A Heart Made Ready

 Ready My Heart
 I like the use of ready as a verb.

It’s about being prepared and equipped.

And it holds a bit of strength, possibility, and hope in it.

I love many of the related words, too: support, sustain; cheer, comfort, embolden, encourage, hearten, inspire; rally, rouse, stir…

I want a heart made ready.

I have begun to pray that God would do that kind of work and preparation in me. That He would ready my heart, prepare me, equip me, sustain and support me. That He would comfort and cheer me, embolden and encourage me.

That is my prayer for both the big and the small moments — from the day to day routines of right now, to the unfolding and changing seasons ahead.

I pray for my heart to be made ready.

And in my asking and praying, I seek and know Him and His faithfulness more fully.

 
prayer journals
 

I recently picked up a set of prayer journals from Val Marie Paper. I love the concept, and her designs are just beautiful. I look forward to filling the pages with prayers, scripture, and thankfulness, watching the faithfulness of God unfold.

Join me in praying for ready hearts to follow Him?

Lord, ready my heart.
Ready my heart for this day, for the work you have for me to do and the people you have for me to love.
Ready my heart to write and create for you.
Ready my heart to continually seek you, finding you despite fear or doubt or busyness.
Ready my heart for all that this day holds.

Amen

::Ready my heart hand lettering by Kelsey of Pinegate Road::
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Why My Prayer in Singleness Has Changed

MWangerText

In my dating experiences this past year, I’ve discovered that I want to change my prayer for my future marriage — well, more like simplify it.

While I still have a lot of hopes and dreams for what that relationship might look like, I just simply want to marry my best friend. And within that friendship, I do truly believe there will be many of the things I used to earnestly pray for…understanding, shared creativity, and a desire to learn, grow, dream, and live life fully together.

But I’m no longer complicating my prayers.

In 2014, I’m simply surrendering one very humble and heartfelt prayer: to meet and marry a man who will be my best friend.

I feel a certain freedom in praying that prayer, leaving the other details up to God. I almost feel as though this prayer pushes me to trust more fully, making more space for God to move and less space for me to worry and fret and try to make things happen in my own way and timing.

And that’s a big focus for me in 2014 — making space for God to move. I’ve been learning lately that God doesn’t force us into new seasons or adventures. We open our hearts, and He’s waiting to lead us to new possibilities. And while I do believe that ultimately His Will prevails, I also believe we can partner with Him to follow His path and purpose for us.

And why wouldn’t we want to partner with Him, opening our hearts and hands to receive His best? There have been far too many moments in my own life where I’ve clutched onto broken pieces, rather than releasing them and making space for God to do something new and beautiful.

Do you have any new prayers for 2014? Or prayers you’re praying in a new way? How are you readying your heart for the new year and making space in your life for God to move in mighty ways?

:: image by Max Wanger; Text by me ::

Believing in Tomorrow

plantgarden

In this season, I’m asking myself this: how am I planting seeds of faith and trust?

Because I know that when I’m planting and praying with faithfulness, I’m also saying that I believe in the goodness and beauty of tomorrow, because He holds it.

::art::

::For the month of October, I’m participating in The Nester’s #31Days blog writing challenge. My topic? Big BELIEF. For the next 31 days, I’ll be writing about three main things: 1. BELIEVING in His good plan for my life, 2. BELIEVING in the dreams He’s placed on my heart, and 3. BELIEVING in who He is and what He promises. So, what do you say? Will you join me? Will you open your heart to Him and allow Him to grow your belief over these next 31 days? You can read all my #31Days posts, here.::

 

Blessed is she who believes.

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Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

This little line in Luke 1:45 has become a source of big hope for me. It’s been just the reminder I’ve needed that the dreams and hopes He’s planted in my heart are in safekeeping with Him.

I’ve written this verse on my mirror, so every morning, my heart is reminded of that truth, and every evening, my confidence is encouraged.

For the last few months, I’ve been praying for Him to help my unbelief — especially when it comes to my singleness — and He has been faithful to bless me with fresh hope and belief.

Choosing to believe takes courage, but thanks to His grace, it’s a choice my heart will always strive to make.

::image::

Believing in the Impossible

TheImpossible

That restlessness in your heart may just be a beautiful sign that God is moving in mighty ways. 

God’s been moving in my heart lately — He’s been stirring up dreams and ideas and possibilities — so many that I’m not even sure what to focus on.

At first, I was frustrated, wondering why I felt such restless energy. But then I realized what a gift those stirrings really are. I realized they are a powerful reminder that God is moving and working in my heart and in my life. They are a powerful reminder that He is moving me forward and taking me further in my faith.

I believe in living life with an open heart to the possibilities He has in store.  And I think it’s a blessing that He is faithful to continually reveal new ones — both big and small. 

My favorite quote is “I dwell in possibility” by Emily Dickinson, and it just so happens to be the story behind the name of this blog. My tagline living an inspired life of possibility is a reflection of who the Lord created me to be and how I see the world around me.

It’s how I want to encourage your heart, too. 

I am so thankful that when our faith and hope are anchored in the Lord, the possibilities are truly endless — because anything is possible for those who believe.

* * *

If you have an impossible dream or hope on your heart, I’d love to know about it, so I can join you in prayer. And I hope you know how precious your hopes and dreams are to Him and how many possibilities emerge when we’re walking closely, in faith, with Him.

{image via Lara Casey}

Trusting Through the Silence

Sometimes, we are praying, praying, praying, yearning to hear something — anything — and all we seem to hear or feel is silence.

Do you know the kind I mean?

Lately, my heart is aching for answers and direction, for the next door to open, the next nudge from Him, the next step to be revealed in His plan for me…

But He’s silent.

At least for now.

And I’m learning how to press into that quiet and that silence, opening my heart a little more, asking Him to teach me how to rest in it, rather than fight it.

SongsForCourage

This book is one of my sweetest antiquing finds. It’s so tiny and darling, and it even has a woman’s name inscribed inside the front cover.

faith

Here’s a snippet from one of the poems inside. I love the lines: Faith is the dreams that all hearts know, the evidence of things that are not seen.

I’m thankful that He knows the dreams on my heart and that even when He’s silent, in my faith, I can find Him.

She Reads Truth ~ The Songs of Ascent

I’ve been working through the Songs of Ascent with the She Reads Truth community. This week, we read one of my favorites — Psalm 126. I love the hope present in this Psalm — both in the remembering and in the looking forward.

pilgrimsong

While reading The Message translation, I realized that the Songs of Ascent are also called Pilgrim Songs. I guess I never knew that. But I love it. A pilgrim is a traveler, someone on a journey to a holy place. How fitting, as we are all on our own journeys of faith — each journey sprinkled with seasons of time spent in the desert — just as this Psalm illustrates.

What a comfort to know that we can keep our eyes on Him during these desert wanderings, drawing our strength and peace from the knowledge of the faithfulness He has shown us in the past — and the faithfulness we can expect to keep seeing, as we continue to place our trust in Him.

Yes, the waiting is hard.

And our seasons of life in the desert can seem to stretch out so very long.

I know this.

I have prayers I have prayed for many years, prayers I keep praying, prayers that sometimes test my own trust and faithfulness.

But our patience finds faith in the desert.

My friend Carmen once wrote a great post on this Psalm, and I love her encouraging words about continuing to hope and plant seeds of faithfulness during our desert seasons.

She writes: “Even if we don’t see fruit or hope immediately, we don’t give up. We continue on: asking, praying, doing and ultimately trusting in Psalm 27:13-14: ‘I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.’ “

* * *

How has your faith grown during your own seasons spent in the desert?

If you currently find yourself in such a season, how can I be praying for you, as you continue to plant your own seeds of patience and faithfulness?

Proclaiming His Peace

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I want to proclaim His peace.

That phrase has been repeating itself in my heart all week.

I want to proclaim His peace over myself, over my friends and my family, and over my sweet blog readers.

I want to dwell in it, and I want to rest in it — saying no to the fears, doubts, and worries that so often clamor for my attention.

It’s hard sometimes, though, isn’t it?

Resting in His peace doesn’t always come naturally for  me. Sometimes, it seems easier to fret or worry, questioning things, wondering about the future, and playing the “what-if” game.

But I want roots that run deep in trust… 

I want to learn how to praise Him first, opening my hands and my heart to free the worries from where they’ve settled, allowing Him to replace the empty space with His perfect peace.

I want what Philippians tells me I can have — that in the midst of my praying and my praising, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle me down.

I don’t know what might be weighing on your heart tonight, what fears or unknowns you might be facing. But I do know that His peace is readily available for both of us, that His wholeness will come and settle our hearts and our minds, as we pray and praise and trust.

So, tonight, I’m proclaiming His peace — for me, and for you.

I’m settling in to rest in it, with thanks.

And I hope you will, too.

 

 

My Plans for Lent

Bible

Today marks the beginning of the Lenten season, and after prayerfully considering how I would observe it, this is where I’ve ended up:

In short, I want to cut distractions and intentionally draw nearer to the Lord.

I love what Erika wrote about her Lent plans: “It’s always tempting for me to treat Lent as a self-help time — to tackle eating sweets, or too much television, but Lent is more of a heart thing, or at least it is for me. Lent literally means to fast, so I’ve decided to fast from the little things I fill my time with and instead making time to write and process.” 

A heart thing.

Yes.

And this year, I want the focus of my heart and the focus of my approach to Lent to simply be this: more time with Him…and not just more time, but more quality time.

I hope to do the following, in an effort to be more intentional in my seeking.

*Make more time for intentionally reading scripture. I plan to start each day in The Word — before checking e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I want my time with Him to be a priority. (This is something I’ve already started, but I want to keep at it. Lent helped me find a really good rhythm last year that I moved away from a bit in the months that followed, and I’m hoping another commitment this year will help me get back on track.) In addition, each day, I plan to journal about at least one verse that has impacted me during my reading. I want to really interact with the Word, not just read it and then forget about it for the rest of the day.

*Cut distractions. On some days, this might mean watching less TV or spending less time on the computer. Again, it comes back to making my time with Him a true priority.

*Take a One-Week Blog Sabbath. I’d like to take at least one blog sabbath during Lent, during which time I’d like to spend more time in the Word and in prayer. I’d like it to be a time to really pray through some of the things on my heart currently, committing those things to the Lord and really listening to what He has to say about each thing. I hope that through this time during Lent, my heart will become even more in tune with listening, hearing Him, and responding in true faith.

*More time with the printed word. I love the ease of electronics, but I interact differently with the printed word than I do with the computer/iPhone screen.

So, there you have it…or at least what I’ve fleshed out so far. I’m signing off now, so I can get in the Word. I also want to end each day with Him, too.

Do you have any plans for Lent? I’d love to hear about them.

What do you want your life to look like?

I was SO inspired by this post from Jessi of Naptime Diaries that I knew I wanted to create a similar list. And what better time than right before the beginning of a new year? ;)

Before I share my list, I think it’s important and inspiring to share what Jessi had to say about hers — because the same is true for mine.

She said her list was not created because she wants to be BETTER or because she wants to change her life, but because she wants the Lord to change her, and she prays her list will be some of the fruits of that change. 

So, here goes. Here are the prayers I am praying, the fruits I hope to see in my own life, because of His goodness + faithfulness to work in my heart and change me a little bit more each and every day.

whatIhope

And the fine print, so to speak… ;)

1. I’m going to keep praying boldly about this and not doubting the hope He’s placed on my heart. I’m going to keep believing and trusting and learning and serving until He orchestrates this in His perfect time.

2. AMEN. I’m learning how to love better all the time. And luckily, I’ve got the best teacher in Him. ;)

3. Love this creative heart He’s blessed me with, and I want to use it to the fullest.

4. I want this blog to be a blessing. I want it to inspire hope and joy and bring encouragement to hearts that need it. And I want it to become a place where prayers and stories are shared freely, where we come together and spur each other on.

5.  Lord, help my unbelief. Grow my faith and my hope bigger + bigger.

6. The heart and soul of this blog. It’s what I hope for myself — and what I hope for my readers.

* * *

What about you? What are some of the hopes + dreams you have on your heart? What fruits do you want to see in your life?