Tag Archive | surrender

One Word 2016

By now you guys know that I don’t do New Years resolutions and instead choose a word to help guide me through the year – or I should say, I pray about a word and, eventually, God will lay a word on my heart with so much gusto that I couldn’t shake it if I tried.

I’ve struggled through 2015, definitely not leaving it behind feeling very “victorious” and that was my word for 2015. I didn’t know if God wanted me to redo the word or start over. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t want to even talk to Him about it. I felt a little bit bruised about the whole thing. We’ve all been there.

Finally, I relented and just spent some time with him on New Years Eve and so many things became clear. I realized that I might have still been riding my high of the new life/move transition when choosing my word last year, without taking into consideration a lot of different factors. So while last year didn’t seem victorious, I felt victorious on NYE for figuring some things out. And if that’s what I have to take away from my 2015 word for the year, then I’m happy.

On to 2016…

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One of the problems I’ve been having is my inability to commit to anything since I’ve moved. It’s weird for me – I’m the queen of overcommitting myself. I will commit to everything and do my best to do it all. I will say “Yes” and volunteer for everything! However, nowadays, I can’t even commit to a knitting project. I’ve become consumed with circumstances around me and I’ve allowed that to make me hesitant to commit to other things in my life that are important.

So, 2016 – the year to live out my word by choosing to commit to things, outside of my present circumstances, in ways that are fulfilling to the path God has called me to walk.

How about you? What’s your word?

I find that sharing my word is helpful and it keeps me accountable. Let me know your word and I’ll poke and prod you all year, I promise. =]

 

 

 

 

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Singing A New Song

One year ago… today…  I drove away from home. It’s the second time in my life when all my possessions were tucked away into a truck to be hauled miles and miles away from the place I called home.

When I left Michigan, it was hard, but it was for work. I didn’t have a lot of options and that seemed like the best one. When I left the eastern panhandle of West Virginia/northern Virginia area, it was a totally different move.

A kicking and screaming move.

An exciting move.

A “I’m scared to death to do this” move.

A “I have peace, but no understanding” move.

A fully surrendered move.

Now, here I sit, one year later, and I’ve gained no more understanding than I had a year ago. I almost wrote this post with the intent to write about all the things I miss. The people I love. The job I left. The church that welcomed me into her arms every week and the hugs that embraced me – tightly and with a depth of love I long for today.

I can’t go there, though. It isn’t healthy for me and that isn’t where God is calling me to focus. He doesn’t want us looking back and living in the place He no longer has for us. When Christ calls us to Him, it’s important to keep our attention on the road ahead, no matter how frustrated we are with the process. No matter how foggy or dimly lit that road might be.

So, as you can imagine, I’ve been pouring over different scriptures to walk me along this path, looking for ways to intentionally seek after God’s direction, and turn into myself to see how He’s trying to transform me through this process.

Here are some things I’ve had to cling to during this process:

Connect. With God. With people.

Be useful. To God. To others.

Learn. More about God. More about others.

Love. Intentionally and completely.

No matter where we are in life, the road less travelled or often travelled, those things listed above will always be important. When things might not make sense to us or our world is confusing, those things above will always remain. They allow us the chance to step outside our own self and look at the bigger picture. The fullness of Him and His purpose.

It’s easy to sit in our puddle, pool, or pit of self-pity or doubt or funk. The truth is, though, that we need to be running harder and faster after Him. We need to have a circle of people surrounding us. I have a small group of ladies that I’m constantly throwing out prayer requests to because I trust them and love them. I know they feel the same about me. We all have the same goal when we’re living in community together – even if it’s 1,000+ miles apart. We’re called to walk life with others, be prayerful for others, and help those God puts in our life to know Jesus a little better every day.

Tonight, I will be hosting my first book study here in the great state of Texas, with a small group of women I’ve come to know. While I did not schedule it to begin on this day because of the whole “one year ago today” thing… this morning I’m sorta sitting here in awe at how God works out these little confirmations and reminders for us to hold onto.

He is good. All the tinewsongme. All the time. He is good.

***

You’ve brought me to the end of myself
This has been the longest road
Just when my hallelujah was tired
You gave me a new song

I’m letting go
I’m letting go
I’m letting go
Falling into You

I confess I still get scared sometimes
But perfect love comes rushing in
And all the lies screamed inside go silent
The moment You begin

I’m letting go
I’m letting go
I’m letting go

Falling into You

You remind me
Of things forgotten
You unwind me
Until I’m totally undone
And with Your arms around me
Fear was no match for Your love
Now You’ve won me

And if I lived a thousand lifetimes
And wrote a song for every day
Still there would be no way to say
How You have loved me

Oh, how You love me
And that’s how You’ve won me

 

Underface

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Shel Silverstein has been one of my favorites since I was young. I still flip through pages of his poems and find my inner girl, my inner broken soul, and my underface.

While the last several months have been really super and I’ve been blessed over and over by people who love me and I still haven’t completely figured out why… I’ve been privately holding close my brokenness. My underface. My undoneness.

The good news is that I (we) have a loving God who sees the underface. A loving God who desires to completely restore the broken vessels that we are and walk alongside us down a road of redemption. He provides us with people who are willing to see the underface and not run away in disgust or judgement, but to embrace us with love, grace, and mercy.

We may be able to hide our underface from one another, but never from Him. Whatever you might be dealing with today, tomorrow, next week – He is with you; relentlessly pursuing you and desiring the intimacy of you asking Him into your underface places.

I needed to remind myself of that this morning, maybe you too?

Being Victorious… and that’s okay.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Our founding pastor gave us a project this morning. Write.

Well, okay. That’s easy! His purpose is to start writing down things that are a vision for us throughout the year. Once they’re on paper (or blog), then they become easier to realize because they aren’t thoughts that are just trapped in our head. We are allowing others to see our vision and to support us until the vision is brought to completion.

I have so many visions, friends. So, this post won’t be about those, but about me and the vision I have for myself over this coming year. Because of my becoming, though, I hope that some of the other visions start to take shape and those things that make up my heart dreams will come to life in a way that I never even hoped or expected.

I’ve shared my word with all of you – victorious! I am in *love* with that word, y’all! And I am working in quite a few areas in my life where I want those victories to shine. This morning, though, another thought came to mind (thanks, God!). Not just being victorious in things and certain aspects, but really BEING victorious. Wha?

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Here’s the thing, we all know it’s a really – really – fine line between being humble and being proud. Being sanguine and being haughty.  I like to accomplish things. I feel like God has gifted me with the ability to lead. I like to know that goals are being met and I had a part in doing it. However, I do not like the limelight or the public recognition of it all. I prefer a quiet “atta girl” and being done with the whole thing. I feel like God has given me some really great gifts, but I want to be mindful to not take those for granted or to come off as being boastful and arrogant. But I do want to be confident.

I remember teaching a lesson once about accepting compliments and recognition. I taught it because I struggled (still do!) with it myself. I hoped that by teaching it, I would get better at it. I maybe did, a little. But I also didn’t, a lot. Just a couple weeks ago, I had to go to my manager, who had graciously handed me a few very nice compliments within a matter of a couple days and I ungraciously deflected them, and apologize for doing that. She was being kind and I was unaccepting. Ugh, I hate that about myself! Humble, proud, humble, proud… it’s like my head spins.

Because of the message I heard at church today and one I saw on Facebook after church today, I had to realize this is still something in me that needs a lot of work. The Facebook message was a full-blown encouragement to me and my walk over the last year. I was complimented on my courage and told that I was an inspiration. And that I was loved. My first thought was, “whatevs… I’m just doing what God wants me to do, no big deal! It’s nothing really.” Instead, I typed, “I love you,” and left it right there. It all kinda came together, in that moment, that people (not a lot granted, but a few solid ones! lol) are watching me. They are watching my journey, watching my faith being walked out, and looking at me in a way that’s a little bit scary for me.

And that’s when it hit… God is trying to make ME victorious! Say whaaaaat? He is using me in a way that I didn’t consider before today. Man… part of me has been so confused about this whole journey and how it was supposed to work and why it had to happen this way. And, gosh, if ONE person can see courage in what the Lord has brought me through this year, then it’s all worth it. Every hard thing. Every scary thing. Every challenge. It’s all worth it.

But the very best thing for me to know and to walk in is that if He wants me to be victorious, it means He also wants the very same thing for you. Each of us is being equipped to walk out His mission for our lives, to find the victory He is calling us toward. It isn’t prideful. It’s not being arrogant or conceited. It’s being confident in the work He’s doing through us for His Kingdom! Now, go get all victorious and stuff! :p

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Waiting and Hoping and Believing

When life doesn’t do what we expect it to do, as believers, we can only do one thing.

Hope.

Some people think hope is a dirty word. “I hope for _____” and “I hope I can accomplish ____” or whatever your hope might look like in your world. It is not bad to hope for things, friends.

Abraham hoped… Romans 4:18-21 (NLT) 18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”[a] 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.

Hope provides us with an opportunity to have faith. Abounding faith! Believing that what God has promised us will come through, in His time, is hard, but crucial to our walk with Him.

When I was preparing for my move to Texas, I had a great “feel” on a job with a local non-profit. My manager put in a call to their management and sent a recommendation letter on my behalf. I knew – I just KNEW – that the job would work out and it was perfect for me.

The job didn’t work out. I knew it was perfect for me. God knew it wasn’t.

I had a choice at that point; I could stop hoping and believing in God’s promises to me or I could move forward, in faith, that God wasn’t going to lead me into a place of despair and just leave me there. It was the perfect opportunity to allow my faith to grow even more. Figuratively, I could look at my resume and find that it’s “as good as dead” and that I would never find the place He has for me. But, like Abraham, I want to choose not to waver in believing God’s promise.

It isn’t easy. Sometimes I want to waver. I want to tuck my tail, and run home. I miss my friends more than I ever thought possible. I thought I would be working by now and have my mind distracted from the people, things, and places my heart longs for. All I have to lean on, hope in, depend on is God. And He has to be enough for me.

He is enough.psalm 130 jshih

Galatians 5:5 (NLT) 5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.


Psalm 130:5 (NIV) I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Whatever it is that you’re hoping for today, have faith. Believe in God’s promise to you. Hold on to that hope and keep walking the path He lays for you. His path is perfect. In obedience, we aren’t promised that the path will be without struggle – but we are promised that His plans are best.

Wait on Him. In His word put my hope.

Repeat.

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Repeat.

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Repeat…

Keep Singing Oceans

I read a blog post recently called Stop Singing Oceans authored by Annie F Downs. Before going any further… please go read her post. It will put what I’m about to say in context. And, for the record, I don’t know anything about this sweet woman… I’m sure she is very wonderful! I’m not, in the least bit, attacking her. I’m just using her blog post as a conduit to my own nasty confession.

Yes, Annie F Downs!! I thought the same thing! I like to think that I was the first person to ever hear that song. It’s made appearances on my blog, on my Facebook, and mostly, deep down in my heart. I say that song was the thing that held me together during this transition of mine.

The lines, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You may call me,” were ringing true in every aspect of my life as I prepared to leave everything I knew to step into the unknown in Texas – simply because I felt that God was calling me there.

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I remember crying out, pouring out, and begging for God to make me strong when I heard this song. I, too, would be frustrated when others sang it… and I, in my high and mighty position of letting the Spirit lead me wherever He may call me, felt like anyone else – not making such a huge change and sacrifice – was simply mouthing the words to a song they weren’t willing to actually live out. Like, seriously, I would find myself being snubbish about it. Like I was better. Or more awesome. Or really following God and everyone else who sang it wasn’t.

Yep. I admit it. I did that.

Then, the other day, out of the blue, God straight up convicted me of that. I wasn’t even listening to the song, thinking about it, nada… it’s just like He tapped me on the shoulder and said, “hey, so you know that thing you were doing in your head? I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it one bit. I need you to fix that in your heart. You are a beautiful child of Mine, and I love you… but you aren’t the only one walking it out.”

Hello, God…? Is that You? sigh.

It was Him. And He was right. My heart was a little ugly about the whole thing.

So, I started to think about what it might look like for someone else. It doesn’t always mean leaving a place, giving away all your money, etc… It might mean trusting God to walk you through addiction, or an eating disorder, or getting your marriage together, or getting yourself together. He may be calling you to build a better relationship with Him so that when/if He does call you to go “wherever” you’ll be ready.

Sometimes, like Annie mentions, it just means buying coffee for a homeless person or sharing something from our past. She was right on point when she says that we need to be living it out. Period.

How can we, so fully and with such gusto, sing a song and then just turn it off when the song is over. We do. But we shouldn’t.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It doesn’t say we have to GO anywhere or GIVE away everything, but it does say that we were created to do good works and that He has prepared those in advance for us. In other words, situations will be put in our path because God is giving us an opportunity to do good work in His name. How are we going to handle those situations? With doubt? With love? With nothing at all?

In Colossians 3: 12-17 (ESV)it states, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Can’t this all be about how the Spirit leads us where our trust is without borders? Consider someone who needs to forgive another person that hurt them deeply. If we choose forgiveness, then isn’t the Spirit leading us to a place where we can’t trust ourselves to go without Him? I say, yep.

So, in conclusion, I say KEEP singing Oceans! And pray that God reveals to you the areas where you need to trust Him fully. Pray that if He is calling you to a place of compassion for someone else that you’re open to it. Pray that if He needs you to talk to someone you’d never talk to because of any myriad of reasons that you gather strength from Him to do so.

We might not have the same “Oceans,” my friends… but we all have our own “Oceans” and that’s the way God is going to use each of us.

And then, BAM! I live in Texas.

I’ve been having a hard time with this first blog post, from my new home. In part, I feel like I have too much to share. In part, I don’t know what to share and what not to share. And finally, some of it is really good and some of it is a struggle.

All in all, it’s a bit overwhelming because there is just so much in my head, heart…

I’ll start with the good, easy stuff… like the drive down. It was really good! The three vehicles were: mine in the lead, my mom behind me driving the rental truck, and my man child taking up the rear in his own car. Aside from having to be constantly aware of the other two vehicles the whole time, it was a good trip. I had a plan to listen to Pride & Prejudice on my way down, but that only happened occasionally. The rest of the time I prayed. And cried. And worshipped. And obsessed over the other vehicles in my care.

I was fortunate to have my mom stick around a few days to help me get some things done. Within a week, everything was unpacked and put away. I suppose that is one good thing about not working, but also one bad thing. I rushed through doing everything and then ran out of stuff to do. =]~

I’ve realized that I am way too dependent on my GPS and will be working through that. This means, I’ll have to allow myself to get lost a few times. I’ve also realized that I suddenly don’t care if my fat upper arms are showing. It’s too stinkin hot to be worrying about such silliness. 

The last couple of weeks have been more difficult. I’ve been dealing with a lot of my own insecurities and trying to figure out how to work through them. I feel like I’m being humbled in a way with which I wasn’t really prepared.

I am still looking for work, but I know that I know that I know how faithful our God is to me. In the meantime, it means trying to take in a whole new city, with lots of things to do all over the place, with very little resources.

Every weekend, I’m fortunate to have several churches to visit. That has been great. I’m able to see various types of worship styles, sometimes all in the same service! There is so much diversity here which is what I’m most thankful for right now. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to drive within a few miles and find so much variety in food, art, and people.

I’m not kidding when I say this post has taken me two weeks to write… I started it and then just let it sit on my desktop, open, ignored. Workin through it, y’all. I’m working through it. =]

In the meantime, I crave your prayers to find work and my sanity!

Now that I’ve made this “first post breakthrough” – I hope to be able to come with some more regular, normal stuff, that isn’t all about my drammaaaaa! 😉