Christian

You are Shining: Hope in Weakness

I was talking with another mom the other day about how pregnancy has a way of exposing idols that you didn’t even know you had. Idols of the heart in regards to appearance, comfort, expectation, the list goes on and from my understanding it never ends as you enter into the refining realm of childrearing.

This process of refining, in marriage, in friendships, in community, in raising babies is all designed for our good: that our hearts would be stripped of any cruches until our hope is in only Jesus. Peace for my heart and hope for my soul can’t be found in anything apart from him. All of these changes, all of these struggles only make that truth more and more real to my needy heart.

And I am so in need.

This morning I read about how in the beginning Jesus, fully God, was there and all things were made through him. In him was LIFE and this life was LIGHT for us. John writes, “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” This text fills me with so much hope. Not only does Jesus breathe hope and light into the darkness and depravity of my soul, saving me from what I deserve but he brings life even into the “little” dark parts of my day-to-day growing.

Hope springs up from seeing that light shines in my life and my own darkness can’t overcome it.
I can’t snuff it out.
Not my selfishness, not my anxiety, not my pride, nothing is so dark that this light keeps from shining the message of LIFE.

Remembering this is such an encouragement when it feels like the growing-pains of refinement are happening in every area of my life right now. I can trust that God will address the darkness (no matter how big or small it seems) with light. He won’t leave me to sort through my sin and the hurt it brings on my own but he’ll lead me; teaching me, growing me and restoring me.

As I write this I’m reminded of how someone once told me, “God isn’t worried about you. He isn’t concerned that you’re not going to make it; that you’re not going to learn.” Isn’t that true? God, Sovereign God, isn’t wringing his hands up in heaven just hoping that someday the scales will fall off my eyes, just waiting to see how everything turns out. No, he sovereignly ordained each and every spot of darkness for our good and his glory.

This I know that God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 

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Promises of Hope

Today our POD arrives with all of our belongings from Minnesota. We’re slowly adjusting, getting situated and discovering our new routine with a lot of changes taking place.

I’m enjoying having these days off of work to transition. It’s given me more time with the family, to help plan a wedding and to venture into the new territory of photography. I’m having so much fun learning about my camera and getting my hands on anything that will teach me more.


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After playing around with the available light in the house – super beautiful, white, fresh light comes through our bedroom window – I thought it would be a good idea to walk around my usual “loop” in the neighborhood and take some photos along the way.


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There’s a spot in our route, right before you start heading downhill, where you have this incredible view of the neighborhoods set up in the hills across the way. Sometimes you’ll see single houses built on top of a giant hill with no visible way of accessing it. The first time I visited out here it reminded me of the verse “a city set on a hill cannot be hidden” and the light that we should be to the world around us but it also reminded me of the protection that was provided for things that are set on high places. I still see those houses and think of how God not only sets us apart but he hides us.

“For he will conceal me there when trouble comes; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.”

“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

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I also found a beautiful gate along the way. It seems to me that the theme of my walk this afternoon was intent on reminding me of the protection of God over my life even in uncertain times. Little things like this hill or that gate remind me of the promises of plans filled with hope for the future.


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Sweet Sunday: Our First Morning at CrossView

Yesterday was so sweet.

It was our first Sunday since we moved so we got to be a part of the “Sunday morning routine”. No planes to catch later that day, no worrying about packing, no rushing out of church as soon as it was done, just the sweet Sunday morning.

My brother pastors a church in LA but every time we’ve visited, I fly out on Sunday to be back at work on Monday, so I miss the chance to attend. Usually Eric gets to stay but then that means he’s on the redeye home later that night. I was so excited because this was the first week that we really got to go!

The church family meets in a little room at a local rec center. The sound of God’s people singing gladly fills the room and echoes out into neighborhood. That moment was beautiful enough to leave you breathless. My heart was so full and thankful to finally be in a local church that I knew we would be calling home.

Joining Bethlehem Baptist during the transition of newlywed, post-graduation, pre-move life made it difficult to feel like I could really settle into my own niche in the church. I ached for intimate community, small group and serving in our community but the combination of our hectic work schedules, trying to find (never found) our own routine and knowing that we would soon be leaving made it hard to put down roots and be a part of our local church like I desired. Like I needed.

Sunday morning was just like a breath of fresh air! My heart was filled with hope as I imagined what the Lord would do with us there, now and Lord willing, in the years to come. It’s exciting to be a part of the “small beginnings” and to not just meet on Sunday but to “do life” with people who treasure truth, are purposeful about loving each other and growing together.

I so value all that I’m learning about biblical church membership and what that looks like as we start the process of becoming members. I’m challenged by the level of accountability, transparency and faithfulness that we’re called to as we pray for and build up each other in the faith.

What a sweet Sunday it was! I am so thankful to the Lord for supplying all of my heart’s needs and filling me with HOPE.

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Worship Music Collection: Refresh

I have a tendency to find worship albums or songs that I just LOVE and wear them out.

You know what I’m talking about, the songs that you seem to stumble upon at just the right season in your life that the Lord uses to speak to you. You know, the songs that help you make sense of or articulate all the beauty or the mess inside of your heart. Those songs – the worn out collection – go from overplayed to shelved for another season when nostalgia sweeps over you and you are reminded of what the Lord has done.

I’m refreshing my worship collection with some incredible albums that I’m keeping on repeat lately:

Will Reagan & United Pursuit – Endless Years: “Set a Fire”, “Give Me a Song” — the whole album is amazing, actually.

Hunter Thompson – Gabriel Kansas

Hillsong United – Zion: “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”

Bethel Music – Without Words

I’ve needed this. Just time to sit, rest and let the Lord engage my heart. These moments are precious and life-giving but too often take the back seat to our to-do lists, schedules, and the cares of this life that capture our attention.

You’re worthy of all of my confidence; all my affection and attention belongs to you. 

 

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What worship songs do you have on repeat these days?

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I have so many things that I could say about our wedding day. There are so many sweet pictures filled with thousands of memories. I contemplated taking the time to post every bit, containing every detail, but we’re still settling into the house, finding our new routine, and I have a giant to-do-list because of it.

The best way to capture just a glimpse of our day is this beautiful video done by Eric’s best friend Louie. The first video I ever watched of his was what caused my heart to change from my stubborn resolve to elope and trust the Lord to provide for every inch of a wedding’s details.

When I think back to our wedding day, what sticks out the most to me is the faithfulness of God – how he gives exceedingly, abundantly, more than anything I could ever ask, hope or think of. I saw the love of God being lived out through the selfless JOY of serving by our family and friends. I caught, just a glimpse, of what the body of Christ looks like when it joins together with a common goal to live out love. To them it may have seemed “normal” but to so many others, their willingness to serve, to love, to band together and bless us, no matter the cost, was a testimony to the transforming, redemptive work of Jesus in their lives.

It’s a work that I am so thankful for.

Words will never be able to convey how incredibly thankful I am to the people who loved me as their own because I was loved by Yek. I have been “adopted” into a family of believers who love without merit and it has blessed my life more than they’ll ever know.

 

And with that, here is our wedding film: