Sunday, July 6, 2014

new blog

So I recently started a new blog.  Because it was just time for a new start and because I like wordpress a whole lot more than blogger.

Maybe I will update this site occasionally and maybe I won't.  Maybe I will keep this site up and maybe I will delete it... I'm not sure.  But for now, you can stay posted at: http://shelbyloves.com

I am seriously contemplating letting this site retire permanently, but no final conclusions have been come to as of yet.  

So head over to the new site because it's a lot prettier.  ;)  

because we are His and He is ours. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

fruit bearing life

Lately conviction has been poured out on me in copious amounts.

I have felt compelled at times, to prove myself.  To prove that just because I am a woman, doesn't mean I can't be strong, smart and capable.

I have also hated myself.   I have hated that I am vulnerable, lighthearted, goofy and sometimes just a full blown idiot!

In my weak moments, the enemy has convinced me that I need to fix myself and become a person that I am not.  

That in order to protect my fragility, I need to be more harsh and defend myself in a way that could potentially intimidate others and make them feel that I somehow possess some sort of power to obliterate their heart at the drop of a hat.

I want a steel door, with a guard and maybe some dragons at the entrance, to keep watch and protect me from hurt.  Unfortunately, I am going to have to be the one to create these dragons, doors and ferociously intimidating guards.

And you know what?  These things are created from anger and bitterness.

So to properly manifest the desires that I have, I would need to cultivate things in the soil of my heart, that would inhibit a greater work. 

And. that. is. wrong.

That is not the fruit of the spirit. 

The spirit of Jesus Christ that resides in the soul of my being.  The spirit that whispers sweet truths to the ears of this heart, that burns red with a heat that is being fueled by pain, pride and anguish.

Right before Paul talks about walking in the spirit, he tells us... "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."  {Galatians 5:1}

That is probably my favorite verse in almost the whole Bible.  And even though my favorite verse changes almost daily, that one will consistently be one that brings tears of sorrow and joy to my eyes.

We. are. free.

Free from death, sin, bondage, slavery, oppression, fear, doubt, anger, bitterness and any other thing that is the result of sin.  

So after Paul tells us we are free-- that we are free to be and belong, free to live and to love, free to love-worship-honor-serve-obey-follow and rest in the bosom of the Savior who suffered all for the sake of our souls.  Our souls! 

After Paul establishes that truth, he tells us to walk by the spirit and then lists off the fruits of the spirit to us.  The fruit which shows Who we belong to.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." {Galatians 5:22-23}

Paul lays it out for us in simple words.


l o v e 

j o y

p e a c e

p a t i e n c e

k i n d n e s s

g o o d n e s s

f a i t h f u l n e s s

g e n t l e n e s s

s e l f-c o n t r o l



This is life and love.  This is what it means to be redeemed.  It doesn't matter how well I can debunk a falsehood or how well I argue my position on preferences, or what kind of job I have.  What matters is if my life is bearing fruit. 

If  I am showing evidence of a heart planted in the Lord, cultivated by the Great Shepherd and watered by the fire of the Holy Spirit.  

That is what matters.  And this?  This love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control?  They should be the air I breath and the foundation of my entire soul's existence.

Life isn't about promoting ourselves.  It isn't about defending the weakness that we stare at every day or about gaining some sort of place that we feel we deserve or need.  It isn't about exalting our name, boosting our egos or padding our pride.  Because to do most of these things, there are people we need to be putting down.  There are crevices in our flesh that we are feeding, and before we know it, they will own us.  They will dominate the broken ground that Jesus has worked to tenderize for the work of His love, and they will callous all tenderness and beauty that was being wrought in a heart that was purchased with scars, blood and flesh tears.  

So surrendering to this beautiful work... surrendering to this beauty that lies at the foot of the cross and that beckons us to open our hearts to let love do it's great and passionate work, is one of the most challenging things we will ever face.  It means slaying our flesh and putting to death the passions of our sin that scream at us to indulge them and to nurture them in the core of our soul.  It means loving Jesus and having a faith in Him, that can never be shaken.  

Because guys, having Him break open the cell that your soul would otherwise be a prisoner in, is the greatest and most fulfilling rescue that will ever be done for you.   






Sunday, February 9, 2014

the soul's winter

{my little birdhouse is ready for spring}

 The wicked queen cursed Narnia with an eternal winter.

And I understand why that was so miserable.  We're buried in snow right now, and even though it's beautiful and enchanting, it is also exhausting.  It takes twice the effort to get off to work in the mornings and everything is lifeless and dormant.  Sometimes the snow is just mesmerizing, and at other times, I find myself massively frustrated with the never ending icy cold. 

But for me, my tendency to be excessively introspective, is like winter to my soul.

I see good things, but it also causes me to see the amount of work that is to be done.  I see how easy my feelings get hurt, and I wish that I had tougher skin.  I see how I have a tendency to choose relationships that drain me, and how I lack the strength to just say "no".

I feel angry at my own heart.  I feel angry that my heart hurts.  I want winter to go away and spring to come.  I want to smell the sweet fragrance of blooms and green growth.  I want to feel the warmth of light on my face and forget the icy blast of my own hang-ups.

I want to start looking at my life as a progression towards the beauty of the Throne, instead of a series of things I could never find a place to forge a path for.  I don't want to be a wanderer in the wilderness; searching and roaming to find a home for my heart... I want to be a pioneer on a journey that is bursting with experience.

... and most of this is in the eye of the beholder. 

Without winter,  life can't rest so that it can later grow fragrant life blooms.  The blooms that produce the faith to believe God's promises -- to hate your sin when you know it separates you from the Savior -- to know that His love never ends, and that though we are undeserving of His grace, He still pours it out over our spirits... the kind of faith that shows the pure light of life, that others living in darkness, can be touched and changed by. 

I have three single girlfriends, who have shown the fruit of life... who are three of the most strong, admirable and best friends I could possibly have.  All three are vastly different, live in three different states and have jobs that are as different from each other as Alaska and Florida.  But the one thing they all have in common, is that they love Jesus with a passion that moves mountains.  They all struggle with the kinds of things I do, like bad churches, repercussions of holding dear, different beliefs than you were conditioned to believe and trying to figure this life out when you have scars as deep as the ocean.  They've been tested in fires and tried in furnaces and God has not let them slip from His hand.

They remind me how beautiful it is to be a woman and how sometimes being on the outside and having to walk by yourself, is where you find the ugly turns the most radiant beautiful.  We've all suffered the sting of rejection and still do; but the strength and confidence they exude in Jesus, inspires me to cling to Him above all else.

And when I feel lonely and like I can't fit in the place that I'm told I should be fitting and when being put on the outside burns wounds in my soul, I remember the church.  I remember these three friends, who know what it means to love like Christ and follow Him.  Who are Marys at His feet and tomb and Johns resting on His breast and who's voices sing of His praises, with a sound sweeter than the most delicate bird.

Tonight, my thankfulness for them and their transparency and love is deep. 

God is good to provide.  He is good to love and cherish and take us through the winters and storms and bring us into His loving embrace, and if we just look at the good gifts He has given us, we will see His face and feel His tender care, and every season will pass and we will know the unfailing love that has been bestowed on us as the redeemed children of the living God.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Heart Peace


It's a beautiful thing when the heart trusts God so fully, it explodes with joy... when Jesus takes your hand, steadies your uneasy spirit and lifts your soul to a place that you formerly thought was unfathomable.  Having total confidence that the Holy Spirit is leading you down the path the Lord has laid out for you, and knowing... totally knowing, that in the shadow of His compassion, is where you have found the sun.

Even though I was blind and deaf in my rebellion, and I hid myself from Him with the leaves of broken trees, and my independence was drowning me in shallow waters, and even though I pursued vanities to melt the stone heart, He pursued me.

To be so loved when you are at your worst, and so undeserving of the breaths you take for granted every second, is something that often can take those breaths away.  To know that there are people who don't know this love, breaks my heart.  To know that people live and die every day, without experiencing an overwhelming joy that can make all sorrow seem miniscule, is a tragedy that will never be equaled. 

Why?  Soul, why?  

Why do you care about things that will melt when you die?  Why do you care about your place when this world has no place for you?  You fight for a plot of ground for your spirit to reside on, in peace and comfort, and your plot is beyond the galaxies, in flawless perfection, in the bosom of a loving Savior.

Let it go... 

God gave us love and joy.  Love and joy that should overflow in us and into others.  A love and a joy that hold so much power and potential to move others with a grace and compassion and mercy, that can move mountains and change lives in a way that can alter the course of history forever... that can alter the fate of a soul... forever. 

Hold it close... 

Everyone loves.  But the object of their love is as different as a bustling city and 400 acres in the middle of nowhere.  Love of self permeates everything we are surrounded by.  Most of our decisions and preferences are based off the object of our affections and what will leave us feeling the most comfortable.

And this echoes in my ears.  Over and over I hear this...

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another... And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful."  Colossians 3:12-15

These words seep into my heart and melt the stone into tender flesh.  Put on compassionate hearts and love.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.  And then, in one sentence,  "And.be.thankful."  Three little words which can make life the most glorious journey you have ever imagined.  Love, kindness, peace, thankfulness.  How beautiful are these gifts that we can claim as ours.  Because we are His, and He is ours.  All the good things that are a part of God's perfect character, can belong to us, because we are a part of Him.  And He dwells in us.  He gave us His Holy Spirit, to lead us, guide us and to shine His glory and light in the darkness that inhabits this earth.  The darkness that eats all goodness and consumes lives before they have time to live.

Hope.  Hope is the message I was given to spread, and spread it, I don't.  I get so caught in the net of what the world says I need to do in order to live, but I just want my flesh to die, so that my soul can live and the One who reigns on a heavenly throne, after being three days dead, can breath into my spirit, the light of life. 

To be selfless, compassionate, kind, and loving... to have these things be so powerfully exercised in my life, is something I feel as if I will never see.  I so often seek only the things I desire, and not what Jesus desires.  He didn't save me so that I could further my vision in life!  He saved me so I could show others how good... oh, how good it is to be saved.  To be free.  To no longer be a slave to the sin that makes miserable your heart.  The heart that so tenderly bleeds with pain, because sin separates us from the God who fashioned us with His very fingers.  The God who created the beauty that causes our heartbeats to pound like symphonic drums at the sight of the ocean, or the mountains, or when we hold our babies in our arms, fresh out of the womb.  The God who holds so much power and who beholds so much beauty and placed it on this tiny planet for us... is who our sin separates us from.  Grief and misery are the constant emotions that inhabit the hearts of the ones who will never be in the presence of the Maker of all things beautiful.  

God forgive me for having eyes that only see what I hold dear. 

"And above all these, put on love."

What a wonderful thing to be consumed by...