It ain’t yours to throw away.

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“It ain’t yours to throw away.”

Those words, shrouded in beautiful music, pulsed through my speakers.

And my heart stirred.

And then that wise woman spoke these words:

“It was a tool. They were tools. Those people. That time period. Meant to refine you. It was all for a purpose, a specific, divine purpose. Part of His story. No more, no less. And now He’s finished with those tools.” 

“He cast that drama with those chosen characters and it was not a mistake.”

And the guilt and the ache slipped further away.

And then she asked me to write down 25 ways God used that time period to teach me.

I came up with 45 in 5 minutes.

And I saw it.

Can I tell you? There have been so. many. times. I wanted to throw those divinely crafted trials away. That hurt. Those moments, those lessons. I wanted to run. I was just so done. I just wanted it all to stop. Why me? Why so long?

But the longer I walk forward, the more I discover.

That time. It was a gift. A gift.

A gift from my Savior, made beautiful, for my good, to further His kingdom, and glorify Him.

The beauty that has come from that pain is jaw dropping.

Those years utterly transformed me. 

They formed me. Molded me. Refined me. Into Christlikeness.

They sifted (and tore) out deep rooted sin, sin slyly hidden for many years.

They drew out passions, showed me myself, and began forming my future, my ministry.

They redirected my worship out and up.

But.

Now it’s my turn. 

Because my life is a living sacrifice.

Because that gift is not mine to throw away.

Now the result of that time is my gift back to Him.

It’s humbling, really.

That.

It transforms the mundane, the pain, into a story. It cuts those years out of my tunnel vision, shrinks them, and pastes them into a much larger context. A beautiful, unique story.

His story.

And I’m living it. A valuable character in the story.

A story He’s writing, and He chose to use me. 

And I dare not squander this gift.

And the song continues, “What if you’re a vessel and God gave you something special.”

And the truth resonates. Hard.

And so I stop running from it. And I turn around, in holy surrender.

And I bow.

Arms outstretched. Palms spread wide. Gift offered high.

That grace. That grace. 

“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Genesis 50:20

He did it for Joseph. He did it at the cross. He’s doing it for me.

Now I go to work alongside Him. Making the most of that gift.

Because He’s in the business of redeeming lives, redeeming pain. Making it beautiful.

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What trials has He gifted you with? Are you still running from the hurt?

Will you embrace it as a gift? And then go to work alongside him?

Thank you for reading!

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The broken-heart battle of the mind

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He broke my heart. 

And suddenly, there we were, my dreams and I, in a crumpled heap on the floor.

And I was angry.

And for months, the distorted memories just wouldn’t quit and my desires infused every thought and I wanted it my way and the masochistic music played and the tears spilled and the desperation built and the bitterness piled high and the thoughts spiraled out of control.

And before I knew it, I was a mess. Lying there. Hate-fueled and destroyed. Again. And again.

And that’s when the truth shattered it all. When I finally understood.

When my life forever changed.

**This was written as a guest post for the wonderful blog, Sacred Mundane. Please head over and read the rest over there. Blessings!** 

Thank you for reading!

After all we’ve been through…

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Remembering these truths from back in 2012. But what wonderful truths they are. Blessings!

I was watching a silly little TV show the other day, killing some time.

As with everything by Hollywood, there is some sort of struggle between good and evil, and that was certainly the case in this show.

In this particular scene, the “queen” and one of her “subjects” encountered a potentially disastrous situation. The queen apparently had it under control, though it certainly didn’t appear that way.

When she could see her “subject” was terrified and doubtful of her direction, she calmly and matter-of-factly stated:

“After all we’ve been through, why do you doubt?”

My heart lurched a little.

As silly as this example is, it made me think.

Isn’t that how God so often responds to us?

In the middle of those confusing, dark, and often terribly long trials, God so calmly reminds us of His sovereignty, His control, His unmatched love for us. That He has it all under control, even when it looks disastrous. When it sure doesn’t look like He does.

After all we’ve been through, why do you doubt?

I thought about my own life. All the times I’ve struggled to keep walking in the dark, wondering where on earth I was going. And, in the end, the path He lead me down was so much better than what I thought I wanted, or where I was originally.

Part of learning to trust your Father is remembering all you’ve been through together, how He never left your side–and then when you neared the end, how you realized His plan far exceeded yours.

And that you should have just trusted Him all along.

To trust in past grace is to draw from it confidence in future grace.

This morning I was reading in Genesis about Abraham and Sarah, a story that reminded me of this concept. God graciously told Abraham that Sarah would have a child. And what did Sarah do?

She laughed. At God.

Ya, probably not the best decision. But, I can relate– so often that’s how I react. Not trusting my Father. Not trusting His plan. Laughing at His promises. Placing confidence in my flesh. Not trusting Him to bring me His best.

Doubtful and terrified of His direction.

Like a disobedient child.

But God simply responded to Sarah, just as He responds to us, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?”

No, it’s not.

Why don’t I remember that?

Sometimes I wish I’d just trust. Trust the impossible. Trust in the dark. Trust in the confusion. Trust the God of the impossible.

That He has it all under control, even when it looks disastrous.

After all I’ve been through with My Father, why do I doubt?

I have no right, no grounds whatsoever to doubt, because nothing is too difficult for Him.

And He’s been nothing but faithful.

What an amazing God we serve.

When you’ve been unjustly wronged.

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**This is a bulleted and shortened fictitious letter I wrote for my M.A. in Biblical Counseling program to someone who has been unjustly wronged by another (this is specifically speaking about a believer unjustly wronged by a non-believer) based on the book How to Overcome Evil by Jay Adams. If you are struggling with anything similar, might you find encouragement in these truths. It’s a touch longer than my normal posts–but there was too much to shorten–feel free to skim the bolded lines!;)

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  • Romans 12:14-21 speaks incredibly well to your situation. We should first identify the goal in all of this, as you strive to follow Paul’s instruction in these verses. Beginning in chapter 12, Paul calls his readers, “by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice.” Honoring the Lord in a difficult situation, especially when a person is unfair or unjust towards you, by following the forthcoming commands, is one way in which one presents his body as a living and holy sacrifice in worship and service to Jesus Christ. It is not glamorous, but it is essential if you seek to honor the Lord in all you do.
  • But first, I’d like to be blatantly honest with you, friend: you are in an outright war. In fact, Peter tells us to “not be surprised by the fiery ordeal among you…as though some strange thing were happening to you.” All believers are in a war with the enemy, and he will do whatever he can to derail you, harm you, and discourage you as you seek to serve Jesus Christ and His kingdom, because, his ultimate goal is to foil God’s plans and purposes. I urge you to approach this situation with that mindset. This too, is motivated by the evil one; “He wants to defeat you and bring disgrace on God’s name and to weaken His cause.” Be careful not to take this personally (as in personally against your personality or your looks or your intelligence, etc.), but to see it as a battle in a much larger war, in which you are a member of the army that fights against the enemy, and he merely seeks to use you as his pawn—don’t let him. We know in the end Who will have the ultimate victory. In God’s army, you are a victor, and you must act like one.
  • On that note, Romans 12:21 is key to this discussion: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This should be your aim in all of your interactions with _____, and with any others involved in the situation—to overcome the evil with good. Jesus’ life is a wonderful example of this truth: His life, His light exposed sin, it angered the darkness. The darkness attempted to put out the light but failed. Light always overcomes darkness, always John 1:5. Might I note that the command to overcome evil with good is not a passive statement, but an aggressive statement. You are not asked to sit idly by with no response to the evil, you are to do something about it—to overcome it with good. This point too is powerfully exemplified by Christ’s life. Christ came to destroy evil, to thwart the ultimate result of sin, and He did something about it: “He laid down His life; it was not taken from Him. The cross was active.” (2 Corinthians 10:4, Revelation 19:15.)
  •  In verse 14 of Romans 12, you are commanded to “bless those who persecute you.” This too is an active statement—to bless. I encourage you to bless _____ with your words, and begin to actively pray for her blessing—you will develop a compassion for _______ you have never known. She should be your focus rather than yourself. Your thoughts should be directed, not to how badly she is hurting you, but how you can bless her, how you can help her. Here are a couple practical points to help you with ______: 1) If you cursed her, seek forgiveness from her and from God, 2) If your focus has been on yourself, rather than her, ask for God’s forgiveness and begin to think about what her needs are, 3) Ask God to save her and help her—pray specifically for her welfare, 4) Think of kindly, good, helpful words that you can speak to her now, and on later occasions (69-70). (1 Peter 4:19, Romans 2:4, 1 Corinthians 13:5, Proverbs 26:4-5, 1 Corinthians 4:12, 13, Luke 23:34, Acts 7:60, 1 Peter 2:21- 23.)
  • On a side note, at a later date, when time allows, you might explore verse 15-16 of Romans 12. It speaks to the necessity of believers being united in this battle we are speaking of. Jay Adams eloquently notes the danger of not adhering to this command of unity, “Wounded by one another, weak and discouraged by battles, among themselves, the soldiers of Christ grimly limp forth against the enemy.” I would encourage you to not allow the pain and frustration of this situation to negatively affect the relationships in your lives, especially with believers.
  • Verse 17 makes how you are to act exceptionally clear: “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.” That means never. No matter what ______ does, if you are to honor Christ in this situation, which I know is your heart’s cry, your command is clear: never return her evil with your evil—there is not one situation that does not fall under this command. Instead, you are to pay her evil back with your abundant love. On that note, I encourage you to sit down and plan exactly what you will say or do when she acts sinfully. Plan now for situations you will likely meet, and your God-honoring responses so you will be prepared and not caught off guard in this battle.
  •  Verse 18 makes yet another command clear: your goal is peace, as far is it depends on you. Because ______ is not a believer, true peace will not be attainable (that is another you reason you should pray for her), but for all other intensive purposes, per your actions and words, strive for a peaceful relationship with her if at all possible. Do not provoke her or make the peace more difficult to attain. In fact, you can strive for peace and do good to her even when she doesn’t because your actions are not dependent on hers—you serve Jesus Christ alone. Do good to her. Do the opposite of what your flesh longs to do. Heap goodness and love on her (this is what it means to heap burning coals on her head) verse 20.
  • In closing, I leave you with yet another command form verse 19, but more than a command, it should provide great peace, and I urge you to rest in it: “Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Thank you for reading! Blessings!

The amazing race.

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My feet pounded the rough black pavement.

My lungs grew tighter and tighter with each passing step, screaming for air.

My legs ached, begging to just. stop.

My inner dialogue raged: It’s not worth it. Who cares? No one will know if you stop. You already ran far enough. You’re tired. It doesn’t matter.

I struggled to coach myself: keep going, you’re not done yet.

You have not reached the goal.

My mind, weary of trying, weary of pushing forward, commands my worn body to lift its right foot, and then its left.

And that verse pulses through my mind:

…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

And this one.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

And those verses, they kept me going.

Because this life? It’s a race.

A long, long race.

Because the flesh is weak. And bodies will ache, and legs will grow weary, and it won’t seem worth it.

Because it will require endurance, and training, and purpose driven steps.

So we must have a goal. It is vital to finishing, and finishing well.

Because there must always be a “why” to motivate actions and drive excellence.

And this, this is the why of all whys.

The upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The joy set before us.

Because it is a calling. A high calling. 

And.

There is joy. Ahead of you. Don’t miss that.

Joy bound deep within seeing and experiencing Jesus Christ.

The two are vitally connected. Your joy and His glory.

And that matchless prize is attained one. way. only.

By fixing our eyes on Jesus.  Who. For the joy set before Him, endured the cross.

He too endured the race for a very specific reason.

And just like the water stations along a race, you will be greeted with portions of that joy even now. That grace. Just enough nourishment to nudge you on to the greatest joy of all.

That is the purpose. That is the reason.

The reason we push on when it hurts, when it’s hard, when we want to curl up and cry because we are just so. so. done.

So we learn to defeat sin with superior pleasure and keep going with divine purpose.

I too, often feel like I am running a very long race (amen?), pushing forward when I’m tired and worn out as I strive to do this life thing and attain my master’s degree and do all that is required of me in the roles I call my own.

Because. I am telling you. This? It’s hard. the late hours. The emotional drain. The years I’ve invested. Giving up much.

But I push on for the goal, the prize. Because the end is worth it.

In this thing called life. In my marathon, in your marathon, the struggles are training, training that creates the very essence of an athlete.

Breaking down muscles and rebuilding them. New. Strengthened.

Forging discipline.

And humility.

And perseverance.

And self-control.

And faith. Real, genuine faith. Faith that is tested by fire.

So we can emerge on the other side.

Victorious.

Reveling in the smooth drink of joy washing our parched throats and nourishing our tired bodies.

Just as the finish line is much sweeter after months of training and discipline for an athlete.

So too will your finish line be much sweeter after you’ve persevered. 

For the joy set before you. That you might experience it in its full splendor.

Hang in there. “Do not grow weary in doing good.” Might you be refreshed as you run. With your eyes fixed on the prize.

Fixed on the “why” that makes it all worth it.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

You can read another take on this verse here.

Thank you for reading!

What do I know of Holy?

**I originally wrote this awhile ago, during an especially difficult season. And though this season is quickly becoming but a faded reflection in my rearview mirror, it is humbling to recount, and reminds me of that all-sufficient grace, that holiness that still has me awe struck.

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I love how music captures words, thoughts, feelings, emotions in a way nothing else can. How a song can deftly uncover the darkest, hidden emotion, tear open an infected wound, cleanse, and make way for healing. How it can prompt surrender and worship and peace.

I’ve had this song on repeat. Amidst a confusing season in life, it has brought much comfort.

So here it is…

For when you just don’t quite understand what God is doing, but long to trust Him with every ounce of your being. Because He is God, the great I AM.

For when you think you have it and Him all figured out, but it turns out you absolutely don’t, and are learning to wholly surrender to His glorious power, to His majesty.

Knees down, palms spread wide, heart bowed to His plan. As confusing as it might be. 

For when you don’t understand the need for waiting, for patience. But know there is purpose, because that is a promise.

For when God is breaking your heart, and in your finite mind, it just doesn’t make any sense– where it’s all going. But know it is good, because He is good.

For when a me-centered gospel, melts into the real gospel. And you are rescued from yourself by surrendering your heart to soul-prostate worship.

For when, amidst the confusion, His holiness emerges little by little, and you begin to discover its depth and breadth. So you trust. And bow. And worship.

For when holiness—the call to be pure and set apart—is a lesson, a painful, beautiful lesson.

 

 

What food taught me about life.

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This is one of those things you never see coming.

One of those, this-feels-like-way-too-much-to-handle-things.

Awhile ago I was diagnosed with a couple health disorders. Diagnoses that not only brought severe pain and frustration, but swept me up on a long journey of learning loads about myself, my (apparently massive;)) sin nature, and God’s grace, like nothing else has.

For years I’ve sorted through medications and continuously changing diets. 

I’ve eliminated gluten, fructose, most processed foods, and most dairy. (And if you haven’t noticed, these food groups are in, um, practically everything.)

I used to have A LOT of bad days. Days I couldn’t get off the couch. Days I was sapped of all energy. Weight loss. Hair loss. Debilitating pain. Depression tendencies. Constant nausea. You name it, I experienced it. It. Was. Horrendous. For years, I didn’t know what it felt like to feel good.

It has been incredibly trying. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. 

But. I have to tell you.

If I’ve learned one very unexpected thing, some of the greatest trials God takes me through are the trials He seems to use most to not only mold me into Christlikeness, but to encourage others–and this experience has been no exception.

Thus you get this rather personal post. 😉

As I spoke with a sweet girl who is going through something similar the other day, I was struck by how far God had brought me on this journey, how His grace had sustained me and provided for much learning and healing. How most days are no longer “bad days,” but good. How those horrendous symptoms are all but gone.

Yet in that moment I was humbled, as I realized I had learned three lessons with value beyond compare without even realizing I was learning them.

1) Discipline: learning to say no. Learning self-control, learning discipline has perhaps been one of the greatest lessons. I’ve come to realize the importance of discipline is often overlooked in the Christian life. How making the right choice and reaping the benefits later on (from avoiding blatant sin to the less obvious right choices) is not only incredibly rewarding, but spills into all other areas of life such as sleep, physical fitness, rising earlier than is comfortable each morning, and carving out set-aside time with the Lord. The results of those choices (starting with saying no to my favorite foods that, if consumed, will leave me miserable) have influenced my mood, my interactions with others, my energy level, my demeanor, my relationship with the Lord, and the list goes on.

*Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27*

2) Patience: not much else in my life has caused the amount of frustration that this has. Frustration at the wait. When it’s-just-not-getting-better-fast-enough, ohmygosh. But. It took tremendous time, dedication, and patience to see results. And recognition of my utter dependence on prayer and a God who does listen and does act. Sound familiar to any trial you’ve gone through?:)

3) Grace: and then came the grace that sustained me through the wait and the impatience and anger. Because. When your body isn’t working correctly, let me tell you, it is life altering, and scary, and confusing. So the little drinks of grace through the wait kept me hanging on–the website that mentioned a new diet, the doctor that made a suggestion that worked, a new medication that produced results, the chiropractor that unexpectedly helped an unrecognized symptom, the person that provided unexpected understanding and encouragement. And now, looking back, I don’t see the pain as much as I see the grace. The grace, the answered prayers, the healing. So now, when there are any changes in the condition, I can easily look back and say, without hesitation: He’ll get me through this, just like he got me through the last challenge. 

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I often write in more abstract terms. But I write this very specific post not for sympathy, but to encourage you. Whatever your trial might be. Whether it’s a health struggle or a trial of an entirely different nature, I understand how huge it can feel. How insurmountable. I understand how emotionally and often physically draining it is.

But I promise. There is always grace in the storm, there’s always purpose in the pain. You may not see it right away. But you will. He will never ask a child of His to walk through a valley without a thousand reasons for itfor your good and His glory. 

And if you or someone you know is going through a health struggle, please recognize the enormity of the storm. It can feel incredibly huge. And it can feel incredibly lonely. Your encouragement, grace, and refusal to minimize it or brush over it could make all the difference in the world.

May you too see the beauty in your divinely crafted trial, or may you be encouraged to trust that beauty and purpose will emerge.

It will.

Wednesday.

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Isn’t it crazy how God works the most amazing, unexpected blessings sometimes?

Can I tell you about the most wonderful thing that happened on Wednesday?

Almost three years ago now, I was struggling with loneliness, recent college graduation, and confusing life transition. Unbeknownst to me, she was too, my sweet friend. We met through a mutual friend, discovered our common love for the Lord, and instantly hit it off. Part of our common ground was our thirst for fellowship with girls who shared our passion and love for Jesus Christ.

SO we started a Bible Study, not having any idea what to expect, or what God would do. 

That humble little Bible Study began with just the two of us, and exploded into about seven or so girls who come faithfully every Wednesday night. We rotate through studying books of the Bible, books authored by fabulous men and women, (like this one), and podcasts by this amazing woman–Kari Patterson (if you haven’t checked out her blog, you’re missing out–absolutely wonderful).

This past Wednesday, we were blessed, completely unexpectedly, to have Kari attend our Bible study.

What resulted from that visit, was an incredible time of tearful sharing, and healing, and community–fellowship in its most raw and beautiful form. 

The joy and privilege of being wrapped in the arms of believers, or joining in wrapping arms around a sweet, struggling heart, is truly one of the most incredible sights.

There is abundant blessing.

There is transparency.

There is genuine love.

And there is safety, safety in those arms.

This, yes, this, is exactly what God intended for His church–for the family that is the body of Christ.

To not shirk back from the profound responsibility and privilege of delving, delving deep, into the lives of brothers and sisters.

To not be superficial in conversation. To not be too busy to take time to ask the tough, uncomfortable questions.

But Wednesday, I saw it. I saw what true fellowship–God-ordained, divinely designed fellowship–should look like.

It looked like eight tender hearts listening intently to eight emotion-filled, joy-filled testimonies. We laughed over the relateable moments, cried over the pain, and prayed through the power of Jesus Christ for hope and freedom.

And I was awed. The safety, the tenderness, the beauty of that room, it was humbling, as we sat at the feet of Jesus, and let His life and death bond us, and his pierced hands heal us. 

The stories were hard. Life is hard. The Christian life is hard. The cost of discipleship is high. The enemy can wreak havoc. The pain can be immense.

But, with tears in my eyes, I walked out the door with an overwhelming sense of joy.

And thankfulness.

For the privilege of the family of Christ.

For these girls.

And for the gift of the safety of honesty among believers.

When was the last time you shared your testimony? When was the last time you asked someone to share their testimony, and together joined in worship? When was the last time you asked someone how they really are, and stopped long enough to really listen?

When was the last time you joined the Apostle Paul in “admonishing each one with tears”?

When did you last experience the beauty that is the body of Christ in its most raw form?

There is nothing like it.

Those relationships, those few moments of vulnerability, that one question can change a day, can change a life.

In fact, it may very well save a life. 

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Last Saturday Night–So. Much. Fun.

I’ve been a little MIA recently. And I promise I have a good (couple) reason(s). In addition to finishing up the work for my MA class, Marriage and Family Counseling, and studying for the final, I’ve had two major events to put on at work. (I work in Advancement/Donor Relations at a private school.) One of the events was a thank you party to our fabulous donors. Sooooo we threw a huge, super super fun Gatsby Party at an absolutely stunning venue. It was a massive amount of work, but it ended up being a ridiculously fun night, and a smashing success (yay!). Oh AND super fun to dress up in 1920s fab, I must say.

I thought I’d share a couple photos from the evening, and share links to a few of my favorite parts of the evening. (In the event you ever plan to throw a Gatsby Party, here are a few ideas, and I’m always happy to share more over email!) **This is slightly off topic from my usual writing, but it’s fun, and it’s taken up a great deal of my time lately, so I’m excited to share it with you. Enjoy!

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Each of our students wrote something they love about the school, and we placed a card at each place setting.

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Overlooking the vineyard–gorgeous!

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In both the top and bottom photos, that’s me on the far left!:) And the ever-trusty clipboard in hand with all necessary event details. Any other event planners out there???

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I have to tell you about this dress. It’s from Rent the Runway. You can rent absolutely stunning designer dresses for a variety of occasions (at very reasonable prices). They ship the dress and an alternate size to you just days before the event, and you drop it back in the mail in a pre-paid UPS envelop the next day. OH it was amazing. And the dress? I’m in love with it. Try it the next time you need to dress up!

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Yes, we were having fun, as you can tell. Dancing the night away.

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This was hands down one of the cutest couples there. Oh, and she’s wearing a Rent the Runway Dress too!

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The lady in front is from the Dueling Piano show that was doing the music. They were so so so much fun! I highly recommend them for any event. They took requests all night long–any genre, any era–if they knew it, they played it. AND some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And the parents in the back–having so much fun!:) I love to see people having such a good time amid the crazy stresses and drains of life.

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And in the middle, with the blue tie, our fabulous graphic designer and photographer–Lucas Balzer.

 

Have a wonderful rest of the week! Thank you so much for reading!

 

 

Though You Slay Me

Ok.

I have to share this song with you.

I’ve had it on repeat lately. It is an absolutely beautiful picture of the bittersweet lives Christians lead. I’m sure many of you have heard it, but if not, you have to listen to it (this version in particular includes John Piper speaking). If you have gone through anything difficult, ever, in your life, especially recently, I pray these words will minister refreshment to your soul as they have mine. It gives me chills and brings to tears to my eyes to see how our Savior causes evil and pain to work for the enlargement of our joy in Him. The world does not understand. It is opposite of what makes sense. But it is absolutely beautiful. It leaves us awestruck. It changes lives. It drops us to our knees. And we bow, surrendered.

Oh! And then I read Psalm 88 this morning:

But I, O Lord, have cried out to You for help,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
14 Lord, why do You reject my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on;
I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.
16 Your burning anger has passed over me;
Your terrors have destroyed me.
17 They have surrounded me like water all day long;
They have encompassed me altogether.
18 You have removed lover and friend far from me;
My acquaintances are in darkness.

But it is quickly followed by Pslam 89: 

The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord,
A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
And awesome above all those who are around Him?
Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the swelling of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.

It is just incredible. Amen?

Thank you for joining me here!