Finding Beauty in the Routine

This season of my life is extremely structured. I have class Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I listen to the news on the way to class. Tuesdays and Thursdays I take care of my best friend’s dog. Tuesdays I spend most of the day with my fiancé. Thursdays I run errands and go to the gym. I babysit Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. I work on Fridays. I go to church on Sundays. It feels like most every moment of my day is scheduled out (you should see my planner).

But the thing is, I’ve come to find beauty in this routine of mine. One of my favorite quotes is, “Today is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou

No matter how routine, how scheduled, how structured my days are, each is a brand new experience, a new adventure.

For example, sunrises and early mornings and sunsets and late nights are some of my favorite times. The beauty of the sky never ceases to amaze me, never ceases to take my breath. And every day is different!


I got to marvel at the Lord’s beautiful creation this morning, and it’s so beautiful and so different than yesterday, and so different than tomorrow will be. God has shown me how to find His beauty in every day things.

Every day is different no matter how similar they seem. I know that not every season of my life will be this scheduled, but for this season, I’m finding beauty in the routine.

Advertisements

Real Life

As time goes on, I realize that life isn’t always what I think it should be. It seems that the Christian life is portrayed as a life with no problems or that if problems do arise, we are sad for a moment and then are miraculously  better. I’ve come to realize that this is not true in the slightest. Life as a follower of Christ can be just as difficult as that of a non-believer. Tragedies still happen, depression is still a real thing, stress still exists. The list goes on and on. The difference is that having hope in the Creator of all things, having hope that the One who paints the sky and crafted nothing into a functioning universe holds our lives in His hands, having hope that He can make beauty out of ashes brings us peace. But even as followers of Christ we sometimes still have a problem with holding onto that hope. We let the problem consume us and it enslaves us, making our God seem small. Our God is so much bigger than any problem or circumstance, but if you hold onto the problem, your heart hardens, when all you can talk or think about is your situation, you become bitter. God waits with open arms and I bet it breaks His heart to see us clinging to our problem instead of Him. God has shown me to worship Him through the storm I’m in, because the thing is, worship isn’t based on how we feel, it’s based on who He is, and He is good and deserving of our praise. Bad things happen in real life, but we get to choose how to handle them, we choose what to cling to.

•••

Photo Credit: Daryan Shamkhali

A Letter to “The Sinner”

Dear “Sinner,”

I’m sorry that social media is filled with Christians screaming about everything they’re against rather than what they’re for. I’m sorry that Christians are more concerned with telling you what’s wrong with you rather than working on what’s wrong with them. I’m sorry that Christians ostracize you because you’re a “sinner” instead of giving you mercy and grace that God extended – and still extends – to them. I’m sorry that Christians beg God to forgive their pasts, but they can’t see past yours. I’m sorry that Christians point judgmental fingers rather than extend loving hands. I’m sorry that Christians are too caught up with being religious that they stop trying to be Christ-like. I’m sorry that Christians would rather scream at you that you’re going to Hell instead of showing you the loving, gracious, and merciful Creator. I’m sorry that Christians care more about their image than they do about loving others. I’m sorry that Christians call you by your sin rather than by your name. I’m sorry that Christians call you ugly when God calls you beautiful. Most of all I’m sorry that these things break my heart yet I still find myself guilty of them.

Love,

Another Sinner

The List

Yesterday morning I began the book of Matthew.  I haven’t read it in over three years and it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible, so I’m pretty excited.

So I began chapter one, the first half of which is the genealogy of Jesus.  Now, I’m pretty sure the first time I read it, I skipped this part.  Since then, someone has pointed out to me how cool genealogies can be, and I’m going to elaborate a bit on the cool stuff I found in the genealogy of Matthew 1.

  • It shows how God fulfilled His promise of the Messiah through the line of David.
  • It shows that Old Testament stories are more relevant than we think – did you know that Rahab the prostitute that hid the Israelite spies is the mother of Boaz who married Ruth? or that Ruth and Boaz were the great-grandparents of David?
  • It shows that God can use anyone and everyone – Tamar seduced her father-in-law, Rahab was a prostitute, David was an adulterer and murderer,  Mary the mother of Jesus was a virgin.
  • It show’s God’s faithfulness.  The genealogy starts with Abraham – the first to be called by God – and it continues through a list of unqualified, messed up people who were each a part of God’s plan to bring the Messiah into the dying world.

Every part of God’s Word is alive and relevant. This list of name after name points to the faithfulness, love, and ability of the Father.  God orchestrated the lives of hundreds of people to bring the Messiah into the world in the exact context that He wanted Him to, yet we think God doesn’t know what He’s doing when it comes to our lives.  Scripture says differently.

Remember, you are loved by a mighty God. Until next time, lovelies.

Photo Credit: Michał Grosicki

Journaling Through Life

Tonight I got home, got into bed, and settled in to read my Bible and to journal before watching Netflix.  I’m moving through Job (admittedly the hardest book of the Bible I’ve read) and tonight I was on chapter 38 which is God’s first response to Job and his friends.  After I read it I was journaling about how humbling the chapter was and my thoughts about it (I may do another post about it, but ya’ll should read it).  I was going to blog about it but my computer was taking for-ev-er to turn on, so while I was waiting I flipped through my journal.

I started this journal November 30 of last year – almost a year ago exactly! Admittedly, I’m not a very faithful journalist so my entries tend to be rather spread out, but as I got to looking through it I’ve seen how God has moved in my life this past year: terrible heartbreak, a whole different kind of heartbreak over losing my Papa and my Granny,  moving sermons, my first time leading someone to Christ, my change of heart about teaching, lessons in love being a decision and not just a feeling, the fact that my handwriting is hardly legible a majority of the time, healing God has brought over the heartbreak and losses, God opening new doors in my life, miracles, breakdowns, praise, choosing joy.  The list goes on and on, and all of this in under a year!

Though I’m not the most religious journalist, God has definitely used this journal to show me how He has healed me, changed me, and grown me over the past year, and that is one of the biggest blessings I think a person can receive.  On an ending note, here’s a quote I found in my journal from a man who came to speak at my school:

“Start journaling your journey and watch God.” -Dr. Bobo

Until next time, lovelies.

 

 

Beautiful Diversity

As Christians we seem to have adapted this mind set that to be a Christian we have to look exactly like the other Christians we know or read about or see in movies. We have confined ourselves to this tiny box of sameness, but God didn’t make us exactly the same, so why would He want us to be exactly the same?

Imagine if each and every one of us was an amazing singer or artist or speaker or athlete.  And think about it, even though these are amazing gifts, life would be dull if there was no diversity. God has blessed us each with our own set of talents and strengths – along with faults and weaknesses – that allow us as a body of believers we can each bring something unique to the table. Even our not-so-good stuff brings something to the table; our testimonies are beautiful because they are different.

God has made us different and that is something beautiful. Through our differences, we can strengthen each other and build each other up, we can reach people for the kingdom of our glorious Father. That is beautiful.

So let us be different. Let us focus on being like Christ and not other Christians. Not only that, let us learn to love each other’s differences and find the beauty in them.  Let us give our lives to the One who created them and see the beautiful work of His hand.  Let us be beautifully diverse.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Hope in the Healer

As Christians we sometimes find ourselves refusing to show God’s love to people because of the right we have seemingly given ourselves to cling to our pain.   Someone hurts us and we cling to the brokenness inside us rather than to God; we turn the brokenness into an idol.  When we refuse to forgive those who have hurt us, when we refuse to show mercy and grace to those who we have unjustly declared unworthy, we are depriving people of the chance to see the character of God. Instead, we are showing them the selfish, sinful nature of ourselves.

This doesn’t just apply to when other people hurt us, this applies to every kind of brokenness. God wants to take our brokenness and turn it into a powerful testimony to further His kingdom, but how can He do that when we are hoarding our pain?  We hold onto the pain, opening the wound again and again, to remind ourselves of how untrustworthy people are or to drown in our little pool of self-pity.  By doing this we are saying that Christ’s death wasn’t needed, we don’t need healing, we are perfectly fine in our state of brokenness.  But we are called to live a much bigger life, we are called to be free from the chains of sin and the hurt that comes with it, but we won’t have that if we cling to pain. But if we let go, if we stop being selfish, God can close the wound, He can sew it tight with His hand, and it can turn into a beautiful scar, a sign of His healing. He turns the darkest of nights into a beautiful sunrise and then we can show our scars to those with wounds and give them hope in the ultimate Healer.

When we allow Him to heal us, we find we can forgive others, we can be merciful and graceful to them, because we have let go of our selfish ambitions and our focusing on our Creator and His beautiful creation rather than ourselves. It is then when our stories being to glorify God, it is then when we can then love them like God does, see people through His holy eyes rather than our sinful eyes, we can see the brokenness in others and point them to the cross rather to themselves, to the way of healing, because by HIS wounds we are healed, not ours.
Please share. Someone in your life may need this message.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5