Here’s to hoping!

This morning I heard the Lord whisper something that resulted in a stream of tears running down my face while sitting in a communications class. (Random place, but that’s just life.)

I heard Him say, “Maggie, breathe. It’s okay to get your hopes up.”

I hadn’t realized until that very moment that the root of the discontentment & stress I’d been feeling lately hasn’t been in where I am or who I’m with, but in the fact that I’ve been walking through life holding my breath. I don’t know if that makes sense to you guys, but basically I’ve just been so afraid to fully trust him that it’s like I’ve been holding onto my hopes and dreams with clenched fists, unable to let go & surrender them.

And lemme just tell ya, walking through life with your breath held & your hands in fists is tough– it creates a lot of unnecessary tension.

I’ve always been taught that getting your hopes up is a bad thing, because in many cases, it just seems to lead to unmet expectations and heart-wrenching disappointment. So after a while, I think my heart just stopped hoping. I forgot how to hope.

So, this morning, when met with the words “it’s okay to get your hopes up,” I felt like something shifted inside of me; it felt like I could breathe again.

I was reminded that in living life with Jesus, IT’S OKAY TO GET YOUR HOPES UP. We serve a God who’s never going to let us down !!! It’s okay to dream. It’s okay to be excited about life. It’s BEAUTIFUL to surrender and to relentlessly HOPE.

Lately without even meaning to, I’ve been using the phrase “here’s to hoping” quite a lot, and now I’m realizing that maybe that’s not such a coincidence. (Especially because the actual phrase is “here’s hoping” and I’ve been saying it wrong this whole time. Haha. But I think I like it better this way–)

So here’s to hoping, and to a season of my heart learning to hope again.

And just for the heck of it, here are a few songs on my mind that you should check out if you have the time or find yourself feeling the same way:

Beautiful Surrender — Jonathan & Melissa Helser,

King Of My Heart — John Mark & Sarah McMillan

(two oldies but goodies). You are loved,

Maggie

You are loved.

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ALBUM REVIEW: “NOONDAY DREAM” by BEN HOWARD

Out now!

east of 8th

When thinking of Ben Howard’s music, eloquence, depth, and raw, unfiltered beauty come to mind. There is something unique and exceptional about his style that tugs at one’s heartstrings and stops you in your tracks. He encompasses anything and everything in his music and blends it with authentic creativity; from resounding piano notes that seem to float through the air to faint hums that feel closer than your heartbeat. “Conrad” and “Time Is Dancing” are excellent examples of this from his last album, and Howard’s new music still manages to exceed the high expectations that those songs and more have set in the past.

There are many gems on this release such as “What The Moon Does,” “The Defeat,” and “Towing The Line” that will leave you feeling nostalgic, blissful and hopeful that this won’t be the last we hear from Ben Howard. The songs are beautifully arranged and…

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ALBUM REVIEW: “CLASSIC” by FREEDOM FRY

“the perfect compilation of road trip tunes” – It really is! Hope you guys enjoy!

east of 8th

French-American couple Bruce Driscoll and Marie Seyrat, otherwise known as Freedom Fry, is an indie-pop duo founded in Los Angeles in 2011 whose authentic but versatile sound has truly changed the game. Their songs, which range from playful blends of instruments and upbeat tunes to vocals with raspy depth and soulful harmonies, tend to illustrate the world from the perspective of a starry-eyed dreamer or a heart filled with hope. While achieving all of this and portraying life from a romantic perspective, they have managed to maintain a consistent sound over the years and continue to tell creative and beloved stories to which many people can relate.

Freedom Fry’s new album Classic is no exception. From pre-release crowd-pleaser, “Awake,” to this writer’s personal favorite “Wild Child,” Classic offers a large array of new songs that evoke a sense of freedom and inspires leading a life of no regrets. The…

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The Beauty of Asking

I don’t know about you guys, but there are quite a few times in my life when I want something so badly, but assume it’s out of reach/not for me, and I never think to ask…

On a small scale, my experience with some flowers today is a great example of that.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE FLOWERS… like SO MUCH.

They are truly one of my favorite things in the world. And if you know me really well, you know peonies are my favorite flowers.

So, you can imagine my excitement as I’ve been driving around town lately and I’ve seen them blooming everywhere.

Right now, they are in season and the conditions are just right.

As I’ve driven to school the past few days, they’ve been everywhere and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how badly I wanted just a few stems for myself…

Then, two days ago, Ruthie Lindsey posted about her peonies & how she knocks on people’s doors and asks for them. What a revelation! It seemed like I’d unlocked the biggest secret in the universe just by reading her simple statement.

Asking.

There is power in asking.

Sometimes, people in your life, whether parents, friends, significant others, etc, will never know what you want/need unless you voice it: unless you ASK. And in my life, the sweet old lady (whose home I’d been driving past for years) never knew how much I love and desire her peonies, because I had never asked or stopped to speak to her.

Today, inspired by Ruthie, I left my house, clippers in hand, and came upon this woman’s house as she was sitting in the yard with her dog.

I rolled down my window and talked with her, expressing my love for her beautiful peonies (and I even offered to pay for a stem or two).

Kindly, she insisted I take a few flowers, and assured me I owed her nothing.

As we talked and I cut a few, she shared with me that her daughter had passed away in 2004 and gave her those flowers before she died to remember her by. Peonies were her daughter’s favorite, too. We happily chatted for a few minutes longer before I tucked my new blooms away and left her driveway glowing with happiness, as she grinned and waved from the yard.

All that to say, asking is a powerful thing. In this case, it meant providing an old lady some company and someone to talk to for a moment, and walking away with a handful of happiness. As I drove away, Jesus gently reminded me that this is how He feels too.

“This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!”

John 16:23-24 MSG

He wants us to ask, there’s another verse many of us know from Luke 11 that is commonly referenced about asking, seeking, and knocking.

He wants our joy to be a river, and He wants to open doors to us when we knock.

So spiritually, on a larger scale, I think the beauty of asking is knowing that we can share our dreams with God.

Not because He doesn’t already know what they are (Of course He does, He placed them there!), but because He wants to hear us ask.

He wants to love us. He wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to ask without worrying about whether or not something is possible or makes sense in the natural…

Thanks for reading. You are loved,

Maggie

 

Fearless & Careless

Yesterday, I was serving at my church in the kids program as I do every few weeks, but this time was a little different.

Usually I walk in super excited & happy, but yesterday I was kinda sad because every time that I’m at TBCØ nowadays reminds me that I’m moving to Chattanooga this fall and that I have to leave my people & my home that I love so dearly (which I’m honestly dreading).

So, when serving in kids, I was a little distracted… worrying about the future, focusing on the sadness, dwelling in the self-pity.

We started worship time, and I remember asking God

Why do I have to leave this? I’ve finally found my people! Why would you give me this incredible community only to drag me away from it? Why am I going to college if I don’t even know what I want to do yet? and why Chattanooga? Why not Nashville??

In my head, I was throwing a bit of a fit… and that’s when the song “No Longer Slaves” began to play.

My friend Katelyn was leading worship and asked the kids

Do you guys remember this song? Who knows that we don’t have to live in fear?

There was a little boy standing in front of me who got so excited when this song began, and had just whispered to his friend “I LOVE this song!! It’s my favorite!” and when Katelyn asked the second question, his hand shot up with no hesitation. “I HAVE NO FEAR!” he shouted.

That’s when it hit me.

What a sweet and simple (yet so perfect) example of childlike faith.

My bitterness and frustration and worries have been rooted in fear.

I’ve been dwelling in fear: of the unknown, of new things, of leaving the people & places I love.

Instead of focusing on the fear, I should be focusing on God.

I believe that He has a plan, that He’ll do what’s best for me, and that I will always be right where He wants me if I focus on Him.

You see, with God on our side there is never any need to worry or fear, because His love is perfect, and PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR (1 John 4:18).

I don’t have to have it all figured out, I don’t have to have all the answers, I don’t even have to understand, I just have to have faith & rest in the fact that I AM LOVED!

This was so timely, not only because that resonated so deeply with my heart in that moment, but also because I had just been standing outside greeting people & admiring the beauty of the birds, happily singing & flitting around.

And after church, my pal Holly and I came across the cutest bird mural in the photos above. I was reminded of one of my favorite verses, Matthew 6:26.

In the MSG version, it says

Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

A verse I’ve heard/read a thousand times, but sometimes it takes one thousand and one for something to stick.

I’m thankful that He’s so patient and gentle.

He’s in the details.

He’s always speaking. and I never have to fear, because His love sets me free.

I have the ability to walk through life FEARLESS and CARELESS in the care of God.

You are loved (and you are fearless!),

Maggie

 

Oh How He Loves Us

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Matthew 6:30-34 (MSG)

I’m going to take a moment to be vulnerable & share something with all of you that’s on my heart.

Today was honestly a horrible day.

I’ve cried at least 5 times from how stressed I am about different things coming up in the future, felt guilty & weighted down by some things that I’ve said in moments of anger in the past few days, been overwhelmed with different emotions and feelings that I don’t know how to handle or understand, and I’ve just been frustrated with life in general.

On my way home, I was talking to sweet Anna Grace about all of this & burst into tears.

She said “It’s okay Maggie, I’m here for you. I’m here to listen.”

I’m thankful for the friend that she is, but I’m even more thankful for that sweet reminder that Jesus spoke thru her.

Not only has He put people in my life to support me, but also

HE IS RIGHT THERE, WAITING TO LISTEN.

And sometimes, honestly, He’s the last one that I think to talk to or process things with.

So, upon getting home I saw some pretty flowers when scrolling back thru pictures on my camera roll, and I felt prompted to open my Bible app and search the word “flower,” based on what I had just seen & my thoughts from my conversation with AG in the car.

I thought, “I don’t know what else to read & I love this picture of these flowers, so I guess I’ll start here.”

Upon searching, I came across the passage I copied & pasted above… a gentle & kind reminder that He’ll “attend to me,” “take pride in me,” and “do His best for me.”

A reminder that I don’t have to “worry about missing out,” that I’ll “find ALL of my everyday human concerns to be met,” and that “God will help me deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes…”

What a beautiful promise & an encouraging word that is SO perfect for my current situation.

As soon as I read that, I began to weep in disbelief.

Sometimes it’s so easy to put God in a box & forget how present and close He always is.

AND, AS IF THAT ALL WASN’T BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH, the second I started crying after reading that, literally the EXACT. MOMENT. I got a call from Delaney, who’s in the middle of her lunch break at YWAM in Hawaii…

I answered the phone, trying to hold it together as I said “hello” and then proceeded to lose it again when she said

“Hey sis, you’re on my heart and I really felt like I just needed to let you know that God loves you and He’s proud of you, and if there’s anything you’re worried or upset about right now, He’s got it under control and He’s got you.”

Wow. Her timing could not have been more perfect, and that’s how I know that was Holy Spirit.

Words straight from heaven.

AND it amazes me that He would be so good as to remind of that sweet truth through the mouth of a friend who I love and miss so dearly.

I had to share because God amazes me & this was a moment too good & too incredible to forget.

Man oh man, He is a GOOD FATHER.

Oh how He loves us so!!!

You are LOVED,

Maggie

ALBUM REVIEW: “LAVENDER” by O SUMMER

When I think of O Summer, I think of passion and the pursuit of dreams, of strength and sophistication, and of brilliance and boldness. I think of an indie-rock crew of fearless pals destined to change the world, and a circle of down-to-earth, funky friends who never miss an opportunity for a snack break at practice. Made up of rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Leanah Chestnut, lead guitarist and backup vocalist Cami Stacey, drummer Anna Murphree, and bassist Tony Cain, this group is releasing their EP titled Lavender later this week, and we’re counting down the days! Featuring four deftly-produced, masterfully-written songs, including fan-favorite “XXYX” and newly-perfected songs like “Wax Wane,” this highly-anticipated EP is sure to please.

According to Leanah Chestnut, Lavender represents a “coming of age,” describing it as “hopeful” and “sincere.” The band’s new music has been long-awaited by many friends and fans as it is their first release in almost three years — and its sound remains true to the hearts of those behind it — from the raw vocals and refined lyrics to transcendent tones and headbanging beats. Over the past few years, O Summer has overcome quite a bit. The group’s original members included the trio of ladies that originally met at Southern Girls’ Rock Camp (Cami, Anna, and Leanah) — an experience that they fondly remember as the moment their friendship began — as well as their first bassist, Justin Goodhart. Justin was dearly loved by the community of peers that have supported O Summer from the start, and his contributions to their success and impact on their music will never be forgotten. The date of Lavender’s release marks the two-year anniversary of Justin’s passing and is intended not only to honor and remember him, but also to celebrate the life he lived and the people that he loved so well.

As far as the group’s future is concerned, things are looking bright and full of promise. Leanah says that their current goals include signing to a label and continuing to play shows abroad. She says that they’re also “hoping to release a full-length [album] in the next year(ish),” and plan to participate/compete in Music City Mayhem this year. Lots to look forward to! Don’t miss the Lavender EP, set for release on March 8th.

[If you’re a local, come meet the band and hear O Summer live at their release party at That 70s House at 7pm, more info on Twitter @osummermusic. Can’t wait to see you there!]

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[This review was handcrafted by Eo8’s own O Summer superfan, Maggie Kimbro.]