He’s Called Me Higher {A Challenge of Complacency}

I'll Go Where You Lead Me Lord

I retreat to feel the light of grace fall warm upon my face. And I could stay here for a thousand Sundays, basking in His radiant glory. Feeling holy ground between my toes.

Yes. I could get used to this…

But I hear His whisper. His nudge. His call to follow. Never lead. Always follow.

And sometimes it’s dark. Quiet. Sometimes the flames blind. And it’s hot and uncomfortable and so very very lonely as I feel the singe of what’s hardened on my soul melt away.

It makes me beg for the comforts of home.

Home…do I even know what that means? Sure I find comfort under the roof my family calls home. I could spend countless, consecutive evenings with them and it wouldn’t grow old. Yet this world is not my home. And a part of me wonders if ‘home’ should even be in my vocabulary.

Friends, this is not the home He’s called me to be comfortable in…

I’ve been invited to contribute to His glory. To share what He’s done for me. To become what He’s planned for me all along.

He’s called me higher. deeper.

And when I say ‘yes’. When I give Him my days…I grow richer. stronger. I experience glory from the inside out.

Sure, I could just sit at His feet. But He invites me to go. higher. deeper. Farther than I dare dream.

He doesn’t say it will be easy. But most good things aren’t. All He claims is it will be worth it. And that’s enough for me.

He’s calling me higher. deeper. and I’m going to follow. Always follow. Lead me, Lord…

Called Me Higher

by All Sons and Daughters

I could just sit
I could just sit and wait for all your goodness
Hope to feel your presence
And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel You
Hope to feel something again

And I could hold on
I could hold on to who I am and never let You change me from the inside
And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls down

But You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I will go where You will lead me Lord
You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I go where You will lead me Lord
Where You lead me

And I will be Yours, Lord
I will be Yours for all my life
So let Your mercy light the path before me

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen to this beautiful song that will not leave me and is helping me walk through Lent this year.

Shannon…friend…thank you for gifting me with this song at just the right time. {HUGS}

Father, I hear You. Calling me higher. deeper. You’ve asked me to follow and I humbly accept. I will give You my days. I will be Yours, Lord, for all my life. And I will go where You lead me.

Help me, Father. I do believe, but help my unbelief. I want to follow — help my feet move. I want to stay, but help me go. Higher. Deeper. For Your glory, Lord. For it’s all about You. All my days–are all about You…

How about you, friend? How are you going higher and deeper for Him this week? How are you battling complacency? How can I pray for you along the way? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Unashamed Love {He is Worthy}

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We meet each morn. Some days quicker than others, yet never once have I heard You complain. You always welcome me with open arms and commune as long as I’ll stay…

Thank You. You are so worthy of my time.

Then, we talk in short bursts throughout the day. Some days I do all the talking. Or so it seems as I plead and confess my lackings. And my heart aches just to see You. Hear You. Sense You. Make my day in a way only You can.

Sometimes I think Your voice is quiet so I can learn to be still. And I hear You then, when I slow and clear the clutter of my everyday wonderings. You bid me to come and lay it all down.

You offer Yourself in exchange for…me.
Crazy…I still don’t know what I bring You

Thank You. You are so worthy of my sacrifice.

And I see You as I go about my day.  The shimmer of the sunrise. The snow-capped evergreen swaying in the breeze, bouncing warm light on the wood floor beneath my feet. And I realize right then what unabashed worship looks like.

Thank You. You are so worthy of my praise.

I watch my 4 year-old give what’s in front of him his all, then jump in delight when he makes it through. He sees the beauty in ordinary, the big in the small. And when I bend low to see, I experience what unashamed love accomplishes through the eyes of childlike faith.

Thank You. You are so worthy of my heart.

The moon resides high, casting glimmers of life on the afghan draped over me. I close my eyes and feel the warmth of Your hand rest upon me. And I can’t help but thank You right then as I lay it all down and offer what You’ve been after all day…me.

Thank you. You are so worthy of my everything…

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen to the song on my heart today.

Unashamed Love (You Are Worthy)

~ Ten Shekel Shirt
You’re calling me to lay aside the worries of my day
To quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place
Worthy, Worthy
I open up my heart and let my spirit worship Yours
I open up my mouth and let a song of praise come forth
Worthy, You are worthy
Of a child-like faith
And of my honest praise
And of my unashamed love
Of a holy life
And of my sacrifice
And of my unashamed love
Worthy
You are worthy…

How about you, friend? How will you show Him He is worthy this week? How can I pray for you? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

He Knows Me {And My Prayer for Today}

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Father God, I humbly come before You just to bask in Your grace. To catch a glimpse of Your wonder and be mesmerized by Your glory.

For You simply spoke and it came to be. You brought perfection to an infinite level, capturing every detail needed to sustain…everything.

You hung every star in place, these sparks of fire that bring luster to the darkest of nights. Father, we haven’t even begun to discover them all and yet You know each one by name.

And to think…You know me, too.

Lord, You made sure I was one of a kind. No one can bring You glory quite like me. You know every swirl on my head and every trace of my footprint.

You’ve memorized me.

You know what hurts my heart and what makes me burst with delight. You know when I fail and when I nearly get it right.

You do more than see me…You know me. And love me anyway.

This gift You have given me of today — I give to You. Make me a part of the intricate details of Your plan, Father. Use me however You see fit for Your glory. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear so I may be Your hands and feet today.

Holy Spirit, keep my heart soft and open. Break it for what breaks Yours. Help me to love even the least of these and keep reminding me that’s what I am…nothing more.

Thank You for letting me bask, Father. Thank You for allowing me to have moments where I see You today.

Lord, I’ll never get over You. You know that… For You know me

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this amazing song

You Know Me

Bethel Music

You have been
And You will be
You have seen
And You will see

You know when I rise and when I fall
When I come or go, You see it all
You hung the stars and You move the sea,
And still You know me

And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know every detail of my life
And You are God and You don’t miss a thing

You know me
You memorize me

You know me…

How about you, friend? What is your prayer today? How can I pray for you this week? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

The Calendar {Our Space to Create}

Cem ~ Greg Abel Photography

I stare at the empty squares until they blur from one to the next. We’re already days into the Calendar and yet, mine sits empty. Waiting to be filled out and hung where I see it most.

And it’s so crisp and clean and I’m trying to convince myself the only reason I don’t want to fill it out is because it’s time-consuming and mundane.

Yet a part of me just likes the view. With nothing to see but the image above…

Last year, I ended up with a calendar that had delightful pictures and wonderful Bible verses to focus on each month, but the squares were super small for each day. One thing listed and my day would look full. I grew to like it. Then, I grew to write in code so I could fit more on…

But the pictures…I never got over them.

This year, I found one that took my breath with each page. The images displayed captivated my soul as I saw beauty in the simplest of earth. If one can call the creation of this planet simple. Like we could even begin to comprehend how intricate a rolling hill covered in snow really is.

My heart has been lingering on this verse lately and I’m not sure why.

You are the Lord, You alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships You.
Nehemiah 9:6

To think. The same One who made all that we’ve ever known…The same One who designed universes we have yet to fully understand. The same One who conceived a place of no mourning or pain…is after me.

Even the one blessed to be the Host of Heaven sees He is worthy of our praise.

And as I look at glory filtered through light grazing these landscapes captured. As I fill these squares below, determining my everyday, may I never forget.

2013 has beauty to behold. Each day, I can make a point to capture the very essence of Him. Lingering on His face should remain my number one priority.

It is I who gets to create the atmosphere of worship. Me alone.

I hang the calendar up just as it is. And I’m certain I will fill some days with pertinent information. But for now, I’ve seen all I need to see.

I’m His. He’s mine. And His glory invades if I create space.

How about you, friend? How do you focus on His face? How do you create an atmosphere of worship in your everyday? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking with Emily and the beautiful Imperfect Prose family.
Today’s topic was: CREATE. Stop by and see what other hearts have created.

Fall Afresh {A Challenge to Slow}

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I’ve always thought of it as a downfall. It’s been a character trait I’ve tried to change. But I can.not.help.myself. If someone tells me something is not possible, I see it as a challenge to make it happen.

You can probably guess, so I’ll simply tell you, I’ve learned to be okay with failure. At least I tried.

This one, though…this one is too important to me. I will not fail. Even if it takes the rest of my days…I must slow them down.

We all say it–the years go by faster and faster. Time flies. Where did the time go?

No more. There has to be a way to experience each day fully so I don’t wonder where it went. What’s the point of going through life in a daze? And please know I’m not talking about productivity, effectiveness or time management. I’m talking perspective. A sense of fullness. Completeness.

I’m talking about seeing Him every day. Spending moments with my Savior throughout the day.

For a day with Him is a day well spent.

Sure time may fleet, but there’s no reason I can’t use it while it’s here. If I don’t, my years become watered down — each one running into the next. Isn’t is safe to assume we’re leaving some form of richness out of our everyday when that happens?

Friends, I’m going to capture it this year. I’m going to slow down and see Him in my everyday moments. And let Him fill me. No more running on empty.

This one I think might be possible. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about my Savior, it’s this:

He longs to fill us to overflowing.
Yet, He loves us enough to wait until we realize — it’s Him that we want.
And friend, all we have to do is ask.

Fill me, Lord. Blow through the caverns of my soul and fill me to overflowing with Your love. Wash over me, Father, with Your grace. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. So I can live this day for You. Living God, let me see You today. Holy Spirit, help me use this gift of time to its fullest potential. For Your glory, Lord, for it’s all about You…

You all know music speaks to me where words can’t. In my attempt this week to live out my One Word and slow things down, I plan on starting every morning with this song. Just for a week. We’ll see where that takes me. You’re invited to join in or improve upon my plan.

I’m going to ask Him every morn to fall afresh on me… And do you know what? He’s already said yes (Lamentations 3:21-24).

Fall Afresh

Bethel Loft Sessions feat. Jeremy Riddle

Awaken my soul, come awake
To hunger, to seek, to thirst
Awaken first love, come awake
And do as you did, at first

Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul, pour in me to overflow
To overflow

Awaken my soul, come awake
To worship with all your strength

Come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade

Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul, pour in me to overflow
To overflow

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen to the song that will carry me through this week.

This is going to be a great week.

How about you, friend? How will you try to seize today for His glory? How might you invite Him in each morning? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

All Blessings Flow {Let Praise Ring Rampant}

We put on our Sunday best and ensure our best behavior as we enter God’s House. We fold hands neatly and bow heads politely. And we Greet others doing the same warmly.

When worship begins, we nod in rhythm. Tap our fingers while making sure we don’t swing our elbows too far. Sometimes our hands raise, but all within our own personal safety zone. Some forget and break free from the norm, but we show them grace.

Together, we gather our voices in harmony and praise God, from whom all blessings flow.

And as I drive home and see faces painted, waving encouragement, proudly displaying colors being celebrated today. As I see others congregate to hoot and holler and support the team they side on, I wonder…

Am I giving God my best worship?

Does He see me waving His colors? Does He get my utmost passion?

Do I exude praise?

This week in church, The Doxology was quoted in prayer. And as I reflected on the man who authored that powerful hymn, I answered my own question.

Thomas Ken knew how to praise God unabashedly.

He didn’t believe in Sunday’s best. No. He believed in worship. And discovered the key to it all:

We need to bend low to praise high.

Friends, “The Doxology” was considered blasphemous when written. It wasn’t Sunday’s best. It had to be penned behind closed doors. Sung in secret.

But Thomas Ken, an Anglican Bishop for the Diocese of Wells in the Church of England, thought this worship was worth the price.

He could have lost it all. His social status, job, home, and all of his friends if anyone had found out he was writing hymns not using scripture verbatim. But he saw the need those college boys had under him. He saw the personal relationship missing in the greatest love affair they could ever obtain. And he decided to do something about it.

Aren’t you glad he did?

His last request and final act on this earth proved his belief that praise was worth it, no matter the cost. I can almost hear that college boy singing “The Doxology” at his funeral…per Thomas Ken’s request…

And I wonder…do I deny myself enough to do the same? To praise no matter the cost? Do I prove where my loyalties lay?

When the message of my life is done,
will His praise ring rampant?

I want to say yes. But I’m worried that I’m even asking the question.

So this is the day.

Today, He’s going to get the best of me.

How about you, friend? Do you fully praise from whom all blessings flow? Do you wave your homer hankie for His glory? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: I shared the history of this song on the Monday before Thanksgiving last year, but felt led to expand upon it again this year. You may see my previous post on “The Doxology” by CLICKING HERE.

Growing in Silence {Come to Me}

Her kind, age-softened hand secured my forearm. Our eyes locked and I tried to brace myself for what was to come. Once satisfied with the attention, she asked how my prayer life has been.

Relief followed as I mentioned my prayer journal. My daily routines surrounding it. And I even joked about how it is the only thing that keeps me sane most days–my daily pleadings of rescue. I may have compared it to a laptop, using words like restart…reboot…

She intently listened. Patiently waiting until I was through. When the silence lasted long enough to appease her, she clarified her question:

“How have you been hearing Him lately, Nikki?
What has He been saying to you during your prayer time?
That’s what matters to me most.”

Thankfully, I have heard Him lately and was able to share with her what He wants me to dwell on. But when I laid my head down that night, I began to ponder her question further.

It’s true. What He says matters most.

And I began to wonder how well I listen.

I mentioned it briefly last week, this portion of Henri Nouwen’s A Cry for Mercy I’ve been praying lately:

“You, O Lord, will give me all the attention I need
if I would simply stop talking and start listening to you.
Give me, O Lord, that silence.
Let me be patient and
grow slowly into the silence in which I can be with You.
Amen.”

And when I heed His invitation to simply be. To bask in His Glory, soak in His grace, reside in His arms, I hear words like these:

Come to Me ~ Bethel Loft Sessions

featuring Jenn Johnson

I am the Lord your God
I go before you now
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know

I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
Let your faith arise
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left, keep your eyes on me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved

I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Just come to me, come to me
Cause I’m all that you need

You may listen to “Come to Me” by clicking here.


My apologies for not having the video linked here directly (technical issues…)

How about you, friend? What do you hear when you stop talking and start listening? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Take My Life {It Was Never Mine Anyway}

We sing it on Sundays though I’m not sure we mean it.

Friends, I’m scared to mean it. For I don’t deserve it and know the kind of self-denial it requires. It’s hard. So is fervent praise some days.

Yet He wants nothing more from me. And nothing less.

It’s easier to sing it if you don’t know what it means. And I went years belting it out with ease. Then a professor ruined it by asking what consecrated meant to me.

And I didn’t know. Oh, my answer appeased her because I knew the definition of the word…but I didn’t really know how to apply it to my everyday living.

I couldn’t grasp how to make my life holy or sacred for Him.

But I’m learning. And I’m striving…

Friends, I want nothing more than for Him to take all of me.

Because I realize now, I was never mine to begin with.

And when I let Him take over. When I invite Him in to my everyday. When I look to Him before I act, think, do, live…I find it.

  • Praise comes quickly.
  • Worries cease.
  • Pain dissolves.
  • Love pours down.
  • I receive…more than I gave.

My life intertwines with The Great I Am.

It’s then I find the kind of holy His glory is made of.

I become consecrated.

It takes daily surrender. Fervent seeking. Constant bending. You know what? He makes it worth our while…

Oh how He loves us.

Friends, will you pray this hymn with me?

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every power as You choose.

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord I pour
At Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

~~~~~~~~~~
To listen to Chris Tomlin’s version of this beloved hymn, CLICK HERE.

How about you, friends? Which verse do you struggle with most? How do you deny yourself and turn your everyday into ceaseless praise? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

With Every Breath {A Call for Love}

The white screen stares blankly as I prepare my posture of praise. The cursor, beating to the rhythm of my soul, anticipates the words to come.

Both eyes instinctively close as I listen to the familiar hum. And my heart whispers what it has since the beginning of this space:

Here I am, Abba.
Please lead the way.

Still the journey varies.

Sometimes words flow downstream, each one adding momentum for the next. Other times they fight their way through loud currents; driving rain of doubt beating hard with every keystroke.

I’m nearing my one year anniversary here in the space. And I’m beginning to see why He’s asked me to lay my heart bare for the world to see.

Friends, this whole time I’ve thought I was doing this for Him. Submitting to His calling for His glory. When really, I’m doing this for me. It’s for my benefit.

You see, when I bend low, grow vulnerable, reach beyond my comfort zone, I find Him ready for me with arms open wide. It’s there I realize:

I’m falling in love with Him more and more every day.

And He’s showing me that’s what this journey is all about. As I run to His open arms and accept His undeserving grace, love overwhelms.

  • Worries melt under the warmth of His face.
  • Fears fade in the light of His grace.
  • Pains dissolve with a simple touch of His hand.

This space helps me focus on His face. I pray I see Him clear enough to paint a picture for you here. May every brushstroke reveal glory. May every post portray a portrait of the One who first loved me.

My mornings have become captivated by a certain song lately. And I wanted to share the lyrics in hopes they resonate with you as well.

Every Breath ~ Gungor

Every breath
Every moment life beats in my chest
Springs up from Your hand
Creation resounds
With every color and every sound
Your love is calling

I will love You with all of my heart
I will love You with all of my mind
I’ll love You with all of my strength
Love You with everything

Every breath
Every moment life beats in my chest
Let my life praise You

I will love You with all of my heart
I will love You with all of my mind
I’ll love You with all of my strength
Love You with everything

Here I am Lord
All I am Lord
Here I am Lord
I am Yours

Friends, may you hear His love calling you today.

Will you join me as I strive to love Him with everything? Praise Him with every breath?

Let’s be His today. At His beck and call. With every breath resounding praise.

Subscribers, CLICK HERE To listen to this beautiful work of art.

How about you, friend? How do you focus on His face? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Steady My Heart

I had another post lined up for today. By that I mean written out in my head waiting for me to sprawl on the keyboard…

It included a song that makes my soul sing. Every time I sing it, tears well.

Then “life” happened. And it never got out in time. I’m hoping it comes around again soon.

You see, I have this thing…an agreement with Him that I will share my heart in real-time here for His glory. This life I live? It’s His story in me. It’s not mine. And I’m learning that story doesn’t always entail an easy post laced with pearls. No.

Because Life as we know it is often messy. Painful. Scary. Dark.

I’m no exception. Why should I be.

Does it mean I don’t have enough faith? Does it mean He doesn’t love me like I think He does? Does it mean I’m failing at this thing we call life?

Nah.

It means just what He said it means:

  • This world is not my home. I’m on foreign land; it’s bound to be uncomfortable. Philippians 3:20
  • This world is filled with trials and sorrow. BUT TAKE HEART — He has overcome it. John 16:33

Friends, we live on a battle ground. And we’re at war with the worst kind of enemy.

One of his greatest defenses is trying to make us forget that. This enemy takes invisible to a whole new level.

So some days I don’t smell the roses. I sense fear and taste hurt instead which helps me see I’m back on the front lines. And that’s where I remind myself the promise He gave us long before I put on the armor:

Take heart…He’s overcome.

And this thing I’m going through that tries to steal every subconscious breath — it’s fleeting.

I’ve been on the front lines for more than a month now. And friends, can I be honest? I’m tired. I’m hoping I get the call to fall back soon.

But if I don’t, that’s okay. He’ll hold me up. I may get pressed but I won’t be crushed. I may get struck down, but I won’t be destroyed. He’s got me.

And I’ll believe that even when all hope feels lost. I’ll cling to that promise even if I feel alone.

He’s got me.

Father, I’m so honored to wear Your colors. I’m humbled You’ve allowed me to be on the front lines for Your glory and will do my best to keep my eyes on You. The One who’s already overcome. For I know You’ll show me the way Home. Lord, as I walk this battlefield now wounded and weary, may I ask for one thing? My Jehovah, please steady my heart…

This has become my battle cry as of late: Father, steady my heart. And I wanted to share a song that expresses it better than I ever could. You may have heard this on the radio, but have you ever stopped to read the lyrics?

May they provide you a bit of relief as they have me.

(Subscribers, CLICK HERE to press play and listen in to the song below.)

Steady My Heart ~ Kari Jobe

Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy
Why is pain a part of us
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much

But You’re here
You’re real
I know I can trust You
Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart

I will run to You
Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart

I’m not gonna worry
I know that You got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What’s good and what gets broken
Happens just the way that You plan

And I will run to You
You’re my refuge in Your arms
And I will sing to You
Cause of everything You are

You steady my heart

How about you, friend? Has He steadied your heart lately? How has He healed your scars? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki