This is one of my songs I have on repeat this morning during my time with the Lord. I love it!
This is one of my songs I have on repeat this morning during my time with the Lord. I love it!
My God, the spring of all my joys
The life of my delight
The glory of my brightest days
and comfort of my nights
In darkest shades if He appear
my dawning is begun
He is my soul’s sweet morning star
and He is my rising sun
Father, my gracious Lord, guardian of my days
Your mercies all my heart records
in songs of grateful praise
Ten thousand, thousand gifts
they find their radiance in this
that Jesus shows His heart is mine
and whispers “I am His”
Savior, true word made flesh,
Thy goodness I’ll pursue
And when I stand on Heaven’s shores,
I’ll sing thy praise a new
Where death is bound by laws fulfilled,
my praises will ring out
And all the saints will join the theme,
Let heaven’s walls resound…
I spent a good bit of my morning reading, praying and worshiping on the roof. It was wonderful; thanks for asking. I need those days when I spend about two hours in the word, prayer, and just hanging out with God. I tend to be the type of person who gets entirely too overwhelmed with my infinitely long to-do list; which, unfortunately results in me independently trying to do things for God without connecting with Him on a deep level and including Him in my plans for the day. Erps…
This morning was so good. I read a bit in Malachi 3:6-7 and Psalms and was just reminded of the nearness of God and His faithfulness to us. It’s bittersweet seeing His faithfulness. It’s amazing how good and constant He is with us, but it really stinks seeing how I fall short in that area daily. I was reminded this morning that He is the God of love, grace, and mercy. I can come to Him with my hands full of my lingering responsibilities, things I’m trying to maintain control of, family concerns, etc. and lay it all down at His feet. He delights in that! And then I can just sit and be real with Him, and then He wants to walk through everything with me. What beautiful surrender.
So to end, I’m still (as always) learning. I feel like I learn the same lessons over and over again, just different situations in which to apply them. Okay lesson learned today: I’m not created to be independent; that’s my sin showing. Sorry Kelly Clarkson, I won’t be singing Miss Independent with you in my car, full blast with the windows rolled down anymore.
Lesson #2: God is faithful, good and trustworthy. Therefore we can bring everything to Him and lay it down at His feet knowing that His plans, ideas, and guidance are much better than ours ever could be. It’s scary. I know, I’m the most stubborn, headstrong person I know. A few months ago, I was genuinely convinced I knew everything about everything and my ideas were always best and right (ask my STINT team. Lord bless them). Turns out, omnipotent is not a word that defines me. Who would have thought?
So final thoughts, God has encouraged me this morning by showing He is good. He is worthy of all praise and worthy of worship:
My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
8 Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
Dear precious friends,
Despite my apparent neglect and lack of communication, you are so loved. It has been a while since my last post, but there hasn’t been any stories that top the last blog. Come on, you know that one was totally hilarious.
Albeit, I’ve decided to go ahead and blog about something God’s been teaching me lately.
Grace. It’s a short and sweet word that takes over a lifetime to unpack. My heart is constantly reminded that although I know this wonderful God of grace, I never outgrow the depths of His gospel. I’m always sinking in His beautiful mercy and grace.
I’m constantly being refined by literally everything around me. Yep, it is really annoying sometimes and painfully humbling. I am seeing my ugly, heavy sin. I’m seeing where I need growth, repentance, and grace upon grace. I was talking to Michelle last month about some of my struggles with receiving grace from God. She said one of the most truthful and insightful things, “Mary, when you bring your sin to the cross and you repent, you don’t have to walk around with it attached to your foot. It’s dragging you down. You’ve been forgiven. It’s at the cross.” [Insert facepalm]. Le duh! As Michelle would say, “Erps.” I know these things, but my heart and actions sure don’t show that to be true. Again, “Erps.”
I’m seeing God show up in amazing ways through friendships here, ministry, family. etc. It’s also that season of seeing truly how faithful God is in His plans for me. Today I was able to talk to a friend from when I was “living” in STL years ago. I am, in the most powerful way possible, reminded of what He saved me from and what my life could look like right now. Gosh, I’m so humbled by His grace and His love for me. It’s amazing.
So, here is one of the worship songs I’m currently obsessed with. I know this post wasn’t really about anything specific, so sorry about that. I just love these nights when my heart is overflowing with thankfulness and wanted to share that with all of you. God is faithful and He is great!
Well, there are so many things to say that I can’t quite think rightly of any which thing to speak of first. That’s the kind of mood I’m in. Enjoy. I have been singing a little ditty in my head for a little over a week now. The song: There Will Be A Day, by Jeremy Camp and Mary Smith. Allow me to divulge…
Senegal is dirty. I don’t mean disgusting and filthy, I really do mean there is a lot of dirt. We’re located right around the same area as the Sahara belt and the ever present drought continues to worsen our crusty condition. Our apartment, no matter how many times a day I sweep, always has a wonderful film covering our white-tile floors (don’t even ask me why anyone would put white tile across an entire apartment here…). Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, my feet have become permanently stained, and no this is not from my meticulously scribed tattoo.
As a part of attempting to keep my bedsheets clean, I either wash my feet before bed (this doesn’t always work that well because the walk from the bathroom to bed re-dirties my feet) or use baby wipes to remove the numerous impurities from my delicate pieds. One night a few weeks ago, I decided to go the baby wipes route. After seven, I repeat SEVEN, baby wipes my feet were still dirty. And what’s worse was those seven wipes were my last.
I defeatedly swiveled into bed and longingly stared at my feet as if they would magically transform into professionally pampered and polished feet. It was then that the lyrics just came to me: “there will be a day with no more dirt, grody feet, dirty sheets, but until that dayyyyy…. la la la. etc.” I know, I know. How did I come up with such brilliant lyrics? Like I said, it just came to me.
So, this blog actually has no pupose except to inform you that for the past week and a half my sheets have been trampled upon by my very own contaminated feet, but there is hope that one day (this week?) I will have clean sheets. And that there will be a day when I will look back and actually miss sweeping our apartment multiple times a day (ha, trust me.. that day has not yet arrived). I’m going to miss looking down at my dirt lines on my feet and thinking, “Man I got so tan today,” only to be reminded that I’m still so white after a good scrubbing (you think I’d learn this one after 3 months…). I’m going to miss the constant reminder that beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news. I’m going to miss seeing the leftover journeys from the day on the roughened bottom of my feet.
I know we aren’t even half-way through with our internship here, but I really have come to love the little common inconveniences. Not that I delight in them or anything, but I love the feelings of uncomfortability they produce. I love knowing that this world cannot satisfy and that I am a sinner. I love seeing how easily common inconveniences can cause me to fall short because it automatically shows me the vastness of the grace and mercy of our holy and righteous God. I love the growth that comes from being frustrated, feeling defeated and unsure. Don’t get me wrong, I do not love my sin, sinful flesh, and sinful reactions. In fact, I hate those things. But, when I’m weak I am able to see that He is strong. When I’m defeated, I can rest in the truth that He is victorious and has made me victorious. These times of inconveniences are bitter sweet, but when I have an eternal perspective they are just sweet.
They are just sweet.
“I, the preacher of this hour, beg to bear my little witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days, and when God has seemed most cruel to me he has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things the richest, tenderest love has been manifested towards me. I pray you, dear friends, if you are at this time very low, and greatly distressed, encourage yourselves in the abundant faithfulness of the God who hides himself. Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of his grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. We may not ask for trouble, but if we were wise we should look upon it as the shadow of an unusually great blessing.
Today was our monthly day with the Lord. Basically we’re given a full-mandatory day with the Lord to seek Him and dig deeper into Him. The girls on our team went into the city to a fancy café/bakery. We walked down about 2 blocks to hail a cab, and took the longest car ride into downtown. Generally speaking, it takes about 10-15 minutes to get downtown. It took over an hour to get to our destination. On our way there we were stopped numerous times on the expressway and beach-strip due to what the Senegalese call “Monday traffic.”
There are some days that I forget I’m in Africa. Today was not one of those days. All alongside the roads to downtown were children begging for money and food, women in wheelchairs begging with their babies in their laps, and people who were sleeping on the streets. I hate that my initial response was to look away. I didn’t want to see their need and their hurt. To be honest, I felt really helpless, like I didn’t have anything to offer them. I didn’t have any money or food on me and there still remains the ever lingering language barrier. What on earth could I offer them? After walking into one of the nicest coffee, sandwich, and pastry shops in Dakar, I instantly realized the poverty gap and which side I was standing on.
As we sat inside to study God’s word, listen to podcasts, and learn more about God, I realized my plan to learn more about God’s grace was going to be righteously usurped by God. He wanted to sweetly remind me that Christ is worth losing everything to gain Him alone. Philipians 3:8-12 were a sweet reminder that righteousness (a right standing before God) does not come from the law and my own efforts. It comes through faith in Christ and is dependent only upon that faith. One of the key phrases that stuck out was, “that I may know Him.” Gosh, what a passion for Christ that I often lack! I want to lose all, count all as rubbish for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my lord!
As I meditated on that scripture, the events and sightings of the day hit me in the face. Christ is worth giving up everything because when we put our faith and trust into what He did for us on the cross, we become righteous before God. I might not have had any money or food on me, but I am able to tell all the poor and powerless that there is a God who loves them so much that He gave His only son to bring us back to Him.
I love that God is constantly making the gospel more and more precious to me. It is for everyone, especially all the poor and powerless.
girl woman of God is amazing. I love her heart. She’s awesome, awesome, awesome. I think my favorite part of this is the part where she says, “His first name Luke his last name Warm.” Bahaha. I love it. She’s so great. Theologically, she challenges the crap out of me! Emotionally, she challenges the crap out of me. I love that! I hope you’re encouraged and find enjoyment in this as much as I did!
This is a video I stumbled upon about a month ago. I thought I posted it on here, but apparently I did not. This group covers really popular pop songs (I know, pop stands for popular) but they don’t use ANY instruments. Just in case you watch the first one minute and 45 seconds and get bored, they are doing rain. The song will start shortly. Enjoy!
Ps- my fave is definitely the guy who does the drums/beat/whatever it’s called. Who’s your fave?