Tag Archives: life

2021 – the year of abundance

It’s time for a word-of-the-year recap! The only consistency this blog has offered in the last 3 years!

2021 saw me leave behind hope in an effort to move forward with abundance. 2021 was going to be the year that I watched God grow up out of the ground all of the things we had been planting together over the last few years. It was going to be the year that I asked, of every person/situation/choice/etc, “Is this life or death? Because if it’s death, I want nothing to do with it.”

The verse that I sat with for 365 days (2021 wasn’t a leap year, right?) was John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I said to myself over-and-over again…

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“Is this trying to steal, kill, or destroy? Or is this bringing me life?”
One is from the thief.
One is from Jesus.

And if it’s from Jesus, abundance will follow.

The tricky thing for my heart in leaning in to that line of thinking was/is – does declaring something as God’s abundance mean that I think He is some kind of genie? That all along it’s just been up to me to ‘name it and claim it’? All God has been waiting for was for me to say some magical word and then He would open the floodgates of heaven?

Youth group worship song session, anyone?

I used to think that abundance would have to show up as grand, big, and uncontainable. But it doesn’t. Turns out, God’s abundance – the kind of life giving abundance that Jesus came to give to His people – found it’s way in to my life in really small, ordinary, what some might call mundane things.

His abundance was found in a condo with friends making homemade birthday potstickers.
His abundance was found in a new pair of cycling shoes.
His abundance was found in my nephew seeing himself as Iron Man on a poster for his third birthday and losing his mind in the best of ways.
His abundance was found in weeping on friends couches because I’d been delighting myself in the Lord for so long and yet He had not given me the desires of my heart and nothing makes sense anymore.
His abundance was found in a vacation in the mountains with my family.
His abundance was found in a thousand small ways that prior to this year I would have never given Him credit for.

The thing I learned from this year is that I need to keep asking, “Is this trying to steal, kill, or destroy? Or is this trying to give me life?”
Because if it’s life, it’s from Jesus.
And if it’s from Jesus, abundance will follow.

And if simple life from Jesus is all the abundance I ever get, I think I’ll be set.

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take & eat

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I’m not sure if I’m focused on this concept because I’m hungry or what, but here we go.

I often forget that the enemy never has the upper hand.

I’m in the middle of a season of crap. Just grey, dreary crap. And it’s not just me, but those I love are in the middle of crap too. It has, simply put, been a really weary season in a lot of different ways.

I have seen up close & personal that the enemy comes only to steal and kill and destroy. And – especially in isolation –  I forget the rest of the story. That Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly.

I love the way Jesus sets it up in John 10:10 – “the enemy does that, I do this.”

Jesus steps in and flips the script on what satan is trying to accomplish.

Which brings me to: “take & eat.”

In Genesis 3, we read about the serpent tempting Eve. He taunts her with, “Did God actually say…” – manipulating God’s truth and planting doubt in Eve’s mind. And she falls for it. The enemy essentially says, “Take and eat. You’ll be fine! God just doesn’t want you to eat this fruit because you’ll be like Him. Don’t you want that? Don’t you want to be your own god?”

So, she takes & eats.

And so does Adam.

And in comes brokenness and disobedience and shame and separation from the Holy One who created them.

The enemy does that.

Then Jesus does this:

And when the hour came, he [Jesus] reclined at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Luke 22:14-20

Jesus’ invitation to His disciples: take & eat.

He redeemed that which the enemy marred.

He took the invitation that ushered in death and remade it into an invitation that brings life.

He made the meal and the invitation new.

And guess what?

He’s going to do it again.

When Christ returns – just as He said He would – and sets all things right, we’re going to have another meal together.

I imagine being at the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus standing at the head of the table with a glass raised high, arms outstretched and declaring to all in attendance, “Take & eat.”

It makes me weepy thinking about how God is actively making all that the enemy has broken new and whole once again. How even in the middle of what feels like death, satan still doesn’t have the upper hand.

All of the crap, all of the weariness, is being pierced with light and given fresh life. The season is being restored, whether I can see it happening in the here & now or not.

It is.

Jesus is still in the business of giving life and giving it abundantly.

He is still flipping the script on the lies the serpent tries to tell His people.

The bread might be dry, and the wine a little bitter, but the invitation to take & eat is enough hope to hold on to for today.

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teamwork makes the dream work

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Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers!

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That’s all I have to contribute to the holiday.

Now.

I was at a conference this past weekend. Some of you may know about it. It’s called the if:Gathering. You can learn more about it here. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with some ladies from my church and came away with quite a bit to think about.

The structure of the conference was: listen to a teaching, talk about it at your table, eat some snacks, repeat. One of the questions that was asked at our table was, What is my dream for my people and my place?

The first thing that came to mind was: team.

Now, being the washed-up athlete that I am, that might not be surprising to most. But more importantly than what first came to mind was the images and feelings I got while I thought through it a little more.

My junior and senior year’s of high school basketball were some of the most fun I had as a player of the sports. It was so much fun to be on the court with my best friends, competing together and having the time of our lives.

One image that kept coming up over and over again this past weekend was our inbound plays – in particular, under-the-basket inbounds plays my senior year.

My friend Brandi and I had the best chemistry under the basket. As guard, I was responsible for getting the ball in play. If the play was busted, Brandi just knew where to cut and when to cut, and I knew she would always be there. I could no-look-bounce-pass Mr. Spaulding into the lane, Brandi would snatch that sucker up, and the LadyCats would have 2 more points added to their total. I never worried about a 5-second violation because I knew Brandi would be there.

We even played in a three-on-three tournament a few years later and did the same. dang. thang. My teammate was there for me.

Knowing each other that well didn’t just occur after one day of practice. We sweat together, bled together, went through hell week together. (side note: have you ever had 2 weeks of Christmas break practice with NO GAMES to play?! it’s the worst. you want to quit everything and just go home to eat Christmas candy.)

And that’s what I want from my people and my place.

I want my team.

I want us to be there for each other.
To anticipate one another’s moves.
To remind and ensure each other that, even if the play is busted, we’ve got each other’s backs. We don’t need to worry about hell week by ourselves because our teammates will be there in it with us.

A year ago I wrote about standing on holy ground with others. How there is something sacred about holding someone else’s story with them. And I’m so thankful that’s how my team has formed.

I know my team holds my story and I feel so thankful that they allow me to hold theirs.
I know we all stand on holy ground with and for one another.
I know that the sacredness we share in spiritual friendship is rare, and I hope I never take it for granted.

Whatever my dream is – or ends up being – I know it’ll be easier to chase because of the stellar team I’ve got on my sideline.

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seeking refuge

seeking refuge

This post is somewhat of a love letter to all people currently in my life.

I recently got to witness one of the most real, sweet, quick moments I’ve witnessed in a long time. I was around a couple of moms and one of them was just struggling. Struggling because her kid is a human. And humans are messy, sinful beings. Her kid was demonstrating sin and it was bumming her out. The other mom friend saw through the put-on smile and brush-it-off face, gave her a hug and said something to the effect of, “It’s hard. But you’re a good mom.”

She was able to look at her friend and let her know it was okay to be sad and hurt and feeling feels that were uncomfortable in a public place. She didn’t condemn, correct, or even laugh at the kid’s behavior. She comforted her friend.

I left that interaction (which, by the way, I was basically the creepy bystander eavesdropping on the whole thing…) thinking over and over again, “Man. That’s what we all want. Refuge from the mess. A safe, secure place to just be who we are.”

I think we are all in this space of seeking refuge. (Which is also appropriate in my life because that’s my church’s website, hhhaaaayyy)

We all want space where we can be – not condemned, corrected, or even joined in with the false cover of laughing away hurts and hard things.

In that moment, it was as if a hug from one friend to another let her be more human. It allowed her to feel broken, yet hopeful that she wasn’t alone.

I’m so thankful that I exist in a context of refuge seekers. Of people that allow for hard conversations, hurt hearts, and work with one another to see light pour into the darkness. I honestly don’t know how I did it for so long without them.

All I know is that we can’t seek refuge alone. Yes, our ultimate refuge is in Christ. And yes, He alone has the ability and right to satisfy.

But we still need each other. We need to lock arms and plummet head first into the heaviness of life, scratching and clawing for a bit of refuge in the pit together.

I’m tired of the mask of “Okay” and “Fine.” I’m tired of thinking that no one will ever understand, or, once they do understand they’ll want nothing to do with me.

Cause guess what, that’s exactly what the enemy wants. He wants us isolated. He wants us to believe the lie that we are incapable of love and goodness and redemption.

But once we bring people in – once we tell satan to suck it, and bring our fellow beautiful, messy, sinful, redeemed people in – the enemy has to leave. And we find refuge. We find it together.

So let’s get together a put a white-knuckle grip around one another, knowing that hard stuff is okay, unwilling to let go of each other. Let’s stop dealing with things alone. Let’s have tough conversations. Let’s listen well to those that are hurting. Let’s be just as good at grieving as we are at celebrating.

And then, let’s celebrate that the King and Mighty Refuge of our souls has indeed loved sinners such as us.

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revive me again

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Chances are I’ve probably already written about the Psalm I’m going to write about tonight. But if I can’t remember it, I doubt you can. And if you do, then, dddaaannnnggg, thanks for supporting a sister!

A couple summers ago I heard a sermon on Psalm 85 that rocked me to my core. So much so, I still have my notes from that Sunday [although, that’s probably not much of a shocker to those that know me well…]. And turns out, it was the day before my birthday that year! #blessed

I’ve read and read and re-read that Psalm so many times since. In it, the psalmist does a few things:

  1. Reminds the Lord of what He has done
  2. Begs for revival
  3. Reminds himself of what the Lord has done & that He is capable & willing to do it again

I find this pattern necessary in my life. I need to remind God of what He has done in my life, and in doing so, I’m reminding myself of His past faithfulness – that God has showed up in my life on countless occasions. That He is a God that loves and is for His people.

It reminds me that I need to keep showing up. I need to beg for revival. I remember ever so clearly what the preacher said that Sunday morning. Verses 6 & 7 say, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.”

The preacher then said, “Ask for that. Beg for that. Beg for God to revive you again so that you may rejoice in Him! And when the answer is no, for today, get up again tomorrow and ask again! Continue to show up with God; fight for the revival in your soul.”

OKAY FINE! I WILL!

But then I don’t.
I fight for a couple days, then I decide the fight isn’t worth it.
I beg for a while, but then I get tired of begging m.
I want instant, blatant satisfaction. I’m not willing to wait on the Lord and thirst for God the way the psalmists did.

But the good news is that God is still God, and God is still good. Even on the days when I don’t ask Him for His goodness.

He will revive His people again, so that we may rejoice in Him.

There’s so much to be said about the words penned in the 85th psalm, but the simplest thing to say is that it’s all for His glory. Revival of my soul is not for my temporary happiness or earthly satisfaction. It is for God and God alone. “Yes, the Lord will give what is good.” (v12) And the ultimate good is Himself.

So, I pray for that tonight, tomorrow, in the coming days – that He may revive me again, so that I may rejoice in Him.

 

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