Sunday, April 20, 2014

eFamily giveaway!

"Keep your eyes on the One who says, 'You're worth it all. You're of so much value and worth to Me that I joyfully sacrifice Myself -- the ultimate sacrifice -- for you, to know you and love you and be in intimate relationship with you always.. to show you how loved you are. I'll continually pursue you, for eternity, because My heart is stirred by you and passionate for you.'" 
// kelsey, text message, speaking life

That encouragement, that truth, is ringing in my head this Easter Sunday. Let it sink in deep, friends.
Theeeen, with the family all gathered for Easter lunch, this would be a great time to try out eFamily with them and enter this giveaway for a free year of use!!! I'm so excited to get to offer this to you guys. Hope you love it as much as my family and I truly have for staying connected across the miles.
You just need the email you used here: to sign up. The giveaway will be open for entries now through the 30th. A winner will be announced May 1st. Good luck!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

A time for mourning //

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31) Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. (Luke 9:22) Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (Luke 24:7)

He told them. Time and again. He taught it to them. But they did not understand. 
some things you can hear but simply not understand without the Spirit.

They fought the crucifixion. They mourned his death. They couldn't comprehend the resurrection.

Mary poured out her life's worth on the Lord and He praised her for it, for preparing His body for burial (John 12:3-8) although He knew He would only be in the grave for three days. He had a very intentional final meal with His disciples (Luke 22:7-20) and then He was eating with them again days later. He prayed so earnestly out of His agony that He sweat blood (Luke 22:44). Mary Magdalene sat outside the grave and wept for the double loss, first of His life, but then of His body (John 20:11-15).

And then He rose. Just like He said He would. 

And the sincere mourning made the rejoicing so much sweeter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Testimony: dented car

My ear needs some re-tuning and the Lord is doing it. He doesn't speak audibly to me, not even in a whisper. I "hear" Him in my heart and head. I have more growing to do but from my few years of experience I recognize the difference between my Lord's voice, my own and the enemy's. Who you're tuned into makes a difference in who you hear. Pretty simple. I've been more tuned into me, my fears and wants, than Him recently and we needed to fix that. A free afternoon turned into a practice ground. Driving around, constructing a day of possibility for myself, a hundred choices go through my mind -- "While I wait to hear back from [friend] about hanging out I can go drop these clothes off at the church for Touched Twice...", "[friend] can't hang out until 6pm... should I stay in town that long?", "Maybe [friend] is home, I'm right here I should stop by and see. Nah.", "I could go rent a movie and just go home", "Im actually in the mood for a book, not a movie. I mean a movie would be nice and easy but I really want a book right now", "I should go to Target for one", "Wait, why not BAM? Why Target?", "Just feel like I'm supposed to go to Target and get a book", "That's silly. I can go to Target after but BAM is right here, I'm gonna go there". It may sound crazy, but I know the voice of my Lord and I knew I was ignoring it, disobeying it even, by going to BAM instead of Target. Whatever He had planned over at Target, I decided I wanted to make my own plan and go to BAM first, instead. I pulled into the parking lot, turned into a parking space and wham! my front bumper hit the car in the space next to me and I felt the scratch slice into their right rear door. I don't know how it happened. I could have sworn I had enough space. I've parked in parking lots thousands of times in my years of driving and have never hit a vehicle. I don't believe it was discipline for my disobedience, just a clear affirmation that the Lord wants good for me, maybe even knew that if I came here this would happen and He wanted to keep me from it, and going to BAM I was missing out on His best for me. if I had just listened. I had just potentially signed away my nest egg in order to make things right with this car's owner. I left a note on their dash explaining how the scrape on their car had happened and that I'd be happy to pay for the repairs and how to contact me. Another chance to listen to the Lord's voice came through this. He said not to be ashamed. He saw my repentant heart. He told me not to worry how things would go with the car owner. He would take care of it. I was tempted to just drive home crying, but Jesus still had something for me at Target I could tell, so I went. Wandered around in the movie section for awhile before heading to the books. There isn't much of a selection of books I like to read at Target but recently I had seen 'Divergent' in the theater and was curious about the book's greater depth of character development. There it was and it was 20% off. Just a book (to satisfy my craving to read), that I'd been curious about (He notes even the smallest heart desires), and on sale (just because He knows about our limited resources and cares). When I got to the check out lane, the cashier was uncommonly personable and friendly. Talking with her made my day. That's what He had waiting. Nothing profound, just a book and a friendly conversation to brighten my day. 

When you know Him, you listen. Not because He's the boss of you, not because you'll be punished if you don't, but because you trust His heart. My ear tuned back in to Him joyfully, willingly, unrestrainedly. 

Later on in the evening I missed a call from an unknown number. They left a voicemail. It was the owner of the car I had scratched saying that they weren't going to be filing any claims, the scratch wasn't too bad and something they could live with but they appreciated my honesty and the note. My willfulness was forgiven by the Lord but I still deserved to have to pay for that scratch, it was fair to have to. I'm His daughter though, He has my back, and I could hear His heart through the gracious voice of that man on the other end of my phone. I find rest in His favor and freedom. His heart is good, and it is for us.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Testimony: lost purse

Mom and I had been running errands all afternoon. I had my purse with me of course, because its habit and why would I not, but early on in our errand running I had decided I didn't need to carry it in at every stop because I wasn't paying for anything. My mind was on other things and it was just one more thing to worry about. Switching seats with Aidan after stopping at Target I looked in the front seat for my purse and didn't see it, figured I must have already put it in the backseat and didn't worry when I didn't see it back there either. For such a detail oriented person such as myself, this was unusual lack of concern but I knew it was in the car somewhere. I changed cars to ride home with Dad. I didn't need my purse just to ride home so I didn't bother to look for it in Mom's car before she left. Figuring that Mom probably brought it in with her when she got home and cleared out the car I didn't think to look for it when we got home either.

The following morning when I got ready to leave the house I remembered that I hadn't ever found my purse. I asked Mom and she said she hadn't seen it and that had worried her a little but she figured I'd grabbed it before changing cars with Dad or something. I knew I hadn't left it home before we ran errands, hadn't brought it in at most places we had stopped, and hadn't taken it out of the car at Dad's office. We all searched the car. It was truly missing. "Don't worry. I'm sure we will find it." I said with calm faith. As Dad and I drove into town and I retraced my memory of our previous afternoon. No memory of a clear moment of misplacing it. Nevertheless I remained totally calm and knew the Lord had His hand on me -- whether I had left it somewhere in town, it had been stolen out of the front seat of the car at some stop, or I'd just lost it somewhere safe. Then a faint glimmer of a memory floated through my mind, a memory of slipping my purse strap over the back of a chair. We were one exit away from the Starbucks Mom and I had stopped at the day before. I calmly asked Dad if we could stop there. He said yes. We went, stood in line and I confidently asked the barista if they had found a small, tan purse the day before. "Umm, let me go see." He came out holding it with a questioning look at me and, when I recognized it and nodded smiling, handed it to me. Everything was inside, including my car keys which I hadn't yet realized I had left in it.

It had been more than twelve hours since I had left my ID, credit cards, and car keys in the middle of town and I'd had complete peace while they were missing. My Lord had my back. Resting easy in Him in this season.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Bridegroom

"Until the day breaks and shadows flee 
Turn My beloved, and come to Me 
I've made a place for you 

I have come to the garden 
To find you here 
So let Me see your face 
Let Me hear your voice 
For your voice is sweet to Me 

Do you know that 
You have ravished My heart? 
Do you know that 
You have ravished My heart? 
Yes, you have ravished My heart 
With one glance of your eye 

Now, the winter has passed 
The rain has been and gone 
I come over the hills to say 
'come away with Me My dear, away, 
come away' 

We will be, we will be, we will be together 
We will be, we will be, we will be forever 

Would you lift up your eyes to see 
I am calling you now, to Me 
I have so much more to tell you 

All that you really believe inside 
What you see when you close your eyes 
I have so much more to show you"

Friday, April 11, 2014

This time I thought...

"A woman from our church moved her trailer house home recently from South Dakota after things fell through for her out there. It was the middle of the winter though and her pipes were frozen over so she didn't have any water. She had been sneaking into the college to shower for work and carrying a bucket of water from her parents' house back once a week to the trailer to flush her toilet with. She's in the church choir and someone there heard she didn't have water and when Pawpaw heard, he told me. Usually we hear about someone's hard situation and just say, 'Oh, how terrible.' but this time I thought, 'Let's do something about it!' She has to drive right past our house each day to go to work so we invited her to stop by and shower here. She's been coming over every morning for breakfast and a shower for six weeks now. Her pipes will thaw on their own eventually of course but naturally she'd like to have running water sooner rather than later. Pawpaw has been out at her places with some other fellows working to thaw them out and get everything hooked back up properly for a few weeks. We want her to be able to be back at her house, although I'll miss having her come by very much. It's been such a nice change. It's usually just Pawpaw and I at the house and having her in our lives has given us purpose. She's really been blessing us. Our friendship and conversation, the way she has sacrificed silently because she wants to share what she has with us, she even brought me cupcakes for my birthday!"

"I'm so proud of you guys! It should be normal for us to reach out and care each other. When we get outside of ourselves and make relationship with other people then we get to know their needs and care for each other naturally like that."

This was a conversation I had with my Mammy (grandma) when I got together with her for lunch spontaneously. You're never too old to begin to reach outside of yourself and love on people.

What Love Looks Like // week 13

I've never participated in Lent before. This year the soil of my heart was prepared, I was willing. On Ash Wednesday the Lord asked me to give up my expectation of Zachary loving me. For the past eight weeks the Lord has led me through a release of my expectations (it was a bigger stronghold than I realized. Zachary was the one who graciously called me out on looking to him as a head too soon, before we were in a committed relationship.) and into an even more intentional practice of loving sacrificially. Taking me through 1 Corinthians 13, showing me only He can require such love from a person and its never given out of obligation but out of joy. This is how He wants us to love each other, but such love is compelled by knowing His love and loving Him first, foremost. That's how I usually operate but He knew with my mistake of beginning to lean on Zachary too soon, I was losing my sharply tuned ear to His heart. Lent was how He has regained it.

At the beginning of this week, on the nine month mark of our wild + wonderful relationship Zachary broke up with me. We said "goodbye for now" and cut off all communication. One week prior to that I was living in his Mom's house, applying for summer jobs, thinking we were headed toward a committed relationship in the upcoming months. A season of so much work, joyful work, the type of toil I want to do every day of my life because sacrificing for another person is so worth the effort, I expected to be followed with a season of excitement. Jesus knew better. The work He has been accomplishing within Zachary and I through each other's friendship over the past nine months is finished. Right now we aren't the tools needed in each other's lives to complete what the Lord wants done. He's taking over from here, solo. I take that back, He's using the Body at large as well in each of our lives. He's removed us from each other, we're leaning into Him -- hard (because though He is so enough, its hard to lose someone so dear and so close), and He's ministering to every little place that needs it by His Spirit and His Body.

Zachary wasn't only unprepared to commit to a relationship headed toward marriage, he wasn't sure what he wanted, or who. That's completely fair. I can't change that. For nine months I've known that I can't. Whatever the point of my being sure of what/who I wanted and prepared to commit to (so much so that I jumped the gun and started to operate under a mentality of commitment that we hadn't gotten to yet) and led to sacrifice so much so joyfully for it was, the Lord knows. I know nothing is wasted. I know I would do it all over again, knowing the outcome would be an end rather than a beginning. Zachary is the best friend of my life and he is worth it all -- unconditionally.

Jesus has given me a season of rest. He has shown me how He desires me to be loved, He satisfies my heart's deep places, He's overshadowing me and telling me to rest easy and let Him do what He is doing. No plans. No stress. No striving. Just rest, refreshment and fresh vision + passion for what He has in store. I smile and laugh at memories of Zachary, I mourn the loss of memories I hoped to make with him, and I rest secure knowing that the same steady, faithful, healing Hand that holds my life, holds his too.

This week's meditation on my Lent journey is 1 Corinthians 13:7 >>  
"Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, 
is ever ready to believe the best of every person, 
its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, 
and it endures everything [without weakening]."