beauty from ashes

sometimes the Lord utterly crushes me with His sweetness and revelations. currently. my heart is realing. in so many ways I cannot even begin to understand. I feel like every day He is revealing new things to me and showing me how He has been preparing and loving me through it all. I could literally talk about this for dayzz. I want to talk about this current call. well. some of the back story. of the Lord’s faithfulness and the way He has been preparing my heart and weaving things together that only He could do.

so this summer at camp the Lord put the book of Esther on my heart. okay. I haven’t ever read the entire thing. I mean I know the story. but I haven’t read it. the other day I looked up the meaning of the name Esther, just out of curiosity. it means “star” of course it does. why wouldn’t it. that is a huge part of my relationship with the Lord, the stars. so of course that would be the meaning. in addition, her Hebrew name means “compassion.” hmm. okay, Jesus. point taken. I also just found a song on my computer called Esther about the Lord loving and healing brokenness and seeks out abused and forgotten. And about loving the invisible and making beauty from the ashes. I’ve probably had this song on my computer since 2008. classic. as I continue to learn more and just read little snippets about Esther, a clear theme of leadership and boldness are rising. so that is also very interesting. very. I bought a bible study about Esther, and will begin that today. so. get ready to hear a lot about Esther.

second. last October, the tenth to be exact, I went to a Kari Jobe concert and literally experienced the Lord’s love and the Holy Spirit in a completely new and radical way. I would probably say one of the biggest messages I took away from that night was the Lord’s immense, unconditional, all covering, consuming love. that night I also bought a penny bracelet. I thought it was cool and different. and I liked the message. to raise awareness about human trafficking victims.

third. also this summer at camp, the Lord really tied my heart to Mary Magdalene. just learning about her and her brokenness and sinfulness but complete devotion to Jesus. also, learning about Jesus’ love for her and how special she was to Jesus. I could literally talk about that for days. and I will later. don’t worry. anyway. while at camp one night, one of my sweet friends shared with me a word from the Lord that she was going to share with another one of friends at camp. she said, “the answer is great love; Luke 7:47” when she told me that, my instant reaction was “does the seventh chapter of Luke even have 47 verses? that seems fake, and not right” oh me of little faith….so we went back to the cabin to look up if that verse even existed. well it does.

“So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.*But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” – Luke 7:47

in fact, it s direct quote from Jesus. perfect. well, I thought that was great. the verse is real. let’s tell our friend. cool. it took me a while to realize this was a verse about Mary Magdalene. when she washed Jesus’s feet with perfume and tears and dried them with her hair and kissed them. devotion, I’m telling ya. and as I have been processing so many of the Lord’s revelations, I am learning the insane and immense power in that verse and the intentionality of the Lord to introduce me to it.

the Lord continues to shower me in a great love. since last October, he has been pouring out lavishly on me, a great love. but He has also called me into a great love. challenged me to love Him with everything I have. and, the kicker, called me to love others with a great love. this verse translates into a million stories of my life. billion, probz.

He is connecting for me the night I experienced His radical, great love, and the night I bought a penny bracelet. like only He could do. I am excited for this next journey He is calling me to. He is CONSTANTLY revealing more and more to me about what He is doing and how He is preparing my heart. and, the craziest part to me, how He has been preparing my heart FOR YEARS.

I can see how He is connecting me to some of His strongest women, Mary, His mother, Mary Magdalene, and Esther. what a power team. can’t wait to share more….

Advertisements

the boulder.

wilderness, part 3.

Okay, so mid-hike, one of the guys in my group, and actually from my school, was struggling. I could tell he was having a hard time with the altitude. He was dragging his bag and his step. So I saw him having a hard time and offered to help. i asked if he wanted me to carry his backpack for him. He gratefully said yes.

So I felt helpful. Helping my fellow brother through this struggle and journey he was on. I kept going, carrying both his backpack and mine. All the way up the mountain. The bags definitely started getting heavy. But I kept going. Because I needed to help him. And I needed to get to the top. They were starting to hurt my shoulders, but I figured that would happen. So I kept going. I finally reached the top and was able to sit and reflect.

As I was sitting down, I suddenly remembered seeing that fellow group member put something in his bag earlier that day. I literally ripped open the backpack to find exactly what I had suspected would be in the bag…

a 6 pound boulder!!!!!

He had picked it up earlier on and decided he wanted to keep it! In his backpack! As he hiked!! Except he did not tell me that when I offered and carried his backpack for him. I was so mad. I wanted to throw his bag down the rock. WHO DOES THAT?! You were obviously struggling to carry the backpack and hike, so throw out the boulder!

But then I realized. This is real life. There are so many times we offer to help people, or we do not offer to help people, and we have no idea of the weight they’re carrying. Whether it looks to be pretty light, like a backpack, it could really be hiding a 6 pound boulder in it. The more I thought about this, the more I felt challenged to really tune in to people around me. It is so easy to just put blinders on and only focus on my own hike. To keep my eye on the prize, graduation, grad school, a real job. But there are so many people around me who are carrying small backpacks with big boulders in them, and they need a friend. Even if it’s not to carry the backpack, but just to walk along side them. I feel really challenged to pay more attention to people struggling with their backpacks. And even their boulders.

God wants to be HGTV.

So, I mentioned earlier that this was the Year of Restoration. I believe this will be a year of restoration for myself in many aspects of my life. In keeping with this idea, the homily at Mass yesterday was prettttyy on pointe.

The priest suggested that we live from either two houses: a House of Fear, or a House of Love. He suggested that a House of Fear is run by our ego that constantly tells us we are not enough.  When we live in this place of fear, we are subject to immorality. Immorality becomes the “anesthesia” for our pain and struggle. We quickly find things that are harmful to us to distract ourselves from the defeat and hurt that we are constantly feeling. Before long, we are addicted to something.

Literally, as the priest shared this idea he had, I was taken aback. I had decided at the beginning of this year, it was going to be a year of restoration (last year was a year of positivity). But this year, I was going to focus of restoration. Last year, some things definitely threw me off track, I got distracted and sidelined. A lot. But this year, I have decided to focus on and seek restoration. So when the priest started explaining this concept, it really struck me. There have been so many things I have done to “distract” myself from the insecurities or fears I have held onto. If I want to seek restoration, I am going to have to move into the House of Love.

And that’s where God comes in. He is a “flipper”. Ya know, on HGTV, when those people buy those run down houses (a house of fear) and put all this work and effort into it to turn it into a beaut (a house of love)? That’s what God is willing and wanting to do for us. He wants to turn our current house of fear, into His House of Love. He wants to be a Flipper. He wants to be HGTV.

But it’s not always that easy. It can definitely be hard to let go and let Him start remodeling. That is the real challenge. That is what I am facing today. I am embarking on a season of change. I am trying to let go. I am trying to let God in. So He can flip my house of fear, into a house of love. And bring restoration. The restoration only He can bring.

the uncomfortable

original post date 5/15/14

Forever and a day ago, I went to a LifeTeen Leadership Retreat. Literally, a million years ago. One of the first things I remember about this monumental week was when Mark Hart, aka the coolest Catholic man ever, stood up and told all of us to “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” That seemed simple enough. I understood what he was saying. I have since heard a quote saying “You were made for greatness, not comfort.” Again, that made sense. Being a Christian may not always be easy and you might be put in some awkward situations. Got it. I sure thought I did…

As I continue to grow in my life and faith, I have seen this idea take on a whole different life. Beyond. “The uncomfortable” is far more than a few awkward situations. It is painful situations. It is lonely situations. It is confusing situations. It is annoying/frustrating/stupid/scary/challenging/new situations. The uncomfortable is ever changing.

“The uncomfotable” is also where there is greatness. It is where God’s love radiates. It is where we grow. It is where we learn and develop. It is in the uncomfortable that we make the most progress.

It isn’t easy. It never is. Life is hard. The Devil makes sure of that. I have found when I am particularly on fire and ready to take on anything, the hardest things come at me. The most uncomfortable situations have to be dealt with.

I feel that this idea of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is something I need to revisit. I’m planning to spend the summer getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and being a part of greatness.

be kingdom.

I have never really understood when people talked about the Kingdom of God here on Earth. To me, I have always kept them separate. To me, the Kingdom of God was in Heaven, and we are here on Earth. Black and white. Matter of fact. I mean, I understand that we are called to live God’s will out on Earth, but I didn’t really understand that being the kingdom. For me, the Kingdom of God would come when He came.

I get it now. Or at least, I am starting to get it.

I am starting to understand that we are called to live in the kind of love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion and absolute adoration that is experienced in Heaven, here on Earth. We are called to be a representation of that Kingdom. We are called to go forth and spread that Kingdom to others.

I think it took me understanding true worship to understand this call to Be Kingdom. In experiences of worship, there is nothing else I want to do other than sit at the feet of Jesus and tell Him how wonderful He is. It is in those times, that I am overflowing with His love and peace. But I can’t leave that love and peace in that moment of worship. I have to bring it with me outside of the church. I have to spread that love. So that others might feel the overwhelming presence of Christ.

I am in so inspired to spread God’s kingdom. I am so inspired to activate the Kingdom of God on Earth. And in the same breath, I am so challenged. It has not been easy. It will not be easy. But God gives an uncomprehendable energy. He gives a peace that surpasses understanding. I am being called to live a life of kingdom. To be in sync with the Angels and Saints in Heaven that can do nothing else but sing of God’s great glory. And that’s what I want to do. I want to be such a representation of kingdom, that people want to join in with me. Because it was what our hearts were made to do. Last year, I found a new love and appreciation for worship. God totally broke the mold I had constructed. I want Him to keep breaking it.

I want to Be Kingdom.

hallelujah.

I am so in love with my King.

My heart is overwhelmed. He is so loving. He is so faithful. He is so active. He is a moving God. He is a God of movement. He is a God of revival. He is a God of life-giving. Amazing love. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

I was expectant. And You met me.

I was worried. And You loved me.

I was unsure. And You played for me. You sang to me.

My heart is yours. I am so in love. I am so taken by you. My heart is full. You make my heart full.

Hallelujah.

in-ten-tion-al-i-ty:

done with intention or on purpose; intended

designed

planned

deliberate

this word has become my prayer. I want everything I do to come from intentionality. I want to be able to say everything I did had an intention behind it. It was planned. It was deliberate. It was designed to bring glory to God. There was purpose behind it.

It is so easy to go along with whatever everyone else is saying, doing, being, seeing, [fillintheblank]-ing. There is so little intention behind falling in step with everyone else. Really, the only intention we can point to is wanting to fit in, be liked, accepted, even succeed.

It takes courage, boldness, and bravery to step up and step out in intentionality.

But God has promised so much good to those who take that step.

“For I know well the plansI have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me. I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me.”                                        Jeremiah 29:11-13

Plans, He has plans for you! If that’s not intentional, I don’t know what is. More than that, those plans are for a future of hope! And then, He promises to be there when we need Him. When we are having trouble stepping out and being intentional, He said He will listen. He will be there. We will find Him. He is intentionally making Himself available for us.

I pray that all my actions are intentional. I pray that the God of courage, boldness and bravery speaks to my heart and works through my hands. I pray that when I struggle with this, I run to the God of intentionality.