Integrity

Honor your inner rhythms. "Rhythm has to do with timing-when it is time to engage or disengage, to remain or to transition, to be with people or be apart, to work or to rest, to play or to be serious. Jesus paid attention and honored His rhythms. He knew when it was time to move on to another town. He knew when he needed to be alone...needed to be with three people or five thousand. He knew when it was time to preach and when it was time to pray."

"Honoring our different rhythms involves respecting and negotiating our needs and preferences." God is teaching me one of the hardest lessons right now...learning to ask for what I need. Learning to honor my needs, preferences, inner rhythms, and integrity. It seems so simple, but when you've grown up honoring everyone else's needs and putting yours last, it can be quite hard to undo this habit. It takes courage to ask for what we need. To use our voice and speak up...it takes GOD. This lesson is really strengthening my dependence on God. I know that HE says I am good enough to ask for what I need, that I am worth it...now I am moving that from my head to my heart. Knowing it and actually taking action is the hard part. This is where integrity comes in. The dissonance or distance between our value and the action we take base on our value is what determines our INTEGRITY. Recently God had me define two things that I value...-truly, deeply, at my core- value. After prayerfully searching my heart and inner rhythms I found that space and safety were my answers. Integrity would be to use safety and space as my vantage point when making decisions. What is my integrity calling me to do?
"The journey of living your life instead of someone else's begins when you discover your integrity. This requires recognizing and defining what is important to you. Inegrity-as is used here, is alwasy aligned with God's values...If you do not take the time to answer that question, other people's fears, expectations, and agendas (or even your own fears) will drive you. You will end up defining yourself by what you are against rather than what is most significant to you."

This is all part of the journey to finding our true self hidden in God. It is a journey we all should take...it is a gift from God, take it!!! This is just the beginning.

Be who YOU truly are, authentically YOU. "Be YOU, everyone else is already taken" : ) I recently heard this in a Fireflight song "Who I am is all I've got. I can't be who I am not anymore." Who we are is all we've got. Who God has uniquely created us to be-quirky, weird by the standards of this world, maybe gregarious loners...it's OK...don't be afraid...still be YOU. Stay true to who HE says you are in HIS eyes. You are good enough to be 100% quirky YOU! Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world-Romans 12:1
Don't try to be like everyone else or anyone else for that matter. There is sooo much more within you dying to shine forth. Bursting at the seams of your heart!

"It is often easier to do what others want and be who they want, but the question is: what is best in the long run? What is best in the long run is for you and me to set boundaries in order to be faithful to our God-given lives. Otherwise we end up fused to others. Fusion is a term from physics that describes what happens when metals are melted together and lose their distinctive qualities. Emotional fusion happens when we lose our distinctiveness and lose ourselves in someone else's life." Boundaries are crucial if you are to avoid detours and follow God's path for you.

Birthday fun!!! : )

Winds of change-

Can you feel the pains in life?
Wrapped around you like they're chains
Restricting all your dreams
Do you wonder if there is a way?

A way to set you free
Set you free

[CHORUS:]
So tell me all your dreams
Tell me all your fears and what you're longing for the most
It's not another way that'll end up the same, for it's under my control

Do you feel the winds of change
Soon this weight will fall away
And take you to a place
Only found through these winds of change

A breeze that's new and free
New and free

I'll be the one who you can cry to
The one who will give you wings
I will give wings


Someday we'll sail away
Mounted up on wings like eagles
We will run and will not fade away

Seeing God in ALL the small things

Seeing God in all the small things...and I mean ALL!!! This is a gift a friend of mine gave to me. She took me to see Avatar last year, after telling me repeatedly how much she saw God in the movie. I really couldn't understand how she saw God in Avatar...but the more she explained it the more I was captivated and intrigued. I do not go to many movies, because it is hard for me to sit still that long...and Avatar is SUPER long...but I just had to see what she was talking about. So I go into the movie with God's eyes. I wanted to see the whole thing through HIS perspective, not my own. The movie blew. me. away. Hands down. If you really want to see God in everything, you will. Believe me. He is everywhere. He will speak to you in every and any avenue if you listen closely and ask Him to. Even if you don't ask Him to, He is speaking...I just pray for His eyes to see the world and suddenly I can see so much more. Things I have missed my whole life. I challenge you to watch Avatar or Cinderella (yes the Disney version) and watch it through God's eyes. See how every song, every character, every detail is a message to us. It is a message of His love, hope, peace, joy...messages of His truth. The love stories resemble His love story to the world. Even the enemies are familiar. We are in this world, not of this world...but while we are in it we can still see HIM in worldly things. Keep your eyes fixed on Him even in the small stuff...especially in the small stuff.
Hints for Avatar: A human comes into a foreign land, in a new body, amongst strangers...He is an alien and stranger to them and to their world, they do not know his language but they want to learn it and learn from him...the prayer tree...the worship scene...He is everywhere...it is beautiful and brings me to tears. It is so Jesus! Those who have eyes, see, those who have ears, hear.

In the last place you'd expect : )




Saw this in the bathroom stall the other day and I have to say it really brightened my day!!! I am not saying that tagging or graffiti in public bathrooms is a good thing to go around doing...but it did really make my day!!! I was having a very long day filled with appointments, meetings and intense feelings, and suddenly God sent me the sweetest message when I least expected it. What I thought would be just a quick stop at a public restroom became this refuge of peace and Joy amidst the chaos. Great reminder...HIS light in the darkest of places!! Just sayin' : ) It actually made me and my friend decide to make little prayer cards that say Jesus Loves You! So we can leave them in bathroom stalls...hang them on the little hooks or tape em' to the stall door...still carrying the message without breaking the law : ) Reverence. When you think about how many people go in and out of these bathrooms, you could reach sooo many!!! Just an idea : )

The fullness of time

So I wrote a blog a few weeks ago, inspired by a conversation with my mom about "unexpected moments." Well things are coming full circle. I talked with friend from Alabama last night and she was telling me about the history behind the verse "in the fullness of time, it came to pass. God sent forth His son" Ephesians 4:4. I was intrigued and fascinated by what she told me. We always say things like "His perfect timing" but I got it at a totally new level last night. He had to completely set the stage before He could send His son. There were over 50 events and things that had to be in place, a series of events, having to occurre before "it came to pass." Before the time was right, before the time was ready...before we were ready. I could go on.
After fellow-shipping with her about this I wanted to go home and look up more information about it. In doing so I stumbled across the article below in Christianity Today. Wow...I was blown away. It tied so many things together for me. I was just reading it because I wanted to know more about "the fullness of time" and someone else's take on that, but God revealed all these other connections. Mary and martha, pausing for unexpected moments, the fast-paced culture we live in, patience in waiting...so much more. He was and is clearly speaking through this to my heart! One of the doctors (in the plethora of appts. I've had this week) just kept telling me that I had to make a life change. That things were not going to change unless I make a change. I agree. Easier said than done, but I definitely agree. So God revealed a lot more to me than just a definition about time...enjoy what He shared below!!! : )


"As the tempo of cultural life speeds up, the heartbeat of daily life races, and our own body rhythms respond with adrenaline, cramped muscles, and heart attacks.To take time daily for prayer, for a quiet walk that's not to the next meeting, for daydreaming or for an unplanned conversation is a countercultural act. Following Christ is countercultural. Jesus calls us to resist the particular excesses and delusions of whatever culture we live in and to measure them by the plumb line of the Gospel stories where he pauses so often to pray, to eat with friends, or, neglecting the crowds, to give his whole attention to one needy person among the many who besieged him.One of my favorite biblical phrases is "in the fullness of time, it came to pass." That lovely phrase suggests four things: that time crests like a wave, that there is a right moment for things to happen, that it's not ours to plan that moment but to recognize it, and that we are not the primary agents of what happens in the world.I'd like life to be a series of pauses like a poem, rather than a fast-paced, page-turner airport novel.
I'd like to give myself permission to keep releasing what I'm not doing into God's hands so that I can bring my whole heart to what I am doing. I'd like to be less like Martha, busy about many things, and more like Mary, who hears the call of the moment and lets a visit from Jesus reorganize her afternoon. I'd like to do a little less and be a little more.This is the prayer I've brought with me from that retreat into "ordinary time": that I may receive God's offer of rest when I am weary; that I may receive each moment as a gift from God's hand; that I may discern what each new encounter requires and freely entrust everything else to God's care; that I may be ready always to say yes when Jesus' summons comes to "leave your nets and follow me." -Marilyn MacEntyre


More to come on the "fullness of time"...I am on a treasure hunt now : )



Cuddle time with my puppy : )

good or bad?

"Can we really know whether to label life's circumstances as good or bad?
For instance, your car breaks down right before you are to take a family raod trip. But when you take the car to the shop, the mechanic says, "Good thing you didn;t take this out on the road. It could have caught fire." Is that bad because of the inconvenience, or good because of God's protection? Or perhaps your child decides to pursue interests that aren't all that interesting to you. You wanted her to play basketball and run track in high school. But she wanted to sing and play oboe. You feel frustrated, but she excels and ends up with a music scholarship. Is that bad because your dreams weren't fulfilled, or good because God directed her in ways you could not have predicted?
Sometimes it's hard to see how God is working. His mysteries don't always reveal their secrets to us, and our journey is often redirected by uncontrollable detours. Perhaps God is showing us a better route.
To make sure we benefit from what might seem bad, we must recognize and trust God's "unfailing love" (Ps. 13:5). In the end, we'll be able to say, "I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me" v. 6.

The circumstances in our lives seem random and unplanned
But someday we will surely see
The order of God's hand.

We may not be able to control events, but we can control our attitude toward them." -Sper

Who will love me for me?

Have faith in dreams!!!

Sound bites

‎"There's nothing to fear about rejection. It's either God's protection or a nudge in a better direction." : )

God is with u, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will...rejoice over u w/ singing. Zeph.3:17


God chooses what we go through. We choose how we go through it. - John Maxwell


Live in Gratitude to elevate your attitude.


God speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world-CSLewis


Remember, diamonds are made under pressure! Stay calm & say "bring it on!" #TDL


Do not give up on love, instead give into love. It's there for you in every moment.


If u feel like u can't figure it alll out. U weren't designed 2! :-) 1 day at a time #Godspeed- RevRunWisdom


some of the most faithful disciples had to walk thru the hardest & most intense suffering..He uses it ALL for good!


I offer a song of praise...His sacred heart captivates me


the alternative 2 speculation is revelation...2 discover the purpose of the invention you must ask the Creator-Purpose Driven Life


Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. Blessed Mother Teresa


Love is not blind - it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less. ~ Julins Gordon


Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

A message from Natalie Grant

Recently, Focus On The Family, with Dr James Dobson, aired a portion of a talk I gave on The Revolve Tour about my struggle with an eating disorder. Honestly, I never listen to myself speaking. So, I went to the website and listened to the podcast. To hear myself recount my past struggles was more difficult than I had imagined. Immediately I was transported back to that place of brokenness and desperation. I didn’t realize that hearing the truth I was sharing would still hurt so deeply and make me realize that many of those insecurities still haunt me.
I am so grateful that I no longer struggle with an eating disorder and have found healing from that. But I still battle many insecurities, some that plague me everyday. That’s why it is so important to continually renew my mind with God’s truth. It’s His truth, and only that truth, that sets us free. While listening, I was also reminded how easy it is to begin to rely on our own strength. When in the desperate place, it’s easy for me to realize my need for God. It’s in the not-so-desperate place that the danger of self-reliance creeps in. Hearing my own story reminded me that in brokenness, Jesus does his best work.
What is your brokenness? What is your fear? What are you working so hard to camouflage? Embrace it and watch Jesus take the pieces and make an incredible work of art. And as you do, and the things that weigh you down become lighter, never forget the great Artist who did the work.
I didn’t know it would hurt to listen to this podcast today. But the hurt was so worth it, because it reminded me of the healing.
Broken and Beautiful,
Natalie

Another interview:
Q: Did you ever struggle with your eating disorder again?
Grant: Yes, even though I've never done it again. It's like I'm talking about an alcoholic, in the sense that I don't think you're ever fully delivered from that. I don't struggle with doing it at all, because I've matured past that, with the help of the Lord and my family and others. But I don't think I'm ever going to be one of those people who says, "God fully delivered me and now life is awesome and I don't ever even think about it," because that's not honest.

Natalie Playlist : )

Prayer to The Sacred Heart of Mary




O Sacred Heart of Mary! To you I come in search of enlightenment, strength, support and peace. I submit to your power and I trust in your wisdom. I abandon myself to your mercy. O Sacred Heart of Mary, Mother of God, for you Know my great need and you can help. Sacred Heart of Mary, I trust in the tenderness of your love. Amen.

The honest truth (isn't the truth always honest?)

One of the many things I love about Matt is that he is honest and authentic. He knows he is not perfect, just forgiven. He doesn't act like he has it "all together" or that things are perfect. He doesn't just put on a smile and act like everything is fine. In his humility and vulnerability, God gets so much glory. He knows that everything IS fine because they are in God's hands, but he is also very aware and honest of the storm around him and sometimes in him. When he speaks to us at leadership meetings, he is the first to share his imperfections, his storms and even quicker to share God's faithfulness and sovereignty amidst it all. This glorifies God all the more as we get to truly see God's strength at work in and through Matt.

So I felt it necessary to write a blog about what is going on-the "storm" so to speak. I was going to just keep it private, but life is about the journey not the destination. I know that God will use this all for good and He will be glorified!!! So I went to my doctor on Monday and they found a lump on my lymph node. She sent me to a surgeon for a biopsy. I went to the surgeon the next day and he found that the lump was benign. I thought that would be the end of it, but this lead him to another red flag. So he is sending me to an endocrinologist on Monday. Now this may sound like a wild goose chase, but it is not. God's sovereignty is written all over this. His sovereignty reigns over everything. His ways are above my ways, so I am not questioning this process. I just know the Truth; He knows what I need and He knows how to meet my needs. Had I not gone to the first Dr. I would not have gone to the next which means I would not have been referred to the Endocrinologist. This is an answered prayer. You see I have not had a period for over three years. I have been to doctor after doctor, test after test...no one could understand why. Never was I referred to an Endo doctor though. I had kinda just given up...not in a hopeless kinda way, but in a surrender kinda way. Just knowing that I had done the footwork and trusting God for the rest. There is only so much I can do. I had taken right action...so I prayed. I've been asking Him for direction concerning this issue. That He would illumine the next step that I needed to take. He is doing for me, what I could not do for myself. I never would have thought to go to an Endo...nor did I even know what that was.

I have actually heard many stories similar to this, that someone had gone to the doctor for one issue and God used that to reveal something hidden/unknown to them...that maybe they never would have looked at or even thought about. He directs and plans each and every step we take...so meticulously. I am seeing God's hand in all of this. I had pushed my flight back for a completely different reason...a funeral. But now I am seeing so many other reasons that the Lord kept me here a little longer. He knew all of this was going to happen and that I would be in a safe place, with my family surrounding me in order to walk through this. The awesome part is that His peace is literally guarding my heart and mind like a soldier. The transcendent PEACE of God which surpasses all understanding. I am not scared, in fact quite the opposite. I am hopeful that He is revealing to me the answer and solution that I have been praying for. The doctor used terms that seem very dramatic to me. "Pituitary Insufficiency leading to Ovarian failure." Sounds so awful, but these are just semantics, terms...I have a God much bigger than all this. No matter the term, He holds every single day, every single breath I breathe in His hands. He is leading me to the answer so that I can take the next right action. I have to get up and walk, be His hands and feet...and then lay the rest at His feet. This will ALL be used for His glory and that's why I have such peace. Either way, I will be that much closer to an answer than I was before and that is an answered prayer! In gratitude and trust I wait. : ) Love you guys!!!!

I want to thank my friends and family for the amazing support, encouragement, love and prayers through all this! I have been feeling the power of your prayers, and your love!!! Thank you for coming alongside me through all of this. YOU are glorifying HIM and being His hands and feet!!!!

He wept.

Jesus wept-John 11:35. God wants us to feel our feelings. Jesus felt his. It is a gift to feel and to be present. : ) Be encouraged when you weep, when you laugh, when you mourn, grieve, love. Deep sadness makes room for deep gladness. We gotta feel it to heal it. As we feel it, He is healing it! It encourages me to know that Jesus wept even when he knew the outcome, he still wept. His hope and trust in God did not take his feelings away. He was deeply moved. Jesus' humanness is clear here. So is his compassion and empathy. He hurts with us and for us. He allows us and invited us to be open with our feelings. We can be honest and authentic before God.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Rev. 21:4

Without the rain, there would be nor rainbow-Chesterton

"In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart" He searches, He intercedes, He KNOWS through and through. Be encouraged beloved!!

One of my favorite Brooke Fraser songs : )

This is a long one... : )

Friday and Saturday have been two of my favorite days of this whole trip back home. Friday night I was privileged to ring in the New Year with my family. We went to Grandma and Grandpa’s and had so much fun!!! The best part was singing a few songs with Grandpa and my mom. They both have beautiful voices. We all harmonized...we sang “Oh Holy Night” and Grandpa and I sang “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” It was such a special moment. You see I will sing to any and everyone that will listen. I crave it in my inner-most being. In fact I am known to get my friends in my car (which I call the musical spaceship-yes I coined the term) and we will worship. The musical spaceship consists of sharing some of my favorite worship songs as of late and then doing a few accapella songs for the Lord and whoever else wants to worship. I love love love this precious time that the Lord appoints. Those who know me and get my heart, understand how much I love this! There we are sitting in my car, trapped in the presence of God...together, united, unleashing my gift in a safe and sacred moment and space. I was telling mom last night how I want more. I want to do this more often. I just always want to be singing a song of praise to the Lord. Sometimes just between me and the Lord and other times with any listening ear. I do this...but I am craving more. It is passion. It is alive. He lights the fire in me!!!
So I went into Friday night with this in mind and in heart. I knew I wanted to share a song of praise with my family. I sat down on the carpet in my grandparents living room and quietly asked if I could sing a song to my family. They all gathered around the fireplace and lit up Christmas tree to listen. It felt like a movie : ) The scene was set by the Lord Himself. So I began worshipping Him. It was amazing! I looked up to see people’s eyes closed and some watching and listening intently. There is no wrong way to worship. All I know is that nothing else fulfills-the way that leading people in worship & into His presence-does. After that first song “Sovereign Hands,” I asked Grandpa and mom to join in with me on my favorite Christmas song...as requested by Grandma. She is so cute! She just loves hearing me and Grandpa sing together. I do too! It doesn’t happen often because Grandpa gets a little shy singing in front of others...he is very humble and modest about His gift. He knows it belongs to the Lord. We also sang the Lord’s prayer together...oh bummer! I totally just realized we should have sung the Lord’s prayer for the family on New Years Eve! Hahah I have these ah-ha moments in the midst of writing all the time...so I thought I would share it with you this time. :) We sang the Lord’s prayer for Grandma the day we decorated the house together a few weeks ago. I sang soprano, he sang bass. It was lovely! Maybe we will get a chance to do it tuesday night. We are going to dinner-all together-to celebrate my birthday before I fly back to Bama.
Sorry for the long tangent, I just couldn’t help myself. Saturday was wonderful too because I got more family time but also time with my church family here in Cali. My CCF ladies, my cousins and my mom and I all had a fun-filled day of girl bonding time. We went to breakfast and coffee and then shopping all day. There were some great NYE sales and we had gift-cards from Christmas burning holes in our pockets. I have never shopped so much in my life. Especially considering the last year of my life I have been living out on my own and have not shopped for myself at all...aside from groceries. Lol! So going from not even going near a mall, to a bunch a my favorite girls, in the mall all day, with a bunch of other crazy New Years day shoppers...it was intense to say the least. But oh so much fun!!!! Lot’s and lots of funny moments with my girls and great memories that I will cherish!!!