Tag Archives: love

hopes & dreams

I had a birthday recently. Obviously, if you pay attention to the picture above, you know how old I am. I think I’m going to call this my triple-threat year.

One of my favorite birthday traditions with myself is to make some space for reflection over where I’ve seen God move and work in the days since my last birthday, and to dream dreams with Him about what we want to see happen between now and the next.

I’m not naturally prone to gratitude. If anything, I remind myself often of the lack – where I’ve missed the mark, where I could’ve done better, the gaps that I failed to fill. I threat forecast. I see where things have gone wrong, and I try to prevent those things from happening in the future. So, the practice of gratitude, well…needless to say, it can be life or death for me sometimes.

This past year has been the hardest.
Yet, the bravest.
The driest, yet, the most abundant.
The loneliest, yet, full of more love and community than I could have ever imagined.

It has felt…pivotal.

So many things were brought to the surface.
So many things took deep, deep root in the soil of my heart.

So as I entered in to my hopes and dreams for the coming year of my life, it was a tricky process.

How do I hope, when I’ve been hoping and nothing has changed?
How do I dream when my dreams seem foolish and unattainable?
How do I step into the unknown of year 33 with joy and gladness and faith and trust?

The short answer is – I don’t know.

I don’t know how to move forward on my own.
I don’t know how to navigate being a human in 2022 at the age of 33.

But what I do know is that God is present.
I’m not moving forward on my own, I’m moving forward with the Author and Perfecter of my faith.
I’m moving forward with a great cloud of witnesses surrounding me, sitting with me in my hopes and my dreams, in my losses and my letdowns.
I’m navigating being a human with other humans who know how hard it is to be human, but how infinitely full it is to be human together, and with Christ.

So, my hopes and dreams for 33 are basically this:
Remain with Jesus.
Remain with His people.
Trust the kindness of God to get me to 34.

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just be kind

A few years ago, one of my dearest introduced me to the mythical creature that is Dan Allender. “Because of the way you love story, I just really think you’d be in to this guy.”

And boy, was she right.

A conference, a couple books, and many podcast episodes later, we arrive at today.

Listening to podcasts is one of the best ways for me to keep my mind engaged throughout the day when I’m doing no-brain-space-needed tasks. Yesterday in the midst of one of those tasks, I was listening to an Allender Center episode called Stumbling Toward Wholeness. 
I MORE than recommend you go listen to the two-episode series.

The thing that has been stirring in my mind for the past day & a half is something the guest said early on: Kindness toward ourselves is not pride. Hatred toward ourselves is not humility.

I’m sorry. What? You mean that if I think something is good or delightful about the way I am or the things I do, it’s okay for me to call those things out? To give glory to the good parts of me? To say, “Wow, God! Good job on making me the way that you did!”

Boy, do we do a real crappy job of that as Christians.

But his point – and it is so true – is that when someone does call out the good in themselves, we dismiss them as prideful, arrogant jerks.

When someone calls out the good in us, we dismiss them as not really knowing what they are talking about. “Are you kidding? You really don’t believe those good things about me, do you?”

This happened to me just a couple weeks ago. My sweet friend called out a thing that she admires in me and I buried my chin into my chest and completely dismissed the blessing she was giving to my spirit. Words I so desperately needed to hear in the moment, but was so unwilling to receive out of fear of being perceived as full-of-myself.

I was so unkind to myself. And in turn, a little unkind to my friend.

Diminishing who I am is not being a humble servant of the Lord.
It’s actually dimming the Light within me, unwilling to acknowledge or celebrate the exact imprint & image of God that I uniquely reflect.

It’s okay to be kind to yourself.
As Romans 2:4 says, “Do you not know that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance?”

And when someone in your circle is struggling to be kind to her own self, celebrate her. Tell her who she is in Christ. Call out the good. Be kind to her.

Know that you are blessed to be a blessing, and it’s more than okay to hold that truth with tender kindness for yourself.

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my silence vs. God (psalm 33)

psalm 33

I’ve had writer’s block for a few weeks now.
When I say “writer’s block” what I mean is “laziness.”

I just haven’t put in the discipline. Which seems to be a theme over the past few months. Not just in writing, but sometimes in life.

I came across this note in my phone from September 6, 2017: “My silence won’t keep God from being God.”

I truly have zero context around why I wrote this note in my phone on that night. I mean, it’s good truth, but I have no clue what inspired that truth to come out. ‘Cept Holy Spirit, of course.

Then, I come to tonight, and by my meticulous bookkeeping abilities (meaning I can look on a website and see what the last psalm I wrote about was…) I see that up in the order of psalms is numero thirty-three. All about the steadfast love of the Lord.

Remember when I said that discipline is hard for me sometimes?
Remember when I said that my silence won’t keep God from being God?

I can get into this mode of thinking that if I give God the cold shoulder He’ll shape up and bend toward my preferences and desires. That, if I give Him the silent treatment, He’ll start paying more attention to me. I get frustrated and stubborn, wondering why He just won’t figure.it.outand get with my program.

My hope moves away from God and toward my silence.
I put my trust in my passive aggressiveness and cease to rely on the steadfast love of the Lord.
I lose joy because my mind is more affixed to my name than His holy one.

Then I read a note from 6 months ago.
And read a psalm that is all about God and not about me.

And I’m reminded that my silence doesn’t keep God from being God.
It doesn’t keep Him from being sovereign over all creation.
It doesn’t keep Him from pursuing me.
It doesn’t keep Him from giving me love and grace and mercy, moment by moment throughout each day.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in Him,
because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

psalm 33:20-22

I’m so glad that even in my silence, God’s steadfast love doesn’t leave me. I
t is always upon me, always helping me.

Lord, may Your steadfast love always be upon me, especially when I’m a silent little punk who thinks she can have hope in something other than You.

 

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psalm 14

psalm 14.png

I guess the best way to start doing something again is to just start doing it.

So.

Here we are.

Psalm 14.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would same the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

I typed this psalm out then went and ate some goldfish, because I just really had to make sure what I’m about to say is what I’m supposed to say.

From my view of the world and the things happening around me/on social media, a lot of us like to take a passage like this and say, “HA! YES! See you FOOL!”

We like to point our fingers at those that are corrupt, doing abominable deeds.

But I can’t read through this whole dang thang and shake my finger at someone else. Because here it tells me that God looks down from heaven and all have turned aside.

We all say in our hearts, “there is no God.” We all say with our actions, “there is no God.” We all say with the way we bow our heads in despair over an election, “there is no God.”

We are all included in this. None of us do good.

So, as you go throughout the rest of this week, keep that in mind.

You and I are sinners in need of a great savior. And that savior has not and will never be the president of the United States. That savior has not and will never be the United States herself. [side note: why is a country always referred to in the feminine? If you have answers, please share.]

The only one great enough to save all of us is Jesus.

“Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!”

He did.
Let’s trust, with the deepest part of who we are, that His work is finished.

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psalm 13

psalm13

I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say it 1,578,829 more times, but one of my favorite descriptions of the psalms is that they are where emotion and theology meet.

I sometimes feel a smidge of guilt when I want to throw some shade God’s way. There are days and moments when I want to throw my hands up and say, “For serious, Lord?!”

And in those moments I think, “crap. I’m not supposed to react this way. I’m always supposed to be happy and smiley and all the ‘pretty’ emotions because God has saved me from an eternity separated from Him….ya ta ta…”

But then…then I come upon the psalms. And I read David’s emotions. And I know, at the end of the day, it’s okay for me to be frustrated. For me to doubt. For me to have some questions for the Creator of all the things (emotions included).

The tricky part is if I let that shade turn into bitterness toward my Loving Father. I can bring my hurt and let-downs to God. I can have a hard conversation with Him. But I can’t let my emotions control who my God is. God is God and God is good, even on days when I don’t feel it.

And that’s where psalm 13 steps in:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Amen & amen.

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