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

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.

 

falling from what we want

It’s these stones of expectations.

Expectations we lay on ourselves. Expectations the world piles on us, and they grow, they accumulate to the height of a great cliff.

We’re scared of falling from the top of that cliff

It’s like this:

The whole world is built up on a mountain, it’s actually a dangerous cliff, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

unnamed-43Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset You can be a comfortable Christian there-it’s excitement.

It’s pleasure & ease.

& so our flesh wants to be there. The top of the cliff is one place where you’re soul can live in the world. Heightened on entertainment and high on yourself. The top of the cliff is home to the lukewarm who want just enough of Jesus to escape hell.

Even though the cliff is high, the souls of those who live there are always trying to build it higher for themselves, trying to outdo the next girl, each working hard on her own ambitions and pride and dreams and plans for her life,

hoping no one misses out or doesn’t see how great she is. Unless she builds herself higher and outdoes the rest, she’s convinced she won’t be seen.

The cliff is built up with layers of self. Things we want. Approval we crave. It’s where we feel safe. It’s built up with our perfect scenarios and our expectations of ourselves. It’s where we want to be, high, lofty, exalted, applauded.

We’re trapped at the top of that cliff, even though we may not know it.

We need a move of grace to come crashing down.

We can’t jump down, those waters at the bottom haunt us. Because if we don’t live up up to the life we’re supposed to, the life the world and our own hearts have led us astray to believe, we’re going to fall from that high cliff into those waters.

There’s something in that water, on the shores of those depths that we can’t quite see. We don’t want to come crashing down. We’re afraid of how that might look to others and how that might interfere with our plans. So we keep building our own selves and dreams and reputations higher. 

Until He interrupts us. Isn’t it true that His interruptions hurt the most, but they always bring us back to our purpose? 

Sometimes it takes the likes of something we may not understand, for God to get us from dancing with the danger of selfish ambition.

Sometimes it takes something we don’t understand for him to bring us from waltzing to our own melody on the top of that cliff of comfort, to wading on the shores of that beautiful river down below, in His presence.

Mining for that thing we couldn’t see from the top-

that is, the gold.

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to bring us down to the place of sweetest fulfillment. Walking on the shores of His love and then wading further out as we learn to trust Him.

And then swimming were we can still touch as we know more of Him, and then one day-in over our heads, fully lost, only him.

When we’re in over our heads in this river we’ll wonder why we ever wanted to be high and exalted in our own strength on the top of that mountain where we thought we were secure, but were really just tinkering with danger. The mountain we thought stood so tall, but in reality was a crumbling cliff we would fall from to our destruction if His grace didn’t carry us down. It was an illusion of comfort, maybe everything we think is secure is actually an ilusioneverything but Him that is.

And that affliction-that tribulation that slammed us into the rocks on the shore-

that fall of grace

-it was a good slam, a grace slam.

One day when our arms have been strengthened from swimming so long in the ocean of His grace we’ll raise them and praise him for smashing our plans against that rock and bringing us to complete and utter fulfillment in the center of His will.

Mining for gold along the coast of pain.

Finding beauty in the moments we may never understand.

Because no day is wasted when we live with Jesus.

Sinking our feet down into that sand and rooting our hearts forever in His promises that are “yes and amen.”

The beauty of being brought low is that He is so much more than we could ever see from the top.

His economy is one of smallness.

Of falling from that cliff, into His arms, into those waters.

& so wherever we are right now in this moment, we’ll stand strong in our struggles because there’s beauty when we fall. We won’t compare our journey to the girl next to us.

and when it feels like we’re cascading down a cliff of failure it’s really because He’s bringing us down. He’ll teach us to mine for gold in the river where we land at the bottom of that cliff.

When the pain and hurt is all spent and the joy comes,

When we’ve tasted that river of grace-

our hearts will explode with a love. A love we will want to be to a hurting world. It’s a love that extends far beyond the reaches of this world.

And a fall of failure from a cliff of expectations can’t contain that eternal, crazy, winsome love. The fall only magnifies it. Until it’s an exploding array of His grace and our lives can’t contain His joy. Embrace the fall from what you want,

you’ll find more of Jesus at the bottom than you could have ever imagined.

risen for relationship

 

she fell in love with Jesus

and everything else soon fell away

every other desire–

except the smile of His face upon hers

except His presence and grace and fullness

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rae

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she fell in love with Jesus-

and man’s approval fell to the side

she didn’t even care anymore what they thought

she wasn’t deterred by rejection

or concerned with meeting their standards.

 

she fell in love with Jesus-

Her Savior was resurrected

risen

He rose for a relationship with her

and she knew this within the depths of her being

this–His resurrection–it gave her life a whole new meaning

this love poured out through His blood captivated her

it stole her heart, and all that she was

it gave her freedom

freedom to be all He had made her to be.

and now there was one resolve in her soul,

to be wholly His

in thought

in word

in deed.mak

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Because that is truly why He rose. for His glory, for our greatest joy, for His deepest and most ardent love to be poured out over us through His agony. His blood brought beauty. His resurrection, relationship.

The truest Lover of our hearts laid down all His glory and magnificence so that He could know us eternally as His beloved.

So that He could rescue us from the clutches of ourselves. From self-obsession and eternal damnation. From the world, from the evil of our own hearts, from death. We are rescued from death forever.

& praise God we can know Him. We can walk with Him each day for all of eternity. We can know His fullness, the beauty of His presence and the joy of His face upon us.

because we have been labeled perfect.

blameless.

enough.

& it’s all because of Jesus.

 

 

what approval addicts need

our hearts are all aching for someone, or many people, to tell us we’re approved.

it’s a longing in all of us to be told we are enough and accepted. it can be a poison that infiltrates our bones and destroys who we were made to be.

if we let it go on long enough, we’ll soon find ourselves sick.

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consuming thoughts about gaining approval in the eyes of men are rooted in self-obsession. we’re looking and running after what only God can give us. we’re looking for love in all the wrong places, from all the wrong sources because it can only be found in Christ alone.

no matter how hard you try, the world’s approval will never be enough! but you will find yourself destroyed as you keep searching after what will never fill. man’s approval can never satisfy you because it’s not supposed to. we were not created to live to please man “in whose nostrils is breath” (Isaiah 2:22).

and we can’t serve two masters. we have a choice: serve the world, or serve Jesus Christ.

I think I’ve got an idea:

 

let’s long to be broken of our selfishness and pour our lives out for others.

let’s forget about ourselves and look only to Him.

let’s care less about whether someone approves and more about their soul.

let’s stop craving approval from a world that hates the God we serve.

let’s step out in faith and forget “I”

Just JESUS.

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John Piper’s words cut straight to my heart,

“So my counsel to every Christian who struggles with the fear of man’s disapproval and the craving of man’s approval, which is all Christians, more or less, is this: Realize that in Jesus Christ, in a solid, God-chosen relationship with Jesus, man’s disapproval cannot hurt you and man’s approval cannot satisfy you. Therefore, to fear the one and crave the other is shear folly. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32) — free from the fear of not getting other people’s approval and craving it as though you just got to have it.

And the truth that set you free from that is: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). You don’t need to fear anyone’s disapproval when God almighty is for you. Think about it. Let it sink in. And the other truth is that knowing Jesus, looking outside ourselves to the glory of the Son of God in the gospel in the triumph for us over evil, looking to him is all-satisfying. “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8).

So the itch is satisfied, not with successful self-regard, but with breathtaking Christ-regard.”

and so the solution to this obsession isn’t to love ourselves more and be more confident in our individuality, it’s to forget ourselves, to lose ourselves in His grace, to reach up and out to a hurting world. it’s to become consumed instead with pouring ourselves out and living to make others rejoice in our God. it’s to forget about our own agendas and reputations and dreams and concerns and lay them all down at His feet.

is this something you struggle with? me too, girl! leave me a comment or shoot me an email (beautiefullthings@gmail.com) to share what helps you fight this and live for an Audience of One!

check out John Piper’s whole article on this:  http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/gospel-wisdom-for-approval-junkies

the four questions

our hearts are all searching. we’re all seeking something. whether it be fame, wealth, popularity, or the presence of Jesus Christ and eternal joy in Him. our hearts were so designed that we’re longing for something. this past week I had the opportunity to hear one of the humblest, clearest, men of God preach. my heart is yearning for more to know the glory of the hope of Jesus Christ and so I’ve come to share what made such an impact on me.

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the four questions

the questions that we all ask at some point during our lives. we may not ask them in this order–we may not even realize we’re asking them, but all of us will.

Who am I?
Why am I here?
What’s wrong with the world?
How can what is wrong be made right?

there are two worldviews. there are two ways to answer this question. there is a white, and there is a black. the culture//non-Christian worldview has their answers. and the Christian worldview has its answers.

and so the non-Christian worldview offers these answers::
Who am I? I am the result of random evolutionary processes. I’m an accident.
Why am I here? I am here to consume and enjoy.
What’s wrong? People are either insufficiently educated or insufficiently governed…or insufficiently medicated.
How is what is wrong made right? Violence: anger management class—or you need to be governed or medicated. We need more meds, more education, and stronger, more sufficient government. All of this will lead us to “utopia.” It doesn’t satisfy. You know it-I know it. The culture tells children we are here because of an accident. Educate better, medicate better, govern better. But things continue to get worse. It doesn’t satisfy and it doesn’t ring true. You’re still left searching for an answer.

If we’re all the result of random evolutionary processes the only right thing is to take what you want from those who have it. If we’re here to consume and enjoy—what else is left to do? What happens when you educate a violent person? You get a more sophisticated violent person. Who is gonna govern the governors? The culture’s answers are not ok. The world is not ok. Those who hear it—are not ok.

The Bible gives a different answer to those questions:

Who am I? The world says you are an evolutionary accident—and the Word of God says: I am the crown and glory of the Creation of God. The culture wants the results from our worldview while rejecting what accomplishes it. We are the crown and glory of the creation of God. Every soul has value and purpose and beauty and glorious worth. Because every soul is crafted by the one who breathed the stars into existence. 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by jim all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–{Colossians 1:15-16a)

Why am I here? I was created to bring glory and honor to God my Creator. We live to the glory of God—and govern the things and ways we enjoy/consume things. The only way to get to conservation is through worship. The culture says we ought to worship the creation—we get there by worshiping the Creator who made us stewards over the creation. There is purpose and joy and hope here and now because of Christ. There is an eternal hope to which we are reaching. Oh, praise Jesus, this is glorious.

“all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” {Colossians 1:16b-19}

What’s wrong with the world? You. “Who once were alienated and hostile in mind and doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21). I don’t do what I was created to do. And instead of bringing glory to God I’m hostile to Him. In short, what’s wrong with the world is sin. Our culture doesn’t like this category. We attempt to preach the Gospel without preaching about sin. The culture looks out and sees the problems—“we need to get them into the right environment.” What is wrong? Sin. You can’t look outside of yourself to find the problem. It can’t be educated, governed, or medicated out of you. Your problem is sin. I am at the problem with the world.

How can what is wrong be made right? The Cross. Oh the glory and hope in that ever profound and awful deed. We have no hope unless someone can come from outside of this world and rescue us. God made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us. He is our only hope. Our only hope is that we are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. Christ was born without sin and lived without sin—His active obedience—He is born perfectly righteous and in his active obedience he achieves perfect righteousness. If I am going to stand before God—alien righteousness has to be imputed to me. This is why all the Gospel matters, and the virgin birth matters. Because in all my wickedness Christ looked upon me and set his love on me. Not because of anything I have done–or ever will do. But because of the indelible riches of his grace.

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him. {Colossians 1:20-22}

This is our answer.

And it’s the only one that satisfies. There is not a greater answer we could come up with by philosophy. There is not a greater hope. The Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and it is sufficient to answer the questions of those who don’t even believe it.

“You can’t win, you can’t get even, and you can’t get out of the game.” That rings true without the Gospel. Without the Gospel, you have no hope. But God. to be short and true:

The only way you can have your best life now is if you’re going to hell when you die.

As believers, we’re not going to limp into heaven: He’s going to present us spotless, faultless, righteous. One day, we’ll get a bit of a glimpse into what this looks like. He will present you. One day, for those of us who are redeemed, Christ will look upon us—clothed in His righteousness—and He will say “Father, that’s your son.”

You can have utopia You can have your “best life now.” I’ll take glory. And I’ll enter there not by my own works-but by his work. Because there is nothing that this world is offering or proclaiming that comes close to that. Flee from trusting in yourself and flee to Christ. Live the rest of your life with the anxious anticipation that you will be presented before the Father by Jesus Christ–spotless, blameless, wholly His. Made worthy by his call.

love,

madyson

p.s. this post is based off of my notes taken from Pastor Voddie Baucham. be blessed by his ministry HERE