time.

I’ve spent the last month digging deeper into who I am in Christ and part of that is learning how I love and how I love to be loved. This weekend has been spectacular in learning this. I’ve been working hard all weekend, work has been crazy with the holiday weekend and I have been a barista the last couple of days. I’m mainly a baker, but I get a few shifts out front each month. I enjoy interacting with the customers and making beautiful drinks for them. Anyways… working hard, on bar, but the best of all is that I had friends and family come visit me three days in a row! i know that most people don’t care if they see people they know at work, but for me, I know that it takes time and intention for most of my friends and family to come see me. Pike Place Market isn’t somewhere that most people are at everyday, people that I know anyways. So, for someone to come visit, get a hug and a cup of coffee, let’s me know that they care about me. I know it sounds silly, but when one of your main love languages is quality time, I know that they spend their time, to come see me and that means the world to me!

Along those same lines, my brother and his family are in town this weekend, Friday-Tuesday… basically my work week. So, I haven’t seen them in almost 8 months, but taking the time, even when I’m tired to stay up  late for that quality time or to get up early for that time is something that I’m totally willing and love to do. Yes, we all need sleep, but somethings are more important. Relationship is more important than a couple more hours of sleep!

All this to say, spend time with those that are important to you, go out of your way for those that you love. Love each other in the way that each needs it, which is usually different! Be intentional about relationships and know that if you desire to be loved, you have to love other too.

Also, take some selfies… it’ll make you giggle, and that’s good for you too!

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perspective.

In life there are times of  growth and there are times of getting through each day and there are times of thriving. I like to choose the latter. The other day we were doing a big event at work, there was a lot to get done in a short amount of time in a small space. Someone threw out that we just needed to survive the night… I never want to just survive. I told him, let not just survive, let’s thrive. I wanted the night to be fun and didn’t want to just get through it, but I wanted to feel like I did my best work for the people that were a part of the event, they deserved that!

All this to say, in order to thrive, I have to have a bigger perspective on life. I have to have a God size perspective. A lot of the time it is so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day, trust me, I know! I also have to step back, look at my life and realize that I am so blessed. I have amazing friendships all around me. I have so many different walks in this life and so many amazing people in all of it. I’m building such a great community of friends in Seattle that I get to work with everyday. I have my friends that live in Kitsap and those that are around the country and around the world.

I can let the words of few so often get me down, but when I stop I realize that I am who I’m supposed to be and who God has created me to be, I’m ok with being questioned. I’ll seek truth in statements, but also know that everything that is said isn’t a reflection of me, but also of those asking the questions.

When taking this God-sized perspective I see things so much clearer. I see that I don’t have to battle loneliness, or a heavy heart. I know that I’m loved by so many. I have battled my way through this life to find who I am in Christ and I still have many more battles to go through, but I can go back and re-fight those battles. They have already been won. There is no need to go back and really no desire either. As I’m questioned as to who I am, I know that I can confidently approach the subject.

I am a woman who longs to be loved.

I am a hard worker that puts her best foot forward everyday.

I am sarcastic and funny, but don’t always like to be in the lime light.

I am creative and adventuresome, looking to express those in new ways.

I am talented in many areas, maybe someday I’ll be excellent in a few.

I am capable, I am enough, I am strong, I am lovable, I am confident.

I make mistakes and I always will, but that’s ok too.

Stepping back and looking at all these things that I know about myself, I know that I am all of this because of one reason. Jesus. My Savior and most of all my Lord. He is in control of all this. I’m but a mere human, He sees all, hears all and is in all. This life, it isn’t about me and my wants, needs or desires. It’s about honoring him and bring glory to his name on a daily basis. I have to so loosely hold onto all of these things knowing that he is the Lord of my life, free to give and take as he sees fit. 

These are my thoughts, but I wanted to share with you some thoughts from John Piper that really hone into what I’m saying.

“So it is with the supremacy of Christ in your life. All the planets of your life—your sexuality and desires, your commitments and beliefs, your aspirations and dreams, your attitudes and convictions, your habits and disciplines, your solitude and relationships, your labor and leisure, your thinking and feeling—all the planets of your life are held in orbit by the greatness and gravity and blazing brightness of the supremacy of Jesus Christ at the center of your life. And if he ceases to be the bright, blazing, satisfying beauty at the center of your life, the planets will fly into confusion, and a hundred things will be out of control, and sooner or later they will crash into destruction.” -John Piper

May Christ reign Supreme in our lives as he holds it together for us. May he always be the center of my universe.

Natalie

reminder.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that Jesus is on our side, He’s cheering for us and He wants us to succeed! I was reading in my daily devotionals today and Psalms 23 was a part of it. So much good stuff and so many promises. These are a few of my thoughts on it.

The lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.

He’s taking care of us, when you look at the big picture of life, you do have hardships, but most people that I know have a roof over their head, clothes to wear and don’t worry about their next meal. Your shepherd has your back covered.

He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.

There will be times of rest and peace that He will guide us to. They won’t be forever, but they will be long enough to soak in what He has for us if we allow the time needed for green meadows and peaceful streams. Don’t tromp right through them, enjoy them with their creator.

He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

He MUST be the source of our strength, when we trust him enough to lead and guide us, we’ll feel renewed and strengthened. I’ve found when I’m fully strengthened, fully rested, not running on fumes, I bring the most honor and glory to His name. I know we all have seasons where tiredness and weariness are upon us, lean into him for your strength.

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.

There will be times of dark valleys, there will be times of struggle and turmoil, but don’t assume that in those times you’re alone. You have some one on your side, close beside you. He’ll walk with you through any struggle big or small. 

Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

He will comfort and protect you, those valleys don’t have to be as scary as they may seem, they are an opportunity for growth and when Christ is your protector and comforter, you can rest in the darkness, the adversity and know that He’ll be in that place with you. You can cast all your cares upon him.

You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.

He loves to bless His children, He loves to do the unthinkable in crazy circumstances. Enjoy the feast He has laid out for you, remember he’s close by your side. Expect great things and He’ll do great things in your life.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.

When you honor Him, from the heart, He’ll anoint you, He’ll bless you, your cup will overflow. He really does want the best for you.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the lord
forever.
Psalms 23 (NLT)

He is goodness, He is unfailing love and He is chasing after you. Turn to Him in times of trouble and in times of rejoicing. Let Him know where you’re at, He already knows, but He really enjoys being in communication with each of us. Let Him speak to you, listen to His words and follow after His heart like David was doing when he wrote this Psalm. I’m no Bible scholar, but I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts that were rolling around in my head this morning as I was reading this Psalm that I’ve read hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. Let the scripture be illuminated to you in a new and fresh way.

Leaning in,
Natalie

redeemed.

re·deem
riˈdēm/
verb
past tense: redeemed; past participle: redeemed
  1. compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something).
    2. gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my redemption story, about how even when I was a believer, I needed his redemption in my life. This isn’t something that I bring up lightly, it isn’t something that I dwell on much at all, but it is something that the enemy likes to remind me of. That one time or when I did such ‘n such. I have to counter those thoughts with the reminder that my debt has been paid in full, that I’m forgiven completely, that the battle has already been won for me.
I don’t have to walk around in shame or regret, but in victory and in power, because Christ has overcome so much for me. I am redeemed, it’s a past tense word. It has already been done and there isn’t any going back. Life may try and cycle you back to where you once were, but you don’t have to go there. You don’t have to be that person you once were.
Sometimes I have a hard time believing in my redemption, that I’m still being punished for past mistakes, that once I’m really forgiven, then I’ll get those things in my life that I desire that everyone else seems to have. It just simply is. not. true. It’s more of a process for us humans to realize our redemption than it is for God to pull us from the depths and tell us we are forgiven.
What’s it going to take between you and God for you really to believe He is who He says He is?
Think about that, is there something in your relationship with Him that is hindering you from believing in him and trusting him completely?
I recently had my own revelation moment. I was journaling about Hope. It is a word that believers use all the time. The thing is, I didn’t realize how much hope I put into things of this world. We put hope into people and situations and if it doesn’t go exactly like we hope, we’re disappointed. Which, honestly, is most of the time. But Listen, we need to put our hope solely in Jesus, we need to put it all in him and we won’t be disappointed. I’m still walking through and working through what that even looks like in my life. I hadn’t realized how much hope I has put into others.
hope and redemption.
They do go together. We have so much hope for the future if we live in our redemption. Not take advantage of our gracious God that forgives, but living a life worthy of the calling. If we weren’t redeemed or didn’t believe we were redeemed how much hope would we have? probably not much. But living in redemption and putting our hope in Christ, is the best scenario.
I guess that’s my own personal challenge. Know that I’m free from the past and that I have hope for the future if I put all my hope in Jesus.
This song sums it up pretty well for me.
 
He’s not done with me yet,
Natalie

independence.

I feel like most of our lives we’re searching for independence. It’s something that our country strives to protect and flaunts it everywhere we go. We’re the land of the free, we have independence day! Nothing wrong with either one of those things. I’ve been learning though about my independence and how it isn’t always about the streamers and BBQ.

I’ve come to this place where I feel like I am working to provide for myself, finding this independence financially, which is a really, really good thing. At the same time though, I see myself no longer crying out to God in ways that I have been in the past 6 months, and that’s no bueno.

I have found it really interesting working in a place where I’m around people day in and day out that need to see who Jesus is. It has been awhile since I’ve been in this scenario. Smiling to a customer or encouraging a co-worker has been some of how I’ve been able to be a light while working really hard. I’ve also found that in my striving to be everything that everyone around me needs, I keep emptying my cup without fully refilling it each day. I spend time with Jesus daily, but it isn’t as focused as I would like it to be, I’m usually on the go or rushing through it to check it off the list.

In finding my independence again, I’ve lost my dependence on God.

Just this morning, as I have a couple of days off. I’ve spent a few hours, reading the Word, writing down my thoughts, processing through relationships that I have, and listening. Some of my most refreshing times are when I’m gut level honest with Jesus and He is gut level honest with me. When I listen, he speaks. When I cry out, he answers. He has all the time in the world for me, I just need to make time for Him.

There has been such a pendulum swing in my life this year. So much learning, so much growing. Just when I think I find this groove of what life looks like, I see where I’ve failed in different areas. Focusing too much on one area, leaves the others to unravel. I’m constantly on this journey to be who God has created me to be, and I’m finding that those times where I see things unraveling is way shorter than it used to be. I’m still connected to the vine and He speaks to me. There is fruit in my life and I’m learning and growing. I don’t get as discouraged as I used to and I don’t let things unravel too far before God shows me what is going on. I’m finding that place of dependence in the midst of independence.

I’m learning to not let my life be a bunch of different areas that I have to keep tabs on, but rather that it is one holistic life that God tends to for me. No more compartmentalization. No more “I got this part God, you get that one,” but more of “here take all of my life and all of me to do what you desire.”

 

The Spirit of the Sovereign lord is upon me,
for the lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the lord has planted for his own glory.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted for many generations.
Isaiah 61:1-4

steps.

My life really is crazy. That’s the best way to explain it. i guess that makes me a little crazy too!

Every once in a while I get the opportunity to really stop and think about my life these last six-months… see. crazy.

I’ve been working at Storyville for almost 3 months now, and the 3 months before that I was in California. How did I get to this place? Where did these new friendships come from? What does the future hold for me? These are all questions that roll through my mind on a pretty regular basis. Obviously I don’t have answers to all of these questions, but I do know the steps that I took to get here. The obedience, the humility, the trials and most of all the time I have spent pressing into Jesus.

I’ve been doing my devotionals in Joshua lately, it holds some great stories and some great memories of where the Israelites have come from and where they are headed. They have entered the Promised Land and it is all getting divvied up between the tribes. This is the milk and honey, this is the bread and butter, this is what they have been taking steps toward for 40 years!

They still aren’t always totally convinced of God’s goodness in their lives though, still not quiet sure if it is all too good to be true. Is there another trek around the desert? Is there another enemy we have to defeat? I think I would say yes to both of those questions, there will be more time spent in the desert, and the enemy will come around again and again needing to be defeated. BUT God has the best intentions for them and for each of us. All throughout the book of Joshua the phrase “Be strong and courageous” is stated, it’s something that I think we need to remind ourselves often. God has our back, but we still have to step out, have courage and keep pressing forward into the promises He has given us.

I feel like I’ve come a long ways in the last six months, but I know that I need to remind myself of these truths on a daily basis, when things might not be going as planned or as relationships are changing, just knowing that God has the best in mind for me as I take these steps is a huge release and a burden that I don’t have to bare. Of all the relationships in this world, He isn’t manipulating me or forcing his hand… if I follow his lead and walk with an open heart, He’ll lead me to my promise land.

Thanks for bearing with me as I unfold and process my story. 

fulfilled.

Living a fulfilled life shows itself in so many different areas. I enjoy things that I haven’t for a while, photography comes easy, friendships aren’t work, healthy choices come naturally, and crazy hours are no big deal.

All of this has been true for me over the last few weeks. I’m seeing changes in myself that I didn’t expect. I’m lifting my eyes up more and enjoying the world around me, I’m looking around at all the beautiful things, I’m taking time to stop and enjoy a beautiful sunset or just let the wind blow through my hair.

I’m still amazed as I stroll through Pike Place Market and realize that work in one of the most iconic parts of the great Pacific Northwest. As I walk to the ferry I am in awe of the buildings around me. I’m so full of gratitude of this life I’m living and the opportunities that I have.

Today as I was driving to the ferry I was just praying for my day, praying for those I work with and those that I serve as I work. It’s amazing the difference it can make if your day starts out in the right foot. Granted I did get a full night of sleep and even got coffee and breakfast with my mom, but still having the right heart makes a huge difference! Being fulfilled by my maker and not looking for it from anyone else has been such a huge blessing. Apparently when you really are too busy to worry about all those other things they seemingly fall into place, but because they are habits that I have been working on before life got busy.

Being fulfilled doesn’t mean that everything is handed to you, I work hard day in and day out, and life choices have been made and practiced for years, I just feel like all of the pieces are fitting together, the puzzle is taking shape and it’s so much easier to see what the picture is, it isn’t just a mess of pieces everywhere, it a picture of my life coming together – and turning out quite beautiful!

If you’re looking to live a fulfilled life, you have to start with the life giver, know Him closely, talk to him daily and even more importantly listen to Him daily. Those are my thoughts, dive in head first and don’t look back!