5.22.2014

Receiving the gift to receive.

I'm on chapter 3 now in Finding Spiritual Whitespace and this journey to spiritual rest is already difficult, but it's also a blessing.

Bonnie Gray writes these words on page 48,

''So, I taught myself that day: I do not need to receive to be happy. Avoiding pain and figuring out whom to please was more important.''

I recognize this sentence. It's very familiar to my soul. Why? Because I learned it too. I learned saying, ''I'm okay.'' and ''No, thank you.'' was better than opening my heart to rejection or disapproval from someone.

And my life continues in this crazy pace of trying so hard and doing so much and realizing over and over again that I. just. can't.

No matter how hard I try, somebody will eventually get displeased or "that thing" won't work like I want it to, or I'll still be carrying those 15 extra pounds and hearing those words, ''You're so fat.'' again.

Jesus says receive.

Receive Me.
Receive rest.
Receive My gifts.

I confused being a servant and self-denial with starving my soul and never stopping to take a break.

But as He says, ''Come.'' so I say, ''Help me, Daddy.''

5.19.2014

The blank page.

Bonnie Gray has a new book coming out.

I agreed to read it because Bonnie's story is similar to mine and she has an excellent gift from God in writing. She's very real and I like that. So within the next few weeks I'll be posting blog posts on what the Lord stirs in my heart as I journey through this book...

it (the book) is called: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: awakening your soul to rest.

Journey with me.


--
Tonight's prompt was to read the list of images written on the page and find yourself- that one thing that sends a peace soaring through you- and then figure out why you identify with that.

Mine was the blank page.

You know what I'm talking about if you read some.

It's that space right after a chapter ends, and just before a new one beings. It's just one. blank. page.

And I really like it.

I guess you could say I'm drawn to it. Why?

Because that space is rest to me. It's the removal of striving and the invitation to just be.

The layer of fat around my middle; the slow pace of my jog, the way my nose tans faster than the rest of my face so it's two shades darker, the constant fear of letting down my family and friends and church family. It's the constant dread of being told "You're not good enough." and finally giving in to that voice that tells me that almost every day.

It's all that... removed.

It's freedom. And isn't that what Jesus gives us? True freedom from sin, from unrest.

But too often I can't find it. I could paint you a perfect person and name her "me" but she wouldn't be real and that's just stupid.

Right now I feel a mixture of peace and fear. The journey to rest isn't as simple as some think. And I can dwell on that and let dread overwhelm me (because sometimes real rest seems like a myth.) but I won't.

I'll let this time be my blank page and I'll just speak, "Thank You, Jesus. Help me trust You."

Amen.

5.14.2014

Love-ology - book review


It took me way, way too long to read this book. Just wanted to get that out of the way before I actually start talking about the book. ;)

Okay, so Love-ology is written by John Mark Comer and it's a book on, well, you probably already guessed it, love. He talks on what a God honoring relationship looks like, how to have one, how far is "too far" when you're dating, etc., etc.

I really like the way the book is written and I think most girls will appreciate the color scheme (pink and white. holla!). While I didn't agree with some of the author's opinions or views, most of them are pretty solid and will benefit any couple or single. Yes, I did say single. This book isn't just written for those who are dating or looking to date, it's written to singles as well. Because 1) you never know if God will send someone your way or not, but best to be prepared, yeah? and 2) this is FILLED with lots of history regarding the creation of the world and how it relates to males and females; our differences, similarities, how that points to the heart of God, how we point to the heart of God... stuff like that.

The author has a very honest writing style which I think most people will appreciate and most everything in this book is stated plainly so everyone can understand it. Towards the end of the book a Q&A with the author and his wife is included and I found that to be a very interesting read.

I would definitely recommend this book to anybody. It's great for all ages and all people. Go out and pick up a copy!

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

5.13.2014

30 Days to a More Beautiful You: A Devotional for Girls - book review

Tyndale sent me an email a while back asking if I'd agree to review this little devotional book for girls, and of course I said yes.

Kylie Bisutti is someone I've heard of, since her story of choosing to quit being a Victoria Secret model in pursuit of the Lord became quite large, especially in the Christian community. I've yet to read her book, 'I'm No Angel', but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through this devotional.

Kylie encourages young women to pursue the Lord and His calling on their lives, not this world's. She speaks from her heart and because of her modeling career is able to speak to girls a lot about what value personal appearance has and what character in your life you should strive towards.

This is a beautiful book and I would encourage women of all ages to read it. Very refreshing. Thanks, Kylie! And big thanks to Tyndale for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.

5.12.2014

Death, grief, and where faith is birthed

''Ain't even gray, but she buries her baby. The sharp knife of a short life.''

No parent should ever have to follow their child's body through a door to their physical body's resting place.

But it happens and today I saw it.

I watched as people came pouring in to both celebrate and mourn the loss of a 22 year old guy.

22 years old.

I cried and looked on as others cried, talked, laughed, and were somber. I didn't even meet this young man, but the testimony of his life was beautiful and an excellent tribute to his parents and his Heavenly Father.

It's these times of sorrow that we begin to ask questions and wonder why the world works the way it does. Why did he die so young? Could it have been prevented? Was there a reason it all happened the way it did? Can we trust a God that allows this to happen?

And it's the moments where everything seems gray and nothing is clear that faith is birthed.

It's not the cliché Christian quotes or the ''how to deal with grief'' books that birth faith. It's God's work within us, the Holy Spirit, that allows faith to grow. It's the choosing to trust for the next step, and the next step, and the next step.

I don't know why these things happen. I hate when they do. But I was reminded today to live life well, to love deeply, to forgive quickly, and to let the stupid stuff fall where it may because it doesn't matter. I was reminded that our Father God doesn't like when things like this happen either, that it breaks His heart too, and that that's one of the reasons why He sent His Son to die for us, so He can draw us near to Him in these times of grief. Thank You, Lord!!

God bless their family and may we all live and love each day as if it were our last.

5.07.2014

My womanly issues...

I know a lot of nice people. A lot of people I like to compare myself to. A lot of people I compare to myself.

And can we just stop with this stupid comparison game already?

Yet I find myself once again jealous (shocking, right?), depressed, upset, and joyless. What about grace, though? Grace seems lost as well.

I've been praying a lot about being gracious, kind, pure, holy... and maybe the problem is I've yet to pray, "Make me Christ-like." My motives are always, make me like her. Make me sweet and kind and let others be impressed with me. 

Oh boy.

But He says we should be less and He should be greater and I just can't move myself out of the way. Oh Jesus, help me.

I've tried to be thankful for all the times He's shown me to be less loud and shall we say.. blunt? But each time I'm just flat on my face, begging for mercy, and a new personality... or maybe just a nicer one.

Today I'm asking for help to be joyful and confident in Him. To be Christ-like, not Beth Moore-like, not Stasi Eldridge-like, not like my mother or my sister or my friends, but more like Him in and through the unique personality He gave me. All those women are great for who they are, but we aren't the same. And it's okay. Oh Lord, help us to see it's okay. Maybe when I become more thankful for how He made me, I'll be more thankful for the way He made others, si?

Happy Wednesday!