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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

When You Enter the Promised Land


The Bible is full of charges for us to remember. Moses speaks to his Israelite people before they arrive in the promised land and he tells them specifically to remember. Remember the Lord, remember what He has done, remember to love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Remembering must be a lifestyle. 

teach it to your children. 
repeat it again and again. 
talk when you sit in your home. 
when you walk. 
when you are going to bed. 
when you are getting up.  
tie them on your hands and wear on your forehead as reminders. 
write them on your doorposts. 

Write it on your hearts. 

Because when you enter the promised land // when your trial is over, when you make it out of your cave, when your sadness and darkness and fear is over, when the Lord brings you into the land he swore to give you, with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of good things that you did not fill, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant, when you eat and are full //

do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of slavery. 

It is a call to see the riches and goodness of where you are and remember who got you there. 

I think remembering is one of our best tools. I think it's tied so closely with our hearts. In Ephesians 6 when we put our armor on, I think the helmet of salvation that we cloak our minds with whispers remember. 

Remembering frees us in moments of crisis. It centers us in moments of disorientation. It relieves us in moments of burden. Remembering stills us in moments of fear. It fuels us in moments of gratitude. It gives hope for today and for the journey tomorrow. 

What helps you remember?
  • Cement dates and times in mind and in heart, to draw attention when anniversaries arrive and important dates come. Dates of your freedom, dates of answered prayers. 
  • Screenshot encouraging text messages and pictures (I do this LIKE A BOSS) and save them to a folder. Scroll through them to remember.
  • Write, write, write. Then go back and read, read, read. 
This week is a big week of remembering for me. A big week of celebrating. I've been face first in old journals, just breathing in remembrance. It's got a sweet fragrance. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gracious + Kind

I watch New Girl like it's my job. 

I come from the camp of people who like to have the TV on most of the time // while cleaning, cooking, eating, sleeping. I like to watch things I've already seen, so I can only pay attention halfway. 

I'm into New Girl. I'm on the third time through season two. 

It's alarming to me how both 1) the show portrays behavior. 2) how accurate that behavior really is. 

Awkward situations make people act in strange ways. Nick and Jess are in the throes of trying to figure out the terms of their friendship/maybe more than just a friendship. It's painful to watch at times, because all they need to do is look each other in the eye and be brave and tell the truth. But they skirt the topic, cause pain to one another, and prolong the in-between. 

oh, it's sometimes real life. 

This post could go one of two ways. It could tell you how I've lived a Nick/Jess life and how that tension nearly buried me alive. How it look a long time for me to live bravely because I was afraid of a lot of things. How the truth made me anxious, especially if it wasn't reciprocated, and so I generally hid from it. 

But I want this post to say something different. 

I want this post to tell you that you have a choice. 
You have a choice in the way things happen to you. You have a choice to be defeated or to stand tall and firm. You have a choice to own what happens to you, and to believe it all works for His glory. You have a choice to put on Armor and to believe it holds you fast. 

You have a choice to treat people with respect. You have a choice to be kind and to speak life and to offer encouragement. You have a choice to laugh in the face of fear or awkwardness or uncertainty. You have the choice to not cause pain, but to be a balm to someone's soul. You have the choice to swing someone's day towards wholeness. You have a choice to bring heaven here to earth. 

You have the choice to be brave and to live as the King's son and daughter that you are. 

Life happens fast. It really does. There's the Ferris Bueller quote that says life passes by and there are the moms who say their teens were just babies yesterday and there are the comments that life is fleeting, but y'all it is just that. We can't waste it, because time is precious. There is no pressure, but there is value in our time and there is value in what we do. 

A wise friend said this to me once, "we are witnesses of the coming re-creation of heaven and earth. witnesses of God's industry to restore that which has been ruined. without our witness, our testimony, how can people hear & know that Jesus is making all things new?"

And it changed the way I lived. 

What will change the way you live?

I urge you to live graciously. I urge you to live kindly. I wake up every morning and go to bed every night pleading for the same thing // Lord, help me to be gracious and kind. I urge you to change your story if you need to. I urge you to make today the day and lean hard into Christ. I urge you to get down on your knees and cry out loud to the One who has never left you or forsaken you. 

We get to live this life! Let His great Love fuel you. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Letter for Those Who Feel like Fear May be Winning

Dear Friends. 

Fear can lap at your heels like a threatening current, bite at your ankles like something wild, crowd above your head like a swarm of bees. Fear is notorious for taking you under, swallowing you whole, leaving you alone and in pain. Fear is no friend. 

There are the days when fear doesn't want to die, and it comes around and revisits like an old, unwanted friend. It'll sit in your head and try to make its way down to your heart. It'll attempt to get comfortable in the places where it thinks you don't notice. Fear hasn't won any battle, but Fear doesn't know that. And so it sometimes stays. 

But hear me when I say this // fear won't always feel so stifling. The closer you draw to Truth, the weirder and dumber fear sounds. I promise you this - YOU WILL BE ABLE TO LAUGH IN THE FACE OF FEAR. 

Fear will never win. 

What I've discovered to be true is what comes in the act of naming fears. There's a real power in the vulnerability and the trust of speaking your fears out loud that sends them trembling. So, speak them to your friends. Speak them to your corner. Speak them to your counselor, your Life group leader, your boss, your spouse, your co workers. It'll lift something, it'll free something, it'll join people in your journey. Speaking it is facing it and Fear doesn't like when you face it. 

My dear friend once asked me, "what are you afraid of?" And days into weeks after I spoke out loud and named it, I realized it was freedom that was hovering over me now. I wasn't afraid anymore. 

So, take heart. 
Lift up your head. 
There is great hope. 

There is a God who is fearless in His pursuit of you. Who is right there with you. It's a part of His character to turn all things to good, even and especially the hard graces. 
And days from now, weeks from now, years from now, you'll be able to see the asset, the value, of this wonderful story He was and is telling through your life. It will blow you away. 

Fear can't take that from you. 
Lift up your head.