pouring out my soul

I wrote a letter to my heart and as the night came, I found my heart wandering.  Wide awake when it should have been fast asleep!  I tried to lay in bed for a while, but I’m not one for laying idle.  Granted, I’ll sometimes say the alphabet backwards (try it, it’s fun).  But, before long, I turned back on my light to give into my sleeplessness.  Admittedly, I ate a delicious snack and then settled in for a little reading.

One of the pictures in my pretty new bible (did I mention that I finally got an amplified bible and that I absolutely LOVE it–see below) had fallen out at church and I had just tucked it in the Old Testament thinking I’d put it back in place later.  Pictures serve as my prayer reminders and well mostly to make me smile at love.  But, they also are handy bookmarks.  The one that had fallen out happened to go with a verse that’s been on my heart lately anyway….

So stand still and see this great thing the Lord will do before your eyes now. -(1 Samuel 12:16)

Being that I found myself STILL wide awake, I forayed to the beginning of 1 Samuel since I haven’t read it in far too long.  God met me in such a clear, stark way.

And [Hannah] was in distress of soul, praying to the Lord and weeping bitterly…Hannah was speaking in her heart…I was pouring out my soul before the Lord…Then Eli said, Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition, which you have asked of Him.- (go ahead and read all of 1 Samuel 1)

That speaks volumes to my heart. So does this…

It has trained us…to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world.  Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope…that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds. -(read Titus 2:11-15)

Then to top it all off and put a cherry on top for my heart, I went on a run through which God totally pursued me and loved on me.  I left praying that maybe God would help this heart to hold onto hope. Holding onto the Titus 2:11-15 verse to memorize and listening to these lyrics started it out:

now i stand in the hope of new life and I’ve found a hope stronger and nothing compares -I’ve Found a Love by Jenn Johnson (Bethel Live)

Oh and then right as those lyrics hit, I look up to see a beautiful deer running alongside my dirt road (did I tell you that I LOVE running on dirt?).  Beautiful.  Plus, I got to watch the sunset and just as it faded into the distance I turned around to head back only to see an absolutely gorgeous full moon. Yep. God sure knows how to woo my heart!

So, there’s one of my little love stories for the week.  How’s God been pursuing YOU? 🙂

p.s. here’s my bible…isn’t she pretty?

a letter to my heart

dear heart,

sometimes you feel so messy. i find you traveling right along paths that are not for now. i must remind you to let go of those things that you have picked up again. not just hold them loosely as much as you wish you could. they need to go to the altar where you have fully given them to Him. remember? you can’t give away something and then ask for it back to look at it all the time. i know, i know, it’s hard. it’s messy. it hurts. but it’s necessary. He may not be changing those circumstances surrounding, but fear not, He is at work in you. healing. touching. transforming. teaching.

i bet you thought that when you closed those doors that you brought all of you with through them. i thought that too. until i realized that sometimes pieces get left on the other side of the closed door. pieces that need to be sifted. pieces of hope. pieces of love. pieces that make you catch your breath. that make you ache for something that may not be yours. is not yours, right now, regardless.

so, heart, take a deep exhale and let God be. long for His presence and for the day of coming home. i hear you yearning for a home you only know through His touch. take a taste of His goodness as He enfolds you with His presence meeting you in the deepest place. take joy, He hears your secret petitions and desires. He calls you lovely and you are His alone.

oh, and heart? it’s okay to hope and pray and dream and wait and stand still to see what He will do before you. I believe that He has amazing plans ahead. plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future. so, hold tight. things may look a little messy, but that’s how it is with clay…trimming, cutting, shaping, molding, pieces flying, firing, drying, dipping, refining, firing again. it’s a process. and the end result…well, it sure is beautiful.

love,

p.s. anything you’re telling your heart, today?

shame

I find him lurking on the sidelines.  Treading water near the shoreline.  Near enough to go by unnoticed yet close enough to leap into the moment when the opportunity arises.  I don’t like when he stops by…especially unannounced.  He is unwelcome. unwanted. wholly part of the old.  He brings me down and brings on the tears.  He whispers lies. He stirs up doubt and wants me to hide. He shows up at the most inconvenient times when my heart is already a tad raw and vulnerable.  Ah, but that is his specialty…timing.  He wants to show up when I’m weak, but what he forgets is that when I am weak, my King is strong.  He wants to keep me from running into my Savior’s arms.  To make me feel that because of what I have done that I cannot go my Beloved.  He’s wrong. When I take refuge in my Strong Tower that is when I am complete.  The battle is already won. And as my eyes gaze into my Protector, I am radiant with joy and there is no shadow of him.  He is not allowed to take up residence in my heart or on my face.  So, every time he tries to make an appearance, I turn to the One who answers my questions and who loves me. My Defender is the one who will kick him far away so that I instead will be covered with grace, mercy, hope, joy, love.  I am after all…like a sparkling jewel in my King’s crown.

Zechariah 9:16 The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Isaiah 62:3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Proverbs 4:9 She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.

Isaiah 51:11 The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

ht: inspired after reading Sara Markley’s post.

friday fun five

1. i baked my very first two layer cake that turned out beautiful!

chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. now just to give it to someone so that they can enjoy it!

i’m weird and like white chocolate…all that chocolate on that cake just sounds…ugh…

2. I’ve been running a lot more lately and oh how my heart missed it!

last year around this time I was wearing this to go running…notice the mittens on my dresser and the scarf hanging…as much as I am glad for the warmer weather and sunshine…I miss it…especially the people, the mountains, the style of life, the singing, the languages, and so much more.

so am i saying i’d trade summer for winter? yeah, yeah, i would but it’s more of a trade minnesota for africa 🙂

3. ohh, and in case you didn’t know, it’s world cup! and it’s in south africa! woot!

and i hope these guys are still kicking the ball around 🙂

4. have i mentioned that i love kids?

I love that I get to work with them, play pretend car, chase them, take them bowling, find random places like Menard’s to play catch, bake cookies, and even take sleeping bags to slide down the stairs!

5. oh, it’s summer, which means work has slowed down and so that means more time to dig deep!

so, that’s what I’m doing…digging deep, soaking up all the time I have with God, seeing what He has for me in His timing, getting back up, and turning up the passion.  Yeah, I’m a *bit* excited to see all the ways that God is….faithful, BIG, trustworthy, loving, shepherd, delighted in me, and the one who pursues me! Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

What’s on your heart this friday? fun or serious? prayer requests? thoughts? encouragement? anything?

Seen as a Promise

Remember when I was pondering what love looked like?

Well, I found another thing to ponder. to mull over. to chew. Part of Alece’s comment on this post caused me to go “whoa! wait a second!”  She referred to the following as a PROMISE:

“My sheep know My voice and the voice of another they will not follow.”

Typically, I am/try to be positive, upbeat, excited about things. Except with this verse and other cut and dry type verses (like some in 1 John), my heart and head do a 180 toward “what if I’m not one of those sheep.” Not a good place. But, then, when I keep reading in the chapter I find…

“and I give eternal life to them and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” -John 10:27-28

Now as if seeing the first part as a promise wasn’t a big enough whoa…throw in the mix that NO ONE can snatch us out of His hands then I’m totally sitting in awe.

He keeps peeling back the layers, exposing new truths, and shedding lies…and I am ever in awe at how the Bible truly allows me to dig in and see all sorts of new things no matter how many times I’ve read a passage.

What are you reading lately? How’s God been leaving you in awe?

Playing in the Puddles

Are you ready for a triple shot of real? If not, then skip ahead to the weekend and come back after I’m done playing in the puddles…

Sometimes life feels like one big puddle where you start splashing around only to realize that the water’s gone up and over your boots.  That feeling? Not so pleasant.  For me, rejection sometimes feels like that.  I’m running along, playing, laughing, enjoying, only to be suddenly struck with some cold, wet reality.

In my first year of college, I found my boots flooded with dirty water.  I skated through first semester: made friends, studied extra hard, even met a boy. Come January, I found myself participating in rush. Why? Good question. I’m not a sorority girl and I knew that. But that was the thing to do on a campus with probably 90% of the students in a sorority or fraternity. So, I followed suit. Problem number one…

The thing that they never tell you is that some girls…don’t make the cut. I was one of those. After parading around campus going to the different houses for little get to know you parties, each house makes a list of those they ask back. These girls I didn’t know. These girls I met for one night. Slashed my name off the list of “wanted.” And, yeah, those cold waters pierced my skin in a not so pleasant way.

Except, the amazing part? God turns things around. I can still feel the sunshine, the crunch of grass beneath a blanket covered in books and my pink Bible laid open.  See, I used all this extra time to soak up and wrestle with God instead of running around with a sorority. He brought me  further along in the journey of learning how to turn toward Him instead of clutching some of my idols (success, money, my plans). He started me on a continual journey of learning to look to Him for who I am rather than what others say because then I can play in the puddles and if the water comes rushing, I will not be shaken.  Because see, He wants me, I’m on His list, and in the end…I am His delight.

Ready to put on your rain boots and go play in some puddles with me?

Because I know that I don’t want to miss out on some fun because of the fear of getting wet…do you?

*prompted to serve up a shot of faith by the Faith Barista 🙂

Pouring Over The List Of Joy

Hi friends. I found myself talking out loud about joy this last week and…there’s a bit of wonder and a glimpse of God in expressing these little nothings in spoken, real words to someone else.  In the midst of my words, I found I got caught up all over again in the moments. literally lost as if all around me faded until I brought myself back to the conversation. That’s where I find myself when I share them here…pouring over my list, remembering, seeing afresh the ways that God shows up in all things and picking a few to share with you…

562. making happy spaces in nooks and corners

566. laughing at tomtom

572. buying my first pair of TOMS

582. smushing ice down while walking

591. getting teary eyed during UP

617. questions that make me ponder me

629. being a words girl that has to add words to the picture

641. mama buying me rain boots

643. seeing christmas lights on a drive

649. putting my feelings to songs

655. writing in new colors in my bible

678. walks…going on them, remembering them, looking forward to them

703. listening to others share and sharing about what makes each of our faces light up

What about you? I love hearing where you find joy…it adds to the wonder.

 

I am most myself when…

I loved the idea behind this post and the happy thoughts generated so I thought I’d share with you all here:

I am most myself when I am sitting on my bed watching the sunrise mulling over the Bible and talking with God.

I am most myself outside…running, hiking, sitting, soaking up the sun.

I am most myself when I’m in shorts, a tank top, bare feet, and curled up in my bed with a good book.

I am most myself when I am wearing sunglasses on top of my head.

I am most myself when I bring my laptop in the bathroom/am driving with my ipod and turn the volume up way loud and get lost in a song.

I am most myself surrounded by kiddos.

What about you?!

A Warm Blanket

The weeks speed by and the joyful moments abound.  I am finding “joy” all over the pages of my bible and embedding it in my heart.  From the brief moments my heart pauses to notice to the situations that weigh like a warm blanket, I am beginning to see Him even more in all that I do. And that. I love. Seeing My beloved all the time and resting in His delight in me.

136. writing late at night

140. blustery roads

157. a deep breath

161. hummus quesadillas

169. realizing how far God’s brought me

170. couches and blankets with love

171. hugs at church (Antioch)

172. impromptu speaking about Africa at church

175. Answering: So how did Katy change?

176. Trader Joe’s stops

178. knowing I’m right where God wants me to be

 

Dug Down Deep

“We’re either building our lives on the reality of what God is truly like and what He’s about, or we’re basing our lives on our imaginations and misconceptions.”

Joshua Harris takes his new book Dug Down Deep to spend time unearthing what he believes and why. The spelunking he does explores theological issues ranging from sanctification to the role of the Holy Spirit.  And, why, you may ask should one take the time to dive into these heady, often intangible, theological matters? Harris suggests, “messed-up theology leads to messed-up living.”  Besides, the Bible calls us to “So, let us know, let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3).  If you’re looking for an honest, thought-provoking study into theological matters written in a personal, story-like fashion then from what I’ve read Iso far I would suggest checking out Joshua’s new book.  I’m looking forward to continue reading his thoughts and see what God shows on this theological climb.  And remember…

“You can study Him the way you study a sunset that leaves you speechless.”

*This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah. You can purchase it here.