Love God. Love People.

The simple message of the Bible is to Love God and Love People. Easy to say, short to type, harder to live out. Why so? People can be difficult. Recently a friend and I were discussing a sticky relationship she is in and how it takes effort to love. I’m sure that can be said of anyone of us, right?

We all have our own quirks, our own strong personality bits, and our own way of thinking we are right and it’s others who have it mucked up somewhat. What if we had a  little more grace? What if we considered how to love that difficult person in our lives the same way we seek to be accepted and received?

I’m not sure why this message has been so heavy on my  heart. I see so many social media posts with people blasting on one another, sharing their opinion or the latest way they were offended by some stranger. What if we asked each other, “How can you love in this hard moment?” It may not always be the question we want to hear. In fact, 99% of the time when I’m venting I want to be justified, feel verification that I am correct and the other person is agreeing on my side. What if we challenged each other to love even with the hard effort it sometimes take.

Perhaps it is in your workplace, that difficult co-worker who is rude to almost everyone. What’s her story? Even if you don’t know it what ways can you find to show her love?

Maybe it is in your family with an extended member that you see only around the Holidays and they are always loud and clear with their personal opinions and advise for everyone on every branch of the family tree. How can you love them in the kind words you reply and the way you see them and not just their presentation of words?

I’ve heard from many of you that the Holidays can be tough times, missing loved ones, reminded of broken relationships and heightened emotions as the stresses of the season drown out the true purpose. How can we love other people when we all could use a little more?

I’m taking some time to ask God what that looks like in my own life. This past Sunday our church sang a beautiful song which has echoed in my brain all week, “Jesus be the center of it all…” That is a big HOW for me these last couple days, How do I love others? When Jesus takes center stage, when I remember that He loves me despite all my flaws, when I remind myself that all my good deeds crumble in a pile of dust next to him, then I can simply love others from the place inside that tells me I’m loved and can give it generously.

Love God. Love people. How is that challenging in your current season? Who is God asking you to love even when it’s rough? How are others loving you well? Praying this Thanksgiving you might rest a little deeper in His deep deep love over you and share a little more love with the ones you bump into each day.

Remembering Death

Remember you must die. Not words I’ve uttered too regularly if ever at all.

Memento mori is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits.  –according to Wikipedia

This Latin phrase beckons to each of us to remember that we must die. Death has smacked me straight across the face; sometimes in shocking ways, sometimes in long battles of illnesses and every time with a deep grief that floods me with emotions. When my Granny passed away I found my faith shaken to its core. I had a longing to feel the same peace and trust that I saw in my Mom’s face and heard in my Uncle’s voice, as they belted out hymns of assurance at her funeral service. God I know you, I’ve walked with you, I’ve believed in you, help my unbelief. I think embracing doubt and exploring it deeper with God during that year afterwards was a gift that my Granny would be grinning upon as she saw my soul move deeper to the Savior she walks in bliss with now.

The older I get it’s inevitable that those around me will continue to pass away. I come from a family of deep faith and without it I have no idea how we would grieve. How deep the hurt of grief without the hope of knowing our Lord hated death as much as we?How beautiful that He laid down his life to pay the price of conquering death once and for all? And yet, we still miss the ones who get to meet Jesus before we do. We still have the daily routines, the memories, and the traditions we once shared with them. The next unknown are the hardest steps to take.

“Ladies love your husbands well and don’t take them for granted,” my aunt softly stated out as a call, a plea, a reminder, “So much to think about….” To have loved and lost a man that was your best friend is a journey I’ve yet to endure personally and have no idea the depths of heartache that it brings. I’ve seen so many women who I love suffer great loss and chart new paths ahead into the next unknown.

Tomorrow really is unknown for each of us though. We think we know what it will look like. We think we know who will be there when we make up tomorrow morning. We think of course we will make up tomorrow morning and go tackle that to-do list and all the other things fighting for space in our neuro highways.

Memento Mori; remember you too must die. Tomorrow isn’t promised. One day will be my last. When I look back what will really matter? What to-do list item is so important to take away time from hearing about my daughter’s work day? What argument is so worth winning that I don’t see my husband and hear his heart on the issue? What work is so pressing to accomplish that I can’t sneak away time with my coffee and conversation with my Jesus? Grief is hard and so mysterious, and yet so beautiful in the call to action it reminds us that we must die. We must remember to live each day. And in each day’s living to remember that we must die.

My prayer tonight is that if you are reading this and feeling unsure of faith that you take it to God. Ask him to bind your wandering heart to him. Ask him to make himself known to you through Christ if you don’t know that gift and the love that gave it all up just for you. Ask him to strengthen you with a peace that transcends all understanding as he leads you into the next paths while they may still be unknown.

Looking for the Lush in our Lives

If you’re like me, living in the city, it’s been awhile since we’ve laid eyes on a farm and deep rolling hills of a lush pasture. I imagine in my mind the beautiful scenes of lush Scotland the deep emerald green hills with the contrast of fluffy white sheep dotted here there and everywhere. Shelly Miller writes;

It might surprise you to know that many of the great sheep countries of the world are in dry, semi-arid climates. Brown, dusty, dry, cracked earth full of stones and detritus.

Wet, lush, and green pastures are not happenstance. In those arid climates, they require a great amount of effort by a faithful shepherd.

As I look around my home I’m surrounded by good things that my Shepherd has provided. How am I fostering a home that celebrates the lush things in life that aren’t deserved or rightfully owed to us? Life without gratitude does feel brown, dusty, dry and cracked. When I look at the gifts around me of family to laugh with, a warm home to find comfort in, talents that allow me to work and provide; I too can celebrate lush pastures even in the city that the Shepherd has guided me towards.

We are currently walking through Psalm 23 at the Sabbath Society. You guys it is soooo insanely awesome. The emails come out just simply each Friday morning so that your inbox is not overwhelmed, but I eagerly anticipate the email and then read over the thought provoking questions all week long. (You can join us by checking out Shelly’s website here.)

Today I hope you look around you to identify where you’ve been given lush versus dry. What things in your life and home can you slow to identify and thank God for? How has He provided things that seem happenstance, but truly are a gift from His sweet hand? Enjoy those sweet gifts my friend and may we find our faces turned upward to be guided by He the good Shepherd.

What does silence do?

What does silence do?

It opens you.

It opens you to hear the voice inside,

It opens you to hear the guide.

What does silence do?

It slows you.

It slows you to count the long, slow, deep,

It slows you to lull and slows you to sleep.

What does silence do?

It calls you.

It calls you without worry or care,

It calls to you come near if you dare.

In Pursuit of Walden

I’ve long been enthralled with Henry Thoreau and his drawing away to the Walden pond as he filled his days with silence and solitude. After months of being at home on medical leave from my normal daily grind, I fell in love with silence again. There’s something so beautiful about sitting in contentment without music, without entertainment, and just the pure company of solitude.

I know this may sound like quite an indulgence and near impossible for many who are dreaming of a little silence today. There are diapers to be changed, lunches to be packed, clothes to be washed and then tomorrow someone will hit the repeat button.

How do we carve out glimpses of silence and solitude when we have littles tugging on our legs? How do we find an hour to spend with our thoughts when the emails don’t stop pouring in after hours?

Humility is beautiful because it saves us from ourselves. It allows us to be the limited people we are without the pressure and guilt to be more than God has created us to be. It relieves that pressure saying, ‘I have to save everyone and everything.’ —-Hannah Anderson from Journey Women Podcast episode 69

I believe this is what Jesus was getting at  in Matthew 11 when He said, “Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart.” That verse is in the same passage as the often quoted and highly desired, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.”

It is in knowing our limitations. It is in recognizing our needs that we can rest in humility. When we are face to face with our own weakness, the strain on the body after endless nights without full REM, and when we find ourselves worn plumb out….we come to the end of ourselves and the beginning of Christ. He too walked in a body. He too wrestled with sleep and the body’s requirement of it. He too knows that we are human and we have limits, but what good news that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Can I challenge you today to acknowledge some of those limits? Where can you draw boundaries and say that This. This is enough for what you can and should handle? What in your life can you begin to remove to find moments of silence even if it’s a short bath after kiddos bedtime? Who can you share with from a place of honesty and vulnerability, that you could use a hand? How can we as your sisters join you in your own gentle and humble heart and it’s pursuit of Walden?

Enjoy a moment of rest with your soul and hear what it has to say to you, even if its for 10 measly minutes, take a time out for you in quietness. In humbly admitting we can’t do it all we find the rest and calm we so long for.

A simple fix to Add Joy and Rest

A recent discovery I can’t stop talking about is the joy and bliss of sleeping with an eye mask. Oh my! How did I not know? Why didn’t someone tell me or remind me? I remember sleeping with one when traveling years ago and needing to sleep awkwardly in the middle of the day and ya’ll I am good at naps. I can fall asleep pretty easy and sleep anywhere from a 15 minute cat nap to two hours. Yes I did in fact fall asleep standing up in line at Disney with my roommate years ago after we played long and hard from opening of gates til end of night standing in line for the last trolley of the day. Sorry girl, I really didn’t mean to fall asleep listening to you, but yeah it had been a long ole day in that Florida heat.

After being on a variety of meds this past season my sleep schedule got a bit off and I was looking for ways to get more hours under the covers. I decided to purchase a sleep mask and see if that might help. Girl, it is rocking my world! There is something magical about setting my alarm after reading a few pages, sipping my water, and then reaching for that divine eye mask. Goodbye world off to neverland. I think it’s partially the blocking out of darkness that helps, somewhat the small weight that keeps my eyelids from fluttering a frenzy and then just that routine of telling my body it’s time for some shut eye. I was curious is there really something to it or just placebo effect in my head?

Eye masks tend to be one of the simplest and most effective of these solutions. When your brain senses pure darkness, it causes the production of melatonin, the chemical of sleep. To help induce this state, you can also use earplugs. When you block out both noise and light, your chances of falling asleep are improved.

—according to dreamessentials.com

It’s my simple joy and recent discovery that is bringing more life giving rest my way. Maybe give a cheapo one a try and see if it’s helpful for a little more shut eye in your world.  That’s my recent discovery that I think every lady needs to own. What else? What are some of your favorite items you think every gal needs to hear about? Tried a new beverage that is a must-have? Favorite beauty supply that’s rocking your world? Tell US, don’t keep it a secret all for yourself. What are you loving and have to shout it out!?

 

 

Pointing to a God of Creativity and Beauty

The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day the continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.

Psalm 19

Yes sometimes it feels as though God is showing off in nature. He creates some of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises this time of the year. I know many are talking about Pumpkin everything and Fall decor is all the rage, but I think God outdoes them all with his orange skies, his pink clouds and that bright Harvest moon that we see to fill us with childlike delight.

I’m thanking God for the ways He has placed me to help others find beauty. I love to help women in fashion as my day job and helping them see the beautiful and creative way he made them. God fashioned leaves for Adam and Eve and now designers fashion ways for us to cover ourselves, show our style and share in beauty.

We were made by a creator who loves beauty, who brings order to things and who declares himself through the works of his hands. How are you reflecting that in your life? Where has God given you talents to create, share, bring beauty and bring order in this world?

Do you find beauty and creativity as you decorate your home? What does God have to say about decorating? I was beside myself with joy as I listened to an episode of Journey Women podcast with guest Laura Wifler sharing on Decorating and the Gospel. SOOOO good, I know you’re gonna wanna check it out so here’s the link. I loved the tie in of hospitality, using our home to be a haven for others and our family, and seeking beauty in our homes to glorify God as we thank Him for beauty. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Where do you most seek beauty and creativity in your world? I totally think it’s a little different for each of us, but I wanna hear from you….Are you creative in your garden? Enjoy adding beauty through art? Inspire another reader and let us know what creative outlets you seek to find and make beauty in most!