Jesus.

I seriously hope that no one ever looks at me or my life and thinks – she is so religious. That honestly makes me nauseous. I just hope the way I choose to live just reflects the love of my Savior  Jesus.

I like to think of religion as product packaging. (Disclaimer: I’m a marketing nerd.) It’s a man made label that we use to give identity to how we relate to, worship, serve God. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything inherently wrong with that, but religion is not what it’s all about. Jesus did not come to establish religion. He came to save us from our sins out of selfless, perfect love and make it possible for us to have a real, intimate relationship with God. It’s about relationship not formalities or routine or a schedule. It’s about being real and vulnerable and naked before God. It’s about intimately knowing Him and loving Him and letting Him do the same.

This might seem trite, but I see empty religious shells everywhere I look and it’s perplexing to me. How did we get it so wrong? I don’t ever want my relationship with Christ to be chalked up to religion or look like a task list instead of abandoned, surrendered love. I’m only human. I’m sinful. I need a Savior.

I guess I am trying to live in a way that says, Thank you Jesus for saving me – I love you. We don’t have to jump through any hoops for Jesus. His grace is a free gift. We just have to accept His invitation to a relationship filled with the love and peace we were all created to long for. It’s found in Jesus and nowhere else, in nothing else, in no one else. Just Jesus. There is nothing methodical about love, especially when it comes to Jesus. Trust me you’ll never get bored with it or be betrayed by it. His love is brilliant and creative and perfect. His love never fails. Ever.

It’s just that simple and just that perfect to love and be loved by Jesus. And that’s a good thing because most days I’m kind of a hot mess in need of someone who loves me no matter how ugly I’m acting or thinking or talking. He just takes me as I am.

Breathing deep right now. Then I think – Jesus is closer to me than my own breath in this moment and forever. He will never leave me or forget me or forsake me. I can never do anything, or not do anything, that will make Him love me any more or any less. He just loves me. Period. Now and forever. Since before I was born. And nothing, not even the power of the pit of hell, can snatch me from His hand.

That’s some Good News y’all.

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Reflect & Rewind

WHOA. What happened to February 2014? I feel like someone just ripped out a whole month from my calendar and threw it out the car window!

As days quickly slip into months past in this brand new year, I’m realizing my need to live intentionally as I set time aside to slow…and be still in His presence. To feel the breeze against my face and Acknowledge. Lysa TerKeurst has challenged me to the core to BE a NOTICER of life and the simple beauty of of God’s hand all around me. Emily Freeman has given me Seven Little Ways to be present, to show up with what I have right now, and make beautiful art out of the everyday.  Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill have Dared me to Be all that God created and intended me to be by stepping out in faith not in sight into the future He wrote for me. Ann Voskamp poetically invited me to believe that this is my time such as this to shine as the star in the sky, amongst the galaxies, my Creator formed me to be.

Powerful Words. Absolute Truth.

Right now as I write the honeyed scent of fresh flowers is lingering in my office. I drift into reflection. February has been extra sweet to my senses this time around and swept me clean off my feet from Coast to Coast in a blur of blessings. For Valentine’s Day I made a surprise visit to see my boyfriend in Portland, Oregon. Our entire relationship has been long distance, mostly from one coast to the other, and this was our first Valentine’s Day together, so it was a much needed and extra special trip.

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The next weekend I traveled south to Tampa, Florida for my very first Dare to Be event with my sister-in-law. Wow…what a gift. Not only was I blessed by the conference and left completely wonderstruck by Natalie’s notes, but I had the opportunity to be a part of it in a small way as a Revolutionary. I walked away with a grateful heart, a stirred soul and completely leveled by God’s grace. I can honestly say I have not been so moved by worship since I responded to an alter call at youth camp when I was 18 and gave my life and heart to Christ forever.

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Tears of joy. Streaming.

I say all that to say this: I have been praying for God to reveal Himself to me in new ways this year and two months in I feel absolutely infused by His presence. I am left in awe of how He moves. And what totally blows me away is that these are just mere glimpses of His glory. Can you even fathom Heaven?

God is so good and my heart is so thankful.

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“I just wiped that on my nose.”

~My Brain

Today, I think my biggest challenge, besides attempting to verbalize the immediacy and immensity and impact of Modern Human Slavery, will be not to wipe the big red X on the back of my left hand all over my face, and my desk, clothes, phone, computer, purse, and anyone within arms reach.

Pray for me y’all. The struggle is real.

“I just wiped t…

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I'm in it to END it.

#ENDITMOVEMENT

January 27th – Shine a Light on Slavery.

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S H I N E for the 27 MILLION + who don’t have a voice. We are the Esthers. This is our time such as this. Stand. Shine. We are all stars in the eyes of God – even those who can’t speak for themselves.

http://enditmovement.com/

I’m in it to END it.

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Heart Motivations TXT

I have never shared an account of my life so personal so publicly. I don’t wish to broadcast my thoughts in this way to receive some sort of credit out of arrogance. And posting this literally feels like cutting out a little piece of my heart and depositing it onto paper through words. That little piece of heart is still pulsing tender with conviction this morning. But because of the nature, I have chosen to share this intimate glimpse of my life in hopes of accountability. No other reason. And to say, hey, I struggle, and yeah, you’re not alone. Let’s lean on each other. Even more, let’s press into God together and seek his Counsel and Comfort. We’re all sinners saved by Amazing Grace. 

So with a few discriminating edits and outtakes of personal details, here’s my heart:

“…I need to express it in words so that there is no question. I don’t want to do that because my heart is convicted. My soul begs the question, are my actions and decisions shining light in the darkness or blending in? Is my life as I decide to live it everyday shining the Light and the Truth of Christ or am I lighting a candle just to cover it up? My point is this, if I’m not living out my faith in a way that sets the light of Christ in the windowsill then what am I even doing this for? Lately my heart has been so convicted to start adding action to my faith, to live in obedience to Christ as he whispers in my heart and stop hushing his voice. I am deciding to make an active effort to live and love with intention and reflect Christ through my decisions not my fleshy, selfish desires. Yeah, my imperfections are there, I have cracks, I’m vulnerable, and I am going to stumble and fall short. But I’m going to give myself grace and dust off and try again and the next time I’m going to be more intentional. So here goes: when you asked me on the phone I gave a timid answer to your question. Here’s the bold decision that’s stirring in my heart: wherever we choose to go, I don’t want to go out and party bc it doesn’t say to those in my life – Hey she’s a chosen daughter of Christ set apart to be different from the rest, she’s an Esther for such a time as this, a star burning bright for the love of Jesus. I’m choosing to be intentional in my decision and listen to the conviction for obedience whispering in my heart. It may be small, but it’s a step of faith and it’s a step in the right direction. This has been a stumbling block for me for so many years, but this time I’m choosing different. This is my life. This is my time such as this. What am I going to do? How am I going to act? It’s all choices when it comes down to it. This time I want to choose what I know in my heart to be right and good and light.

…I had to share what is behind what I said on the phone earlier with no explanation. That’s my heart’s motivations.”

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“You were made with a goal in mind, with a purpose that only you can fulfill. Your work is not just that thing you do to make money, it is a chance to use your gifts. Your family and friends are not just people you happen to know, but people God wants you to impact.”

-I AM SECOND

My latest addiction? Jesus via http://www.iamsecond.com/

Can’t get enough of these amazing transformation stories. God is so creative!

“You were made …

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Anything, not Everything

A seemingly small trick I learned recently from Lysa TerKeurst has shed some new light on an old favorite script, Philippians 4:13. It’s called 10 fingers and it goes like this: I. Can. Do. All. Things. Through. Christ. Who. Strengthens. Me.  (Don’t forget to count with your fingers!)

It’s a little like counting to 10 when you feel like you’re about to overreact about something silly in the heat of the moment. When I feel suddenly overwhelmed with stress, worry, doubt, fear…I simply count to 10 and remind myself of how awesome my God is!

It’s an amazing sense of peace that comes when you take a moment to remember how big God is and that literally ANYHTING is possible with Him. It’s also humbling to recognize that outside Him nothing of value is possible.

But I’ve come to realize that just because God can accomplish anything, things we cant even imagine, in and through us by His strength, that doesn’t mean I need to go out and attempt to conquer EVERYTHING I can get my hands on. Just because God can make something happen doesn’t mean He will. That thing, goal, dream, task might not be for us. If I’ve learned anything in 24 years it’s this: if it’s not in God’s will for my life it ain’t gonna happen.

So I’m trying to learn to live in the moment God has for me right now and stop constantly striving towards the future. I don’t want to miss the present! I know God has me right where I am for a reason, a purpose. It might not be what I envisioned, but I certainly don’t know best. God does! He designed me and He wrote my story. He knows how it ends and all the stops in between. And He pulled me out of eternity and placed here for such a time as this. I may not know what my future holds or even what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds me. Sometimes I just need to remind myself, God’s got this. I don’t need to have it all figured out because He already knows what’s ahead and the reasons for what’s behind.

I am challenging myself to keep my eyes open and my heart ready. To be obedient to what God is placing on my heart right now. To take the next little step of faith. To stay in his Word and let the light of his Truth guide me towards the destiny He has for me.

This year I want to read more than I’ve ever read. I want to DO something. I want to take steps of faith. I want to trust God. I want to decrease and I want Him increase. I want to give him the things I’ve been holding onto so tightly. I want to let go in full surrender. I want to be obedient where I am. I want to give more and worry less.

I want to let God do His thing and stop trying to force my thing.

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