Wednesday, November 26, 2014

wednesday wreads, vol. 15

This week's Wednesday Wreads is jam-packed for those of you who are traveling this week and need some reading material. Enjoy!

"7 Cities You Must See in Europe" by Casey
There are certain cities that whether you fall in love with them or not, you just need to visit in your lifetime. Europe has lots of those cities and while I have so much more to see still throughout the continent, there are spots I have seen so far, that I would say you need to see, to take them in, to feel their charm, to feel their identities and experience them.
Aside • I'm adding a bonus city: Madrid! You just have to go. It's a whole different side to Europe.

"10 Ways to Embrace Your Quarter-Life Crisis" by Abigail
It would be easy for us to sit and wallow on top of our mountains of student debt and existential questions. But why do that when we could embrace this time instead? Yeah, some days it can really suck. But we have the power to choose to make it into an adventure!

"12 Verses to Remind You, You Are Enough" by Katherine
I want to start throwing parades for people. I want marching bands in their honor, their name in fireworks, and uncontrollable confetti in their honor. I want to start recognizing the people who love without conditions, and open their arms without questions.

"Catching Myself" by Erin
And I believed it. I believed those lies. So I just promised myself to strive harder the next day, all the while failing because I was relying on my own strength. When I saw Lysa’s challenge, honestly, I decided to do it not because I wanted to hear from the Lord, but because I thought, “Hey, this will be something to get me on the right track! Another thing I can do to make things better.” When I read one of Lysa’s emails, something she said jumped straight out of the page into my spirit and lit a little flame.

"Creative Weekly No.3, Our Time & Choices" by Leia
I lay in bed. In the hours just before dozing off into deep slumber. And my thoughts return nightly to a place no longer ruled by time. A place where we live without abandon. Where laughter, tears, joy, and sadness are experienced in their fullest realities. Where putting on a good face or being in good taste is never more important than truly knowing and acknowledging the experiences of the men and women surrounding us.

"Do Not Judge" by Katie
While in Nepal, the good Lord showed me a thing or two about what His word has to say about judgement. Friends, it was depressing in the sense that I caught a deeper glimpse of my nasty sin and depravity, but also SO SO empowering and freeing learning it doesn't have to be that way! I realized my thought-life could be redeemed!

"The Grand Jury and the Rorshach Test" by Lisa Sharon Harper
But as the church considers the events of these days, perhaps the greatest challenge we face is this: Will we allow our view of “what we see” to go unexamined? Will we “conform to the world” — giving permission to our unconscious biases to guide our thoughts and actions? Or will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, as Paul calls us to be? (Romans 12:2)
Aside • I just studied criminal procedure in class last week, so this was intriguing to me from that perspective as well.

"Hospitality. But Not the Kind You are Thinking Of" by The Nester
I cried because I want to be a person who has the margin and clarity of thought to welcome new friends into our home and ask meaningful questions and then listen to their answers. Right now I am not that person. It’s not fair for me to invite people into my home if I don’t have the room to listen.
Aside • Bonus sentences, because they were in the post and are straight up true: "INTJs don’t fake things. It’s one of our strengths that get confused with being mean."

"How to Make Your Last Name Plural This Christmas Season" by Kate
Is pluralizing last names more difficult than I realize? Apparently so. Because we get these cards every year—these cards with their adorable photos and their apostrophe catastrophes.

This year I’d like to preempt the pluralization problems. It’s mid-November now, time to order Christmas cards again. I have created a brief guide to help you pluralize your last name. It is my humble attempt to preserve not only apostrophe protocol but also the dignity of the letter S.
Aside • Kate's long been my go-to for grammar conundra and she always writes about it hilariously. Her Grammar and Glamour series is one of my favorites to ever bless the Internet.

"To Be Quiet" by Becca
For this flesh and blood, I would travel to the ends of the earth, and I would stay still. I would learn whole words of knowledge and I would study every crack in the earth of just one place. Someday, I will plant myself and start growing again like the tree with its roots in this soil.

"When None of it Mattered" by Alece
But there in The Great Sadness, with my heart stripped bare, I discovered God was still undeniably by my side. In the vast darkness, when He wasn’t visible at all, and in the boundless sorrow, when I couldn’t feel Him at all, and in the deafening quiet, when He wasn’t speaking at all, I curiously never felt abandoned (at least not by Him anyway). Even when He felt far, He was still right there in the struggle and sadness and silence with me. Just Him, without all the other religious frills.

"Where I Stand: Discipleship" by Carrie
Don’t get me wrong…it isn’t always perfect. We don’t always get along. Things aren’t sunshine and roses every time we are together. But love covers a multitude of sins. And when you’re family, love outweighs the bad stuff.

Read or written anything good lately? Stick in the comments; I'd love to read it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

on youth ministry, injustice, & hearing from you.

This was not supposed to be nearly twelve minutes long, but short-winded has never really been my style.


I can't wait to hear your answers!

Want to see past vlogs? Check out The Girl Behind the Blog and Vlog Week.

Monday, November 24, 2014

the sky on fire.

It's a November evening when Jesus sets the sky on fire.

It's grainy toward the top, in the blue and purple, but I don't mind. I think it's a reminder of how we don't see clearly in the dark, and how so often peripheral issues and foci blind us to the fiery center.

How often do we let Jesus knock us over in sheer discovery at His majesty? How often do we watch as He sets the sky on fire?

 Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
    in the heavens...
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 8:1, 3-4 • 

Not often, I warrant. Not nearly often enough. 

Sometimes I wonder if we're looking to be knocked over, to truly be lost in marveling at Jesus's face.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
• Matthew 7:7 •
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
• Jeremiah 29:13 •

Are we searching for majesty?

I think of Moses asking God if he could see His face and God conceding in part, but not before secreting Moses in the cleft of the rock and covering him with His hand as Glory passed by.

Do we seek with that tenacity? With that desperation?

Are we looking for soulfire to be poured out and over us? Are we ready to be the city on a hill, shining brightly through the darkness?

I'm asking myself these questions, wondering what it means to search for majesty and remembering what it looks like when it sets the sky on fire.

Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
• Philippians 2:9-11 •