the holiday.

It was fabulous holiday.

This beautiful three day weekend was exactly what I needed.

As my family would be happy to tell you – I did attempt to work.  Nobody was having it. Nobody was home. So back to Tulsa I went and happily relaxed with my family, my boyfriend (yay!!) and of course my sweet little Hollie.  How was your weekend? I hope it was refreshing, relaxing, and FUN!

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This weekend was the first time in far too long that my family has been together. But the brother is finally back in Oklahoma, the boyfriend came to visit from his fancy internship in Houston (proud of him!!!), and we even got to spend a wonderful evening catching up with extended family – we were finally together. Woohoo!

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Having the boyfriend in town was something of a last minute surprise, but with a little teamwork and help from my daddy – we got him here! Three days together was kind of wonderful, but after 2 years of long distance it can also be a bit of a challenge. I think sometimes we forget how to be in the same room with each other. The weekend was full of fun with dear friends and family and the sometimes difficult task of putting someone else first – thinking of him first. I’ll be honest…I’ve done better. I can’t say that I handled the adjustment to living life so closely with another person with much grace, but we made it through. It was a weekend of growing pains for our relationship and for myself, but it was good (I can’t believe it had been almost 2 months since we had seen each other – woah!). We survived it together with much laughter and the blessing of being close to family and friends, and definitely a great deal of introspection on my part.

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It was a weekend of new adventures….my first rodeo in the pretty town of Claremore, OK…meeting new people and making new friends, and the start of some exciting things J Thank you, Lord for this beautiful weekend, and thank you for allowing me this time to reflect before the busy week starts tomorrow!

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Goodnight friends.

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thinking on happiness.

Hello Dear Friends! I’m so happy you are here. You may remember a while back I wrote about the spirit and its need for nourishment in our lives, and our daily walk with the Lord. This is so key to our happiness. Blessing your God given spirit, allowing it to be blessed by God and enjoying God’s blessing and provision in your life is happiness.

Life so easily tempts us to walk away from those things that would bring nourishment to our souls and spirits and instead offers us countless things that waste our time and suck the joy – the true rest and relief - from us. Perhaps these things that steal away from our true joy and the true nourishment of our spiritual side are not inherently bad, but they are not beneficial either. They are the things that distract us and keep us from being truly at rest, truly at peace, or truly in touch with the joy Christ has for us. They are the things that keep us preoccupied or keep us from being completely in the moment, completely aware of what God is doing around us. This joy is complete peace and rest in Christ. This joy comes when Christ is the center of our lives and shaping who we are.

But what is happiness? With all the things surrounding us and attempting to impersonate happiness, will we know true happiness when we see it? It scares me that I often do not recognize true happiness. I know that far too often I settle for less than joy, less than what God is offering. I so badly want us, as believers, to change our expectations and begin to seek the spirit refreshing, soul awakening happiness that we have access to in Christ.  So again I encourage you to think on those things that are RIGHT and LOVELY and TRUE. To seek out those things that are of God and to live in a way that connects you to the blessings God has in store. This is an adventure and a task. Happiness is too easily missed and too easily counterfeited. Yet it is so necessary for our survival in this world. So necessary to become who are we are meant to be. We need this joy, this happiness, and we are so blessed to have a God who lovingly provides it.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. Ecclesiastes 3:12

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on happiness.

Happiness.

So I’ve been talking about happiness a lot lately…at work, after work, with friends, with strangers. It just keeps coming up. What has been most surprising is that people seem to be so unaware of the joy that surrounds them; myself included.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

I have written on this before, but in this last week it has been so been on my heart. I see people every day who do not know what happy is. They do not know how to look for joy, and it has me wondering, why is this so hard? We tend to look past the joy and the grace that God provides and focus on the negative – on the doubt and the fear. I’m not writing about this because I have it all figured out, but because my heart aches at how easily we become focused on the negative.

I understand that Satan wants to cloud our view of the good in our lives, that he would seek any way to destroy the joy that God has provided. When we allow our selves to be overwhelmed and stuck in the negative we allow our hearts to be turned from the Lord.

This happens to me far to easily. I am often a worrier and a perfectionist and in those moments it is too easy to turn away from the happiness and the provisions the Lord has provided for me in each and every day. It seems that I slowly slip away from what I know is true, His truth.  But in his truth there is freedom, life, and joy in its purest form.

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This is the JOY I want. This is the joy I want to be aware of. This is the joy I want to seek out and know each and every day. I think to know this JOY is to be more aware of Christ in my life. To see his work in my day differently. To allow myself to be present with him and allow myself the happiness that he provides. This week, I am challenging myself to be aware of what God is doing around me, to see Him in the little things and in the big. To choose JOY and to choose to think on those things that are lovely, and right, and good.

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graduation inspiration

My little brother graduated from college this weekend. I am so incredibly proud of him and can’t wait to witness the next chapter in his life. I know it will be an adventure and I know it will inspire others – because that’s who he is. Congrats, Brother!!!!

 

Graduation season has me thinking on a few things, like the future, big dreams, and taking that next step. It reminds me of where I was when I began this blog – it was a way to share a part of my story and chronicle my journey forwards. As it turns out that journey took me from Texas to North Carolina and finally back home to Oklahoma. It’s been exciting and sometimes heartbreaking, but always beautiful as Christ has continued to guide my life and prepare my heart for what lies ahead.

It’s always an interesting feeling, that moment, accomplishing a goal – a huge triumph – yet wondering what’s next. I think these moments are precious.  Created to refresh, renew, and reflect over what God has done and what He is doing around us.  He is God so I know His plans are good, and will take me beyond what I can imagine. I know that He will continue to do his work in me and I know I will move forward – on to another goal and another dream. I also know that waiting is hard.

These moments of accomplishment and waiting are truly unique and have been marked times of change and self discovery in my life. They can be difficult and trying as they refine us and, if we let them, draw us closer to Him. In moments following great accomplishment it seems that Christ often blesses us with times of renewal and rest – at least that has seemed true in my life. The choice is then to trust and enjoy or give in to the pressure we so frequently place upon ourselves.

I love this verse from Exodus. It’s about Moses, right before he experiences the glory of the Lord, it is so simple and yet so wonderful. Here we find Moses asking the Lord to teach him and enable him to find favor with God. To Moses’ pleading and request for favor the Lord says this…

 “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

To me this is amazing. Moses has accomplished so much, and when he asks God how he can continue to find favor with Him, the Lord offers himself and he offers rest. I will be with you, the Lord says, and you will rest! I hope that in these times of waiting (and hopefully celebration because woohoo! accomplishment should be celebrated) we can relax into Him, wait for Him, and be renewed by the work he is constantly doing around us. I hope we can be still and rest assured that while we wait on him, He is at work in us.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4: 9-10

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

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a friend

As I enter another period of transition in my life, I keep catching myself reflecting on the friends I have made through out the years and how unique each relationship has been, but I have also noticed similarities between them.

I was lucky to live with one of my best friends for 3 years in college. We stayed up late reading magazines, eating Wendy’s, and talking in British accents; but more than that this girl new what I was thinking by how a pursed my lips. She knew if I was amused, about to laugh, frustrated, or trying to hold back something that wouldn’t be that kind. To be honest, it was pretty annoying. I could basically get nothing past her. She could call me out on just about anything and pull me back down earth. At times it drove me crazy, but I don’t think I would have survived college without her laughter, perspective, and support.

One time I showed up at a friend’s house and she had bought a bag of jolly ranchers and picked out all the blue ones, just for me. This same amazing person would show up to high school with my favorite drink from Starbucks – she never had to ask what it was, she is just the type that notices the little things. She lets me call her and cry, and yell, and blabber on about anything, with great patience. She is the type of person who really pays attention to her friends and loves to give back in little ways. I’m convinced she can make anyone feel special in an instant.

Then there’s the amazing friend who I have just about everything in common with. We love alfredo pizza from cici’s, cheesy movies, and our puppies. She knows when to ask me the tough questions and when to give me a little bit of space, but she does always ask the tough questions. She pushes me forward and asks me what God is telling me to do. She makes me better and she gets me. She is a blessing. I don’t have to explain myself because she already knows and she already gets it.

Friends are truly precious. I’ve been lucky to have these 3 women in my life. All the relationships are different, but they are, in the end, relationships of give and take and of love and kindness.

I stopped writing in this blog after told my original story, because I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to go from there. I blogged for a while about the different things that God was laying on my heart, but I was never quite sure where this blog was going – or if it was going anywhere.

But I think the reason why I want this blog is found in friendship and relationship. I hope this can be a place where I can give like my friends have given to me. I hope I can share what grace has done in my life, and make a few friends a long the way. This excites me and scares me. It will require vulnerability and honesty, and even more grace - every time I get ready to push the publish button. 

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the evil one.

You may have read in my last post that I have recently been enthralled by the concept of knowing and being known by God, and through this journey something else has come to my attention. In knowing Him better and studying scripture to find out what He’s like, I realize I better understand what He’s not.

I feel more familiar with the Lord’s voice and His promptings, and almost alarmingly aware of what is not from Him. Satan can sound seductively kind, caring, and helpful, as he tries to pull us away from the plan God has for us. I have a professor who refers to Satan only as “the evil one”. I like this, as it makes it impossible for us to forget that all Satan is, is true evil. The name Satan often conjures up images of a man in a red outfit with a pitch fork, I’m pretty sure he loves that this happens as it take our eyes away from the evil. There is nothing Satan is that is not evil. In Hebrew Satan can be translated as adversary or oppressor, this often interpreted as a struggle against evil.* All that is evil is the being we think of as Satan. The evil one encompasses the depth of the depravity in our world, everything that is fallen, everything that would obstruct our path as we seek to follow God. The evil one is absolutely our adversary, it is an evil that is against us at every step and every turn, and so we need God. We desperately need God to help us.

The depth of the evil that seeks our destruction should show us how great our need for God truly is. The pure evil that would attempt to turn us from Christ is not something that we can handle on our own, oh how we need our God to save us, and help us.

Again, for me, part of this battle is truly being known by my Father. Knowing Him, so that I know His voice above all others. Being honest enough to voice my struggles and failings with Him. I need to know His voice and His guidance so that I am not misled by the evil that would seductively trap me. I think the evil one has many tactics, and one of those appears to be to often approach us under the disguise of something sweet, or not so harmful.

Last night I found myself in one of these situations where Satan comes across as trying to take care of me. “It’s ok you don’t really need to do this, it is fall break after all.” “It’s ok you are tired and you worked so hard on homework all afternoon.” “Look your tire light is on and you shouldn’t drive across town in the dark with the tire light on! You could get hurt!” The last one is what got me. My tire light comes on at any subtle change in the weather (and actually been on for about a week), and so when I felt that lie, it was really almost laughable. The problem is that I actually thought something like “Oh man that’s so true, my dad would not want me driving right now.” Oh my gosh, really?? No thank you, Satan. And so I kept driving to my church to worship and find community and was so blessed by those moments with my God. The evil one was trying to mislead me and his attack was obvious, but it is not always so clear and not always so easy to choose Christ and His power in those moments.

In this the need to know God, really know Him, so that we can respond to Him and Him alone seems so imperative.

*Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary ; Neff, D. D. (1991). A dozen Greek and Hebrew words you ought to know. Christianity Today, 35(12), 30. and; Satan: The Early Christian Tradition By Jeffrey Burton Russell

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knowing Him.

Hello! I’m so happy you’ve stopped by my little blog today! I was planning on writing and telling you all about the conference I attended last weekend…but instead I’m posting something I wrote right before I left. I think many of you know that life has recently been pretty hard, many unexpected twists and turns have occurred and through it all God has constantly reminded me that He is God and in all things He is good. “God is good” just keeps playing over and over in my head, and this post is a little snippet of one of the ways He has been so good to me lately.

 

Seeking Him.

In the last month I felt God constantly and rather sweetly reminding me to seek Him first. I’ve been reminded of Mathew 6:33 in many different and sometimes unexpected ways.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”

For me seeking Him has been getting to know Him better, to know and be known by Him. This concept hit me in really beautiful way that in seeking Him and knowing Him, my creator can more intimately know me as well.

I have the knowledge that He created me, that He knows my thoughts, my actions, and every hair on my head, but there is something really wonderful about being made more aware of the intimacy He offers in relationship. In knowing Him and seeking His wisdom, learning about his character and grace, I find myself becoming more honest in my prayers and petitions to Him, more inclined to share my heart. Far too often my thoughts have been, “well He’s God, so He already knows my heart, my pain, my ideas, my wants…” but He offers something so much greater as we seek Him and He seeks us.  Seeking to really know my God has been an eye-opening experience, not because I’d never thought of this concept before, but because at this time in my life, in these moments, knowing Him through His word and learning about His character and many attributes has inspired deeper faith through greater honesty and vulnerability within me. It is truly a gift to be known and heard and cared for by The One who thought me up from very the beginning.

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