God helped us! Have you cried those words before?
"Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it 'Ebenezer' (Rock of Help), saying, 'This marks the place where God helped us.'" 1 Samuel 7:12-14
This spot, right here, this is where God helped us.
If my life was laid out in map form, it would be so thoroughly covered with images of these "rocks," these "Ebenezers," it would brink difficult to decipher any coherency.
That's not a life map, one might observe. That's a little piece of paper covered in rocks.
Yes. To both.
It is a life map and it is indeed covered in rocks. And I'll tell you why: because without those rocks, the life part wouldn't exist. It's true.
God helped us.
I boldly attribute any and every ounce of my life, the good and the bad, to the sovereignty of God and the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. I've often felt a tension, in this blog space, to not be overly emphatic about Jesus. I know there are so many searching for truth and meaning and purpose, and you have graciously given me permission to explore and question alongside your quest. For that I am honored.
But the fact remains, as much as I am searching and questioning and dialoguing like you, I know one thing to be true: God helped us.
These three words hold so much meat sandwiched between them, that one essay, one book, one library could not contain its enormity.
But let's try to bite off just a piece.
God helped us, acknowledges there is a God. He does exist.
God helped us, acknowledges there is a God, who doesn't just exist, but He cares.
God helped us, acknowledges there is a God who doesn't just exist, and just care, but possesses the character and desire to assist, redeem and restore, actively in this life.
God helped us, acknowledges there is a God who doesn't just exist, and just care, and just possesses the character and desire to assist, redeem, and restore actively in this life, but in your life. In my life.
Despite the vast chasm of knowledge I am lacking, I know these things to be true, not on theory alone, but because I have experienced them, first hand. Here, here, here and here. (And that's just a fraction.)
These are my rocks. These are my Ebenezer stones that boldly and unashamedly proclaim, yes, God helped us.
Charles Spurgeon, a great man of faith, once said,
"Study deeply what Sovereign Grace has done to you, that you may see the greatness of the mercy and admire it, for, very much in proportion as you appraise the mercy of God at its proper value, will you be sure to have it fixed upon your memory all your life."(Emphasis mine)
Looking back is the greatest tool we have in this life. (Click to tweet) Whether it's to remember where we came from and never go back or to remember what inspired us forward to being with, we could all use a minute down memory lane.
Will you look back with me today, to remember where God, who exists and cares and redeems, has helped us?
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The Stone Collective is a community making much of Jesus as we create art, photography, prose, poems or music that commemorate the wonderful things God does in our life. Started by Sarah Martin and based on the passage in 1 Samuel 7:12-14, each month we will collect Ebenezer Stones as a regularly practice in the art of worship via our creativity.
Want to join in on The Stone Collective? Create your own Stone and link up to LIVE IT OUT! Blog. #TheStoneCollective
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(Original photo via)
Ty: Remember when you use to blog everyday?
You'd think, a three-hour napper would give me some space and time to sit and pound out a couple of the posts I have bouncing in and out of my head all day. But sometimes bills, laundry and sleep take precedence.
I've always had a hard time not being the perfect housewife. I hate cleaning and when I attempt to cook a meal, I'm easily distracted; resulting in something burning, overflowing, or disgusting. I frequently have to rewash laundry because I forget to switch it over. My counters don't sparkle and it's a good day if the bed gets made.
Every January first, at least one of my resolutions consist of changing this part of me.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to get anxious about the extra responsibility motherhood was going to put on these areas of my life. If I can't get these under control now, how am I going to do this and take care of another human being? Pinterest didn't help.
Perfection was my goal and meeting that goal wasn't looking good.
"Striving for excellence motivates you, striving for perfection is demoralizing." -Dr. Harriet Bralker
Striving for perfection is disheartening. Discombobulating. Discouraging.
There have been moments in the last three months when I've felt just that: demoralized. Not because I have a difficult baby or even lack of sleep, but because of giant monster we call "comparison." Between "Supermom's" Facebook posts and the self-burdening expectations I put on myself and my sweet baby, comparison has gotten the better of me on more than one occasion.
I've quickly realized perfection is unattainable, because perfection is a mirage. (You know someone needs to hear that! Tweet, tweet?)
If there's one thing I've learned so far, in my short stint of this marathon, it's that motherhood isn't an end goal, it's a journey (Click to tweet). The failure, the struggle, the joy and exceeding expectations are part of it all; or so I hear.
I may not be as perfect as I'd hoped to be, but I'm learning to accept that right now, at this point in my journey, to my baby girl, I'm as good of a mother as I can be.
"There's something better than perfection," and it's authenticity. I need it, my daughter needs it, my husband needs it, my community needs it.
*If you are on Facebook, you saw the picture that rocked me into this whole thing. Sure, it may be messier, less squeaky and more wrinkly. But it's worth it.
Maybe, you've been struggling with the mirage of perfection too; in motherhood, in academia, in the workforce, in marriage. Maybe you've felt like your end goal is unattainable. Unreachable. You don't feel like the best ____________________. Me neither. But right now, in this season, as learners and seekers, we are the best we can be. And sometimes, that's good enough.
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What's a stand-out lesson you've learned about "mirage of perfection" so far? It can be from your own experience or from observing someone else's experience.
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Dear Women (not yet) in Worship,
You know who you are.
You're sitting close enough to the front to feel the music loud, but a couple rows back so no one really, really notices you singing your heart out. I see you.
You come to church every week, a tad early, and rarely late. However, it's not because you're one of those people who show up before the previews in a movie theater (you know who you are), but because you'd rather push over that greeter than miss the first song. And if you do come in a little late, you're singing the minute you hear the words clear enough. I see you.
You don't look at the slides anymore because you know nearly every song by heart and you can close and lift your eyes to the heavens with freedom. I see you.
What you may lack in confidence or vocal technique, you make up for in passion and soul. I see you.
You sit in that chair every week, silently wishing you had the courage, the time, or the voice to join the team. I see you.
You start doubting that nudge you feel every week that says Go ahead, try out, you can do it. I see you.
You have made the stage an untouchable mirage you only daydream about stepping onto. I see you.
I'm here to tell you, the stage, the platform that seems so high and far off, it's built on brokenness, failures, doubts and inadequacies. (< Click to tweet.)
The stage isn't a badge of holiness, but rather a badge of humility. (tweet, tweet?) There is no room for pride when it comes to leading God's people; only prayer, passion, and perseverance.
You are a powerhouse, not because of who you are, but because of Whose you are. You were created for a specific purpose, and if you aren't living into that purpose, the Church, your brothers and sisters, are crippled. Health comes when every part is working and moving.
It's okay to be scared. It's okay to be nervous. It's okay that your voice isn't what it once was or what it should be. It's okay you'd rather die than speak in public. We can push our way past all that and watch God transform you.
I see you. I believe in you. Take the chance, ask for an audition or opportunity, and then equip yourself.
It's your time to move.
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Are you ready to take the next step as a women (not yet) in worship? I want to meet you, talk to you, equip and encourage you. Shoot me an email or sign up for my 5-Week Worship Coaching Course and let's get this ball rolling!
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Original photo via, edited by JM
Dear Sisters, I'm sorry. Tonight, at this year's VMA Awards, every young girl in the world was sent a message we've been trying to dissipate for years.
A message sent by many other mediums and vices. A message with potential to damage and inevitably demean. A message with an illusion of strength, but a reality of sorrow. A message glamorized by makeup and costumes. A message fantasized by girls just like you.
That message? Sex means "growing up." Use your sexuality to get noticed and get what you want. Sex is power.
No no one can blame Miley Cyrus for wanting to become more than the Disney Channel girl. We all need to grow up at some point. But what the world witnessed tonight was a juvenile and sorry attempt to do so. We didn't see a little girl growing up. We saw a wildly inappropriate exhibit of sexuality distorted and warped.
Please hear me when I say, this: It is not truth, it is not good, and there is nothing glamorous about it. Maturity doesn't come in the cheap sale of something so valuable. Value doesn't rise when something is thrown flippantly to all. (Tweet that.)
Don't hear me wrong, the fact that you and I, as girls, are sexual beings is nothing to be apologizing for. Don't be ashamed of it, but don't throw it to the dogs either.
You were made to awaken your sexuality in freedom, with no inhibitions and no audience. You were meant to explore your sexuality in freedom, with one man who's committed to love and cherish and adore you; no matter what. There is a time for that and it will come. I promise.
You are worth more. Miley is worth more. And when her audience has gawked enough, they will abandon her while her actions follow her into wherever the future leads. And while they're not unredeemable, they are pivotal.
Don't be fooled, sweet girls, by the glamour of what you saw. Be wiser. (Tweet, tweet.)~
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