All My Days

You’re going to be shocked when I tell you this:

I’ve had my funeral planned since I was 13.

I don’t think I’m usually so opinionated about parties that I *ahem* won’t be attending, but my gracious, I was very opinionated about my funeral. I wrote it up on a sheet of double-lined paper, with large letters saying: “NO carnations or daisies, I hate them.”.

Before you think I was a morbid child, you have to realize that at the innocent age of 13, I  lost my Sunday School teacher the day after 9/11, and my beloved grandparents the next year (within 10 months of each other). The hymns that carried me through those days would solidify the hymns I wanted people to remember singing at my funeral. The hymns that sang of being carried, of resting beside still waters, of all Jesus was to us, and dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.

For all my days.

“Make it to 30”, used to be my mantra. Still is, since I’m bordering on 29. A lot of days I wasn’t sure I’d make it to 30, like the time a garbage truck crushed my car and sliced metal ribbons through the hood and stopped within inches of my windshield. Or the time I hit a deer in the dark night on a county road, miles from a fire station. Or one of the many times I could have sworn my heart would never beat right again, for it was so broken in sorrow. But the Sustainer of life would breathe into me, and my heart would go on beating.

So it seems logical that when I traveled to China in March of 2016, I updated my living will, and re-wrote my funeral plans. I cried for a week, writing goodbye letters. I would be up late at 2am, bawling my eyes out and writing words you give in eulogies, the best of the best that you save for special occasions. My friends all thought I was crazy. It wasn’t that I expected anything to happen (I mean, it’s halfway around the world. Anything could happen, haha), or thought we’d fall out of the sky, but I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving without saying what my heart has known for so long.

My days don’t end here.

We were made for more. I didn’t want my parents thinking this dream trip had ended a beautiful life. I wanted them to know that I had merely slipped from one realm of Earth to our better and true Home in Heaven, and I was doing what I’d waited and dreamed of and prayed over since I was 12: visiting orphans. It was so important to me that they knew I wouldn’t be disappointed at all if in the midst of one calling, He called to me in another way. I wrote amid streaming tears that I would be more alive than I’d ever known. The “more” wouldn’t end, it would forever go on and on….with Jesus.

Because life is more than this world.

Life.…isn’t air. It isn’t health. It isn’t family. It isn’t planet Earth. It isn’t blessings. It isn’t dreams come true. It isn’t how many people you meet or how many countries you visit.

Life, the very core of Life, the very BEING of Life, the Giver of Life, the Creator of Life…

LIFE is Jesus

And it’s nothing without Him.

Albeit a little paraphrased, it’s what I wrote in my funeral plans and in my will. It’s what I want sung at my funeral. It’s what I want people to remember in my lifetime span in this world: Jesus was my everything.

Worth more than all my dreams or business plans of success or glory. Worth more than traveling to England and China one more time, worth more than seeing Scotland in person, worth more than walking down the aisle, worth more than having children, worth more than adopting, worth more than anything I could dream up.

So fill your days with Jesus.

If your days may not be long, let them be spent for Christ.

Don’t live restlessly in a world you fill up with things that cannot go Home with you. Trust your future to a known God. Spend every day making the relationship with your Savior deeper and closer. Don’t rest on your pillow at night sorrowful of all the dreams you haven’t yet accomplished, but instead rejoice in all He has prepared for you. 

Live for the glory of Christ and His kingdom. Live in the expectant joy of the span of endless days in the light of His brilliant splendor, finally dressed in holiness and radiant with wonder at the sight of Him. Live for Jesus. Let all else go. 

And sing at my funeral one day if you get the chance ….

“The sure provisions of my God, attend me all my days.
Oh may Thy house be my abode, and all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come,
No more a stranger, or a guest, but like a child at Home.” 
{Isaac Watts}

Daughters of Great Worth

I vault between wanting to write/talk/preach about this topic and feeling unqualified.
However, I feel like that’s exactly why I need to write this. For me. For you. For why I tell myself I’m unqualified.

This morning I got a message from one of my best friends.
Her message went something like this:
“It’s super easy for me to believe the lie that I can lose God’s love….and to feel worthless.”

I dropped everything I was doing to text her back immediately:

“Babe. You are of great worth.
The King of the whole world looks at you with pride and calls you Beloved. Daughter.
Equal to Jesus. Higher than angels. With an inheritance that cannot be shifted by sins or weak faith. {an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you.”
{1 Peter 1:4}

His love for you will never run dry. His mercy upon you will never be revoked. His plans for you can never be ruined. His glory through you will only shine brighter until you SEE Him face to face.”

… and then I started crying.
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Believing the Worthless Lie

These past 3 months I’ve felt the most worthless in my entire life.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve texted the word “worthless” to my friends in tears.
There have been days I’ve stared in the mirror and told my reflection:
“You are NOT worthless. You have great worth in the Father’s eyes.”

And the truth is, I’ve had to stare down my own gaze that tries to contradict me in that moment.

Ohhh, Satan is so so good at it.

He tells us that Jesus won’t love us anymore. He won’t want us.
If one person walked away, what’s keeping Jesus from doing the same?
He knows more than anyone else. He knows our sins more than anyone else.

Surely I’m the exception of all that the Bible says about mercy and grace.

I can clearly see I’m not enough. Not good enough. Not perfect enough. Not true enough.
Not faithful enough. Not obedient enough. Not beautiful enough. Not enough for that kind of love.

Listen up.

There is a place where your gaze should rest and it is not upon yourself. 

It is the cross. 

You cannot stare down the cross and see worthlessness.
You will only see LOVE COME DOWN. Love slain for you.

When your Jesus took your sins away from you.

Satan would love to take your eyes off the cross
and put them on you and how you’ll never be enough.

PRAISE GOD YOU AREN’T, CHILD.

There is only One who is worthy to hold the title of Savior, and it isn’t you.

It’s Jesus.

He won it in a way you could NEVER attain. Your sins are paid for.
Your crown made by gold you could never acquire.
Your inheritance bought with a sacrifice you could never make.

Only Holy can pardon Holy.
Only Holy can redeem a people. Only Holy can bring the dead to life.

Baby crying in a manger. Angels singing. Throngs rejoicing. Multitudes in awe.
Blood running down wood, nails piercing hands and feet, and thorns pushed upon a brow.

Only Jesus could say: “It is finished.”

“You can trust a God who is not only sovereign but BLEEDS for you.” – Don Carson

No one can take from you what Jesus has given to you: a place with Him at the table.
Not serving with eyes downcast. Not beggars at the door. Not the dogs eating crumbs underneath.

Beside Him. His Beloved Bride. His chosen one. His Daughter. His Pearl of great price.
Beside Jesus at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. His gaze resting lovingly upon you.

You cannot be worthless under the radiance of such a love.

You cannot be left out with His name emblazoned upon your forehead.
You cannot be forgotten outside the gates. You cannot be cast out of His family.
You cannot be erased from where He has etched you on His heart, written you in the Lamb’s book of life.

You cannot be unworthy anymore, because Jesus calls you HIS.
Once cowering in shame underneath our sin cloak….now we run triumphantly to Jesus: His righteousness our own white robe, His death our death, His life our life.

His Worth is Our Worth

Do not seek any other worth, for this alone is PRICELESS
and will NEVER DIM through Eternity.

“Grace is God’s REFUSAL to allow us to define ourselves or to have the last word.”
– Michael Horton

He loves us, oh, He loves us so.

“Dost thou think, O Christian, that thou canst measure the love of Christ?
The riches of His goodness are unsearchable.”
– C.H. Spurgeon
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The Crown You Wear Cannot Fall

Hold your head high, today and every day, the crown you wear isn’t your own.
It does not bow to Satan’s lies. It doesn’t slip off when you sin again and again.
It doesn’t tarnish with sin.

You are wearing a crown bought by the Holy King, and He placed it there upon your head, Beloved Daughter of the High King, Bride of great worth, so you may shine radiantly for His glory.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. – Ephesians 1:3-12

Preach it to your heart. He loves you so.
Wear the crown of His love with dignity and honor and joy.