safe

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver…”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

(i love narnia. so good.)

“It’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart…just be true to who you are…real talk, real love, good love, good night, with a smile that’s my home.”

(yes.  yes. i do love so you think you can dance. do you?)

(oh no my walls are gonna break. so close it’s more than i can take. love just isn’t everything you want, but it’s everything you need. it’s taken so long to finally see that Your love is worth the risk.)

breathe. exhale. rest.

Sometimes I try to convince myself that I want safe, comfortable love.  I may want that, but that’s not what I need. That’s the fake, at a distance kind of love that doesn’t satisfy.  I need love like a lion.  I crave an all-consuming fire.  A Love that tears down my walls and pierces my heart.  A Love that strips me of my insecurities and reveals all my triggers.  My gun shot run and hide from love responses that rip me apart inside don’t frighten Love away. Oh no, He relentlessly pursues me and holds me when I’m not okay.  That’s the love I choose to trust. That’s the love I stake my claim and lay bare my heart for in the depths of the night when my words are scattered.  He’s the one who gets it all and wants me to bring it all.  He gets the worries, frustrations, big picture plans, dreams, questions, I don’t know’s, praises, thank-you’s, and the simple just sitting together.  For the longest time, I missed out on this love.  I missed out on the intimacy that conflict, questions, pain, and expression bring.  I deliberately pulled out pieces of the puzzle to bring to Him, but left others untouched.  In that, I missed out on the joy and peace found in the exchange. I’m learning…to bring it all because while it may not be safe. It’s good.

Women of Faith–Whoa!

 

I love “God stories.”  They’re everywhere, but sometimes I get smacked in the face with one that just makes me smile extra big.  See, I happen to be in a season of “staying” and yet in that God abundantly keeps reminding me that “Oh hey, this staying doesn’t have to be miserable! In fact, it can be pretty amazing.”

Cue Monday night where I just happen to have a mini freak out, cry fest over relevant and important things, but still nothing that God couldn’t handle (this is where I half wish I had a cute blog title like “the very worst missionary” or “the worst preacher’s wife ever”—i’ll start working on mine…i’m open to suggestions).  Once I got over my mini meltdown and finally lodged bits of Isaiah into my heart and grabbed whatever peace I could, I fell asleep.  Morning came and circumstances hadn’t changed, but I figured all would be well and I’d go utilize a big whiteboard since this word girl can hardly visualize anything!  Choosing trust and feeding on God’s faithfulness totally make a world of difference once I actually get to them…

Still, I found myself in the in between of asking God to work in the situations and yet also needing a little encouragement/reminder…and God showed up big time.

Not only has He given me all sorts of things to look forward to recently in this season of staying (and He’s shown/reminded me that I so need things to anticipate and get excited about and that I love starting new things) but He totally gave me a big gift (I love gifts…definitely one of my higher love languages…after words of affirmation).

The gift?

TWO tickets to a Women of Faith Conference because I got selected to be a blogger for it! Hello a gift with a “I see you” from God.  Plus, not only do I get to go, but I get to bring a friend. And Sheila Walsh (who I fell in LOVE with at GodChicks) is going to be there and lots of other amazing speakers.  Plus, I’m just plain excited!  And I get to bring you all along with me as I blog about the conference!

So, how has God surprised you lately? Anyone else going to this conference (wanna come with!?) or another conference soon? 

not what i thought

god,

you’re not who I thought you were.

in a good, hard way

you show me

your ways are not mine

when I go knocking for ways to run

you slip in with your “not now, baby girl”

you gently pry my hands

so i can let go

purposefully

lay down my “isaac”

to finally admit

God, I want this

but I want what You have more

even in the midst of learning to

surrender

you love me

you teach me how to soar

and be planted

all at once

because that’s beautiful

dreaming, hope, trust

with deep roots

right there in the breaking

i find you giving me the

yes, walk this way

but be prepared to

keep

surrendering all

and remember

“i’m everything i promised

my faithfulness is true”

hope

and this makes me think that maybe just maybe i’ve had hope all along.

and trust i’m choosing. over and over. trust that hope won’t disappoint.

hope in god. that is.

praying.

seeking.

asking.

knocking.

waiting.

#abh

free

my repeat songs lately?

free to be me by francesca battistelli

not what i thought by jessa anderson ( i got this for free and i LOVE it. god is SO not who i thought…in a good way. a real good way. in fact i love this song i’ll probably write more about it now now. =) loved the song explanation too.)

what if we were real by mandisa

perfect by pink (clean version only!)

dynamite by taio cruz (yeah yeah celebrate life.)

you are more by tenth avenue north (this is my song that i hear and go sigh. god i know you keep speaking this over me even though i keep trying to be the girl in the corner with tear stained eyes and the shame she can’t hide)

brian wahl (have i told you i love him? because i do. not the love like i want to marry him just the love that i love his music)

 

noticing a theme?

i’m wrestling with the wounds of the past and the “traumas” and finally ripping off my dirty quick fix hide this bandages so that there can be actual real healing. because at some point the bandaids have to come off.  at some point you decide. decide to fight through the hard. decide enough’s enough. decide to surrender to be free. decide to be you. life’s full of decisions and more often than not i play the analytical mythical find the “best” and end up in indecision but when i decide i decide and i’m starting to decide. so by no means am i perfect…i’ve still got open wounds…wounds finally open take time to heal too.

but tonight. i tasted a bit of what i lost when i came back to the states. a bit of that freedom to be comfortable in my own skin. of the confidence and grit and stubbornness.

i ran.

since i don’t like any of the running shoes i have currently…i left them all at home.

bare feet. sun setting. my sweet spot within minutes.

a mile or so later. sitting on the end of the dock splashing my dirty dirty blistered feet.

so much transpired in a moment from thinking i was putting my dog outside to finding my feet hitting the pavement and my heart learning to lean into the moment.

a moment of chatting away with god without having to use any words.

a big exhale of trust and letting go expectations.

—–

has god surprised you by a moment lately?

marathon recap

Oh hey. Maybe you thought I forgot to fill you in on all the amazing marathon-ness. I didn’t! Granted, I wrote eight pages of my own memories shortly afterward so you’ll get the condensed bulleted version.  Here goes….


(this was taken toward the end…love that i’m still smiling–that was one of my goals to smile a lot! one group of girls even made a comment about how i was still smiling. happy.)

What I learned/memories from running a marathon:

  • I love people. I love hearing their stories. I love sharing my story to give them a glimpse of God.  I love talking about Africa and babies and ministry and dreams and hopes.
  • I met the doctor with the goal of running a marathon in each state (he’s finished 22 states).  He also threw in a few Ironman’s to boot.  Twice in Brazil.  He informed me that they are easier than marathons—can you say my head went down the road of “Maybe I should do an Ironman” because it totally did.
  • I sat next to an amazing lady who “lost track” of how many marathons she had done–her guess was 90.  Including one in Antartica and a few trail ones where you have to pull yourself up cliffs.  Hardcore.
  • Met a couple of girls who did something “crazy” each summer.  This summer was a marathon.
  • Another sweet girl just had a baby named Olivia Rayne seven months ago.  She shared how she didn’t like being pregnant at all because she didn’t like being “controlled.” Such an interesting perspective I’ve never heard.
  • I met a lady who grew up Catholic and is now Lutheran. She shared parts of her story and I was so honored to hear them.
  • A guy whose idea of celebrating his 60th birthday meant running a marathon—granted I found out later that even though his sign said it was his birthday today it was really two days ago! Wha! I loved his blunt honesty. He shared that he started running because of “ego.”
  • Another man shared with me about how his wife just got back from Swazi. I heart Africa.
  • I joked with a lady about how we were going faster than the bus.
  • I found myself furrowing my brow at blow horn guy standing on the sidelines trying to tell people about Jesus. Um, excuse me, get out here and run and chat with these people and get to know them and love them…
  • An adorable couple with shirts letting us know they were newlyweds.
  • Matching texas flag shorts on a couple who held hands and melted my heart. I want a man like that who takes his wife’s hand and loves her well.
  • Giving high fives to everyone I could.
  • Kids holding signs for their moms….oh my heart.
  • Laughing with God about the rain. Embrace the rain and do it anyway.
  • Saying thank you to every single volunteer
  • Pushing through the hard…and there definitely comes a point where it’s hard. Keep running.
  • I’m all about doing life WITH people. That’s when I’m happy. That’s what I love.
  • Some people run with you a long while, others only a bit, but they all can add or take away from your journey.
  • The wonders of a heat blanket at the finish line.
  • Pure exhaustion.
  • Love.

I learned so much.  About myself, about God, about life.  God blessed me so much through this process. He showed provision and protection along the way.  Encouragement in all sorts of forms showed up when I needed it most.  He taught me to persevere even in the rain.  He reminded me that I care more about bringing people along to run the race with me…my motto lately has been God sees you; see others.  Put value on them, encourage them, love them, help them run their race well, run with them.

My heart still overflows with so many thoughts from this experience, but there’s a little snapshot.  You might just hear a bit more over the coming weeks and months or just chat with me sometime and I’m brimming with all sorts of God-stories from this.

p.s. if you’re thinking of running one….my advice…do it! and then let me know so i can run it with you =)

made for monday

Hey there Monday! Let’s kick up our feet and play along because Monday’s need a little fun and questions seem to do the trick. Plus, I love hearing people’s responses =)

Are you going on any summer vacays? Yes!! Eee, leaving tomorrow for a little cali-cation. 

What is your favorite place to eat? Um. Why I asked a favorite question when I don’t do favorites well…but I think my fave place to eat pre-marathon is now Olive Garden—chicken scampi sans chicken…so basically scampi. so tasty! I do love panera, chipotle, starbucks (for PTL and vanilla chai), cheesecake factory, nando’s, and really though most of the time i love eating at home since most of those slash all of them aren’t even in my town… =)

What’s God whispering to your heart lately? rest. trust. hope. especially in the hard. share your story. and it’s okay to cry. 

What is the most random thing you see in the room you’re in right now? I don’t know if it’s “random” but it’s a wooden giraffe. I liked it so I put it on my bookshelf. 

Skirts or shorts? Skirts!!! Still looking for that elusive running skirt that will stay in place and keep me happy on those long runs that I love.

Favorite type of pen to use? I have yet to find one….on the hunt for one! I really really really would love to find some awesome colored pens that don’t bleed through the pages in my bibles. That would be fabulous. Though, I want all colors–pink, yellow, green, red, blue, purple, etc. 

What is one thing you always pack? A good book to read. Any recommendations?? I just finished “Whatever you do, Don’t Run” and it was fabulous and hilarious! So was Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. I’m also FINALLY reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Yay for good books.

Top love languages? Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time/Touch, Acts of Service. Shower me with words of love and encouragement and I melt especially when they come in the form of surprise gifts of words. Give me a BIG, honest, “I love you no matter what” kind of hug and I exhale. Connect with me and be intentional about talking/spending time with me and let me know that you’re not going to leave and you’ll have me teary eyed. 

What are you praying about like the persistent widow prayed? home. (not necessarily a place, but kind of…not necessarily people, but kind of…it’s just home. i want home. so many heart desires rolled into that little word that i keep asking with tears in my eyes saying, home? is that too much to ask for?)

Song(s) on repeat? Brian Wahl’s songs, Perfect by Pink, Redeemer by the Moment Sound, Last Train Home by FM Static, What if We Were Real by Mandisa, Just Cry by Mandisa, Amos Story by Aaron Ivey, When She Cries by Britt Nicole, Come Home Beautiful by Seth Primm, The Beat by Ben Rector, and I’m sure quite a few others…I’m SO a repeat girl. 

Your turn!

piling on the stones

i love the pictures painted in the old testament when the people make piles of stones to remind them of god’s faithfulness and what He’s done. because sometimes it’s easy to forget…easy to get lost in the pain of the present, to drown in the hard and when i see that visual then it becomes a little easier to remember, to hold on a little longer.

today, i’m throwing a stone on the pile.

a stone that reminds me why i’m still here and helps me see the big picture.

and this one…i’m holding close to my heart. pondering it there. keeping secrets between God and I because it’s ours for now until He says to share. knowing full well that although today was a crossroads on a journey…good will come from the way i picked. even though i just took the first baby step, sometimes that’s the hardest.

oh how i wish i could take you there and show you the sweet sweet moment of sitting in His faithfulness. someday the words will come to paint the flourishes of birds dancing in the water and the ways He spoke to my heart.  and even in the midst, i ever so graciously felt a glimpse of how redemption comes full circle as i was entrusted parts of another story.  a gentle reminder that each part of my story in all it’s glorious messy will become beautiful in its time and used for His glory.

have you thrown on any stones lately? 

my background music:

As Long as It Takes by Dorothy Savage

Hold Me by Jamie Grace

Waiting Here for You by Christy Nockels

but mostly….this one…

Come Home Beautiful by Seth Primm

she’s a hopeful desire

she’s awaiting redemption and love

and to be made free

she is beautiful

but she has never known

a love that will never leave

someone to help her see

that she is beautiful

she’s redeemed; she is loved

she’s the bride of the King

she’s adopted, but she’s forgotten

the call of grace she’s received

He finds her beautiful

and He peeled off orphan clothes

and wrapped her in simple hope

15 Minute Sunday (I enjoy…)

I’m taking on my own little variation of the 5 minute Friday…why? Because I enjoy it. I do. I’m pretty sure it’s something that I do enjoy so I’m going with it and carving out this little time to do this.  And why only 15 minutes? Because I’m still on a lovely borrowed computer until mine comes back from the Apple store….hopefully in 5-7 days I will have my computer back with new cords and new casing and all my important files and africa pictures are backed up just in case (yay!).  In fact, until I get my computer back you’ll probably hear a lot less from me or you’ll get these lovely mini prompts. So join in and play along if you’d like.

Okay, here goes. 15 minutes on….

I enjoy…

I didn’t really have an answer to this question earlier when asked what I actually enjoy in life and since I’m pretty sure it’s kind of important and I’m pretty sure that “abundant life” Jesus talks about includes enjoying life…I figured why not spend some time intentionally listing and thinking on it…so here goes.

Moments that I can breathe deep without the heavy weight bearing on my sometimes too logical head.  Driving into the sunset without a destination in mind and taking roads that I don’t always know where I’ll end up..really biking/running/rollerblading anywhere that I can get “lost.”  Seeing God–counting gifts and blessings from God so that I can see Him even in the little things like finding White Chocolate Magnum ice cream bars (they had Magnum bars in South Africa and I absolutely love white chocolate).  Making and baking food…chocolate covered strawberries, banana bread, brownies, anything with white chocolate.  Running—but NOT on a schedule.  Finding cute big earrings, happy wedges that make me tall, bright colors, lovely things on Pinterest, and finding fun things to share. Reading a book that I can’t put down.  Getting lost in the whir of the pottery wheel.  Digging deep into scripture passages. Writing. Putting words to my heart and sharing what I find.  Worship music. I could have music play 24/7 and I’d be a happy girl.  Playing, laughing, and just hanging out with kiddos.  Being able to stop and be totally in the moment with what has so engaged their world. I totally enjoy seeing people express themselves and being fully present to hear it.

There’s a start…I don’t really like being put in a box and enjoy 😉 flexibility in changing the things I enjoy so that’s my list for now.

And so in this hard season of learning to sit. rest. wait. be faithful. embrace the place I’m in right now. not move until He says. be.

I know that I know that I know that He’s good and that He has me here for a purpose. To stop doing what He’s called me to do would be being disobedient. And I so don’t want to be like the Israelites or Jonah.

So, yeah, I’m not doing all that good at being intentional about enjoying life or grabbing whatever peace I can or rejoicing in it. I’m just not {yet}. BUT. I’m learning and I’m going to keep learning.  Even with tear stained cheeks, I’d rather say, “I trust you, God.  Even when I don’t understand and I can’t see You in it and when it feels like You abandoned me and didn’t protect me. I still trust You.”

—-

Your turn! What do you enjoy?