reminder for the weekend

As the weekend drifts in and the sun shines outside, I pray you would know that you are delightful. That if you’d let Him, Jesus would gaze eye to eye with you and tell you how much He adores that you are His. Not because you had a great day or said all the right things. Not even because you have great faith or you’ve stepped out in humble obedience.

Read more here

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quiet courage

I used to think brave meant being bold and loud and strong. Defeating injustice and blazing a trail to change the world, one giant issue at a time.

And I used to think I was brave. Courageous because I was indeed loud and had learned to have great answers & a well thought out plan. I was busy…and effective…and accomplishing much.

…continue reading here

Big Buts & Comfy Pants…a 31 day challenge

Hi there!!

Well, it finally happened, I decided to put on my big girl pants and jump in for a challenge I found called #write31days! For the whole month of October, I will be writing.every.day. – EEK!! So excited…and scared…and excited…and scared…well, you get it!

I also decided to change over to a new blog site, so come visit me HERE! It will be so much fun and you’re interested in checking out all the other write 31 day-ers…click on the link below! There’s so many great people writing about so many great things! Hope to see you there and over at sheilacowell.com soon!

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Would You Consider?

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Summer is my most favorite season of the year. With cookouts, trips to the beach (minus shark attacks) and just hanging out. It seems that the pace slows a bit and I’m reminded to relax and enjoy my friends and family more. And I’m the first to love to post a pic or two on social media to share what we’ve got going on and scroll to see what all my friends are up to as well! I love it. I love all the pictures of sun and sand. Of laughter and gatherings. Reminders of how much fun life is and how capturing those moments seems to make them stand still, if even for a bit.

So recently, as I was about to post a picture of something I was excited about, a strange pit welled in my stomach and I got distracted so I didn’t get a chance to post it. And as I went back to post it later, these words to popped into to my mind: “Will you consider?” I didn’t think much of it and kept on with cropping the picture to a perfect square, with just the right filter and caption…a clever one I thought. But still the question lingered “Will you consider?”

So, I stopped and sat silently, for just a minute, and it became suddenly obvious to me that what I was about to post was going to hurt somebody’s feelings. Someone I cared for deeply. So I cancelled back out and didn’t post it. I wish I could say I have always stopped to consider, but I haven’t. I’ve pushed back the hesitation that came before I hit “share”, ignoring the quiet idea that what I was posting might hurt someone, or make my moments seem better than they really are. I have been called to the carpet a time or two about how my pictures have excluded and discouraged someone and once I finally let that truth sink in, my heart hurt. Most of us would never intentionally want to hurt others, make them feel less than or encourage insecurities in others. Some people would…I know this…but most of us wouldn’t.

Social media is so much fun. I am a lover of photos, capturing moments otherwise forgotten and the sweet gift of being able to keep up with those either far away or just in different seasons of life making seeing each other often difficult. But I wonder if you would, before each post, consider with me…

Is what I’m about to post going to make another mama feel encouraged or deflated? Included and loved or excluded and lonely?

…what would it mean if I knew I was the cause of tears shed by a lonely mama who was just trying to get by and I was making it hard for her to believe she was doing a good job.

Is what I’m about to post going to encourage young eyes to love themselves – their bodies, gifts and beauty? And even “mature” beauties’ eyes too! : )

…what if I knew I was fueling to the fears of one of my sisters curled up at night hating her body with words like disgusting, horrible and ugly.

Is what I’m about to post going to pridefully shout out my accomplishments or cheer others on to victory?

…what if I knew I was encouraging a friend to quit because they just didn’t see how they could ever measure up.

Is what I’m about to post going to help the fellas watching my feed stay pure in their thoughts or tempt them to gaze a bit to long?

…what if I could hear the sobs of a wife or a mom praying for their husband or son who’s got an online addiction…and my pictures were making it worse.

Is what I’m about to post going to gloss over my painful insecurities or reflect adoration and support for those around me?

…what if I knew that I felt better for a moment because I hid that painful place in my heart, but made a friend feel so alone believing no one could ever understand the insecurity she has.

There are so many great, beautiful, fun, exciting things to post on social media – and I love seeing every one of them. My hope is that we’d consider together – before every post – and be able to look back on our feeds at sweet moments we captured, celebrated and encouraged with each other as we share our lives.

more

i don’t know why
i wait so long
in between
the quiet hours
alone with You

How sweet it is
to just sit
be still
my heart is still
no agenda
aside from soaking
in Your grace

my spirit floods
with Your whispers
Your breath on my face

my own sweet island
with all of life rushing around
but these quiet hours are not
rushed
but
still

I hear Your sweet voice
the songs You sing over me
Your gentle heartbeat
beneath my ear
as I rest my head
upon Your chest

I exhale praises
for your great love
in the morning

hold promises
of your unfailing
faithfulness
in the evening

You are so much more than
I need
…everything my soul
aches for

Psalm 92:1-2:4
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim Your unfailing love in the morning, Your faithfulness in the evening…You thrill me with all You have done for me.

grateful

i’m so in awe of our great God
and His great grace
humbled and overwhelmed
by His unfailing love and care.

Being grateful changes my world
what I see
how I focus
realizing that there is always enough
to be thankful for
to sit in awe of
to revel over
to be astounded by
to far surpass any struggle
or circumstance I stand in the midst of.

If only I choose to
get my eyes off of
these temporal things
and onto Him.

If i ask Him to show me
open my eyes to see
instead of demand that He do
wonder why He didn’t.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.

Beyond all things
I am grateful
that He always refreshes my soul
…always…
when my soul is set on Him alone.

 

Psalm 23:1-4
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.

fill me

i look over at the clock
and realize another hour has gone by
and although I’ve crossed off
a handful of things
on my list to get done
i don’t feel
as though i’ve accomplished much.

the weariness still lingers
and my mind is still spinning
and the load doesn’t seem
any lighter.

there’s an ache in my heart
a craving in my soul
and I realize that
it doesn’t get fed
through doing…
but through being.

being still at my Father’s feet
being quiet to listen to His voice
being soothed by His Words
being comforted by His power
being set free by His grace.

my sweet Jesus
why do I insist
on starving my spirit
when all the nourishment i need
is at Your feet
if only i will kneel down
and let You fill me.

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

ready

i don’t know who you are
but i see you
the sting of your loneliness
pierces my soul
as you wait and wonder
if the pain will ever go away
and your heart be able to rest
in the arms of someone who loves
and never leaves
…ever.

silenced by years of abuse
numbed by the endless time of neglect
and discarded by ones who promised
to love you.

and i hope for you
when you seemingly have no hope
hope that you’ll meet Him
in your day
somehow.

and i pray for me
and for you
i pray that He’ll let me meet you
love you
show His unfailing to you
because that is what He is
…unfailing.

He will never fail or leave or abandon
only hold, carry and comfort.

and i pray that I’m ready
ready with His grace when I meet you
as foul language spews from your mouth
and your dark eyes hate
as coldness seeps from your every breath.

i pray that the morning before i meet you
i have been soaked in grace
filled and covered
so that it overflows onto you.

i pray that day i’m not selfish
offended at the way you’ve spoken to me
and i seem it fitting to put you in your place
but instead kind and somehow encouraging
when nothing in your life seems to be.

Oh Lord, I pray that I’m ready
that day You let me meet your child
that has been rubbed against the harshness
of this world
left silently bleeding and longing
for the healing and hope that comes
only from Your grace.

Today…Lord, today…help me be ready
for today not to be about me
but about the one You’ll let me meet
and overflow Your grace
onto one whose hope is empty.

just breathe

just breathe
breathe in the goodnessof our great God
His mercy
His unending love
His grace
His compassion
His nearness to where I am right now
…in my heart

just breathe
breathe in the power of His Words
that never fail and never return void
breathe in His promises that never fail
His presence that never forsakes

just breathe
breathe in the great and wild love of our great God
no matter what youv’e done
or where you are
no matter how bad you think it is
or how bad you think you’ve been

just breathe
His compassion for you never ends
His adoring eyes never stray from your heart
He longs to wrap Himself around you
protecting you on every side

just breathe
breathe in His consuming love for you
breathe in His forgiveness
breathe in His grace
breathe in His mercy
breathe in His compassion
breathe in His power

He never fails
or forsakes
…ever.

Just breathe.

Lamentations 3:22-24
 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
      His mercies never cease.
 23 Great is his faithfulness;
      his mercies begin afresh each morning.
 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
      therefore, I will hope in him!”

 25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
      to those who search for him.
 26 So it is good to wait quietly
      for salvation from the Lord.

enough

what if the trials in this life are your mercies in disguise…

the pain reminds this heart that this is not my home.

what if my greatest disappointments

or the aching of this life

is the revealing of a greater thirst this world cannot satisfy

(lyrics from Laura Story’s song “Blessings”)

thank you God that this world will never satisfy the deep ache in my heart to know You more and see You more clearly. i get tangled daily in the demands on my physical life all the while my soul longing for moments like these when I just sit at Your feet and soak up Your goodness.

God may my heart be reminded that this world will never be enough.

I will never have enough money

or a perfect enough job

i will never do enough

my house will never be clean enough

i will never be fit enough

eat healthy enough

be a good enough mom

or wife.

But God may my heart know that You are enough. And in You, I am all You want me to be. Even amidst the swirling terror in this world, You are always enough to satisfy my soul. My deepest longing for peace, joy, love, goodness…all filled because of Your great mercy and grace poured out on me daily.

prayers

These are the prayers I’m praying for me and my family this morning…

God, I pray that my family – the 5 of us – would do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility we’d consider other better than ourselves. I pray each of us would look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil. 2:3)

I pray we would not argue or complain about anything so that we may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which we shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of Life. (Phil 2:14-15)

I pray that in view of Your mercy, we would offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You – that it would be our spiritual act of worship. That we would no longer conform to the pattern of this world, but be continually transformed by the renewing of our minds. Knowing that then we will be able to test and approve what Your will is – Your good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1)

project 365: 3.24.11

3.24.11

Last night one of the greatest men of God here on earth went to be with Jesus in heaven. I didn’t know Pastor Billy Hornsby extremely well, but the impact he & his wife, Charlene, have made on my life is permanent. He’s been quoted saying “Spend your life helping others’ dreams come true & your life will be blessed. It’s the best ministry u can have.” Such an amazing legacy he has left behind him of people living passionately for Christ.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”

wax on wax off

ever seen the movie “Karate Kid”?
Life has a way of beating us up.

 

Things don’t go the way I expect
People disappoint
I’m put into a situation where all I want to do is fight
…but I am ill-equipped and get taken down.

 

So I fall to my knees and I beg God
to equip me
to train me
to make me a mighty warrior for His Kingdom.

 

I sit before Him waiting for His great power to fill me
expecting that suddenly I am ready, trained and equipped
for every battle I will ever face.

 

But instead of a great battle being set before me
He asks me to wax on…wax off
He asks me to practice seemingly insignificant things
over and over and over
until they become not something I have to think about doing
but instead they become my response
a part of my character
who I am.

 

like how to love…
loving people when they’re difficult
loving friends when they betray me
loving others when they are mean or spiteful.

 

like being joyful…
joyful in small victories
joyful in the multitude of sweet blessings He’s given me
joyful even when I feel defeated because I know that He is not
joyful that I have hope in every circumstance.

 

like being peaceful…
peace in being still and knowing that He is God
peace in trusting Him and resting in His power
peace in His perfection, not my performance.

 

And I’m to the place where I know that
if I wax on…and wax off
He is training me
if I paint the fence….that fence with seemingly endless slats.
It’s then that I will be equipped
to stand strong in any battle He may allow
to pass into my life.

plan B

For the very first time in my life, I don’t have one.

My only plan is to seek and trust God
and believe that the promises He gives in the Bible are true
That’s it.

I have spent alot of my life in fear
fear that if things don’t work out the way I hope or expect
I won’t be ready.

My skin won’t be tough enough to handle the hurt
I won’t be prepared with words to respond
I will be left scrambling to figure out what to do next
because my plans fell through.

So I try to prepare myself for all the things that could go wrong
And always have a plan B
A backup plan just in case everything I expect doesn’t happen
or God just didn’t show up the way I hoped.

Not this time.
No, this time He’s all I’ve got
And His Word and His promises are all I’m banking on.

And it’s scary
but as I take each step
He’s faithful
Faithful in ways I could never have planned
or dreamed
or dared to ask.

I can’t see what’s beyond the step I’m on
and sometimes that makes my stomach turn
and my heart beat fast.

But His Word says I can trust Him
with every detail of my life
so I am and I will.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and HE WILL make your paths straight.

devotional

We got a new devotional book last week that I absolutely love! The great thing about this particular book is that all it’s devotions are written as if God is talking to you, like love letters written straight from God. Honestly, I suggest this devotional for anyone…at any age (and honestly wondering if I get more out of it than my kids!)

What else I love about this book and what God has chosen to do is that one night at dinner I thought it would be a good time to read it. Dinner is one of the more stressful events in our house. Combine my anxiety about cooking with a picky eater or two and things can turn really negative really quickly (who else knows that if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?) So this week, I’ve been getting the devotional out after I’m done eating and reading it out loud at the table. And the most amazing thing has happened…I am less stressed and dinnertime is much more peaceful.

What a sweet gift it is that God continues to show me that if I bring Him and His Word into any situation, the focus changes and I am reminded of His great love and involvement in every situation!