oh how He loves.

    The white eyelet curtain flitted and danced in the night air as I sat at my vintage desk, cupping my hands comfortably around a steamy mug of vanilla chai tea. It's been unseasonably cool here in the evenings - the days just warm enough to remind me that summer promises to come, the nights just chilly enough to keep my favorite down comforter on my bed and (on rare evenings) even get away with wearing soft chenille socks. Saturday night I sat at my desk, drinking in the fresh crispness of the night air. Because my desk is pressed up against my window (think John-Boy-from-the-Walton's set up) it's my favorite place to write. And as I sat alone musing, pressing stamps to paper in an effort to create some DIY project I found on Pinterest, I turned on a little country music as the perfect background to such a scene. My go-to is usually some good old Rascal Flatts or a little Brad Paisley, but that night I decided to change things up and went with Mr. Kenny Chesney. Before I knew it, somewhere between "Boys of Fall" (that song gets me every time) and "Don't Blink", hot tears began to fall (ruining my craftastic DIY attempt) and I just sat. Thinking about life, dreams, the ebb and flow of time, where my heart has been, and how the Lord shows up in the most beautiful and amazing ways.

   And crazily (is that a word?! now it is) enough - as the Lord would have it - a few moments later, my little relaxing "me time" scene was ended...with a sudden power outage due to strong winds (guess that cool night breeze got stronger as I sat there all wrapped up in country songs). "Zhooommm"....and gone. The lights - off. My laptop - dead. My phone - black screen. (Clearly, need to practice charging my electronics) The crafting plans, writing ideas, and emails that I needed to write were suddenly obsolete for the night. And so, tea in hand, I crept to the bed in the dark and slid under the down comforter and just sat. And I realized (sadly) how seldom I ever just sit. Just sit and be. More importantly - just sit and pray. And think. Not just the thinking and praying I do while I'm drifting to sleep after a crazy day. But really sitting - alone, undisturbed - with no iPhone flashing updates in the form of text messages, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blogger, and email to distract me. No computer to listen to music on. Just silence and peace. And I just sat (already emotional, thanks to Kenny) and thought about how great my God is, how much He loves me, how little I really deserve it, and how much I love Him for it. I thought about my dreams - the ones I began to grow a bit discouraged in at certain moments in the past few weeks. And I thought about how precious the Lord is for how He cares for our hurting hearts at the perfect moment.

    I thought about my heart a few weeks ago.... one of those weeks when it's hard to get through Monday without alot of prayer (and coffee!) and just goes from bad to worse. One of the "when it rains, it pours" types of weeks when everything is falling apart at the seems and you start to feel weak. Discontentment led to discouragement, discouragement led to feeling downcast, and feeling downcast (in all honesty) led me to feeling a little depressed (ah! did I really just say that?! Are we allowed to talk about being depressed in the Christian blog community? Heck yeah. We are here at least. Because, even though we don't like to talk about it on these cute, well-designed blogs - if we are breathing, discouragement and even depression sometimes sneak into our lives.) Stuff just piled up in my life. And without sharing all the detail, I began to feel like I was drowning in craziness. I just could not take it anymore. (Am I alone in feeling this way?) I finally lost it and just cried out to the Lord. I should've done that in the first place.... but sadly, too often my heart wanders to every place but Jesus. And after exhausting myself searching around trying to fix my problems all alone, I finally ran to His feet and cried out to Him - "Lord, come. Forgive me for not running to You in the first place. Show me You are near. Take care of me....Come, Lord." I just talked to Him - I cried out to Him through tears and pain. I was honest with Him about the things I don't have and think I need - the things my flesh struggles with, honestly. The way I struggle with comparing my life to other people's. I am brutally honest with the Lord. I don't just pray a standard prayer, ask Him to deliver me from my sin...in Jesus name, amen. Of course, I talk to Him about everything - my sin, the ways I fall, the ways my flesh struggles against my spirit. But I also just talk to Him. Like a best friend.

    Through tears, I told my Jesus how I don't understand why certain things have happened the way they have. I poured out my heart and the things I do not understand. Even, how I wished I was able to go to Influence conference, but there was no possible way. And I cried as the Lord just wrapped me up in His amazing peace and grace.

  And I kid you not, my dear readers.... less than an hour later, I got one of the most incredible emails I have ever received. From a sweet friend of mine whom I've never "officially" met, a precious woman of God who crossed my path because of this amazing thing called blogging. A friend who was broken by the Lord - who shared with me in the sweetest, most humble words how God had placed me on her heart that week. How she was praying and how He laid on her heart. How she wept through church that morning, and how she obeyed what she felt God laid on her heart to do for a sister in Christ. Friends - she made it possible for me to attend Influence Conference. I was blown away. Not only by her generosity, kindness, care, and love. But by how much, and how personally, the Lord loves His daughters.

   By how He whispered to the heart of sweet Annie ... how she listened to her King. And by her obedience and servant's heart, the Lord healed another daughter's broken heart. How the Lord knows each of our situations, each of our hearts - and how He can do amazing, life-changing things through one sister in Christ to another - even though they are miles and miles apart. How He cares for our hearts. How He provides for our needs. How good and faithful and kind He is.

   How I fail a thousand times, yet His mercy remains. Oh, how He loves us.

   I share these things with you, almost reluctantly. Sharing our hearts in vulnerability is not always easy. But I feel compelled to share this - because I want you all to know - each and every one of you beautiful ones - how much He loves you. He loves you and me so amazingly, incredibly, perfectly, and overwhelmingly. It blows me away.

     Oh, how He loves us. Take a moment this week - turn off your computer, power down the smart phone, shut the door, and just sit. Sit and breathe, feel the cool evening air on your face - and talk to Jesus. A power outtage was my rude awakening to how little I meditate on Him. May we take time to stop, to pray, to breathe, and to just think about how He loves us.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
-John 3:16

"How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."
-Ephesians 3:18

"But God shows His love for us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
-Romans 5:8

Praying that you and I begin to comprehend how high, deep, wide, long
and grace-filled His love is for us.


....I may or may not be back soon with a rare vlog for ya. :)
*photos from a recent trip I took to Santa Monica. More to come!