Friday, January 2, 2015

I'm Moving!

It's a brand new year, with it's own set of adventures and dangers, hopes and fears. To start off 2015 completely new and fresh, I've decided to move this blog to a new place on the internet. I've loved this space which has taught me so much about writing, commitment, and friendship. The new blog will be just the same, I'm sure, and I'm excited for all of the brand new posts that need to be written there. Along with the new year I want to renew my goal of writing more frequently. I've left this blog hanging a lot the past several months and I hate doing that. I love to write and can't wait to really start using the new space I've created, with you along to join me.

Anyway, here it is in all its glory! Free to be Holy


Friday, December 26, 2014

I haven't been around here in a long time, and it may be a long time until I'm back again, but here's some thoughts I had on this 26th of December...

Happy Holiday.
I don't need a happy holiday.
I need a Savior who will change my story --
No Joy to the World --
I need joy to change my world.
I don't need a baby Jesus that makes people fake-happy, pseudo-sanctified on Christmas day,
I need a God that will rip open my heart.
I need a Savior who will change my world longer than 24 hours one winter day in December.
I want something that matters.
I crave something that lasts.
I don't need happy.
I don't need cheer.
I don't need sleigh bells or snow or frosted cookies.
Life changing love, heartrending grace, impossible peace --
That's what I need.
I can do without a
Happy Holiday.

Isn't it funny how there's so much hype up to Christmas day, yet on the 26th, life seems strangely devoid of that spirit of the day before? What is it about Christmas that makes us so hopeful and happy and loving? Isn't it Jesus? And if it's Jesus, why doesn't that hope and joy and love last beyond a holiday? Jesus did not just be born 2000 years ago, Ladies and Gentlemen. He lived and died and lives again. He doesn't stay and wait, stuck to a holiday that so misses the point of what actually happened. He lives beyond that fixed moment in time and beckons to our wandering hearts 365 days a year.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Former Worship Leader at My Church is Awesome

Have you all seen this video yet? Absolutely AWESOME.  I wish the Cowarts were still in my neck of the woods :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Overflow

I reached 500 Joys in June.  Five hundred little (and big) ways God's blessed me.  There's something very healing in writing down the gifts that God allows and brings to your life.  But do you know what else I realized?  Those 500 Joys are a testimony that God is still faithful.  He was faithful yesterday, and the day before, and the one before that -- and He hasn't decided to give up on loving me today.  It's such a blessing in and of itself to be able to go back through 500 blessings bound up in a little book and an overflowing heart.

I'll be honest.  Some days I haven't lived like someone transformed with Joy from God.  Some mornings I've skipped writing down three things because I couldn't see past myself.  But then I always went back and added them in, because the blessings were always still there -- whether I acknowledged them or not.  I'm only half way done making it to 1000 gifts, but already I see how God is using my thankfulness to help me grow -- and honestly, just hang on, some days.  Even when everything feels like it's coming undone, I still have a "10,000 reasons for my heart to sing."  And I can't help but be overwhelmed by the mighty God Who would take the time to rain blessings, even in the little things, every single day.

It's never too late to start counting your blessings.  I got my inspiration from Ann Voskamp, right here, and I really encourage you to check it out.  Join me for the next 500!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Class of 2014

Yesterday I graduated highschool with a class of 112 homeschoolers.  It was such a blessing to be able to celebrate all we've done and learned and grown together.  Here is just a very short list of things I've learned in highschool:

1) Life isn't a fairy tale.
2) But life isn't a reality show, either.
3) Friends aren't always forever. God sometimes gives them to you for only a season.
4) Music speaks on an emotional level that not much else can.
5) It takes Charles Dickon's "A Tale of Two Cities" to make me cry.  Sorry Disney :)
6) Love is more than saying "I love you."  It's an action.
7) Sisters can be more than your relatives.  They can become your best friends.
8) It isn't easy growing up sometimes.
9) Learning to drive a standard car is a lot harder than you'd originally think!
10) Don't ever pass someone off as who they once were.  People change.  They are often worth getting to know.
11) God loves me like crazy.
12) He also loves the people I can't stand.
13) Life isn't about finding a soul mate.  You already have One in the God who created your soul.
14) Homeschoolers are awesome :)
15) Dreams sometimes don't become reality.  That's OK.  Always keep dreaming, though.
16) Give people the benefit of the doubt until you know the truth.
17) Don't be intimidated by confident people.  They are human, too.  Often, I think, they really just feel like you inside.
18) Decisions matter for more than just today.
19) Spiders can kill you -- especially if they are crawling toward you when you're driving a car.
20) Don't leave your lights on when you leave your car so that the battery dies.  Especially when it's snowing out and help is twenty minutes away.  (Ask me how I know these things!)
21) Friends are good for talking to when you're lonely or scared or excited or confused or happy or just about anything.
22) God's good for that, too.  He's always ready to listen to your needs.
23) Bitterness only destroys your joy.  It doesn't hurt whoever your bitter against.
24) Joy is more than an emotion.  It's a way of life.
25) I'm not the same person now that I was four years ago.  I'm stronger, more confident, more capable.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Love Like a Hurricane

The pastor said something that stopped me dead in my tracks the other day, at my church's young adult gathering.  He said, "God could have put anyone in your spot, but He chose you."  He could have chosen to place anyone on this earth to fulfill His purpose, and yet here you are.

It's nothing new.  I know this, in my head.  I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I know that I'm as unique as the intricate ridges on the pads of my thumbs.  My Life Science course tells me that the combinations of hereditary traits in human beings far exceeds the total sum of atoms on this spinning planet.  We are unique, and God has said that He loves each and every soul He's created.

Yet, somehow, it's so easy to get lost in the minutia of mundane life and forget.  It's easy to simply think I'm just another bit of bones wrapped in flesh in this rat-race.  That this is all just a meaningless day in a meaningless week.

It's not. We're not.

God looked at the infinite options in His infinite knowledge and, as He scanned all the possibilities, He chose you.  Me.  He looked down and knew exactly where on this ball of mud He would place you.  And He decided that, yes, it was good.  In His wisdom, He saw what you would become, every thought and emotion that would stir inside of you, and He said, "I love you."

And I am blown away by the sheer force of that love.  It's like the lyrics from "How He Loves" by David Crowder:

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me...

And then the verse from Isaiah comes to mind: "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11)

This love overwhelms me.  This attention astounds me.  And this purpose for my life, slowly unfolding, gives me unbelievable hope. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

All Creation Proclaims

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Have you ever wondered why?  A picture portrays a story -- a setting, mood, voice, tense... a moment somewhere between cause and effect -- all from the perspective of a picture.  Sometimes a picture leaves more questions than answers, but at the same time, it often explains more than any sentence.  It isn't colored by the giver's biased perspective or lack of eloquence -- only by what the receiver is willing to take the time to understand.

On Good Friday I went for a walk out in the swamps near my house.  And all that I could think was, nature was proclaiming something loud and clear.  The beautiful quietude, the quiet elegance, spoke to me.  Can you hear it?

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind." Job 12:7-10