I Am the Best Wife

“You are the best wife,” he said.

“You are the best husband,” she replied.

Spoken at the end of a hard day, a long day, a sad day. We reluctantly cuddled up even though we couldn’t quite get to the bottom of why we were so annoyed of each other. Sometimes life is hard because of external circumstances, and sometimes life is hard because of internal conditions. Sometimes both. In this case, life was hard because of internal conditions… expectations unmet, encouragement not given, vision seen but not close enough to touch.

It’s not that we are or were going through anything major, it’s just that this is life and this is marriage. You give, you take, you sow, you reap, and sometimes you can do everything right and still have bad days (yep, it’s true). Two imperfect people join together to form an imperfect marriage and what do you get? The highest of highs and lowest of lows, the heights of joy, the depths of sorrow, and the worst of all, too: numbness and apathy. But you’re together. That’s the comfort. Not that you don’t go through things, but that you go through things with someone you love and with someone who loves you. I wouldn’t want to go through easy seasons, hard seasons, or apathetic seasons with anyone else.

Hearing you’re the best wife when you feel the least deserving is humbling, redeeming, and healing. Me telling him he’s the best husband when I feel he’s the least deserving is also humbling, redeeming, and healing. Muttering those words closed the distance between our hearts because that is what grace does, it covers blemishes, fills gaps, and offers us a new perspective.

I can’t help but think of Jesus, telling me I’m new, loved, whole, forgiven and redeemed over and over again. And even on the days when I don’t feel I am any of those things, it is still true. That is grace.

To my husband and my husband only, I am the best wife. And grace is that even when I try so hard and come up short, I still am.

“You are the best wife,” he said.

“You are the best husband,” she replied.

If I Could Just

If I could just feel it.

If I could just be that.

If I could just go there.

If I could just change it.

If I could just fix it.

If I could just make it go away.

Always waiting for something, always looking for something, always asking for something, aren’t we? And yet the secret is this, we find time and time again: the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

Yes, you heard me, it’s not. I know this, and deep down, so do you.

If you got that thing you’ve always wanted and if you were that person you’ve always thought you should be there would still be a hole because you are not perfect, neither am I, and we aren’t promised tomorrow. These longings that we have ultimately meet their end in a land that we have yet glimpsed.

Heaven is the other side… and there, we will find our green grass and so much more.

Until then, I don’t have much of a solution for the “If I could just” syndrome. All I can say is that He is enough, and I am enough because He is in me. You are enough because He is in you.

Being consumed with what we think life should be or could be can be crippling… so crippling that it can prevent us from actually living. I encourage you to simply trust God with yourself and your life. Live in His presence today, not in your worries, concerns, and desires.

____________________

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Notes on Watching the Nashville Symphony

Few things are more beautiful than watching someone do something with their whole heart. That is passion.

This performance is beautiful, exquisite. I saw a man in the audience a few minutes ago who didn’t know what to do with his hands, exercising self-restraint, enthralled by the sound he was hearing… He was having trouble waiting until the end to give his applause.

An applause is all we have to give. It is the grand finale, and yet, they are not performing for an applause.

They have done this many times before, perfectly, with the same passion.. With no applause waiting for them at the end.

I’ve come to the conclusion that their performance must be for something greater than an applause.

 

It seems when you do something with your whole heart,
Void of vain conceit,
That
joy begins to smear itself… and blurs the lines between practice and performance until it all begins to feel the same.

And then, one day, when your heart is consumed with passion, the applause that was once the aim becomes the backdrop, a faint sound in the distance.

 _________________________

What burns in your heart? What is that thing you’d do if no one was watching? …If everyone was watching? Passion that’s not taught or learned, but a fire that grows from the inside out, is what we crave. 

“And whatever you do, do it heartily [wholeheartedly, sincerely, genuinely, warmly, profoundly, with all one’s heart], as to the Lord and not to men…” Colossians 3:23

 

A Secret to Joy

Over the past year, there’s only been one book, besides the Bible ;), that’s kept my attention long enough for me to (almost) finish it. That book is called One Thousand Gifts and it’s by a woman named Ann Voskamp. Her writing is raw, eloquent, and captivating.

I had a pretty rough year (yep, being engaged/married doesn’t fix all of your problems… However, having someone there who loves you with their whole heart does make the journey from pain to wholeness easier), and only the essentials (Jesus, His Word, and God-appointed relationships) made the cut in my life. You learn to get back to the basics: being thankful for every sunrise, salvation, and God’s love. My lofty revelation for the year was probably just that I need Jesus, every day.

Anyways, I felt pretty numb and empty on and off for quite some time. It felt like I couldn’t “do” enough to fix myself… and the truth is, I still can’t. And neither can you. Only God can do that.

Long story short, I thank God today because I can truly say that He has delivered me from so much heaviness. His joy is truly my strength and I know that He can heal the deepest wounds and reach the darkest places in us, in anyone. My heart is for the people whose hearts are full of pain and nobody knows. It is the world we are living in… whether it’s a homeless woman or a wealthy man in a suit: pain is universal. And yet, God’s love is greater… Anyone who calls on Him will be saved in the whole sense.

Thank you GOD for Your love and mercy!

I asked but never searched

Wandered but never dug 

For answers and sometimes

for anything at all 

 

I begged but never thanked

Cried out but never waited 

 For a sign and sometimes

for anything at all

 

To all the places that I’ve been

where I didn’t think You were

and all the moments I’ve spent wondering

when You were always sure,

 

I’ve opened my eyes to see that You 

weren’t so hidden after all. 

 

No, not so hidden after all. 

Inspired by a quote from One Thousand Gifts:
“The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” 

One Life Source

So there’s probably a blog or a book or a sermon out there that poses the same idea that popped into my head this morning… I wish it was original and revolutionary, but I’m not in denial. Someone else will probably say it better than me too if they haven’t already.

I don’t know about you, but when I wake up feeling heavy or feel like I’m in a rut or need breakthrough, I run to a lot of things before I cling to Jesus. And what I mean by that is… If I woke up heavy in a village with no electricity, none of my current “methods” would work.

..turn on a podcast

..turn on my “It’s A New Season” or “REVIVAL” playlist

..watch one of Beth Moore’s weekly teachings

..YouTube a teaching by someone new if I want to mix things up a little

Yeah, it’s safe to say I’d be in trouble in a village in the middle of nowhere.

The thing is, we have the world of teaching, worship music, etc. at our fingertips because of technology. Just type what you want to learn about in the search engine and bam… charismatic, conservative, Baptist, non-denominational, you can have it all. We can research a 5-step process that will get us out of our pit or we can read about how there is no 5-step process for escaping trials.

We consume mass amounts of information and knowledge because our souls are desperate for truth and freedom, but what did people do before technology?!And, on another, hold-your-breath, note… what about people who don’t even have the Bible?!

…There has to be something more, another life source, that is available to all men and women, with and without technology, with or without the Bible even, and that life source is Jesus Himself… HIM! (Side note: I believe the Word of God is living and should be consumed daily, but I also don’t believe our time in the Word should replace time spent with the Word Himself).

I’m by no means saying we shouldn’t or can’t use technology as a means to grow spiritually, but when it comes time to be intimate with our Father, there should be nothing that stands between us, good or bad, nothing to lean on… it’s about HIM and me, no intermediaries besides Jesus.

Sometimes we need to shut down the technology and stand alone, bare, in a room before our Father… laying down any ideas about Him we’ve gained for the sake of knowing Him in His fullness and in turn being fully known ourselves. 

Though the Fig Tree May not Blossom

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines; 

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food; 

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength; 

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high heels.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Have you ever found yourself at a place where it feels like a thousand disappointments have folded into one big question mark? The… “I trust you God, but where on earth could you be in the midst of this” kind of question mark? I mean… honestly?

We all deal with our question mark differently–there are so many ways, really. You can embrace it in hopes of some sort of comfort, not realizing the toxic emotions confusion and chaos cause when you cling to them so tightly. You can close your eyes and take on the “wake me up when it’s over” mentality, or if you’re like me, you can punch it every time it lowers itself into your way… thinking you’re doing spiritual warfare, but in all reality you’re getting the strength knocked out of you because… well, this is not your [my] fight.

The prophet Habakkuk spoke the words above in a time when, quite literally, everything was going wrong. [External] circumstances were causing [internal turmoil].

The economy was failing, there were threats of war, and on a personal level, he was overcome with feelings of loss, doubt, and grief.

I know a lot of people, including myself, who have been through an extremely hard past year, and I just believe it’s time to stop running away from “negative” emotions because we believe that if we acknowledge our disappoint it means we’re letting God down. …Disappointment is not the opposite of faith. It’s a part of life and we have to learn how to process it in a healthy way if we want to come out stronger.

God might not make our problems vanish, but He is Lord OVER our problems and wants us to know that He is so in the midst of it all. And so I pray over my friends, family, and any stranger that might read this, that you will stop running from question marks in your life, and that you will fall madly in love with the King of Kings who loves your soul and wants to see you whole, healed, full of true joy, and therefore is not disappointed with your disappointment. 

Even when what I hoped and expected and prayed for didn’t happen,

And I sowed and sowed and didn’t get a return,

Though some days I look around and find empty places

that I was convinced would be filled by now,

and it can feel like I gave everything for nothing

 Even then,

Yes,

Yet,

I will  rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength; 

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high heels.

 

Social Media Checks & Balances: Tweet Like You Eat

Let’s be real… too much of a good thing is not a good thing. But just because a good thing can become a bad thing, doesn’t mean it’s not good. If you’re like me, sometimes you’d rather just not know exactly how something is affecting you. …The thing about social media, though, is that psychologists are finding it has just as many positive effects as it does negative effects. …The rest is up to us.

I’m learning that social media is kind’ve like food. Excessive eating is never going to be healthy, but eating the right things at the right time and occasionally splurging is not only healthy, but enjoyable in the long run!

Take heart, social media in moderation will benefit us more than it will hurt us.

Nonetheless, here are some of the psychological effects [good, bad, + ugly] of social media according to a study published on Psychology Today.

THE GOOD MEDIA EFFECTS:

  • IQs are rising, according to the Education Testing Service. Much of the increase is due to advances in media assisted learning and interactive game playing.
  • Girls are advancing in the field of science. Some studies attribute this to increased numbers of females engaging in interactive game play.
  • The nexus between media and learning is increasingly popular and we are learning more about learning.
  • Communication is increasing across cultures.
  • Media has helped foster public understanding of many crucial issues.

THE BAD MEDIA EFFECTS:

  • Attention spans are decreasing because of exposure to excessively stimulating and fast-paced media. A direct link between exposure to media stimulation and ADD has surfaced from research.
  • Violence in media causes desensitization to violence. It may facilitate violent acts. Violence may be contagious by observational learning and social agreement.
  • Media-assisted crimes like identity theft and child pornography are taking new forms.
  • Average number of sleep hours per night decreases in inverse proportion to the average number of hours per day of Internet use.
  • Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is increasingly diagnosed by professionals.

Blank Pages and Fear

…The first sentence is always the hardest.

Type, erase, re-type…

Stare.

A blank page is kind of like standing on the edge of a cliff (for lack of better dramatic effect). There’s all of the potential in the world and, yet, it can be paralyzing.

…but don’t you know the world is your oyster?

And this page is your land?

The first step is always the hardest,                                          
but first steps become easier as you take them.

I want to say that when it comes to fear, in all its variations, names, and volumes, we have two options: become its victim or make it ours. If we bow to fear, we risk paralyzation in the very moments that we were destined to walk forward into.

Today, we all have our fear [of the unknown, of missing the mark, of hurt, of rejection], but love will take you to the places that fear longs to keep you from if you’ll choose it [Him].

There’s a whole lot that could go wrong with a blank page, but there’s also a whole lot that could go right.

Go for it.

2 Timothy 1:7

1 John 4:18

Social Media Checks & Balances: The “Dark Side” of New Media

First Amendment Challenges Posed by New Media
[wisdom from an 85-year-old] 

A crowd gathered at Belmont University’s Massey Performing Arts Center Tues. evening to hear an award-winning journalist discuss new media technology and the challenges it poses to the First Amendment.

 

85-year-old John Seigenthaler, First Amendment advocate and founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, was invited as a guest speaker on Oct. 30 to kick off Belmont’s College of Law Speaker Series.

 

“We were warned that the future was going to be online,” Seigenthaler told the audience as he reflected on the changes that have taken place in journalism over the decades.

 

Seigenthaler, who was part of the team that launched USA Today 30 years ago, witnessed the shift from print to new media in journalism.

 

Today, new media has not only changed the medium by which news is reported, but also who reports the news.

 

“People discovered, ‘I can be my own journalist,’” Seigenthaler said, referring to the effects of the internet.

 

And with that, the door for both credible, quality content and uncontrolled, inaccurate content swung wide open.

 

“While new media technology offers a promise, it also has a dark side,” explained Seigenthaler as he began to address the controversy that has arisen concerning the extent to which freedom of speech should be protected in new media.

 

Seigenthaler first discovered the “dark side” of new media years ago after he was notified that not only did he have a profile on Wikipedia, unbeknownst to him, but also that his profile contained inaccurate information.

 

The piece, uploaded anonymously, stated that John Seigenthaler had been a suspect in the assassinations of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. While Seigenthaler was a close friend of President Kennedy, the information posted was false.

 

Seigenthaler contacted the head of Wikipedia to have the information removed and, after his request was denied, publicly condemned the company in a USA Today article.

 

While false statements on his profile were eventually removed, Seigenthaler went on to discover the heart of the challenge posed by new media: outrageous statements are protected.

 

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that information service providers such as Wikipedia, Google, etc. are not liable for content produced on their sites.

 

Because of this, not only was the false information posted about him protected, but so was the anonymous writer who posted it.

 

The answer to this problem? According to Seigenthaler, the answer to the problem at hand lies not within the law, but within individuals.

 

He encouraged the audience to exercise restraint and hold themselves accountable for credible information rather than fighting to impose restrictions on online content.

 

“Regulation just goes too far,” he argued.

 

Seigenthaler concluded his talk by stating that online newspapers are culture’s hope for restored credibility.

 

“If newspapers will make online content as attractive as bloggers, people will visit,” he told the crowd.

 

After answering a few questions posed by individuals in the crowd, Seigenthaler ended the night by encouraging the audience to “not take their civil liberties for granted.”

  • Should regulation be imposed on new media content?
  • Freedom at the cost of truth or regulation at the cost of freedom?
  • Is there a way to meet in the middle? 

A Toast to Proverbs 27:1

 

Most of what we want to do

Most of what we want to say

Most of who we want to become

 

It lies in boasts of tomorrow

It lies in the time we’ve borrowed

From a future 

That does not

and never will

belong to us

 

so dear Tomorrow,

Won’t you give us back

what you’ve held hostage

Give us back our bragging rights

because you never return

what we’re convinced you promised 

 

and hello Today,

Won’t you stay a while?

 

I’ve come to tell you

that you won’t be wished away. 

 

 

 

Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Proverbs 27:1