it was similar and different in the way her world was written. While the writing could be said as similar to those books, the content is very different but in a wonderful and freeing way.

All people struggle with being enough. From the time we're little to pre-teens to teens to young adult-hood we are constantly trying to be this image of 'perfect'. Rachelle's message in this great piece of fiction is very different from that and says we are enough in our Father's eyes and that once we realize this we'll find identity and freedom.

The Choosing has many characters but a few are Carington, Larkin, Remko, and Helms. The world they live in is supposed to be under God's rule, but The Authority (men who are supposed to teach the people the law and help uphold God's commands) have abused their power and caused people to miss the beauty of life. They find themselves each in different roles, yet wondering if their roles in society, as deemed by The Authority, are really the place God would have them be. The struggle between acceptance and rebellion is strong. Carrington searches for herself and struggles with whether she will ever be enough for anyone, including herself.

This book will grab you in a just a few pages. It's beautifully written and the truth speaks so subtly at first and yet so profoundly through this book that you might find it hard to believe you got so much more out of it than you thought you would. Highly recommend to everyone. Wonderful summer read!

Rachelle, you did so good, girl!! Keep writing. You're a blessing.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the exchange of an honest review. All views and opinions expressed are mine.

The Author: Rachelle Dekker 


About the Author . . . The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com.

5.17.2015

The Limit

The limit.
The place where exhaustion hits.
Prayers not yet answered.
Sins not yet mastered.
Fear.
Doubt.
Shame.
The devil's work, not God's.
Too much thinking.
Just call out to the Father.
Healing.

5.10.2015

Untitled

We live in a society that constantly preaches to dislike yourself.

Really. Look around. How many positive things do you hear or see said about another person or, (oh my!), about themselves?

Women are supposed to be curvy or stick thin. We're supposed to have tan skin and big eyes and a perfect complexion and be able to cook and clean just right and have a college degree so we can have the 'perfect' family.

Men are supposed to be thin, athletic, kind, listen well, have a high paying job, work two jobs to sustain all the things their family may want, dress nice, do the yard, pick up the pieces to help their family remain 'perfect'.

But is this the life God intended for His children?

Obviously since The Fall we haven't been the same. The perfection we could have lived in never came and now we wait patiently for it in Heaven. But our hearts crave it. The world preaches it. So we're left with a BUNCH of broken, helpless, lost, people who are trying to do everything they can to be perfect.

And I'm one of them.

When did it become okay to put someone down because they're a little chubby? Or because they dress weird? Or because their phone is not the latest? When did it become normal to strive to get finished with college and get the best job possible at the ripe age of 22 or 23, the job that that other person worked YEARS to get themselves? When did it become the norm for women to work their butts off trying to attain this perfect position of being an 'independant woman' AND a stay-at-home-mommy? Why is it okay to belittle a man who works construction for a living or who doesn't always wear a fancy suit and tie to church every Sunday?

Image is not everything. 

When will we understand that the grace God has given to us is meant not only for us but for all the world? When will we USE it to become more like Christ and allow grace for the times we or others look little like Him? When will we decide that people are better than things? When we understand that God has gifted us with much and we can very much be thankful and content.

My heart has overflowed with these thoughts lately. Silent prayers of thanks and the desire to be more content flow through me. I don't fully know the answers to these questions, but I do know that every person is unique and loved. I know that God has a plan for everyone and those plans are always different for each person. I know the paths we have walked don't have to define us into our future. I know that it's okay to not be okay. I know that it's okay to realize that you like your somewhat chubby thighs or curly hair that no one can tame but you. It's okay to work as a janitor. All these glorify our Maker. He made us to glorify Him. If we can glorify Him scrubbing toilets, then why not? If we can glorify Him when singing off key, then why not? If we can be imperfect and still be loved by a Holy God, why can't we love others the same way and glorify God?

We can do all this through Christ who gives us strength. (Paraphrase of Philippians 4:13).

5.05.2015

Push through

The older you get the more you will realize that all people won't like you. That suffering will come. That God is faithful and He's gonna bring you through every trial you encounter.

This week started off not so good. I woke up Monday morning with more joy in my life (had to come from the Lord) than I've had in a while. I was excited for the week. Then, a couple people made some comments and my heart sank to the floor along with my joy.

I went running yesterday afternoon and while I was running the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart about how suffering will come to us whether it's consequences of what we've done or just random happenings. It will come. Do we expect it? Maybe. Do we let it ruin our joy and suck the happiness out of life? We shouldn't.

I don't handle criticism very well at all. My insecurities run kind of deep anyhow for whatever reason and when I'm doing something, especially to glorify God, and criticism comes, I get really upset. It physically hurts the heart.

But we have to come to the point where even if it hurts we push through. We forgive. We ask God for help. We look to our Strength and Provider to give us strength and provide. We ask God to give us confidence over our choices and decisions and we let Him be our Confidence because who we are in Christ does not change no matter what people say.

So, yeah. Sometimes we'll get mad and sad and be hurt, but once we have a chance to calm down we can remember who we are and that is the Lord's. So good!!! ^_^