Thursday, 31 October 2013

//Knowing What to Chase//

One of the biggest things I have struggled with is the question of knowing what to chase. So there are all these passions in my life, potential things I could pursue. But how do we know what we should look into? What things are good things to pursue? Which one should I do that brings glory to God? 
Well first of all, the question of what shouldn't we pursue could be considered. 

'Chasing a desire that will lead to doing something wrong is sin. But be very careful with your wording. The point isn't that you would then be violating the law of God - we already know we can't keep his law. The point now, as a new covenant believer, is that you would be violating the love of God, and that is a different motivation altogether.'
(A Million Little Ways, Emily Freeman p.121)

So we know that we want to reveal His glory! That is our purpose. And our greatest fear is to violate His love. When we love someone, we want to do what brings them joy. So out of our love for Him, we know that is something we don't want to chase. Something that would hurt Him. 

'So God created human beings in his own image.

    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.'
(Genesis 1:27)

We are made in His image, for this reason we are an artist like He is. Isn't that amazing? I have always loved being creative, of feeling crazy and sitting with my felt & glue gun loving the mess of making something beautiful. There are times when projects don't quite turn out the way I see them in my mind though, where my talents come up short. That's ok too. 

Our limits can be a gift themselves. They should us what our passion isn't, what we shouldn't chase. And knowing what we shouldn't chase can be just as important as knowing what to chase.

'If you are a person who has received the sacrifice of Jesus in your place and who has a spirit united with His spirit, then your greatest purpose is to reveal His glory and your greatest grief is to violate His love.'
(A Million Little Ways, Emily Freeman p.121)

Guess I'll have to prayerfully consider which of the things in my life I have shared that are not to be chased. That is at least something helpful. 

This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

//Comparing Our Gifts to Others//

I have some heavy thought for these final few days of figuring out the pieces, putting these passions together and seeing the big picture.

But I wanted to pause here today and just ponder the whole comparison thing.

I really feel that when we compare ourselves to others, we set ourselves up for failure. Because we can't follow someone else's expectations or even do things the same way as another person.
We simply aren't meant to.
We aren't made in the same way.

The best part about our own gifts is that they are exactly that, they are our own gifts.
To be used in a unique way to reflect His glory.

It doesn't help to think that you could never make art in a certain way simply because someone else does it better.
To think that we can't be a photographer because we can't be the best one out there.
Or to think that we can't have a heart for something or be passionate about it because we aren't the only one who is. That is totally silly!!

Stop comparing yourself to other people, I shared a quote on my instagram today:

'You and I are going to have to come to a place where we stop handing people the kind of power only God should wield over us. Change will not come easy. Old habits die hard.'
(Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity) 

Isn't this so true? I find it's so true of myself, that I let other people's opinions of me have a greater value than it really should.

I really need to stop this comparison thing, it robs the everyday of joy. 
Anyone else struggle with this? 

This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

//We All Have a Unique Purpose, and it will look so different//

Emily Freeman said it so well:

'Uncovering your art does not mean you will find only rainbows & sunshine to pour out on everyone around you. Uncovering your art is about uncovering what is really there within you, coming face-to-face with your profound capacity for beauty as well as sin, your deepest dreams and your longing for God. 
You are capable of glory-grasping and it might get ugly.
But you are designed to reflect the glory of God, and when you release the fullness of who you most deeply are, we will see God because we are finally seeing you.'
(Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways, p.36)

The Lord has been slowly wrecking me this month, He knew I would preorder a copy of Emily Freeman's new book A Million Little Ways. He also knew that it would release the day I started this series, that I would have finished my previous books and have time to read it the day it arrived in the mail. That is would speak truth to my heart about these very answers I was asking and puzzled about. 

In the wrecking, there has been healing.

While piecing together the pieces which consist of all these passions I have found, deep in my heart & DNA, my abilities and my dreams, may not be clear....I have seen truth. 

There may not be one great thing I am made to do.
But there is one great God I am made to glorify in whatever I do.

That is the big picture. 

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27) 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
(Revelation 3:20)

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
(Jeremiah 31:3)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
(Psalm 84:11)

We are made in God's image, for the purpose of being in relationship with Him, to reflect His glory! 

My life does have great purpose (& so does yours!) but we are never told in scripture that we will know exactly what our God-given purpose is. But we are told that God knows the specific plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). In His grace, we may see what our purpose is but we are not promised that. 

But I am know that I am made to glorify Him.

Just like you are.

And the way you do that will look very different to the way I do it! For we are all gifted in so many different ways. 
This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Monday, 28 October 2013

//Sharing the Journey//

Friends! I can't believe that the month of October is coming to a close. As relieved as I will be to go back into some freedom in how frequently I write in this little space, part of me will be extremely sorry to see this series end. To see the daily diligence of having to wade through the mess. I hope its a habit I continue to do actually.

I don't know that I could explain in just a few words for each of the next four days, just how much the Lord has been teaching me and showing me in this area of life. This series has just had me see event after event in how the Lord gave me this topic, and then through books, sermons, friends and even my fiction books I have been reading....continued to draw this theme into the month of October. I guess it is my season for now. 

I do feel as though I am coming out of a funk though I will admit. That by seeking my Savior and looking for truth on this, I have felt more alive than I have in quite some time. 
I wanted to share a quote with you I read the other day by Beth Moore because I feel it really sums up the whole purpose of this series. 

'I'm a common woman, sharing common problems seeking common solutions on a journey with an uncommon Savior. If something hurts me, I conclude it probably hurts somebody else too. If something confuses me, I figure it probably confuses someone else. If something helps me, I hope against hope that it might help somebody else. After all, 'no trial has overtaken us that is not faced by others. And God is faithful (1 Cor 10:13).'

These last few days, I want to take some time to share with you some truth. Some things the Lord has revealed to me that I wrote throughout the month but wanted to wait until the end to share. 
I don't know if you have found yourself on a journey of figuring out your purpose this month along with me. Of questioning why you have so many passions in your life and why the Lord hasn't brought opportunities in your path to use them. 

I don't have all the answers, because these are still very much my own questions.
But I hope to share the little wisdom I have gleaned from others and from my sweet Savior during this process.

This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

//Story From a Sister: Nicole//

I wanted to allow for several other encouraging young women to share with you on Sundays, friends. Ladies who I feel will really encourage you in your walk, your pursuit of things you are passionate about and seeing how the Lord can use those who are willing. Seeing areas where those pieces are coming together...

I'm so incredibly excited to share with you this precious friend I met right here in this beautiful online community. She is a gem! Has such a gift with words, a way of convicting while encouraging at the same time & a gorgeous little baby. 
Anyway....I'll let her share some of her story with you.

I love love love to write.
Stories, memories, journals, letters, and blogging.  Blogging blogging blogging.

When I really started blogging just after we got back from our honeymoon in the Bahamas, I was all amped up to grow a blog like sweet corn on a hot summer day.  Big, fast and tasty.  I had seen plenty of people do it.  How hard can good pictures and a few witty lines be?!

It quickly realized that I had set myself up for massive disappointment.  My regular old blog growth felt less-than-turtle speed as I watched bloggers I admire sky rocket into fame along with a plethora of popular products to review for free.  What was I doing wrong?!  

Suddenly my identity had become how quickly I could reach a destination instead of celebrating the way God's story would look for me.  You can read about how I almost gave up here.

Then I got pregnant.  Life suddenly became one huge attempt at survival as I nannied two little kids during the peak of morning sickness, then went on to drive a school bus through the winter.  Quitting just five weeks before our little Emmett was born.  Blogging took a back seat to the back seat of my life.  Turns out those nine months was just the detoxing my soul needed.  

God began to show me the incredible need for authentic, real community.  The beauty that happens when you approach the overwhelming world of social media with a heart to connect,  to encourage, to bless.  I slowly began to write and be just me.  I began to actively pursue the dreams and passions God has planted in my heart.  I began to reach out to girls and truly build relationships.  I began to see the expansion of my online community as a way to bless and build up those in my circle of influence, rather than just a way to make my own name great.

Best of all, my heart is so overjoyed.  So grateful.  Because in God's economy, we rise up only as we allow ourselves to stoop down with the beautiful heart of a servant.  As we give with generosity that is wild and free, our own needs are met in big and wonderful ways.  And most of all, as we realize even if I become the biggest and best blogger, I'm still only that.  A blogger.  The real value of life is living in a way that brings so much glory and attention to Jesus.  Because He is only and always the Greatest, never me.

This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

//Capturing Moments with My DSLR//

Sometimes I feel so clique in my passions. Making it hard for me to share them with others.
A love for Africa feels so common now. Yet my young heart didn't understand that's what was happening when I was there after High School. Before it was a 'cool' thing to have a heart for. It wasn't something I had planned for, or even longed for.
It happened when God orchestrated my being there without me even realising it would.

And if I could have stayed. I would have.

But then I never would have developed other passions I have in my life, so its probably a good thing I didn't stay in the heart of Africa. Although Africa certainly stayed in my heart.
It's been 8 years since I was there, and still I get this deep longing when I think about that trip.

I'm learning to listen to those deep heart pangs. They tell me things. Things I perhaps hadn't realised I was passionate about. They make it hard to ignore.

Art always captured my attention in school, even though I was never very talented at it. It was the class I was excited about all day when I saw it on my schedule. The one I invested the most time into. So many of my high school art projects were centered around photographs, you know the kind you have to get developed because digital images were still a dream yet to come. They just drew me in. Something about working with an image that was captured, it displayed something I could never create with my two hands and a pen. It captured and said things that I could only hope to with paints or even words.

Another thing I am passionate about (who knew I had enough things to talk about for a month! And almost have...oops!) is photography. I look back on these pictures from my trips to various places & so badly wish I could go on a journey around the globe again with my DSLR. Capturing the beauty in a more detailed way, a more skilled way.

Sneek Peek of a Dream.

I don't talk about this passion much either, because again it feels so common. Making me feel so insignificant. But reading Emily Freeman's book A Million Little Ways nudged me. Reminding me that there is always someone who will make art in the same way as you, who will do it better than you, but that is not the point. More thoughts on what I have been learning next week though. 

I have big dreams with this passion. Really big ones, and I'm still waiting for them to bear fruit, in the meantime I have been learning a lot about software, cameras, light. 
I have to want to learn it, because I have to make it a priority in an otherwise busy schedule. 

The huge blessing is that despite all the equipment I own, it was all given to me in one way or another. The Lord has given me all the tools I have needed so far to keep pursuing this passion, I own 3 DSLRs (I was given all of them, one is my new baby!), a full version of lightroom (another amazing gift!), a tripod (Christmas gift), 2 books on learning your DSLR (won in giveaways from other blogs!). The only thing I need are more memory cards because I can fill the ones I have in the space of a few hours!! haha!

I share all that to praise God, who has given me more than I deserve when it comes to this interest. For no other reason.  

Pray about your passions! You never know what He will do....

And someday I hope to figure out how the Lord will use particularly my passion for Africa, Children and Photography for His glory. Because that would make me burst! Feel alive! Feel made for what I was doing! 


This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Friday, 25 October 2013

//A Heart for Red Dirt Beneath My Feet//

Well, I'm sorry for dropping the ball these past couple days with posting. Its so easy to get busy & then once I missed one day it was easy to get out of my regular late night routine of sitting and writing the next section of this journey. Writing the posts has been taking place whenever I get time during my day in a little notebook. I am treasuring that thing as every thought has been going in there, which I have been screening before writing on here. 

I can't tell you how the Lord has been speaking to me through this series, through everything actually. But more on that on Monday when I begin to share the truth I have been learning. So lets get to the last couple of passion pieces I have in my life shall we.

I don't know that I have a ton to share about this particular passion, because I have talked about it so many times before.
I have a heart for a place I've only been to once, and a country I have actually never set foot in. But I'm praying and praying and trusting that several of these passions do tie up in a dream of mine, so we shall see if that is the Lord's will for us or not. Because I really do what His will, His heart.  

This passion started a while ago now. (I shared this previously on Moriah's Blog here)
To put it in context, this was the summer that I had said goodbye to a guy never knowing if I would see Him again, following this post. 

I recall sitting on a bus travelling across India the summer after I graduated high school, some seven year ago now (how’s that for crazy!). We had just completed the short-term project we were on working and were heading back home to the Middle East. While on the trip I had developed some friendships with several girls who didn't live in the same city as I did, and we weren't sure when we would see each other again. One of them asked me if I was going on the second trip leaving for Africa a week later.

I replied with a no and they soon asked me why I wasn't going. I informed them I didn't have the money that was needed to go on yet another mission trip. I hadn't done any fund raising, and really I hadn't thought about another trip. I was just super excited to have gone on the first. They asked me what I planned on doing instead. And really, the answer was nothing. I had the whole summer ahead of me before college started the other side of the world. But I didn't have any set plans. So they challenged me about coming with them. 

I remember feeling frustrated that I hadn't thought about it before. That something like money would stop me from going to Africa for the first time because I hadn't planned. And I felt that nudge. I felt the Lord challenge me about whether I thought He could provide. 

I secretly felt it was hopeless, there was only six days between landing and leaving for Africa. 

But I chose to trust. Thinking I had nothing to lose. 

After returning home, through God’s provision of visas, parental support and financial support being provided within 24 hrs of returning home from India, I found myself on another plane a few short days later. 

Once arriving in the bush of a small village in northern Tanzania, I fell in love. It really is so true that Africa just gets under your skin. Once its in your blood, its not going anywhere! A place full of people who passionately love God and others who desperately need to hear about Him. 

A place where I hope someday to return, to adopt and maybe even use my passion for photography. 

I’m not yet sure how all of these passions are linked to one another. I only know that the Lord continues to work them further into the depths of my soul. His provision on my high school trip really proved to me that sometimes when God has something for you, the doors will open like you've never seen. 

For now, I am working on furthering my photography skills, working on involvement with The Mocha Club and networking with so many incredible women with a heart for Africa and adoption. As for what happens next, only God knows....

I really think that in order to find your passion, you need to walk with eyes open. Find what inspires you, encourages you to seek the Lord and listen to those small nudges. And be ready to let go of things when He asks us to. 

He will show you where He wants you. 

At least that’s my prayer.

I've previously shared about my heart for Africa:
Mocha Club I Need Africa
Mocha Club A Purpose Project
Girl Behind the Blog A Non-Blogging Passion
When God Provided: Africa Part 1
Where My Heart Is: Africa Part 2
Elise Cooper From Forever Changed: Guest Post
Wynne Elder A Heart for Adoption: Guest Post

This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Thursday, 24 October 2013

//The Dream//

Such a picture of heaven to me.
Of redemption & adoption.
Of how heaven will one day look.
Where physical appearance is irrelevant.
We are family.

This is my dream.
My someday.
What I am praying for. 

This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hope Spoken.

It's funny how the Lord works isn't it? When He closed the door & gave me a firm no about attending the Influence Conference, I wasn't sure if the door was going to be closed for Hope Spoken.
Well the doors just keep opening for this Midwest girl to head to Dallas in March to attend Hope Spoken
(Even though Influence was in the Midwest & the far more convenient choice) 

So today I am linking up with all the precious ladies who will be heading down south for this encouraging conference. 

Introduce yourself:  
Hey friends! My name is Lisa Elle (although in this space I usually go by L). I am the voice behind the thoughts here at All Glorious Within. Sharing my walk with the Lord and hoping to encourage others in the process. You can find a lot of life, faith & dreams and passions here as I unpack pursuing them and trying to live life as a one-in-a-million for the Lord. 

Something that you are little timid or nervous about for the weekend:
I found out last year that I am a total introvert when it comes to big gatherings of women. So I am nervous about feeling overwhelmed while there. Praying that this doesn't hinder by ability to meet precious friends and really learn about a lot of things I am passionate about while there. 

Something that you are hoping to take away from Hope Spoken:
Encouragement and an overwhelming sense of love by God. To really hear from Him over the weekend about why He wants me there. To meet with some precious friends I have already connected with & to meet several new precious kindred spirits I may never have come across before. 

Share something fun/random about yourself:
I am British by birth, Midwestern by culture and grew up in continental Europe & the Middle East. But I have a total american accent so you probably wouldn't guess this by meeting me! 

Much Love! 


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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

//When God's Heart is becoming My Heart//

My love for kids just continues to grow on a daily basis. I also love that I am learning so much about myself while I learn how to steer their hearts towards Him. Even through the difficult questions I don't always know how to answer, the tantrums and silly moments. I just can't help but love them for all they teach me. 

It is our Father's heart.
I remember singing a song when I was little about how Jesus loves the little children, do you know the one? All the children of the world....they are precious in His sight.  

'Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.' 
{Matthew 19:13-15 NIV}

And I so want more of the Father's heart, friends! By praying for more of His heart, I have been falling head over heels in love with so many different kids. Yes, even ones that at first glance may seem difficult to love (but aren't they just an amazing reminder of how difficult we can be to love?). 

I love how He has been working this passion into our hearts as well as giving us a heart for adoption. Both individually, then together & who knows what He will do with this. 
I love that it is our Father's heart and it is becoming ours. 

'For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.'
{Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV}

'Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
 God sets the lonely in families,
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.'
{Psalm 68:4-6 NIV}

While we personally have yet to experience the trials & many blessings of the journey of adoption, I am inspired by the stories of several amazing ladies who have. Rejoicing with them & crying with them and seeing how beautiful these stories are.

I'm sure there are many many others out there! 
I hope to join these women & their families someday on this beautiful journey.
This picture of redemption.
The gospel lived out.

'Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world. And every single day it is worth it, because adoption is God's heart.' 
{Katie Davis, Kisses From Katie, p.72}

What a picture of us belonging to God's family. 
It is how He himself calls us Sons and Daughters, how we are children of a king. 
What grace! And what a price He paid for us! 
We were worth that much to Him! 
I'm just overwhelmed by grace at that thought and how adoption just displays that message to me again and again, right in front of me so I can see it! 
I love how Katie in her book Kisses From Katie mentions that God commands us to care for orphans and widows (See James 1:27)And that will not look the same for everyone, we all have our own stories to live for Him and our own ways to bring glory to the Father, but there are ways we can all obey this command. (For instance, Child Sponsorship is an incredible way to be a part of this! We have been a part of World Vision for a while. There is also the Mocha Club to get involved with for orphan projects.

'But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.'
{Luke 12:48 NIV}

 'If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.'
{Matthew 10:39 NIV}

I can't wait to share more about this particular journey in future as we pray, seek God and His plan for us and ask Him for timing in how to act on our convictions.  This is a topic SO close to my heart friends! Something I am so utterly excited and passionate about.
Until then I get so much encouragement from following along with the sweet adventures of these sweet families who have opened their homes & hearts to precious little ones. 
They inspire me so much to keep praying and seeking Him with these dreams! 

This post is part of my 31 day series for the month of October, 
fighting through the fears and sharing the confusing passions I have. 
Hoping to figure out the bigger picture of all these interests.

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