Tag Archives: grace

the marriage of discipline & trust

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I’ve struggled in keeping up with this whole blogging thing this summer. Truth is, I haven’t struggled in blogging. I’ve struggled in discipline. I always have.

I grew up as a disciplined athlete, but every other area of my life way always in disarray. When I stopped playing sports, then I really lost all sense of discipline. I’m just not the greatest at being a self-disciplined person, no matter how much I want to be.

And the reason for that is that I’m really good at talking myself out of it. I’m probably the best person to convince myself that I can put certain things off. I can make myself believe so easily that I’ve earned a night off. “It can wait until next week. I deserve to nap instead” has been the motto of my summer when it comes to this blog.

And you know what I’ve also lacked in this summer? Trust.

In my lack of discipline in searching God in my single life, I have lacked in trust that God cares about my single life.

This blog has not only been a way for me to write out some (hopefully) helpful commentary on my experiences within the church as a single person, but it has also been a tool for me to really seek the Lord – intentionally and specifically in the area of relationships.

I’ve come to find that discipline and trust are married. And that they work really well together. And that when one is off running around, not being faithful to their union, the other one just kinda floats around with nowhere to land.

And I’ve also learned that when they are both filling their proper roles – and when I’m actively engaging in both – they form a really great union. (Marriage type union…not construction workers union…)

When I am disciplined in seeking God – through prayer, study of Scripture, meditation on His Word – I can trust Him more fully. And when I trust Him more fully, the discipline of seeking Him becomes a pure joy in my life. Which leads to more trust. Which leads to more discipline…

See what I mean?

But when I’m not seeking Him, I’m not trusting Him. Which leads me to not seek Him. Which leads to less trust…

You get it. You’re a smart person.

So, here’s to discipline. And grace. And a Redeemer that loves even me – the undisciplined sinner that I am. And here’s to trusting that God is God, and God is good, even when I don’t blog for 3 months or so.

*watch Sue’s engagement surprise here!

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realizing your basically just like an ancient tribe

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(just me waving ‘Hi’ from a corn field. photo creds to the ever-lovely H Mae.)

I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus lately. It’s taking me a while to get through the book, but in a weird way, I’m glad I wasn’t so disciplined and rigid about getting through it in a specific time frame. (Read: I just didn’t read it as regularly as a good Christian would have…) [also, please note sarcasm when you read “good Christian would have…”] {okay, I think I’m done with parentheses/brackets now}

Also, I just saw a motorcyclist drive past Starbucks with a GoPro on his helmet. $3 says he pulls some street trix tonight.

I get distracted easily.

Back to Exodus.

So, I’m reading through and early on in the book I’m just totally blow away by God showing up with His people. I can consistently see Yahweh coming to His people, actively working to redeem them. And I was always like, “YES! I KNOW this God! I see and feel His active redemption in my life too!”

Then I get to the part(s) of the book where the people of Israel decide it’s a good idea to open their mouths. And grumble. And question God. And sorta roll their eyes at Him and complain about dumb stuff.

Specifically in chapter 15 they are complaining about some bitter water. I can sense some smart mouth (probably named Kayla) saying, “Well, what are we gonna do now? What are we supposed to drink?!”

I read that and immediately wrote down, “The people of Israel didn’t give God time to work. They immediately began grumbling.”

Then again, in chapter 17, the issue of water comes up again! Geez Israel, stop being so thirsty!!

Anyways, they move from the wilderness and “there was no water for the people to drink.” They go before Moses and complain, again, and he goes before the Lord on their behalf, again, and God (I imagine) gives Moses a slight eyebrow raise and says, “Watch this…”

God literally tells Moses to hit this random rock with his staff & water will pour out of it. And it does. Water flows from a ROCK. Because, God.

What gets me about this passage though, is what comes in verse 7:

He called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Here’s what Kayla’s scribblings say about this: It’s so funny/amusing to me when Israel doubts God’s presence or goodness during their time of physical need – YET, I am just like that. If I want/desire something physical, material, and God doesn’t give it to me in my time frame, I ask with Israel, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Hi, I’m Kayla, and I am just like ancient Israel.

Israel experienced the plagues in Egypt, walked THROUGH THE RED SEA on DRY GROUND, was led through the wilderness by a pillar of fire and a cloud of smoke…AND THEY STILL QUESTIONED GOD’S GOODNESS.

Kayla has experienced God’s faithfulness in her life in MULTIPLE ways, YET STILL DOUBTS GOD’S GOODNESS!

It is easy to forget how truly good God is when things aren’t going our way – in relationships, jobs, friendships, financially, *insert scenario here*.

I’m not going to pretend like I never get ticked with God. In fact, He and I had a really long conversation last weekend about how mad I was at Him. But you know what? He is still good. He still lovingly draws me in and says, “I know. I know it’s hard for you right now. I know your heart hurts. But just wait until the morning. Wait until you can see what I see.”

I’m holding on to that right now. I may be frustrated. I may be hurt. But I’m holding on to a God who sees the promised land before I do and knows that I will get there in due time.

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use your words

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I like to talk. When I was in kindergarten, I typically got in trouble for sitting on my desk after I was finished with my work and jabbering away. I can also vividly remember having to sit in the hallway on the first day of school every year until 5th grade because of my blabber mouth. I finally learned how to get my business under control in 5th grade, I guess.

Now, one of my favorite things is sitting around a dinner or coffee table and having long conversations that lose all sense of time.

I like to talk.

I’m also living in a time when everyone likes to talk and loves sharing their opinion on any and every matter they can. Everyone has a voice, and I don’t want to dismiss that, but I’m also a little concerned that we don’t fully understand the weight of our words.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

As Christians, I think we love to use this verse to shut down potty mouths. It’s simple to point to the first portion of this verse and remind those around us that we shouldn’t be cussing or tearing others down with our words, which I completely agree with.

But I think we’ve lost the last part. I think we’ve lost grace in our words. I don’t think we try to speak in such a way that our words give grace to those who hear. 

When you ask me about my dating status, I tell you I’m still single, and you answer with, “Oh what a bummer.” – that isn’t giving me grace.
When you ask me about marriage and I say, “Yeah, this season is really hard because I desire marriage and a family and I’m just struggling right now,” and you reply with, “Well, it’ll happen in God’s timing.” – that isn’t giving me grace.

Be okay with my singleness when I’m okay with it. Be a little bummed with me when I’m bummed about it. Don’t dismiss my feelings, but rather speak grace into my life.

Our words are powerful. Our reactions to situations and seasons in life mean something to those around us. As followers of Jesus we carry grace with us in our voices.

I know that I’ve not always used my words to give grace to those who hear, but I know that’s what I’m called to. I’m called to speak grace. And what an opportunity we have to build those around us up, speak life, truth, and grace into this world, and maybe, just maybe, show people Jesus with our words.

*watch Kristen & JT play Secret Word here!

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