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This is one of my best friends’ babies. In her hands is a custom order from someone who’s friend lost her son to suicide last week. A son who was this age once. A son who was fiercely loved and valued and squeezed tight. A son who will always be their baby. My heart cannot fathom the overwhelming grief. Our only hope? To lift our eyes to the One who is our help in every season and situation. Jesus, come quickly.
It seems the Lord is teaching me a deeper (more experiential) meaning of what Paul talks about when he describes servants of God as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10a). • You see, there is so much good happening. So much joy, provision, and depth of community. So many doors opening. So many opportunities to minister and be ministered to. So much love and humility and grace and kindness and care that it has made me—quite literally—cry into a plate of chicken and waffles from the mercy of it all. • These scattered beams can only be explained by the Lord, who is dropping joy bombs and grace explosions all around. • But it’s not all chicken and waffles. • (Link to blog post in profile ❤️)
“All in all, it was a never-to-be forgotten summer—one of those summers which comes seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going—one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends, and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” -L.M. Montgomery
“[It is] as if [David] had said, Separated from God I am nothing, and all that I attempt to do ends in nothing; but when I come to Him, I find an abundant supply of strength. It is highly necessary for us to consider what we are without God; for no man will cast himself wholly upon God, but he who feels himself in a fainting condition, and who despairs of the sufficiency of his own powers. We will seek nothing from God but what we are conscious of wanting in ourselves. ...the reason why God is represented as a portion is, because He alone is abundantly sufficient for us, and because in Him the perfection of our happiness consists.” -John Calvin, on Psalm 73:26

Follow me as I follow Jesus

unmasked.

The following is a raw, unedited journal entry from yesterday.
I don’t know if anyone else will be able to identify with the internal struggle going on in my heart and mind yesterday, but encouragement for any and every reader is the goal of this “blog.”
God, be glorified. Use my hurts to bring healing to others. 


Somedays I have to repeat “Take every thought captive” to myself almost every second. My brain and imagination begin working (often in contrast to God’s Word and will) and discontentment settles in faster than water in a puddle.
Today is one of those days. 

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but we have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  –2 Corinthians 10:4-5

(First off, just let it soak in that we have divine power to destroy strongholds.)
The mind is the threshold of spiritual warfare and I am feeling the oppression and harsh reality of wartime right now. Perhaps it’s due to this being Wednesday and the enemy wants to thwart my gaze off the Lord because of True Beauty tonight or maybe it’s something completely different simply designed to sharpen and sanctify me. 
God is so good that He will use everything–the good, the bad and the ugly to “bring us to completion,” although sometimes being shaped and molded like the piece of clay we are is more painful and obvious. Again, this is one of those times.
With holiness a pursuit and godliness the aim, I desperately desire a life saturated in Christ’s love and goodness. Yet this poking (of discontentment) in my imagination and heart keep occurring, more frequently over the past few days, and my gaze is shifting slowly but surely off Christ and on myself. 
Dreams over the past week have been intense, very real and difficult to push aside. What makes it more difficult is that I rarely dream. My sister lovingly and wisely pointed out these dreams to be an attack from Satan. Upon further prayer and investigation I believe she’s right. I’ve allowed these dreams to have my thoughts and attention throughout my waking hours, which means what? My thoughts and attention were on me.
Discontentment roared its ugly head and selfishness came quickly.
Today I just keep whispering “take every thought captive to obey Christ,” and it is crazy how powerful it is just to say those words. It’s like God’s Word is living and active. Weird.
It is my firm belief that thankfulness is an antidote to discontentment, therefore I will make a list (it’s what I do).

TODAY I AM THANKFUL FOR: 

  • God’s Word
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Blue ink pens
  • Palm trees
  • My job that hardly feels like a job
  • My family
  • Water
  • Fall
  • God overcoming the enemy and conquering evil
  • Shoes
  • Ponytail holders
  • Coffee
  • Blankets
  • Black babies
  • Our supreme and awesome Creator
  • GRACE
  • Joy despite trials
  • Post-it notes
  • Sunshine
  • Open windows
  • Lists
  • Encouragement
  • Examples of Christians before us (Paul, Peter, Elisabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael, etc.)
  • This particular moment God has me in for His purpose and glory, preparing me for a future only He can see.

God, 
You are so faithful. You are Redeemer, Refuge, Fortress, Strong Tower, Champion, Father and King. Thank You for salvation and for blessing us with every spiritual blessing. You are so good and Your love endures forever.

Lord, I ask for Your help today. Help me to be content. Content in the circumstances You have me in and the people You’ve placed around me. Swallow my pride in Your grace and may You receive glory from this day and all that is in it. Help me to live in the freedom You died for and not be so easily entangled by sin and a willingness to pick up and cuddle discontentment and self-pity. 

You are worthy of everything, Lord, and I want to give that to You. Use even this feeble attempt to worship and be glorified in all the earth. Let all the people of the world know that You are God and there is none beside You. You are God and they will all one day bow to You. Oh, God, let it be sooner than later. 

Save to the uttermost, God. Rend the heavens and come down. Fill us with You and touch this dying world once again, Father. Thank You for Your bloody and beautiful cross and for taking my sin and shame upon it. You are so good.
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