March 1, 2014

Here I Raise My Highest Praises ...

LIVE IT OUT! Stone Collective
From Sarah Francis Martin's
LIVE IT OUT! Blog:
The Stone Collective is a community making much of Jesus as we create art, photography, prose, poems or music that commemorate the wonderful things God does in our life. Based on the passage in 1 Samuel 7:12-14, each month we will collect Ebenezer Stones as a regular practice in the art of worship via our creativity. 
Want to join in on The Stone Collective? Create your own Stone and link up to LIVE IT OUT! Blog.
#TheStoneCollective
Just thinking about it ... life right now is not at all how I pictured it even three years ago as I was nearing graduation.

I thought I'd at least be in a courtship at almost twenty-one. With a lucrative home business & helping with the homeschooling of my younger siblings.

Then I look back across so many photos. Snapshots of memories I wouldn't trade for the world. And I recall the memories in between the photos. The scribbled prayer requests on torn notebook paper shoved in God-appointed portions of His Word. The prayer requests that, until I wrote them down & put them away--figuratively laying them down at the Cross--would weigh me down with anxiety. Trust me--far too often I'd remove those weighty life decisions & options & "what do I do?!" heart-prayers from the thin leaves of my Bible & turn them over & over again, searching for an answer to come down like a lightning bolt.
Those prayer requests were more often than not about the near-future. Jobs, my writing, publishing, pros & cons about a litany of other decisions & choices that loomed large in the future spread out before me at seventeen going on eighteen.
The future I so suddenly find myself in & call the present.
A gift.
Counting blessings is a marvelous thing. At first I felt like I was silly & repetitive ... but slowly but surely, God changed my perspective from looking around at what I took for granted, & looking up to Him, the giver of so many precious gifts.
Those torn pieces of paper in my Bible are now marred with a different colored ink, a new date underneath the day when I forced myself to write down, to let go & let God for all those worries & choices & decisions that seem so huge in the moment.
That new ink is a few lines of how God surpassed my highest expectations in taking care of every single minute detail for me.



Those are my Ebenezer stones. Marks of moments in time where God met & helped me. 
Those rumpled pieces of paper I am leaving in there. A testimony to God's great sovereignty. His gentle reprimand to my reluctant control-freak heart, "I've got this, daughter. Abide in Me, & don't worry. I've got every single detail right & perfect."
Those roses on my desk are a reminder that spring is coming. While they may not be from a special guy, they are from The One Who is writing my story to the end with Mercy's Pen. 
The photos, the sign, & the white 25 for Sanity Manifesto from Ann Voskamp are all blessed reminders from the One who holds my work-in-progress heart.
So thankful for this truth & the countless others hanging in our home ... more markers of where God's taken us, where He is leading & what He has done. 





Life's not perfect.
I will never be, & nor will life.
Life may not be as I expected it to be...
And it is so much better.

Here I raise my Ebenezer {highest praises}
Hither by Thy help I've come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wand'ring from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor--daily I'm constrained to be! Let Your goodness like a fetter bind my wand'ring heart to Thee.