Friday, February 24, 2012

Grit(s)

Today I'm linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. Horray! I got going on something I love writing about so it's a bit more than five minutes...opps.
Go:

The first thing I think of when I think of "grit" is Quaker Instant Grits. Sophomore year of college and warming them up in my dorm hall microwave after a tennis practice or match, long after the dining hall had closed. I think of my sweet roommate that year, who lovingly associated me with "grits and raisins" for the longest time after that time, because I think those were some of my staple after-hour foods that year, along with soup and peanut butter sandwiches. I remember what a blessing it was to feel accepted in the world of little dorm rooms in a time of my life that I am sure was a little chaotic, a little "gritty," if you will. Despite the fun and challenge of tennis, I remember feeling like I was constantly balancing my "regular" life with tennis life. What sticks out most are the 6 a.m. workouts, and for those who know me, they will not be surprised that I literally fell out of bed and into the weight room or tred mill at that hour (it is a wonder I didn't fall off:) ). It's nice to look back on this time though, something I don't think about much. I think about the time with my friends but until just recently, I haven't thought about my tennis days much. The workouts, the competition, the balancing act, just the love of the game- all of it had felt so foreign to me these past years since even though I know it's in there....=)

Stop

Monday, February 20, 2012

To Empty is to Fill

Grace. Peace. Joy. These words can flood my vocabulary but do they resonate with my soul?

I ask myself if I am finding my ultimate rest in Him, does my lifesource and strength draw from what I do or what I'm told elsewhere in life, or do I remember the beauty of surrender? Even if it seems hard sometimes, to surrender all is the only way. It's the only way to truly let Him lead.

And find thanksgiving in this.
Slowly, slowly, slowly, I begin to count the gifts, with more understanding of how it penetrates deeper than I thought.

As Ann Voskamp says of thanksgiving in her book, "this eucharisteo is no game of Pollyanna but the hard edge of blade."

As I do this, I'm reminded of what God is calling me to in this season: to release all to Him, to empty myself out and to open my tightly clenched hands. For it's when we let Him empty us of what doesn't belong that we are most full of what does.

"Broken glass ignites in light and there it is, the secret of joy's flame: Humbly let go." -Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts


I don't remember exactly where I left off on here, so I'll start after #50...

#51 Momentum and blog energy

#52 Getting to see sweet pictures/ 'movie & real life version' of my friend and her new husband, the newlyweds in love :)

#53 The messiness and changes in life and Jesus being bigger than it

#54 Ministries that encourage people

#55 Blogs and bloggers who encouragement me

#56 Ice cream in winter

#57 Snow and liking it for once

#58 Getting to dream

#59 Some extra sleep

#60 Singing over and over to the same songs and they don't get old


Linking up with A Holy Experience for Multitude on Mondays

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Delight

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." -Zephaniah 3:17

When I think of this verse, and God's delight in me, I often think of the ministry of a friend of mine - Shelley Hitz. She has a website that allows people to gain a deeper understanding of True Beauty that comes from being loved by Christ. She helps teen girls, women, and anyone really, to look into the distorted perceptions of beauty found elsewhere that really do not create fullness of life that we were made to have. In looking at some of these truths, we see that it's God who delights in us and finds us beloved, beautiful daughters of the King. His thoughts of you and me outnumber the grains of sand (Psalm 139: 18).

If and when thoughts creep in from times past or if present pressures rally for the freedom God has granted me in Christ, I'm reminded that He not only delights in me, but He also
q u i e t s   me with His unfailing, relentless love.

Today there is a special going that you can still check out: A free Kindle book/bible study for teen girls TODAY 2/18/12 - "Mirror Mirror...Am I Beautiful?" by Shelley Hitz .



*Inspired by Five Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama on DELIGHT

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Suitcases

I taught in Europe at the end of college with some friends of mine. We left with some heavy suitcases, and came back with even heavier ones. But, in the in-between, when we living there and just traveling around on weekends, we didn't want to carry much around with us. It got old to live with suitcases, and even with heavy backpacks, so everything we did was with the conscious effort to lighten our load! We wore the same clothes over and over. We washed them (most of the time), don't worry. We had tried to have less stuff with our person. We layered our clothing so not to lug them on our backs for our overnights. 

Needless to say, there's a lot of ideas I probably lost from that trip, because others who know me will say I like to be prepared for trips. But, still, something else is lost when you are bogged down by the weight of suitcases.

I love Dara McClean's song, "Suitcases" (go figure), where she talks about this.

"What can you do when you're tied to the ground, yeah?
You carry your burdens heavy like gravity.
Just let them go now, there's freedom in release..."

"There's nothing holding you back now,
Just run"

I think I've talked about this before, but there's just a mental picture that = chaos when you are trying to run to a train with heavy suitcases. And you're late. It doesn't work. Now picture having a lighter bag.

We think of running as a bad idea. Running away from things. How about the idea of running, just plain free running. The running to something maybe?

I can think of a many things that are made easier when running without my burdens weighing me down. This all happens when I remember that Jesus carried those burdens for me and I can release what's already been paid for.


-Running to hug a friend
-Running to get some ice cream
-Sprinting down the street (not too far, remember I said sprinting, I am a short-distance runner)
-Running (or walking quickly) off of an airplane to go greet people you haven't seen in a long time
-Running to chase the moon

I guess we can overuse the idea of running in our culture. But sometimes it can be fun to run. When we throw down what's been holding us to the floor and just go.

Where do you want to go and what is holding you back?

*Check out this encouraging and convicting post by Dara on her website.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Touch

"We can spend our whole lives fishing only to discover in the end it wasn't the fish we were after." -Thoreau

I was trying to connect a post from The Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday the other day, on the word "Real," with the sense words I've been writing about, and it just didn't seem to click for me. I desperately wanted people to get where I was coming from with this, as I sat down to write about the word Touch. I wrote about the miracles of Jesus, like the woman who had been bleeding and how his power and just coming near to Him and touching Him and her faith in that had healed her.

I wanted to write more about my own experiences of Christ drawing me to Him and learning to trust God, especially in places of healing and whatever that would look like in my life. I have done this in times before but this time, I didn't get very far because in walked The Critic.

Does that ever happen to you?

I honestly feel like I've gotten even more of a taste of God's grace and continued healing even in just an understanding of how He asks me to step out from places that seem scary to me, and trust Him in the process.

"Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?"
But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”  Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.  And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:40-48

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Listen

Listening in to what God says about us versus the other voices that rally for our attention can be so difficult sometimes. But, the truth is that everyone has value to the Creator God who loves all people, made in His image. And, to those who have come to know Him through Christ, He has adopted them into His family, as sons and daughters (1 John 3:1, Galatians 4:4-6).

Jeremiah 31:3 says "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
This verse speaks to God's relentless love and compassion. It's not of our doing that we come to know Him. And, it's not even our love that ignites and allows for us to engage and find the Father. But, it's Him who finds us.

Today, I don't know where you're at and what kind of sensory word would speak most to you. I know that in my own life, tuning into music can sometimes give me the chance to pause and reflect.

Check this song out: "Free"

"You tell me I've been made free
You give me everything I need to walk in my dreams
You whisper words that free my soul
You're the reason I have hope
You're everything I need and more

Now I'm free to love, free to live,
Free to take my life and give it all to You"

-Dara Maclean
 
Lately, I've been reflecting on the fact that no matter what is going on in my life and circumstances, Freedom in Christ is a compass that I can trust for wherever the journey takes me.

I pray that today you hear words that free your soul.