Songs of Joy & Praise

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Last night, as I was reading my She Reads Truth plan before bed (about Mary’s visit to Elizabeth), I started thinking about friends and community and prayers. I started thinking about how often we share our struggles with each other. I do think it’s so important to be honest and vulnerable and to have friends we can share those struggles with. I value those people in my life SO MUCH. We need those prayer partners and those people we give access to our most vulnerable hopes, dreams, worries, and concerns…That’s how we grow together.

But, as I was reading what’s known as Mary’s Song, I was challenged to be more intentional about also sharing the joy and the praise. I would say I’m quicker to reach out for prayer than I am to just share something beautiful God has done or taught me.

I love the end of our She Reads Truth devotional from yesterday:

I’d love for each of us to get a little creative. Read through Mary’s Song in a few translations—even read it out loud or sing it if you’re feeling brave.

Now write your own song of praise. It doesn’t need to be fancy or technical—just write it from your heart.

You don’t need to share it with anyone, but if you do have an “Elizabeth” in your life, I encourage you to make yourself a little vulnerable and share your words with this person.

“Oh how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” [v. 46-47, NLT]

I want my vulnerability with friends and community to also include the praise. And as we move closer to Christmas day, I want to write my own “song of praise” about the past year and all God has done in my life.

Perhaps, I’ll even share it here.

Blessings to you all on this snowy/windy Friday,

K

Preparing Him Room

This year, I’ve been giving more thought to the Advent candles and the meaning behind each one. We’ve been lighting one candle each week at church, and as I reflect on each candle’s meaning, I’m finding just how much I need to absorb and apply the truth of each one to my heart and life this season.

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Two weeks ago, we lit the Candle of Hope, and because I’m in the midst of a season of prayer for some pretty big hopes and dreams, I can’t help but feel incredibly thankful that this candle is such a beautiful symbol of God’s faithfulness to keep the promises He’s made to us. Hope is a funny, delicate thing. But I know that when my hope is rooted in Him, I can rest assured that He will never let me down. That every promise will be fulfilled. And that His perfect plan stands firm.

Last Sunday, we lit the Candle of Preparation, and ever since, I’ve felt a gentle nudge to prepare more room in my heart for Him this season. To take more time for quiet + reflection + prayer. Full calendars at this time of year can be a blessing, because they mean we get to spend time with precious friends and loved ones, but lately, I’ve been rushing from here to there, making lists and making plans, and in all that preparation, very few minutes have been dedicated to preparing for Him. I don’t want to rush my way through this season. I want to prepare, and I want to be present.

This Sunday, we will light The Candle of Joy, and I’m looking forward to the joyful anticipation the light of that candle will bring. I can only imagine the joy of the angels rejoicing over Christ’s birth. I’m looking forward to bringing that joy into my own heart, praying prayers of thanksgiving and praise, reflecting on who He is, all He’s done, and all He’s yet to do.

And then…The Candle of Love. The candle that represents a love I just can’t fathom. A love that never fades or changes or gives up.

A love that’s beyond description.

The love He has for each one of us.

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Do you light Advent candles? If so, how do they impact your heart during the Christmas season?

Happy Summer Things

A few things making me smile this summer…

1. Izze soda

2. Sorbet topped with sprinkles and chocolately bits (I don’t care what anyone says — chocolate goes with anything!) ;)

3. Moonrise Kingdom

4. Local inspiration/creative events (WMC, for example) P.S. Check out the video above. My friend and I make a brief appearance! ;)

5. Quiet time spent outside

6. Good tunes — like Of Monsters And Men (Take a listen below!) :)

What about you? What are your favorite summer things?