Friday, June 28, 2013

a letter.

To every girlfriend I have ever had,

First, I want to completely empathize with you and say that I can totally understand that feeling. I have SO often been in that place of feeling pride over one thing the first minute, and then comeplete shame over it the next. Whatever the thought is, "At least I'm not treating my husband that way. I sure am balancing my life well. I would never do that." all the way to the other end of, "I hate the way my body looks. I'm getting old, and it shows. I can't make a home like she does! I'm just average."  It is a frustrating back-and-forth of our minds. We are in a battle between the renewed mind that we are constantly receiving from Christ and our sin nature.

Next, all I have to say is that you're not a "twisted sinner" because you face these dichotomous thoughts and feelings, you are a sinner. That is what sin nature is.. twisted. It is twisted in exactly the way you are experiencing it.

Ultimately, the imbalance between feeling pride in one moment and insecurity the next screams of a stronghold that satan has on you and me. You are looking to others, like we all do at some time or another, for approval, disapproval, validation, judgement, comparison, etc.

Comparison will absolutely steal your joy. You will never be like anyone else, sweet friend. God created you that way, thankfully! He gave you SO many good gifts. People DO judge you. I'll tell you that right now. They do. That's what is going to happen in this world. You judge other people. This is part of the battle of our sin nature.

Our focus should be elsewhere than on ourselves. If we can manage that, the beauty that IS there will fall into place and we will effortlessly exude the glory that is within us, the Holy Spirit. You are SO beautiful. You are SO loved.. by God and by others. I mean, LOOK at the loved ones in your life. They are choosing YOU. They are loving YOU. So, not only can you be fulfilled by the ultimate and only source we need, our Father in Heaven, He also gave you the added blessing of being connected to others who love you for you.

I'm with you. I have to check my attitude at every door I walk into. I have to tweak my thoughts every morning, afternoon, and evening no matter where I am. It's okay to work on fitness, spend time doing your hair and dressing in a way that makes you feel good. It's not okay to let your thoughts take over and cause you to lose sight of whose you are. Satan loves when that happens.

"Finally, [sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)

I love you more than words.

Run fast and hard towards your Savior. He will tell you who you really are.

-Tay

Friday, June 21, 2013

realignment.

After a time of owning and driving a car, you may notice that you slowly begin to fight the steering wheel to stay straight on the road. At first it's barely noticeable, but then the car is constantly drifting to one side. You must constantly exert more effort in order to keep the car on the road. It's frustrating! You feel like you are always pulling and tugging. Guess what that means?

Time to get the tires realigned! Wahoo!

[not]

Our attitudes are often in need of this same adjustment. [at least mine is]

The sinful nature inside each of us is constantly fighting to make its presence known. When we approach a difficult situation, especially when it's a "trigger" for us, we all have that gut reaction that's just waiting to come out and cause us to drift.

We may find our thoughts and attitudes shifting slowly at first, and then maybe to an obvious or noticeable degree.

We lose our attitude of thankfulness.
We lose our kindness and patience with others.
We drift away from what we know to be right.

We can find ourselves in a pattern of trying over and over to pull ourselves back, but sometimes we just need a full-out adjustment. We need to pull it over, go into the shop, and give up the fight. It's time for a tune-up.

You may only need a rotation. You may just need a quick reminder that your attitude should be that of joy and gratitude. You may just need to check yourself before you walk into that social gathering you've been loathing all week long. You may just need a little boost before you attempt something that is a challenge for you. You could, however, be on the other end, and need a full realignment. Take a time out to completely stop and recognize where you're going wrong and straighten it all out.

It will be so nice to have that realignment - you won't have to keep battling the road and pulling and tugging to stay in line with who you truly are! You will simply cruise along, windows down, relaxed, and drive down the path you're going on.

[ and as you car-owners know, that's not to say that once we get the realignment we're good to go forever.. thankfully we get the grace to come back in time and time again for a tune-up.. ]

When was the last time you went in for a tune up?

Friday, June 14, 2013

maf.

How does it feel to be the daughter of a truly self-sacrificing father?


I'm glad you asked.

I am aware that the gift I received is rare and should be cherished.

I am aware that the gift I received is what many would dream of.

I am aware that the gift I received should not be flaunted in front of others who did not receive it.


I do, however, want to take a minute to express my gratefulness for what my life has become because a man in my life chose the high road time and time again and allowed the Lord to guide his life in the big and the small things.

I grew up and I watched my father love my mother well, which is one of my first and most tangible examples of how Christ loves the church. He sacrificially gave of his time, money, attention, and resources to her and to all three of us without hesitation; he stewarded it all responsibly so as to set a good example. He never failed to attend my many dance recitals - and never came without a bouquet of roses and a big hug when I walked out at the end.

I never wondered if I was a treasure. I never wondered if I was cherished.

I felt safe, secure, and loved.

I was walked down the aisle by the man who showed me Christ in my younger years to the man who now shows me Christ on a daily basis in my married life. If that isn't the most beautiful gift, then I just don't know what is.

[As you can see, I started every sentence above with "I". That is what sacrificial love allows the beloved to do.. feel completely free and confident in that love and in themselves.]

I know there are plenty of girls out there who have only dreamed of having such an experience. My father was a complete gift from God, and I want you to know that I do not take it for granted. I also would say to those girls that you have a Father in Heaven who longs to shower you with this sacrificial love, and even more! He is more perfect than any dad could ever dream to be.

Thankfully there are men who choose, like my daddy, to follow Christ and give of themselves completely in service to others. This allows us to have hope and a glimpse of what our Heavenly Father is like.

Dad, thank you. I love you more than words. Happy Father's Day!

 
Linking up: Titus Tuesday

Monday, June 3, 2013

for the view.

My mom, sister, and I have started a tradition of reserving one weekend a year to get away, just us girls, to celebrate my mom & sister's birthdays. It has become such a treasured weekend.

This year, we met in the "middle" of Virginia and Georgia in the North Carolina mountains. One of the activities we did was hike to the top of Crowders Mountain. We had never been to this mountain before, so we were not sure which trail to take and how difficult each one would really be.

[There's a scale on the map, but you just never know WHO decided that moderate was actually moderate, if you know what I mean.]

We decided to take a trail that started off easy, continued on to moderate, and ended with strenuous. There was apparently a "landmark" at the end of the strenuous trail, so we decided we'd try that.

 
Here is the first part of the trail. 
At this point, we quickly gathered that when the sign read, "easy", it was accurate.
 
 
We took our time and enjoyed the little "extras" from hiking the trail. We saw bugs, birds, and lizzards (also a big black snake that slithered across the path), we balanced accross log bridges, we played in the stream, we smelled beautiful flowers, and we found the perfect walking stick.
 
 
It was a beautiful journey. When the trail was "easy", we stopped long enough to enjoy the beauty of it. We shared coversation and stories. We relished the little moments together and took moments to breathe in the scenery along the way.
 
When the trail moved from easy to moderate, and eventually to strenuous, our thoughts and attitudes shifted. We stopped enjoying the little moments, our conversation slowed (and changed from the beauty around us to the challenges ahead of us), and we had to get into a more focused mindset.
 
The question was passed between us, "should we continue on all the way to the top?"
 
In life, we pass through seasons that could be considered easy, moderate, and strenuous. Thankfully, we have the opportunity to direct our attitudes in each of those stages. The strenuous stages do require us to focus and bring our attentions inward (and that's a good and healthy response), but we can still keep a positive outlook on the plans God has for us.
 
We decided to keep a positive outlook on the challenge ahead and we were determined to finish.
 
Then we faced the final climb:
 
 
 
We helped each other up the final stretch of the strenuous climb, and we made it to the "landmark".
 
 
It was truly breathtaking.
 
"We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield" - Psalm 33:20
 
It was absolutely worth the struggles and the "season" of focus and quiet. We were able to enjoy the gifts in the first part of the climb, direct our efforts toward the challenges in the middle, and push through the trial at the end, only to discover that the view and sense of accomplishment was completely worth it. God does the same in our lives.
 
Enjoy the "easy" seasons and remember to stop to play in the stream and smell beautiful flowers.
--
Relish the "moderate" seasons because you're able to experience challenge but also stay on course.  
--
Hope in the "strenuous" seasons as God has more wonderful plans for you than you could imagine.
 
 
 
 
Linking up with: Titus Tuesdays