Monthly Archives: May 2013

Five Minute Friday – Imagine

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Linking up with Lisa Jo again this week to participate in Five Minute Friday.

Today’s word is IMAGINE– ready, set go –

When I think about the word Imagine – immediately I think about the following verse from Ephesians….

Ephesians 3:16-21

The Voice (VOICE)

“16 Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit 17 so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together 18-19 with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings.

20 Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, 21 to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen.”

THIS has been my “God-view” recently. SO many things, personally, at work, with my writing…so many things happening that I can’t explain or fully understand.

But God.

Oh this God of mine has done so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine…

How do I even begin to say thank you?

How do I offer worthy praise?

I don’t know that I can – but with all my heart I continue to be amazed at all He has done. And all we have done is just be the smallest bit willing to follow His will. I take such little “credit” for any of the good in my life. Even the willingness is God given!

I don’t know where you find yourself today…but trust me when I say (because I only have 5 minutes for goodness sake and I can’t share it all now) that I have been to the Valley, I have felt anger and frustration and anguish at life and wondered how could it all be worth it.

And I have been carried by a Father that loves me more than I can imagine and He has lavished on me this great big love of His.

Awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine…

And He wants to do the same for you. Will you trust Him today with the difficult so you can experiences the joys of the future?

Growth and change and new beginnings

New life is blooming all around us. Especially now, we see evidence of it. What once seemed dead from the dark of winter, starts to show the smallest of growth.

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Sometimes that growth happens quickly and there are big changes in a short amount of time….

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This picture was taken just a week after the first – so much growth had occurred it surprised me!

And today I am thinking about the growth and change that has happened to me over the past 6 months. I am humbled that I was given the chance to be a part of this God Sized Dream team.

When I initially saw the  email with the opportunity to apply, I had no idea I would be chosen, and no concept of how much this process would change me.

Initially I was asked what I thought God’s dream for me was. I believed it was to have a space to encourage other women, share my own failures and offer hope to a fuller life with Christ.

Believe me when I tell you, just because I feel that is ultimately my dream…doesn’t mean that I have it all together! I don’t set myself out as an expert in doing it right, because I struggle to maintain my own life well most days! 🙂

But what I have discovered is that in this process of growth  there is also a dying as well.

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On the ground all around the bush photographed above were blooms that had already fallen off.

You see I believe that to grow, there also has to be a dying of ones self. We can’t keep all the “old” if we want to be made new.

That is one of the biggest things that I have discovered about myself. That I have to be willing to let go of some of my old behaviors and defense mechanisms, if I want to be able to share honestly about God’s redeeming Grace and change in my life.

I have to shed those parts of me so that even more beautiful “fruit” can grow.

So while I had hoped to be farther along after 6 months than I am today, I believe that I am right where I am supposed to be.

While it was my hope to encourage others with my faith journey, I have found a group of women who have met that exact need in me. Something I wasn’t expecting at all, and a gift that means more to me than seeing the fulfillment of my own heart’s desires.

Yes this process has changed me. And I am so grateful for it.

What happens next?? Hopefully more growth, more opportunities to share how God has changed me and ultimately a space here to continue to share all of the mercies He has shown me. God is good ALL the time and I want to continue to shout that here!

What “season” do you find yourself in right now??

Join me in seeing how God has answered prayers and grown dreams by reading about the blessings other fellow dreamers have seen here.

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Is It Worth The Risk?

Dreaming, stepping out in faith, takes risk. And there have been times when I have asked myself if it is worth it.

Not everyone is going to support our efforts, or understand them. I think it is pretty safe to say that here in the Midwest – blogging is a bit of a mystery. Most of the people that I know, who also blog, live on the East or West coast. But here in the great state of MN I find fewer of us filling up the www.

So when I talk about having a place to encourage women, share my faith walk…well sometimes there are those that just don’t understand it all. Or those that think I am trying to be someone I am not…putting on a show of perfection because I blog about God. (Trust me perfection is not a word one uses in describing me!) 🙂

And I will be honest, sometimes that hurts my very thin skin.  I am a pretty sensitive person and can really take things personally…it is a blessing and a curse! 🙂

I have had a tough few weeks personally. I am struggling and growing (I think) and it hasn’t been easy. I am unable to share details but I have been given the opportunity to be a part of something from the ground up. Something I had dreamed about but never believed I could be a part of….

It is scary and overwhelming and jumping up and down exciting all at once. It has nothing to do with me at all – it is all God. And as I have talked with a few other women involved, I am amazed at what is happening and coming together so quickly. Only God…..

But as I step out in faith I find myself under attack. I don’t know what you think about the enemy…but I believe that he is threatened by people who want to share God’s redemptive grace with the world….and will stop at nothing to create an environment of fear and doubt.

Feeling particularly vulnerable last night and honestly ready to give up on it all, this blog, the dream team….I reached out to a fellow dreamer and amazing friend. And today, just when I needed it most her response email came in my inbox and filled my heart with the Truth.

We ARE going to be tested. But take heart because we are not alone and even Jesus is praying for us! Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”

Jesus tells us that Satan will try and separate us from Him…but He is interceding for us and gives us hope that we will come through the times of testing…and when we do we should support someone in the same situation.

Today I was reminded more than ever that it IS worth the risk. Why? Because community with all of you is more than I had hoped for or imagined. Receiving an email or card of encouragement from a friend at just the right time reminded me that God loves the little details of my life too.

He chose some select people to show me how much He loves me…sinful, hypocritical, broken me. I was in tears at the intricate way this community has been woven together.

Does everyone “get” it? Nope probably not….and honestly I feel sorry for those who haven’t had the chance to experience community in this way. My life is continually changed by it.

Whatever your dream, you are bound to experience fears and doubts and even lies from the enemy. You may ask yourself if taking that leap of faith is worth it?

I can tell you from experience that any pain in the growth periods, the trials and testing, will be so worth it in the long run. Because I have come to see God in a way that I didn’t before…a more personal way and I am so grateful for it!

What are those things that you feel are too risky in regards to your dream?? I would love to hear about them so that I could be praying for you as others have prayed for me!!

And if you want to join other dreams talking about their risky business… 😉 jump on over to Holley’s and check out some of my beautiful teammates posts as well!!

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What needs to be seen

I am a bit of a Type A…ok that’s a lie. I am a HUGE perfectionist. And if I am honest about it, it isn’t because I am as concerned about the “final product” as much as how I am perceived by all of you.

It stings a little to admit that to you….because it isn’t a part of my heart that I am proud of. But it is a part of my heart that becomes more and more apparent to me as I walk with Christ.

I want you all to think that I have it together. I want my children to behave in public and never throw fits. I want my children to be successful and strong and confident. And while those last things are good character traits to have – I have to look at the reason I desire those things for them.

If it is so that I look good as a mother – then I am missing the point. This morning I came across a video recording of Angie Smith taking at her church Crosspoint this past Mother’s Day. Here is the link to the “pinned” You Tube version. It is worth the 36 min to watch it!

She talked about that God desires us to know His love for us and to communicate THAT to our children.…not the “conditional” love that I often show them. The “you do good and make me look good and then mom will be happy” kind of love.

Have you ever been there?

Admittedly I have, maybe it wasn’t my hearts intent….but the way I communicate with them may just convey that message exactly.

And this just after I had another “perfectionist” moment this morning.

We got a call that it had been many years since our county had done a full assessment of our property and could they come out this morning to look at the inside of the house. They are basically just looking for improvements etc…

So when I got up this morning (on my day off) I started cleaning and picking up. Perfecting the beds, folding blankets, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, putting the “fancy” pillows on the bed. I KNOW, for crying out loud people!! I have a serious problem.

Yes it is good to have a clean house. Generally I try and keep it that way. But do I really believe that this dude (can I call him a dude? I think so)…anyways this dude doesn’t care if the toy room is clean, or the bathroom mirrors are spotless.

98% of the time it just doesn’t look that way in my house. As much as I wish it did….we have kids, they are messy, we are busy and something ALWAYS needs to be done.

This is the picture I want to convey to you…

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Pillows perfectly placed, floor clean of toys and cat hair, juice cups in the sink…neat and tidy, welcoming and inviting…

What you will likely find in my home at any given moment instead is this…

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Unsupervised for even a few minutes….my children can make a mess! 🙂 And as I write this, the mess is still there. 🙂

And I think that is how my faith walk can look at times too. I want to be the Christian that is all neat and tidy and put together, while being warm and inviting and a person to be comfortable with.  The condition of my heart though can often reflect the mess of the 2nd picture.

I have a short temper and I don’t spend nearly enough time reading the Bible or in communion with God. So how can I expect my outside to be a perfect reflection of Christ’s love for me if my insides are a mess?

Our time here on earth is short. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. Why do we waste so much time pretending to be someone we can’t be in the first place, instead of truly seeking out God in ALL things and developing the Godly character that He desires in all of us?

My life is often a mess. But because it is, I am more fully aware of my need for a Savior, and so very grateful that Christ died for someone like me.

Embrace the mess and seek God with your whole life and be at peace as He changes you bit by messy bit!

Five Minute Friday – Song

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Linking up with Lisa Jo again this week to participate in Five Minute Friday.

Today’s word is SONG– ready, set go –

Music has always played a big part in my worship to God.  There was a time many years ago when our family was broken. We were hurting and stubborn and selfish. Attending church was something we just didn’t do – our pride kept us away. But I missed that time of worship.

And so on my 45 minute commute to work each day I would turn up my radio to the Christian station in my area and sing. I LOVE to sing. And while I am no recording artist – God has given me a gift of song. And I love that I can honor Him with singing praises to Him.

Sometimes the song in our hearts is all we can offer Him. When everything else around me was telling me to give up. The words to praise songs filled my heart and my head with Truth.

Chris Tomlin is one of my favorite artists and his most recent album is amazing. The words of this song is constantly playing in my mind. I am including a link below so you can check it out for yourself!

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0902E1NU

What song is playing in your heart right now?

The Soundtrack of My Season

I met Kristin (finally another one with an (i) instead of and (e)!! 😉 , through the God Sized Dream Team. She has been a source of encouragement to me ever since and I feel so fortunate to have met her. We thought it would be fun to swap “spaces” for a day around Mother’s Day and share a Motherhood post!  She asked me if she could write about one of my favorite topics – music – and how it speaks to a mother’s soul. I am so excited to share her post with you because I know you will be blessed by it like I was!! And make sure you read to the end for a fun surprise! 🙂

 

Y’all, motherhood can be hard. Yes, I longed to be a mom and then quit the job for which I was trained and educated to dive into this completely new role. My kids are cute and funny {really, whose aren’t, right?} and they are usually quite fun to be around. But, goodness, some days are hard. There are questions and interruptions and messes and not enough hours in the day.

My kids are only 6 and 3, but I know this: When I pile up all the moments on hypothetical scale, the good will well outweigh the bad. I get the feeling I’ll look back on these days that seem long and wonder what happened to them.

Being a mom means I’m also a nurse, teacher, banker, driver, shopper, hostess, scheduler, cook, guide, organizer, communicator, party planner, investigator, and swim instructor. Throw in my kids’ independent {yes, like their momma and daddy …} ways, our individual personalities, our commitments and community, and all the things over which we have absolutely no control. Some days I wonder where the motherhood manual is. And many days I turn up the music and gain some perspective.

I don’t often have large gaps of time to read and study and process, but music has been a way to bring truth into my day. My kids have even been known to sing along with some of these songs as we drive along through life together.

  1. Brave – Sara Bareilles
  2. Come to Me – Jamie Grace
  3. Kings & Queens – Audio Adrenaline
  4. Rest Easy – Andrew Peterson
  5. Promise of Summer – Jackopierce
  6. When We’re Together – Mark Harris
  7. While I’m Waiting – John Waller
  8. Living in the Moment – Jazon Mraz
  9. Whom Shall I Fear – Chris Tomlin
  10. Courageous – Casting Crowns
  11. Hey Mama – Mat Kearney
  12. Your Love Never Fails – Newsboys
  13. His Kind of Love – Group 1 Crew
  14. Keep Your Eyes Open – Needtobreathe
  15. Home – Phillip Phillips
  16. Remind Me Who I Am – Jason Gray
  17. All Things Possible – Mark Schultz
  18. I’m Adopted – Slugs & Bugs
  19. Children of God – Third Day
  20. Brand New Day – Joshua Radin

This is the soundtrack of my season right now. Some of the songs get turned up and put on repeat frequently. Others calm my soul and remind me my entire to-do list doesn’t have to accomplished today. These songs bring truth as we grow and wait and wonder and teach and build this life. They challenge and remind and proclaim.

What songs are you listening to in your life? Whatever they are, turn them up and embrace where it is you and whoever is alongside you.

Leave a comment below and one of you will be chosen randomly on Monday to get this motherhood mix for yourself – because every new week needs a surprise. As you can tell, these songs aren’t actually just for moms. They’ve just helped out this momma who is trying her best.

 

Kristin Hill Taylor lives in Murray, Ky., with her husband, Greg, and two kids – 6-year-old Cate and 3-year-old Ben. She can often be found trying to beat her husband in Words with Friends, playing games of Settlers of Catan with her best friends, listening to her daughter’s stories, reminding her son to be careful, or texting her friends. You can keep up with her at www.kristinhilltaylor.com or follow on her Twitter.

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Those Who Have Gone Before Us

Welcome! Glad you are here as I continue to talk about God sized dreams here each Tuesday and link up with other dreamers over at Holley’s site. Have you been there yet? Want to join us?? We’d love to hear how you are chasing after those dreams of yours!

Today we are sharing about how we have taken a small step towards our dream and pay it forward by encouraging others.

I have always said that I want this space to be one of encouragement….and I pray that it is. But I didn’t quite expect that it would be a place where I would find myself so encouraged as well.

There is such an amazing community of believers that gathers here on the WWW. Sharing hurts, being transparent, bringing hope.

I started blogging shortly after a miscarriage I had in 2008. Then it was a “family blog” that I created to get back into journaling that had, for many years, brought me comfort.

I was frustrated and angry and hurt about our pregnancy loss. While it was early….it was still a loss, to me. From the moment I discovered I was pregnant, it was a child of mine and I was so excited.

And then I heard about Angie Smith. She too was facing the imminent loss of their daughter Audrey.  She started a blog to record that journey and have a place to update all of the family and friends that cared about her.

And she had such a grace and a faith in this journey. I was so blessed and encouraged and challenged by her words. By her transparency.  Sure she wanted a different outcome for her daughter, yes she was angry with God – but she didn’t turn from Him.  She ran to the only One that could rescue her from the darkness.

And I knew that if she could do it….well so could I.

Such a blessing she was to me…she doesn’t even know. I was so lost and broken and bitter and I felt that God had abandoned me. But through her words each day I saw hope. I saw the face of Christ  and I wanted more.

I wanted more for myself and my family. I wanted to find this God she talked about, a God that I had long turned away from.

And I found Him….no – He rescued me from myself and reminded me of who He was.

And because of that I want to pay it forward here…to give back what was so freely given to me. Love and grace and HOPE.

This weekend a good friend called me. Someone she is friends with had a miscarriage this past week and was really struggling. This friend of mine knew that I had walked this path as well….she called me to find out how she could best support her friend…the right things to say to offer comfort.

I was so humbled by that call.

My heart breaks for this woman who is now herself fighting the darkness. The “whys”, the pain that only a mother that has lost a child knows. It can feel like a dark and lonely place. But she isn’t alone!

That is why blogging is so important to me…because here, sometimes more than any other place, we find those that have walked the same path…those that have faced the same challenges and walked in the Light.

These hearts, these beautiful souls have found a way to bring light in a dark world…and I am so grateful to each of them. And I hope to do the same.

If you have recently had a pregnancy loss I would love to pray with and for you. Would you leave me a comment and tell me about your story. Sometimes, especially as women, we just need a safe place to share. This is that place!

One of the things that was most helpful to me during my loss was something a counselor suggested I do. She told me to write a letter to the child we had lost…say all the things a mommy would say. It really helped me and provided me some peace during that time.  The post I wrote is here.

How have you been encouraged as you follow your dreams and how are you paying it forward? I’d love to hear! 

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