gah it’s blurry

blurry. out of focus.

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ehh.

I thought I should delete it.

but wait. maybe not.

this picture is kinda accurate.

it’s messed up. it’s imperfect. it’s not like I think it should be. sounds familiar.

sounds like me, honestly. I want everything so clear and perfect. If I could just have a set of rules to follow, or my life all perfectly mapped out with a route to travel through–then day by day I wouldn’t have to obsess with what could go wrong.

I want clarity–Jesus says “just come.”

“come and embrace the blurry and trust ME.”

we don’t need clarity. but we do need to be FOCUSED.

we don’t need to know our tomorrow. but we do need to know our King.

Oh what a relief, we don’t have to do it all, be it all, or know it all. Because the One who knows ALL has our hearts firmly grasped in His hands. And this is the amazing thing:

He is never going to let go of your heart.

ever.

for eternity and ages on.

and there’s something even greater. He’s chasing you. He’s pursuing you in your mess. In your confusion He is running after your heart. He is yearning for you. He is jealous for you. His love for you is beyond anything you could ever have the strength to fathom.

whisper it again and again to your heart until you sing for joy. until it pours over your being and until His love consumes you.

His love is REAL. His grace is REAL. It’s powerful. It’s beautiful. It’s incomparable.

You know that blurry situation you’ve got? That uncertainty that’s trapping the air out of your lungs? He wants you to come tell Him.

Sit down. With no one around. Tell him your blurry mess. Ask Him to simply invade it with the calm clearness of his presence. You might not have a clear view of where you’re at, but He will give you a clear view of Himself.

And that is all you need.

That is all I need.

That in our blurry mess, His grace could never be clearer. It’s pouring down, it never runs out, and He is using our mess to bring us closer to Him. Because that fullness-that closeness to Jesus- that’s what we were made for.

xoxo,

Mady

 

•••••••••••••

Our prayer for more of you, Lord:

Just to know more of you Jesus! There is nothing greater. No higher privilege in all of the universe than to walk daily with You, King Jesus. Let our lives flow as beautiful rivers of praise to your Holy Name. You are so beautiful, Jesus. Might we reflect your beauty and wholeness and peace to a world so broken and void of light. You are the light. And in your light we find the life we need. We find the radiance of your countenance and it lifts ours. We are filled. We are satisfied in You because You are more than enough. More than all the world has to offer, greater than the cloudy containers of our mind and of uncertainty. We’re grasping, we’re yearning, we’re expecting more of You this day. Do your work in our blurry world. And Jesus we don’t want clarity, so much as we want more of You.

enough + enough

she sat down and breathed deep. her heart and mind needed clarity, a place of quiet, peace.

she felt the trap of comparison slowly pulling the life out of her, and she was tired. after all, it’s exhausting work trying to be someone you’re not. It’s exhausting work placing a standard upon yourself you weren’t even made to match. It’s hard to pretend to be someone you’re not. It feels impossible to breathe when you’ve convinced yourself you have to fit the mold that squeezes who you are out of you.

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she let her head rest agains the grass and looked up. there are times in our lives when we feel incredibly small and insignificant; this was one. so many things had begun to feel empty in her life and her heart, unclear and confusing. the enemy had begun to tell her that if something in her life was not as clear as day it was wrong– when really she needed to see that Jesus trumps clarity.

Jesus trumps confusion.

Jesus trumps suffering.

Jesus trumps feelings of worthlessness.

Not because he removes confusion and suffering and feelings of worthlessness but because He is greater than them.

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I want to plead with this girl–because it’s me. yet lately in my soul there seems to be no greater distance between what I know and what I feel. but girl, if this is you, keep seeking Jesus. keep pressing into him on the days and throughout the weeks when you don’t feel like it. seek first his kingdom, his righteousness, his glory. seek to serve and realize it’s not about you, and your feelings of emptiness will fade.

I’d tell her that if you are not living as the person King Jesus created you to be, no one else will do it for you. you are small, but so far from worthless. your heart and your story are completely unique to you, no one else can take your place. don’t despise openness, honesty, and vulnerability. It may be hard, but learning to be open is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. let the world see your brokenness, and in your weakness, let the world see the greatness of your God.

and that other girl who seems to have everything together–she’s hurting too. we’re all broken, and to pretend we don’t face struggles each day is to miss out on knowing the great strength of our God. If you could do it all, you wouldn’t know the joy of prayer and the presence of God. If you had everything perfectly together the sweetness of surrender would be distant from your heart. you were made for purpose, not perfection.

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change comes softly and slowly. stop trying to be someone you’re not and stop wearing yourself out because you haven’t grown to be the person you long to be. you are enough. let his song of pleasure over you delight your heart. you are held.

she looked up into the clear night and pulled the blanket around her. and slowly she began to whisper to her own heart that the One who hung the stars holds her tight. she didn’t have to fight who she was and wish she was someone else, she was free. and in freedom we find the joy of surrender, of giving all of our heart to Jesus. whisper it to your heart, “you are enough.

because you are truly enough.

the thing about dreams

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she stood at the edge of the water, looking out. looking in front of her, at what was coming. she saw each stair-where it was leading. she knew the next step, and that made her feel secure.

it made her feel comfortable.

she opened her journal to write but all she could do was grasp the pen with an adamantine grip. control’s riveting power was becoming her idol and her heart was beginning to long to know tomorrow instead of longing to know her King.

she was a hopeless romantic with a bucket list full of dreams. she didn’t say much. she had her faults, but she didn’t hide them. her journal was chock full of ideas and dreams and inspiration and beauty. her soul was deep, too deep to be understood by so many who settled for shallow.

and lately all she could think about was tomorrow. today didn’t seem to be enough to keep her soul captivated, or enough to fill her with joy. she saw joy as a “someday”, a state she would reach when what she wanted came to be true.

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but in the midst of the confusion of her heart, the King of heaven took her on a journey. a journey of not-knowing her future, so she could know her God. a journey of learning to see that this moment is enough, and her God is more than enough.

it was hard and it took a long time. day after day of waking up and realizing that she was created to live in the present, not so consumed with her hopes for tomorrow.

and in time she came to learn his love as greater than all her hopes and dreams. the waiting was blessed. because she learned that when she wanted something so bad, she had to surrender. to surrender and know that Jesus had something better. she saw how God works in mysterious ways, and one beautiful thing she learned: her King is always faithful, He will have His way. and in the center of His will she found purest joy.

she realized that joy isn’t someday, it’s today.

she learned that contentment isn’t tomorrow, it’s right now.

she believed He was faithful, faithful to give her joy and dreams too glorious to imagine herself.

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see that’s the thing about our dreams: they’re not truly dreams until their given to Jesus. when they become surrendered, and no longer ours, they become more beautiful than we could ever know.

don’t just dream. bring those dreams to Jesus. and watch them take flight and soar to beautiful heights on the wings of His love.

so today let your heart beat to the beautiful rhythm of his grace. refuse to fit in and be average. refuse to let the world suppress your beauty and define and validate your soul. live for your King Jesus and show His love wherever you go, whoever you meet. get outside yourself, your dreams, your desires, and know this: He’ll fulfill your dreams in a way that might surprise you.

to anyone who wants to be perfect–like me

maybe you’re like me. maybe you don’t want to mess up. maybe you want everyone to like and applaud you. maybe you want straight A’s just to say it and a brilliant mind, and although you might not admit it-it’s so that you’ll look good.

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IMG_4336maybe you’re like me–and you want to be perfect.

you want your hair in place and eyebrows on flee and clothes coordinated. you want your pictures on instagram flawless but not too filtered so people don’t think you’re trying to cover something up.

you want 8 hours of sleep each night and flawless skin and a kept schedule. you want to workout and have a job and go to school and church and hang out with friends and do it all.

you want control.

you want your life under control. like me.

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why?

why do you want perfection?

who are you seeking to please with your perfection? Is it a person? or people? or ’cause your future education depends on your grades?

and since when did we start to gauge our success quantitatively instead of qualitatively?

and yes, I’ll admit it. I want approval. I want the world’s approval–but oh I long so deeply to not desire this! the conflict of desires sometimes kills me. and the world’s unattainable standards of perfection–they break me. they break everyone who pursues them. in fact, they are designed to.

because I chase them down in a fury until I’m so weary I wear and I lay before the Lord and say “have Your way, transform me. I have nothing of myself to offer.”

that’s what He wants. He doesn’t want your perfection. He wants your brokenness, your weakness. don’t think for a moment that you need perfection of your own. your weakness is a catalyst for his glory. because if the world filled us, we would never feel our need for Christ–we would never experience the joy of knowing him.

and a number on a GPA or a scale or a rating is a number. My Jesus is greater than a number. He’s greater than my inability to focus on schoolwork and He’s greater than my lack of concentration on a task before me. the moments of greatest importance and strength, are often the moments when I feel the least important, and weak.

He doesn’t look at your weight or GPA. He looks at the three nails pierced through His Son and declares you perfect. perfectly complete in His righteousness.

what does it matter if you gain the whole world and lose your soul? you’ve got to want to know Him more than you want to be known by the world.

when the rich young ruler came to Jesus–Jesus didn’t want his perfection, He wanted his heart. and He wants yours.

 

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I don’t know where you are today. maybe you’re just a 17 year old girl like me who’s overwhelmed by the world and its pull or maybe you’re a mom chasing kids or a student pursing an education. wherever you are-just run to Him. and don’t leave your weakness outside the prayer closet, bring it in with you. bring your weakness to him. bring your imperfection and confusion and feelings of inadequacy to your king.

He makes the broken-the poured out-the weak, beautiful.

a reward beyond compare

forsake all else.

renounce all that he has.

those words hit hard.

“so therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” // luke 14:33

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He says renounce all that this world promises will make you happy. He says renounce the lust and the lies that you’ve been living on. He says renounce your pursuit of money, or popularity, or outward beauty. He says renounce your possessions–hold them so loosely. He says renounce the opinions of family members and friends and co-workers. He says “live for Me alone.” No other opinions: an audience of One.

I think we’ve made Christianity easy. we’ve diluted the imperatives of discipleship. we don’t want to renounce all else because our flesh still wants the world and we’ve adjusted our theology to fit our lifestyle.

and as Christians, we want to talk about how Jesus is so good, how He’s all we need, and how He is our King, and oh what glorious truths! but then why is the church in America so consumed with careers and money and personal achievement and outward appearance and new programs and bringing more people in–instead of the one thing we should be consumed with: Jesus.

you see forsaking all else for Jesus is not an option of discipleship–it’s the point. as disciples we do not live for a cause or for principles, we live for a person. our servanthood should be fueled by deep, deep love for our Savior.

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and when we love Jesus more, we begin to see how empty and pointless the pursuits of the world really are.

when we love Jesus more, our hearts fill with love and compassion for those around us instead of judgement and envy.

when we love Jesus more, we go to bed praying and walk up singing “take the world, but give me Jesus.” we want Him more than we want to be known or admired or respected by the world.

but only through his Holy Spirit can we have that kind of love. it cannot be done on our own.

Oswald Chambers said it perfectly: “Whenever the Holy Spirit sees an opportunity to glorify jesus through you, He will take your entire being over and set you ablaze with growing devotion to Christ”

discipleship is not just following…it’s falling. falling in love with the Breather of the stars and Creator of your soul. we have to hate all else in comparison to our love for Him. we have to count it all as loss for the reward and joy and glorious privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as our Lord.

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I’ve been thinking lately about how what we treasure reveals our hearts, and how far I have to come in this area. when I treasure man’s approval instead of God’s, when I pursue the trifles of the world, I’m denying with my actions what I say with my words, that Jesus is all I need.

So let Him truly be all we need. as disciples let us not hesitate to pick up our crosses, and renounce all else, to pursue more of Him and His glorious beauty.

the reward is beyond compare.

dear madyson, about social media

a letter to myself:

Dear Madyson,

about social media.

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numbers have a way of making you nauseous, a way of pulling you away from what matters, a way of controlling your joy if you let them. it’s pretty silly, but it’s true–you let a number define you. a scale or a picture or a following. you compare. you compete. you want to be better and prettier and thinner and more popular than the other girl.
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you lose your focus, you run after the world and the things of the world and you think you’ll find your validation there.

but this: whatever you let validate you will invalidate you. people’s approval is not worth the price you pay. that price is your soul–yourself. you can give all you have to be accepted in the eyes of the world but it will destroy you.

and if you wrap up your worth in double taps on an instagram picture-or comments or followers–you’re setting yourself up for some painful invalidation. if you fix your eyes on the temporary, you will be left empty. but if you focus on King Jesus and soak your life and soul in His Word, then you have meaning, then you have joy, and beautiful fulfillment.

comparing numbers will make you sick and if you don’t find your value in Jesus you won’t ever find it. you’re consumed with their opinions when you should be consumed with this:

“let your light shine before men.”

you can let a silly little app consume your lives and validate your work or you use it as a platform for King Jesus–to shine forth his light, to share his joy, to encourage souls, to capture and record the beauty of His glorious world.

or maybe to pray for a person when you see their picture. lift your desires a little higher–actually much higher–set them on Jesus.

 

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in this generation of insecurity and impossible standards and destructive comparison, bring your heart to Jesus. focus on Him. you are bombarded on every side by lies and voices that should be ignored. surrender all to King Jesus. tell him your weaknesses and hurt. he gives grace upon grace.

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listen: cling to your Savior. take your eyes off of numbers and what others are doing. fix your gaze upon what is most important.

 

live to bless, not impress. 

sincerely,

me

Round of applause, I pause to take a photo op
None of it’s real; it’s just Photoshopped
Crop out my flaws then my failures, my aches and all my ailments
Now I’m picture perfect, take all my dirt and conceal it
Really, I no better than any
But they pay me a pretty penny to sit and look pretty
Not too big, not too skinny, be whatever these fans demand of me
‘Cause otherwise they probably wouldn’t love me
The show goes on even after the curtains close
I smile and pose, put my signature on they clothes
They lift me up so high that I’m surely about to fall
The higher that I go the more unforgivin’ they are
No grace and no exceptions, all they want is perfection
The man in the mirror can’t even see his reflection
You live for their acceptance, you die from their rejection
But even if I fall, I fell in the right direction

-lecrae

 

 

one thing to remember when life hurts

this aches. was it real? my mind replays the scene. that sound over again and that scream for 911. it replays and my heart beats out of my chest again. I see the compressions in my mind and his body jolt from the shock. I see people running and sirens and first responders rushing in.

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I step back again so I’m not in the way. and then the twenty minutes of compressions. the stretcher and his body covered with tubes and masks. then 30 minutes of try-to-collect-yourself moments before the hospital pronounces him and you break down. it’s not like anything else-being that close to death, and physically only a few feet away. you just clock out and go home because you’re seventeen and what do you know about handing this kind of stuff?

you go home and cry because there is a time to mourn and this is one.

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it doesn’t seem right. he was too young. it was too fast. life is too fragile. but that’s just it: life is fragile. and we think we’re invincible and we try to always be right and always have a cure but it’s not going to happen. this world is broken, you feel it now more than ever.

you go home and you realize how frivolous so much stuff is. you realize it’s SOULS that matter-people and their stories and their hearts. and you lay down your judgmental + critical spirit at the foot of your King + ask him for a heart that truly loves. You go home and you realize that this breath might be your last-so you should make it count, live it fully, and use it to LOVE. you realize you want to live for OTHERS because that is what will complete your joy and bring Him glory. you realize you’ll never forget this-and you shouldn’t.

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because this will drive you to your King-to Rest in HIs Shadow, to sit at His feet and learn of His goodness + grace and the hope eternal we have in Him alone. when you’re a mess of emotions and its late into the night, you know one thing: keep holding on, you were made for a better place.

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19443302305_d85cbfe862_kit’s ok to be broken, it’s ok to cry, and it’s ok to hurt. because in all of our pain his glory and grace come rushing in. his mercy compels us to deeper love and His arms wrap close around us. turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face-and the things of earth will grow strongly dim, in the light of His glory and grace.