31 Days to Just Write, Uncategorized

Truth for Today {just write – day 22}

One of my favorite authors over the past few years has been Ann Voskamp.  While I do enjoy her books and occasionally stop over at her blog, I think what I love most are her social media posts.  Using statements like #HonestPrayersForRealPeople and #PreachingGospelToMyself to describe her posts, it’s safe to say she’s an approachable, real person.

What I love about these posts is that whenever I come across them I can always either relate personally or someone immediately comes to mind who needs to hear what she posted.  Once again, relatable and honest.  

Here are two things she posted just last night that captured my heart– 

  parts for myself and parts for some of my friends. 

On Facebook: 

“Look–we’re facing some pretty big things, Lord. And you whisper: ‘Child, look–look at Me. Now, You’re facing the Best thing, who dwarfs all the other things.” And we exhale… And we get it, God… 

And you cup is close tonight and tell us: No matter what you’re facing, look into my face–and know it, and feel it: Your God is greater than what You’re trying to face, your God is bigger than what you’re trying to escape, your God is better than anything you’re trying to chase. 

And our problems fade in the light of Your gentle face, Your tender embrace…”

#HonestPrayersForRealPeople

And on Twitter/Instagram

Lord, when I don’t like me, You still love me, You still like me, You still lavish me with acceptance.

When I am fed up with me, You invite me to Your feast,

When I am done — with me, with life, with everything, 

You whisper, “Hang on — I am making *all things* — *you* — new.” (Rev21:5)

And when I want to quit, You cup my face: “This great work I started in you? I won’t stop that beautiful work until you are fully, completely, gloriously beautiful” (Phil1:6, 1Cor2:7) .

So this becomes our brave & broken-hearted hallelujah, the one we sing into the dark, even when it’s hard to believe:

I am His Beloved, His Beloved, His Beloved… and even now I will be held.

In the name of the only One who loved us to death & back to the real & forever life… Amen.

#SharingPrayerTogether

And as I read these again, I realize that whether we had an awesome day or a not-awesome-at-all one, we probably ALL could use these reminders. We could all pray these prayers and benefit from letting these truths echo in our souls:

You are loved.

Our God is greater than anything we will face today.

Our God is better than anything we could chase or bigger than anything we could try to escape.

He is making ALL THINGS new.

He’s not finished, but won’t stop working until He is! 

We are His beloved and we are held.
Now let’s go do this day! 

31 Days to Just Write, Uncategorized

Just Show Up {just write – day 21}

Every year that I do this #write31days challenge somewhere around day 20/21 is when I hit “writer’s block” of sorts.  I was tempted to just not write anything today or find an old post and “reblog” it.  But then I remembered this year’s theme I picked of “just write.”  So here I am, just writing. 

And the fascinating thing is that as I write, even in this moment, ideas worth writing about actually seem to be coming to mind, life becomes a little clearer, and that’s part of why I even started this challenge 21 days ago. 

Just like life, sometimes blogging is about just showing up.  Some days amazing things happen, but others nothing really seems all too interesting.  But perhaps those are the most important days.  Maybe for you parents out there it’s in making dinner when you’re already exhausted but I guess we do have to eat everyday.  Sometimes it’s taking time for a simple conversation with a friend, or being diligent in a routine job. 

We need the mundane as much as we need the extravagant.  And so here I am, on an un-blog-worthy day, just showing up. 

Thanks for showing up today to do life. The world is better because of it! 

Random snapshot of my just-show-up day out for a walk in the beautiful fall weather
31 Days to Just Write, Uncategorized

God all around… {just write – day 20}

This evening while I was on campus I got done with what I was doing a little early.  Another ministry also meets on campus on Tuesdays and I decided to wander over to the Union and see how their night was going.  They actually where in small groups when I got there so I didn’t interrupt but what was so neat about the whole thing was that on my way over I ran into another student I knew. She had been on my heart earlier in the day and I realized it had been a while since we checked in. The timing of it all was so perfect as she got off work (where I saw her) 2 minutes later and was able to chat for a while.  

If I would have gotten done even a few minutes later, or if I had just tried to ignore that voice in my heart (aka the Holy Spirit) and just went straight home, if I wouldn’t have glanced over to see who was at the desk, or if one of so many other things would have been different, I wouldn’t have run into her. But I did.  I’m learning it’s these simple things are perhaps where God shows up the most. He truly is all around us.  Praying for open eyes this week to see Him and join Him in His work. 

31 Days to Just Write, Prayer

Dangerous Prayers {just write – day 14}

A few years ago during Lent, I studied and prayed my way through a few “dangerous” prayers. Things like “search me” and “use me” don’t seem so crazy at first, but when you pray them honestly, expecting God to answer, you never know how that might change your life.  

While reading through our all church study book, Joining Jesus on His Mission, I stumbled upon another beautiful, but dangerous prayer at the beginning of one of the chapters by an adventurer named Sir Francis Drake.  As I read and re-read this prayer, part of me just wanted to run away, but part of me dared to adopt his “adventurer’s” heart and join in…

“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore. 

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, We have lost our thirst for the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity. 

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wilder seas where storms will show your mastery; Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.” 

~ The prayer of Sir Francis Drake, adventurer (1577)

Whether I “want” to or not, I think it’s time in my life, and maybe American Christianty as a whole, to pray this dangerous prayer.  Whether boldly, or reluctantly, it might serve us and God’s kingdom well, to be a little disturbed.  And as we venture in, I’m grateful for the reminder I learned through those Lenten dangerous prayers: that when God calls us out of our comfort zone, He’s calling us into HIS comfort.  He never leaves us. He doesn’t push us out, say “Good Luck!”, and walk away. He’s drawing out of our comfort zone so that we can be even nearer to Himself. While these types of prayers really do SEEM dangerous to us because they cause us to have to trust and not be in control, there really is no safer more beautiful place to walk than directly in the will of God.

Disturb me, Lord. Let my life be less about “getting it right” and more about my willingingness to just join you on whatever wild adventures You have in store. When I can’t see the whole picture, give me faith for just one more step. I don’t want to miss your beautiful grand adventure simply because I was scared to dream a little. As Zechariah prayed, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people… that we… might serve him without fear…” In Jesus’ Name, Amen

  
 

31 Days to Just Write

Obsessed {just write – day 13}

So, I have the awesome honor of the title “godmother” to three BEAUTIFUL little girls.  In this role, I committed to pray for these girls each day, to pray for their parents each day, to remind them of their identity as God’s daughters through their baptisms that I got to witness and to make it clear in their lives as often as possible that Jesus loves them, adores them, and is worthy of them putting their trust in Him.  What I didn’t expect is how much THEY would remind ME of these things.

One of my goddaughters has recently become fascinated with my name and watching videos of me.  It started with one simple video I sent where I told her I loved her.  She played it over and over and over.  More videos have been sent back and forth and she continues to annoy her parents and siblings by playing the videos on repeat whenever she gets the chance. The other day I received a video of her in tears. The caption was that she was sad because she couldn’t understand why her mom would be doing anything on her phone other than watching videos of me.  I’ve been threatened to have someone follow me around all day yelling “Beba Beba Beba Beba” just to get an idea of the “torture” their family goes through each day.

In a word, she’s obsessed.

Tonight, as I got to the end of a good but super long day, I received another video from my beautiful Goddaughter saying my name over and over (in an adorable costume none the less!).  As I drove home it struck me how much love I experience from this not-even-2-year-old… basic, unconditional, perhaps obsessive love… love that feels so undeserved.  Then I realized God’s love isn’t that much different.

In that moment, I heard Him using my goddaughter, HIS DAUGHTER, to whisper to my heart:

You do realize that I love you a bajillion times more than she ever could or that you could ever love her, right?!? Will you watch and listen for me? I’m yelling “Bekah! Bekah! Bekah!” all day, everyday. I love you! I love you! I love you! I always have and I always will. I adore you and nothing can change that. 

In a word, I’m obsessed!” 


31 Days to Just Write

Living with Less {just write – day 12}

I’ll admit that some days it can be a challenge to think of something to write her that is worthy of hitting that “publish” button.  However, I have enjoyed the journey with hundreds of others as we commit to writing for 31 days straight as part of the #write31days challenge.  In addition to writing, I’m trying to occasionally check in and read a few others.

Emily’s “It’s Time” Blog Series is probably my favorite, but (as she also told me), it’s probably because knowing the person always helps!  It has been super fun though to write through this month with a long-distance friend and get to know each other a little better through the process!  Another neat one I’m following here and there is called “31 Days of Neighboring”.  It parallels so well with our current all-church study at First Trinity called Joining Jesus on His Mission and I’ve been challenged by her practical ideas of how to care for my neighbors with the love of Jesus!

The final one I’ll tell you about is “31 Days to Live with Less“.  This one is less of a blog to follow, but more a challenge to join in on.  Both reluctant and excited, it’s a challenge I decided to go for.  She’s posted 31 areas of the house to de-clutter, one for each day of the month of October.  This was the kind of thing I’ve been trying to get myself to do for …well… don’t we all have this constantly on our “to do someday” list?!? But something about the accountability and encouragement of a group of people all doing it together gave me the extra motivation needed to make it happen.   Here are a few things I’ve learned, re-learned, or noticed in the process:

  • I have WAYYYYY too much stuff.
  • I have way too much stuff that I never use and someone else probably could.
  • I’ve remembered through the process how easy it is for us to look to STUFF to satisfy us which is kind of ridiculous when we stop and think about it.
  • Embarrassing fact: I discovered a couple boxes that haven’t been opened since I left my apartment in Nebraska… that’s over 5 years and 4 moves ago… that’s ridiculous. Later this month, that’s changing.
  • It is freeing to have “permission” of sorts to get rid of stuff that I don’t really need, or even really want, but can’t justify giving it away… now I can’t justify keeping it.
  • Related: I don’t have to keep stuff just because I “MIGHT” be able to use it again some day.
    (Example: Day 9 – DECOR – “Do you have extra place mats you no longer use?  A picture you never really liked hanging in the hall?  Decorative pillow that matched your last couch?  Search out those unloved belongings and pass them on to someone who can enjoy them.”)
  • Clutter is stressful.
  • De-cluttering is a stress reliever.

While this process is a little crazy and currently my house actually looks MORE cluttered in the midst of it all, I’m looking forward to having a little more space to breathe by the end of the month and know that some of the things I just had sitting around can be used and enjoyed by others!

What’s something you’ve been putting off?  Pick 31 days and tackle it bit, by bit, by bit, a little “bit” each day!

IMG_3604-1

31 Days to Just Write, Music, Prayer

Forever Faithful {just write – day 11}

Some of my favorite prayers come in the form of songs. Here’s a new one I recently discovered on a run (thanks Spotify radio!)

Forever Faithful

I see the battle raging
waging war against my soul
My heart and flesh are weary Jesus
So here’s my prayer, oh Lord

I wanna be faithful no matter what
I wanna be stronger not giving up
and even in the fire let me be found
forever faithful

When darkness comes against me I won’t run
I will stand upon the rock of Your great love
Though thousands fall around me I will hold my head up high
cause the promise of Your presence is enough, is enough

Create in me a brand new heart
God give me faith to overcome
Fill me with strength when I have none

Words and music written by: Travis Ryan, Holly Starr, Scott Cash
Holly Starr Publishing (admin by Fun Attic Music) (SESAC)
McTyeire Music (Admin by Music Services) (BMI)
© Integrity Worship Music/Travis Ryan Music/ASCAP (adm worldwide at CaptiolCMGPublishing.com excluding the UK which is adm by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family)