What I'm Listening To

Catching My Breath

Photo by @iamjohnbrandon

Photo by @iamjohnbrandon

It’s finally Saturday.

The kind of Saturday I’ve been longing for since this new year began.

I’ve already done some Saturday type things, like waking up early to read my Word before the day really began. I went to breakfast with a friend from church and for lunch I ate fruit with my leftover chocolate cake from The Cheesecake Factory. I’m currently wearing Saturday type clothing: sweatpants, an old Nike shirt and a blue sweater. It’s quiet in our new apartment and the sun’s light is shining through the six large windows that make our tiny space feel bigger than it actually is.

I love it.

I love this place that we are in. This place that The Lord has brought us to. This place where I can inhale His grace and be refreshed by His Spirit.

I love that today, on this beautiful Saturday in sunny Florida, I can finally catch my breath again.

The last few weeks have been quite the whirlwind, but they have also been some of the most life changing moments of my life.

First there was Christmas, where I spent time with siblings and family from my dad’s side whom I had never met before. It was pretty much the best Christmas ever.

Then, John and I packed up all our belongings (again) from my parents’ home about an hour outside of Orlando and moved into our new apartment here in The City Beautiful.

After that, as well as settling into our new home, John and I both started new full-time positions in organizations we were already working in. For me that included a week in New York for my on-boarding and then immediately transitioning from a 20-hour per week workload to a full 40 hours. I work from home, which is a huge blessing that I hope to never take for granted, but each of those hours at home working are definitely accounted for. I haven’t worked full-time in almost two years, so this has positively been another adjustment. I was also doing some contracting work that took up time in the mornings and evenings before and after work.

Along with what I’ve already mentioned, this past month I spent a lot more of my personal time reading and writing. Not writing for the blog every Sunday like I had hoped, but nonetheless, creating. These activities have been my form of rest and self-care as January was off to an energetic start. As well as being a wife, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, going to church, attending events like a wedding and birthday dinner, etc. Oh, and being sick for the entire week that I was in New York. You know, the life things.

The life thing that has changed my life however, was a week of prayer and fasting (3 days). Between Sunday, January 20th and Sunday, January 27th my church, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, participated in a total fast (water and juice only) and gathered for prayer for an hour at 6am for three days straight. It was my first time ever completing a total fast. It was also my first time ever going to church for prayer three mornings in a row. My experience that week was absolutely amazing. It’s still a challenge trying to find the words to describe it all.  

We also prayed that Wednesday and Sunday evening, outside of our normal Friday night young adult service (which consisted of more praying) and our two Sunday services called Rivers. We were at the church a lot, but that week changed my life forever and I look forward to finally getting the right words down on the screen to share in an upcoming post. Stay tuned…

So, after all that took place towards the end of December and throughout the entire month of January, today, on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, I get to sit beside my husband, write, reflect and breathe in life from my Creator. 

I expect that the rest of the year will be filled with more running after the things of God, more abiding in Him, more prayer and fasting, more gathering, more writing and reading, more work, more traveling, more adulting things, more life. I want to be ready to hit the ground running, knowing that The Lord will always provide a time of rest and refreshing if we simply take a moment to slow down and breathe Him in.

“For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4 NLT

How are you spending your weekend?

Grace & Peace,

Raine


Around the beginning of each month I hope to share with you what I’m reading & listening to, as well as some of the bloggers I follow. Each month will highlight different books, podcasts & bloggers. Be sure to look out for this section!


READING

In the Bible… The Books of Genesis & Acts

Educated by Tara Westover

Fierce Hope: Why the Only Truth Worth Living For is Greater Than the Empty Promises of Our Chaotic World by Savanna Hartman

JANUARY RECAP: The Biblical Books John & Romans, It’s Happening by William McDowell, The Well by Stephanie Landsem & Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott



SPOTLIGHT

The Narrow Way by Keisha Ford

I was introduced to Keisha online via a woman whose daughters I used to babysit when I was in high school! She was like, “hey, you are both great writers and I think you should connect.” She didn’t say it exactly in those words, but you get the gist. That introduction lead to a two-hour phone conversation about writing, blogging and faith. Keisha’s blog is always real and always encouraging. She is also a self-published author! Follow Keisha on Instagram.

Cloistered Away by Bethany Douglass

I’ve been reading Bethany’s writing for a couple years now. She writes a lot about homeschooling, life at home, the seasons and more. What I enjoy the most is her reflection and encouragement for our creative lives. She speaks of rhythm and routine, our souls and rest, letting go and making space in our daily lives to be creative. I always look forward to her posts, even the ones that don’t necessarily apply to my current season (like homeschooling). I save them for later anyways. Follow Bethany on Instagram.

What are you reading/listening to this month?


Write Light is a faith-inspired blog about my journey of faith in Jesus Christ. My purpose is that I would bravely walk out my faith in God & write about the light of His Son Jesus. So that you would know by His Holy Spirit & believe in your heart that He exists, that He loves you with an everlasting love, that He created you to be brave & to be light. My hope is that this space & these words encourage you in your own journey of faith & inspires you to be brave enough to love others deeply as you allow your light to shine through the creative gifts that God has called you to.

A B I D E

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For the past few years I have chosen one word to guide my year. Rather than setting goals that never wind up getting accomplished, this practice has truly made a difference in the way I go about being intentional throughout the year.

In 2015 I graduated with my Master’s degree in Social Work, began working at my first job out of college in Baltimore City, purchased a new car for the first time in my life and learned more about God’s GRACE.

In 2016 I embraced the JOY of the Lord and married my best friend.

In 2017 I went on a mission trip to Iceland, self-published my first book of poetry, was let go from my first job out of college and waited on the Lord to lead me in a new direction as I discovered His WONDER.

In 2018 I did my best to become BRAVE as John and I moved our entire life from Maryland to Florida, formed relationships with new people, met my dad for the first time, started opening up about some of the things I am going through, went to my first counseling session and really began digging into my past and emotions that triggered shame, stress, anxiety and fear.

In 2019 I carry with me grace, joy, wonder and bravery as I long to ABIDE in the Lord.

For me abiding in the Lord means pursuing a deeper, more intimate relationship with my Father every day of my life. I desire to sit at the feet of Jesus, reading His Word, pursuing His presence through prayer and worship and resting in His love for me. I desire to become deeply rooted in my faith in Jesus Christ and my identity as a daughter of the King.

I just want to be with Him, more than I ever have before. And He wants to be with us too.

He wants to be with you.

““I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts [abide in my love]. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness! So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends”” (See John 15:1-17 TPT). — John 15:9-13

What’s your one word for the year, or goals if you have them?

Grace & Peace,

Raine


Around the beginning of each month I hope to share with you what I’m reading & listening to, as well as some of the bloggers I follow. Each month will highlight different books, podcasts & bloggers. Be sure to look out for this section!


READING

In the Bible… The Books of John & Romans

The Well by Stephanie Landsem

I’ve read this book twice now and it gets me every time. I’ve committed to reading it once a year and this month I have a friend reading it with me. It’s definitely one of my favorite books ever in life, so you should check it out too and let me know what you think!

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

This year I want to be more intentional about learning about the craft of writing. I’ve been writing in different forms for most of my life but have never really taken the time – outside of school – to really sharpen this gift that I enjoy. I want to become a better writer and other than actually writing, that starts with learning. I’ve heard great reviews about Anne Lamott’s books, so this will be my starting point.

Do you have any suggestions for books on writing I could read?


LISTENING

Deeper Fellowship Church Podcast

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Chasing Creative by Ashley Brooks & Abbigail Kriebs


SPOTLIGHT

Savanna Hartman

Savanna and I met at our church recently and instantly connected through our love of God, writing and reading. I found her blog online one day and fell in love with the words she shared that came directly from her heart. Savanna’s writing is pure, full of emotion, vulnerable and heart-changing. You can sense the presence of God in her words as she pours out her life before Him through what she presents her readers. Please check out her blog because it is truly some of the best writing I have ever read, and I don’t say that lightly. Follow Savanna on Instagram.

A Wholehearted Life by Lindsay Crandall

I remember reading words on a blog one day that led me to Lindsay Crandall’s website. I read some of her writing and wanted to read more. So, I did. There’s something about the way that she writes that draws you into the imperfections of life and positively encourages you in your own life, especially when it comes to writing. She is one of my favorite bloggers, one whose writing I look forward to reading every time. Follow Lindsay on Instagram.

What are you reading/listening to this month?


Write Light is a faith-inspired blog about my journey of faith in Jesus Christ. My purpose is that I would bravely walk out my faith in God & write about the light of His Son Jesus. So that you would know by His Holy Spirit & believe in your heart that He exists, that He loves you with an everlasting love, that He created you to be brave & to be light. My hope is that this space & these words encourage you in your own journey of faith & inspires you to be brave enough to love others deeply as you allow your light to shine through the creative gifts that God has called you to.