Monthly Archives: March 2016

it is well.

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I’ve been practicing some songs for my church’s upcoming Women’s Retreat. Not necessarily just to show off my snazzy vocal range (because I don’t really have one), but because I have the awesome privilege of leading a room full of ladies in worship.

Moments like these, I’m glad the Bible talks about making a joyful noise, not necessarily a beautiful one…

I digress.

One of the songs I’ve been playing over and over is It Is Well.

This song is ruining my life.

In a good way though.

Let me explain.

I get to the second verse of this song and my eyes start watering:

Though satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

(yes, I still use Old English)

But do you see the beauty here? Though times are gonna stink occasionally, and it may seem like the enemy is getting away with A LOT, Jesus still sees me. He has, and is, looking upon my helpless situation, and He gave His own blood to redeem me. No one took it from Him. He willingly bled on my behalf.

(Kinda reminds me of Dodgeball…“Nobody makes me bleed my own blood! Nobody!”)

Sorry. I’ve had a lot of coffee today.

And then, the third verse, where I’m lucky to make it through without my voice cracking multiple times:

My sin – oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh my soul!

My sin, every last ounce of it, is nailed to the cross where the Savior of the world took my punishment. It is no longer mine to bear. I have freedom because the Lamb of God decided I was worth it.

Man. How can you not cry about that?

I’m not going to get in to anything else tonight, because I think this is enough. We have been redeemed. Our sin is nailed to the cross and we can stop beating ourselves up about it. Repent, draw near to Jesus, and know that He has regarded your estate and paid the price for your sins.

Rest secure in that tonight.

It truly is well with my soul.

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how going to the gym & church are basically the same thing*

how going to the gym & church are basically the same thing*

*disclaimer: they are not the same thing exactly. Stick with me here. Don’t think I’m a heretic or idol worshipper just yet.

So, my friends and I were at the gym tonight and it hit me: going to church and going to the gym are basically the same thing. There are so many parallels between the 2 that I think I’m going to start wearing my workout clothes to church! (Don’t tell my Grandma…)

Hear me out:

→It’s hard to go by yourself.
Going to the gym is so much easier when you have people with you, not only to hold you accountable but to be your cheerleader, to push you when you want to stop, to help you along in the process.
Going to church is so much easier when you have people with you, not only to hold you accountable, but to be your cheerleader, to push you when you want to stop, to help you along in the process.

See what I did there?

THEY’RE THE SAME THING.

But seriously. 8 months ago I would’ve told you I never wanted to work out with someone. In fact, I did tell someone that. One of my best friends – someone who knows me well. Someone I shouldn’t be ashamed of working out with. But I was. Mainly because I didn’t want to be held accountable. I didn’t want someone to be responsible with in order to grow in my physical health. I wanted to muster up enough strength on my own to change.
The same went for my church life. When I began to take my relationship with Christ seriously, I wanted to go at it alone. I wanted to have control over the whole thing. I didn’t want someone else stepping in to speak into the process.
I didn’t think, in either scenario, another person would be encouraging. I just knew they would heap judgement upon me.

But you know what happened when I finally let people in? When I finally decided to do both with someone? Change. Growth. Encouragement. Deeper fellowship.

And let’s be honest – it’s way easier to walk in to a gym or a church with a person you know. If for nothing else than to have a witness for a good story – trust me…some of my gym stories HAVE to have a witness or else you’d think I was a liar.

(and if you’re reading this and don’t have a solid church to go to, PLEASE ask me for some help in finding one. I’d love nothing better than to help get you plugged in somewhere!)

→It’s a process.
I’ve written in the past about being done with the quick fix and I’m here to say it again (but after you’re done with this, go read that post). Losing weight, changing eating habits, getting in to shape – it’s all a process. But too often we want to skip the hard work and move straight to the results. We want the reward without the willingness to sacrifice something for it.

“Well, I’d really love to lose 10 pounds, but I’mma go eat this whole pizza by myself real quick…”

Sanctification is like that too. We desire closeness to the Lord, but aren’t willing to let Him discipline us and lead us into holiness. We want all of the fluffy feel-goods immediately, not willing to repent and turn from our sin that separates us from our Creator.

There is so much freedom in submitting to the process – both in getting in shape & growing closer to the Lord. To know that I don’t have to have a summer bod by Friday (which, let’s be honest, is totally unrealistic because it’s 8pm on Wednesday night…) is so freeing! Summer doesn’t end until like September or something, so I’ve got some time!

To know that I have a lifetime to allow the Lord to remove sin, draw me close to Him, continually renew my heart, and grow me in holiness is, again, so freeing! Knowing that I don’t have to have all the things figured out tonight gives me sweet relief.

→Jumping around is hard.
This one was maybe my favorite to dissect while on the stationary bike tonight.

Earlier in our workout, my little buddy decided to up the weights by 15 pounds at a time. When she got to the top weight, desiring to “see progress! See it go up!”, she hobbled off the machine and said, “Umm, I don’t think I should have done that.”

My level-headed, super wise response was, “You know, sometimes you need to stay where you’re at and build your muscle up before you move the weights…”

How does this apply to church? Don’t hop around (“like a bunny…because it’s Easter…”-Whitney). There’s no such thing as a perfect church, so don’t give up on it quite yet. Stay put and allow God to work in you. Allow Him to build up your muscle where you’re at. Get in community and stay put to see what He does for a bit.

So, there you have it. Church & getting swole. Same thing. Kinda.

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the badge of busyness

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Really hoping I spelled busyness correctly. I can never remember if it’s with an ‘i’ or a ‘y’…also, you don’t put ‘an’ in front of ‘y’, right? Even though it’s sometimes used as a vowel? English teachers, chime in as you feel necessary.

Also, just Googled it. I definitely spelled ‘busyness’ correctly.

Whew. I was worried.

ANYWAYS.

I’ll be the third one to admit that I can be a slave to my schedule. I prefer to make plans with people at minimum 3 days in advance. I do not do well with spontaneity. It makes me a little sweaty. I like to know (read: control) what I’m doing well in advance of when I’m doing it.

I’m working on it though. #babysteps

And along with that, for an introvert, I enjoy having a full calendar. Mainly, I think, so I can control my environment. Even if the thing that’s on my calendar is alone time.

Seriously.

I’ve scheduled alone time with myself before.

Often, I like to think that I’m back in my Brownie days with my vest on and everyone can see my little badges. And one that I like to flaunt quite frequently is my badge of busyness.

“So, long time no see! How have you been?”-person
“Oh man…ya know…busy.”-me

“Anything new happening in your life?”-another person
“Not really, just super busy all the time.”-me again

I want to move at a fast pace, filling my life with things and commitments, yet I struggle to slow down and be with Jesus.

Then I get confused and frustrated and hurt when I feel far from Him. I feel like God isn’t keeping up and that I need to pull His weight as well as mine. I don’t understand why He isn’t honoring all of the good things I’m doing by giving me what I want when I want them.

Then, I do slow down. I take the time to be with Him. I make myself busy with Jesus. And I see this in His Word:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…

2 Peter 3:9a

Hittin me with that truth stick.

The Lord is not slow like I think He is. His patience is for me.

It’s humorous to me how I think that I know better than God. That I think He just needs to get with the program and move at my pace. That He is just holding out on me because He feels like it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The truth is that God is still God, and God is still good. He is patient with a crabby little sinner like me. He gives goodness for the good of His people, to the glory of His name. He who has promised is faithful, and His promise will come to pass as He sees fit.

And you know what His promise is? Jesus. Redemption through the blood of His Son. Restoration with Him for eternity.

I can take my badge of busyness off – I can stop working so hard to control my circumstances and my feelings and my future and all other things – and rest in the security I have in Christ.

I can put on the badge of Christ and “let the peace of Christ rule in (my) heart” [Colossians 3:15], knowing that my busyness doesn’t save me. My calendar is not my savior. My good deeds do not redeem me.

Christ redeems me, and that’s the only badge I need on my vest.

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suck it, February

Holland

I’ll be the first one to say it: February sucks.
I really don’t like it.
Praise Jehovah it’s the shortest month on our calendar.

It’s so dark & cold & usually wet with snow, ice, or just cold water in general. It’s dreary and lonesome. The holidays are over. There’s nothing to look forward to.

February sucks.

It is historically my hardest month. I think I cry more tears in February than I do in other months. I definitely know this February I did.

One of the reasons I think it sucks is that it comes right after January – a month of fresh starts and new hopes for the year. It comes right after a time of renewal – when we pledge that this year is THE YEAR we will see X, Y, and Z through. We promise ourselves we won’t fail this time around. That we have changed. We are better people than we were last year.

And then…

FEBRUARY.

We have failed. We stopped before we ever really got started. We haven’t changed and we aren’t better people.

February reminds me that I am incapable of being my own savior – and that is hard. Mainly because I have control & trust issues & still sinfully hold on to the thought that God doesn’t want me if I don’t come to Him clean.

February has seen some high spots too. My most fun Galentine’s to date (bar’s raised, 2017…). New friendships developed & strengthened. My first car payment cleared the bank. But overall, not the greatest month I’ve ever had.

This February I have felt my loneliness in deeper ways that I have in a while. I have felt the enemy attack me in ways I thought he couldn’t touch anymore. I have felt like a failure in my job & to my friends.

Have I mentioned that February sucks?

But, praise God, today is March 5th. And you know what that means? February is over.
The despair of the month no longer has a hold on me.

February is like the darkness of my sin. It is like the valley the psalmists write about over & over. It is this heavy feeling that never seems to go away.

And March. Well, March is like Jesus. March brings newness. March brings promise that what is will not always be. March reminds me that the grave is open & Christ is risen! March signals the end of darkness & the beginning of new light.

I know March isn’t technically spring, but it is spring for my soul. It brings forth new hope that, even though I failed after January, February ends.

Jesus brings forth hope that, even though my sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. That in Him I am a new creation – the old, broken, failed, marred person is gone, and behold, the new has come.

March reminds me that the calendar moves forward. That Jesus moves forward & cleanses me of all unrighteousness.

I can claim my security in Christ because He has once & for all redeemed me – failure and all.

I don’t want to hope in my ability to muster up enough strength to make it through. I want my hope to be built on Christ alone. Not just resting on, but built upon Jesus. That His mercies are new every morning & my past sin, darkness, failures, etc. are forgotten by the Spotless One.

Perfect redemption is for you & me, today.
March is here.
February can suck it.

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