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.** 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter. {2018}

Happy Easter, dear readers! 

I originally planned to write a free verse poem for Easter this year, but it just didn't work out. I hope you find this quotes as inspiring and uplifting as I did. :)



"The death of Jesus Christ on the Cross was not something that ‘happened’ to Him –something that could have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came."
– Oswald Chambers

"The New Testament writers speak as if Christ’s achievement in rising from the dead was the first event of its kind in the whole history of the universe. He is the ‘first fruits,’ the pioneer of life,’ He has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so."
– C.S. Lewis 

"The Gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope."  
– Author unknown  


Rejoice at the celebration of His resurrection! He is risen and worthy to be praised! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

100 Days with Jesus by Diann Cotton {Book Review}


~ Description 

How do you capture who Jesus really is? What words would you use to describe Him?

Explore the endless possibilities with these 100 names and attributes, pulled directly from Scripture, and presented with uncommon clarity and depth. Full in scope. Rich in devotion. 

Through prayers and insights that widen your view of Jesus’ nature and purpose, you will see Him in ways you’ve perhaps never noticed before—specific to your need, complete in His love for you. You won’t just be informed. You’ll be transformed. One day at a time, 100 days in arow, inspired toward a deeper, more knowing sense of worship . . . for a lifetime.


~ My Rating 

3 stars 


~ My Review

I don't like writing negative/ranting reviews. I really don't. I feel even worse about it when it's a Christian book. But since a review is meant to be an overview of my thoughts and opinions on the book along with an accurate rating, I'll do my best. 

Along about the 40% mark, I was really, really wanting to give up on this book. I'm glad I persevered, as the best passages were in the latter half of the book, but the book still felt kind of flat to me. I read the whole thing, looked up all the references, and still didn't get much out of it. It wasn't a bad book, I just feel like it could have been so, so much better. 

100 Days with Jesus is formatted as a 100 day devotional. Each day has a name for Jesus, a Bible verse where the name is found, and a definition. Following that, there's a paragraph that reads like a prayer...and basically just re-words the verse and definition. At the end of every single page was the same line... "Thank Him, praise Him, and worship Him today as the *insert word of the day*." Yep, that's all well and good. But...that's it? Several times I found myself going "wait, I'm done with that one already?" 

Lastly...the grammar. The whole book needed a good edit. If exclamation points are your thing, that's great. I use them plenty myself. But when five out of six sentences end with "!!!"? It gets old really fast. Especially when there's multiple exclamation points in one spot... 

Like I said, it wasn't a bad book and it's not my intention to bash the book or the author in any way. I just expected more from as large a publisher as B&H. More depth, more encouragement, more evidence to show me that this is someone I should be taking Biblical counsel from. 

I'm sure many readers will enjoy the book—and I'm sure there are those who will get more from it than I did. It just wasn't a good fit with me. 


**I received a copy of this book from B&H/Lifeway in exchange for my honest review.** 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dear Beautiful.



Dear Beautiful... 

Yes, you. The one hiding in the corner, trying to fade into the shadows, slip out of the spotlight. The girl turning her head, hiding her face, averting her eyes.

Because, why would anyone be looking at you? You're nothing special. You think you're plain and ordinary and nowhere near beautiful.

But it's not true, dear. Don't believe the lies. Attune your ears to the truth.

Plain and ordinary are nonexistent.

We were created in the image of our Creator, each of us uniquely and wonderfully made. He fashioned you with His hands and He was well-pleased with His masterpiece. He is perfect, my friend, incapable of creating messed-up and ugly people.

Have I convinced you yet? Let's take a look at His words...


For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 
// Psalm 139:13-14 kjv 

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 
// Isaiah 43:7 kjv

He hath made every thing beautiful in His time.
// Ecclesiastes 3:11a kjv


Thoughts? What other 'Dear' posts would you like to see? 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stress vs. Sleep in the Storm

Good morning, friends. :)



I forgot to schedule this post last night, and I woke up thinking about it. Now, having only been up about twenty minutes, I'm sitting on my bed to write.

And I'm thinking back over the past week. I don't always do this on weekends, but I like to. Reflection can be nice—to see what I've gotten accomplished and remember how God has worked in the past six or seven days.

This morning, I'm recalling that this week was kind of crazy. Several days found me stressing over all the things I needed to get done. The to-do list with reminders of homework, editing, blogging, writing. (And reading? I haven't read a book for the pure enjoyment of it in two weeks... O.o) Things going on in our family and church family. The science midterm that I'm still not sure how well I did on was the cause of much of this stress.

But even in the busy seasons of life, when we just can't seem to keep up, has God forgotten us? Left us to fend for ourselves?

No, of course not. He's right here with us—we only have to remember that. To reach out to Him. To call on His Name.

On Monday morning, I knew I had a lot to get done, so I didn't take the time to read my Bible first thing. And you know what? Monday was a terrible day.

On Wednesday morning, I overslept. But I still took the time to read my Bible before grabbing breakfast and dashing out the door to ceramics class. When I returned, I had lunch, took the chemistry test, and got ready for church.

Wednesday nights at the Potts house means prayer meeting/Bible study/youth group. (Last week, it also meant Chick-Fil-A and nearly being involved in a wreck, but that's a story for another time.) Our youth group was rehearsing for an Easter skit we're doing in a few weeks. And you know what? I don't know when I last laughed so hard. Although I'm several years older than most of them, that group of kids and teens are pretty awesome. And an hour spent with them was exactly what I needed halfway through a stressful week.

There is blessings in the chaos, y'all. Run to the One who offers sleep and rest in the storm. <3




In the midst of all this, I came across this song. I love Unspoken's music, but I had never heard this one before. It's a beautiful reminder and exactly what I needed this week. Give it a try and be blessed. <3