Courthouse balcony in Rome / swoony architecture 😍
“What you cultivate dominates.” (A quote from @kvministries) __ I’ve been cultivating a lot of fear lately, which usually happens as a result of exhaustion — my brain defaults to those old habits of anxiety and it becomes very steep downhill spiral. __ When fear takes over, I tend to hide from Jesus because I’m ashamed that I don’t have it all together (not that I ever really did). I forget that the Cross enables me to boldly approach the Throne of Grace and give all my worries over to Jesus. I feel, instead, as though He’s turned his back to me out of disappointment and I can’t figure how to get his attention once again. I have a serious problem with forgetting what the Gospel means, my friends. __ BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, my friends, look at this. “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us — set us right with him, make us fit for him — we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand — out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.” Romans 5:1-2 (MSG) __ It takes no faith at all to cultivate shame, despair and a sense of unworthiness. It takes faith to remind yourself that everything’s been paid for and rejoice, even when you don’t feel like celebrating. __ So, when the fear begins to overwhelm me, I stand off and literally shake it off. I dance and sing for Jesus until my heart and mind agree with my spirit: that God is good and He never abandons his kids.
The other day, after a long talk with a friend about what it means to be strong, I took a poll and asked other people I love what they thought strength meant. __ My favorite of the definitions given were “freedom”, “authenticity”, and “boldness”. I think, with all that’s going on today, it’s important to model what strength means — and I think it’s especially important to model what a strong woman looks like. __ I love these two humans for so many reasons, but a big one is their strength. Tiffani is bold and steadfast and assured of her convictions, but not demanding or aggressive in how she expresses them — she is completely herself and so strong in her identity. Ruhama, I always knew she was strong but there was this one moment when she was praying for me a few months ago that truly revealed it. She spoke over my broken heart with an incredible boldness that came out of deep compassion and the truest desire to see me set free from bondage; that strength and power was contagious and Jesus used it to remind me that He is ALL strength, freedom and power. __ I don’t know how you define strength, and honestly, I don’t think I could define it for myself. However, I can point to it when I see it; and I see it in these women. __ What do you think makes a person strong? __ Side note, we’re probably going to host a talk show in which we mostly laugh at each other and revisit previous amusing experiences. Lmk if you want to receive the newsletter ;)
I have an exam tomorrow and our teacher, who is truly (no sarcasm here) very generous, gave us a study guide that is the equivalent of saying “just make sure you know EVERYTHING we’ve covered since the beginning of the semester”. I thought it was hilaaaaaaaarious. #SoIWillJustSitHereAndInstagramInstead #IHaveLostAllAbilityToCan
Just the best place in all the land. I love these 'old folks' (@heffie let's us call them that...usually.)
The span of emotions I can feel within a twenty-four hour period fascinates (and alarms) me. They're all authentic, deeply felt, sincere, but by golly they can flip flop in minutes. It's not something to be ashamed of, at least not now that I've recognized it's just the result of having a tender heart. __ God showed me something this morning: HOPE is impervious to emotion, it cannot fall away. Once you've known hope, you can't forget it. __ Crying out with broken heart originates in the HOPE that someone will hear. Screaming at the top of your lungs is the HOPE of freedom from frustrations as you release them. Sleeping off depression indicates the HOPE that you'll wake up with something changed. __ Hope looks just as much like pouring out your troubles before God as it looks like dancing in freedom. __ Hope says God always rescues. It looks to the past and sees endless years of salvation and proclaims to the present that rescue is coming. __ We have this hope as an anchor for the soul; firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
This is my best friend Ruhama and my golly is she the dearest (and holy cow most stunning). Her friendship is an answer to lots of prayers over the years; God has shown me so much about why we need each other through this friendship. Friendship with Ruhama reveals heaven's culture and aspects of God's heart every single stinking day, and it's such a gift. __ Here's some advice and encouragement: ask God for friends who will rebuke your insecurities and remind you of your true identity, who care enough to voice their disagreement with you when you're doing something crazy (even if it means that you might be grumpy with them for a while), who see your gifts and speak life into them, and who will drive across town just because you said you needed a hug. __ Stories of my Father's awesome gift-giving skills are some of the sweetest. He's such a generous God. __ More advice: watch her YouTube channel. She's authentic, hilarious and my goodness is she filled with the Spirit.
If we believe God is who He says He is, then we believe that He provides. The core of Christianity is that, no matter the cost, God always rescues His children. God will not ask you to step into a new season with Him and then set you up to fail. He’s a good friend, father, companion, lover—His kindness never runs out. (An excerpt from my most recent piece of writing: You Have All You Need to Get Where You're Going. Link in bio.)
The more that you read, the more things that you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. Dr. Seuss __ I've been reading quite a bit this summer and I've found that my favorite authors are the ones who write in short sentences conveying just the right amount of detail in just the right amount of words (quite unlike this sentence). The majority of the books I've read lately are set in Paris (which makes sense, given I'm such a francophone) with characters searching for some new identity or discovering who they are. It's all very dreamy when set in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Maybe that's just me. __ As far as I'm concerned, I'm quite prepared to spend time in France because I'm so well read on the subject. Anyone want to spot me a few thousand dollars so I, too, can go on a dreamy journey of self discovery? It'd be much appreciated and you'd get some good Instagram Stories out of it, I promise.