Blessings in Disguise

I met her in March. She was giving away a book I so desperately wanted to read. And I have this thing where I don’t try to win something on a site I know I won’t visit later, so I spent time on her blog. Reading her heart spilled. I soon discovered our journeys have collided more than once.

She has become a friend since (and I even won the giveaway!). I’m so thrilled to share her heart with you here today.

Friends, please give Mary a warm welcome. Mary, this space is yours. Do share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,

who does not change
 like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

It is easy for me to think the Lord is blessing me when “good and perfect” things are happening in my life. Or maybe “good and almost perfect” things, since few things seem to be “perfect” these days.

But what about the times when things are not going well?

What about the times when life looks pretty bleak?

When the whole thing just STINKS?

Are those times also gifts from the Father above? Is the author and creator of those times also steadfast and unchangeable?

I think so. But getting to this poinst in my faith/life journey was and is a process.

In 1992, I gave birth to a daughter that lived four days. She was born with a genetic disorder and when shew as born she appeared to be a healthy baby girl, but within hours, problems began to surface. She was taken to the local children’s hospital, while I remained in a hospital in another part of town.

Genetic tests were done. And we waited. After being born on Tuesday, Friday morning found my husband and me sitting in a conference room with a bunch of doctors, listening to them explain what was wrong with our daughter.

Listening to them explain that she would not live. She was going to die. Most likely in the next few days or weeks. The little girl we named Amy Elizabeth would not be with us for long. And I stared straight ahead. I didn’t want to look at any0ne.

That afternoon, surrounded by family and a few close friend, Amy took her last breath and died in my arms. She didn’t live a few days or weeks. She died that day.

Four days after she was born – she was dead.

Four days after I labored and my husband watched as the doctor cut me open. And delivered a tiny, petite baby girl – she was gone.

And I am OK with that.

I believe He authored that chapter of my life and continues writing my story to this day.

I’ve heard it said that having kids changes your perspective. I believe that is true.

And losing a child changes it again.

Losing Amy is the hardest thing I have ever endured. And while I wish that she had lived and we had experienced the first day of kindergarten, Junior High School, braces, homecoming, prom and going off to college…I did not get my wish.

If I had to choose between having her for four days or having her for none…I would choose four days in a heartbeat! I would endure the sadness, the tears, the anger, the grief…all of it…I would endure it again to have.

Because the experience of
having her and losing her
makes me who I am.
It is part of my life’s DNA.
Without it, I would not be ME.

My family would be incomplete.

My relationship with my husband and son would not be what they are today.

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Blessings come in the good and what appears to be bad. Blessings come in raindrops and rainbows. In packages and bows. In the ugly and the messy. And they come in sad and heartbreaking life lessons.

Lessons that allow us to grow.

To minister.

To share with others.

To realize the most important things in life are not things!

My guess is you have some unpleasant or sad circumstances in your life too. Is it possible these circumstances are blessings in disguise? Only you can answer that.

And only you can decide how you will respond.

Happiness is a choice. And forgiveness is a choice.

I chose to be happy – it took a while, but I had a four year-old and a husband that needed me. At first, I was going through the motions, but eventurally the Lord led me out of the dark place into His light.

Into a place where I could see that He had a plan.

He knew what He was doing.

And this experience was a blessing…in disguise.

If you would like to read more about Amy, you can do that HERE.

Laura Story wrote and sings a beautiful song about blessings and how they don’t appear to be blessings at the time. This sums up how I feel.

(Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen to this wonderful song)

Blessings ~ Laura Story

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Mary was raised in the south, spent most of her adult life in the Midwest and now resides on the East coast.

She has been married to her best friend for 30 years and has one young adult son. She blogs about life and faith at Me Myself & Mercy.

She works part-time as an Administrative Assistant at a local Division 1 college and is an Independent Consultant with Blessings Unlimited. She is active in her church and has a heart for ministering to women.

~~~~~~~~~~

How about you, friend? Have you had blessings in disguise? What trials have shaped your story? We’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me us.

Simply striving…

 

He Knew I’d Need a Savior

He knows my name down to how many hairs are on my head. He can distinguish my tells, quirks, fears, hurts.

He knows what makes my heart sing and what breaks it apart.

He knows what I’m custom-made for. The plans written just for me.

He knew I’d need a Savior.

Friends, He knows me. And loves me anyway.
So I can’t think of any reason I wouldn’t want to know and love Him right back.

Yahweh. Adonai. El Shaddai. Wonderful Counselor. Most High God.
Hosanna!  Emmanuel.
Jehovah Jireh, The Lord my Provider.
Jehovah Raah, The Lord my Shepherd.
Jehovah Shalom, The Lord of Peace.
Jehovah Shammah, The Lord who is Present.
Jehovah Qanna, The Lord who is Jealous.
Lion of Judah. Alpha and Omega. The Great I Am.
Redeemer. Savior. Messiah.
Abba. Father.
Jesus.
Friend.

I know His Name down to what lengths He would go to save me. I’m cognizant of His capabilities. I’ve seen His handiwork firsthand. I’d recognize His artwork anywhere.

I know what makes His heart sing and what breaks it apart.

I realize I was made to fall in love with Him. To praise Him well on my journey Home.

I know enough to realize I wanna know more.

So I spend time with Him. Reading His Collection of Letters. Digging deep to find the message written just for me.

We converse daily. I talk to Him like He’s my best friend. And listen like He’s my Counselor.

Knowing how far His grace covers gives me peace to face tomorrow. No matter what may come my way.

Believing He’s got a hold on me and will never let me go is all I need to make it through.

And I realize this life I live submerged in a scandalous love affair
with the One who saved my life
is far better than any fairy tale I could conjure up
in my feeble imagination.

My friend Susan gifted me with this song awhile back (in the comments of this post — by the way, the comments of this post are amazing and filled with tremendous songs!) Susan didn’t know how much I’d need this song right now, but HE did.

Because He knows me…

He knows me enough to know I’d need a Savior. And I know Him enough to realize He’s just what I need.

Friend, do you? Do you know Him? 

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen to this fabulous song.

I’d Need a Savior ~ Among the Thirsty

How many names
can I use to explain
the love of my Jesus
the life that He gave

And so many times
will I praise You today
I lift up my life
cause You’re always the same

And my offering
to You I bring

Your name is Jesus
Your name is Jesus
You’re the wonderful
Counselor, my friend

You’re what I hold on to
I know that You’ve brought me through
All the days of loss
to the cross
you knew
That I’d need a Savior

How many songs
can I sing to proclaim
Your wondrous love
oh, and beauty so great

Oh, and what would I say
If You brought down the rain
oh, and every day
I walked through the pain
my heart would still say
Your name is Jesus

I need a savior
You’re what I hold on to
I know that You’ve brought, me through!
all the days of loss
to the cross
You knew
that I’d need a Savior

I’d need a Savior
I’d need YOU, Savior

Friends, I was thinking about sharing what I’m discovering as I dig deeper into knowing Him. I’ve started at the very basics…His Name.  So through the rest of the year, scattered throughout when time allows, I plan on sharing something about each one listed. You can see above I’ve already begun.

How about you, friend? What do you know about Him? What Name of God has resonated with you lately? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

The Ingredients of Patience {A Guest Post}

I met her in March when she commented on this post. When I visited her blog, I discovered a post on Amazing Grace that resonated with me deeply.

Our relationship blossomed from there.

And now I get to share her words of wisdom here. I trust they will bless you as much as they did me. Take it away, Joy!

~~~~~~~~~~

“I waited patiently for the LORD;
He turned to me and heard my cry.”
Psalm 40:1  

Photo by: Joy @ Illumylife

I often see a fisherman standing at the edge of the surf when I go for a morning walk along the beach. Not long ago, I witnessed a great blue heron watching patiently, hopeful he would toss him a fish.

Perhaps you have seen two fishermen sitting in a tiny rowboat not saying anything, just fishing for hours. Waiting and watching and some days not catching anything. But they come back again before dawn.

It is hard to imagine having that much patience. I wonder if fishermen fish just for the silence and peace of a quiet lake early in the morning. Perhaps they fish because it is a time they can be alone with God.

Are they really fishing for fish or peace of mind and soul?

There’s an old saying:
“Patience is a virtue, acquire it if you can.
It’s seldom found in women and never found in men.”
But I don’t think there is much truth in this saying….

I’ve seen my husband show infinite patience with our 3-year-old grandson.  He answers endless questions with complete explanations as to how and why things work. He allows him to play at his desk making copies of his hands and stapling paper to form “his work.” He never tires of taking him places and showing him things. Of course the rewards are worth more than gold when he is told “You’re my best buddy” followed by hugs and kisses from a little fella that means the world to him.

What are the ingredients of patience?

I would like to buy a case of it but it’s not for sale. In this hurry and do it, get it, find it world of ours there seems to be very little patience. I don’t like to drive during rush hour because of drivers that ride my bumper. I wonder why they honk when it’s quite obvious with a car right in front of me and one to the side, I have no place to go.

When I watch a fisherman, I realize hope must be one of the main ingredients. When I am hopeful I am willing to wait. But that doesn’t mean waiting is easy. The more we want something and the longer we want it, the more impatient we become.

Sometimes we are only able to wait patiently when the LORD gives us the strength.

“Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

Another ingredient must be peace. Jesus knew we would need peace and set the best example for finding it. He often found it necessary to get away so He could be alone with His Heavenly Father and pray. Our souls yearn for this peace and we will never find it unless we take time each day to pray and talk with God.

We need a constant refilling.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27

The last ingredient and probably the most important is love. Love enables a mother to be patient with her child no matter how many times he disobeys. Love enables grandparents to appreciate every accomplishment of their grandchildren. Love enables Jesus to be patient with me no matter how many times I mess up.

Jesus is love and love never fails.

“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud.”
I Corinthians 13:4

In Galatians 5:22, patience is listed as the fourth fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy and peace are the first three, followed by kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These fruits are not something we can develop on our own. They only come when we have a close and intimate relationship with Jesus.

Knowing God is all important. Spending time with Him in prayer and reading our bible enables us to draw ever closer to Him. It is that closeness and trust that enables us to wait on His timing.

He always wants the very best for us.

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.”
Psalm 130: 5

What about you, dear friend?  Are you waiting for something? Do you feel you need more patience?

Thinking about waiting on His timing brought this song to my mind. I hope it will bless your heart as it has mine. (Subscribers, CLICK HERE to press play on the song below.)

“In His Time”  by Diane Ball

“In His time, in His time;
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord, please show me every day As you’re teaching me Your way,
That You do just what You say in Your time.
In Your time, In Your time;
You make all things beautiful in Your time.
Lord my life to You I bring; May each song I have to sing
Be to You a lovely thing in your time.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Joy writes on a blog titled Illumylife where her constant prayer is:

Illumylife Lord with the light of Your Presence and fill me with Your peace and joy.  Let me be a reflection of Your grace and let Your Spirit flow through me to bless others.

To visit Joy, CLICK HERE.

Striving to Remember ~ {Love Came Down}

When life’s whirlwind consumes. When I feel pulled, stretched, frayed by the undercurrents of it all. When distractions blind, realities collide, hearts pulse pain, I strive to remember:

I have a choice.

For nothing can reverse what’s already happened.
Nothing I do will change His mind. He has promised.
Friends, it seems He’s completely captivated by me.

And even if I don’t understand that, I can choose to believe.
I can raise my hands in praise for the freedom bought by His own flesh and blood…and humbly accept His love pouring down. I can let Him shower me with soothing grace.

When my path feels smooth. When joy comes easy. When I look around and realize I wouldn’t change a thing, I strive to remember.

Tomorrow holds no guarantees. But if it comes, He’ll still be completely captivated by me. And this life of freedom I’m experiencing came from His pain.

The choice is mine.

And I can choose to believe and praise the love higher than my circumstances as I give myself to Him all over again.

When I’m struggling to see. When this world depletes my every thought. When memories fade, darkness permeates, hope seems lost, I strive to remember:

I have a choice.

A choice to humbly accept His love. Every day. The very love that came down to save you and me. I can praise Him. For this moment right here right now, I can thank Him. And I can lift my palms and desperately receive the love He faithfully pours down on me as I whisper proudly proclaim — I’m forever His.

~~~~~~~~~~

Love Came Down ~ Brian Johnson

(Subscribers, click HERE To listen to this worship song that will not leave my heart.)

“If my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear Your voice
I’ll hold on to what is true though I cannot see
If the storms of life they come and the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe

I remind myself of all that You’ve done
And the life I have because Your Son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free

I am Yours I am forever Yours
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out remind my soul
That I am Yours I am forever Yours

When my heart is filled with hope
and every promise comes my way
When I feel Your hands of grace rest upon me

Staying desperate for You God
Staying humbled at Your feet
I will lift these hands and praise
I will believe

I am Yours
I am Yours
All my days
I am Yours

I am Yours, I’m Yours forever
I am Yours, I’m Yours forever Lord”

How about you, friend? How do you keep His love in focus? How do you choose to remain His every day? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up with:

What Can I Do?

It would be easier if it were earned. I could wrap my head around needing to perform effectively to reap the reward. This eternal love affair He gives freely to anyone willing to stretch their arms out and accept it. What grace.

Looking around the room, I see people who deserve it. Those that have given their lives to service. Becoming less to benefit another. They’ve earned my share.

Then there are others…

I don’t understand it because I am one of them. One that hasn’t done a thing to deserve what He freely bestows upon me. I say I’m simply striving but for what? For whom?

Friends, it’s all I can think to do. Simply strive to live like I deserve this robe of forgiveness He’s wrapped me in so tight I’ll never be able to get out of it.

And that’s the hard part — forgiveness. We’re used to having forgiveness cause debt. I’ll say it isn’t true, but we all know. If I forgive you for a grievance, you owe me. For I’ve had to sacrifice something to forgive you.

To think He took care of that, too. With His great master plan that encapsulates the kind of love we’ll never comprehend this side of Heaven.

“Human love will always be a faint shadow of God’s love. Not because it is too sugary or sentimental, but simply because it can never compare from whence it comes. Human love, with all its passion and emotion is a thin echo of the passion/emotion love of Yahweh.” ~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

He sacrificed His Son. He let His sinless Son go for the love of us. It hurts my heart but I have to admit I wouldn’t do the same. I’m sorry, I am certain I couldn’t give up my own son to save another I love.

But that’s the God I know.

It seems He couldn’t get over me.
And for the life of me I’ll never get over it.
Oh how He loves me.

Because we are so riddled with sin, Jesus had to sacrifice His own life for ours. Here’s the clincher–He had to go willingly. He had to take it all upon Himself and pay it in full.

So we can’t owe, can’t pay, can’t earn, can’t redeem, can’t save our own way into the eternal love affair God offers.

It’s simply a gift.

And I can’t do a thing but humbly accept it. Savor it. Experience it with every fiber this human body offers me. And believe deep down in the depths no one can take away from me that He loves me more than I could ever dream possible.

~~~~~~~~~~

This is the stream of consciousness I experience while listening to the following song my cousin Ginger has gifted me with. And I’d like to share it with you. I know she won’t mind…will ya, cuz.

(Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this beautiful song…)

A Little Longer ~ By Brian and Jenn Johnson

What can I do for You?
What can I bring to You?
What kind of song would you like me to sing?

‘Cause I’ll dance a dance for You
Pour out my love to You
What can I do for You beautiful king?

‘Cause I can’t thank You enough.
I can’t thank You enough
All of the words that I find
and I can’t thank You enough.
No matter I try
I can’t thank You enough.

Then I hear You sing to me:

“You don’t have to do a thing
Just simply be with Me and let those things go
‘Cause they can wait another minute

Wait…this moment is too sweet
Would you please stay here with Me
And love on Me a little longer

I’d love to be with you a little longer
‘Cause I’m in love with you.”

How about you, friend? What goes through your mind while soaking in this song? What do you do with this free gift? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up to:

All I Have is His

Music. My Bible. My husband. Silence. Observing. Listening. Thoughts and words from you. They all assist my prayer life.

Sometimes I find a song that says exactly what my heart longs to share with Him. These are often seasonal. Once the time has passed and I hear the song again, I think of where I’ve come and the prayers rise up again in the form of praise.

Yet there are other songs that last the test of time. Every time they begin I have to stop and spend time with Him. I pray them over and over for years.

And some songs don’t resonate within me at all. They don’t draw me into worship or lead me into any form of communion.

I have to admit, this was one of them. Until a month ago when I stumbled upon the lyrics printed out. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop praying this very song.

The lyrics depict what my heart is praying perfectly. I have nothing to add…just more to give.

For all I have is His.

(Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in on the song pictured below.)

“All I Have” ~ Tenth Avenue North

Forgive me Lord for thinking
You would ever need me
Could you ever need me?
Cause you spoke me into this existence
So why do I resist this?
What is it I can’t let go?

Cause all I have is Yours, Oh Lord
Yes, all I have is Yours

You are Lord of all creation
Author of salvation
Where else can I go?
Cause even this breath that I am taking
You have given to me
There’s nothing I can call my own

And all I have is what You give me
What You give is more than I need
So open my hands to give back freely
The same way You’ve given to me

Oh Lord, help me to see
That all I have is Yours
Yes, all I have is Yours

How about you, friend? What song has aided you in prayer lately? Do you have a song you love simply for the lyrics alone? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking with:

One in a Million

I’m one in a million.

One drop in a sea of possibilities.
One grain along the beach of uncertainty.
One light flickering amongst the strip of distraction.

I’m one in a million.

Uniquely designed.
Handcrafted for a specific purpose.
An integral part of the Kingdom of God.

I’m one in a million. Which is why

He hears my whispers through the noise of life’s drama.
He sees my tears through the driving rain.
He knows my every heartache.

For to Him, I’m one in a million.

Irreplaceable.
Matchless.
Worth the price of the worst possible scenario.

So why do I doubt?
Why do I hold back from Him?
Why do I fear the details?

I’m one in a million.

Father, I come to You on my knees. Arms outstretched. Hands empty. Here I am. I’m ready to let go and let You. I don’t need to know all the details. I don’t need all my whys answered. For I know Your promises. You see me. You know me. You made me. You love me. You paid for me. That’s more than enough. Thank You. Thank You for making me one in a million…

These are the thoughts that run through my mind while hearing one of my favorite Tenth Avenue North songs:

Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North

(Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in)

Songwriters: DONEHEY, MIKE / LARUE, PHILLIP / INGRAM, JASON

How long must I pray, must I pray to You?
How long must I wait, must I wait for You?
How long ’til I see Your face, see You shining through?

I’m on my knees, begging You to notice me.
I’m on my knees, Father will you turn to me?

One tear in the driving rain,
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breakin’ heart?

One light, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Won’t You come close and hold my heart

I’ve been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye.
But if there’s no other way, I’m done asking why.
Cuz I’m on my knees, begging You to turn to me
I’m on my knees, Father will you run to me?

So many questions without answers,
Your promises remain
I can’t sleep but I’ll take my chances
to hear You call my name

One tear in the driving rain,

One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breakin’ heart?
One light, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Won’t You come close and hold my heart.

Hold my heart, could you hold my heart?
Hold my heart.

How about you, friend? Which one in a million are you? I’d love to hear. Because that defines what I want to talk about this week: prayer.

For I believe how you see yourself, along with how you think God sees you, determines how you pray. 

Will you stick around as we talk about prayer a bit? I’d like to share with you:

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking With:

Discovering Worship

Click for Credit

Bargain store sandals clapped along the marble walkway, echoing off the stone columns as I made my way. Sticky palms gripped the music as I worried about being denied acceptance. Then I saw her. Calling to me like an angel itself: The black grand piano on center stage in this majestic college chapel.

I slipped in a pew half way as I tried patiently to wait my turn. The man behind the keys now was classically trained, I could tell. He didn’t miss a beat while he played every arpeggio I’ve ever attempted. Memorized no less.

Fear found me as the panel of professors found him lacking. Said they would have to collaborate and get back to him on what path of instruction would be available to him.

Then my name was called. Me. Days into my 18 year-old frame. One more self-taught than trained, not having lessons in years. And I was being asked to prove myself worthy of a program they held in highest regard.

With a quick prayer I made my way to center stage and swiftly sat in the velvet-padded bench before her. My fingertips graced the ivories without sound as I became familiar with her touch. That’s when I decided. To delight in the experience of playing one so grand. Even if it was just this once. For Him.

Unlike the students before me, I had chosen to play a few hymns I had composed as a medley. I assumed that decision, neglecting to play a classical piece, would be my demise. Still, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I was going to savor every moment.

With one quick prayer, I was ready to begin:

“Father, thank You for bringing me this far. This one’s for You…”

Fear escaped with each press of my fingers. My shoulders relaxed when I finally let myself go.  And my heart declared the words of these hymns — those I had written in the margins of my score.

Friends, I laid it all out that day. And for the first time in my life I had found it: Worship.

My sandals slapped the marble once again as I left, acceptance in hand. Anticipating my mother and cousin waiting around the bend. And when I saw them I realized they felt my time of worship, too. One sitting on the edge of her seat, anxious to hear all about it. The other undone. With tear-stained cheeks. Had worshiped with me another way.

You see, friends, worship isn’t only found while singing before a service. If that were the case, He would have made us all vocal savants. No. Worship is found when you lay your life down in exchange for His. In complete and utter admiration.

One of the first times I recall worship being discussed in the Bible is found in I Chronicles 16. When David appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise in this manner (I’m paraphrasing to save you time, but please take a look at it sometime):

  • Give thanks to God
  • Proclaim His greatness
  • Reflect on and share His wonders
  • Search for Him
  • Fear Him above all else, as you see His splendor
  • Give Him His glory due
  • Present yourself an offering as you come into His presence
  • Rejoice for He is good! All the time.

and my favorite one is found in I Chron. 16:23:
“Each day proclaim the good news that He saves.”

Friends, it’s not about singing at all. It’s about communion. Admiration. Surrender. Glory.

God has gifted each of us with multiple ways to worship well. It’s not about finding a skill you’ve mastered; it’s about letting go and letting God’s glory resound. It’s about discovering those moments in your every day where you can freely lay yourself down and see Him. You won’t be able to help but praise Him. For that’s how He has made us.

We’re made to worship.

How about you, friend? How do you worship best? How do you let yourself go to glorify Him? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

 

 

Worship: All or Nothing

This is my first time reading the New Testament through in The Message. And I have to admit, every day I’m blown away as I see things I’ve read many times differently. This day was no exception:

Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee,
headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion.
The moment they saw Him they worshiped Him.
Some, though, held back,
not sure about worship,
about risking themselves totally.
Matthew 28:16-17 MSG – emphasis mine

A gasp escapes as I set the Bible on my lap. Unsure if I can read any further.

Held back…not sure about worship..
about risking themselves totally…

It’s as if these verses were written by one looking straight into my eyes.

Instinctively I reach for my treasured one. The Bible I’ve had since I was 16. For I needed to see why I’ve missed this.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted.

Ah, now I see what I look like when I don’t worship fully. When I hold a bit of myself back while praising Him…

Father, forgive me for this doubting heart of mine. Please take it. I give it to You. I don’t want it to hold me back from proclaiming You fully anymore. Because You are worth the risk. Jesus, You’ve done more for me than You will ever ask me to do for You. What a fool I would be to not give all of me to You. Every day. Yes, I’m all in. To You be all glory and honor…

I pick the Bible back up and read what was to follow. And smile wide when I see Jesus’ response:

“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave His charge…”
(the Great Commission follows)

Curiosity got the better of me as I reached for my dictionary. Friends, have you ever looked up the definition for ‘undeterred’? Here are the words that jumped out to me:

Undeterred: unshakable faith.

This series of events happened after Christ’s crucifixion. After He had paid for my debt — my doubting heart — with His own life. And to think…He didn’t even regret it. Even after seeing how we still held back from Him, He remained undeterred in His goal of saving us.

Isn’t that just like our Redeemer? What grace…

Yes, this is what I will do this week. I’m not going to hold back. I’ll give my all for His glory. I’ll get out of His way and allow Him to work His wonder. With my hands held high. What have I got to lose?

Will you join me?

On this Music Monday, instead of focusing on one song, I want to focus on one thing: Worship. Friends, might I challenge you to worship Him fully this week? Don’t hold back.

Go ahead — risk yourself totally. For Him.
If not for the love of Him, then do it for His love of you.

I’m ready to begin worshiping fully. And seeing the gifts He has given me this week is a great way to start. May I share some things that filled my praise journal this week with you?

  • Nothing can separate me from His love. So I have nothing to fear.
  • My flowers are still alive! Even after all this heat and my not-so-green thumb…
  • Don’t need to pretend to be anything but a sinner saved by grace.
  • Corn on the cob
  • Only love empowers the leap in trust
  • Family game night saturated with laughter
  • Madeline L’Engle. Truly, I’m captivated.
  • Watermelon dripping from elbows
  • Another glimpse of grace while reading Matthew 28:16-17 MSG
  • God loves us even when we don’t want Him to love us…

How about you? How are you striving to worship Him fully? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up with:
The Grace Cafe as well as:

 

All I Need, and a little bit more

A Glimpse of my Rain Garden

I have so much to share with you. So much laying heavy on my heart. And I can’t find a pretty way to deliver it to you. Not all in one package, anyway.

So for today, do you mind if I simply share my stream of consciousness?

The whole idea of getting back down to the basics (my series on the basics of redemption) has proven to be so much harder than I anticipated. I honestly thought the posts would pour right out of me. They’re not. I’m sure the enemy has something to do with it. But I’m not giving up. I’ve got some thoughts I intend on sharing this week and would appreciate your prayers as I try to finish writing them.

My email box has been CrAzY lately and I LOVE IT! It seems every time I check my inbox, I get to see how God is moving and I am so overwhelmed with it all. To God be the glory. And friends, thank you. Thank you for reading my ramblings. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart through the words on the screen. And thank you so much for taking the extra time to reach out to me. Please know I get back to every one, even if they take me a couple of days. And you are all being laced in my prayer journal long before I am able to hit the reply button.

Please keep them coming. I love to hear how God is working in your life.

I’m so excited to bring a giveaway to you this week as well! You’re going to want to win, so please check in with me later this week.

I feel like I’ve been away from home a lot lately. Sharing my heart with others elsewhere. At Aurie’s place sharing rainy day projects. At Diana’s sharing my thoughts on being still. And at 5 Minutes for Faith sharing my fears of not measuring up. Thank you, friends, for all your encouragement and support as I take that step out of comfort. You all amaze me!

Now, on to Music Monday.

It’s been awhile since I’ve simply shared what song has been running through my head as of late. So I thought I would today. It also encapsulates what my heart needs to share with you this week.

Are you a Jesus Culture fan? Sometimes, for me, nothing else will do. And this song has been on repeat in my mind. I’m singing it when I go to bed, when I wake up, and while I’m washing dishes. Do you know it?

(Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in)

All I Need is You ~ Jesus Culture

Left my fear by the side of the road
Hear You speak, You won’t let go
Fall to my knees as I lift my hands to pray
Got every reason to be here again
Father’s heart that draws me in
And all my eyes wanna see is a glimpse of You

All I need is You
All I need is You, Lord, is You, Lord
All I need is You
All I need is You, Lord, is You

One more day, and it’s not the same
Your Spirit calls my heart to sing
Drawn to the voice of my Savior once again
Where would my soul be without Your Son
Gave His life to save the earth
Rest in the thought that You’re watching over me

All I need is You, God
All I need is You, Lord
All I need is You, my God
All I need is You, Lord

I need You…
I want You…
I choose You…
I choose God!

You hold the universe
You hold everyone on earth
You hold the universe
You hold, You hold…

How about you, friend? Wanna share your stream of consciousness with me? What song has been on repeat for you lately? How has God been working in you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki