December 24, 2013


How can I write words unless I'm filled to the tippy-top and overflowing with the Word Himself?

How do I write when the well is dry, cracked, and unable to keep drops from seeping away?

How? I wondered.

Fill me up, Jesus, whispered my heart. Give me a new well, one without cracks, one with a source everflowing.

Renew my mind, Lord, 'cause I'm dry and thirsty and how is one supposed to bubble life when life's sunk deep below the fill line top?

Oh, and Jesus?
You've got to do the work. I tried it before, tried filling up with your water, but when I struggle to wrap arms and life's broken shards around life liquid flowing, my heart forgets it has a spring. 

Yesterday my heart whispered, a faint, parched cry.

But Jesus, He's got good ears, you know?

So moment by moment He renewed my mind. They came like drops of crystal clear sweet water itself, small gifts of thoughts pointing straight to Him.
Time after time, all day long, He reminded me of Himself.
The Living Water.
And I sipped sweet life, all day long, as He splashed into my mind, renewed, and my heart, made new.

The well I had been was one clenching and grabbing, struggling to grasp water. 
But boa constrictors squeeze and clench to crush their prey. 
And my well fractured and cracked and leaked all the more as I frantically hugged the life leaking away.

So when I whispered, unclenched, loosened my grip, I made room for Him in my heart. 
You know the Christmas carol singing "let every heart prepare Him room?"
It sings of truth.

Because the human heart is made to clench, to squeeze, to beat pumping something. And if we don't release and open up to the Maker, our hearts squeeze and crack, broken wells, unable to hold water.

But Jesus is working in this heart of mine, renewing me, reminding me.
Because I don't have to hold tight to the water.
My well is filling, always flowing, from the spring of Life-water Himself.

And my pumping, squeezing, pulsing, heart?
It is the means by which Life-water splashes and bubbles, flowing over and over,
pulsing life.

December 18, 2013

A Winter Ensemble

I'm taking a break from writing this week to share with you my new favorite outfit! After practically being dragged into buying some tall boots ('cause I'm a stingy shopper), I had a flash of fashion inspiration and pulled together this winter ensemble (as featured in my last post):
I love the lacy texture of this little burgundy dress, but the neckline and bodice is waaaayyyy immodest, and it was originally a little shorter than I'm comfortable with. So. I had to be creative!
The white lace you see peeking out under the dress is actually not part of the dress. To add a couple more inches in length, I re-purposed an old "petticoat"/ underskirt thingy by shortening it so it came to my knees. I actually like the dress better with the white lace than without it!
Adding a jean jacket brings in a little contrast and gives the outfit a western flair, besides adding warmth and modesty. And the final touch, of course, is the boots. Although I was hesitant to buy them at first, they have grown on me and I love how they look with the rest of this outfit!
I couldn't resist pulling a quiver into the pictures. :) 
I'd like to challenge you girls to experiment with your wardrobe a bit. Find something you've not worn in a while, or something that's not quite modest enough, and play around with it! Add another layer or pull in a flash of color; add a belt or bring in some contrast! Just remember to keep it modest - tight enough to show you're a woman, but loose enough to show you're a lady. ;)

December 10, 2013

An Adventure of My Own

I've been hearing and reading and seeing lots of adventure lately. From Narnia to the Avengers to Inheritance to Hunger Games... and this saturation has made me long for adventure of my own. 

But this morning, that all changed. 
This morning I realized that I do have an adventure - the adventure of a believer, a walk with God. Paul, in 1Timothy 6:12, states, "Fight the good fight of the faith." So I'm not only in a great adventure, but also smack in the midst of a fight, a battle, a war.
God has given me a mission, and there is a very real battlefield here, before my eyes. Not only that, but as Lucy, Edmund, and Caspian faced inward struggles as the sea and evil played tricks on their mind on the Dawn Treader, I too have a multitude of battles to fight in my mind. Last night I was almost defeated by a self-imposed monster of failure lurking in my head, and the only thing that saved me was a supernatural wave that knocked me to my knees to pray. This morning I fought the deceivingly beautiful army of distraction, and struggled to see past a mist of confusion. 
Yes, I do have an adventure of my own. I have battles to fight and missions to fulfill. It's all very real. Very, very real. 

Take, for example, school. My schoolwork is a precarious mountain I must scale, being ever alert in order to dodge misses of laziness and distraction.
Pinterest is a beautiful forest filled with land mines of comparison and covetousness, with vines reaching to ensnare me in a tangle of self-worth. Through this forest I choose to wade, searching for hidden gems of wisdom and usefulness. 
Every meal is an obstacle course of choices, ranging from puddles of veggies or fruit to barbed wire fences of over-eating. 
Conversations, too, are battles. Will I speak Jesus-talk, or will Satan seduce me into dark loaded words and fiery, searing comments? 
Is it no wonder that I often find myself spiritually exhausted? I think not. In fact, I am presenting to you that grumbles and haughty looks don't stem from nothing. They are, I believe, side effects of wounds I receive on the battlefield. 
When I take my eyes from the end goal in my adventure - Jesus - I instantly become vulnerable to attacks from the enemy, Satan. A brilliant foe, he grabs every opportunity to wound my faith, set back my growth, and plant discouragement in my heart while my eyes are wandering. Thankfully, my Father knows what it is like to be human* so He gave me a Helper** who lives inside me and guides me back to my Father when I stray or falter. Not only that, but there are also awesome invisible agents of God - angels - that are mysteriously working against Satan and his cohorts as well.  
Life is a joy, true. But it is also a journey, an adventure, a battle. Whose side are you on? Have you been living as if every moment is a battle for Christ?

P.S. More on this outfit next week, yes?
* because He came to earth on the first Christmas as Jesus!
** otherwise known as the Holy Spirit

December 4, 2013

Strong in Grace

Paul's words caught me, tugged at my heart this afternoon as pages fell open to 2 Timothy 2:1. 
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 
How many times have I judged someone's strength by their outward appearances, or the witty replies of their minds? 
How many times have strong ones crumbled, fragile as dust, behind doors slammed shut or feet pounding away? How many times have the strong ones felt weak standing against comparison's dark army? How many times have I thought myself strong for scaling a hill only to find a sheer rocky cliff awaiting me?
So the strong ones are weak, and I wonder how I can be strong. But the strong I need, deep down inside, is not the strong of this world, but a Jesus-type strong. 
And the Jesus-type strong is grace. 
Years ago my ballet teacher told of feathery light movements, steps so soft and effortless looking - grace embodied. Peel back the feathers, she said, and underneath there is always strength hard as iron. Because grace is strong, and strength is shown by grace. 

The strongest kind of strong is always and only embodied like Jesus, grace Himself. 
Strong touched the lepers. Strong spoke with and loved sinners of the worst kind. Strong endured physical pain and torture without calling down vengeance from heaven. Strong hung dying a criminal's death and said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." 

Strong was grace. 

But the strongest kind of strong - this strong in grace? To the world it looks like weakness. Why are ballet dancers often portrayed as frilly, wimpy girls twirling and standing on their tippy-toes? Why are grace, vulnerability, and forgiveness thought of as qualities of a weakling? 
The answer is simple, spoken by Jesus himself: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." 

So to become truly strong - in grace - I must choose to disregard the voice of the world, of those who are strong without grace. And I'm making that choice again today, to shine strong on the inside by grace on the outside, touching the lepers in my life, loving the sinners, hanging forgiving when others do me wrong. Today I'm choosing to be strong in grace. 
How about you?