Sometimes doing wrong isn’t deliberate. Sometimes it is simply the lack of focus on doing right. At least that is usually the case for me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often set out to make a slew of bad choices, but occasionally (or often, depending on the week) I find myself in a place where I am standing, dumbstruck, wondering how I ended up in the situation that I am in. Does this just happen to me? I think it is safe to say that it probably doesn’t. I found the explanation for it this morning in my Bible reading in 2 Chronicles and it hit me like a ton of bricks. 2 Chronicles 12:14 ESV says, “And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.” This verse is talking about Rehoboam, King of Judah, but it might as well have had my name in the text. Maybe yours could have fit there too? I think this is a truth that applies to all of us because we don’t typically end up in a mess because we plan to. We usually end up in our messes because we forgot to seek God in certain situations and followed our own way instead. We didn’t set our heart and our focus on staying on the right track so before we knew it, we were on the wrong one. Man that sounds super familiar! I can tell that I have gotten on the wrong in a few areas in my life lately. It reminds me of what I’m always saying to my boys. When they get a little out of control and are headed toward bad choices, I’m known to say, “Rein it in, boys!” They know that means to check their behavior. I can feel God telling me to “Rein it in, girl!” in a few areas in my life. 1. Being Content Way too often, I just forget to be content with what I have. Everything that I have, everything that I am, and everything that I do is a gift from God. It is evidence of his grace poured out in abundance in my life. In turn, I should be grateful for all he has given me. Instead, I’ve continued to strive for more instead of being content. I add more to my schedule. I add more to my closet. I add more into our budget. I add more into our lives and I often do it without even stopping for a second to consider God at all in those decisions. Here is a very embarrassing example. I felt like I really needed to declutter, simplify, and cut out the excess. The place I decided to start was in my closet. I love to shop. Like, I really love it. It is usually at thrift stores because I love a great bargain, but it has gotten a little out of control. My closet was prime evidence of that. I’m not even going to shame myself by admitting how much has amassed in my closet.      That isn’t good stewardship. It is excessive and wasteful and selfish. I need to reign in my desire for more and learn to be content with all that God has already blessed me with. I’ve really felt convicted this year to focus on the amazing grace that God has lavished on me in every situation and circumstance. If I’m focused on his gift of grace then being content and being thankful comes as a natural result of that. It has really helped me to see that I have all I need. 2. My Words and Attitude Here is another not so flattering truth I’m seeing about myself these days. I am not sweet and loving and kind by nature. I’m just not. I know this about myself. I tend to be a little sarcastic and snarky. I’ve always just kind of chalked that up to my personality. I’m not mean and I am usually pretty funny, so it all balances out, right? I’m not so sure. God’s grace is so evident by the amazing people that he has lovingly put in my life. I’ve been feeling very convicted for my words and attitude to match my gratitude. I want to show just how blessed I feel to have these wonderful people in my world. I’m a work in progress. We all are, but I truly desire to do a better job of building up, encouraging, and loving. I want my words and attitude to reflect a heart overflowing with thanks for these gifts of grace. 3. My Time Oh man. At the risk of sounding like a total slacker, I will share this last area that I want to rein in. I’m turning into a recluse. I could easily stay in my house, in my pajamas, on the couch, with a good book for days. I don’t do that. Much. But I could. Very easily. I really enjoy being at home and homeschooling my boys, but without a real effort on staying involved with people and with the work God has called me to, I could very easily just keep my focus on what is right in front of me in my own home. I know in my heart of hearts that isn’t what God wants for me. I firmly believe He has called me into relationships, into community, and into works that He has chosen specifically for me at this time. My time isn’t mine to hoard and use in whatever way pleases me the most. It is a resource and a tool to do the work God has called me to and I want to be a better steward of the time God has blessed me with. Getting off track in these areas wasn’t deliberate. It was simply a lack of focus on seeking God and doing the right thing. I took my eyes off of God and put them on my own ways for a while and before I knew it, I felt God saying, “Rein it in, girl!” 2 Chronicles 12:14 was like a palm to the forehead. What a call to refocus and put God back at the front and center!  What a gift of grace that He allows us to see our messes for what they are and gives us opportunities to change them! Are there any areas where you feel God asking you to rein it in and put your focus back on him? I’d love to hear from you! Love and blessings, Bobbie
File Mar 16, 9 03 31 AM Have you ever been in a funk that you just couldn't seem to get out of?  I've spent the last several weeks in a fog that just hasn't seemed to want to lift.  I've had some little health stuff going on and had to have a couple of little medical procedures done.  There are a few more little procedures on the horizon as well.  This has all left me feeling just plain worn out physically, but it has all left me feeling emotionally spent as well. Have you been there?  Maybe it wasn't a health related issue.  Maybe it was a relationship issue, a work issue, or just circumstances in your life that had you in that funk.  Whatever it is that put you there, Funkytown is really not a great place to visit and it's even worse to settle in and dwell there a while. And that's what I was doing.  I was dwelling. I was totally content to just sit in that foggy, hazy Funkytown and dwell there. Last week I started to realize just what I was doing.  I started to realize that I had set up shop in Funkytown and gotten pretty comfortable there.  (Really folks, it shouldn't have taken me so long to see the error in my ways.  A couple of weeks in, I went 8 days without putting on real clothes or leaving my house.  Which felt glorious at the time, but, looking back, might have been a tad much.  Not to mention that I binge watched a ridiculous amount of Netflix.  Which also felt glorious at the time, but wasn't even remotely productive and kept me from doing the things I should have been doing.) I knew I needed to pack it up and leave Funkytown, but it was just so comfortable there.  So, I did the only thing I knew to do to make a change.  I went back to God's word and prayer because they are the things that have always brought me stability, strength, conviction, and  encouragement. I moved off the couch and back into my regular Bible study and prayer time (which had been mostly set aside for Netflix and naps). And in his usual, glorious way, when I started moving back towards Jesus, there he was, just waiting for me.  Arms open.  Ready to draw me closer. This morning, while I was reading my Bible, I came across something beautiful. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables about someone being separated from something and diligently seeking it until it is found and restored to its' rightful place.  He tells of a shepherd who lost one sheep out of a flock of one hundred, yet the shepherd left the others and went after the lost sheep to bring it back into the fold.  Next he tells of a woman who lost a silver coin and turns her house upside down to find it and add it back into her purse.  Then he tells the story of the prodigal son who left his father and lived a wild lifestyle, only to be brought low and return to the father seeking mercy.  The father lovingly welcomes the son back and restores him to a place of honor. And God's word remind us that He does that for us. Separation.  Seeking.  Restoration.  It is kind of His thing. I know these parables speak of Jesus seeking the lost, but today when I read these they had new applications for me.  Today they reminded me that no matter how discouraged I feel, or how deep into a funk I am, I'm never far from Jesus' love.  When I feel discouraged and distant, he is right there seeking my heart and waiting for my return.  He diligently longs for me and doesn't want me to be separated from him.  Just like the wandering sheep, the lost coin, and the wayward son, when I am separated from him, he is seeking me and wants my restoration. So, today those parables have a new meaning because today the fog is rolling away a little and I'm leaving Funkytown behind.    (Not that I'm giving up naps and Netflix, people.  That would just be plain silly.  I will how ever be enjoying them in much greater moderation than I have been over the last several weeks. )  If you need me, you can find me back at the feet of Jesus. Love and blessings, Bobbie
image Alright.  I'm warning you all in advance.  This post makes it sound a little bit like I've gone off the deep end.  That's my early disclaimer.  You've been warned. I didn't grow up in church.  Matter of fact, I didn't come to have a relationship with Christ until I was an adult.  I can vividly remember going to church every once in a while with my aunt when I was a kid and being more that a little intimidated by those people who were obviously sold out Christians.  They quoted God's word.  They prayed loud and proud.  They praised unashamedly.  Their lives were obviously different.  I can't even put my finger on it, but something about them was obviously different.  It was totally weird to me and a little scary. Even after I had come to know Christ in my 20's, that fully sold out approach to believing was a little strange to me.  I loved Jesus and was so thankful that He bore my sin and shame.  I gladly accepted His gift of salvation and did my best to repent and turn from sin.  I made some major changes to my life because I wanted to please my Heavenly Father.  But still.  Those fully sold out Christians weirded me out a little.  I wanted to love Jesus, but maybe not with everything I had.  I wanted to be set apart, but maybe not really far apart.  I didn't want to just go totally off the deep end! It has been roughly 14 years since I became a Christian.  And can I be really honest, here?  Up until recently (like really recently), those all in Christians still kind of weirded me out.  They intimidated me.  I just could not grasp how they could just live and love and praise and pray like they did.  It was uninhibited and bold. But then something strange happened.  Maybe it's the time that I've spent in my Bible lately.  As strange as it sounds, I've fallen head over heels in love with God's word.  He draws me to it like a magnet.  Maybe it's the amazing Sisters in Christ he has placed in my life who help point me to Him.  Maybe it's the books that some of these friends have recommended.  Maybe it's the time I've been able to spend engaged in small groups and in Church.  Maybe it is the powerful messages of healing and love from the retreat I attended this weekend.  Maybe it is that He has been at work in my heart for a very long time.  Maybe it's the community (real life and on line) that I'm beyond blessed to be a part of.  Maybe it is that I'm finally getting out of my own way.  I'm not even sure exactly what the catalyst was that brought about the change, but I think I'm becoming one of them!  AND IT REALLY WEIRDS ME OUT! What is even weirder though, is that it doesn't really scare me anymore. Strike that.  That's not entirely true.  It doesn't scare me, but not as much as it use to.  It still scares me a little, but instead of seeing it as weird, I see it as absolutely beautiful.  And, oddly enough, I'm kind of excited about going off the deep end. I can feel God calling me to go all in.  I can feel Him asking me to just close my eyes and not be afraid to jump off of the deep end.  Have you felt that?  (Please tell me I'm not the only one because then I'd have to really wonder if I am, in fact, a little weird.😉) I can feel His tugging on my heart to fully commit to the life He has called me to.  I can feel His urging me to turn over the things that I've been hesitant to let go of.  He wants those things that I've held on to a little too tightly because it might be a little uncomfortable to let them go.  He is calling me to give him the hurt from my past, my stored up pain, my heart that's been broken and mended, my time that I want to keep for myself, my present and the things I give myself to, my future and my plans.  Really, I can feel Him asking for my all.  And even though it may seem a little like going off the deep end, I'm going to just willingly hand it over. Because, I've not really done a great job managing those things all by myself.  Matter of fact, I'm kind of a hot mess.  If you get a grade for trying, then I'm an A+ student.  However, as far as performance goes, I'm more than a little lacking.  I still let my past tangle me up.  I still let this tattered heart lead me in more decisions than it should.  I still guard my time and my plans like they are my own to control.  I still cling to my own visions for my future.  And that's ok.  Because God works at His own pace in each of our lives.  Obviously, He knows I'm a slow learner and more than a little stubborn since I'm still very much a work in progress after 14 years.  That's what grace and mercy are for.  So, as much as possible, I'm going to get out of the way and let Him have control. Are you there too?  Are you feeling Him lead you just a little out of your comfort zone?  Is He calling you to step out of the norm? It's ok.  Just jump with me.  He's trustworthy.  He's faithful.  He's good.  He's true.  He's strong and powerful and Holy.  He loves us.  He has plans for us.  He's big enough to catch us.  He's great enough to lead us.  He won't fail us.  He's got this even if we don't. So, weird or not, I'm going all in.  See you in the deep end! Love and blessings, Bobbie
image Yesterday was a hard day.  There is just so much sin and hurt in this fallen world.  There is so much pain. There is so much loss and grief and discouragement.  My heart aches for the brokenness that is so evident everywhere I look.  This whole earth is groaning and crying out for it's Savior. Do you see that too?  Do you see loved ones dealing with loss and grief?  Do you see sickness, pain, and suffering?  Do you see discouragement and hopelessness?  Do you see relationships falling apart and the scars left from that?  Maybe you are the one in the midst of all of the trials?  I've been there too. I was confronted head on with all of this hurt in so many situations yesterday with several friends and loved ones dealing with very difficult tribulations.  My heart breaks a little with each situation.  And honestly, it's easy to look around at all that is going on in this life and in this fallen world and get a little discouraged.  It's tempting to turn my eyes away from God and get overwhelmed with the way sin and hurt is wrecking so much. But, when I keep my eyes fixed firmly on my Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, Friend, Father, Deliverer, Strongtower, and Help; I can see His mighty hand at work in the midst of each situation.  He is right there.  He is in the midst going to battle for us.  He is busy working in our most difficult circumstances to soften hard hearts, reconcile broken relationships, comfort the grieving, and draw the lost to Him.  He is hard at work uniting believers, encouraging the weary, giving hope, and strengthening us.  He is pouring out grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and love in our most desperate times.  He is wrapping His arms of protection around us. He is so good that when they enemy seeks to destroy, God is at work on our behalf to reconcile and redeem.  He uses the schemes of the enemy to draw us closer to Him and build our faith.  He is so Holy that He is moving in each trial to work it out for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory.  His Love is so great that in the midst of our hardest battles, He provides comfort, peace, and joy. As I sat this morning, reading in Psalms, I was reminded over and over again how God is with us through all that we face.  In case you are in that place, or in case you want to provide encouragement and direction for someone who is, I wanted to point out some scripture that really spoke to me today in my reading. Psalm 25:15-17    "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish." Psalm 25:4-6     "Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 27:1     "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 28:6-8     "Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one." Psalm 31:24     "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 32:7     "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." Psalm 33:11     "But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." He is there.  In the middle of all of the messes that we deal with, He is our hope.  I'm so thankful that He loves us that much.  We never face any situation on our own.  He goes with us, giving us strength, love, protection, power, peace, comfort, wisdom, grace and mercy through the journey.  Wow!  What a God we serve! [...]
Life is complicated, isn't it? There is always so much going on.  There is so much to be and so much to do.  My to do list is long and my days seems short. I want to live life purposefully.  I want to follow God's perfect plan for my life, but sometimes I get so caught up in the little mundane details of life, that I forget exactly what that purpose is.  And I don't know if I ever got the plan. Because surely there is a big purpose.  I know He has a plan.  Surely following God is more than these little steps I've been taking.  It is suppose to be filled with lots of really big leaps, isn't it? For weeks and even months, I've been praying for direction and a clear path in some things.  I've been diligently seeking God because I NEED to know what His specific plan for me is.  I've been praying and really studying His word because He is moving in my life right now and I really want to be on board.  I want to follow exactly where He is leading.  Except I'm not one hundred percent sure how that actually looks, or maybe even exactly what I'm suppose to be doing if I am on board.  I'm not even really sure exactly where He is taking me. It's complicated.  You know? I've got a lot going on, like most of us do, so I've really been praying for a big blinking neon sign to just point me to right where He needs me.  I've basically said to God, "You show me exactly where to go and tell me exactly what to do God, and I'm there!  I'm ready for some big leaps!  I'm your girl.  Just point me in the right direction!  Show me the plan, Lord, and let's do this thing." But, I haven't seen that big blinking neon sign.  He hasn't exactly given me the plan.  I've had some leaps, but I'm not leaping all of the time. Instead I've seen a lot of smaller (and yes, sometimes bigger) opportunities every day, in every moment, to make choices that honor Him.  I've had opportunities to trust and opportunities to praise.  I've had opportunities to seek Him.  I've been given choices to do my own thing or do things that would bring Him glory instead. These steps aren't huge.  Sometimes they aren't even that big.  These steps are often just little steps of faith towards Him.  I'm definitely not always leaping. Here is the crazy thing.   Here is the part I sometimes miss.  Looking back over these last weeks and months, even years, I have been walking the whole time.  I've been making progress.  Those steps have added up to a pretty decent walk of faith. With each choice and every opportunity, I've been taking steps down His path.  There wasn't a big blinking neon sign, but He still managed to point me down the path He's chosen for me.  In those little steps, I've been walking down it without really even realizing it. I've had opportunities to be a better wife, mom, friend, servant, and follower of Christ.  I probably haven't always made the best choice, but for the most part, He's been keeping me on track.  We've been walking along together and we've come a long way. That shows me something.  That shows me that maybe following God isn't always these big, huge leaps of faith.  Sometimes it is and that's awesome.  I had a few of those moments and they are truly amazing!  Following God isn't always that complicated.  More often that not, it seems like following God is the act of choosing to honor Him with each step along our journey.  It's choosing to love Him, praise Him, glorify Him, and serve Him in the little moments, in the little choices, and in each step along the way.  It's really pretty easy. [...]