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Friday, July 6, 2012

Forget me not.

     Life is messy. Isn't it? Sometimes, it's tough. Often, overwhelming. In certain seasons, life doesn't make sense. Have you ever felt this way? 


 When plans don't work out.
 When a health scare arises.
 When a relationship ends.
 When a career path turns into a dead end.
 When a dream crashes to the ground.
 When money is so tight you can barely pay your bills.
 When you're the last to get married in your family or group of friends... and while weddings,
   baby showers, and anniversaries are celebrated, you are continually alone. 
 When you're stuck in a job you hate.
 When all your friends are becoming mamas and you're left with empty arms, longing for a baby.
 When depression drowns your hope.
 When a church you love turns on you and you're hurt and broken.
       My darling friend, life is hard. Yet, it is also beautiful. Not just because of the highlights of happiness or the simple things we can strive to find pleasure in. 
No, the beauty comes from something greater: hope in Jesus.  
    This past week as we celebrated the blessing of American freedom, I was reminded of an even greater freedom we have in Christ. I spent a day this week with my sweet parents at Malibu beach. The morning proved to be rather cold and cloudy. My phone called out to me, distracting me from the beauty all around me - work constantly screaming my name. Until early afternoon - when I looked up from my iPhone screen and noticed something in the waves. As the sun began to successfully fight through the thick clouds above, a small crowd of onlookers holding cameras and pointing fingers out at the sparkling waves caught my attention. Suddenly I noticed - a family of dolphins, unusually close to the shore, playing and swimming in the blue crashing waves. It was breathtaking.
      And soon, when my phone battery died and I threw it in my bag, I spent the rest of the day resting and enjoying the now-sunny beach. And for some reason, an old favorite Bible verse kept ringing through my mind: 


                                    "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits." 

   You know those verses in the Bible that awe you for a while and stay close to your heart in a special way? And then soon, in the craziness of life, it's poignant truth is forgotten by your distracted heart? In all honesty, that is this Psalm for me. I read it tonight. In several translations. And was awed anew. 


   So friend, I want to share it with you today, too. Take a minute, stop, sit down - breathe. And take some time to really read these beautiful, comforting words of truth. In the midst of your messy, crazy, beautiful, tough, painful life - this is true no matter what. May you be moved by the truth and beauty of God's creation in the photos I snapped as I share my weekend in spiritual encouragement but also little moments that made me smile.    

"O my soul, bless God. 
From head to toe, I'll bless His holy name!
O my soul, bless God, 
don't forget a single blessing!
 He forgives your sins - every one.
He heals your diseases - every one.
He redeems you from hell - saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy - a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness - beauty eternal.
He renews your youth - you're always young in His presence.
 God makes everything come out right; He puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up His plans to all Israel.

God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, He's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is His love to those who fear Him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset, He has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear Him. 
He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we're made of mud.
Men and women don't live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, but a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.
God's love, though, is ever and always 
eternally present to all who fear Him,
making everything right for them and their children as they follow His Covenant ways 
and remember to do whatever He said.
God has set His throne in Heaven; He rules over us all. He is King!
So bless God, you angels, ready and able to fly at His bidding,
 quick to hear and do what He says. 
Bless God, all you armies of angels, alert to respond to whatever He wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are -
everything and everyone made by God.
And you, O my soul, bless God!
Psalm 103
{The Message paraphrase; emphasis mine}

***
More beach happies: 
I'm a bunhead who loves to nap.

Oh just Dad and his bestie, Colonel Sanders.

And look who I saw just hanging out on the beach! 
Some old friends of mine: Malibu Barbie & her main man Ken. Love them.


Darlin', embrace this wild and precious life.
Don't forget His benefits. 
(if you don't know Him, email me :)

Happy Weekend to you, precious soul.
Smile. 
You are loved.


XO

Erin




Friday iPhone Photo Drop


{from instagram, to follow search: erin_sweetnessitself}



28 comments:

  1. What a good reminder of who God is! Thank you friend for your beautiful words! :-)

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  2. You are so good with words, my friend :)
    Beautifully written and such a wonderful reminder that I really needed to read this morning!

    Thank you so much!
    I appreciate you!

    And PS that picture of the Barbies cracked me up!

    Enjoy this lovely day, girl!
    xo

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  3. Love you friend! Love this post too... I need the reminders. Thank you for your email as well... I needed the reassurance and I'm so glad to call you my friend. Keep on shining girl... keep on shining. hugs!

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  4. I needed this today, thank you!

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  5. Great pics, Erin and great thoughts too!

    Weddding is over...and the brother is on his way to the honeymoon. Thanks for the prayers. :)

    xo
    purposelyathome.blogspot.com

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  6. what a beautiful post. breathtaking reminder of His love :) thank you, and i might have to bookmark this for when i'm having a bad day. following your blog now...

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  7. What a lovely post..complete with gorgeous pictures! Thanks for the reminder to step back and enjoy the little things. We all need it :)

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  8. You have no idea how perfect the timing of this post is. God's got it all figured out :) Thanks for the reminder. I really appreciate it!
    -Tiff

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  9. THank God for all His benefits even in the midst of life's 'curveballs'. . You look so cute on the beach looks like you had a blast.

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  10. That verse has always had a special place in my heart too. And thank you for this amazing reminder, Lord knows I needed it.

    - Katelyn

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  11. You made me cry. Not like SNIFFLE cry, like ' have to get up and get a tissue before a drown my laptop' cry. Thanks for the sweet reminder, it was exactly what I needed to hear tonight.

    *hugs*
    http://insunshineandshadowsmew.blogspot.com/

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  12. You're such a blessing, Erin. Lovely words to dwell upon. x

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  13. This is a great post! I think that those photos alone speak volumes about our Creator. Thanks for sharing. I love a good Jesus-steeped post.

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  14. I love reading your words and seeing your pictures. You truly see the love of every element through your eyes. Not many people do that anymore. We all should appreciate the wildlife that we have and the elements that we see.

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  15. Beautiful post and awesome pictures! :) really amazing..
    i tagged you in a post if youre interested.
    http://www.twoisbetter.net/2012/07/i-was-tagged.html

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  16. What a neat, inspiring post. We've found ourselves in a bit of a difficult time.. My hubs lost his job and I'm not working this summer. Your words soothe my anxious heart. So thank you sweet friend. You, by Jesus, never fail to hit it right at home :) love you, sweet Erin!

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  17. What beautiful pictures, and a beautiful reminder too! Thanks for posting this, I needed it today :-)

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  18. perfect post for me this last week. thank you for the encouragement. and I love your bunhead. : )

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  19. I love your pictures and your sweet words! Thanks for sharing your heart, and your verse, I'm going to commit that one to memory!

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  20. this is lovely.
    you are lovely.

    you always get to tear me up with these posts that make me realize so many things i try to forget.

    thank you for this, erin. thank you.

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  21. Thanks for the follow! Love your blog! Following now!

    Montana

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  22. that hammock photo makes me with it were friday again!

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  23. beautiful!! :) love this! & your new layout is GORGEOUS :)

    xoxo! B

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  24. amazing pictures:X very nice blog
    would you like to follow each other blog?

    SandraB.ro

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  25. Great post, amazing pictures, and an adorable blog... my three favorite things :)

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  26. Just found your blog. What an amazing & inspirational person you are. It's a tough world & I commend you for being a good girl. That's really wonderful & something I admire so much. I really love & agree w everything you stand for. I too on my blog try to inspire others to embrace the imperfections in life. To embrace the mess. I'm really glad I found your blog. Xoxo Kelly

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  27. Love your blog and your messages spread accross it. God has granted you this gift to spread his word and you have used it well. <3

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  28. What beautiful words and pictures! I definitely need a little encouragement today. Thank you :)

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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