Retreat

I rolled over this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. So the house is quiet and no one else is up. It’s not that early, it’s just the holidays. I logged on to type some words because I couldn’t find my book. And then I saw the “daily prompt.” Retreat.

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Naturally, I clicked on Merriam Webster online and looked it up. The first definition read

a (1) : an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable

Saturday night the pastor’s words stuck in my head.”We are in this world but not of it. And God saved us from the world to send us back out into the world.”

I’ll admit that scares me. I would much rather retreat. I’m an introvert who tends to quit on resolutions and difficulties easily. I really like what I’m already comfortable with. But sometimes I think I it’s simply that I’m afraid of showing up to my own life. Most of the time I retreat because I’m afraid of what could hurt me.

I think we all do it from time to time. Holding back because if we gave more it might take a part of us. We’ve covered up our beautiful ability to feel pain because we’ve started to believe that certain emotions show weakness.

I’m more and more convinced that we have to let ourselves feel the highs and the lows. We have to know pain in order to know joy. To know a loneliness somewhere so deep that we can feel an acceptance and love so full. I think maybe life is that way. We cannot know what we are missing until we taste what we never want to miss again. 

Retreat is easier. But it makes life boring.

If you want your life to count for something? Make it your mission to quit retreating from the purpose you’ve been given.

That’s my one goal for this next year, to stop thinking I can come up with a better purpose for myself than the one I’ve already been given. To stop quitting on life and to start showing up. Not because I’m not scared, but because I am scared. And bravery doesn’t mean the fear goes away, it simply means you do it inspire of the fear that might linger.

New years resolutions can pile up and then you forget what you really want to change. So don’t change so many things. Change one thing that will change everything.

Show up to your life. Every. Single. Day.

Show up with a sword ready for the unknown.

Show up bold & courageous despite what opinions they might have.

Show up because you know your life matters.

Show up to the difficult, dangerous, and disagreeable with a brave smile, because you know how it all ends.

Show up because He didn’t save you to sit back–

He didn’t save us to retreat.

 

via Daily Prompt: Retreat

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.

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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.

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.

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.