An Altogether Beautiful Day

I used to be completely opposed to mediocre.

I wanted pizzazz and fireworks in everything. It’s kind of in my nature.  I don’t need glam but I do like special.

Then, life happened, and I discovered that special sometimes meant stressful, and sad, and too much, and overwhelming. I looked around me at one point and discovered a million broken pieces, with no way to pick them back up. I gaped and stared. I looked at my husband, whom I thought I knew, and didn’t know Him. I looked at my children and wondered how much pain I had caused them. I looked at my life and thought hope had left the building.

Then, as God started to pick up the pieces in me when I could not, the pieces of my life when I could not, I began to see beauty and it wasn’t in the glam or the fuss. It wasn’t in the fireworks and festivals. It was in the mediocre and the mundane, the places where it was boring enough that I could see through to Him.

The Song of Songs has a beautiful wedding and its feast, but most of it is full of the beautiful mediocre.

There are gardens and everyday connection, family life and fires with cooking pots, rosy pomegranate cheeks and lackluster body parts like necks and feet. To top it all off, it can be like wading through eight chapters of lovely poetry, but with two people who need to get their PDA in check.

The Song of Songs is not a superior book of the Bible, but it does offer us a unique perspective of God’s desire for us, God’s expectations of us, and God’s faithfulness to us in the big moments of life, yes, but also in those mediocre places. It teaches us a fair amount of what beautiful can look like in relationship and in our churches.

I am convinced that slowing down to spend some time with this beautifully imperfect couple in their pizzazz and their mediocre will help us to see the beautiful work of God in our moments, our surroundings, and most importantly in our relationships.

Join us to celebrate Altogether Beautiful Day – TODAY!

Help rain down some beautiful in the midst of this wonderful, ordinary day:

Share in the comments, on social media, or send out an email! Write a card or a note to a friend, take someone to lunch, serve your kids’ favorite foods- let someone in your life know that they are a beautiful gift of God to you. Use the hashtag #altogetherbeautiful and tag @heidigoehmann and/or @concordiapublishing so we can share your beautiful life stuff.

I see beautiful in each of you.

You were made beautiful by a God who loves you and redeemed altogether beautiful by a Savior who restores.

All I can say is, Thank you, Jesus. You are #altogetherbeautiful. 

Write What You Have Seen (My Redeemer Lives 8:1)

I pretty much live to hear the Word at this point.

Life has thrown enough yuck in my general direction that I just don’t know how anyone lives without it. I lap it up, sloppily, desperately, like my labradoodle trying to drink from his water bowl in the middle of July.

I’m so thirsty. It’s never enough in one sense, while it’s still completely and utterly enough in another sense. Jesus’ love and forgiveness, the removal of my shame that I find in His death and resurrection, the value He places on me in everything He does, are absolutely my fuel for this life, for this day.

And while I’m thirsty, He quenches.

While I’m imperfect, His strength burns purpose into my weaknesses.

While I and all that is around me is mortal, His immortality is the cloak that warms my soul to find hope, to share Hope each day.

Thank you, dear Job, for taking one for the team and constantly reminding us in God’s Iron Ink of Biblical Truth:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27)

If you have learned anything from this study, I pray that it is this:

We live in the Resurrection.

Resurrection overflows life into our lives in the same way that Christ’s sacrifice brings absolute forgiveness into our days. Without the resurrection, so much of life feels like heavy shame. It may be called Good Friday, but the weight we carry for putting Jesus on the tree is far too heavy to ever feel good. We weren’t meant to live there, friends.

Resurrection dawns.

Easter morning’s Resurrection sometimes feels far off, but it works in everything. It changes everything about how we live, think, and believe!

Today looks different, heart-faintingly different, because Jesus rose.

Sometimes this difference is obvious:

Forgiveness and grace spoken aloud in our homes when we really don’t feel like giving it.

Giving and stewarding a little more time and energy from what would be an empty cup without Resurrection Joy.

Breaking bread and sharing space with people we may not have otherwise because Jesus is alive among us.

Sometimes the difference is not so obvious, and so we need constant reminders. As we leave this study, let us remind one another. I’d like to do this in two ways.

First, in the comments, share with us what you will walk away with from this study.

Were there any surprises for you? Any resurrections you were unfamiliar with?

Where have you seen resurrection in your own life in the last weeks, and over the course of your walk with God?

What one lesson, one truth, one piece of hope over everything else and all my zillion words will stick with you?

Next, I want to share one last passage of resurrection with you. One not-so-final glimpse of our Resurrected Savior in Revelation 1:4-7 –

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, the Resurrected One, Savior, Restorer.

He’s also our Faithful Witness, the Faithful Witness. He witnesses to us what He’s done and Who He is in His Word. When we hear it, we are renewed because in that place our story connects with His Story, giving our story meaning, and firm footing. This place of hope and life, that’s His story working out in our story. What was John’s response to Jesus’ witness? He wrote His story down. He shared his story with Christ as the centerpiece.

So let us keep sharing the resurrection, connecting to the resurrection, and in and with that…sharing our stories alongside His story.

To make this a little more concrete for you, a little easier to share also, I created a resurrection Scripture writing plan. You can download the thirty-day plan from the link below and print it or screen shot it to use to keep His story close to you, to cement it in your heart by simply reading or reading and writing the passage, or by giving to a friend, sharing at Sunday School, or creating a challenge in your group.

Write His Story: Resurrection Reading and Writing Plan

As you read or write the story of resurrection within the Scriptures, simply ask yourselves these questions:

How can we begin to tell our story, really tell it, to God?

How can we make our homes open places to tell our stories?

How can we make our churches open places to tell our stories?

Keep it simple and just ask the questions before God, around His Word, and let Him answer. He will tell His story in you, in your home, and in your community…and what a story it is! Salvation, grace, restoration, heartache, waiting, failure, fear, death, life, darkness, light, glory, healing, and so much more yet to be told.

Savior – You have written Your story. Continue to write Your story in each of our lives. We tear down all that is not in You, all that doesn’t point to You. We lay all those things before You…Resurrect it, Lord. Resurrect.

Thank you for studying with me. I hope you’ll join me for our Fall Study…

(drumroll!)

This study is especially meant to reach those on the fringes of a relationship with God. Those who may know about Jesus but don’t know where to put Him. Those who know there is something better, something more in this life, but don’t know what it is. For others of you, this study will open the door to defining what real relationship looks like, what our hungry hearts truly long for, and why we so often feel disappointed with our relationships one moment and ecstatic about them the next. It will introduce you to a Hope that brings better and more to our relationships with those around us and to a God who loves brave all the way – brave enough to sacrifice everything for you in Faith, Hope, and Love.

In the meantime, as always, look for more articles, podcasts, resources, and encouragement every week at ilovemyshepherd.com.

 

Rest in the Resurrection (My Redeemer Lives 7:5)

Today, I invite you to rest.

Rest in knowing that God has created us for Waking and He works even when we are sleeping.

Rest in a life that goes on, even when resurrection comes; we were designed for a life of eternity through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Remember that our Father in heaven truly sees us and He sends us out to truly see.

Remember that the resurrection has a lot of witnesses and that includes you.

Remember our anthem, “He is risen. He is risen. He is risen, just as He said.”

What promises from this past week stuck with you the most?

Rest in these Truths today.

Don’t miss this week’s Scripture cards from Pure Joy Creative and the final Bible margin for this study.

Look for the last My Redeemer Lives study post on Monday AM! If you are subscribed, the link will be in your inbox Monday morning as always. You’ll also find the exciting reveal of the Fall Online Study in Monday’s post. See you back here!

Did you miss the video?

You can still catch Sleeping, Awake, Sleepwalking: