Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As of late...

As of late I can't really find the words to describe the state of my heart. So I find myself meditating on the promises of a Father who loves unconditionally, provides abundantly, cares deeply, and longs to shower His children with His undenyable grace and compassion. What an incredible God we have... a loving Father, a constant companion, and a loyal friend. Without Him I am nothing. And today I am reminded of everything HIM.

‎"Even if you turn away, I'll tell you still. Don't you know I've always loved you? And I always will." - third day

"Great is your faithfulness, True are your promises, You never change. You NEVER fail, oh God."

"The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" - Is. 30:18

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." - Ps. 126:6

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." -Job 42:2

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." - Pro. 10:19

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." - Pro. 19:11

"Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice" - Pro. 29:26

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
*a time to be born and a time to die
*a time to plant and a time to uproot
*a time to kill and a time to heal
*a time to tear down and a time to build
*a time to weep and a time to laugh
*a time t omourn and a time to dance
*a time to scatter and a time to gather
*a time to embrace and a time to refrain
*a time to search and a time to give up
*a time to keep and a time to throw away
*a time to tear and a time to mend
*a time to be silent and a time to speak
*a time to love and a time to hate
*a time for war and a time for peace" - Ecc. 3:1-8

"Rend your heart... return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in LOVE." -Joel 2:13

"If you could see the extent of destruction that is set in motion when you speak against one another, you would learn to hold your tongue. However, this is not a matter of words but of the condition of your heart and your willingness to say things about someone else that you would not want spoken about yourself. You will be held accountable for every word that you speak... be careful what you say!"

"The trials of life are sent to make us, not break us. Financial troubles may destroy a persons business but build up his character. And a direct blow to the outer person may be the greatest blessing possible to the inner person." -Malthie Babcock

"GOD deals with impossiblities. It's never too late for Him to so do..." - Streams in the Desert

"God is at work in the world today. He is working as a prayer answering God. That is one of His names." -Ps. 65:2

"God uses broken things. Those used for God's glory are those who have been broken in their finances, broken in their self-will, broken in their ambitions, broken in their lofty ideals, broken in their worldly reputation, broken in their desires, and often broken in their health. Yes, He uses those who seem totally hopeless and helpless." - Streams in the Desert

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being FULLY persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised." -Romans 4:20-21

"God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does He speak then not act? Does He promise then not fulfill?" - Numbers 23:19

"Difficulty is actually the atmosphere surrounding a miracle, or a miracle at it's initial stage. Yet if it is to be a great miracle, the surrounding condition will be not simply a difficulty but an utter impossibility. And it is the clinging hand of His child that makes a desperate situation a delight to God."

"When I am afraid, I will trust YOU. In God, who word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid."

Faith: the substance of what is Hoped for, the belief in what is unseen.

"... fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.... God is not merely able but abundantly able, bountifully and generously able, with an infitinte surplus of resources and eternally able to do just as He has promised. He is the God of limitless resources... and our thoughts and our prayers are too small, and our expectations are too low. God wants us to raise our vision to a higher level and calls us to have greater expectations."

"If your version of Christianity is one that causes you to not love certain people, then you've missed the whole point of grace. Jesus didn't have a "favorite people" list, He died for all of us. My sin, your sin, his sin, her sin, OUR sin, sent Him to the cross. Stop hating and start loving. When you love your brothers and your sisters, they don't see you, they see God." - Annaliese Marie Lawrence

‎"Your circumstances and your past do not reflect your value... You are God’s child. His heir. His princess. His beloved. His creation"

‎'Because the resurrection is an actual historical event, we can be forgiven, we can be reconciled with god, we can spend eternity with him, and we can trust jesus' teaching as being from god.' -ravi zacharias

‎'Human promises are often worthless; many broken promises have left broken hearts... But God has never broken a single promise to his children.'

Friday, May 25, 2012

The greatest of these is LOVE

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken" - C.S. Lewis

Risk. Love involves risk. It means laying your heart on the line. It means being vulnerable and open to another. It means showing the best parts of you and sharing the worst of you. It means facing the fear and anxiety that comes with sharing your life with another. It may mean love unrequited. But it also may be the the greatest gift of one's life. So I say better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

I wish it were that easy to open ourselves to the risk that love involves. I wish I could literally shake some people and tell them "you are loved. PERIOD". I wish my love could just permeate the hearts and souls of another with a simple touch. But all too often the walls of hurt, the walls of pride, the walls of bitterness, the walls of resentment seem to creep up and love is shattered before it ever even gets an opportunity to grow.

C.S. Lewis goes on to say in The Four Loves, "if you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket/coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -safe, dark, motionless, airless (alone) - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

Oh my heart aches with that statement. How many hearts I've experienced with this very disease. This idea that if they just cut everyone off, then they'll be fine, they won't be hurt, they won't ache for someone to love and be loved - to be fully known and loved despite our shortcomings. And in the process of guarding themselves from love, they will lose all feeling... which is quite often the goal. And numbness sets in. These souls end up 'going through the motions' of life, never experiencing the incredibly beautiful, challenging, fulfilling bond that is love for another.

And that's the crazy part. The more you love, the more you are free, the more you grow, the more you LIVE. Life begins to fill with color, with joy, with... well, life. And suddenly the dark, solemn days of loneliness and hiding are gone. Freedom sets in. The chains of oppression, depression, independence, and loneliness are broken.

"Although vulnerability will often include pain, precluding vulnerability also leads to pain. And, unlike being vulnerable, turning in on yourself and shrouding yourself in protective armor cannot lead to happiness – only bitterness and more pain..."
Sheltering oneself from sharing their heart, their soul, their dreams, their passions, their life with another only causes pain, in the long run. We're made for relationship. It's innate within us. And to deny that fact is absurd and absolutely detrimental to our overall wellbeing. We were created to love God and to love one another. Period. That's our deepest need and our highest calling. Denying this need, this calling, is practically, denying one's very existence.
"Opening up doesn’t mean burdening someone with your struggles and problems. But, rather, it means not hiding the incredible beauty of your soul...  true love is found in listening to another person, and in turn opening up to them. Allowing yourself to share your heart with another broken human being." Please don't let the opportunity to love and be loved ever pass by. Because I can guarantee that the risk is worth it, everytime.

Dear readers, I leave you with this: You are cherished. You are genuinely cared for and pursued. You are valued. You are precious to the Most High (and to me). You are beautiful in your brokenness. You are remarkable despite the efforts to hide. You are wonderfully made and your vulnerability is the key to your freedom.
You, yes, YOU - are LOVED!
No strings attached. No proving needed. No striving necessary.

"I. Love. You."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What do you stand for?

I did it. Finally. I made myself go into the hills, turn off my cell phone, and go on a date with the Lord. It'd been QUITE some time since I've had the opportunity to do so and man was it incredible. I left last Sunday morning somewhat expecting nothing to be resolved. Oh ye of little faith...

Needless to say, I answered the questions from my previous post and thought I'd share some of my musings.

What do you stand for/value?
Father. Son. Spirit.
Serving others.

What do you love?
Hosting parties.
Caring for others.
Road Tripping.
Coffee dates.
Good conversation.
Random drives.
Weekend getaways.
Meeting new people.
Deeply knowing those I love.
The Beach.
The Stars.

Who are you? 
I'm Brittany, but those who know me best know that Tany is a better descriptor of me. I'm a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend. An adventurer, "health nut", risk taker, and a little girl at heart. I am introspective, yet extroverted. I love others. I value sharing life and communing with them. I love to laugh and smile; joy is the essence of my heart. I love nature and escaping from the busyness of the everyday. I am a planner who can go with the flow. I'm a creature of habit who loves to try new things. I am a dreamer, a goal setter and achiever. I am a thinker of ways I can invest in and love others better. I take note of the things those I love value and cherish. I am willing to do whatever it takes to let those I love know they're loved. I want to look back on my life and know that I loved my God and those He placed in my life well. I want to bless others in crazy ways both relationally and financially. My home will always be one with an "open door" policy where all are welcome and deeply cared for. I want to be remembered as a joy filled, love giving, generous, caring, patient, gentle, kind, compassionate woman of God. I want to walk out Proverbs 31 and leave a legacy for generations to come.

The best part of the day? Re-learning, or better yet, realizing once again that I am loved. Period. No strings attached. There is nothing I can do to change it. My sweet Jesus' loves me. I don't have to prove myself to Him. I don't have to go through man-made hoops to receive this love. It's unconditional. And nothing will ever change that. What a sweet gift to this undeserving girl.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Values, Passions, and Love

What do I value?
What do I stand for?
What makes me, me?
What do I love?
Why do I love it?
What's my passion?
What fits YOU best, not everyone else, but YOU?

A great question that I've been pondering as of late is: What are your beliefs and what are you friends/family's? I've found, far too often, that I'm put in the same camp of opinions and beliefs as my friends and family, when in reality, we are two very different people. Just because I may nod and say "yes" or "okay" doesn't mean I'm in agreement, it means I'm acknowleding your stance. It seems as I look at my life that I've become a bit of a chameleon to what everyone else thinks (and I've been struggling with this for years as my previous posts would suggest). The second I disagree with someone on something, suddenly I'm thrown into this self beating because "oh my gosh, if so and so knew you didn't value that, they'd hate you!". But then I sit back and go... "okay, who's voice is that?" A true friend will love me regardless of our differences and will respect and value the very things you value because you've taken a stand to value those very things. Thus it's VITAL to differentiate between what I believe and what are the opinions and voices of others speaking for me.

It seems that life is at yet another crossroads. Seems they come all too often. But choices need to be made, values addressed, and a new path made to walk down. As I sit each day pondering the options, I find myself overwhelmed with everyone else's voice BUT my Father's. A Sabatical is needed... time out and away from the "busyness" that is this life. Technology distracts me and takes my time far too often. People too, though I LOVE my time with them. And I need to get away and be swept away by the One and Only so that I can clearly, freely, navigate all these questions with Him. And it starts this weekend!

I'm finding myself motivated by a phrase I've seen circulating as of late: "This is your life. Do what you love and do it often. If you don't like something, change it. Start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing. Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people. Share your dreams. Travel often. Some opportunities only come once - SEIZE THEM. Live your dreams and wear your passion."

This could also go right alongside the encouragement of the Lord to find my identity in Him and Him alone. Taking the risks and walking in courage and boldness as He leads me through each trial, blessing, difficulty, and joy in my life.

What a gift His grace is. What a blessing His peace. And Lord, have mercy, give insight, lead me in the direction. May I have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand as I embark on answering these questions. Meet me in the desert... speak to me there. Let's finally get some clarity on all these questions. Make me the woman you want me to be, though I may come across counter-cultural. Let me finally see me and be fully free to be me.