It was one of those all too typical central Florida afternoons. The kind where the humidity combined with the beating summer sun and my broken A/C breathed a sauna-like steam into my car rather than creating a cool refuge from the heat. I didn’t have many concrete plans other than making this short; it was just a quick hop over to the beach and back. Something about the cool kiss of ocean water and crashing waves is always so refreshing – healing, too.
I only drove for a few miles before I caved and made a quick stop at my favorite coffee shop where I grabbed an iced vanilla latte – pretty much my go-to ever since I traveled to the Panhandle last fall. I was in and out of the air conditioning before I had a chance to cool off, and I climbed back into my 15-year-old SUV, rolled the windows down, and turned the music up for a little extra relief.
When I squeezed into the tiny parking space, I could already feel the ocean breeze and the wildness of the wind as it picked up the loose pieces of salt and mesmerized the sand pipers tip-toeing through the surf. The glare from the sun was bearable, but shuffling through the sand in worn-out converse made my legs ache slightly and kept me questioning what I was doing out there anyways. On this day, something kept me feeling like it would be worth the frustration and the sticky feeling that clung to my skin. I just wanted to be near the ocean – to see something altogether beautiful and powerful. Something to make me forget the heat and the frustration and the sometimes overwhelming tides of life that can knock us down faster than we can catch our breath.
I sat right on the edge of the water, somewhere quiet, some place where I felt small. The crashing power of the waves and deep water just far enough away for me to feel safe but close enough for the coolness of the sea spray to touch my skin and leave a few traces of salt in my loosely braided hair.
I think it’s in those moments that I see it most. Where I need something to lift my eyes out of my own circumstances, plans, and ideas or expectations for life. It’s often when things break down or my best intentions fall short that I’m reminded that if I’m a child of God, I’m not living for myself. There’s this redeeming beauty that takes everything broken and restores it to something good, pure, whole. It’s so much greater than my weakness, the brokenness of the world, or the chaos and pressure of ordinary, everyday living and loving. As children of God, we are redeemed and restored people, but we're also in progress. We are so easily overwhelmed and pulled in a million different directions, unsure how to combine everything we love into intentional kingdom living. We struggle to see past our immediate circumstances to the broader strokes that God is painting with His glory, and His intention for the world.
Listen to this sweet and powerful calling in Isaiah 61:1-4,
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations."
See, if you are living a surrendered life of faith in Jesus as your sweetest Savior, Redeemer, and King, then you have a purpose. It’s overarching, and it fits every single relationship and area of your life. Nothing is left out, nothing can be hidden away, every moment, every detail. One that runs as deep as the ocean and is fueled by the very passion and heart of God for the world. That’s what I want to create with this blog, a place where brokenness, rough edges, and all are welcome. Because Jesus uses weakness to display glimmers of His strength and ashes to create breathtaking wonder. Living intentionally is a battle that was won by our Savior. He has already paved the way of victory for His kingdom and given each of us a piece of this beautiful light and purpose to share right here, right now.
The truest and purest form of His goodness shines through our lives when we stop asking WHY we were given this life circumstance, and instead, we start asking WHAT we are called to do with our lives in the here and now. That’s surrender. Walking in the path laid before us. Because Jesus has created each of us with a unique and valuable platform to reach the world with Gospel love and healing.
And that’s my goal. To create a community committed to restoration and redeeming and painting the world with the golden beauty of God’s glory. Bringing light to dark places, healing to the hurting, and wonder to the ordinary or overlooked. Sometimes the world and the problems we face cling to us like the inescapable weight of summer heat, yet we press on because our purpose is as refreshing and vast as the sea. And, as we sit at the edge of that purpose and soak in the very thing we were created for – knowing and loving our God, and carrying the goodness of His mercy to the world – all the rest, the oppressive weight of sin and death is washed away. Because we are finally doing the very thing which we were always created to do.
Frederick Buechner said:
“Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man. If the holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there too.
And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in two and re-create the human heart, because it is just where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully.”
So, if you’re in for this kind of community building, down deep surrendering, and Gospel loving, then sign up for the newsletter, and let’s get started creating something beautiful.