Tag Archives: love

Tuning My Heart to God’s Grace

24 Jun

20150617_181941More often than not lately, I have felt completely overwhelmed. This whole taking care of a newborn and a toddler requires more than a little creativity and patience. I thank God that Annabelle is such an easy baby! Otherwise, I would surely be losing my mind. As it is, I feel more than a little frazzled and brain dead.

Why is it that when I feel overwhelmed and underequipped that I would rather stew in my unpleasantness and misery than run to God? Like Ann Voskamp says,

“For all my yearning for joy, longing for joy, begging for joy–is the bald truth that I prefer the empty dark? Prefer drama? Why do I lunge for control instead of joy? Is it somehow more perversely satisfying to flex control’s muscle? Ah–power–like Satan. Do I think Jesus-grace too impotent to give me the full life? … If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment–am I not ultimately rejecting God? Whenever I am blind to joy’s well, isn’t it because I don’t believe in God’s care?” (One Thousand Gifts, 130).

In these moments, I need something to pull me out of the depths of my depravity and remind me of truth. The Bible is one way, but I find that worship music makes my heart sing God’s glories far deeper and faster than reading. The two songs that I have been playing on repeat for the past couple of months are Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher and You Make Me Brave by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music. (Click on the links to listen to the songs.)

I wouldn’t say that I’m a lover of poetry necessarily, but there are certain songs that just word things in a way that GET ME. These songs are two of them.

Lord, I Need You

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

You Make Me Brave

I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

…………………..

I praise God for songwriters, singers and musicians. I’m not any one of those things, but I’m so happy they exist!

Worth Repeating {10/27/14}

27 Oct

Now that I am finally emerging from the first-trimester exhaustion and can actually do something during Emma’s naps other than take a nap myself, I’m hoping to get back into blogging regularly! It’s been a while since I posted a Worth Repeating post, so to recap, this is a weekly series where I share quotes, sayings and verses that I enjoyed and found to be worth repeating.

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While up at elk camp, I re-read C.S. Lewis’ classic book The Screwtape Letters, and loved this description of how God wants his creatures (us) to embrace who He created us to be – and even, dare I say, like ourselves. Like David said in Psalm 139, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I think that sometimes Christians confuse the idea of hating our sin with hating ourselves. Yes, I am sinful. Yes, I have a long way to go in the process of sanctification. But God created me to be who I am, and I can only reach my true potential in life when I learn to embrace and accept all of Me, instead of wishing I were different. When I can embrace and rest in who God created me to be (sin aside), I can stop trying to prove myself. And when I stop trying to prove myself, humility and servant-heartedness become possible.

In case you’ve never heard of The Screwtape Letters, it’s a novel in which an uncle demon is writing letters to his nephew about how to win a man’s soul to their side (Satan’s).

“The Enemy [God] wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours” (71-72).

Trusting in God’s Love When Life is Hard

22 Jul

One of the books Emma got as a gift is “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You” by Nancy Tillman. It has quickly become one of my all-time favorite books – because even though the author wrote it describing a parent’s love for their child, it’s such a wonderful description of God’s love for His children.

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My two favorite parts are:

“In the green of the grass…in the smell of the sea…in the clouds floating by…at the top of a tree…in the sound crickets make at the end of the day… ‘You are loved. You are loved. You are loved,’ they all say.”

“You are my angel, my darling, my star… and my love will find you, wherever you are.”

Ever since Emma was born and my life was turned completely upside down, I’ve been thinking about the practical, daily implications of God’s love. When God doesn’t take away my trials, I don’t feel like He loves me. I’d rather He prove His love for me through easier circumstances and less mess.

But that isn’t the way God works. So how can I trust that God’s love is real and steadfast, even when life seems to plead the contrary?

The foundation for my trust is that God has already proven His love – through Jesus’s death on the cross – and that God is sovereign and in control of every detail about my life. Those truths together enable me to trust that God is actively revealing His love for me each day. Every joy, grace and even the trials speak God’s refrain to me, “You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.” Faith enables me to see circumstances for what they truly are.

Analogies help me better understand intangible concepts. When a parent disciplines their child, they do so out of love because they have the big picture in mind. The discipline isn’t enjoyable for the child in the moment, but the parent has their greater good in mind – how the lesson they learn will serve them later in life. Their discipline flows out of love.

In the same way, “God disciplines us for our good” and “He disciplines who He loves.” In the moment, the trials and challenges of life “feel painful rather than pleasant, but later produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by them” (Hebrews 13). God has the big picture in mind. He’s concerned primarily about our holiness, not our temporal happiness – because He understands our greatest need is to be redeemed. So our trials aren’t meaningless. They are accomplishing the will of God in our lives.

But God knows how easily we get discouraged so He still provides little graces each day – things that help us see and remember, “I am loved.” His love is practical and tangible, if only we’re willing to wait and watch for it. So that’s how I can practically trust each day in God’s love for me, even when life is hard. Because I know that “through the steadfast love of the Most High [I] shall not be moved” (Psalm 21:7).

What does trusting in God’s love look like for you?

13 Week Appt – Heard the heartbeat!

28 Sep

I had my 13 week appointment this morning. It started with the usual – pee in a cup, stand on the scale, get your blood pressure taken. Today, I also got a flu shot.

Then I met with the midwife. The clinic I go to has about 6-8 midwives and you can either see them all, or request a specific one. I’ve had a different midwife for each appointment, which works just fine for me.

The one I met with today was very friendly and informative. She told me I could drink herbal tea as long as I watched my caffeine intake and that I can sleep on my back until 20 weeks since I’m at an average weight (sleeping on my side is more comfortable, but I get tired of my legs being bent all night).

And I got to hear our baby’s heartbeat! The midwife found it fairly quickly but then the baby moved and it took a while to find it again. She said the baby must be a pretty active little one because we kept hearing loud noises on the doppler. She finally did find it again and hearing that little heartbeat makes it so real that there’s a baby inside me.

All I can say about these experiences are that they are amazing. I never fully appreciated other women’s ultrasounds or stories but having it happen to me personally is a totally different story. I get all choked up and teary whenever I even think about it!

Because of that, I totally plan to put a frame like this in our baby’s nursery:

 

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That couldn’t be more true. I’m amazed at how much I already love this little one. How someone could deem this not a human life, is beyond me.

Anyway, everything is as it should be. I go back for my next appointment in 4 weeks. Praise the Lord for a healthy baby!

An Encouraging Word

10 Jun

There is unspeakable comfort – the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates – in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, pg. 42

Loving Who I Am

17 May

The past month has been on the rougher side emotionally for me. Last Thursday morning, I was reminded why.

Ingratitude. Rejecting God’s grace to me.

Man. It’s a hard fight to live in truth. The slide back down into lies is easy and short.

But once again, God has reminded me of the truth.

And so far, I’m still living in the glorious freedom of truth:

I. AM. LOVED. BY. GOD. IN. CHRIST.

That truth, and that truth alone, is life-changing.

My flesh wants to add qualifiers and exceptions and clauses and caveats.

There are none.

My flesh wants to make it more complicated, more needing of explanation, more detailed.

It isn’t.

It’s so simple, and yet so difficult, to live there.

But this truth… this is worth fighting for. Worth spending my life ruminating on. Worth clinging to at the expense of other noble thoughts.

“The true Love Dare. To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable. This is the vault of the miracles. The only thing that can change us, the world, is this — all His love.” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)

Today, love who God created you to be  because He loves you.

Handpicked by Love

25 Apr

When work is maddening and I am angry at the world…

When I longingly look out on a gorgeous day from inside an office icebox…

When I rush yet again from one thing to the next, feeling frazzled and exhausted…

When I grumble that I have a job that I don’t feel passionate about…

This quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Keep a Quiet Heart, helps me remember that God has lovingly handpicked the circumstances of my life:

“When there is a deep restlessness for which we find no explanation, it may be due to the greed of being – what our loving Father never meant us to be. Peace lies in the trusting acceptance of His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position, capacity. It was thus that the Son of Man came to earth – embracing all that the Father will Him to be, usurping nothing – no work, not even a word – that the Father had not given Him.”

So often I cause the loss of my own peace by rejecting the life God has given me.

“This isn’t what I want” is the refrain that echos through my ungrateful heart.

A verse that I have been repeating to myself over and over is “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord.” It reminds me that joy does not come from getting my own way. It doesn’t come from my life looking exactly like I think it should. It doesn’t come from deciding my own destiny, forging my own will, or determining my own struggles.

Joy comes from accepting.

Accepting that I’m not in control. That not being in control is a good thing. That even though my current circumstances seem to plead the contrary, God only has good things planned for me. 

But I can’t accept these things if I don’t have faith. Faith is believing that God will do what He has promised. Which turns my mind to another verse:

“I call out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.”

Even on these days when it feels like life sucks, and I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing, and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, I cling to the truth that God is RIGHT NOW fulfilling His purpose for me. My life has meaning. I am here for a reason, even if I don’t know what it is. I only need to focus on delighting in the LORD and He will accomplish the rest.

“He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”