You were made for More.

You were made for More. More joy, more energy, more love, more grace, more forgiveness, more abundance, more freedom, more sleep, more happiness, more community, more belonging, more church, more Christ.

You were made for Less. Less stress, less anxiety, less busyness, less anger, less loud, less stuff, less loneliness, less grudges, less bitter, less shame, less guilt.

The amazing story of Christ is embodied with grace. Grace for others and grace for yourself. God doesn’t call us to get it all together before we come to Him. He doesn’t require us to figure life out, or quit our sinful addictions before approaching Him. He calls us to Him… just as I am. just as you are. Come.

grace   /ɡrās/   noun   the free and unmerited favor of God

Come in the quiet space. Sometimes that means creating just a small area of quiet. Just a few minutes to come to him. Come with our bruises, our cracks, our sin, and just lay ourselves at His feet. He promises rest. Rest, one of my very favorite promises.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

God’s goodness is far beyond our comprehension. His grace unending and His mercy always fresh and new. I’m praying for you today. You are wanted and loved just as you are. God is patiently waiting to give you More. Take a few minutes today and look. What can you do less of? What can you ask God to give more of? He is a giving God and He has THE very best in mind for you. I hope you have the most amazing day ever.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Matthew 8:30-31

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Hey, Self Talk

Okay, self talk. We do it all day long — mostly unconsciously — whether we’re looking in the mirror, considering job performance, school grades or even looking at our kid’s behavior. What percentage would you consider positive versus negative?

You are loved. You are cherished. You are beautiful. Not when you lose 10 pounds, not when you get that promotion, not when you have a boyfriend/husband, not when you have kids, and certainly not when you perform well enough to get the perfect grades or accolades at school or work. BUT right NOW. Right now, in the body you have, in the messy house with dishes & laundry, in the workplace that may be mundane, the school that seems unending and difficult, in the relationships you have now; in that my sweet friend you are gorgeous, adored, bright and ever so beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong, I want good grades, a great body, to live healthy and have the picture perfect home but life is a journey. Every day a progression, not perfection. And the self hate I see around me and even in myself is devastating. Why would anyone {including me} want to live life hating on one’s self — whether publicly or silently in our very own mind?

There is nothing, absolutely nothing that can change the love the Lord has for you. Unbelievable, right? Not possible?

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

Maybe God missed that I’m not perfect? He can’t know what I’ve done?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, AND all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ.” Romans 3:23-24

I encourage you, as I will be doing, speak truth into your life. Whether it be a sticky note on the mirror, a tangible reminder, phone alarm or accountability with a trusted friend — speak highly of yourself for you are highly valued, just as you are. Not in the next accomplishment but right in this very moment.

God has given you everything you need. So as we strive for better, always better — love yourself in the process, speak it out loud when you look in the mirror, are overlooked at work or when you get that next grade back. You are chosen, loved, cherished & desired. Not when you improve but right in this very moment.

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Hey, Whole30

With the New Year around the corner most of us have change on our mind. We all want the best — to choose well, do well, think well and live well. Its hard. Plain old hard sometimes but discipline has its rewards right? Not always immediate but long term fulfillment is sweet.

Dillon and I have had digestive issues, sluggishness from processed food and other issues from a few too many poor food choices. I know for the majority we eat well but when we tend to treat ourselves (mostly chocolate chip cookies) we have ALOT of chocolate chip cookies… ending in regret and us saying “yeah let’s not do that again”. And we just do it again.

We’ve decided to find some of the problems through Whole30 and slowly reintroducing foods to learn what we need to eliminate. (Yes, I fully understand our self-discipline is one of the problems.)

We are starting Whole30 January 2nd. It will be our second Whole30 — a quick google search will give you all the details.

We would love for you to join us if its something you’ve been wanting to do or think it might help you! Accountability is a miracle worker. God gave us each other for a beautiful reason. We’ve done this before and it is a bit of an adjustment at first. I’ve added a picture of a typical meal: Tuna lettuce wraps and fruit.

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Basically any fruits, veggies and meats — and yes, you can still have coffee. I will be enjoying a cup of black coffee daily.. morningly.

Here’s to the New Year, not a resolution but a decision to try and live with a touch of more discipline and in turn getting to do the things we want, living the abundant life, enjoying each moment. Choosing well, doing well, thinking well and ultimately living well. Know whatever you choose, on any scale, we’re cheering you on and we’d love to enjoy the journey with you. What are your thoughts and plans for the New Year? Talk to you soon.

Hey, I’m Back

I know.. I know. I’m inconsistent, lacking content and presence but I’ve decided to really try this again. A weekly post. That is my goal. Lofty I’m sure but I know that having my online journey of life will be rewarding. Especially to look back and laugh at my perspective, see my growth and enjoy living the journey. So here it is..

Tonight D and I sit on our couch listening to Christmas music, relaxing.. Our day of rest. Of course D doesn’t know much of rest. He has been working 6-7 days a week since he and I decided it would be best if I didn’t work and just focus on school and tutor on the side. He’s amazing. His love is bold, selfless, unconditional and comfortable.

We still live in Jacksonville, in our tiny rented MIL suite. I love it. I love how old it is, the wood floors, the windows on every exterior wall. The door handles, antique, perfect. The two car garage turned laundry room and workshop — place of creativity and birthplace of most of our furniture — D is so handy, great with woodworking and carpentry.

Today was in the 80s with a 5 minute Florida rain shower. It’s also December 18th. Yes, there is something wrong with this picture. Sun dress kind of day.

Given-ness is something I worked on today. No mighty task or something to be praised but I have the chronic disease of selfishness so I am trying to be more intentional on giving — giving love, joy, a smile — and today that was in the form of mason jars of white chocolate covered pretzels to our church family. Its small but I know I need to start somewhere, paying for the person in front of me at the grocery store, offering to take a picture for the couple struggling with a selfie both opportunities I missed. Yes, I missed. But I pray the Holy Spirit keeps prodding my heart. Keeps showing me where I can give love and that with each day I actually do give it. After all that’s my purpose right? To be the light of Jesus. To be love. With each gift small or large I hope to chip away at my grave disease of selfishness, of pride.

That I was a bit deeper than I planned to go but hey there aren’t any rules on that here. Have the most blessed Sunday. Know you are loved. We’re off to see the neighbourhood luminary. See you soon.

Being Sure of His Promise

I’ve never been abandoned or absolutely needed something I could not get/have. Yeah, this morning on the way to work the temp gauge drifted to the “too hot” range. But never has it overheated while we are a one car family. Many would say coincidence but I know for certain the truth of God’s word. His divine plan and intervention is so evident in our life. The pharmacist changes my medicine and it negatively impacts me but I am able to get a new prescription and return the old? God. My husband and I share a ’96 Saturn and it works? God. D and I have friends and loved ones who share this beautiful journey of grace with us. And that I know is the sovereignty of God.

I think I have control and I begin to worry. When I know we need two cars in exactly 8 days and I don’t see how it’s possible? I remember I serve a God whom I cannot exaggerate. I remember I am the daughter of the King who gave His own Son to save me. What good thing will He withhold from me?

 

My daily prayer right now is…

Lord help my unbelief. Mark 9:24

I hope in your word! Psalm 119:114

The Lord is my portion; I will hope in Him. Lamentations 3:24

 

And I hold His promises closely…

I will strengthen you, I will help you. Isaiah 41:10

I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

 

I am learning the beauty of God whom I call Abba, Father and whom I also call Lord, Master. When I approach His throne reminding myself He is both. Thankful that I am not Him but am a small vessel to be used, a small child to be loved. How beautiful

Keeping Joy

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
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I can get really caught up in the comparison game and then I begin to crumble. But Paul reminds me that we are more than conquerors through Christ. We are saved by God’s grace and there is nothing that can separate us from that. I can have unbreakable joy knowing that Christ has {already} won and I can have peace knowing I am His {eternally}.
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Things can escalade quickly when I take my focus of Him. {Peter walking on water. Hey that story sounds like me!} I need to be immersed in His word. For Scripture is a gracious gift from God that constantly points us toward Him and who He is. We can hold on to His promises. His word stands forever. He is truth and I need to hold on to that. Psalm 119 has taught me more about His word and given me a greater love for Scripture. I encourage you to read it and follow Kristin Schmucker’s A Study on Psalm 119. I know she is blessing many through her study as she has greatly enriched my quiet time with the Lord.
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In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

December 16, 2014

Jacquelyn Brianne Baker,

I am engaging you, as Emily would say. I was wondering if you would continue to be my best friend, be my wife and spend the rest of your life with me.

Will you marry me?

These are the words Dillon spoke to me a year ago today. And wait for it….. I said yes! (and to think he says he was nervous)

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One year ago today Dillon asked me to become his wife. I remember waking up that morning and telling my sister, “Today would be a great day for Dillon to propose!” Oh how I had no idea he had planned to take me to the beach at sunset and had my family and friends there to meet us for dinner. From God’s beautiful painting in the sky to the random guy on the beach cheering for us, it was all perfect.
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God has the ultimate plans and I am so thankful. As I grow older I am able to look back more and more and agree in gratefulness that God’s plans prevailed over mine. Its funny how controlling I want to be when there is one in control who knows the story, who wrote the story. I am thankful for the story He has written for me. I love my dashing prince charming with his strong work ethic, his integrity and compassion. I am excited that God has given us each other to praise Him together.
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The Mrs.