Tag Archives: love

my silence vs. God (psalm 33)

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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

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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

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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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psalm 6

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Picture this. David – a man on the run, literally hiding in caves to escape from people hunting him down to kill him – is begging God to deliver his life.

He isn’t necessarily asking God to save his physical life.

He’s asking for God to save his soul.

And the reason?

For the sake of God’s great & steadfast love.

Yes, David is weary. Yes, he is overcome with grief and trouble. Yes, he can be physically killed at any moment.

But his plea isn’t for his own comfort or satisfaction.
His plea isn’t for a cushy life on a throne, ruling over a kingdom.
His plea is to be saved for God’s glory.

And the most beautiful part?
He knows the Lord has heard his plea.
He knows the Lord accepts his prayer.

Too often I beg for God to save me from despair for my own good, not looking beyond to what He can, has, and will do for me for HIS glory – not my own.

Too often I plea with my Father, but I don’t always believe He hears or accepts me.

May I be like David today – free from the lies of the enemy that say I’m not worthy of the Most High God accepting my cry for help.
May I be like David today – begging God to deliver my like for the sake of His steadfast love.
May I be like David today – weeping straight into the arms of my Father, knowing that He hears and accepts me right where I am.

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord – how long?
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

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why we all love Fixer Upper

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You guys, I am in love. At least, I think that’s what this feeling is. I am head over heels about HGTV’s hit Fixer Upper. And I am even MORE over the moon about Chip & Joanna Gaines. Joanna wrote a blog recently about Chip’s breakfast and I almost started packing to go move in with them. That’s an acceptable thing to do with those you love, right?

I know I’m late to the game on the Chip & JoJo bandwagon, but I wanted to take a moment to list why I think we are all so in love with this couple in Waco, TX.

1 – They are adorable.

Seriously. Chip is just a dude’s dude and Joanna is so precious. They are a cute couple. From demo day to reveal, they are just cute. I want to watch them just to see how adorable they are going to be on the t.v. screen. AND THEIR KIDS!!! I mean, come on. No one should be allowed to produce offspring like they have. They are just too cute.

2 – They love each other.

Along with being adorable, Chip and Joanna love each other and it is evident throughout their lives. Sure, they say, “I love you!” but I’m never skeptical of it. I never think for a second that those words are simply spoken to keep appearances up. Chip supports his wife. Joanna adores her husband. They are playful and kind to one another. They encourage each other to do their best and are one another’s biggest cheerleaders. This is one of my favorite things about them. They don’t cut one another down or roll their eyes in disgust.

Now, I know they are on a television show and that reality t.v. is not reality, however, if a production company had any type of drama they could hype up, I think they would. And they don’t with Fixer Upper. There’s no need, because these two love each other. And that is good enough for us to keep watching! Because we want that! People love love, y’all!

3 – They love their kids.

Yes, they work hard. Yes, their kids have babysitters. But they are there for their kids. They cheer their kids on. They encourage the boys to be sweet to their sisters. They bring them in on their work and let them be apart of the cool things Mom and Dad are doing. Their kids aren’t some afterthought that are brought onto the screen so America can stand in awe at their perfect skin tone and adorable smiles.

4 – They redeem.

This is maybe my favorite reason why we all love Fixer Upper. If you’ve creeped long enough like I have, you know that Chip and Joanna love Jesus. You probably don’t know this just from the show, because they never come straight out and say, “Hey you guys, guess what, we love Jesus…” BUT they are doing something right under your nose, showing you they love Jesus.

They are active agents of redemption in this world.

I had a professor in college that spoke adamantly about how, as Christians, we shouldn’t work to create some random sub-par subculture. We should enter into the culture around us and redeem it. We should be agents of redemption in our respective worlds. And that’s what Chip and Jo are doing. They are redeeming.

They even say it at the beginning of their show! They take the worst house in the best neighborhood and make it their client’s dream home.

They take what is broken down and unlovely and make it beautiful to the point of tears for most of their clients.

They see beyond the surface into something that is valuable and deserving of love and turn it in to a masterpiece.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that every time I see a reveal, I think of this passage:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:12-21)

Chip & Joanna Gaines are living ambassadors of Christ, carrying out that which has been entrusted to them – the message of reconciliation and redemption.

I just really love this show and this family. Along with the rest of America.

Now, pardon me while I go search for some shiplap to build a table with.

 

*Image from hgtv.com

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what Hilary Duff got wrong

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Yesterday everyone’s favorite Disney channel blonde, Lizzie McGuire herself, had an interview in Cosmopolitan hit the internet newsstand. Maybe it hit the actual newsstands, but I haven’t walked by one since August of 2010 so I just can’t speak to that.

ANYWAYZ. If you haven’t heard, Hilary Duff has filed for divorce from her hockey playing husband and in her Cosmo interview she speaks to their relationship:

“We spent the majority of our time together really happy. It wasn’t working well enough to stay together, but there was still a lot of love involved. It was just a slow set-in of us not being the match that we used to be.” (from cosmopolitan.com. link to original article here)

While I appreciate her not using this high profile interview to bash her significant other, I find it hard to agree with her reasoning. I get really bummed out when people pull the “We just don’t work well together anymore” card. Loving my sister can be hardbut I don’t stop being her sister because she makes me pay for Mexican food and never gives me $4 back.

Life is difficult when people are involved, but that doesn’t mean we bow out as soon as the water starts to rise and things are looking like there’s no way out.

I should say, I don’t know if Hilary is a follower of Jesus or not. If she isn’t, then the only ground she really has to stand on are her own feelings.

BUT.

If you love Jesus and He is the Lord of your life, then you don’t get to throw the card that Hilary threw. You don’t get to say, “we just don’t match anymore.”

Too often, even as Christians, when things get hard in life we decide to just leave it behind. We move on to the next person, ministry opportunity, friend, coffee shop, *insert thing here* because we don’t want to push through the tough stuff.

My church is currently going through the book of Ruth and discovering hesed love. Hesed love is steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness. In the book of Ruth, when everything in Naomi, Ruth, & Orpah’s life is gone, it is hesed love that allows Ruth to cling to her mother-in-law and pledge to follow her wherever she may go.

It is hesed love that says, “No matter how hard things get, no matter what feelings may bubble up inside of me, I will cling to the covenant between us and stay. I won’t go anywhere. My feelings won’t sway the commitment I have made to you.”

It is an action that lays down one’s own life for the sake of the other.

It is Jesus dying on a cross and raising again to save and redeem us of our sins, allowing us to stand righteous before God the Father.

Because of this love, we don’t get to bow out when it gets hard. Instead, we get to rely on God to fill us with covenantal, hesed love that transcends our understanding. We get to know that we are called to live above our feelings and to remain in steadfast commitment to those we love.

highly encourage you to listen to the sermon series on Ruth and continue to follow along with us as we take this journey of love. And I highly encourage you push back against cultural norms that say our feelings are what matter most.

Hilary got this one wrong, and I really don’t want you to do the same.

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the tricky monster that will make or break us

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Tonight I’d like to take a slight right turn off of Singles Lane and spend some time driving down Relationship Ave.

(That’s code for tonight isn’t just about dating…it’s about all sorts of relationships with all sorts of people.)

I think there’s a really powerful monster that we all carry around in our back pockets on a daily basis. We can use it to deepen relationships, it can drive us to building really thick walls around our hearts, and – I believe – we can subtly use it to manipulate people to get what we want.

I’m talking about vulnerability.

Manipulation Station:

At one time in my life I had a ‘friend’ who asked me to coffee to try to get to know me better. This person was very sweet in their meaning, but once we got in to conversation they started getting a little more vulnerable with me (to a point) then pushed until I opened up with them. Looking back, they were totally in control of the conversation. They would open up and share some “dark” part of their story with the hopes that I would share something revealing about mine. And me, in my people pleasing ways, totally played in to it. I felt that the only way to get this person to either – 1) like me, or 2) leave me alone – was to spill some of the most private parts of my life.

I left that coffee shop feeling very uneasy and used.

Looking back, I truly feel as if I was manipulated into sharing things about myself I just wasn’t ready to share.

And if I think back hard enough, chances are I’ve done that with others. I’ve used fake vulnerability – or controlled confession – to get information from people with the motive of simply having that information.

Vulnerability shouldn’t be a tool used to get some news to gossip about. It’s much too precious to use in that way.

Brick Wall:

When being vulnerable leads to us being burned, the next natural phase is to build up some pretty thick walls in order to “guard our hearts”…or simply keep others out. Just like being manipulated, I think others can abuse our vulnerability with them causing us to distrust all people. If someone burns me, it just adds to my original assumption that I can’t open up to people in general.

In relationships this can cause a HUGE issue. If I’m not willing to take down my wall – even if it’s brick by brick – then I will get NO.WHERE. fast. I cannot grow in friendship, dating relationship, sibling-hood (is that a thing?), as a family member…basically, I can’t grow if all I’m ever doing is adding to the wall around my heart, keeping me from being vulnerable.

Vulnerability – or being burned by it – shouldn’t be an excuse to keep others out. It’s much too precious to use that way.

Deep Waters:

“Connection is why we’re here. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives. (And) in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Really seen.” – Brené Brown

Brené isn’t a follower of Jesus. But I wholeheartedly agree with her.

Vulnerability, at it’s simplest definition, is allowing ourselves to be really seen. Deep connection occurs when we allow people to really see us. When we are truly vulnerable in the purest way.

Personally, outside of connection with Jesus, I’ve had this happen with a handful of people in my life.

And in those instances, when I have allowed myself to be really seen, it has transformed my relationships. It has opened my eyes to how life with others should work. It has challenged me to be a better sister, daughter, friend…person.

And allowing, above all, Jesus to really see me has made me more complete. It has healed the deepest parts of my soul. It has started to chip away at the bricks I’ve piled up around my heart. It has allowed greater love to well up inside me for others.

It has made me more human.

You have kept count of my tossing; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)

I love this verse. I love that God sees us. Really sees us. And we can trust Him with our vulnerability. We can let Him in and become more of our true selves.

And in turn, we can be more of our true selves with others and honestly connect. And maybe, just maybe, show Jesus to those around us by the way we love and connect with each other.

Take a few minutes to watch Brené Brown’s TED talk. Again, she isn’t a follower of Jesus, but what she says here is AWESOME!

Also, if you like what you read, would you share with someone you think might also like it?! Gracias.

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a Ross & Rachel kind of love

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I’ve spent a fair amount of the new year watching “Friends” on Netflix. (PS, THANK YOU Netflix for FiNALLY streaming this beloved series)

The more I watch, the more I fall in love with this show. Super witty, heartfelt at times, and just down right fun.

And also, there’s Ross & Rachel.

Even if you’ve never seen a minute of Friends, if you live in America and are over the age of 12, you’ve heard of Ross & Rachel and know about their frantic, often confusing, on-again-off-again relationship. It’s possibly the most notable storyline of the show. I cried the first time they broke up (last week).

However, as unpopular as these next words will be, I’m not a huge fan of their relationship. I don’t really want a Ross & Rachel kind of love.

They can’t seem to trust each other. They are extremely jealous at times (see: trust). They can be manipulative. I’ll just stop there while I still have some friends of my own left (no pun intended).

Yet, as I think about it, I kind of do have a Ross & Rachel kind of love. I can’t think of a relationship I’ve been in where I have always been 100% trusting, non-jealous, and not manipulative to some degree. But I don’t want that. I want to love in such a way that trust is easy and I don’t have to maneuver my way around to keep the guy.

And the only way this is possible is with Jesus.

Apart from security in Christ, I’m never going to trust someone. Apart from identity in Jesus, I won’t be able to keep myself from manipulating another human.

When I come to fully know the love my Jesus has for me, I can then know how to love another person fully. I can see how unlovable, untrustworthy, and undeserving I am, yet still chosen. I can act out of that great love, because Christ completes me. And chances are I’ll have a love greater than Ross & Rachel.

Now pardon me, I have another episode to watch.

*enjoy this fun little video montage of the lovebirds from the internets here!

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what the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise taught me: Part 2

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I’ve come to the conclusion that we all love love.
We talk about it all the time. We obsess over it. We desire it. We work for it. We feel empty without it.

We have come to idolize love.

While watching Bachelor in Paradise over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that no one is immune to this idolatry. I mean, that’s even why we watch the show!! We want to stare at a screen for 2 hours once a week and watch as a fairytale love story unfolds before our eyes. The contestants give up their normal lives for weeks upon weeks to go to love boot camp hoping to come out shooting rainbows and confetti (and Lisa Frank unicorns) out of their heart cannons.

We are all obsessed with finding our true love.

What really trips me up about this is that none of us will ever live a love story that isn’t stained by brokenness and hurt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, 1 sinful person + 1 sinful person does NOT equal perfection.

This past week on Bachelor in Paradise, one contestant that has been on since the beginning (for 6 weeks, I think) finally connected with a guy. She had struggled the first few weeks because she “came to paradise for love” but was striking out. All the dudes were connecting with other women and it seemed as if all hope was lost.

Enter: a new dude! Hooray!

Within a week homie was telling her that he was in love. And it freaked this girl out!

She had (somewhat) gotten what she wanted, and it wasn’t what she expected.*

That’s what idols do to us. They promise fulfilment. They promise satisfaction. They promise that we’ll never want anything more.

And once we get to the idol, once we snatch the holy grail, once we find true love, the rug is pulled out from underneath us and we’re still left broken.

Love is not a bad thing. I think that love gets a bad name (Bon Jovi style) sometimes because we twist and skew it so much that we can’t recognize it anymore.
We can’t recognize the ultimate love of a Savior that has redeemed us and made us new, complete, and without blame.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)

This love fulfils. This love sustains. This love is whole.

*This is totally my perception of something I’ve watched on tv. I don’t know this woman’s heart, but I do know mine, and that’s how I would’ve felt.

To listen to Garth & Kat’s sweet love songs, click here!

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Just Affirm Me, Pleeaassee!

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A couple years ago a friend and I read through “The 5 Love Languages: Singles Edition.”

(Side note: I think it’s humorous that we can label anything a certain edition and sell it. I should market and sell, “Frozen: Kayla Edition” and see how that goes for me…)

I digress.

She and I really learned a lot through reading that book together–learned about ourselves, each other, and how to interact with those around us in a loving and encouraging way.

A couple big notes of mine that came from that:
(1) My “love tank” is filled by quality time with people and words of affirmation from others.
(2) I get sweaty and socially anxious when people touch me. Please don’t test this theory.*

Back to the love tank.
A running joke between the two of us now is when we affirm something the other does, we jokingly declare, “Affirmation!”
It’s funny and the two of us get it even if you don’t.

The struggle here is when I let affirmation from others dictate my joy, my value, my actions, etc. Often in my life I’ve desired affirmation from people who don’t really have a stake in my life. I search and yearn and try to work for the approval of others.

I search for and yearn for affirmation and approval from a guy. I desire to be lifted up by a man so that my love tank may be filled. I want to hear words spoken by a broken human that stroke my ego and make me feel whole…for a brief moment until I forget his words and feel the need to be affirmed even more. I think that being with a flawed man with somehow make me less flawed. I think that my value is less than what it could be if I were in a relationship with someone that constantly told me he loved me (cause that’s what boyfriends and husbands do, right??).

The truth amidst the long list of lies I tell myself is that Jesus affirms me moment by moment. I can list verses upon verses of this truth, but the first one that comes to mind is Isaiah 62:4

You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.

The word “Hephzibah” mean, “My delight is in her.” The Creator of all, Yahweh Himself has declared His delight in me.

Is there any greater affirmation than that?

Lord please teach my heart to rest in Your affirmation moment by moment!

*a note on physical touch: it only makes me socially anxious if I don’t really know you…again…please don’t test the theory 🙂

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