“Guard My Heart”?

Always Guard Your Heart Inspirational Life Quotes

Guard my heart? As my beloved co-worker, Kim, would say, “What the hun does that mean?!”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot, used a lot, and yet-not thought about a lot.

What does it mean to guard my heart? When I give that advice to others, and to myself…what am I actually saying?

For some reason, today, when thinking about being “on guard” for my heart’s sake- I immediately got this mental picture of two little french men:

Okay, that’s not exactly what surfaced in my imagination-but it’s pretty close. The french warning “en garde!” is a term in fencing translated “On [your] guard”. It is a call to a fellow fencer to adopt a defensive stance in readiness for an attack or bout. It’s what I shout to my brother just as I am about to hit him with the empty Christmas wrapping tube!

Be prepared for an attack!

Hm. So that’s what I’m telling people do with their heart? Guard it, because it is going to be straight up attacked?

Yes. That is precisely what we should mean. Guard your heart, your valuable heart, because there always is something/someone attacking it.

[Fear//Stupid Satan//The world//Other’s Negativity//Lies//Insecurities//Disbelief.]

Guard your heart, your seat of emotions, constantly-KNOWING that it is going to be attacked! To guard is to be alert, attentive, and ready to fight. And we fight with the sword of truth-read God’s word constantly! Hear God’s truths through pastoral wisdom and encouraging friends!! Believe God’s truth by acknowledging the lies you are tempted to believe and walk yourself to what is Truth.

Don’t be a sucky guard for your heart.

 

Expect to be attacked.

Pay attention.

Know how to fight.

And for goodness sake, fight to protect the heart you were given to guard.

 

Call Your Sibling Today!

So today is my little brother’s birthday.

Ha. Little. He is now 25 (whaaaa???) and is definitely bigger that I am-but still little brother to me. ❤

David and I have been through everything together. From rough beginnings, through adoption, and all the subsequent trials of life-we’ve not missed a single one in each others journey.

He makes me laugh more than ANYONE else I know. He is caring and sweet, and puts up with SO (soo sooooooo) many of my shenanigans.

I remember being in high school, getting ready for school in the morning, and looking in the mirror at myself, discontent with what I saw staring back at me. I turned to my (probably 8th grade) brother and said semi-defeatedly, “Well, how do I look?” He looked at me and said, “Smile…” I smiled. He responded “There you go! With that smile, you’re BEAUTIFUL.”

All that to say, this morning I was thanking God for my little brother-for the joy he brings into my life, for the care he has for my family. I don’t tell him enough. There’s a lot I am thankful for, but most of all I thankful for David’s salvation and love for the Lord. What a gift that I can rest in, that He’s got David’s soul!

I’m going to call him and be all sappy to him (cuz that’s how I roll on birthdays) and figured I’d write a blog about this to encourage you to maybe call your sibling today too! If you haven’t recently (or even if you have!) tell them what you love about them, a memory you treasure, or something you are specifically thankful for! If they are believers-praise the Lord! If they are not-KEEP PRAYING!

Happy Birthday, David! I love you!

 

Bridges or Barriers: The Beauty in Struggling

Guest Blogger: I have a basic theory on “souls” that I compare a persons inward being to different types of materials.  Based on their drive, their countenance, and their quirks they are cotton, silk,cashmere, velvet, burlap, lace-you get it.  My dear friend, Elizabeth and I have had the opportunity to get to know each other this year, and we quickly found out that our souls are made of the same material.  We think and feel deeply, and love to journal almost as much as we love to laugh. I’ve been so blessed by her thoughts, encouragements, and personality, and I was very excited when she agreed to let me post some of her thoughts in my blog! Elizabeth’s story encourages me to struggle well. She challenges me to delight in my Savior, realizing what a prize He is, and she reminds me that the end will be so worth ANY amount of struggling! Be blessed!

 

“This summer I went on a pretty thrilling hike. In a jungle. In Indonesia. Down to a 300 foot waterfall. Where few had ever been to before. So many thoughts, feelings, and sights are attached to the memory of it.

The struggle it was to get down. The sliding down steep mud and grass. Holding onto ropes and maneuvering down bamboo shoots with small openings cut out for our feet. The hundreds of eagle-sized bats swarming high up in the sky above us. The work that it took to make it there but thinking the whole time about how beautiful it might be at the end. Making my way down, although slightly treacherous, generated in me a feeling of tension but also a deep, excited joy. I didn’t even know what was at the end- our guides thought it was best not to reveal to us what were about to see until we got there ourselves. So I continued down the steep, rough path with anticipation, simply knowing that the end would be good.

I’ve been struggling through the season of life I am in currently. Facing unknowns about my future. Experiencing pain from feeling misunderstood. Battling against weakness. Fighting inward tensions that feel paralyzing. Making my way down a steep, rough path.

Yet at the same time, I almost feel content. Somehow, I am experiencing peace and comfort and incredible joy. And even the pain and struggle, although still present, although still strong, feels almost right.

I think I am supposed to be having this struggle right now. I think God is moving. And He’s leading me somewhere I need to go.

Can pain really ever feel comfortable? I think the closest to it, is knowing- DEEPLY knowing- when in pain, that it ultimately is going to bring about something good that will be worth it. When I have such a deep assurance in my soul that the outcome will be beautiful and will bring a harvest of righteousness, then although pain is still pain, it becomes the closest to comfortable it can be and a quiet, surreal joy follows that is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb 12:11).

And what if the path not only feels rough but also feels lonely? Can loneliness, feeling misunderstood, or unknown, ever be seen as a gift?

The past few months, I have collected a number of experiences that have completely changed me and in some senses have thrown me into a tumultuous whirlpool of questions, tensions, emotions, transformations, and new perspectives… It’s all come together in my mind like a big, beautiful secret that makes me feel alone in my inward battles as a result. And that feels painful.

Yet, the inward questions, the silent wrestling, the lack of feeling truly understood, has forced me to scream questions that I have never asked before with such sincerity.

“God, do you hear me?”

“Did you just see what I saw?”

“Do you know the struggles I’m experiencing? Every emotion running through me?”

“Are you really with me, Father?”

The answers to these questions have left me showered in hope and overwhelmed in comfort.

The loneliness in my struggles has been a gateway into recognizing what deep communion with my Father entails. The moments of being richly fed by His Word and His presence have continued to multiply. The peace and sincere satisfaction in knowing Him and being known by Him have overflowed into thankfulness and life that seems too good to even be true. And it’s not that other people haven’t been able to give to me and support me in very meaningful ways. It’s just that my Father’s communion and presence amidst the struggles have been limitless, rich, deep, and beautiful beyond comparison.

God, have you given me so much grace that I can honestly say that the quiet war I am experiencing right now is a gift from you? That the struggles, the moments of weakness, the anxiety, the steep and rough path I am walking is-no question-the perfect path for me right now?

It’s throwing me into Your presence. It’s grounding me deep in your Word. It’s granting me a view of Your plan. Your purpose. Your desires. It’s nudging me to pursue Your wisdom. To hear Your voice. It’s establishing for me a stronger confidence in the hope of one day seeing the prize. Seeing Jesus. It’s a challenging, treacherous path that is taking me somewhere beautiful.

So yes, I have struggles. I ask questions about the unknown that leaves me with an inward tension. I often feel like it’s a burden that I have to carry alone. And it takes work to keep walking.

But I’m discovering that these things, although not comprising an easy and effortless hike, are proving to be bridges rather than barriers that are taking me exactly where I need to go. The path is tough, but there is comfort in deeply knowing the path is being carved out by my loving Father. And that leaves me gracefully struggling through it with peace and joy that is priceless.

And who knows, maybe it will lead to something as incredible as a beautiful, massive waterfall in the middle of the jungle of an unchartered area on an island in Indonesia.”

indo

Life’s [Not] Going According to [My] Plan

I turned 26 this year, and I thought, for sure, I’d have life more figured out by now.

I’d be settling into the long term career I excel at and find fulfillment in. I’d be in a healthy, happy, adventuresome relationship with a man who treasures me deeply and is passionate about the covenant of marriage. I’d know when kiddos would be coming along, and I’d be wisely using my gifts and talents. I’d not do annoying things like write out a check to pay a toll both fine, put a stamp on the envelope, and then accidentally leave it in my purse for 2 weeks.  No way, Jose.

But instead, I am both enjoying and loathing the blessed burden of singleness. I am in a job I love, but have little to no direction for the future. I am not sure what to do with some of the things God has entrusted to me, and yes, the crumpled (now late) bill was mailed out just yesterday.

Life is not going the way I thought it would go post-college. I have more heartaches than I was planning on, less direction than I was hoping for, and more mistakes than I was anticipating.

But that’s okay.

No really. It hurts sometimes, but I know it’s good. I know that where I am TODAY-the situation, circumstances, and unknowns are all good. Romans 8:28 tells us that, for those who love God (hey-that’s me! I LOVE God!) all things (wait, like ALL? Everything? All means ALL?) work together for good (this good means ultimate good, eternal good (the very best kind of good!)) for those who are called according to his purpose (that’s me! He’s called me!).

So, as much as my ideal plans have not and are not currently panning themselves out-I can trust that God’s plan is panning itself out (Prov. 19:21; Eph. 1:11). And frankly, that plan has got to be better than any plan I could have conjured up! God is brilliant, loving, intentional, and perfect. He is a good father (Luke 11:11-12) Whatever He is allowing, not allowing, doing and not doing, though I don’t understand why, I know is good and best and perfect (Ps. 119:68).

So yes, life’s not going according to my plan. But it is going according to The Plan-and whatever God is doing is trustworthy, best, for my eternal good, and worthy of joy & praise (1 Thess. 5:16-19). So whatever heartbreak you are experiencing today, because your plans haven’t worked out, be reminded that God IS good, He IS working, and His plan is the perfect plan.

All things work together for those who love God all we have to do is love and live for God he is with us and promises he will give good to us and has a plan:

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails" [words of the verse in a heart shape with lake and mountains in the background]:

Lord, I will trust you to help me get through this incredibly painful, lonely and sad season of life.  My eyes are on you!:

Our #LoveGodGreatly #Psalm119:68  Week 3 #MemoryVerse

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit."   - 1Thessalonians 5:16-19.  (Scripture Art Print Joy Pray Thanks Modern Christian by hopeink).:

Gifts and Limitations: Weighty Wings Let You Fly

I had a dear friend over yesterday evening for dinner and some sweet time together. While chatting we grabbed a book from my shelf that I gave her a copy of for her wedding. She leafed through Elisabeth Elliott’s “Let Me Be a Woman” and read aloud to me an impactful part she had just been thinking about recently concerning insecurities:

“The elephant and the mouse might each complain about his size, the turtle about his shell, the bird about the weight of his wings. But elephants are not called upon to run behind wainscots, mice will not be found ‘pacing along as though they have an appointment at the end of the world’, turtles have no need to fly nor birds to creep. The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird.”

Hmm…Let’s read that again. “The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird.”

After reading that, (this is one of the reasons why I am so blessed by our friendship!) it only seemed natural to take the next few minutes identifying gifts that we see in one another and it’s corresponding limitations. What are the “wings” in our lives that we think weigh us down-but really are what allow us to fly? God is a brilliant designer…how might we praise him instead of complaining about the weight of our wings?

I’ll give just one example. My dear friend is a woman of grace. I look up to her in so many ways, and I am so blessed by her example of having a “gentle and quiet spirit”. When I am worked up, disheartened, disheveled, and dramatic-she is peaceful, soothing, calm, soft, kind, and loving. I see her soft demeanor as a huge blessing. But she can sometimes be tempted to see it as a limitation. Within a group of people, she sometimes cannot be heard. She is not the “life of the party” or the bombastic teacher that she thinks she’d like to be sometimes. It is seen as a limitation, but really the limitation is a rare and lovely gift from God for her to best accomplish his purposes through her life. What she (sometimes) finds most frustrating about herself, is actually one of the very things that is most lovely, and most impactful about her!

We each thought of 2 things (gifts that we often see as limitations) in one another’s life and it was a very encouraging time! So I want to encourage you to 1.) think of “limitations” you perceive in yourself, and how they might actually be gifts to praise God for and serve God with 2.) think of someone in your life that views one of their gifts as a limitation and call/text/facebook message/skype/snapchat/snail mail/etc. them to encourage them with the gift God has given them, OR 3.) comment below with any thoughts pertaining to gifts and limitations! 😀

As always, thanks so much for reading! I pray through this blog you grow to love and know God more! Enjoy some Elisabeth Elliot quotes below!