“It’s your breath in our lungs”

Here is the play by play of the occurrences of the past hour:

Be cautious, this is raw and this is real.

“You give life, You are love, You bring light to the darkness. You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken. Great are You Lord.”

Filled with the words I write and the lyrics I hear as I breathe from writing.

“Well you’ve come to bring peace, to be love, to be nearer to us. Well you’ve come to bring life, to be light, to shine brighter in us.”

Tonight I sat down to read the Bible- to rest in His word- when suddenly this unexplainable feeling came over me.

This feeling so dark that a panic attack set in.

Looking at me from the outside no one would have even known.

They wouldn’t have seen the fear that I was feeling.

It was like this attack. 

This attack at my soul.

Something telling me not to believe. Not to love abundantly.

But rest assured,

nothing will keep me from believing. Nothing will stop me from loving abundantly.

That’s iridescent bliss.

Not the awful feeling that washed over me,

but the grace that pours over me. 

Seven minutes.

Seven minutes I spent in prayer. 

"God give me peace. I do not know what is happening. God take this battle and fight it. 
Deliver me, oh Lord, from whatever is going on. 
Please, Jesus, I need you. I NEED YOU."

Seven minutes.

“Our deliverer, You are Savior, in Your presence we find our strength.” 
and then two conversations. 

Both conversations led me to proclaiming the goodness of God.

“So we shout for joy to the Lord. All the Earth will adore….Now we lift up our praise, God whose marvelous name is high above it all. Victory is Yours oh Lord.”

He uses things like this, you know?

To grow us. To mature our relationships with Him.

I asked Him to take me deeper. I asked Him to bring me closer.

I’ve asked Him to send me out.

Maybe this is just the start. The start of something big. Something big to bring Him the glory.

“I bring my every need, confessing everything, Lord I’m desperate for your healing. I’m broken, every part. My unbelieving heart. I need the faith to even ask you….recklessly I run, I run to You. So whether suffering or free from laboring it’s for Your glory and for my good. “
Because how am I supposed to be a strong servant if I don’t know how to fight the hardest battle there is?

The fight against myself?

The fight against flesh.

So here is me physically letting go of all control. 

Here I am saying Jesus, take me.

Take all of me.

Every ounce. 

“You restore my soul, I’m Yours, Oh Lord, Oh King of Glory.”

timeless bliss


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Well here I am.
It's been quite a while.
But for the first day in the long while, I found a few moments to spare; to write.

I’ve been gone for quite some time, but the bliss in my life hasn’t been.
Things haven’t necessarily been the easiest- school has been pretty tough and I was sick for some time.

But still, life has been iridescently blissful.

I wish I could tell you everything that has been blissful since the last post I wrote- approximately forever ago. But that could take a while.

So let me tell you, within this break of posting I have learned one thing.
One thing that is so so simple yet so deep.

Bliss is timeless.
It does not disappear.
It is constantly there.
Even when you don’t write on it or distinctly search for it, it’s there.

How beautiful it is to know that something 
like iridescent bliss (shining joy)
doesn't go away.

We may believe it goes away sometimes.

I’ll be honest, during this break from blogging I haven’t seen bliss as much.

But that was not because bliss is a conditional thing.

It’s because I stopped trying to see it.

It was there but I wasn’t spending time looking at it, appreciating it.

I took all I have been blessed with for granted at points 
& THAT- 
That's what makes it seem to be distant.

But here I am, writing again.
This makes my soul happy.

Because now I remember why I wrote in the first place.

Bliss is timeless.

“I once was blind, but now I see.” 

For the Box

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There is this place that I have called a home.
This place is called O’Henry’s, and it is a coffee shop in dear old Homewood.
It became a home in many different ways.
It first began in high school. When AP Bio took over my life. It became my late night home- a place to study with friends (even though we knew we would still fail the test)
Then it became a place to enjoy each other’s company. A place to chat.
Then it became a home to drink coffee on cold days- or maybe even in the heat of the summer.
and then I went off to college and this place became a brand new home.
A place to come home to, a home away from my real home and my college home.
It began to be a home where I realized all of my dreams.
Where I decided I should have a coffee shop one day. One just like this home. 
and then it became a home where a guy from my childhood days would buy me coffee. 
But that didn’t work out.
I wasn’t bitter though, I still had my home to go to with good coffee and time with Jesus.
It then became my social media home. I felt like I worked  there I posted about it so much.
It became my home and my motto: “all I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.”
It became the place where I could hear Jesus while sipping on a turtle deluxe.
and then I met Jesse.
and O'Henry's became a new kind of home.
I wouldn’t stop talking about it to this guy. This guy who was actually interested in the things I had to say, you know?
So on January 7, 2014 this guy that I had a giant crush on picked me up (I still had my boot at this point and one crutch) and he drove me to O’Henry’s. Because he decided that what I think is good and important is good and important to him. 
There we sat. There we drank. There we talked about ourselves and Breaking Bad and everything in between. There the owners and their children (who are actually two of my dear friends) walked in and talked to us. It was our first date, and now it is our place. 
It became my home in the newest of ways. It was the place where 
God blessed me greatly. Where it all really started. 
Now it’s my favorite place. 
and in my favorite place, I wonder what adventures will come next. How it will constantly transform and what homes it will become in each day, stage, and season of my life. I wonder what home it is to those who sit for hours, or those who pop in and out.
In this place there is a box. It is a box of writings. Anyone can put things in there. They write their deepest secrets, they write their stories, they write about Jesus. Today, I wrote on a napkin, and on that napkin I wrote to come to this blog and read this post. Because if I wrote for the box this is what I would write. But I also needed to blog, so why not open up the world’s eyes to not only the beauty of this box but the beauty of this place. 
The beauty of one of the places I call home.
If you ever have the chance, please make a trip to this quaint coffee shop. Any of the three that exist. 
Below is a collage of the box, my yummy drink I got, and a few of the things I found in the box that touched my heart.
 
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The front row

There is this place where I find a bliss that feels as if I am surrounded by an ocean of grace. But I’m not drowning, because drowning means you can’t breathe. This feeling is of a bliss that fills up my lungs. One that makes me feel new again in each moment..in each verse, in each strum.

I call this place the front row.

“Lord I come, I confess. Bowing here, I find my rest.”

It’s where I can do my deepest thinking, my hardest praying, my most unconditional loving.

It’s where I can look up and see them playing and look down and hear them singing.

“Lord I need you, oh I need you- every hour I need you.”

It’s where I can close my eyes and sing along or stand staring straight ahead- always with a smile on my face- and listen in simple quietness as I feel the spirit move-because it moves.

Oh, how it moves.

The front row.

It’s where I can make eye contact off a quick glance or share a smile that could never seem to fade with the guy who is such a perfect constant blessing in my life.

The front row.

“Oh Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand ”

It’s where I can go into this state where I forget other people are around. I just sink into the presence of The Lord.

One that pulls me out into the deeper waters.

The front row.

“By your grace you are making us faithful….as we worship you, our worship leads us to communion. We respond to Your invitation.”

But they’re there. On that stage, and I watch them be vessels. Without them even taking pride in it. It could be a Sunday morning in the service, or it could be a Wednesday night at practice and I’m still drawn to go.

The front row.

It’s not just about supporting Jesse. It’s way more than that.

“Great is thy faithfulness.”

How beautifully blissful is it that I can support the guy who continuously changes my life while also being poured into by the worship he is letting flow out.

The front row.

“Oh how could it be that my God would welcome me into this mystery?”

It’s my place.
It’s my bliss.
It found my heart.

“Now the simple made divine for any to receive”

Freedom bliss

Freedom.

I need to confess to something.

Lately I have been holding bitterness in my heart and I have been unforgiving.

This is not how my heart loves and this is not how I typically live.

But there was this situation that had my heart full of all of the wrong feelings.

The other day I found freedom from that bitterness and I found true forgiveness in my heart.

It’s not even that I did anything wrong to cause the situation or in the situation, but I have to take the blame of the actions of my heart. Because those were wrong. The ones that were bitter to any hope of revival and the ones that were unforgiving.

But today I felt it even more. I don’t know what it is about sitting in the front listening and singing along to Jesse leading worship, but oh how the spirit moves.

But the spirit moving to ultimate freedom is iridescent and it is blissful.

I know it’s been a while and a lot has been going on lately. A whole lot of good, but also a whole lot of busyness. But that must scream louder than any blog posts that my life has ultimately been blissful.

It’s summer now so I know the blogs will easily be more constant. I just have to make sure my heart is prepared before I pour out. I have to make sure it is spirit lead and not based off of selfishness.

This blog is not for views and it is not for followers.

I’m not saying I’m not excited to see that people enjoy what I have to say or that I’m not thrilled that people follow my posts.

What I’m saying is simply this: the words I write are for an outlet. It’s like a journal. But it’s one that others can see. Because if no one knows my journey, how is anyone really going to know me?

To you who read my words and love my thoughts, I pray that you understand your importance. You all know me. You might even know me a little better than I know myself, even if we have never even physically met. Even if we have met.

Freedom.

That’s what I have found.

This blog is freedom in itself.

And freedom is bliss.

“Your love is like radiant diamonds”

The semester is wrapping up, day by day getting a little closer to the exam that ends my sophomore year.

Currently I am sitting in the library, waiting for the next run of severe weather to head our way, completely brain dead from the loads of studying I just did.

Yet still I can find bliss.

I can find bliss in being next to one of the most important people in my life: knowing he is there to hold me when I’m afraid, keeping me calm in the storm (literally), and providing me with sweet words and coffee. He seems to really get it, you know?

The way to my heart.

I feel like I could write about him for days, going on and on about how much he means to me. How he is the bliss in my life.

I could talk about the countless things he does to spoil me, to express his love for me, and to hold me accountable.

That last one gets me, though.

Never in my life have I had a relationship so centered around the Lord that they would hold me strictly accountable to the things I ask. That’s how it should be, though.

So I pretend to get mad at him, I pout and I bring out my puppy dog eyes, just attempting to win.

But I never do, and I never will.

Because he knows to hold me accountable is what’s right and true.

So Jesse, since I know you need to hear it,

THANK YOU for holding me accountable. THANK YOU for not letting me win.

It shows your heart for me.

I hope you see my heart for you.

This blog has really become my heart. You who read it know that. You pretty much all know my life.

Well, I guess I have been away for quite some time, now. But that’s only because I have had so much school to focus on.

But now you can hear my heart again, and let me tell you, nothing but good has come to my heart.

That overflow I’ve had? It’s grown.

That joy? It’s radiating.

The love? It’s pouring out.

The confrontation and conflict I faced? It lead me to a place where I have grown and abided in the Lord.

The fear of not knowing where to go next? I found where to pour out, and found patience in doing so.

Standing firm? I’ve learned the importance of holding my ground in my faith.

The redemption? I have found its true meaning- its root.

The grace? It’s like an ocean. I’m caught in its rhythms.

Those hopes for the future? My career is already beginning.

My identity? I know who I am and I let it show.

My heart for those with low self worth? I have learned the gift of affirmation. I give it.

Freedom? For it is in Christ that I am free, always. Freely give, but also freely receive.

My art? I realized that I have a gift, so I strive to use it for others and to glorify God.

My music? My heart and passion for worship have been like a re-kindled flame in my life.

My family? I love them more than words. They are my building blocks.

My relationship? It is absolutely the best thing that could ever happen to my life, others even say. Never have I found so much inspiration, motivation, and light in a relationship. People say they’ve never seen me be so much of myself as they do now in this relationship. They say they see growth in the Lord and complete joy.

Bliss- I am freely receiving it, and here I lay down my heart, freely giving it.

My relationship with God? It grows every day. How I love Him, so.

“Your love is like radiant diamonds. Bursting inside us, we cannot contain. Your love will surely come find us, like blazing wild fires, singing your name.”

 

Letter from a concerned mother to Judy Bonner

Kathryn Shewmake:

I find bliss not in the content of this passage, because it is horrible to hear of even more stories like this, and it saddens me that my school would act this way. What does bring me bliss, though, is that people are finally speaking out. It’s time we bring change to this campus.

Originally posted on franklinstoveblog:

Seal whole-red(transpart)

The Franklin Stove Blog blog was linked to at the end of this touching and disturbing letter from an Alabama student’s mother to the University of Alabama President. One person who sent it to Jim Rainey (the Publisher of the Tuscaloosa News)  said that he seemed interested in it. But the letter has yet to be seen in in The Tuscaloosa News.

Dear Dr. Bonner,

I am the parent of Katharine Patricia Smith, sophomore by year and junior by credit at the University of Alabama. Our oldest son went to UA in the late 1990’s/2002. We are not strangers to the UA campus life. I will attempt to be as brief as possible.

When Katie chose to attend the University of Alabama, she had been accepted at American University as well as the other Florida Universities. Her choice resulted in the surrender of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship and several…

View original 1,494 more words

“The tree I’ll grow to let you know”

“The tree I’ll grow to let you know, my love is older than my soul”

I know it’s been a while.

A while since I had the time to sit down and really pour out.

A while since I have pointed out the iridescent bliss that is so shining in my life.

For that, I am sorry.

The end of a semester marks a time where it is hard to sit down 
and pour out, and I would rather not do it than do it 
improperly.

But today I found the time, and my heart is ready for it.

So now, I will pour out.

There have been a lot of things recently that have brought iridescent bliss to my life, so many things I could write forever about them.

But that’s not exactly what’s on my mind today.
I want you to hear my heart loud and clear because through 
hearing my heart you will witness the bliss for yourself.

 

There have been three constant words this semester:

joy, grace, and overflow.

Let me reiterate, three is my number.

This semester in bible study we have been discussing the Fruit of the Spirit. 

It’s cool because last semester we were told to write on a card what we would like to study.

I wrote the fruit.

 

Little did I know that they would choose my topic, and little did I know the topic would speak loudly in my life.

With every fruit we have studied, I have seen my seasons of the fruits being grown, pruned, gone, and re grown. 

It’s a cool thing how I can pick up my bible and be lead to specific books at specific times without having a hand in any of it.

Jesus is a cool dude.

I always say I think God has the biggest sense of humor. He does things in such a funny way. I appreciate that so much, too.

Every time I have picked up my bible recently I have been lead to a book that applies to my life in this season. 

The best part? All of the things end up connecting back to one or more of the fruit of the spirit. 

 

“We press fruit onto the tree instead of letting it grow. We pretend that we have it, but do we really? It doesn’t have a strong hold or foundation if we do it that way. We can’t grow fruit of the spirit, but we can water it. It’s the Lord’s doing that the fruit is there, but we have the power to grow it.” 
Hearing this made me think, am I pressing fruit onto the tree 
like an elementary craft? 
Or am I taking it from the roots, faithfully watering it 
and exposing it to the (SON) it needs to grow? 

I do hope that it is the latter of the two.

That I am deeply rooted in a firm foundation. That I bear the fruit because it has grown from a seed. That I continuously grow it and take care of it as I grow in my walk.

 

Speaking of my walk:

 

There’s been something on my mind.

I quit the internship quite a while ago, now.

I quit for growth. 

Growth is most definitely what I have gained. 

But now I’m in this place.

This place of overflow as you have heard me talking about.

And I wonder, what should I do with my overflow?

It’s a hard place to be in, for me.

Because I have a hard time being patient (that’s a fruit, you see?)

But I know that I can’t just sit with this overflow and not doing anything about it.

But I also know I can’t go and do something out of my own desire of making a difference.

I want to go where I am called to go and do
 what I am called to do.

It’s hard waiting around knowing I have so much to give but not know how to give it.

I have this talent of using art in my spiritual walk, but mostly it is kept to myself in my journal.

How, I think, might I serve the Lord by using my art?

Or maybe even using my voice, because I have a voice that seriously loves to harmonize. 

There are gifts that I have been given, but now I want to freely give them.

The question though, is how? where? when? 

 

But here is what I have learned.

Here is where my heart is at this very moment.

Here is what writing it down just now opened my eyes to.

Why am I asking so many questions and expecting an answer?

Why should I not just know that my trust is in the Lord and know that He will provide the how the where and the when when the time is right?

Have I not learned anything of His timing this semester?

 

Thanks be to God for the iridescent bliss of trusting in Him completely despite all of the questions circling in my head.
 

I am going to leave you all with this.

A girl in my bible study gave us this comparison last night, and it touched my heart and spirit because I have this love for trees, this love for the seasons, this love for picture examples. Now I want to have this theory as a huge part of my life and future goals.

"We are like trees. They're so full after the rain that they 
drip in overflow. 
They're always growing, 
changing seasons, and being made new." 

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the bliss of the break

There has been bliss overflowing again lately, but last week in particular was extraordinarily full of iridescent bliss.
Those who know me know I want to be a wedding planner.
Those who know me really well know that I have the privilege of planning my sister's wedding.
This is bliss.

For the first part of spring break last week, I got to go to Pensacola and meet with the vendors.

Not only is this blissful because it is a huge step in the planning process and it was very successful,

it is blissful because the vendors were extremely helpful.

They saw how old I am and affirmed me in the fact that I am actually following through with the planning.

that is bliss.

 

and then I went to Panama City with Jesse and his family.

This trip was really great. It was full of bliss because I got to hang out with not only Jesse for a week, but his whole family, and one of his and his sister's really good friends (who is now one of my best friends).

There really is just so much overflow right now.

There’s that word again.

overflow.

 

There’s a lot more I could tell you. I could tell you what all we did and why it was so blissful, but the simple fact of the matter is, those are just all details to add length to the post.
and this blog isn’t supposed to be a list of what I did over the break.

It’s supposed to let you into my heart. 

And the best way to let you into my heart about the break is by letting you see it for yourself. 
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Where the weight does not exist

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There’s something about the sound a river makes against the rocks. The flow of it all. The voices of people cheering for the kayakers. The sound of the paddle hitting the water as they race down stream. The voices of those surrounding me. An occasional conversation sparked from those that I hold close in my heart.

This is bliss.

I have found, in these 20 and a half years of living, that I feel the closeness of God when surrounded by water.

I don’t know what it is about it..but it just fills up my heart.

Maybe it’s that I look around at all of this beauty and I wonder, how could He have even imagined all of this? All of the details, you know?

The moss on the rocks.
The rocks themselves.
The flow of the water.
Even the sound of it moving.
The different shapes and forms of trees.
The different shades of green.

I could go on for hours.

Maybe it’s the fact, though, that in this place there is so much peace.

It’s as if it is away from the rest of the world.

It is this place where the weight of society doesn’t seem to even exist.

It’s His power and glory and majesty that I see here.

It’s His love that I feel..flowing.

Through the hand of a man who lives for God touching my leg…just to remind me he is next to me. Through the occasional glances at him where I see a smile and light in his eyes.

Through the faces of the parents who have raised me. Who have impacted me and taught me. Who have been guided by Christ to unconditionally love me, cherish me, and raise me.

Through the presence of the man who will in 6 months become a part of our family. Where God’s grace and truth have so poured into my life through learning what it looks like to accept someone taking my sister to Chicago.

Through the voice of a dear friend of mine talking to her mother and sitting next to me..because this friendship is absolutely a gift from The Lord.

Through knowing I am here in support of my brother. A brother who means the world to me. Who became so busy with work I haven’t gotten to see him or speak to him nearly as much as I would like. But now we have time to hang out again. Through the knowledge that the relationship of siblings is a beautiful one.

And through the bliss of being able to sit in this place and just write. To let the presence of His spirit and the beauty of this place enlighten my heart enough for me to know it is

Simply,
Purely,
Iridescent bliss.
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