8.25.2015

For The Love

Humor. Truth. Honesty. Humor. Real. Encouraging. Did I mention funny?

For the love by Jen Hatmaker is one book that you will want to read and re-read (at least for me and I don't do that with very many books) for years to come. Yes, it's that good.

I read her first book, 7, and was extremely pleased with it. When I saw this come out I signed up very quickly to review it.

I read this book in a few days. It's so easy to read with the funny thank-yous at the end of each section and the truth that is put concisely, but so powerfully throughout. With chapters on church issues and wearing leggings as pants (yes, you read that right), you won't get bored with this one.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Whether you're a Christian or not, I think anyone would enjoy this book. Ladies, if you need an effortless read, go grab it!

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.


8.23.2015

I want to know him

Book stacked on top of book.
Journal. Pen.
Different translations of the Word.


My heart.
Cluttered yet clean.
Restless, yet at peace.

Those books, all those Christian literature, are not there so I can mark it off my Christian checklist. These are because I truly want to know God.

No, no. Not know more about Him. I want to know Him.

Those books teach me more of who He is and more of who I am. What a blessing it is to read someone else's sentence and know you're not alone.

That journal? It's there so I can sing His praises and tell Him my sorrows. It's there to celebrate the joys and remember the hard times. I look back and see His faithfulness and my sinfulness. I look back and see His goodness and my joy in it.

The Word. There are many translations... I need the ones that speak clearly to me. The ones that aren't in some crazy code that I have to figure out to know what He says. No, I need the ones that make you dig a little, but not so much that you can't clearly understand what He says.

I mess up every single day. This life is hard and my sin makes it harder. Romans 7 was meant for me. Indeed, I am the worst sinner and He is the great Savior.

I may act like a Pharisee at times, but today I just want to know Him.

8.08.2015

The beast returning...

I felt it in the early morning.

The beast. Awakened yet again. The gloom and darkness pulls so heavy.

Go back to sleep.
Roll over. 
Close your eyes. 
Pray. Don't give in. 
Those are lies. Don't listen to them! 
Oh... it's gonna be a day. Just hold on.

The thoughts are always swirling.

But the thoughts? The thoughts I can deal with through God. The feelings though? Those are much harder to turn away from. The anxiety, the depression... oh yes. I know those too well. The lies from Satan, the lies from the past, the lies in the present... all congregate to the bottom of my stomach and the inside of my heart.

They seep through the crevices and then decide to explode. Causing not only my head to spin, but my heart to plummet as well.

Oh, God. Lord, it's dark. It's scary. It's hard to explain. I know You see. I l know you hear. I know You're here.


Tell that to your heart. Tell that to your mind. Speak it. Sing it. Know it. Believe it. Darkness cannot overcome light. 

Jesus, help me. 

8.04.2015

The beauty of ugly

Today was ugly.

I am talking, sweating in the car (because it is definitely 100 degrees outside), makeup running down my face (because I was crying and sweating... yep. At the same time. UGLY.) I said a few cuss words that I SO wish I could take back. I got mad about nothing. It was bad.

The Lord is gracious.

Was my Father sad about how I acted? Totally. He was probably disappointed too.

But He is gracious.

He has blessed me with a gracious person who loves me far more than I deserve. He has blessed with the knowledge that even when I fail, H i s love NEVER does.

Today was ugly. Yes. But it was also beautiful. I was reminded in the form of truth spoken gently by the Holy Spirit and by the love of one of the most faithful people, that though I fail, love  n e v e r  does.

Wow. Thank You, Lord!!!!

8.02.2015

Clothe

I like fashion. A lot. I like the thrill of buying a new outfit and the anticipation of wearing it. I enjoy a great skinny jean paired with a flowy top that makes the two pieces look just right. To me, there is nothing wrong with that... to a point.
As I was reading my devotional this morning this particular verse stood out to me.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. - Colossians 3:12 

Clothe.

Clothing.

Familiar to me and yet as easy as it is for to get dressed in the morning, it is quite hard for me to find these five characteristics to put on each day. Oh, get dressed? Yes, I can do that. Be nice? Be compassionate? Be humble? Hmmm... me? No, not so much.

For me personally, humility is key to all of the Christ-likeness I desire. I sometimes choose to clothe myself with greed and envy or pride rather than choosing the beautiful things that would reflect the heart of my Savior to a world that does not know Him.

Lets be real. I still need to know Him. EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is part of the reason why sin is so harsh in my life at times. Because I still do not treasure as I should. But that is another topic for another day.

Humility is hard. I have flesh. I like to be right. I like to look smart. I like to be a smart-alec. I like to be the center of the show. I want all eyes on me. Am I the only one? I hope not. But even so, that doesn't change my sinfulness.

Why should I clothe myself with these 5 things? And better yet, how on earth am I going to do that?

Well, first things first, I need to be clothed in these five things because as child of  God, He tells me this is how I need to be. Notice I said the word be and not act. If we focus merely on the outward appearance we will see results, yes, but only for a short while and then afterwards we will be left with the remnants of the ever famous attempt-but-fail Christian walk. No, I need my heart to be like this. Holy. Pure. This side of Heaven it may look dark, but each day He renews and redeems us to look more like Him.

Second, to be able to do anything or all things, we must look to Christ who is our strength. I am not naturally good at any of the attributes listed above. In fact, I think I am best at the exact opposite of each of those words... I am quite good at pride, apathy, meanness, and I am NOT good with patience at all.

So while reading this verse this morning I was humbled and encouraged and challenged. Not only will I clothe myself in that nice dress that I bought for less than $10, but looks better than $10 this morning (am I bragging? ;) ), but I will also be praying for God to clothe me in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I want to be more like Him and look more like Him.

Oh how thankful I am for those moments where my heart is as it should be! Thank you, Highest Father!!!

What will you ask the Father to clothe you with today or this week? Let us pray over each other together for our hearts to become more like His. Yeah?


7.28.2015

What Keeps You Up At Night - book review

What Keeps You Up At Night by Pete Wilson is a wonderful book.

When I first read the description of it I knew I wanted to get it. Being a 20-something, there are many choices and pressures I am faced with and sometimes they can keep you up at night wondering how on earth you are going to get through it all.

I have not read anything by Pete Wilson before. I had heard many great things about his book, Let Hope In, so I knew wanted to check this one out and see if all the hype was true.

I cannot speak for his first book, but I can speak for this one. I have been so encouraged and challenged by this book. Pete gives you insight into so much. From having faith to pursue your dreams to waiting on the Lord to provide, you are constantly encouraged to draw closer to the Lord and trust Him.

Probably my favorite thing about this book is the quick summary at the end of each chapter. He gives you a quick summary of the chapter and then questions to ask yourself afterwards. This aspect of the book would make it really great to do a small group book study together using it.

Overall, I think this book is great for people of all ages and in each facet of life. I would say that some chapters are repetitive and feel more like you are being preached at then talked to. However, there is something in this book for everybody, because really, who hasn't had trouble in their life before? We have all had doubts and fears that kept us up and prevented us from using faith. This book will challenge you to have faith in every area of your life no matter the circumstances.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

7.10.2015

Breaking up with perfect

Everyone is so obsessed with perfection today.

Perfect engagements with perfect rings and then the perfect wedding.
Perfect closet with perfect clothes and perfect shoes to match.
Perfect nails and perfect hair and of course, perfect makeup.

What are we doing? It's for show. Like the Pharisees we are making the outside perfect while neglecting the inside. We're crazy!

We can't be perfect. A look in the mirror and a glimpse at the Old Testament will tell you that. How many times have we failed? How many times have we forgotten God? How many times have we disobeyed Him??

His love never fails. 

Love. Love fulfills the law. Love never fails. If we want perfection we should be looking at Jesus and striving to love like 1 Corinthians talks about instead of seeking the perfect looks to our lives and becoming disappointed when it doesn't look ''instagram worthy''.

I'll be the first to admit that my life is a mess. Not only on the outside, but on the inside too. I mess things up all the time. I beat myself up over it or I beat others up over it, but to be sure, someone always gets the short end of the failure-felt-attitude.

Today I'm breaking up with perfect.

I'm looking to the only perfect One and that's Jesus. I'm letting my life be the mess it is and embrace. I'm no longer going to wait for joy. I'm gonna grab it. I'm doing things that make me smile and if they don't turn out 'pinterest-like', that'll be okay.

I'm gonna love. Love is beautiful and messy. It's worth it too.

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.