passion 2017.

 

Passion was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like it. There’s a lot that I don’t want to forget from those few days. & so I’m writing them here so I can always go back and  read them over and over. I don’t want to come “down from the mountain” and live unchanged.

Our hearts get puffed up when we simply learn more stuff. Words can enter our heads and never sink into our hearts. I want the passion behind this movement- behind the words spoken and the praises proclaimed-to saturate my life. Hearing a powerful message is one thing. Living it is another. The disjunct between truth and the tendency to live by feelings is life’s great battle. One we will fight, and one we will win, in Him. So some reminders wouldn’t hurt.

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C h r i s t i n e   C a i n e

We don’t need more gifts or talent, we need endurance. God isn’t going to pull us out of uncomfortable circumstances. No, endurance stays. We need to stay. Be present. Push through whatever we face. We need to endure and we can because of Christ.

You have to lay aside what is holding you back. The weights and sins that are keeping you from the presence of Christ. Lay them down & run to Him. Stop competing and start being faithful to God right where He has you. He isn’t looking at your success compared to someone else, He is looking for faithfulness.

Don’t believe the lie that what you do today doesn’t matter. Where you set your heart today-during these years-will determine the course of the rest of your life. Yes it will look different and no you may not win man’s approval. Your heart is your compass right now. Set it straight to Christ. Look up, it’s all about Jesus.

J o h n    P i p e r

The essence of evil is to lose a taste for God and to prefer anything more than God. Eve delighted more in what the fruit could do for her than what God could do for her. You have to get beyond the commandments to the reality, that the ultimate essence of evil is when you taste the glory of God and you want to trade it.

Until you see and hate evil, you will perpetually dumb down the majesty of God. The greatness of God is magnified when you are satisfied in Him. Guard your heart, and fight the battle. The battle for satisfaction in your God.

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F r a n c i s   C h a n

One of the most destructive things we can do is to rely on our own thoughts. We need to stop believing everything we think and valuing our own thoughts more than God’s. Get outside your own head.

We can’t believe everything we feel either. Pray for the Spirit of Revelation. Pray for His thoughts. Get alone with God and empty out your own thoughts and feelings. Exchange them for His. In short, tell yourself to shut up.

L o u i   G i g l i o

Jesus did not come so that we could get some of Him, He came so we could have all. The cross is devastatingly beautiful because it is the only place where the dead come to life. It cancels our guilt and shame.

Never again walk unworthy in this world. The story of the victim ended at the cross, and the story of the victor began in the empty tomb.

L e v i   L u s k o

It takes endurance to spread the fragrance of Christ. To make fragrance, you have to be crushed. Courage is contagious. Fear is faith in the enemy. Confidence inspires confidence.

Jeremiah was a man destined for impact. He didn’t just save you from hell, He saved you to shake the gates of hell. Ministry starts at home. Where you are right now. How will you be faithful somewhere else if you cannot be faithful with what you have been given?

The only way to get to your destiny is through difficulty and discouragement. You need to be challenged and reminded of the calling on your life. We must train for the trial that will come.

It is an honor to be trusted with pain. God puts to use what He puts you through. Would you be willing to be broken for Him to bring His purpose to the world? Jesus always breaks the bread before He multiplies it. We have to lean in to the breaking.

Quit relying on willpower, you have God’s power.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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

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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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.

insecurity and I broke up

Insecurity and I broke up last night.

April 13, 2016–

been there. over. done.

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I never thought of myself as being held captive by insecurity.

I never thought it was the source of so much hurt and hindrance.

I never thought it was the breeding ground of the fear and lack of confidence in my life.

I never thought it was the thief that was robbing me of my God-given joy.

But my eyes-oh were they opened.

It’s been keeping me back from who I was created to be.

and now I see my pride,

and now I see my self-obsession,

and now I see my desperate need to be free.

I didn’t realize I have been held captive by insecurity for so long because I didn’t realize what insecurity truly was. Little did I know it was the source of what has been pulling my heart apart.

It’s time it is long gone from this girl’s heart. This heart that’s ready to be set free to run wild with God-exalting dreams. This heart that’s ready to explode with a love so vibrant and leave all of herself behind in the pursuit of Her God.

& so we’ve broken up.

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It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. -Galatians 5:1

Insecurity tends to be defined as a generalized, vague notion in our minds. We might say insecurity is “not being content with how we were made” or “wishing we looked different.”

But oh it is so much more than that.

I opened Beth Moore’s book, So Long Insecurity, and I’ll never be the same. Let me pause right here and say that if you haven’t read it–please pick it up. So much of what is on my heart to share with you has its roots in her words and reflections ( I owe that woman some serious gratitude).

Every insecure heart pulsates reverberations of one thing:

doubt.

doubt in self & the beautiful person you were created to be.

doubt in God & the unfathomable worth He has placed within you.

Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self-doubt–a deep feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associated with chronic self-consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate. -Joseph Nowinski

The insecure heart places unrealistic expectations on other people to fill what only God was made to fill, and runs on to the next thing if those expectations aren’t met, breaking down friendships and relationships and asking broken people to be its god.

The insecure heart weeps at the very thought of rejection. It is overly sensitive to every little thing someone else says or does. It lives in constant fear that someone will disapprove.

The insecure heart breaks the moment someone else does better. It wants to be a “the” instead of an “a.”

The insecure heart is not content with being average, but wants to soar higher, just to be better than someone else. Everything is a competition. Everything is a fight to be best.

The insecure heart wants to be the highest priority to their friend, boyfriend, family, or boss. It wants constant affirmation from these people that

And yet in all of this mess of an insecure heart–the most insecure person will often appear some level of perfect. Because perfection is what a diseased heart will use to patch the pain of insecurity.

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As I read through the pages of Beth Moore’s book, every word pressed into my heart and echoed,

Madyson: this is you.

This is you because all of this insecurity that is weighing you down is rooted in pride, self-centeredness, and self-obsession.

This is you because insecurity has made you do some stupid things. Insecurity has made you sit quiet and not speak for fear of saying something stupid. Insecurity has made you tell people you’re “quiet” as a cover up-as a lame excuse that disguises the real you. Insecurity has made a fool out of you. It’s stolen your life, and it’s held you back.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve placed your security in the hands of other people. When you do that, when you give your security and purpose to another person or people or friends to hold–they drop it every time.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve doubted yourself so much it’s pathetic. Truly sad. You’ve doubted so much the beautiful person God has made you to be. You’ve doubted your potential. You’ve kept dreams hidden too far inside.

This is you, Madyson. Because you’ve felt yourself so inferior to everyone else. Because you’ve let yourself be held captive by a lie for way too long.

I’ve spent hours telling God I am done with this. Begging forgiveness. Seeking to understanding what it truly is. But I know that it will not be over in an instant. It takes time to heal a heart that has been bruised.

But when those thoughts of self-doubt, inferiority, and fear arise I am standing up and recognizing them for what they are. I’m calling my enemy out, he’s had enough time to mess with me. I’m claiming the truth and promises of God’s Word over my heart. I’m posting sticky notes in places I see them to remind me of this truth.

It may be a battle to overcome this,

I say bring it on. I have the power of Christ in me.

Slowly, little by little, God’s truth will begin to erase those lies I have believed for so long. As I feed my heart and soul with that truth, I pray it fills my spirit, until all of me knows the perfect fullness of resting secure in who I was made to be. Of reaching my fullest potential in Him.

I was made to do hard and holy things. Insecurity will no longer keep me back from living a full life of joy and peace in my Savior. I will listen to His voice, His opinion of me, and His words alone.

Since the night I decided I’d had enough-and the next morning after that spent with Jesus-I have never known so much freedom in my heart. 

It is a beautiful thing.

Next time insecurity calls- I’m not picking up.

I’ve moved on, I’ve had enough, and #IamSECURE

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p.s. this is just part one of me sharing my journey through insecurity. please follow along as I share more of my heart with you in the next few weeks and months, and ways through which I am seeking to overcome it.  Sisters, in the Lord #weareSECURE.