Growing in the daily grind

The daily grind is the hardest.

I'm back at school, and thus you haven't heard from me in two months. I have actually been doing quite a bit of writing, thanks to my Creative Writing Nonfiction class (which I'm loving). But I have struggled majorly with letting those fears and lies that I listened to before speak to me again.

It's so easy to forget the truth that we have been taught, isn't it? For me at school, my mind has to constantly keep a running tally of places I must be, practice I must do, homework I must complete before a certain time, appointments I must keep, people I must talk to. I hardly have time to think, much less quiet my thoughts and let God speak to me. And when I let that time with God slide, so much else in my life goes downhill with it.

So I'm stopping for a second and reminding myself of the truth.

This is the truth God has pressed upon my heart to combat and overcome the lies and fears:

God's Grace providing and carrying me along is the truth that sets me free from controlling my life and obsessing over what others think of me.

God's Love that has given me a new identity in Him is the truth that sets me free from my fears and the lies I tell myself that I am a burden and unwanted.

So what must I do with these truths God has given me? Every day I must receive them into myself again, preaching God's grace and love to my soul in my current situation. This is the beauty of truth - it always holds firm, even as it applies differently to various life situations.

Whenever I am tempted to speak lies to myself and believe them, I must consciously cling to the truth instead. Constantly bring it back to the forefront of my mind. Let the truth influence everything about me - my inward life (thoughts, emotions, decisions, reactions) as well as outward (speech, interactions, actions, boldness). Resist the temptation to take control, and instead let God take over my life. In every situation, respond to His leading in faith and trust.

What are the truths that God has shown you? How will you continue to listen to them and grow in them?


Glimpses of Grace

Well, I'm still on this journey. Still somewhere on the mountain, with mists of uncertainty and fear swirling around me.

And yet. God is so good to me. I don't even know what to do or how to respond to Him in order to continue this journey - but somehow He keeps moving me forward!

I know I haven't arrived, obviously... the mountain still looms without end. But, He is giving me glimpses of His grace in my life, and each one bowls me over. How could I have missed this for so long?

I am so incredibly thankful that God refused to let me live in comfortable fear and self-sufficiency. He pulled the carpet out from under my proud self so He could make me stand on His Rock. He gently pried off the layers of lies I had coated myself with, and revealed to me the truth: that I am desperately wicked. Even my desires to do good were motivated not by love, but by fear and a craving for approval.

But thankfully, He did not leave me there. He then clothed me in Jesus' righteousness, and covered me in grace, which is the sole provider of every need. He is showing me daily who the "New Rachel" is and what role grace has in her life.

And in fact, I think this process will have to be repeated many times. There are many lies I believe, fears that control me, masks I wear. This is only one of them: the mask of self-sufficiency.

I'm so thankful that God works in me gently, lovingly, not pushing me around or pulling too much off of me at once. Instead, He gently pries loose one mask at a time, filling the space where the mask had been with a rush of love and grace. He deals so tenderly with me! He doesn't let any of my mess push Him away - I can rest in the unshakable promise of His continual presence with me.

And I know that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to bring it to completion. All I must do is trust.



Little Lessons

Little lessons that God is pressing into my heart, like roses with thorns being gently crushed in the flower press of my heart. Though the thorns pierce my pride, the roses in due time release their healing, peaceful scent.

Psalm 139:14 (NASB) "I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well." 

What does my soul know very well? What do I tell it day in and day out?


What should my soul know very well?

   God's love

I need to listen to what God says, and preach His words to myself daily. 



I don't really know what trusting God looks like, because I've lived my whole life trying to please Him.


This song: O Great God. This is my prayer.

Oh Lord, help me now to live a life that's dependent on Your grace. 




As promised, here is my first droplet. This is something I have really been struggling with even understanding recently:


Somehow I've wrapped up grace in a nice little package,
Tucking away my carefully-preserved knowledge
Of “God’s riches at Christ’s expense”
To be reserved only for witnessing emergencies.

My own life is too perfect for grace
I've managed to do just fine
Making up my own goodness
So that I've even fooled myself.

But the very nature of grace is to not sit still - 
It oozes through my self-made restrictions,
Tears down walls that hide my imperfection,
And bruises my pride by insisting on my unworthiness.

When it finally reduces me to a mess of broken sinfulness,
And I realize just how imperfect was my perfection,
Grace extends its hand to me
And reminds me 
of its name.
(c) Rachel Lowrance 2013

Inspired by Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman. A book I would highly recommend.  



I'm embarking on a journey.

I don't know what the end will look like, or even if I'll ever get there. But, I know that my Savior has called me to follow Him down this path. He has been calling me out on a lot of deep things recently, some of which you have heard about on this blog (such as fear). I have been trying to respond to Him as best I can, but it is hard in the daily trudge. Right now it doesn't even seem like I'm even moving forward.

Somehow, it's always easier to see the steps once you've made it to the top of the mountain. Right now the mountain fills my whole sight, where I literally cannot see the end of it.

This is a journey away from many things:


Thankfully, it is also a journey towards many things:


I want to share this story with you as it's unfolding, but so far I've been at a loss as to how. I'm learning more every day that my life is not perfect or clear-cut or even simple. There's a lot of mess and mistakes and sins and forgotten promises that clutter up the journey.

But I know that I need to record this journey so that I can see my progress. And I want to share it with you so that you can hopefully be encouraged. So I am going to try this new thing. I call it Droplets.

Droplets: Collect one drop each day from the story of God saturating my life with faith, love, and grace, washing away fear, guilt, and self-sufficiency. Hopefully the drops will take on the form of poems or reminiscences - but however they come, I'm determined to capture them.
We will see what God will do!


The Real Me

I always second-guess if people really love me.

via pinterest
As soon as I start to become friends with someone, no matter who it is, I begin to doubt. What if they're just talking to me to be polite? They can't really want to be my friend. They'll just leave or fade out of my life eventually.

Even if we do become friends and I see that the person is willing to stick around for a while, I still wonder. I may never voice it, but deep down inside there's always that doubt slowly gnawing on the bud of our friendship.

I recently had to tell a close friend of many years that I still wasn't totally convinced that she loved me. (And this girl has shown me that she does in more ways that I can count!)

I don't know why it is so hard for me to accept that others love me. Why can't I recognize and receive the love that others often will give to me more freely than I realize?

I've thought about this for a long time. I've always wondered if it was just an insecurity of mine I would never get rid of, like the scars from chicken pox that show up when you get a tan. Maybe I just have to live with it, and hope it will fade with time.

But I don't think that's true. I think there is a real issue behind my insecurity: that I never let enough of myself be visible for others to love. So, because they never (or only rarely) glimpse the true me, I'm always left wondering if they'll really love the true me. I'm very good at adapting and meeting others' needs and seeking out what makes them happy - but I'm very bad at letting them do those things for me.

It's as if I put up a puppet of me, the Rachel As Friend to So and So, and that friend interacts with and loves and cares for that puppet. While I'm hiding below the puppet stage, only willing to let myself be seen in glimpses, like when the happy face won't work or the puppet stage breaks down. I've started to be willing to be open in the hard times, but rarely do I let the real Rachel out when all is fine and the puppet mask works just as well as my real face (or even better). Besides, who would want to see the real me anyway?

The real me may not be concerned about your problems.

The real me may have too many problems of her own.

The real me may be deeply hurt by something you just said.

The real me may want to talk about what God's doing in my life even though it's all still a big mess.

The real me may not have all the answers.

The real me may be more vulnerable than I even realize.

The real me may need to cry on your shoulder, instead of always being the one to take care of you.

I think I need to bring this real me out into the open a bit. In fact, I need to burn down the puppet stage and throw away the puppets. I need to let the scared little Rachel come out into the light. Stop pretending and hiding - from others, myself, and especially God. I need to be willing to let God hold me by the hand instead of handing Him the Perfect Rachel puppet.

Please note, I am not saying that my relationships need to be all about me, or dictated by my needs. No. I have been so out of balance in this area that it takes a more extreme wake up call to shift me over to the middle. You might be on the opposite side - always putting yourself at the center of your relationships instead of others. That's no good either. We have to find balance.

And the only way we're going to get there is if we let God take us by the hand, pull us out into the open, and let others see our true selves.

I'm scared, but willing.

Friends - this post was hard for me to write and share with you all. But I believe I needed to write it. Please pray for me to continue discovering how God wants me to grow in this area, and help me be more of my true self with you.


The Story Behind the Pin

I was going through my pins on pinterest, and I realized that I had so many photos that would be excellent story-starters. I even have a board dedicated to story-worthy pins (called "The Story Behind"). But I never have used any of those photos for a story or even a character snippet. So, I decided to remedy that. Hence, The Story Behind the Pin where I pick a photo from pinterest and write about it, whatever comes from the inspiration of the moment. I hope you enjoy!

via pinterest
She tried to keep her face vaguely cheery so the world could not peek in past her vacant eyes. Eyebrows up, mouth in a slight smile, staring at no one in particular and acknowledging none of the glances that fell her way. She knew she looked pretty, at least if the mirror hadn't lied this morning. But she didn't feel it. How could she feel pretty when she was alone?

She had been waiting in this little cafe for so long that her eyes were beginning to glaze over. Shapes moved and blurred and skidded over the rim of her consciousness, but none entered her thoughts. The world glowed and blossomed around her in the warmth of a summer's day, but she could not see it. Her gaze bore through the glaze to the grey wall on the opposite side of the street. Somehow even though everything else blurred, this did not. She had memorized every crack etched in its expressionless side.

 Maybe this was all she was left to be. She had built up so many walls that it was becoming her existence. Too many people had pierced through her rubble with swords that slashed her soul. Now no one could get in.

 She had coated on so many layers over the scars that she was convinced they weren't visible anymore. She wasn't vulnerable anymore.

 But now she was only a cold grey wall.
(c) Rachel Lowrance 2013

I hope you enjoyed my little snippet. It was certainly a pleasure to write again, after so long of a break. Let me know if you like this idea, and perhaps I could make it into a linkup!



This very question strikes fear into my heart.

I've been realizing that fear is a huge struggle for me. So often I don't do something or I'll act in a certain way or cover up who I really am because I am chained down by fear. I never saw it that way before - I thought of it as being a homebody, or a shy person, or just struggling with a bit of insecurity. But it's a lot more than that. All those situations, those reactions, are motivated by fear.

I have let myself be motivated by fear.

But I don't want fear to be my default, the "safe" way to react to life. I don't want it to control me, to chain me down to a little life that never gets beyond the trails I've carved for myself. I've chiseled neat, symmetrical, tidy little grooves for myself in my day-to-day routine, and once I am faced with something outside of those safe little trails, fear kicks in. And I let it take over.

Yet God is tugging at the chains, reminding me that He has already broken them if I but let them go. Oh man is it hard to let them go! I actually get a physical reaction when I bend my will toward doing something that I fear. Emotions of vulnerability and incapability and terror flood my mind and overwhelm my senses, making me feel helpless and consumed by worry.

But I don't have to live this way. I don't have to let fear control me. Granted, I don't think I can actually get rid of everything that I fear. I will always have new things to face that are scary or worrisome or out of my comfort zone. But By God's grace I can confront my fears head on, giving myself space to say "yes, this is something I fear," and then moving through and doing it anyway.

You don't have to let fear control how you act or react. When faced with something you fear, you can choose to give in to fear or you can choose to have faith and pray for the strength to do what God would have you do.

The Bible is full of instances where God enabled people to conquer their fears. Just look at Abraham who feared to sacrifice his son, Moses who feared to speak, Joshua who feared to lead, Mary who feared to bear the Son of God, and so many more. God strengthened each of them with His courage and endurance to throw off the chains of fear and live lives of faith.

How much more will he do the same for us?


New Design

Well, I did it! I finally completed re-designing my blog! I'm no designer, but through trial and error (and a lot of frustration and tutorial-searching and perseverance) I managed to come up with something I really like. When I think of the word Vividry I've always had a picture of colorful sheets blowing in the sun. And I think I was finally able to capture that idea with this design. I also like that it's simple. I enjoy girly, swirly, elegant things, but I was ready for a change. What do you all think?

Along with the new design, I have a couple of new things on the blog I'd like to highlight for you:

First, on the left side of this post, you'll see a navbar. You can click on any of the buttons and they'll drop down. The first one, "About Me" is pretty obvious. Under that is "Subscribe," where I put both the button for subscribing in a reader and a place to subscribe through your email. You should go check it out right now. *hint hint* ;)

Then we have "Connect," where I have put these cute buttons for all the different ways you can connect with me.

This is the email button. Click on it and you can send me an email. I love getting notes, especially if they are encouraging or if you have ideas for things you'd like to see on this blog.

This is the bloglovin' button. You may not have heard of bloglovin' before - I certainly hadn't before this week! Since Google Reader is eventually going to be gone, bloglovin' is a great replacement for it. Through this platform you can follow my blog (and all your other favorite blogs!), and easily see all recent posts on your main page.

 This is the facebook button that goes to my blog's facebook page. I try to post more than just my blog posts on here, so check it out!

 And last but not least, my pinterest button. I think I may have a slight addiction to pinterest - I simply love collecting things of beauty. Come follow me!

The last button is "My Website," which will be coming soon! I'm working on designing a website for my piano teaching/accompanying/wedding music business.

Also, you may notice that I have a new signature. As I've become older and had other places where my name and information is out on the internet, I've decided to consolidate them so things don't become too confusing. Thus, I am no longer Melody, though I am still as musical as ever. You may now call me Rachel. :)

I hope you enjoy the newness on the blog as much as I do! I am also planning a lot of new things for this blog, such as a series on a book called "It's Not That Complicated," more photography, story snippets, and another series which is still in the works called "Vague-Vital-Vivid." I can't wait to get started!



credit to Kimberly Reitsma

Dear friends,

It's been a long, challenging semester. I finally finished about two weeks ago, but I've been feeling the effects of the semester even now. I've wanted to get back into writing in this blog, but I just felt stuck somehow. Even though the full blast of stress and deadlines and responsibilities isn't upon me anymore, they still taint my thoughts and actions. Like food coloring in a clear glass of water, some of the stresses and coping mechanisms have sunk deep within me. I'm finding it hard to bring them back to the surface so I can let them go. It's too easy to simply pour another layer of water over the top so everything looks glassy smooth on the surface. But sooner or later the food coloring will be clearly evident no matter what part of the glass you look at. And I think that's about where I am right now.

I've got a lot of emotions, thoughts, relationships, and questions to sort through. I'm also struggling a bit because I'm not sure I have my own voice on this blog - too often I will imitate the blogs of those I admire, but then feel foolish because that isn't really the authentic me. I'm not totally sure how I'm supposed to write - I only know that I must.

There's so many things I want to share with you - ways I've grown, been stretched, strengthened, encouraged, challenges I've faced - and I can't wait to see how this summer unfolds.  So I hope you will come and visit awhile, listen to my heart and the ways God grows me, and hopefully be strengthened and encouraged to live your own vivid life. I would also like this blog to be more of a community - where I share my struggles and you share your struggles and we can lift each other up to the Lord and be mutually encouraged.

Will you join me?



You poor dears, waiting on me so long for another post. This semester has been so good and rich and filled with change in me which I am longing to get into words... but for now, I would like to open the new year with just one word.


This is my word for 2013. 

As I was reading  my Bible this morning, I was praying and asking God how He wanted to shape and sand me this upcoming year. I'm reading through Psalm 119, one section a day, and today my verses were 17-24. The ones that stuck out to me were:
"Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (17-18)

My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands. (20-21)

Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." (24)
I am always struck by how much this psalmist desires to love God's word. It's quite an intense longing - he calls God's word his delight, wonderful, his counselor. I know I don't have that - and I want it. I fear I am too much like the arrogant sometimes - loving myself too much to give much heed to His commands. I want to delight and be consumed with longing for God's word and God himself.

I was reminded of a New Testament passage that talked about obeying God's commands, and so I turned to these verses:
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." ~John 15:9-11
Here was the whole picture. To love God's word because I love to obey God. This results in complete and perfect joy. Overflowing.

Overflowing is only the outward result of all this inner connection and interconnection between myself and God through His word. If I want to be described as overflowing, I will have to continually drink from the Source of all that I want to spill out of my life. I can't overflow Melody-ness - that would be a very poor, brackish, disgusting kind of water. Only when I overflow God-ness - His joy, His peace, His love - will my life pour out living water that gives life to all it touches.

And by God's grace, that is exactly what I want to do this year. 

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