“Just Be Held”

“Lift your hands, lift your eyes, in the storm is where you’ll find Me. And where you are, I’ll hold your heart, I’ll hold your heart.”

This song first pierced my heart when I was battling through mono my junior year. I had no strength left to do anything that I wanted to do or thought I was supposed to do. I had to learn to release all the expectations, all the standards, and just be held. To know that His grace was more than sufficient for exactly what I was supposed to do, and He didn’t expect anything more from me than surrender to Him. No perfect grades, No perfect looks, nothing. Just trust.

I told my best friend just last week, “The times when I have felt very closest to God, when I have felt His presence the most have been some of the hardest days of my life. The days when I had nothing left but Him.” This week, God has been reminding me of that lesson that I have to learn time and time again. To fall on Him and nothing else. Sometimes He has to knock me flat on my back to get my attention, and as much as it hurts, it is always worth it. Because afterwards, He always picks me up and lets me just be held for a while.

 

— Taryn

 

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Will It Ever Be Enough??

I’m really good at playing the Thanksgiving game.

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“What are you thankful for?”
God, family, friends, health, education…
*10 minutes later*
Making my Christmas list, complaining that the wifi is slow, asking if we seriously ran out of milk. 

—-
Wow. We laugh it off by calling them “first world problems” and attempting to justify our lack of thankfulness. But changing how we label it doesn’t change what it is.
Discontentment.

Selfishness.

Entitlement.

I like the idea and thought behind Thanksgiving. I’ve written posts in the past about thankfulness and choosing to have joy which I still completely agree with. But a fault I’ve started recognizing in myself is that I tend to convince myself I’m “being thankful” when in actuality, my heart is far from it.

“In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content. Whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” — Philippians 4:12 (HCSB)

Contentment. Joyful contentment. I think that’s the key. Not just being thankful for what we have, but letting that be enough. Not pining after or basing our happiness on what is next, on what will satisfy our earthly longings for one more day. But rather digging wholeheartedly into our Savior who is more than enough for us.

This world will never be enough.

All things are wearisome; man is unable to speak. The eye is not satisfied by seeing or the ear filled with hearing.” — Ecclesiastes 1:8 (HCSB)

I like to convince myself that I am being thankful, I can make my list of things I’m thankful for a mile long, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Honestly, it helps my attitude a lot to think about things I am grateful for. But I have let it become a ritual an routine and the true joy and contentment that I am supposed to have in Christ has faded into extinction. I am often “thankful” because I am supposed to be, all the while taking for granted all that I have and all that God has blessed me with.

What kind of message is that sending to God and to this world?

God, You aren’t enough. You sent Your Son to be brutally killed for my sake even though I could never deserve it. You have gifted me with life and loving family and friends around me. BUT that’s not enough. I want more. I think I deserve more. Can’t you just make my life easy?

Wow. I would never verbalize it in that fashion, but is that not what I’m saying? I wouldn’t ever want to be that way. I wouldn’t ever want to be that selfish and shallow. And yet I am and I’m not even noticing it because I am still “being thankful”.

“And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” — Colossians 3:15 (HCSB)

As long as I keep living with fake gratitude, I will never think anything is enough. I will always feel entitlement and contempt. But God has already provided so much more than enough. His gifts, are more than I could ever need. His faithfulness is everlasting. I want to start living in recognition of that. I want to live in recognition of the fact that I do have enough, and I want to live consciously in awe and amazement of what my Savior did for me. Because that… is so much more than enough. And that’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.

 

— Taryn

Joy Where You Are

Hey y’all, yesterday was crazy and I didn’t even stop to think that I hadn’t put anything up until after midnight!! Ironich, huh, since I’m finally on break from school:) But I just had to share this beautiful testimony written by one of my dearest friends, it embodies the heart of Thanksgiving — even when we don’t feel very thankful. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday week and I will be back on Friday for the first of many holiday related posts:)

— Taryn

 

It was towards the end of my junior year of highschool that I really started getting pumped for my senior year. I was over the major hurdles; I had tested well and gotten good grades. All I had left were finals, and the fun was going to begin! Although my junior year had been hard […]

via Joy Where You Are — so-so smooth sailing

Only What is Good

“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is good for building up someone in need so that it gives grace to those who hear.” — Ephesians 4:29 (HCSB)

My friends would be the first ones to tell you that I am *more than* a little over zealous about this verse. I’ve never been afraid to call someone out on their choice use of language, and honestly, I think that is how my youth group nick name of Mom first came to exist. I was dubbed “Mom” for always telling everyone else to be nice and not say certain things.

But people harp on that all day long. And it gets on everyone’s last nerve. You’ve all heard it, I don’t have anything about it to say that you haven’t all heard before. But what I have begun to discover is that my attitude towards this verse not only undermined but contradicted what the actual sentiment of the verse is.

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The Bible doesn’t give us a checklist of what we are supposed to say and not say. The Bible doesn’t really give us a checklist of anything, honestly. The Pharisees tried to turn the Bible into a checklist, and in Matthew 21, Jesus called them fools for doing so.

Jesus doesn’t want our ritual or routine, our do’s and dont’s… He wants our hearts.

I’m a checklist person. I live by my todo lists. Checking things off makes me feel successful. And I’ve lived a lot of my Christian life that way.

I read my Bible — check

I went to church — check

I didn’t use anything I would deem a “bad word” — check

Where in the Bible does it say that is the end all be all of Christianity? Oh yeah, it doesn’t.

only what is good for building up…

Yes, the verse starts by saying no unwholesome talk but what it contrasts with that statement is only what is good. So rather than just staying away from “bad” why aren’t we passionately pursuing good? Why am I not passionately pursuing God?

“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.” — Eric Metaxas

I was a good language activist. But in being that, I sure wasn’t building anyone up. I was tearing them down by telling them they were wrong, and being judgmental and self righteous.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Bible says to speak the truth in love. To confront our brother that has wandered. But in The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus also chides us not to point out the speck in our brother’s eye while there is still a log in our own.

I still believe what I have always believed about this verse, but my attitude has changed. I have lived with the log of self-righteousness in my eye. I wasn’t calling people out in love, I wasn’t building up, I was condemning, casting judgment, and placing myself on a pedestal of imagined holiness. So all that aside, what does building someone up actually look like?

It looks like encouraging.

Loving.

Humility.

I can still be hateful in “appropriate” language. That isn’t the point. The point is to use my words in love. To encourage and make people’s days better. To put them first and let them know how important they are. I think that is where it starts. It starts with a heart of love, a heart chasing after Jesus. Not a legalistic heart like the Pharisees that just wants to follow the rules.

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It was really humbling for God to open my eyes to how I had been wrong. Especially because I had always oriented myself to believe that I was right and everyone else was wrong. But you know what? We are all wrong and Jesus is the only man to ever walk this planet that did it right. So instead of chasing rules, checklists, and being better than the people around me, I want to chase after Jesus. I want to passionately pursue my Savior and build others around me up through the love that He provides. Then, and only then, will I truly be living out my life the way He wants.

— Taryn

 

Related Posts:
“Perfect Church Girl” doesn’t exist

 

He Never Lets Go

Some days you leave for school before the sun comes up and don’t make it home until the sun is down. Some days you have two exams to take and three projects due. Some days you forget a pencil, run to Office Max and buy some, only to realize they aren’t sharpened so you have to borrow one anyway. Some days those exams don’t go as great as you hoped. Some days life wants to knock you down. But every day God is good and as I am walking around in this beautiful world He created today, I could not be more blessed. Today I’m telling Satan, “You aren’t winning. God already claimed this victory! This is the day the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” When it’s all said and done, I’m loving college life, and loving most of all my Savior who has never for a moment let me go.

I wrote this several weeks ago on a Monday. Mondays are my crazy long days and today was another one of them. But God is always so good. Here is a small glimpse into my college life so far, it’s been a crazy ride, and one I never foresaw going this way, but it’s been great


— Taryn

Dear Veterans,

Dear Veterans,

Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for making sacrifices I can’t imagine for the sake of my freedom. Thank you for protecting me and my family even on days that I take you for granted and forget all that you do. Tears come to my eyes every time I watch soldier homecoming videos, but then I tend to forget about it and go on my merry way just a few minutes later. Over the past year, I have had multiple friends go to military training and in just a small way I have started to glimpse the sacrifices that so many of you and your families make every day. I am never going to have the words to say thank you. It is never going to seem truly sincere since I don’t understand. I haven’t been there or seen what you’ve seen, but thank you. I am praying for you every day. A lot of days I am tempted to be fearful for our country, and also for all our armed forces still serving, but today God is comforting me with the words with Deuteronomy 3:22 “You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.” (ESV) Thank you for everything, you all deserve to be recognized today and every day. Happy Veterans’ Day!

— Taryn


I’m sorry my posts have been short and scattered the past couple of weeks, college life is crazy, but I am excited about the things I am already thinking about and writing for the holiday season, thank you for reading and watching life unfold with me, I love getting to share my journey with all of you ❤

 

 

Be Strong in the LORD

I’ve told the story of my relentless sickness on this blog more than once, but this speech was the very first time I had talked about it or started to see God’s hand in it. This was a turning point for me that changed my perspective in so many ways. I needed this reminder today as well, that when I am weak, then He is so very strong.

We Crown HIM Lord of All

“All hail the power of Jesus’ Name
Let angels prostrate fall
Bring forth the royal diadem
And crown Him Lord of all”

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but our country is in the middle of an election right now.

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Voting has started already and will carry on until next Tuesday night when this whole chaotic roller coaster will come to its climactic end.

Regardless of the election results next Tuesday, on January 20th America will inaugurate her 45th president.

Regardless of the election results next Tuesday, I am saddened about the direction in which our country is currently going.

Regardless of the election results next Tuesday, our country is neither going to be spontaneously combusted nor resurrected.

How do I know that?

Because regardless of the election results next Tuesday, the one and only true King is coming back on the clouds to reign victorious, and I am going to root my hope in that for all eternity.

I voted already, and I have a preference on who wins this election, but I am not putting my hope in that person. Maybe we can make American great again by being stronger together.

And maybe not.

“And behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” — Daniel 7:13-14 (ESV)

In Daniel’s prophetic vision, he saw Jesus being given power and dominion and authority over this whole world. It has all been His since the beginning anyway. We may try to give power on warth to fallible people, but no amount of earthly power is significant whatsoever when compared to the vastness and awesomeness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On Januray 20th, 2017, we will “crown” someone in Washington. But Jesus Christ doesn’t need us to crown Him in order to receive His power.

“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior” — Acts 5:31a (NASB)

We have the choice whether or not to vote next Tuesday. And if we do decide to vote, we have four names that we can choose to check the box for. And most of all, we have the choice of whether to crown Jesus Christ as LORD of our hearts.

Inevitably, whether we vote or not, a president will be chosen.

Inevitably, whether we vote or not, the candidate with the highest number of electoral college votes will win the election.

Inevitably, whether we crown Jesus LORD of our hearts, He is already LORD of All.

He is already the LORD of Heaven and earth. He has already proven Himself mighty and victorious over sin, death, and hell. He has already established His rule and reign. But He still leaves it up to us as to whether we are going to accept that. We can choose to make Him LORD of our lives or to ignore His presence and power.

As for me, I chose over eleven years ago to claim Jesus as LORD of my life. I chose to acknowledge the truth that He already is LORD of All. And now, when this crazy election season attempts to pull the rug out from under us, when Satan (or social media) wants to convince us that we have no hope, when things look bleak and hopeless, we don’t have to live under that. Because this world is not our home and although we live in the land of the free here on earth, we are looking forward to Heaven, hoping in our Savior, and secure in Him no matter what this world throws at us.

So yes, go vote, and yes, I’m gonna be up half the night on Tuesday watching election coverage. But no matter what happens, HE already reigns victorious, and that’s more than enough for me.

— Taryn