joy soaked words

finding my way

Month: July, 2018

lover

You know the kind of prayers. The kind of prayers where it’s all you can do, to keep the tears from spilling onto your cheeks, making your lips taste salty. The kind of prayers that are not shouted with joy and thankfulness, but rather whispered into the wind, hoping they will get to where you need them to go. Hannah Brencher, an author, blogger, creator, and somebody I hope to sit at a table with someday, hot cups of coffee in hand, and listen to how she made it. How she stopped listening to the world when times got rough. How the heck she found her voice when there are so many voices swirling around, telling us what to do. She calls these prayers breath prayers. The prayers you whisper under your breath to bring your eyes back on Jesus when they were on the waves. The prayers you whisper, help me, Jesus. You’ve lost your focus. Your eyes are on the waves, looking for a rock to hold onto. The simple prayers. These prayers are raw. They are real. Because all you need is Jesus and you are opening up, becoming vulnerable. I’ve said a lot of these breath prayers this past year. When I first started at Redeemer, I was trying to make friends. When dorm life got rough. When I was missing Mexico to the point where I was looking at plane tickets to go back. The beautiful thing is, He showed up. Every single time. He didn’t leave me hanging. He didn’t leave me in the parking lot, surrounded by falling leaves. He didn’t leave me when I was crying myself to sleep every night for a week. He didn’t leave me in the classrooms, where I was blinking back tears. He showed up because that’s the kind of lover he is.

I was having a conversation with somebody about the gaping hole that I know is going to be left when I have to say goodbye to the kids I nanny. They reminded me that there is a group of girls waiting to be loved on once I move back to school. That God keeps putting me in places where I have the chance to love people with everything I have. I was a nanny before I left for Mexico, where I worked in a homework club and had the chance to love on the kids who didn’t have much. Then I came home and was a nanny for the same family. Then I went to Redeemer and loved on the girls in my dorm the best way I knew how. I was there when they needed me and always had mini eggs to share. Then I became a nanny again. And now I am going back to Redeemer to RA. He knows. He knows. He always knows. I mean, he created me. He knows my gifts and puts me in places where he knows I will thrive. Because that’s the kind of lover he is.

I’ve been thinking a lot about creation lately, more than anything us humans. Like how intricately we have been made. The best part, we aren’t one the same. He cared enough about his creation to not even make one snowflake the same. I come back to the image of him scooping up mud, not caring about the dirt under his fingernails. Blowing a breath of life into that mud. He created a human. He kissed mud and created life. Because that’s the kind of lover he is.

I’ve been overwhelmed these past two days in the best way possible. Overwhelmed by Jesus to the point of tears. He’s been showing me his greatness, and I never want to be not overwhelmed by him. He’s wooing me because that’s the kind of lover he is.

keep loving on people guys.

give it all you got.

blessings + hugs

nat

mountains, valleys and cake.

I’ve wanted to write about this for a while. I’ve wanted to write about these mountains and valleys that each and every one of us climb, and walk through every single day. These mountains, and these valleys are like our faith life. Our relationship with Jesus. Those mountains are the highs. It’s where you can see Jesus in everything around you. You feel him right beside you. You want to shout about how good he is. Tell everybody on the street, because you are so overwhelmed by him. I recently heard somebody describe Jesus as a romantic. Someone who woes us. Pursues us. I love that description because to me it shows exactly what the mountain looks like. It’s Jesus. Chasing after our hearts, not because he needs us, but he wants us. It’s on that mountains that raw love happens. It’s on that mountain where joy is present. It’s on that mountain where you feel like you could never be more in love with Jesus. Then you walk into a valley. Those valleys are the low parts in our life. The dry seasons. The drought when we need rain. They are the diagnosis’s that rip you apart. They are the breakups from somebody you loved. They are the seasons where you can’t feel his presence, and you feel like he’s walked away. They are the moments where you feel like you can’t go on. It’s the moments where instead of running to Jesus, you are dragging your weary body back to Jesus. It’s those moments of tear-soaked journals, the ink running down the page. It’s those moments of pulling to the side of the road and sobbing against your steering wheel because you just don’t understand. I’ve been there. I’ve been on the mountain. I’ve been standing on the street, eager to tell everybody who walks past about how good Jesus is. How in love he is with me and them. I’ve been on the mountain, singing my little lungs out about his reckless love. I’ve been there. I’ve also been in that valley. I’ve been on that side of the road, forehead against the steering wheel, sobbing so hard the tears were soaking my shirt. I’ve been there. I’ve been in that valley, in that dry season. Looking for Jesus and not being able to find him. I’ve been there. I know I’ll be there again. Because he doesn’t promise us mountains.  He doesn’t promise mountains. Nor does he leave us in the valleys. He comes and finds us. He comes and finds us. Shows us that he was there the entire time even though it doesn’t seem like he was. Because that’s Jesus for you. He woes us. He loves us. He walks alongside us in this crazy journey called life. We are his daughters. His sons. His royal blood flows through our veins. These mountains and valleys are going to come and go. You are going to learn more about his radical love for you. You are going to cry and bang your fists against your steering wheel. You are going to fall more in love with the one who created you. Blew breath into mud and created Adam. That’s God. You are going to find yourself in the valley. On the mountain. Keep chasing after his heart for you. He’s never going to leave you. Forsake you. Hurt you. Because he loves you more then you will ever know.

Somebody recently asked me how I write like I do. I didn’t know how to answer this question, and I still don’t. I open this blog. This blog that I’ve opened for almost 3 years now. I start pouring out what God has been teaching me. Teaching me in the valleys. On the mountains and everywhere in between. I get real. Getting real with people you don’t know is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. I have people reach out to me, people I don’t know and say what a blessing these words have been to them. And that’s why I write. Because God has called me to write.

I wanted to add something about the valleys and the mountains. When you know somebody who’s on top of that mountain, celebrate with them. Buy cake because you have an excuse to eat cake then. When you know somebody in the valley, get down beside them and tell them that you aren’t going anywhere. Walk alongside them through the rough patches and give hugs when needed.

So let’s celebrate with cake on top of that mountain and encourage those in the valley.

Who wants a piece of cake?

Nat