Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Names of God I Now Know And Love

I've have been able to participate and lead several 'Prayer Mosaics' at this point in life. I say this because I have been unbelievably blessed each time by them. A prayer mosaic is simply several different interactive prayer stations that you can partake in. It is such a beautiful night that I long to do them at least once per semester with the student group that meets at our house. One of the stations is finding the names of God in scripture, praying those back to Him, and writing them on the butcher paper at the station.

Being the nerd that I am, I challenged myself to journal them and try to find one for each letter of the alphabet (pictured).

There is something truly amazing about praying His names back to Him. There are no words to fumble over because they aren't yours. They are His names and they represent His character in different facets. The names of God are wonderful, beautiful, and exhilarating!

These Hebrew names of God below are new to me and I am ever so grateful for continuing to learn new things about God. The names are not new in the sense that I didn't know this was a characteristic of the Almighty God, rather they are new to me in the Hebrew. These are the ones that speak to me in different seasons of life, very applicable for where I am at.

When I am distracted by the things of this life, I remember that God is Qanna.
Qanna--Jealous. He is a jealous God, wanting everything that we are. All of me, not just the part I'm 'okay' with surrendering. Exodus 34:14, "Do not worship any other God, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."

When I am dismayed or discouraged, I am reminded that God is El Simchath Gili.
El Simchath Gili--God, My Exceeding Joy. Permanent, never-failing joy in my heart can only be sourced from God. Psalm 43:4, "Then I will go to the altar of God, to a god, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God."

When I feel alone or hurting, God is El Rai.
El Rai--He Sees Me. God sees me and knows my heart, desires, pain and sin. The Creator of the Universe SEES me. That is where my value and worth lie. Genesis 16:13, "She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me,' for she said, 'I have now seen the One who sees me."

When I fail myself or let shame run rampant in my soul, I remember the truth that God is Jehovah Nissi.
Jehovah Nissi--The LORD My Banner. He waves this triumphant banner of truth over my head. I am His and I will cling to the beautiful banner of truth and righteousness when my mind and heart become distracted by my shortcomings, for He is victorious. 1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ."

When I am feeling consumed by the by the busyness of life or the demands that I put on myself, I remember that God is Esh Oklah.
Esh Oklah--A Consuming Fire. He is a consuming fire, a jealous God, that protects his creation. He chose to take the cross for us and in doing so, consumed our imperfections so that we could have eternal life. May my love for God burn brightly. Deuteronomy 4:24, "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." 

And as a bonus...as we are praying through the ministry of adoption and what our hearts, hands/feet, and home could be open to, we are reminded that God is 'Ab.
'Ab--Father. The perfect Father. An advocate. A voice. A listener. Psalm 68:5, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling."

Whatever the season, I know that the Names of God are always a beautiful way to pray to Him in thankfulness. He knows me and sees me and enjoys the act of worship through prayer. When words fail me, His names and character do not.

In this season of life, what Names of God resonate with you? Link up with Mrs. Disciple and share!
 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Running From Shame :: Guest Post at Dauntless Grace Ministries

I had the opportunity to share my story with Dauntless Grace Ministries regarding shame. I hope it brings you comfort as it did me when writing it. Check out their ministry! This is what they want, their vision, their hope--and I love it. I am so grateful to have been able to take a small part in that.

"Dauntless Grace Ministries was born out of a desire for women to have permission to be vulnerable. Too often, women are expected to have it all together. This is especially true of Christian women. We are afraid that if anyone sees the chaos in our hearts or our lives, then we will be judged, isolated, pitied."

Shame is something that many of us have experienced, if not all of us. With sin and brokenness in the world, shame exists. God is not in the business of shaming you, He is in the business of redeeming and loving you. That is the message I want you to hear!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

processing

We decided to take a leap this weekend by attending a fostering and adoption conference. There was SO much information presented and I know it will take time for us to process, think and talk, and pray through everything. We obviously don't want to make any emotional decisions, but after attending the conference there's one thing I know for sure: God commands us to care for the orphans. Commands.

It is a ministry, not just a way for us to grow our family as I once thought. I knew that before this weekend, but after hearing from families that have walked that path, the ministerial piece of this type of calling was extremely evident.

I came into the conference with the notion that if we are to adopt, then we should do it internationally, though we didn't have a country in mind. In truth, I am glad that we didn't have these decisions made before attending because it helped me see the opportunities laid before us prior to seeking out a path for our family. Maybe it was naive of me not to have done much research, but I do feel that this weekend was a beautiful time of learning. My eyes were opened to the different routes that adoption can take, and I am grateful for it. If I'm honest, the following are scary words to write but isn't that a part of faith? We know we want to take part in this ministry, but don't necessarily know what that will look like for our family. There is much to do, but it must first start with prayer.

I know there isn't much more to say yet because I am still processing all of it. Whatever this journey looks like for our family, we are going to do it with opens hands and hearts.  In excitement & anticipation, we surrender our decisions to Him--not for our gain, but His glory!

Friday, February 19, 2016

#FridayFive :: Five Senses

As I link up with Mrs. Disciple for this Friday Five featuring our senses, I decided to go a little bit of a different route than I have previously with these postings, so bear with me. 

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This season of Lent has drawn me deeper into the senses of experiencing life and death, and ultimately the resurrection of our King. Can you imagine what it must have been like? Put yourself there...in the midst of the crowd, as you see the Savior crying out on the cross. The dry cracking earth below your feet is but an image of the depraved world that put Yahweh on the cross.

Hope is on that cross, the Messiah hanging on that tree for all of mankind's imperfections though He stands alone as perfectly perfect. The scent of the vinegar laden sponge pungently stings your nostrils as the guard raises it to the parched lips of Jesus for but a sip. The remnants of Jesus' body and blood that He broke for you are ever on your breath, but it serves as a beautiful reminder of His last supper on earth and so you treasure it. You hear Him cry out His final breath, and with it comes doubt, sadness, and yet a glimmer of hope and comfort knowing that He is no longer suffering. Hope and fear are coursing through your veins, not fully comprehending what is to come.

Alas, you race to the tomb that people are claiming is now empty. The garments that were once draping His sacrificial body are gingerly clasped in your hands. Hope soaked tears are rolling down your face. You know that this now means grace and redemption for all mankind; that which Jesus was telling of for years, but it's only now become a reality to you. Does this change you? How now do you live knowing that the Savior has risen?

I sit and reflect upon what happened on that cross, that is what the season of Lent is. Jesus did something extremely selfless that day thousands of years ago. Something that is necessary for my self-worth, because I am His. Let us now rejoice in this beautiful act of sacrifice for this is the good news.

How can you use your senses to fully reflect on the magnitude of Christ's death and resurrection in this Lenten season? 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Experiencing Intellectual Intimacy : Guest Post at Unveiled & Revealed

It's been a while since I have blogged! Today, I am guest posting over at Unveiled and Revealed on Intellectual Intimacy. I absolutely love this series that Brianna has going and I encourage you to check it out and dig deep into the different areas of intimacy in your own life.

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Hard talks are healthy talks, if gone about correctly. I loathe confrontation—my heart is palpitating just thinking about it. I think it’s because confrontation doesn’t bode well for a middle school girl when she knows her friends are doing something wrong and has to speak up. But more than that, true intellectual intimacy is expressed in loving someone enough to care for his or her soul.
That is agape love.
Read more here.
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I would love to hear your thoughts on intellectual intimacy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

His Love Never Fails : Guest Post at For the Love of Dixie

Today, I have the privilege of guest posting for my For the Love Sister, Lauren Flake – the founder of the blog, For the Love of Dixie and #texasstrong Fundraiser. This post was challenging to write because it begged me to reflect on what the Lord has done in our family over the years.

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I had never truly lost something before 2014.
Sure, a pet fish would bite the dust or a dog would run away, but the last time I had experienced loss was my grandmother. I was 6 years old. To say that I learned what grieving was during that time is off the mark...read more here.
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Jump on over to read all of Lauren's 'Permission to Grieve' series. Grab a cup of coffee and soak in truth.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Prayer for Our Daughter : Guest Post at Empty Plate. Full Heart.

Today, I have the honor and beautiful privilege of guest posting for Andrea Stunz – the founder of the blog, Empty Plate. Full Heart. I enjoyed reflecting on this wonderful year that Harper has given us and I cannot wait to see what her next year of life will be like. Lord, we give it all to you!

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To my sweet daughter as you lay in your bed—

As 2016 begins and we celebrate your first year of life, it is our heart’s desire that we show you who Jesus is. To show you ways in which we can love others. To show you what serving looks like...read more here.

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What is your prayer or hope for 2016?