Hold Me Fast

Hold Me Fast

Today’s post comes from Glenna Marshall. Glenna has been playing the piano since the age of seven and writing songs since the age of sixteen. Her music comes from hard places, but because of God’s faithfulness much good comes from the brokenness.

It was all my husband’s idea.
Or, that’s what I tell myself while I push down the memories of that weekend in college when a couple of friends took a road trip with me to Nashville where we toured a university geared toward musicians and I contemplated a transfer. Too scared to make a statement with that kind of change, I stayed where I was and pursued my creative writing degree.

So no, I guess it wasn’t always just my husband’s idea to launch me into a “carobby” (which is my made-up word for the creative conglomeration of career + hobby). The seeds were planted long ago when I was writing songs in the insulated piano closets at my university. But, for nearly fourteen years of marriage, my husband has patiently urged me to do the thing I’m most scared to do.

So, I cut an album, to use the professional vernacular. And I feel weird and a little on edge even wording it that way, although that’s exactly what I did.

It took nearly two years from start to finish because my producer was freelancing for me, we adopted our second child, my mother had brain surgery, and I was coming to terms with a chronic illness. Messy, all of it, and during the recording process I felt like I didn’t have a whole lot to offer to the world. And what I did have to offer was mine.

Like many Christian creatives, I struggle to hand over my art, and truthfully, to even call it “art.” The sacred, personal nature of what God teaches us in the quiet moments at the piano or the sequestered corner of the coffee shop with our open journals lends itself to privacy. Creating requires me to send down an empty bucket into the depths of past suffering and present trials, and to pour out the contents repeatedly.

What God desires me to share are the truths learned about Him when I sink into His Word during painful seasons.

I know why. It’s so I can comfort others with the same comfort I have received from God.(2 Cor. 1:4) But when I click the button that launches into the online world a song I wrote because I couldn’t quite believe God loved me last year, I feel inadequate—an impostor who is pretending to be something she’s really, really not.

Here’s the truth, though: God gave us creative gifts to point others to Him, the only real creator. What we do as musicians, writers, artists, speakers is a shadow of what the author of life has done. Our offerings to the world are acts of mimicry, and that’s a good thing. We obey by stewarding well the gifts God has given us, and we glorify Him when another person is encouraged to love Him more deeply.

If my goal is to make Christ known, then it is perfectly fine to surrender my frayed, tattered offerings to the world toward that end.

God is particularly good at making something from nothing.

To check out Glenna’s new album release, click here!

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For when my life crumbled, I learned what "Be Still" really means.
And I want you to know, too.


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Come Out of Hiding

Come Out of Hiding

If you’ve missed parts 1 and 2 of our UNDERCOVER MESS series, you can check them out here:

Part 1: Ladies, We’ve Got A Problem

Part 2: Abundant Life and Abundant HOPE

We’ve talked about the pressure to measure up, and the freedom Jesus wants us to walk in. Those truths are not only great, but life-changing! Here are practical steps to guide you on your journey towards coming out of hiding and learning to dance.

T – TELL YOUR TEAM

I know life often feels lonely. Maybe you’re like me, and you spend a lot of time thinking in your head. I often feel like I’m “supposed” to figure things out on my own. Let me tell you right now that is not true! God made us to be in relationship with Him and with others. He tells us that’s the way life works best. So the very first thing on my Action list when I start to feel myself sliding into undercover mess mode is to tell my team. Yes, you have a team!

Always remember that the very first person on your team is Jesus. He is your biggest cheerleader. Your biggest fan. And he happens to hold the entire world in His hands. Pretty great person to own your team, right?  So, Jesus is the owner. Everyone else on your team works for him. Members of my team include my husband, daughters, sisters, parents, friends, therapist, doctors, and pastor. I obviously require a really big team!

W – WORK TOGETHER

This is so helpful because it takes all the pressure of you to figure life out! A few weeks ago, when I was feeling anxious, I started Googling my symptoms to try to figure out what was going on. That made it so much worse! Then I remembered that this is why God gave me a team. I called my sister and she offered to help me with meals for the week. I met with my doctor and she made some changes to my medication. My daughters wrote me encouraging notes and gave me lots of hugs. I had many people praying for me. And I knew that Jesus, the owner of my team, was the one working through all of them to help me.

Yes, Jesus works through people. So listen close now. Sometimes you will feel like you have to do everything on your own. This is not true, but we’re messy miracles and it’s easy for us to forget. That’s why the next step is so important.

I – INDULGE IN GOD’S WORD

What if I told you that there was an instruction manual for life that had the answer to every worry, every fear, and every stress in your life? I bet you’d want it read it! So, there’s good news! The God who created this world. Who created life. Who created you. The God who knows the answer to every problem and prayer, He wrote you a love letter. He used other Messy Miracles to actually write it on paper, but make no mistake, He moved the pen in their hands. And every word and story in this love letter whispers the name of Jesus.

So, Indulge in God’s word! Don’t just read it with your head, read it with your heart. Soak it up and soak it in. Read the very words he said and imagine that He is saying them just to you.

R – REST

When’s the last time you rested? Body, mind AND soul. I think we often misunderstand the meaning of rest. We think just because we got a full night’s sleep that we’re rested. But a busy mind takes up just as much energy as busy legs. And a restless soul saps us even more. Yet so many of us have conditioned ourselves to under-prioritize the type of life giving rest that God prescribes.

I like to think about rest not as something to check off my list, but rather as an important part of the rhythm of life. Daily rhythm. Weekly rhythm and seasonal rhythm. In today’s world we need to be conscious and purposeful about scheduling our rest. Every project plan, every to-do list that you have, should also include an intentional time of rest.

L – LEAVE THE OUTCOME TO GOD

The final step in coming out of hiding from being an undercover mess is to leave the outcome to God. What outcome, you might ask? ALL outcomes. We really like to think we’re in control. We’re even taught that in many cases. Study hard and you’ll get good grades. Work hard and you’ll be respected. Practice hard and you’ll make the team. It is true that it’s good to study, work and practice but there’s no guarantee about the outcome. All we can do is our best and give God the rest.

I have the words Be Still tattooed on my wrist. Not necessarily as a reminder to be physically still, but more of a reminder that God is the one ultimately in control. So if I’ve done my best. If I have told my team and worked with them. If I have indulged in the word of God. If I have rested and given the outcome to God, then I can TWIRL my way through this life.

God created you to dance. He made you to run out the door and feel the wind in your face. He made your spirit to soar with joy on a springtime day. He made you to live life and have it to the full, so let’s come out of hiding and twirl together!

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For when my life crumbled, I learned what "Be Still" really means.
And I want you to know, too.


ALSO INCLUDED

+ Diffuse Panic By Saying "No" To These 5 Things +

 

 

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Abundant LIFE, Abundant HOPE

Abundant LIFE, Abundant HOPE

Do you ever feel bogged down? Like your hope has been stolen. Your joy is all but dead. And your dreams are all but destroyed? I know that sounds a little dramatic, but many of us have felt those emotions in a very real way.

Stolen. Dead. Destroyed.

John 10:10 says that our enemy has come to “steal, kill, and destroy.” And we feel that pain as messy humans. Whether our hopes are dashed for a job, or we’ve lost a baby, or we’re simply so exhausted by the piles of laundry and pressure to be perfect that we go to bed numb each night.

We need a Savior from this mess.

The good news? We have one. John 10:10 doesn’t stop there.

“The enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you might have LIFE, and have it TO THE FULL.” Other translations say, “have it ABUNDANTLY.”

Jesus gives life. The life he gives right now is abundantly richer and fuller than we can image. It is eternal, yet it ALSO begins immediately. I once heard that Jesus is like a multi-faceted diamond. He gives eternal life, yes! But he also gives life here on earth and He wants us to live it to the full.

What’s the opposite of steal, kill, and destroy?

Give. Revive. And Restore.

Jesus wants to give you abundant life. He wants to revive the dead parts of your heart. He wants to restore what’s been broken. But how does he do that? We’ll tell you HOW with some practical steps in Part 3 of “UNDERCOVER MESS.”

Stay tuned by signing up to be notified of our next post here.

Sign Up Below and a bit of my story will gently land in your inbox over the next 7 days.

For when my life crumbled, I learned what "Be Still" really means.
And I want you to know, too.


ALSO INCLUDED

+ Diffuse Panic By Saying "No" To These 5 Things +

 

 

IMPORTANT! Please check your email now to confirm your address.   To make sure you get all the stories, add laura@seekingthestill.com as a contact in your email program. Please don't skip this step!

Ladies, We’ve Got A Problem

Ladies, We’ve Got A Problem

We’re all a mess.

But guess what? That’s not actually the problem. That’s just life.

The problem is we’re in hiding, covered in makeup and perfectly filtered Instagram posts, showing off our cute mug of coffee with a pile of laundry behind us, as if laundry wasn’t an okay part of life. As if all our mess, the darkest corners of our hearts, were simply not okay. What if we could own up and be real with each other. Wouldn’t that be so freeing?

But before we get to the solution, let’s identify the problem.

There are basically two reasons that we keep our messiness, our stress, our worries, and our fears hidden within ourselves.

 

Problem #1: We have unrealistic standards for ourselves.

 

We hear over and over again that we should suck it up and work harder. The world tells us to never let them see us sweat. Facebook fills our minds with images of beautiful houses, happy marriages, best friendships, and dream vacations. It looks like everyone is having a lovely life ALL the time. Filtered Instagram photos show selfies in the most flattering light, but when WE look in the mirror it reflects every wrinkle and dark spot on our skin. We’re living a real, stressful often difficult, painful life in what seems like a Pinterest Perfect world.

Let me just lay out the truth right now. There is no perfect in this world. Nobody lives up to the outward image they present. We are all a bunch of messy, sinful people no matter how gorgeous our profile picture looks. And we only cause harm to our minds, bodies, and spirits when we lie to ourselves (and others) by trying to achieve such perfection.

 

Problem #2: We think our accomplishments and our human situation define us.

 

This human life is all we know, and it’s easy to get our identity wrapped in it. But in reality, we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. This world. This life. This body is simply chapter one. Our true identity is not as a human being, it’s as a child of God. Nothing that ever happens or doesn’t happen in this life will change that. So much of our story is yet unwritten. It’s like when you’re in high school and all the problems and worries and stress about high school feel like the weight of the world because it’s all you know. But what I know, and what teachers and parents know is that those 4 years are really just 4 short years. So it is with this entire life you lead.

Your life is not defined by high school or college or your job or your role as a wife or mother. Your life, your soul, your essence is defined by the creator of the Universe. He says you are beautiful and you are His, regardless of what you do, say or achieve. You are enough.

See ladies, there’s a solution. Jesus says to YOU, “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly.”

I know it seems impossible, but it’s not impossible. Jesus says so!

What does an abundant life look like? Stay tuned for Part 2 of “UNDERCOVER MESS” by signing up to be notified of our next post here.

XOXOXO,

Laura

Sign Up Below and a bit of my story will gently land in your inbox over the next 7 days.

For when my life crumbled, I learned what "Be Still" really means.
And I want you to know, too.


ALSO INCLUDED

+ Diffuse Panic By Saying "No" To These 5 Things +

 

 

IMPORTANT! Please check your email now to confirm your address.   To make sure you get all the stories, add laura@seekingthestill.com as a contact in your email program. Please don't skip this step!

Seeking The Still… Still

Seeking The Still… Still

One minute I put a pizza in the oven, the next I was running toward the stairs. With eyes wild and heart on fire, I felt IT rising.  Panic. Out of nowhere. Wait. Maybe this isn’t panic, maybe it’s the virus that Anna had a few days ago. Let’s see, sudden nausea, hot flash, pins and needles every which way. All I could think was bed. I laid down shaking under the covers. Is this different from a panic attack? Is it the same? If it’s the flu, why am I not throwing up? I reached for Google and broke my number one rule.

Hands shaking, I typed out the search words:

“Symptoms of stomach flu.”

This couldn’t be anxiety…or could it?

I slept for 24 hours. When I finally ventured downstairs, I said THE WORDS to my family. “I think I might be having anxiety symptoms.” No way, they said. Right, mom?!? You’re just sick.

Yes, I’m sick, but I also feel like I’m having anxiety again.

Off and on anxiety symptoms and tiredness followed me the next two days. There were times I was sure I was having a setback, and other times I was sure it was simply low blood sugar or high cortisol from being ill.  

The truth is that it simply doesn’t matter why I feel the way I do. My body is revved up for one reason or another, so what in the world was I to do?

 

 

Be Honest About It

I told my family and a few select people that I was struggling. It helps to have them know.

 

Be Kind To Yourself

Do the same things you’d do if you had the flu. Drink lots of water. Get lots of rest. Breathe in and out. Let the waves come, don’t try to fight them.

 

Be Brave

Put on the armor that God gives you. Claim the peace of Jesus. It’s yours. There’s nothing you have to do to get it. Don’t let it sit unused. Claim it. Claim it. Claim it.

 

This journey of Seeking the Still is just that: a journey. I haven’t arrived. And while I have tangibly seen the victory of Jesus, I’m still in process. So are you. It’s not called “I Found The Still.” I’m still seeking that which is fully available in Jesus.

 

Having had acute anxiety, I may always be more prone to it. In times of stress and sickness, it leaks out. It’s good for me to know this and be prepared. But I will not allow it to be used against me.

 

No weapon formed against me, or you, shall prosper. That verse doesn’t mean no weapon will be formed against us, it just means it won’t win. We claim the peace of Christ. It is ours, and we will wield it in His almighty name.

I'd love to remind you that there is hope and you are never alone.

 
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