* Photo by Laura Morris
We've had a crazy weather week with lots of temperature swings (and even snow yesterday morning!), but one day splendidly got up to the 70s. A friend of mine posted this picture on social media with the caption: "We've had one warm day and our daffodils are all, 'let's do this!' 💛"
I'm with them! And I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm counting down until March 11 for Daylight Savings Time.
When Cancer, Gunfire, Grief, Lent & the Unfairness of God Wreck Us [& Free Lent Devotional Calendar] by Ann Voskamp
Ann has such a way with words that can take heartache, grief, and tragedy together, somehow holding them tenderly in her hands and heart, yet simultaneously releasing them into the hands of our loving Father, knowing that He will bring beauty for ashes in His own way and time.
She writes of the devastating school shooting this past week as well as personal stories of trauma, all screaming life is so unfair. Yet she continues with these words...
But Lent begs:
Was Calvary fair? Was the Cross fair? Was the Crucifixion fair?
God endured the greatest injustice in history--to justify unmerited grace for you for forever.
Grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, by their very nature--aren't fair--but they are the fully abundant life.
The unfairness of God--is the graciousness and forgiveness of God that actually saves us, that gives us abundant life. God being unfair--is what has actually given us life.
Can we accept what seems very unfair in life--because we have accepted the unfairness of God that has saved our very lives? Because we accept what is His goodness--can we accept what feels like His unfairness?
I wash my face from a morning of grief stains. But my heart won't stop leaking. Breathe.
God isn't obsessed with creating fairness now--God is obsessed with creating closeness now--and fairness for all eternity. Seek His closeness now--trust His fairness for all eternity.
A Letter to the Girl Who Feels Forgotten by Kaitlyn Bouchillon
Kaitlyn timed this post to be released for Valentine's Day, but its applications go well beyond relating to someone who is single (or widowed)... very encouraging for anyone waiting on God in a season filled with unknowns and heartache.
She so gently and compassionately reminds us, "The work God does within us while we wait is just as important as whatever it is we're waiting for."
The Next Right Thing Podcast, Episode 24: Look for Arrows (Not Answers) by Emily P. Freeman
I cannot recommend Emily's podcast highly enough. Each of her episodes is about 20 minutes or less in length, so it is easy to take in while still being so packed with wisdom. Her episode from this past week about looking for arrows instead of answers in a season of unknowns and transition was especially encouraging to me. The link above will get you to the podcast audio or a downloadable transcript to read, whichever you'd prefer.
Defender (written by Rita Springer)
Last weekend, I was blessed to attend a livestream of the If: Gathering event, and this worship song led by Christy Nockels completely captivated me. This link is a version by Upper Room leading in worship.
Build My Life by Housfires
I keep coming back to this song so often, and it flooded my mind and heart again this past week with a Bible study I'm doing. Our "chicks" are going through the updated No Other Gods study by Kelly Minter, and one of the lessons talked about how Sarai (Sarah) was trying to build a life through her servant Hagar. Then of course the question came to us-- through whom or what am I trying to build a life? Oh how I long for my answer to be only this, from the song's bridge:
I will build my life upon Your love,
It is a firm foundation.
I will put my trust in You alone,
And I will not be shaken.
And a post from the past...
With the beginning of Lent this week, I've also been thinking about the blog post I wrote a year ago around that time, especially as author Shelly Miller posted about offering her free Lenten devotional ebook again this year as well. (You can check out her blog post here with directions at the bottom to get her free devotional.) Her post last year was one of the promptings for me to write this one:
When You Don't Want to Be in Need... (Be Blessed)
Since writing that post, I also read Shelly's book, Rhythms of Rest, this past year, and it was excellent for encouraging me to develop a Sabbath rhythm in my life. I definitely find myself coming back to many of its concepts in this season as well. If the idea of rest sounds wonderful but far-fetched to you, or if the notion is even a little intriguing, I think this book could be a great blessing for you as well.
Thanks for reading, friends! I hope you've found at least one bit of encouragement to uplift your day. And remember to thank God, who from the fullness of His grace keeps pouring out one blessing after another. Feel free to share in the comments how He has blessed and encouraged you recently as well!