One of the best ways to celebrate Easter is finding a new dress! Shopping for one with my mom is my favorite tradition. It should probably be church, or family dinner, or something of that nature. But it’s not. It’s always been about the dress for yours truly. And besides, I feel it should count for something that I’m putting in so much effort for the big day.;)
There are lots of good ones out there this year! Here’s a few of my window shopping favorites:)
Whatever you celebrate the day in, I hope you feel loved and beautiful!
Between the items I didn’t get to on my weekend to-do list, and the ones I already know I’ll miss or mess up this week, I feel frazzled. On my commute, I tell myself I’ll do better and this week: I won’t skip workouts, neglect friends and family, and fail at writing. All my planning berating only reminds me just how behind I’m starting off today.
There’s a picture of the person I want to be in my head and she takes a lot of time, effort, and work. (She of course makes it look effortless) She has time for everyone in her life and for herself. If she only gets up earlier, tries a little harder, and learns from her mistakes, she can be real.
Today, as I exited the freeway and parked in front of my office, I remembered a verse someone read in church yesterday that I wanted to look up. I figured it would be a good idea to start there before doing anything else. I opened my computer and looked up Lamentations 3:20-29
“Surely my soul remembers, and is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone and be silent since He has laid it on him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, perhaps there is hope.”
Here’s what stood out to me this morning-
-His lovingkindness and compassion never fail. They are new every morning.
Every Monday. Every day, I get to start over and He isn’t disappointed or frustrated with me and my shortcomings from yesterday. He looks at me with kindness, no matter how unkind I am to myself.
-The Lord is my portion. All the stuff I think I have to do and achieve to secure the life I want are not what I am actually sustained by. He is my portion and He’ll give me what I need to do. Bonus- He’s portioned controlled. If I take on only what He’s asking, I won’t have more or less than what I need.
-Wait, Seek, Be Silent, Mouth in the dust. I love that image! Mouth in the dust. It’s like the writer is shouting “JUST STOP AlREADY AND BE QUIET!” People like me need that:) Why is it so hard to just stop? Why do I start ever week thinking I can get to everything if I rush? If I just wait, seek, be silent, and literally put my big overused mouth to the dust, He’ll help me handle the things I’m trying to control. Then, and only then, do I have the hope being the person I believe He wants me to be.
Ahhhh….That’s better. Monday. Mine feels a little more manageable. Hope yours does, too.
Hey! Please allow me to introduce you to my lovely, talented, and warmhearted friend Sara. She leads worship in Long Beach and has just written her own full length worship album. She has a few days left on her kickstarter if you’d like to help support. I mean really… couldn’t we all use more quality worship albums by women?!:) Give her website SaraLindsayMusic a visit and check back to see when her album is available!
Lent has never been strongly encouraged in the churches I’ve been a part of, but I have participated a few years here and there. As yesterday came and went, I still couldn’t decide.. “Do Lent?? ..Don’t do Lent??” My main struggle was over my attempt to honestly avoid using it as a form of “Self Help.” I didn’t want to give up something I’d been meaning to cut back on, or use it as motivation to achieve a goal. Getting bikini ready for spring (oh, and Jesus) seemed a bit disingenuous. Maybe you can give up something you love and think of Jesus, but I just usually end up mostly dwelling on “How many days are left??!”
Lent was designed to prepare a follower of Christ for the celebration of Easter. Through prayer and reflection, we sacrifice things in order to identify with the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness without food, water, or companionship. I thought I’d read the story to see if it sparked an idea for a more intentional practice. What jumps out first is it opens with, “Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted in the wilderness.” He was led there by the Spirit. If I’m going to do Lent, I should at least pause and ask God if it is something He is leading me into.
As soon as the 40 Days were over, the Devil starts in on Jesus by tempting Him to turn stones into bread. He wanted Jesus to lose faith and resolve that God would provide and fully support Him during His journey. When looking for something to give up, we can ask ourselves:
What keeps me from trusting God with my life? …Is it my calendar? Obsessive complaining? My finances?
What things keep me from being grateful or noticing His provision on a daily basis? …Pinterest? Comparison to others? Shopping? TV?
Next the Devil tries to test Jesus’ trust that God will protect Him. I could spend forever on how our culture, myself included, is obsessed with safety and struggle to trust God in this area. We might ask ourselves:
What things am I doing on my own because I don’t believe deep down God will come through?… Am I a workaholic? Can I attempt to give up worry with the words I say to myself and others? Am I too focused on something I want that I don’t have?
What crazy things do I do to control situations? How am I holding on too tightly to things and people I love? …What could I stop doing that would teach me to entrust them to God? Do I snoop on Facebook? Do I hover? Is there an outlet I use to channel my fear?
The final temptation is fascinating to me. Jesus knows he has a very tough road ahead of Him. Since He will soon go through great pain and suffering on the cross, the Devil tempts Jesus with an easier road. He offers Jesus the illusion of a shortcut and wants Him to lose faith that God knows best. We can ask:
Where am I distracted from or full-on avoiding the life God is calling me into?
What things am I doing or not doing because I am struggling to believe God’s way is best?
Jesus went straight into the wilderness from His baptism where God told Him, “You are my Son and I love you.” Immediately after, Satan is right there casting doubt on Jesus’ identity.
What keeps me from believing I am fully loved by God… Social media? Certain people in my life? Lies I dwell on?
What could I add in that would help my heart and mind believe I am His and fully loved ? ..Reading, praying, memorizing Scripture.
Lent is not about getting fit, organizing a closet, or checking off the “I read my Bible” box. We have a greater opportunity to identify with Jesus as He struggled to affirm His identity and trust His father with His life before going to the cross.
To Lent..or Not to Lent. I still need a bit more time to sit with my own questions (welcome to my crazy head). I’ll be late about it, but the end result will be better. If you need ideas, blogger Rachel Held Evans put out 40 Ideas for Lent 2014 you may want to take a look at. I’d love to know what you are giving up or adding in this season.
Single Awareness Day is around the corner! Below is a list of my favorite breakup songs for all my blue Valentines out there. These gems (I might be guilty of playing out, through tears, in my car, all alone) are worth a listen.
Please comment your song suggestions! I’m sure I have missed some great ones that I may need in the future;)
I wish I could tell you I was one of those people who wakes up early, takes the proper vitamins, and does a few posture enhancing stretches before spending an hour reading my Bible and praying. Unfortunately, I’m more of a snooze twice, rush a shower, grab coffee as I rush into work five minutes late kind of girl. I do notice a big difference when I start my day with some type of Spiritual time, however short. Like many of you, I often turn to Jesus Calling for these times. I really loved today’s…
“Come to Me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.
Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good, including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you through the many choices along your pathway.”
It’s funny how easy it is to forget that I need only focus on Him and where He is moving moment by moment. Without meaning to, I end up worrying, spending my best energy, and hustling to get the things I’m convinced A)Will make me happy and B) Clearly need me to take control in order to see happen. I have to constantly be reminded that the idea of me having the power is ridiculous and God is always holding things together. In essence, I waste a lot of time and anxiety while the choice to live into His peace is an available refuge. (And may or may not include refraining from pushing snooze and spending more time with Him)
“He (Jesus) is before ALL things, and in Him ALL things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 (Emphasis mine)
Photo by Alyssa Fioravanti. An incredibly talented and lovely girl you can spy on (here)