Gospel

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.

 

IMG_9275

Advertisements

Worship Music Collection Refresh: Vol. 2

I thought I’d share some of the albums/songs that have been playing on repeat lately in the background of this new season.

If it’s time for you to refresh your worship music collection then I’d highly recommend these additions in your music library!

All Sons & Daughters – I’m not usually a fan of live albums but I love the intimate feeling that they’re able to cultivate and convey in these songs. It almost feels like you were a part of the live studio recording, surrounded by sweet friends, singing your heart out. This is the perfect collection of worship songs to fill your candle-lit room with late at night as you’re winding down. There’s something about the sound on these recordings that makes you FEEL the songs of praise filling the room, it’s truly beautiful.

Matt Redman – We love to sing “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” around our house but the other day I had my Sovereign Grace station playing on Pandora and found his song titled “Never Once” and I can’t get enough!  Maybe it’s the lyrics that seem to hit me so deeply:

“Scars and struggles on the way but with joy our hearts can say, “Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did you leave us on our own. You are faithful, God, you are faithful.”” 

That’s been my prayer so much lately, before I even heard this song, just praising God that He never left us to fend for ourselves. Over all these years and all these trials (that He worked for our good) He’s never left us; He’s always protected, provided and sustained us.

“Carried by your constant grace, held within your perfect peace: never once, no we never walk alone.” 

Meredith Andrews – Following in that theme of God’s faithfulness is this song: “Not for a Moment”. It sounds like the typical contemporary worship song (reminding me of Laura Story or Hillsong) but the lyrics are so true and good to remind your heart of:

“After all, You are constant. After all, You are only good. After all, You are Sovereign. Not for a moment will you forsake me.”

Rend Collective Experiment – I first saw Rend Collective Experiment during a worship night at a local Christian college in Minneapolis. They were the worship band opening up for Frances Chan and their energy and joy was infectious! I later purchased their first album, “Homemade Worship by Handmade People”, and it was the perfect little summer worship collection to dance around my house to (someone should put them on tour with Benjamin Dunn). I kind of forgot about them until my husband showed me this video from when they were on tour with Lecrae:

Then I stumbled upon this gem that they put out at the beginning of the year: Campfire. It’s basically the sounds of a friends praising Jesus around a beachside campfire. How perfect! Itunes introduces this album by saying that the new material is infused “with a foot-stomping energy that brings to mind the likes of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.”

Another great summer album but this time with more of an alternative, organic vibe. I love that Rend Collective writes Gospel-centered lyrics that keep you mindful of WHY we are free to experience such wholeness & joy.

What worship songs have you had on repeat lately?

Welcome to the Good Life!

After two months of packing and organizing with a full schedule, counting down the days and preparing my store to be handed over, we’re on our way!

It’s been a whirlwind of transition and adjustments, happening much sooner than I expected, but I’m happy for the new season ahead and what it holds for us.

It’s been snowing for 33 hours straight in Minnesota. Our trip to the airport was at a 10 mph pace in the beginning of a snow day’s rush hour traffic. When I got to the airport the lines were the longest I have ever seen. I quickly discovered a shorter line to kiosk check-in where I made the last-minute decision to upgrade to first class – hoping to save time with shorter check-in and security lines.

Even with the express route I was now on, I almost missed my flight. I got to the gate just as they were closing the doors. Of course then we sat at the gate for the next hour while we waited to enter the de-icing process and take off but I was happy in my first class digs.

I had the perfect seat – the first row of first class – where I could stretch my (just short enough) legs out to rest on the wall in front of me. I drank my coffee, read a provoking chapter on prayer in Desiring God, enjoyed my first class breakfast (vegetable quiche – yum!) and watched the movie Lincoln on the complimentary DVD players they gave you.

I wish every flight could be first class! It was a near disaster turned into an exciting blessing that I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for. My God know exactly what I need!

578595_10200769445779648_1481974422_n

I spent the morning in West Hollywood having lunch with the little kids and catching up with Kuya PJ & Frances. It’s still so weird to realize that I can RELAX! There’s no packing to be done, no organizing, no to-do lists, no store to manage – nothing. I keep having to remind myself that now I get to rest and it is so foreign and GLORIOUS all at the same time.
559726_10200771744637118_396817809_n

I feel relieved to be here. I’m cherishing every second I have to just enjoy the beginning of this new season – taking advantage of the time to regroup, focus, prioritize and engage my heart in eternal matters.

602730_10200772774622867_234344111_n

This afternoon I had some quiet time; soaking up the sunshine while I sipped iced coffee and listened to worship music. That little moment was so good for my weary heart – just to be able to rest in the presence of God and allow my heart to overflow with gratitude.

He helped me. He sustained me. He led me and he pursued me through the whole process with goodness and mercy.

By the grace of God I’ve survived and made it to California. By that same grace, I’ve arrived with hope in my heart for a new beginning.

Grace, for trying seasons and new beginnings, this is the good life.

Oh praise the One who paid my debts and raised this life up from the dead.