Still Waiting?

I moved back into my townhouse after waiting for seven months, while repairs were being completed after a waterline broke and flooded my upstairs and downstairs.  It has been a long and crazy ride, but I am thankful for the refining that God has been doing in my heart, in providing peace and patience in circumstances that is didn’t belong.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Last night, as my Bible sat three feet away from me, I allowed myself to be led down a rabbit hole of videos.  I landed at one entitled, “The Perfect Proposal”.  My 33-year-old single heart was already in fight-or-flight mode, but I watched as a man in his twenties explained to the camera that he had been saving up for the perfect proposal since he was 12 years old.  I continued to watch until tears streamed down my eyes.

When will it be my time? my heart cried out.

Still waiting?

Maybe marriage is not what you’re waiting for, but I’m sure there’s something that you could fill in the blank of the unfulfilled desires of your heart.

But Jesus hears our cries.  He knows our pain.  He shares in our sorrow.

So as the tears stung my eyes last night, I refreshed my screen and at the top of my news feed appeared words that caused the tears to stream even faster.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
—Habakkuk 2:3 

I’m not sure that I’ve ever opened the book of Habakkuk.  I honestly didn’t even know where to find it in my Bible, when I finally picked it up.  But its words became a soothing balm for my heart.

I took some time to talk with Jesus about my desires and thanked Him for the promise that my waiting is not in vain, that my desires “will surely come”.

I wanted to share this with you today, to encourage your heart for whatever it is that you’re waiting for.  It might not be in the timing we hope for, or even in the package that we expect, but Jesus has appointed the time, His perfect time.

The Place You Chose For Me - www.imperfectvessel.com

The Place You Chose For Me

Not long before my paternal grandmother passed away at the age of 93, she told my dad that she had been waking up with a song in her heart, of which she looked for the lesson of the day.

Music was such a huge part of her life, singing in the church choir for decades, and traveling the globe with the Ohio Valley Chorale.  Music was her avenue to God and the lessons He had to teach.

I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

At the age of seven I began my journey in the musical world.  I’d eventually go on to play violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and steel drums.  Music awakens something inside of me.  It makes me feel alive.  Just like my sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence, music gives me goosebumps.

A few years ago I had the honor of assisting my paternal grandma as she continued to age and decline in her day to day activities.  The two of us were not particularly close, but we shared a love for NCIS (the original, though we would was NCIS: Los Angeles if we were desperate), and she would freely admit that Abby was her favorite.  We both shared a sweet tooth and of course, a love for music.

Some evenings, when we’d watched all of the NCIS episodes we could find, we’d turn on Comcast’s 400s and find a music station to sit and listen to.  Sometimes we’d talk, but other times we’d just allow the music to fill the apartment.

I remember one evening, as I finished up washing dishes from dinner, she asked aloud, “Why am I still here?”

She’d gotten frustrated with her failing eye sight and shaky hands and spilled some of her dinner on her shirt.  Through tears welling in my eyes, I managed to tell her, “Grandma, He’s got plans for you.  There’s still time left.”

Once she moved to an assisted living facility, we’d remind each other that He had big plans for both of us.  And so after she passed this April, I began waking up with a song in my heart.  For a few weeks it was My Story by Big Daddy Weave, but eventually drifted into To Live is Christ by Sidewalk Prophets.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
—Philippians 1:21, ESV

I cannot listen to this latter song without finding my hands in the air and tears streaming down my face.  The chorus just reaches in and grabs a hold of something inside of me.

“My great desire is to be with You
But this is the place You chose for me
This is the place You chose for me
To lift my cross and give everything
This is the time You gave to me
This is the time You gave to me”

I discovered a part of these plans that Grandma and I talked about.  I wasn’t looking for a new job.  I love the people I work with, but another position found me.  Last week, I went for an interview for a position with a lofty title, at an outreach ministry organization in a rural town about 30 minutes from my home.  I prayed Proverbs 3:5-6 and listened to Lauren Daigle’s CD on my way to the interview, to remind myself to trust in whatever path He had for me.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take.
—Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT

With this scripture and Lauren’s song, Trust in You, still ringing in my ears, I walked into the fellowship hall of the church where my interview was to be, and faced a picture of Jesus with the words, Trust in the Lord, written plainly at the bottom.  And so I did.

After a battery of grueling questions before a panel of six, I felt at peace with whatever decision they made.  But the phone call I received a week later, while driving home after dinner with some friends, was the invitation for a different kind of peace and coming home.  Once again, I decided to trust His path.

Starting August 15th, I will be the Executive Director of Epworth Center in Bethesda, Ohio.  Lofty title and big shoes to fill, but this is the place He chose for me.

So I will continue to sing the song in my heart, just like Grandma, and trust in His promises.

“If I rise, let me rise on You
Not on all my successes
My esteem or my pursuits
If I lose, let me lose my life
Cause if I belong to Jesus
The flesh is crucified

For me to live is Christ
To die is gain”

—Sidewalk Prophets

The Importance of the Holy Huddle

Sundays after church, we’d all hop in the fifteen passenger van to go stuff our faces with the finest grub at the Chinese buffet in town before heading back to camp for our holy huddle. At least that’s what I called it.

Sun sick and tired from the week before, we’d find our spot on the camp store floor. Heads resting on other’s knees, or slouched up against the wall, we’d spend an hour in preparation for the week ahead. Sure first aid kits needed packed, as well as our gallon size bags full of supplies for Bible studies and campfires, but those things could wait.

Camp life isn’t for everyone; I get that. But to me, it’s as natural as breathing. It is an environment that I feel most at home (even compared to the place I lay my head every night), and it is a place that my Martha can be parked in a corner, and I can pick up my Mary.

Working on staff at the church camp that I grew up attending is one of the greatest blessings of my life. Even though I participated in those gatherings each Sunday afternoon for many summers, it wasn’t until years had passed and I longed to go back, that I recognized the importance of the holy huddle.

Read more at the Biblical Wives Book Club study of “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World”.

It’s Time to Get Our Hands Dirty

Have you ever tended to a plant?  First you have to get your hands dirty, make room for this tiny, itty-bitty seed.  And then you water it.  Not too much, but just enough.

It’s a process.  But it’s beautiful; watching things grow.

Recently I have felt so burdened by so many heartbreaking things happening in our world (Orlando’s tragedies // Flooding in WV // Deciding which lives matter).  It has been the very opposite of growth.  It has been heartbreaking death and destruction.

Those events and souls who have been affected are weighing heavily on my heart.  And the weight of it all has felt unbelievably heavy.  An elephant doing dead lifts on my chest, heavy.

Last night, as I turned on the reading lamp by my bed, and opened my illustrated study Bible, I finally felt the crushing, suffocating burden lift.

I finally took the time to get my hands dirty and opened my Bible.  I wasn’t sure where to turn in this ancient text, but I didn’t want it to be a page at random, like I used to read it.  Flipping through without reason until my finger fell upon a strange and thoroughly out of context passage.  Instead, I flipped to a familiar book and read a few footnotes and some background on the culture of that day.  But I was looking for something.  Something to hold onto.

I was looking to find answers to this heaviness; to the sorrow our nation is facing.

I bought my illustrated study Bible a few months ago, just before my small group began studying Romans, so I haven’t yet explored all of my favorite passages in this particular copy.  So when I turned to the tried and tested passage that was my spiritual life jacket over the last couple of years, I was suddenly faced with a different take on the verses that I had memorized through much meditation during the fall of 2014.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
—Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT

The weight of the words, light and refreshing, replaced the weight and heaviness of the sorrow I’ve been carrying.

You see, in 2015 and 2016, I have selected focus words for each year.  Instead of choosing a sure-to-fail resolution, I’ve selected a focus that would allow me to grow throughout the entirety of the year.  In 2015, I chose the word, “trust”.  In 2016, I chose the word, “seek”.

This new take on a familiar passage includes both.  TRUST in the Lord with all of your heart.  SEEK his will in all you do.

I don’t know how long it would have taken me to come across these two verses if it weren’t for my desperation for answers.  If I hadn’t gone digging, to get my hands dirty, I would have continued to feel the destructive pressure instead of the freeing hope of growth.

As I sat down to write this post, some other freeing words have come to mind.  Those of Natalie Grant’s song, Be One.

It’s time to get our hands dirty
Be love there’s a whole lot of hurting
Calling all hearts
Calling all hands
Calling all feet to take a stand
Why sit around and wait for a miracle to come
When we can be one

What do you say?  Can we tackle the heartbreak together?  Will you pray with me?

Lord, help us to take action.  Let us not be afraid to dig in, to be the love and hope for others.  It’s not time to surrender to the destruction, but to seek to find answers. Help us to trust You.  Help us to seek You first.  Lord, let us join You in Your work.  It’s time to get our hands dirty.  We pray in Your name.  Amen.

 

When Darkness Falls

Every fourth of July, when I was little, my family would pack up a bag with snacks, grabbed our yellow comforter we used for picnics, and headed to join my grandparents along the riverbank to watch the fireworks.  I adored unpacking our bag, setting up camp to wait for the darkness to fall so that the fireworks, and lightening bugs, could light up the sky.

Little did I know that years later our family would move right across the street from our firework perch, and even now I enjoy the fireworks each July from my parent’s front steps.

This week has reminded of those simpler times.  As I have worked to unpack my belongings at my townhouse, a light from the darkness that took more than seven months to ignite, I have come across items that have splashed memories across the canvas of my mind, like the fireworks across the sky.  I have found books, given to me as gifts from long-lost friends.  I have found notes tucked in tattered journals.  I have found pictures of times and places that I cherish.

Precious memories.  Ones that make the past come alive, and make me question if my present is as exciting, as fulfilling and as important as the work I’ve done for God in the past.  And darkness falls.

I recently learned that if someone experiences a bout of anxiety or depression once in their life, they are more susceptible to experience it again in the future, even with treatment, since it can literally remap the workings of the brain.

I am hard-wired for anxiety and consequently, I am susceptible to depression.  It has hung an impenetrable darkness above me for seasons.  It has crept up the back of my throat, like bile rising, and threatened to choke me.

But in the seasons since I first experienced the darkness as a teenager, I’ve learned to look for the light.  Sometimes it is as small and as sporadic as the lightening bugs that dance across the riverbank adjacent to my parent’s home.  And sometimes it breaks through like the flash of fireworks, quickly illuminating the world, before it dissolves slowly to blackness.

Each time the light peeks through, I hold onto those moments.  The sound of my sister belly-laughing at the ridiculousness that is my family.  The way the sun filters through the clouds as I drive home from work.  The song that softens something within me.  Each moment, a simple and small gift to hold onto, to cherish when the darkness seems so thick and impossible to wade through.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
—John 1:1-5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  From the beginning of time and forevermore, we have hope that the darkness has not, cannot, and will not overcome the great light that is found in Christ.  Through Him all things were made.  The small moments; the gift of laughter and sunbeams that melt into my skin, they were created by Him, with just as much care as He crafted my 5’6″ frame.

So when the darkness falls, when I begin to doubt and wonder and think that I am far from His path, He sends something to catch my eye, my ear, or my heart to remind me that He’s still there right beside me and will not allow me to be overcome, to fail or be swept away without His notice.  In Him is life, one worth living and fighting for.

What small reminders has God sent your direction lately to remind you of His love and light?

Waiting on God

His sandals probably squeaked from the water pouring off His feet, as He made His way past the crowd that had gathered at the banks of the river.  I imagine He smiled at the faces that looked back at Him in wonder at what they had just witnessed (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).  Did He know what was waiting for Him beyond the crowd?

The heavens had just opened, the Spirit descended in the form of a dove and God spoke His blessing over Jesus, His Son, in which He is well pleased.  But just steps away, in the wilderness, Jesus spent a period of 40 days being tempted by the Devil.  And on top of that, He went without eating for that time.

Talk about the ultimate excuse for being hangry!  But He wasn’t, not even when the Devil persisted with His attempts of trickery.

“If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
—Luke 4:3

Tell this stone.  Jesus could have done it.  He spoke creation into being.  He created that stone that the Devil held before Him.  But He resisted.

“I will give You all of the kingdoms of the earth, their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want.  If You, then, will worship me, all will be Yours.”
—Luke 4:5-7

All will be Yours.  Jesus could have taken it.  He created all of the people within those kingdoms.  He created man and woman for the purpose of worshiping Him.  But He resisted.

He knew that He would soon receive something to satisfy His temporary hunger.  Still He knew that what He was being offered would eventually become His.  He just had to wait on God’s perfect timing.

I’ve been waiting too.  Not for bread or for kingdoms to fall down at my feet, but for a change of status of the ring-finger of my left hand.

I have been single for 6.5 years, and in that time I have watched countless friends and loved ones walk down the aisle, and usher in precious bundles of joy into their homes and lives.  And I’m still a party of one.

Waiting on God is hard.  Though I understand that my single status does not define me, even thousands of years later, the Devil is still up to his tricks, as he tries to convince me that the time I’ve waited for God and for a man to take notice, demonstrates that I am unworthy and unloved.

No matter what you may be waiting for, I’m sure you’ve been dealt your fair share of trickery, since none of us are exempt.

Likewise, none of us are exempt from His notice.  We are worthy and we are loved.

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”
Luke 12:6-7

My sweet fellow Peony, Natalie of A Tiny Traveler, has recently opened an Etsy shop where she shares some stunning designs.  At her invitation to visit her shop, I was immediately drawn to these three designs.

Artwork by Tiny Traveler Creative - enjoy during the wait
Artwork by Tiny Traveler Creative - enjoy during the wait
Artwork by Tiny Traveler Creative - enjoy during the wait

Visit Tiny Traveler Creative and use the coupon code TENOFF to save 10% off your purchase.

What beautiful reminders that no matter what path we’re traveling, or season we may find ourselves in, we are worthy, loved, chosen and redeemed!

Jesus resisted the temptations of bread and power because waiting on God is possible.  Jesus resisted the temptations because we are worth the wait!

In what areas of your life are you waiting on God?

 

Week 6: This is My Song - Looking for Lovely Online Book Study hosted by www.imperfectvessel.com

Week Six | This is My Song

Week Six Reading Assignments– Pages 171-190 | Perspective Shifts • Unfinished • Epilogue: This is My Song


My first encounter with God didn’t take place at church, but rather on a hiking trail in the hills of West Virginia when I was twelve; at one of the places my heart feels most at home, church camp.  The unofficial tag line of the camp says it is a place where loving God comes naturally, and I felt it there.  His love.

Every Thursday evening, the entire camp comes together for a campfire to worship God through song, fun skits, scripture and sharing communion.  And over the years, I fell more in love with God at each Thursday night campfire, until the night that I left the campfire and made the teary-eyed journey to the end of the meadow with my counselor Deb, where I sat at the foot of the cross and gave my heart to Jesus, at the age of sixteen.

Through the years, returning campers and staff came to love the traditions of our camp-wide campfires, including Rev. Keller encouraging us all to shout out “praise the Lord” for each line of Psalm 150.  Even now, I cannot read the six verses without hearing the echos of my camp family around me, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

Last fall my friend Sarah shared a video with my small group of Louis Giglio sharing the astounding praise that creation gives to God, from the heights of the heavens to the depth of the seas.  If you haven’t seen it, set aside some time to watch this 14 minute video.  It’ll knock your socks off!

As I read the final chapters of Looking for Lovely these two encounters with God came to mind, campfire worship and singing stars.  Both take place in the darkness.  Both lovely.

A star is born under the circumstance of extreme pressure, resulting in the form of light.

And sometimes the same can be said of us, under circumstances of extreme pressure, when we walk through the valley of darkness, it is there that we find we are stronger, more refined, and more capable of finding lovely and shining God’s light for others to see.

It is often under that extreme pressure that the refining process takes place.  It is a process that isn’t once and done.  We’ll continue to be refined, but our story will still reflect flaws.  And that is okay.

I want to echo what Annie says of her friends,

“I’m quick to remind them that no one is asking them to be done, no one expects perfection, and they shouldn’t either.  It’s enough if they will just not give up and keep working out what God is doing on the inside.  Trust the process…”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely

This is the challenge I leave you with: to trust the process, to continue seeking the lovely even in the unexpected places, and not be afraid to sing your song of praise to God for the work He has done, even if it is while you walk through the darkness.

Share with us in the comments, won’t you? Or on your own blog if you have one, on social media—and be sure to include #intentionalfilling and #livingoutlovely so we can be a part of your own journey into looking for lovely.


To help keep you on track, we’ve developed a suggested schedule.
Of course, this is your study, so please feel free to approach it at a pace that works with your schedule.

Download the Weekly in the Know PDF below…

Weekly In The Know - Week 6 suggested schedule for Looking for Lovely online book study


Community Chat

Let’s chat!  We’d love to hear from you once you’ve had some time to read through this week’s reading assignments.  Come back to this space & share your thoughts in the comments below about:

Identify – In this week’s reading Annie shares about the unfinished places in her life.  What areas of your life feel unfinished or in need of refining?  Take some time this week to talk to God about them.

In the Word – This week’s Scripture focus comes from Philippians 2:12.  Take a few minutes to read through these verses in your favorite translation.  How does this verse speak to you in the present moment?

•  Download our weekly Scripture card.  Print it and hang it in a place where you’ll come across it often this week, to aid in memorization and the reminder of the lovely God brings to our lives.

Application –  Annie discovered the lovely in being “unfinished” and in being a constant work in progress.  In what ways are you celebrating the lovely about yourself and what God is doing to shift your perspective? This week’s theme is This is My Song.  In the pursuit of collecting moments that matter, we’d like to invite you to join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to share how you’re living out your song of praise to God this week.  In the caption of your post, include the hashtag, #livingoutlovely.


Bree is a recovering perfectionist, whose weaknesses include the clearance rack at Target and anything pumpkin flavored. She is the founder of The Imperfect Vessel. Though she is an introvert, she has an insatiable craving for community and desire to bring light to God’s purpose in the imperfections of life.
Bree Blum is a recovering perfectionist, whose weaknesses include the clearance rack at Target and anything pumpkin flavored.  She is the founder of The Imperfect Vessel.  Though she is an introvert, she has an insatiable craving for community and desire to bring light to God’s purpose in the imperfections of life.

She’d love to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram.

Week 5: Finding Lovely - Looking for Lovely Online Book Study hosted by www.imperfectvessel.com

Week Five | Finding Lovely

Week Five Reading Assignments– Pages 144-170 | A Picture in Tel Aviv • Gardens • When You Find Lovely


Have you ever had an experience so profound that even while you were going through it, you knew it was going to change your life forever?

Just like Annie did on her trip to Israel, I recently had a similarly life altering experience during a mission trip to Haiti.

Maybe you’ve never traveled halfway around the world; maybe you’ve never even been out of the country; but I bet when you read that first sentence something came to your mind – something that changed you, something that defines you even to this day. Dwell on that for a minute. Really let those memories soak in.

If you’re like Annie and I, those memories might be tainted by the sadness of that experience being over. You could be on the opposite end of the spectrum; you might be glad you’re past that stage in your life because it was a hard one.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important that we remember to appreciate the good and the bad, the joy and the pain because that is what finding lovely is all about. It’s finding the beauty in life during the times of pain that makes the suffering a little easier to endure.

It’s so important for us to remember that God has a plan for our lives – even in the seasons of troubles and trials – and that He will give us gifts of loveliness that make the journey a little better. We just need to remember to look for them.

“TRUST THE PATH, I heard God say…He meant the questions in my heart, the things I wonder about, the worries that I’m going to miss Him. I don’t have to know where things are going; I don’t have to know the destination; I just have to trust the path.”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (pg.164-165)

Just like Annie learned to trust God and trust His path for her, the people I encountered in Haiti taught me to do the same. These people quite literally have nothing but the shirts on their backs and a very flimsy roof over their heads. Yet they can find joy and beauty in God and worship Him with more passion than I’ve ever witnessed before. What could possibly stop me from finding the lovely in my life and doing the same?

Is there something that God is calling you to do, or something you’re going through that you don’t understand?  As you yearn to see what’s at the end of the path, be careful not to miss the lovely He desires to show you along the way.

Share with us in the comments, won’t you? Or on your own blog if you have one, on social media—and be sure to include #intentionalfilling and #livingoutlovely so we can be a part of your own journey into looking for lovely.


To help keep you on track, we’ve developed a suggested schedule.
Of course, this is your study, so please feel free to approach it at a pace that works with your schedule.

Download the Weekly in the Know PDF below…

Weekly In The Know - Week 5 suggested schedule for Looking for Lovely online book study


Community Chat

Let’s chat!  We’d love to hear from you once you’ve had some time to read through this week’s reading assignments.  Come back to this space & share your thoughts in the comments below about:

Identify – In this week’s reading, Annie shares about moments that have shaped her life.  What experiences have you struggled to let go of, not because they were bad, but because they were so good?

In the Word – This week’s Scripture focus comes from Ecclesiastes 3:11.  Take a few minutes to read through these verses in your favorite translation.  How does this verse speak to you in the present moment?

•  Download our weekly Scripture card.  Print it and hang it in a place where you’ll come across it often this week, to aid in memorization and the reminder of the lovely God brings to our lives.

Application – This week’s theme is Finding Lovely.  Take time this week to actively search out the lovely in the hard, challenging things this week or in the overlooked paths of your day.  What lovely have you stumbled upon that your eyes once before missed?  In the pursuit of collecting moments that matter, we’d like to invite you to join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to share how you’re living out the moments and “finding lovely” this week.  In the caption of your post, include the hashtag, #livingoutlovely and #findinglovely.


Kristin is a wife and mother of two fur babies, who lives in Wheeling, WV. She has a passion for Jesus and reading, which she put together to found the Biblical Wives Book Club. She seeks to encourage other young wives to maintain strong, Christ-centered marriages through a community of women who support each other as women of God.

She’d love to connect with you on Facebook.

Week 4: Everyday Lovely - Looking for Lovely Online Book Study hosted by www.imperfectvessel.com

Week Four | Everyday Lovely

Week Four Reading Assignments– Pages 110-143 | Sushi • b.fab.fitness • Monet’s House • My People


“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
—2 Corinthians 3:17, NLT

Freedom.  I looked it up in Strong’s Concordance.  The Greek word for freedom is eleutheria.  Do you know what it means?  Liberty/freedom.  That’s it.  I was expecting something truly enlightening, but then I realized it already is.  Freedom is something we can exult in.  Throughout this book and especially these chapters, I have felt God really speaking to me about authenticity.  I think that we most experience what the Lord has to offer when we allow for authenticity.  Real, raw and honest.  And, if we are honest, I think most of us crave these kind of relationships.

“There wasn’t anything artificial in there. It was all real and orderly, and it made me cry because I saw the lovely, and I wanted it in my life.  It felt like God whispered something into my heart about seeing how He does things and trying to be like Him.”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (Pg. 115)

Throughout these four chapters, Annie experiences real authenticity with God in who He is, who that makes her, and how she relates to other people.  Freedom in God is found when we allow Him to order our lives for us and when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with Him and other people.

“God is ordering my steps. God is ordering all things, and I rest in that.”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (Pg. 117)

Being able to have such rest and trust in God is what true freedom looks like.  He gives us the freedom to love who we are in Him.  It’s finding the lovely within ourselves because we are becoming more like Christ every day.  Freedom doesn’t mean doing life on our own, but developing real genuine relationships with God and others.

“It’s not about the number of people you have; it’s just about having even one person that can hold your arms up when things get hard.”
—Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely (Pg. 142)

How can you be intentionally authentic with God and with others?  Are you seeing the lovely that is Christ in you?  In what ways are you experiencing true freedom?

Share with us in the comments, won’t you? Or on your own blog if you have one, on social media—and be sure to include #intentionalfilling and #livingoutlovely so we can be a part of your own journey into looking for lovely.


To help keep you on track, we’ve developed a suggested schedule.
Of course, this is your study, so please feel free to approach it at a pace that works with your schedule.

Download the Weekly in the Know PDF below…

Weekly In The Know - Week 4 suggested schedule for Looking for Lovely online book study


Community Chat

Let’s chat!  We’d love to hear from you once you’ve had some time to read through this week’s reading assignments.  Come back to this space & share your thoughts in the comments below about:

Identify – In this week’s reading we’ve learned from Annie that freedom can be found in the most unexpected places.  In what places or relationships in your life have you found freedom and peace?

In the Word – This week’s Scripture focus is from 2 Corinthians 3:17.  Take a few minutes to read through these verses in your favorite translation.  How do these verses speak to you in the present moment?

•  Download our weekly Scripture card.  Print it and hang it in a place where you’ll come across it often this week, to aid in memorization and the reminder of the lovely God brings to our lives.

Application – This week’s theme is Everyday Lovely.  Share with us where you find the lovely in your everyday life that you may have overlooked previously.  In the pursuit of collecting moments that matter, we’d like to invite you to join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to share how you’re living out “everyday lovely” this week.  In the caption of your post, include the hashtag, #livingoutlovely.


Jenny Johnson is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mama of two, and a wife to a military man. She is passionate about Jesus, marriage, motherhood, and holistic living through essential oils.
Jenny Johnson is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mama of two, and a wife to a military man.  She is passionate about Jesus, marriage, motherhood, and holistic living through essential oils.

She’d love to connect with you on Facebook.