This was inspired by my lack of remembrance to put Jesus first. I can forget sometimes that without Him I feel spent. I have tried to do it on my own and fallen on my face more times than I can count. So, this is probably more of an accountability for me more than an encouragement for you. But I invite you in. Please question, argue, and comment on anything. I don't know everything and I doubt I ever will. But my ultimate hope here is for each blurb to encourage you to find what you believe. To help you feel loved in a sometimes not so loving world. And remind you that you aren't alone.
October 7, 2018
My Grampy and I sat outside his assistant living last week. I recorded our conversation and I think the dialogue you will read below was one of the best things I captured on recording. I always try my best to cherish the wisdom and knowledge he, and a few other older folks give. I’m not great at making time to visit him, but our time together remembered me how important it is to make the time.
“How does God play a role into someone’s life in their early 20s?” - me
“Well it’s just like a tree planted by the river. The tree takes it’s energy from the roots and a human being takes it’s energy from their relationship with God. Everyday- sucks it up. If he doesn’t pay attention to his roots he withers. He just doesn’t grow. He might find that he can’t make up his mind to do whats right and he fall into some habit or something that isn’t right for him. So, I think a human being is like a tree and the church is just an area to provide the right kind of nourishment for the roots. You don’t necessarily have to be involved in the church- but I think that is what it is there for.”
“Did you make that up?” - me
“Make what up?” - Otis
“The tree analogy-or did you hear that from somewhere?” - me
“Oh you just encouraged me to think, so I was just thinking about it.” - Otis.
Don’t forget to cherish those who have gone before you. Allow yourself to be patient and teachable with these folk. They’ve lived longer and if they know Jesus - listen close, they might give you incredible analogies like my amazing grandfather did.
October 1, 2018
I feel as though I’ve stepped foot into a short-dry season.
When I sit and attempt to write today, I don’t have much to say. The only words that come to mind are to stop, put the phone down, and rest. And these words are inevitably meant for me. Lack of balance causes lack of rest which can cause inadequate ability to speak wisdom into people’s lives. If I continue as I am- not balancing everything on my plate- I will most likely find myself not able to do, what I believe, God graciously opened doors for me to do. Maybe you get where I am coming from? I’d like to give you a better weekly word, but I’ve learned being honest and humble is way more appreciated and valuable to others than if I wrote something random just to write something. This is only a moment, but in this moment I have decided to take a step back from social media and attempt to say no to plans. My goal is to relearn rest. I mean, I really actually do need it- I have a cold. If you struggle with balance, I challenge you to take a step back and reconsider your routine in life. God wants us to be balanced so we can enjoy all areas of life. I pray you find this joy and I pray you most importantly find rest.
September 23, 2018
I hate how much I battle thinking I’m inadequate to do the things that God has placed in my heart. It’s silly. I seriously shouldn’t feel this way with how many genuine people encourage me weekly, but I do. And the vicious thoughts that replay in my head are so unexplainably loud sometimes I can’t quiet them alone.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
If you feel this way at all I want to offer some of the things I do to help myself get out of my head and back to truth.
Remember the things I have already learned.
- It is so easy to FORGET. We learn so much that we sometimes forget we even learned something. Crazy- I know, but taking time to read some pages in my old journals or encouraging notes people previously gave me helps me to remember. If you have never written in a journal I challenge you to purchase one- even if it is a dollar notebook- and write down the encouragements others give you. Write down the absolute blah that sits inside your heart and later write down how you overcame it. It doesn’t have to be pages and pages, but I believe reflection helps us recognize our growth track in life.
Read the Truth.
- Read bible verses that speak truth about who you are. Psalm 139:14 might be a verse you’ve heard 1239798 times, but hear it and speak it out as many times as you need to until you believe it. I linked here several bible verses that you can read in moments where you feel like you have no good thing to say about yourself.
Write down 10 things that are true about yourself and read them every morning and every night.
- This one is hard because usually the first thing we do in the morning and the last thing we do at night is go on our phone to check social media, texts, emails, etc. Why not switch this up and start and end your day with stating truth about who you are. YOU CAN DO IT. I will be doing it again this week and hopefully write a blog next week about the experience.
Simply ask a close, honest friend to speak some truth over you.
- Two nights ago I battled some stupid crap in my mind about a performance that was coming up. I was with a great crew of people that night, but my pride remained high. We began worshipping around the camp fire and people started to get real. So many others were battling some heavy duty stuff. I knew I needed to let down my pride and ask my friend to speak out truth over me. I really didn’t want to because I still haven’t gotten over the fact that not being perfect is OK and NORMAL. I pushed through and my friend delivered some words I needed to hear. Although my brain wasn’t completely aligned with what she said, I knew in my heart God was going to finish what she started. The performance was greater than I expected and the enemy was crushed. GET OVER YOUR fear of rejection or looking “stupid” and go ask a friend for truth. If you want to ask me I would be MORE than happy to speak some truth over you.
My instagram: @hannahdawbs // My email: email@example.com - Contact me- it’s time you know you are loved and worth it.
Walk away from whatever it is that caused the inadequate thoughts.
- If you find there are certain things that trigger these thoughts than walk away from them. My biggest trigger is social media. Sometimes I go a week or two without looking at it. I may post, but I won’t scroll. What are your triggers? People, media, movies, not accomplishing everything on your to-do list?
KNOW what triggers you and learn to walk away when it’s time.
_ When I worship everything else falls away. Yes, I am a musician, so this may be why it is rather powerful for me, but I believe and have witnessed an atmosphere shift when we set our eyes on the high king. If you need some worship music click here for my Spotify 2018 worship playlist.
Please don’t let the rest of today go by if you are feeling blah towards yourself. Try one of the things above and know you have more within you.
If you have any different tools you use please do share them with me. I’m always open to try new things!
You are loved and truly cherished.
RECOMMENDED songs: You're gonna Be ok by Jenn johnson
September 16, 2018
Don’t fall for it.
Our daily routine might consist of something like waking up, checking social media/email/text/calls, working, family/friends/church/exercise/errands/driving, eating, sleeping, then repeating. Or maybe your routine switches day to day like mine and if we tried to write out our schedule we’d be staring at a massive blob of hectic disaster. (This is a judgement free zone, thank you) The point is, although everyone’s life looks different day to day we all still have some sort of foundation at our core. If we don’t know what this foundation is then life could crumble before us- metaphorically speaking.
Matthew 7: 24-27: 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”.
How can we prevent this mighty crash and walk strong in truth each day if we don’t know what our foundation is?
We can’t. At some point we will get lost in the lies that the enemy wants to use to destroy us and find ourselves full of defeat.
I listened to one of my favorite speakers, Tim Hatch this morning fearlessly remind the audience about how sneaky the enemy can be in our lives
1 Peter 5:8: 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour..
He loves when we fall for his lies because his ultimate goal is to destroy us. And what better way to destroy a person than to mess with their mind. He isn’t stupid to just show up and say look at me, I’m the devil, I’m here to destroy you. He’s smart and will continue to do anything and everything to get us to believe his lies.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
But, Jesus is stronger than this trickster devil. He is the only truth and light in the world. (John 14: 6) And we are easily distracted humans caught in the lies this trickster implants.
But, we don’t have to be.
How do we NOT forget our foundation?
Colossians 2: 6-7:
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Below are the five points Tim gave today that I believe can be used as practical reminders in our daily routine. It won’t be easy- Jesus warned us that it won’t be, but it’s worth it all.
John 16:33: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus’s is my foundation: Walk with Him, rooted, knowing grace cannot be earned. It is a gift. Be grateful. (Colossians 2:6-7)
Jesus is my fullness: Don’t try to gain the world’s approval, you’ll lose your soul. Surround yourself with people that will speak both hard and genuine truth in your life. The truth always win. (Colossians 2: 9-10)
Jesus is my formation: God is constantly cutting away our fleshly behavior. Flesh meaning bitterness, impatience, resentment, jealousy, etc.. If you find yourself working with people that test your patience then maybe God is working on that stubborn impatient behavior you have. Let Him do this even if it SUCKS. It will be good in the long run. (Colossians 2:11-12)
Jesus is my forgiveness: When the enemy attempts to deceive your mind, stand up and proclaim who you are in Christ. Know the truth by reading the Word and use it as your defense. (Colossians 2:13-16)
Jesus is my freedom. Don’t let distractions steer you off course. (Don’t people please everyone) Only God can change your heart. “Good moments or actions” CAN’T produce the internal transformation that Christ’s grace can. (Colossians 2:18)
Living for Jesus isn’t full of boxes to check off or full of boring church services. I wouldn’t advocate to know Jesus if it was.
It most definitely isn’t perfect, but it is full of great adventure and a joy I haven’t found elsewhere.
His grace is free today regardless of what you have done or will do.
Don’t fall for the enemy’s false beauty.
Know your foundation and bring any questions you have to the truth holder: God.
Recommended Song: Hidden (ft. Will reagan) by United pursuit
July 29, 2018
Written by the lovely Evangeline Grace
Jesus loves you. Jesus loves me. We should love one another.
Don’t be alarmed this is not the beginning to a children's song.
This is just how simple it could be if we stopped twisting Christianity and applying all the rules and “glamour”.
I had someone tell me today, “I am tired of going to church and seeing all the perfect people do their perfect things and having them tell me how I can be just as perfect as them if I do this this and that.” It hurt my feelings at first. I have grown up in church my entire life. I think since the day I was born I have missed maybe four Sunday’s in total. My dad is a pastor, but he never forced us to go to church, I just always loved it. I loved the music and the people and hearing my dad speak. Even if I would visit different churches I just valued being a part of a group of people that just wanted to be together and praise God for how good He is. Unfortunately, not everyone sees church that way, even the people that are in church don’t see church that way. It breaks your heart to find out about corruption, lies, stealing, heartbreak, pride and judgement that happen within the church. But this happens in the world too. But people are so quick to pile all Christians into a category of judgemental hypocrites and then Christians lump the world into a category of lost and hopeless sinners.
Why can’t we all just be people. No one is perfect. The only one who is is Jesus and yet he would be the first to say, “Can y’all just stop the nonsense?” (That’s obviously exactly how he would say it.) Jesus never bought into the organized religion. He rebelled against the pharisees and religious leaders of the day. He ate with “the worst people” in their homes and met on hillsides and cooked fish on a beach. He met people where they were at and asked nothing of them except that maybe they would follow him, get to know him, listen to him.
Church truly can be a beautiful thing. I do value church and being a part of a family, but families aren’t perfect. Church can’t be perfect. It’s not a place where the best dressed and most put together people hang out drink tea and talk about last nights game. Church, as I have often heard, should be a hospital. It should be a place for broken, hurting, not put together, and hungry people to come in through the doors and feel loved. It’s all about the grace of Jesus. Grace sets people free. Rules don’t set people free. God is a God of order, but he creates order to protect us, not to restrain us. He set us free on purpose. He set us free so that we could set others free. He didn’t bind us to something so that we could bind others too. Salvation is freedom. Not to abuse the gift that Jesus died for, but he didn’t die so that we would judge, he died so that we would have grace and freely give it to others. Zaccheus, Barabas, Matthew, the blind beggar, the woman caught in adultery, Martha, Mary, the prostitute. Just a few of the people who Jesus reached out to that no one would have ever thought to reach out to. And then there is you, and me, and everyone else. Jesus died for whosoever, remember? We should love and accept whosoever. Don’t twist it, don’t overthink it. Don’t try to change it to fit the way you want. Just love people like Jesus did and do your best to live like him
July 1, 2018
Today, something great happened.
On my way home this afternoon I stopped at my spot. Well, my second spot. I stopped because I wanted to write an email I’ve been putting off. It was one of those you have to be in the mood to write emails. For some reason this spot in 90 degree weather did it for me-? I wasn’t parked more than 10 minutes before two cars stopped to ask if I were okay. My blinker was on, the windows were rolled down, and I was on my phone. I didn’t think it seemed that I was in trouble, but I guess to them it did. The first people to ask were a married couple and I didn’t think much of it. They were sweet and all, but my mind was focused on the email. The second car slowly stopped and it was a cute family. The little boy in the back poked his head out the window out of curiosity as his parents kindly made sure I was okay. I chuckled and said, “I am okay thank you”. When the third car stopped I started to laugh. The guy driving spoke genuine concern through his eyes, but come on, I literally had been there 15 minutes!! I said I was fine, he went on his way, and I kept writing. I was so caught up with writing I didn’t really think too much about it. I just thought they were all nice people.
Then, a power walking dude came strolling by. He had a weighted vest on and respectfully kept his distance. He evidently was not trying to interrupt me as I was on my phone but I kept feeling his curious eyes peer towards me. I looked up once and he didn’t say anything. I looked up again when I felt his eyes like fire on my face. “Are you okay?,” he asked. I should have yelled back, call the police I’ve been here 20 minutes and I must have HELP ME written on the back of my car. I Kindly waved and while laughing said, “I’m fine, just writing.” When he was out of sight I burst out the rest of my laugh. How silly was it that all these people took time to ask if I were okay. I’ve stopped on this street before many times and no one has ever said anything to me. I contemplated heading home since I thought I’d never get the email done, but I stayed and before getting back at the email I put down my phone and processed what just happened.
It’s incredible how kind these people were to me- a stranger. My car didn’t look broken. I literally had my feet up, the music was loud, and I was baking in the sun on my phone. Where did it read I was in danger?
Here is the outcome of my processed thoughts:
There is still good in this world. Horrific events try and bury it, but it exists. The power of loving on someone, foreign or freshly met is stronger than any evil trying to hinder our world from seeing good. We need to recognize the little good moments more. I need to put down my phone and recognize the little good moments more. The news and media have a great routine to pump out negativity. But, lets push back at it with these little stories. Lets process and remember the good. Lets stop for the people on the side of the road who may, or may not, need help. Lets put down our phones if we get caught up in comparison and go to the mirror and tell ourselves 10 truths. Lets reveal the good that is happening every single day because God is in that good and good will always win.
P.S.: Incase you are wondering, I did finish the email because no one else stopped. Once I recognized what happened I wrote better than before. Maybe it’s because I had no interruptions or maybe because I took time to see what was happening. I may never know. What I do know is that those interruptions were worth it, I just didn’t see it at the time. What might have been small to those people ended up being big to me. They might have gone home and never thought of me again. If I could find them I’d give them a proper thank you.
Interruptions mean something- keep your eye out for them.
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns"
- Philippians 1:6
Recommended song: Paris by All Sons & Daughters.
May 25, 2018
A relationship with Jesus isn't perfect. It's messy, it's raw, but it carries so much truth.
In this relationship I discover imperfections I have, but I don't think I'm meant to know them to try and make them perfect. I think these revelations are meant to remind me how human I am. How impossible and exhausting it would be to try and be a perfect human. You've never tried to be a perfect human, right? Me neither... We might as well become robots if we continue down that path. Jesus is a pretty big dude though. Bigger than any robot I've seen. I mean, He is God. He is big enough to pick me up when I fail and pick me up when I have moments of selfish, human days. He is big enough to remind me how loved I am regardless of anything I did or will do- if I allow Him. I like to think of Him to be like fire. Fire burns, but it also refines. It burns off the excess impurities while highlighting all the beautiful nuggets.
When I let God refine me, I let myself learn. I learn life lessons, human lessons, and why I operate the way I do. It can hurt and it can feel unending, but each time I process on the other side of a small refining moment, I am always glad I allowed myself. Why would I be glad to face fire? Because that refining process is done in love.
1 John 4:8:
... for God is love.
If God is like fire and God is love than it must mean each time I walk through that fire I am surrounded by love. And if God is love He must be for me and if He is for me He must know what He is doing each time He refines. I mean, we could try to be robots our whole life or we could walk in faith through the fire. Which would you choose?
April 22, 2018
How do I maintain a relationship with a friend?
I spend time with them. I make sure to set aside a day or a weekend to catch up and see how they are. When we aren't physically close, I may send or receive text messages with them. When we want to feel old school we actually pick up the phone and dial each others number. Although, today we simply type the persons name into our phone. What happened to memorizing numbers?
Maybe, I send them an instagram photo to let them know what I am up to or tag them in something we should do in the near future. If I had snapchat, you know they'd be on my top contacts- is that what it's called? I'm not huge on Facebook anymore, but still we are friends on it. Sometimes, they send me funny videos that only we get. Insiders are for sure a way to spice up the relationship.
We listen to one another and challenge each other. We stick close by when one of us is upset and get excited when the other shares the greatest news ever.
We don't judge. We encourage and we love.
All of this happens sometimes daily / weekly / bi-weekly / monthly- it depends on the relationship. The closest friends are definitely multiple times a week, if not daily. How can a relationship work if I'm intentional with maintaining it?
How do I maintain a relationship with Jesus?
Not always like the maintenance of a friend. Jesus is my most important relationship, but often I pick everyone else in the lot over Him. He should be someone I connect with daily, if not hourly . He should be my first Instagram post, facebook tag, snapchat send, tweet, email, text, old school call. Sadly, most of the time He isn't.
The days He is, all the other relationships flow better.
How do you maintain a relationship?
Start your day with Jesus and let me know how it is.
Recommended song: Jesus What a Savior by Housefires.
April 8, 2018
I haven’t been recharging lately. I have recharged my phone, my laptop, my camera, but not myself. I have told other people to recharge and take time to rest and revaluation with Jesus. I even told my instagram followers to take a day away from their phone to breathe and recharge. But have I done this? No.
And I can’t tell you how many times the words:
Rest // Recharge // Abide // Breathe // & Let go have come up this week. But here we are with a bad cold, not stopping.
We = me.
This morning as I began to listen to church online the Pastor started out his message with John 15. I laughed because I knew what that chapter was about. God was speaking directly to me.
" 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
The vine is Jesus and the branch is us. As we remain connected to the source of life we produce fruit. The fruit being our passions we desire or the jobs we work. The conversations we have with people or the roles we play in life. As we charge up with Jesus we will exhibit our best self.
So why do I slack?
Unfortunately because it is easy to think other things will help me recharge. Netflix, a day in Boston with a friend, coffee, writing, working, checking off my to-do list. All of these I am guilty of trying to use and some do work temporarily, but they have yet to fully charge my exhaustion.
Until I sit and fully abide in Jesus I won’t feel 100%.
Don't wait until you have a bad cold and your eye has twitched for 2 months to abide in Him. Nothing else in this world will fill you to the brim.
Recommended song: Not in a Hurry by Housefires
April 1, 2018
I took an unintentional break.
I sadly often put off doing the things that bring me the most life. One of them being writing. I often doubt this writing gift I have. Nonetheless, I am back and excited to offer some weekly thoughts I hope make you think as much as they make me think.
Today- The Simple Gospel.
What is the simple gospel?
Is it John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Is it John 8:36: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
Is it when Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" in Luke 23:34.
Maybe it is all of these verses + more?
Today is Easter, the day Jesus rose from death. The day He shattered the impossible and created victory for all who believe. The day God- His Father's love won. And as I drove back up to Maine the song Simple Gospel by United Pursuit came on and I began to try an answer this question.
What is this simple gospel?
Is it laying down what I think I know- "religious" routines and setting my eyes set on Jesus? Is it allowing Him to embrace me as I am THAN go out and spread His unconditional love the best I can? Is it laying down myself for the sake of another because that is what He did for me?
He died on that cross so I could be free today to write to you and for that I am grateful.
What do you think the simple gospel is?
Recommended song: Simple Gospel by United Pursuit
January 28, 2018
I hate failing.
It’s funny I say this because one of my favorite little slogans to live by, well try and live by is “fail forward”. It’s always easier for me to encourage others to live out something I know I really should be yelling towards myself.
But instead I try to be a perfect perfectionist which is impossible because no one is perfect, but still for some reason I think I will achieve the goal to become one someday. And then I fail like I did yesterday and realize what a dumb subconscious goal that is.
I tried out for The Voice and didn't make it. My pride is even spiking admitting this to you. The few people I did tell told me that I did succeed because I took a risk not many people would take. I kindly held in the words I really wanted to say to them and replied with a thank you. I was fixated on the “no” the harsh judge spoke hours prior. I often miss the truth loved ones are saying to me when I “fail” because of my wicked high expectation I have on myself.
Anyone else like this or is it just me?
When I got home from my audition my dad greeted me. I told him all about the day and at the end of our conversation he told me how proud he was of me for at least trying. Then he walked over to me, gave me a hug, told me he loved me and again said how proud he was of his baby girl. I felt a relief. All the perfect perfectionism vanished for a moment and all I heard were his words.
I was invited to a new church today and decided I’d check it out. The message was about when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
I imagine my dad's sincere words and comfort to be a little like Jesus’ experience when His father spoke, “This is my Son, Whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Jesus was fixated on the truth and when I let go of my pride when my dad spoke I began to fixate on the truth too.
The things we do, the career paths we choose, and the things we fail at don’t define us. Our Heavenly Father’s love does.
Have you ever felt you failed at something and beat yourself up over it? Don’t let the fixation on the failure steal the truth your family, friends or even God is telling you. Let them hug you and receive a moment of relief.
“Our hearts our restless until our hearts rest in Him”
- Pastor from that church .
January 14, 2018
I hate the process of learning patience. Probably because it’s a weakness of mine; but the beauty of growing and waiting as God does work, is worth every moment. If you can relate at all, below are some lyrics to a song I find helpful. This waiting, winter season can seem long but find the fuel and little joys along the process. You will find your way through. And when you reach the other side, it will be rich and full of nutrients that you didn’t even realize you needed all along.
Like the frost on a rose
Winter comes for us all
Oh how nature acquaints us
With the nature of patience
Like a seed in the snow
I’ve been buried to grow
For Your promise is loyal
From seed to sequoia
Though the winter is long even richer
The harvest it brings
Though my waiting prolongs even greater
Your promise for me like a seed
I believe that my season will come
Lord I think of Your love
Like the low winter sun
As I gaze I am blinded
In the light of Your brightness
Like a fire to the snow
I’m renewed in Your warmth
Melt the ice of this wild soul
Till the barren is beautiful
I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting
You can see my promise
Even in the winter
Cause You’re the God of greatness
Even in a manger
For all I know of seasons
Is that You take Your time
You could have saved us in a second
Instead You sent a child
And when I finally see my tree
Still I believe there’s a season to come
Like a seed You were sown
For the sake of us all
From Bethlehem’s soil
Grew Calvary’s sequoia
January 7, 2018
What are we looking at if we aren’t looking at Him?
Tonight I paced my room and the phrase above filled my thinking space. What is it I am looking at if I am not looking at Him? What sends me chasing false lies? What distracts my most intimate moments of truth with my Father? What else am I looking at?
I couldn’t shake this question. It has repeated over and over in my mind since inviting itself in. And maybe that is it. Maybe there isn’t much more to share with you than that simple question.
But then I found myself flipping through Matthew and saw the parables again. And I remembered. Jesus didn’t have to take His time to grow with us and teach us. In a blink of an eye He could have done what He did in 33 years. He chose to take the time to look at us and live with us and love us.
It’s a choice. We choose what we look at.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
The more my eyes are set on heavenly things, the more I remember the truth. Whether I’m flipping through the parables or shutting my phone off and pacing my room conversing with my Heavenly Father, I need to take time to look at Him. He has truth for me, but how can I see it if I am looking elsewhere?
I researched the definition of the word Look and one of the definitions read: Expect, Anticipate.
How can I expect or anticipate anything if I’m looking somewhere else?
So, what is it you are looking at if you aren’t looking at Him?
December 19, 2017
God will always do what we cannot predict.
I’m a very strategic thinker. I like puzzles, easy math equations, fixing people’s problems, and trying to predict future outcomes to decisions I make. Some of these I can and do solve correctly, but when it comes to predicting how God will work something out in my life, I am usually never right. He’s just not predictable.
I read Habakkuk today. It had been a while and I forgot that the book jumps right into Habakkuk complaining- Let me tell you, it was a great way to start my morning.
Habakkuk is complaining about not feeling heard by God. I love how honest and evidently angry he is. He was definitely not afraid to hold back. I think if Habakkuk was talking to me I may say, “Dude, calm down it will work out” or maybe I would get impatient and tell him to be a bit more grateful. I think it would depend on my mood and time of the day. Good thing I’m not God. Despite the stress Habakkuk or maybe now how I was feeling from the detailed description, God responded with, I think to be the perfect response.
Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.
I’m not sure about you, but when I read only this first line of His response to Habakkuk I stopped and recognized the reminder embedded in this line. God knows what is best for me every time. When I fear or carry the weight of crap on my back He knows. He gets it. He sees it. When I think there is no hope in the days to come He is ready for the perfect time to interject. When I feel alone and insecure He is next to me with arms open ready to pour out His love when I am ready to accept it.
He will never be predictable because if He were then why would I need Him? If I always knew each step He strategically had lined up then would that make me a step ahead of God? Would I be stronger than Him?
I don’t think I want the responsibility of always knowing what is and what is to come in this universe. I rather look at the nations and watch in utter amazement and wait for Him to do something I wouldn’t even believe if He told me today.
Because He has always blown my mind and I’m stoked for whenever He does it again.
December 5, 2017
I was driving home the other night and an instrumental song I’ve never heard before came on my shuffle. I began to sing out random words with the music and let me tell you, it was not pretty. I could not connect and sing on key at all. Its good no one was in the car. I finally stopped and thought maybe if I listened to a few minutes of the song I could possibly create a better sounding melody; doubtful. I began listening to the details of the production and was blown away by the beauty of it. If I had never shut up I would have missed out on a very incredible tune. This got me thinking about how often I probably miss out on hearing from God. If I’m talking so much how could I receive anything He is trying to say?
Sometimes we need to just sit and listen, and maybe once in a while attempt to create a clever melody to an unknown instrumental.
This was a simple reminder. Something I've heard several times, but since I'm naturally a talker it is easily forgotten. But without balance is my relationship with God really to its potential? Probably not.
Have you been praying lately and found you feel God isn't speaking to you? Maybe try sitting and just listening. Try at least 15 minutes and see what happens.
If it is hard for you to sit still like me, I suggest sitting down with a journal and write whatever comes to mind. Don’t overthink it, actually don’t even think about it at all. Just write down what comes to mind and don’t read it until the end. This is called listening prayer and has worked for me almost every time I intentionally sit down to listen to God.
It's not always easy to be silent and listen, especially if you are impatient and a talker, like me, but the balance is important. And I know God is speaking.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
He wants to help, He wants to be there for you, let Him in and listen to what He says.
Recommended song: May you Find a Light by The brilliance
November 16, 2017
I recently posted a photo to my Instagram with the words "you are enough" written on it and forgot to mention why I think this.
You are enough NOT because of the title you carry in your career or because of the good acts you try to do everyday.
You are enough NOT because you go to church every Sunday or because you had over a hundred people affirm you yesterday over social media while you sat in your room feeling the weight of loneliness.
You are enough NOT because you bend the truth to make it sound like you have it all together to your co-workers while they rave how awesome of a mom you are.
You are enough NOT because you work out so frequent and post photos that inspire other people who don't see the raging battle of hate you have towards yourself in the mirror.
YOU ARE ENOUGH because you are a child of God, whether you believe this, understand it or have heard it and don't care for the words. You are enough as you are today, in this moment as you read these words, and will continue to be tomorrow and the next day and the day after and until forever.
"And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.
You don't need to strive to be anyone but you. Scares, anger, sadness, and failure can never steal it, it's only you that can. It's a battle with yourself. Go and end it with some truth.
Try saying out loud I _insert_name_, am enough.
He loves you as your are, not as you are trying to be.
Recommended song: undivided by Amanda Cook
November 5, 2017
How can we sustain our faith?
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
We sustain faith when we start doing what the Word says. It isn't an overnight perfection, it is a daily practice and remembrance.
If you are a frequent flyer, like I have been lately, then you might resonate with the example of Faith I heard a Pastor say today. He asked the audience what the first thing is that we do when we get on an airplane. Is it to ask if we can meet with the pilot to question where they went to school, when they got their license, etc.? If that is what you immediately think to do then maybe this message was meant for you. Or do we typically sit in our seat after our carry on is stored, put on our headphones, and let the airline staff take care of getting us to our destination? I think if the audience could have answered the pastor's question the results would come back with scenario two as the highest answer.
Jesus wants you to let Him take care of you like you let a pilot fly you across the world. He wants to bring you safely to your next destination and then to the next one and so on. Why is it that we put faith in an airline more naturally than in Jesus?
Let's start practicing doing the Word and not just reading it and maybe we'll see that the Word is true and that our faith in God will increase.
Recommended Song: Build my life by Housefires
October 19, 2017
'Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.'
But what if I don't want to pray? What if I feel my words aren't being heard.
Sometimes it seems impossible to trust God.
I'm learning about trust for the billionth time this week. God isn't tangible so I forget. I would say I trust God probably every other minute. The other minute is full of worry, anger, frustration, impatience, thoughts that" I know best," and lots of other emotions. Ever been there before? Come on be honest?
When everything piles on it's easier to get lost in the junk rather than sit, read this verse, listen to this verse, live out this verse, and probably feel a bit of a relief from God. It doesn't help that I'm stubborn and want what I want, when I want it. And time and time again, since I've been here before I know sitting, complaining and worrying and complaining will only dig me a deeper hole of distrust.
Like I said, He isn't tangible, so I don't blame you or myself for getting lost in the dark depth of blahness sometimes.
But to stay there isn't a good idea. Would you agree?
What I love about this verse is that it isn't disregarding how hard it can be at times. It isn't saying I'm horrible for being human and worrying and to suck it up and pray. It clearly shows how aware God is of worry and distrust and suggests using praise and petitions as a starting point to begin to lessen the worry. God knows I am having a hard time trusting Him. I mean, come on. He knows me way more than I know myself. That's just it. He knows me more than I do, so He knows what I need, when I need it. And today He knew I needed a reminder from this verse. Because when I speak out truth, even if I don't fully believe it yet, I will eventually begin to sense it. And maybe the opposing minute of distrust will take over. The moment won't be perfect, but I can rest on knowing that God does know and He hears me and that I am learning to understand what this all means minute to minute.
If you find yourself in a moment where it seems impossible to trust God and worry is your best friend, It is okay. I'm sorry you are in the midst of whatever it may be, and I'm sorry I can't take all the crap away, but I have a challenge that may help a bit. Could you do me the favor of trying to say some prayers or even praises to God out loud. Worship Him, even if it seems stupid and you don't want to. Maybe you have been praying, I swear He listens so don't stop just because you feel He isn't. Say what you really want to say, but also recognize some of the good in your life. List off the blessings and let me know if things don't turn around for you. It's minute to minute not day to day.
You can do it, keep going.
RECOMMENDED songs: You're gonna Be ok by Jenn johnson
October 2, 2017
Waiting sucks. At least for me.
I'm in a waiting period in my life and a majority of the time it is very difficult to remember that God is trustworthy. That He has been and always will be guiding me. I can find myself wanting to control and "do me", but again and again I feel in my gut and hear a quiet whisper telling me to stop trying to figure it all out, and wait. I don't even know what I'm trying to figure out half the time and maybe that's why He keeps saying wait.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
I wait for the LORD; my soul waits, and I will hope in his word.
These verses cut deep. They may just be words to you, but to me I see them apart of a giant sword slicing through my pain. Reminding me of past times when I thought waiting was dumb. When I thought I knew the outcome. When I thought I knew truth. But I didn't, He did. He always did. And He always will gently guide me with my best interest on the front of His mind. Why? Because He loves me, He knows me way better than I ever will. And His timing is perfect. His timing is unlike mine. And so today, I will wait, well at least try//because He is there and He knows what He is doing.
Are you in a waiting period? Have you ever tried to surrender your wait to God? If you don't know how, maybe start with saying Hello. He is right there. He gets it.
Because He is in the waiting.
Recommended song: Take Courage by Kristene DiMarco of Bethel
September 25, 2017
Sometimes we have no control over our circumstances and face hard moments. Recently, something like that happened to me. It sucked. It still sucks, but James 1:2-6 helped me recognize the strength I can gain by preserving through it.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
I have a love//hate relationship with verse 4: Let perseverance finish its work. I hate it because my anger doesn't want me to let it finish. I want what I want, not to learn a lesson. But, I also love it because I know it's right. I know that at the end of the pain I will only be stronger. But, it's still easier to try and think of all the ways I can control the circumstance right now. And all the good it will do me is, well, nothing. So, today, I can try and trust God with this moment. Try to let it be. And hope by faith to watch Him orchestrate the details into ease. Into what He knows is best for me.
Recommended song: Let it Happen by United Pursuit
September 18, 2017
The world is constantly changing. Trends, hashtags, fashion, the stock market, religion, churches, people, and emotions. But one thing that I notice doesn't change is God. I can't fully wrap my head around it because everything is consistently evolving, but it's true; He is always just Himself. And His personal structure of time will also never make sense to me. That's why I have concluded that He doesn't use the 24 hour day for His personal work. He just created it to help us stay balanced. Just like how He created seasons, physically and metaphorically, so we don't get bored (and other reasons). And as the world, us included, changes, He remains as God; love.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
So if Jesus is love and is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then I think this lyric has some comfort. Whatever happens, wherever I end up, Jesus I can lean on. Whenever I am failed or wronged and step into a dark season, Jesus I can rely on. Whenever I am thriving and full of joy, Jesus I can share with.
He will always, only be Himself. He will always, only be Love. He will never change.