Good to Me {God’s More-than-Enough}

PUSSYWIL-M

We hold back. I’m not sure if the clinging is learned or if it’s in our human DNA, but I know it’s safer easier to keep a little in our grasp…just in case.

Friends, how this must hurt His heart, for He has never done the same.

My God gave all to save all.

My Savior sacrificed everything for the mere hope of … me. you. love. Take your pick–He offers it all.

And I know I can put ALL my hope in the truth of His promises. I am assured I can steady my heart on the ground of His goodness. So today, I will rise up and proclaim His glory. I will face this morn fully equipped with all He’s given me.

He’s given me life. love. joy.

And no one. Not one can take this from me. No one can steal what He’s given. (John 16:22)

My God is so good to me…

“Why is everyone hungry for more?
‘More, more,’ they say
‘More, more’
I have God’s More-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day.
Psalm 4: 6-7, MSG

These verses jumped off the page this last week and I am making them my mantra this week.

Friends, we have God’s more-than-enough…He will offer more joy in one ordinary day than anything else we could hold tightly to.

Let’s let go and let God…let’s open wide so He can fill high. Let’s bow down and lift up His name. Simply because He’s so good…

Good to Me

Audry Assad

I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night–raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me
Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life
I will trust in Your promise

How about you, friend? How has He been so good to you lately? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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My Letter to Mary

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Mary, when I consider women worth striving to emulate, your name comes to mind. Not because I would have wanted your life, but because you knew how to live yours.

What you understood as early as your teenage years I have yet to fully grasp. And I believe I’m getting it now. I think I know where my problem lies.

I’m holding on too tight when I should be letting go.

That’s what it is, isn’t it.

I picture you on your journey with the man you’re hoping to grow old with. Full term. Uncomfortable on every platform imaginable and I wonder:

  • Did the conversation flow smoothly between you and Joseph?
  • Were you contracting on and off?
  • Did you have any idea what to expect with your marriage, your future, your immediate family?
  • Did you feel ready to meet this miracle of a baby?
  • Were you able to talk openly with Joseph about your fears? About your pain? Or did you try to hide as much as possible?
  • Did you comfort him when he presumably felt like an utter failure for not being able to provide better accommodations?
  • How did you handle the smell while breathing deep?
  • Did you feel alone? Or was living in His will enough?

My mind can’t help but sing the all familiar “Mary Did You Know” song when I contemplate talking with you. But that song is sorely lacking. Because I don’t want a yes or no answer. What I really want to know is:

How did you handle what you didn’t know?

These are things I plan on asking you when the opportunity arises. Even while typing those words I realize how silly that would be.

I’m doing it again, aren’t I. Getting caught up–holding on too tight to the details when I should be letting go.

Tell me, Mary, does it get easier with practice?

Of all the capable women, of all the more suitable prospects, God picked you to carry the greatest treasure this world will ever know. He chose you. Mary, how does that feel? Was it your humbleness that made it possible to say “yes” to the proposition?

I’m picturing you sitting across from me, sipping your chai latte, chuckling at my naive-ness. Because, yes, I can hear You, Lord.

You picked me, too…didn’t You, Father.

He asks the question to every believer:
Will you love Me with all that you’ve got?

And I realize, I am the one who has everything to gain by saying ‘yes’ as He’s already shown He’d give it all up for me.

Mary, thank you.

Thank you for paving the way for girls like me to see anything is possible to those who love Him.

Thank you for showing me life is way more adventurous while living out His will.

Thank you for bearing the pain, the ring of fire, so that I might be saved.

Thank you for saying yes. No matter the cost.

If you can do it, so can I. I can give Him control…I can live a life of worship. By your example.

And Mary said:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord and
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for He has been mindful of the

humble state of His servant…
for the Mighty One has done great things for me
Holy is His Name.
Luke 1:46-49

How about you, friend? Can you let it all go and give your whole self to Him? Like Mary? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

My Homeschooling Journey {Another Let Go and Let God Post}

After fulfilling my dream of becoming a wife, I had nine years to decide what kind of mother I was or was not going to be. I spent those years wisely. Observing, making mental note of what I would or would not do. Oh yes, I was going to be the best. mother. ever.

Let me be the first to tell you, homeschooling was on my not-going-to-do list. It’s now become proof that God truly does have a sense of humor.

You see, I neglected to consider some key factors while creating my mother equations:

  • God has made each child unique with individual needs He has asked me to meet while in my care.
  • God loves my child more than I ever could. And knows what’s best farther than I can see.

We all have heard “He broke the mold when He made ____” and I’m certain it’s true with each and every child I meet.

My oldest son is no exception as he has busted every frame I had wrapped around him.

Friends, my son loves to learn. He’s good at it, too. Even at the age of four he’s methodical, extremely inquisitive, has to know the how and why every. single. time. And he’s been begging to go to school since he was two.

To say I wrestled with God on this would be an understatement. It wasn’t a part of my master plan. Yes, my son reads chapter books, writes his own stories, and meets every marker used to gauge kindergarten readiness with flying colors. Except age.

He’s still too young I would tell myself. I don’t want to force him to grow up too fast. We’ll just coast this year and do another year of preschool and he’ll simply be more than ready next year. Yes, that’s what we’ll do. This can work with my plan.

But it wasn’t working with His plan. And I’m learning I need to let go and let Him take control.

To say He’s given me the writing on the wall seems like an understatement.
And I’m going to let go and let Him lead the way.
Starting with kindergarten.
Starting with homeschooling.
Starting today.

What He’s showing me is I’m not making my son grow up too fast. I’m simply giving him an opportunity to thrive.

God has given him a desire to learn and who am I to stand in the way.

Sorry I’ve been kind of quiet here lately as I was preparing to be obedient today and create a platform for my son to grow, friends.

It’s taken me awhile to get my ducks in a row.

Can I share with you what I’ve learned from this experience so far?

  • He was right when He told me to want Him more and less will want me. It’s proving to be the solution to all my troubles.
  • Leaning on Him through this has made it so easy. Why, He even took care of the expense of it all (another post perhaps?)
  • I can do all things through Christ who truly does strengthen me.
  • Homeschooling is so not what I thought it was. Wow.
  • I thought homeschooling would cause me to be more controlling–which is something I struggle with (again, another post). But I was wrong. It’s completely out of my control as I need to lay it in His hands every single day.

Father, when I look at my son, I see You. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to be a presence in his life as he discovers what plan You have for him.  Prepare the way for my child, Lord. Reveal Yourself to him in fascinating ways. Captivate his heart. Whisper love in his ear when he feels alone. Guide him on the right path when he is faced with choices.  Keep the spark of curiosity alive in him as he expands his perceptions. Oh Father, stay in his sights…
Use me in whatever way you can, Abba. Keep my heart pliable so I can conform to whatever You need me to do for my son. To You be all glory and honor in my family, Lord. All that we have is because of You, Jesus…
Jesus, thank You for changing my master plan and making it bigger and better than I ever dreamed…
I’m ready. I’m willing. This day’s for You.

How about you, friend? How has God changed your master plan lately? What has He asked you to do that you wouldn’t have dared dream years ago? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up to the Heart & Home Gathering over at mercyINK as well as:

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Join ~ Five Minute Friday {Guest Post}

I was a lurker. For nearly two years, I read Lisa-Jo’s blog regularly, never commenting. Five Minute Fridays were always my favorite posts for I was continually amazed at how anyone could be brave enough to write raw let alone succeed at pouring their hearts out so vividly. And to see all of those bloggers would were willing to try…wow.

Last November, I found myself blogging. And I remember distinctly telling God I would do this for Him with one stipulation: I wasn’t going to do 5 Min Fridays.

That lasted 2 weeks.

Want to know what He’s shown me?

You’ll have to stop by Lisa-Jo’s to find out.
The place where it all happened…
Simply click on the button below!

How about you? What communities have you experienced? What do they mean to you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Say, are we friends on Facebook? I’d love to be…

One Fold at a Time ~ My Birthday Reflection

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I had made it with my own two hands in shop class. Didn’t matter what the temperature was in the house, it was always cool to the touch when I would stretch under to find it. Spray painted black and locked with a key was my safe place. The space that for my teenage self-consumed years, held my heart.

And I still remember it like it was yesterday, my 18th birthday. When I reached under my bed searching for something inside my secret box: the list of my 5 and 10 year goals. My dreams.

Reading them again in great detail, I concurred I wouldn’t change a thing. None of them seemed to scream “all for me”. I could even see how God’s glory might prevail in each one. And in my prayer time, I told Him as much.

Then I handed the list to Him and said for the first time in my life:

“Here, Lord. I give it to You. Have Your way with me.”

Friends, I wouldn’t know it then, but I do now. I witnessed grace right then and there as He crumpled up my papered dreams and handed me a new sheet. Not one wrinkle, crease or writing on it as far as I could see…

Fast forward 17 years and you’ll find me today as He reminds me of that moment. And I hear His whisper “Do you see? I may have crumpled your child-like dreams, but do you see how I have made them more beautiful?”

He’s right, you know. My life is nowhere near what I imagined it to be. It’s richer. And I see now how He has folded that piece of paper so intricately to make something beautiful out of me.

Somewhere along the way, He apprehended my heart with His compelling love.
And gave me wings to fly.
Somehow through the journey, He captivated my soul.
And fixed my face upon Him.
Some way only He can accomplish, He turned my world upside down.
And made me realize I am finally right-side up.

I’ve been in a scandalous love affair ever since.

Wanna know the biggest lesson I’ve learned through it all?

My heart doesn’t belong in a box tucked away neatly in a safe place. It’s not meant to live on my sleeve, either. My heart, the place I’ve let Him take up residence, is meant to be shared. Handed out freely to anyone willing to accept it in the manner intended.

Could I get hurt? No more than He has been.

Will I run out of something to give? Not if I keep letting Him fill me up again.

Does everyone deserve a piece of it? That’s where the gift comes in.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT

My heart warms while accepting the permission I have to protect myself. And my heart leaps out of my chest in joy over knowing the place where He resides determines the course of my life. It’s a joint effort. This love affair.

Friends, every time I lay my self down and give His love away, I gain another fold. I become one step closer to the one He has made me to be. And I have no idea what my shape will look like when He’s done but one thing I am certain: He’s the best origami artist there could ever be.

Thank you, Father, for another year of letting me witness what You can do through me. I’ve said it before and may I never stop: Here You go, Abba. Have Your way with me…

How about you, friend? How has He been folding you lately? How do you guard and still give your heart away? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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A Blogger’s Prayer

I’ve read a few in my 9 months of blogging. I’m sure you have, too. Some have stuck with me and I’ve prayed them more than once. Duane’s prayer resonated deep. I’ve prayed it countless times as it has been my heart’s cry lately.

Then my friend Mary Beth suggested I write a mission statement for my blog. Define my purpose in this space. She’s right. I do need to do that.

When I brought the idea to the Mastermind behind this space, He told me to slow down. And began to show me where I need to begin.

Friends, I need to find my own voice. My own heart’s cry to Him. I need my prayer to be more personal.

So, this is where I’m at right now. When I sit down at the keys, and seek His face, these are the words on my lips. And I wanted to share them with you. Let it be so.

Will you pray with/for me?

Father, thank You for meeting me in this space.
For letting me linger long in Your embrace.
Thank You for giving me words to shed here.
For using this outlet to draw me closer to You.

Jehovah, You astound me. Let it always be so.

You have given me the gift of writing.
And although I’ve fought it, I now humbly accept it.
Thank You, Yahweh, for allowing me to worship You this way.
And here, I give it back to You.

For Your glory. Let it be so.

So with trembling fingers I press publish,
Offering my heart to others in hopes they see You.
Although I know the words written are for You and me,
I pray You can use them for more.

Not for me, but for You. Let it stay so.

May my words speak Your name. Not mine.
May my writing be so that the author is forgotten,
But what is remembered is You.
Your glory. Your grace. Your love. Your works.

For it’s all about You. Let it remain so.

I am but a vessel.
Your handiwork.
Nothing more than a piece of clay.
Nothing less than a masterpiece.

Only You know the plan for my life. Let that be enough.

And when people stop by, may they see who made me.
May Your style resonate so that my face is forgotten.
For all they see is You.

I cannot think of a greater legacy
Than that which leaves Your fingerprints
On everything I’ve left behind.

Holy Spirit, let it be so.

Lord, make me unknown.
Known only to You.
And while You’re at it,
Can You make me okay with that, too?

To You, Abba, be all glory and honor forever. Jesus, let it be so.

I’m certain this prayer will  evolve as I continue to draw nearer to Him. So I’ve decided, like Duane, to add this prayer to the tab headers on my blog for easy access. My plan is to update it when necessary. I would be honored if you would stop by from time to time and pray alongside me. For His glory.

How about you, friend? What have you been praying lately? What is your heart’s cry? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up with:

The Real You

The air was drunk with moisture. And every time sun’s rays pierced through, steam would rise from my son’s canvas. I was perched on my front steps, Bible opened to Luke, as I watched my boy practice his lowercase with green chalk.

Gusts of wind found their voice. Wisps of hair escaped from view as the page rippled in time to nature’s symphony. And that’s when I saw it. Not an entire verse, just part of one. One that appeared highlighted just for me:

“What good would it do to get everything you want
and lose you, the real you?”  *

And just like that the breeze whisked my breath away. For I knew He was answering the question I had posed the night before.

Friends, I’ve had this thing. Burden if you will. Something I’ve asked for/wanting for a long time. He’s asked me to let go of it repeatedly. And I’ve asked Him why. Pleaded with Him to show me how this couldn’t benefit the bigger picture. Begged Him to either take the desire from me all together or honor it. I’ve even had the nerve to remind Him of life’s time-table. Clarify the circumstances as I see them.

Don’t worry — I’m embarrassed, too. I know better.

But I just want it that bad.

I blink hard and breathe in deep as I begin Luke 9 again. What is He trying to say? That I’m losing myself?

It doesn’t take long to see the rest of the message intended for me:

“Self-sacrifice is the way, My way, to finding your true self.” *

My son has moved to uppercase now as I close the Book of Luke and reach for my journal. You all know this by now. I’m a list-maker.

There have been a number of instances where things haven’t gone my way. Where I clearly didn’t get what I want. And with the gift of hindsight, I’m now able to see why.

So on this day I set aside to give thanks each week, do you mind if I share with you some events that didn’t go my way? Because I see now how these circumstances helped define my true self.

I turn my journal to a new page and write “Hard Thanks” in the margin.

  • My parents’ near-divorce. I was about the age my oldest is now and still remember the pain. I’ll never forget how my dad found Christ. And so did I.
  • The loss of loved ones too soon. I list them all individually, but I see each one made me cling tighter to my Redeemer and live more purposefully.
  • It took nine years after my wedding day to add the title of Mother to my name. Not all of those waiting years were easy for me. And yet I see now how He was preparing me for the mother He intended me to be. Thank You, Father…
  • Receiving an abnormal newborn screening with my firstborn. It started my parenting on the right path — relying on Him through my everydays. Sacrificing myself for the betterment of my child. What a gift! (and friends, He healed my boy from this a year later-Praise God!)
  • The loss of my second son to stillborn. There’s no other way to describe it other than Christ carried me through. Although I miss Elijah every day, I see how my faith was sharpened while placing my child in the arms of my Savior.
  • Blowing out my knee, placing me on a form of bedrest for 6+ weeks. Then recovery. With a toddler. This event required me to be at the mercy of others. And literally forced me to stop and listen to Him. Why, it’s when He first asked me to start a blog.

The lump in my throat rises while I write down my one thing now. This thing I want so badly to be different. Because I see it right there on paper. The common thread between them:

When I don’t get what I want, I cling.
I draw closer to Him.
And as a result, I find my true self.
The one He crafted me to be.

Oh how He pursues me.
What grace. What love. What a gift!

My son finishes ‘Z’ and looks to see if I’m impressed. He skips over and touches my cheek.

“Mom, we better go inside now. The rain is coming–
I see raindrops on your cheeks!”

How about you, friend? Can you think of instances where you didn’t get what you wanted? Do you see how they shaped and molded you? How they allowed you to find your true self? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

* NOTE: These passages were found while reading Luke 9:19-34 in The Message.

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