You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘hope’ tag.

IMG_2327_vintagei’ve never really “failed” at something that i tried really hard at before. sure, i fail at certain exercise attempts or keeping a strict diet… but have i ever failed a class? a test? nope.

so that’s why a little letter last week rocked me. it had big words, without explanation, typed in very unsympathetic font: FAIL.

ack. i failed? how horrible! how embarrassing. i actually felt like i had sinned.

Husbuddy said that was silly, we all fail. we’re not perfect. it never says, “thou shall not fail in the bible”.

see, i know that. i know i’m not perfect. actually, i know that i’m pretty mediocre at pretty much everything i do. i was never on top of my class or anything, but i’ve always at least PASSED. even when i thought i had “failed” my freshmen french class in college, i still got a C {oh the horror}! i was totally embarrassed to tell my parents, and i had all sorts of excuses lined up-like my degree was time consuming, i had taken too many credits that semester, i had visited the teacher’s office hours every week!  but that C still hung over my head and i was ashamed.

this time, i have no excuse. i paid a lot of money to take a test, that i need to pass in order to finish my architecture education… and i FAILED.  and i feel shame and horror at the same time.

but then i hear a whisper.

i hear a whisper that says to me, peace. you need ME.

i was reminded. i NEED God more than anything. i can do NOTHING without Him. i will always fail without Him. in my head, sometimes i may think that i can do it myself…i can work hard enough, study long enough, push myself hard enough, almost that i can save myself if i just work hard. but God gently reminds me, through a letter with big ugly words, that i need Him more than anything else.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”

Psalm 73:26

does that take away my frustration with myself? not really. but it does take away my shame. and i am humbled. and i am thankful that God reminds me over and over and over that i need Him.

we all NEED Him. we will all fail without Him. can i get an amen?

xo-kimberly renee

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols”

1 John 5:21

this is how John ends his first letter. just that sentence. no fancy farewell or sweet hopes of seeing the letter-receivers like Paul. nope. just one more command to his readers. it’s like he wants this thought provoking phrase to be the last word. the last thing we remember from his letter. and i find that fascinating.

he calls his readers “little children” too. some people might have been offended to be considered children by someone they respected and liked. but to me, it reminds me that i am a little child in my faith too, i’m still learning and growing in my relationship with God. so i accept that my name is child. Child of God.

but then he says, “keep yourselves from idols.” i think most of us today read that and skim right over. don’t really think about it. what idols is he talking about? the kind of historic figures that people made from wood or from stone? no, i don’t think so. i think he is talking about anything…ANYTHING that takes our focus from Jesus. that we think about more than Jesus. that we focus on when we have nothing else to think about. anything we worry about. dream about. anything we can’t live without.

at church, we are going through Tim Keller’s Gospel in Life series. Last week, we went through the video about idols.  Tim Keller says this:

“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”

“…A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”

close your eyes for a minute. think about loosing everything in your life. what if you lost your family? your friends? your job? your house? your money? what of all those things, do you fear losing the most? what do you think would make life impossible to go on if you lost it?

yikes, things pop into your head too? it’s so hard to think that sometimes the things that we love the most, that are actually gifts from God, can turn into our idols. when really, we should be turning to God in thanksgiving for those gifts, with an open hand, knowing He could take it all away in a blink of an eye.

as you can tell, i’ve had the message about idols in my head for a couple of weeks. and reading 1 John has reminded me, that i need to pay close attention to my idols… and make sure that i bring them to the Lord in repentance. i’m just like a little child. i need this reminder. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

may you remember John’s parting words today, my friends. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

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“but since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation”
1 Thessalonians 5:8

the imagery in this verse is beautiful. It struck me the other day during my quiet time to break the verse down and think about the parts. do you ever do that? it’s actually a very good exercise…when i actually take the time to do it.

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first part:

“we belong to the day”

not the night. day time is bright and promising after a dark night. Christ is of the day…He is light. He is the light of the world. and we are children of the light!

“let us be sober”

being sober to me, means being level headed and realistic. i’ve never been drunk but i know what it’s like to be drunk on life and to be silly beyond control. to me this is saying, let us have a realistic understanding of what God has done for us. it is exciting and amazing but it should also bring us to our knees in humbleness.

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“put on the breastplate of faith and love”

i find it interesting that this is another place that Paul talks about armor besides the famous Ephesians section. so Paul is stating something in multiple places… it must be important, right?! here he is talking about a breastplate. what does the breastplate do? it protects your body, your chest.

the heart.

a breastplate protects it. it can’t be made of something flimsy or be handmade out of fabric… it is strong. made of metals from the holy mountain.

it is not my own faith and love that I put on to protect my heart… the armor is a gift from God!! it is given to me to protect my heart from being pierced by something. it is made of faith and love to guard my heart with peace.

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“and for a helmet the hope of salvation”

a helmet protects the head… the mind. it keeps the precious skull protected from the lying arrows of the evil one.

again it is not a hope that i can conjure on the inside of my brain… but a piece of armor that goes on the outside.

it is a gift

i have hope not because i make it up… but because salvation is presented to me!

so many days I fail or forget to put on my helmet in the morning before I leave the house. my mind is then so vulnerable and so easily attacked with lies.

when i forget my breastplate my heart is vulnerable. i forget that i am a beloved child of The Light and  i let the arrows of the evil one pierce my heart, cause me pain and i fail to love as i should and to have faith that God is in control.

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it’s interesting to note the very next verse:

“for God has not destined us for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”

the breastplate and helmet are meant to lead me through the battlefield to my salvation and to my Lord. God has a beautiful destiny for me. He has also provided the tools (armor) needed to help me on my way. it is my sober and solemn duty to put on that armor every day.

even especially on days when i think i’m doing ok and i think i can do it on my own. there is no doubt about it… those are the days that i need His armor the most.

can i get an amen?

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“The interesting thing about a heart which concentrates on honoring and thanking God is that it becomes a naturally joyful heart. It becomes resistant to discouragement, negative thinking and cynicism. Nothing is dull or routine to such a heart, everything has value”

Gail MacDonald,

High Call, High Priveledge. pg.181

 

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, where as wordly grief produces death.”

2 Cor. 7:10

for some reason, yesterday, this verse really stuck out to me. i couldn’t put a finger on why though. so i thought about it a while. and i read the little footnotes at the bottom of the page. the footnotes say(roughly):

godly grief = remorse caused by having lost God’s approval … and the consequence is a resolve to reverse conduct & LIVE FOR GOD.

wordly grief = remorse brought about by losing the world’s approval… leads to a resolve to regain that approval & this produces death (or divine judgement).

(emphasis mine.)

i thought about that and wrote that down in my journal. it is lingering and i can’t stop thinking about it.

whom do i serve? Jesus says i can’t serve 2 masters! i wrote this down in all caps in my journal too. God is trying to show me something…

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i’m convicted because at the end of many days, i am filled with worldly grief. i worry about my job. i obsess over it. i let it consume me with bitterness. i worry about friends and whether they like me or not. (totally dumb, i know, but you’ve all been there, am i right?) i worry about whether what i do fulfills me. i feel empty when i’ve tried to do things with my own strength. like anything i could do could fill my heart. my soul.

i’m totally convicted that my frustrations and the bitterness that i am so often filled with is worldly grief. i regret things i’ve done or haven’t done in my day because it may look bad to others. i worry about what people think about me.

and it hits me: worldly grief is when i’m focused ON ME.

i long to live each day open to godly grief. because godly grief means i’d be focused on Christ. my heart would be in the right place and i’d repent of my selfish nature daily, with no regret.

oh Lord, help me to have my focus right. to serve YOU, my One True Master. when i get caught up in the troubles of this world, may my grief be godly, seeking only your salvation, repenting(turning away) from my selfish nature.

And i remember that my word of the year is JOY. i realize that the first step to true joy is not trying to find it in this world- but to repent of my selfishness – to have godly grief.

***

i am so thankful when the Lord reveals something to me… even if it’s hard like this and convicts me the core. i’m thankful because it means that He wants me to draw ever closer to Him.

and i realize that i want to draw closer to Him too.

(can i get an amen?)

thanks for listening to my heart, friends. has God been teaching you anything lately? calling you to Himself in new ways? i’d love to hear about it!

xo-kimberly renee

{ps- i promise to get back to japan photos soon!}

sometimes it takes a little perspective to remember.

to remember God’s goodness.

to remember His promises.

to remember that you’re here for a reason.Photo Mar 02, 9 17 29 AM

this weekend, that perspective came from a short walk along the Atlantic ocean. Photo Mar 02, 9 17 34 AM

winter can be dreary and dark. but going for a walk, getting fresh air, seeing the sun out, hearing the waves crash… all these things are good for the soul. Photo Mar 02, 9 21 22 AM

to remember that life is good. that God is good. and that He is working. sometimes i just have to take a little walk to remember that. Photo Mar 02, 9 21 25 AMoh  how easily i forget,

“… what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:18-19 {emphasis mine}

 

remembering  how big, how long, how high and how deep God IS–  is so important. i have to remember that to be  FILLED with the FULLNESS of God.

sometimes all it takes is a walk to remember.

 

{warning: a bit of heart and honesty coming right up}disney at sunset

so far, this winter has been pretty dark for me.

yup, i’ve had some AMAZING adventures! but i haven’t mentioned that i’ve also faced some serious tears. some serious stress and some serious depression.

there have been moments when i’ve just wanted to quit my job, just pack up and leave new england. my plan is to just crawl back into my parent’s basement and wait until husbuddy has a job and has life all figured out. i’d join him again then. i think that might be easier some days…

it’s been hard partly because i feel so temporary. i’m continually reminded that we are only here a couple more months…

but i’m trying to make lasting relationships with other seminary wives or with people at church…

i’m trying to be a good employee in a super stressful environment…

i’m trying to be a good, supportive wife, who keeps the house clean and makes dinner for my hardworking man.

AND i’m failing at all those things. big time.

disney flower

i feel like relationships feel forced.  i feel that i don’t belong mostly because i’m not pregnant or have a baby(like practically every wife i know)  or maybe  i live too far away and everyone knows i’m leaving soon, so why bother getting to know me?  i’m failing at being a “good wife” big time…i’m complaining or crying so much and i don’t have time to clean and usually husbuddy is the one who ends up making dinner…{seriously-he is amazing to put up with me!}

i’m failing at so much, you guys! so that’s making me depressed. {*i think i also get slightly seasonally depressed too… just a hunch*}

winter is sometimes so dark, isn’t it?

and if you think about it… it’s kind of funny that i’m struggling so much with depression when my word for the year is JOY. {see blog post here} haha. hilarious. you see me laughing right? ok…slight sarcasm.

it all came to a clash the other day, after a 6am flight when we needed a nap…go figure… but as soon as husbuddy fell asleep, i just cried.

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i cried out to God. i was so ashamed for my depression -especially after such a loud statement of faith saying that i was going to be joyful this year! and especially after such wonderful trips! i felt so much guilt and shame for so many things. and i told Him all about it.

mostly in my journal. i haven’t journaled much since getting married. i try to tell myself that a journal helps me process things-a lot like this blog- but i still put it off or avoid it… until all of a sudden i just feel compelled to write and write and write… like the other day.

the great thing about keeping a journal is that if you flip back through the history, you can be reminded about how God spoke to you…He prompted me to do just that after i spilled my guts.

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i flipped back to the day that i discovered this verse Psalm 16:6-11 {that i blogged about here}. i remember that day was full of tears and contemplation too. that day, God gave me such hope with these verses.

and then, He gave them again just by looking at those journal pages.

i was struck:

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of JOY;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11 {emphasis all yours truly}

there is only FULLNESS of JOY when i am IN GOD’S PRESENCE.

could He hit it over my head any clearer?

i won’t find joy in all the “things” i have to do… even in my work. i can’t find fullness of joy in “being” a good friend or a good wife… all these things i’ve been trying so hard with and feeling so stressed with… i can’t conjure up my own joy.

duh.

i feel like i’m pretty dumb and God has a lot of work ahead of Him to pound this Joy thing through my thick skull…

but i’m SO thankful that He is taking the time to pound it. He is teaching me about JOY and i’m truly thankful. it may take reminding every.single.day with how thick my skull is, but God’s mercy is new every morning, and He delights for me to be in His presence to find His joy.

 God is so good! can i get an amen?

xo-kimberly renee

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{thanks for listening, friends! it’s my goal to totally be honest about things around here, so i appreciate it that you’ve taken the time to read! hopefully God will continue to teach me a lot more about Joy this year}

{ps- if you’d like to print off your own copy of my JOY print, go HERE or to the *printables* link above. thanks!}

today marks the 6th year since our wedding day. i can’t believe it’s been 6 years! on one side it feels like it’s been way longer. we’ve had way too many adventures for 6 years. ;) on the other side it feels like we’re still barely newly weds, learning how to love each other on a daily basis.

i just heard this song on one of Husbuddy’s playlists the other day. i’ve been listening to it over and over.  i think it describes this thing called marriage perfectly. can i share it with you? it’s called  “dancing in minefields” {go ahead, click on the link and listen to the official video, it’s a beautiful song).

 

a couple lyrics that stick out and seem to be speaking about our marriage personally:

“…everyone said we were much too young, but we did it anyway…”

“…we went dancing in the mine fields, we went sailing in the storms and it was harder than we dreamed, but i believe that’s what the promise is for…”



“‘i do’ are the two most famous last words, the beginning of the end”

“but to loose your life for another i’ve heard is a good place to begin, because the only way to find a life is to lay your own life down and i believe it’s an easy price for the life we have found”

“this is harder than we dreamed, but that’s what the promise is for.”

” so when i loose my way, find me. when i loose loves’ chains, bind me… at the end of all my faith, to the end of all my days, when i forget my name, remind me…”

“we bear the light of the son of man, so there’s nothing left to fear”

“i’ll walk with you in the shadow lands until the shadows disappear, cause He promised not to leave us, and his promises are true”

“…so in the face of all this chaos, baby i can dance with you.”

“so lets go dancing in the mine fields, go sailing in the storms…”

“this is harder than we dreamed, but that’s what the promise is for.”

 

isn’t that a beautiful song?! i love that it talks about the reality that marriage is hard. this summer, we feel like it’s been especially hard. is it ok to be honest here? moving was hard on us and our marriage. being in a new place where we know no one after being surrounded by so many friends in jersey, has been hard. husbuddy being so sick this past year and still trying to figure the gf/df stuff all out, is hard. trusting that God knows what He is doing with our life as we start another year of schooling without much income… is hard.

but this song reminds me that we have to work at it every day. it’s like dancing in minefields. it’s hard and seems impossible. but, our marriage is so worth it and the promise that we made to each other is there.  the promise that Christ made to us, is there and true.

it’s a beautiful dance, and baby, i choose to dance it with you. to my sweetheart and husbuddy, Happy Anniversary!

with all my love, kimberly renee.

{all images copyright by Beth Bennett!}

today’s verse comes from Psalm 130:5-6sometimes i take the time to go back to my junior high days of writing in bubble letters. (and really, who doesn’t? haha) the bright colors really make me feel grown up too.

but seriously,  this is my verse for today, this week, who knows, maybe even month. i’ve been feeling so dry, so alone in my walk with God lately but deep down i know that i must just wait on the Lord.  i’m hoping that taking the time to write it out will help me to memorize it. that it may be more real to my heart if i just hold on tight to it’s words. this morning i finally had my first quiet time in days… weeks really. sometimes i get out of the habit of reading my bible and then i wonder why i feel so dry. um, hello? how thick headed can i be? this verse even says, “in His WORD i hope” it means i have to actually be in the Word… to have the hope and to wait for the Lord. i’m not exactly sure what i’m waiting for, but i think i’m waiting for Him to meet me, to provide, to be my everything. so i wait. my soul waits more than watchmen for the morning.

then i heard this song that i haven’t heard in a while. “all i can say” from David Crowder… it’s an old one but so good. listening to it it hit me how much this is me at the moment.  i feel so alone and sometimes i think, come on God, “don’t you see me crying? did you hear me call your name? wasn’t it you i gave my heart to? i wish you’d remember where you set it down.” and i don’t know what else to say. i don’t know what else to pray. but just saying that, just saying the truth and giving my “everything” is all God asks. i may feel alone, but it doesn’t do any good to hold it in and not come to God with it.  but then i love the last verse of the song: “i didn’t notice you standing here, i didn’t notice you holding me, i didn’t notice you were crying too, i didn’t know that was you washing my feet.” God just asks you to come to Him. He’s there the whole time. He’s holding you and crying with you. He’s “washing your feet” like Jesus washed the disciples feet. He’s there.

so i wait for the Lord and hope in His word and promises. my soul waits like the watchmen wait for the morning.

blessings my friends,

xo-kimberly renee.

“I wait for the Lord my soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” pslam 130:5-6

 

the new painting is finally revealed. you’ve seen small images of it here and here and here. is it what you imagined it would look like?! ha. i’ve been working on this one for a while! it was made for our dear friends the Estes {you can go check out their blog here} who came and visited us this past weekend.

i wanted the painting to be cheerful and happy. to give the feeling of hope and joy.

i loved this verse for the painting because these three things have been a HUGE part of their lives for the past couple of years:

faith– that God knows what He is doing in their lives and in little Owen’s life. sometimes it’s hard to hold on tight to that faith but it’s still there.

hope– that God will provide for today as well as for a future for little Owen and their family- may it be better than anyone can imagine.

and love– that true love may transcend over every part of their lives- through friends and family and even strangers. Love is what has got them through so far and is going to get them through everything in this life. That is why it is the greatest.

this family is amazing. you meet them and you can’t help but love them to death. i love how Sharon can strike up a conversation with anyone-even a grumpy person at a new jersey cash register- who i can barely get to say hi to me– and she somehow gets them to laugh with her. her joy is radiant.  i love that Joel always thinks and speaks the best of people. he is a Godly man who is such a light of Christ to anyone he meets.  in the past few years when we’ve tried to be there for them it felt like they were giving more of themselves to us.  that’s just who they are. such lovely people.  we are so blessed by their friendship. we only hope that we can bless them as much.

may this gift bless them because it’s from my heart. may God bless them as they are growing more and more in faith, hope and LOVE.

xo-kimberly renee.