Takeaway Tuesdays: Psalm 9:1-2

I’m working my way through the Psalms this January. In Psalm 9, David says he will give thanks with his whole heart, and he will recount all of God’s wonderful deeds. I love the idea of presenting my gratitude to God with my whole heart and remembering all He’s done for me. It’s not always easy to do when you’re in the midst of turmoil, or life in the mundane is seemingly on repeat — but to remember God’s faithfulness is a healthy practice. It means I am fixing my eyes up God, and acknowledging He is good. Here’s this month’s free Takeaway Tuesday print. Enjoy!

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart. I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. (1)Click here for your free 11*8.5 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 I 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.

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This was the instance when God and I had an aha moment. These words have carried me through the remainder of the year.ig-yoy

God 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?

I’ll Put the Kettle On

One of my favorite parts about growing up in a British-American household has been the art of drinking tea.

I call it an art because there are several steps to enjoying a good cup of tea: boiling the water, “warming the teapot”- this consists of taking a little of the piping hot water and swirling it inside of the teapot and then leaving that water in the teapot before adding your tea and the rest of the boiling water, making sure everyone’s tea is to their liking (milk, no sugar, thanks), allowing the tea to steep for just the right amount of time (approximately 4-5 minutes, depending upon the strength you desire), and finally, sipping on that steaming cup of tea.

The art of drinking tea happens in my family’s household every day, when we get home from work, typically between 4 and 6 PM. Although the process of drinking tea only takes a few minutes, it is during this time that I have found the most enjoyment. It sets my family up for conversation, particularly about the highs and lows of our day.

When watching British television shows or movies, or when visiting with relatives in UK, this practice takes place the instant you are invited into someone’s house. You may be complete strangers, but by golly, you will be offered a hot drink. My Mum and I always joke when we hear someone offered a hot drink. Television shows are particularly good at depicting this illustration. Someone is invited into a house. Their world is crumbling apart. And the first thing that is said by the host or hostess is, “I’ll put on the kettle for a cup of tea.” I find this comical, and yet, maybe British culture is onto something.

Periodically throughout Scripture, verses speak about people gathering together to eat and drink. There is something beautiful in the breaking of bread together, or having a drink together. It is in these moments that life is shared more intimately.

Do you know of a friend or family member who is going through a stressful time in their life?  

Perhaps offering refuge to a loved one really ought not to be complicated.  

What if all a hurting person needed was a cup of tea, or coffee, and a space to be invited into? Allowing someone into your home to take refuge, to find peace from a personal crisis, can be simple.

Refuge, as I think God intended it to be, looks like this:

Come into my home, no matter how many dirty dishes there are in the sink, or toys on the floor. I’ll serve you something to drink or eat. We can chat, or not. You can feel safe in this moment to share what’s on your mind. I can pray for you. You can be who God created you to be and I will not try to change you. I will allow God to do the changing, if necessary.

Will you try this for me? The next time someone you care for texts you not knowing what to do, invite them over. Put on the kettle. Let them take refuge, and just see how God shows up in that moment of sipping on your tea together.

Original blog posted 01/17/16