Celebrating Life (with LIVE RECORDED SONG + annual survey)

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I absolutely, positively, love life.

 

Not that it’s easy, or pain-free, or pleasant all the time. It’s not.

 

But after a long string of posts about God feeling so far away, and finding hope in pain, and saying no, and inadequacy, and doubting God’s promises, and searching for meaning – I think we need a post on celebrating life.

 

Sometimes we wake up in the mornings, with a to-do list a mile long, a mess to clean up, and stress to deal with – and it’s honestly rather difficult at times.

 

But what if we decided to wake up with joy?

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Returning Again to The Everlasting Promises

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I’m back to the beginning again.

 

It’s funny – sometimes I think I’ve got it all figured out.

 

I write these posts, I journal, I speak, I talk with friends – and sometimes, I feel like I’ve solved everything. Like I have all the answers, and that maybe, this time, I’ll really have control of my life.

 

Ironically, however, I think I’ve got it all covered and then I struggle again.

 

I write about true identity being found in Christ and yet I find myself playing the comparison game, over and over.

 

I write about hope in pain, and soon after I find myself, once again, stumbling in the darkness, losing faith in any light.

 

I write about living in grace and the very next day I battle overwhelming guilt and shame.

 

And here’s the kicker – all this leads to is more guilt.

 

There’s a whisper in my head, reminiscent of the Serpent in Genesis 3, saying, “Did God really say His grace covered everything?”

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Of Love and Grace

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Love’s crazy and amazing.

 

It’s past one o’clock in the morning. I’m writing, I’m thinking, I’m praying, I’m dreaming. I’m reading, I’m hoping, I’m feeling, believing.

 

Nights like these are good nights for me. Every so often I glance up from my journal and fix my gaze on my twinkle lights, my sky-blue walls, my slatted shades, my messy space – and I take a breath again.

 

I’ve never been in love. At least, not yet. Sure, I’ve had a few crushes here and there, like we all have had growing up, but there’s something about love that just captivates me, awakens my senses to something greater.

 

As I sit here on my bed, legs tucked gently under me, clad in an oversized sweatshirt, leggings, and hair such a mess…I’m honestly quite overwhelmed.

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Telling My Story: On Inadequacy, Shame, and Overwhelming Grace

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After a bit of a refreshing, much-needed break, I’m back again. I’ve taken the past few weeks to breathe, to refresh, to learn and grow and visit my friends, and reflect on life.

 

A while ago, I wrote a post called When Your Soul is Longing to Be Enough, and to this day, it’s one of my favorites. I want to continue on with that theme, with a new and different take on it – one that’s even more freeing.

 

For years, I’ve inwardly wrestled with feeling adequate, good enough, complete.

 

When people would tell me, “Oh, you’re so good at _____,” I’d brush it off, mentally tell myself they didn’t know what they were saying, ignore the compliment and continue to believe that I wasn’t good enough. Not as a person, or as a performer.

 

As I got older, and understood my faith a little more, I would hear it said, “You are complete in Christ! You are new and pure in Him, and that is where your identity lies.”

 

And I grasped onto that belief, holding it firmly, afraid it’d slip away. Because some nights, curled up in bed with my journal in my lap and pen in my hand, crying out to God, I’d begin to disbelieve again.

 

There was this dichotomy in my mind, this separation between who I was in Christ, and how I performed – how I really and truly saw myself.

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Grasping Onto Hope

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i.

 

Ah, hope.

 

Lately, I’ve been mulling over the puzzling question of what real hope looks like, in a world as messed up as ours is.

 

I’ve been thinking, praying, talking, and tweeting about it, and I’ve been doing my best to grasp the essence of what it truly is…and what it can look like individually in our lives.

 

Hope is beautiful, because it is the promise of faith. Not blind faith, but real, grounded, and radical faith in a world of chaos; confusion; hopelessness.

 

Hope is a form of anticipation, of something guaranteed, not just wished for, and I’ve been grappling with this too, recently.

 

Where is hope when we can’t see straight? Where is hope in depression, in heartache, in desperation?

 

Where is hope when the money is tight, when pain is ever-present, when the future seems miserably bleak?

 

Where is hope in hospitals, in nursing homes, at gravesides?

 

Where is hope in any of it? Where is hope at all?

 

What are we even hoping for?

 

I wish I could lie and say that it all gets better. It may, or it may not. But God is not any less good when He chooses not to give us everything we think we need on this earth. Our ultimate need is a spiritual one, one He took care of on the cross.

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When Life Just Feels…Meaningless.

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This week, I’ve been reading in the book of Ecclesiastes, and man, it’s really caused me to think deeply.

 

Honestly, this book is full to the brim of pessimism, nihilism, and straight-up melancholic hopelessness.

 

Ecclesiastes 1:14

“I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.”

 

Ecclesiastes 3:12

“So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”

 

It’s opened my eyes, though – and so much so.

 

Because truly, don’t we all feel this at times? The whole church sanctuary’s full of people singing, and “How great is our God!” And “…in His presence our problems disappear.” And “You heal my broken heart…”

 

And for some of us, at different times in our lives, that’s the last thing we want to hear. Sure, God might be good…but we don’t feel it. We don’t feel like raising our hands in praise, we don’t feel like singing about the beautiful life He’s given us, we don’t feel like any of it. The problems are still there.

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When God Works Through Our Nos (& believing better yeses will come)

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Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that the right answer is often no.

 

That ‘no’ is better than ‘yes’ – even when it seems as though ‘yes’ is much more glamourous.

 

I’m still young, still learning, still growing – and something I’m constantly reminding myself is that yes is a good answer occasionally, but no isn’t wrong.

 

Vague, maybe, this rant of mine on two English words we utter often. So hold on for a moment and I’ll give you some background.

 

I like yes. I like saying yes to new opportunities, to traveling, to meeting friends, to taking on jobs, to doing just one more course, to volunteering my time to just one more place…

 

and yet I often forget that yes isn’t the only right answer.

 

Busy doesn’t always mean best.

 

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Seeing Resolutions in a New Light

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Hi there, friend.

 

Happy New Year.

 

It’s 2017 over in my corner of the world, and after a break to refresh my mind, spirit, and celebrate Christmas, I’m back once again.

 

I’m not sure what 2016 looked like for you. Maybe it was wonderful, full of growth and love, hope and peace, or maybe it wasn’t that great. Maybe you were stressed and worn, and maybe it was a really tough year.

 

I’ve seen so many complaints on social media, saying, “2016 was horrible, let’s hope 2017’s a little better.”

 

I feel you, friend. 2016 wasn’t an easy year for any of us.

 

But there’s this trend…and it happens every year. We desire to make this new year “our year,” and scribble down resolutions, or come up with defining words, and believe, “If only I work hard enough, this year will be amazing.”

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