Truth on Tuesdays

Flashback

“I am redeemed….you set me free…”

The familiar lyrics flooded my ears and I instantly remembered a time when I would so shakily sing them, my voice breaking during that second verse every time, hoping my heart would believe them one day. “Lord, please let this be true of me. I need it to be true.”

I came back to the Lord in a serious way six years ago…and there are certain things that can take me right back to those early heart aches. I wanted so desperately to be the new creation the Bible promised…to have my new heart…to be different. That hasn’t changed, I still desire so badly to be like Jesus…to be who He created me to be…but it’s a bit different now.

Back then my heart was so hard…prone to wander I’d wandered so far and I could feel it. I’d created so much distance when now I wanted so desperately to be close to God. So full of shame for all the things I’d done… struggling to forgive myself let alone believe a holy God could forgive me.

So I choked out songs about grace, redemption, and not being who I used to be with tears streaming down my face…had colorful scripture phone backgrounds reminding me the old things have passed away and promising God was creating something new within me…but for so long I couldn’t feel it. So my immature heart full of pain and trust issues didn’t believe. So I cried out in pain over and over and over.

“We gage so much on emotion, or lack thereof, yet love cannot be measured by what is felt.”

Dana Chandler-Deep Unto Deep.

Hindsight is a gift. I can reflect on the years and see all the ways God was working when I couldn’t see or feel it. The journey…the process creates such an intimacy with the Lord when you keep seeking Him even during ‘dry’ seasons when fruit isn’t showing yet.

Six years later I hear that same song and I can sing it…with strength and boldness and no tears of disbelief. Six years later I still struggle with shame but it’s a different struggle…because so much progress has been made in the that process. Six years later I have different scriptures defining my season as my phone background.

Six years later I can testify that I have a new heart…I am a new creation. Still a work in progress but if I could hug my younger self and say just keep singing…just keep speaking…this grace, this redemption, this heart softening you are crying out for is so real and you’ll be able to feel it soon, I’d do it. If I could hug you and do the same I would.

Keep singing. Keep clinging. Keep praying. Keep seeking. Don’t ever give up. God hears you, sees you, and is working His perfect love in your life even when you may not see or feel it.

“Jesus I’m not who I used to be, cause I am redeemed. Thank God redeemed.”

Redeemed- Big Daddy Weave

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See, I'm Real

Travel Feels

Along with not washing my hair more than twice a week and buttered toast, one of my newest most favorite things is to read travely stories while listening to “Train Trip” on my ‘Atmosphere’ app.

Current Read: “No Baggage- a minimalist tale of love & wandering” by Clara Benson.

Read any good travel memoirs lately? I LOVE reading suggestions so suggest away friends 😍🤓

Sometimes I'm Creative

Adventures In Chalk(board markers)

Decided to blow the dust off (literally) the colorful chalkboard markers Christopher got me months back. Now I’m the kind of classy lady who loves black, white, and gray. Give me a classic COLORLESS chalkboard any day!

Christopher, however, politely made it know that he would like some color incorporated in my designs. He even bought me vibrantly colorful markers to help me along. And when I didn’t jump to it, he took matters into his own hands.

Exhibit A:

God love him 😍😍

So tonight I decided to give colors a go and boy it really was as hard as I thought!

Halfway through working a nasty ol spider invaded my workspace (aka my living room floor) out for all my blood I’m sure. After I gathered all my braverism, murdered the thing, gagged, and checked myself for his friends I got back to trying.

Of course my perfectionist heart is not satisfied but I had already erased and wasted half the new markers so I committed to this final design.

Can you tell I’m used to working on small areas? This chalkboard is intimidating huge!! I don’t mean to not use the left side of just seems to…happen…

So we’ll see if Christopher is satisfied with the color splashes I added. Marriage ya’ll, it’s full of all different kinds of compromises ❤

**If you have any artsy, chalkboard-y tips or suggestions I’d LOVE to hear them! Just leave em in the comments 🙂

Uncategorized

Love Can Abound

“Our response may not always be love but it should be to turn to God so that love can abound and increase in all seasons…even the painful ones.”

More of a reactions/thoughts video than anything- keepin it short 😉

Link to Dana Chandler teaching video mentioned is in the video description

Much love in Christ ❤❤

See, I'm Real

Attempt #4

I’ve tried to write something several times in the last 6 months but I’ve never really known how to start…and then it feels forced and I’m not a fan of that. I do want to provide an update on our family. It’s been like 2 years since I’ve written about this and I don’t really share much of what we’ve been going through (and this won’t be anything really specific to preserve privacy) but I really feel impressed to share some type of something…so let’s give attempt number 4 a try.

Christopher, Kimberly, and John. I feel like we should all have different names now, that’s how different of people we are today. It’s so incredible to reflect on the past 3 and a half years and everything that brought us here…like who even were those people?! Praise God for transformation and GRACE through this transforming process!

I get overwhelmed when I think about our journey thus far. It’s nothing any of us thought it would be…I’ve often wondered if we had known all that we were signing up for at the time…would we still have signed up? Would Chris and I have been that brave? I’m thankful we didn’t know…I can’t imagine our story being any different than it is right now. There’s a teaching by Steffani Gretzinger and she talks about how there are things we go through that build a man or woman of God that couldn’t be built any other way. I feel that is exactly how I would summarize our journey.

I have so much I could share!! This could be a reason this has been so hard to write. I really want to talk about a couple things that have come out of the last 3 years and for the sake of not having to come up with transition sentences or somehow connect them I am going to get my bullet points on:

  • I see so much of myself in John. His love for reading, music, nature, and laughter…the way he thinks about God…the way he feels God’s love. Even his struggles with anger/rage, rejection, and rebellion. So many times in my frustrations and questioning of things God has so lovingly been like, “But aren’t you still just like this at times? Haven’t you been here? And didn’t I keep loving you? Wasn’t my grace there for you?” Woosh ya’ll. Nothing like having your own struggles right in your face- outside of you…from the outside perspective poking your emotions to make you realize how much God loves you through! So often I’ve found myself just so overwhelmed asking God, “How do you even do it?!” If you want to come face-to-face with God’s love- try to love through the in your face-unlovable, hurtful, and painful. You won’t be able to do it by yourself- and that’s okay-you’re not supposed to.
  • “We may not like what we’re seeing now, but there are seeds planted, and there will be good fruit one day that we can see.” Chris had asked John to write about the person he wants to grow to be (because we do stuff like this). I was out and we’d been having a particularly rough 3-ish weeks. When I came home, Chris had John stand in our living room and read his little ‘essay’. Tears filled my eyes as I listened (and even now as I recount this). I won’t share much of what he wrote because it’s personal to him but I will say that much of what he put down are things Chris and I speak have spoken over him for years now. ‘Respectful Christian young man’ was in there, traits like ‘honest and trustworthy’ were also in there. The part that made my giant tears spill out my eyes was when he said ‘mom and dad want me to have a really good life’. Oh man, right in my heart kiddo! We may not be his ‘real mom and dad’ as he puts it but he knows we want only good for him. So that was a super dose of encouragement to grab onto. Especially during times when I just feel like it’s all wrong, we’re doing this wrong, and I start questioning myself. Times we’ve messed up and we look at mistakes we’ve made (and there have been PLENTY) and we just get discouraged not seeing the fruit look like what we want it to. This moment was a reminder that at least some things are getting in there. Some good things are being planted.
  • Our story is very different at times when we didn’t press into what God was doing in our lives. We don’t always get it right, we’ve been disobedient and not listened to the still small voice of God enough to know that our way is the long and hard way. We may get somewhere eventually…but the way is way more bumpy and harder than it needed to be if we had just listened to God in the first place- regardless of feelings.
  • God is a creator…he will create new things within you. He will create new things in your family. We can all 3 testify to this…things that weren’t in our hearts before or things that didn’t exist in our relationships with each other have been created. If you are wanting a change…ASK! Seek God…get in the Word and pray. God wants to create…it’s all part of who he is!
  • Who you share your life with is IMPORTANT. Not everyone should be allowed access to your journey and I cannot stress enough how important it is to surround yourself and your family with positive, life-giving people. People who will speak truth and encouragement when you really need it. With this, I can’t tell you how important it is who you marry. Chris and I have could have grown together or apart during the really difficult times. Chris and I could have chosen to move on and leave the other in the struggle or get in the struggle with each other and lift the other up. We had to become a team, like we literally high-five each other after we accomplish something now. At times we had to ‘step in’ when the other couldn’t. At this point most of our ‘weaknesses’ have come out in one way or an other…in various degrees…never really cute or fun. But seeing all of that and still being like- I am committed to you and I love you and I’m not going to view you differently because we are both works in progress…that is not easy under ‘normal’ circumstances let alone through challenges. I am so thankful for Christopher…I am thankful for how he leads us…for his relationship with God…for the encouraging, (often prophetic) letters he’s written me…for his willingness to have hard conversations with John when I can’t…for the way his dreams include all of us not just himself…for his willingness to say yes to John. Not everyone has this, and I can’t imagine our journey with anyone else.

Growth comes out of difficulty if you give it to God. He will not waste all that you are going through. Also-sometimes it’s easy to get hyper-focused on the present and how things look right now…even 3 years into a journey is a very small amount of time in relation to all of time. I am learning (very slowly) to be patient in the process…look ahead and rest in God knowing that He sees all things! He goes before us- He is working it all out for good as we follow in step with him. This is especially important when you are seeking restoration and healing for yourself or others. Plant seeds where you can…and PRAY over those seeds. That they will be rooted in good soil- that all that you are doing will contribute to who you or they will eventually be.

Update: We are all alright 🙂 There are still struggles…just different sets of struggles. So much healing has taken place…so much growth! We all have so many more tools than we ever did…we have more experience but there are also new things that seem to pop up. For that though I am so thankful for all the people God continually puts in our lives to help us through each changing season. John is almost a sixth grader (seriously!?) and Chris and I just celebrated 4 years as married people in January. We have routines now, we have inside jokes and stories, we have shared experiences, we have each other, and we have a very loving God who is always faithful and always taking care of us ❤

Truth on Tuesdays

How Important Is The Heart?

God says to guard your heart ABOVE ALL else because EVERYTHING flows from it!  God has changed my heart in so many ways and I want to encourage anyone who may not be seeing that immediate change to hold on.  Press into God, don’t give up on your heart change!

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Ezekiel 36.26

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10

All the love in Christ Jesus ❤

Truth on Tuesdays

Our Hope

“We put our hope in the Lord . He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord , for our hope is in you alone.”

Psalms 33:20‭-‬22 NLT

I’ve tried putting my hope in people and even things but nothing except the Lord has proven unfailing, perfectly faithful all the time.  

Lord, show me places in my life where I’ve put hope in something or someone other than you.   Thank you for your faithfulness and unfailing love.  Show me who you really are,  draw me closer to your heart.  Amen

Truth on Tuesdays

Salt and Light

‘“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’

Matthew 5:13‭-‬16 NLT

In order to be the salt and light we have to recognize that without God, we can’t be.   We need God.  The fruit of the Spirit does not come naturally to our flesh.  We have to be born again of the Spirit.  We have to keep coming back to God, remaining in Him to be filled and renewed continually.  

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.’

John 15:4 NLT

I cannot live a Sermon on the Mount lifestyle- the holy, set apart life I’ve been called to- without the Holy Spirit.

Lord, help us to be all you’ve created us to be.  We need you,  help us to stay in step with you to always remain in you.  ❤