Nikki

My Story Punctuated with Hallelujahs

simplystriving

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God,
proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
Hebrews 13:15

Friends, I’m tired. I say that literally as I care for this newborn babe. And I must confess, I had forgotten how hard simple life tasks are when sleep eludes you.

Even hallelujahs.

David made sure he praised God intentionally at least seven times a day (Psalm 119:164). A part of me wonders if this is like the seventy times seven example in the Bible and really means: David praised all day long. Every day. No matter what.

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Make Our Mark {This New Year}

resolution

The empty squares soothe me and I’m tempted to leave them that way. For this new calendar is so crisp and clean. And last year’s calendar is so…messy and cluttered…

But then I flip through the old pages and see scrawlings that make me smile wide. A miraculous birth. My son’s first tooth lost. My first speaking engagement. And all the memories of travels and friends/family visiting…they are worth noting.

With each New Year, I reflect on notations I made the year previous. Ones I jotted in my calendar, my thanks journal, and in the margins of my Bible. They help me determine if this path I’m on is bringing me closer to Home.

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The Gift of His Son {Unto Us}

Snowy-Sunday-at-Immanual-M

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

I’ve had it memorized since Kindergarten. No matter the translation or way it’s sung, I can tell you where it’s originally found. And I’ve found comfort in its familiarity.

But friends, it wasn’t until this last week that I finally understood the significance. And I can now say, it’s become personal to me.

“Unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given.”

Do you see the difference with these two proclamations?

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The Gift of the Living Word

Bible

The binding creeks as I open wide. Its golden edges have worn in color, but still glisten in the rising light. And I breathe in deep while opening my heart to receive His whispers through the margins.

For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

It took years for me to truly discover the validity of this verse. That His Word written thousands of years ago can still resonate loudly in my soul today.

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The Gift of Sacrifice

Give Thanks

But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.
If you keep to my path,
I will reveal to you the salvation of God.
Psalm 50:23

My breath caught as I saw giving thanks defined as a sacrifice here. Is it really that hard? Does it truly stretch us as we discipline ourselves to acknowledge where all good and perfect gifts come from?

I then discovered a sacrifice by definition is an offering of surrender. And when we give thanks to God for all He has done for us, we are are surrendering…accepting we couldn’t have or do or be without Him.

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How My Prayers Have Changed

Psalm 34:4

Some days, I don’t even know where to begin. My vision blurs and senses dull as I look at the pages scrawled with prayer requests. The very ones I have penned for those He has called me to love. It seems so overwhelming.

There’s health concerns.
Financial struggles.
Unnecessary trials.
Unknown journeys.
Difficult decisions.

And I want to bring them all to the Cross and leave them in His capable hands. Yet, often, I don’t know how to pray.

Lately, I’ve simply striven to seek James’ advice:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

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Carefree in the Care of God

Consider the Birds

He squeals in delight and I can’t help but chuckle. His 5 year-old arms, spread wide, wave wildly as he tests how fast and far his legs can take him.

I watch long and can’t help but feel even his play is an act of worship. For he holds nothing back and makes reckless abandon look easy. What freedom…

The sparrows’ chorus catches my attention and I tell my blue-eyed boy they are encouraging him along. He stops his own flight, looks up towards the branches of the cottonwood and exclaims plainly: “Mom, the birds always sing.” And while skipping off, he joins in…

All day, I carried that thought around with me.

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My Fears, My Faith, My Father

The Presence of God

I gulped hard, forcing a smile as I watched my five year-old slide down the wet strip of yellow. Cold water splashed my shins as he squealed in delight. And still I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

She was too young. She didn’t deserve to go so soon. Yet she’s gone. Just like that.

Try as I might, all I could see was what else I could lose…

Fear was percolating when movement across the lawn caught my eye. I glanced over just in time to see the baby cardinal. He saw me, too, as he hopped over to our rain garden and then quickly took flight.

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