Wednesday, October 15, 2014

our weekly coffee date (where we learn some Hebrew)...

If we were on a coffee date, I would order an iced latte with whole milk and not sweetener paired with a slice of pumpkin bread, because that sounds like heaven at this very moment.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I am learning to stop fighting and to simply accept.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that the whole “Quarter Life Crisis” thing is real. (Turning 25 in a week and a half and it’s making me a HOT MESS of a person.)

If we were on a coffee date, we would watch the music video that Jimmy Fallon just created for his "Ew" parody. That man is a comical genius and can rap with the best of them.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you what God is teaching you right now… What are you reading through? How is God reminding you of His truth?

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about life and cancer and the hard things and how they shape our view of God.

If we were on a coffee date, I would share with you Psalm 91 and how I am clinging to the promise that Christ is our metsudah (Hebrew for “inaccessible place). The things of this world have no access to us; there is no place for fear amongst the grace and love found at His throne.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask how I can be praying for you, and pray for you right there. Prayer, it’s such a beautiful opportunity.

*These posts are inspired by this lady. She's a new favorite.*

Monday, October 13, 2014

on misalignment...

Chiropractors scare me. At least, they always did… until I went to one.

Naturally, I was having some pain in my back and neck. Before they can begin adjusting you, they have to take x-rays of your spine, back, etc. As the resident hypochondriac of my friends and family, my first question to my chiropractor in lieu of my x-rays was “Do I have any masses? Any tumor-like substances in my chest? Cancer? Honestly, I am expecting something like that, so you can tell me, I think I can take it...” LITERAL WORDS. Apparently, I wore my crazy pants that day. And, as I am sure to your shock and amazement, there were no masses found. Praise Jesus and hallelujah! (Seriously, I was praising Jesus, because again, CRAZY PANTS).

What he did in fact find was that my neck was in Stage 1 Misalignment. He told me that this happens most commonly from car accidents, or other instances where whiplash has occurred. The cause of my misalignment is different than that of a bad case of whiplash, and my chiropractor and I created a plan to get my neck back to its healthy, normally curved state.  

Friends, I was dwelling on this thought of misalignment and health and all that God has taught me through this long season…

It’s easy to become misaligned; the whiplash of life’s tragedies and joys throw us out of tune with our Lord.

Align: to make straight, to make parallel, to support.

To align ourselves to Jesus is to make ourselves parallel to Him, to support Him and His causes for this world, for our own hearts.

The loss of a friendship, moving cross-country for a new career opportunity, the knowledge of an affair, the loss of a child, an unplanned pregnancy, unmet desires of the heart, addiction, waiting seasons, frail emotions, or the painful, spiritual dry spell... It’s hard, it’s messy. All of these things can cause spiritual whiplash and spiritual misalignment in our lives... How do we praise God during a deep tragedy, one that shakes the very core of who we are and who we believe God to be? How do we continue to dwell in His presence daily when life seems to give us a little more than we can handle?

And there are other times when our lives become misaligned and we are simply not aware. I had no idea that my neck was in such a bad shape until I started experiencing pain. Little habits created my pain, and it wasn’t until I experienced the pain that I became aware of them and was able to begin trying to change them. Sometimes, it takes tangible pain to wake us up from the hole we have dug in our own sin. 

Misalignment in our spiritual lives, I think, shows up in very different ways… Idolatry, wrong motivations, lack of spiritual discipline, and loss of direction. Our hearts become unruly and we cling to emotion rather than truth. (Side note: John Piper has an AMAZING article on praying for your heart. You can find it here.) This is where we recognize our state, diagnose our misalignment, and create a plan to correct it (much like my chiropractor and I did). This will take a lot of prayer, discipline, and patience with Jesus, but again, aligning ourselves to Christ is a lifelong journey.

Tragedy shakes us and unhealthy habits form us, but we have a God who has enough grace and mercy and power to mold us into something beautiful despite those things.

Throughout any type of tragedy or season, God is faithful and good and welcomes our unruly character back into His presence. He takes the whiplash, the sinful habits and blunt tragedies, and uses them to reconstruct us to Himself. The misalignment is then re-aligned through a new desire for Christ and His work in our lives.

Be encouraged today, that if you feel lost, or dry, or misaligned, that He will be faithful to turn you back to Him. 

Align yourself to Him, for He is the only one worthy of being aligned to, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it may be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

on wednesdays, we wear pajamas...

Wednesday mornings are my Sabbath.

On Wednesdays, I sleep in. And by sleep in, I mean sleep in. I wake between 10:30AM and 11:30AM. It is holy and glorious and I am not one bit ashamed.

I sleepily tread to the kitchen; I pull my favorite mug from the cupboard and fill it with piping hot coffee, cooling it down to a drinkable temperature with some pumpkin spice creamer (mmmmmhmmmmmm, give me all the pumpkins). This morning, I paired it with some homemade monkey bread, courtesy of my amazing chef of a roommate. Perfection, ladies and gentlemen.

My bed, still warm from the nights sleep, welcomes me back. I gather my pens, Bible, journal and devotional readings and prepare my heart for what is ahead.

Wednesday mornings, I sit with Jesus, soaking in His truth, allowing it to soothe my worn and weary heart like a sweet salve. I greet Him with my messy hair and pajamas, eager and antsy with excitement. I read and I write and I pray and I sit. His grace never fails to meet me in this place, the place where I set Him apart, above all things. 

The week before has torn my heart, and this is the place where Jesus mends it. This time with Him is unlike my time with Him throughout the week, it is slow and calm and open-ended. Hours are spent in His presence, there is no urgency to follow a schedule or to neatly box up the time; it is messy, strewn, and stretched.

These mornings routinely look like sleepy eyes, breakfast in bed, unrushed time with Jesus, dancing, and grace gatherings.

On Wednesdays, I sleep in and greet Jesus in my pajamas. 
And no, my pajamas are not pink.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

our weekly coffee date (featuring Hawaiian lattes)...

If we were on a coffee date, it would have been in honor of National Coffee Day.

If we were on a coffee date, I would order you a Hawaiian Latte. Yes, there is such a thing, and it is as close to Hawaii (and Heaven) you will get without actually going there. Coconut and honey and milk and espresso… For the love of all things… Thank you, Jesus!

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you about how I am now a substitute teacher for my local Christian junior high and high school system. Note: I made sure to tell the principal that I absolutely cannot teach math in any sort of capacity. When it comes to math.... GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how Citizens & Saints came to my church this past weekend. They showed up at our junior high event in between worship services, before they went to lunch off-campus, and let me just tell you, I was more excited than our students!

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you about struggles and how God is using them to teach you His truth. I would share with you that I am indeed struggling with some things, and that God is using them mightily. But right now, it’s not fun.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I am going to Texas in February for the IF: Gathering. I am beyond excited to spend a weekend away with great women, focused on His will and desires for our ministries. Not to mention, I am going to hunt down Christy Nockels, Ann Voskamp, Jen Hatmaker, and Shauna Niequist at this thing! I am determined to have sit-down coffee with at least one of them! PLEASE JESUS, MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about She Reads Truth and Shop Kick and lose track of time. 

*These posts are inspired by this lady. She's a new favorite.*

Saturday, September 27, 2014

for the love of more...

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear, what can mere people do to me?””
-       Hebrews 13: 5-6

Lately, I catch myself wanting. Wanting to go and do and buy and make; wanting more time, more resources, more money, more life. Blame it on the hours I spend on Pinterest, my FOMO (fear of missing out) created by Instagram, or the sinful discontentment of my heart, yearning for more because I am simply not satisfied with where I am, what I have, and whose I am... I am wanting.

“Be satisfied with what you have…” Those words have haunted me all week, dwelling deep in my soul. My heart is always finding something new that I need… Anywhere from a new outfit and a new bedspread to a husband and a new car… Friends, I will be completely honest here, I am having a hard time. I am having a hard time balancing the wants and the needs and the godly things and the human things. I am having a hard time balancing, waiting, wanting, resting.

If we are not allowing our heart to be satisfied and met by Christ in its deepest places, we will naturally and subconsciously fill it in other ways. Thomas Chalmers says it this way...

“Such is the grasping tendency of the human heart, that it must have a something to lay hold of—and which, if wrested away without the substitution of another something in its place, would leave a void and a vacancy as painful to the mind, as hunger is to the natural system…. The heart must have something to cling to…”
(Source: She Reads Truth)

Life is so full of exciting possibilities, things that the Lord has laid on my heart for the present, for future. There are books to be written, trips overseas to be taken, women to mentor, memories to reminisce, jokes to laugh at, pain to grieve and mourn, people to love, children to adopt, houses to buy, and families to build. I look to those things, and I want them all. The children, the trips, the books, the memories… BUT, in order to get to those seasons, I must not only be present in my current season but also live it well, leaning on The One who fills me with these hopes and dreams. I must be satisfied right now with the job I have, the money I make, the house I am building, the ministry I am apart of, the life I have been given in Christ. My heart must be more in love with Christ than the plan that I think He has for my life (marriage, children, money, ministry, etc.). 

I love deeply, yearn passionately, and grasp tightly. I need to learn to loosen my grasp. My idea of life is vastly different than that of Christ’s; the things He desires for me are not necessarily what I desire for myself, in shocking, devastating ways for the good and for the hard (not bad, because He does not give us any bad, only good and hard).

We must be satisfied with where we are, what we have, and whose we are! Life is a journey, no one has arrived; life is not about what we own, but who or what owns us; remember that you are Christ’s first and foremost, He is your Helper, say that to yourself in confidence! There can always be more, but Christ calls us not to a life of more, but a life of abundance, and this is radically different. Whether it's money to what money can buy, nothing will satisfy you the way that Christ has meant to satisfy you.

More is meaningless, abundance is life-giving.

So, today I am praying against more, to be fully satisfied with Christ, not in the amount in my bank account or the apartment I rent or my marital status. I am choosing and praying that my love for Christ is greater than my love for the material that this earth can offer. I am choosing to live a life of abundance, not a life of more. He is our Helper, Sustainer, Provider... 

Why would we want to love anything more? 
Why would we want to love the idea of more when in Christ, there is abundance?