Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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Courage

Courage

This quote from the Money Saving Mom, inspired me this week. So much of life is just showing up and being present. And it takes courage to face the things we don’t want to, and the areas we need healing in. At times it’s easier to not come to the Lord for healing or help because we don’t see how He could heal or help. We are limited by our own sight.

The Lord only asks two things of us though:

1. That we invite Him into the process, into our wounds, and the areas we would rather not deal with.

2. That we show up to the game.

Healing doesn’t rest on us. Yes, we need to choose it and show up for it, but the Lord is our Healer, our Cleanser, and our Provider. Not us. Hallelujah! It’s the Holy Spirit’s work that sets us free.

Is there something weighing on you today?

Have courage and take a moment to listen.

May you have a peaceful weekend, as you leave your healing and burdens before the One who came to set you free. Wait on Him. Healing will come.


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When I Offend You

A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19

Sometimes the incredible weight and influence that leaders carry in the lives of those who look up to them scares me. I’m not scared just as one who has been hurt by leadership, but it now scares me as one in leadership. The more I understand my own fallibility and weaknesses, the more grace I have for the past and present leadership in my life. But with that understanding also comes the knowledge that I may in turn hurt those who look up to me. I want to emphatically echo Paul ‘May it never be!’ 

In my prayers and hopes that I would never be the cause of others wounds and offenses, I cannot deny the fact that even innocently or unintentionally there still may be a time when I do offend someone I love or lead. 

Then He (Jesus) said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! Luke 17:1

 In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus even tells his disciples that offense and causing pain to others will happen.  

Lord, may they never come through me!  

But what if they do come through me? 

Then what?

This month I’ve been teaching on offense and being offended at the Discipleship House, and how to navigate the walls offense brings (Proverbs 18:19). Leaders are supposed to be the ones that help lead the people they influence to the Throne of Grace. Every Christian leader and pastor’s goal should be to point their people to Jesus.

But stuff happens. Leaders sin, and through their sin wound others. Or leaders are innocent of intentionally wronging, but are misunderstood. Any of these can lead to hurt, pain, and offense.

However, it doesn’t have to end there. With offense, pain, and disappointment, comes an unexpected treasure – the pain that drives us to Jesus alone. When others fail us, it leaves Jesus.

My prayer is to always point people to Jesus. But should I fail and hurt them – then by God’s grace let the offense become the thing that brings them to Jesus. What matters is that they get to the Throne. Jesus is healing, He is life, and I am not.

Oh friend, if a Failure 1

leader,

parent,

pastor,

friend,

or teacher,

has failed you, and not been worthy of your trust – I am so sorry. But please, if their life or influence was supposed to lead you towards Jesus and be His example to you, and it wasn’t – then let their mistake lead you to Him. You can never loose before the Throne. Just get there. Please.

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“When I Offend You” is Day # 16 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series


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My Greatest Adventure (or What is Better Part #2)

greatest adventureI was starting to secretly hate walking through the sign section of Hobby Lobby reading all of the “all love stories are good, but ours is my favorite” and “You are my greatest Adventure” signs and frames. Ugg. I wanted that, to share a story with someone. Every time I’m faced with a big life change or something happens that really impacts who I am as a person I struggle with longing for someone to see it. To know me. I long to be known in the before and after, in the writing of the story. To share the heartache and the adventure with.

This summer as I walked another big life change alone, I began to contemplate this adventure thing again. I had always wished my husband someday would know me in the  season of life I just left because it was such a big part of the formation of my story. As the previous moves and seasons had been. With each move, each job change, new friendships and ministry, came with them unique adventures, and stories to tell and live. And here I was moving on again. It wasn’t that I didn’t have supportive family and friends, the longing was more for the intimacy of  sharing all of one story with one person. Being more fully known in all my parts and pieces.

As I began to think back through all my parts and pieces, the Holy Spirit showed me something about my story. He knew every bit of it. Oh course I “knew” that in theory, but for the first time my heart saw it all. He was the one who was there for every change, every move, every tear, every wall painted and every quiet moment when my heart sang. He held that deep intimacy for me. I was fully known. And He is my Greatest Adventure.

In DeepSomeday maybe a guy will join me in the adventure, and if that is the case, marriage will be an other adventure that the Lord and I will embark on together. This is the key – each relationship role we live out, each move, each chapter in our story, is the chance to walk through a different adventure with the Lord. He’s the foundation. This blog is part two of What’s Better?‘ where I answered one of the questions posed by the girls in the Discipleship House. Can we know the Lord better if we are single or if we are married? The answer to the question is yes. Yes we can always know Him more if you are single AND if you are married. His love for you and His invitation to know every bit of your story stands the same in every adventure, challenge and blessing you walk through. He is not just my greatest adventure, He can be yours too.

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“My Greatest Adventure” is Day #15 of “In Deep” a 31 Days Series

 


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Our Whole Existence

Identity in Christ

Every Tuesday night at the Discipleship House we have an area pastor or community leader come and teach or speak to both the students and visitors. Tonight’s speaker was Dr. Matthew Pickering, a Wesleyan District Superintend. He spoke on our identity in Christ, and this is one of the concepts that resonated with me.

“Our Identity in Christ is not about some characteristics that we possess, it’s about our whole existence.”

Yesterday I promised a part 2 to the blog “What’s Better?“, and it’s still coming. But the Lord gives His beloved sleep, and this beloved needs sleep!

Audios till later!


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What’s Better?

Can you know Jesus more when you are single or married?

I sat in silence for a long time over that question. However I answered would take the conversation into so many different areas. We could argue over Paul’s writings and wether or not it was better to be single or married, we could dive into Jesus’s set apart life, or maybe the examples of marriage and Christ’s love of the church. None  of these addressed the heart of the question though – knowing Jesus.

It was a rare night in the Discipleship House, all five of the D House girls were  hanging out in the living room with me and none of the guys were around or home. Relationship questions abounded and stories were shared as the night grew late. 

I was familiar with the question she posed to me: Can you know Jesus more when you are single or married? I’d wrestled over it for years myself. In my mind I always thought that knowing Jesus better single or married was an either/or thing. One of them must be a better way to know Jesus than the other.

Questions like those below dug deeply into my soul:know Him more

If I never get married will Jesus be enough for me?”

If I  get married, I’ll get to experience more of the Lord’s love cause that’s an example of how Christ loves the Church, right?”

“But then if I do get married won’t that mean that I won’t be able to serve the Lord as well?

Perhaps it is not a matter of knowing the Lord better in “either/or”  (either single or married) but instead a matter of greater importance to know Him in “both/and” (both single and married). Asking questions and wrestling in our souls is a beautiful thing, but we are asking the wrong kind of questions. The question isn’t which season of life can I know the Lord better in, but how can I know Him in the season that I am in now?

Each story is beautiful, individual, song. The Lord will call to each of us to walk different seasons at different times, but the resounding bass in each call will be the same – to know Him. The melody will look different, but there will be a steady beat that does not change in your song. Him. 

A dear friend of mine married young and just celebrated her 10th anniversary. Her husband provided her with a safe home and a loving environment that freed her to begin to know the Lord’s love in a deeper way through her marriage. For me, the past decade of mostly going it alone has drawn me to the Lord’s love in a deeper way than anything I could have imagined.

Had I married young, I wonder if I would know the Lord in the way that I do now?  Would I have been too tempted to put my husband in the place in my heart the Lord should be? I don’t know. It’s not my story to know. Singleness has been one of the most refining fires in my life, but my married friends will say the same about their marriages. I’ve also tasted enough in a serious relationship or two to know that those relationships brought me to the throne just as much as my singleness did.

 In DeepIt’s so easy to get caught up in comparing apples to oranges that we miss the bigger picture: its all fruit. And it’s all about knowing Jesus. Whether you are single, married, divorced, widowed, engaged, a parent, or childless – through EVERY season, Jesus wants to be enough for you. Marriage and relationships have their struggles, their loneliness and their happiness too. And they are different, but Jesus isn’t an either/or. He is in BOTH singleness AND marriage.  I can’t tell you what’s better, but I can tell you that you are loved right where you are, and that He longs to know you and for you to know Him. And what I can also tell you is my story. Tomorrow. 🙂 Check back tomorrow for part 2.

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“What’s Better” is Day #13 of “In Deep” a 31 Day’s Series


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Space

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake

For the past several weeks I’ve been struggling for words to encompass a concept the Lord has been working in my heart. It centers around one word: Space. Up until earlier this year space wasn’t something I understood, had any use for, or knew how to handle. Space was something I feared. I fear it was wasteful, unproductive, and even lonely. Pragmatism was something I hid behind, afraid to explore that the Lord have give me the personality to be both the “bottom line, get it done Maratha” and also the “softer intuitive Mary”. I was so wrong. I do not yet fully know what space will bring or all that it is – but I’m in the process of discovery.

If you have been reading along in this series I’ve sprinkled in things that space is beginning to unravel in me (She Gave Him Her Beauty and From the Keurig to the French Press)

This morning Sara Groves posted this video and began to put into words what has only been stirring in my soul. Pause and watch? The video is short. Embrace the space to be and let your soul hope.

To read the article Sara Groves is referring to click here. (Its on the scholarly side, but it was the perfect blend of logic and beauty which spoke deeply to me.)

In the Kingdom of God there is a lot less of “either/or, and a lot more “both/and”. Space can mean that we aren’t as “productive” in the traditional sense, but it can also mean that we are “productive” in deeper ways. I wish I could better express what “space” means not only to me, but also in general. But friends I still don’t have adequate words to completely express this chapter in the story.

In DeepRight now space looks  like an undefined place in my soul to explore with the Lord the softer, more beautiful, side of who He is and the treasures He has laid for us in life because He delights in us. It’s the unsettling idea that in beauty, art, music, laughter and the quite spaces in life, there may be just as much power to change the world and know the Father as there is in our theology and producing, church culture.

Thank you for reading this draft of a chapter not yet finished in my life.

What does space mean to you?

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“Space” is Day #12 in “In Deep” a 31 Days Series


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More Stubborn Than I

We laughed and buried our faces in the blankets as we giggled over face time. I was helplessly trying to relay a story in my week when I blurted out:

I’m so thankful Jesus is more stubborn than I am!

When we were done laughing at how emphatically I exclaimed it, I realized just how true it was.

I’m so thankful that the Lord loves me enough to pursue me with what is best for me. He knows my heart, and knows that I want Him and what He has for me more than anything else. But I get in the way at times and man, I can get stubborn.

In DeepThe Lord is a perfect blend of stubbornness and gentleness that gets me every-time.

Today the Lord’s irony and stubbornness are my favorite things about who He is. What do you love about Him today?

Bestie face time dates are the best!

Bestie face time dates are the best!

The front yard of the D House. One of the guys got creative :)

The front yard of the D House. One of the guys got creative 🙂


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Yellow Beauty

perfect in beauty

My Favorite Fall Picture (2012)

In most beauty we can find something wrong, a blemish, or something wish different or added. But the Lord is perfect in beauty.
Flawless.
Complete.
Beautiful.
And the Lord shines forth from Zion. He allows us to see and experience perfect beauty – if we will but stop and see it. – Perfect in Beauty.

Today I stopped and saw the beauty littered about on my favorite brick street. A day off, a latte with a friend, and yellow beauty everywhere? Fall Bliss.

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And that moment when your outfit (unplanned) perfectly matches the day? That glorious moment!

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On the weekends during the 31 Day Blogging Challenge we rest at Not Unredeemed. Enjoy the pictures, enjoy the beauty. May you also discover and notice some beauty today!

 


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She Gave Him Her Beauty

Paint dripped down the handle of the brush all over my fingers – and I didn’t care. Not one drop. I stepped back and surveyed the mantle over the fireplace; the stencil was taking hours longer than I thought it would. Balancing on a step ladder with a stencil in one hand, and paint in the other should be a gymnastic sport!  Joy bubbled up and I smiled at my own antics. My soul was literally dancing.

Beauty. It’s the melody of my heart, and what my heart responds too.

FireplaceThe students were set to move into the Discipleship House in 48 hours, and I was given free-reign to turn a big empty place from a House to a Home. Instead of being stressed out,  the opportunity was a gift. A delight. The limited time and recourses only fueled the adventured.

In those moments of creating beauty, I felt a kind of closeness with the Lord that I hadn’t felt before. It was if we were doing this together – making beautiful things. Discipleship and teaching were gifts I could offer, and things I could produce, involving other people that benefited the Kingdom of God. But creating beauty? That was my gift to Him.

For years beauty and any pursuit of beautiful things have felt like an extra to me. An extravagance.  They were not necessary to the Gospel or sharing the Gospel. Sure, I liked beautiful things, but only if I had time should they be appreciated. And time was not something I had a lot of. Oh, I’ve missed so much!

As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:38

I’ve probably read this passage from Luke 7 about the sinful woman who pours perfume over Jesus at least a dozen times, and heard many sermons on it. But during that week of decorating the D House, something brand new struck my soul.

This woman? She gave Jesus her beauty and her extravagance. She wiped his feet with her hair (which was considered a woman’s beauty), and anointed Jesus with her perfume. Perfume that cost a year’s wages – if that isn’t extravagant I don’t know what is.

In Deep:

In DeepAs Christians we talk so much about surrender and giving the hard things to the Lord and there is so much worth and truth in that! But what about the easy things? The ones we enjoy? What about sharing those with the Lord?

We were created in His image and so have the ability to create in the image of our Creator. What do you enjoy? What are the softer things in life that you like? Not just love, but like?

Picture that thing. I give you permission today to enjoy that. As much as the Lord wants our surrender, He wants our joy.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Tim 6:17

Ah friend, everything that you possess, be it material things or talents, He has given TO YOU to enjoy.Living Room

The D House Living room – Whirlwind Make Over

(Many thanks to the friends that let me boss them around for a few days – “nope, move that here”, “hmmm a little to the left?” 😉 Living room 2

“She Gave Him Her Beauty” is Day #9 of “In Deep – a 31 Days Series”


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Baby Armstrong

Tonight at the Discipleship House I led a small group study on Offense. If you’ve never read the Bait of Satan –  check it out! Read a review/overview of it here. Our time together was beautiful – Wednesday evenings are my favorite, as it’s a time for the team and students to come together as a family and worship and study. (Our other study/teaching times are open to any visitors and it’s wonderful! For me there is something uniquely special about our Wednesday evenings together, because it’s in the smaller group settings that there is more room to go deep with each other.)

Knowing that I would be teaching, and had a fairly busy day, I purposely decided for a lighter day on the blog. The last few days of Life Together, Messy Bits, and Destiny vs Destination were a joy to write about – but I’d also love to give you a peek into some of the joy in my day. Meet Baby Armstrong – the son of a dear friend. We had an ice-cream date together today as we explored the beautiful rustic fall paths of a near by town.

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May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King

Wonder” Bethel Music