Passion in a Picture

Passion in a Picture

He wanted me to ride out to the baseball field with him.

“But, of course I will!”

I couldn’t help but snap these pics of his silhouette as the sprays of water collided with the rays of sun, making for a very “My life in a square” moment, and one that was very quintessentially Todd!

This picture captures him to the core showing his passion, not in the throws of a heated battle nor in the excitement of a victorious win, but rather in the quiet stillness of a solemn golden hour.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” -Anthony J. D’Angelo

His passion runs deep.

He still continues to grow… because he is still excited about learning.

And he still makes my heart go puh, puh, puh…

Truth Is … I’m Tired

Truth Is … I’m Tired

 
 

(This song has been on replay ever since the day my worship leader introduced it to me.  It definitely has met me where I am, and I can’t get enough of it! Take a moment to listen. You won’t regret it.

Truth is . . . I’m tired. Have you ever been there?  You may be there now.  If not, chances are you will most likely be there at some point in your life. Truthfully speaking … I am there, in more ways than one.  This post may be a bit uncomfortably transparent, but it is what it is… the truth.
 
While I am the happiest I have ever been in my life… I have an unbelievable husband who is my best friend and never fails to show me how much he loves me; I have two teenage boys of whom I am very proud because of the fine young men they are growing up to be; my family is healthy; but most of all and most importantly, my God is a good God and has blessed me and my family beyond measure.  Yet, I am tired.
 
Mentally tired.
 
Physically tired.
 
I am all tapped out.  I am full so full of joy but, at the same time, tired of almost everything; so much so that I can’t fake it anymore.  I’m just tapped out.  Out of fuel.  I seem to be just pushing myself to even go through the motions.
 
How does one get to this point?  I can’t tell you for sure;  I only have a guess.  My guess is that the rush of this fast-paced life can catch up with you, hold on, and drag you by the heels.
 
It’s easy to just want to ‘be’ more and more every day, and to rest.  I want to be able to spend more quality time with my husband, drink up these last few years with my boys before they head off to college, nurture my family and home the way they need to be nurtured, take care of my health the way it needs to be cared for, and rest. Did I say rest?  Yes…rest! 
 
I want so much to be one of those women who ‘has it all together’ with an organized life, a healthy life, the perfect wife & mother, the perfect daughter/sister, the perfect employee, the perfect friend, and the perfect person all the way around.  I’m just not.  As a matter of fact, I find myself not measuring up to what I need to be at all in ANY of these areas.  You know, the ‘jack of all trades but a master at none’  kind of scenario. 
 
For this reason, over the last year, I have started reprioritizing things in my life one by one. This has left me saddened in some areas of my life, with a sense of guilt in others, and in others a relief.   I realized there just had to be a change.  Women, especially, need to come to the realization that every single thing cannot be at the top of the priority list.  There must be a balance, and the balancing scales constantly move up and down as each wave, or phase, of life rushes in and out.  When there is a shift in priority, it doesn’t mean that those things that are shifted down on the list cannot be shifted back up to the top again at some point, but for such a time as it is, these things are where they need to be in order to be able to function properly.
 
What do you do when you find your head spinning and you find yourself in this place of tiredness and exhaustion and you are all tapped out?   Draw near to God. – ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’ (James 4:8) –   ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you.’  (Matt. 6:33)   And pray.  Pray, pray, pray.  In ALL things pray. God asks us to ‘Come to Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28) This is where my heart is right now – seeking the King and praying, praying, praying, and resting in His presence.  
 
I have been in a season of introspection over the last several months, which has brought me to the realization that I had gotten away, slowly, from making God my first priority in all things.  Scripture says “Seek first.”  It doesn’t say to seek God after your plans are made and request a blessing over your own plans/agenda.  We need to seek God and pray that He makes our desires the same as His – then all these things will be added – we will be blessed.  It doesn’t mean life will be easy, but we will have peace in the midst of the storm if we allow Him to take the lead.

 

When reprioritizing things in one’s life, there will be those who will not understand, but that is okay.  This is what a sweet, sweet mentoring lady told me just the other day.  She said “others will not understand, but that’s okay.  God knows your heart, and that is all that matters.”  Wow.  God knew exactly what I needed that day, and He used that sweet, Godly, God-fearing pillar to reassure me and show me a piece of His glory.  Such simple and few words but powerful ones for me on that day.  God is so good.  He is better to me than I deserve, and I am so very thankful.
♪ Truth is . . . I’m tired . . . So take me to the King.  I don’t have much to bring. Take me to the throne; leave me there alone to gaze upon His glory, and sing to Him, I will.  Just take me to the King. ♫
 
Have you ever felt this way?  I would love to hear from you!  Post a comment, or email me @ danaholden87@gmail.com.  Give me your thoughts and, as iron sharpens iron, maybe we can encourage one another.
 
All for Him,
Pleased to Meet Mary

Pleased to Meet Mary

(I’d like to apologize beforehand for a lengthy post!  The material was just so rich I could not bear to shorten it.)
After coming off a whirlwind of 2011, my goal for 2012 is to ‘gear down’ in this Martha-esque world and make a determined, intentional resolution to take time every day and sit at the feet of Jesus and earnestly seek His face as Mary did.   In a world of  ‘to do’ lists, and feelings of satisfaction with every check mark of completion making me feel productive, my main purpose of twenty twelve is nurture the relationship I have with my Father. Nothing else matters. Everything else will fall into place.
I have been reading a very small but powerful book entitled ‘Towards a Powerful Inner Life’ by Graham Cooke. (A big ‘thank you’ to my friend, Jacque, for this gift!)

I should have read it all in one sitting but have been savoring over each page for several weeks now.  The material is so rich I can only take it in small doses; I need time to process what’s just been read and savor every word.  My intentions are to read it even a second time (or 3rd or 4th, however many it takes!) just to ensure that I soak it all in so as not to miss anything.
Yes…It is that good!
Over the last few weeks, Todd & I have felt God speaking to us about ‘rest.’  Not just physical rest, but He’s been speaking to us about the busyness of our life and to intentionally make time for Him.  It is easy to have our own agenda and then ask God to bless it.  It is scriptural, however, to ‘seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) 
We must seek God FIRST, and fit our busy schedules around Him rather than fit Him around our busy schedules.
The excerpt that I just read from this book ‘Powerful Inner Life’ reflects this sentiment:
There will always be something  that will prevent us from resting.  It doesn’t matter what is occurring around us or within us; we are acceptable in Christ.  So rest.
Matthew 11:28-30:  ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For MY yoke is easy and MY burden is light.’

A yoke is a harness which fits over the shoulders. It connects you to the one walking alongside and enables you to move in unison. Jesus has promised us that if we walk with Him we can bear our burdens in a completely different manner.  What would the freedom to rest really bring us in our busy lives?
Sometimes peace is restored by the simple act of pushing away worry, fear, anxiety, panic, and unbelief.  Try it. Get tough on the causes of unrest within yourself.  The writer of Hebrews calls it laboring to enter that rest (Hebrews 4:8-11).  We have to work at being at peace!
God says to ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10)  With every year that passes, my desire to do this magnifies. 
May the year 2012 be a time that my family & I can grow more spiritually mature and boldly take a stand for Christ; may we seek and find wisdom beyond our years; may we water others with God’s revelations so that we ourselves can be watered (oh, how I love to be watered!); and may we boast solely on the unconditional love of our Lord & Savior, for if we should boast in anything, may we boast in the Lord.  May the year of 2012 be a year of reaching the lost and entertaining angels unaware.
I’d like to leave you with Cooke’s meditation on resting in God:
A meeting: in the secret place
Come and join me
I’m drawing you into a quiet place of introspection
Come away from the noise into the place of stillness.
No beloved, I’m not talking of externals
I’m not speaking of a physical place that you need to reach.
There is a safe place within you
A quiet place. Where stillness reigns.
I’m asking you to retreat from the soul
Your Martha of many distractions
Legitimate, powerful, necessary, but ultimately unhelpful….
compared to what I want to give you.
Step back into your spirit
Through the inner fortress of your heart
Away from the world and the busyness of your soul.
Meet the Mary that is in your spirit man
And come to sit at My feet.
I’m  here, in the secret place of your spirit,
Waiting.
All you need is here by Me.
Provision, peace and a rest for your soul
Come and sit quietly by Me.
I am the pool of water by your feet
I am the manna falling
I am the raven feeding you
The tree of life that gives you shade
I am the gentle breeze that kisses your brow
I am the eagle’s cry, watching over you from above
I am the velvet paws of the lion padding protectively around your camp.
Step back, far back into your spirit
Practice being still, learn the way of peace.
I will deal with the issues
Remove the spots and blemishes
Refine your heart.
I will empty you of all that you don’t need and never wanted
I will purge and purify your heart.
I will imprison Eros and release Agape within you.
All self-obsession, ambition, preservation will die in you
I will empty you of all that grieves Me and frustrates you
And fill the vacuum with worship.
Out of that pace of internal rest
Will come a new creation
Soft, pliable
Owning nothing yet possessing all things.
A servant will merge with the son
A warrior will grow out of the child
Action will flow out of rest
In the secret place of your spirit.
The enemy cannot find you
The vagaries of life, leave you untouched
Impurities will be drawn away from your heart
In the quiet strength of My presence.
The aching, the longing in your heart
Will be overshadowed by all My desire for you.
You shall be fully known
And you will know.
I am going to make a determined purpose, every day,  to meet the Mary in my soul who sits at the feet of Jesus in complete surrender!
  • Identify your current unrest or lack of peace.  What are you not seeing about God’s power or faithfulness?
  • Does your lack of peace arise out of a wrong perception?
  • What needs to change so that peace may remain?