Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Artist.



There is a story, beautiful to hear.

It is the story of an Artist.

Some would tell you that there's nothing special about this Artist. That he's a myth and a fantasy.

But I know different.

Why? Because I've seen His creations.

This Artist takes great delight in his creations. He forms and fashions then with his hands, perfecting every detail.

Perfect.

Every stroke of His paintbrush is performed with a smile.

Every freckle is placed with His hand.

Every hair color, eye color, skin color is chosen with joy.

Perfect.

Oh, did I fail to mention that? Each of His creations are perfectly created.

Not flawed. Not messed up. Not broken or cracked or marred.

Perfect.

If someone went to this much trouble to create you, wouldn't that make you feel special and oh-so loved?


Because, Someone did, dearest... 


Wouldn't it break your heart to have someone nit-pick over supposed flaws in something you'd poured time and love into creating?

It would mine.

Then can you imagine how much it hurts His heart when we complain about our faces, our bodies—about how He created us?


He is perfect, and He cannot create imperfection. 


That dimple in your cheek? That's His fingerprint.

That freckle you wish would just go away? He placed it there with a simple touch of His thumb.

That shame that haunts you? It's clothed in His grace.


Rest in His love. 


Want to see more of His creation? Take a long look around you.

Want to read more about this Artist? I suggest starting at Genesis 1:1...and when you reach Revelation 22:21, you'll be getting an idea of how incomprehensible His love for you is.



Thanks, Dad, for teaching a series on the book of Genesis and prompting this analogy. <3

Saturday, April 14, 2018

He is Near. {1 Samuel 30}

This week, while reading in the book of 1 Samuel, I came across a passage in chapter 30 that really stood out to me. So since I didn't already have a post in mind for today, y'all are going to get some Faith-ramblings. ;)



I'll beginning with a bit of context to get y'all up to date...

While on the run from Saul (who wanted to kill him), David and his men had been living in Ziklag among the Philistines. Chapter 29 tells us that they had gone out with the Philistines to war against Israel.

This concerned many of the Philistines (except for Achish—king of Gath who had welcomed David in in the first place) because they feared that these Hebrews would turn traitor and fight for Israel once they were in battle. To satisfy the others, Achish asked David to take his men and return to Ziklag.


Now that we know the background, let's take a look at what these men found when they returned to their homes and families...


And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;  
And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. 
So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.   
And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 
// 1 Samuel 30:1-3, 5 kjv


Can you imagine what it would be like to return home to such a sight?! The city was burnt to the ground. Destroyed. Desolate. The mens' wives and children had been carried away captive. Other than the fact that there was no bodies littering the ground, they had no evidence that their families were even still alive.

Not only were they living on the run along with David, they had went out to battle with a country not their own, and while away had lost their wives and children to the enemies.


Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 
// 1 Samuel 30:4 kjv


They wept until they had no more power, y'all. They shed tears. They cried. They sobbed. Their hearts were broken, my friends. They had nothing left, and so they wept until they were literally to exhausted to shed another tear, heave another cry.


And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters:
// 1 Samuel 30:6a kjv


Just when it seemed like there was nothing left... Not only had David's wives and children been carried away, but now the others were considering stoning him. As if it was his fault!

But they were grieving. They weren't thinking clearly. They just wanted answer, wanted a reason. Wanted to know why.

Have you ever been there? When the bottom falls out and you're just falling, falling, falling... Helpless, with nothing to cling to... Or so it seems.


...but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.  
// 1 Samuel 30:6b kjv


(Don't you love how God worded that?!) But... David went to the Lord his God. He cried out to God. He lamented. I'm sure he probably asked God why this happened. He was hurt and confused and sick at heart. But he knew where to go for comfort, for answers. 

The heartache, the mourning, the heartbroken cries... That wasn't the end of their story, y'all. And the hard times, the dry season you're facing right now isn't the end of your story either.

Lean on Him, friends. That's what He's there for. Run to His open arms and stay there until the storm passes. Because it will pass, it always does. The sunshine is coming. This is just a season, a time of testing, of strengthening you.

And you'll come out stronger for it.


The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 
// Psalm 34:18 kjv

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  
// Psalm 46:1 kjv



Thoughts on this passage? Would y'all like to see a sequel to this post, covering David enquiring of God and the recovery of the families? When has our Lord been near to you through a storm or trial? 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Proving by Beverly Lewis {Book Review}

As y'all may have noticed, there was no post this past weekend. I'm trying to catch up on my Camp NaNo goal. See y'all next week! :)



~ Description

Having left the Amish life for the English world, Amanda Dienner is shocked when she learns that her mother has passed and left her Lancaster County's most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. The catch is she has to run it herself for one year, acting as hostess. Amanda accepts the terms, but coming home to people she left behind won't be easy.


~ My Rating

4 stars


~ My Review 

Oh my goodness, what a precious story! I have yet to read a Beverly Lewis book that I did not enjoy, and The Proving was no exception. 

From the first pages, Mandy's story intrigued me. My mind filled with questions as to what had transpired between her and her twin sister, Arie (who was super sweet!), and why. Picking up hints along the way was pretty fun. :)

Catrina entered the story near the beginning of the book, and I was confused for awhile as to her purpose. Her sad backstory made me feel for her and pity her loss...so sad. I enjoyed her character then, but when she got to the B&B her attitude toward Mandy made me want to not like her. Thankfully, she changed though (or rather someone had a good influence on her...), and her story and romance was very precious! 

I loved the setting of the book!! A book set at an Amish Bed&Breakfast in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—which is being ran by the estranged daughter of the family? Yes, please! The mysterious vibe fit the setting very well too. 

All of the characters were so real. Mandy, Arie, Josiah, Jerome, Betsy, Trina, Karl, Gavin, Yonnie... Karl, Arie, and Yonnie were definitely favorites of mine. ;)

My only complaint would be that the beginning of the book was rather slow. I wanted to find out what had happened and how it would all be resolved, but I wasn't that into it. Thankfully, I stuck with it and pushed on. What a lovely ending to the story! <3


**I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.**