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Friday, July 28, 2017

A Refuge from the Storm

Psalm 62:7-8 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

When the sky is black and thundering,
And the fierce winds howl and moan.
When frightened hearts are wondering
How to face the storm alone.
When the world you've known comes tumbling
Down around your ears,
And your heart is weakly stumbling
As you struggle to face your fears.
Oh, child of God, why linger
In the shadow of the storms?
When your Saviour promises refuge
In the shelter of His arms.
He will hide you under mighty wings
He'll give you peace and rest.
When the mighty wind and rains beat down,
Lean on His gentle breast.
He holds out nail scarred hands to you,
His voice calls out your name.
In the fiery trial you're going through,
He'll walk with you in the flames.
He shed His life blood to redeem
Your soul from doom in hell--
Is He not able to keep you, then,
When life gets rough as well?
The choice to put your faith in Him
Will never cause regret.
When all around you things look grim,
He's a solid rock to stand upon--
Oh, my friend, do not forget!
Sometimes He'll choose to calm the storm
With a whisper, "Peace, be still."
Other times He wants you just to rest
In His perfect, precious will.
A refuge from the storm awaits you,
But you alone can choose;
Will you follow Christ in the path He takes you?
Or wander from Him, lost and confused?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

But Thou Broughtest Us Out...

Psalm 66:10-12 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

There is a song that I really love, and listen to often, that is called "Though You Slay Me". Here are a few of the lyrics:
"You struck down to bind me up--You say You do it all in love, that I might know You in Your sufferings. Though You slay me, yet will I praise You. Though You take from me, I will bless Your name. Though You ruin me, still I will worship, sing a song to The One Who's all I need!"

What powerful words! When I first heard the song, I thought it was a little extreme in some of the wording..."though you ruin me"? And yet what other word than ruin could you use to describe the trials of Job? Or the dark, painful valleys that so many of God's saints have walked through with the help of The Saviour? 

Sometimes, for reasons that are perfect and just, God chooses to try us in seemingly extreme ways. In His infinite wisdom, He knows that we need that particular valley at that exact time. He takes us into the net, lays affliction upon us, causes men to ride over our heads--He brings us through fire and through water. 

And what does the next part of our passage say? "but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place." God shapes our lives like a sculptor molding something masterful. He prunes us like grapevines that must be cut nearly to the earth in order to bring forth rich and beautiful fruit. He leads us like a Shepherd, taking His flock through a fearful canyon, to reach the fertile green pastures on the other side.

The experiences that seem to shatter our souls into shards of pain and grief are stepping stones to the new, more radiant person that God desires us to be! Sure, we may collect a few scars and bumps along the way, but just like physical markings, they tell a story. A story of how God is lovingly, faithfully shaping us to be more like His Son, Jesus Christ. 

There is a very popular saying that is running around that goes like this: "God will never give you more than you can handle!" Let me just say right now...

That. Is. Not. True.

It's not! In 1 Corinthians, God's Word tells us that we will not be TEMPTED above that we are able. Temptation to sin will never be more than we can handle, because God provides a way to escape. 

But trials? God absolutely will give you more than you can deal with--in your own strength. God doesn't want you to handle everything on your own! He wants you to be continually leaning on and trusting in HIM to give you strength! He wants to be your Help, your Shield, your Guide, your Light, your Father, your Shepherd, your Everything. So when trials come, YOU should not be the one handling it...God should be. He will carry your burdens for you. In the very words of our Saviour: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." What precious words of promise from One who wants to carry and comfort you as you walk life's path!

When you come to Him for strength in the trials that come your way, you'll be able to look back and see where those hard and weary times were being perfectly orchestrated by The Master Planner. They were all for the beautiful purpose of bringing you out into a truly wealthy place. <3

Monday, July 10, 2017


John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

I pass them on the street each day,
I see them as I work.
Shattered, torn up people, trying to hide their hurt.
They turn their brimming eyes away,
So none can see the pain
That attacks like ravenous beasts that show
No mercy to their prey.
Some will drown their sorrows
In addictions of all sorts,
While others simply will deny
The despair that haunts their hearts.
Oh why can't we foolish humans see,
Our hearts were made to love!
Why cannot we lift our eyes to God Who dwells above?
He wants to bring us healing and peace,
Far greater than we know. 
And yet He will not force us--
The choice is ours alone. 
Yet who indeed would choose to live
A shattered, torn up life?
When deliverance is promised when we turn from sin and strife?
Oh, Broken One, He's waiting with open arms for you!
He gave His very life to save and give you a way through.
Just ask Him, weary soul, and He will grant you life anew.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fun Post: May and June Favorites!

This summer has been pretty busy thus far, so my posting hasn't been quite as consistent as usual. I'm sure all of you guys have awesomeness going on as well! :) Here are some of my favorites from the past two months. I've been:

Burning Sky by Lori Benton. I texted Kimberly a picture of this book a minute after I finished it and said, quote, "THIS BOOK. It made me laugh and cry and pull my hair out and grin like a monkey as I read the last page. YOU MUST READ IT!!!" Not very elegant language, but hey, those were my immediate thoughts on the book. ;P It's absolutely awesome with tons of plot twists and amazing characters. <3 

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar. I am an avid follower of Tessa's writing and would pretty much love anything she wrote. I did really enjoy this one, although it didn't feel quite as utterly raw and real as some of her others. It was still a very good book, definitely worth the read!! 

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson. Wow, guys...if you want to learn a lot about WW2 and also cry, read this book. :'( It's not as intensely tragic as "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", but still pretty heartbreaking. It's a really well written autobiography.

I did quite a bit of reading in the past couple months! These were just a couple of my favorite selections. :)

A personal prayer challenge. Kimberly sweetly offered to help keep me accountable for this, and that really helped me to remember to stay on top of it. Basically I committed to praying for a set amount of time per day, of just prayer. Sitting down and looking at my prayer list, and spending the whole time just being still and praying. It was really a blessing to form that habit again...prayer is really the thing I tend to let slip the most. :'(

A lovely BBQ dinner at church with my ladies! We had a super fun mother/daughter dinner around Mother's Day. We all dressed up in Western style clothes, and ate out of little baskets with red and white checkered paper in them. My dad and Bro. Chris made SO MUCH MEAT. Seriously, you would think we were a bunch of T-Rexes or something!!! ;P Haha! We did eat a lot, because it was absolutely spectacular meat, but there was quite a bit leftover for the guys back at home...snap, they were disappointed to have to eat up the extra meat. ;) We played charades too, which is always hilarious. :D

An antique mall about 25 minutes away that I had never been to before. I took Mama there for a slightly late Mother's Day outing, and I was...blown away. The building houses 75,000 square feet (over half the size of the average Costco warehouse), of every kind of antique booth you can imagine. It was so. big. I couldn't get over it!! We were there for over 3 hours and didn't even come close to seeing everything. There is a 50's diner on one side of the building, so we went there for a small lunch of onion rings and a milkshake, while laughing at some hilarious old movie playing on a big screen. It was so darling and incredibly special to spend that time with my mom! <3

The liberation of my friend Jenny from the cold iron shackles of school!!!! (Commonly known as a graduation party. ;P) I traveled with her and her family to Moses Lake, spent the night at Katie's apartment, made delicious peppermint bars and worked on decorations, and then spent the day at the park. We had a blast playing games, talking, sharing memories, meeting new and old friends, and just celebrating with her. Congratulations, Jenny!

How to witness more effectively during an evangelism conference we had at church this past month. It was really good to have that conference...sometimes I know the right things to do, and yet it takes a reminder like this one to stir me up to start doing them faithfully again.

Feeling bittersweet...
As I watched one of my best friends walk down the aisle. :') Hannah has been such a sweet blessing to me over the many years I have known her. (You can read a guest post by her here.) At her wedding, I turned around the instant before the doors opened at the back of the sanctuary and caught a glimpse of her face. I had a moment of the deepest empathetic joy and wonder and sense of the thrill that must have been going through her, and as much as I tried not to, I couldn't stop my eyes from filling with tears. What a blessing it was for me to be able to share in her special day! I wish her and Ron all of God's best as they begin their new life together in Alaska. Now I have yet another good reason to want to visit there! ;)

Thankful for...
The opportunity to have some extra online work this month. The sign that I designed and my dad carved into wood and painted. The fact that I'm getting better at racquetball. Reading the Bible together and playing Shoot, outside on the patio. Summer evenings. Lavender, pink, and golden sunsets like the one I watched last night. Days off. Getting a new phone with a good camera and no bugs. :) Kayson's NINTH birthday?!? The boys going on a camping trip. Talking on the phone with friends. Hot showers. Air Conditioning. Dutch Bros coffee. Playing piano at the public market, and actually making some tips! Getting my studio apartment downstairs all spiffed up (even *I* can sometimes get the spring cleaning bug. ;). Cherry season, and picking cherries with my family. Just so thankful for God listening to me, anytime of day, anywhere I am. He is so good to me!!

I hope all of you have a wonderful Fourth of July!! I look forward to hearing from you...what has God done for you lately? :) Love you all!