Nearness

(Warning for readers, this is one of those messy posts : )
The beauty of nearness.

The begining of this season was rocky. The prior season that I was in was filled with fun, friends , adventures and memories that I will carry with me forever. But then that season came to a surprisingly quick close.

I wanted to move on to the next big adventure.  I was ready to go, I was ready to travel, get beyond my city home and take on the next quest.

But God said “Not yet.”

So I waited. However, it was  not with the attitude that I should have had. I grumbled. I filled up my schedule with busyness. Cried. Grumbled some more. Then realized that my bad attidue wasn’t getting me anywhere.

And thus began the process of becoming.

I am again learning how to be independently dependent upon Christ. As time passes and life goes on I realize how it is only I that can seek Christ for me. In order to have relationship with him I have to intentionally make time for him. No one can read or memorize scriptures for me, that’s my job. Funny right?

But he has begun something new…

God has begun to restructure how I am processing life and has revealed several blind spots.  The restructering includes finding joy in where he has me and learning to seek him out in the quiet moments and enjoy the simplicity of this season. To treasure my quiet times and to rest in the truth of his nearness. The blindspots: I have become painfully aware of my selfishness in this last several months so in response to this, he has begun to humble me and teach me the importance and value of seeking to serve others above self. While this is not the most comfortable of things, it too is a process.

In all of this I am finding real peace in this season. I’m no longer chomping at the bit to get on and to be done with this year but in many ways, I don’t want it end. I am finding freedom in knowing that this is only the begining of what is to come. My Savior is faithful and I am confident that the fullness of what he is doing right now goes far beyond my line of vision. I have joy knowing that this time is shaping me and readying my heart for whatever he calls me to in the future.

There is a freshness and a newness to this season that I can hardly put into words and I know that he is in it, so I’m drawing nearer as he draws near to me.

Amy


In the stillness, your presence is magnified.
Silence cuts through the chaos as you whisper your truth

 Melodies sung over me, sweet lullabies, an expression of your affections for me.
In the stillness your presence is magnified.

Like stars spread throughout the night sky, your love glistens despite the darkness.  
Quiet my soul so that I may be able to hear the voice of my father.

For every sunrise, every wildflower, every wave in the crashing sea,
is an expression of his pleasure, a love song written just for me.

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Growing roots

 

Just under the surface,
just out of sight,
a treasure is being fashioned
beneath his glorious light.

Though no other man can see
the progress, the growing, the pain inside
it matters not, for it’s His love alone that carries me.

So I keep on, keep walking,
keep growing in his eyes:
ashes to beauty,
dead to life.

I’ll keep pressing on, keep pressing in,
as I grow to become more like him.

It’s  process, it’s progress, it’s labor, it’s pain.

It’s ashes to beauty, it’s dead to life.

For I am yet a treasure,
being fashioned in his light.
Refined by his love,
and chosen to glorify.


 

I began this post with a wordy, confusing, introduction of what it meant to be refined. The more I typed, the more complicated it got, and I began to ask myself “Is this really even what I’m processing right now?” So I gave up and then the words began to flow.

“It’s process, it’s progress, it’s labor, it’s pain” that is what it means to me to be refined. The most important of things begin beneath the surface. That’s where foundations are laid, where roots go deep, in the things that aren’t visible. This is where depth of relationship with Christ has to begin.

I get so frustrated with myself sometimes. There is a longing in my soul to know God better, to understand the fullness of his character and who he is,  to see the results of this “season of waiting”, of “blooming” immediately. But then I have to remember, while this is not true in all cases, fast lessons don’t always stick. There is much more than meets the eye to this season. God’s not finished with me yet. This is just the beginning, I am choosing to see it more as training grounds for what is to come.

When I see monotony, He sees fresh soil.

When I see struggle, He sees places of growth.

And so, while in the midst of discontentment, in seeking satisfaction in him alone, I have to remember that he is refining me. That he is calling me to seek him out in deeper places and that it’s not always going to be comfortable, or fast. Instant gratification, gosh the 21st century has me ruined. Didn’t the tortoise win the race? Growing takes time, roots do not go deep immediately.

It’s a process.

Bloom where I have planted you

He is in the waiting.

That was God’s simple reminder to me today. It’s been months since I last wrote on here but much of my life is the same, however, the state of my heart is not. Reading through recent journal entries I found one where I had written about what it meant to struggle.  I came to the conclusion in the entry that I was grateful for the struggle because that meant that there was a fight. A fight to not remain in the same place but to always be moving forward and seeking out a deeper relationship with Christ.

But the struggle has looked very different these past few months. God has been teaching me to trust him in this season of remaining faithful to where he has placed me.  The in-between place. This place of waiting to find out where he’s going to lead me next. This has proven more of a struggle than I imagined. My adventurous heart longs to go, but he has said to take a look at where I am presently and to serve him there. To find ways to build deeper relationships with the people right around me that I have brushed off or been unaware of.

He is in the waiting. My Savior is teaching me that he is my present season. When I am longing to run to the next ‘challenge”, I am reminded that the challenge is right before me. As it says in Luke 16:10 (NLT)- “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” My prayer for this upcoming season is this: that I will learn obedience and faithfulness to where he has me. In all of this, to be joyful and look beyond how I feel about where I am but to begin to focus and redirect my mindset to seek God for who he is.

-Amy

Bloom where I have planted you, by streams of living water 
I am in the fire, I am in the flood.
I am in the moments of joy, I am in the tears.

Bloom where I have planted you, and let your roots go deep.
I am with you in the climb, I am with you in the plunge.

Seeds of steadfast desire, will guide you in the dark and will ground your wandering heart.

Bloom where I have planted you,
For I am in the waiting, but also in the harvest.

(Weeding) through the Wasteland…

Weeding through the wasteland…

I was walking today around the pond in my neighborhood, listening to music, just taking some time to be outside. The pond that I was walking around is by no means pretty. It does nothing for the eyes or soul. It’s very obviously  man-made, surrounded by houses and concrete with no privacy from the nosey eyes of neighbors. The only bright side is the trees and the “wildlife”(aka ducks and oversized catfish).

I live in constant dissatisfaction with the scenery by my house. It makes me feel closed in and caged, but as I was walking I was struck with a single word, that word was: details. I started peering in closer at my surroundings, beginning with the trees. Trees are made up of more than just “tree” they’re leaves, bark, branches, some have blooms. I did the same thing with the ground. There are blades of grass, dirt, bugs, those puny little flowers that are more weeds than anything. And I got to thinking…

When life gets stressful, I have the tendency to zoom in on one single thing and all I will see is the struggle. It’s as if the whole situation is one big blob. But trees are not just trees, they’re intricately designed and detailed. The struggle is more than just a struggle. It is a process that has a number of elements that form it. When I take a step back and see the struggle for what it is, as something that is pushing me to become more Christ like, it takes on a new sort perspective. As Romans 5:3-5 says “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I’m finding courage in the fact that the struggle has the ability to produce far greater character qualities than that of a life without problems or pain. 

In all honesty, I’m not fully certain where God wants me to be heading for my future. But what I do know, is that he is calling me to live fully where I am at. Right now. To not be caught up in the struggle, but to be seeking Him out in every situation and finding him in the details. I think God gifted us with moments as a way to help us live more fully where we’re at. When you live in the moment, you’re not living out of your past, not living for the future, you’re just in the moment. There’s something truly peaceful about that. This whole idea of living fully where I am is doing a couple things inside of me. The most notable of these, is that it’s a reminder of how far I am yet to go in trusting God with my all. I have such a clean plan of how my life is supposed to work out and how it should look right now. However, I am reminded that God’s plan for me far surpasses any plan that I could ever lay out for myself. That thought and realization is both exciting and uncomfortable. Exciting because who knows what the coming years, or even months might hold. But uncomfortable because it forces me to let go of control over my life and to be okay with the fact that my Heavenly Father knows exactly where I’m supposed to be. Though I know God has my back, none of it feels tangible, which is scary. But my God “can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). So, I’m taking the leap, knowing that he at work in ways that I cannot see, and is using every circumstance to bring me closer to him.

So there’s the end of that little detour in my wasteland. Once again, this post is similar to my last in that I really wasn’t sure what I was going to write about when I sat down, but I knew that I had something to say. Apologies for the lack of structure, I realize I kinda went all over the place.

Thank you for joining me on that little venture.

Until next time,
peace out y’all

-Amy

Weeds in the Wasteland

Living comfortable, living cluttered.

Pacing my room at this fine hour of the night, avoiding homework, stuck in my thoughts I began staring at the pictures strung on my walls. As my eyes drifted over each of them, I expected to be met with the sweet aroma of nostalgia but instead I was met with a couple words: Comfort. Ease. Satisfaction. Complacency. In all honesty, my life style screams these things. While I suppose from the outside looking in, I am a busy person with many commitments but  often I feel like I am only busy for the sake of being busy.  College is certainly academically challenging, my job can be stressful but this seems to be where the challenges cease. I feel as in my faith I have barely scratched the surface of all that God has for me. I’m living almost hesitant as to what more he could have in store.

As you may have gathered I am growing restless in this day to day living and am weary of the redundancy of this superficial life that I am finding myself caught up in. It is time to break to the surface and find ways to live uncomfortable and challenged and be more aware of what is going on around me. There is so much occurring daily that I find I am blind to and oftenI’ll admit, intentionally blind to . I am finding that I am allowing myself to be swept up to the norm of my culture.  This constant  connection and distraction ridden world is making me tired. It is becoming difficult to form one coherent thought before jumping into another. I think there’s a reason why the Bible says “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). We as humans have a tendency to get so caught up in everything and our thoughts become a jumbled, tangled mess as hundreds of other things vie for our attention. But God says “Just chill”.

Reading through all that I just spewed out, I realize it may not make a lot of sense and is a stark contrast to the last three posts that I so carefully composed. The others are cleaned up, shiny, and edited as I spent hours trying to get them to sound as as comprehensive and coherent as possible. This post is obviously far from that. But the past couple days I’ve been pondering  the title that I chose for this blog “Seeking Beauty in Wastelands”. The very definition of a wasteland is a wilderness, an abandoned, overgrown place. When walking through a wasteland you are going to find wildflowers and you are also going to find thorns. It requires weeding through these messy places to find that beauty, but once you find it you have t0 nurture it  so that it might begin to thrive. So that is where I’m at. Wandering in a wasteland of overgrow thoughts, or weeds, whatever you choose to call them.

There it is, for the whole world to see: my thoughts, a  jumbled, muddled mess. I can almost guarantee that there’s more typos and grammatical errors  in this than in any of my other posts, but I’m okay with that. In many ways it makes this feel more authentic. Thank you for hanging in there and bearing with me, have a blessed week and perhaps find some time to weed through one of your own wastelands.

-Amy

A blotched piece of paper, waiting for it’s potential to be discovered. 
An outlined picture, only lacking the color, 
the brightness and the beauty has been suppressed and hidden.

The Artist, sees a hidden masterpiece, and begins coaxing out
those forgotten colors. Knowing the imaginable that lies within  
the seemingly empty page.

He brings depth to the surface, and brightens the cracks.
When he steps back, the simple outline 
that only you and I could see has been transformed by his touch,
and become brilliant masterpiece. 

 

Desire

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming
I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Overwhelmed-Big Daddy Weave

Desire. For the past couple of weeks that is the word that has been rumbling around in my spirit. Desire. It plays over and over again in my head. According to Merriam Webster, the definition of desire is “to long or hope for” or “to feel the loss of”.  In seeking out what God has to say about the word “desire” and in asking Him to reveal more of this to me I have found that there are many more layers to it that I realized.

Taking those definitions, “to long or hope for” and “to feel the loss of” in desiring Christ I want to find a new hunger and delight in Him so that in turn, I can be met with a deeper, life giving, soul quenching satisfaction that only comes from him. This scripture sums it up just about right- “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

For me personally, the word desire ties very much so into the word delight. The more I find delight in the things of him the more I met with peace and fulfillment. This week has been a bit rough  for a  few different reasons, but despite that through Christ, every morning when I woke up I was met with a  joy and peace that has been overwhelming. While I can’t say that I have been 100% successful in “desiring” or longing for Christ, I can say that in making a conscious effort to make him my mindset I have found so much strength both physically and emotionally. Desiring him and taking my eyes off the chaos of the world for a few days has been both terrifying and exhilarating but I know that in the moment and in the long run, it will make all the difference.

-Amy

Psalms 73: 25-26 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Surrendered

You can have it all, Lord
Every part of my world.
Take this life and breathe on
this heart that is now Yours.

Oh the joy I’ve found,
surrendering my crowns
At the feet of the King
who surrendered everything.

Oh the peace that comes
when I’m broken and undone.
By your unfailing grace
I can lift up my voice and say

You can have it all, Lord.
Every part of my world,
take this life and breath on
this heart that is now Yours.

Have It All-Bethel


I was talking with a friend a couple weeks ago and she said something that struck me as profound- “Often times people put their identity in what they are pursuing, not the One that they are pursuing.” As she spoke, the realities of recent and past decisions began flashing through my mind. While I already knew it, I had not been honest with myself regarding the decisions that I had made for the coming semester. A couple months ago, new opportunities arose and with little thought I committed to them, not taking the time to bring Christ into the equation. The truth is, I expected to find fulfillment in the plans set before me. Of course, the exact opposite happened. In thinking that I’d find satisfaction I was instead met with anxiety over whether or not I was going to handle all that I had taken on. Good job Amy. 

Without Christ there is no fulfillment, there is no good, there is no meaning, there is no beauty. If I want my actions to have purpose then Christ has to be the underlying passion which pushes me towards the things of him. I have to live my life in total surrender, even when it’s not comfortable and means letting go of control/ Because the truth is, this life is not my own. Without Him, I am like a floundering, captainless ship on a raging sea. But with Jesus as my guide and the lenses through which I peer, he will take my passions and shape them to his. In inviting him into my daily life and surrendering my will to him, he will mold my dreams to match the desires of His heart.

My goal for this year can be summed up like this: My time here on earth is limited, but the time that has been given to me is a beautiful gift that I do not intend to squander away. So, why run from what God has set before me when I can be leaning into the plans that he has for me?  His ways are perfect and he knows me better than I could ever know myself. As Psalm 139:13-14  says “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Instead of chasing after the things of this world, and my own selfish desires, my prayer is that Christ will shape my heart to his. I want to set my eyes on the unseen and run after my Savior in a mad pursuit

It is time to let go of all fear and reserve that is holding me back from serving and desiring him above all else. Jesus stir the fire in my soul. I want to learn to dance to the melody of your love and to walk in complete surrender to you.

-Amy

Dancing in the shadows, finding peace in your grace.
It’s a beautiful moment, as I seek your face.
You’re a mystery more lovely than my soul can bear to fathom,
but your love so fulfilling is unraveling this darkness inside of me.
Exposed to the light, there’s no hiding now.
Drawn to his purpose, all facades set aside.
He is my desire and though broken and cracked, he has chosen me to reflect his image.
But in my weakness, and through the cracks,
his love shines all the brighter.