promises

i love the idea of promises. something that will happen. it will. because it was promised.

however, i am slow to make promises. because i dont want to promise something i cant deliver.

but God, He doesn’t shy away from promises. in fact, He speaks in promises (Isaiah 55:11). and to me, that is romantic. He promises to come through, and He always does.

i often find myself reminding God of His promises, like He forgot them. and He is kind, and lets me rattle them off to Him. but i know this is out of fear and concern that He forgot them and is not gonna come through and it’ll just be a broken promise, something i’ll have to settle for later down the road.

LIES.

not true. i recently found this verse:

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silva′nus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in Him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God. But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  2 Corinthians 1:19-22  

WHAT A PROMISE!! are you kidding?!

“it is always Yes”

i love that. and not because it means every dream will come true. but it reminds me of the core and the heart of God. He wants to say yes to everything, He wants to give everything. He loves giving good things. it is such a reminder that He is a good Father and longs to give His kids good gifts. even when we ask for things that we shouldn’t have or are not His best for us, His answer is still yes. and i know that sounds wrong, and it isn’t even the way things play out, but hear me out for a second.

i love that this verse suggests that God hears and answers the request under the request. the need that is really hidden in the prayer we pray. so when i ask for a new dog, even though one doesn’t appear at my door by noon the next day, He says yes to my heart’s desire to not be alone. He says “Yes, I love you & I’m not going anywhere.”

which at first doesn’t seem so awesome. BUT IT IS. He is better than any puppy. and He has a plan and desire to show you how much He really does love you.

and if that wasn’t enough, He gives us His Spirit as a guarantee?! literally the best deal i’ve ever found.

i love this verse because it reminds me that He is so worthy of our trust. that i don’t have to live in survival mode hoping He comes through. i am not hoping and waiting in vain. or alone. I GET THE HOLY SPIRIT. but also, that His heart is good. and He gives good gifts. and He longs to say yes to everything we ask. the request under the request.

you can trust Him with the dreams of your heart.

rest: okay, maybe i am closer to figuring it out

every time i think i have this rest thing figured out, i am quickly reminded, i have not.

last sunday i was at mass, and i was praying before, telling God that this was the week it was gonna happen. this was the week it would shift, something would break. this is the week i would get a job, i was going to to email everyone i could think of the next day. and you know it is always a good idea when you tell God the plan.

so shortly after that, the Gospel was as followed:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

and He said,

“mmmm, nope. you aren’t released from this season yet. you need more rest”

upset, but feeling very covered, i went back to the drawing board. ready to embrace rest this week.

well bethel has been doing their worship school, and you can stream their worship set and keynotes in the morning. so monday i started watching….

un.done.

i was so moved in worship, and was reminded of what it means to make that connection to the Father’s heart. and to praise in the waiting. and to trust Him and choose Him. and the delight He takes in the process. and i was worshiping, i was reminded of His heart for me. which is the place where we really find rest. it was so good, and so much more of what i needed. He is a good Father.

so after that, i watched some of the other past videos that were online, and several Steffany Gretzinger videos. and i was really encouraged by the stories she shared. first of all, she had a very similar season to what i am walking through right now. and that was encouraging. but she was talking about the process, and about the learning. and as i could hear someone else talk about it, i could see so much more clearly how that “down” season was a breeding ground for training and learning and growing and developing. how she would not be able to walk in the fullness of what she has now, without that season. and that was powerful. it helped alot of things click together for me.

this is the promise. this is the season. this is the unexpected. this is where i am supposed to be. this isn’t an in between. there are no in betweens for God, He is always working in everything. He isn’t linear, He hasn’t subscribed to the “american dream” and He isn’t measuring me up to it. He is thrilled with where we are. He died for us to be where we are. this is a season of rest, but more importantly, this is the season He called me into. and i will joyfully be here the whole time. He hasn’t placed more value on the next season. there are important lessons and precious encounters to be had right here, right now.

this seems obvious. but it really flipped me upside down. i am “waiting” for a job, sure. but i am not. i am actively involved in what God is doing in my life, today. this is growing the friendship and the history between us. and i am so thankful for it, because this is actually the answer to so many prayers. even though it doesn’t look like what i expected. it is everything i needed, and more.

the garden

i am actually really surprised that i have not written about this yet. i guess i wanted to keep it a secret. stupid satan. he is always trying to trick us into isolating. anyway. the garden. oh the garden. lets start from the beginning..not that beginning…the beginning of my garden story.

in 2015, in the Catholic Charities food pantry, i was working to stock the pantry and i heard God say “i want you to start a recovery home for young girls” and i said okay!

and then i went to summer camp, and during the Gospel one day, we talked about Mary Magdalene, and how she thought resurrected Jesus was the gardener when she saw Him. and He said,

“I want you to call it The Garden”

and i knew exactly what He meant. so okay, i’ll call it the garden. so after that, i took an interest and liking to things having to do with gardens, because one day i would own one. but i never really told many people about it. i think i felt if i told people, they would steal my idea. classic satan tried to scare me out of talking about my dream by making me fear competition. so this was like my secret promise from the Lord.

and then at the beginning of the year, Kari Jobe released her new album and it was called The Garden. and she talked about the gardens that are talked about in the Bible. and it was a wonderful album. and i love Kari Jobe. and i felt this cool connection to her because we both had these projects about the garden. it also really prompted me to dig back into the scriptures about gardens in the Bible. and i started learning more about the intimacy of God. i was learning about the Father’s original desire for intimacy with us. the Father’s gentle and sweet heart. i was loving it!

so i shared the album with all my friends, and told everyone about it. and everyone loved it. and started talking about the garden. and the garden of eden. and all the sudden, i was not happy about it.

i felt jealous. and protective. and territorial. that was my garden! that was my special place. they needed to stay out of it. and even worse, what if they wanted to call their place the garden now that i had introduced them to this. and just like that, fear, competition, jealousy, pride and inadequacy invaded my garden. i was not happy about it at all. i was standing next to Jesus in my garden, but thinking He was just the gardener. and then He spoke up.

and He reminded me that just because other people liked the garden didn’t take away from my garden with Him. it also didn’t make it any less powerful. and if anything, this was what was so exciting about the garden to me, inviting other people into it. and i did that. that was the whole point!

inviting people into the Father’s original design for intimacy and communion and great love. but what i had originally intended for other people, He used to heal my heart. He met me in the garden, and stayed with me as i figured it all out. His garden is such a place of security, a place were striving is not allowed. a place were mercy flows and streams of living water run throughout. it was always His plan to have us in the Garden.

rest: i thought i figured it out…LOL

originally written 6/13/17

i have been writing about how difficult this season has been. and it has been difficult. but there has been a shift.

i found rest.

and it is sweet & incredible & everything i wanted it to be & i want to do it forever.

while writing my last post about rest, something started to shift in my heart and i started to get perspective about what rest really is.

it is about resting in who Jesus is. in the Father’s promises. in the Spirit’s presence.

not in what i can do.

and as simple as that sounds, it was monumental for me. as i started to think about those things: identity, promise and presence, things really changed. this wasn’t about me. this wasn’t about resting in my identity, my own promises and my own presence. no wonder i was so stressed and worried. because none of those things would ever add up to much of anything.

but when i looked at God’s identity, promises and presence, my heart started to receive deposits of faith & peace & courage & hope. those were all solid things i could bet on.

as soon as i fixed my eyes on Him, everything else melted away. and i mean really fixed my eyes on Him. not fixing my eyes on what’s next and checking to make sure that He was still in my perifial.

focused. honed in. all attention given. nothing else above or before.

i felt Him downloading so much peace and security into my heart.

and each day it keeps getting better and easier. each day, i remind my heart to stay fixed on Jesus, and to delight in His promises, and His sacrifice. to truly and really delight in Jesus.

when fear arises, i tell it about God’s promises. when worry knocks, i put it in Jesus’ court. when uncertainty comes, i remind my heart of the consistency & companionship of the Spirit.

it sounds simple, and it is. but it is changing everything. the pressure is off. i get to lay down my striving- because it wasn’t doing anything for me anyway- and rest in God’s promise.

what a relief.

UPDATE: 7/10/17 (almost a month later)

it has been SO hard to stay there. i feel like i have two good days, and then i fall down the rabbit hole for a week. but i am fighting for it. i am making an effort to choice lively faith each day and believe for the miracle that comes from His presence.

history

bethel music is doing a conference/worship school for the next two weeks, so i bought a free trial to listen to the worship and keynotes. and it is beautiful. Jesus is so impressive and i am amazed at how He has the power to make us feel like the only one in the room.

it has been a sweet and beautiful morning singing to Him and declaring His promises over my soul and my one bedroom apartment.

during worship, i couldn’t help but laugh at the power and presence these walls hold, and will hold til the end of time. i am excited for the person that lives here after me, because i know God will be here with them. there will be a residue of my prayers and His faithfulness forever in these walls.

anyway, in between the worship and keynote this morning, a few people gave prophetic words for people in the audience. and the very first one brought me to tears. the lady said: “God wants you to know, He sees what you have chosen and He has not forgotten the dreams of your heart. In fact, He sees them very clearly, He sees a plan for them. They will happen. But you can’t skip the in between. Even if you feel like you are in the wilderness. This is the closest. This is the friendship of Jesus.”

tears.

such a sweet encouragement and reminder of who He is and what He is doing. but the part that actually stood out to me the most, was when she said “this is the friendship of Jesus.” that made so much sense to me. yes, yes, yes. this is what Jesus has wanted the whole time. friendship.

and this is what we are doing in this season, we are writing our history. we are building a strong foundation for what He has yet to do. this is where you build a rich history with God. a story that testimony is built on. a story that is shared down the road, after it seems like it might not even be relevant or helpful to others. it is here that we grow in authority. here where we get our footing and challenge the things that threaten to take us down. it is here where we learn about our value and worth and significance and the power of holding on to hope and leaning in for a miracle. it is here where we are called to the altar to surrender all that we have left. even when it feels like it will leave us destitute.

as i look back on the past 2.5 months, i see the Father heart of God breaking off fear, scarcity, anxiety, worldliness, loneliness, jealousy, complacency, and disbelief.

when i watch worship leaders, or christian speakers or pastors talk about their own lives, or lessons they have learned or their relationship with God, i am amazed by their friendship with God, their intimacy with the Trinity, and their authority over darkness. i admire these things and dream of the day i get to carry the same. but as i have been watching more and more of these, i am being taught that these things didnt happen over night. these were things taught in hard and dry seasons. lonely and dark nights. these were battles fought and lost. and tears cried from deep places.

when you ask for a ministry or a platform or a window to share from, you have to get there first. it doesnt show up overnight. and i’m learning to be grateful that it doesnt.

i know in my heart God has called me into the family business of setting people free and bring healing and resurrection life to dry and weary bones. i know He has created my heart to contend for it. but i know He has to train me and teach me to be able to carry that. and that comes from walking through it. it comes from writing and leaning into a rich and deep history with God. one that is sturdy and can weather many hits. because they will fly as He walks me deeper into the calling He has for me.

His promises are good. His ways are kind. His heart can be trusted. He is worthy of our lives.

 

dreams & the sun.

i am sitting at the magnolia silos this morning. well afternoon now. i decided to come at noon. and i have been sitting in the sun. and it is glorious. but hot. i’ll get back to that.

i needed to be reminded of some of my dreams and plan them out. dream them up and write down the things the Holy Spirit has put on my heart. and what better place in waco than the silos.

i love the silos for a couple of reasons.

i love that it is a dream. a dream in the heart of one woman. who with the support and encouragement of her husband became the dream of a family. and soon the dream of the city. and now the dream of a nation. and even the globe!

but it was always God’s dream.

sitting on this lawn feels powerful and momentous. i feel the potential and kinetic energy that runs through this place. and it is sweet.

i love that this was dreamed and created by a couple. a family. it wasn’t a massive corporation. it was a dream in a heart that God opened doors for. when i sit here, i know i am sitting in a dream. a dream come true. that i am sure this couple thought at one time was impossible.

it reminds me that God is trustworthy. He is good. He has good plans.

when i sit out here on a summer afternoon, not only am i sweating bullets, but i see so many families playing! my biggest dream of all! and i wonder if when the couple started, they new how powerful this would be for families. and for dreamers.

and i wonder the same thing about myself. do i realize how impactful my dreams will be for families? for dreamers? for my own family? for my own dreams?

i would imagine that this couple could never have imagined all that this is today when they started. even when they bought the land. it was old and abandoned and basically left for dead.

but maybe the ground help onto hope. that something better could come from it one day.

and it only took one person, the right person, to see the vision and potential that was still hidden in its bones.

as i sit here in the hot hot sun. i am reminded of something i said the other day leaving mass. as i walked out of the church, the sun was shining and it was so sweet and warm. and i said, without thinking

“mmm. the warmth of the sun is healing me heart”

instantly, i felt the prophetic weight of that statement. i felt a call to spend more time in the sun. and the Son. letting the warmth heal my heart.

to be in the sun requires you to be seen. to be exposed. to come out of hiding.

how prophetic is that!!!! it is incredible. and it is true.

being out here. sitting in the sun. sweating. it is kinda painful because it is so hot. but it is so sweet. and i feel the healing and the mending. this is something i couldn’t have in my dark apartment.

sometimes being seen by the Son can be painful. when we have grown so accustomed to the dark and being hidden. stepping out into the light can hurt.

but man. being here is worth it. i was missing so much in the dark.

there are special vitamins in the sun. nourishment.

there are special vitamins in the Son. nourishment.

i have previously been someone who did not like to be outside. i was afraid of the mess. the dirt. the performance that might be required with a sport or activity. out of fear of messing up or missing the mark, i stayed on the side lines. or even worse, stayed inside.

but as i am growing in the Father, i am finding so much joy in being outside. i am finding life and perspective and lessons and warmth and healing and growth.

and i am beginning to understand why the devil tried to convince me to stay inside.

there is a special blessing and peace that comes with being outside and being close to things that God himself breathed life in. and still commands.

i am seeing family, i am seeing providence. i am seeing joy. i am seeing love. i am seeing community. i am seeing the wind. i am seeing life.

which is what the devil has been trying to steal from me all these years. he has been after my life. and so he cut off anything that resembled life. and offered fear to my heart as an exchange for the possibility of finding life. what a shitty trade.

i am so grateful to have found life in Jesus. i am so grateful to have been found  by Jesus. i am grateful to pursue life. i am grateful to be alive. and I’m grateful to be outside.

UPDATE: i wrote this this morning at the silos, (there was no wifi to publish) and while i was there, i looked up on the roof and i saw some people up there, but i couldn’t make out their faces. but i knew they were important. because not everyone can go up there. and we stared at each other for a bit, ya know when you can tell someone is looking at you?

anywayyy! come to find out! it was some of the members from the band Housefires and Bethel! some of my favorites!

but we wouldn’t have seen each other if i was hiding. if i wasn’t out in the sun, we wouldn’t have see each other.

and i could really feel a sweet lesson in this:

when you take a step out, and trust, and allow yourself to be seen, you are seen by some prettyy important people. whether you realize it or not. because they are out in the sun, too. they can’t see you from your apartment.

fear will tell you to stay in, because what are the odds that they will be there? and even if they are there, they might not be space for you?

but faith says, try it out! if it doesn’t work, let’s do something different. if they aren’t there, so what!

i am very grateful that i gave it a try. it was sweet & healing.

rest: weary

this season of rest is increasingly hard.

it seems like as the days go on, i am getting more weary. my heart is tired and my hope feels shakey. this is not a feeling i enjoy. this is not where i thought i would be. i feel confused and sad. each day is another lesson. and i feel like i am not learning any of them.

in this season of rest, this sweet invitation, i am still falling back on my old tricks. even though i think i am “resting” and am taking down time, i am painfully aware that i am missing the point.

yes, He has asked me to rest.

yes, rest means physically taking time to recover & sleep & grow.

no, rest does not mean working hard to rest.

no, rest does not mean striving to “rest well.”

as i look back on this time of rest, i am very aware that i have been working so hard and trying even harder to figure out what it means to rest and how i can quantify how much i am resting. this has ranged from going to the park, taking in a troubled dog, spending days in my apartment without leaving, watching Dr.Phil reruns, journaling, reading, watching sermons, spending time with family, calling friends, eating tacos, applying for a billion random jobs, making salads, avoiding cleaning/packing my apartment, the list goes on.

but as i look at this list, i see something missing:

intentional time, face to face, with Jesus. resting in who He is. settling into the promise.

i have been trying to externally rest, in all the ways i could think. but i think i am coming to release something bigger. maybe rest is more about my heart than my nap time. i have been relying on friends and family and preachers and worship leaders to tell me what comes next, to hear from God, to have confirmation for this season. and while all of that is good, and needed and has a place, it is not what was asked of me.

today i got another job rejection. and i really don’t think i am taking them personally, just more out of frustration. a feeling that i missed the mark. but i did really want this job. so upset, i cried/yelled at Jesus and asked Him “WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU WANT ME!!!!” and so sweetly He responded:

you

that is all He wants. He wants me. and i have been doing everything i can to keep it from Him. i have been hiding from Him. afraid of what it might mean to be seen by Him in this season. afraid for Him to see my weariness. afraid for Him to see my inadequacy. afraid of being let down. afraid that maybe He isn’t as good as i thought He was. afraid that maybe He can’t handle my expectations. i have been putting going to the park, taking in a troubled dog, spending days in my apartment without leaving, watching Dr.Phil reruns, journaling, reading, watching sermons, spending time with family, calling friends, eating tacos, applying for a billion random jobs, making salads, avoiding cleaning/packing my apartment between us. hoping that He will forget and take this lame offering of “resting” as obedience and give me what i want without having to really do the work and be vulnerable.

what the even heck?!

i have spent the last few months working on being seen by God. i have found the immeasurable sweetness that exists only in being known and seen by Him. that has been one of my biggest victories this year. and now, here i am, back to square one. striving to prove to Him that i am resting well, that i am obedient, that i am faithful & faithfilled. and here He is saying all He wants is me. just me. not my striving. not my excellent resting skills. just me. that’s what He came for. that’s what He died for.

i am so tired of resting, because i have been trying to do it on my own. i have been trying to crack the code. i have been afraid to show Him that i am tired of this cat & mouse game because i feel like i should have more faith than to doubt what He is doing. what if that disqualifies me from the promise?

i have been asking, “okay, if i do this, can i get a job then?” like it’s a trade off. i have been trying to distract myself from having to sit still. i have been so focused on the system, the outcome, and the process that i have missed being a part of them. i have missed the Source. and He has missed me. He just wants me back. He wants to spend time with me. and let me rest. and be restored. and be renewed. but like St. Augustine said:

“You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You”

my heart has been restless. i haven’t rested, yet. i’ve spent a month striving to, but i haven’t been able to. i am maybe more tired than when i started. because i have been trying to do this on my own. trying to perform “rest” well enough for God to get the go-ahead for the next season to begin.

this resting thing is rich. it is full of goodness, mercy, compassion, provision, stability, and kindness. He wants to offer me all of those things. but instead, i have been experiencing fear, doubt, uncertainty, confusion, isolation, striving, loneliness and comparison. none of those things were included in the invitation from the Father. but i made room for them at the table. and He let me bring them, because He is generous. and He knew how weary i was. and even more than that, how confused i was. how i thought those were my friends. so He let them come to the table with me because i insisted.

and now He is preparing the table before me, in the presence of my enemies. He is reminding me that He was the one that sent the invitation in the first place. because He could see how tired i was. and He wanted to take care of me. He wants to provide the sweetest rest i could ever imagine. He wants to repair my tired heart. and remind me of His goodness.

what rest feels like

rest. rest. rest.

it feels like that is all i have been hearing, talking, thinking, and praying about for the past few weeks. and it seems as soon as it gets a tad bit easier, it suddenly gets much harder. it has definitely been a daily thing. back and forth, literally wrestling with doubts about what i think, believe, hear, feel and see. or the lack thereof. which has been so hard. there are multiple times a week-heck, multiple times a day- i ask myself if i really heard God, or maybe i heard Him wrong. or maybe i just missed the mark all together. it feels:

  • foreign
  • forgotten
  • misplaced
  • lazy
  • unpredictable
  • stranded
  • scary
  • wrong
  • overlooked
  • left-behind
  • unstable

but what i know it is, is:

  • healing
  • restoring
  • recharging
  • stretching
  • teaching
  • faith-building
  • a gift
  • sweet provision
  • a break

it is so hard to remind myself of what i am really in, and not let my feelings narrate the end of this season. sometimes it feels like i have used all the favor of God up, and there will be none left for the next season. but i know that is not true. i have to keep my eyes on Jesus, and stay in His presence to be reminded of where i am really standing. even when it feels the opposite of okay.

 

rest: lessons

so i am in this season of rest. and it has been so hard. i am so over it. but i needed to talk about the lessons i am learning. yesterday, i asked the Father what He wanted me to learn from this and He said:

how good I am 

which feels backwards and hard because right now, things don’t feel good. but i’ve been challenged to change my perspective and look at the good things and the provision that is right in front of me. so here is some of the good. the lessons.

  1. the importance of rest
  2. what rest actually means for me in this season
  3. that i am more tired that i realized
  4. that God knows what we actually need
  5. His provision is exactly what i need
  6. He holds nothing back
  7. He isn’t keeping anything from me
  8. He has a place for me
  9. He is preparing a place for me
  10. everything is in a divine order
  11. if i rest & receive, i can get things i didn’t even ask for
  12. He isn’t surprised by my unemployment
  13. He planned for this, too
  14. there is nothing i shall want

rest

this might be one of the hardest seasons yet.

i am writing this from a gazebo, with a very anxious puppy under my legs and an empty coffee cup.

but there is a sweet breeze. and i’m surrounded by stunning trees. and i’m reminded of the sweetness and provision of our God.

it has been really hard to rest. even in this invitation to rest, i find myself wanting to make a schedule of things to do, books to read, bible studies to complete, journals to write. but then i actually find myself watching netflix and scared that my new dog is going to bark all day if i leave the house.

last semester, when i was in the middle of school, i remember praying for my next job. i remember saying

“I am so tired of always looking and scavenging for jobs, God, it would be really nice if this next job found me.”

i might have even prayed that a few times. and i remember thinking, “okay, yeah. a job is not going to find me. i’m not that cool or even known” and i kept striving and grasping to apply and find a job in meantime.

well here i am. a week and half post-grad, with no job. instead, i have a sincere and direct invitation from the Lord to rest. and even as i am typing these words, under the gazebo at the park i am asking myself, “but is that really what He said? am i sure I heard Him right? maybe i’m just misinterpreting this whole thing” stupid satan. go-away. i must ask myself these questions about three times a day, minimum. but i know the truth. i know HIs voice, and i know what He said.

one of the many days where i was asking and striving and applying for RANDO jobs, i came to Him exhausted and a little teary telling Him how tired i was, and how i just wanted a job. and He said,

do you remember what you prayed last semester?”

and i knew what He meant. so i said “yes, but i can’t wait on a job to find me. and they aren’t going to find me. thats ridiculous. i need to find one now.” and He said,

“do you remember the first part of that prayer?”

and i said, “yeah, i’m so tired of looking!!!! like i am right now!!!” and He said,

“so I wanted to give you the rest you’ve been looking for.”

so true to who He is. He sees past the request i am making, and into the one i am really making. and that was a request to stop striving. to rest.

and that is what He is giving me. but it’s not as sweet and nice as it sounds. it is really hard to rest. to stop and slow down. but it also doesn’t mean vegging out. and doing nothing. so i am learning to find the balance. spend time asking Him what He wants me to do, and how i can rest more.