who do you want to be?

Who do you want to be?

In the core of who you are – where nobody sees – who do you want to be?

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It’s a startling question really. To think about all of this. Because the second you start you feel you cannot stop. There is such an infinite reality of things and personalities and characters you can be. There is no limit to the amount of kindness you can grow to hold, no cap on the love that can spill out from your heart, and no stopping the creativity that can flow from your soul.

You hold so much power inside of you. There is so much beauty and potential to grow and become someone and something you never imagined.

I asked myself this question and I’m still scribbling down answers, memories in my head of people who I wished to be like, pictures etched of their joy and kindness and their hearts.

I don’t know where we got so trivial. So focused on the cover of a book. We spend so much time worried about our weight and not enough about how healthy and alive and full of energy we are. We sometimes hate our faces or bodies in the mirror and yet we can’t seem to remember all of the beautiful parts about us. We crave to be seen and heard and known and popular and yet we cannot sit alone with ourselves because our thoughts make our palms all sweaty and we get nervous.

We are beautiful beings bursting with ideas and sentences and pictures in our minds to capture and create and yet we stifle so much of that creativity sitting in front of a screen scrolling mindlessly through accounts of everyone else’s daily celebrations. Somehow we’ve forgotten our own.

We would rather look and see all the ways other people are enjoying their lives than we would embrace the gift that is right in front of us.

Who do we want to be?

I don’t want to be another dreamer who sits still and lets the world take her spirit. I don’t want to be a soul withered from comparison and defeated by my instagram that shows me how monotonous my life is. That is not the person I want to be.

& I think if you are here, you think that too. You don’t want to chase the trivial and float through on empty and shallow visions of what life could be. There is more. You are more. You have so much inside of you, and the world needs to see it. Don’t let it stifle your beautiful words. Don’t let them trample your beautiful art. Don’t let opinions put out the fire that burns inside of you.

Who do you want to be?

You can be her.

Starting now.

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 }

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

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.

cliffsProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetgraduation6Sometimes it takes Him crashing all our plans when we’re high on ourselves on the top of that cliff,

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.

the novel of your life

beautiful and captivating and surprisingly simple- a story.

intricate details. there’s ups there’s downs there’s easy there’s hard.

a story is a beautiful mix of suspense and waiting and pure happiness and days of sweet, utter contentment. a story is a mix of hard, painful days, and beautiful, easy ones. a story takes unexpected turns to keep you locked in, to captivate all that you are with all that the author is pouring into its pages.

a story is many things, and yet it is unknown to your soul until you read it.

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blog5your life is unknown until you live it. but in every moment that you live fully you are living in the beautiful story your Heavenly King is writing for you. in every moment you are confused and burdened there is a beautiful blessing up ahead. in every moment you are hurt, there is healing in His grace right on the next page. healing that is so much greater and sweeter and more fulfilling than you could ever imagine.

just when you’ve had enough He turns the page. and the captivating thing is that He turns the pages of our lives with such graceful and beautiful hands. hands scarred thrice through with nails our sins drove deep. hands of forgiveness and grace that renew us, that shower us with mercy, that bring passion for the lives He wants us to live.

it’s a grace that has you captured because when His love invades a soul-no matter what is on the next page of your story-you’re secure in that love. you are held in that love. and you are treasured in that love in more ways than you could ever imagine.

some pages stay open longer and others seem a blur too fast to remember. and yet on every page, in every chapter, throughout every novel, there is a graceful blend of the mundane and the glorious risk of the unexpected.

unless you ask King Jesus for a heart pressed fully into His will for your life, He’ll be turning the pages and you’ll be flipping back or ahead because you’ll be discontent.

you’ll want something different. you’ll want your story instead of his story spoken through you.

perhaps the fissure of fear is driving you from seeing the beauty of his story in you. because fear does that, it destroys what our King has made to be most beautiful.

more than any other command in His word Jesus tells us not to fear. Do not fear for tomorrow, or for what men will think, or where you’ll be next year. you fear because you can’t control it.

you must learn to stop reaching for the pen to write your own story, thinking you can smooth over the pain with your own strokes or blur the bumps that make the story hard.

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give Him the pen. ask Him each with each sunrise to write His beautiful story of grace and redemption through you.

I want every heart to know this. I want my own heart to know this. That your story might not look like you envisioned, and that’s a good thing. because when your life is surrendered to a heavenly King who knows not just every hair on your head but has known every molecule in this universe for all of eternity-when you trust that same God with your story-you’re going to start to see something more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.

more stunning and captivating than all else. you’re going to see how he forms your decisions and mistakes and things you wish you would have done differently–He transforms all of that.

He uses that because it is part of your story.

part of his story that he is working in you.

the King of the Universe is weaving together million of novels of his children to bring Himself glory and honor and praise, to pursue His creation with a steadfast love. And to fear what is next in your story is to doubt the King of All the Earth. It’s to doubt that He cherishes you and that He knows what is best for the exaltation of His glory and the fullness of your joy.

He has been planning your story, and your joy, from all eternity. when the world tempts you to doubt by showing you your sorrows, look to your Savior.

He is writing it through you. and the greatest story you could imagine cannot compare to the majesty of The Eternal God’s plan for you.

your future is held in the hands of your King. nothing is a mistake in his eyes. no timing is a mistake, no words spoken-none of that is a mistake.

you’re going to have moments and days full of pain where you look back on decisions you made or things you said and your heart will hurt because you feel you’ve failed. you’ll feel as if  you’ve taken the wrong road and are too far gone. but dear hopeless wanderer, if you are indeed His child

He will always bring you back to the right road.

and even the times of painful wandering, they’re part of his plan. your mistakes are being weaved into a beautiful tapestry.

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0ne day you’ll see it. all the pages woven together in beautiful binding. you’ll look back and you’ll read His novel. a novel in which His love for you is displayed in infinite measure.

until you get to that day, keep believing. keep placing your faith in the work He is doing in your life. and don’t try to peek ahead and see what’s up next, we serve a God of surprises.

and perhaps the next one is just waiting for you if you step out in faith and believe Him to be the Greatest Author and the most loving Father.

a little girl like me

I think if there’s one woman in the Bible I want to be like-it is Mary. Because Mary didn’t try harder. Mary didn’t do more than all the rest. She didn’t seek to be well known. But she was known.

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It was as if God chose to usher in the age of grace with a stunning example. Mary received the Son of God-the gift-into her womb with faith. I want to be like her, Lord Jesus. To say, God, “I surrender my desires, my plans, my passions, and I receive your Gift, Your plan, Your purpose for my life.”

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unnamed-5My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

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You used Mary as your vessel-a little girl like me. Oh teach me to stop this working harder-this trying to earn what has already been given. This striving for something that cannot be attained by striving, but by kneeling low at the foot of the cross and receiving the gift of the Babe.

And yet the God who goes before me now to fight my every battle-is not a Babe, but a Warrior Prince. He is the King of all the earth and in a short while He will return. The day will come, Jesus, when everything will be visibly subject to you.

When everything that is now hidden is revealed–I want my hidden life to be a life of faith like Mary’s. I long for the song of my heart to sing of faith. Of believing and of accepting and of receiving.

coming down from the mountain

she looked out across the empty plain and knew immediately the reflection in her own soul–

everything felt empty.IMG_9222IMG_9267she could rest in the beauty, yes. she could see the branching oak trees and small delicate flowers. she could see the leaves changing in sync with the turning of the season. but she couldn’t see the point.

she knew the point for sure. she knew what every church-kid should know–it’s for His glory.

but why couldn’t she feel it? why couldn’t she know the fullness of the beauty-giver and sing and rejoice shout and dance?

that’s me.

it’s not that I don’t go through seasons of rejoicing and knowing the grace of my Savior. it’s that I forget his grace so quickly. it’s this: I’m on a spiritual mountain. I come down. and somehow I stop nourishing my faith.

oswald chambers must be reading my mind right now–or maybe it’s HIM working to get my attention

It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief.

yeah, that first part sounds an awful lot like me.

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this question is the heartbeat of the world. it’s the shadow of the trees. the beams of the sun. it’s the question of the philosopher and of the layman.

why am I here?

and as His daughter I’m learning more and more–that unless my faith is planted firmly and steadfastly in His sovereign work, I am left with nothing.

because without Christ there is no purpose. and if I stop nourishing my faith. If I stop believing every second of every moment of every day that His work is enough–I’m actually left right where the rest of the world is. emptiness.

oh, but if I nourish my faith. If I spend more than my leftovers. If I give my Savior the best of my time, the best of my resources. If I begin by obedience–I will begin to know His joy more fully, His plan more fully, and His purpose in me more fully. if I give all my time to His presence-to living continually before the face of God-then I will begin to know His fullness.

because when you boil all the philosophical questions down in the world to one, you get this: Will you surrender your soul to King Christ for ultimate fullness, or will you give your soul to the world for utter emptiness?

IMG_9225IMG_9151because knowing His fullness isn’t about working harder–

it’s about learning to rest.

You say, “child, come here.” You whisper, “daughter, come sit at my feet.” and so I come. weary and weak and discouraged and faint-hearted I come. I come because where else will I go? there is only one Well Beloved who whispers the food that I need to live–the words of eternal life. He makes the weak thump of my heart into a steady beat of grace. I am nothing in myself-but I have everything in Him. You, Jesus, are my only steadfast and true preserving power in this life. I have found where I belong. What I was made for. I have uncovered why I was made-you have shown me. I was made to thrive in the presence of The Lord of Hosts. and nothing really satisfies but to chase that presence. Oh You’re awakening me, Jesus. so slowly, but surely.

love,

mm

on “l o v e”

710e1d97a5f962c62d271da5fccb696aI googled “define love” today.

love
noun
1.an intense feeling of deep affection.

ouch.

I would perceive, then, that the next step is to try and figure out how to maintain a certain feeling. If we are to love then we must always have this intense, fuzzy feeling?

wrong.

well what about this stuff:

“it’s just bigger than the both of us”

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”

“Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.”

Really? Is this the best we can do? Is love really a feeling only? Something that happens accidentally? The WIND?

I’m a little bit frustrated.

I don’t know about you, but I want a real definition of love. a definition of love that is courageous and bold and beautiful and I want to live it. 757edcae2651b04f4f4a33d1539ba250

I wasn’t so much startled by this definition-but I was saddened. I wasn’t startled because I see it. Flippant relationships are the thing, and the world tells us that’s normal. Because it is normal.

But we are not called to live normal lives. We are not called to “love normally.” We are called to love boldly and dangerously and selflessly. We are called to love boldly in the realest and truest sense of the word   l o v e .

In the world’s eyes, the love that we are called to is an abnormal love.

So what’s wrong with our society’s definition?

We’ve mixed up the definition of love. We’ve put the feelings in front of the choice, the fuzzy in front of the difficult. We’ve put the enjoyment before the responsibility. We’ve made the definition immature, to fit our needs. Because our society has accepted immaturity.

This world can’t find an accurate definition of love by itself. It searches and searches. But where there is no Word of God-there is no truth-nothing to be found.

Are feelings dismissed, then? By no means. I definitely believe feelings are a part of love, but I do not believe feelings are the basis for love. Because feelings will come and go like the wind. But that’s not what love is.

Love is pure. It is free from expectations. It is patient. It is kind. It does not parade itself-but gives and pours continually. Love is not rude. Love does not change as your feelings do. Love does not come and go like the wind. Love is ultimately a choice. A choice that brings emotion.

Love breaks the barriers and limitations and gives itself selflessly. Love wants the best for someone else. Love doesn’t hold a grudge. Love gives up all it wants to see another rejoice.

And love never fails. Love never sees a reason to give up because love looks to THE One who never gives up on us. Love seeks to imitate Him. Love is simply a description of Christ. we are called to be like Him.

The greatest love is seen in Jesus Christ. Who broke all barriers and humbled Himself to become like us. And He took our deserving, He conquered death with His love.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

So pursue love. Because by it, they will know we are His.

Lord Jesus, teach me to love.

( m m )

 

on “s e l f – e s t e e m”

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from the song lyrics to the t-shirts, from books to billboards, this world is successful in captivating and controlling and conforming so. many. minds.

the world out there-which perhaps you’ve let inside-is charging the platforms with command after command to love yourself. to embrace who you are just where you are and for what you are. to never change. to stay true to the inmost heart of your being because you shouldn’t be anything else. and yet it portrays images of unattainable perfection and beauty and allure. it magnifies the impossible. and it shouldn’t come as a surprise-the world and the devil and the flesh are the greatest champions of whispering roaring lies.

and the church-we’ve retaliated with broken bullets. with nothing. the message of the “church” is now seeking to persuade and attaining to convince you that you must love yourself because you are beautiful, and you don’t need a change. but they leave out the part that you are nothing

that is, apart from Christ. and soul, you need a radical change.

in this generation of insecurity and impossible standards and painful soul confusion, the solution to our problem is not self-esteem. it is not an improved body image and a growing flaunt of self-confidence. it is not becoming fully persuaded of our own beauty that will heal our broken souls and our insecure longings.

oh this church-this church of America-needs to see that there is nothing to praise of self. there is no confidence to be gained in exuding your true personality-because your true personality is deceitfully wicked and desperately depraved above all else.

but there is a beauty in surrender to a King who is most beautiful. and the heart that bows its knees to receive His gift is the most secure of all. resting, trusting, beautiful.

such a heart does not radiate a show of self-confidence and self-love, but rather becomes a reservoir for the love of Christ which is broad and wide and full. and as His love fills this heart, this heart overflows. onto every soul this love pours out, in words that make stronger and actions that give recklessly.

and such a heart is so captivated by its Lover, that it looses time to think of what it wants to gain. this heart is not consumed with looking good, and appealing to others while in this breath of a life-but doing good, and serving others.

you will have no peace in striving to love yourself-because honestly, the problem is that we love ourselves too much. the problem is that we’re even concerned about our confidence-instead of radiating His. the problem is that we want to be esteemed, when truly and really we should be like Him-

“esteemed not”

oh look to The Cross to find your beauty. lose yourself, oh soul-in Him. fall madly in love with the breather of the existence of stars and galaxies and oceans. surrender yourself and forget all your insecurities.

because at the feet of our King, we can forget who we have been. at the feet of our King we can find His glorious confidence-that we are the Beloved of God. get alone and spend hours with the God of all existence, and you will not be the same. because His story and His plan and His glorious unfolding is so much greater than you.

and when you forget yourself-the world will blink and stare, wide-eyed with wonder at such a confidence, because you will have the confidence of Christ.

love,

(( mm ))

image via

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