Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Reap What You Sow

 I feel so blessed to be under the leadership of Pastor Furtick. It's ridiculous how anointed he is, and it's obvious that the Lord has blessed him with an amazing message for Charlotte and beyond.

This morning's message was on honor. It's something we talk about often at church, and it's something that Pastor and our staff feel strongly about. The whole sermon was really powerful, but on a tangent towards the end of the message, he said something that really struck me.

Part of it is because I'm trying to read a certain number of chapters a day and part of it is just the way I always am, but often times I end up walking away from my quiet time or devotional time with God without much impact. I feel good because I know I've spent time in His word, but I know I could have gotten more out of it. Pastor talked today about how we reap what we sow. When I give honor to God and His word, I get the most out of it. When we show up to a sermon with a posture of worship and learning, that's when we really "get something" from it. When we are lazy or fall asleep in church (I swear pastor just straight up called someone out for that today haha), that's when we walk out complaining about how it wasn't a great sermon. Maybe the reason I feel like God isn't speaking into my life most days is because I'm not bringing Him anything, not even myself. If I'm not making a conscious effort to bring my best to God (my posture, my attention, my focus), then I'm probably not going to receive any inspiration words from Him during my quiet time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So I work in retail and even though it's not the most difficult job anyone has ever had, it's truly a pain most days. People are rude, and every day the store gets trashed and it's our (highly repetitive) duty to clean it. Now, I know what you're thinking. "But's RETAIL. That's what retailers DO!" I know, I know, but that doesn't make it fun.


I want to be thankful for something, so here's my list:

-I get to listen to music allllll day long. and some pretty great music at that. some of my favorites right now:
::marina and the diamonds
::vampire weekend
I actually have a playlist on my ipod of like 40 songs that I love so much from work that I want to hear them all the time. 
-I work with people who love to work with me because they know I'm not playing. I get stuff done. Seriously, I may be the best clothes straightener you have ever met. Just maybe.
-My co-workers are hilarious. I think we're all just at weird stages in our lives that we come out with ridiculous stories and jokes. I laugh a lot at work.
-Though I assume most of the people shopping around me are rude based solely on the way they are tearing my racks apart and throwing stuff on the floor, I meet a lot of cool people from church who have seen me before. I think I've personally met more people from church at work than actual church.
-I spend a lot of daydreaming and/or praying. Being in an undesirable place has grown my love for the places and people I love.

So there. If I ever need a reminder that working as a lowly sales associate in retail is not THE worst thing in the world, this is it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I work a lot in the evenings, so my husband gets a lot of guy time at night. He mostly occupies it playing Call of Duty with his friends. Ok, that's literally the thing I come home to every night. Call of Duty.

BUT tonight it's my night. He's taking a class on something work-related, and I have the house to myself until 10! Honestly, I'm not really sure what to do with it. Before we got married, I LOVED having time to myself. I spent so much time in my room that I never really spent time with anyone else. I just love to be alone and be calm and quiet by myself. But now that we're married, I'm more used to spend time with my husband than I am by myself. Surely, I still cherish my personal time (as I'm happily laying on the couch watching Keeping up with the Kardashians), but I'd always rather spend time with my love.

In other news, I'm so desperate to be able to make our apartment cuter. Most of our furniture and "decoration" is from Robert's mother and their old house. It's not bad, it's just not cute. It's very...shi shi. haha umm so I really want to bring my own style (or what I wish was my style) to our place. Some inspiration:

I really want a super bright, almost abrasive, couch haha. There's one at Ikea that I go nuts over every time. It's like super bright patchwork, and it's glorious. Our dream is to have a home with a studio in it, and if it ever happens, that couch is going in it. Amazing!

source 1
source 2
source 3
source 4

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Still chugging along through b90x. I'm over halfway done with the plan. I'm a couple days behind, but I'm into Ecclesiastes and am hoping to knock out Song of Songs and about 20 chapters of Isaiah today haha. It's doable. Gotta catch up!

I just got done with Proverbs, and it kicked my butt. It's one of those books that seems random. There are a ton of tidbits, and the way it's set up seems like it's just individual pieces of advice strung together. But reading the whole thing through was good for me. There are so many practical, day-to-day things to take away from it. I felt like I was slapped in the face a couple times when I would read about patience, sharing joy, containing anger, not gossiping, respect. So many things I struggle with on a daily basis.
Sometimes doing this kind of intense reading plan causes me rush through in order to get the day's reading finished, but it's good the know that the Lord will always speak to me through His word.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I've always wanted to be more consistent with eating meals together with Robert. For the majority of the time we dated, he worked at a Honda dealership and often wouldn't get home until 8 or 9. This meant that if we wanted to eat dinner together, it was generally around 10pm. No bueno. And I always said that when we got married we'd live together and therefore hopefully find some sort of routine when it comes to meals, at least dinner.
Not happening

Most of our inconsistency comes from the fact that he works during the day at his shop and I tend to work at night a lot. Usually we can eat lunch together at his work, but I really long for a time when we can have consistent family time where we sit and eat a meal together. I think most of this stems from the fact that growing up, dinner was important in my family. We always ate together and that was our one consistent time when we were talking and listening and just being with each other. I really loved it, and I want the same sort of family time with Robert.

Thankfully, the last 3 nights we've eaten dinner together. Last night we had really good chicken and potatoes. McCormick makes these little packets with a recipe on the back that comes with all the spices you'll need for the meal. It felt like cheating, it was so easy. In fact it was as easy as...

A man and his video games. And just to clarify, he actually made the meal. He makes most of our meals, in fact. Such a good husband :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I hope your valentine's day was wonderful. Ours was pretty low-key but still special. Cooked dinner together and finished the anime series we were watching: Fullmetal Alchemist. So good.

So anyway...
One thing that my husband may or may not know about me that he definitely SHOULD know is that I am addicted to brands. See example:

Put something in a magazine advertisement or in the hands of celebrities enough times and I will want it and eventually buy it. I can't explain it, but I just get an urge to buy everything in sephora and ulta and every other makeup store I go in haha
So I'm actually going to keep track of these purchases (the face wash in particular) and make sure that I'm paying good money for good products. If not, I'll stick with the cheapies if they'll do the job.

Any products you love to splurge on?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I consider my husband a genius. I mean, he's not a certifiable one or anything...but he's pretty dang smart. He loves information. He soaks it up like a sponge and loves every minute of it. He knows so much random information about so many topics. Big, small, super important, worthless, pointless, necessary, everything. I've found in my relationship with him that he knows just enough about everything to solve many of my problems in life :)

I know it's important not to idolize anyone or anything, and I don't. I know that no person will ever supply all of my needs and that God is the only one who could ever fulfill my spirit the way it needs to be fulfilled. That being said, my husband is my best friend, my go-to guy, my other half. He has an answer for everything, and even though his desire to be right can drive me out of my mind, I love his spirit, his intelligence, his humor, his heart. There is no one in the entire world I'd rather spend time with than him, and I think that's important and will be necessary years into this marriage.

I'm reading a great book right now, that I heard about from Jessie Mathis's blog called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. It's a little nerve racking because it's very real and up-front about the challenges and hardships that can and will hit a marriage. Honestly, it makes me nervous. There are so many opportunities for pain and unhappiness to sneak into a marriage quietly while no one is paying attention and plant seeds that can tear people apart eventually.  I just get worried sometimes when we have little fights or when I am too short with him or I do something stupid that I'm planting seeds that are going to grow into awful things in the future. But I'll continue reading and praying and working on myself and trust that God has built our relationship so far and will continue to keep us strong as long as we are trusting Him and bringing Him glory.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Last week, a food fast. This week, a voice fast.

Day 2.5
Today, my voice is smaller and less significant. I can barely reach above a whisper, and my throat is beginning to ache with the effort of forming words that can be understood by the few people I'm forced to talk to. I am worn out and tired because it takes twice as much effort to actually say anything. I am dizzy and light headed. But in honesty, none of that bothers me compared to the ache I feel to sing, even to hum. I miss it desperately.

But I am confident that God has things to teach me through this week (or so) of quiet. I am notorious for my inability to be still and quiet before the Lord. What better way to accomplish this than to become mute :)
So far, one thing I feel is important for me is to listen to music. It's become a subconscious thing to sing along with the radio or my ipod. Singing makes me feel good, and it's second-nature if there's music playing. But I always realize when I truly listen to songs how much I can miss. Small nuances, sweet harmonies, guitar notes I hadn't noticed before. There are so many beautiful individual pieces that come together to make a great song, even in ridiculous music like what plays on popular radio stations. Since my singing now sounds worse than a trash can with a broken wheel being dragged across a gravel driveway, I get to really listen to music. It's a beautiful thing.

So take it from someone who has no choice, next time you're listening to your favorite song that you've heard a thousand times over, stop singing along and truly listen to what's happening within the song. What did you miss last time?

Some albums I've been listening to in the past couple days that I'm rediscovering a love for:
Jars of Clay - The Shelter
Imogen Heap - Ellipse
Flyleaf - Memento Mori
Florence & the Machine - Lungs

I also listened to a preview of Adele's new album that comes out later this month, and I can't wait for it. It's amazing. I wasn't crazy about her first album, but that was my preference, not her quality.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our part in the 511FavorFast is over. I can't say I'm not thankful. I love food so much, and I missed chicken more than I should admit. Goodness, I love chicken.

Though today I learned that maybe harder than forfeiting food is the involuntary act of relinquishing my voice. Just flat out lost it. Halfway through a church service in which I was scheduled to lead a song about the greatness and glory of God I lost one of the best gifts He's given me. At the time I managed to keep calm about it (a feat for me), but I never realized how emotionally painful it would be to lose my voice. Singing is my thing, my passion. If there is one thing in life that I know I can do well, it is to sing. God has blessed me in an unimaginable way. And it's important to realize that even if He has taken my voice (whether temporarily or forever), He has still blessed me. It actually worked out well because today we sang a song called Your Favor, and my prayer during the second half of the song:

I'll give You everything I have
because I was undeserving
and You chose me

was exactly that. If it meant to give up my voice then I would give that along with everything else I have. I hate to lose it, but I will give it back to You. I am so undeserving, and still You chose to pour Your favor on me.

I truly am praying that I get my voice back soon. I never imagined that it would affect me the way it has today (or maybe I'm just overly tired). Even though I want it back, I also want to continue to pursue the Lord and sacrifice it all to see His glory revealed. Maybe someone today at Providence was touched by the words of Freedom is Here and needed to hear it again. Maybe I have not been truly thankful and humble with my words and my voice. Maybe my voice just wanted a break :)
Either way, I know that in loss (big or small), there is much to be learned.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I push pen to skin, ignoring the memories of my mother's voice, scolding me for writing all over myself. psalm 18:19. I can't remember the first part of it without looking it up, but I remember how the words, "He rescued me because He delights in me" felt against my heart when He first pressed them there. There's always been something about that word. delight. To know that someone finds me delightful. Such a blessing.
My husband delights in me, and he tells me so often. But not too often that it loses significance. Just when I am feeling low enough to sink back into old habits bred in fear and disillusionment. When I am at the edge of something dark, "He leads me to a place of safety. He rescued me because He delights in me." He speaks through him.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I am hungry.
Not because I haven't eaten in four days. Not because my body is weak and all I can think about is food.
I am hungry for more than food. More than physical sustenance. More than teriyaki chicken.

I am hungry still even when I am knee-deep in old testament writing. prophets. kings. judges. leaders. words of encouragement and the charge to be strong and courageous. I am hungry still even when I am enveloped in song. words spilling from my smiling lips. heart pouring out every last ounce of energy. hands up and reaching to be picked up by the Father I love though I cannot see him. I am hungry still even surrounded by warriors. friends and loves who have faithfully poured into me. even their encouragement does not fill me with what I need. I am hungry still even in the arms of the one I love more than any earthly thing. even when he has me folded within his grasp and I feel that nothing could keep me safer. even when his heart speaks into mine and his love is all I could ever want. still, I am hungry.

part one, if you will. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

There's a lot going on. B90x. 511FavorFast. Prayer. Searching. Growing. Learning.
It's a lot to keep track of.
God is busy :)

I've read through the bible once or twice altogether, and it's always interesting to me what God will reveal to me this time that He didn't the last time. Or really, the way my heart/eyes/ears are opened in new ways each time. This time around it is wholehearted worship and service to the Lord. All throughout the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles (as well as others), there are countless rulers and leaders who are given the chance to redeem Israel by trusting the Lord with their whole heart, tearing down the idols and pagan shrines, and turning His people back to Him. And almost every single one of them fails. Some fail completely and disastrously. Some fail...kind of. They fail...mostly. Those are the ones that interest me. For some reason this stuck out to me in my reading today:

"Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight, but not wholeheartedly" - 2chronicles 25.2

Amaziah did some things that pleased the Lord. But his heart was not completely devoted to God, so He did not give Amaziah victory in the end.
I have a big problem with this. I know I am serving God in some areas of my life, but maybe I'm not really serving Him wholeheartedly. There are pieces and sections of my life that are devoted to things to do not please Him, things that take my attention away from Him.

My prayer is that He would touch every area of my life. That I would learn day by day, piece by piece to commit my whole heart and life to Him. That I would not just serve Him in some areas but trust in Him and live for Him in everything I do.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

511 Favor Fast, day 1

Well the 511FavorFast is underway! So far, today has been very boring. I'm not overwhelmingly hungry, but all of this is making me realize how much I love food and how much our lives revolve around it. When I think about what Robert and I will do after work: food. When I think about what we'll do when we hang out with friends: food. When I think about work: food.

I'm also realizing that perhaps I need to embark on a fast from something more distracting and detrimental to my relationship with God than food. Mainly, the internet. I can literally waste entire days away sitting in front on my computer on facebook, twitter, and tumblr. The internet is my idol. It needs to change. So I will continue on in our food fast, but I also want to cut back on my time on the internet and do a type of fast from that as well.

So for the next 4 days of the Favor Fast, my goal is to spend less time wasted and actually use this time of fasting to communicate with and hear from God. I want to use this week to seek Him, to pour my heart out to Him, to receive songs I know He wants me to write, to read and soak Him into my own heart and spirit. I've neglected my relationship with Him for far too long. I'm great at thinking about things, but I'm not so awesome at actually doing. Thankfully, God has not given up on me yet, and there is always the promise of the chance to start over.