Boldness

Dictionary.com defines bold(ness) as not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring (ie. a bold hero) or not hesitating to break the rules of propriety (ie. He apologized for being so bold as to speak to the emperor).

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. {Acts 4:31}

Boldness in Strong’s is #3954, parrhesia (par-rhay-see’-ah), and is defined as all out spokenness, that is, frankness, bluntness, publicity; by implication assurance.

Boldness. I desire boldness in speaking the Name of Jesus to those who don’t know them. Not just by saying, “Yes, I’m a Christian” and “Yes, I go to church.” And not just in my actions but in telling people about Jesus’ sacrifice for me and for the whole world. That he did so out of love.

Part of why I stopped blogging this summer unexpectedly is because I have this holy discontentment with my life. And I’m not talking about my job (although, there are days when it leaves something to be desired but that is a whole other post) or my finances (again, whole other post) or even my singleness (let’s not go there, m’kay?). But a discontentment with my walk.

I am discontent with my lack of boldness in proclaiming the Name of Jesus in my life. When I am placed in a situation where I can speak of the Goodness of God in my life, it is as if I’ve become a mute! Now, I know actions speak louder than words but sometimes the Word needs to be spoken. I even feel this way when I am praying.

My hearts true desire is to walk out this life – His Life in me – to bring Him glory. Not for any other reason. To not back down when things get tough – and they are getting tougher. The Bible says that the days will “wax worse and worse.”

But I have Hope. Hope in Him who lives in me to do the things that I can not do. To be strong when I am weak. I shine through me.

In our Sunday School class today, one woman brought up a trip to a glass museum she went on this past week. During her tour of the museum, there was a demonstration by a master glass blower. In how she described it, it reminded me of how God deals with us, His children. She mentioned the glass being put in the fire. Then, it is removed from the fire on this rod where the “breath of life” is breathed into the glass all while the rod is turned so that all the sides of the piece of glass are even. The glass is then placed back in the furnace so that it becomes pliable again. She mentioned that during the demonstration, the glass blowers showed the audience how pliable the glass was when it was hot and that they told them that there are many more things that can be down with glass than with pottery. And that when this glass is held up to light, it shines so brightly and with so many different colors. Each piece is uniquely different and is for a different use.

Each child of God is a different vessel with a different use or calling but with the same goal in mind – to magnify and shine God to others. With boldness.

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Music Review: Audrey Assad “The House You’re Building”

Have you heard of Audrey Assad?

Well, if you haven’t, you should.

Her first album came out in July but I didn’t purchase it until just last week and it is so good! (To be honest, I keep playing it over and over. Lucky for me I don’t get sick of music. I just can’t seem to want to play anything else.)

I’m not even sure I have just one favorite song off of the album. It starts with the upbeat “For Love of You” and the title track, “The House You’re Building.” Then, of course, there is “Restless” which is ah-mazing. Now, I don’t use that word lightly. The words of the chorus are “And I’m restless until I rest in You.” Hello!

But it’s more than just the lyrics. It’s her voice and the instrumentation that accompanies it. I don’t know… it’s just perfect. I’m not sure if it’s just because of where I am right now in my walk but this album is just really speaking to me right now.

Of course, $7.99 on iTunes is another pretty great reason to pick it up, too! You can get it here as well for $7.98 if you prefer to have the physical CD. Either way, it’s pretty nice price if you ask me.

So, go out and get it! Have a great day everyone! Blessings. 🙂

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review. I am reviewing this album all on my own. No one has asked me to do it. I just really like the album and want you to pick it up, too!

Stop Pestering Me!

There are moments when I feel like my friends would say that to me.

It’s usually when I’m about to type a text or hit the send button…. (And the crazy thing about it is I don’t really text all that often.)

I get this thought in my head that I’m bugging them when I send them a text or call them. I’m not really sure why this is.

All I know is that I feel like the annoying single friend amongst a bunch of married with children friends (you know the stereotypical geeky girl in high school movies that just wants to be able to hang out with the “cool kids” – yeah, that’s me). Like I’m missing out when they get together for lunch or to read together during the day. It makes me sad.

Because I know I need these people. I love them.

But…

Sometimes I get this nagging thought that they don’t really need me.

Because I’m not in the same place in life that they are. I’m still “free as a bird” while they are tied to someone (or more than one someones). Not that it matters. We’re all walking with God. It just sometimes feels like they are a few steps ahead of me…

The sad thing is, is that I don’t even know how to tell them that I do really need them. And that the reason why I don’t text them during the day is because I feel like I’m bothering them or pestering them.

I don’t want to feel that way and I don’t want them to feel that way. So I just don’t do anything and I keep feeling like an annoyance when really I desire to reach out to them on a daily (or almost daily) basis. These women may not be my biological sisters but they are the sisters of my heart and Spirit. I just hope they know that…

I need their encouragement. I need them to keep me accountable (even when I’m not in the mood to hear it because I have my days…). The Christ that lives in my needs the Christ that lives in them. Because without each other we are only parts of a whole.

Does anyone else ever feel like this? If so, what have you done to change it?

National Day of Encouragement

Today, September 12th is the National Day of Encouragement.

On September 1, (in)courage posted a blog that gave everyone the opportunity to receive a free pack of 10 cards from their new Hope and Encouragement series. In return, anyone who received the cards was asked to use at least one of the cards to encourage someone today. Then they asked if  we would either post one of the stories to the comment section of their blog post for today or write a post on our own blog and then link up to their blog.

(Please overlook the mess that is my desk.)

Here are some of the cards from the pack. All of the cards are really beautiful. The paper they are printed on has a really nice texture and the graphics are really nice too. And, of course, the messages on the cards are spot on, I think.

One of the cards I used was for a friend who in the last 2 years has lost her father, her son and has dealt with a lot of trying and testing through her family. (It is not my story so that is as much as I will share.)

I could sense that she was struggling with some of these issues and I immediately felt that this ^ card would be perfect for her. Because she is a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve but she also will be strong for everyone around her. She is a beautiful soul and spirit. And she handles everything so beautifully that I knew she needed to hear that we all see it too.

Of course, it made her cry. But it was exactly what she needed to hear. And I’m so glad that God directed me to give that card to her.

Pictures from the Summer Part 2

Last Labor Day weekend, we started an annual camping trip for the 20- and 30-somethings. This year we went in mid-August instead of Labor Day weekend. I wasn’t able to go last year due to the cost but this year I was able to go and we had a blast! There was lots of bonding between everyone that was able to go. I hope I’ll be able to go on next year’s trip, too.

Here are a few pictures from the trip:

If You Want Me To

Over the summer, I became acquainted with the music of Ginny Owens thanks to Pandora. Specifically her song, “If You Want Me To.” It absolutely knocked my socks off for no other reason but the lyrics.

Ginny’s story is pretty cool. Here’s the really short version: As a young child she lost her sight because of an infection (I believe it was some sort of infection). She grew up to learn to play the piano and singing though. She then went to college to teach music. When she went out to look for a job after college, she was turned down at very interview for the fact that the schools did not want to hire a blind music teacher. There is a really good story about how she became a recording artist but I can not remember it at the moment. Anyway, it was during this time when she was continually getting rejected from these schools that this song was written.

My favorite lines from the song are the chorus:

Cause I’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

Um, hello! She was reading my mail on that one let me tell you.

Because I really am not the same person I was back in October 2005 when I began this journey of following God. This walk, this people that God has placed me with are the only things that have remained the same in the last 5 years (with the exception of my family but even that has changed to an extent). I’ve changed jobs twice. I’ve started and finished school. I’ve gone halfway around the world (literally) and back. I’ve even had three different cars in the past 5 years!

But it’s only been 5 short years. I know God has so much more in store for me. I’ve been through my share of trials and struggles because my human mind and heart put limits to how I wanted God to fulfill His promises to me. Promises of a husband, a family, of being able to small yet great things to further His Kingdom.

All of these struggles and trials bring me to a place where a realize that I need God. I need to have my own relationship with Him. Not that I didn’t think I already had one but I cultivate that relationship. To desire to spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer.

So I am starting a new season of my life where I am being intentional about seeking Him out. I’m seeking to deepen my friendships with other believers who will encourage me and keep me accountable for being in the Word and in prayer.

Pictures from the Summer Part 1

So to get back in the swing of things, I am doing two things:

1. Committing to writing a blog post (at least) 3 times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

2. A few of the posts coming up will be pictures that I took over the summer. I really had some great opportunities to take pictures. On two occasions I was a “second shooter” at weddings helping out a friend of mine who has a side photography business.

In this post are pictures I took at the beach. We went to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. This was the first time I had been to Hampton Beach since I was 17 – that’s 11 years! Yikes! The same weekend we were there, there was a Master Sand Art exhibit/competition. These are amazing works of art people! And in the pictures you’ll see that some of the artists were working on their sculptures live. Pretty intense.

So, without further ado…. Enjoy!