A letter to the friend with a stirring in their heart

Hey there Friend,

So here you are with your little bit of treasure. You were built with the ability, made specially to do something extraordinary. You feel that stirring in your heart to do just exactly what you know you were made to do. You feel that rumbling in your soul to take a step out and put your treasure to it's very greatest use.

I get it friend, because I'm right there with you. 

Right now maybe you're working a 9-5 that you wouldn't have wished for, or maybe you're stuck with no time to try out the things that you long to do.

You dream when you've got the space, but that's about the end all for you right now. 

Maybe you long to reach more people, to use it all for His good. You wonder why God hasn't given you a greater opportunity. 

Maybe you don't have much clarity at all. You just know that there might be something more than what you're living right here and now.

Maybe your a dreamer, with ideas that others say just can't become reality. Maybe you're a planner and you're just too afraid that you might make a mistake.

Well, no matter where you're at, who you are, or what you've got, can I clue you in on something grand today?

This God of the universe, this maker of stars, this Very Greatest Designer that you and I adore, He's the one who made you and He's the one who gave you the treasure that you hold tight in your hands.

The treasure of a beautiful talent.

Truth is, this talent has a far greater purpose than what your grandest dreams can come up with.

This talent was made and fashioned to be used for His Grand Story. The One that's all about rescuing souls and putting His glory on display. The One about a coming King who rescues His own and brings them to eternal glory.

That treasure that you're holding in your hand? It's meant to fit inside of this Story in some beautiful way.

But here is what you've got to remember-this God of the Galaxies and Maker of Beauty, He never really does things in the way that you and I would plan.

He asks you to simply surrender that treasure up into His grasp, and let Him use it in the place that it fits the very best.

Sometimes He asks you to wait until His perfect timing is here, and sometimes He asks you to take a leap that looks like it might just kill you. No matter what, He asks you to trust and obey.

So, to the hearts that have a stirring and a longing to use what they've got in a bigger grander way, remember that The very One who formed that longing will put it to it's very greatest use.

He's orchestrating something glorious by the perfect combination of willing vessels with their treasures held up in surrender to Him.

Learn to listen, learn to wait, but above all learn to be willing and obey.

And if you ever struggle with doubt that this God that you're living for really does have a desire to use you and your treasure, well, just go ahead and read these verses here below-

"And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker...-those who do every work and those who design artistic works. And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of works for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded."
{ E X O D U S  3 5 : 3 4 - 3 6 : 1 }

Chapter thirty six goes on to show the beauty that is accomplished when each person is doing just exactly what they were made to do with the treasure in their hands. 

This is the God that you and I serve, a God who doesn't forget the inner workings of our heart for even just a second. The God who patiently waits until it's the very best time. A God who wants to use you in the very best of ways.

Our task today is to listen. To listen for His grace in leading. To listen for His gentle words of Guidance.

So to my fellow friends with a stirring in their hearts and a treasure in their hands, I'm right there with you, in the midst of the times of confusion, and the prayers for instruction. With the aches that come with desiring more. 

Hold fast to The God who does it all,

In His grace,

P.S. If you relate to these words in any sort of way, I'd sure love to hear from you! Tell me a bit about the dreams He's placed in you. You can always send a note to amanda@thesplendidordinary.com

One of the greatest keys to building community

One of the greatest points of interest today, is our craving for community. You can find it just about anywhere- within the church or in a secular world, for the introvert as well as the extrovert. It's what we're after, and it's our main desire.

And friends, I'm caught up with it right along with the rest of the world. I love community. 

When I learned not to care

I remember back to the days when I was the one who used to care.

This word caring is usually linked with something that is a little more positive, but it all comes down to what it is you’re caring about.

We should seek to care, by all means. Don’t ever let caring break away from your being. But take careful watch over what it is that your heart begins to really care about.

When we don't see the good

There's a list of things that we lack, but it would seem that near the top of that great list of lack would be the word consistency.

If you're in need of proof of this, just turn your pages to the book of Exodus. 

Exodus, the book that's packed full of demonstrations of our God's power, and yet the Israelites couldn't seem to make up their mind on whether or not this God who held everything in His hands, was bigger enough to see them safely through.

And how often do we find ourselves living just exactly how the Israelites did?

When living different really makes you free

Everyone around you today is looking for freedom in some sort of way.

They're looking for liberty, a chase for no boundaries. They're desperate to be free of anything that's oppressive.

As sons and daughters of the One true King, you and I posses within ourselves just exactly what this crazy world is desperate for. But have you ever noticed how the freedom we have full access to, begins to look like bondage to some. In fact, maybe somedays it even looks that way to us.

To become someone with depth

Let's pretend I had anything in the world that I could give you today. There would be a number of things that I would choose, but one of the very top things on my list that I'd like to give to you is the aching desire to be a human being filled with content. 

And no, that might not be something that ranks high on many lists, and you might just be wondering what it is that I'm even saying to you.

So here, let me explain what this whole idea of possessing content really means to me and why it holds such a high ranking on my list of valuable treasures.

To seek to be a person of content means to seek more wisdom than what you've got at this very moment. 

Living in light of the very Greatest Day

This past week has opened my eyes in greater ways to how brief a life we live here on this earth.

Eternity is where our hearts must be-it is our our truest reality. 

How many of our choices are wrapped up in the things here of this world? How many of our pursuits will be left behind when it all comes down to our final day?

You and I, we're made for another realm. We've got a place tucked away for us in our eternal dwelling place, and yet here we strive and try to get our best and make something of ourselves while we're racing through this space of time.

Linger longer, worry less

In the past few weeks I've been able to have face to face conversations with a vast amount of friends coming from different backgrounds and a various life situations.

Each time our conversations seem to flow in the same sort of theme. 

I can't help but notice that deep within our hearts lies much of the same type of pursuits and passions. 

We long to know where it is that we are supposed to go. We're hoping we can get it all right, rather than turning this life into some great, big mess.

It's time to give your all

Paul understood it to be the only way to live out Christianity.

Timothy saw it as something worth following after.

Peter welcomed it as a result of the transformed way of life.

James claimed it as his very own identity.

And what is it, you might ask, that tied all of these legends of the faith together in some common bond? I'll tell you.

It was the way of a bondservant.

You are what you love

They say that your identity is the fact of being who you really are. At the core of your very heart, it's your truest self.

So, who are you really, underneath all of those layers?

We each have our passions, and preferences. We've got things that we like and things that we hate, and somehow they all can find their way into what we are known by.

If you've ever felt in need of happiness

I hear the steady hum of it from the world that dances all around me, surrounding me with their idea of where I can find my own fulfillment.

In a grand wide world, with a vast amount of cultures, it would seem that this one single way of life is one of the few things that are universal-breaking through boarders and keeping a steady familiarity no matter where in the world you go.

It’s the continues pull to a life that pleases myself.

The tension of a tragically, beautiful world

I've been wanting to do a count of all the miles I've traveled in only a few short days.

I'm thinking the numbers would add up to something quite high, but no matter what they amount to, they'll never compare to the vast amount of emotions, joys and sorrows that this heart has covered in a mere couple of days.

From sitting by your friend's side while her dad lies sick with cancer, to sharing beautiful moments of truth with a small band of Christ-followers, to holding those who've just laid a loved one to his final rest, to celebrating the exquisite beauty of a dear friends wedding day.

Walking in grace on unexpected roads

When I was a girl, I'd dream up the ultimate life. That's what we tend to do, right? Picture it in our mind and then spend our whole life trying to make it our reality.

And yet so many times we chase without ever holding in our possesion the life of our childhood dreams.

It could be for any number of reasons. Maybe you've grown up to find that life is a little more complicated than the simplistic view from your childhood days, or maybe events beyond your control have gone and taken over control of the ten year plan that you were in the midst of working through.

Or, maybe we could all find that the greatest dreams come true, when we open up our hands and lay our hearts bare before the One who crafts the galaxies and spins this earth in a perfect, perpetual orbit. 

How to live a day that holds more weight

They say that time flies and we're all pretty sure that it's true. We look back on the days that made up the weeks, which made up the months that somehow turned into years, and we wonder exactly how we've gotten to where we are.

We wish we could freeze it-store it all up to be lived all over again. But the fact is that time just keeps on passing us by without us knowing just how to even pause for a moment to catch enough breath.

The doors that lead us deeper in

In all of your imaginings of heaven, do you ever sit and wonder about the list of things that we're going to be surprised by?

I like to think about what could be listed there among the countless things that will catch us off guard in comparison to being in His glorious presence. After all, what do our earthly minds know about a place that is called eternal? What does our short sighted view really amount to standing up against all of time.

When you've got to fight daily

There are days when it seems to be a battle to simply keep the focus. You can have your eyes set on the Master, you can have your heart fixed on what is true, and yet a thousand times you feel the pull to look, instead to doubt.

The enemy tries his best to deceive you, sending little lies to run right through your mind. He tries to make the fears appear greater than the source of safety you are leaning heavily upon.

Choosing to see the least of these

You and I have always been taught that bigger is going to be better than the little that we've got. We're told to go as far as we can, and embrace every bit that this life has to offer. We're taught that success is measured in numbers and the great heights that you are able to reach.

We've all heard it said, "go big or go home." As if this life is wasted if you don't reach up for the best.

Our culture seems to cheer the loudest for those who are running the fastest towards their own, self-created version of success. Our world stands up to applaud those who've given their all to the fight for more in their earthly lives.

In search of deliverance

As we all seek to move forward in the journey of following after Christ, there is one thing that we never want to find in our lives.

It's called idolatry.

To the heart that truly knows Him, this idea ought to bring a cringe to our souls as we think of giving our worship to anything of waste.

We know in our minds that He's the One true God, and yet our affections seem to constantly fight to be given to objects holding nothing of value.

Today's small choices

"When we choose deliberately to obey Him, then He will tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist us."
 -Oswald Chambers

Have you ever felt that God is silent? Have you felt as if you're wandering in the darkness, in search of some direction, and there aren't any lights that are turning on? 

Or, maybe you're trying to do His will and yet with every step forward into what seemed right, you're left feeling like somewhere, somehow you got it all wrong. 

Yesterday I heard the quote up above, and was caught by it. I turned it over in my mind and thought about what it means for my life.

You see, we can be pretty good at this whole idea of obedience when it looks fairly heroic. When God asks us to do something that we deem as grand and glorious work, we some how have the instant "yes".

But is that the only time for our obedience? Shouldn't there be smaller yes' paving the way in our Christian lives? 

We can stumble around and wonder why things aren't falling into place. We can trip and falter and begin to doubt, thinking we gave it all our very best, and God just isn't coming through. But let me ask you, are you obedient today? 

Not just in those noble and grand tasks, but are we obedient on today's littlest tasks? 

Are we doing what we know we ought to do, in order to love Him best? 

Are we following His ways in every part of our lives, or only when it works well for us?

If we're giving Him our all-every part of every single day-then there's nothing that will stop Him having His way. 

We will still stumble at times and things aren't always clear, but if obedience is kept our theme then peace will rule our hearts and worry fades away. For the God of the galaxies is walking close beside, and He gives everything that's needed to the heart that is given to obedience. 

Just as a parent knows what's best for their child, so our Father knows what's best for us. 

He will use you in ways you didn't plan, ways that you wouldn't have chosen. But in the end you'll see with unclouded view and understand that His ways are always going to be best.

If you sense some sort of distance, or you wonder why life isn't making sense; if you're praying seems to get you nowhere and you're left wanting something more, look for ways to be obedient today. Take the leap and do what you know you ought. 

You'll soon find that your obedience to Him is one of the very greatest acts of love to your Father, who always knows best.

Perhaps you've felt that urge to wake a little earlier and spend a bit more time with Him. Perhaps it means a letting go of something else you're holding onto besides Christ. Perhaps it's your lack of prayer or your actions against another life. 

Whatever it is that might be that is pulling on you, go ahead and say yes. Take the leap and learn to obey. The reward of your obedience will always far outweigh the price you'll pay for holding anything back.

If you might be called a dreamer

There are countless times in my life when I could be found scribbling away on a pile of blank pieces of paper, filling them full of the plans that I had. Perhaps if you're a fellow dreamer, you can understand.

I made up the goals. I laid it all out. First this step and then the next. I called them my dream-these ideas that I'd chase. I told myself that I could do it all if I just reached up high enough and gave it my all. 

A dreamer is a beautiful thing to be in this world, and yet, it's a messy thing to be when done in the natural ways of the world.

Why it's safe to let it all go

There are times in life when it seems that everything we've got has somehow been tied up in knots. It seems that the harder we try to make things right, the tighter it all gets.

Truth is, that's when we're meant to just let go. 

We let go-not to forget, and not to give up-but to be released from the burden of trying not to mess it all up.

We can let go because Christ never lets go of us. 

We can release our hold on this fragile life, because Christ never moves from His place of control.

Just as He stood sovereign on the day that He breathed this whole wide world into existence, so He stands in control of it all now.

Just as He stood as Lord over the great flood waters, so He stands sovereign over the raging seas inside of our lives.

Our letting go might make us feel like all is falling out of control, but in reality, it's simply a step out of the way so that He can have His better way.

When we refuse to release our hold on the way that our life goes, we are refusing to let the God of the universe run our life the way He intended to from the beginning.

When we try to lend a hand, try to choose the course we think we should take, we dim the light of His unfathomable grace. When we try to make it all turn right, we've begun to limit His power within our lives.

A stranger form of grace

If you're life is anything like mine, you have quite a few days in your life that might be marked with confusion. You can have a hundred days in a row that seem to make a crystal clear pattern, and you can have a consistent row of happenings that seem to lead in a certain direction, and then you can have one single day when nothing seems to make sense at all.

So what do we do with these days that just don't seem to make sense? The twirling circumstances around us don't match what we thought would come next. Maybe it's a storm that seems to creep up on us with out a hint of warning, or maybe it's a blank, empty nothingness when you thought for sure there was going to be something of a grander size.

When God's forever on-time, but never on-demand

This past week I turned through the pages of Ann Swindell's Still WaitingI had only gotten as far as the first few paragraphs of the introduction before something hit me good and hard. 

"God's people are often called to be a waiting people-not because He is unkind or unloving, but rather the exact opposite. God's people are a waiting people because He is an on-time God, not an on-demand God." 
-Jess Connolly (author of Wild and Free)

Can a single one of us argue that those who follow Christ are strangers to ever waiting in life? There's a place hidden deep in each one of us that could easily bear the label of the place in which we must sit still and wait.

What's true about authenticiy

We all want it-this life of authenticity. You'll hear it a thousand times in our society. It's a word that this generation has adopted as it's very favorite, it would seem.

Perhaps it's the fact that the idea holds a sort of beauty, and that beauty charms us, enthralls us, captivates our full attention. 

Our Instagram feeds give us away in this whole pursuit. They show what our hearts are after, and what it is that we crave. We're after authentic-there's no doubt about it. But what is it, I wonder, that authentic really means?

Learning how to build a life

It's been a few months now, since those words woke me up to a deeper perspective on life-a deeper perspective on dreaming and doing. "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." (Psalm 127:1) These words are hidden somewhere deep within, and always seem to surface when they know they're needed yet again to remind my wandering heart.

What is it that they're really saying? I've got ideas and dreams with the very best of them, and a heart that just simply wants to do something. Is this some sort of plan to stifle, until I'm found doing nothing of purpose at all?

Are we going to recognize Him?

When you and I take those first steps over the threshold of time, when our days have all been wrapped up in some sort of ending chapter, and we're headed straight to the meeting of our Maker, will we recognize Him? 

Will we together look upon the face of that great and glorious One and cry out words such as "My Jesus" in a flood of overjoyed recognition.

You might be thinking that of course that's going to be you-staring up into the face of the One you've followed for so long. And if that is you, than friend, I'm straight up glad to hear it, because I've got the feeling that that will be the single greatest moment of your own, whole existence.

Those who choose to look beneath

It seems to me that what we all have a great need of is for a group of people who will choose to see beneath.

You see, our eyes are naturally drawn to what's right in front of our face. We look first to the things that seem to be the grandest and the greatest. Yet the greatest of all isn't always shown at a simple first glance.

Whenever there's treasure to be found, you can guarantee that you're going to have to dig for it. It's just the way that these things go. No jewel gained without some sort of strain. There's always going to be a strain. A strain on our hearts, a strain on our schedule, a strain on our easily tired-out bodies. With our human weakness there's always an inconvenience involved. And yet, treasures of Heaven are always going to be worth a lifetime of strain in earthly measures.

There's a Man who modeled this whole idea of looking beneath, and He did it remarkably well.

Jesus lived His life looking beneath the surface. You know that verse about how Man looks at the outward, but God looks at the heart? Yeah, the heart is one of those treasure that are found beneath. This is the sort of thing that we're all really needing.

You've probably got a whole heap of your own troubles and sorrows buried underneath. And maybe life's not all that difficult at the moment, but I bet there's still going to be a whole pile of wonderings and a whole, heaping lot of questions in your mind.

Of course, these aren't the things that you're going to go ahead and put up front in life. You might just be an expert at hiding all of the less than pretty pieces of life deep beneath the surface. Some of it was never meant to be seen by the entire world, after all. But still, they are there. Those questions don't always go away, and the wonderings can be enough to turn our hearts into a sort of crazy.

I'm asking you now to look at your very own hidden world. I'm asking you to realize that you're far from the only one that's an expert at hiding things beneath.

When Jesus walked along His earth, He had a way of looking at people, and instantly seeing all that was beneath.

In the woman who lay in the dirt, accused by the masses, He saw underneath to her broken and repentant heart. (John 8:2-11)

In the children who ran after him and were told to be gone, He saw that they would be the next generation of Christ-followers. (Matthew 19:13-15)

In the masses of people who continuously and inconveniently followed after Him, He saw the hungry hearts, looking for relief. (Matthew 9:36)

In the soldiers who mocked and beat Him, He saw underneath to their hearts so desperate for a Savior. (Luke 23:34)

In the great terror that was taking place, and the enemies seeming win, He saw beneath to the victory that was coming-ready to burst right through every war that this lying serpent thought He had won. (Luke 18:33)

There's always a freeing and raw beauty that's found just beneath the surface in the true realities.

When you look a person in the eye, don't ever let yourself forget that there's more than just what the surface reveals. Ask for the vision of Christ, that every human heart that passes you by, might sense that they are known and loved. Loved in a way that only comes from the One who knows every bit of what's been built up in their hearts.

When that family member hurts you, or the close friend up and deserts you, choose to let the grace of God give sight to your hurting eyes, to see their own hurting that's hidden there beneath.

When this crazy world gets the best of you and you're wondering why the storms are needed, go ahead and take a look beneath. You're going to see the mighty pillars of a Faithful God holding you straight up. You're going to see the never ending wells of His promises that will never let you down.

Choose to always look beneath the surface to the truth that lies below, and you'll find you're looking at this whole world from Heavens clearer view.

Taking little steps when all you want to do is run

Do you ever get the urge to take a giant leap forward to the next paragraph in this life story of yours? Do you ever wish you could skip all of these small, seemingly insignificant steps that are barely moving you forward, and wish instead you could move on to the point when all of the clarity is brought, like some grand, overdue gift?

Maybe your little corner of the world seems slow and unclear, or maybe it's gone and turned upside down on you. You feel like a jump forward would be the best solution to your little dilemma of confusion. 

And yet, you and I are going to find that our Father is often more in favor of the daily, little steps forward, rather than asking us to go and take a leap ahead.

There's no need to hide the fact that we are weak

There was a time when I had embraced it. There wasn't any trying to deny it. I knew deep within myself there was only someone who was weak.

Too weak to live well on my own. Too weak to go ahead and sum up enough strength. Too weak to try and take any of the praise or glory.

I'd come to love that verse in the Bible. You know, the one about God using the foolish things to shame the wise. (1 Corinthians 1:27) I'd full out come to love the fact that I was a part of this upside down Kingdom of God's own choosing-this place where weak things were the only things that were chosen to be used.

Losing the fear of messing it all up

There I was again, begging Him to open my ears to His voice. I had come to grips once more with the fact that I didn’t want to take one more step unless I knew that it was a step in His plan. I had this ache to be one of those little sheep that John 10 talks about. You know-the one’s who know His voice and listen.

I laid out this whole longing that had welled up inside. I confessed to Him that I was scared. I had gone ahead and gained a whole fear of messing this life up.

It can be down right crazy at times, and with a million questions in your mind, a million voices calling your name, you and I might just be right to be concerned about taking a step that’s headed in the wrong direction.

When a sea of fear is raging all around you

So, you're pleading for God to use you. You're downright begging to do the impossible in this life. You ask to do the extraordinary things that will change others lives, whether it be in a seemingly ordinary spot in life, or whether it be a sort of radical way of living.

There's a lot of us that are crying out for this. We seek to have our lives be transformed in the way that we know He is able to do. We seek to become a person that's doing what our Jesus did. We know He's able, and we know He's willing.

Maybe you've got the chance. Maybe the door is open wide to you for the first time in your life, and your hearts about to bust with the thought of seeing His miracles with your own eyes. You give Him a great big yes, and you take your very first step. There's no fear in your mind! After all, this was your request. It's been granted now, so you jump on through-nothing to loose.

How to join this mission that you're already in

You wake up every normal, mundane morning and they are with you. Their faces are as familiar as the site of the sun greeting you-always there, always a part of your day.

We've all got these people that we call our family, but by now we should realize that family spreads much farther than those just under our roof. If we're a part of the Kingdom we've got a family that's ever expanding. So what's this whole relationship like with these people in our lives? What are we to do with the one's right under our roof? 

It's time to break free from that lie in your mind

Here comes some real and deep honesty. I took these words before Jesus and asked Him on whether or not they were meant to be shared. The answer was clear. So clear that it left my heart ready to burst with it all.

Why am I sharing this road that I've been walking? Because I think you might just be walking it too. I have this feeling that where I've been, is a part of your journey as well and if these words bring light and life to a single soul somewhere out in this world, it will be worth a bit of honesty to reach that far.

This morning I was hit hard by a reality. The truth of it sunk down deep into my soul. It was the sort of wake up call that changes you-renewing your mind, transforming your life.

I realized that I had bought into a lie for a good part of my life.

When it seems like God just likes to wait

I start my prayer time each morning with a time of thanking God. The blessings He's given me are tremendous, but they can't even compare with the price He paid to buy me back as His own daughter.

One of the things that usually makes it on my list of thanks is the great patience that our God possesses.

I'm especially grateful for this one because I know good and well that without a great amount of patience, I would not have been rescued. Without a great amount of patience, I would not be grown stronger each day. 

I look back at the stories recorded in His Word and stand amazed at a patient and gentle Father.

What It Really Means To Stand For Life

I've been seeing it a lot lately-reading articles on it, listening to speeches on it and hearing talk of it. Everyone seems to be joining in the fight a little extra this week, the fight against the hideous crime of taking the innocent lives of children through abortion. 

I'm encouraged to see people raising up their voices to speak about it, because battles such as these are never won through silence and passivity.

Perhaps like me though, you wish there was a little more fight that you could give in this whole raging war to save these helpless little lives. Well, I'm wondering if maybe there is something more for us to do. I'm wondering if maybe we aren't a little too quick to overlook the opportunity that faces us every single day, to fight for the unborn.

It's Time to Lay Down Our Issac's

We've all got these longings stored up deep in our our hearts, and we're just not sure what to do with them.

Yeah, Abraham had some longings. He was longing and hungering for something for a good long time before God even came to acknowledged it.

It was this baby boy, this heir. He wanted a child. Now that's reasonable isn't it? "God, could you just give me one child? Would that be so bad?"

Hope Placed Where it's Meant to Be

Isn't it strange how we'd all be the first to admit that expectations are rarely met, and yet we struggle with frustration each time that they aren't?

It's as if our heads know the facts of it all, but our hearts just can't quite grab on to it. We want so desperately for all of those expectations to be met, and that longing keeps us from fully accepting the truth.

What if we could change it all? What if we could do away with all of the disappointment and letdown?

The Secret that Unlocks the Giving

How do you open your eyes to see the needs of others, in order to do this given way of living?

This is the question that weighed on my heart, as the concept of living given was being turned over in my mind for the hundredth time. 

When your eyes are looking for it, there's need just about everywhere. And yet, how often do our eyes really stay open throughout every moment of every long day? 

Here I was walking over a frozen solid ground, wondering to myself how you break through the same frozen wrapped around peoples hearts. After all, whats the purpose of all this giving if we're blind to where the needs really are?