Someone said this in my small group the other night, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head, so I put it on paper. So often my greatest fear is imperfection-- in big ways, and small ones too. I have always been afraid of correction. Like, "in my first job out of school cried at the mere idea of receiving feedback from my manager" afraid. (Yikes! ). But when I step away from the initial fear, and think of the times I've failed, the really big failures, to the point of feeling irredeemable, it has always placed me in a position where I could do nothing except turn to God. Right where he wanted me all along. And those opportunities, where I've let myself be rebuilt by his will and not my own, where he has the chance to redeem my failure-- that's the good stuff, right where he wants us.Don't take any of this as me saying to initially try to fail (although we can learn so much from failure), or not strive to be like Jesus, who was perfect. But if we fear anything but perfection and hold to it so tightly, we actually fail to let Gods redemption seep into our marrow, his redemptive power that is the only thing that can truly change us.
As a kid, it seemed like only us and the Catholics fasted from candy and French fries during Lent, but it's becoming an increasingly popular practice in other Christian circles, too, and I'm grateful for that. Lent is a time for repentance, reflection, and reliance on God (hence the practice of giving something up.. Although I'm not sure I prayed for strength much as a child when going through sugar withdrawals...). I want to spend Lent becoming more deeply rooted in God's word and wisdom, and so I wrote a devotional for this lent (but really, it could be for anytime) called BLOOM and GROW: Becoming Deeply Rooted in God's Word. If you studied along with me during the #restoreadvent, this will be similar, but we will dive deeper into 15 Psalms, known as the Psalms of Ascent. .So here is the big difference from Advent: I feel like I'm supposed to allow everyone access to this, so in conjunction on the first day of Lent, my website refresh will launch, along with the daily devotionals posted on my blog. If you'd like to have a hard copy, you can order the devotional along with each of the psalms designed by me on 15 5x7 cards, suitable for framing or taping to your mirror! You can find it on nancypage.etsy.com.
"Beget" is one of my favorite words. It means to bring about, give rise to, create, kindle. Yesterday, I felt without hope. I had a heavy heart for silly and valid reasons, and by the time my small group came around, it took very little to set me off into a puddle of tears. It was one of those incredibly awkward cries, where I couldn't force or will the tears to stop falling, but I was still trying to feign normalcy, which was fairly futile because people everyone could see my red eyes and wet cheeks. When I finally broke down to my friend Taylor, she saw the place I was in. She felt it with me. But she didn't leave me there. She held up hope for me, a hope I couldn't muster for myself. Her hopefulness was what I needed in that moment-- for someone to have hope where I was lacking. And it's true: hope begets hope, when others are willing to hold up hope for those who cannot, that hope in itself spurs on more hope. Hope comes from the Lord, and we must be faithful to pay attention to when he wants us to hope for others, when they cannot yet hope. So if you are feeling without hope right now, this is me, holding it up for you. The Lord has a hope and a future plan for you who needs you to hold up hope for them today?
I'm finally catching up on some custom requests (if we have talked in the past month, I haven't forgotten you I promise!). This came from a sweet friend who wanted to commemorate an important word for her: REBUILD. As I was working on it in Colorado, the more value I, too, found in the word. Sometimes, there are things that need to be torn down in order to be rebuilt-- ways of thinking, old feelings, habits. Other times, we have to rebuild something that might have crumbled without permission-- relationships, dreams, plans. Sometimes the rubble seems insurmountable, it feels almost impossible to envision rebuilding something that's fallen apart. But brick by brick, making intentional decisions consistently, trusting a God who sees the larger plan we only have a glimpse of, we can rebuild: thoughts, feelings, futures. I think at any given time, there's always something that needs rebuilding in our lives. What do you need to rebuild in life right now?
Good morning sunrise. We may be waiting for a tow truck to come cut the snow chains wrapped around our axle, but it's hard to be too upset when this is the scenery surrounding us. There is something special about the mountains-- it's not just the altitude that quickens my breath, or the flurries that build and blanket the town, or the small branches that peek out of the hillside. It's a majesty that is incapable of being man made, a beauty so evident it could only come from the Lord. God's love manifests itself in the mountains. "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever." Psalm 125:2
This morning I attended church with some Breck locals. It was sweet fellowship, children running from row to row, babies being held by friends, gratitude for seemingly small things, like replacement bathroom switches. They talked to each other, corporately, in a familiar and genuine way, not in the "we are all family here!", but in a way that demonstrated to an outsider like me that these people pursue community outside of Sunday walls. It made me so grateful for my community at @cotahouston, and aching to be back with them after two weeks away. Thank you, @jamiejobraner, for sharing your community today!
A pretty day in the mountains. There's not a better scenery I could imagine for diving deep into books and paint.
I'm working on a Lent study (!! Hold me accountable, people), and I read this today in one of my books. Choosing to follow God is to choose to pursue all things GOOD. It is not a choice of the easier path,the guarantee of happiness. But it the choice to pursue the GOOD, which comes from and is God himself. Pursuit is intentional, an purposeful choice to seek and find something. To follow it to the end. And at the end of GOOD, that's where God is-- and all along the way as well.
I firmly believe God is constantly trying to get to us. And I think the reason he was put BOLDNESS on my heart for January's #motivationmail is because I'm the one who needs it. I think being bold and brave are very similar, but there's something about boldness that insinuates action for me. Bravery is in my heart, boldness is in my steps, words, movements. It's one thing to feel brave, and another to be bold. I have some inklings of what he's encouraging boldness on in my life; more on that later perhaps. But I do feel a definite difference in the language, and I'm going to try to be faithful to itDo you need a nudge towards boldness? there's still time to order some #motivationmail, on my etsy (nancypage.etsy.com).
Working on finishing touches to this month's #motivationmail and loving these lines from Wordsworth. It reminds me of Matthew 6, when Jesus uses the example of the beautiful lilies of the field, who do not worry about how they grow or what they look like, but in being what they were made to be-- glorious examples of God's splendor-- they are just that: what they're made to be: FREE. And that freedom is BOLD, because it is innately true to itself. Worry doesn't exist in the free nature of the lily or Meadow-flower, because it's wholly consumed in being what it is made to be. What would I be like if I gave up the worries that fill so much of my day, the insecurities and failures and flaws I see stare me in the mirror, and was who I was made to be? Bold, I think, is what I would be. Bold is what I want to be. Unfair as to speak truth, to give lavishly, to love wrecklessly,to live honestly. That's who we were created to be: BOLD and FREE.
Lack of consistency is my fatal flaw. I started this weeks ago, for January's #MonthlyMotivationMail focused on BEING BOLD. The irony is the truth of Andy Stanley's words in my life. I have felt anything but bold since this month started: I have felt timid, tired, and voiceless. It feels defeating, to have been on the avalanche roll of boldness and then suddenly hit a canyon of silence. But the continual reliance piece is where my issue lies: I feel like I should be able to conjure up boldness on my own. I don't like the ideal of continual reliance, and yet it's what I need more and more, and always. Gods faithfulness is the only real remedy to my lack of consistency.
All the for Spanish moss. A beautiful setting for a wedding.
A not-so-️ Florida day adventuring around Winter Park with @tricialowenfielddesign
Maybe you've written out all your goals for 2016, even worked out a step by step strategy on how to achieve them all. Perhaps you used every ounce of time off productively, rearranging, purging, organizing your life into neat piles. Maybe you're 100% excited about tomorrow, going back to the routine, writing 1/4/16 at the top of your notebook. If I just described your life: I love you. But I cannot relate to you. At all. I have been fighting the guilt of having zero 2016 goals so far, shame of the lack of productivity over the past two weeks, and to be honest, I'm not at all ready for tomorrow to be here. And I think that's OK. If there's anything I want to be true for 2016, it's living into the idea of #graceoverperfect-- giving over the guilt and and fear and being okay. And the truth is just this-- you can do hard things. We can do hard things.so if tomorrow seems hard for you too, give yourself some grace. It's all going to be okay. You can do it.
2015 was a Y E A R. It was the beginning of me sharing my art and thoughts with others in earnest. It was a year of transition and change and redemption. It was a year of stepping into courage. It was a year of G R A C E and learning to live #graceoverperfect. Praise the Lord for another year's passing and a new beginning. Maybe you're glad to see 2015 and its challenges fade, or you're anxious to experience a new unknown. "To make an end is to make a beginning". Ends and Beginnings both have their challenges, but His faithfulness extends throughout all generations, even to us. Let 2016 be a year of C O U R A G E and H O P E and intimately knowing His faithfulnessXo, np
Because it seems like the thing to do...#bestnine
Happiness is snow on my favorite mountains.
Thanks to my sweet mom and sister my Christmas-turned-New Years cards are in the mail. Still want one? Drop your address in the link in my profile and I'll send one your way! There are four different deigns, so it's fun to see what you end up getting! It's really more of a New Years encouragement card, and who doesn't love encouragement? Don't be shy, I really would love to send you one! , np
I have a working theory-- a theory about Home. "Where is home?", I have always hated this question. No one means any harm by it, of course, and when it's asked in the context of my childhood, I understand the desire to know. We moved a lot growing up, in spurts and starts, at formative ages to varied and unique places. So it makes sense, that they'd want to know which is Home. But how do I answer? Is it my birthplace? Or where we lived the longest? Where I have the most friends? Where I graduated high school? Where my family lives? Those are all different cities, different places, different Homes to me. It seems narrow to pick just one. The truth is, though, I don't think of every city we lived in as Home, and I think I know the difference for me: Home is the place where good and hard and sad and important and joyful memories all intermix, where there is no one definitive feeling that arises, but a bittersweet flurry of emotions that are too much to express. So here's my theory: Home is where a piece of you stays, pieces that can both never be retrieved and stay with you forever, pieces that call out to you when you're near them, pieces of grace. I just landed in one of my Homes, El Paso. The place where I learned about community and loneliness, about joy and loss. It's where I learned about people, and how to love them well, and how I was capable of hurting them, too. The happy memories are inseparable from the hard, sad, ugly ones, held together with grace. I think El Paso is where I began to get a glimpse of grace, and the piece of me there is bigger than most.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Merry Christmas, friends. As I sat in the Christmas Eve services (plural-- the perpetual plight of a pastor's child), I challenged myself to take captive the familiar words, to try to understand what they mean and the magnitude of what we celebrate. One theme began to rise for me, and perhaps because it has been on my mind this Advent, but still: redemption, renewal, restoration. The weary world rejoices at the thrill of hope this baby brought to us. God redeems and restores his people, no matter how bruised, broken and damaged we are. He did it for Israel again and again, and he did it for us through Jesus. How blessed we are to have this day to celebrate with those we love (and some we may tolerate), to exchange gifts and follow traditions and be merry. But the true reason for our joy stems from the redemption God brought to us in the form of a baby so long ago.