living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Gathering Place…

bench pillows pixa     There is a place, a gathering place, it is calm there and peace whispers your name with love.

Don’t need to travel far but you have to turn away from the day to day to find it. It’s as close as a deep exhale and as far as the heavens that stretch into eternity.

“He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

Close to His heart, gathered in His arms, the gathering place…

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Can’t see it, but we can feel it. Can’t be lost in it all the time, but we can never leave it. This place, the heartbeat of Jesus, is at once where our head lays and where we find brave for our next step of faith.

We’re there when all the world is shut out and we lay bare our hearts seeking His wisdom, His grace, His healing, His power, His forgiveness, giving thanks in all circumstances.

We’re there when open in our laps is the Word of life, living and active, new every morning mercies, the answers before the question forms.

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There’s a great song by Casting Crowns ‘Just Be Held’, the chorus reminds us Who gathers us close:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

“I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4b NIV)

This, then, is how we Live Brave: in our weakness we let ourselves be gathered to the heart of our Sustainer. We surrender our effort to the timing of our Rescuer. We lift up our eyes and empty our hands of control. The Gathering Place, tell everyone about it…

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Looking Up…

white daisy pixa x     Going on a trip usually sounds exciting. We make our plans and then as the time approaches we begin to second guess. Thoughts swirl ‘what if something goes wrong while I’m away’, ‘what if it’s not fun like I thought it would be and I wasted a lot of money’, ‘I would rather just stay home, I love being home’…

This is where I sometimes find myself –  when I’m looking down, inward – letting worry, lack of confidence, fear have its way.

Then I am reminded “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121:1-2 NIV) Look up, above all this, look up – not to self, not to what circumstances are trying to convince me of, not letting fear be my master.

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When I look up, the ten hour drive becomes adventure instead of anxiety. The unfamiliar becomes a memory maker instead of a courage taker. When I look up my eyes are lifted to my Confidence, to the One who wants to show me new things and grow my bravery. Emily P. Freeman recently said “I’ve learned that God is not a great travel agent, but He’s a fantastic traveling companion.”

This is what I find when I’m looking up “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:4-5 NIV)

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Whether I am home in my little safe place or out on the road to adventure, He is right there. Travelling this life with me and knowing that if I will just look up He will be able to make the impossible possible through me. For God’s ways will always prevail regardless of whether I step out with Him or not. The question becomes will I be involved in His glorious plan, or will I play it safe?

May our outlook for the journey – to the grocery store or a thousand miles away – be held by His gaze. May we step out with these words echoing through our hearts “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

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Less Travelled…

convertible canva x     Do you ever dream about travelling…in a convertible…on back roads…sun shining, light breeze – no worries behind or ahead…

That is someday…for those who believe because “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

For now, we live in a broken world. Faces needing to see in our eyes f a i t h… When the brokenness of health lost, relationship shattered, money lacking is reality, will we still lift our eyes, in faith, knowing that in this world we will have troubles?

gift hands pixa x

Faith is not something we have to muster up. Did you know that it’s a gift? Everything we need is given by the Giver of all good things, even f a i t h… “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)

Is today a day where you’ve wandered…away? We will have our faithless times – our questioning thoughts, our doubting fears, our d.i.y. ways. 2Timothy 2:13 NIV tells us “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful.”

Take the road less travelled…The one that others pass by thinking it will rob them of the thrills, of the perks, of the good life. Easy to perceive the emptiness of the well travelled road… Look in the eyes of those on it – is there hope in those eyes, is there freedom in those eyes?

eyes scard pixa x

The road less travelled leads to peace in the chaos, joy in the heartbreak, calm in the storm. The world says power/money/sex/prescriptions are the answer. Do the eyes of those who have the world’s goodies shine with confidence or shadow with doubt? (look past the make-up and the photoshopping)

“Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.” Elisabeth Elliot  Got questions? He has answers when we walk hand in hand with Him. He is the One who will be with us til the very end of the ages – and the One who will welcome us into eternity…where all will indeed be well…

dirt road pixa x

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!​​


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Getting Lost, Finding…

sign directionxx     Lost? Ever right where you’re supposed be but can’t find your way?

Strangers on this earth, it’s easy to wake each day, do all the things we’re supposed to and suddenly look around and question – why?

Is there purpose in all this daily doing?

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When Paul was on a ship adrift, lost, and bound for wreckage, all the men on the ship were despairing, but he calmly said to them: “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” (Acts 27:22 NIV) Paul was not lost, wherever he was, he knew his way Home…

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In the wreckage of our days: suicides, terrorism, financial ruin, tornadoes, famine – maybe not so daunting but still our stuff – wayward children, lost job, car accident – maybe even just the frustrating – lost keys, late to work, broken window… we can feel abandoned, adrift, lost…

Remember  “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10 NIV)

So today in the midst of the delay in your expectations, the disappointment of hopes not fulfilled, the deceit of worldly pleasures you can still find the Way for He has told you how to get Home… Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV italics/underline mine)

In the lostness rest in this “Like the wind, grace finds us wherever we are and won’t leave us however we were found.” (Ann Voskamp underline mine) When you find yourself in Him you can be sure who you were will be radically made new with each step you take towards Home…

Join me in the journey leading straight to where we want to be?

country roadx

 


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October 8, 2014 I’ll Go With You…

reaching hand1    It’s always more fun to go someplace with a friend. It’s always more comforting to go someplace we’re a little anxious about with someone who cares. I recently went to the doctor’s office with my daughter (yes she is all grown-up) not so much because she was fearful, but because I was. I wanted to be there and hear the doctor. When she had called to tell me about the appointment my first response was “I’ll go with you…”

Years ago I started attending an annual conference a couple of hours from my home. The first time I was unsure what to expect and even what workshops to attend, how to navigate the vendor hall, or where to eat. I asked a friend if she was interested in attending, she immediately said “I’ll go with you…”

A few years back when my mother passed away our lives were crazy busy – we owned two businesses each of us running one and both of us working on both. My mom was a nine hour drive away. I called my husband to tell him that she was in the hospital and probably wouldn’t make it. I wanted to tell him that I could go by myself, but in the fear of the unknown ahead I knew I needed him. The first thing he said was “I’ll go with you…”

When our stomachs tell us fear is with us, when our breathing becomes sighs, when the fears are not ‘what ifs’ but actuals, we need someone who will go with us…

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10HCSB)

God’s Words are true for you – you will never go by yourself. He has told you “I’ll go with you…”

 


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October 4, 2014 I Know You…

skyname2    Do you ever have those dreams…the ones where you’re back in high school and you can’t remember your locker code, you look down and notice you have fuzzy slippers on, and when you walk outside you don’t know anyone – but everyone is staring at you?

Don’t you love going someplace far from home and running into somebody you know? Isn’t it more fun to stand in line with someone ahead of you that you can chat with?

Fear of the unknown is the most common anxiety maker of all. The first writing conference I ever went to was very small, no more than 40-50 people, the speakers were published but not well known, it was on the other side of the state, I had no idea what to expect. By the time my husband pulled up to drop me off I wasn’t sure if I was going to throw up or pass out – all I knew was I probably looked like my daughter did the first day I took her to kindergarten – and confident wasn’t it…

What about when we are in our comfort zone, part of the crowd where we know pretty much everybody? Does it occur to us that there is someone there that doesn’t, that wants to run, whose longing for the event to be over?

There are two favorite things I love to hear in a crowd either “Why don’t you sit with us?” or “I’ve been looking for you.” Psalm 139 tells us God knows us – He knows us like no one else does (and He still loves us, wow). Next time I’m walking into that conference or travelling by myself, let me look up to the sky and hear Him whisper “I know you…”