19 things I’ve learned by 19

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  1.  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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.
  4.  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 preset
  5.  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.
  6.  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.
  7.  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.
  8.  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.
  9. 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
  10.  Don’t let what people think dictate the person you are or the person you become.
  11.  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.
  12. You will make a lot more mistakes than you want. In them, you will find more grace than you ever imagined.
  13.  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.
  14.  If I think my life is safer in my own hands, I’ve lost sight of who God is.
  15. 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.
  16.  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.
  17. 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
  18.  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.
  19.  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.
Hebrews 11:11

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.

 

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)

exchange the unknown future for a known love

What is it about all that we think we want, all that God wants, and how the two collide?

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It’s a painful collision. When what we had planned is dashed against the rocks of His strength and goodness. When our plans collide with the sovereignty of an all-powerful God.

There’s a thing about disappointments and broken dreams and dashed expectations. They hurt. Often times, they cause us to doubt our God. We build up all that we think we want and want for our lives–and then the weight of reality wrecks us: we’re not in the place we would expect.

It’s not the school we had expected.

Or the church, or the person, or the friend.

It’s not the ideal job, or the perfect relationship-

but really, it’s absolutely opposite of all we expected.

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The unexpected has captivated me lately. (maybe that’s why 90% of my blog posts revolve around this topic 😉 ) Why God lets it happen, why our hopes in certain things are wrecked, and why we come to the place where with all our hearts, we’re pleading with our God and asking “God, what are you doing?”

Our doubt is fed by dashed expectations.

We let ourselves believe that God is not good. We may deny it-but why are our hearts confused? Why are we not overflowing with His joy? Why are we not EXCITED for LIFE?

Maybe it’s this:

we haven’t fed our emotions with the truth. The truth of God’s goodness. We haven’t preached it to our fading hearts each morning as we should. We haven’t soaked it in and let it consume all that we are.

You’re emotions take what you feed them. So feed them the truth. Start now, today:

God is good.

His plans are good.

Because God is good, what He is doing in your life is GOOD. When it hurts, when it’s confusing. It is good.

My circumstances will never be perfect,

but my God will always be.

Preach that to your heart every morning when you wake up. It may be the last thing you feel right now, but I promise, when His grace wrecks you, it all breaks through in a beautiful, overwhelming joy.

We’ll soak it in and by believing the goodness of our God, our entire perspective on life will be changed.

Our perspective on trials will never be the same.

Our perspective on the unknown will be altered.

“In the breaking of every habit, someone wills it first and feels it later”

-beth moore

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My greatest fear used to be not knowing. Not knowing what tomorrow would hold, not knowing if I would get what I want, not knowing if I would experience my definition of living.

Why is it that I think I know what would bring me the greatest joy, when my God has been preparing the deepest joy possible for me since before I was born, if I would only surrender?

It’s been a beautiful wrecking of grace that has showed me: I don’t actually want what I think I want, unless it’s what God wants for me.

It’s been a beautiful wrecking of grace that has showed me: wrapping my heart up in fear of the future is actually me crying out, “God, I want your job.”

But I’ve been liberated. I don’t have to be God. I don’t have to do His job. I am His daughter. Liberated. Freed. Excited.

And now my greatest fear today is this:

wasting my life because I’m wallowing in what I want and why God isn’t giving it to me–instead of searching God’s Word so my heart can explode with joy at the incredibly perfect plans He has for me.

This is it, this is what I want to live for-

I long for what He wants for me.

There is no fear of the future in my heart, but unbridled excitement, anticipation that God’s incredible plans for me have already begun.

I’m going to chase down what He wants for me-because I don’t want my plans anymore. I’m surrendered to a God who has better things in store

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Join me in destroying your fear of the unknown, by believing what is known:

My God is good and all His ways are perfect. 

(( say it to your heart ))

Exchange the unknown future for His known love.

love & grace,

m

power in a piece of glass

Sometimes I think that one of the most powerful things in the world is a piece of glass.

We run in circles comparing who is the prettiest, thinnest, or who has what it takes.

Processed with VSCO with a8 presetA mirror can convince you that you will never be enough and the world will tell you that you don’t have what it takes. If I had to guess, you probably look into the mirror and pick out the flaws. Most of the time, we try to solve the problem by bashing models and saying they are anorexic, giving ourselves a pep talk, and strapping on our “self-esteem” vest.

We convince ourselves that our bodies are perfect just the way we are, that we have what it takes, but we don’t adjust our focus to what actually matters. We don’t remember that our worth doesn’t even come from that.

I wonder what would happen if we realized that everything isn’t quite as we see it.

 

read the rest HERE

the beautiful is coming

Maybe you’re in the ugly today.

An ugly situation that you wish you could change. A heart you want God to revive. You just want flowers and spring but your heart is caught in the dead of winter.

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Deuteronomy 8 doesn’t just promise that God has a purpose in the unexpected, it promises even more. { read part one here }

This has unexpectedly become one of my favorite chapters in Scripture. Let me tell you, that once you begin to study God’s Word, once the Holy Spirit begins to speak to you and come alive through the pages of The Word, you get hooked. It’s become this way with the chapter I’m reading, I can’t put it down. I can’t rush through it because I don’t want to. I think there is enough truth and promises in this chapter to read it every day and never get tired of it.

So here’s part two.

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. -Deuteronomy 8:7-14

After the promise of holy in the hard at the beginning of the chapter, God promises to bring His people to a beautiful season.

If I had to guess I would imagine that you’re either walking through a season that is difficult, or have at some point in your life.

The beautiful thing about our God is that He promises redemption for every season. Although your heart has been bowed low in this valley, God is redeeming that unexpected challenge, and bringing you up to a good place. A full place. A satisfying place.

This land he is bringing you into-it is not mediocre. It is no less than the most glorious season you could imagine. Because in your darkness He is bringing the incredible light of His goodness. A rich land. Where your soul’s joy will abound. A land where you will be given diamonds-the good things you longed for and thought you could manufacture up on your own.

The rubble will be exchanged for rubies.

The dirty pebbles you held onto and thought so beautiful-the ones who didn’t want to let go-they’ll fall from your hands as Jesus places in your palms the most beautiful pearls. This place and this new season of beauty will still hold hard days and confusing emotions, but you will be satisfied.

Trust that Jesus is bringing a beautiful season in your life, even if you are in the dark today. Trust that His light will come bursting forth. Trust that He hasn’t given up on you, even if you feel like giving up, or even if you have. You may be finished, you may be tired, you may be bored of who you are and where you are but He is not.

You will come to be satisfied because of where you have been, and where you have walked. Because you will have learned that any hint of goodness is from the Lord, and is a gift. You will have learned that apart from His strength you can’t put your feet on the floor and get out of bed each morning.

 

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nicaragua mission bracelet // purchase H E R E

Because of where you have been, you will bless the Lord for where He is bringing you.

You shall eat and be full because you have been brought to the place where you know who gives the food and His face is the only face you see.

This doesn’t promise that you will be brought by the Lord to the scenario in your life you’ve always wanted. Often King Jesus loves us far too much to give us what we want. He gives us what He wants and slowly tunes our hearts until His will is our fullest, most vibrant desire.

When you have been brought to this season of joy, don’t make the mistake of thinking once again that you can do it on your own. Don’t look back constantly, but when you do, do it to remember how faithful God has been. Do it to surrender the future because you know God has brought you this far.

Unless you are continually fighting to find your joy in Jesus Christ alone, you will always be pulled back to wandering in the wilderness, no matter what season God brings you to.

So when this season comes and the blessings come, don’t set your heart on the given, but on the Giver. The beautiful is coming-even if you don’t see it today. The greatest thing about our Jesus is the hope that He gives us, that even if the beautiful never comes in this life, it will be full and complete when we are with our Savior together.

for you, if you’ve met the unexpected

Five little verses.

Five little verses is all that it took for God to shake me, speak to me, show me, a truth I know I’ll never let go.

Five little verses=one big truth.

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It’s Deuteronomy 8:2-6.

 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing Him.

God brought the Israelites to an unexpected place. An unexpected waiting. He brought them to this place in their lives so that the genuineness of their faith would be proven. Isn’t that just like our God, to give us what we do not understand so that the strong roots of our faith would sink down and grow firmly rooted in the sovereignty of our Almighty God.

Isn’t it like our God to bring us out to wander in the wilderness for forty years-or however long He would have us wait-to teach us that He is sufficient to sequester every longing of our heart and to fill every hunger.

And even when The Lord leads His children to unexpected trials, the solution and healing He brings is also different than we would expect. God “fed them with manna which they did not know.” His solution to the trial He had brought to His children was the only sufficient solution. Because His ways are so much greater, they are hardly what we expect.

God lets us feel the emptiness of everything so that we might know the fullness of Him. He loves us way too much to let us be content with temporary satisfaction.

So whether God has you in a season of waiting for 40 years, or 4 months, He is always faithful to provide. The Israelites never went hungry. In His hand is all you need to be content in whatever place you are right now.

Pain and waiting teach our hearts to find fulfillment, healing, comfort, and complete satisfaction in God alone. God disciplines us for our good. God brings us through pain for our good. In our limited minds, we see good as being today. But our God sees good as something far greater.

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He lets us know loss, so that He might become our greatest gain. Loss of a job. Loss of a friend. Loss of a person. Loss of our expectations. So that we might find our all in Him, and not the trinkets of the world that are quick to grab our attention and even quicker to fade away.

Let us not think for a moment, that Our God-who holds the stars in their galaxies and breathes life into all that lives and moves and has its being-doens’t know what He is doing in our lives. It is something beautiful.

This resting and trusting in His plan summons us to obedience. We obey because in the season we do not understand or did not expect, He is working in us a peculiar glory that we will get only because of what we have walked through. Fearing God, obeying Him, resting in what He is doing and surrendering our hearts to Him, this is our greatest good. Because He loves us so perfectly, and the moment we believe we would be happier in different circumstances is the moment we have ceased to believe that His love is perfect for us.

 

a prayer to surrender the “seen”

Lord Jesus,

We get so caught up in whether or not people see us. Whether we’re known by many, or whether they approve and even notice what we do.

& yet you paint a beautiful sunrise each morning and most of us aren’t up to see it or- or we say “what a beautiful sunset” instead of “what a glorious God.” And yet every morning the sunrise is beautiful. Because You paint it for your glory.

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And so I’m giving up on this whole “living to be seen” idea.

I want to leave beautifully because I know and believe with all of my heart that I am known and seen.

& this art I “do”: these weak little words put together and small little pictures of moments–these are for You, Lord, just as each sunrise is for You.

So take what little gifts I have to offer, it is not of You to ever reject one of your own, and so here are my small treasures. let them be for your glory.

Broken? Yes, I am broken. But I am surrendered, Lord.

Nothing? Yes, I am nothing. But in you I have everything.

Distracted? Yes, I am distracted. But be my sole focus and joy.

Let it be for your kingdom that I speak each word,

For your glory that I paint each picture,

For your exaltation that I pen the words you put in my heart,

For you alone.

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You’ve shown me the joy of creating something. & maybe it’s to show me the smallest glimpse of the joy You sang over me when you formed my most intricate parts.

You delight in me, and this dear Lord is more than I could ever ask for from the world. It fills all the places where man’s approval could never rest. It satisfies a soul longing to be known, it fills the hungry, it is enough.

This will be my beautiful offering, all my broken pieces laid at your feet,

all the hidden moments that no one sees,

because the moment I realize I am known, I know I no longer need to be seen.