“The struggle of struggles is the struggle for the heart. There will be a day when this struggle is finally over, and God will own our hearts unchallenged for eternity. But today the struggle still goes on. So, God, in the grandeur of his redemptive love, will do what is necessary to reclaim our wandering hearts. These painful moments are not the result of his unfaithfulness and inattention; they are rather the product of his lovely grace. He loves us with an eternal and jealous love. He did not shed the blood of his Son for us only to lose us to some physical thing in the creation. God fights for us with the full might of his redemptive hand. He is willing to make us uncomfortable and sad. He is willing to bring us through suffering and grief. He is willing to shake and unsettle us. He is willing to squash our dreams and let the air out of our hopes. He is willing to let what we have craved slip like sand through our fingers. And he does all of these things because we are precious to him. We are the apple of his eye. He will not share us with another. He will not allow us to live in the delusion that we have found elsewhere what can only be found in him.” Paul Tripp
Shared with me by Mrs. Glick, by way of Amber Harrington
The next two days, I currently have an hour-ish commute to work. In trying to make wise use of this time, I’m listening to sermons while I drive. Today, I listend to one by Mark Driscoll on 1 Peter 1:3-9. It’s on the topic of our attitude in the midst of trial.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I highly reccomend you going through this series with Driscoll’s church on 1 and 2 Peter. But here’s the part that cause tears to come to my eyes during my morning commute:
In whatever trial you are, as it is grieving you, we are called to rejoice. How? How do you do this? Driscoll expounds upon this a great deal, but this gem uplifted my soul like nothing else. Think about this-if you are a believer, covered by the blood of Christ, this life on earth? That’s as bad as it’s gonna get! This life, on earth, with all it’s trials and tribulations and hells and awfulness and tears and tragedies and disappointments…it’s NEVER going to be any worse than this for those of us who are found in Christ Jesus.
You think you have had a bad life? It’s just life. Imagine having a bad eternity.
I started thinking about this. The bad days are the worst bad days I’ll ever had. But that means the good days, they are no where NEAR the best days.
Living today in light of THAT day.
The Lord decided to speak to me today through my pumpkin spice latte.
“The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life”
(note that a friend first spoke of this quote on Monday. but it was on my cup today, and it took today to take on personal meaning)
Ask people I grew up with…I wasn’t a cryer. Or a hugger, but that’s a different post. About 5 years ago, I began to realize that the gospel did not bring tears to my eyes the way it did for other people. I remember watching the movie “The Passion” for the first time in high school, and trying to MAKE myself cry because it seemed as though that’s what was supposed to happen.
I wanted to cry over my sin…cry over what Christ accomplished on the cross….I wanted to not be hard hearted and cold.
So I began to pray-that my heart would be softened, that I would feel impact of the gospel on my soul.
5 years later, the Lord has answered my prayer and I have become a crying fool. I cried today in fact. Actually, I’m pretty sure that since moving away from Florida last May, I’ve cried enough tears to fill a small lake. Some of them are tears of longing for what was, some of them are tears of gratitude over what Christ did, some of them are tears of sorrow over my sin. But all of them are proof that God changes hearts…softens hearts…renews hearts…answers prayer.
My dad sent me this card for my birthday….and I cried.
Sometimes I miss the little girl you were
her sweet ways and innocent trust
in the wonder of all things.
But if I were offered a miracle,
if somehow, by magic or by grace,
I could be given back my little girl,
I would refuse…..
There is a woman I would miss even more.
Saw this post on Abraham Piper’s blog.
I could not agree more.
“I’m busy” is generally an acceptable excuse.
I think “I’m not busy and want to keep it that way” should be too.
So this past weekend I went down to Jacksonville and Gainesville for the first time since May!!! It was pretty much splendid. I decided to share what made it just so stinkin’ awesome. (Be forewarned, almost every minute of each day was awesome, so there’s going to be a lot here 🙂 )
1. Starbucks at St. John’s towncenter with the Jax guys (and eventually Amber). I loved just sitting there talking and sparring. It made my heart happy.
2. Staying up WAAAAAYYYY too late talking with Amber and Candace…finally getting to catch up in person. Love love love LOVE these girls.
3. Being teased by Mr. Harrington. His honesty and bluntness is refreshing, hilarious, and needed.
4. Spending the day with my momma in Gainesville- taking her to some of my favorite places and just being with her.
5. STEPH’S WEDDING. Goodness. Another friend married to the man the Lord sovereignly ordained for her before the beginning of time. What a testament to faithfulness. And what a blessing to have been a witness of it. Such love, such grace.
6. The Gilland girls-hugging them, talking with them, laughing with them, sitting with them. My soul misses them.
7. The short but dear chats with so many AGCC people-the Coursons (times two!), the Gillands, the Witts, the Taulbees, the Goettlings, the Howards (bah! Kim and Josh), and Chelsea. These people were my church family for 4 years – it’s not easy to forget them.
8. Hearing Ali sing at the coffee house. Oh my sou (;-)) she is amazing. Like, major superstar. With a humble heart that has been captured by the Lord.
9. David singing “Come for Me.” This is one of my all time favorite songs, and it made my heart happy to hear him perform it again.
10. Staying up WAAAAYYYY to late talking with Hannah. And then getting to sleep in the next morning, and continue the conversation with her and her mom.
11. Sitting in on a Tall Tree rehersal. YAY for finally hearing them in person. Boo for not getting to hear them again anytime soon.
12. Publix subs and the sunset on the Jax dock. And phase 10. And fighting with Jonathan. Because that’s how we roll.
13. Having my heart encouraged by Lana. I both love (and hate) that she knows exactly how my heart feels. It’s wonderful to hear from someone on the other side!
14. Being ministered to by the Holy Spirit like NEVER before at GCC in Jax.
15. Seeing Katelyn and Austin AND LIAM McCraw. I met Liam for the first time. And got to love on Katelyn.
16. Birthday lunch and blessings with just about everyone I love in Jacksonville.
I cried. A LOT. It’s been too too long since I have been in the part of Florida. I left pieces of my heart scattered all between Tampa, Gainesville, Orlando, and Jacksonville.
There’s a part of me that hopes to one day be a Floridian again. There’s a part of me that wants Florida to relocate here (yes. all of Florida. including the beaches, the University, and Tim Tebow). But all of me wants be where the Lord has me, with the people the Lord has for me, and serving in the church the Lord has placed me in. For now, that’s Charlotte NC. And for now, I am embracing this, while missing that.
Wowzas. My blog has been looking a tad sparse lately. Unaccaeptable.
I was thinking in light of Valentine’s Day this coming weekend, I’d repost this, (and this time, perhaps in time for it to be used to bless some people if the Lord so chooses).
I love being a girl. I enjoy the material things-shoes, lip gloss, pink, purses…. I enjoy the emotional things-crying at Publix commercials, getting exciting over a text message, dreaming of your own fairy tale… I enjoy the biblical womanhood things-welcoming protection, submitting, nurturing, responding….
I love hanging out with other girls! Movie nights and ice cream sundaes, dress up dinners with no boys allowed, beach days and Publix subs, long drives to nowhere with the windows down and Kelly Clarkson blaring…
These are all good and wonderful things about being a girl-and I love that this is how the Lord created me. And being a single girl allows me to enjoy these things all the more! My shoes and purses don’t get in anyone’s way, I can cry at the drop of a hat with no one making fun of me, and I get to practice submitting & nurturing & responding. How fantastic is all of this?
But I’ve been thinking…..
If I love it, the girl and the single part, I should love it 365 days a year right? I mean, if I’m content in my current season of life, then birthdays and holidays should come and go with little effect on my heart. Right???
I think all too often, Valentine’s Day rolls around and the single girls of the world unite. We look at it as a day to have fun JUST LIKE all the couples we know. After all, just because we’re not in a relationship doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get to have a fun and memorable evening.
The thing is, when you’re single, EVERY night can be a fun and memorable evening. You don’t have anyone to get home to, you don’t have any diapers to change, and you don’t usually have that tight of a budget.
Numerous girls are planning fun all-girls nights tomorrow, which is fine. BUT….can’t we have a girls night on February 22nd? Or what about in March? My point is this: If your identity is found in Christ on February 13th, so it also should be on February 14th, and 15th, and 16th, etc. Yet, we seem to have this need to focus on our selves on Valentine’s Day-as if to convince ourselves and the watching world that “YES BY GOLLY! We are happy being single.”
Since this will be actually posted on the 14th, it may be a little late. But instead of a day of self-focus, what a wonderful day to be servants! Is there a single mom who might enjoy some company or help around the house or child care while she goes out with friends? Is there a couple who might be blessed by an evening without children in tow? Is there a younger girl who is struggling with her identity in Christ whom you may encourage and serve in some way-without making the focus “SINGLE ON VALENTINE’S DAY STINKS!”?
And if you do go out with a big group of single girl friends, have fun! Laugh, cry, make memories. (And please, take pictures and put them on facebook so I can see all the fun!) Have an evening of biblical fellowship, encouraging one another, speaking truth, and communicating evidences of grace. But please, please, please…from the bottom of my heart I implore you…don’t watch a chick flick. Don’t let your heart be tempted by a fictional character in a movie-he is not real, and no man is actually like that. Christ and Christ alone was the perfect man-not Mr. Darcy or Noah or Prince Charming. The danger of setting up that emotional ideal is all to real, and all too easy, especially on a day of self-focus and self-pity.
Let the focus of the night be Christ’s love. Invite non-believers. Let them see the love that is among you, and declare that love to be the love of Christ-who was crucified and bore the wrath of God, that you might be declared righteous. For this is a love that is better than all the flowers, chocolates, and husbands in the world!
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing