One invitation I just can’t resist

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments



I picked my bible reading plan off the ground on Friday. It was a folded up piece of paper lying in the middle of a muddy parking lot. 

If you’re wondering how it got there in the first place I can tell you. Xylon and I were rushing out the house for a weekend away and I thought I better read my bible while I’m away so I grabbed the bible reading plan folding four times and stuffed it into the back of jean pockets. 

Then we stopped to buy cake to take with us - as one does - and on my way inside the bible plan must have fallen out my pocket. I spotted it on the way back to the car. Quickly picked it up and stuffed it back into my jeans. 

To be honest I haven’t been succeeding very well at my lame bible-reading plan. There have been a lot more “rest days” than the one the plan allows for so far.  On Saturday I found myself reading Day 5 and Day 6. But I’ve been reading the bible, which is more than I’d done for the rest of the year. So I'm not beating myself up about not sticking perfectly to the plan. 

As I read through Matthew 4:18-22 I felt the old familiar pull I feel towards Jesus every time I read the words, “Come, follow me.” 
It’s the one invitation I can never resist.
Jesus – God among us – calling me to him, requesting me to join him just as I am. 

Whenever I read those words I see myself in whatever situation I find myself and imagine Jesus walking by. 

This weekend as I sat with a borrowed bible, and mud stained bible plan, I imagined Jesus walking past me and saying, “Come, follow me.” I wanted to imagine myself jumping up immediately and going with him but instead my imaginary self-started saying, “Are you sure Jesus? You want me. I’m a lame bible-reader. And I haven’t loved all those closest to me well this year. And...”

I didn’t like what I was imagining so I stopped and went back to Matthew 4:18-22 and read again. 
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
I felt so challenged by Peter and Andrew and James and John. How they left everything when Jesus invited them. How they didn’t ask questions or feel less than enough. How they just went. And I wanted that too. I wanted to respond to Jesus without letting myself get in the way. 

I sat there with the Bible in my lap and I read the invitation again, 
“Come, follow me.”


And this time, since there was no physical Jesus walking by to jump up and run after, I responded with a prayer:
Jesus, I’m coming!
Thank you for inviting me to walk with you. 
I’m not sure what you saw me in me but it makes me want to spend time with you so I can see people the way you do. 
I so often feel left out of things and I can’t believe that you picked me. YOU picked me! This is the best day of my life. 

And as I prayed I wondered what Peter and Andrew and James and John said to Jesus as they walked away from fishing boats, parents, and nets that needed to be repaired. I wondered if their conversation with Jesus sounded anything like mine. 

And as I prayed I forgot all the failures of the week before, all the bible verses I hadn’t read, as I prayed I realised none of it mattered as much as getting up and walking after Jesus when he invites me with a simple, “Come, follow me."

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If you've ever wondered if God can accept all of you, read this

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

It is so great to journey with others. I have been loving the stories you have been sharing with me what “well” means to you. I will be sharing them here over the coming weeks but today I'm excited to share the Ashley's thoughts on "well". I love that the thoughts she's shared here were so fresh and newly formed. So often I think that I can't share something until I've figured out exactly how to say it. Ashley reminded me that living "well" sometimes means being brave enough to share the messy parts of us as we grow.

 ***** 


I just wanted to start off by saying that I love Wendy's site - I especially love what she has done with it recently. I started reading I Love Devotionals before I started my own blog and it was one of the first I subscribed to. I love how real and raw Wendy's writing is and how she weaves Jesus into her everyday life and shares about that with us.

More to the point I love the new "topic”: well.

This is something that I am always asking – how do I live "well"? 

It's a tough question and I think there are many correct answers, it depends on which answer best fits you or I.

But I believe I have figured out the first step to what living well means for me (just a half an hour ago I might add... and it might not be quite that easy either). Or at least the first step for anyone like me who is a perfectionist, always expecting the best from myself and rejecting anything that perfect. 

I have been reading through a book called "Changes That Heal" by Henry Cloud. This is a quote straight from the book that my heart needed to hear in a huge way: 
"'God expects me to be all good.' Nothing could be farther from the truth, but no distortion is more common than this one. God has said repeatedly that we are sinners, and he expects us to fall over and over again. He knows our frame, says the psalmist (Ps. 103:14). We must comprehend the way in which God sees us, both to be humbled away from our perfectionism and to be awestruck by his grace."

I feel like I knew this but I wasn't choosing to believe it. 

I knew that God accepted me as I was but I always felt that meant that I wasn't allowed to stay there. But instead it doesn't mean that I am not allowed - it means that I don't have to stay there. God accepts me as I am and wants to help me move along to being better.

Cloud writes about how until I accept myself as I truly am I won't be able to truly heal from the past. 

I’m learning that if I want to live well, it starts with accepting the parts of me that I want to change. Until I accept this is part of who I am, there is no room for improvement. 

How frustrating but also freeing at the same time.

But how do I do this? 
Honestly, I'm still learning but I believe it starts with confession. To ourselves first and then to a trusted loved one - confession of the parts of me I want to change: The ugly. The sinful. The yucky.
Because the beauty of all this is that Jesus died for these things: the big messy things, but also the tiny little ones too. 

Jesus loved us so much that He chose not to condemn us. He chose to rescue us. But to be rescued I need to realise His acceptance of those messy parts before I can grow. 

Isn't it wonderful? I have the option to grow and become lovelier. I pray that I will be able to do this well.

Heavenly Father - Thank you for all that Jesus did for us, thank you for accepting those parts of us that we don't even like. Help us to accept these messy, yucky parts of ourselves. Help us to realise how accepted and loved we are by you. Help us to confess them and help us to grow into a better example of your love. And help us to be a people that live well this year and display your love to those of around us.

About Ashley
My website is setmyheartonyou.com and I write about mostly every day life, the wedding I’m planning, the things I learn day in and day out and my relationship with Jesus.
Find me at:
Instagram: @setmyheartonyou
Twitter: @_setmyheart


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Welcome! 
If you're new here and don't want to miss a thing, 
be sure to subscribe to I Love Devotionals blog updates
Thanks for visiting! 

 
Make sure to look out for the link to download my ebook, Life, Life and More Life, in your verification email.

Lame bible readers of the world unite

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

30 Day bible reading challenge printableHello, my name is Wendy and I am a lame Bible reader. 

This might surprise you since I write a blog called, I Love Devotionals. I even contributed six devotionals to The NIV Bible for Women

Yet I find recently that I pick up my phone to check social feeds more than I pick up my Bible. Sound familiar?

I haven't read my Bible this year. The Bible I keep next to my bed. In fact the only time I touched it this year was to move it off the bedside table and into the draw. 

I've googled for verses I remember and read those, shared some of them here even - but I haven't sat down with my Bible just to read it.

I have found that the Bible helps me to glimpse the Jesus that likes me, that reminds me that God flung the stars in the sky and that he calls me by name, and anchors me with promises when life isn’t going so well. 

I’m hungry for more of God and I know that one of the ways to feed that hunger is to read the Bible. 

I've decided to hand in my lame bible reader card. (tweet this)
For the next 30 days I've created a Bible reading challenge for myself. 
And I’m inviting you to join me. 
Click here to download the 30-Day Bible Reading Challenge as a printable PDF.

I'm not trying to do anything extreme like read the bible through in a month (although I have done that in the past). 
And I’m not trying to make a chore out of reading the Bible. 
I decided I wanted each days reading to take me about as long as it would take me to click through and read an article I find on Twitter. 
The idea is to get me reading the bible again it isn’t to hang something heavy around my neck that I can’t bear. 

I based my Bible reading challenge loosely on something my Grandfather used to do. He read through the Bible every year. And I can’t remember his plan exactly but it went something like, read one chapter of Proverbs a day, read one psalm, and one chapter in the Old Testament and one in the New. In this way he’d read through the whole Bible in a year, Proverbs monthly and the Psalms at least twice. 

My goal is much smaller. It is to read one Psalm, one wise saying from Proverbs, and about 5-10 verses in Matthew. I’ve also left a rest day every fourth day. You could skip this or use it to catch up if you’ve missed a day. 

There are 100's of ways to read the Bible and to connect with God so please don't feel you have to follow what I’m doing. Or that what you're doing now might be wrong. 

When I told Xylon what my plan and invited him to join me he shook his head and said, "I don't like structure." 

A few minutes later, Xylon made me laugh when I was finished as he went on to audit my reading, "You can't be finished yet. That was too quick. Are you sure you read a Psalm?" 

The next 30-days as I read through the Bible I’m reminding myself of this beautiful verse in Hosea (that I googled): 
Bible verse about longing for God
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
    Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
    or the coming of rains in early spring.
Hosea 6:3 (NLT)


Click here to download the 30-Day Bible Reading Challenge as a printable PDF. 

If you haven’t joined our community over on Facebook and you’re keen to read through this 30-day challenge with us please go like my page now. From time to time I’ll posting bible verses from the challenge and would love to hear your thoughts. Or if you just want to keep track of new posts on the blog then subscribe here. If you enjoyed this post please click here to share it on twitter. 

If you feel like you have nothing left to give, read this

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

A few weeks ago I invited you all to come share your stories of what “well” means to you. I’m delighted to introduce you to the first person brave enough to put up their hand and say, “I’ll take this “well” journey with you.” I’ve met Kimberly a few times. We both work for non-profits in the cycling world and have run into each other in unlikely places across the globe.

I hope Kimberly’s take on “well” has you rushing to relate your “me too” moments to her in the comments.

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“Well”….the first thing that comes to mind when I hear well is… “unwell”.   

The word “well” is an adjective, adverb, noun, interjection and an idiom according to dictionary.com.  That is quite an array of meaning for such a small, seemingly insignificant and overused word.  Yet, “unwell” is simply ailing, ill.  

The second definition of “well” is the hole in the ground or spring where water comes forth or used as a verb, to rise, spring or gush forth.  

So why do I only think “unwell” when hearing “well”?

I am the hole in the ground from where everyone draws water. <-- tweet this

Seven years ago the well was newly dug, brimming with clean water, life-giving water. 

Today, after countless people have taken from the well, lived from this well, neglected this well the spring feeding the well does not rise, spring or gush forth. It sputters and spews and some days the water is fine for drinking. 
Other days, it’s bitter and must be boiled to rid it from disease causing bacteria. And the only rising, springing and gushing forth are the tears in my eyes after the overload of use on my emotional pillar of strength.  

I came to Rwanda in 2009, April, genocide month. 

They say it’s only a commemoration week, however, the pallor of sadness, loss and unresolved anger and guilt lingers for weeks after the scab from the prior year has been picked off by the memories spoken aloud. 

I came for three months to help a bicycle initiative, which was taking its final gasp of air, intertwined with this initiative was Team Rwanda.  

Team Rwanda became my passion. Helping cyclists as a cyclist passionate about the sport was a dream job, even if it paid nothing. In 2009, Team Rwanda was about eight riders with no real direction or goal. We limped along on funding from month to month. In 2010, I realized the prior bicycle initiative I volunteered was an anchor around our neck so we launched our own non-profit for Team Rwanda Cycling in the US. In six years have grown the team to over 30 cyclists.  Our budget has grown from about $75,000 to this year, to over $500,000. We have five riders on professional teams, two going to the Olympics this year, and a female who could race for a European team later this year.  

Stepping back, we have done “well”, very well. 

A three month sabbatical from my high powered job in Las Vegas became a seven year labor of love….and sadness. It has added a depth to my personality I never knew existed. I love people unconditionally and wholeheartedly even when they break my heart.  

This growth has begun to drain the well and I am actively seeking replenishment from a variety of sources as I know if the well stops giving forth, or at this stage, sputtering, it is over. 
I meditate, fitfully, although consistently. 
I exercise daily. 
I eat well…healthy.  
But most of all I read the Bible and pray. 

I cannot look to the outside world to bring the spring inside back to life, gushing forth.  
I can rely on friends and family, but there’s a limit to what they can do.  
When I deal with only the physical world I am laid waste.  

There’s not enough money, love, care, understanding, repairing to respond to the variety of issues and sadness I experience every day, through these riders and their families.  

Colossians 3:23 says, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

I can only do so much.  
I cannot take away the poverty, the jealousy of the rider’s family and “friends”. 
I cannot keep them safe from heartbreak, loss and even danger.  
That is their life.  
I can just give them some sustenance from my well; the well filled by my faith in God and the gifts God has given me.  

As I lay sobbing, thinking about the money I give a rider’s mother every month to feed her children, recalling a conversation with a rider about his family demanding so much from him financially, to thinking about our sole woman cyclist talking about her past – which is horrific at best – I  am reminded I have an unlimited source of grace and love and forgiveness. 

I am reminded it is not my well, but His, which will keep me “well”.

About Kimberly

I grew up in the Kansas, in the middle of the United States. My views are influenced by my faith based, strong work ethic family. I owned my first business at 21, my last at 42. My last stop before moving to Rwanda in 2009 was Las Vegas. I still call Las Vegas home. Today, I am the Team Manager for Team Rwanda Cycling, the national cycling team of Rwanda.  
Find me at:
Twitter: @Mokigirl

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FREE PRINTABLE




This post reminded me (Wendy) of a beautiful promise God has given us in Isaiah 58:10-12. If you’re feeling tired and empty I hope it helps to fill your well again. You can also click here for a free printable like the one in the picture of this post. 

“If you get rid of unfair practices,
    quit blaming victims,
    quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
    and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
    your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
    I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
    firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
    a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
    rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
    restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
    make the community livable again."

Welcome! 
If you're new here and don't want to miss a thing, 
be sure to subscribe to I Love Devotionals blog updates
Thanks for visiting! 


Make sure to look out for the link to download my ebook, Life, Life and More Life, in your verification email.