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Beautifully Broken

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Do you ever feel like a child who needs to be told something many times before it becomes ingrained in your mind? I know I do. Lately, the image of the potter and the clay, from Jeremiah, has kept popping up in my life. First, in my devotional book, then in an online conference, and finally in another book that I am reading, It's Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst. I can hear/read something once, think "wow, that is a beautiful picture or lesson, I need to apply that to my life in this way or that way", but then I go on with my day and forget what I read that morning. Or sometimes, I completely breeze past what God is trying to tell me and totally miss the "wow" moment the first time around. But when the same image comes up at least three separate times, "Okay, God, you have my ...
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Faith or Fear

Faith or Fear
Reading through the book of Numbers, there is a story that keeps playing in my mind reel. Moses and his scouting team. He sent twelve leaders from the Israelite community to check out the land the Lord had promised them and bring back a report. What kind of food grows there? What is the soil like? Who lives there? How many? What are the towns like?... Well, ten came back saying one thing... But two came back saying something entirely different. This is what the ten had to say: "We can't go up against them! They are stronger than we are! The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there… Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that's what they thought, too!" But here is what Caleb and ...
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What Luck?

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Now that it's the month of March, that means that many of us will be celebrating St. Paddy's Day. The luck of the Irish and all that. So that got me thinking...  If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all. —Booker T. Jones When it comes to playing card games, I'm usually the one with the highest score. Which translates…last place. Some folks have all the luck when it comes to drawing the right card at the right time. Others of us don't. Is life just luck and happenchance? Or is there more to it than that? Some people fall into their careers naturally. Others of us flounder around and can't seem to find the right path. Does that have to do with luck or something else altogether? According to Serena Williams she believes it is all about hard work. Luck has...
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The Hard Stuff

The Hard Stuff
I love that all-powerful, all-knowing creator  God is also an intimate, patient, loving Father. That the One who spins a caterpillar to butterfly, knows my heart. And he cares. Just the other day he reminded me again. I was reading through the Bible by my fireplace when I hit a road bump. I said to God, "You know, this is why I don't like reading through the Old Testament. Some of this I just don't get. You're hard to understand. Like killing the first-born Egyptian sons. What is that?" Yeah I actually said that to God. I know. Seems a little nervy on reflection. But he didn't turn me into a pile of dust.  Awhile later I put my Bible aside and picked up one of my devotionals and turned to the page where my bookmark was. It was about how Moses re...
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The Yearning Heart

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I wonder, what comes to mind when you think of the word "yearning"? I'll be honest, it has me circling in my own bowels (maybe too much info although the language of scripture often speaks of bowels and yearning all as the same) with the deepening presence towards, and a longing and a thirst that's kind of uneasy, it's the feeling of want and desire. It is more tender than graceful than just a reaching or looking with intent, although we all know how that can unfold in real life; it's part of that beginning story in the Bible right!? Eve, life  in Hebrew, reaches from a position of, well, the only doubt question in the book, "Did God really say?" I mean, isn't this what happens in life ? We can confuse yearning for lust, and the longing becomes a straining reach, becaus...
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Love is... a Valentine for you

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This  is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him.  ― 1st John 4:9 To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us. ― Timothy J. Keller God  loved  the  world  so much that he gave his one and only s o n so  that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. ― John 3:16 To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly b...
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Frozen

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How cold is it? It's so cold... We don't clean the house — we defrost it! It's so cold... We wear layers of clothing so if we fall and can't get up, we can stay there until somebody finds us and rolls us home! Just a few days ago, we experienced blizzard conditions. A flurry of white. Now we are in a deep freeze. With below zero temperatures that drive you inside. But we Minnesotan's try to make the best of these cold temperatures. We like to experiment by blowing bubbles outdoors or throwing a cup of boiling water off our decks and watching them instantaneously freeze. If you haven't tried this, you must! It's super cool. We are hardy types. We build ice castles, make snow sculptures, throw a winter carnival, cross country ski, snowboard, skate, and even snowshoe. If you can't beat the we...
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She kept showing up: Hannah

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I was constantly challenged as a younger woman when it came to the concept of grace. I heard so many definitions and it never computed for me. I was your number one doer and giver and felt things very deeply (Two on the enneagram if you are into that sort of thing.) I saw the needs and met them, striving to experience the love of others and of God. Grace to me was this thing that was for everyone else and I wrestled inside whenever I heard the word or studied a scripture that highlighted the subject. This is where Hannah comes into the picture, an unlikely hero but a woman who exuded bravery, her name meaning Grace and her bravery being that she kept on showing up! We meet (Hannah) Grace in 1 Samuel 1, we hear a lot about what her life looks like, the rhythms that she kept with her family ...
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A Brave Heart: Hagar

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Can you imagine… the weight that comes from being named "Alien", walking through the streets, your body owned? The reality in your womb – your child, but belonging to another. Where did she come from, this stranger, before this was her story? What was the name her mother gave her the day she was born? (Perhaps it was Bravery.) Can you imagine… knowing it was nothing short of slavery, the reality that brought about this life inside you? To be cast out, ironically, for fulfilling your purpose? Then, to be alone in the wilderness at an unknown well, Beer-lahai-roi, and to be met there by the Divine, a presence you had never known. (But isn't this the place where God meets us all?) Can you imagine… the Divine granting you the privilege of giving it a name? "You are a God of seeing…" To be know...
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Rebekah

Rebekah
I don't know about you sister, but I'm not a big fan of detours. Roads diverted. Plans foiled. Life interrupted. If I'm travelling to Iowa, I want to end up in Iowa. (You Iowa haters, hold your comments.)  No blown tires. No destination changes. I don't want phone calls blowing up my to-do list. Friends cancelling a night out. Last-minute project demands. A job in Minnesota when I want to live in Texas. I have my plans. You know? That's probably why when I was reading in Genesis and stumbled on Rebekah, I had to do a double take. Who just packs her bags and leaves her family and country with a stranger? In one day. And for the purpose of marrying a stranger? I mean seriously. Who does that? Abraham's servant was staying with Rebekah's family, having just met them the night before, whe...
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Finding Wholeness

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For the month of January we Heart Matters gals are going to be writing about brave women... women who had courage, women who faced into whatever life offered them. Women like you and me. Women from the Bible. We pray that their lives will be a blessing to you... She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things — Leigh Stanley Have you ever been so desperate that you were willing to risk everything, even your reputation, to find healing for all your broken bits? To finally find the wholeness you've been longing for? Most of us are timid to share the truth about ourselves. Our secret struggles. The ugly stuff lurking just under the surface. I think that's why I love the story in Mark 5:24-34 so much. The character in...
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Who is the Salvation of the season?

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I attended a church that I don't usually go to this morning. It had a grand and yet approachable feel about it and its well executed form held my heart tenderly as indeed, I felt tender. There came a moment in the sermon presentation when the speaker turned to the advent candles on the stage and walked towards them with the candle snuffer (yes, that is the technical name and yes, it did make me smile as I googled to confirm I had the right name, snuffer). Slowly she extinguished each candle, one by one, slowly speaking of the advent season ending. The lights in the room all dimmed as well and in less than a couple of minutes the whole room was dark except for one candle, the Christ candle. It was powerful and a tangible picture of what this season might feel like. All the lights, glitterin...
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A Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year to you all...

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We are praying that you, dear ones, will experience the very near presence of the Savior in all of your gatherings and celebrations. That you will know his peace despite your circumstances, his joy although you may feel despair and His deep, abiding love... for He loves you beyond words...for  that is why He came to earth... for the love of us. The Heart Matters gals, LuAnn, Sally, Nicole and Julie  
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Sacred

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Have you considered the word Sacred, How heavy we've made it, almost untouchable? We reserve it for things like Icarus wings, too hot to handle; not common enough to touch the ordinariness of a life. But then the snow starts to fall, and memories of a story flood in. An angel, a manger, a message... Simplicity itself. We remember how close the words "sacred" and "holy" live to one another. Easy neighbors, Whole. The snow starts to fall, and we remember what it is that the story is trying to teach us: The truth that Love conquers fear.
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Gifts: For Your Friends and Family

Gifts: For Your Friends and Family
Discovering God in the Ordinary: Four Women. Different Journeys. Same Pursuit. We often expect to feel God's presence in joyous mountaintop experiences or when walking through the darkest valley, but we mustn't forget that God can surely be found in the ordinary moments of our lives. In this devotional, we seek to inspire you to find God in your everyday life, whether it's dropping your kids off at school, waiting in the checkout line at your local grocery store, or meeting a friend over coffee. Because here's the truth: God wants to invade every part of our lives, but sometimes, it's just a matter of us opening our eyes to see his hand moving all around us. About our Authors : Heidi is a young wife and mom balancing two toddlers and an infant. Jo is busy balancing the many different roles...
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Beyond the Glitter

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​ When we create fantasy images in our heads, we slay the beauty in our lives. – Emily Ley, Grace Not Perfection It helps me to remember Martha this time of year. Had I lived nearby and in her time, we would have been pals. I'm sure of it. Instead, I view her from afar and learn from her story (Luke 10).  Martha was scurrying around, thinking she was doing all her guests a favor. "Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made."  And when she went to Jesus to complain about her sister Mary not helping, who instead  "sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said"  Jesus spoke truth to her. "Martha, Martha...you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be ta...
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The In-Between

I-miss-you-sad-girl-seat-alone-and-waiting-someone The In-Between
Distressing as these in-between times of the season may be, they can also be nourishing for the soul. —Macrina Wiederkehr Walking in the woods lately I've begun to spot signs of this in-between place. Many trees have long lost their coat of many colors and stand naked against a gray sky and chilly wind. It looks like winter. But it isn't quite yet. Although there is snow on the ground and the temperatures are falling, we have another few weeks before winter sets in in earnest. I can feel the seasons change as I continue to walk the woods. The air is brisker than it once was. Squirrels are fattening themselves for the months to come. And a layer of ice has formed on the nearby lake. There are fewer bird songs in these quiet woods. The trees groan as they relinquish themselves to this i...
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Delight, Beginnings, Purpose

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These last weeks have been hard, deep, full of prayerful heart murmurings, gutsy right action and a bucket load of grace, oh and tears, a whole bunch of tears. I want to tell you one portion of these past few weeks. A huge starting point was that my grandma passed away, back in the UK, we called her Nannie, she was 95. She passed on the morning of a day which couldn't have been more full if it had tried. I spoke to my dad at 6 am and he shared the news. We both wept. By 7 am I was on the road to sing at a church called Eden about half an hour away. By 11.30 am I was on route to my home church, Genesis, who were saying goodbye to a member of staff and mourning that loss. By 12.30 pm someone asked me what I needed and I said company and some food. We ate. By 3.15 pm I was at a rehearsal for ...
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To Start

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The goal is to start for we may never know our own finish. Don't strive for perfection. Don't try to impress. Just keep an open heart and forgive. Yourself. Another. All the others. Forgive what you think you can't so that your life can breathe and your days can play. So that God can send you joy and you will feel it deep in your bones.
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Look Up

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Our path was layered with thousands of red, yellow, brown, and orange-colored tree tears. My friend and I started to climb yet another steep hill whose sometimes calf-level leaves hid all manner of tricksters—branches, deep ruts, prickly vines, stones in sandy soil, loose pebbles, and slippery mud. Our eyes were glued to our path, our forward motion in the leaves making an amplified cereal-smacking sound. Suddenly we heard commotion above and to our left from the high barren trees. We stopped in our tracks and swung our heads around just in time to see two beautiful eagles swoop up and away from their secluded nests. After the eagles were out of sight, their glory no longer ours to observe, my friend said, "We need to look up more! Just think about how many birds up the...
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God Sees You

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If you sold a few sparrows, how much would you get? A penny perhaps? Yet, your Father in heaven knows when those small birds fall to the ground. Beloved, you are more valuable to God than even these. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. —Matthew 10:29-30 Tucked into the Wisconsin woods at a prayer cabin one afternoon, a sweet little bird flew into the picture window where I was sitting. The sickening thud stopped my heart for a second. I instantly jumped up, looked out the window and saw that little bird sprawled out on the leaf-covered ground. I grabbed a towel, like my mom always does when a bird hits her window, and went out to investigate. The little bird lay motionless with its tiny wing bent backwards. I thought it was dead. But, when I rea...
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The Holy Practice of Stopping

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We love to lift the voices of women who speak truth into our souls. Today we are blessed to have Sally Eliza Cranham. And we'd like to dedicate this to our Jewish friends grieving the loss of their loved ones in Pittsburgh. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. —Exodus 20:8 For at least the last ten years I have been on a journey of entering into Sabbath, or Shabbat. Shabbat literally means, 'to stop' and we first come across the word in Genesis where God, in the space of completion, stops and rests. Having many Jewish friends, I have been gifted with a deep experience of making Shabbat a set apart moment in my week. They have also helped me unpack an understanding of the commonly used phrase among Christians of, "resting in God". Shabbat is traditionally celebrated on a Friday...
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The Narrow Place

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We Heart Matters Gals are thrilled to announce that we have a poet who has joined our team. Nicole Duclos! We couldn't be happier! Please welcome her warmly... There is a tiredness, an ache in the bones, that calls us to wake up to all the things ignored. Things that extend so far back they feel like breathing, like they are layered into our souls. There are times (isn't it true?) after we have been rescued that we still call out for our prisons, our walls. We have been told, the way out is through the wilderness. When we are called, how many of us will go? Will we even hear it? How many of us will have the courage to trade our tiredness for freedom?
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When Blustery Winds Blow

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I am like a deaf man who cannot hear…  Be not silent. Do not be far from me, O Lord. Psalm 38:13a / 35:22b The wind blew strong all through the night, rattling windows… and my nerves…and today it blusters still.Even as I sit here, it howls and hollers. Our neighbor's screen door slams open and closed, being pushed and pulled with each stiff gust. Leaves scurry and scatter across our lawn in every direction. The typical sounds of a neighbor's dog barking or of traffic hurrying along the nearby highway are muffled, if not silenced, by the wind's boisterous behavior. But, it is not just the wind that has been blustering of late. My mind feels tumultuous as well. Unsettled thoughts have been clamoring noisily in my head; yet, the more I try to pull them together, the more strewn they beco...
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Freedom

Freedom
I  read something this summer, and I couldn't get it out of my head. It was a "light switch-flipped-on" moment. You know the ones. Where the truth of it sinks into your inner soul while simultaneously making you wonder how you never saw it before. Here were the light switch words: "Our freedom of choice is so valuable to Him that He restrains Himself from manifesting His presence in a way where our freedom of choice would be removed…when He reveals Himself in fullness, even the devil and his demons will declare that Jesus Christ is Lord." — Bill Johnson, Encountering the Goodness of God He restrains himself. Wow. That's how important our freedom is to him. How important it is that we choose him. It makes sense though, doesn't it? We are made in his image and don't we want to be c...
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We Heart Matters Publishing gals care about women. Their joys. Their struggles. Their everyday, ordinary lives. We write from those very same places hoping to uplift, challenge and encourage your soul and deepen your faith.

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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 60 next month. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn

    LuAnn

    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Emilie

    Emilie

    I am currently a full-time nanny and will be returning to school in the fall of 2019 to finish mydegree in relational communications and graduate in the spring of 2020. I am using this break from school to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
  • Sally

    Sally

    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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