Poured Out

Sometimes I have a hard time knowing how to start a post. I have a core thought but I’m not sure how to introduce it. Like that awkward moment in a conversation when you want to throw something out there but an opening just hasn’t presented itself.

Or, and this is more like real life, I have this on going conversation in my head and putting it out there can seem a bit like blurting out randomness. I do it all the time to Rob. I have half the conversation in my head before I say something out loud and he gets this play of emotions across his face…confusion, a look that clearly shows him mentally groping for a thread to grab hold of, and a kind of eye shrug that declares “I got nothing” before he says, “Huh?” or sometimes “Woman, what are you talking about?”

So, I apologize up front if you have a woman-what-are-you-talking-about moment while reading this post. Just know that I have been thinking about being content, prayer, doing whatever you do to the glory of God and not being idle and just go with it.

Specifically this morning  I was contemplating the idea of giving ourselves as a living sacrifice and what that means. Unless you are new to this blog, and me really, then you know this is not a new topic. Romans twelve is and has been a big part of my thoughts. I’ve blogged often about how that can look, the dying to self, in our lives as wives and mothers.

But this morning, because of the above mentioned topics, I zeroed in on the quantitative meaning. And it seems to me that I can be pretty good at sacrificing bits and pieces here and there but giving my whole self over, holding nothing back is something more than what I am used to.

I’m not sure I know what it means to continually empty myself out on behalf of the people around me. Instead of pouring myself out as a drink offering as Christ did I might be tossing a thimbleful out in places. Or maybe a whole cupful or even a bucketful if I feel a sense of urgency or weightiness to a need.

But to continually pour myself out completely? To utterly empty myself out into the world? I’m not sure I know what that even means much less how to do it


I think it can be easy to end up here. Lots of little demands and the busy-ness of being busy can do that. It wears you down and exhausts you and makes you feel like you are constantly being poured out, but how often have you really given completely over until there is nothing left?

This year is our youngest daughter’s first time on the school volleyball team. On the way to her first practice we were talking about playing hard and giving it all she has. I want her to see that she can play hard but still be holding back. And what her team needs (not just from her but from every player) is to leave it all on the court. To be completely focused and pulling from deep inside and putting everything she has into it.

We aren’t called to sacrifice a toe this day and maybe an arm some other day. Rather we are told to present our body as a living sacrifice. To give it all, everything, every day.

I wonder if we don’t live this way because we live such chopped up lives with so much going on? Or because we have believe we can’t be everything to everyone, we can’t do it all, and the biggie of big lies, you have to love and take care of yourself in order to love and take care of others? (Yes, I know there are times in Scripture where Jesus went off by himself to pray and be alone. But I really don’t think we can equate what He did with our version of mani-pedis and treat yo-self attitude. There is nothing wrong with finding alone time. Read a book, go get that mani-pedi or massage. But we should be careful not to over spiritualize it by thinking it is the same as quieting all of the day to day ruckus so that our heart and mind can find rest in God.)

We can’t be everything to everyone and we can’t do it all but the good news is that we aren’t called to be everything to everyone and to do it all. We look at our life and qualify it as everyone and everything and it simply is not so. We have the life and work that God has put us in and given to us and we are called to give ourselves completely and wholly to that. Do we over extend ourselves sometimes? Sure, but there are seasons and times of that and it will pass but we like to hold on to the feeling of it because in some way we get a sense of importance and self worth from it. If I feel like I am doing it all, or at least feel like I am expected to be doing it all, then I must be somebody; I must have meaning. But who is that making much of, me or God?

Maybe the reason we don’t really live emptied out like that is because we don’t understand what it really means. We have made it about actions and we can look around and declare with a certain amount of assurance, I just cannot physically do more.

It’s not just the physical work though, is it? I mean the action is part of it but it’s the whole faith without works thing…we can’t be poured out without, well, being poured out. It is the right combination of the physical with the right heart motivation and right focus that pulls it in line and turns what we are doing day to day into a life being spent in the name of Christ and for the glory of God.

As I finished my first draft of this post my husband sent out the Old Testament reading for our worship service this week. How kind is God to just tell us what it looks like to live poured out as an offering?

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?”

We over complicate the thing by over thinking it, maybe? Or we want to control it so that we can maintain a certain level of comfort that we have become accustomed to and we reduce it down to something we feel like we can manage?

But He lays it out so simply. Fear me and walk in my ways, love me, serve me with everything you’ve got, and be obedient. And get this, it’s all for our good. The following two verses from that passage in Deuteronomy should give us great courage to live life this way.

He goes on to say that the heavens of heaven itself and the entire earth belong to Him and He has set His heart in love upon our fathers and their offspring. We’re the offspring! Everything belongs to Him and He loves us.

Now we are to go and live like it.

Sharing with Fresh Market Friday.





Think On These Things

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

~Psalm 23



Think On These Things


Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 

Romans 12: 9-18

Nailed Down

Suffering comes to all of us in various ways and to varying degrees through out our lives.

There are things we go through that in the moment seem big but afterward when we have some perspective of time and distance we realize those same incidents were smaller than they originally seemed.

Other times there is just no denying the heaviness and weight of some suffering. We know it and recognize it and those around us know it and recognize it. It’s big suffering.

Right now I know people who are all suffering to varying degrees.

I know people dealing with the recent death of loved ones.

I know people struggling with health issues.

I know people dealing with hard decisions and difficult situations.

I have friends who are just weary and need rest.

I know people facing their own lack and shortcomings as spouses and parents.

I know the struggles I face with my sin on a daily basis.

But I also know a God who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. One who is gracious and merciful.

No matter where you are in this moment or what situation you might be facing, know that the God who created everything out of nothing sees you. He knows you. He knows where you are right now and He knows where you will be tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.

Take heart, friend. Be reminded of this truth shared by Tim Keller ~

“Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming;

contra Buddhism, suffering is real;

contra karma, suffering is often unfair;

but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful.

There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.” 

What beautiful hope we have knowing that, big or small, our suffering drives us closer to God!


Sharing at Candidly Christian

Coming Full Circle

I mentioned recently how much has changed in my life in the past few months and how much being part of the Bible reading challenge has played a role in that change. The other component to that has been enjoying the study of Romans in our local Bible Study Fellowship group. (Side note: If you aren’t familiar with BSF but would like to be a part of a solid Bible study for women look them up and see if there is one near you. I have thoroughly enjoyed and grown from my participation in ways I didn’t even know I needed.)

We’re in Romans eight right now and just as God seemed to be doing something behind the scenes with the Bible reading challenge I feel like stuff in my mind and heart is being moved and rearranged as a result of the group sharing time and lectures each week. The desire to have my life fall in line with the confessions of who God is and how He expects His children to live is being shaken…the kind of shaken in Psalm 62…the kind of shaken in Hebrews 12 where only that which cannot be shaken will remain.

It’s a glorious and slightly scary place to be.

Lecture last week dealt with the topic of suffering.

It is a foolish thing to deny that suffering happens in our world. You only need to watch about five seconds of the news to see wildfires, earthquakes, draughts, and famines. It’s also a foolish thing to deny that we face suffering in our lives as well. And actually Paul makes the case for suffering by reminding us that in order to be glorified with Him (Christ) then we must also take part in His suffering. In verse eighteen Paul says that his own suffering is not worth even comparing to the glory that awaits. In II Corinthians he refers to light and temporary troubles…this from the man who suffered about every way a person can suffer.

We know there is physical suffering. We get sick. People die. Bones break and skin tears.

We know emotional suffering. Feelings can be hurt and hearts wounded.

We know of mental suffering. We can suffer from depression and breakdowns.

We know relational suffering. We can treat each other horribly and with great unkindness.

We also know internal suffering…feelings of guilt and shame plague us.

I know I have experienced every form of suffering on that list to varying degrees. I also know that in the midst of each one my only hope has been that Christ’ suffering far outweighs mine no matter how devastating my experience, and it is accomplishing a purpose. Somehow, I am being made more into the likeness of His Son through my suffering.

On Sunday our New Testament reading was from Hebrews chapter five. Verse eight jumped off the page at me, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” Emphasis is mine.

His way of learning obedience to the will of the Father was through His suffering. The preceding verse refers to His time of prayer and crying out to the Father in the garden. He suffered with the knowledge of what was to come and through it made His way in obedience to death.

His obedience led to perfection and our eternal salvation and Paul went on to say that there was so much more to say about it but it was hard to explain because his readers had become hard of hearing or sluggish.

I don’t want to be sluggish in my hearing and I want to have a right view of the suffering that comes into my life. I want to lean into it and follow it all the way to obedience to the point of death. Physically if need be but far more likely in the dying of self so that I may love those around me, forgive those around me, to show Him to those around me.

I really want that. Or at least I think I do even though I realize I am asking for it out of certain amount of ignorance of what that could actually mean in reality. But in this I come full circle back to Romans eight and thank God that while I may not be able to pray as I ought the Spirit of God intercedes on my behalf and there is One who searches and knows my heart. On this I can rest. On this I can trust.


Lean into suffering, friend. Embrace it and seek God through it. Because in those valleys He is found and your love is strengthened.


Back in September I joined a group of women from all over the world in a Bible reading challenge. It was the first time I seriously began to follow a plan in my Bible reading and something began to happen. It was not a specific passage or verse that caused it but the steady diet and consumption of the Word that began to have an effect on me.


I began to feel a kind of restlessness…who I was, what I do and why. It wasn’t this big noisy conversation and I would not have been able to articulate it at all. It was just a steady unspoken shifting of things. Life was moving along as usual but there was this current flowing behind the scenes that was doing something.

I believe that both Old and New testaments tell one story of God and His people but as I read every day the consistency and connection became stronger and stronger. I wasn’t doing anything wrong per se but I was beginning to question my motives. A few months further along and I can see Romans two was at work “…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  

Things that had been easy before, enjoyed before, were becoming a burden. A certain discontent, not with the actual doing but the reason for doing, was growing. Something needed to change. And one day the words just spilled out and things sort of clicked in place.

I’m setting my camera down and I closed the old blog. There was a tremendous feeling of relief when that decision was made.  I have a few photo commitments to complete and I will still do things for the school but I will not be taking or pursuing sessions in the new year. (Except birth photography. Rob and I discussed it and that is an avenue I will happily tread down whenever the opportunity presents itself.)

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with What Marty Sees. From the beginning I struggled with its purpose. There are some posts that I think can stand the scrutiny of motivations and I am trying to figure out how to hold on to them for future references. Also, quite a few recipes that have been shared and pinned that may get a reboot here.

Change, even good change, comes with the loss of one thing in favor of another. Sometimes we pursue the change and sometimes that change is thrust upon us. Either way I am learning more deeply how the life I live must line up with what I say I believe He says about life lived as His child.

Romans two begins as a call to death. The way to discern His will is to first die, gladly offering self as a sacrifice…an act of worship. Paul goes on to tell us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought but rather with sober judgement. Obviously, it’s not a call to naval gaze and self assessment but rather to look at the Father, to learn more fully His character and that of His Son. And as His Spirit draws us we can easily see and judge what is not good, acceptable or perfect and leave it behind.

Let love be genuine.

Hold fast to what is good.

Rejoice in hope.

Be constant in prayer.



Never be wise in your own sight.

Overcome evil with good.

God is the God of renewal, of redemption, of resurrection. He has already asked if old dried up bones can yet live and answered, “I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

Know that He is Lord.

Working Through Romans

At the beginning of this year I was able to get involved in Bible Study Fellowship and study the book of John. I loved the experience and got a lot out of the study even though I was coming in halfway. This month I am excited to be starting at the beginning as we go through the book of Romans, one of my favorite books in the Bible. I sort of got into the habit of sharing bits and pieces here on the blog from the John study and that is probably going to happen again with Romans.

The same day BSF started up I also began a ladies Bible reading challenge with sisters in Christ literally from all over the world. We’re following a reading plan to read through the entire Bible in nine months. (It’s not too late to take part so let me know if you’d like more information on this! There is a facebook group with all kinds of fellowship and resources.)

Yesterday morning I had an interesting overlap between the day’s readings and the extra reading of Romans I am doing. The Old Testament Bible reading covered Genesis 12-15 and then in my reading of Romans I was in chapter 4 both of which coincidentally covers Abraham.

It was interesting to hear the story of Abram in those OT chapters and then to read Paul’s description of Abram’s faith. If you only read Paul’s account you would never think that Abram ever questioned God. But in the Genesis account it’s almost as if he whined to God about the lack of fulfillment of the promised heir.

What struck me is that Abram’s questioning of God and His timetable was not considered a lack of faith in Abraham. It’s more like God recognized the limits of Abraham’s understanding. Paul goes on to say that, “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.”

It’s comforting to know that while I may lack full understanding in all that God is doing I can continue in faith, giving Him glory, convinced that He will indeed do all that He promises.

As I added the link in for BSF I realized that not only am I reading Scripture with women from all over the world with the challenge but I am also studying Romans with women all over the world. How amazing that I am reading His words and learning His truths with people I have never met but will one day share eternity with.

I Can Only Imagine

Does anybody remember an extremely popular Christian song in the late eighties by singer Ray Boltz called Thank You? The story behind the song is that he wrote it for his pastor in appreciation for his service to the Gospel and it painted this picture of how, once in heaven, all the ways our stories are interconnected will be as clear as the crystal sea we’ll be walking beside.
As an adult I am quite skeptical about the theology behind the song…it makes quite a bit of hoopla about an individual and their works and I am just not sure that’s the way it will go down but that really isn’t my point.
My point is that much has been said about heaven and what it will be like and frankly, there is much speculation and we simply won’t know until we get there. So our speculation seems pretty silly but I do think it is in our nature to ponder and wonder and dream so why wouldn’t we ponder, wonder, and dream about heaven? I just think we need not get overly sentimental or attached to what we think it will be like no matter how much the song tugs on our heartstrings.
All of that came to mind yesterday because a simple reading of a passage of Scripture in our service. Rob started a new series on the book of Romans and part of his sermon centered on the books author, Paul.
One of the Scripture readings was the story of the stoning of Stephen and that is where my imagination collided with the idea of heaven and what it will be like. 
For just a moment I wondered, if there are such meetings in heaven, what it must have been like for the Apostle Paul to come face to face with Stephen.
To borrow from another overdone and sappy song, I can only imagine.