Responsive: A Prayer

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“You lead me to the water,

Sweet water,

The water of life.

When I am sinking,

You lift me

Up out of the night.”

-United Pursuit, Feeling Low

Jesus, there is so much I have to say to you. First, I need to apologize, because repentance is the gate to your listening ear. I’m so sorry for not listening to your laws. I am a broken human being. I need you so much.

Please have mercy on my soul, & the souls of my friends. We go wayward more times than we feel comfortable admitting. But we need your patient & slow grace. Have mercy on us. We have no idea what we’re doing.

Please help us to become more in tune with your precious voice. We need to listen to the voice that you use to lead us in the way everlasting. Our own personal plans have no place in the light of your perfect plans for our lives. Without you, or your voice, we are dead bodies.

But our victory is set in stone.

“Speak to the silence of my heart…

Speak to the silence of my heart…

Speak to the silence of my heart…

& I will wait for you to come.”

-United Pursuit, Speak To The Silence

Oh, Jesus…how much are we compared to you…your glory…the greatness of your presence…the shadow of your cross…the weight of our burdens that you carried upon yourself?

You are so perfect in each way- so incomparable. You, only you could have done what you did. May we always look to your cross. We are desperate for something that only you can give us. We can’t do anything in our own power to fix our problems; to fix ourselves. We need to have you make a home in our little, mere souls, because only you can change us from the inside out.

We are messes of human beings, but we love you. We try. But we need your divine help. Oh, God. You are the most precious thing we possess. We love you so much.

Let us be still. Still enough to hear your voice. To sit, listen, and respond.

 

This Is The Way, Walk In It

Happy Monday, my friends! I have someone special I would like to introduce you to. Her name is Joelle & I have known her for about 4 years! Throughout these years, she’s become a great friend, and I admire her greatly. She loves the Lord with her whole heart & has a passion for ministry. She writes a blog, called Joyfully Yours Blog & if you click on it, you will be redirected to it. Please check it out, she has so much wisdom to share. Enjoy!

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How do I hear God’s voice? Why would God speak to me? How does God speak to me? For a long time I thought that God only spoke to more “spiritual” people who had a special gift that allowed them to hear God. In the past few months, though, I have come to the conclusion that that is so false. My Heavenly Father desires relationship. And He is so close to me. He wants to speak to me!

Isaiah 30:21 says “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying ‘this is the way, walk in it.’” The Lord is so near. God’s Word was the catalyst of creation. It was there when Adam & Eve sinned. It told Noah to build an ark. The voice of God allowed Moses to move, to initiate the liberation of His people. It was there when that same chosen people refused to follow Him. God’s Word was with David through his deepest turmoil and fear. It told Jonah to go to Nineveh to reach those whom no one wanted to reach. God spoke to the prophets as they warned His people of His wrath and gave the hope of a Savior. The Word became flesh when Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem. And the Word is in us as we listen to the Holy Spirit inside of us –guiding, teaching and speaking.

God’s Word is constant and eternal. It allows us to move forward with confidence in a world full of confusion and insecurity. In Deuteronomy 30:20, it says: “… listen to his voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” God’s word brings life. Not condemnation, not fear, not hate, not shame. Life. Everything He says is perfect. If He speaks of such personal things, and if He cares so much, don’t you think He’d want to speak to you personally? Wouldn’t He want to sit next to you and talk to you about your career, your passions, your future spouse? Wouldn’t He want to help you through your deepest hurts? I truly believe He does.

Revelation 3:20 says that when God knocks on the door of our life and we let Him in, He will come in and eat with us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to tell you things, have long conversations about life, love and everything in between. Whether that be over a cup of coffee or in a dark room at 2AM when you can’t seem to fall asleep.

I believe the greatest way He speaks to us is through His word. He speaks clearly and boldly throughout the Scriptures. Deuteronomy 30:14 say that “the word of the Lord is very near you, it is in your mouth and in your hearts, so you may obey it.” God’s plans were perfectly laid out in the Bible – plans about His people, plans of grace, deliverance, and peace. There are even prophecies about Jesus in the book of Genesis! Isn’t that amazing? The Word was speaking then, why wouldn’t it be speaking now? The Holy Spirit speaks into circumstances that bring joy and those that bring pain. In all circumstances, He speaks life.  Everything He says is purposeful. In Isaiah 55:10-11 (y’all should check out the whole chapter; it’s pretty great!) it says

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

and stay on the ground to water the earth.

They cause the grain to grow,

producing seed for the farmer

and bread for the hungry.

It is the same with my word.

I send it out, and it always produces fruit.

It will accomplish all I want it to,

and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” -from Isaiah 55:10-11

 

Whenever the Lord speaks, it is for a reason. His plans are accomplished, hearts are restored, and love is on display. Learning to discern His voice from all others is so important. I’ve learned that, anything that leads me to discouragement or anger or shame, anything that doesn’t help me grow is not from God. When God speaks, He does so to point me to Him, to change my perspective, to remind me that I can’t do anything without Him. His words bring peace rather than confusion, healing rather than pain, and rest rather than turmoil. It’s okay to question, to research, to ask about what you are hearing (in fact, I encourage you to!). In the end, though, you’ll definitely see that God is always right and His Word is always good.

So, this is my challenge to you:

Seek Him. Read His Word. Pray. Listen. Find out how the Lord speaks to you. He is speaking to you in more ways than you think!

Coffee Chat: The Many Facets of Love

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Get your Monday cups of coffee ready & sit down with a blanket, because no Monday is complete without it! This morning, I opened up my Flourish devotional, and today’s topic was about love. Margaret asked, “What does love look like?”, and she came up with the following answer:

“Love moves. Love rejoices. Love protects. Love trusts. Love forgives. Love hopes. Love perseveres. Love leads. Love keeps. Love abounds.”

I read about how love is like a liquid; always splattering everywhere, splashing, and spilling over. I asked myself, “Do I love like that?”

I know God’s love looks like that.

His love looks like paint thrown on a canvas. Carefree. Always giving, giving, giving. Never tiring. His love looks like a diamond- it looks different when shown in different lights. Always helping us grow. He goes with us.

And this love fills us with love that we’re inspired to give to others. We overflow with it, and then He gives us a refill. We never run dry! I wonder if He could do the same with our coffee cups if we asked…ask & you shall receive, right? (I’m kidding! I wish it worked that way though.)

As I read on, I discovered that love challenges us to engage, embrace, and serve each other, even in the tiniest ways! Here’s a story of the time someone blessed me with small gestures of love (warning- tmi alert):

It was shark week (scandalous), and I was in the most unimaginable pain I’ve ever felt. As I lay on the couch almost in tears, the person I was with that day offered to go out in the pouring rain to buy a hot water bottle because they didn’t have one in their home. So they fed me my medication, covered me with a blanket, turned the TV on, and ran out the door. When they came back shortly after, they made me soup, and filled that hot water bottle to the top. I’ve never felt so loved.

It made me want to love that person in a better way.

I am definitely not perfect when it comes to loving people. I get impatient with people when they don’t understand me, I get upset over tiny inconveniences, and I can be unkind on my worst days. But I definitely do try. And when I hear of God’s crazy love for me, it makes me want to be a better servant. I want to love someone so much that they would describe it as “splattered paint on a canvas”.

How can you love someone today?

 

Rejection (Great Title, Robin)

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Happy New Year, my friends! It has been a pretty relaxing holiday for my family & I, despite the touristy things & endless shopping trips we did in Florida. We went to the beach, met some online friends in Disney Springs, went to Universal Studios, and celebrated my birthday (21, wassup!!). For my birthday, we went to IHOP for dinner (those strawberry banana pancakes were something amazing), had some red velvet cupcakes for dessert, went minigolfing, and went to the bookstore! I added to my library quite a bit. Here are a few purchases I made: Daily Gratitudes by Amelia Riedler,  a beautiful journal, Pride & Predjudice (thanks mom & Vic), a new bible, Flourish by Maragaret Feinburg, and Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst.

Uninvited is a book that seems to focus on the topic of rejection, such a hard subject to talk about. I don’t think of myself as someone who is prone to rejection, but maybe that’s because I don’t put myself in a position where I could be rejected.

I began reading this book last night, with my new journal next to me- oh, how I went into this endeavor completely unaware of how this book would affect me from the get go. The second sentence had me writing. This is  what it said:

“Honesty wants me to speak to the least tidy version of the woman I’ve become.”

I can make try to make myself as beautiful as I can from the outside, starting from the clothes I choose to wear in the morning, to the make up I put on my face. But who am I before all of that?

Who am I really, once I expose myself to the light of day first thing in the morning, & face myself in the mirror?

From the outside, we are who we want to present to the world. With my pretty, made up face & tidy clothes, I am seen as put together, at least to those who don’t know me. To those who DO know me, and once I’m by myself, I can see that I’m messed up in all sorts of ways. I have deep cuts on my heart from bad memories that have shaped me into who I am now: afraid of love, always anxious, and tired of living, especially on my worst days.

I’m afraid that everyone will see this part of me & leave me rejected and alone. Is this what God thinks of me? Does He think of me as unworthy of the breath in my lungs? Is He afraid to love me because I’m sometimes afraid to love Him & give in to the lies of the devil instead of His peaceful Word? 

No, never

“26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” -Ezekiel 36:26

Even though I see the worst of myself & fear rejection more than anyone will ever know, He has made me new. He has made you new. We don’t have to fear anymore.

“18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” -1 John 4:18

I might continue sharing about what I’ve been learning from this book, as I read. But I just felt like sharing this with you. Have a great week!

Advent: Season of Comfort & Hope

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Though winter is a beautiful season, there’s so much beneath the sparkly tinsel, the effortless table-gatherings, food, lights, Christmas carols, and traditions. But behind it all, there’s a lot of depression, pain, and sadness. Maybe because of negative memories, or just because of the grayness of the season. I mean, it’s dark all the time, and where there’s no light, there’s an evident lack of hope, & joy.

I endure my share of seasonal & non seasonal depression. You are not alone in what you’re facing. It seems hopeless, bland, and as if joy will never be felt again. It’s gloomy. And even though I’m all for a nice, gray day, chilly enough for me to curl up with peppermint hot chocolate & Christmas movies, I do miss the sun. The absence of light. I know God is the light of the world (John 8:12).  But it’s so dark during this season. So where is God?

The Beginning (Genesis 1:1-2)

“1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

Even though the world was dark, God was still there. He was there at the very beginning. Just because it feels like God isn’t around, doesn’t mean He’s not present, and that He isn’t getting ready to carry out His next step. The next verse says the following:

“3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

The darkness was still there. But now there was light. There was hope. The depression & dark times might not be entirely gone, but there’s now hope. When the world was at it’s darkest, God sent Jesus to be born. God could have chosen any time to send Jesus to earth as a baby; He knew what He was doing. Jesus was born for such a time as this. The world was hopeless, and suddenly a Light appeared in the world, and that Light was Jesus. He’s the Counselor, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He comforts those who hurt & feel weary. He restores hope to those who have none.

If you remember anything from this post, please remember that Jesus is ever present in your suffering. Rest in the comfort that He is here to change your life & provide you with a hope so strong, you will always feel Him nearby.

Know Us, Know You: A Prayer

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“Jesus loves you”, we say, but how often do we gloss over those three words? Let us remember those words like air, and study them thoroughly. Your love is not something to just skim over, like we do when we read books, so that we can get to the good part. Your love is the good part. You look on us with compassion, and care, and love. You really take the time to look at us, and you really want to spend time with us.

“Jesus loves you”, we say, but not out of routine. Don’t let us use those words out of routine. We really need to take the time to remember what those words mean, because they are powerful. Your name is powerful. Your precious name is life changing. Don’t let us become desensitized to those lovely three words. They are true. They are not to be taken lightly. These words demand to be reflected upon. Help us to deeply understand them.

There’s so much care, so much sweet softness in your character. Don’t let us forget this, because the moment we do, all light goes dim, and our lives becomes darker. Your name has the power to save. We don’t know how many minutes we have left in our lifetime to experience the love you have to give. Let us accept it, let us reflect, and think upon it every second. Please, give us the courage to share that lovely news to people who don’t yet know this:

“Jesus loves you.”

“Wherever You Go, I Will Go Too”

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My dream is to have a nice house to host my friends one day, whether it’s for Christmastime, thanksgiving, just stopping by, hanging out, you name it. I want to have a space where I can always have a pot of coffee brewing, ready for anyone who waltzes in. I want to learn to cook an actual meal so I can serve it to those who would step foot into my home one day. I want to be surrounded by people I love, and have a place where we can all be together happily. I want a place where I can hang up twinkly lights & candles year round & make it so normal that people don’t question why my house smells like cinnamon or peppermint even though it’s the middle of summertime. I want my future home to be so inviting to people. If my home isn’t a safe space full of grace to the people I care about, then it’s a place I don’t want to inhabit.

There’s some things that I learned about what home is over the last little while. Home is a place of comfort, rest, and acceptance- sometimes you find home in people. You should definitely keep those people around. Home is where those people are found.

I want to be a place of comfort and tenderness for people, because there’s so much unkindness in the world. In the wintertime, especially in Canada, it can get to lower than -7. It’s terrible. But with all this cold in the world, all the cruelty & pain, we can afford to be sweet to people. A smile, a hug, an act of love & kindness, can melt the ice cold barriers that someone had built around themselves. I really just want to be kind & welcoming to people. We could all use a break from the harshness of life.

I have a few places that I consider “home” for myself: my church, my friends, and the place where my friends and I gather. My church is where I grew up & learned all about Christ. I’ve grown so much in wisdom. You know, I feel like He was the first one to have an intentionally warm atmosphere around Him. He was basically homeless, and His friends went with Him wherever He went, so I feel like He must have been the first human example of what a home actually is. Whenever He went into someone’s house, I can imagine how much more homey it would have felt because Grace had stepped foot on its front step.

He’s such a sweet guest to have made His humble home in my heart, and I think I understand why I want to feel like home to others so much- it’s because I want to be like Him more than anything else. And I see all these photos of sweet, welcoming homes on Instagram, yet nothing inspires me to be as warm & inviting as He does.

About Me: Christmas Edition™

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I’ve been blogging for almost a year now! As I’ve written, you have gotten to know a lot about me, for instance: I write poetry, I’m obsessed & baffled by the concept of grace, I’m all about being together with people, I like to make playlists, and I love worshiping Jesus. But there are some things that you don’t know about me, so I wanted to do a Q&A type of post!

What do you want to look like? I want to look like the human embodiment of warmth. I want to look like a welcome mat, not in the sense where people walk over me, but in the sense where people can wipe their feet, and I can take on their burden for a little while. I want to look like someone who you’d think, “She looks welcoming & inviting…I’m going to feel right at home with her”. I want to look like Jesus, because He is both of those things to me & more.
Do you believe in magic? I believe in friends coming together in a twinkling house filled with food & singing carols, laughing because they can’t get it quite right. I believe in a house filled with the warmth of kind hugs & jokes & candy canes galore, with the Holy Spirit watching over everyone inside. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
Describe something, or someone, that comforts you. The person who is comforting to me is the person who affirms & encourages me, spends time with me, gives kind hugs, whispers kind things, goes out of their way to be kind, knows me so well, prays over me, is vulnerable with me, and I with them.
What would you change about the physical world? I would change how unkind people can be to one another. I’d go out of my way to be kind to them. Life if brutal, and I know it starts with us. Friends, just be kind.
What do you want to be when you “grow up”? I really just want to write. And speak about Jesus to those who will hear it. And grow little kids to be kind & selfless & hug-loving people.
Share a memory that shaped you. I remember a couple of years ago, a dear friend of mine had a tough financial situation. I gathered all the money I had, and gave it to him as a gift. This friend almost didn’t accept it, but I insisted. They promised they would pay me back, and they probably did pay me back in coffee, but that definitely shaped me. It taught me that friendship is being there, and helping them out when they’re in need. There I go again, being sentimental over my friends. I’m literally about to cry.
What winter movies do you return to? I’m obsessed with Elf, Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, Trading Christmas, Frosty The Snowman, The Polar Express, and literally any Hallmark Christmas movie.
Tell your perfect, utterly perfect, December day. Waking up in Christmas pjs, to a snowy morning. A slow morning with strong coffee, maybe sticking a candy cane in there. Christmas music playing all day long, hot chocolate throughout the day, and making warm food for lunch. Playing a Christmas film in the afternoon, and getting all festive to meet friends in the evening for company & laughter! Best.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

He Wrote Her A Letter, Which Was Love

There’s quite a few people in my life who know that I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. It’s a writing challenge where you write a novel in the month of November, the word count goal being 50,000 words. I’m not writing a novel, however, I’m writing a collection of poetry, which makes it harder, but I’m up for the challenge. My collection is called Simple Conversation: A Collection, the theme being in constant conversation with God. All my writing is pretty much skin & bone; raw & naked thoughts. I decided to share with you a poem that I had just written. I hope you enjoy this!

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“It was never hard, loving you”, he said.

“I knew you’d be stubborn, depressed, lonely,

Even though I was right next to you.

But I made a pledge of love,

And I made it with blood”, he said.

“My heart was broken for you because

I knew you’d be in pain all your life,

And I still wanted you to know me because

I loved you with all my heart, mind, and soul.

The fullness of life is all I ever wanted for you

Because you’ve been sorrowful and downcast all your life.

But you have to know this,

That I am the fullness of life,” he said.

“I will love you until the world ends up in flames,

And I will care for you until the flames turn into ash.”

And with that, I’ve spent lots of time writing this blog post when I should be working on my collection. That enough procrastinating for today. Back to work!

Replacing Fear (Or Trying To)

*I was debating whether or not I should write this post. I already wrote over 10 posts where I talk about my issues. I complain so much. But that’s the point of this blog- that I can talk about my life so that others don’t feel like they’re the only ones. There’s always someone who has gone through something similar. Here we go.

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This week has been pretty difficult so far, and I’m ready for the week to be over. It was so good a few days ago; I even blogged about it! I don’t understand how it could flip so quickly. I can’t even pinpoint why this week was so bad. I got the feeling like I was bothering everybody who talked to me over the last few days. I feel like everyone perceives me in a harsh light. I’m in a constant state of freaking out about the future. I’m in this really weird & terrifying position where I need to move, but when I want to move, I can’t budge. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. What will become of my life, or of me?

I was reading Zechariah this evening & I wanted to share a passage from chapter 3.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” 

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 

The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.”

So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.” – from Zechariah 3:1-5

God rebuked Satan because Joshua was a “brand plucked from the fire”; implying the idea that he was saved from complete destruction.

I might have had a bad week so far, but that doesn’t determine my life. And although I’m not promised an easy life because I have Jesus, I’m promised His Spirit because He said He wouldn’t leave. He has me, therefore I need to give into peace & bravery, not fear & anxiety. It’s never easy, because I struggle with this almost daily, but I’m still learning to keep leaning on Jesus- He’s the only one who will get me through the day.

This week’s just been hard on me, mentally. Maybe I just need to chill out. I hope it gets better. If you read this, I hope you have a good day tomorrow.