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manna.

December 16, 2013

I often think about the Israelites wandering in the desert. It’s a series of stories that I consistently relate to and find myself pondering. There are just so many parallels that I see between myself and that crazy group of people following a cloud and complaining all the way.

I find myself reading the stories and thinking, how could they? How could they grumble when God 100% miraculously rescued them from the hand of their oppressors?  How could they promise to serve the one true God and then turn around and worship their melted down and re-formed jewelry? How could they doubt in the face of such a faithful God?

And soon the questions start to turn inward, not in an accusing, condemning way, but in a “are you serious?” kind of way. How can I doubt in the face of such a faithful God? After all the ways he’s shown up and provided and done miracles on my behalf…as Jon Foreman put it, “Why should I worry? Why do I freak out? God knows what I need. You know what I need.”

And then there’s this beautiful picture of manna. I get teary-eyed just thinking about manna.

I learned today that Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” Jesus, Our Daily Bread, was born in a House of Bread. It blows me away.  I know that the idea of Jesus being our daily bread is cheesy and so played out and made into a tidy little devotional every year, but the concept is incredible if you stop to think about it.

Just as God provided manna in the desert, Jesus is our provision today. It’s this amazing resource that we have unlimited access to. I have blogged before about how amazing it is to compare our relationship with God now to the relationship with God that the Israelites had. This is yet another example. God provided food and physical sustenance for his people then and continues to do so today. Yet because we have a great high priest who is able to understand all of our circumstances, we can come to God about literally anything and receive grace and mercy.

I don’t even know where I got this, but I have this Heidi Baker quote on a sticky note that I look at often. She’s speaking from the Lord and says, “I want you to eat this fresh bread from heaven, don’t eat the little crumbs from yesterday. I want you to eat fresh bread from my presence every day.”

It’s powerful. Just as the Israelites had to go out and collect fresh provision daily, God calls us to do so now. It challenges me to seek him daily. I don’t want to rely on revelation that I received in the past, as good as it may have been. God has something fresh and new and life-changing for us each day, if we make the effort to go out and collect it. May I be brave enough to continually seek and follow.

[Side note: The inspiration for this blog came from a daily advent devotional that I’ve been reading lately. The She Reads Truth community has been rocking my world for a few months now, and I believe that it could do the same for you, too.]

 

retreat.

October 1, 2013

Our lifegroup went on a retreat this past weekend to Bakersfield. If you’re from Orange County, you probably immediately had some snarky thought in your head about Bakersfield. But seriously, it was so great. We stayed on a ranch in the middle of nowhere (as in, there was no cell service).

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Time away is so necessary.

Time away with friends is so healing.

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I was reminded again of the power of vulnerability. Isn’t it just so crazy how up until the moment that we share something, it feels like the heaviest, worst, most unbearable thing ever? But once we have shared it and realize that the earth didn’t fall out from underneath our feet, the freedom comes almost instantly. And to be in a community of people who will step in and fight for you through truth and prayer? It feels almost too good to be true.

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We are wildly undeserving of the grace we have received.

 

a certain sign of grace.

September 23, 2013

Every year, around the end of September, the world sighs. Or maybe it’s just me.

Summer is officially over as of yesterday. This is my fifth week back to work (I know, I know, we teachers are so spoiled with summers off). Things can feel a bit slump-y.

But then, something magical happens. It’s called Returning Fall Shows. To me, it’s a certain sign of grace.

I just…think that whoever decided that shows would come back at the beginning of Fall is the most brilliant person ever. I know it’s not just me, because I see people posting on Facebook about their shows coming back. It’s just fun to have a little something to look forward to at the end of a long day…a story to get pulled into, a character to connect with.

There are actually only two shows that I’m super excited about this season. One is Parenthood (which I’ve blogged about before), and the other is the Mindy Project. Parenthood was so good last season. Yes, I only started watching it because Lauren Graham was on Gilmore Girls back in the day, and yes, the show has some annoying plot holes and inconsistencies at time, and, yes, it’s creepy that Lauren Graham and Peter Krause are dating in real life but they are brother and sister on the show but MAN, way to tug on our heartstrings with every episode, writers of Parenthood. I think Colby cried during just about every episode.

And…I can’t really say enough about how much I love Mindy Kaling. She’s smart, hilarious, successful…you go girl. Great addition of James Franco on this new season. I legitimately laughed out loud 5-10 times during the season premiere.

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Shows that I was previously into but have kind of lost their luster for me are New Girl and Downton Abbey. I know, blasphemy, right? But seriously, all of the things about the characters of New Girl that I used to find hilariously quirky, now I’m like, grow up. Let’s see a little character development.

 

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As far as Downton Abbey goes, I don’t want to ruin anything for those of you who haven’t watched yet, but I’ll just say don’t get too attached to any of the characters, because they ALL DIE. For the love of God, don’t kill Bates. Please don’t kill Bates!

 

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So there you have it. Did I miss anything? Am I wrong about Downton and New Girl? Are there any shows that you love that you think I should be watching?

 

psalm 84.

September 2, 2013

I don’t always read the ESV study Bible for pleasure, as I’m more of a Message Version kind of girl for my daily devotionals. But today I whipped the giant Bible out because I had a question, and I ended up finding so much comfort and peace. Verses 5-7 are familiar. They read:

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
 They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.

I don’t know if the writers of the ESV study Bible hoped to inspire people by their extensive footnotes, or if they just simply wrote to illuminate the meanings of the scripture to the best of their ability. Either way, my heart swooned when reading the footnote here.

“The next section describes those who make the journey to Zion to worship at such a sanctuary; they are blessed. Their strength is in God, to sustain them on the way; the highways are in their hearts, which probably means that they actually want to go (pilgrimage was obligatory, but should never become mechanical or burdensome). The location of the Valley of Baca is unknown; it seems to have been a dry place, but the faithful pilgrims make it a place of springs (which probably means that they delight in this valley as much as if it were well-watered, being so happy to be on the way). These pilgrims go from strength to strength (i.e. they keep on finding new levels of strength for the journey), until each one appears before God in Zion.” (emphases my own)

Seriously, how encouraging is this? A reminder of the reason for the pilgrimage, the joy that can be found in the journey, and how the Lord provides the strength we need to press on.  May I delight in the valley as much as if it were well-watered and continue to seek the Lord to find new levels of strength.

“For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps. 84:11)

With promises like that to hang on to, let’s keep going.

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and just like that.

August 28, 2013
Isn’t it just like summer to go by in the blink of an eye?
Colby and I had a busy few months, with trips to the Grand Canyon, Mexico, San Francisco, Big Sur, and Michigan. Add to that visits with his family and mine, friends in town, and projects around the house and garden, and you find me, not blogging once. Here I am, welcoming myself back to the land of the bloggers.
Summer, you were grand, but just like that, you’re gone. Here we go fall.
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the real life.

June 18, 2013

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Don’t be greedy with the universe, she said to me.

But she didn’t say it in the mean way. She didn’t say don’t dream big, don’t want things, don’t think you deserve.

She meant: look at your life and trust it. Notice how you have forever been given what you need.

Notice how, while you’ve been railing and ranting and wanting, enoughness has gathered around you like stones around a fire,

How, while you’ve been making lists of what should be wishing the set and costumes were different, there was a whole other play happening on another stage.

The real life.

Witnessed when you hand a dollar to the woman behind the register in the color of an orange in the magic laugh

Never calling, just crackling, speaking in tones — the real life

Cup your hands and ask for it. Start looking. Sweetness. Honey in a bowl. Nectar.

-Tara Sophia Mohr

moving forward.

May 21, 2013

I’m coming out of my cave and starting to blog again. Welcome to my life (almost) post-grad school!

I started a new journal today. It’s the little things in life that can bring such joy.

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I spent a long time today looking through old journals. Sometimes you have to look back and remember where you came from to help you know where to go as you go forward.

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“God’s grace is so outside the lines of our understanding that we can only stand in awe and wonder. Christianity is not about learning how to live within the lines; Christianity is about the joy of coloring. The grace of God is preposterous enough to accept as beautiful a coloring that anyone else would reject as ugly. The grace of God sees beyond the scribbling to the heart of the scribbler.” -Mike Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder