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April 2013

Set A Fire & Shine

Paper & Glam - Shine On.You know those seasons when you're in a rut and you can't snap out of it?

You feel overwhelmed and there's dishes in the sink and laundry piling up, and you really should go to the gym, but all you want to do is take a nap, or watch another episode, or click "see more pins" one more time.

This is how I spent most of the last month, and the word I kept coming back to was "disconnected." I felt disconnected from life and God, and the community I love. 

You know the book you read and you can't put it down because you need to see what happens next? What if our lives felt like that?

You jump out of bed from this fire lit from within by hope and vision for the future. You're driven because you can't wait to see what God has around the next corner. That's life in Christ, but how do we get there?

By staying connected to what makes us come alive.

For me, it's running and writing. Once I'm running and writing, the rest falls into place. Suddenly, there's meaning and purpose in laundry and one more status report. I don't know how it works, but it does. 

There is a genius part of you that wants to create. That part of you wants to talk to God. Get out of the way. When you create something beautiful that helps someone else, you'll feel meaning. {Donald Miller}

What makes you come alive?

Commit to it with me.

Let's resolve to beautify our lives everyday from the inside out. Sometimes all it takes is a coat of pink nail polish or fresh flowers to bust us out of our ruts, but other times the issue is deeper. A beautiful life comes from a deep place inside that demands we turn inward, instead of looking outward to the world to satisfy us. Creating is a celebration of life that requires us to turn inward, which makes it as powerful as the God who created us.

I know something about you, because I know something about me, and part of you wonders if there is a better way to do life.

The door to heaven is wide open and every day we decide whether we'll walk in, or spend the day living a small story all about us.

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I want my eyes to sparkle, and my life to shine and point back to God. If I want my life to be the proof that God is who He says He is, then I need to start the day by recommitting myself to the story God wants to write with my life. 

Today let's recommit our lives to living well by waking up an hour early to create beautiful lives and trusting God to make it worth the sacrifice, by spending that hour in the gym because our health is worth the sacrifice, and by putting down the remote, or the chips, logging off, and spending an hour each day doing what makes us come alive.

Shine on,
Lisamarie


Hard & Clear About What Hurts.

Write Hard and Clear About What Hurts
"We read to know that we are not alone."
[C.S. Lewis}

Ernest Hemingway knew what C.S. Lewis knew, and what you know, and I know about stories. "We read to know we are not alone." {C.S. Lewis} Ernest Hemingway is one of the most celebrated writers of all time. He lived in Paris at the poverty line, he loved and lost, experienced war and peace, and along the way he learned to write hard and true about what hurts; but he had to live through it first. He lived through four marriages and three wars, to ultimately commit suicide leaving behind some of the greatest American literature ever written.

 

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When I first felt called to write, I asked God to let me live a story worth telling, worth recording, and worth leaving behind. What I didn't realize is that you can't live a great story without overcoming conflict.

 

It's difficult to write about a life we love until we've struggled to build lives all our own, or about love before our hearts break, and it's impossible to write about God until we've done the difficult and critical work of finding Him, to lose Him and find Him over and over until faith develops like a muscle. 
 
"One of the true hazards of writing is that you yearn to write deeply honest things that rise up from lessons learned the hard way...and then you have to learn those lessons the hard way.  You pray for wonderful, honest, gritty, tender stories to write, but then you have to live through them. 

We tell our stories and we let God's story be told though our stories. We tell God's story as we live and discover our own. We know that God is a storyteller. And I don't know if there's anything better in the world than when we lay ourselves wide open and let his story become our story, when we screw up our fists and our courage and start to tell the truest, best stories we know, which are always God's stories."

{Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines}
 
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Challenges and trials give us the depth we need to both live through and tell our own story, which is always God's story.
"All Jesus did that day was tell stories - a long storytelling afternoon. 

He opened his mouth and told stories, revealing secrets hidden since the beginning of time."

{Matthew 13:34-35}

So we take our place in the story as causulties of brokeness, witnesses of truth, receiptents of grace, leading lives of love, loss and redemption.

We sit in movies theaters to watch the good guy lose the girl and win her back, and the hero overcome his circumstances or himself to save the day. To live great stories, we much accept the elements of story in our lives that are setting the stage.

"The elements of story are setting, conflict, climax, and resolution. This serves as an adequate explanation of the human struggle that every person experiences: lonliness, crying yourself to sleep at night, addiction, pride, war, and self-addiction. Every human story has conflict in it. Some conflict is internal, some is external, but if you want to write a novel that sells  you have to have conflict. The human heart responds to conflict within a story. It feels as though my soul was designed to live the story Chistianity was telling. I started to believe I was a character in a greater story. The gospel felt more than true, it felt meaningful, like something from Hemingway or Steinbeck with wonder and enchantment."

{Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz}

Books, Tea, and Love
God is writing the greatest love story ever told with our lives. All of our lives are a quest for three things: love, beauty, and truth. This quest always leads us to God because He is the source of love, beauty and truth.
Love comes from God...God is love.
{1 John 4:7-8}

I am the way the truth and the life.
{John 14:6}

The roads God leads us down are as different as we are, but the destination is the same...God himself. And when we get to the end of the road, I pray we've used our experiences and our trials, our lives and our loves, our healing and redemption, and we've turned them into epic stories leaving a trail of hope and of legacy.

Love wins,
Lisamarie

Mondays & Magic

I'm Bored Is A Useless Thing To Say

"Never confuse having a to-do list with having a life."

Life on the surface is grocery lists I forget to take to the market, status reports, piles of mail, powerpoint decks, and coffee grounds. Life is sweaty gym clothes and muddy puppy paws, deadlines, decisions, and devotionals at dawn. 

"But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does?
I've had a good look at what God has given us to do - busywork mostly."

{Ecclesiastes 3:11, MSG}

Ever asked yourself that question, Does it really make a difference? Me too.

"Life feels so tedious sometimes, so lacking in poetry and beauty and connection. We're just ticking away time, waiting for spring, waiting for a sale, waiting for vacation."

{Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines}

God is teaching me, in what feels like my first season of peace and stillness, is that He's in every moment waiting to be found and experienced, called upon and enjoyed. 

There is no joy and freedom like what comes from sitting still before the Lord with a spirit of trust, adventure, and abandon.

God hides himself in the details of our lives waiting to be uncovered. God designs our lives, each day and every moment for the purpose of finding Him, so we can in turn find ourselves, the men and women he created us to become.

It's one thing to count blessing and recognize God's goodness and provision, it's another to truly find Him there waiting in the most mundane of moments like a child hidden in plain sight.

When we seek God in every moment, we find life in our lives and purpose in our to-do lists.

"Whatever I'm doing at the moment is the biggest thing in life -
whether it is conducting a symphony or peeling an orange."
{Toscanini}

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"Beauty and intervention and sacred hands work behind the scenes, weaving poetry into our lives, and make me believe in God anew today.

Thank you, God, for the things you heal, the things you redeem, the things you refuse to leave just as they have been for what seems like forever...

The poetry of that stuns me, and reminds me once again that just when I think we're ticking off days like a to-do list, we're not. We're living the bright, beautiful stuff of movies and love songs..."{Shauna Niequist}

So today and everyday, let's pray a prayer Moses prayed:

Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."

{Psalm 90:12-14, NIV}

Love wins,
Lisamarie