My sweet Poland teammate and friend shares some personal thoughts on her blog about pre-marital life and her identity in Christ as a woman.
How To Be Productive According To The Bible
With the last week of the semester for me and most college students, here is a great link on how to be productive.
Me & My Self-Righteous Lent
An article I stumbled upon by a blogger I follow. It's encouraging and a reminder that Lent isn't an opportunity to flaunt our religious haughtiness , but to humble ourselves before God.
God Is Like Dessert
Peter Krol, who is on staff with DiscipleMakers, the ministry I will work with after graduation, shares about how God is like dessert.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
This is probably one of my favorite hymns, and I love that Shane and Shane recorded a new version of it. Check it out and read the story behind the hymn.
The Alchemist's Letter
A short animated film about an alchemist's relationship to his son and what he learns about life as a result of his thirst for material gain failing him. Such a beautiful and compelling short film! If you've got five minutes, take a look!
There's a phrase that filmmakers and writers alike throw out when they are stuck in the middle of their art. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this phrase over the past few months. And it's...
In writing, you must kill all your darlings.
- William Faulkner
Why does Faulkner say this?
Because clinging to the things that you cherish but aren't actually good for your writing is madness.
This applies to filmmaking as well.
Is a scene that you love not working out or adding to the film? Kill your darlings.
Does that one shot that you love not fit with the style of the film? Kill your darlings.
Does a character that you've written not fulfill a purpose? Kill your darlings.
Harsh, but true.
While editing the film I worked on for the past year, this phrase became all the more real. Love that shot? Not working?
Love that little sound clip but it becomes confusing for the rest of the film?
Enjoy that exchange between two characters but it doesn't make sense for the next scene?
You got it. Kill your darlings.
Only this idea goes beyond writing and filmmaking.
Dreading editing that scene because you don't know where to start?
Struggling to make time to sit down and work on the film?
Spending more time on social media than doing the work you should be doing?
Saying hurtful words to a friend because you just had to get them off your chest?
Choosing to eat more than you should?
I'm learning to be honest with myself when the decisions that I make are not working. In that, they do not lead to life but to death. Ever try procrastinating on writing a ten page paper? It sure does feel like death.
Kill your darlings.
In this case, I'm learning to kill the sin that is keeping me from doing what is right. Ultimately doing what is right leads to honoring, serving, and glorifying God. So why wouldn't I want to do what is right?
But they aren't called "darlings" for nothing.
Scripture puts it better. I recommend reading all of Romans 8, but here is a snippet:
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Submit to the Spirit's work of putting to death the deeds of the body, killing your darlings, and you will live.
Will you seek to remember this daily with me?
Over the past week, I have been overwhelmed by the number of women in my circle of friends that have started blogging! Wow! I'm so encouraged! All of these awesome women, sitting down and writing what is going on in their hearts and boldly sharing it with others.
If there's one thing I've learned from blogging over this past year, it's that blogging often takes a lot of courage. Even starting a blog takes a lot of courage. That first feeling of putting your thoughts out there and into the void, wondering if people will read what you write. And if you're blogging to share what God's doing in your life and to glorify Him, there's another level of pressure.
Will people judge me or think I'm weird for sharing boldly about God? Will I share the gospel correctly? Am I being blasphemous? A part of this is spiritual warfare, and a part of it is our flesh.
So I want to encourage you my dear sisters, keep blogging!
If blogging brings you joy, keep blogging.
If it helps you process through what's going on in your heart, keep blogging.
If it's a way that you can share with others about Jesus, then keep blogging.
Remember why you started blogging, and keep blogging.
Welcome to the blogging world, sweet friends, and I hope God uses it to bless you immensely as He's used it to bless and grow me.
Are You Weak Enough For God To Use You?
A great reminder that God uses the weak to glorify himself. So take heart whenever you feel like your weaknesses keep God from using you for his purposes.
Jerusalem (A New Song by CityAlight)
Lift your voices to the One
Who is seated on the throne
See Him in the New Jerusalem
Praise the One who saved us.
Home by Josh Garrels
The folk artist, Josh Garrels just released his new album Home on Noisetrade and iTunes. As one of my favorite artists, I highly recommend taking a listen to this album!
Words Like a Sword: When to Speak, When to Listen
Great thoughts from my friend Louise as she processes through wisdom in speaking and listening. This post also came out of the Women's Conference we attended this past weekend on Lady Wisdom.
A Public Service Announcement On Behalf of TV's Everywhere
Over at the Nestor's blog and provides some helpful visuals on how to decorate with a big flat screen TV. Do your TV a favor, and read this post.
How To Stay Calm in the Midst of Big Projects
Definitely needed to hear this in the midst of some big projects to finish up senior year. Emily Freeman shares on her blog what's been helping. Here's a tip: celebrate the small progress.
Truth in Wisdom
My friend Amber shares some of her thoughts from a Women's Conference on Lady Wisdom that we attended this past weekend. She has a lot of great thoughts and take aways.
The God Ask
A book that I'm reading as I prepare to go into full time support raising in a few weeks. Even though it primarily focuses on biblical support raising, it's encouraging in just asking God to meet your needs and trusting him to provide.
The Under-Appreciated Art of Celebrating
A podcast. A shot of hope. I love these podcasts and find that they bring some joy and encouragement into my daily life as I listen to how three believers find Jesus and hope in the everyday. Check out this podcast on celebrating.
Share the love! Feel free to share these links with others!
Don't make me do this!
That's been a common response to the promptings from the Spirit over the past few weeks.
This is the monologue that's been going through my head lately. You can laugh. It's a bit ridiculous, but it's also very true. I struggle with being a brat, because I struggle and wrestle with God. Go ahead, gasp, audibly. Madi wrestles with God.
Now, I'm not talking about physically wrestling with God. I'm talking about a spiritual wrestle. An inward groaning that masks what's actually complaining.
Why God? Why do I have to go through this suffering? Why is this so hard? Why can't things just be easy? Why are you prodding in this area?
I ask God these questions and inwardly I feel guilty. Is my faith not strong enough? Am I not believing the right things about God's character? Why can't I just have enough faith to believe that what God says is true?
Lately it's been: I'm tired of being a student. I'm tired of doing all of this work. Why do I have to write this ten page paper for class?
It then descends into: I'm not doing it. WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS? Do you even love me at all?
This week I have a ten page paper due for class, and I have never dreaded an assignment this much in the seventeen years of my educational career. It's comical that the paper is for my Orthodox Christianity class, a class I'm taking for a minor that I chose of my own free will. Yet, I'm dragging my feet on this assignment. I have done everything possible before working on this paper. I cleaned my room. I worked out. I got ahead on work for other classes. And my heels remain firm.
I keep asking God WHY? Why can't I do this assignment? I'm wrestling with Him over it. And then I ask myself, Why are you being so ridiculous about this paper, Madi? Sit down and get it done. You've had no problem with getting your work done in the past.
But this paper is about more than the Russian Orthodox church after the fall of the Byzantium Empire. This is my struggle with the Lord. It's about choosing to do things that I don't want to do because it brings Him glory.
You might say I'm being dramatic, but a huge part of me does not want to write this paper. I can spout a lot of lies to defend why I loath this paper and why I shouldn't have to write it (despite the fact that it's on a topic that I find interesting). But really what it's about is fighting to choose to obey the Lord even when it's hard. And believe me, it's a fight and it's hard.
Now, you may not relate with me on struggling to get a paper done, but you might be wrestling with God in other areas. Like giving up a romantic relationship that is abusive or doesn't honor the Lord. Or you might be struggling with giving up a lifestyle of partying and drinking. Or it might even be choosing not to idolize your academics. Whatever it is, we all have something in our lives that leads us to wrestle with God from time to time.
Even Jacob, a great man of faith, wrestled with God. (Genesis 32:22-32)
And God did not punish him. God welcomed the struggle, because it drew Jacob closer to Him and it led to Jacob obeying God.
That gives me hope in the midst of wrestling with God. I am free to wrestle with God, to ask hard questions, and to ask Him to help me understand. He is merciful enough to lovingly walk with me through the struggle, show me my sin, but also cover me with His grace.
But ultimately His loving kindness leads me to want to obey and honor Him. Which was the only thing after all my hemming and hawing than enabled me to sit down and finish my ten page paper.
Today is a great day!
Today we remember the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead. He defeated death and sin!
And because of His victory, he offers us freedom from sin and eternal life through faith in Him and his work on the cross.
I don't know about you, but that's not something I can pass up.
Because of Jesus, I have an abundant life in this world and the promise of eternal life with God.
I am His because He is ALIVE!
Don't know if you believe in the resurrection of Christ, just need to be reminded of the power of the resurrection, or want to know the implications of the resurrection? Check out this talk by Matt Chandler from the Village Church here.
Shalom! I'm Madi, a laughter-loving, movie-going, spontaneous-dancing, follower of Christ. Join me as I seek glimpses of God's grace in the ordinary and everyday.
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She Laughs Without Fear