God’s never-ceasing will

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Things are slowly falling into place for our new life here in Minot. Tomorrow we finally move into our new home. We won’t be receiving all of our belongings, or internet, until early December, but we will have our own space. The space that we can finally lean into and get a little comfortable for awhile (that is, as long as God doesn’t want to throw us another curve ball). Adam is phasing out of the in-processing stage of his work and is on the path to actually start his job responsibilities in these next couple weeks. We’ve found a church already that we believe is going to be a suitable place to grow in and invest in. We’re meeting new people and building new relationships already, which is making the extrovert side of me extra happy. It’s been a baby steps kind of process, and it certainly hasn’t all been glamorous or easy. A lot of days I’ve been bored and borderline restless. Some days I’ve been impatient. But I’ve been trying (keyword: trying) to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust that all of this is a part of the plan. It’s all happening for reasons beyond my comprehension. & it’s all going to work out for our good and for His glory. Believe me when I say I have to remind myself of those things often.

As we’ve inched closer to a feeling of permanency here, I’ve started to wonder what God’s will is for me here. I’ve looked ahead to this time and place knowing that Adam’s career will really be kick starting and that we will be journeying on a new life here, but I didn’t take much time to consider how my piece fits into the puzzle here. I have plans to start looking for work with the new year, and my mind gets a little baffled trying to determine what it is I actually want to do, because after being a year and a half out of college, I’m still figuring that out. I learned to trust God awhile back that He’ll fill me in on the path he desires for me when I need to know, but I think this next path is coming more into focus, and I have no idea what’s next. Apart from work, I know that building relationships and investing in our community are in the picture, but I have no idea what that is going to look like at this point. I know the skeleton ideas, but the meat of the matter is beyond my imagination. And that’s okay. I’ve just been in an in-between state of wondering “what do I do next?”

I’ve failed to really ponder over this with God though. I don’t think it’s because I’m afraid of what’s next. It might be because I’ve been in transition so long that it is just going to take a leap of faith to jump off of this train onto another. But despite my failure to pray about what is next for me, my faithful God still communicated some truth and comfort and direction to me through his word today:

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Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. // 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These words immediately clicked with my soul. Regardless of the details of what my life is going to look like in these next months, and years, part of God’s will for my life will still be to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. It doesn’t matter what job I may have in the months to come. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing in my free time. It doesn’t matter what circumstances God allows to take place that are beyond my control. In all of this it is His will for me to still rejoice, pray, and give thanks. Always, without ceasing, and in all circumstances. There are other things that He is going to call me to. But these things are to remain constant. They are to always apply to my life. It gives me great peace and encouragement to know that even when I don’t know what’s next I can still move forward in faith.

happy veterans day

The more I live out the days of my life, the more I grow to appreciate the things within them. I’ve learned to appreciate the colors of the fall, the warmth of a winter coat on a cold day (like the ones we’ve been starting to have in Minot this week), and the therapeutic nature of the world’s most precious puppy (a.k.a. our lil Boone Pruim). Bigger than all of that, I deeply appreciate the joy that exudes from fellowship & solid friendship, the grace and mercy that God grants me on a daily (probably hourly, or maybe even minutely) basis, and the freedom that has been granted to me in this country that so many people around the world don’t know.  In light of Thanksgiving this month I’ve been trying to focus a little more on the things I’m thankful for. Cliché? Yeah maybe. But regardless of what holiday is coming up next, or what holiday it is, I would still be thankful for a whole lot.

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Today, on Veterans Day, I’m inclined to be extra thoughtful of my appreciation for the men & women who have served and are serving the United States in the military. The people that have defended my honor and fought for my freedom. The people that sacrifice their comfort, their time, and a normal life for something bigger than themselves. Today, these are the people that are being honored & appreciated.

As time has gone by Veterans Day has become more & more personal for me. I have friends that spent years in the Army and others that have made commitments to the Army National Guard. I have friends with family members that have served or are serving in all branches of the military. I have friends that are preparing to serve in the Air Force through ROTC. My cousin Billy served in the Army years ago. My cousin and lifelong best friend Jordi, and her husband Aaron, have recently finished their own journey with the Army and are adjusting back to the civilian world. & it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I began to understand that civilian life and military life really are two different things, because after a four year ROTC commitment through college, Adam began his active duty career as a missileer in the Air Force. Now I’m meeting and living amongst the people that have followed suit of people before them that have chosen a path of life that demands more commitment than most establishments in existence. I foresee my appreciation for these honorable people to increase tremendously as my own life is saturated in military influence and demands.

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Just a quick story to share with you: This year there are many restaurants and companies that are honoring those who have served or are serving in the military with special offers. This morning we took hold of this opportunity and went to Denny’s to receive free Grand Slams. The place was packed with veterans, active duty members, and their families from the moment we got there to the moment we left, with no end in sight. Now drinks weren’t included in this special offer so as we and our friends went to the counter to pay, the employees took our receipt and told us that a man that was in the restaurant earlier had purchased a $200 gift card and gave it to them to apply to everyone’s bills stating that he wanted the entirety of their meals to be paid for. This man had already left Denny’s, so I couldn’t give him the hug that was dying to burst from within me. All we could do was repeatedly thank the manager. I don’t know who you are stranger, sir, but you are incredibly kind.

I’ll be the first to say that the United States has its problems. It’s got issues and messiness within it that make me cringe. But today, especially through this one man’s generous act of kindness and hospitality, I’m so grateful for days like today when people choose to honor their neighbors; when we choose to focus on something bigger than ourselves.

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So happy Veterans day to the men and women of our country’s armed services – past and present. You are appreciated. You are loved. And today we honor you.

rest for the weary

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Today was just one of those days. Or at least this morning was. The kind of day that didn’t go remotely as I expected it to (even though I didn’t really have many expectations of it to begin with). It was a morning that started off with an unexpected jolt, followed by a couple curve balls. & it was enough to leave me feeling weary by lunchtime. & as I sat on the counter top & ate my Chef Boyardee I felt tired. Not just the sleepy kind of tired, but more specifically the emotional kind of tired. I’ve never really used the word weary before to describe my own feelings. But today, I felt it. & it felt much bigger than just today. I didn’t fully understand it. I still kind of don’t. But I shared it with Jesus in prayer. I cried some of it out too.

As I talked with God, I laughed at myself as I pondered over how absurd it sounds to say that I feel like I need rest when right now I’ve been spending my recent days of limbo doing a whole lot of nothing. How can I need rest when I’m not even doing things that necessitate rest? & what I gathered is that this season of transition is weighing heavier on me as the days go by. I haven’t really felt settled or established somewhere in six months. We’ve been in transit. We’ve been in a waiting game. We’ve been in transition, but I don’t know exactly what I personally am transitioning to. & I’m growing weary of trying to make sense of it. Of trying to be optimistic even when I don’t really know what I’m trying to be optimistic about.

To be honest, I feel overly dramatic saying some of this, because it’s really not that bad. I promise you. But I’m just in one of those somber states of feeling weak from relying on my own strength in all things and trying to understand the jumbled mess of thoughts I’ve been processing. But oh how the Lord is teaching me that He took my yoke the day He died on the cross. That HE is my sustaining hope and strength in all things, in all days, even when I think “I got this.” It’s Him that I can always, and should always, rely on.

He’s also been revealing a lot to me about grace lately. One of those words that gets thrown around a lot in church, but I am just now starting to grasp onto the truth of it. Or at least a piece of it. Today, for me, grace meant allowing myself to sit on the couch snuggled up with my puppy and binge watching episodes of The Office, and not expecting anything more of myself. To not feel like I should be accomplishing something instead. To set my mind aside for an afternoon to rest. In reality, I could have been doing something more productive with my afternoon. But sometimes I need to let myself of the hook and not demand so much of me. I need to give myself grace.

Now just because I’ve felt weighed down by this season doesn’t mean that it’s over yet. I’m still in this. & so I’m going to start praying daily to be sustained by Jesus’s strength & for more and more grace. Because Lord knows I need it!

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish. Jeremiah 31:25

Is there anything that you need to give yourself grace for today?

when good intentions aren’t good enough

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Do you ever frustrate yourself? It can be easier to notice when someone or something else makes you boil on the inside, but do you ever recognize the moments that its YOU that is aggravating you?

I get that. I’ve gotten to that point more & more as I’ve come to know Jesus. As my life is slowly but surely transforming & being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, there’s tension in the process. There’s a lot that has needed to be broken off of me. A lot of shell that has needed to be shed. A lot of imperfections that have needed to be refined in the fire.

I’m in this place in my life right now where I’ve gained a fair amount of knowledge on what it means and looks like to follow Jesus, & I’ve definitely made strides through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but I get caught up in thinking that with all this knowledge I know what I’m doing. I know that I know that I know that there is so much room for me to grow & learn & develop, but my mind plays tricks on me & too often I’m caught in this cycle of thinking that I’m much further along that I am. That because I think about all the ways that I can serve Jesus and others or imagine exactly how I desire my relationship with God to be then I am good enough. I have the intentions of putting Scripture to work in my life, but I fall short of actually applying it. & oftentimes it is because I get self reliant & self absorbed & as a result my eyes turn from God towards myself and all of the idols in my life.

Why is it that I get so self reliant when I know that I have a God that is more than capable of handling the tough stuff that so often overwhelms me? Why do I lean in to myself, and not God, even when things are going well? & why do I go through what feels like a cycle of turning to God & turning away from God over & over? Why am I in the role of the unfaithful Gomer in the book of Hosea more times than I ever want to admit.

I want to take you back to April of this year, when we got the word from the Air Force that we would be leaving Southern Illinois to move to California in just under a month’s time. It was unexpected, and last minute, so it certainly threw us for a loop. Yet, in that span of time I felt a great deal of assurance in God that it was all taken care of. I chose to trust God in that season of life for us. I trusted that leaving a place that I loved so deeply was a part of his will; that moving across the country away from everything we have ever known was a part of the plan; that His will and His plan is always for our good – even if that means that challenges lay ahead. I was surprised at myself as I told people with confidence that I was trusting God to lead us to what He has wanted for us, even if it wasn’t exactly what we had envisioned. Trusting Him didn’t take away the challenges that we were facing in the stress of a month’s notice, cross country move, but it did give us a rock to lean on – THE rock to lean on.

Then we arrived in California. & the lack of nearby support from friends & a solid church family quickly tempted me to lose some sight of my upward thinking, and after a couple months time, I got comfortable. I enjoyed days at home tending to my interests. I didn’t have to deal with a stressful job or straining responsibilities. Maybe the comfort is what turned my eyes away from trusting God. It was like I got off a bus and said, “Okay God, we got to where you wanted us. Thanks for bringing us here. See ya in a few months when you pick us up for the next change in our life.” & yet when it came time to start prepping for our move to North Dakota, I was leaning less on God than I did in our previous move. I was still trying to tell myself that what’s ahead is for our good, regardless of if it meets my expectations or not, but I feel like I was doing it more as a pep talk than doing it in a way of trusting Jesus.

As another point, for the most part, I stayed committed to opening my Bible in the mornings in the past months. With the steadiness of a routine, that’s how I started every morning. & each time I have dived into God’s word, I’ve seen life. I read words that speak to my heart, soul, & mind. I’ve taken in the words that give me hope & motivation. Words that spur me towards Jesus. Yet, most days I closed my Bible alongside of closing my mind. I shifted my attention to the first task on my to-do list and let the life-giving words of Scripture drain out of me. When I’m in the Word, I want it. I want the words that it speaks of to ring true in my life. I want the character & perspective of someone like Paul to be reflected in me daily. I honestly have felt the depth of that longing in my heart sometimes. Like when your heart is aching for something so desperately. I want that closeness with Jesus. I want my desire for Him to be consistent. I want each day of my life to be one that brings Him glory & is lived intentionally for Him & His purposes. I want these things. But when I’m not in the Word, too often it’s out of sight, out of mind. I don’t put forth the concerted efforts to allow God to make the changes that I deeply desire for my life.

As of late I finished working my way through the She Reads Truth plan “Open Your Bible”. (Ladies, have you checked out She Reads Truth? If you haven’t & you’re looking for a daily dose of Scripture & relatable application along with the option to get involved in the online community, then I recommend you give it a try!). One of the days in the plan I read the quote: “I nourish my life with good intentions and expect it to thrive when only Jesus can quench my soul-deep thirst.” I swallowed these words & they went straight into the pit of my stomach. All of these moments that I spend thinking & imagining myself in closeness with God are just intentions. I desire to be someone that communicates relationally & consistently in prayer (which is such a long shot for me right now – I’m so guilty of being terribly inconsistent in the greatest gift of communication with a God that loves me). I want to be someone that soaks in Scripture & is able to share it with others, while being able to understand it more fully as the days go by & as I apply it directly to my life. I hope to be someone that exudes Jesus, not myself. & yet, my thoughts, and hopes, and dreams of these idealistic “me’s” are a waste of time if I never take the steps to make them real in my life. I’ve expected these intentions & hopes to be good enough. To satisfy my soul. To push my relationship with God forward. Yet, in the back of my mind I kept pushing back the truthful thought that what I was doing was routine. My daily time in the Scripture was not heartfelt. It has not been personal. It’s been a box to check. & I hate that. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to treat God like that. But I do. & the heartbreak I feel with myself & for God is nothing compared to the hurt that I’ve inflicted on God. It’s in these moments that I just don’t understand how He is so merciful. I can’t comprehend how He can put up with me so much. How he doesn’t just give up on me. On humanity. He is faithful though. He’s consistent. He’s grace-filled & merciful. & he still pursues me even when I walk away from Him. Oh Jesus, how I need you every hour!

Can you relate to this at all? Does this cycle feel disheartening to you? Because I know I’m not alone in my struggle with this. The struggle of knowing better but choosing otherwise. Paul felt it too:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [Romans 7:15]

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! [Romans 7:23-25]

I feel like a toddler that God shouldn’t take His eyes off of, otherwise I might run towards something that turns my attention away from Him. Or maybe it’s that I feel like a teenager, that knows better, but I still turn towards the things that I know don’t bring me to life nearly as much as God does. Either way, I’m still turning my eyes from Him. With one hand in a pot of gold, & with the other in Your side**. These are the reasons that I relate so much to Gomer. These are the reasons that I can relate so much to Israel. These are the reasons why the words spoken to God’s people in the Old Testament are also directed towards me. I’m an unfaithful, selfish being that turns away from the God that has graciously given me salvation. Sanctify me Lord, that I may do this less & less.

I’m in a new season of life. I’m getting a fresh start in a new place. By God’s mercy, every breath is a second chance. So in order to start honoring Him like I have desired to, my goal for my life right now is to start turning my intentions into action. To start living out the truth that God has allowed me to understand and accept. Will I fall short? No doubt. I’m a work in progress & will be until the day that I die. But here’s to leaning into God’s strength rather than in my own.


With all of this said, I don’t want to make it seem like what you do (or intend to do) is the way to earn favor in God’s eyes, or even that what you do is what earns you salvation & that if you don’t do these things you won’t have either. I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who has already accepted the free gift of salvation & redemption in Jesus Christ & is allowing his Spirit to sanctify my thoughts, words, actions, & entire life. It is Jesus who has covered me & my sins & has made me pure. Nothing that I do would be enough to do that. With his Spirit within me, I’m seeking to honor God & live my life the way He would desire for me to – so that He may be glorified by me, and that if He so desires to use me that I make myself willing. This is a whole topic that goes much deeper than I could ever say with all the words I’ve been given, but I felt like it was necessary to point this out & clarify what I’m communicating.

*This is a line from the song “Wedding Dress” by Derek Webb. One of my favorite songs of all time, because it convicts me & moves me all at the same time. Check it out when you get the chance!