And a few more of my favorite pinterest pins…
Just sharing a few of my favorite images from Pinterest.
I would do anything tonight
To walk down the halls of a labor ward
Looking and re-looking at picture books of babies
Wondering with a sweet family what theirs will look like.
To listen to the same stories over and over, and join them in their excitement over a new arrival
To just get to sit by a woman laboring in a tub
Nodding off to sleep together between contractions
Then startling awake with her as a new one surges through her.
To walk the halls, and show her husband how to rock her back and forth when a contraction comes
Watching him as he falls in love with her all over again
To show her how to sit on a birthing ball and
Rock, rock, rock the baby lower
To press on her back until my hands are numb
To put a cool washcloth on her forehead
Praying for her silently before my hand leaves her
To look her in the eyes as fear tries to stream in
As she cries out, with loud sobs, “BUT I JUST CAN’T!”
To be strong and solid, and with unshakeable faith say
“Yes you can! You are right now.”
To have her believe me, digging deeper within herself, finding out I was right.
To just have that moment where I can watch with wonder
As new life emerges
Without shame, just watching it enter.
Holding back my breath and
Just taking in and maintaining the space and the moment
Doused with holiness
(And a few other bodily fluids)
A Living. Breathing. Miracle.
Crying and pink, squawking, maybe looking a little angry
Just to witness that moment it is placed into her arms
To hear, as she beams at her child
“I can’t believe I did it.”
For her to realize all along that she could,
That she can,
that there is a lot of other things she can do.
Sensing that victorious pride rushing out of her.
Rejoicing and celebrating with her
I just wish I could do that tonight.
Now that it’s summer, I actually have a chance to read books for fun. Reading? Fun? What a concept! :)
A book I flew through this week, called, “Spoken For: Embracing Who You Are and Whose You Are” by Alyssa Bethke and Robin Jones Gunn, comes across initially as a light, fluffy read. I began to read it, thinking most of the time “What an awesome book for little middle schooler girls.” The book deals with our identity in Christ, covering foundational aspects of His character, and using those to exhibit who we are through who He is (Ex: I am Set Free, I am Beloved, I am Chosen, etc.) I loved the messages, but felt like I’d already heard them enough to understand them. I was one of those people reading the book thinking to myself “I wish _______ was reading this instead of me, she’d gain so much from this!”
Just a hint: when that’s your thinking, you are definitely missing the point. Every message can be made applicable to you if you listen hard enough (at least, I believe that to be true). The more I read the book, the more I realized the messages within it were something that I didn’t have heart-knowlege of even though I did have head-knowlege. I was able through this book, to adopt a heart-level understanding of these truths and made them my own this week. Pretty cool, huh? :) I thought so too.
I wanted to share one statement from the book that caught my attention because I think for some, it can be a key to freedom. Robin and her sister used this little sentence as a way to remind them not to beat themselves up for things they’ve done, choosing to believe and accept the idea that they are forgiven instead of living within the confines of shame. Their statement, something they told each other when they needed to hear it, was this one:
"Shame off you, Grace on you."
Robin reminded her readers in a very sweet way, that these words aren’t just a positive statement or nice thought, but they are the reality for us when we don’t line up with God’s standards for us.
Shame is not of the Lord. Shame is something that keeps us stuck and hidden from Him. Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to live in continual shame and shame is the greatest weapon the enemy can wield against us.
On our own, there is no way for us to fight shame. And even in everyday life I don’t think there’s a person who doesn’t struggle somewhat with feelings of shame. But when Jesus died, He wasn’t the only thing that died. For those who believe, their old selves, governed by sin and shame, died too. And what came in to take the place of the shame we’d heaped on ourselves? GRACE.
God’s grace, or “the free and unmerited favor of God” (as defined by Google) is what we gained , what was made available to us in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection after 3 days. With Jesus, Shame can’t stick to us like it used to. There is something much more powerful in play that easily overpowers shame once we accept that it’s there and that it is (completely) for us: GRACE. Isn’t that cool?
So, my (imaginary) friends, have you done things you regret? Are you beating yourself up for that thing that happened last night, last week, last month, last year? Here’s what I have to say to you:
Shame off you, Grace on you!
God’s gift of grace is available to you and its crazy awesome once we accept it. His grace covers us completely, and there’s nothing we can do to change that once we accept it into our lives. I don’t quite know if there are sweeter words that can be said than those.
One more time I say this: Shame off you, Grace on you. <3
You know the saying, “I’ve got a lot on my plate right now?”
Well, I am having a hard time remembering when a lot wasn’t on my plate. Currently, my plate is overflowing and has been the past two or three weeks.
It’s been such a huge task to keep going. God has really been transforming my life through this busy time. With Him, I have faced every obstacle, and I am a living example of the verse I’ve been chewing on for awhile that says, “…With my God’s help, I can scale a wall” (Ps. 18:29).
Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT athletic, actually, it is probably the area I identify as my weakest (both physically and emotionally). But here I am, slowly and steadily scaling this wall made up of finals week, nursing school, packing up, heading home, facing fears, believing the truth. It’s been a constant process of digging deep, surrendering and humbling myself before the Lord.
This “scaling the wall process” isn’t something that is exciting really. Most of the time, I feel like a hot sweaty mess huffing and puffing, clinging to the rocks jutting out of the wall, losing my footing sometimes, clinging for dear life as my heart pounds in my ears. I’m that person getting leg cramps, shaking with every step as I make my way to the top, feeling like I could puke at any second. I am making it, in my weakness God is my strength, but the journey through it all is hecka hard.
I knew when I came into church today that I was on the brink of just losing it, being an emotional wreck, throwing in the towel, whatever you want to call it. I was just SO OVER the scaling the wall today.
I felt a tap on my shoulder midway into the church service and it was my friend Joey, holding his new precious daughter Reese. She was recently adopted by him and his wife, Tori, (who is pregnant right now with what will be Reeses’ “twin” sibling!).
I saw her teensy delicate body curled up in his arms, and I was like, “Oh my goodness, I was praying she’d be here today!!” (I love baby gazing at church, it’s my favorite thing ever!).
Then he said, “Would you like to hold her?”
And I was like, “I was praying you’d let me hold her too!” :)
Holding the weight of this precious little vulnerable baby in my hands brought out my own vulnerability and I heard myself say as a tear or two escaped my eyes, “I’ve had such a hard week, holding her helps so much.”
Then it was like Joey knew what to do and he just said “You can hold her for the whole song if you want to,” and he went off to the side and just let me have moment with her.
I stared at her as she slept, singing the worship song being sung by the congregation over her, my voice warbling with emotion as I looked at her.
God used her to speak to me. He reminded me why I am doing what I am doing and that it isn’t just for the pregnant women that I love so much, but it’s also for all the little Reeses’; these tiny precious children that the Lord loved and created. He wants me to be there for the least of these, the most defenseless lives out there. He wants me to defend them, to delight in them and to help people see God through their existence and life.
I think of her as I finish my semester. It’s for all the little Reese’s in the world that I am living out this calling. More importantly, I live my life for the great big God who made us both, who loves us and knows exactly how to reach me and touch my heart, reminding Him of who I am and who He is molding me into.
The devil wants you to believe that when you are at your weakest, all hope is lost and your relationship with God is in shambles.
As someone coming out of a weak period, let me just tell you right now that that is a LIE. Spent some time reading over my prayer journal and I am FLOORED by how my prayers paved the way for right now, this moment of freedom and victory and overcoming.
Just to share snippets of my prayers these past weeks:
"You are my salvation, stronghold, defender, King, my portion, my prize, my Father, my friend. You are the Lover of my Soul. I am Yours and You are Mine. You are God and I am not…I have been chosen, I am secure in Christ and He is who I am found in! He is where my hope comes from."
"Thank you for wooing me this morning over coffee and Your word. Help me to heal like you healed: with my words, my touch and a heart that desires everyone to be free from suffering. Increase my faith everyday."
"I love having a relationship with You. You are that place my heart longs for, my home. Getting to just sit here and tell you these things brings me such joy."
These snippets of prayers are all prayed during the eye of the storm in my most recent HUGE trial. During a time of questioning whether or not I could really trust God. A time where I felt far from God. A time that has been the last three or so months.
And you know what the devil was trying to convince me of tonight? Right after an amazing time with God, a time in which I feel chains were broken and I was freed, he tried to get me again by whispering: You never once believed God could do this for you. You never once prayed a prayer that wasn’t a complaint to God during this time. Sure you’re out of this time now, but you were ungrateful during the whole time you were going through it. You are a bad follower of Jesus and because of that, in the morning, you’re going to be right where you were yesterday with no way out. You aren’t really free. Nothing has changed. You are ungrateful and selfish there is nothing that is going to get you back to a right place with God.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT SATAN? I wrote my prayers down! And while I can say with full confidence that I don’t deserve a single bit of the beautiful gift my Abba gave me tonight, I can say, with confidence, that I prayed in faith and I praised God during this trial despite the fact that I wasn’t seeing any change in my situation up until tonight.
And you know what else? When I wake up tomorrow, HAVING OVERCOME WILL STILL BE MY REALITY.