19 things I’ve learned by 19

  The best way to waste your life is to wish it was different. You’ve spent a long time wishing parts of yourself were different, and all that time you’ve been missing what is right in front of you. Work to change what you can while you embrace where and who you are.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

  1.  Your greatest heartaches often turn into your greatest blessings. They will hurt, but wait for the healing, because one day you will a different kind of whole than before you were broken. Cracks in your heart allow more love to pour in.
  2. Life doesn’t hand out do-overs. Today is what you have been given, and you might not get another chance to love the people who are right in front of you.
  3.  Never let approval become more important to you than who you are. You can gain as much popularity or influence as you want, but if you’ve lost who you are you’re only worse off.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with c6 preset
  4.  A lot of people might not appreciate you. You are not for everyone. But you are for some. Your heart might not be understood by thousands of people.
  5.  You will never figure tomorrow out. Stop holding back your heart from the world. If you do, you’re holding back on of the greatest gifts you can give. A gift that brings more joy the more you give it away.
  6.  Life is sweeter when you let the Lord surprise you. Your life will hardly ever look like you thought or like you think it should.
  7.  Everything–the highs and lows and hurts and joys? It is all leading to your ultimate good if you are in Him. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt or that your heart isn’t still aching. It doesn’t mean nothing is hard, it means that nothing is wasted.
  8. God is who He says He is. He isn’t hiding. He is present, waiting, and ready to welcome you home every time you wander.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
  9.  Don’t let what people think dictate the person you are or the person you become.
  10.  Your worth is never measured by the influence you have or the amount of people that approve of how you’re living. A lot of people thought Jesus was pretty stupid.
  11. You will make a lot more mistakes than you want. In them, you will find more grace than you ever imagined.
  12.  The world you live in will tell you a lot about yourself. People will give you opinions. Pick a few people you will listen to, and don’t let the others get to you. They can only see a part of who you are. God-He sees every part and every piece of who you are-He has intimate knowledge of you. Commit yourself to Him and not people and their opinions. He has said you are worthy and enough, and called you to walk in that confidence.
  13.  If I think my life is safer in my own hands, I’ve lost sight of who God is.
  14. You will miss your whole life if you are caught up in your own version of who you want to be and how you think everything should play out. Learn to want what He wants for you more than you what you want for yourself.
  15.  Anxiety will never accomplish anything. Your world is in His hands and the most powerful thing you can do is to hand over what you’re worrying about to the One who is in control.
  16. The things you love to do-your passions and what makes your heart come alive–all of those aren’t accidental. He has poured life into you so that you can pour out His love to the world. Pursue what He has given you a heart for. Running after what the world promises will leave you empty. Learning to embrace who you are will change your entire outlook on life.Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
  17.  Only one Person can cure your loneliness. He is the same One who designed your heart to beat the way it did and love the things it loves. He stays up all night to talk when you need to cry. Don’t try to replace Him with people, they were never meant to be your Jesus.
  18.  He knows far better than me. & nothing else matters so much when I remember that.

 

she believed God

Why in the world do God’s promises seem to take an awfully long time?

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In Genesis, God gave Sarah a seemingly impossible promise. He promised her that she would one day have a son. Sarah had a really hard time believing it though. She faltered, she made a big mistake, and she doubted that God would ever come through. Her heart wanted something so badly, and yet God seemed to be taking forever.

Isn’t that like all of us? Doubting God will ever come through because we haven’t seen any evidence of the promise yet?

His promises are as sure as the trials you are facing.

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And to Sarah? To Sarah, it seemed impossible. After all, who has a baby when they’re that old? Sarah found it a little hard to believe—she even found it laughable.

Sarah, we get you. So many times we read the promises of God and they fall on deaf ears because we’ve dismissed them as impossible for so long. Our broken hearts need God to do the seemingly impossible but we don’t count God as great enough.

But in the end, she believed the promise. God brought about what He said He would bring about. He came through for Sarah like He always does, and Sarah learned that oftentimes when God promises to do something, He doesn’t call us to actually do what He himself has promised to do, but to simply believe with fervent, child-like faith that He will do it.

Maybe God waits to deliver some promises and blessings and gifts a little longer than we would like, so we can get to know Him in the meantime. Because when we don’t have what we think we want, He can show us that He is really all that we need.

If you’re in a place like Sarah, and God’s promises for you seem so distant, trust that He is still at work. That even if you falter along the way, you cannot stop His faithful love from chasing you down and pursuing your messiest broken pieces.

She believed God.

An imperfect, messy, mistake-filled kind of belief. A real, gritty faith that faltered sometimes. Sarah is a lot like us. I am so grateful that God always delivers on His promises, even to our imperfect selves. Keep believing and keep pressing on, His promises to You are forever yes and Amen in Jesus.

By faith, Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
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Consider Him faithful who has promised.

& let it be said of you,

yeah, that messy and imperfect girl, she held on to something so unshakeable and it made her whole life radiate joy and confidence-

she believed God.

 

//”hallelujah” t-shirt from Walk in Love // use code MADYSONGRACE for 15% off your purchase

a few words if you feel like you can’t make the cut

When it’s just you and Him and you can hear the sound of the rain slowly falling on the roof. When the house is empty and it’s early in the morning and there’s nothing on your mind but Him-

yeah, that’s just a taste of His presence, counted as nothing by this world but the greatest deliverance from a world that’s tugging on your heart.

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It pulls you apart, I know.

Echos of lies telling you that you can’t make the cut, rating you an 8/10 and letting you know you’re not really getting anywhere. You want to throw in the towel and you’re tired. You’re worn down because no matter how hard you try to control your life how you want it, you always seem to be walking a different path than the one you told God you wanted. It’s funny how nothing is ever quite like we expected.

And you fear that if you stop-you’ll fall more behind than you already are. I don’t know where you are and who you are but what I’m about to say is on my heart for you today, so I have to write it.

This little jumble of words I’m writing to you now, it’s an invitation to be still. To put the lies on airplane mode and allow the truth of your King to rain down over the whispers of your soul’s enemy.

Come out of the world’s sun and heat for a minute and let the breeze of his grace blow your hair in the wind.

He declares beauty over your heart today. Not this kind of fleeting beauty that the world puts up on a pedestal and bows down to, but a deep, abiding beauty that comes when His joy runs through your veins.

He declares purpose over your heart today. Not a purpose of giving you everything you want but a stunning story of Him giving you everything He wants for you.

He declares love over your heart today. Nothing you do could make Him love you more and nothing you don’t do could make Him love you less. You haven’t slipped His mind, and you haven’t let Him down, because He’s looking at what His Son has done, not what you did.

He declares an identity over your heart today. This identity is flawlessly enough to fill you with the strength you need. It reaches to the core of who you are and says, “no matter what mistakes you may make, I still love you.” 

It’s a deep identity, it’s a raw kind of love. The strengthening kind of love because it lifts you up to soar. It enables you to do hard things. It labels you strong in weakness and enough when you feel insufficient.

Nothing can shake the identity that you have through Him. It is flawlessly enough for you and calls you beloved. He would have you believe this. I know He would.

& if you would have Him, He’d have you surrender. He’d have you give over every part of your heart. The beauty of His presence would invade and the things that hurt you once would fall away. You’d start to see every rejection as a blessing, every “no” as His protection, every disappointment as a deliverance, and every day as a new chance to give it all back to Him.

Hear it yet? The rain falling or the breeze brushing through the trees. If you listen closely enough your heart will hear the refrain,

I can stop trying to be loved and live from the abundant truth that I am loved.

I can stop trying to be enough and live from the reality that I am enough.

& I can stop hiking up a mountain of expectations that just keeps climbing and climbing,

I can come sit at His feet and just be, because He loves me for who I am,

and nothing will ever change that.

& you-yes you-

you make the cut.

 

how Jesus offers more than your lesser loves

We’re all running around in circles chasing these silly little pursuits and I can imagine God just shaking His head and laughing a little. Laughing at how slow it takes us to learn. Chuckling a little at our stubborn hearts that think they know best.

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He knows our hearts are so prone to wander into lukewarm faith and watered-down desires. He knows we get so easily fooled into thinking the world will deliver on its promises, and He knows there is more for us.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Our incredible God-He knows what He made us for. He made us to chase Him with every fiber of our being, drawing in the lost by the beautiful display of the Gospel that our lives become.

& yet we would rather chase boys, applause, and attention. We would rather chase acceptance, approval, and praise. We would rather chase money, position, and a career.

Our God knows all this.

He knows that the American lie has convinced us that we can have both Jesus and the world.

That we can live on the fence and we’ll be satisfied.

That we can wrap up all our worth in man’s approval and yet experience the full joy of the Lord.

That we can walk with the foolish and somehow become wise.

That we can serve both God and money.

He knows all these lies we’ve been fed and let ourselves believe.

Yes, He knows all of this. The struggles of our hearts in toying with the things of the world. The silly little pleasures we run after. He knows the time we’ve wasted on things that pull us away from Him, and in His perfect goodness He offers to us a beautiful promise that He delivers on.

If we would take time in our days to spend at the feet of Jesus-maybe we’d hear Him whisper

“My daughter, I have something better for you. Something greater than all you see right now.”

I think He wants us to remember that there is a whole lot more than what we see. That His glorious purpose for the world involves you, but it does not revolve around you.

We need to spend time with our God not necessarily so that He can show us what the big picture is-but so that we can simply be reminded that there is one.

That there is more, greater, deeper hope than all this world has to offer. That our time here on this earth is very small compared to eternity, but incredibly important in light of eternity.

That there is more than just me. There is more than my little world and what I want, there is a hurting, dying, world out there in desperate need of a word of grace. There are hearts looking for an answer.

This life is so much bigger than what I want.

It is so much bigger than simply my dreams-there are God sized dreams just waiting to be unfurled if I would lay my own down. All those desires we have, all those things we are chasing, it’s not too much. It’s too little. We need to lift our hearts higher and chase what really matters.

Let’s chase the One we were made to live for and glorify and reflect.

Your desires for “more”-that emptiness you feel when you chase the world-all that is pointing to something greater. So chase Him. Lay down your pursuits for joy in the things of the world and put all your stock in Christ. There is an abundance of joy, peace, and perfect contentment He is waiting to pour out if we would come.

Come, chase Christ with me. Let’s forget the lesser loves.

 

the scale has it all wrong

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A lot of us broken people have this thing with scales–with numbers and affirmation and a definition of beauty.

We let numbers sink under our skin and tell us who we are.

We let a mirror affirm our beauty.

We let the world define perfection.

I’m writing this because I’ve decided not to step on a scale again, and I want you to join me.

Body image can control every thought if we’re not careful. We let so much of ourselves be wrapped up in how we appear to others. We allow so much of our”worth” to be wrapped up in what a person thinks. We forget that those people we’re looking to for validation are broken too, and they’re probably searching for the same thing.

But what if our problem isn’t really with ourselves?

I know, it sounds weird. How could hating the way you look not be a problem with yourself?

However, I really do believe that it is not a problem we have with ourselves, it’s a problem with believing the incredibly beautiful truth of our God. It’s a question of purpose, not perfection.

We have to get it through our heads that just because you believe you are ugly doesn’t mean you are ugly. Just because that person treated you like trash doesn’t mean you are trash. And just because you feel like a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake. We’ve lost sight of truth, because we’ve let ourselves believe the lies for so long. You will live what you let yourself believe. You can choose to believe those lies, or you can stand up and defend your heart with the truth.

The truth that you, my sister or brother, are incredibly crafted with a purpose. That you are breathed upon by God Himself.

We’ve forgotten about that when we look in the mirror. We’ve forgotten about that in the way we treat others. We’ve forgotten about that when we’re up late crying because of a deep feeling of emptiness in our souls.

You are so much more than this world will ever tell you you are. But the answer to the pain isn’t to love yourself more, rather to embrace the beautiful purpose God has for you and forget yourself. It’s to find yourself lost in that beautiful purpose to bring Him glory through the passions He has given you. 

I have a choice: I could live my entire life wrapped up in pleasing people, in eating healthy, in running daily, in a trying-to-keep-myself-skinny kind of life. I could live my life constantly trying to love myself more and embrace who I am while inside I really hate what I see. Or I could be free. I could embrace who I am in Christ. I could simply embrace Christ, and watch as I beautifully come to understand my incredible worth because of Him. I could claim my freedom in Christ. I could realize that no amount of applause from men will ever fill the void in my heart unless I turn to Christ. I could have faith to see that the kind of freedom I need is not a freedom to follow my heart but to be unbridled, myself, who I was made to be. The freedom I need is to follow His heart. The freedom I need is to be beautifully caught up in this:

I can live out my purpose-and throw away what people think-because when God sets you on fire with His purpose for you life, you don’t really want to learn to love yourself more, you want to love Him more.

I’m not stepping on a scale anymore because it distracts me from my purpose.

A scale can tell me how much I weigh but it cannot tell me how much I am worth.

It distracts me from know the irreplaceable truth about myself, that I am so much more than how I look.

I’ve discovered that a purpose and passion for King Jesus is more beautiful than all the world has to offer. I’d rather be kind than skinny. I’d rather know my God than be known by this world, and I’d rather have people think I’m strange and overlook me, if it means I press further into the presence of my King.

Please know it tonight: the scale has it all wrong. You are so much more than a number. Let your heart dance in amazing love tonight. Let your joy soar and sing upon the mountaintops of His love. You are so treasured it’s crazy. You are so adored. It’s not because of anything you have done, but because of our beautiful God. I don’t care if not one person has ever affirmed your beauty on this earth, you are incredibly beautiful. Let’s begin to believe the truth, and let it invade how we live our lives.

The scale has it wrong, but God’s Word has it right:

you are loved.

you don’t have to know it all

Sometimes we carry burdens that were never intended for us to carry.

We carry the weight of trying to figure out why God has us where He does. We shoulder burdens of wonder. Wondering where we’ll be tomorrow, or why we’re here today.

This is for all of us who ever wondered why, and who have ever wanted to simply know what is going on.

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I know the path you’re on is not what you planned–it hardly ever is. But that’s what is beautiful about life. All these turns you least expected are leading to a beautiful glory. All these ways you feel God misunderstands your desires, they’re not misunderstandings. The hardest “no” today is God saying, “hold on for my best yes.

I promise you that the pain of the “no” is nothing compared to the joy of God’s “yes.”

And so we don’t need to know it all. We don’t have to be confident that our ways are all going to work out perfectly. These situations in our lives that we don’t really understand, these seasons we want planned out, they are so good. The unexpected is always more captivating than what we have planned out in our minds.

 

Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that if you knew what was going on in this moment the pain would decrease. Perhaps it would-but God isn’t trying to make you comfortable, He is revealing more of Himself to you. And one day, an immeasurable joy will fill your heart because of this. You don’t have to know it all.

Remember what happened to Even when she wanted to know all that God knew? Yeah, it didn’t turn out so well.

It’s ok not to know it all.

It’s ok not to know all the details of what you want your education and career to look like.

It’s ok not to know what God is doing in this messy situation you find yourself in.

Shift your focus, press on to know your God and stop trying to understand your circumstances.

We want to know everything. He says “every part of you is known.”

We want to know our circumstances. He says “just know Me.”

Be content with not knowing today. Not knowing why God has you where you are, or what God has in store. Be content with not knowing because today, you are given the glorious invitation to know your God. And that is more than enough.

{ “be the good” shirt from Carly D Design }

locked doors & new paths

Is there a door that’s closed in your life?

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It’s locked and bolted and you believe that if you could just break down that door, the other side would hold all that you need.

But it feels impossible to get through that door, and so you’ve tried looking for new ones, but you just don’t see them. You don’t feel Him. You aren’t excited, you feel like your growth is stunted, and every door you think was God’s plan has been shut in your face.

Look for a window.

Because God is working in a different way. What He has next for you might not be anything glittery and gold-

It might not be a beautiful oak door that leads to all you dreams fulfilled and pain erased, perhaps it’s a window that’s hard to climb through. A window that looks different, that feels small and insignificant. But on the other side of that window-perhaps there is a beautiful season of life just waiting to be uncovered.

And all of these small windows–maybe they’re leading us down the road to Him.

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In fact, I know they are.

I am convinced that what we see as small opportunities, God sees as a glorious unfolding of His perfect plan.

Keep walking and look for the windows, even when you’ve been expecting an opened door.

And when you find the windows–those light beams of grace shining through–climb through them. You never know what is waiting on the other side.

p.s. my dress is from Simply Bliss Boutique // I just LOvE this shop & the mission behind their brand. You can find the dress here (wearing size small)