I love the practice of advent, the sacred space it creates for holy waiting. I love the quiet anticipation for our Messiah’s coming. I love the dim rooms lit only by candles, the soft twinkling of lights strewn across trees, the early evenings and the choirs singing Silent Night. I love the marking on the church calendar that urges us to be still and prepare our hearts for the coming King. Continue reading
He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
There have been two times when I’ve clung to that verse for dear life.
The first time was when we were leaving our two boys, flying to Austin for a conference. I had never flown anywhere without them since becoming a mom.
As we were taking off out of Seattle I started to panic and I started to cry and in my head I was repeating “He is before all things and in him all things are held together.” I don’t have a fear of flying, and I had never had anxiety about a takeoff before. I remember being so afraid that something would happen to us, or happen to our boys, and it just terrified me to be going states away from them. Continue reading
As an imperfect mother living in a world where social media proclaims perfection, it is easy to be filled with constant worry and even, at times, jealousy. Questions like “Am I doing well enough as a parent?” “Do my children have enough new toys?” “Do my children have as many gifts for birthdays and Christmas that the social media feeds show?” “Are their clothes ‘in style’?” may arise. The list could go on and on about what this world deems great parents to be. It can really make you feel like you are not good enough, when in truth, these things are only things, and they do not measure our ability to parent our children, and do not truly matter in terms of our children’s salvation.
Dear friend, we, as parents –in order to set an eternal example– must set our eyes on things that are from above and not from this earth. Continue reading
You know that feeling when life just keeps piling up and up and up, and you are starting to become really unsteady on your feet, wobbling everywhere and just barely able to stand? That’s what life has seemed for us over the past 8 months. And then the rug was pulled completely out from under us, and we fell hard. Continue reading
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Delighting in our hardships and difficulties.
Boasting about our weaknesses.
Why must we do such difficult things?
Being immersed in a society and culture that is constantly inflicting the message that imperfection equals inadequacy, the idea of self-awareness and vulnerability are two acts that have always evoked a small amount of fear from within.
There is a sense of security that comes with keeping the door to my authentic-self locked up. Placing the intricate key that unlocks the doorway into our darkest secrets, painful past, struggles and sin takes a certain amount of courage and boldness. Especially when the world tells us to do otherwise.
Vulnerability takes courage because it sets us up for the possibility of rejection and judgment. However, we must set aside ourselves and remember that our life is about knowing Him and making Him known, even if it means risking our reputation.
As Lent is in full swing and we are approaching the celebration of the Risen One, we are reminded of the importance of unlocking that door to our broken past and revealing the lines of sorrow on our weary faces. It is a time that we acknowledge our shortcomings and allow our weaknesses to come to the surface. This should be a time where we stop hiding behind an unstable door and start confessing to our Heavenly Father and to those around us.
I once shamed myself for my past struggles and mistakes. Entering into my freshman year of college, I was what some people call a “baby” Christian. It hadn’t quite been an entire year since I had made the decision to abandon my life and place it into the gentle hands of Christ.
While I was on the right path, keeping my eyes fixated on the cross, I was also holding onto the baggage full of my broken pieces that I had acquired throughout high school.
It’s quite ironic, but as I type these very words, the song called Stained Glass by Jon Guerra shuffled on my playlist and is now filling the air with sweet melodies. This song clearly depicts the lifestyle I was living as a new believer. I was following Jesus but I was still hiding behind the mistakes that I had made. (Below are some of the lyrics; I encourage you to go check out the entire song.)
“All my days
I’ve been wearing the mistakes I’ve made
Like a coat I could’ve thrown away
I should’ve brought it to You.”
While I grew up in a Christian home, it took me quite some time to discover how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Prior to college, I sought joy in earthly matter rather than from the Lord, I found hope in my own lofty dreams and goals rather than in His promises and I was wallowing in a sinful and unhealthy relationship with a boy.
After realizing the magnitude of my brokenness and allowing the Lord to mend my broken pieces, it took awhile before I could fully fathom the power of God’s grace. The faster I chased after the Lord’s heart and the more time I spent sinking in His presence, the better I understood the magnitude of God’s love.
He lavishes it upon the unworthy, the crippled, and the ragamuffins. His grace is sufficient for all.
Yes, I am broken. Yes, I continue to fall short of God every day. However, I am aware of my vast need for Him and fully understand that there is nothing that can set me apart from Him. My only response to the Lord’s goodness is to live each day completely surrendered to Him, allowing Him to shape and use me in whatever ways that I can glorify Him in every corner of life.
Understanding God’s grace has allowed me see the beauty in my messy redemption story. I can now celebrate joyfully knowing that he has turned my mess into a message, a message that I can boldly and confidently share with others without feeling the need to keep the door to my past struggles, sin and sorrow locked up.
Friends, the Lord blesses us in our times of vulnerability. He delights in our efforts of letting our true selves be seen and when we boast in our weaknesses and struggles.
As I am fully immersed into my second year of college, I have witnessed these blessings firsthand. I am constantly praying that the Lord opens doors and sparks conversations that allow me to share my redemption story with others. I pray the same for you.
Here are just a few things that I have learned from the sweetness of vulnerability:
-The Lord has wired us to crave relationships with others. In order to build relationships that go beyond the surface, we must be vulnerable. When we are quick to admitting our weaknesses and sharing about our struggles with others, we find that we are not alone in this dark and broken world and we are able to build emotionally healthy relationships.
-Our ability to admit our imperfections makes us more compassionate and empathetic individuals. When others take notice of our vulnerability, they will more than likely see us as a safe person, a person that will listen well and empathize. Our vulnerability is contagious and will hopefully encourage others to do the same.
-No matter how dark our past may have been, the people who are meant to be in our life will love us despite our broken pieces. The love they show us will be an extension of Jesus’ love, freely given in spite of knowing about our deepest pain and struggles.
When I feel that I can’t muster up enough courage to share about my struggles and past with others, I simply pray that the Lord will speak through me and also remind myself of this quote by Oswald Chambers, “If you are going to be used by God, he will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all. They are meant to make you useful in his hands.”
The Lord calls us to repent and turn with the entirety of our hearts in the complete opposite direction. I pray that we can acknowledge our vast need for the Lord, remembering that he is ready to forgive and mend our broken pieces with His grace. I pray that you we can continue to find the beauty in our redemption stories and struggles and that we can use the experiences that the Lord pulls us through to connect with others.
Will you pray those same prayers with me? Will you find the courage to strip yourself bare and stand without a disguise before the Lord who created us and before His people?
About the author:
Savannah is a 20 year old living in his overflow of mercy and grace. She is enthralled by people and adventures. You will most likely find her seeking joy in the smallest of things, jumping in the car for spontaneous road trips, sitting in a quiet and still room alone with a notebook and pen in hand or eating macaroons with a cup of joe in hand. Her dream job? To be a story-teller. To share stories of redemption and to advance the gospel and further His kingdom through beautiful arrays of anointed words.
This is the first in what will be a monthly series of prayers.
We all have days when it’s hard to find our worth in Jesus. It’s easy to get caught up in how we look, what we don’t have, and what we wish we were better at. We’re great at throwing ourselves pity parties and wallowing in our weaknesses, and our confidence gets beaten into the ground.
I had a lot of difficult, dark days when I struggled with an eating disorder. Much of the prayer below is excerpts from my prayer journal during that time. And what I found time and time again is this: His word is filled with truths about seeking Jesus confidently, that He is sufficient for us, and that we are going to struggle with desiring the things of this earth. But He is faithful, and He doesn’t want us to live that way. Continue reading
brand /brand/: the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
Relationships. They’re what life is all about. We were designed to be relational and in community with each other, to love and lift each other up as followers of Christ. We learn this early on in life, and as we grow older and more mature, so do our relationships. Most friendships start out young & innocent, “Hi, what’s your name, let’s be friends”. But soon, the innocence wears off and sin sets in. Kids can be mean and malicious, and so can adults. The difference is, adults become better at hiding it. Continue reading
I’ve been feeling blue lately and quite frankly a bit depressed. Maybe it’s because it’s our second year being away from family for the holiday season, or because I have a retail-working husband who works weekends and most holidays. It could be a combination of being inundated with work, social obligations and feeling like there’s no time for ourselves, as much as I hate to admit it at the risk of sounding selfish. The envious side of me says it’s because most of our friends get to go home for Christmas this year. Or, maybe it’s because there are more and more loved ones missing with each year that passes, which makes my heart hurt in a completely broken way.
All I know is my spirit is aching and I can’t pinpoint just one reason why.
Which leads me to believe it’s a spiritual matter. Can you relate? Continue reading
Read the first part of the story here
It’s obvious that I always placed too much of my worth and value in my appearance, but I never realized this until it was too late. Growing up in a society that places so much worth and value on these things, it’s no wonder I felt this way.
I see so many women around me who have similar tendencies. I think we all struggle whether we’ll admit it or not. When your food is effecting your lifestyle, it isn’t healthy. I finally came to terms with my eating disorder in my women’s Bible study group the following summer. There’s nothing quite like having a safe place where you can be open about these kinds of struggles and trials. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done: to be in the thick of an eating disorder and openly tell a room full of women, some of whom had already walked down the same road, what I was struggling with. I didn’t know what to do or where to start with getting healthy again, but I knew I needed help. Continue reading