3.31.2014

Wait...

I'm a go-getter, don't wait kind of girl.

I've been that way since I was young. I like to get done what I can get done and do as much as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Wait is not a word I like to hear. Wait takes me back to my childhood and temper tantrums and tears and anger.

Oddly enough, I still cry, throw a pity-party, and get mad when I'm told I have to wait. (In case you're wondering, I had me a moment today. Yep, Christians fail. Thank God for Jesus and grace!)

I read this today and was absolutely blessed by these words,

"My motto tends to be why wait when you can do it now…. Like right now. However sometimes we are simply called to wait, wait in the unknown and trust that we will be taken care of."

Yes.

Trusting God will take care of you when school is overwhelming, your job stinks, you're tired, your life isn't as "awesome" as you'd like it to be... trust.

Trusting that when you're crying, He cares. Trusting that when you're happy, He cares. Trusting that when all around you is falling apart, He cares. He cares enough to walk with us through the pain.

Stand tall, little heart, or bow low. Either way, take some time to rest tonight in the fact that no matter what you're going through, God will take care of you. Amen.

3.29.2014

Spoken For - Book review

Spoken For is a book written by two fearfully and wonderfully made ladies who seek to share the truth with other girls.

Alyssa Bethke and Robin Jones Gunn speak to the heart of every woman in embracing the truth about who they are in the Lord. Definitely not an easy read for anybody. Each chapter takes on a different area in our lives that the Lord claims and how He views us/it. Some of the topics include knowing we are loved, pursued, valued, set free, and of course, spoken for.

I've found myself nodding along, fighting back tears, and hoping as I've read through the pages of this book.

I'd encourage any woman to pick up a copy when it releases on April 15th. I'd especially recommend this book for pre-teens and teen girls as it's always good to set the foundation of understanding your identity in the Lord early on.

*Note: I received a complimentary advanced readers copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing. All opinions and views expressed are mine and do not reflect that of the publisher. 

3.28.2014

He came for those days too...

My soul can become so weary. All the work, the little amount of rest, the fight for peace and holiness that leaves me bone-dry and facing up to the fact that holiness and peace and perfection are impossible for me.

Jesus came for me on those days.

Not just the days where His promises are like chocolate cake to me- oh so sweet. But also for the days when He seems distant and maybe not as nice as I thought He was. On the days where I don't understand and the panic attacks come from worries and over-analyzing life and when I'm reading the blogs, the books, and thinking, hmm... why are they this joyful?

He came for us when we look at ourselves and hate what we see and yet don't know how to change it or don't even know how to hope for change... or hope itself. He came to give rest to the weary and burdened.

He came for the sick. He came for the bleeding woman, and the prostitute, and the thief on the cross, and for us.

Maybe what we really need is to stop and be still. No working, no analyzing, no book reading, movie watching, etc. Just. be. still.

God holds us even when we just can't dare to believe that.

Lord Jesus, Salvador, help us overcome our unbelief. 

3.26.2014

At Peace in the Storm - Book review

"3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (emphasis mine)

If there has ever been a book that verse 4 could be posted on every page, it's At Peace in the Storm  by Ken Gire.

I got this book because I've felt the tug of war from the world and the Devil and life's daily struggles and the lack of peace that has followed my heart for a year. I wasn't one bit disappointed by reading it. Every page felt like a cool drink on a hot day. I felt understood... and the hopelessness that has been my un-wanted friend for a while started to dissipate and was replaced by the hope that is found in Christ.

Ken shares some of his experiences in life that have threatened to steal his peace (and how some did) and then shares how the Lord gave him comfort in many different things- worship music, Bible reading, hugs from friends, etc.

If you're going through a hard time, you won't experience condemnation while you read this book. It reads like a good friend who desires to help you. The chapters are short enough that if you wanted to you could read it like a devotional for a couple weeks. No matter what you do, I encourage everyone who has ever felt the pull of life and the fight for peace to pick it up and read it.

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

3.17.2014

Tired from war

There is a constant war between the flesh and the Spirit. The heart and the mind. The Body and the Devil.

I get tired. Today I woke up tired.

Tired and worn from a fight that never seems to stop.
Tired and worn from trying so hard to do right in His eyes and failing over and over.
Tired and worn from valuing so many different opinions that His voice seems all but completely drowned out.
Tired and worn from trying to look like I have it all together... because I don't.

Psalm 23 says that the Lord is my Shepard and in Him I lack nothing. 

I may be tired and worn from all these things because I'm not relying on my Strength. I'm not relying on the One who lacks nothing, nada.

So, though I'm tired, I praise God that He provides, walks alongside us, and sent His Son to show us that Grace has a face.

Happy St. Patty's day. :)

3.14.2014

By the grace of God

At the beginning of the year I started going through a Chronological Bible study plan. I've always thought it would be cool to go in order of the things that happened so many years ago. So that's what I did... am doing.

Since it's still at the beginning-ish stages, you can guess I've been camped out in the Old Testament. I'll be honest and let you know that some days, no matter how focused I am (though, to be fair, I am can get really unfocused while reading the Word), I don't get a special word from God... some form of enlightenment to take with me throughout the day. Sometimes it's just a subtle form of peace.

Today, though, I was reading through Deuteronomy 8-10. All 3 of those chapters blessed me so much. I can't pinpoint all the things that touched me but I was extremely blessed to read about how God told the Israelites through Moses, not to be prideful because of their righteousness when they entered the promised land because they had none- righteousness that is. He told them that they were stubborn and disobedient. After reading about how many sacrifices you had to make for all the different sins, I was kind of excited and saddened to be able to finally relate.

I was excited to be able to see myself in this particular period of time, I was saddened because I saw more of my sin and less righteousness and perfection.. those things I try to attain so badly.

Many times I've noticed in my life how badly I want to be perfect. How badly I want others to see me and say, 'Wow. Look at her.' I am prideful, and selfish, and stupid sometimes. I can be that disobedient and stubborn Israelite stuck in the wilderness. I can get snappy at people, apologize for it, and then somehow find myself doing it again in not even 10 minutes. I can be too hard on myself and too hard on other people and when it comes to grace, no matter how many times I experience it, I still seem to be at a loss for understanding it (and maybe that's because love and grace are better experienced than understood). Relying on the Lord and His strength is not my strong suit, but I still try and when the Lord tells me to cease striving and know He is God I sometimes cry.

I've found myself uttering the words, I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this. many, many times in the past few weeks. I've reached my breaking point in certain areas and yet somehow I keep going. How? By the grace of God. And maybe that's the whole point of this post. To show you that  I'm just as imperfect as you are and I have struggles, and dry seasons, and temper-tantrums too. To show you that the girls and guys with blogs aren't this clean-shaven, cookie-cutter, sinless person. We are all sinners. Yet His love came down and He died on a cross because when we utter, I can't do this, He says, 'But I did.'

I'm not as righteous as I want to be and I see myself more in the Israelites than in Moses but I'm thankful that Jesus took my place to lay His righteousness on me. I'm thankful that I don't have to strive to be perfect and try to earn His love and grace because I already have it. Let's strive to be more faith-filled and believe Him than to try and be Him. Amen?


3.04.2014

Restless - book review

We all long to have lives that matter. We have all felt the ache to do something that matters. But far too often fears, anxieties, sin, people etc. hold us back from pursuing those things that matter... from seeking out the things that matter. Or we simply just don't know where to start and our solution to that problem is to just not start at all (I know this because I've lived this many times).

In her new book, Restless, Jennie Allen presses women all over the world to seek out their God, to find the gifts He's given them, and use them to glorify His name and reach their bigger goals, dreams, and ultimately their purpose.

Restless is filled with stories of women who are wrestling, struggling to reach their bigger dreams, the ones they know God has given them and they just don't know how to get there or where it ultimately leads. Restless is also filled with stories of women who are still seeking out their purposes, dreams, and desires that God has placed within them and has for them. They are still struggling and still searching.

Somewhere in there is you and me. Somewhere in there is the story of how you're beginning the search or in the midst of it. Maybe you need some direction, some guidance. I think this book would be a good place to look. Not because Jennie has all the answers (I think she'd be the first to tell you she doesn't), but because she helps to point us to the God who does.

I read Jennie's first book Anything not too long ago and was completely blessed by it (also, I think it sounds really good when you say that you read the author's first book when writing a review for their second one ;) ). That's why I got Restless when I saw it was up for review. I was not disappointed by it and I don't think you will be either.

If you need guidance or direction about where and how you should go about taking the next step God wants you to take, pick up this book. It is filled with love, grace, wisdom, and honesty.

"To know that we do not measure up and that we don't have to because of Jesus, because of grace, means that life gets a whole lot more fun." - p. 184

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