How Worn are your Knees?

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How worn are your knees? I am a runner and there are days when my body feels worn. The wear and tear of exercise causes a soreness that is incomparable to any other form of pain. But I’m not talking about the wear from use, I’m talking about the wear from prayer. So again, I ask, how worn are your knees?

 
About a month ago, God challenged my world with a simple command. A command that rocked some relationships, challenged my faith and brought me to my knees. In the middle of this prayerful season, I went to a women’s conference at a local church. The message was powerful, the conviction felt and I watched as women of all ages approached the altar in holy surrender and desperate longing for direction, forgiveness, acceptance and healing. While worship music encompassed the crowd of prayerful warriors, heartbroken daughters and willing servants- I was drawn to a single woman. She approached the altar, a cane in her right hand and an agonizing limp in her left leg. Her pace was slow. Her face distraught. I watched in heartbreak as she attempted to kneel, but her physical body would not allow her the descent to her knees. 
 
I studied her expression as I saw the slow creep of discouragement spread over her aged brow. She began a slow trek to the side of the stage where benches had been place out of the way. As she approached the nearest bench, she placed her hands on the seat and eased herself down. With one knee bent and the other stretched behind her, she assume a stance of prayerful pleading. For the remainder of the song and into the closing message, she prayed. Silent words spilling from her lips as she surrendered her heart to God on one bended knee. 
 
As the night drew to a close, I watched as as she struggled to get up. Her stiff body made the ascent even more challenging, but as she slowly turned to begin the journey back to her seat, I was drawn to her expression once again. Where minutes before was anguish, discouragement, and grief now appeared peace. And with each painful step, a small smile spread across her face. 
 
 
 How often in my youth and health do I take for granted the ability  to fall to my knees to assume a stance of humility? Or their strength to stand and answer the call to action? I can only imagine the soreness this woman must have felt for the remainder of the day, but how incomparable is the pain of prayer to that of age and injury. I found myself convicted and challenged to use my knees to the full extent of their created purpose- to approach my Heavenly Father in submission, humility and surrender. Since that conference, I have spent many nights in prayer- most on my knees. The burn of carpet has not kept me from pleading, praising and dreaming- in fact it inspires me to pray harder, praise louder and dream bigger. So, yet again I ask, how worn are your knees?

 

 

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Just One More Time

Sitting in class this morning, I felt the weight of decision I’ve been called to make. The clock struck 0800. I felt my pulse begin to race as the teacher stood at the front of the class, tests in hand. Playing with the pencil in my hand, I begin reciting every piece of information crammed into my brain from the night before. I can almost hear the clock ticking in unison with the click of my teacher’s heels on the cold linoleum floor. She is almost at my desk. I can do this. I can do this. But what if I can’t?

Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

I can do all things through Christ you strengthens me. Phillipians 4:13 

Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6-7

And suddenly, there’s peace. 

Growing up, my parents felt like it was important that my little sister and I received a Chrsitian education. One of my favorite memories was sitting on the living room floor with a piece of paper and pencil, writing my memory verse out over and over again. Then proudly handing the paper to my mom to grade. I remember the pride I would feel as she would mark my paper with a star or a smiley face. 100%. 

As a 6 year old, I did not comprehend the importance of these actions. Week after week, year after year of verse memoriazation, I simply took it as one more challenge to accept and another skill to master. I would store these verses in my brain only to forget the next morning, but years later, I have realized that although rusty, the verses are still there. And now they are hidden in my heart. 

I find myself reciting these simple verses in situations of fear, confusion or frustration. And I always think back to those nights spent drinking hot chocolate next to our wood burning fireplace or eating 3 scoops worth of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup watching PBS. I would roll my eyes as my mom would hand me a new piece of paper. “Just one more time, Holly.” 

Just one more time. 

I have always taken for granted the foundation of faith I received as a little girl. It took me years to make my faith my own, but looking back, I am so thankful for those nights spent writing my Bible verse just one more time. Today, those verses have become the love language of my heart. 

So for all the days I didn’t say it, Thanks Mom for one more time. 

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Beautiful Scars

I used to be cutter. As a teenager, one of the only ways I knew how to deal with my emotions was to put a razor blade to my skin. It is not something I am necessarily proud of but the shame I used to feel has since vanished. It has been almost 3 years since my last cut and all that remains are the memories and scars. The Beautiful scars. 

As a teenager, the scars represented power- and they were the definition of who I thought I was- damaged. Each scar was another reminder that I was flawed, not pretty enough, and unlovable. I loved my scars because they were the physical proof that I would never be good enough. But secretly, my scars carried more shame than I would have ever been willing to admit. I would stand in the mirror and allow the lies to pour over me until I believed every whisper. 

Those days are far behind me. The rescue from my dark addiction is a story for a different day. I want to focus on the power my scars give me today- because whether physical or emotional, self inflicted or given to us by someone who is supposed to love us, we all have scars. Scars that become the definition of who we think we are and scars that hold us back from all that we are capable of accomplishing. Even a year ago, I took extra lengths to cover the thin, pale scars that still remain. I was ashamed- not of them but of what they represented to me- those lies that I continued to believe. Today my perception of those scars is much different. I no longer feel the need to cover my scars because they are a reminder of where I’ve been and what I’ve overcome.

The cool thing is that by my own attempts to find healing and recovery from my past, I turned to behavior that was destructive. I further buried myself into a deep pit of lies, wounds and self hate that became so deep that I was incapable of finding my way out. The second I released that struggle to God, the struggle lost its power. 

I realized that it took so much more than my own willpower and desire to find the healing I needed. It took the beautiful scars of Jesus Christ who took my shame upon himself and replaced it with His purity and His forgiveness. His scars which were given to Him by people just like me, people who have broken the heart of our Father over and over again. So today when I look at my own scars, I am reminded of the sacrifice that rescued me. 

Scars take on many shapes and forms. They may be physical, emotional, or wounds to the heart. They may be a result of poor choices or they may be the infliction of others upon us but whatever scars you have, I challenge you to change your perspective. Do not hide the pieces of your past that have played such a huge role in shaping the person you are today. Do not allow yourself to continue to harbor shame when your shame has been taken from you and is as far from you as the east is from the west. Let the scars of your Savior touch you, heal you and redeem you. I challenge you to see your scars as your beautiful path of redemption. 

 

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I drew this picture one afternoon instead of giving in to the temptation to cut. The words are the lyrics of Josh Wilson’s song “Before the Morning.”

God Pleaser

I have to make a confession. I am a people pleaser. As a decision becomes my responsibility to make, my blood pressure begins to rise, I can feel my heart racing, and I begin surveying my environment for the nearest location to hide. The decision could be as significant as making a career choice or it could simply be what I want to eat for dinner. My mind begins to spin and I evaluate every option. Oftentimes I curl up in a ball and avoid all eye contact as I whisper a pleading request to pass the responsibility on to another. After all, I couldn’t possibly carry on my conscience the decision of Sunday’s afternoon lunch. What if my decision causes someone to resent me? Or lose their respect for me? Or what if my decision leads to a bout of terrible food poisoning that puts everyone in bed for 24 hours. My over anxious brain becomes a breeding ground for worst case scenarios and someone else always ends up making the decision for me.

I’ll admit the above example may air on the side of dramatic, but I’m not even kidding when I say that I have major anxiety over making decisions. When introduced to the idea of pros and cons lists, I discovered that the majority of either list is made up of what will disappoint and what will please. Rarely do I include a small slot for what I want to do, or more importantly, what God has asked me to do. After all, God has promised to still love me, right? 
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This morning in my quiet time, I was challenged to read the book of Nehemiah. Three things struck me most about his man. First of all, Nehemiah was so confident in his faith that he never questioned whether a prompting was from God or from himself. He knew God’s voice and he responded to his voice with action. Second was that Nehemiah covered every decision in prayer. I kind of love the way that Nehemiah speaks. In chapter 2 verse 4 it says, “Then the king said to me, ‘What are you requesting?'” And Nehemiah responds with, “So, I prayed.” And then he spoke. “So” is one of my favorite words, I tend to use it often to decorate both my speech and my written sentences. It is a happy transition from one thought to another, so small yet so significant. My favorite thing about the word “so” is that it is most often followed by an action. And in Nehemiah’s case, his action was prayer. 
The third thing that I love about Nehemiah is that he is a God pleaser. When God called Him to rebuild the wall, he asked for the King’s favor to depart, but then he tells no one. I like to collect input from everyone when I make big decisions. I disguise it under the proverb, “seeking wisdom,” but really I’m evaluating what decision will disappoint the least amount of people. 
No more. I want to live my life as a God pleaser. I want to strive to go when He says go, to stop when He says stop, and to jump when He says to jump. I want to live so dangerously and passionately for God that no one else’s opinions even attempt to sway my decision making ability. I want my story to read, God called. So, I followed. 

Who are you striving to please today? 

 

A Glimpse into my World

Passion has never been a characteristic that has been lacking in my journey. I have a crazy passionate heart that longs to fight for the hurting, scream for the silent and change the world for the better. My passion brings me to tears, laughter and hurt more times than I can count, but for most of my life, I have not known how to use my passion. It was simply in the way of everything logical and practical. And so my passion was forced to lie dormant in a submissive surrender to the hostile enemies of control and security. 

A little over a year ago, God stopped my car on a country road on an early Sunday morning and told me that enough was enough. It was time to stop fighting Him, to stop running, and to stop living for myself by myself. He stood between my impulsive, broken heart and suicide and set me on a journey of powerful healing, God-sized dreaming, colossal callings and crazy faith. My passion was reawakened, strengthened and given purpose. God sized purpose.

This blog is an attempt to document my crazy journey of dangerous passion and the pursuit of God-sized living (aka dreaming put into action). On the outside I’m just an ordinary girl. I’m 22, short, stubborn and filled with the desire to change the world. I love green tea and believe the illusion that chocolate can make every thing better. Hugs make my heart happy and I believe everyone deserves a second chance at life-even turtles on the highway. I cry at chick flicks and I swear the ocean speaks right to my soul. Caffeine is not my friend, and I secretly wish that life came with a soundtrack like it does in the movies. 

I’m just a crazy ordinary girl that shouldn’t even be here today, but because of the forgiving heart and redemptive love of my Daddy God- I’m here. And I choose to live my life sold out for Jesus because I was created for an extraordinary purpose. Watch out world.

 

Love,

Holly