Friday, November 2, 2012

six songs 2012

We had our annual "Six Songs" art show last weekend.
It is so wonderful to be apart of a church community that values and encourages artists!
I look forward to it every year, 
even though I always wait till the last minute and always doubt what I can come up with, 
God always seems to show me what new things to share about what He's teaching me.
I'm excited to give this painting to my dear friends in California when I go to visit them this month!

Here was my piece and the blurb I wrote for it- enjoy!

song inspiration: ulysess by josh garrels; watercolor & colored pencils on wood

There's a quite a few interpretations of this song that I've read- the title of it being drawn from a character in the Odyssey who longs to be reunited with his love. There is also a parallel drawn to the struggles of life. This was a pretty simple concept to me, but I'm not too good at hidden meanings so I really did love the simplicity of it. I also have a love of typography so I loved the process of writing out these words.

The lyrics I chose are what really struck me about the song:

"Carry me with the memories of the beauty I have known" 

This brought to mind the recent reminder I've had in my life- to know the importance of remembering what God has done to change my life.
Remembering what God has done in the past can carry me in the times I'm just not sure. There is beauty in these memories- even if they were painful at the time, I believe God has used them all for good.

"I'm sailing home to you, I won't be long...
By the light of moon, I will press on"

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.” -Philippians 3:12

perfect in weakness

I started this post a while back-
And since it's kinda big stuff for me I can be a little fearful of being this honest-
But hey, this is real stuff going on in my life right now.
I may not have it fully processed but I'm getting there.
There is so much in my head & heart right now.
I hope this comes out coherently...

We had our annual women's retreat the first weekend in October.
The theme of our weekend was "Let us be Reminded".
Dunno if you ever read this post I wrote a while back, but it's something I need to be reminded of in my life.
This post is about another insecurity God is breaking apart and replacing it with more security found in Christ.
Pretty awesome, really, that God used the weekend of the retreat to help me conquer another piece of insecurity -
And I will look back on it and be reminded.

It has been a trying last couple of months for me; emotional, physically, spiritually.
Sometimes it didn't seem so hard, sometimes it's seemed like so much more than I could handle.
I've been asking God if all this is really what He wants me to do pleanty of times.
Every time I've been answered:

Through His Word:
"...My power is made perfect in weakness..."
-2 Corinth. 12:9-10

"The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
-Zephaniah 3:17

Through song:
"Oh, my God, he will not delay.
My refuge and strength, always.
I will not fear, His promise is true.
My God will come through, always."

And through my friends.
I've never felt so supported by my community in this way.
During a time when I've felt the most vulnerable -
I've been encouraged to keep going.
I've been told that what I'm doing is good.
I've been challenged to go further.
I've been shown grace in my learning.

Well, on one hand, I've learned that this thing that I've been trying to conquire is really not a big deal when it's all said and done.
And that has helped me let go.
Let go of perfection, let go of pride.
And in that, knowing that God can be glorified when I humble myself-
And just aknowledge that He is what matters, nothing else -
This has shown me what worship is & what it isn't...

And on another hand, it has meant such a great deal to me, as an insecure and prideful woman.
By being asked to lead musical worship for my community, I've had to learn more about myself:
What my own voice sounds like...
What sort of deep insecurities I've been holding on to that I didn't really know I had...
Whether I care more about what people think of me or more about what God thinks of me...

I've had to face a huge fear of failing with singing.
I've been hiding, forever been comparing it, been too afraid of what it will sound like on it's own.
(Some of you may be a little confused because you've seen me sing a lot.
Well, most of the time, I've been hiding behind other people and hoping that I haven't really been heard.)
And what I've finally found, at 26 year old, is that I don't mind my singing voice.
Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't.
Sometimes I still get frustrated with what it can't do.
But for the first time ever, I'm okay with that and I want to share it with people.
Just because its not perfect does not mean I can't use it!
God put within me a to desire to sing -
Whatever that looks like -
Who am I to keep repressing that and trying to cover up how much I love it?

On retreat, I lead musical worship for 40+ women singing their hearts out to God.
It was so very humbling.
God entrusted me with helping lead these women to express feelings that sometimes cannot be expressed any better way that with music.
The weight of that responsibility was at times overwhelming.
But ultimately I found it to be such a joy and a privilege to be given by God and the people I love.
And that has continued to be the case as I've lead our church in worship as well.

For me this is a huge step and a small step all at once.
Huge for me finding more freedom in my life-
Small because it's just one little chapter in the story God is still writing for me through my freedom in Jesus.
I'm continuing to learn what God is redeeming me from-
So that I may know what he's redeeming me for.

Monday, October 8, 2012

zephaniah 3:17; titus 3:4-7

I found this on pinterest last week and just love this verse (and the artwork; click on the link from my pinterest to see the seller on etsy:

"The Lord your God is with you,
 He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
 He will quiet you with his love,
 He will rejoice over you with singing."
-Zephaniah 3:17

I know I must have read this before but not for a very long time. It became my temporary tattoo for the weekend of retreat (wrote it on my arm with a sharpie). And will be one of the next verses I memorize this month. Here is another:

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." -Titus 3:4-7

I'm still processing everything God taught me over the past weekend, but it's sure to produce an interesting post. Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

everything changes but does it stay the same?

I know I've said it before, but I'm in a constant state of trying to improve my life:

--Making my house more like a home

--Attempting to dress myself better and understand what does and doesn't look good on me

--Taking things apart (jewelry, clothes, etc) and putting them back together a better way

--Secretly gearing myself up to loose a little bit of weight/get in better shape... wait, did I just say that out loud? (Shhh, I'm not very good at that one)

--Gleaning ideas off of media and integrating them into my style

--Reading books that teach me more about the world and me...

Now, all of these things can be good.
But they can also be bad.
They can be a distraction.
The can be mis-focused.
They can be totally focused on me.
And often times, they have been.

All my abilities to see something and know how to make it better are completely useless if I'm doing it just for me.
Because these things are completely finite.
They will not last.
AND if I'm just doing them for myself and not sharing it and not giving God the credit for that gift He's given me... I'm just a selfish liar.

So, my big question for myself lately:

How do I live my life, doing the things I'm good at, and give the glory to God?

I'm not sharing this to make myself look cool or even to bring myself down for not having the right motives in the past.
My freedom is found in Jesus.
And He's glorified when I do these things and share them with others while acknowledging that He's the giver of my gifts.

I've been finding more freedom in this area of my life than I've ever had -
And I will continue to seek that freedom!

Friday, August 10, 2012

colossians 3:1-17

"Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, set you hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set you mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and you life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 
 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your sinful nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

psalm 139:13-16

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be."

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Our church community is in the habit of asking questions.

This is a normal part of life for us.

I was just thinking about the fact that not everyone does this.
It's not really that normal.

But I love it.
It's a huge part of my ability to intake and process what God is teaching me.
One of those said questions we've been asked recently is:

Who has been given permission in your life to speak of the truth of God?
Some simliar questions I've thought of for myself while processing that one are:
Are you in the practice of asking questions? Are you seeking answers?

Are you willing to let people speak truth into your life even if it strikes a nerve of sensitivity?

Do you go out of your way to ask hard questions to your friends and allow them to ask them to you?

Does your posture and availability allow you to be accessed?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

hebrews 11:6

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Friday, June 1, 2012


I don't know how to gently ease into this subject...
So I'll just come right out and say it:

Boy, have I been in a battle with my flesh lately. Big time.

It's funny (well, maybe more frustrating than funny) to me that coming out of a time of intense learning and anticipation of applying that learning, I just wanted to give up.

Ugh! I kept wondering, what is my problem??

I've been reminded of the vital importance of discipline... of pursuing Jesus daily... been challenged by the Holy Spirit to give up my selfish desires and to give of myself... to seek out God's purposes for my life...

But I just can't seem to get it together!

Well, just like everyone else out there, I'm human.
And I've been letting my own human desire get in the way of God's more than a little lately.

I can list lots of reason for this but I want to address the power of community and scripture right now.

I've not been in community enough lately.
It's not always been intentionally avoided, I just haven't been present.
And I truly felt it.
I need community.
Not because I can't try to do it on my own... because I can...
...But not very well.

I truly believe that God intends us to live in community because it helps us reach such potential that we simply cannot on our own.

The encouragement, accountability, reality checks, honesty, shared ambitions, swift-kicks-in-the-behind... and just the idea that I know they are there to point me to Christ and help hold me up... I cannot express how vital it has become to my life.

It also just so happens... I'm reading "Community" by Brad House right now.
As Andrew and I were talking about group last night (we meet on thursdays), the subject of ownership was brought up.
This book addresses the idea that the ownership of our faith inspires us to grow in it and share it.
I think I've really been lacking ownership of myself and what I believe in.

There's a gazillion reasons I could list as to why, but lets just say I'm in need of some owning up to myself... the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between.

I've also been slacking at keeping up with my scripture memorization and I can really tell the difference it's made in my days.
There is power in God's Word.
I've truly seen a difference in my life since I've been memorizing it, and when I'm not, it is missed.
I'll just leave it at that and one of my verses for the month:

"My soul finds rest in God alone; 
my salvation comes from him. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation; 
He is my fortress, 
I will not be shaken."

-Psalm 62:1-2

Saturday, April 7, 2012

pondering & productivity

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

-Matthew 6:33

This week I've been applying this and I'm feeling the truth of it in new ways.

My productivity level (see photo below) has been much higher than it's been as of late, and I attribute that to filling my mind with good things.

I'm writing a post about a lot of those things but not quite ready to post that vulnerable a message today.

(finally figured out how to tread my sewing machine and made a cover for my ESV Bible.)


This weekend I've been pondering what God was thinking when He decided to send his Son to die for the selfishness... darkness... evil...

of all humanity.

I'm having a really hard time wrapping my human understanding around this...

but also experiencing such joy and gratefulness for the freedom I was given in that act.
Oh, thank you, Jesus!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

march verses

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."
-James 1:19-20

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
-Isaiah 55:8-9

I've got a page with all the verses I've got through since last year. It's very encouraging to see how far we've come and motivation to keep going!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

He restores

I started this post a while back (August of last year to be exact) -

And I can't remember why I started writing it... !

This is a prime example of something we talked about with friends last night:
If you are a crock-pot (it takes you longer to process things you're learning, etc) you can't let the thoughts simmer so long that they rot!
I am quite guilty of this tradgedy!
I'm trying to be purposeful in thinking through my thoughts with intention and writing them down or getting them out of my mouth before they rot in my brain!

With that said, these words that I wrote a couple months ago are still something I'm thinking about, and am coming around to actually doing something about them:

"I've had my fair share of apathetic attitudes with God in my short life.

And sometimes it's not apathy, but plain laziness.

But there are many times that I haven't done anything because I saw someone better equipped for the job volunteer for it first.

It's so much easier to let someone else take the lead when I'm so unsure about myself, my talents, my abilities."

Wow. This is definitely an issue in my life.

My ability to serve others has been so hindered by my own laziness and insecurity! My ability to veiw myself as God sees me has been none exsistence through most of my life. I've been so focused on myself and my weaknesses that I couldn't possilbly see that I have strengths and that God wants to use them.

I am now in the process of writing a mission or purpose statement for my life. It's going to be hard for me... I still don't feel like I have a clear cut career or vocation driven goal in my life. That's really hard for me because I see so many people who do, who know what they are really good at, and have purpose in it. I don't think I'm quite there yet. I know there are a lot of reasons I'm not there, but I'm determined to get some clarity soon. I know prayer has to be very involved as that's been something I know I've desperately been lacking.

But I found a verse that made the light blub come on in my brain last night that I know God was pointing me to:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
-2 Corinthians 5:17-19

I love making old things new.
I love being able to look at something and seeing the unending potential to remake it or make it better or new again.
Love it!
And God knows all about that!
He renews, restores and reconciles us into new people!
How wonderful is that?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

new year's eve in españa

I'm sure a lot of you have already seen the photos from our New Year's Eve party -
(if not, go here: Emily's blog)
Most of my photos are the same but I just haven't gotten around to putting them up until now.

I wanted to say how much I enjoyed being able to decorate and "show off my home" that night!
(it just so happens that I randomly own a lot of red, yellow, and white things - perfect for our theme!)

Not showing off in the sense that I wanted to brag but because I'm proud of my ability to look at something and see the potential to make something new of it.
I kinda think one of my strengths (in Strengths Finder) might be Restorative...
I certainly don't like problem solving the in sense of Mathematics or Engineering or what-have-you...
but in other realms of life - I think it kinda fuels me...

This made me excited to have more parties at my place, even if I don't always decorate for them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

what do you truly long for?

I wrote this a couple weeks ago and forgot to post it:

I often times don't make time to sit and process through my sermon notes through the week.
Part of that is due to having not as much free time, part of it is due to not making the time for it. This year I'm starting to do that for myself and so that my crock-pot brain can get muster up something more to say during community group. :)

One of the questions from a couple weeks ago was something like:

"If you were honest with yourself, what do you truly long for?"

Purpose. That's what popped into my head.
I'm constantly searching for something to make me feel satisfied, purposeful, or fulfilled...
If I let my life get away from me and I loose focus on what I'm living for -
I feel like I have no purpose for being around.

God made us to glorify Him.
That's my purpose and I keep forgetting it!

I'm starting to pray that this year I start to remember that faster -
In the times I'm tempted to shut down...
When I'm too tired to make time...
At the moments I just don't want to go that extra mile...

I'm made to bring glory to God!

I pray that in that clarity I'm able to love God & others more fully, devote myself entirely to what He wants me to be, and figure out just what it means for me to bring glory to His name.

Stay tunned for more on this subject...