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stewarding your heart

Posted in faith

The Bible tells us to watch over our heart “with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Other versions say to guard it with all vigilance. Others say to watch over it because everything you do flows from it.

The Bible also tells us to do a few things with our whole heart: trust in the Lord and love Him.

I’m a girl who lives full throttle led by her heart. I enjoy creative thinking, deep conversations, and using my imagination. I like to be active and push my body in a way that energizes me. But God has uniquely wired me to flourish in matters of the heart — care and mercy for another, relating quickly to friends or strangers wherever they find themselves, and feeling emotions deeply.

When I was in high school, I had a coach tell me I was like a chameleon. That I could fit in any group, be everyone’s friend and listening ear, including the counsel, “Make sure you’re pray-ed up.” At the time I only partly understood his challenge.

Over the years, with the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace, I’ve learned what stewarding my heart looks like for me. Maybe these practices can be helpful for you.

AGREE with Scripture

Or better yet, beware of when you’re disagreeing with it. Sounds simple, but oh so powerful. Learn what God thinks, about situations, you, the world, and agree with Him. An extension of this would be to take thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:1-6). When you find yourself camped out in a thought, submit it to what you know about God, hold it up to the light of the Bible and see how it compares. Another extension is to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any lies you are believing about God, yourself, or another person, and repent of them. It’s a muscle we must use frequently to strengthen — uproot the lie and align your feelings with your faith, replanting seeds of Truth. His Word will never fail to be the response or answer you need. Pour it in, meditate on it, set up camp in the midst of it.

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Clothe Yourself With Confidence: Macie

Posted in faith

Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

This series is for women to share what they are learning to spiritually clothe themselves with, how they choose to adorn their heart, and what they choose to put on because of their desire to be precious in God’s sight.


Confidence.

A quick google search resulted in a couple of definitions. The first: “A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Proverbs 139:14

I am a chronic sufferer of low self-esteem. I’ve struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember-even before my awkward teenage years-due to a congenital cosmetic/medical condition that also required several surgeries and hospitalizations throughout my childhood and early teenage years [Let’s not forget my tree-like figure, mile long legs, and hobbit feet, but that’s beside the point :)]. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I would be in the career I am now if it weren’t for those experiences, but boy, did it do a number on my self-esteem.

I knew and was constantly told that I wasn’t defined by these issues, by what the world thought of me, by my lack of the boyfriend that I wanted so badly to have. I had people constantly speaking the truth into me that my self-worth and beauty are found in Jesus and that I was made in His image.

These issues really didn’t start to improve until I met my husband, Caleb. HE didn’t fix it, but he pointed me to Jesus even more. He constantly pursued me and made me feel beautiful (and still does) and the Lord began healing my heart from the pain that I had felt for so long. I still wouldn’t call myself “confident” when it comes to physical appearance, but it’s something I work towards daily.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

Another definition of confidence: “The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.”

One of the other things I struggle with (I’m a hot mess, let’s just be honest) is anxiety. I started having panic attacks before I went off to college, and it is a battle I still fight (with the help of a little medication and a whole lot of Jesus) on a daily basis. When you really think about it… as a follower of Jesus, worry is not fully trusting in the Lord to lead and control your life. The Bible is filled with promises that God will provide every need, but we must have CONFIDENCE in that.

Easier said than done, right? Of course. It’s a daily, conscious decision to trust Him. To rest in HIS promises. To be CONFIDENT in Him. He is good, and He is enough.

“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalm 46:5

preaching to my daughter what I would preach to younger me

Posted in faith, kids

Even before we found out we were expecting, we knew that being a parent of any child is a wonderful and weighty responsibility. We both have good parents active in our lives. We have watched friends parent and disciple their kids, ranging from elementary age to adulthood.

But a fresh perspective has been planted in me, here in week 25, about having a daughter. Not only do I hope to teach, take care of, and love her well, to disciple her in the truth of Christ, I’m finding a fierce desire to speak life into our daughter as if I could speak it into 12, 16, 20 year old me.

There’s no shame or condemnation here. Only a desire for her to know in her bones and believe in her heart truth I would challenge my younger self to be more deeply rooted in if I could.

I’m such a list-maker it’s almost laughable, but here we go…

You are not God’s and He is not yours for you to walk through life timid, anxious, and insecure. Find your confident stance in Christ and praise Him with your life.

Being served and being comfortable feels like the way to happiness, but they’re actually pretty shallow. The road to joy is one of going low like Jesus did, serving and loving and giving, relying on God’s sufficiency to fill the gaps.

Fight the temptation to put around your neck the yoke of pleasing everyone. It will never happen, and it not happening isn’t your fault or your responsibility. Love all, please One.

Trying to earn love or acceptance is like being stuck on a hamster wheel. You are loved unconditionally and relentlessly by God, and everyone else’s love is a bonus. Learning to accept it thankfully will release you from the paralyzing pressure of maintaining it. It will also fuel you to freely give it away without demanding it from others.

Being right, being the best, being perceived in a particular way by your peers does not make you more worthy. It doesn’t make or break you. What makes or breaks you is your life with God and how you love others.

You are going to mess up. In big ways and small. Frequently. We know that. And our love for you won’t waver. Don’t run or hide. Don’t fret about the ongoing struggle. Confess your need for forgiveness and walk in God’s light and love.

It’s interesting. These are things that will naturally flow from me into our daughter because this is the fruit of abiding with Jesus for the years I have so far. (Clumsy, slow, sometimes messy, sometimes even resistent fruit bearing.) We are the parents she’s getting. I can’t preach something authentically I haven’t owned. And it would be challenging to ask our girl to live and love a certain way without confiding in her how I know it’s the best way (stories of my pride, my sin, God’s goodness and always-sufficient grace).

“Knowing how God saved you enables you to feel a fitting thankfulness to God. You can’t be thankful for what God did if you think you did it.” John Piper

As the years go on, through the grace of God, each of us will be growing and changing and learning. As we’re filled with more of the fullness of God, as we continue to cling to the Vine (John 15), we’ll give who we are to each other. And when she’s grown up and possibly a mom herself, she’ll hopefully have her own unique fruit to share with her kid. And so on.

What a design of God. Generations. Family. Discipleship. Community.

I’m both humbled and excited. And will shamelessly throw in that bit about the sparkly silver liquid eyeliner I wore in middle school. Yikes.