The story only gets better from here.

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I think this is one of my favourite pages in the whole Bible. Knowing what’s just around the corner, the excitement that the story only gets better from here.

What was spoken by the Old Testament prophets becomes living, breathing humanity as Immanuel comes: God is with us.

The power of the Gospel hidden in a helpless babe, the Messiah born to the humblest of beginnings.

And the story just gets better from here.

Because the best is yet to come, and yet the Best came as the least among us, but with the greatest gift.

Because this King, who came to rule and reign, instead chose to bear my shame and went to the cross. Saving his glory for a later day, when he rose from the grave in triumph over sin and death and the power of hell.

And the story just gets better from here.

Because in all the things the prophets said, some yet remain a promise.

Because he now sits at the right hand of the Father, waiting to be sent again in completion of a story whose first breath was breathed before light ever cracked the sky in the dawning of time.

But this page. This agonizing and exhilarating moment as a broken and dying earth catches her breath in expectation of redemption in the form of a humble babe.

And the story just gets better from here.

Searching.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24

I’m wrestling.

I have been struggling with a situation, and it seems as though I continue to butt up against the same brick wall, over and over.

This morning, as I sat with my coffee and my Bible, I was confronted with the truth in these words. The verses have been framed on my wall for months, if not years, and I look past them daily; my eyes bouncing over them, not stopping to let the weight of their meaning seep into my soul.

But today.

Search me, God.

Bring Your holy conviction to the areas where it is needed.

You know my heart.

Better than I know myself.

Test me, and my anxious thoughts.

Help me to silence my futile worrying so that Your voice can be heard.

Reveal the areas in my heart that are offensive to You.

Like my lack of trust.

My efforts to run my own life.

My desire to be in control.

My dissatisfaction with Your timing.

Lead me in the ways of everlasting life.

Your plans for me are perfect.

And only Your will is going to bring me satisfaction and peace.

Search me.

And the walls come down.

It shouldn’t be mind-blowing.

So it’s been a while. I know.

Sometimes that happens…

Life (or lack there of, possibly) gets in the way.

Or you just feel that there’s nothing to be shared. I sit down to write, and nothing comes out.

Or I’ll write, and then there it sits in my drafts folder, never to see the light of day.

God has been doing things, for sure. He’s at work, always.

But sometimes it can be hard to see. It can be hard to quantify. Hard to identify as “progress.”

But He IS there.

Always.

And He is so good.

He’s showing me how to be fulfilled in Him. How amazing it is to be in that place of surrender.

He’s bringing me into honest, real, and uplifting community.

He’s opening my eyes to the big picture.

Reminding me how one day, I will stand before Him, and the only things that will matter to me are:

Did I love Him well?

Did I serve Him the way He asked me to?

Those other things that I get so concerned about in this life won’t even be a passing thought.

My only regrets will be centered around not having known Him better.

This shouldn’t be a mind-blowing revelation, but it has rocked my world, a little bit.

It’s made me uncomfortable in the best possible way.

Sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

And I don’t know why I’m surprised, because obviously… He knows.

He’s so good.

“By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”

Romans 5:1-2 (The Message)

Risky business.

Love is a risk.

This week, God presented my sister and I with an opportunity- something that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves. In fact- it was something we had discussed doing, but had closed the door. It wasn’t for us. It wouldn’t fit our lifestyle. We were comfortable with things the way they were.

But Jesus had another plan. He presented us with this need, an opportunity to love like He does. A big, messy, just-say-yes kind of love.

And so like humans do, we weighed our options. We thought through the potential outcomes. We calculated risk. And then we jumped off the cliff.

Love is a risky thing.

It can be uncomfortable.

It can seem too big.

It’s not always convenient.

But it is a privilege. To love like Jesus is to become more like Him… To be His hands, and His feet, and His heart… That’s when we learn to die to ourselves.

In the middle of making this decision, in the struggle between obeying the Voice telling us to just say yes and the desire to stay within our comfort zone, while we were still weighing the risks, I came across a quote that kind of rocked my safe and secure little world.

“God risked Himself on me.
I will risk myself on you.
And together, we will learn to love,
and perhaps then, and only then,
understand this gravity that drew Him,
unto us.”

-Donald Miller

It’s part of a larger (very beautiful) passage in a book he wrote, and I am taking it out of context somewhat. But I think it fits not only here, but in a lot of life’s situations.

I want those words to define my life.

Love is a risk.

But if it means I can be more like Jesus, that I can better understand His heart, then I am saying yes.

And I’m jumping off the cliff.

So blessed.

Lately I have been struggling with life seeming too “normal.” I’m comfortable. Complacent. Drifting.

Annoyed.

In frustration, I complained about my feelings to a friend, and she admitted to feeling the same way. We commiserated, half-heartedly encouraged, and went on our ways.

And this morning I was so convicted.

I woke up to sunshine (a first in a while- so. much. rain.), drove to the job I love, in my fantastic blessing of a car, and as I was driving… There was a nudge. A reminder to be thankful.

And so me and Jesus had a chat. Just me and Him, in my car, quiet. Me being thankful. Him reminding me of how blessed I am.

The best part?

I’m always here, you know. We can do this any time.

And I felt so silly. So inadequate to deserve the things He’s given me. Those boring times? They’re good for me too. And in the big picture, I’m just so blessed.

So here is my line in the sand: I’m blessed. That’s all there is to it.

In these quiet, hidden times when it’s easy to get frustrated with the status quo- I’m blessed.

It won’t always be like this, and something tells me that I might just look back and think that these were the days:)

Big dreams.

I think we’re all created to dream. To reach for the big things that are just beyond our grasp.

I don’t know about you… but I tend to keep those dreams quiet. I keep them to myself. There’s just something about speaking them out loud that is slightly terrifying, and so I don’t. Why run the risk of failure? Or of having your dream rejected by the person you share it with?

Silence is safer. But it can also be the place where dreams go to die. And I don’t want to be ok with letting that happen.

 

Yesterday, I took a leap and broke the silence on a really big dream. It was scary, and risky, and the potential for disappointment was huge.

Instead, I watched someone else’s eyes light up at the possibilities I had contemplated quietly for so long. I watched them embrace the vision of this too-huge-for-me thing, and say- this can happen. We can do this.

My God delights in big dreams. He loves to inspire them in us, and He’s blessed even more than we are when they come to be reality.

 

And I think that this really big dream is coming to life.

Seasons don’t last forever.

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I’m not a huge fan of snow, and I’ll be the first to say that winter is not  my favourite season. But somehow it always surprises me how short these winter months are. So much time spent dreading it, and then almost before you realize… temperatures are inching closer to bearable, gigantic mountains of snow are dwindling away, and you begin to notice the warmth of the sun again.

I think that’s something I tend to stumble over in other areas of my life, too. I’m a chronic over-thinker (no, really?!), and I’m realizing lately just how much energy I expend by worrying over temporary things. Or how I stress out over inevitable or not-worth-it things.

Just like God promises springtime, He promises His grace and victory. And we can trust Him to come through for us.

I’m so thankful for that, and I want to see life from that vantage point more readily.

Spring is coming, folks  : )