Chosen and Not Rejected

PrintI took a personality test, and one of its findings shows that I have a need to fit in. I’m not the person who blazes the path – I like to be in the middle. I’m a doer and a world changer and hard charger, but I want to be safely arm and arm with other people as I do it.

Being an outsider is really hard for me. Rejection is hard.

It makes this verse that much sweeter to me. I am chosen. I am not alone – God is with me. On my hard days, I’m not alone. I don’t have to be scared. I don’t have to push through as one who has been rejected. God has promised to strengthen me, to help me, and to uphold me with his righteous right hand.

Friend… you, too are chosen. You are not alone. You aren’t rejected. You don’t have to figure this out by yourself. No matter who has rejected you, criticized you, forgotten you, left you behind… the Great I AM is with you. You aren’t alone… you are the daughter of the King.

Find comfort in that, and hold your head high, dear chosen one!

Do I have faith when the stuff hits the fan?

Last week I wrote about how God has provided in a BIG way to our family this year. That we have been saving toward something BIG, and that He has been so faithful to bring us extra work to cover the costs. I wish I could tell you more, but someday I’m going to have a big story to tell you. It’ll be worth the wait.

Well, a few days after I praised God for providing for us, our air conditioner bit the dust. On Father’s Day, while I waited for Mr. Right and Wrenn to return from a weekend at a relative’s ranch, the house started getting hotter and HOTTER. Texas summer heat is no joke, y’all. We called our trusty AC guy, who we had just paid $2,000 about a month before to fix our ailing unit… and he came out and declared our AC dead. As a door nail. Unfixable.

I cried. Like, ugly cried. And then we quickly threw a bunch of clothes in a bag and headed to my in-law’s house for an extended stay.

I wish I could tell you that my first response was, God’s got this. Not fear or worry or anxiety, just trust. But no, my first response was to ugly cry. And feel sorry for myself. (Not to mention I had dinner reservations to take Mr. Right out for an amazing Father’s Day dinner in Dallas… all the details arranged… and instead, we were hurriedly packing our things. In the heat.)

That was Sunday. On Monday, I woke up with my stomach in knots, and cried some more. Sweet Wrenn even prayed for me, that God “would help mommy feel better.” I took her in the car to run an errand, and in the car, while she slept soundly, God and I had a heart to heart. Here’s how it went:

Me, crying:

God, I’m so scared. I don’t know what we’re going to do. We have worked SO HARD to save money for {that thing}, and I know it’s your will. I KNOW IT. And now, we’ve got to spend all that money on an AC instead. Why? It’s not fair! We can’t afford it right now. That money has a NAME. What are we going to do???

Here’s what we’re going to do. God, I trust you. You are a good God. This didn’t surprise you. You knew all along our AC would break and we’d have to pay for it. I have to trust you. HELP ME TO TRUST YOU. I have to give you my fear. I don’t know what to do, so I am giving it to you. I trust you with this problem. I trust you to provide. I trust you to give us wisdom. Help me to FEEL that trust in my gut. I am laying this at your feet. I know you can handle it.

Y’all… God loves real, raw prayers. Don’t be afraid to tell Him you trust Him, but you are going to need Him to help you FEEL that trust. God can handle it.

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Here’s what I know. My God isn’t just worth trusting when things are going smoothly. When everything is falling into place. When it’s easy. No… my God is worth trusting when the you-know-what hits the fan. When there is no good solution. When things hurt. REALLY HURT. That’s when I’m going to trust him too.

My friend is claiming Romans 4:20-21 as she walks through something hard. Really hard. She asked me to design a print for her, so she could continue to keep this promise in front of her. It turns out, I needed to dwell on this verse as well. This is mine, too. It can be yours, too. If you need to remember that God has the POWER to do what he had promised to Abraham, and to YOU, then please enjoy a free print. On me. Just download it here.

Let’s be people who cling to God’s promises when we’re being tossed around on the waves. When we feel like we’re drowning. When there’s no way out. When our feelings don’t match what we know to be true. When it’s really, really hard to trust God. When we’re holding on for dear life… He can handle it.

I love you, friends.

What my toddler has taught me about God’s love

I always tell people that marriage taught me how much I need a Savior, and motherhood has taught me how much my Savior loves me. Suddenly, I see life through a totally different perspective. I look at my child and more than anything, I want her to know that I love her. That’s she’s secure. That she her worth is not based on her behavior or her appearance or anything she can accomplish. She can’t earn my love. I love her simply because she’s mine.

Toddler

The following are life lessons I’ve been teaching Wrenn, that are really also teaching me:

It’s okay to be angry, but you still must be kind.

It’s okay to be sad, but you still must be kind.

God loves you even when you make bad choices.

I forgive you, and God forgives you.

When something’s wrong, stop everything and pray. 

Kind words are not enough. You must also use a kind voice and a kind face.

Our choices have consequences. But I will always forgive you.

God cares about the tiniest details.

Tomorrow is a new day. 

Oh, if only I could remember these truths when I look to my own Father, and think about how much He loves me. Not based on my performance. Or anything, rather, that I could ever do to earn his love. He loves me simply because I’m His.

treasured

Free Prints: Blessing people is just FUN

When I chose to shut down my shop last year, it was to give myself more freedom – more breathing room – to experiment creatively. To just… create. And I have had such a fun time.

But I still have a few passion projects that I love to support, which is why when a friend told me that she was hosting an IF:Gathering session at her house last weekend and that she needed some scripture prints for her guests, I jumped at the opportunity to bless them.

Texas Lovely .. Grace upon grace Blessing people is just FUN.

Not to mention I love anything that has to do with ministering to women, empowering them to be better moms and wives and friends and Jesus followers through the truth of scripture. And I love any excuse to fill your home to the brim with people who need love and safety and good old-fashioned hospitality.

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And so, I wanted to bless YOU too, my dear readers. Each gal at my friend’s event received a 5×7 print of both scriptures, and I want you to have them too! Just click here and here to download them, and feel free to share. My only request is that you DON’T sell them or mass-distribute them, and that if you repost them on your blog or Facebook account (which I would LOVE, by the way) that you give me credit and link back to my website. Deal? Deal.

XOXO, Bethe

We are filled with joy: A Thanksgiving reflection

Great things

To compare this year to last year is to simply laugh. Last year was the worst year of my life. This year, one of the best. Not because nothing bad happened – we experienced our share of heartbreak and stress – we lost a baby, we lost our dog (just last week), my sister’s baby spent weeks in the NICU, our close friends moved several states away. Life was still hard, but it was also so sweet.

And the hard came one at a time, not like the waterfall of hard things that almost drowned us last year. Between the hard this year were long stretches of peace. Of easy, and fun, and adventures and health and laughter. So much laughter. And rest, and friends, and more time together as a little family of three than we have ever gotten to spend before. Time to write, and create, and play on the floor and spend hours outside working in our garden.

I am thankful for the hard, because it makes years like this seem that much sweeter. This year has been filled with wonder that can only be seen through the eyes of a two-year-old.

I am thankful for holidays and dedicated times to look back and reflect on God’s goodness. His goodness on the peaceful days, and his goodness during my times of sorrow. His goodness during times of healing, and times of serving, and times of just being.

He is so faithful.

The Lord has done great things for {me}, and {I am} filled with joy. (Psalm 126:3)

My prayer for today (and it should be yours too)

Pineapple - peace

Girlfriends, let’s pray this prayer today over our marriages. Our children. Our friendships. Our workplaces. Our families. Our enemies. Our neighborhoods.

God, help us to be peacemakers who sow in peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. Because Lord knows that being a peacemaker is next to impossible without divine intervention. Can I get an amen?

Rest and a new week

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My plan for this weekend had been to REST. Lots of rest. My plan was to barely leave our house, hang out and get ahead on housework, recharge my batteries, spend some extra time with Wrenn while Mr. Right went camping with some guys from church, and do things that I enjoy.

God knew I needed the rest, and I think it’s no coincidence that Mr. Right and I both came down with sore throats/colds on Friday, forcing us to slow WAY down and really do almost nothing. That, and the seven inches of rain that cancelled Mr. Right’s camping plans (and made the weekend stuck at home even better, with the soothing sound of rain in the background during my long naps).

This morning I wrote out my calendar, all the plans we have for the week, and handed them over to God. I want his blessing on my calendar, on my plans, on the ways I’m spending my time. The calendar that tends to leave me feeling tired and overwhelmed. This morning, that calendar is His.

A solution for bad days: Remembering I’m BELOVED

Do you ever have a bad day? One of those days where you feel completely worthless, unlovable, unworthy. A day where you feel fat, and wretched, and insecure, and like you have so many secrets that if others found out, they would be horrified?

(You know, those big secrets like {gasp} sometimes you fight with your spouse, or you haven’t meal planned since 2012, or something deep and dark that brings you shame.)

At my conference last week, Louie Giglio may have spoken to an arena with 12,000 people, but he was really speaking directly to me. He didn’t know it, but God did. There were so many things he said that pierced me, but my favorite part was when he talked about how important it is to see ourselves through God’s eyes. To view ourselves the way God views us. I see my limitations, my sins, my screw-ups, my SHAME, the many times I dropped the ball. But how does He see me?

Texas Lovely {beloved}

God sees me as:

righteous :: redeemed :: WORTH DYING FOR :: forgiven :: treasured :: wanted :: chosen :: worth singing over :: WORTHY :: beautiful :: someone worth giving good gifts to :: provided for :: protected :: having the light of life :: strong because of Him :: saved :: full of JOY :: worth rejoicing over :: full of faith :: fearfully and wonderfully made :: confident :: worthy of grace. 

LOVED.

If I could see myself the way God sees me, you know what I would feel?

joy :: gratitude :: rejoicing :: like telling everybody

The song I have had on repeat in my car for the past 10 months (well, when I’m not listening to Serial podcasts) has been this one. Friends, may we remember to start each morning reminding ourselves of who God says we are.

God is telling me to go small

grace upon grace

Last week I was in Atlanta live tweeting and Instagramming the Catalyst Leadership Conference for work. I got to hear from the gals at If: Gathering, Louie and Shelley Giglio, Andy Stanley, Brene Brown, the guy who founded Warby Parker, the guy who founded Charity Water, one of the leading photographers of our era,  and David Crowder played a few songs. And somehow I got paid to do it. Not a bad way to spend a week.

Listening to leaders speak for three days straight is enough to make my type-A head explode. Do more of this… you could be GREAT if only you would sacrifice more… think bigger… be more… do less… let God…

How do all of these things apply to little old me? Doing MORE is never much of a struggle for me. I can do, do, do around the clock until I wind myself up into a ball of stress, unable to sit because there is one more thing to do. One more thing to create. One more task at hand. One more item to check off my list. One more obligation. One more good thing. One more… one more… one more…

So what is the next great thing God has for me? Does He want me to do something GREAT by the world’s standards? Does he want me to be famous, standing on a stage someday using my gifts for His glory? The crazy thing is, right now I feel like He is telling me that it’s not about being great – it’s about being a great servant. That He doesn’t care one bit if I’m famous – that it’s okay to be behind the scenes. That He can use my gifts at my job and in the one-on-one interactions I have on a daily basis.

I feel like lately God has been teaching me that when I do less – when I create more margin in my life – then I am available to love others better. When I have a stack of frozen casseroles in my freezer, I am better able to help someone out in a pinch who needs to experience God’s love. When I have free time built into my schedule, I can drop everything and help out in a crisis. When I have a free night in my calendar, I can host people in our home for dinner and show them love – just regular, old-fashioned LOVE with no agenda and no strings attached.

God is teaching me hospitality. And rest. The two go hand-in-hand for me, because when I’m rested, when I have MARGIN, when I have a free moment, I’m better able to give love – and my time – to others.

So while my head is spinning as I think through all the ways I could use my gifts for BIG THINGS for the Kingdom, between you and me, right now God is telling me to go small. Really small. And loose, and free, and quiet. To go behind the scenes and just love and make people feel safe and encouraged and welcomed.

 

Bold Prayers

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I’m reading Praying Circles Around Your Children, and already it’s changing me.

“Prayer is the way we take our hands off and place our children in the hands of God.” (Batterson)

This book is inspiring me, y’all. Tonight I snuck into Wrenn’s room after she went to bed, knelt down by her crib, and prayed big prayers over my child while she slept. It’s the greatest gift I can give her, the greatest defense against all of the challenges she will ever face, and the greatest way to ensure that I’m the kind of mother God called me to be. I may not be perfect, but I can pray.