When ATL meets ATX…life update

You can call me biased, but prepare yourself for my rebuttal. You could say I’m biased because I will tell you that the city I live in is the best. This is not just because I live here…it’s because I really do believe what I say.

I finally got the chance to introduce my Mom, my sister Amanda and my 8 month old nephew Wyatt to this grand city we live in. I think Wyatt was just happy to see his cousins running around…and I was thrilled to have those chunky cheeks in my living room.

They have heard about Austin for a long time now. Bless their hearts. My Mom hadn’t been to Texas since Cephas was born…in 2005. Even then, she saw the hospital and the inside of my apartment. My sister had never been. I was thrilled to have them here. I was thrilled that they know that my boasts in this city were no exaggeration. I’ve said for years that if I could get them here, I could convince them to move here. Haha! I showed them every spot, pretty view and quirky street that I had time for. I didn’t have enough time. By the end of the visit, my sister asked me to stop taking them to eat at places they couldn’t get at home. I laugh. They heard every statistic. They saw. They ate. They walked. They loved.

They got to be here to celebrate Sophia’s 4th birthday. My Mom got to surprise Cephas at school for lunch. They enjoyed the Grandma and Aunt spoilage.

It was wonderful having them here. As much fun as showing off the city was, nothing was more special than finally having them with us at Revive on Sunday morning. My mom has been a constant in prayer and support. For her to come, meet faces she has heard of for so long, see what she had been praying about for so long (and continues to), be there for a service and worship with us…that couldn’t be beat.

My heart is full…

Some Encouragement…

We rejoice in the grace that allows us to face what is in front of us, even when that grace is just enough to allow us to continue to face it. We rejoice when the shift happens. It all keeps the reality in front of me that with God, all things are possible, His grace carries and His grace allows.  God is good.

I needed something to change. I needed something to shift. For weeks (or longer…ok, it was longer) I carried around a very heavy heart and a heavy mind. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I couldn’t shake it. I had moments where my emotions felt unstable. Please explain why I sat crying over a tithe/offering prayer on a Sunday morning. Ray and I were driving, talking about the inexplicable feelings…and I was crying. I would read blog post from other people…and you guessed it.

Something had to give. I had told my husband that I believed that we were going as a church was good and we are on the verge of breakthrough but the only thing that felt broken was me.

I don’t know what it was that shifted last week, but it did. The weight has shifted. I can see a combination of things that would lead to it but honestly this shift happened before I saw some recent changes. I can’t explain to lead to a definitive answer. I know this…His grace carries and His grace allows. God is good.

 

And I Think I Can Stand Here?

On Saturday night, I sat reading One Thousand Gifts. I’ll probably mention this book again. That was a warning. My last reading, I read two pages…two! Seriously, this book causes me to pause and reflect. To ‘Selah’ if you will. I like that word.

I got caught up on a few words, as she was describing a beautiful moon and the awe of God in that moment, she wrote this.

“And I think I can stand here”?

Pardon me as I’m weird and get caught up in words. She paused at the moon, I paused at those words.

Anyone else ever feel that way? A beautiful sunset, the ocean, a live-giving conversation over coffee, a worship service, a desire in your heart gaining feet, life, love…and you suddenly realize the beauty and evidence of God in a moment.

In that moment have you asked the question? Maybe you read these words as a statement…

And I think I can stand here?

I read those words and immediately have David Crowder Band’s, ‘Can I Lie Here’, playing in my head.

“Can I lie here in your arms?

My only calm is You,

My only thought is You,

My happiness is You,

Save me”.

The awe is why I ask the question. The answer is in the awe…the reason for the awe.

I can sit with a consistent weight in my heart and my mind like I have never known before, in a season I have never known before, with a heart I didn’t know the capacity of before, more undone than ever before and seeing beauty like I have never known before. I am more aware and in awe of the grace of God like never before. Sweet mercy and grace saturate the answer. I’m learning gratitude for a whole season, not the just parts that are easy to see. I believe that the not-so-easy parts right now, will radiate with beauty…they are perfecting…

I ask…

And I think I can stand here?

 

 

 

Slow Going…

I’ve attempted to write a post for the last two days. I have ended up with a start and two middles…so three different posts out of my attempt for one and none are completed. Am I scatter-brained much?

I don’t think so.

All of these trains of thought make sense in my head and they all connect. I just don’t expect them to make sense to someone who hasn’t set up camp inside my brain. It kind of sounds like conversations in the movie “The Bucket List”. My husband described that movie as the right and left side of his brain having a conversation. I told him it sounds like us having certain conversations (not all but there are a few…).

That is the current state of my brain. Apparently, it sounds all over the place.

In this current state, I have been reading something that has caught my attention.

Honest Disclaimer – I don’t love every book I read. I’m about 80% done with one that I wish I’d saved the $1.99 on (kindle edition).

This one has required something from me that I desperately needed.

Time.

I’m reading a book that requires me to slow down in order to read it. I believe I am better for it. If it is possible to describe an author’s writing style as “thick”, that is the word I choose. I’ve been reading this off and on for about 10 days and I’m on page 74. I normally fly through books. I highlight, write about, soak in, go back and reread portions…and love every moment of it. This one, I am not flying through. I’m pretty sure the author would be happy to hear that a book about gratitude causes me to slow down…and I’m still reading it.

My heart has felt weighted. I can’t say that it is a bad heavy feeling…it’s just there is a lot on it. My brain is on over-drive most of the time. I’m still doing Beth Moore’s bible study on James and loving it…and it has been timely (more on that later).

What am I reading in the midst of the over activity of my physical and mental state?

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

This starts out significantly heavier than I thought it would before I opened its pages. You have to get to through the heavy (and I mean heavy) in order to understand what is in front of her when the life changing message of gratitude hits (Eucharisteo – read it and you’ll get it).

In the midst of desiring to do, to be, to go and conquer…this book causes a reflection and calm I didn’t expect but needed. I’m challenged by the small things I’m grateful for. This has required me to slow down in life that is not slow.

 

 

Random Optimism

I’ve decided to change my tune today. Yesterday marked one year since we left San Angelo and moved back to Austin to plant Revive Church! One year…CRAZY! Time has flown by. This has been the fullest and most insane year ever.

We are blessed. I am grateful.

So today, I’m posting some random things that I am so grateful for. Call it some random optimism for your Thursday. We all need this on occasion. I can blame in part going through this James study. I was challenged yesterday with gratitude and gifts. I’ll share more about this tomorrow but it sparked something in me. So, here are some good things I wanted to share.

One – We live in Austin! I tell you, I love this city. Every drive downtown leaves me in awe that God would call us here and give us such a heart for it…and it’s gorgeous!

Two – I saw that meteor last night. I thought it was a helicopter till I realized it wasn’t making any noise.

Three – I’m grateful for the honest conversations that seem to constantly happen around us. Last night left me encouraged and my heart full. Oh Church, we have much to do 🙂

Four – Every conversation with an adult that I used to call “student”. Over the years they have changed my world and as adults, they continue to.

Five – God doesn’t call us to do anything alone. Our responsibilities may differ but we are not alone. A text from a friend last week reminded me of this “life is a roller coaster and roller coasters make me want to puke”. Our blog posts were rather similar…we both found some laughter and comfort in that. I laugh at the honesty, familiarity and sheer beauty of what God calls us to.

Six – my husband is awesome

Seven – My God will NEVER leave me. Ever! The desires He has put in my heart and present circumstances are not in vain. They serve a purpose.

“Be strong, courageous, do it” – 1 Chronicles 28:20

 That is all 🙂 Happy Thursday!