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I’m in the middle of writing an article on loneliness as a means to drive us deeper into God’s heart and was just struck by the passage this nugget came from. The context is distress and anguish, feeling the grip of death’s crushing pull. Maybe you can relate. But the author of this psalm lifts his eyes above his circumstances and prays for deliverance. He meditates on the character of God; how He is gracious, righteous, and merciful. He remembers what God has done; how He preserves the simple and rescued him when he was flat on his back, hopeless and alone. Then comes verse seven. Circumstances haven’t changed for the author but, then again, God’s worthiness to be worshipped has never been contingent on ideal circumstances. No matter what our lives might look like right now, no matter how uncomfortable or excruciating our circumstances might be, if we have been redeemed by Jesus, we have every reason to “return to our rest;” for the the Lord INDEED has dealt bountifully with us. And He is worthy of our praise and confidence right here. •••• [Also, 1) this is not a staged photo and 2) you should go read all of Psalm 116 for yourself.]
Happy birthday to the best big sister! 🥳 You are as genuine and intentional as they get; you love deep and feel big, and I’m so thankful for your heart and life. 💜 Additionally, I’d like to know how much you were paid to hug me in this photo.
“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it.” -Charles Spurgeon
“Theologians who limit the means of grace to overtly redemptive religious practices miss something about the God who speaks without words in the theater of His creation.” -David Powlison

Follow me as I follow Jesus

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There are so many hard, frustrating, grievous things happening these days. 

Each one reminds us that this world is broken and there is something deeply wrong in us at a core level. But, at the very same time, there is so much beauty, laughter, and joy happening.

We could all use a little more of the latter, couldn’t we? My friend Jaquelle does a monthly “favorites” blog and it’s one of my, ahem, favorite things. So, I’m snatching her idea and sharing some of mine. I’d love to hear your current faves!

Here are 10 of my favorite things right now.

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Honorable mention for this list: palm trees. I love palm trees.

This sermon.

I will listen to anything Sam Allberry preaches and this sermon, “Prayer and the Trinity—Ephesians 2:18,” from January 27 at Immanuel Nashville is worth listening to repeatedly. It’s  phenomenal. I’m so grateful for Sam and God’s work in and through him. He (and this message) is a gift to the church (and beyond). 

This article.

If you don’t want to be encouraged, don’t read this. Justin Taylor gave us a gift when he published A Note to the Discouraged: ‘We Are Very Apt to Have Wrong Thoughts of Christ.’ 

This chapstick.

Some people have said I use an “excessive amount” of chapstick. While I can neither confirm or deny these allegations, I will say I don’t know the last time my lips were dry. This chapstick is basically my perfect lip moisturizer. It’s lightweight and silky and worth every penny. I may or may not buy it in bulk. You could say it’s the balm.

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This book.

After a sweet friend on Instagram recommended David Powlison’s short book God’s Grace in Your Suffering, my cute parents gave it to me for Christmas and it was better than I could have imagined. Intensely practical and Gospel-drenched. Everyone needs to read this.

This drink.

For the most part, I’m a black coffee-only drinker. BUT this little gem is so creamy and delicious and, if you get it with a pump of gingerbread syrup, not only does it up the caloric value by approx. 97,000, but also your enjoyment. (Drink pictured above with the Powlison book. Not pictured: the warm fuzzies that come during consumption.)

This movie.

Practically perfect in every way, Mary Poppins Returns was everything I wanted it to be—and I have exceptionally high standards for anything Mary Poppins. I saw it in theaters four times and would watch it again right now. The whole cast and production staff did such a good job. It was magical.

This hot sauce.

My boyfriend is the hot sauce master and introduced me to YellowBird’s Habanero Condiment at the beginning of the month—y’all, my tastebuds have yet to recover from the glory. I’m not saying I’m addicted but the bottle is almost empty.

This quote.

“The end of the Big Story is beauty, because the end of the story is God. This world and its history are prelude and foretaste; all the sunrises and sunsets, symphonies and rock concerts, feasts and friendships are but whispers. They are prologue to the grander story and an even better place. Only there, it will never end. J. I. Packer said it so well: ‘Hearts on earth say in the course of a joyful experience, ‘I don’t want this ever to end.’ But it invariably does. The hearts in heaven say, ‘I want this to go on forever.’ And it will. There can be no better news than this.’” -Steve DeWitt, Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything

This App.

Marco Polo is a gift for long distance relationships. Or relationships in general. I’m so grateful. 

This story.

After moving to London in 1854, Charles Spurgeon could not afford to stock his many shelves with books. He had his book binder create blank dummy books (which he later replaced with real books). He titled some of them:

“Aches and Pains, by Feltham (felt ‘em)”

“Cricket on the Green, by Balls”

“Over the Stream, by Bridge”

“Do it Again, by Dunnett (done it)”

“Rags and Ruin, by a Brewer”

“Pilgrim’s Progress hindered by a Bunyan (bunion)”

“Lectures to My Servants, by a Shrew” (Autobiography 4:292).

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