9.24.2013

Today is enough.

Life is busy.

I keep telling myself: "Maddie, in December you will have a home, a husband, a degree, a once in a lifetime vacation and the chance to see my South Africa parents."

I am so excited for December to happen (not the exams!) but today is September 24 and I need to constantly remind myself that it is not December. That God has something for me today. Even though I am busy with school and countless other things I must remember to be present. To need God today, in this moment and not focus on the "whats to come."

It's exciting to look forward to December, I know there is nothing wrong in that but I need to keep my focus on Christ, the author and perfecter of my faith.

I am learning to need God each day more than I did before. I am asking him to show me that His word is my daily bread which I need to get through each day. I've been reading Galatians this past week and just love Galatians 5:16: "But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." This common sometimes over quoted scripture has struck me once more in a fresh way. How many mornings have I missed giving my day over the Lord? How many times during my day have I been so focused on the future that I forget to walk in the Spirit? 

I want to be used by Jesus today. I want to see, learn and experience all the awesome and difficult lessons He has for me today as I learn what it means to walk in the Spirit. I want to be present today. Today is enough.

What are you focused on this week? Maybe it it something that happened in the past that you have been dwelling on or you're like me- focusing on the future of unknowns.

I pray you will have a renewed focus to walk in the Spirit and need God today. He has something for you!

Love
Maddie

9.16.2013

The bible is not the same as my textbook


It's always this time of year.

I attend university and receive my syllabus for all my classes. Because I am an organized freak I immediately write all my major tests and assignments down on not one but two calendars and then proceed to make weekly lists writing down all the readings etc that needs to get done. Many mornings I also create a daily schedule to make sure I stay on task with everything.

This term is my last term (fingers crossed everything works out) of university and I want to do really well. I have two textbooks for each class (approx.) that must get read. 

In this time of the year I struggle with throwing my bible into my pile of textbooks and only reading my bible in the time slot I've allowed that day and reading it with a perspective of a textbook. When I fall into this mentality the bible can sometimes become dull to me- and I loose that belief that it is my daily bread and my lifeline. 

Often, when I make time to read the bible I am thinking about all the other "required readings" I need to do for school and I can't fully read the word like I want to - like I intend too. It's such a struggle but one that I know I need to continue to wrestle with because my spiritual food for the day is way more important than actual food or getting a good grade in a class.

I worked at a camp this summer and we tried to teach the teens that you can't look at the bible as a textbook but as a love letter. As something that God wants you to understand to build your foundation on and not something I can check off my list of things to in my day.

I'm praying for a new discipline to read the bible not because I have to but because I want too. I love the bible and love reading it however this time of the year can get tough.

What distracts you from reading the bible? Have you ever looked at it like a textbook or just made it a thing to check off your list?

xo
Maddie

9.06.2013

My envious heart


"Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behaviour his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, fully of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."- James 2:13-18

It was the best weekend of my life. Everyone was sending so much love my way and I got to stare down at my left hand and marvel at my beautiful ring. I was getting married to the man well beyond my dreams and I couldn't be happier.

Slowly my joy started fading as I witnessed week after week, couple after couple getting engaged. My joyful heart started to sow a seed of bitterness. 

I started to compare.

Was my ring prettier? Why are "they" taking away my joy of getting engaged? Why is EVERYONE (literally I know 15 couples) getting engaged/married in 2013?

This seed of bitterness started to blossom and I didn't even know.

As months passed girls started to become better than me, I started to view my grades as a competition and my thankful heart turned into an envious one.

& it was such a slow fade.

At the start of the summer I was comparing myself to everyone and everything. Pinterest, facebook and instagram all became unhealthy addictions because I was constantly trying to measure up to something. I was trying to be better.

It started with little comments but after a while I knew my heart wasn't in the right place. Rather I was never satisfied, inwardly always complaining and never giving thanks to my Jesus who provides all things. He provides everything I need.

One evening after recognizing the damage I was doing to my soul and God's Kingdom I started to think about the path I was on.

There is always going to be someone prettier

Someone will always have a better engagement story and a more gorgeous wedding

Someone will always have a better house

better kids

better ministry

So what am I doing comparing? It's useless and a never ending downward destructive spiral. 

James 2:13-18 (also written above) states it perfectly

"Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behaviour his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, fully of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

I love how scripture is relevant. I love how bluntly and harshly it applies to my selfish heart. I love how this scripture not only corrects but encourages me to strive for Godly wisdom.

I was extremely bitter and jealous and what was I doing- lying about it.

I was keeping it all in thinking it wouldn't spill out- Hah! It did the opposite. My wisdom was becoming earthly, natural and demonic. My envious heart was creating disorder in everything.

Falling on my face, realizing how much damage my envious heart was creating I begged God to forgive me (knowing He always will) and work with me on being thankful.

I want a thankful heart

I want wisdom from above that produces what James 2 says it will

It's a process but one I'm taking. I've started to make my life "less public." I've been praying about ways to do this to continue to create a thankful heart knowing now how much of a struggle it is.

I heard an amazing sermon that hit me so hard. The pastor said "stop waiting for what you want and start working with what you have."

This is where I'm at right now. I am so blessed. God has given me so much and I know He has given me these things to glorify His name. I want to start working with what God has given me and stop waiting for what I want- because as I've learnt- its a vicious downhill cycle that is never ending.

Have you experienced this envious heart? Is James 2 any encouragement to you? Would love to hear from you and any ideas of practising a lifestyle of thankfulness in a world of wants, wants wants. 

xx
Maddie




9.02.2013

21

So today I turned 21. 



Where has time gone? 

Had such a chill birthday working all day and spending the evening with my family and Mark's family. It was so nice to be surrounded by people who truly love me and would do anything for me and for that reason alone I am so blessed. 

I get to do a lot of things when I'm 21 years old. For starters I get a husband, I move out to my own place, I get a degree and I get to start the working world. I love change and I am excited to see where God wants me. There is a lot of unknowns- where the heck am I going to work? How are we going to pay the bills every month etc- but there is also so much beauty in unknowns and that is what I'm choosing to focus on. 

I will be at a place in my life where the next chapter is not written- it's a blank page. What a beautiful place that is for the Lord to totally write my story. Unknowns restrict me from doing and gives me the opportunity to let God tell my story. As scary as it is I want to have the faith to know that He will place me right where He wants me and that is always enough. This fall season there will be lots of "knowns" but I want God to still write this year. I want each day to glorify Him and I want every action to reflect His name and His name alone. O how I screw that up all the time but God has been teaching me I need to act that He is enough and not just say it or type it on a blog (even when my heart is in the right place). Envy usually gets in the way of showing God He is enough in my life but I'll expand on that in another blog. 

I want this year to scream God. That's it. That's the reason I'm on this earth. There are too many hurting people who need to know there is a God who loves them for me to focus on my plans. This next season is going to be chaos but I know that my day isn't worth doing if God isn't the center. 

I can't wait to blog when I'm 22 and look back at this year and see all the incredible and difficult lessons  God has taught me and journeyed with me on. Reflecting tonight, God has done so much in my heart this past year & I want to go deeper this year. I want the Lord to lead me to waters where I've never been and I know He will.

I am so blessed to be 21 and so excited to this next year! 

Here's to the unknowns and knowing we serve an all knowing God.

xx
Maddie

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