Monday, August 18, 2014

Thankful

Summer always flies by too fast.

We already covered how I'm a sentimental person already, so let's just say I haven't been relishing the thought of letting this summer go.

I was all in the "I don't WANT summer to be over and there's way too much fall in my feeds already" mood last week when I read this post on (in)courage. yes. What can I do but give thanks?

Wanting summer won't bring it back.

Worrying about fall won't help either.

I AM thankful... thankful for the days of rest and healing after a tumultuous beginning of May.

Thankful for the sun after a winter of living in Arendelle.

Thankful for the weeks we spent at the lake with our family, for the sailing, the skiing, the food, the baby-holding, the Frozen singing with my two year old cousins. Thankful for the reflecting, writing afternoons and the fires on the beach in the evening.

Thankful for the coffee dates, the sleepovers, the "let's get together and dance" days, the texts that fly to my friends when we can't talk face to face.

Thankful for the babysitting, not just for the income,  but for the love and the lessons it teaches me.

Thankful for the ways the Lord has turned me towards Him, walked me through things I didn't know I needed to work through, loved me all the while, and continues to carry me through life.

It's been a good summer, a beautiful summer, really. I'm going to soak up the last few days of it.

And then it will be fall. And fall will be okay. School will happen, college will happen, HPA will happen, life will happen. And it will be wonderful.

Because a wonderful God guides our ways.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

To the friend whose skies are dark...

Dear friend,

It's going to be okay.

Maybe you're post audition/job interview/massive test, and everything is out of your hands.

Maybe your best friend won't talk to you and just thinking about her hurts you to the core.

Maybe your dad is dying of cancer and you don't think you can live without him.

Maybe you're having a panic attack every day and this terror is consuming your life. (<-- that was me.)

Maybe he broke your heart.

Maybe you think one more day at this job will drop you off the deep end.

Maybe everything feels completely out of control.

Maybe the person who was supposed to protect you betrayed you and now you feel shattered.

Sure, I don't know what's going on in your life right now, but that's alright.

You are still breathing. You are still living.

Your story is not over.
The sky might be dark, the waves overwhelming, and you may feel like you'll never make it to the surface for air, but these days do not define you.

Your brokenness is beautiful, and you do not need to be ashamed of it.

You are not your mistakes. You are not the battles you fight.

You are not a problem to this world.

You are not alone.

You are a dearly loved child.

Your Father is the King of the world.

He is with you always.

He is ALL you need.

You will make it.

Recite Scripture over and over.

Surround yourself with people who love you, who will hug you tight and fight with you, who will listen, who will read Scripture over you, who will speak truth over you, who will be quiet with you, who will pray with and for you, who you can text anytime, who will sit with you when you try to eat and can only cry.

Go ahead and cry hard.

Pray. Even if you feel like "God, I can't do this anymore!" isn't much of a prayer. It is. And it can lead to more.

Sing worship songs at the top of your lungs.

Don't quit.

Someday soon, you'll look around and realize that the stormy skies have turned more blue than gray.
Same lake, different days.
Then you'll be jumping up and down giddy that you had two good days in a row.

And before you know it, the good will out-number the bad and all you'll be able to do is praise the Lord for His goodness.

Until that day- however long it takes- press on.  

You will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

A living testimony of His grace,
Lindsey


Psalm 27:13-14
"I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord."

Isaiah 43:1-4
"But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
...Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you..."

Monday, June 30, 2014

All Things

I know, I know. Philippians 4:13 is one of those almost "over" quoted verses. Even if you don't know the reference, you know the verse.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

For years, I've been guilty of passing and brushing off these powerful ten words from Paul's letter.

"That's a newbie verse. Is that really true? I mean, I know it's in the Bible, but still... All things??"

Last December, I had what was look to be a stretching, slightly overwhelming weekend ahead of me and I was discussing it with a friend of mine. He told me to remember that as Christians, we can do all things through the strength of Christ inside us. We on our own are so weak and so incapable, but the Holy Spirit is inside us, which means His strength is inside us. How amazing is that?!? 

We discussed this for several minutes, and it totally gave me a new perspective on that verse. I mulled over these words for several hours that night, thinking of them as this-could-be-overwhelming weekend started in my life.

God wouldn't let these words leave my heart.

Finally, I found a note card and wrote them- letters swirling across the page. I then hung this card on the refrigerator where it reminded me constantly over the next three days, all things. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Since that conversation, I've thought so often about that simple phrase. All things.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So many situations have been strengthened by the simple words. My friend and I remind each other of them anytime we're in a challenging situation; big tests, long days when we're at the theater from 9AM to 3AM performing two shows and striking, huge spiritual battles, or just a hard day. I've picked up that notecard, traced the letter so many times.

all things.

He lives in me.

I wonder sometimes how this could change the way we live. How would our lives be different if we lived truly believing we could do all things through the Holy Spirit residing in us? Would you live more daring, free, willing to risk the things that don't really matter for the things that do? I know I would. Would you write the book, sing the song, speak the words, take the trip, do these things that we are so terrified to simply do? Taking this step could truly change our lives if we really believed "I can do all things-all things- through Christ who strengthens me."

But more than just the "big" things in life, how could these words change the ordinary things we do? How could "all things" give you the strength to wash the dishes one more time, to do one more math lesson, to pick up the toys once more?

These words can help us cook one more dinner, have one more hard conversation, drive to one more place- anything- if we just claimed them and believed- believed in their power, in their truth, in the way that they proclaim Christ is in us and that we don't have to be afraid, that we can accomplish anything in his desire for us just by accepting his strength in our lives.

Think about it once more.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

How will you live like you believe it today?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Begin & End

We started building a house last week.

We've been in the process for two and a half years, but it really feels like my whole life because "when we build our house" was always on the horizon.

It feels like that's the way a lot of my life is going right now. This is the time we've been talking about and to which everything's been leading up. I'm a senior in high school. That means this is my last summer of youth. My last year of HPA, co-op, piano. This is my last summer in this house. The last summer to run these specific roads in the morning. The last summer to sit alone on the tree swing as the sun sets.The last summer to make jam in this kitchen. The last fall to pull in and out of this driveway. The last fall to die of laughter in our kitchen over huge Carmel apples causing mouth problems. The last fall to watch these leaves change. The last fall to start a new highschool journal on the first Tuesday of September.

Last.

Last.

Last.

I hate lasts.
------------------------------
There's also a bunch of beginnings.

First time registering for classes. First time attending college. First time I'm fully responsible. First time I really have to decide what to do with my life. First time driving to school. First time driving the carpool to HPA. First time being a really truly "big kid." First time planning to graduate. First time to wonder about a after-school job.

First.

First.

First.

Sometimes, I think I hate firsts too.

If you haven't picked up on this yet, I'm a person of routine and order. I am usually content to keep things the way they are. Let's just perform this show every weekend for forever. Let's not start that new class. I don't want to drive on that new road. I like the group of people I hang out with now.

But we can never move ahead into all the fantastic blessings God has for us if we stayed in the past.

This means things have to change.

And we all know how I feel about change.

I had coffee with a friend last Friday and we discussed how wonderful it is that in the midst of our chaotic, crazy, ever-changing lives, God never changes. (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Psalm 102:27)

Ever.

I think as teenagers/young adults, when our life plans and friends and dreams and goals are changing faster than we can come to grip with it all, this is especially reassuring. My life feels like it is spiraling out of control so very often, but God never changes. My house may change, my plans may change, my friends may change, my job may change, but God remains the same faithful, holy, perfect, loving, all-knowing God that He always has been and always will be.

As a Christian, who you are to Him doesn't change either. As long as you continue loving and following Him, repenting and confessing your sin, He will hold you securely (1 John 5:18). Your world can be turning upside down, but He holds you in His hands, protecting you, shielding you, loving you, covering you with His wings.

For me, in the midst of so many beginnings and endings and I-don't-even-know!s, this is the ultimate reassurance. Wherever I'm going, whatever I'm doing, however life is changing moment by moment, these three things remain the same.

My God never changes.
He is always faithful.
He loves me, insecurities, unknowns, mistakes and all.

The same is true for you.

Yes, you. I might know you and I might not. But I do know this.

He loves you.

No matter how you messed up last year, last week, yesterday, this morning, no matter how much you doubt, He still loves you. He created you and you are His. Run to His unchanging arms today, friends, and let Him give you peace.

Monday, February 24, 2014

On Being a "Yes" Sister

It's later than I like to start my math for the day. I spread out my books, notebook, calculators (yes, I use two), and note cards. Picking up my pencil, I write the lesson number and begin to copy the first problem to work out. And at that very moment, she comes through the door.

She's carrying a large book and as she walks toward me, her dimples show even though she's not smiling. "Lindsey, will you read this to me??" As I glance up into her big blue eyes, thoughts pour through my mind. That book?? She couldn't have picked a shorter one? You never even liked that one as a kid. And girl, you have so.much.math to do. Just tell her no. 

And I've told her no. Time and time again my voice has let those two letters free. No. No smoothies for breakfast. No book. No movie. No going outside. It got to the point where she and her twin sister would hardly come to me anymore for anything- and never to play with them. Let me tell you, that one hurt when I realized it was true. I was losing my little sisters.

They're in an odd stage right now and its one that is so easy to harp on. STOP it. Act like a 5 year old. Don't be silly. Open your eyes. (Seriously, what is it with half closing or completely closing your eyes when you're acting silly?) Don't act like a baby. Normal voices. 

It was a few weeks before Christmas when I pulled out several of my favorite old Christmas books and asked them if they wanted to read with me. Of course, they did, so we read about the candy cane and an apple tree and many others. 30 minutes later, they exclaimed "Thank you for reading to us!" as they climbed the stairs to bed.

Since then, I've tried. I played Candy Land, read books, baked cookies and muffins, and made smoothies every Friday morning (Except this Friday, because our blender burnt out). I've seized a few moments that I wouldn't have before... and I've also missed out on many that could have been wonderful memories.

I've written about this many times before, how we should treasure our time with those around us because they can be gone so quickly and because we are growing up. I haven't perfected it though... I'm nowhere near close. It can be discouraging to look back and see the times I failed and how sparse the times I haven't look in comparison. Let me tell you, I'm still in the thick of this one. I don't really see any light. But I'm wondering how different life would look- theirs, but especially mine- if I switched out even half of those nos with yes.

Yes. I'll make time for you.

Yes. You are important to me.

Yes.

It's not to say that no isn't okay. There are definite moments when a no is totally fine or even necessary. But yes, yes could work wonders on your relationship and your spirit. I've found that yes is freeing, life-giving. Yes allows you to step back from your own frazzled life and take a moment to seep it all in. Yes is a break, and more diligence and perspective when you come back to work.

Jesus said yes. I'm sure there were times when He wanted to go home or get away from the crowds or not answer one more question. But He did. He came to earth and served the people with love, giving more and more of Himself even when His human flesh grew weary. The story of His loving on and instructing the crowd of people who followed Him across the lake gets me every time. I know what it's like to want to be alone and withdraw from the crowds, yet He doesn't get annoyed or turn them away. I want to be like Him, to be able to surrender my plans without a complaint to serve others in love.

So I set down the notebook, smile at her, and open my arms. Yes. She climbs onto my lap and whispers, "I like this book." I whisper back, "I like YOU."

She's way more important than finishing three math lessons today anyway.

Monday, January 20, 2014

InstaThoughts: the Bible Study That Wasn't

Friday night, I was supposed to attend a new-to-me Bible study. God opened a lot of doors in order to let me go, and as I've been craving good Biblical fellowship, I was super excited to see what He was going to teach me. I knew a few of the attendees and knew that several others were great Christian people. It seemed perfect. 

Then I woke up Friday morning with a headache. It got worse as the day went along, but I was convinced that Bible study would be worth it, even with a headache. I was over halfway there when I realized I couldn't go. I ended up at home, nursing a throbbing headache and the chills and nausea that come along with that. It was disappointed to miss what I was so sure would be a great night, and the chance to make new friends, but God reminded me He has a plan for all things in my life and that I don't need a Bible study to be close to Him. He is always enough. 

I took that selfie in the mirror before bed. I was supposed to be in a new house, talking among people I had never met. I took this picture not to document my disappointment (or to show that I obviously don't care how my hair looks when I'm sick), but rather to remind myself how a night can be different and still be beautiful. I got to witness my siblings playing "mission trip to Kenya" and spend some time learning from Jesus. I don't know why it wasn't in His plans for me to go Friday night, but I do know that He is always good. 

{This is the beginning of a new series which will use pictures and thoughts from my Instagram feed and flesh them out a bit. They won't be as long as a normal post, but I hope they will encourage you just the same.}

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Turning the Page

two thousand thirteen

It was a crazy,
wonderful,
hard,
amazing,
blessing-filled
year.

One of my favorite verses this year (and consequently, one of my favorite things I memorized) was Isaiah 43:1-4. 

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine. 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
You are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you..."

Isn't it beautiful?? These four verses have been SUCH a blessing. God has used them to help me so much, in so many circumstances. I've texted them to friends, written them on school papers, recited them in family devotions and while driving down the road and standing in Lake Michigan with the waves washing over my feet. God speaks to me every time.

I definitely want- need- to read and memorize more Scripture this year. I don't have firm goals in this area yet, but I definitely want to do indepth study of the NT letters and want to memorize several passages and/or chapters. So excited to see what God will teach me this year!!
~~~


We sang this song in church this summer and I've loved it ever since.I've sung this one in northern MI, southern CA, and everywhere in between. There's nothing like belting "Jesus, ONLY Jesus!" in Satan's face in moments of attack.

Our family thrives on music. We have Christian music playing every day, and I love it. I would love to solidify some basic guitar chords so that I can pick up my guitar and worship God, instead of strumming away with no purpose.

~~~
Favorite Blog Posts of 2013:


My goals for this little blog include a good long heart post once a month, along with a short post with a few thoughts, verses and pictures every few weeks. I love to write, and I want to keep it a priority in the craziness of transcripts and starting my senior year and such.

~~~
I read 163 books last year. Some were for school, some were fun "fluff," some were children's chapter books, and some were good uplifting nonfiction. My favorites were:

 I know I won't be able to read as much this year. School and working and school (and honestly, facebook) have taken up much of my time. My goal is 75 books right now, and I hope that I'll be able to prioritize my time to read that many.
~~~
I don't know what things God is going to do in my life this year. 
I know there will be hard moments. 
There will be I-can-hardly-breathe-this-is-so-perfect moments.
I'll cry.
I'll laugh.
God will choose to let some of my plans for my life come into being.
He'll also choose to remove some of them for something better.

He may take me home to heaven this year.

What He does, I'm choosing to to intentionally live every moment to the fullest, putting God above all, people above things, enrichment over mindless surfing, health over ease. I'm SO thankful that NEVER ONCE will I ever walk alone, that my God will "never leave [me] or forsake [me]."

Bring it on, 2014. 

I've got the King of the world on my side.