those who know Your name trust in you, for you, o Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. // psalm 9:10
this week we wrapped up an amazing series at my church called practical athiest, and one of the final verses our pastor addressed was this beautiful one from the psalms of david. believing in and intimately knowing God are two very different things, and one of the most telling signs of our intimacy with Him is demonstrated by what we call Him. craig asked us to consider what name we call our God, and that that name would reveal the level of intimacy we have with Him. i started thinking about all that i have called upon Him with, trying to weigh the level of holiness each name might represent. but to tell you the truth, putting all of His names on a scale like that didn't seem quite fair after awhile. different seasons in our lives will produce different designations for this incomprehensible God. rather than trying to pinpoint the most personal names for Him, maybe examining the ones i have addressed Him within the context of life's seasons is just as revealing and challenging of an exercise.
heart-mender: remember when i came to You so desperate, begging for You to hold my heart in your hands and get me through that hard night? You stitched me back together again.
emmanuel: God with us. how precious those words are to me. it is this attribute of Your character that helps me understand all of the rest. You are in our midst.
everlasting: as i have watched other things crumble, - friendships, efforts, love, even dreams - i know that You will not. You are the strong one who will uphold me without tire.
daddy: whether using this as a code name during out-loud prayers in hostile nations or during appeals from my most vulnerable state, "daddy" represents such a wild, uninhibited love that i hope will always refresh my words to You.
king: recognizing Your lordship over me is not always a simple task. though i hate to admit it, i think i have a stubborn seed in me at times. :] but i have discovered such freedom in recognizing Your kingship and reign in my life. thank You for that.
sanctuary: You have been my hiding place for so long. even as You protect me, though, You teach me to not keep silent the things You whisper in my ear.
husband: a lover for the lonely You are. i have asked You so many times for someone to walk beside me in my future; let me not forget that in the mean time You are the only companion who can satisfy.
what are some of your favorite names for God?
what seasons of your life do they represent?



lookin' for some awe-inspiring stuff to light your fire this week? then have i got a list for you! somewhere in the middle of tests about the renaissance, western art, and the living God - not to mention a few papers about gothic architecture and the canterbury tales - i have come across some goodies which have provided such a blessed break-up of the mundane. and what kind of southern girl would i be if i didn't spread the love around?

soles4souls, a charity based in nashville, is currently holding a challenge to send
50,000 pairs of shoes in 50 days to bless those who desperately need shoes around the world. many of the recipients of these gifts have never experienced having such a simple yet vital possession. over 300 million people worldwide are forced to walk in unsafe and potentially life-threatening conditions because they lack this basic necessity. donating just $5 to this cause will provide two people overseas with a pair of shoes.as of this post, there are 42 days left in the challenge. 4,800 shoes have already been donated, and you could be a part of this with such a small sacrifice. as little as $5 can change so much - won't you be a part of this with me?

-quotes:[these are words that have come to me at just the right moments, during this week and the past few. these may not speak to any particular situation you're experiencing, but i can't help but share them anyway!]

"single ladies…no matter what you’ve been through…you are NOT damaged goods! God STILL has a plan for your life…and you are SO WORTH THE PURSUIT of a man who is willing to fight to win your heart…do NOT SETTLE for a boy who wants to use you, wait for a man who will esteem you!" // perry noble

"you have a powerful story, and somewhere along the way you believed a lie that you have to pay for the sins of your past. the shame that you carry for the "bad" things you have done and the burden of the sin of your past are not from God. Jesus to paid for those sins with a very high price, which more than covers your sin no matter how bad you think it might be. you holding onto shame from your past gives power to the struggle and hinders the power of what Christ has done for you. you have all authority over the past and your pain and your shame. shame is not from God. He gives you grace and grace in abundance. His grace is sufficient for you.
you have a powerful story, and God wants to use the very specific things you have done to bring Him glory. He wants to use the things you have done to set people free from the very same things you struggled with. this is a part of a process that God has you on, and that process is different for everyone. some people need prayer of deliverance, some people need to make restitution, some people need to forgive themselves. it's very different for everyone." //
lori boucher

go here to read a quote by marianne williamson, which my beautiful suitemate and best friend has posted in our bathroom to remind each of us they our "playing small does not serve the world." i hope you, too, claim this truth as your own!

-blog posts: [take note of a few postings i have adored this week so far.]
elohim - my friend addison is such a beautiful person and writer. the words you'll read here expose just a tiny portion of that!
the ties that bind - rachel has articulated everything i have felt this past year and of what i need to let go of. my own "soul tie" has rendered me paralyzed for far too long. traveling light sounds like such a good idea today. =)

-books:[i know, the pleasure of reading sure seems like a distant memory most days for us. but just in case the free time to enjoy a book shows up again soon, here are a few titles that have rocked my world lately.

living the sermon on the mount - this book, by glen stassen, was assigned in my life of Christ class. though a hard read at times, it is a powerful examination of Jesus' words that were meant to transform our lives.
the green book - i wish i was a hippie. if you read this book, you'll become one. just kidding - but you really will learn of some practical ways to leave a better mark on the world!
walking on water - it's been awhile since i last read this book, but it is something i feel i must promote regardless. madeline l'engle shares gorgeous reflections of faith's influence on life and art. keep a pen or highlighter handy as you Linkread through this one! [p.s. my favorite singer, nichole nordeman, wrote the forward for this book's latest printing!]

i'm not gonna lie, taylor swift's new album fearless has been ringing in my head since it's release last week. as i was sitting in my dorm's hall lobby several days back, i heard "love story" being sung at the top of a group of girls' lungs. i laughed at the time, only because i knew i had done the same thing in my own car not a few hours before. =)

[for links to all of these titles, please click on their pictures in the widget carousel on the left side of the screen!]


crumbs from your table.

i cannot begin to tell you how much i have enjoyed my life of Christ class this semester. at first thought, i was sure this course would reenforce all of the sunday school truths i learned as a kid, and that there wouldn't be many further earth-shattering revelations for me to discover. there are few times when i rejoice at being wrong; this is one of them. :]
i am amazed at how laying out the synoptic Gospels next to each other, one by one, has peeled my eyes to the intracacies of the Word. have you ever stopped to consider why luke included the shepherds in his nativity scene? or why matthew's temptation account differs in order from luke's? or why mark didn't narrate the temptation at all? these are just a few of the characteristics of each writer i have been exposed to, and i proclaim in full honesty that i have never before been so intrigued and mystified by the Word of God. and i'm just scratching the surface!
during yesterday's class period, we were once again asked to consider the following question: why did Jesus live? be careful how you answer this. was it just to die? were His thirty-three years just a warming-up act for the end? answering it this way overshadows His ministry, which is detrimental. look at His opening ministry statements found in luke 4. He quotes isaiah 61 and proclaims the good news of the coming of God's kingdom. what He proceeds to do in His lifetime is reflect that kingdom - by healing people physically and spiritually, by acting against exclusion, and by alleviating the suffering of the marginalized. He paints a portrait of what the wholistic view of humanity is. by meeting others' physical and emotional needs, we earn a right to then evangelize. i pray my previous words aren't mistaken for some sort of materialistic social Gospel, but i hope we all begin to understand that people will never hear our words about Christ if they cannot hear over the growling of their stomachs. our professor went on to quote a song from U2 which captures this truth beautifully:
you speak of signs and wonders,
but i need something other.
i would believe if i was able,
but i'm waiting on the crumbs from your table.
what do these words speak into you?
we were then asked to answer this: why did Jesus die? this one's a bit easier for us, i imagine, since it tends to be the focus of what we're instructed from an early age. His triumphant death was the final healing, a culmination of why He lived in the first place. His death has always been a cosmic event, one for the entire creation - of which i am just a small part. i can no longer make His atoning death just about me, for i am only a tiny portion of what this creation is as a whole.
i truly agree with my professor that answering His life question gives me much more responsibility than just focusing on His death does. only answering His death question narrows my evngelism, allowing me to walk away after sharing the Good News without meeting needs or being involved in lives. is this the faith i want? is this the spiritual practice i want to be a part of? i must realize that all of my pretty language about redemption and rescue might not become clear unless i offer up the feast from my table. will you offer up a feast?


on patience, love, and taming tongues.

so, i have a stupid question for you. is there something you have said that you instantly regretted once it left your lips? we all have, i know. so why is it so easy to forget the power of our words? there's a charlie hall song that says the power of Your words are filled with grace and mercy. God's words are nothing but edifying and true. should we not, then, strive to season our powerful words with the same grace and mercy as He does? this is a goal i must put my whole being into if i want to radically change my own life and the lives of others for His sake.
this past saturday, the day after halloween, i got to spend precious time with these faces.

zoey grace

sydni kate

kaitlyn belle

these are my nieces, given to me by the greatest brother and sister the universe has ever known. [a little bias is okay, right?] while they and their spouses attended a good ole pokes football game, my sweet mother and i got to spend the day with the girls. we munched on leftover halloween candy, watched some tom & jerry, jumped on the trampoline, went to cici's for pizza, and made a brief shopping trip to wally world. they're all three years old at the moment, and were so remarkably good for us throughout the day. but, of course, restlessness set in around the sock and hosery aisle of wal-mart. no one wanted to stay in the cart anymore, but they weren't too keen on the idea of walking while holding hands for safety either. their hearing also suddenly became impaired, for listening to grandma and aunt peanut was now impossible. it was three against two. patience - which is such an ugly word to me some days - was about to run out by the time we arrived at the bread aisle, and in the middle of three toddlers running rampant and making noise in excess, i looked at my mother and exhaustively said: i'm never having kids!

i didn't, of course, mean a single word of that sentence, yet i said it anyway. there is nothing my sweet girls could ever say or do to truly deter me from being a mom one day. my response to their restless energy was definitely not filled with grace and mercy. shame on me. that night, my sister-in-law emailed both my mom and i to thank us once again for watching all the girls. her words were so special and so humbling.

thank you, thank you, thank you so much for watching the girls and taking them to cici's and shopping! you are brave
people. we appreciate it tremendously and the girls have a lot of fun with you. it means so much to us to have family willing to babysit. taylor, i hope one day we can repay the favor by watching your children!

later, she sent another email just to me: just wanted to add...thanks for being so good with the girls. not all college aged coeds would be as patient and good natured as you. love you, kathy and warren, sydni and zoey

my heart dropped. what beautiful words for her to speak into us, and what a way to humble my previous attitude of anything-but-patience at the same time. i learned my lesson. my words affect others. my impatience affects others. it's about time that i pondered those two truths more, don't you think?

a word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!
it only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. a careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. by our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it... [james 3:4-6, the message]