Have you ever worked on a project for a while only to come to a point where you need to be reminded of why you started doing it in the first place? Whether it's a job or a project or a hobby, we all need reminders at times about why we do things. Well, I need a reminder of why I started this blog and my vision for it.
I haven't written for the past few weeks. I'd like to blame it on finals week or taking time to rest or even just taking a step away for Christmas. But the truth is that I just didn't know what to write. Mainly, I think I forgot about why I write on this blog.
I started this blog last spring as a way to get flesh out my thoughts, share what God is teaching me, and even encourage others who might be thinking and feeling the same way I am, or could just use the same biblical lessons I'm learning.
I want this blog to be a creative outlet where I can be honest, not another means by which I can people please.
I want this blog to be Christ focused. I want people to encounter the gospel (the good news of Christ) when they read.
I want people to be encouraged.
I want the Word of God to be the source of wisdom and guidance.
I want God to have all of the glory.
These desires don't just apply to my blog, but to my life as well.
Over a month ago, I bought the domain name for this blog, not knowing what God has in store for it.
She Laughs Without Fear is a pretty daunting title considering I love to laugh, but my name could easily be changed from Madi to Much Afraid.
I am fearful. I'm imperfect. I'm a mess.
But my Creator is mighty and holy and magnificent. He is a Savior. He is trustworthy and faithful.
I want this blog to embody those things. A woman who is honest about her imperfections and her struggles, but makes much of her perfect Savior.
These are my reminders. These are my hopes.
She Laughs Without Fear is:
Grounded in the Word of God
A Creative Endeavor
I pray these things for this blog, and may I never forget its purpose, which is ultimately to honor God with the gifts and words He's given me and in gratitude for the Word that He gave the world.
Recently, I've been loving and enjoying Bethel Music's newest album You Make Me Brave. And since this blog's called She Laughs Without Fear, laughing without fear and being brave go in hand. In both, it's more about the Lord than it is about me. Bethel's music leads me to worship the Lord.
So I thought I would share another song from the album that I enjoy, and it's the title song, "You Make Me Brave".
I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow
As your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in
I have heard you calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
You make me brave
You make me brave
And the chorus goes on. You make me brave. Sometimes when I'm feeling really fearful and afraid, the hardest thing to remember is that the Lord is the one that makes me brave. The greatness of His renown. His majesty and wonder. His love. Champion of Heaven. He is for us and not against us. He made a way for all to enter in. His grace. So many beautiful reminders of why I never have to be afraid.
In the end, I cannot make myself brave. It's God working within me that enables me brave. We have nothing to fear when the God of the universe is for us and not against us. He wants what's best for us.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one that takes refuge in him.
His Word, His Truth, helps me trust Him and it makes me brave.
If you would like to listen to the whole album, you can click the Spotify widget below!
May we never lose our wonder.
May we never lose our wonder.
Wide eyed and mystified.
May we be just like a child staring at the beauty of our King.
- "Wonder" by Bethel Music
A friend recommended this song to me, and I fell in love with its heart. May we never lose our wonder.
Worship music moves people into a place where they can worship God, and this song helped me come to a place of worshiping the wonderfulness and beauty and majesty and mystery of the King.
You can listen to the song here.
I hope that you find that it helps you come to a place of worshipping the wonderfulness of God too.
It is an especially lovely worship song on snowy days, which are days that I find to be full of joy and wonder.
We will all reach a point in life when we just don't know what to do. I shared a few days ago that I've been in one of those moments of life. 2014 has been a good but hard year. There is much rejoicing, but also much sorrow. And right now God just has me waiting.
As I was thinking and praying more after last week's post on being still and waiting on the Lord here, I stumbled upon this verse from a book of the Bible that isn't quoted very often.
Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
2 Chronicles 20:12
This verse comes from a passage in scripture in which God's people are being attacked by foreigners. Jehoshaphat is the one that prays this prayer before the Lord. This is just a small part of the prayer, and I encourage you to read the whole chapter here. But the main point is that God's people realize:
The hearts of God's people desperately cry out to him from a place of weakness, and God answers them:
Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance that the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'
2 Chronicles 20:15-16
What amazes me about the Lord's response is that he tells them:
In the end, the only thing God's people had to do in this passage was trust him, stand firm, and watch the Lord's deliverance. And that's unbelievably encouraging. And if you read the entire chapter, you find that the enemies end up killing themselves, and God's people just look down into the gorge and find dead bodies and plunder. Kind of gruesome, right?
In the midst of my own struggles, fears and sorrow I often forget that it really isn't my battle, it's God's battle. And He will prove Himself trustworthy and faithful time and time again. All I can do is humble myself, bring my weakness before the Lord, and ask Him to work.
God might call me to move and stand or He might just call me to wait, but no matter what, He is always with me. My eyes are on Him.
P.S. Once again above my dog Spice is such a great example of looking to your master. His eyes are always on his master, which is really my dad. Our eyes should be on our Master, King Jesus.
If you know me even a little bit, you probably know that I read A LOT! I could spend a few hours talking about the merits of reading and why everyone should read more.
Recently though, I started primarily reading classics. I'm sure there's a really wise and mature reason for why I did this, but actually I just wanted to read more classics. So this summer I read The Hobbit while I was in Poland, and I started reading the Fellowship of the Ring in September. Sadly, I had to put it aside BUT I finally finished it over Thanksgiving break last week.
And while I read FOTR, I was surprised by how some of the conversations about the central conflict of the story coincided with a real life conflict. I'm sure you've heard about it. It's Michael Brown's verdict.
I don't plan on sharing my thoughts on the verdict. I'm not even sure I have a cohesive thought. But from the conflict over this verdict, I do have quite a few thoughts about the way that I've seen people treat each other based off of their different opinions and beliefs.
And a passage from FOTR, really captured my thoughts.
"Alas for the folly of these days!" said Legolas. "Here all are enemies of the one Enemy, and yet I must walk blind, while the sun is merry in the woodland under leaves of gold."
"Folly it may seem," said Haldir. "Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him."
Book II, Chapter 6
This passage comes from a point in the FOTR when all of the members of the company are blindfolded as they walk to Lothlorien to care for Gimli the dwarf, since the elves wanted Gimli alone to be blindfolded (because he's a dwarf). There's bad blood between elves and dwarves in LOTR. Aragorn, who is leading the company during this part of the book, has everyone blindfolded as they walk into Lothlorien.
This quote struck me. The people are united as enemies of the one Enemy, Sauron, yet they are still divided. Sauron's power is seen in how he is able to divide those that oppose him.
How true is this in life outside of this fictional world?
There is a real Enemy. The Bible says so, and people that follow Christ are opposed to him.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
But we don't often live our lives in anticipation of standing against the devil's schemes. Jesus defeated the devil, but he's still trying to fight a lost battle, and his greatest weapons are lies, divisions, and discord.
Lies, division, and discord are things that really keep us from loving our neighbors as ourselves and sharing the love of Christ. The devil is a culprit but so is our pride.
So how do we stand against the devil when it comes to lies, division, and discord?
Well, we can first seek Christ, his love, and God's strength, which stands against the devil. We can seek to love others even when we disagree with them. We can seek to promote unity through the love of Christ, even if we disagree on earthly things. And we can seek to love people that are different from us, whether it's race, social class, or culture.
These are just some thoughts stirred up by reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I have more thoughts about the book, but I highly recommend that you read The Lord of the Rings for yourself if you haven't read it already. It's definitely a thought provoking, entertaining, and highly recommended read!
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She Laughs Without Fear