Friday, August 31, 2012

"...but go on..."

Earlier this week I was facing a little crisis of sorts.

It's funny how so many things can be swirling around us on the outside, but it's those inner struggles that are actually the hardest.
I tweeted a while back, "Prepare NOW for battle-time decisions, or else when the battle rages you will be frozen and unable to do what needs to be done."
At first read, that can easily mean that when the battle is raging around us, we will have prepared and made up our minds what to do.
When someone does something less than honoring of me, I've already prepared my response.
When something in my life comes crashing down, I've already prepared my response.
But, what about when the battle is raging inside us?
At second read, we realize it's often the inner battle we need to be prepared in advance to fight.
What about when those thoughts sneak in?
What about when the questioning comes?
What about when we're tired of the resistance and we wonder, "Is this worth it? Is it really worth all this? Ugh."

I know God has called me to speak truth.
Well, He calls ALL of us to speak truth, so it's really not that great of a revelation.

...except that He really has. He has called me to speak truth that He shows me, boldly and without fear, yet wrapped in grace and love and peace... walking each step so intentionally at His direction.
In the last few months I have done that in various places in the world. 
Wales. Swaziland. Uganda.
In the past year(s) I've stood in front of numerous people... large groups, small groups, individually... and called out the truth that God has laid on my heart, wrapped in the reality of His loving grace.

But interestingly enough, the battle always rises... especially on the inside.
Because there is an enemy who does not want us speaking truth.
(Or sometimes he's fine with us speaking it, as long as it's not wrapped in grace and love, because that does even more damage than if we never spoke it in the first place.)

Earlier this week I was preparing to reenter some areas (because the fall season is here, and that's what we do in fall: reenter) where I know God has called me to speak truth.
So, why is it often easier to travel and proclaim it than to do it on your home soil?
(I could expound on that here, but it's meant to be a thought provoking and somewhat rhetorical question.)

And the inner battle rises.
Funny how, when we seek His thoughts and His heart, He is so quick to affirm and confirm and build us up in what He has called us to.

"Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."

Do you know who God said that to? Paul. He said it to Paul in Acts 18.
Paul the greatest apostle of all time.
Paul who stood before people who both loved him and hated him and he spoke the truth, wrapped in grace and love, no matter the audience.
"Do not be afraid any longer..."
Ummm... why would God say that to Paul
Paul wasn't afraid. Right? Paul never had second thoughts. Right? 
He was the Einstein of the Apostles. 
The Abraham Lincoln of the whole group.
The Montana in the heyday of the 49ers.

Or maybe Paul was human, like the rest of us.
And maybe thoughts and questions rose in his head like the rest of us.
And maybe when he got shut down and turned on and shunned, maybe sitting there at his desk, reflecting in the candle light, up too late...
maybe he had the same thoughts as the rest of us.
"Is it really worth it? Is it really worth all this? It's so exhausting. Maybe I should just stay here and study. The other guys can speak truth. Silas, Timothy. They got this. I'm tired. I'll stay here and..."
Yet God, so quick to affirm and confirm and build up, says, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."

Earlier this week I was facing a little crisis of sorts...
wondering if it was really worth it. Thinking maybe I should throw in the towel in this certain area. There are others that have it. I could just retreat and it would be fine. Reasoning in a way with my own self, knowing what God has called me to do, yet weary of the doing it in certain places that are just... so... hard.

"Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."

Yet God is so quick to affirm and confirm and build up. I just love so much His sweet and tender way of reassuring us while dolling out a kick in the rear.
We seek His heart, we go to His word, and then a passage jumps off the page. It hangs in front of our eyes while at the same time hugging us so tightly and literally causing a physical surge of strength in our bodies, causing us to stand up, pace the room and exclaim, "Yes! Okay, Lord! I'll do it!" 
The passage is written as a message straight to us, exactly in this moment... nearly two thousand years ago.
Because His word is living and active, sharp as a two-edged sword.

And no one on the outside would know that Paul even needed to hear from the Lord, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."
But it was recorded so we would know that these are real people, dealing with the same inner battles.

And no one would ever know I've struggled with any of this, except that I'm recording it, because I'm a real person who deals with the same inner battles we all do.
But, I've made up my mind in advance and prepared myself NOW, so when it rages I will trust God's word and what HE says.

"...but go on..."

And I will continue walking out what He has called me to do, in the very areas He has called me to do it.

And so will you.

"...for I am with you..."

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Monday, August 27, 2012

MixItUp: Black Tank

One of the everyday fashion woes I hear most often is people aren't sure how to mix things up.
Getting stuck in ruts is one of the biggest problems we have, and I'm no exception!
(In both life AND fashion. I've ordered the exact same thing at Spaghetti Factory for 15 years... and I'm NOT going to change THAT. But, you CAN change how you wear that bright colored jacket you bring out once a month!)
We buy a shirt we love. We wear it with one outfit.
And then it's stuck in our head that way and we only wear that certain shirt with those pants and those shoes.
We don't ever mix it up.

Why don't we pair it with something else?
Because we get stuck in a rut and aren't sure how to get out.

I'm starting a new post series called MixItUp.
It's pretty simple, really. I'll post some pics of the same item of clothing being worn in different ways...
hopefully giving you some ideas on how to mix up your own stuff.

In this post I wore my no-name baggy black tank that I thrifted a couple years back, seen here:
(Yes, I realize this is an easy one to start on.)

...layered with a longer Active Basic black tank, Poleci silk crop pants, Tahari sandals, no-name silk 90's top and Kenya earrings.

The next day we went to a thing downtown as a family...

...with 501 cut-offs, large black/brown belt, Qupid sandals, Kenya earrings, F21 necklace, and cheap sunglasses.

And then it was so comfy I wore it again a short time later to take Mom and Dad to the airport...

...with same Active Basic tank layered under, American Apparel skirt, I *heart* Ronson cardi, Qupid sandals, Kenya necklace, I can't remember which earrings. Funny, I switched which side the braid was on.

And you may or may not already know my secret. I don't necessarily wait days between wearings of the same item of clothing. If it's a staple (black tank) I may wear it multiple days in a row (if it's not dirty). If it's a more identifiable piece (blue skirt), I may wear it if I'm not seeing the same people.
Because this is REAL LIFE and... does it really MATTER?

Just sharing my secrets here, people. Just sharing my secrets.

Now, go mix it up.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ka Mun Rah... and I have come BACK...

Holy freak-out cow.
And in those three months since I last blogged I have
*been to Swaziland with my family (freak OUT!!!)
*South Africa and Uganda with my daughter  (I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!)
*seen two amazing weddings 
I've been praying for 
*been to California, Oregon and 
Washington to see friends and family 
*miraculously formed a group of over 100
women that will crash Women of Faith in September
*experienced so many incredible things
*sent my kids BACK to school (muah-ha-haaaa)...

and God has been kicking my rear to get back on here and blog about all of it!

(Of course, if you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you have seen the craziness of this summer's journey documented in pics and short sentence bursts.)

Hopping back into things, there will be some changes on this blog.
You will see posts on everything our family experienced in this amazing summer.
Africa was beyond incredible, and I desperately want to share all of it with you. Things we learned, things that didn't happen I thought would, things that did happen that I may have not been as prepared for.
All of it.
Because God is INCREDIBLE and it's all HIS story (HIStory) that is shouting to be told!!!

One of the major changes you will see is that I am re-enabling comments.
Long ago, there were comments on this blog. And then there were not, due to reasons that maybe I'll explain at some point on here but won't get into now.
Well, comments are HERE. So, while most of my readers may not ever care to leave a comment, some of you have said you'd like to at least have the option.

HowEVer, this blog is NOT COMMENTS BASED!!!!!!!!! There are some bloggers and readers that live and die by comment numbers and topics and whatnot.
I'm just tellin' ya right NOW that this blog is not one of those.
If you DO choose to comment, I'm going to do my best to respond within a few days of the post. Because you've come here, and you've taken the time, and that's just super cool, so I want to respond!

Another major change is that I will still be blogging on fashion-y type stuff (yes, that's an official term), BUT my Random Outfit Posts will now be appearing mostly on Instagram as just plain Outfit Posts.
(This has already been happening, which some of you know because you already follow me on there.)
I will still do tip and style posts on here, for sure. (And I'll probably even post the Instagram pics every so often.) But, it was just too difficult and time consuming to try and set up the camera outside, get some decent shots, upload them, sit down to do the post, etc.
In my real days full of real life, it just didn't happen as often as I wanted it to. And one of the whole POINTS of the outfit post is to show what I'm actually wearing in real life and how you don't have to spend a fortune to feel good in what you're wearing.

With the glorious invention of Pic Stitch that leads to Instagram that leads to Twitter that leads to Facebook, I can snap a few "real life" shots and post them with outfit details in just a couple of minutes.
Which means I'll post them more often... which means you get to see what a real woman who loves real fashion wears during her real days in her real life... which means hopefully you'll sometimes be inspired to step out of the box and try something new in YOUR real days full of real life.

Because some days it's stilettos and somedays it's flats.
And some days it's lots of jewelry and some days it's not.
And some days it's sweat pants and some days it's a dress.
Because that's JUST how life IS.
And we can feel confident in ALL of it.

But whatever changes happen, whatever adventures God leads me into, whatever topics are on my heart to discuss here,
Stilettos & Grace will always be about the (un)balancing act of walking out this amazing, grace-filled life that God has called us to.
It's an ADVENTURE, and we're meant to embrace it as such!

"I have come that you might have life, and life to the full."
~Jesus, John 10:10

(Title... where's it from? It's a frequent quote here in the White House.)

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