I am not sure about you, but most things that are ugly I disregard, throw out, or think they are useless. But our God...He does none of those things.
Instead of turns our mourning into gladness, our mourning into praise, and offers us a crown - a crown, not just any crown but one of beauty!
He even says He will rejoice over us (Isaiah 62:5) just as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. We are His brides.
My wedding day was one of the most magical days of my life. I loved everything about being a bride! My mom would joke about how I cared about nothing more than being a bride. The marriage was just an added bonus :) If I could relive my wedding day, I would everyday. I never felt more beautiful than on my wedding day! As wonderful as my wedding day was, to know God sees me as his bride makes me almost want to run. Yet, makes tears well up in my eyes to know He sees me as his bride.
Pure, perfect, radiant, wonderful, loved, beautiful...with a crown.
So why run?....
Because I know the mess that I am. How could He ever love me with all the mess?
And that's what I absolutely love about the God whom I serve.
Because He does love me, despite my shortcomings. Lord, knows I don't deserve that kind of love - but you see He is not about giving us what WE deserve! If that was the case, we'd be sinking ships weighted down by our messes.
He is about giving us his grace and mercy. He is about making our hearts whole where this world has tattered them. He is about making our lives whole so we can live the life in which He has called us, according to His purpose.
Oh and how sweet it is!
On Mondays, I have the absolute privilege of serving alongside a group of beautiful women. We meet for an hour and half and we lean into Him, learning about Him, while learning about ourselves. Mondays are now full for me. Brady goes to school, I facilitate a bible study, then I have class from 7-9 every Monday and normally a test with a 45 min drive there & back. I normally don't get home until after everyone is asleep. But last night, as much as I was tired...I couldn't help but be so filled. Filled with His goodness. This is a new and busy season for me/us but if yesterday was any indication of what is to come...my heart almost can't contain itself.
Five years ago, if you would have told me I'd be leading a woman's bible study, I would have laughed in your face. Even if you would have told me 3 year ago, I'd probably laugh.
But here's the thing I absolutely love?
While I am leading, they are the ones blessing me. They are the ones who make me want to dig a little deeper. They make me want to shout from the valley or mountaintop (because some days I'm on top and some days I'm buried in my own insecurities) that this God we serve is nothing short of amazing!
I am just like them...wanting, searching, & seeking. I am just like you. We all want to belong, we all want to be apart of something bigger than this life. We all want to make a difference. We want community. We want someone to get us.
We all want to know that no matter how screwed up or messy our lives that we matter.
I am just your average 30 something girl, who has many faults, but knows she serves a God that created me for great things. For purpose. And those great things can only be done in and through Him. Through living in His spirit.
Great things might just mean I didn't lose my temper today. Or it may mean I prayed about something rather than texting a friend my frustration. Great things don't have to be grand, extravagant ideas.
I think it's sometimes the smallest of things that He wants from us. The things we think don't matter or He doesn't have time for.
Well, I got news for ya sister - He already knows! He knows your need before it's ever even a need. He created you. He knows you better than you know yourself.
He already knows the areas where I stumble. The prayers that I laid at his feet, yet only to pick up - again, and again. He knows my fears. He knows where I think I'm not good enough. He knows it all. But yet He is my someone. He is my hiding place. He is my strength when I am weak. He is why I do matter. Why you matter.
When we learn to empty ourselves of this world and fill ourselves with Him...He can do amazing things through us. Regardless of our status, relationships, how much we know, or whatever it is we cling too.
So running would be pointless. At least in the opposite direction it would.
I am not runner. I have running shoes, but they are more for show than running. Just being real :)
But what I do have is His word and His word is what I do run too, daily. I lace up my heart and run. I run and I run. I run until He fills the empty places of my heart and life. I run to Him. I chase Him.
While I run, it's easy to be distracted. To fill myself with things that slow me down. But when I run with Him, towards Him, and chase Him...that is where great thing happen.
That's where He takes our messes, our insecurities, our thoughts and instead places crowns of splendor - straight upon our disheveled hair and lives.
Where we exchange our yoga pants and t-shirts for garments of salvation and robes of righteousness.
Where He says, "as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." John 15:9
He loves us more than we could ever know. And I think because we tend to not love ourselves, it's hard for us to comprehend how He even could love us. But oh how He loves us. Loves you. How easy and often we forget to remain in His love.
And everything that He is, you are also.
You do matter. You are making a difference. You are a warrior. You are wonderful and fearfully made. You are love. You are loved. You were designed by a Creator who creates only the best. You are beautiful. You are holy. You are...enough.
You are His. You are His. He is yours.
Regardless of your past, your future, your insecurities, or what anyone else tells you. Or what you tell yourself. Let His voice and truth be heard over anything else. Let Him tell you who you are...by running to Him and his Word. By allowing the Spirit to fall upon you.
Chasing Him. Making Him the center of your alter. After all, He is the one standing at the end of the aisle, finish line.
Because He wants nothing more than to make you His bride. Bringing beauty from ashes.
So lace up your running shoes and run! Run to the only One who can take your heart, your failures, your fears, and messes and turn them into something beautiful.
This is what I absolutely love...even if I run and fail...He will never fail. That through the running He shows me who I really am. Who He knows I am. Not what the world says I am.
He has chosen and called each of us. Calling us into His presence, calling us into rooms of greatness, calling us into a place so heavenly our minds can't even comprehend.
And when I used to think I was not even worth running for...He showed me that running to and with Him is the only way to run.
Wedding dress and all...
Because this, right now...is worth all the running. All the pit-stops, all the hills, all the valleys, and all the roads which has brought me to this point in my life.
To know that He has called me and I said yes...whatever the cost.
I may have running shoes "just for show" but the running isn't just for show. It's for a King that is coming for His bride. For I know He will be greeting me at the end of that long church aisle...and what a glorious day it will be.
I don't want to be caught as the runaway bride who is running the other way, but yet running as if my life depends on it. Because He is the only one in which I can depend on...so I run.
And I pray for my sweet friends running this race. As I prayed this morning over my Monday girls and named them each by name...I couldn't help but cry knowing God has set each of them, us apart for great things. That when we open ourselves up for Him to work, He (his spirit) will catch us...equipping us to run the greatest race we'll ever run. Lavishing His love on His in ways we never could imagine. Filling us with perfect and blameless love. Taking what we seem is all lost and using it and us. Using you and me- simple, everyday moms and girls/woman for a Kingdom that last forever. Giving us purpose and meaning. Living a life of freedom...free to run wherever He calls us.
And that's what I absolutely love this God whom I serve.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
So to my sweet sisters...lace up & run. He is cheering you on, we are cheering you on and if He is for you...no one can be against you. I pray His spirit chases you until you are able to run - free in who He created you to be.