a few words if you feel like you can’t make the cut

When it’s just you and Him and you can hear the sound of the rain slowly falling on the roof. When the house is empty and it’s early in the morning and there’s nothing on your mind but Him-

yeah, that’s just a taste of His presence, counted as nothing by this world but the greatest deliverance from a world that’s tugging on your heart.

bestillandknowbestillandknow3

It pulls you apart, I know.

Echos of lies telling you that you can’t make the cut, rating you an 8/10 and letting you know you’re not really getting anywhere. You want to throw in the towel and you’re tired. You’re worn down because no matter how hard you try to control your life how you want it, you always seem to be walking a different path than the one you told God you wanted. It’s funny how nothing is ever quite like we expected.

And you fear that if you stop-you’ll fall more behind than you already are. I don’t know where you are and who you are but what I’m about to say is on my heart for you today, so I have to write it.

This little jumble of words I’m writing to you now, it’s an invitation to be still. To put the lies on airplane mode and allow the truth of your King to rain down over the whispers of your soul’s enemy.

Come out of the world’s sun and heat for a minute and let the breeze of his grace blow your hair in the wind.

He declares beauty over your heart today. Not this kind of fleeting beauty that the world puts up on a pedestal and bows down to, but a deep, abiding beauty that comes when His joy runs through your veins.

He declares purpose over your heart today. Not a purpose of giving you everything you want but a stunning story of Him giving you everything He wants for you.

He declares love over your heart today. Nothing you do could make Him love you more and nothing you don’t do could make Him love you less. You haven’t slipped His mind, and you haven’t let Him down, because He’s looking at what His Son has done, not what you did.

He declares an identity over your heart today. This identity is flawlessly enough to fill you with the strength you need. It reaches to the core of who you are and says, “no matter what mistakes you may make, I still love you.” 

It’s a deep identity, it’s a raw kind of love. The strengthening kind of love because it lifts you up to soar. It enables you to do hard things. It labels you strong in weakness and enough when you feel insufficient.

Nothing can shake the identity that you have through Him. It is flawlessly enough for you and calls you beloved. He would have you believe this. I know He would.

& if you would have Him, He’d have you surrender. He’d have you give over every part of your heart. The beauty of His presence would invade and the things that hurt you once would fall away. You’d start to see every rejection as a blessing, every “no” as His protection, every disappointment as a deliverance, and every day as a new chance to give it all back to Him.

Hear it yet? The rain falling or the breeze brushing through the trees. If you listen closely enough your heart will hear the refrain,

I can stop trying to be loved and live from the abundant truth that I am loved.

I can stop trying to be enough and live from the reality that I am enough.

& I can stop hiking up a mountain of expectations that just keeps climbing and climbing,

I can come sit at His feet and just be, because He loves me for who I am,

and nothing will ever change that.

& you-yes you-

you make the cut.

 

dear nicaragua: what you taught me

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

you taught me that you can love someone the day you meet them.

you taught me that life could be a whole lot more beautiful and full, if I walk with simple faith.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

you taught me that joy isn’t dependent on what you have, but on where your heart is.

you taught me that trying something new can be scary at first, but that it’s worth the risk every single time.

so pack light and love heavy / give it all your heart and soul / so in the end, you won’t regret one thing -aaron watson “bluebonnets”

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

you taught me to dance like no one is watching, and to live that way too.

you taught me to raise my hands and worship. you taught me to bring my best to God–not my leftovers.

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

you taught me not to judge people so quickly like we’re prone to here. you taught me to love them right where they are.

you taught me to welcome people with an open heart. with kindness and joy and hospitality. you taught me to risk my heart on loving people, because that’s the thing about the greatest things in this life: they’re always on the other side of a risk.

you taught me to live with passion.

you taught me to pray with passion.

you taught me to live in unashamed love of my God.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Lord God-you taught me that I am so small, and that it’s not all about me.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

you taught me that there is abundant life on the other side of fear.

you taught me that joy can be found in the darkest of places, because Your face, God, shines the light of joy. & no matter where you go, no matter the place on this globe, no matter the language, no matter the culture-God, you are there.

your presence fills every place, God.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Nicaragua,

you took a piece of my heart-

and taught me that all the best things do.

because if you don’t risk a little bit of who you are, are you really living?

I gave it all away, and now my heart is full -dave rawlings machine

5 life changing books

  1. 1. Love Does by Bob Goff

bookreview

This book will shake you from the first pages. It’s one of those books where once you finish, you just want to start it again. Goff opens your eyes to see how God calls us to live out our faith in love. His faith will inspire you and completely change the way you look at love. Love does, it doesn’t just talk-or as Goff says, “love is never stationary.” This book will make you want to adventure outside of your comfort zone and take risks in the name of love. I dare you not to be changed after reading it, and I dare you not to want to read it again.

Favorite Quotes from Love Does

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

“Failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just okay; it’s better than okay. God doesn’t want failure to shut us down. God didn’t make it a three-strikes-and-you’re-out sort of thing. It’s more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups.”

“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”

purchase here

2. Don’t Waste your Life by John Piper

I can’t say enough about how this book will give you an entirely renewed perspective on what really matters and the urgency of living for God alone. It will root in you a healthy fear of wasting your life. Piper offers an alternative to spending our days for selfish gain, and shares his own story of seeking to treasure Christ. His faith will encourage you in your own walk, and remind you that there is so much more to life than what this world offers.

Favorite quotes from Don’t Waste your Life:

“God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.”

“Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion.”

purchase here or enter to win this book by heading over to my instagram (giveaway rules will be posted Wednesday, July 27th at 6pm EST)!

 3. So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

bethmoore

Wow, so many emotions come back when just writing about this book. As cliche as it sounds, this book of all books changed my life. I’m not really sure when and where the fear crept in, but I lived most of my life paralyzed by what other people thought of me, and wallowing in the lie that I was not enough. I might not have admitted it, but I had convinced my heart I was inferior, and didn’t have what it takes. Beth Moore’s words painfully pried that fear out of me. First, my eyes were opened to see that insecurity was in fact what I was struggling with. Then the book guided me through those feelings and bringing them to the foot of the cross. I still struggle with insecurity, but now I call it out and identify believing it as sin. A truly incredible read everyone should read.

Favorite Quotes from So Long Insecurity:

“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”

“Be careful who you covet. Be careful how you judge. Be slow to size somebody up and think you know all about her type. She’s not so different than you. Nobody’s unbreakable here on this planet. Only the dead don’t bleed when they’re cut.”

purchase here

4. Fervent by Priscilla Shirer 

fervent

Talk about altering your view of prayer! This book is powerful stuff. Priscilla dives into 10 different areas where we face attacks from our enemy and encourages you to develop prayer strategies to combat these attacks. The book comes with prayer cards you can fill out and write your strategies on. Our enemy might be disarmed, but he’s still pretty smart. Unless we are constantly going to war in our prayer life, we will continue struggle with an onslaught of his attacks. This book reminded me of the power of prayer and gave me practical advice for ways to implement a prayer strategy.

Favorite quotes from Fervent:

“We pray because our own solutions don’t work and because prayer deploys, activates, and fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy. We pray because we’re serious about taking back the ground he has sought to take from us.”

“At the end of the day, the enemy is going to be sorry he ever messed with you. You’re about to become his worst nightmare a million times over. He thought he could wear you down, sure that after a while you’d give up without much of a fight. Well, just wait till he encounters the fight of God’s Spirit in you. Because . . . This. Means. War.”

purchase here

5. Pracitcal Religion by J.C. Ryle

I don’t know what really inspired my 15 year old self to open up a deeply theological book, but I know it changed me. This book showed me the urgency of living out the Gospel. It instilled in me a healthy fear of the bleakness of eternity without God. It made me weep for the hearts who don’t know my King. It’s a powerful book that takes some work and time to read through, but it’s worth it. It might have been written in a different century, it might be “old-school”, but it’s a beautifully challenging book.

Favorite quotes from Practical Religion

“Evening is the time which the higher classes choose for dancing, card playing, and the like; and consequently never get to bed till late at night. If we love our souls, and would not become worldly, let us mind how we spend our evenings. Tell me how a man spends his evenings, and I can generally tell what his character is.”

“Tell me what a man does in the matter of Bible-reading and praying, in the matter of Sunday, public worship, and the Lord’s Supper, and I will soon tell you what he is, and on which road he is travelling.”

“Faith is to prayer what the feather is to the arrow: without it prayer will not hit the mark.”

purchase here

These are five of my favorites. I’m always looking for new reads so leave yours in the comments!

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.

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

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.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

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.

 

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

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

rae

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

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

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

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.

 

 

gah it’s blurry

blurry. out of focus.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

ehh.

I thought I should delete it.

but wait. maybe not.

this picture is kinda accurate.

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

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

I want clarity–Jesus says “just come.”

“come and embrace the blurry and trust ME.”

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

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

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

He is never going to let go of your heart.

ever.

for eternity and ages on.

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

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

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

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

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

And that is all you need.

That is all I need.

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

xoxo,

Mady

 

•••••••••••••

Our prayer for more of you, Lord:

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

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.

IMG_9125Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIMG_9167

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