Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm Moving!

After much debating and waffling and procrastinating, I finally did it.

I'm thrilled to pieces to share with you my new blog: Miscellaneous Grace

It's purpose is slightly different than this one - a little more lifestyle, a little more authenticity, a little more often. (Yay!)

But I so hope you decide to hop over and check it out! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Skimming vs. Delving: What it Means to Live to the Full

I've done a lot of wrestling lately - particularly with the future and what I think I want and whether or not I should want it or is there something else... At the heart of it, I just want everything to turn out right. Whatever right looks like.

"God, just tell me what Your plan is for me and what I should do and I'll do that. It doesn't matter what I want."
Over and over I prayed.

His silence unnerved me.

Every worship service would end with, "Okay God, I don't know what you're doing but I trust you," and "You are good." 

Over and Over: You are good.

"You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand...

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"

Refining and redefining trust, resting in His goodness, remembering His faithfulness.

I described it in faltering words, how He was narrowing my focus like a camera lens, widening my aperture-eyes to His very presentness, blurring the future to bring what I see here into concentrated focus.

A line from my devotional struck deep the other day: "Delight yourself in Me, for I am the deepest desire of your heart."

Revelation followed.

Life is not about what I do for Him, it's about who I am in Him. It's not about what college I go to and what classes I take and who I invest in and who I should marry someday and if I should spend my free time writing novels or studying Ancient Greek, or playing Skip-Bo with the little brother. It's about pressing into the heart of God, seeking to know Him deeper and trusting Him to work out the details. The greatest thing I can do for God is find my delight in Him.

I spend so much time running around looking for what I'm supposed to be doing for God, that I forget to stop, slow down and look for Him.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)

It's times like these, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and the sunrise, heart brimming with revelation and God, that I remember this life-to-the-full I've been striving after is not about how many things you can fit into your life.

It's not about scheduling and planning and to do lists and productivity.

It's about living full of God. It's about slowing down and "sucking the marrow" out of every moment. 

 "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." ~Henry David Thoreau

When we get so caught up in the next thing and what still needs to be done and what everyone else is doing, we lose something invaluable.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman suggests, "The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older, why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass."

 Life is not a race. When we skim through our days, we are emptying our lives of gratitude and awe. We miss out on the glory of delving into the little moments, of lingering slow and drinking deep the wonderment of living fully present.

This has been my growing desire these past few weeks and perhaps even months - to love deeply, ever grateful for this life I've been given, to know the Father's nearness in every moment with childlike faith, to live simply and mindfully and intentionally and to the very fullest of my ability. And this...this feels more right than anything.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Impossible Things

Hello. They call me Grace. This is my life and I am both the happiest and the saddest I have ever been.

I keep trying to figure this out, how to make the most of the time I have.

So much life yet to be lived, so many dreams.

But most times I’m just tired.

Tired of waiting – for life to slow down, for the heartaches to resolve, for the texts that don’t come, for the warmer days to stay – tired.

Tired of balancing all the responsibilities and goals and dreams and what do I focus on right now?

A new friend asked what I want to do in the future and I named a few things then half shook my head, half shrugged,

“I just want to do everything.”

He grinned, “You can do everything.”

I laughed at the impossible.

And yet I want to do impossible things. I want to live a dozen lifetimes and write a hundred books and travel the world with my camera and make great food and write songs and get married and have a family and live fully and be content and loved and how do I start now?

How do I start now when the living room still needs vacuuming and dinner has yet to be made and there is another article due at work and I haven’t worked on my photography class in two months and I can’t seem to write regularly and oh I forgot to reply to that text and where does it end?

At what point does life slow down so I can start living this idea in my head of what it should be?

What should life be?

When will I figure out this strange and wonderful thing called living?

I still have so many questions and few answers.

All I know right now is that to live is Christ and Christ means anointed and I will spend the rest of my life finding out what it looks like to live that kind of anointing.

Hi, I’m Grace and I've fallen in love with this life I've been given.
The future both terrifies and excites me. But there is nothing more beautiful than the fullness of this moment. 
And I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to start living.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Goodbyes Aren't Forever

I've spent far too much time these past few months trying to decide where I belong.

And I've been paralyzed trying to figure out what's next.

But some things fall together more perfectly then I could have dreamed and one last minute trip to Latin America has left me dizzy happy and I'm still not sure what it all means.

San Jose was beautiful and I fell in love with mountains and cloudy skies and rainbow cityscapes.

And these people. 

© 2014 LT

© 2014 Alex Kautz

When card games and silly commentators make you laugh so hard you can't breathe there is no such thing as losing.

And there is nothing like singing to the Father with a group of people who know better than most that this world is not our home.

I didn't know it was possible to feel so at home in a new place and goodbyes are hard but they aren't forever. 

See you this summer became my song and it carried me through the exhaustion content.

This heart is stretched thin from loving those so far away but pictures are four-cornered time capsules and my mind treasures words I will never forget.

I'm not sure what's next but more adventures are near and adventures mean new friends and more hellos and goodbyes really aren't forever.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Where I Learned to Rest

There is a place where the world falls away; where worries die with cell phone reception, and the business cannot touch you.

There is a place where silence drowns out the noise and peace suffocates the lies society tells us about who we are.

There is a place where all you have been and all you want to be intersects.

There is a place where it is safe to break because the trees bend closer to listen and the water falls so your tears don't feel alone; where the river sings to soften the ache of newly recognized longing.

And there is a drifting guitar melody and ice cream waiting for you when you can stand again.

Here is where we sing together when one forgets the words. Here is where our prayers and the psalms collide and become one. Here is where we hold each other up.

Here is where the tea is as endless as the conversation and tears are welcomed just as tenderly as laughter.

© 2014 Topher Ayrhar

And now is when I learn to cry, to stop hiding from the things I feel, from the ones who ask. Now is when I stop trying to be too strong, stop pretending when I doubt.

There is a place called now where we start to live fully here, in this moment. And we return home to the people who wait for what we have just tasted.

So I carry it home with me, this little taste of rest, not only for myself but to share with those who need it most:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]" Matthew 11:28 AMP

© 2014 Topher Ayrhar

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Apathy and The One Thing to Get Right

It seems to me that oftentimes God pulls us out of the comfortable, out from where we are content.
I've asked why.

Sometimes I see things, read things that tear me open.

I feel deeply.
I cry.
I'm bled empty for pain I can't touch.

I write blog posts that I never publish because they're too vulnerable, probing where I have no answers.

I've gone places I never thought I would, met people that floored me.
Sometimes I understand why.

Sometimes the reason is not so obvious.

Sometimes I ache for things that I can't change and people I can't reach.

Sometimes I want things for people that I can't give them. 
This was my aching lament to a friend awhile back and our eyes brimmed with grief over loss of depth in this generation.

And God's hearts brims and aches over His children's apathy.

We are so blind to His presence, to His goodness in every, every moment.

I just want to grab them by the shoulders and look into their eyes and beg them:

"Lift up your eyes... He is here! Don't you see?"

And yet I know their blindness.

I know what it is to stumble in the dark, to see no answer, no goodness.

I struggle to remember when exactly it changed.
Because pain fades slow and self-forgiveness comes slower and sometimes it's one step forward and two back.

I've fought healing too.

But the Word is the eye by which I see.

He is my anchor, my hope, my light.

His Word is power and it breaks every chain.

The ink carves through the lies I believed for so long.

If anything, that's the one thing I've gotten right.

So I shake my head and whisper it half to myself,  

read the Bible. Memorize it, repeat it until it becomes your oxygen.

And I pray a little harder and learn to trust a little deeper.


God will work it out in time.

Breathe the Word.

He can penetrate the most apathetic heart.

Trust. Hope.

I know because He did it for me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Everyday Miracles

This year one of my goals was to start a 365 photography project and well, here it goes!

I would love for you to follow along as I capture the little moments that make up my life. 

You can click here to pop on over: