May 4, 2021

Don't Forget || Worship in Every Moment



Don't forget ____.

It's your turn; I wonder what you'd fill in the blank. What would you write, one key element that keeps you going every day and gives you a reason to get out of bed every morning? 

The Lord gives us different stories, and that's beautiful! It's one reason I write, I dream, but it also makes me wonder. If we sat for coffee and we shared one God-thing, what would it be?

Don't forget ____.

Write it down. Tuck it away somewhere (put it in the comments, and I'd be glad to read it!). And then I'll share mine too.

Maybe you can grab your coffee (extra cream in mine, please) and join me. Here's the God-thing He keeps telling me to remember. It's changing the way I see life, and it can change you too.









Every moment in life is worship.

... but it's your decision to make.

If you're like me, a day consists of a million things on your mind and to-do list, and few of them get done. *giggles*  Sometimes I categorize days, wake up with my agenda, later write in my nightly journal about all I got done.

(horray - you get a peek into my personal schedule!)


  • Mondays: dusting, cooking, pickleball with the family.
  • Wednesdays: working, checking out customers, chats with strangers.
  • Fridays: mowing, gardening, resting in the sunshine.


But life isn't about those. *points up* Maybe it's not about what I do at all but how, why I live it.

Last week, I was walking in a creek. Numb toes, rocks pebbly and scattered under the edges of wild honeysuckles of pink and white that I'd never seen before. I walked, tried to jump across the water, got soaked, stubbled bare toes against hard rocks.

But I stopped, paused, and let my mind take a picture.

A picture of spring-green trees and water forking three ways. Of a place away from city noises and traffic and schedules.

I saw a place God is.

He's there, God of the quiet moss and sandy shores. He's a God of peace and rest, of solitude and nature.

There, the world worshipped. And I joined it.

Logs bowed their heads before their Creator. Salamanders hid in crags and lived the life He set before them. Birds sang His praises. Water danced at His bidding.

And there were us. A few adults, a lot of kids, and we walked in a line back up the hill, exhausted and hot. Yet we weren't just people. We were beings created in His holy image. We were souls righteous in His sight that would live forever in His Kingdom. We laughed and ate and played, and it was worship somehow. It reminds me of the New Earth. 


And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

 - Isaiah 35:10




Today, here I sit, wind whipping my ponytail and flustering the deep-violet petunias on our front porch to make their perfume fly around me. A cow calls, I remember that I need to start dinner, and I forget again because I watch a trail of ants that somehow keep finding our hummingbird feeder. But I sit, embrace this moment because this too is worship.

That worship drew my eyes more to Jesus and less to me. It breaks self to make room for joy to bubble through. And I sing in the melody another author wrote so well,

Over the gateway of Self is a sign that says, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter." It is a hellish, helpless place. Die to self. Live to God. Let your words and music be more beautiful by their death int he soil of worship, that the husk of your own imperfection might fall away and germinate into some bright, eternal song only God could have written.

Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson 


Worship: Every single moment. The God of shalom at the creekside is the same God as you finish finals and prepare for graduation and summer. The God beside you as you lay in bed at night is the same God who is with you at work, when you're stressed, when you praise Him with songs on Sunday mornings.

God is. He is. And that doesn't change.

Joy doesn't come from fulfilling your to-do list. It comes from a different perspective (Romans 12:2). A different goal in life. It starts with worship, and it's a gift from God. That's what changes the world:

Like David. And Ruth. Jesus.

Their lives were humble worship to the Father.

So Friend, don't forget:

Life is a continual worship.

I challenge you to stop, take a moment, and let your mind remember. Where you are at this single moment, this can be worship. Where you are in three hours can be worship too. Even if it's hard.

Creation is continually singing praise. Every star shining, every windy breeze, it's declaring that He is God and there is none like Him!

Yet He desires you. Me. He wants our hearts, to love and be loved, to be intimate with us. He wants us, created in His image, to be transformed to look, live, touch, speak like Him. Can you imagine God Himself longing for you?! Loving you?!

So there you go. If your coffee is gone, we might hug and part ways. (or get a second cup *wink*) But this is what I'm not going to forget: every moment in life is worship.

That's where my joy comes from! It's where I am most fulfilled, most satisfied - when I let Him be the focus, not me. When I turn my eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.

It draws me to prayer, to reading His Word, to rejoicing in Him. And I'm still learning, still praying, Lord, please create a heart of worship in me.

It's your turn!

What's your biggest go-do, that one thing God reminds you of over and over to not forget?

And what does life look like at this moment, as you sit on a phone, a computer, a tablet, and how can you pause and turn it to worship like the psalmists?

Let's chat in the comments!







 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you is it safe... rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

- Philippians 3:1, 4:4


~~


Mar 31, 2021

My Jesus Story and How He Changed my Life




Hello, dear reader!

Happy Spring.  =)  This season makes me giddy. I think I squeal most in spring. (I'm not even a squealing type of girl. But first flowers, first butterflies, first bees?!? I even ate redbud blossoms!) IT'S ALL SO BEAUTIFUL!!

But instead of spring, today I'm sharing my Jesus story.

It used to be hard to pinpoint my story. I grew up as a Christian. I always knew about Jesus. I don't have a uniquely mystical before and after testimony, so maybe I didn't have an important Jesus story.

This spring, I've been praying for Him to open my eyes to the story He wrote so I could pen the work He's done so gracefully for me.

He did! So here's my Jesus story. (and some lingering wintery photos)

And I challenge you: do you have a Jesus story?










If I told you my story
you would hear Hope, that wouldn't let go
and if I told you my story
you would hear Love that never gave up
and if I told you my story
you would hear Life, but it wasn't mine



Once upon a time…


Jesus chose to let me know Him since I could remember. When I was four, I promised myself to Him, and later I confirmed it by being baptized. Little Hosanna loved Him in a child way, savored His creation and good gifts to me.

Yet I grew older, doubted that those first promises were true. I was scared that I wasn’t really saved, and I tried to remember my sin and apologize for every one. And one night, I broke down and gave myself again to Jesus because I was scared I was pretending and would be punished. I didn’t want our relationship to be based on fear, but my frightened heart gave in, and I begged Him to save me.

And Mama prayed with me, encouraged me that it was okay - Jesus would draw me to a place of relationship, love.

He did! That sweet relationship began to deepen. It started as me trying to do what I thought I should. We grew together, and I got to know a little of His heart. Everything that happened was Him! He was with me in hard times. He loved me. He taught me through the Bible, through worship, through His people, through His sweet presence. He lived every-day life with me. I met the God of the universe, and He called me His own! 

And one day, I stopped and looked back.

Things had changed. I didn’t belong to Jesus because of fear anymore. I belonged to Him because I loved Him; I desired Him for who He was.


If I should speak, then let it be of the grace
that is greater than all my sin
of when justice was served, and where mercy wins!
of the kindness of Jesus, that draws me in
oh to tell you my story, is to tell of Him.


Since then, He’s grown me!

We’ve written books together, and He’s guided me through every step. He’s answered prayers in ways I can’t explain any other way. He’s held my hand through fears. He’s brought me to places I could never go on my own. He shows me my weaknesses (which are still many) and helps me become more like Him. Not because I deserve it, but because it’s a relationship He chooses to have with me!

Without Him, I’m broken. I’m selfish, judgmental. Without Him, this girl would have no purpose to live today or the ones following. I would be grumpy, irritable, angry. I’d struggle with anxiety, no way to escape. Truthfully, I’d be so, so empty inside and just try to fill it with faulty solutions. I'm not a good person.

But with Jesus, I have hope of glory forever, and it starts now! I have purpose for today. I have a reason to be glad, a reason to love, a reason to sing!

With Jesus, I’m whole. I’m joyful. I can sing and praise and love life! He showers grace on us, and I'm thankful and overwhelmed at Him!

Life is beautiful just because of Jesus.  

He chooses to love me—and He finds pleasure in me! He blesses me and cherishes me, and because of what He has done, I’m righteous before God!

Righteous. Holy. Pure.

It’s all Him. All His amazing grace and goodness and love.



If I told you my story, you would hear victory
over the enemy
and if I told you my story, you would hear freedom
that was won for me
and if I told you my story, you would hear Life
overcome the grave
 



And that’s His story in me. I’m undeserving, and He chose to give Himself for me. From now until forever, I’m praying to grow toward Him like a flower turns toward the sun, and I just long to be in His presence and know Him completely as He fully knows and loves me.

I'm still imperfect on my own. I forget this testimony a lot. But Jesus has and is changing me, and He will finish what He started! I have so far to go, so many weaknesses still, but I trust Him.

I don't have much of a before and after testimony. But I do know without Jesus, I wouldn't be here. Without Him, I'd be so lost. And that's the perfect story for me, because it's ours! 

Jesus changed my life, and I love Him.

And He can change yours too, dear reader. Do you have a Jesus story? Or if you do, have you forgotten it, like I so easily do?

Eternity has already started, and He is faithful from today to forever.

And He's longing for you.



This is my story, this is my song
praising my Savior all the day long.


















 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

- Ephesians 2:4-6


lyrics by Big Daddy Weave (My Story)



~♥~


Mar 10, 2021

Julie's Flowers Book Release



...(love) isn't self-seeking...

- 1 Corinthians 13:5



I sit here, sun shining through a fingerprint-smudged window, and that verse repeats in my head. Love isn't self-seeking. It doesn't seek its own.

Honestly, I haven't read a book from start to finish in a while. So when author Jordy Leigh invited me to read a brand new novel she helped edit and publish for a set of authors, I quickly said yes! And looking back, that verse was a ringing theme in the pages.

But first, the cover!  (isn't it pretty?!)






A billionaire and his family. A neglected and abused daughter.


Even rich families have their issues—perhaps especially rich families. When billionaire Eric Ryan learns that his daughter will be born with partial forearms, he can’t bear the thought of having an imperfect child. He devises a scheme to have the baby aborted without his wife knowing, which drives Julie Ryan to despair.

But no; injustice is not unique to the wealthy. Hundreds of miles away, Mara Brenner grows up in the care of her mother and stepfather—if it can be called “care.” Her mother alternates between abuse and negligence, and her stepfather is plain cruel.

What hope is there for the pain-ridden Ryan family? And what grace could ever allow Mara to heal from a lifetime of hurt? There is a common thread that spans time, space, and dastardly deeds to restore.



Website

Amazon

Goodreads



The novel centers, especially in the beginning, on the life of Julie Ryan.

She struggles. She's weak. She hurts.

But Julie stands out in the story as a woman focused on simple truths. She humbly loves and serves the people in her life - despite their responses - and God uses her to draw the entire family towards the Lord and His eternal, far greater love and purpose.

And that's why the verse repeats in my mind:


Love isn't self-seeking.


In 2 Peter, God promises that through His divine power we have everything we need for a godly life. So I look at my own life, my heart, and ponder.

When Jesus asked His disciples to follow Him, it didn't mean they had to memorize more Scripture or go to a church building or give their money to the poor. It was an invitation into His very near presence. Those actions might have followed in some shape or form, but the heart was to be in His presence, love Him, learn from Him, be near Him.

Not a list of do's or don't's but transformed lives!

Not doing more to erase our faults but embracing His rightness and letting that change us!

And He did it all from love. He was (and is!) glad to choose, deliver us! How could we keep from praising?!

The disciples gave up their lives for a greater purpose and future. They saw Jesus' immense humility and lack of self-seeking, and they obeyed His call to give up all and follow! Because He was worthy and still is today. 

That's what Julie's Flowers reminds me of. It shows how God can use someone's life of humility to make a difference for the Kingdom. How there's something more important than what we quickly deem as success in this life. The book is a reminder that we can forgive. We can be healed. All because of Jesus.


I'm excited as this new novel enters the world! I hope it reminds its readers that God writes the best stories, and to surrender to Him is the best victory.

I enjoyed the writing style (you can read the epilogue for a peek here!) and the dream behind the story; after Tang passed away, her husband picked up the project and continued it in her honor! It made the story sweeter to read knowing this was Tang's vision that was able to be completed.

(And just saying, Michael was my favorite character.) *happy sigh*

There were some aspects of the book I didn't enjoy as much, and I wouldn't recommend it to young readers (if interested, contact me for specifics). Still, it was a fun story I enjoyed! Tang and Streeter did a great job, and I appreciated the focus on the Gospel and support for the unborn! As I ended the book, I was reminded of the beauty of storytelling, characters, and truth in fictitious tales. *happy sigh*

So enjoy one of my favorite quotes from the book, and let's chat below!



 
 






It's your turn, my friend!

Have you read this brand new novel?! What's been on your heart lately? Do you enjoy book spotlights or more traditional posts?

(psst) Also I always enjoy hearing from you through my "Connect" page! Let me know if I can ever pray for you or support you in any way! *hugs*











(the Holy Spirit) who is a down payment toward the inheritance all us will receive at the final deliverance of those whom God has purchased to be His own, so that we would sing in praise of His greatness.

- Ephesians 1:14




~♥~