Abide In Me-Refresh Your Soul Week 2

“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.” John 15:5

We are refreshed when we abide. 

What does that even mean? Simply this: tenaciously clinging  to Him. In the moments you feel like giving up, you want to crawl back under the covers and wish the day away, you want to “numb out” sitting in front of the computer, fill the pain with food, or watch TV, He calls, quietly, “Abide in Me.” 

It is in our own strength we fall.

Our BEST as women is when we are holding fast, holding desperately, to Him.

When we realize how poor we are, we can come before Him and ask Him to fill us, refresh us, give us something to pour out onto the precious people we love.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

When we mess up, we shouldn’t berate ourselves for the sin we committed, the angry word spoken, the rolling of the eyes, the exhausted sigh. That’s not the root problem.  The root problem is: we departed from the Source of true life, presuming we could manage on our own.

Instead of feeling bad about failure, instead of voicing our grief in this way, “Sorry Lord I messed up, I’ll do better next time“, what we must say is, “Sorry Lord I left your side. Help ME!”

The most spiritual prayer for ourselves we can pray is two words, “help me.”

The problem isn’t failure, but instead, failure to rely on the Source of refreshment.

We should be compelled to come to the Lord desperate for His power and work in our lives, to refresh our souls, begging Him to give us what we lack. Choosing moment by moment to trust in His unfailing love and resting in His power for each decision, each word spoken, each task completed. We can do it on our own for a while, but in the end we feel exhausted, stressed, and depleted.

Andrew Murray speaks to this in his book, Abide with Christ, “…unspeakable danger of our giving ourselves to work for God, and to bear fruit, with but little of the true abiding, the wholehearted losing of ourselves in Christ and His life.”

He gives to the hungry, the poured out, the poor in spirit.

He gives.

Live in the truth of your “poorness”, don’t pretend it is anything else than what it is, give up the illusion of your own strength.

Begin today, this moment, to say this, “In this moment of exhaustion, of weariness, I cleave to You. Help Me!”

I am slowly learning to do this moment by moment in my day, and it, HE, is making all the difference.

Thoughts?

Beginning With Intention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new year begins as it always does; crisp and new, free from mistakes, full of possibility. Imaginations run wild. Will this be the year? Will we finally make that change? Will we stick with our goals and finally do that thing we have always wanted to do?

 As the swirl of lists circulate and goals are set and promises made, I want to encourage you to stop.
I’m sharing more thoughts on living intentionally and creating space to breathe  today at MomHeart! I hope you will join me there!

Beautifully Worshipful

Well, you get the real me once again. This is me in the early morning, no make-up or hair fixed. I’m still in my bathrobe, after being up late in the sweltering heat as the electricity was off for six and a half hours last night.

No fans=lots of sweat!

Even so, I was struck this morning by the beauty of God’s creation during my quiet time in the moments just before dawn.

I hope that you will join me today by looking for something in your corner of the world and praise the Creator, God!

Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

Psalm 71:8, “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long.”

The need for us is the ‘wait upon the Lord’ in meditations on His majesty, till we find our strength renewed through the writing of these things upon our heart. -JI Packer, Knowing God

Here is a link to a video of the song I mentioned in my video.

Beautifully Focused

Last week, I shared about living Beautifully Unashamed. This week, I want to share my passion to live focused every day on eternity and the reality that life is going fast.  I am not getting any younger and I am guessing you aren’t either! However, it can be so difficult to live “in light of eternity” when the mundane keeps us busy all day every day.

This video is sure to make you laugh, because it is real life and real me. I don’t have a lot of time in my day, but I do have passion, so you get a raw “first take” video, complete with my twins jumping in and me getting flustered trying to read the wrong verse!

Such as it is. I am hoping that you can overlook my humanness, and in fact, I hope my messiness would just point all the more to our perfect God.  Thank you for grace as I learn how to do this video thing!

Can’t see the video? Click here. 

 

“I have set the Lord continually before me.” Psalm 16:8

What if heaven and God became our normal? Wouldn’t that change everything?Jennie Allen, Anything

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Phil. 3:20

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” Matthew 6:19-21

Colossians 3:2-3, “Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Do you want to join me in living focused on the eternal? Grab a small card and write down a few verses to carry with you throughout your day! We can be focusing on the Lord even while we fold the laundry!

Weekend Worshipping

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;

my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,

In a dry and weary land where

there is no water.

Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,

My lips will praise You.

So I will bless You as long as I live;

I will lift up my hands in Your name.”

Psalm 63:1-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God blesses His people with extravagant grace so they might extend His extravagant glory to all peoples on the earth.” David Platt, Radical

And what better way to extend His glory to the world than by bringing clean water and the Gospel to an entire nation! Good Morning Girls is partnering with The Last Well to bring both to the country of Liberia. Is God possibly calling you to worship Him by joining them?

Few stories on the internet have touched me as deeply as this one. I have never thought of becoming a midwife, but this post and part 2 of the story has me thinking on it. Might you prayerfully consider helping bring Stella home?

Isn’t the story just. so. exquisite?? Wow.

Speaking of midwives….

Thank you so much for all the kind emails I have received as a result of this post. You are all so gracious. I’ll be honest, it was a hard day for me. After posting, I wish I could say I did something immensely spiritual, but I didn’t.

I cried, crawled under my quilt, drank a Coke Zero, and watched an episode of Call The Midwife. Yes, yes I did.

But God is so good, and I am soul-satisfied that His name is magnified through my story. 

Francis Chan says in his book, Forgotten God, “A sure sign of the Holy Spirit’s working is that Christ is magnified, not people.”  I pray this is true.

Photo credit, the hunky Dave Forney

 

Brokenness is a Gift

 ”He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

 

 

 

My parents emailed and asked if Dave and I could Skype before the kids woke up. I immediately went to worst case scenarios….death, cancer, affairs…. my mind was a swirling mess. When we finally Skyped in the darkness of early morning, I clutched tightly to Dave with one hand and my cup of coffee with the other. Dad said, “I need to tell you that you have a brother… a child I had with a girl before coming to Christ and before I met your mom. She and I never saw the baby, we gave it up for adoption.

And I burst out laughing.

I laughed hard. The relief, the absurdity, the nerves, all mixed into one brought out the giggles in me. All I could think of saying was, “I have a brother?” in my best Tommy Boy impersonation.

However, the laughter quickly dissipated and turned to tears, which became sobs.

I cried for a week.

My closest friends held me and listened as I blubbered away. Then came the anger. Anger at the betrayal. Anger at the secrets.

It wasn’t the sin that angered me, it was the secret kept for 35 years of my life.  It was not knowing the answer to so many questions lying just below the surface, the missing piece to the puzzle of so many things left unsaid throughout my life.

And then came brokenness. I was, no I am, broken. Broken for my dad, holding his pain inside all his life, wishing he had known he could have told. Broken for my mom, protecting her husband all these many long years, wanting to share with her daughters, but choosing to honor the wishes of the love of her life instead. Broken for closeness my dad and I missed, him always holding back a little bit of his heart. Broken for all the years I thought his holding back was my fault…something wrong with me.

We traveled back, the kids and I, to the States for a visit, broken.

But even through the brokenness, I found so many gifts.

The gift of traveling back to the States to work things out face to face with my family. The sweet gift of reconciliation and closeness that comes from being broken together. The gift of meeting a brother I didn’t know I had only months ago. The gift of opening up to friends and realizing that this frees them to be open about their brokenness…who knew?

The gift of falling into the arms of my Savior, with nothing to give, nothing to offer, but simply coming in my broken state before Him, to let Him heal my wounds.

Through all of this, I have come to look at my dad, the head pastor of a large church, standing broken before his congregation, as a gift.

Sharing brokenness with one another is a gift.

By showing our brokenness to one another Jesus and His power can more clearly shine through. When we keep it to ourselves, try to clean up our story, our sin, and only show our beauty to one another, that is what they see.

Our beauty. Beauty that is man-made and hollow.

But when we take the brave step of sharing our ugliness, our pain, our broken pieces, then His beauty can shine through, and it is truly beautiful.

He gets the glory of a life redeemed. Not us.

His glory shines through the mess. He picks up the pieces, our broken pottery lying on the ground, and begins to fit them all together the most beautiful mosaic, so much more beautiful than we could ever dream or imagine. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

And that is why I share this with you today. I give you this gift of my brokenness, my family’s brokenness, that His glory might shine brightly through us.

Even now, as I prepare to publish this post, my flesh screams out to protect, to keep hidden. My mind thinks, “But you know she will be reading this, and you know she will judge.” And I want to hit the delete button, to push it back, to keep it my secret.

But He says no.

He says, this is what His Son has done for me. He was broken, spilled out, laid bare for me. How can I not do the same?  So I follow my Savior and my dad’s humble examples and choose not to protect myself, but to point to Him.

To show my brokenness, that His name be lifted high.

Here is my gift of brokenness to you. My dad, my hero, sharing with our congregation, his story of brokenness.

A personal story Alan shared in the weekend services. from Good Shepherd Community Church on Vimeo.

 

O Lord, let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,

that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart,

that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,

that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,

that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy starts shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death, thy joy in my sorrow,

thy grace in my sin, thy riches in my poverty, thy glory in my valley.“- Valley of Vision

May God shine brightly. To Him be the glory.

You are Worthy Wednesday

*I have to give credit to Sara for this beautiful idea. If you have never visited her beautiful space, you really must. I am touched by her sweet, deep adoration posts, and it inspired me to do the same. So, each Wednesday, I will be sharing from my personal journal. It is my daily process of adoring and praising the Lord beginning in the morning and adding to it throughout the day. I’m choosing to give Him my minutes. {Because if you are a mama, you know you don’t have hours!} When we give the Lord our minutes, He multiplies them. Want to join? Read Sara’s post here, and may I suggest you start in the Psalms?*

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness.” Psalm 23:3

You are my leader, Lord. You are the One leading me.

You stretch out Your hand to me.

I am frightened, but excited. I grab hold with shaking hand and hold on for dear life.

When I trip-slip and fall- You bend down, dust me off, and begin gently leading me once again.

What would I do without You? I can’t even see the path, let alone continue on it without Your sweet guidance. You hold the lamp to light my way and we continue on.

The King, in all His majesty, helping me, the scraped-knee servant girl in rags.

I am dumbfounded.

But You look back and smile at me, and see a princess, Your princess, Your beloved daughter.

I look up at You, my face radiant, all traces of my shame are gone.

 

You whisper, “Follow Me,” and I know, without a doubt I will follow You anywhere.

In Your presence really is fullness of joy, a place where I am fully known, fully forgiven, and fully loved.

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:6-7

They looked to Him and were radiant, And their face will never be ashamed.” Psalms 34:5

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” Romans 8:15-17

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

“…Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!” Song of Songs 2:13

 

Beautifully Unashamed

Christ in us is beautiful.

Join me as I share a bit about my heart and the phrase, “beautifully unashamed.” In Romans 1:16 Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Can’t see the video? Click here to watch.

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6

“…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15

So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like starts in the universe.” Philippians 2:15

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5

What if the true motive of my life and my heart were to make God known for a few years on this earth?” -Jennie Allen, Anything

Weekend Worship

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth. Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now, therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You and have been given You.” -1 Chronicles 29:11-14

 

Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” -Psalm 73:25-26

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire.  O God, the triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show my Thy glory, I pray Thee, that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me the grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” -A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Lord God, I ask You right now, this day, to help us desire You more than we desire anything else on earth.

*Photo Credit Dave Forney These photos were taken by my sweet hubby from our front porch. God’s glory is astounding!
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