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God knows the whole story.

 

The other night I was at Lorrie’s house. I wanted to talk with her because I KNEW she would understand where I was at – how and why I was hurting and how and why I was feeling a tension about throwing up the middle fingers of my heart and moving on.

She graciously let me sit on her couch until past midnight and then she prayed for me before I left. While she was praying, something she said stuck out to me.

Lorrie said “God, you know the whole story from the beginning to the end.” and in my heart I added “and you love all the characters, the protagonist AND the antagonist.”

God knows the whole story from the beginning to the end // stephanieorefice.net

As of today I haven’t said anything unkind about him and I refuse to do so here on my blog, but I have to be honest in saying this: I have never in my life been so mistreated by someone who I thought would be careful with me regardless of how things ended up. We started things as friends and all I ever wanted was to protect our friendship. The wound that has been created is deep and painful and I sometimes feel as if my whole being is in a state of shock that someone I trusted could be so unbearably cold towards me. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

This morning it all stormed inside of me and I cried out to God that I was so tired of hurting. It’s exhausting! Who knew that having someone be mean to you could make you so tired!?

I remembered what Lorrie prayed. God knows the whole story from beginning to end. He also knows whatever is happening in my story’s antagonist; the antagonist of my story is the protagonist of his own story. The same God who is at work in my story, redeeming all of my broken parts, is at work in the other story. He knows where both stories lead, and he is Lord over all of it.

Speaking of redeeming broken parts.

A few years ago I got dumped and it was the best thing to happen to me because homeboy was cray. In the wake of that, I bought adventure shoes.

The following year, those adventure shoes took me on hikes (like Beacon Rock and Mirror Lake) that brought me closer to the boy that is currently weighing heavy in my heart. But I didn’t know that at the time. When I bought a pair of Teva’s at Fred Meyer on July 04, 2013 I had no clue how important they would be in upcoming chapters of my life. When a newly opened coffee stand followed me on Twitter on April 25, 2014 I had no idea what buying that honey lavender latte would start.

Now as I lay here in the quiet of the night reflecting on the ebb and flow of my life so far, I trust that there are pieces of my life  that have the power to become pivotal moments in my future. God knows all of them. He knows every character that will come in and out of my life for a chapter or two, and he is God of their stories – wherever they’re at now and wherever they’ll go when they exit mine.

I don’t know what is coming up in the future chapters of my life, but I know that my God always moves me to the land of bigger or better, so when it comes.. I’m anticipating one heck of a plot twist with all these fragmented parts.

In an earlier post I shared one of the songs I’ve been clinging to in this current season. There’s a part of the song that seems especially relevant in the light of what Lorrie prayed for me.

I cannot see in the night that lies before me, but I hold the hand that made the stars // stephanieorefice.net

“I cannot see in the night that lies before me
But I hold the hand that made the stars.”

 

I’m in His hands.

 

linking up with Thought Provoking Thursdays, Everyday Jesus, Friendship Friday,  Ra Ra Linkup, Fellowship Friday, High Five for Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Recommendation Saturday, The Weekend Brew, Still Saturday, Saturday Soiree,  Weekend No Rules Blog Hop, Good Morning Mondays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Monday’s Musings , Tell it to me Tuesday, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Sharing His Beauty,  

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Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop

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Don’t be afraid; just believe.

Don't be afraid; just believe - Mark 5:36 // stephanieorefice.net

My journey to read through the Bible in 6 months is going really well, but it means lots of reading in books like.. Leviticus. Which are.. um.. fascinating.. but man. My  heart is still hurting. and when your heart is hurting and you open the Bible, reading about the details of animal sacrifice aren’t really the things that calm your spirit, you know?

One morning I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom, reading through Leviticus and I said “GOD, GIVE ME SOMETHING! JUST SOMETHING! I NEED SOMETHING!

I finished reading Leviticus and flipped over to my ONE chapter in Mark. Jesus just healed the woman with the bleeding problem and then Jairus, whose daughter was sick, hears that his daughter died. Jesus overhears someone delivering the news to Jairus and he says to Jairus,

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

and there I sat, on my bathroom floor, face pressed into my Bible, crying.

Don’t be afraid.
Just believe.

People, I don’t even know what I’m afraid OF. I just know that these days I feel a weird fear in my bones. Maybe, if I’m really honest, the fear is that I’ll never get married. Such a stupid fear in the grand scheme of life, but I feel so READY. Today I texted a bunch of my friends this text message:

Part of what I’m grieving right now is that I was looking forward to growing in a relationship, like learning and putting in the work and stuff. You know? Not like it would be a battle, but like making time and listening and being intentional and stuff. I feel like I was excited to learn how to be a significant other, not just this girl someone is kind of dating. and I’m sad because I think I’d be pretty awesome at that.

I FEEL SO READY.

One of my favorite hymns is the one that says “Pass me not, O gentle Savior. Hear my humble cry, while on others thou art calling.. do not pass me by.”

Do not pass me by // stephanieorefice.net

and when I hear it, I think of myself sitting on this rock, watching this parade of people with Jesus at the center, come up the road towards me. and I can’t get my mouth to spit the words out, but I am sitting there, hoping to catch Christ’s eye and plead the words with my eyes. DO NOT PASS ME BY.

I guess that’s what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid the wedding parade will march right past me while I sit on the rock.

Woah. Let me talk in real time right now. Right now, this is the current scene…

starbucks // stephanieorefice.net

I’m at Starbucks. I made myself at home and took my bobby pins out and everything. I wrote those few sentences and then I looked out the window at the sky, because I was crying. I literally cry when I write some of these blog posts, because it’s real talk.

Then I heard the words of the song playing –

His eye is on the sparrow
His eye is on you.

WHAT. MOMENTS after I wrote that I wanted to give Jesus a pleading glance but worried he couldn’t see me. What what what.

Just more affirmation of this post, of the words I’ve been treasuring in my heart the past few days:

Don’t be afraid;
Just believe.

Okay so for me, my current fear is that I’m never going to be married. Jesus is plainly saying “Stephanie, just believe.”

What about you?

What is the fear that is screaming in your head? When you sit on the rock worrying Jesus will pass by you, what parade is he in? Is it like me, the wedding parade? or is it a baby parade? Maybe it’s the “someone I know is very sick,” parade or “I will never get out of debt” parade.

Whatever parade is fast approaching, just know this.

Jesus said to not be afraid.
His eye is on you. He sees you.

Don’t be afraid.
Just believe.

 

Linking up with Good Morning Mondays, Mondays @ Soul Survival,  Motivate & RejuvenateMonday’s Musings, Sharing His Beauty, Titus 2 Tuesday, Unite, Testimony Tuesday, Women Encouraging Women, Tell it to me Tuesdays, Hump Day Happenings, Coffee and Conversation

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God will never…

My FAVORITE part of this current season is the way I’ve leaned hard on my friends. I’ve basically trust fall-ed with them over and over and over again. And they LOVE me, despite it. One of the most freeing things that anyone has spoken into my life the past few weeks was texted to me by my friend Krystin.

She said this:

[bctt tweet=”God will never show you the gold and give you the silver – @krystinbehannon” via=”no”]

WHAT.

 

Have you ever played the youth group game “Bigger or better?” The whole idea is that you start with something small – maybe a penny or whatever – and then you go around and ask someone to take your penny and trade it for something bigger or better. Maybe they give you a nickel or maybe they give you a goldfish. Then you take the goldfish and go to someone else and ask them to give you something bigger or better, and maybe you get a lawn chair. And so on and so forth.

God’s like the universal bigger or better champ.

The hands down, undisputed champ.

But it’s not always easy, because sometimes in order to get the “bigger or better” we have to get rid of something.

Like Job. Job had all of this great stuff, all of these blessings, and then it was gone and he was being tested and tried and it seemed really crappy. But in the end, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.” (Job 42:12)

God took the silver and gave Job the gold.

But he won’t do the opposite. God’s not a tease. He won’t dangle his best in front of me and then pull it away the moment I get close enough and replace it with something that is subpar. That’s just not what God does. Always bigger or better. But it depends on how we look at it.

If I had traded up to a brand new MacBook Pro and then someone traded me the new computer for a folded piece of paper, I’d probably be ultra pissed…. until I opened it and saw a $10,000 check. More than just a piece of paper, but definitely disappointing if I was expecting the next upgrade to be a car, you know?

I guess we need to trust that God is the bigger or better champ, and let go of expectations and go back to TRUSTING.

That’s what I’m trying to trust:
What I’ve seen is either the gold, and it will come back around so long as I am faithful.
or more likely, what I’ve seen is the silver and God is going to massively upgrade me… so long as I am faithful.

God will never show you the gold and give you the silver // stephanieorefice.net

 

Linking up with Good Morning Mondays

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Trusting God when your heart hurts.

Here’s the truth: Life sucks sometimes.
When it hurts so bad that you can’t go on…
life keeps moving on.
~Ben Rector

This week has been hard.
Monday around noon, I felt this huge pressure in my heart. I fell on the floor and cried out “it hurts so bad!” to the Lord. Over and over again, with tears flowing out of my eyes.

Seven hours later, I listened with a heavy, confused heart as the relationship I’ve been so excited about came to a close. I instantly went into self-preservation mode and got defensive and tried to make sense of it.

and I drove home without tears.
and I fell asleep without tears.
But then I woke up and remembered, and I cried out to the Lord again. I prayed for grace – grace for him, that even in my confusion and hurt I wouldn’t look on him without grace… grace FROM him, that he would offer me the same… and grace for myself, to evaluate mistakes I’d made not through a lens of regret but of grace.

A few days later, I decided to go to Target. I walked upstairs to change my clothes, and then I suddenly remembered. I felt the pressure again and I fell on the floor again and cried. and I was reminded that I needed to trust God.

and I said, “I trust God, but I can still be so sad.”

One of my favorite blog posts I’ve ever written is called “When Christ Wasn’t There.” It talks about how Jesus INTENTIONALLY didn’t go to Mary & Martha when Lazarus died. Jesus kept his distance from his mourning friends. Not because he didn’t care, but because I think sometimes we need to really feel sad to remember that Christ is our Healer.

Trusting God when your heart hurts

So these are the ways I’m trusting God even though my heart hurts:

  • Pray honestly.

    Listen, I’m not going to be able to truly pray right now that Ryan finds the girl of his dreams and gets married and lives happily ever after. I can’t pray that, because that’s a lie and we all know where liars go. But you know what I CAN pray? I can pray that he is always responsive to the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the motives of your prayers until you’ve been left with the truest prayer you can pray with your whole heart.

  • Cling to God’s promise to never leave.

    You know what I want to do with my hurting heart? I want to take it on a tour of all my friends and have all of my friends hug my hurting heart, give it a smooch and cover it with glitter. I want my friends to bear my burden with me. And there’s some reasonable expectation to that, but not at the caliber I need. I need Someone in my corner when my eyes pop open at 2 am and I remember suddenly that things have changed. and that Someone isn’t my friends who are probably sleeping. That Someone is God, who has been watching over me in the stillness of my room while I sleep. He is not scared of my sadness. He’s not going to get overwhelmed because of it and leave.

  • Cry.

    Scripture says that blessed are the poor in spirit and that God is close to the broken hearted. Tears are the economy of the broken-hearted kingdom, and I am making sure that every single one of them falls at the feet of my loving and compassionate God.

  • Let your friends hold your hands up.

    In Exodus 17:11&12, we read that in the battle against the Amalekites, as long as Moses held up his hand Israel would prevail, but eventually his hands grew weary. Aaron and Hur got him a rock to sit on and then Aaron and Hur each held up one of Moses’ hands so that his hands were steady for the rest of the day. Despite my trust in God and my certainty of his love for me, my hands keep getting tired. and I’ve been texting my friends in waves – two here and three a few hours later – because my hands and my heart keep getting weary and I need them to fill in the gap for me for a minute. They’re doing that with words of encouragement, with I love you’s and with declarations of prayer.

  • Avoid sin.

    Jesus said “in your anger, do not sin.” Don’t allow the tenderness of a hurting heart to be the soil for crippling sin. I am praying for grace and favor. I am refusing to speak unkind words, despite my confusion and hurt. Don’t. sin. Don’t let Satan get the glory of your broken heart. 

  • Encourage others.

    I know that today I am not the only person on the whole wide world whose heart is sad but surrendered. That’s why I’m writing this – I hope it finds someone else who is so very sad but is so very certain of a God who cares and hears. Sometimes it’s hard to be sad and full of joy at the same time, but from everything I’ve read in the Bible, it is hard but it is probably the best place to be because God is close by.

I’ve been clinging to a few songs this week, and I decided to share a few of them with you. The first is a beautiful arrangement by my friend Phil Laeger of an old hymn called “I’m In His Hands,” and the second is a song we’ve sung with the kids before, “He Knows My Name.” I’ve spent a lot of time sitting at the piano singing these songs, so I thought I’d share that with all of you. <3

 

 

Linking up with Good Morning Mondays,

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The Bible in 2015 Update

You know what’s difficult? It’s difficult to get back into a groove once you’ve fallen out of it. Like if you do a really great job at running every day but you don’t do it long enough to really make it a habit, and you miss a few days and then starting again is the hardest thing in the world.

I’m actually reading this book called Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, all about habits, and it talks about how we build habits not to use MORE self-control but to use LESS. Right now I’m drinking a cup of coffee, because every morning I make coffee. I don’t have to think about it, I just DO it. It’s a habit. Brushing your teeth doesn’t require much self-control once it’s become a habit, nor does locking the door behind you or taking your shoes off when you step into your house.

All of that to say, I fell off the Bible reading wagon… back in January. I know the exact moment, actually. It’s when I arrived in Nashville and realized I’d forgotten to pack my Bible for a week. Life was a whirlwind after that. Every time I write some sort of “goal” list, I always write “catch up with my Bible reading,” and so far that has worked 0% of the time.

Every time someone comments on the Bible in 2015 page, I feel a little guilty because of how far behind I am. So I’ve thought about it a lot and I decided that I’m just starting over. “Catching up” is going to be so much more difficult than just starting fresh. Last summer I attempted to read the whole Bible in 90 days and I amazed myself at how far I got, so this time I’ve found a “Bible in 6 months” plan and I’m starting it today. Not only that, but I made an April linkup for the Bible in 2015 page.

So. How are you all doing on reading your Bible? Anyone else starting over with me?

Thanks for not letting me forget about my intentions to read through the Bible this year. Let’s do it together.

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Finding God – Lent 2015

finding God in the midst of chaos / Lent 2015 // stephanieorefice.net

 

One year I gave up fast food for Lent. Two days in, I was driving from Seattle back home to Portland when I stopped at Taco Bell (I used to make really bad decisions). I stood in line at Taco Bell, kind of back and forth about if I should get something or not and I finally cracked and left. I felt really guilty about it and was sitting in quiet reflection when the Holy Spirit convicted me to the core of my being.

“What is the point of giving up fast food if you’re still arrogant and hard of heart? Do you think I am glorified by you abstaining from fast food but continuing to gossip and be cynical about everyone in your life?”

I realized that Lent isn’t just about what we give up. Madeleine L’Engle says that if something is worth giving up for 40 days, it’s worth giving up once for all.

The danger with giving something up is that we’ve created a void in our lives that might be quickly filled with another unhealthy habit. It’s not enough to remove something – we must REPLACE it. Trade the bad for the good and trade the good for the best.

A few weeks ago my best friend Emily texted me about Lent, and we ended up sharing our Lent plans. The heart of it is about seeing God in our lives – and I’d say more than seeing, FINDING. Finding God in our lives. Sometimes I think he’s a little more discreet about his presence than we realize, and I think we need to lean in a little bit closer, to be detectives in search of evidence of something we already know – God is here. I want to spend my life collecting little evidence bags of proof that God’s been invading my life and leaving his fingerprints, footprints, crumbs and fibers all over everything.

That’s what Lent is about for me this year. and this is what I’m doing:

  • I took the Facebook & Facebook messenger app off my phone.
    Let’s be real – I waste a lot of time scrolling through my newsfeed and getting angry at people I like. I click that stupid little F not just out of boredom but sheer habit. No more.
  • I am going to catch up & stay caught up on my Bible in 2015 reading plan. 
    I’ve fallen behind. Very behind. and instead of throwing myself a pity party or feeling like a failure, I’m just going to bust my butt and get caught up.
  • Being more intentional about taking pictures of how I see God at work in my life.
    I really like pictures. and I recently invested in a new camera, and I haven’t used it as much as a person who paid nearly $1,000 for a new camera should use it when they first get it. I feel stifled and uncreative and in a rut. and I don’t think that’s how God created me to engage with the world. So I’m going to be like the people on CSI who take pictures of everything as evidence. I’m finding God, and I’ll have pictures to show for it.
  • Being quiet. 
    Monday was so rough for me. I woke up and sent someone a picture of my planner for the next 3 weeks and was overwhelmed with the busyness of it all. I hate being busy and without moments to breathe and re-center. So even in the midst of chaos, I’m going to be quiet. I’m going to take time to read (I haven’t read in a long time) and write (especially letters to my friends) and even just sit looking outside while I drink my coffee. I need to have moments of quiet.

The things I’m “giving up” aren’t THINGS so much as feelings, time-wasters, worries, fears. Stuff that slowly destroys my soul, peace and rest because I let it take over my entire life. and it’s not about 40 days, it’s about life. Lent is just a great time to reset because it’s easy to find accountability and it’s leading up to the greatest victory this world has ever known, so it’s like a built in celebration at the end.

Isaiah 30:15 // stephanieorefice.net

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