Rachel Awtrey

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Posts tagged Faith
It's just not over, yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this picture. But I hate it, too, all at the same time.


It doesn’t look like what it’s “supposed” to look like. It’s missing someone. One person short of the “family wedding picture” I thought would always be in our wedding album.


When I see it, my eyes get narrow, my head tilts to the right and my lips get pushed to the side. Every time.
I can get hung up with the fact that dad’s life was just too short, I can get mad at circumstances or try to find someone to blame.


Instead, I lean into the pain instead of running away from it. I scream “I’m not scared of you” right in it’s face when it reminds me of future moments he won’t be a part of. I smile knowing that it’s just a piece of my story, not the whole one.


Instead of looking at my story and asking “why this?” I’ll ask “how can I use it?”
I’m no expert and I’m not perfect, I’m just tired of trying it my way.
You have the same choice too, friend.
And trust me, it’s much more fun His way.


So why would you fear the future if His goodness and love pursued you all the days of your life (Psalm 23:6)?

Suffering does not mean the absence of God. In fact, lean in. Perhaps, a breakthrough is right around the corner. After the death (and what they thought was a defeat) on Friday, the Saturday was still but He came through on Sunday. Your “Sunday” is coming, too, friend!
Happy Easter from the Awtreys and this beautiful sunrise service at the beach. He is Risen! ☀️

No need to hustle - Matthew 6:26
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No need to hustle. No need to stress. No need to get ahead of God thinking He forgot about you. He is taking care of you and has already thought of all of the things that are on your mind.


Think of all of the times that “things just worked out” and give Him the credit for those moments instead of giving Him grief when things “aren’t looking so great.” 🙌🏻

Daily Devotional
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My thought this morning:
What if my obedience assists in someone else’s breakthrough?
What if my boldness brings about someone’s freedom?
It’s bigger than us. ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Also, loving “New Morning Mercies” by Paul David Tripp - if you’re looking for a daily devotional, look no further! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And if you’re looking for a Bible, try the @shereadstruth Bible! It has devotionals throughout with maps, helpful information to fully understand scripture and other fun stuff! 🙌🏻

Embrace the Pain
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Have you ever been so dang grateful for everything that you just want to cry because you don’t know what else to do to express it?? Maybe it’s just me 😂 take a moment and write a list (or think of one) of all the things in your life that you’re thankful for: stability, a family, memories, the ability to dance if you wanted to, people that love and support me, you get the gist.

All of a sudden, the things that stress you out or make you mad seem to sort of dissolve. Funny huh?

Reflecting on the blessings we have and don’t deserve, the grace that’s been offered to us, makes all the stretching (😉), all this discomfort, all of the tension and pain worth it. Because stretching makes you more flexible and flexibility allows movement.

So if you’re wanting movement or strength in your life, embrace the stretch.

Faith Based Books, Apps, Podcasts, and Playlists You'll Love
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This past weekend I heard a quote from Louie Giglio of Passion City Church: "it's easy to be a person with information but lack wisdom." So true! It's so easy to take details and moments in but to hang on to them, share them with others, compare them to scripture and see what the Lord has to say about them is often neglected. These few books, podcasts, and other knick-knacks have really propelled my "free time" into a whole other ball game. I feel like I've been soaking up good Truths, replacing the old with new and identifying lies I thought were true all along.

Here are a few of my favorite things:

Devotions

If you love devotions, these are great for you. New Morning Mercies is a great one for an everyday thought provoking 30 minutes. It gives you further scripture to read and approach after the devotional. Praying the Bible is so so good if you are seeking to learn more about prayer and the power it has in our lives. It walks through the Bible and when + how scripture tells us to call on the Lord. So good! Shauna Niequist is one of my favorite authors and speaker so this 365-day devotional, Savor, is an easy one to display on a coffee table and flip through when you need a little pick me up. If you're a doodler I have a devo for you: All in All is a journal devotional that allows you to write (or draw) your thoughts while reading. Flourish is supposed to be a 52 week devotion (one devotion a week, duh) but it's so hard for me to not just read the next for the next day. So so good!
Also, I do not read all of these at once, it may sound like it but that would be a lot and so crazy and too much for me to handle. Me sharing all of my favorites is not me advising you read all of them at once. Pick one, finish it and then pick another - that's how I do it!

Apps

 
 

She Reads Truth
Has the Bible on the app but it also has short devotionals and screen savers for your phone. How cool!

ESV Bible
A great Bible tool for the ESV translation of the Bible. It allows you to highlight, make notes, look up words - great for studying!

Bibles

She Reads Truth
I have the linen hardback covered book and it's beautiful! I use it as decor just as much as a Bible - it's just so beautiful! The front page of every book has a beautifully painted verse from the book. There are maps and timelines easy to study as well as devotionals throughout by some of our favorite authors. 

Illuminated Bible
Again, another gorgeous Bible! The gold foiling stands out among the rest. It's a journaling Bible so it's great for note takers. The beginning of every chapter has a piece of art about the book. It's more traditional and classic looking - it reminds me of a vintage Bible and the chronicles of Narnia illustration. 

Podcasts

 
 

I wish I could go through every single podcast but these are truly just the best I've found. Glorious In the Mundane is a podcast you listen to in order to relax but also pick up nuggets of truth or "aha" moments. The Happy Hour is a mixture of hilarious episode and episodes that send chills down your spine. Each one leaves you feeling like a "better you."  Crazy Love Podcast who doesn't love some Francis Chan?? He always leaves everyone's jaws dropped, a true gift of speaking directly to people's hearts. Francis speaks with Holy Spirit lead conviction - get ready because he also is talented enough to "call you out" via podcast. You'll leave with one more part of your life identified that the Lord wants you to change.

I'll leave The Next Right Thing and The Shauna Niequist Podcast up to you to listen to and observe for yourself! Just know that they're wonderful and will rock your world.

My Worship Playlist

I'm really proud of this playlist - it's a fun combination of soothing and songs to dance to! I'm always adding to it so you can bet on it changing and not hearing the same songs over and over again! With 300 songs, you're bound to find a song that moves you on days you need to feel loved.

 
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What are your favorite faith filled resources? Any favorites I should know about??

 

So you want to hear God's voice?

It's frustrating and I've been there - you pray for an answer and you feel like all you hear back is loneliness and silence. Or, you sit still and wait for some huge revelation.

It's easy when we feel like we don't/can't hear God's voice to simply stop listening. It's a frustrating topic for many believers that want to encounter the love of the Father, to experience all the goodness He promises. 

I prayed for Truth to write to those that may also feel stuck in the lie that they, "can't hear God."

One of the most practical stories in Scripture is when Moses encounters God and His voice through a flaming bush. (Exodus 3)

"Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God."

Moses led. He led others to the literal mountain of God. And in addition, went into the quietness of the wilderness - not the busy streets of the city or the crowds of the public. Are you leading others (or even yourself) to the mountain of God? Be intentional with your direction. When you set your direction towards Him, you'll see Him and hear Him more clearly than you ever have before only because you're making a decision with your direction. 

"There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire, it did not burn up."

The Lord is always appearing to us; it's our choice whether we want to look and find Him. When Moses saw something miraculous and extraordinary, he didn't just stand there, he didn't doubt it, he didn't turn to his phone or his friend - instead...

"Moses thought, 'I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.'"

Moses approached. Are you approaching what you see to be good or what you see the Lord doing?

"When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, 'Here I am.'”

Moses encountered the Lord and he knew it because he was seeking Him the entire time by aiming his direction toward the Mountain of God. When the Lord spoke to him, Moses responded. Are you responding to what the Lord says to you? Are you actions and words a response?

I can guarantee you this: God is craving to be heard by you and to hear you. Friends, don't fall into the temptation to trust the enemy's lie that you won't/can't hear from the Lord and what He has to say to you. The enemy thrives on acting as a boundary, or a wall, between you and the Lord's message for you.

This world is complicated: it has so many distractions to throw at us to catch, so many lies and truths to filter through, so many people and things to listen to and then we feel like we have to rank the priority in which order we should listen to them. If I'm honest with ya, many times my priority of listening to what He has to say falls short and falls on my list of to-dos.

There's no "method" to hearing the Lord's voice but here are some practical actions we as believers are not only encouraged but called to take, daily:

1. Set aside time to spend with the Father. Set aside the distractions, the phone, even the music if you see it as a hinderance. 

2. Pray and set up this time with an invitation. 

3. Listen to everything that he has to say to you. Ask Him, "who do You say I am" and/or "what do you have for me?" Our brains have been created so intriguingly. The encouraging and kind words that are put on our hearts and minds, the ones that we hear clearly, that's no "happenstance." That's real and comes from the Creator. 

When I asked these questions for myself I got "victor, daughter, beloved, creation" and "goodness." This isn't random. This isn't fraud. 

I encourage you to write these words down as a testimony to a season or trial you may have later - these words act as the greatest reference in another time of need to hear truth. Because, the greatest sin of a blessing is forgetfulness. 

If you look through the rest of Scripture, God's presence is manifested through nature over and over and over again - so, that's one place to look. He uses clouds to speak to us (Exodus 13:21 ), fire and smoke (Judges 13:20), a rainbow (Ezekiel 1:28), thunder and lightning (Exodus 19:16) and wind (Job 28:1). 

Ask yourself:

1. Where do I see God most?

2. Am I alert and seeking Him?

3. If He shows himself in an incredible way, do I doubt it or do I approach Him?

4. Am I constantly in a seeking posture to see and hear Him?

Y'all, Moses didn't stumble upon God, he sought Him out and when he saw God, he responded. Be like Moses. 

Jesus said it Himself: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

What the dwell are you doing?
 
 

The most intimidating part of life for me is wondering if I'm doing the "right" thing. I'm not talking about making the right decisions but I'm talking about meeting the benchmarks set by the world's standards. I often ask myself, "Wait, they're applying for jobs? Shoot! I got to start applying too, I guess" or the super frequent, "they're spending that much time studying, or doing ministry, or working out? I'm way behind." 

I'm thinking all of these things in fear; fear of being judged and fear of not being where "I'm suppose to be." 

What does that even mean? "Suppose to be." Who is the person setting the standards for what's normal these days? I'd like to meet them.

There's so much pressure on us to finish the checklist set before us. But, what checklist? Who's actually putting the pressure on you? Do they know the deep desires of your heart? Do they know the intimate prayers between you and the Lord and know His calling on your life? 

I can't tell you how many looks I get a day when people see my wedding band while I'm in my undergrad classes or buying groceries. It's because it's not "normal." Sure, it's not "normal" but it doesn't mean it's not right. It doesn't mean that my ways of obedience look the same as your ways of obedience. This leads to hesitation that if we are obedient in what the Lord is calling us to do then maybe we'll be judged or people will think poorly of us because it's not what they would have done. 

The pressure we put on ourselves to achieve a benchmark the world has set for us is not Biblical. Obedience carries freedom, even if your ways of obedience looks different than her ways of obedience. There's freedom in knowing that we don't have to orchestrate our desires, future or benchmarks. 

Already having affirmation from the Lord and then needing to have more affirmation from people to move forward into what we're called is a slap in Jesus's face. It's saying, "Your voice isn't loud enough so I need other's confirmation just to make sure. The affirmation you gave me on the cross that I was enough isn't enough for me." Yikes. 

Then there's sometimes when I know that the direction I'm moving is not the direction for me. But, I'm too fearful of failure to mess up if I head in another direction that's more uncomfortable or unfamiliar. 

My favorite movie growing up was Matilda. The one where the little girl was tormented by her parents who didn't want anything to do with her. She then realized she had magic powers and that she could move things with her eyes. Unfortunately that doesn't apply to me. 

My soul sister, Nikki, reminded me: in order to make something change directions, you have to move it first not just stare at it. You can't look at a soccer ball, mid-game and tell it to move towards the goal and expect it to happen. You have to get on the field, kick the ball, get it moving, and then you have the ability to change it's direction. For you, getting the ball rolling may look like taking the MCAT or the LSAT or the GRE or getting an internship, or interviewing for a job, or writing a blog - all are validated. 

I'm not sure if I'm called to a writing career and publishing a book (one of my dreams) or to sit in an office and come up with creative marketing solutions for companies or if it's to teach a crowd of young kids in a classroom. But what I do know is I can only start moving my soccer ball from the field, I'll never be able to have a say from the bench. So I better get in the game if I have a goal in mind.

Do what you love to do, the Lord doesn’t give you empty desires (as my friend Ana reminds me). If you have a desire, who is to tell you it's not valid. If it's not valid, it wouldn't exist. The Lord was so gracious to give us so many avenues for creativity and glorification for Him. 

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what's on our resume, what our job title is or what plaques hang on our walls in our office. We're called to love the Lord “with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." Matthew 22:37

And loving the Lord with all of our mind means turning over everything we know or anything we think we know to Him and giving him the opportunity to speak into what we love. Before we identify as a student, assistant, doctor or lawyer, we are first called to identify as ambassadors for His Kingdom, not our kingdom. Everything else is a cherry on top. 

You don’t have to know what you’re doing or what tomorrow holds. It’s a healthy place to be fluid and flexible and to listen to what the Lord is saying in this current season and not dwelling on the unknown. 

So whatever your choice: a gap year, entry-level position, law or med school, creating a portfolio or writing a blog about all the silly things you love, it’s all validated if you are first dwelling and resting in the Lord rather than dwelling on the “right choice." Just make a decision, you can't mess anything up. That's where grace comes in. 

I may not know my future but I know what I like to do. I know I like to write about anything. Dumb stuff like pouring coffee or roaming random places with Thomas or heavier stuff that makes me sweat and my heart beat really quickly and my fingers move faster on my keyboard than I knew was possible (like right now.) So I'm going to continue chasing after the desire that the Lord placed in the deep parts of my heart and find encouragement in the satisfaction I find when I pursue what the Lord has gifted me with. 

Yeah, so I don't know what the dwell I'm doing right now but I'm choosing to move forward, to take a step in faith and not in fear. No more fear of what people think or if I'm following "the rules."

Who wrote those rules anyways? Pshhhh.

Feeling trapped? Dance to one of my favorite songs and shake all the chains off. 

 
 

1. Get your ball rolling and just move forward and believe that you're not powerful enough to mess up the Lord's orchestrated plan for your life. 

2. Stop leaning on the worlds understandings for what is for you. 

3. Truly examine your passions and your seasons and have full confidence in the Lord instead of yourself to complete these dreams and aspirations.