Chase Grace

I made a promise with myself a few months ago to be totally open and honest here when I felt the urge to write, even when it got messy and uncomfortable. Because if I've learned anything from blogging, it's that the best posts come from those places--when you know you need to get it out but are afraid of where the words might lead. Authenticity somehow leads to peace of mind when it comes to writing.

I've been trying to keep that open mindset as I've journaled and written lately, and more than anything, I've been praying that the words that I say are what the Lord wants me to share on this blog. Because the heart of the matter is what lights my fire and gets me going.

So here I am. Writing honestly because I need a heart check. In a serious way.

I've seen a change in myself over the past couple of weeks. I've been short, snappy, unkind, and impatient. I've let my situations project my words and my actions, and I'm sure I've hurt feelings and left people with a bitter taste of me. I've acted impulsively and have left God out of the equation on most days, in most circumstances. In the moment, I didn't realize it, but looking back, it's obvious.

My heart has been convicted over the past two days and I've just prayed for the Lord to forgive me and pull me back in, to remind me that my salvation isn't dependent on what I do for Him, but rather what He's done for me. Grace upon grace, and only that. Some days, I feel so far away from Him. I've been fervently begging the Lord to answer some prayers in my life in a big way, and so far, I'm stuck in a season of waiting. God never disappoints and is always faithful, though--He's answered them in other ways, but man, it hurts when it's not the "yes" I wanted. How well I know that His plan is so much higher than my own, but in the moment, it makes me bitter. And bitterness hinders holiness. And bitterness yields rebellion, whether I mean for it to happen or not.

I've acted out of rebellion, and truly, out of the sin of being "too busy" to just speak His name in my day. Looking back over my behavior over the past few weeks was a glimpse into my past, a look back at the Rachel I used to be. The one before my heart was changed by Jesus. And that's not something I ever want to see again.

But God.

He steps in and whispers grace over my sad, weary heart. He reminds me that He is the constant in every situation and I need to rely on that truth. I am worthy and I am loved. He is mighty in me. I have nothing of worth to offer this world unless it's through the filter of His gospel, and I've been so far from that mark lately. I will fall short, day after day, week after week, year after year. That's for sure. But God redeems those broken parts of me and makes me into something beautiful, slowly but surely. 

I need to realize that I will never be holy until I am at the feet of Jesus in heaven. I need to strive for that daily, but also give myself grace when I feel so far away from a "good Christian." When the words from my mouth are anything but holy and pleasing to Him. Grace upon grace, when we fall short. 

Today, I am thankful for His grace over my life. And I'm equally grateful for His forgiveness, over and over. He just lavishes all these good things on us because He loves us so and it rocks my soul to think of that--that I can be the worst of sinners, yet He will still bend down and wrap me up in His arms and tell me that I'm forgiven. 

I'm holding myself to a standard of grace right here and now. I'm reminding myself to just come humbly to His throne every day in prayer, because I need Him so desperately. I'm not going to have it all together every day and that's okay. When life seems to be going all wrong, I need to give myself a heart check and see where I'm placing my trust--is it in the One who holds my heart? If not, I need to start over and start chasing grace. Join me? If you're feeling out of control or less than worthy or just simply discouraged, chase GRACE. Let that be the striving of our hearts! He's covering you in it if you'll just let Him. 

My Vision for Rachel Rewritten: A Mood Board // #Blogtember Challenge

I've been thinking and daydreaming a lot lately about the vision I have for this blog. It's been on my heart more this season of my life than it ever has--I can tell that the Lord is stirring something inside of me to really dedicate sharing my life here through writing. 

My sweet blog BFF (and IRL friend!) Bailey has a blogging challenge going on this month and of course, one of her prompts is a mood board or collage describing your blog. I'm thankful for her push for me to really sit down and put pen to paper on my mission. It's a work in progress, but I wanted to share where I'm headed so far.

I sat down with a big cup of coffee and prayed over this space; prayed over where the Lord wanted it to go and what He wanted me to talk about on here. Some days, I wish I had an awesome creative mind who owned a small business or Etsy shop...or an entrepreneur with big dreams and lots of courage. Other days, the Lord makes me thankful for who I am and where I am in life; and of course, He reminds me that He made me for this very moment, right here, where I am...and this space is where my story is told. 

I heard someone say once, "Stay close to anything that makes you feel alive," and this blog is that for me.

Rachel Rewritten: a joy-filled space created to inspire, encourage, and celebrate

If I could put Rachel Rewritten into words, I'd want it to be a warm, welcoming space. Like sitting down with a friend, where laughter is strong and the coffee is stronger. A place where community is cultivated and friendship blooms. I hope it seems bright and cheerful, with a little bit of spunk and Southern charm.

I hope for it to be a place to inspire others, whether it be through words I say or the ideas that I share with DIY projects or fun, new recipes. I envision it being a place to share marriage joys, hard lessons learned, and words that stir my soul.

I want it to be a place people can escape the real world for a few minutes and read something on my heart, something that I hope will encourage others. I long for it to be a place where Jesus is first always, and His name is glorified above all else...where we can let go of the feelings of inadequacy and busy-ness and soak in all of His goodness and grace.

I want to help people truly learn how to celebrate life and find joy in the every day happenings. Champagne is sometimes necessary to achieve those goals! I'm slowly learning how to live freely and abundantly in every season of life, no matter what it may be, and I hope you'll join me on that journey.

If you could create a mood board for your blog, what would it look like? 

Brave Love Blog

It's Okay to Not Be Okay

"It's okay to not be okay." My best friend said those words to me a couple of months ago and I think I've repeated them to three other friends since that day, because they needed to hear those words of freedom as much as I did. Sometimes permission to not be okay is just what we need to start healing.

The more I push past the small talk and scripted conversation with those around me, even those in my inner circle, the more I realize that our lives aren't as polished as we try to make them out to be. I like to call it the 'Instagram Effect," where we tend to show our best days instead of our worst. And there's nothing wrong with that, but in a world with so much hurt and hardship, I can't begin to fathom what life would be like if we spoke those fears and struggles and secrets we hold so deep in our soul. Would we all feel a little more normal? A little more freedom?

What would happen if we quieted those worries by pouring the power of confession over them? I know in my heart, and in my life, those silent battles are things that draw more energy from me because of the secret-keeping that goes on around them. As if me talking them out loud makes them real and true--when in reality, speaking those fears and admitting that we aren't okay makes us human. We don't have to have it all together all the time, because in our weakness, He is strengthened. 

Sometimes those moments of confession are the most beautiful moments--the moments where the light begins to shine out of the brokenness in our souls and gives someone else a window into what you're going through. Those brief times are the times when I feel most plugged in to the friend next to me, as I hold her hand and listen to her heart poured out. 

I can't help but think of the sense of community that is created as those walls come down and we're connected on a level deeper than we've known before; to admit to others exactly where we are and just what we need, whether it be prayers, encouragement, or just a cup of coffee. Those sacred bonds formed in the quiet moments of confession are life-giving. 

No one has to go first or alone, if we're honest and open. Because when we are brave enough to admit that we're not okay, you'll be surprised at how those around you react. They're broken too, in one way or another. Marriage struggles, money issues, infertility, anxiety, alcohol abuse, singleness, and so on. When we open ourselves up and speak those secrets we're too afraid to share, our worlds become a little smaller and our hearts become a little closer because we find out we're not alone in our journey. 

If I could speak truth over you today, I'd tell you that your hurt and your fears don't go unnoticed. You are seen and you are loved by the God in heaven who loves you like freaking crazy. This too will pass. And more than anything, you're not alone in your struggles, whatever they may be. Give a little of your burden to your sister next to you--that's why God created friends. 

We are all trying, day in and day out. Let's love on each other a little harder and let the ones we love the most know that it's okay to not be okay. Here's to letting ourselves admit those scary words: "You know, I'm really not okay today." Because then and only then will we have someone grab our hand, pull us in close,  take the load off our shoulders, and reply, "Maybe not now, but you will be." 

Tell Your Story and Tell It Well.

      "There are two myths we tend to believe about our stories: the first is that they're about us, and the second is that because they're about us, they don't matter. But they're not only about us, and they matter more than ever right now. When we, any of us who have been transformed by Christ, tell our own stories, we're telling the story of who God is." -Shauna Niequist 
If you had asked me a month ago if I was ever coming back to this blog, I probably would've shrugged the question off and made some joke about it. My head was quick to say no, but my heart was saying otherwise.  It felt easier just to let it go and keep blogging a thing of the past. But something was holding me here, something kept bringing me back, over and over.

This little space has been weighing on my mind lately; it is such a delicate balance of longing and dread, the back and forth of emotions between the passion I feel for this craft and the heaviness of finding my voice in the blog world. Comparison rears its ugly head and turns this love of blogging into an idol. But then, when we're lucky, God unexpectedly orchestrates things in our lives long before we realize and turns it into something beautiful. This blog is and always has been one of those things for me. 

I've written this post in my head 7 times already and twice on the computer. I've done the "apologize for being absent for 4 months" post and I've done the "act like nothing happened" post and just keep going. And you know, neither of them really fit where I am in life right now.

Life happened. I disappeared from here and I'm not sorry about it, but oh, have I missed this blog. My outlet, my therapy, my connection to women I admire. But then again, I've loved the freedom I found outside of the need to "keep up" in the blog world. I've wanted to jump back in head first and I've wanted to run away and never look back, sometimes on the same day, and sometimes in the same post.

Writing and blogging are two things I fiercely love and am equally terrified of, but at the end of the day, it's a part of me. Writing was imbedded into my soul when God created me and it's nothing I can shake off, as hard as I try at times. I will always be the girl who uses more words than anyone should and loves nothing more than a good story and through the years, I've learned to embrace it and turn it into something bigger. More than just words, but a real story. My story. His story through me.

Storytelling. There's something about it that wraps me up and makes me feel at home. It connects and inspires. This fact is nothing new--I'm not writing anything you've probably not experienced before on your own. You're part of this blog world and you know the kind of writing I'm talking about. The way words can paint a picture, define a moment, create a's compelling and tends to draw us all in. It shows us something about ourself, draws on our emotions, and puts our feelings into the words we wish we could say ourselves. From life's sweetest moments to the ones filled with sorrow, words make up our story and tell the world what we've been through. It's our heart's cry through letters and phrases and punctuation.

This blog world is unique--we carry around little bits of each others' stories as we read and they become woven into our own. It creates this beautiful atmosphere of community that shows off His glory as we write and as we live life and share our worlds with each other--it's a way of life, really, and it's something that I can't fathom missing out on. God is constantly reminding me that blogging is part of my story and that's the way He created me--to be a part of something bigger.

Storytelling doesn't exist only here in the blog world; for those of you reading who are thinking, "but this doesn't really apply to me," you're wrong, so very wrong. Our every action, every emotion, every word tells our story. Through our jobs, our friends, our children, our marriages, our reactions, and so on, our story is being written. Whether you're "writing" it through creating artwork at 2 in the morning, pursuing your dream of entrepreneurship day in and day out, raising your children and being knee deep in diapers, working a big corporate office job, or being a loving wife and keeping a happy home, you are telling your story every moment of every day. There is something about this truth that is so impactful to me.

If I've learned anything over the past 4 months, it's that the Lord is rewriting my story into His and I find that utterly beautiful. When I read the Bible, I see over and over again to Jesus teach His followers through stories--Jesus was the best of storytellers. And He did that because He knew the deep desire of those around Him to be connected to something bigger than themselves. Isn't that awesome? And isn't it so encouraging knowing that He holds the pen in our story? I want nothing more than for Him to keep rewriting my life by telling His story through me.

I long to make this a space where the Lord is present. He has been nudging me back to this spot for months now, and I'm finally surrendering and waking up my creative, albeit dry, bones for His glory. I'm not sure where this will take me, but I do know that I want to spend my time here celebrating His story through me and through the good in my life. Through the precious but refining blessing of marriage. Through the lessons I learn as my family sits around the fireplace. Through the prayers I pray with friends across the couch. Through waiting for God to bless us with a child. Through the little moments and the big ones, my story matters. And by sharing life as it happens, we're watching God move through us and change us, little by little.

At the end of the day, words matter, my friend. MY words matter. Even when doubt tells me otherwise. My story matters. And so does yours. Yes, I'm talking to you reading right now. I pray this will be a place of encouragement and laughter and joy and growth; I'm eager to blog with intention and post only when I feel the need to. I'm breaking through the chains I created for this space long ago and rewriting it all. 

I'm not the same person I was when I started this blog. And I'm not even the same person I was when I stopped writing back in March. But as I'm growing and changing and becoming someone better through the good and the bad and the painful and the joyful, I'm going to write. I'm dying to find my voice again, because only then will I truly feel that contentment the Lord desires for us. 

Your story, my story, our stories...they're just waiting for us to give them life through the retelling. So that's where I am right now, and that's where I'm leaving an invitation for you, too. To come along with me as I wade through life and all that it entails. To tell my story the best way I know how, moment by moment. And I want the same for you. Let's tell our stories and tell them well. 

A Tourist's Guide to New York City

It's known as the Big Apple, the "city that never sleeps," and the "city so nice they named it twice."  No matter the time of day, there is always something going on. Manhattan has more life packed in those few square miles than you could imagine. There's a Starbucks on every corner and more restaurants than you could tackle in a lifetime. More shows, events, parties, and bars than can be counted. The people are eclectic and the atmosphere is electric. 

New York City. 

It's quite possibly my favorite city in the world. I tell my husband on a regular basis that I would move there in a heartbeat and he just rolls his eyes at me. After just having traveled there a few weeks ago, I'm feeling sentimental towards that wonderful city. Looking through my photos makes me want to jump on a plane and head back right this second.

I'm not the best of tour guides and I'm definitely no travel agent, but I've successfully navigated myself and friends through the big city numerous times and have had a ball, so  today, I'm here to share a few tips I've learned along the way that have helped make my visits trips to remember!

New York City is big and intimidating at first glance, but with some easy tips, you'll have it managed in no time. 

1) Make a must-do list. Rank your top sites, restaurants, shows, or shops to visit so you have your list of priorities. There are unending options for things to do in NYC, so unless you go in with a plan, you're likely to get overwhelmed. Having a "top to-do" list will help keep you organized and on track. Whether it be days full of museums, 5th Avenue stores, or 5 Broadway shows, decide early what you MUST see/do when you're there. I may or may not have had each day planned out with times on notecards.

2) Don't be afraid of the subway. It's not a scary place! Get a Metro card and swipe it on the regular. Cabs are expensive and a pain to track down, so if you're going long distances in Manhattan, the subway is your best bet. Go to your App Store and download an MTA New York Subway map--you can put in your location and destination and it will give you step-by-step directions from street directions to the nearest Subway entrance then to the route to take once you're on the subway. It's easy and convenient and much less terrifying than it appears. 

3) With that being said about the subway, WALK. If you're in the city when the weather is nice and you're able to walk from place to place, do it. Explore. Wander. See the city. The walking is when you really get a feel for the uniqueness of each neighborhood. And plus, you get to stop at every cupcake place you see because you're walking off all the calories, duh. Use your map (on your phone or in your travel guides) and get to stepping.

 Rockefeller Center


4) Don't stress over the hotel selection. Make sure you're in a neighborhood close to the action so your commute isn't too far, but other than that, a bed is a bed. If you travel like me, you won't spend much time in the hotel other than to sleep. As long as you've got a clean room and shower, you've got it made. Spend your money in other places, like restaurants, shops, or shows! 

5) Use Open Table for reservations at trendy or popular restaurants. It's a low maintenance way to ensure little wait times for all your meals! You're able to choose your time block, number of guests, etc all from your smart phone--and they keep up with your reservations via email, with reminders to keep you in check! Most every restaurant we came across while planning used Open Table and it made the planning that much easier!

6) Make reservations prior to your visit for the most popular sites, like the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Empire State Building, or Top of the Rock. There are options such as express passes, timed visits, etc--you can pick your time slot and print off your entrance pass so all you have to do is get the ticket scanned at the door upon entrance. No lines or waiting! For the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock, avoid going at prime times like the middle of the day or right when the sun sets. In my opinion, the best time for the Empire State Building is first thing in the morning (make sure it's a clear day!); the best time for Top of the Rock is at night, a couple of hours before closing (because you can see the ESB all lit up at night!) They may be touristy sites, but they're worth the money.

7) Plan plenty of time for the plethora of museums. From the Met to the MoMA to the Guggenheim and beyond, the museum choices are almost as vast as the restaurant ones. Even if you're not necessarily a "museum fan," it's a must-do while in the city--Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, you name it, you can find it. If you must pick one museum to tour, I'd pick the Met first and MoMA second--you can spend as much or as little time as you prefer in either, but be prepared to dedicate a whole afternoon (or longer!) if you're interested in really browsing. 

The Met

8) This one's not the easiest one, but it's so fun! Attempt to get tickets to a show taping. Whether it be Kelly and Michael, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, or the likes, go to one! It's an awesome experience. And easier than that? Go to the taping of the Today Show or Good Morning America! We saw a taping of the Seth Meyers show in February and had a blast. Andrew and I were on the Today Show on our previous visit and had such a fun time there too. I'm so glad we ended up doing it.

9) See a Broadway show! This one is a no-brainer. We ordered our tickets ahead of time (we saw If/Then and it was phenomenal,) but there are ticket booths near all the theaters where the shows sell discounted tickets for shows that haven't sold out. If you have a couple of extra hours, see if you can find some cheap show tickets. You can't go wrong with ANY show you choose to see!

10) Don't be an obnoxious tourist. We already stick out like sore thumbs with our cameras and maps; try to be respectful and keep up with the pace on the sidewalks, avoid stopping short in subway entrances or on busy walkways, and try not to marvel at all the skyscrapers as you walk by. But at the same time, be yourself and do your thing. Be confident, but don't be afraid to ask for directions, tips, recommendations if needed. You'd be surprised at how nice people can be if you just ask! 

11) My husband suggested this and I totally agree with him--save your last afternoon (or morning or the time period before you fly out) for sites that you want to do again or didn't know about prior to planning. On our second trip, we had an extra afternoon and we ended up doing Top of the Rock during the day and got some great shots from those visits. We also ended up spending some time in Chelsea Market and were able to walk the Highline, which we hadn't planned on doing before. It was nice to have that built in extra time to do something "off the schedule." 

12) And my favorite tip? The one I've been waiting for? The BEST PLACES TO EAT. As I said earlier, there are 3,487,209,578 places to eat in NYC (I made that statistic up) so the options are literally endless. Some of my tried and true favorites are the ones I'll name today; these are places I've been with friends and would recommend to anyone! I've included links to every place so you can browse the menus.

Best brunch spots:
Sarabeth's (hands down, favorite spot!)
Norma's (Nutella pancakes...hello.)

Best lunch spots:
Shake Shack (the best "fast" food you'll ever eat; lots of locations!)
The Grey Dog (delicious paninis, sandwiches, and mac-n-cheese!)
Corner Bistro (great burger!)

Best dinner spots: 
Tavern on the Green (pricey but perfect NYC atmosphere)
Eataly (Italian lover's dream!)
Don Antonio's Pizza (hole in the wall pizza that's pretty much incredible)

Favorite sweets:
Crumb's Bake Shop (chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake!)
Little Cupcake Bake Shop (my favorite is the Blue Velvet cupcake)
Magnolia Bakery (order the banana pudding)
Ladurée (MACARONS!)

Again, I'm no travel agent or master of the city--I'm just a Southern girl who has a heart for traveling. I like to plan trips and get itineraries scheduled down to the minute, because every second counts in a trip of a lifetime. For all of you who are thinking of traveling to NYC soon, GO! And any of you who have any extra room in your suitcase, let me know. I might just tag along with you! My heart will always be in New York City! Xoxo

welcome March // goals for the month

March. One of my favorite months of the year is here!

I'm not going to try to hide it, February 28th snuck up on me and gave me a little bit of anxiety when I realized it was already here. I didn't quite make goals for February, so naturally, I feel like I didn't accomplish much. But you know what? It was a good month, covered with His mercy and His blessings, so my lack of check marks on an invisible "to-do" list isn't going to discourage me.

Goals. It's the time to make it happen this month.

“We make things happen when we make the choice to shift from denying of the unknown to starting.” -Lara Casey

Here's what I hope to accomplish this month:

1) Celebrate my birthday (the big 2-7) with those I love the most and remember all the joy that year 26 brought (all while eating cake!)

2) Finish reading Keep It Shut and Make It Happen and tell you all about the goodness I've learned from them.

3) Master a coffee-Nutella macaron using this recipe as inspiration.

4) Love others more. Simply love them. No strings attached, no spiritual shaming, no judgment, just love. 

5) Prepare for Hope Spoken with some dear friends--get business cards printed and finalize plans.

6) Get back on Weight Watchers 100%. Be open and honest with my weight loss struggles, in real life and on the blog. Break those chains and let myself be free from the weight, literally and figuratively. 

7) Let the Lord take me to places where all I can do is trust Him. Stop trying to dictate what happens and let the King control my circumstances for His glory. 

8) Have social media free nights when I'm off work. Use that time to get deeper in His word, to cultivate the community around me, and to better my marriage. 

9) Start saving money and get the ball rolling on our master bedroom makeover, starting with some of these inspiration photos!

10) Get plugged into a church plant community here in Oxford and see if that's where the Lord is leading us to serve Him and serve others. 

March has all the ingredients to be a fantastic month, so here we go! I'm ready for you, March!

What are your goals to accomplish this month? Let's share and hold each other accountable to making things happen this month. Xoxo

Coffee Date Friday // Volume V

Blog silence from me is usually never a good thing. I've been away from the computer a lot lately, busy traveling and living life (aka working all the time), and I've missed this little space. In the moments in between adventures and shifts at the hospital, I've been brainstorming and attempting to refocus my heart and my mind on where I want to take my blog. You'll hear a lot more about that soon, but today, I'm just glad to be here with you, chatting about anything and everything.

You know I love a coffee date--spilling my heart in numbered points is right up my alley, all day every day. I want us to come together and just write, about life, about our weeks, about whatever is on our minds. And can I tell you my new favorite drink? Chai tea latte. I had my first in Manhattan and it was the best thing ever! 

Today, I'm co-hosting with the sweet and wonderful Jenna from Dearest Love blog and she's always a blast to sponsor. I hope you'll go check her out if you haven't already--you'll love her as much as I do! 

So here's how this thing works this week:

1. What are your highs and lows from the week? Comment below!
2. Link up one post from this week that gives a glimpse into your life lately. This could be a coffee date, highs and lows, recent update, etc. Make sure it's a link to your post and not your blog URL.
3. Important: Comment on the blog that linked up before you. This linkup us about building community, so this step is important. Feel free to comment on more than just one!
4. Share about the coffee date via social media using the hashtag #coffeedatefriday.

Here we go, friends. Have I told you lately that I'm SO glad you're here? Because I am. Like big time. 

Highs this week:

// If you follow me on Instagram, you know I was in NYC last week. Browsing through my photos on my camera and phone this week has seriously been the funnest thing ever. We took SO many pictures and I'm loving all the little memories we captured. Be looking for a Best and Worst post on NYC soon!

// Our little Mississippi town got 6 inches of snow on Wednesday. Y'all, it never, and I mean NEVER snows here. If it does, it melts immediately. So watching those huge flakes fall and transform Oxford into a winter wonderland was just magical. I'm telling you, snow makes everything prettier. I'm sure those of you up North would disagree, but there's something breathtaking and serene about fresh fallen snow. Isn't it gorgeous?

// I posted this picture of my brand! spanking! new! journaling Bible last night and shared a little of my heart behind it--I'm thrilled to merge my journal and my Bible into one book and spread His colors and inspiration over the scriptures. I've been seeing more and more journaling gals on IG lately, and it just pushed me to break out of my black and white style of Bible study and open my heart into a new way to worship Him--letting my creativity and my Creator collide. Here we go!

Low for this week...

// There are a couple of things going on in my life right now that I have literally NO control over. I'm really struggling with letting Him be in complete trusting Him regardless of circumstances. Because in reality, that's what He calls us to do every single day of our lives. Some things are easy for me to hand over to the Lord. Other things, not so much. I'm working on it and struggling through the mess that my selfishness brings. But you know what? His grace covers me, even when I'm stubborn. So even in my mess, I know He's working on me. Instead of praying for Him to change my circumstances, I'm asking Him to change me too. 

// Weight loss. It sucks, you know that? I lost 9 lbs before leaving for New York and then enjoyed every bite of food I could while there. I didn't gain any pounds while on vacation, but I'm stuck at the same weight now. I can't wait to share with y'all my thoughts on Weight Watchers, my Fitbit, and how the journey is going.

So friends, what are your highs and lows for this week? Link up below and fill me in, it's time for a little catch up session! Happy weekend, xoxo

#heartofEphesians || Week Two

I'm so glad you're here today, friends. How is your study going? I am continually amazed by how much good God has poured into the book of Ephesians. These short 6 chapters have filled my heart in a way I didn't expect! 

I hope you're getting into the habit of picking up your Bible; I'm quick to scroll through Instagram or thumb through a book in a moment of downtime, but I'm learning that the more I open my Bible, the more I reflect God's goodness. My words are kinder, my actions are more gentle, my demeanor more calm. Slowly but surely, He's refining me. And I hope He's working in your heart too.

We're covering Ephesians 2:14-22 and Ephesians 3 this week, two big chunks of scripture that are overflowing with His truths. 

Let's start with the verses in Ephesians 2:

Verse 14 says, "For He Himself is our Peace, who has made us both one and has broken down by His flesh the diving wall of hostility." What is Paul talking about here? It's explained more in Chapter 3, but here's the gist. He's addressing the tension between the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews believed they were God's chosen people and that no other group had favor as they did. My Bible titles this section as the Revealing of God's Great Mystery. The next verses tell us what the mystery was--that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to break down those walls we as humans build between ourselves. Jesus and only Jesus is the source of real reconciliation and true unity in the Church. He is the Peace that heals those wounds. There was no Jew or Gentile, but rather Christian, or follower of Christ. That's what the cross did for the Church.

Verse 18 goes on to say, "For through Him, we both have access in One Spirit to the Father." Jesus is the only reason we are worthy enough to access God; the cross made that possible. 

Chapter 2 goes on to talk about the church being built on the foundation of God, with Christ as the cornerstone of the church. Verse 22 says "...being built together into a dwelling place by God through the Holy Spirit." I love that Paul says dwelling place here--to dwell means to take up permanent residence somewhere, so that just says that the Holy Spirit is building us, brick by brick, with Christ as our cornerstone to create a home for God in our hearts. Good stuff, isn't it?

Now, Chapter 3. I'll pick up around verse 8, when Paul talks from his perspective. He says "though I am the least of all the saints" and paints the perfect picture of humility, of true servanthood. He knew that without God's help, he could accomplish nothing and everything he did would be in vain. Our unworthiness leads to nothingness without the righteousness of God.

Verse 12 is another that I wish I could tattoo on my forehead: "In Him and through Him, we may approach the Lord with boldness, freedom, and confidence." What an incredible privilege we have as believers. We have the ability to enter directly into God's presence with a prayer. And the best part? He's waiting there with open arms. 

I want y'all to grab your Bibles right here. If you're reading this at home, stop for a second and open your Bible. Or open another tab and look up Ephesians 3:16-21. Read it. And read it again. And then do a happy dance. 

"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

Those verses just overwhelm me with the love of the Father. HOW can He love me that much? Friends, I hope you know the love of the Lord. Just read that again and let those words wash over you. Let them calm your soul. 

And then it gets even better. Can you believe it?

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Y'all, these two verses just stirs my heart. It makes me want to shout His praises. He's not just able to do beyond what we ask of Him, He's able to do abundantly beyond. But even then, He's not done--He is able to do far more abundantly than what we ask. And there's more... "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than what we ask or think, according to the Power that works within us. Whoa. 

We've got to remember here though; Paul isn't telling us to ask for material miracles. He wants us to long for Christ to dwell in our hearts so that we have an understanding of this great Love He has for us. He is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we ask because of three things-- because of His love for us, because He is omnipotent, and because He is good. Plain and simple. And this is the God that we serve, the God who lives in our hearts. If this doesn't fire you up, I don't know what will, friends. What incredible truth for us as believers! 

I don't know about you, but I AM FULL OF JOY this morning reading back through these verses. Good stuff, I tell you. I hope these chapters have stirred your heart and given you a little deeper glimpse into the love God has for us.  

Today, let's encourage each other. Let's pray for each other. Let's let kind words come from our mouths. Because after reading all of that goodness, that's what I want my life to be like. Full of goodness. Full of His truth. Full of His wisdom. We can make that choice today! 

What has God been laying on your hearts? What are you learning? I can't wait to hear! Join in our link-up and spread some Ephesians love!