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You Make Me New

Some days all I have is God’s word…the truth that sets me free.  And for that, I am grateful.  I just looked and I can’t believe I haven’t written since January.  Not only have I been crazy busy, I chose not to during Lent as I fasted my personal blog and personal FB.  However, I’m feeling a little more prompting to post on here again.  I may not be able to share all my thoughts and feelings with my life situation, but I believe I’m ready to start claiming God’s promises again on here and keep this space as my place to dance in the midst of this storm…my place to bring light into the darkness of this world for myself and anyone else who God leads to read this.  God is good.  He has been so faithful.  He continues to imprint His word on my heart and bring healing.

Through Lent, this scripture became my verse for the year, particularly vs 18-19.  During that time, I was also given a song…an anthem…to cling to.   Enjoy them both…

“Beautiful Things” by Gungor

Isaiah 43

1 But now thus says the Lord,

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.

3 For I am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

I give Egypt as your ransom,

Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

4 Because you are precious in my eyes,

and honored, and I love you,

I give men in return for you,

peoples in exchange for your life.

5 Fear not, for I am with you;

I will bring your offspring from the east,

and from the west I will gather you.

6 I will say to the north, Give up,

and to the south, Do not withhold;

bring my sons from afar

and my daughters from the end of the earth,

7 everyone who is called by my name,

whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed and made.”

8 Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,

who are deaf, yet have ears!

9 All the nations gather together,

and the peoples assemble.

Who among them can declare this,

and show us the former things?

Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,

and let them hear and say, It is true.

10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,

“and my servant whom I have chosen,

that you may know and believe me

and understand that I am he.

Before me no god was formed,

nor shall there be any after me.

11 I, I am the Lord,

and besides me there is no savior.

12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,

when there was no strange god among you;

and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.

13 Also henceforth I am he;

there is none who can deliver from my hand;

I work, and who can turn it back?”

14 Thus says the Lord,

your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“For your sake I send to Babylon

and bring them all down as fugitives,

even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice.

15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,

the Creator of Israel, your King.”

16 Thus says the Lord,

who makes a way in the sea,

a path in the mighty waters,

17 who brings forth chariot and horse,

army and warrior;

they lie down, they cannot rise,

they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:

18 “Remember not the former things,

nor consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.

20 The wild beasts will honor me,

the jackals and the ostriches,

for I give water in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert,

to give drink to my chosen people,

21 the people whom I formed for myself

that they might declare my praise.

22 “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;

but you have been weary of me, O Israel!

23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,

or honored me with your sacrifices.

I have not burdened you with offerings,

or wearied you with frankincense.

24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money,

or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.

But you have burdened me with your sins;

you have wearied me with your iniquities.

25 “I, I am he

who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,

and I will not remember your sins.

26 Put me in remembrance; let us argue together;

set forth your case, that you may be proved right.

27 Your first father sinned,

and your mediators transgressed against me.

28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary,

and deliver Jacob to utter destruction

and Israel to reviling.

Thank you, God, that I can behold that you are doing a new thing.  Thank you that you are the maker of beautiful things!  Thank you that you so so good in the midst of a fallen and broken world full of pain.  Thank you that I am yours, that you call me by the name “beloved,”  that you never forsake me, that you never lie to me, and that you are constant.  You are my rock.

Has Anybody Told You?

We all need to hear these words…

Behold…

images

Ever find yourself so overwhelmed that you can’t do anything? That’s me right now as I type. Ugh. HATE these moments. Sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk.  We all do. (I know you do, too!)  I am finding myself stuck.  My head swirling in a million directions.  My plate full.  So many things to do.  Unable to focus in this moment.  And so I find myself in need of a pep talk.  Reminder of truth.  And here I am…finding myself grateful for this landing place.  Grateful for friends who encourage me.  Grateful for the choice to claim truth and for the freedom of religion in our country.  Grateful I now know where to turn when I feel this way.

I’m writing this and claiming it for what it is out loud here.  Why?  So that this fog I feel can’t have power over me.  So that the darkness doesn’t win and the light of Jesus only remains.  I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.  I will not cave to the fear nor to the feelings of being overwhelmed!  I will claim victory over this crap because GOD IS IN CONTROL…because GOD IS FAITHFUL AND GOOD…because GOD LOVES ME AND WILL NEVER FORSAKE ME…because GOD IS BIGGER!!!!!!!!

Words swirled in my head this year as I began to figure out what was my word for 2013.  Grace has been a strong word for me the past 6 months.  All I keep finding myself saying over and over again is “God is gracious.”  I thought maybe it would be that word because well it has been my guiding light.  I thought maybe it could be rest, receive, shine, trust, release, wait or dream.  But as I wrote words down in prayer a new word jumped off the pages of my previous journal entries…behold.  I was shocked.  It kinda snuck in there, but yet it encompasses so much and has so much more depth than I ever knew.  It popped off the page as I wrote it.  I gave a little Huh?!” aloud and then said, “Ok, God, let’s unfold it some more.”

Behold means to draw attention to something; to perceive it visually and mentally; to see clearly; to watch; to notice; to look upon; to gaze to see with attention; to direct or fix the mind; to discern; to envision.

Behold, I make all things new.”  Revelation 21:5

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43: 18-19

This year…this week…today…I will behold.  I will look towards today God with trust and faith.  I will not be fearful or anxious because God, you are making all things new.  I will look towards the grace you will continue to bestow on me in lovingkindness.  I will wait in patience…I will release the stuff that distracts me…I will rest in you alone, God…I will behold your faithfulness and your grace, God.  I will shine for you when I behold you.

Thank you for continuing to open my eyes to truth, God.  Thank you for honoring me, Lord.  Thank you for the ways you help me grow and learn through all things good and bad.  Thank you that when I behold, I can focus and see you more clearly.

sunshine1

I have so much going on right now.  I can’t wait to share my word of the year with you, but that is going to have to wait just a little longer.  :)  However, I read a devotion today that is so good.  Did I say soo good?  Yes, it’s good. :)   This blog reminded me of the truth today that the sun is always still shining above the clouds.  Here’s a small excerpt…

“I boarded the plane. I stared out the window. I watched the grey clouds envelop us.

And then the grey broke.

Suddenly, we rose above the clouds and the sun was shining brightly. The sky was fabulously clear.

The clouds were just a temporary covering. They didn’t stop the sun from shining. They just prevented my eyes from seeing the sun. And it wasn’t just the sky that appeared a little brighter. My mood did as well.

I started to shift from feeling overpowered to empowered as I realized three things…”

Go read it…http://www.proverbs31.org/devotions/overpowered-empowered-1-2013-01/.  I get a daily devotional for women sent to my inbox every day from Proverbs31.org.  Check it out if you are in need of some daily encouragement along your journey, too.

nativity-1

This morning I read a devotion that shared this Christmas poem.  I’m pondering on it…taking little bits of it into my heart over and over again.  Thought I’d share it with you and center my heart towards the things that are life giving.

The Manger of My Heart
This Christmas, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for this Holy day and gifts to be given,
Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.

The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.

Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth,
when He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.”

“Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.

Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.
Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.

This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.

—————————————————————————–

Today is the first Christmas morning without my little girl.  Last week I cried privately about this day several times in anticipation of it.  I hate that in compromise I can’t even see my family at Christmas.  I missed meeting my soon to be step sisters last night.  I missed all my family parties.  :(  BUT, God has still been gracious.  Recently Kylie said to me that she was sad thinking about Christmas this year.  I told her I was too and suddenly I couldn’t help but have a few tears well up in my eyes.  Then out of my mouth came these words, “BUT the good thing is that we don’t even know what day Jesus was really born on so it doesn’t matter what day we celebrate.  You and I will celebrate Jesus and have our Christmas morning on the 24th.”  That moment was a gift to me…those words were a gift to me.  I needed them.

Today is weird.  I’m not going to lie.  Yesterday was weird, too.  Kylie said it best on her way to her Daddy’s last night, “Mommy, I just wish this was all a bad dream, except that all the gifts would still be there, and that I’d wake up and we would be a family again.”  I said, “I know, baby girl.  Me, too.  This isn’t what any of us wanted.  I’m sorry.”

I find myself pondering on the words of this Christmas poem…

Jesus, come to the manger of my heart…Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part…I want to feel your hush.

And for the first year, as I sit here quietly with my kitty, I feel the hush.  I sense His peace…and His presence.  Today is my first Christmas day of rest.  And in this moment, I’m thankful for the beauty of it.  There is calm in my spirit.  I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas church service with Kylie yesterday and it filled my spirit.  We started to cutting fabric to make our matching aprons so that we can begin sewing when she returns to me.  (I love this new tradition of gifting her with a project that we can do together.  Last year I gave her fabric for matching dresses for her and her doll, Macy.  We sewed them together.  This year, it’s cooking aprons for Kylie, Macy, and I.)

Today I’m thankful.  Thankful for what I do have.

-A healthy little girl

-Watching Kylie swap out Mary & Joseph in the nativity with Barbie & Ken (Seriously my favorite moment…I hope to treasure it always in years to come and remind Kylie of when she did that!)

-Family waiting for us to come visit this weekend

-The unfailing love of my kitty- he reminds me of God’s love for me daily and today I’m thankful for it

-Presents under the tree that have been unwrapped

-My snowman clock that plays a Christmas song every hour (Kylie and I always stop what we are doing to listen and enjoy.)

-A fun holiday season with our Elf on a Shelf, Ella (Even though Kylie doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, she loved the scavenger hunt part of it and all the funny adventures Ella had.  It brought our home great joy this season.)

-A really good night’s sleep last night

-Really good friends who are like family to me & who invite us girls into their home with love always (so blessed to have a place to go this afternoon here in Indy that is filled top to bottom with people I love and who I know welcomes me with open arms)

-God’s grace which keeps overflowing onto me every single day

-The Christmas hush in my spirit and the words that described it well today

-Jesus, who was born in a stable with animal dung and came to walk this earth with us…Mary & Joseph, who were obedient despite what people said to them and about them and were willing to do as God led them to despite the difficulties…The star that calls us towards the light in the midst of darkness…The journey and sacrifice of the Three Wise Men…The simplicity and beauty that reminds us to be still and beckons us to reverence & awe

Happy Birthday, Jesus!   You are worthy to celebrate every day.  Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.

2012 Christmas Card2012 Christmas Card back 5

 

Merry Christmas from my heart & home to yours!  Kylie and I wanted to share our raindancing photos with you and wish you the joy of dancing in the rain in 2013!  These photos were taken by my dear photographer friend, Audrey Wolf from Audrey Wolf Photography, this fall.  She rocks and I was so honored she could take these very precious photos of my daughter and I as we venture through this storm!!  (Truth be told, I have tried to take raindancing photos multiple times over the past three years, so I’m beyond thrilled to have these.)  We are dedicated to dancing through it and finding God’s goodness and beauty in the midst.

***I’m sure some of you are wondering why there’s a card with just my daughter and I on it.  I do not live a life of hiding or putting a mask on.  I have not known what to say or how to say things publicly over the past few months…and truth be told in the midst of moving, working, and homeschooling, I haven’t had much time or energy to do so.  I’ve received emails asking so I thought I’d just be honest and share that my husband and I are going through a divorce after ten years of marriage.  There’s not really any eloquent words to describe the pain and loss all three of us are experiencing.  RD and I unfortunately were going through counseling a year prior to the accident happening and had almost separated twice in our marriage prior to the accident.  In the past 5 years, we have sought counsel from 9 various professional counselors collectively in addition to at least 4 pastors.  Unfortunately this is where we are.  I am thankful for God’s grace, His love, and His mercy.   He has been soooo good to me…so faithful…so present and near in a time of confusion, loss, heartache, and grief.  While I have shed many tears this holiday season already, I stand in such awe of God’s love for me…and for you, too.  I am so thankful for some amazing friends (old and new) in my life who have stood beside me and not cast stones.  I’m thankful for the support of my family and their love through all of this.  The love God continues to show me leaves me in awe of His goodness.  If you wouldn’t mind, please say some prayers for the 3 of us and our families as we enter the holiday season.  I continue to pray for peace in all of our hearts and for God’s love to prevail.

As a friend & client of mine said so beautifully on Facebook recently, ”Christmas to me is about new beginnings. That is why Christ was born, to give the world a 2nd chance, he was the ultimate symbol of forgiveness. When I think about this year and what has happened, I am thankful for another year to have a do-over.”

Thank you, God, for mornings filled with new mercies, for your forgiveness, and that you are the ultimate judge here on earth.  Thank you that you never leave me or forsake me and that you are with me always.  Thank you for hope and light in the midst of darkness.  Thank you for the beauty that comes from the pain of this life.  Thank you for the gift of this photography business which blesses my socks off OVER and OVER and OVER again…and keeps me dancing in the rain and looking for beauty.  What a blessing that brings so much life and joy to my soul!

Merry Christmas…and blessings to you in the new year!

My friend, Kristi, posted this on her Facebook status today…”Christmas to me is about new beginnings. That is why Christ was born, to give the world a 2nd chance, he was the ultimate symbol of forgiveness. When I think about this year and what has happened, I am thankful for another year to have a do-over.”

It was a beautiful gift to my soul today.  I needed it.  These 3 sentences say it all.  Today, I woke up feeling as though my world has turned upside down way too many times to count in the past 10 years, and on a day when for many reasons I woke up feeling hopeless, I was given this gift.  I am posting this around my home…to remind myself this year of the power of Christmas…the power of the Holy Spirit…the power of Jesus- his birth, his life, his death, his resurrection.

And as I was thinking on these words Kristi posted, I “stumbled” upon this treasured video a few minutes later.  May your heart be filled with awe and the power that only the Holy Spirit brings.  May we enter the next week with a new found hope that only Jesus brings and the gift of a new beginning in the new year…the gift of God’s grace.

 

Jesus, I surrender…again…and again…

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