Refine me.

Ever heard that old saying “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another“?

It is proving so true right now in my spiritual life.

All of a sudden, God is making me so aware of my filthiness.

It used to be that I struggled with a few (haha- bear with me!) “big” areas of sin. Little by little, I removed/let go of these sins taking over my life. I assumed that without these sins overwhelming my heart, mind, and life, I would be “okay”. I would be so much “better”. I wouldn’t be down trodden by sin. I was so wrong!- Now that I have moved on from these things, I am so much more aware of the abundance of my life that is other sin.

Pure, filthy, ugly sin. 

Praise the Lord though that He does not leave us in this helpless state to fend for ourselves!

As I am reminded minute by minute of my constant disobedience to God, the very Lover of my soul, He is refining me. He does not give up. With His bare hands, He continues working on His masterpiece, sculpting with intense purpose.   Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

He sees potential in my mess. He has laid out a plan for my life, far better than any of my plans or wildest dreams. He doesn’t give up on me when I choose Facebook, Instagram, and gossip {#worthlessthings} over time in communion with Him {creator of the Heavens and the Earth}.

Instead, He is maturing me in the midst of the muck.

But far better than that, He has already cleansed me. He forgave/forgives me completely.

I’ll leave you with this- Just listen.

As I have listened to it the past few weeks, I thought Landon sang, “For I am your God, I will still give you away.” haha- go figure! My girly mind goes straight to thinking of a wedding…  I finally googled it today to find the lyrics are actually, “I will still give you aid.”

However, I am choosing to stick with my version. My God is so merciful, He will still “give me away”; He will present me blameless. (Isaiah 41:10 and Phillipians 2:15) I am forever thankful for that grace that washes me clean each and every day.

Blown away by the Lord’s faithfulness to those with little faith,

Updates!

Where is your mind set?

This morning, I woke up feeling just kind of BLAH… Not for any particular reason, just out of it sort of. My back aches a lot when I wake up (mild scoliosis + addiction to stomach sleeping)… so that didn’t help.

I reached for my Bible and journal **after checking twitter, facebook, instagram, and email– {nobody’s perfect}. After prayer journaling a bit, I wasn’t feeling into that either. I was praying specifically, “I feel sad for some reason, would You lift my head?”

I decided to open the Word and look up a couple verses Rachel sent this morning.

-Ephesians 6:19

&

-Colossians 3:1-4

which says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Ok God, I hear You. My funk is due to where my mind is. Class, back aches, my birthday, and the number on the scale are of this earth. They are worthless compared to the things of your Kingdom.

I think Colossians 3:5 needs to be repeated in my mind throughout everyday:

 Put to death what is earthly in you.

Easier said than done, right? But let’s all do it today, with the help of the one who is above all things. He is even above the tragedy in Boston yesterday. We were surprised/saddened/hurt by it. But to our God, it was no surprise at all. Let’s find peace in that.

Completely unrelated but while you’re here, check this out.

I know that full well

Lately, I feel easily overwhelmed with certain things. Sometimes, the blog feels that way.. so I just push it off for a rainy day. I was attempting to type my latest post when this whole blog thing started to feel incredibly incomplete.

You see, there’s more to the story than you know. With blogging, it is easy to only share the fun stuff. Unfortunately, this can make the author seem “perfect,” simply because I am more likely to post on good days than to share the not so pretty areas of my life on the world wide web. Today, I want to share something with you that will be hard to write down, to catch you all up. But I think it must be done in order for this to be genuine, to build a trust between us. I am a filthy sinner, with a past. I also think it might be less overwhelming for me if it’s on paper and not just swirling in my head. My memory is spotty, but I think it all started around 13.

I wouldn’t call it bullying, but a few comments in the lunchroom to the tune of “ever heard of the Subway diet?” have affected me more than I realized at the time. It was 6th grade, I was 5’2″ and remember wearing a size 6.. Now I know that is not big. AT ALL. But being bigger than most of the other girls was the worst part of all. The most important thing at that age was fitting in. I didn’t make the dance team my sixth grade year, which didn’t help.

By seventh grade, I had naturally grown up and slimmed out some. I got interested in working out, going to spin classes with one of my best friends and the “baby fat” that stayed way to long dropped off without to much effort.

I don’t know where it began, but I think around 9th grade, I became obsessed with my weight and exercise. Self comparison. Numbers. I honestly don’t even remember this time at all… I’ve just found notebooks covered in weights and calorie counts I didn’t even realize I had been keeping track of for so long. I knew, and still know, calorie amounts of almost everything. It’s like a terrible talent.

I remember eating until I was so overly full I couldn’t think of anything else, throwing up just to relieve some of the guilt. No one knew I struggled. I was never out of a normal weight range, so it was an internal battle… between what I knew deep down was right and I let other people, the media, and modern ideals tell me would make me happy. If I wasn’t 120, I wasn’t perfect.

Baby food diet, Drop10, Weight Watchers, Weigh down workshop, calorie counting, bite counting, all fruit, no carbs, all protein, all liquid, you name it, I’ve tried it. For a few hours at least. I am one of the lucky ones. I was able to avoid the worst. I was never determined enough to take any of these extreme ideas for more than a test drive I quickly got out of. I always drifted back to eating normally until the next great idea came along. My weight really never shifted more than a couple pounds.

This post is more for me than for you. It feels like a weight lifted off my chest to get this craziness out of my head. Maybe, sometime, I can help someone escape the harsh reality of how hard eating and body image can be for girls. It was never a topic that was spoken about in my middle and high school years… yet tons of girls around me were all suffering from the same thing.

I don’t have any explanation for you as to why I’m writing this, other than to give you my full history and to get it out of my head. I should be writing my speech on artificial sweeteners, but here I sit, words flowing from my fingers.
I know there is a reason I’m okay with pushing the publish button.

My God is healer. He has removed me so much from this time of my life that the memories, are just that. 

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 

your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

Psalm 139:14

“Normal”

A sweet friend of mine shared this with me over a year ago, and I want to also share it with you.

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Have a fabulous day- see you soon!

The Struggle

I have never understood that “The Struggle is Real” saying. But I am hear to tell you THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

Everyone is struggling with something.

Pride

Laziness

Anorexia

Organization

Self Discipline

School

Divorce

Depression

Anger

Resentment

I think this is such an important thing to realize. When I envy other people and crazily think, “if I were like them, everything would be perfect.” I have to remind myself, no life is without struggles.

Image

It took me a long time to realize that the struggle is part of the story. Without the valley, there can be no mountain.

I am a lover of fresh starts… new days, blank notebooks, August of every school year, January 1st, tanks of gas with zero miles. I constantly feel the urge to “start over” when I fall. However, in time, I have realized I cannot start over. I can never, on my own, wipe my slate clean. My story is my story.. ups & DOWNS included.

What are you struggling with?

Would you dare to just embrace it and know that

the Lord is working for our good (Romans 8:28)?

My Metaphors.

Okay ya’ll, I have become so fond of driving… something about being alone, 
just me & good music 
creates the absolute perfect environment to think.

I almost passed Starkville today, just because I wanted to stay in the car!
This is McKenzie. We’ve been thinking together since November 2010!

 Here’s what I came up with today… 

Now don’t judge me (you don’t even have to agree!)… 
But, I’ve found myself lately being a 
VCR. 
(or wanting to be)
You know, the 90s contraption that has seemed to vanish from existence? 
The one where you insert a tape & press play, stop, rewind, fast forward, even pause. 
All we see now are these new-fangled 
(is that even a word?) 
DVD players and Bluray where you insert a disc and pretty much get one choice. 
No need to rewind, it starts at the beginning every time. 
And will play until the end unless a remote intercedes. 
I am the DVD player, 
my life the DVD (already decided ahead of time)
my God is the remote. 

He planned a life for me since before I was even a thought in the minds of these crazy two… 
(So young and in love- I don’t think they knew what they were getting into)
Thanks for everything, Mom & Dad


And He has complete control over me.

Lately in my life, I haven’t been content with the here & now. 
I want to fast forward to a career, a classroom, owning a house. 
Or I want to rewind to those 
stress free, 
joyous, 
jump roping days. 
Pause, well, not my button of choice. Because I rarely live in the present.



I am learning to be content with simply the DVD player, my life as a DVD, and the Lord of Lords holding the remote. He will make every move necessary, for He is good.

Oh God, show us all when to pause and be still, when to push forward for Your causes, when to stop and when to play on. Make us relinquish this control we feel we have as humans. We are nothing without You. 

Oh so thankful to be Washed By the Water
God is merciful, and just.


Living and learning

Thorns.

I have totally enjoyed the devotional book “Streams in the Desert” this year. (and I highly recommend it to all of you!) It was a gift from my mom as I left for my first semester and it has been marvelous. 

As I read a page in late December, only days after my favorite girl Phoebe passed away, I stopped when I read “I have never thanked thee for my thorn“… my thoughts went exactly like this, “Really? Of course I haven’t thanked God for my thorn. Why would I?! I thank Him for the good things…” 
But… I am supposed to be thankful for the “bad” things in my life, too. I’m supposed to be thankful for a broken heart and empty place on the couch where my baby always laid.. for disordered eating.. for loneliness… This quiet time brought me back to Earth. What we see as bad, the Lord sees as blessings. He is forcing us to lean on Him.
I am never promised another day. I am never promised anything at all. But my Rock and my Redeemer provides. When I am at my lowest, He only draws nearer. -What a marvelous truth!!

The Bible says, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).” For some reason, I have read this verse over and over yet it never sunk in until I read it in my devotion…
The literal translation of this verse gives a startling emphasis to it, and makes it speak for itself with an intense force that we have probably never realized. (I know I hadn’t!!) “Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, in insults, in being pinched, in being chased about, in being cooped up in a corner for Christ’s sake; for when I am without strength, then am I dynamite.” Streams in the Desert


George Matheson, the well-known blind preacher of Scotland, said: 


“My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn

I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, 
but not once for my thorn. 
I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross; but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory.
Teach me the glory of my cross; 
teach me the value of my thorn. “

Can we all dare to pray genuinely, “Thank you, oh Lord, for the things that trouble me.. Thank you for the things I feel are bringing me down. Just, thank you.” ??
It’s hard. Really hard… but also mind changing and maybe life changing.


Think about it one more way… The Sidewalk Prophets sing in “You Love Me Anyway,”
I am the thorn in Your crown, but you love me anyway.” Jesus Christ LOVED the things that caused him dire pain as he hung on a cross for us.


Thankful He cares to refine me,



What is trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise? -“Blessings” Laura Story