I know why the caged bird sings (guest post)

Today, I have the honor of sharing a guest blog post from my mom!! Ever since I was a little girl, she’s immersed herself in studying the Scriptures and journaling her insights and all she learns. Recently she wrote one such study up into a blog post on her blog site (which you can visit here), and I loved it so much that I asked if I could share it here as well. So without further ado, here it is:

I know why the caged bird sings

by Pati Robison

“Let those who love the Lord hate evil,

for He guards the lives of His faithful ones

and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Light is shed upon the righteous

and joy on the upright in heart.”

(Psalm 97:10-11, NIV)

This is my year of psalms.

Reading, learning, memorizing. Sometimes I even create a picture in my mind to help me remember certain verses.

 When I got to Psalm 97:10, I imagined a cage: beautiful, like a birdcage, only larger. The faithful ones were inside the cage. (I thought of myself being inside the cage, even though I surely am not consistently faithful.)

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Your comforts delight my soul

I stumbled upon this most beautiful verse during my morning devotions. It spoke so much to my heart that I want to share it with you as well:

In the multitude of my anxieties,

Your comforts delight my soul.

Psalm 94:19

I just sat there, on the “bloop” (the word we coined for a ginormous memory foam beanbag that sits under our loft’s skylight), and marinated in those words.

As someone who struggles with anxiety (see more on that here), my soul needs to delight in His comforts.

So I started wondering: What are the comforts God gives?

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Devo: Water’s Cleaning Power

After a Thanksgiving that was busting at the seams with family, laughter, and even some tears during heart-to-hearts, I had quite the sink full of dishes to do! Most of the dishes had been rinsed, which made cleaning them easy, but there were a few with maple syrup and other foods caked and dried onto them. It made me think…

Imagine washing dishes without water.

You could rub and rub for hours at the grit all over the plates and silverware, but getting it totally clean? That would seem impossible.

Ephesians 5:26 says that God cleanses us “by the washing with water through the word.” 

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Heal My “Want To”

“Pray for God to heal your ‘want to.'” – Beth Moore, Breaking Free

Some girlfriends and I are going through Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” study. And let me tell you, I have a whole laundry list of things I want to break free from! — insecurity, fear, worry… And the list keeps growing. Last week, it seemed like God brought a new thing to mind everyday.

One of the things He brought to mind was a killer realization — SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I thought I’d dealt with this issue already, and here He was peeling back another layer, opening my eyes to see the ways in which I still struggled with this achilles’ heel of mine.

To be honest, I didn’t want to hear it, much less change. I felt comfortable, healthy, and at peace with where I was in this area — apparently, I felt comfortable in these mental and spiritual chains — so much so that I didn’t realize I was still wearing chains!

Until last week, that is.

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The Time In-Between

As a totally single woman for most of my 20s, I spent years feeling frustrated and stuck in the “time in-between,” struggling at times to enjoy life while waiting for the dream of marriage. A dream that was God-given and God-breathed. But it seems the God-given dreams are he ones that take time to fulfill. Maybe that’s because He’s writing an epic story, and an epic story requires “time in-between.”

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Come Find Me

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There’s something buried deep inside every woman’s soul:

A longing for someone to come find her. For someone who wants to know her so much, that he will come looking, even if she runs away.

Over the years, I’ve buried that desire for someone to come find me — and kept burying it deeper and deeper until I almost forgot it existed. I’ve crossed my arms and feigned indifference when guys half-heartedly pursued me, but that little-girl heart inside has been calling all the time, “Come find me. Someone. Look deep down inside to search out who I really am — not the super outgoing, put-together girl I want you to see, but me. Come find ME.

Sometimes it seemed like guys lost interest when I got quiet, when my super-outgoing side faded and the introvert came out (because, shocking as it may seem, being around people drains me, but being alone revives me). I wrote a song one year in college to express what I longed for a man to tell me:

I will pursue you, even in the silence

I want to know you when no one is around

Did you know I love you? Everything about you

You have my full attention, you’ve captivated me

Friday night I remembered all of this.

Dolled up for Friday night's wedding :)

Dolled up for Friday night’s wedding 🙂

My boyfriend (James) and I went to a beautiful, lakeside wedding. As we danced the night away, I had to take a breather. James had his moves like Jagger going on the dance floor (no, seriously, he’s SUCH a good dancer!) as I walked off to the building with restrooms, a little ways from the reception.

In the quiet darkness, arms tight around my chest, I was feeling a lot of things, including this unbidden desire to have someone who would notice if I walked away, someone who would come looking for me, just because he wanted to.

As I walked back out of the restroom a few minutes later, there in the darkness stood James.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

His simple response: “I came to find you.

It did something inside me — to that little-girl part of my heart, the part that’s still honest about what it longs for. When I walked out of that bathroom, the little girl inside me thought, “You came for me. You came to find me!”

I’ve thought back on that moment over and over, and can’t help thinking about the way Someone else also came to find me too.

When I was buried under piles of my own failures, shame, and sin…

When I had given up hoping that someone would come looking for me…

When I decided I wasn’t worth the rescue…

He came.

He didn’t just find me at a wedding; He braved heaven and hell, life and death, giving everything He possessed to find me. He didn’t just travel to the ends of the earth; He traveled to the ends of eternity.

His Father sent Him to come after you and me, so that His Father could also be our Father. He who would pay any price in all eternity, even the life of His own Son, to buy our freedom, to uncover what was broken inside, and to bring us back to where He is.

Deep in my heart, all these years, I hadn’t just been asking, “Someone, come find me.”

Really, deep down, I’d been saying, “Daddy, come find me.” 

And He did. When His Son died on the cross 2,000 years ago, and many years and days and moments in-between, He’s come to find me, because He says I’m always worth the rescue.

That song I wrote long ago, I discovered has a double meaning. Because it’s not just a man who would sing that to me; it’s my heavenly Father who will sing:

I will pursue you, even in the silence

I want to know you when no one is around

Did you know I love you? Everything about you

You have My full attention; you’ve captivated Me

The Good Thing About Insecurity

Okay this might seem like a weird blog post. I mean, insecurity is a bad thing…right? No one enjoys feeling insecure, so we strive to overcome it! But the other day I had this thought:

What if insecurity can actually be used for good?

I’m not talking about lingering in our insecurity (which I’ve been guilty of at times); I’m talking about working through it. What if insecurity can be a tool God uses to bring us closer to Himself?

You see, for the past few years I’ve felt pretty secure in Christ, which was a miracle in and of itself! After years of hating myself, drowning in disordered eating, and trembling at the thought of vulnerability in relationships, I thought I’d finally dealt with my insecurities and put them behind me. Wipe your hands on your jeans and move on, that kind of thing.

But apparently insecurity isn’t a one-time deal.

Apparently it comes in onion-like layers, as God heals you deeper and deeper. It seems new situations can trigger the next layer to begin peeling off, and for me that new situation comes in the form of relationships.

For some reason it’s easier for me to feel secure when I’m single. Then I don’t have to worry about all the fears that used to haunt me — fears about keeping a guy’s attention. Now that I’m dating (this truly WONDERFUL guy), I’ve found all these questions and insecurities coming back to me for no apparent reason, things like: “Will someone ever stick around longterm?” “What if he gets bored and I can’t keep his attention?” “What if that girl is prettier than me?” “What will happen when he discovers that I’m not good enough?”

And that’s at the core of it, always: What if I’m not good enough?

Which, if I’m being honest, that’s true. I’m not good enough. But maybe this life isn’t about being good enough; maybe it’s about staying close enough to the Lord.

And that’s what hit me the other day. I was praying about all these questions, asking God what to do with them, when the thought hit me:

My insecurity is bringing me closer to the Lord.

When I’m uncomfortable inside, it pushes me into Him. When I don’t know the answers, I seek Him harder. When I know I’m not good enough, it draws me closer to the only One who is good enough. Who is far more than enough.

And maybe that’s the good thing about insecurity:

It keeps us on our knees, leaning on the only One who can heal our hearts.

For further thoughts on this from my mentor, check out his guest blog post here: “Comparison: How to manage what we can’t escape.”

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Why Me?

Sometimes I get so focused on the things I don’t have, that I forget how many things I do have.

The other night my best friend and I stopped to pick up a Starbucks latte before hopping into my chic car and driving to pick up groceries for a dinner party. As we stepped back into my car, the thought hit me:

Out of the billions of people around the world, how am I in the small percentage of those who will EVER have this experience?

This experience of driving to a grocery store with a Starbucks latte in a cute car to buy enough food for a dinner party with her extended family? Not only that, but going with a best friend and without fear of our safety? Why me?

Sometimes I pass people walking along the street and do a double take, wondering, why do they not have a home but I do? Or why have they experienced so much sickness but I have so much health? Or why have they lost their family and job and all they know, but I have more than enough?

And yet in the same breath I can wonder why I don’t have more clothes. Or cuter shoes. Or a certain kind of relationship. Or a home somewhere south where it never snows (please God!). When really the question should be:

Why me?

Why have You given me so much?

What do You want me to do with these many blessings You’ve entrusted to me?

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In Memory of Maya

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Looking back on my struggles with body image and disordered eating, this quote stands out as one that put all of life into perspective. This quote spoke to all the ways I was striving to be enough, and helped me step back and realize what was truly important. This quote was by an incredible woman named Maya Angelou:

“People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did.

But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

As I shared in my story, The Insatiable Quest for Beauty, I slowly began to think of that beautiful quote in this way: People will forget what you looked like, people will forget what you wore, but people will never forget how you made them feel. So if you want to be unforgettable, love passionately, care unconditionally, and serve selflessly.

That idea impacted my life deeply. Instead of a focus on looking perfect or sounding intelligent, I need to LOVE. How easily I forget.

Here are a couple other favorites of Maya Angelou’s:

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”

How many times do we choose ambition over people? I know, as a goal-oriented, workaholic person, that I easily do. That’s only ambitious. It’s reaching hearts that is wise.

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”

Sometimes I forget to let my heart sing, not because I have everything figured out, but just to let the song out of me.

Thank you, Maya, for so poignantly speaking to the human heart and inspiring people around the world with your life!