Takeaway Tuesdays: Psalm 34:8

I don’t know about you, but summertime in Oregon means LOTS of fresh produce. I love picking fruit from the plentiful trees, plucking vegetables from their vine. It is a time of celebration: from seedling, to mature fruit. Summer reminds me to slow down, enjoy God’s goodness, and praise him! I’ve created a print to remind us to do just this.

Psalm 348

Click here for a free download.

Takeaway Tuesday: Exodus 33:18

I just listened to Annie Down’s podcast That Sounds Fun. The specific episode I finished had guest John Mark Comer, who is a Portland pastor/author. I so enjoyed this episode and loved how he shared about millennials (given I am one of those peeps), the post-modern church, Portland, and the like. One of my big takeaways from the podcast was the prayer John Mark suggests the listeners pray, coming straight from Exodus 33:18. In this passage, Moses is asking God to show him his glory- meaning, reveal who God is in totality. I love that. I want to know ALL of God, and hope that this verse is your prayer too.

showmeyourglory

Download this FREE 8.5*11 print here.

Dreams From the Threshing Floor, Part 2

To write this specific blog post, I am taking a risk. A vulnerable risk. I only ask that you read my words with care and tenderness, and keep in mind I am still living these words on a daily basis.

Last summer, I wrote on Anchored Voices a blog post titled “Dreams From the Threshing Floor“. To summarize the post, I wrote about my heart journey in the first two-thirds of the year. How God wants us to come to Him with all of our anxieties, fears, hopes and dreams. We can meet Him there on the threshing floor, be stripped of any inhibitions, and allow ourselves to be fully revealed to Him. It is in this place that He takes all that we bring and begins to sift through the chaff of lies, fears, and anything not of Him. He listens, and then lets them fall to the wayside. What is left after the intense sifting is the wheat of truth and hope.

I wrote about this sifting of my heart desires and thoughts, but I chose not to delve into specifics. It was too raw, too fresh. It stung. But lately, I have been pressing into God’s goodness, and learning what it looks like to seek after Him when the “ifs” haven’t come. It’s time to come clean, and bare a little of my soul. I share after much prayer, tears, and asking God, “Really, that? Are You sure?”

So, here I go.

A lot of what God worked on in my life last year had to do with my being single. Three years ago, I wrote about being single. About its joys. About the struggles. And perhaps this is when and where the lies began to seep into my heart.

As I relied upon God, and asked Him (sometimes, if I’m honest, begged Him) to help me believe that His ways are better than mine, I soon thereafter encountered a few glimpses of potential relationships. I bounced back and forth between hesitation and a just-go-for-it attitude. However, none of these relationships panned out. I was left feeling rejected, and my fear of being alone amplified. In these moments, I do believe God protected my heart, and allowed me to bounce back, so to say, quickly. Or so I thought.

This brings me to last summer. In some ways, it felt like God purposefully separated me from my daily routine of work, friends, and family. Being that I am a school nurse, I have the summer off. I can use this time to do virtually anything, and last summer I took a couple science classes. In the morning I’d head to class, in the afternoon, I’d head to the gym. Other than these two activities, I spent a lot of time at home, on my back deck. As I sat out in one of the patio chairs, I began to listen, and pray. God spoke wisdom to me through two friends- both who challenged me to listen to God during this time.

As I listened, here is what God confirmed: I had been harboring some deep-rooted lies about myself for several years. I had not given them up to Him with sweet surrender, but instead had hidden them away, deep within my heart. threshingfloorpart2pic1Lies specifically that stated: I am not worthy of a relationship, that I am broken, that I am not a valuable member of the church because I am single. These ugly untruths revealed themselves one by one. I couldn’t believe my own heart. Hadn’t I been preaching to myself all these years, confident in my singleness and God’s purpose in my singleness?

Flabbergasted, I came to God over and over again. I would cry out, Pour over your truth on me, God! Let my heart be filled with your words. He would direct me to purposeful passages in His word.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31.

God reminded me of my life verse, 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” The verses following my life verse then say, ” Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 

It was evident that the devil had been prowling around my heart and head like a roaring lion, seeking to devour my thoughts. It was in these moments of crying out to God that I read His word with fervor. I wanted to shout! NO! I will not believe any longer that I am unworthy of love. I looked at Ephesians 6:11 with fresh eyes, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

I resolved last summer, and have continued, to battle untruths with God’s truths. He says I am loved. He is my refuge. He discerns my thoughts. I cannot hide from God. He looks at me with loving eyes, and knows me intimately. There is no point in tucking away the ugly any more, because He already knows it. He can handle my myriad of thoughts and emotions. He knows that I have moments of watching my friends interact with their husbands and children and that ever-so-slightly my heart physically aches. He knows when I wonder, “Am I forgotten? When is it my time?”

I am finding freedom in surrendering my thoughts fully and completely to God. I am able to share my heart with other single women, and I can articulate to my married friends more readily.

My summer on the threshing floor with God has deepened my trust in Him. I ask Him to show up, and He does. Every time. Maybe not how I think He will, but in His own sweet way. I realize these desires are good, and I have no shame in wanting a godly husband or children. threshingfloorpart2pic2But more importantly, I have learned that God is better than my desires. I am a work in progress, and God is doing a good work in me. What could be sweeter?

Takeaway Tuesdays: 1 Peter 5:7

Lovely readers, I have fallen in love … with making Bible verses into pieces of art.

I am such a visual person, that I am declaring that Tuesdays are ‘Takeaway Tuesdays‘. 1-2 times a month, on Tuesdays, I am going to post a free downloadable print. Frame ’em, put them on your fridge, give one to your mom, it’s up to you. I stated in my January blog post over on Anchored Voices that I want 2017 to be filled with more of God’s Word. I know I am more inclined to look at something visually appealing, so I’m creating ‘Takeaway Tuesdays‘, where I give away a 8.5″x 11″ print for nada.

It’s time to fill our minds and hearts with heavenly things, yes? And all God’s people say AMEN.

1peter57dl

1 Peter 5:7 is my go-to life verse. Its words have carried me through many a trial.

Click to download January’s free print

 

2016: My Year of Yes

 

sleek-foil-pinkAt the beginning of the year, my dear friend Chara challenged a group of our gal pals to pray over a word for the year. I prayed, and God put on my heart “YES.” What the heck, God? That word freaked me out just a little. What was He going to ask of me this year, 2016? I’m going to bullet point what I’ve learned this year because everyone loves a good list, right?

  • Yes to doing hard things. One of my best friends Jenn asked me to join the gym with her in February. I had been a weekly runner, but the gym- I could live without it. Slowly, but surely, I eased my way back into routine. Fast forward 10 months later, and I now use the gym 4 days a week and run outside on Saturdays. I’ve rediscovered my love for cycling and yoga, and my body has thanked me for the exercise. I’m healthier, I have tons more energy, my skin is clearer. I have an addiction to group classes and I’m so glad I joined. I have put in a LOT of sweat equity, and at times, it has been hard. I don’t always want to go, but by blocking out time and putting it into my schedule, I said YES to sweating it out and my body loves it all. I truly want to honor the body that God has given me, not only physically, but in all aspects of my life including mental health, and spiritual health as well.
  • Yes to coming before God and being REALLY honest. This summer, I felt like God quieted my life, and made me pray through some things I had suppressed for quite some time. I wrote a blog post about the threshing floor over on Anchored Voices. I did not hide from God, and I allowed myself to come to Him repeatedly with all of my emotions and desires, and I questioned Him. I can’t remember the last time I really questioned God, and it was scary. But God is so good and faithful, and He showed up every time, proving His love for me. See Psalm 57.
  • Yes to studying God’s word and praying more. I love the She Reads Truth app, and again read through the Bible in one year. I spend roughly 12 minutes or so at night, before bed, reading through Scripture. Studying Truth has been the single most fulfilling part of my year. God has so much to teach me, to reveal to me through His word. I am looking forward to studying the Bible more next year as well. I also cannot emphasize enough the impact prayer has upon my life. It is my lifeblood and connection to God.
  • Yes to strengthening the gifts God gave me. I write monthly for Anchored Voices, and I delight in the challenge it brings every time. God requires me to listen and pray over each blog entry, and I love working on my gifting of edification and encouragement. I have been given time and the ability to use these gifts, and know that God is ultimately glorified through them. I am also trying to be more cognizant of the people placed in my life who need encouragement and edification. I listen to God’s promptings and try to share with others words of wisdom, a gentle rebuke, or hope.

2016 has been memorable for me. In August, after a summer of God working on my heart something fierce, I read Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect. My year of YES had felt fairly confusing up until this point, and then clarity came. She wrote so poignantly.

sn-quote

This was the instance when God and I had an aha moment. These words have carried me through the remainder of the year.ig-yoyGod wants me to say YES to possibility, and to jump in anyway. To be bold, and fearless in the pursuit of glorifying Him. To be okay with messy, and scary, if it means following Him. To allow myself to be seen in the ugly times with transparency, so that those around me can lift me up in prayer, and in turn, to being there for those around me when they need it most.

2016 has been my year of YES, and I now understand why.

I am looking forward to 2017, and praying over my next year’s word. Will you join me in establishing a word for your upcoming year?

Waiting at Christmastime

Confession: Christy Nockel’s Thrill of Hope Christmas album has been on repeat in my car since the beginning of November. The Advent Hymn, specifically, resonates with my heart in a time of waiting.

Christ whose glory fills the skies
Christ the everlasting light
The sum of righteousness arise
And triumph o’re these shades of night

Come thou long awaited one
In the fullness of your love
And loose this heart bound up by shame
And I will never be the same

So here I wait in hope of you
All my soul’s longing through and through
Dayspring from on high be near
Day Star in my heart appear

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Until your love in me is born
And joyless is the evening song
Until Emmanuel has come

So here I wait in hope of you
All my soul’s longing through and through
Dayspring from on high be near
Day Star in my heart appear

So here I wait in hope of you
All my soul’s longing through and through
Dayspring from on high be near
Day Star in my heart appear

I imagine the shepherds singing this type of song with baited breath night after night into the early morning hours aching for the Christ to be born. He would be King, the one they had waited for—their soul’s longing.

Advent is a time of waiting. It is the period prior to Christmas in which we anticipate Christ’s birth. We are given the opportunity to look at the works of God in the Old Testament and reflect upon the prophecies that heralded a coming Christ.


Continue reading on Anchored Voices

Dear Adoptive Parents,

There is something I want you to know, and I am unashamedly going to steal a line from NBC’s Parenthood’s patriarch, Zeek Braverman, to do it.

“I hear you, and I see you.”

I hear you.

I hear your earnest, heart-filled desires to bring children into your homes. You pour out your hearts to God. You ask for wisdom, for guidance. Sometimes you are asking God for direction because you are unable to have children of your own. Sometimes, your families do not feel complete until your adopted son or daughter is busy growing up alongside your biological children, their siblings.

You are heard when you request prayers in pursuing which avenue of adoption to take: foster-to-adopt, infant adoption, overseas adoption. I hear your passionate voices when you speak of the children who are yet to join your home, or who already have. You are heard.

Continue reading on Anchored Voices

Original blog posted 11/17/16