February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday.



Today marks day three of this icy wonderland that has taken over Nashville, or as I have dubbed it, "The Nash Pole."  It is also the first day of Lent, and this morning as I drank my coffee and began the new She Reads Truth study, I spent some time reflecting on just how sinful I really am.  I am full of selfishness, envy, and desires of the flesh.  Yet in that, I more fully recognize the mark of His grace.  Through Christ, I see the Father's redemption plan at work in my life and in the world, which leads to so much thankfulness for His choosing me, pursuing me, and loving me enough to gloriously wreck me.  I am from the dust, a pile of dry bones, and to that place I will return, but right now I've got His Spirit in me, pulsing life through my veins and placing breath in my lungs.  Over this season of Lent, I am praying that He will attention to my dustiness and sin, that I will repent and turn to Him more willingly and consciously, and that He will continue to remind me of the gracious gift of righteousness that He has given through His Son.

In the past I have given things up for Lent, but this time around I think I am going to continue to intentionally focus the firstfruit of my day in prayer time with the Lord.  I'm curious: are any of you doing something special for this season leading up to Easter?


A Lent Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, You hate nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are repentant: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wickedness, may obtain of You, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

  

February 11, 2015

Kingdoms.


"We all have different "kingdoms." Each of us has been led to a different destination, by a different path, journeying through unique circumstances to get to where we are today.  Where you are right now - where He has you each moment - that is your kingdom.  That very place is the piece of God's Kingdom that He has entrusted to you.  Whether you believe your kingdom us substantial or completely irrelevant, it is still yours and it is still His."
{She Reads Truth}


Anyone else out there ever struggled with or questioned a place you've been in, or even the one that you are in currently?  Because I definitely have, and even sometimes still do.  The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that it is far too easy for us nowadays to become discontent in our spaces - our work, our homes, our relationships, even our own bodies - and that, my friends, is a slippery slope.  With the rise of multiple social media platforms over the last few years, we have grown so accustomed to seeing highlight reel after highlight reel of other people's lives (think our feeds on Instagram, Facebook, etc.) that it can make certain aspects of our own lives seem boring or insignificant.

The thing is, who are we to determine what is better?  To deem what is of more or less significance?  Our perspective is so insanely limited in comparison to God's.  We hardly even get to see a glimpse of all that He is able to see at any given time.  After all, what we see play out throughout His Word remains true today: this story is not about us.  From the days of Adam to now, it has always and will always be about Him: His renown, His power, His glory, and His name.  And He is One who gives us the particular pieces and places that we find ourselves in.  And because of that, we can rest assured knowing that nothing is in vain.  Every part of our "kingdom" - our work, home, relationships, and bodies - are given to us by Him with intention and purpose and, most importantly, to be used for His glory.
 

February 5, 2015

Oh Mercy.


I am so thankful for the simple truth that God's mercies are new today.  It's not as though this is any kind of revolutionary thought, but over the course of the last few weeks I have found greater meaning in it, particularly as light is being shed a little more on some of the ugly parts of my heart.

Lately I have realized that there are some sins in my life that have become almost habitual, because it's "the way I've always been" or "the thing that I've always struggled with."  But those are some lame excuses, which I say with no pretense because that is exactly what they are: things I say or use to reason with the fact that what I am doing - or the way that I am living or treating another person - is okay.  If the justification for my behavior or attitude is simply because it has become my normal, well, that just isn't okay at all.

I am in the process of being cut to the heart over the more subtle sins in my life, things like judgment, entitlement, and envy (just to name a few).  They don't rule the majority of my thoughts or come up frequently in conversation, but they definitely reside in my heart.  They are there, lying just under the surface, often dormant but still ready and waiting to rise up.  It's ugly and real and very much a part of me, which is why I am so grateful that God has made me more and more aware of them lately.  It's kind of like He has been pointing them out with neon lights, maybe because He knows how desperately I want to rid myself of them.

Which brings me back to His mercies.  Something my pastor said recently is that, while it may not look any different outside when the clock strikes midnight, the truth remains that it is a new day.  This leaves me even more grateful that those mercies of His are new today, and that they will be new again tomorrow. No matter what I am doing or struggling with, His grace is sufficient.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23


We are descendants of Adam, and because of that we will struggle, stumble, fumble, and fail in the process of growing out of our life of sin and more into Christ's likeness, yet His mercy is always right there to catch us.  So while I seek to rid my life of those subtle sins that have made residence in my life, I must come to terms with the fact that I am a broken vessel living a broken world.  But thanks to Jesus and Jesus alone, I am a work in progress.  He is here, full of grace and correction, cheering me on toward a life of less sin and more of Him.


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made

perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my

weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9



February 2, 2015

February Goals.


Typing out a post with my goals for the upcoming month isn't something I've done in the past, but I figure there's no better time to start being more intentional about goal tracking than right now.  So here are some of my goals for the month of February:

  • Go boxing 2-3 nights per week
  • Finish 3 books: Prayer, Women of the WordWild Goose Chase
  • Complete traffic school requirements (don't ask...) 
  • Attend the Momentum Conference with Christine Caine
  • Use my first She Reads Truth study pack for Lent
  • Spend Sunday afternoons at coffee shops blog planning + writing
  • Post here at least once per week
  • Start a fund for my New Orleans trip in March
  • Roadtrip with my roomie for a Bethel Worship Night
  • Begin memorizing the book of Philippians

Whew.  Maybe there was a reason I haven't done monthly goals before: it's a bit overwhelming.  But it's also really exciting to get it all out of my head and on paper.  So here's to intentionality and not wasting any minute of the shortest month of the year!

Anyone else got some fun goals set for February?