a directed heart

a glimpse inside

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Home Sweet

Jacob and I traveled to Ohio to visit my family for Christmas last weekend. It was a weekend packed with visiting grandmas, aunts, uncles, family friends, and some of my very best friends from high school… and it was much needed.

Although we were exhausted upon arriving back home, I left feeling so refreshed from that time with family and friends.

Good Friends.

Monday was our designated “catch up with friends day,” so we packed in a lot. :) So thankful for these women (and Abbie, who we got to see later in the day and isn’t pictured above!), who carved out some time during their busy lives to spend with us!! We even got to see Sarah’s sweet little sister, Brooke, who hung out with us so patiently for two hours! What a star two-year-old! ;)

Thank you ladies for staying consistent in my life even though we’re states apart. Praising God for you today… those few hours on Monday mean so much to me!

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:22-25).


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A Day for Thanksgiving

Today I am overwhelmed with the abundantly long list of things and people for whom I am thankful, so I thought I should share just a little bit of that list.

Above all, I’m thankful that Jesus died for me, for mankind, to rescue us from sin and bring us back to God in reconciliation. And even more than that, he continues loving me despite my tendency to forget him. What abundant grace–let’s gather at his throne today and give him the all the thanks.

I’m thankful for my wonderful, merciful, hilarious husband. Thank you, Jacob, for loving me when I’m at my worst and listening to my crazy dreams. I’ve learned so much about the depth of God’s love for me through you over the past 5 months. Thank you for laughing with me, cheering me up, encouraging me to sit with Jesus, and letting me do whatever I want when it comes to decorating our apartment. :) And buying me furniture. Big thanks for that ;) You are a superstar and I’m so, so thankful God gave me you as my husband, best friend, partner, and encourager. I can’t say thank you enough. I love you!!

I’m so thankful for my family, who loves me so well all the way from Ohio. I’m blessed and so happy to be spending today with you. The love you guys have for me (and for Jacob!) has blown me away, and I cherish every moment we get to spend together. Thank you for sacrificing for us and welcoming us home no matter what else has been going on in our lives. You guys are such a blessing.

I’m thankful for our family here in Tennessee. It has been SUCH a blessing to have sisters with whom I can share life-I love you girls! And thank you Larry & Teresa for opening your home to us at all times, while at the same time giving us space to figure out what it is to be married and on our own. You guys are also a HUGE blessing to us and I delight in the time we get to share with you guys.

I’m thankful for the crazy communities the Lord has blessed us with! Thank you for surrounding us with people both here and in Ohio who love you and love us and encourage us to seek you together! We feel SO BLESSED and cannot even say enough how wonderfully encouraged and loved we feel by all of our friends, both near and far.

And thank you, Lord, for helping us adjust in our church transition. The past few weeks have been so refreshing and genuinely enjoyable. Thank you for transforming my mind, opening my eyes, and humbling my heart to meet you in our new church. Thank you for surrounding us with brothers and sisters who encourage us to do what may not be the easiest, but in the end is definitely the most growth-provoking and encouraging. Thank you for providing us with opportunities to use our gifts to serve you and be blessed by you and also to bless our brothers and sisters. I have been overwhelmed by your faithfulness in this season of our lives. Amen and AMEN!

And last but not least in the slightest bit, I’m incredibly thankful for our jobs. God has provided for us more than we could have ever hoped! We both are in positions that humble us and give us great opportunities for ministry.

We are so blessed!! PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE HIM!!!

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learning from him.

Today (well, every day… but especially today) I am very thankful for this guy:

(he’s the good-looking one on the right). Thankful for a man who loves Jesus and encourages me to do the same. Thankful for this guy who is passionate about the gospel and passionate about gospel-living. Thankful for this guy who loves me well and loves me genuinely, patiently, and sacrificially. I’m trying to learn from him:).



our local mission

I’ve been taught to live well in the city in which you dwell–get invested in the local church, get a job, form relationships, and minister to those people in your workplace, your neighborhood, your supermarket, etc. Basically, live intentionally. But today was the first time I saw Scripture that screamed those ideas.

Pastor John preached on Jeremiah 28-29 this morning. This part hit me the most:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”-Jeremiah 29:4-7

The broader picture is that we are in exile right now– we are here in the world awaiting the day we are physically reunited with the Father in all his glory (we are citizens of heaven- Phil 3:20, so here we are sojourners and exiles-1 Peter 2:11). But we are called to dwell in our cities: build houses, dine there (or grow your own food if you’re into that?:)), have kids, put them in the local schools, pray for the city, and seek the welfare of the city through ministering to the people and actively serving. While we are here in this city that isn’t lasting, we are to seek the city that is to come (Heb 13:14) by being ministers of the gospel. May we not be so consumed by our own lives that we forget our desperate calling: to make disciples of all nations.

Specific to my life, I want to invest in this city in which I dwell. I’m about to spend my summer here in Johnson City… the place I usually only see August through May. But this summer I’ll be here, investing in this city with this idea of local mission in my mind. God, may this summer be fruitful to your kingdom. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

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fear uprooted

Our Father in Heaven far exceeds the box in which I so often try to put him. I try to manipulate that same box for my gain and my glory, none of which brings God glory (and only he deserves that glory in the first place).

I currently have the pleasure of visiting Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, MA. I’m staying with my dear friend Kylie and her family (her parents work at Mountain and Kylie is doing the Semester in Ministry internship program that Mountain provides through Milligan), and they have been so encouraging to me! Staying with Kylie’s family has provided me a really neat view into what the Mountain community looks like up here… and I have been so pleasantly surprised by the genuine, authentic, and Christ-exalting community I have witnessed thus far. I say that with the humbling realization that my previous view of this community (and really any church community that I haven’t experienced) was based 100% on my own sinful judgment.

Living here for these short days and seeing the way these people love each other, care for each other, and make sacrifices for each other has brought me to my knees at the Father’s feet, so thankful that he is bigger and infinitely more gracious than I.

It is my tendency to live with a narrow mind. I think that only my experiences are true and valuable and am doubtful such experiences can exist elsewhere. For instance, I have great community through the Oaks Community Church back home and Redeemer Community Church in Johnson City. Since I have experienced those wonderful communities in which I live first hand, I can’t imagine ever having to leave and join another community. I fear that a new community won’t push me deeper into the Gospel or really challenge the sin in my life. I fear I won’t have people to be truly honest with and people to counsel me through challenging periods of my life. I fear I won’t have anyone to serve in those ways as well.

The root of those fears stems from much deeper fears: I really fear that God will not provide for me. I fear that God cannot create and has not created those kinds of communities in places where I haven’t lived. I fear that God isn’t bigger than the box I put him in in my mind. I fear that I won’t be taken care of if I’m not around people I know will take care of me… so not only do I fear God won’t provide, but I think that people will provide and care for me. While people can do those things (and are called to), they are not the ultimate and foremost source of my provision–God is.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and grow weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31.

But now, thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you.”
Isaiah 43:1-5

This God is clearly Provider, Savior, Giver, Lord, King, Father, Protector, and Redeemer. This Scripture leaves me in awe, astounded that I could ever esteem people higher than the Lord or doubt his provision for me.

Thankfully, he is faithful even when I am not.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself. 2 Tim 2:13

He protects me.

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thess 3:3

He is for me and does not withhold anything good from me.

If God is for us, who can stand against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

He sustains me.

Our Lord Jesus Christ will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)

He loves me.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

He desires my sanctification.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification. 1 Thess 4:3

And he desires me to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:3-4

Needless to say, this weekend has been a forming few days. I’m so thankful to experience and learn from another part of the larger body of Christ. And I know that no matter where I end up after graduation and all throughout my life, God is faithful.

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the quality of owning

A special thanks to my boyfriend Jacob for sharing these wise words with me this week. I hope they can be as heart-stirring and thought-provoking for you as they have been for me.

“If there’s any order and discipline in your own soul, the doings of the other people won’t surprise you or put you out. If you are fond of interfering, to that extent you will always be faced with difficulties and distractions; if you were alright in yourself, if you’d really been through the process of purification, you’d be able to turn anything to good account, and profit by it.

Why is it that such a lot of things get on your nerves, and are always disturbing your peace of mind? Because you’ve never really died to self, never really weaned yourself away from earthly things. The unchastened love of creatures–that’s what disfigures and entangles a man’s conscience as nothing else does. If you refuse all outward consolation, heaven will come into your view, and fill you, again and again, with spiritual rejoicing.”- Thomas A’Kempis

Jesus, you are infinitely more worthy of my praise and contemplation than the earthly possessions, achievements, and titles on which I set my gaze. Forgive me for my quickness to hijack what rightfully makes up your kingdom and call it my own, stealing credit that belongs to you alone.

Father, wean me from earthly things; teach me to train myself in such a way that my own possessions become blurry in my peripheral vision, and instead you and your desires encompass the sole purposes and drives for my life. May my understanding and experience of your love deepen, and may that depth flow into my relationships with my fellow brothers and sisters. May I truly desire to lovingly have everything in common with my brothers and sisters–may my hesitation to share decrease and my eagerness to meet others’ needs increase. All of this for your glory, Jesus, not for my name’s fame. Amen.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. Acts 4:32.

And a word from Mr. Steinbeck:

The quality of owning freezes you forever into “I,” and cuts you off forever from the “we.” –Grapes of Wrath.