If you don’t already know her, I am so excited to have the opportunity to introduce you to my sweet friend, Katie M. Reid.  She is someone you will want to get familiar with.  Her encouraging words and practical teachings have quickly become a favorite of mine!

She has become a very dear friend and someone that I just love talking to because her heart for God and for people is just impossible to overlook!

Today, in her guest post, she is sharing how we, as Christians, can have hope even in the hard days.  I know that you are going to love her and her words as much as I do!

Hope for the Hard Days

By: Katie M. Reid

 

Where do you turn in times of trouble? How do you excavate hope in the midst of sinking sand? When the earth seems to give way to fear, how do you find the strength to stand?

 

Besides eating copious amounts of ice cream, hiding under layers of covers, or putting our heads in the sand—how do we uncover light to pierce the darkness?

 

How do we adopt hope in uncertain times, when the world seems to be spinning out of control?

 

Through Jesus, by faith, we hope.

 

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.*

 

 Jesus.

 

The Son of God—fully man, fully God—came to bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the restless, and peace to the chaos by bringing salvation to the sinner.

 

Faith.

 

Faith is not a weakness, band-aid, or fluffy ideology. It’s hope with skin on—skin and bones that came to walk the planet** so that we wouldn’t be suffocated by dread or buried in darkness.

 

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.*

 

Hope.

 

Hope is the assurance that comes from knowing that even if it gets darker, Jesus has already overcome that which threatens to take us under. We rise. We stand. We follow the lead of the One who sits on the throne.

 

Our faith isn’t flawed, fake, or fandangled.

 

It is the lifeline that is thrown when we are in quicksand. It is the anchor that holds us steady in the midst of wind and waves. It is the breath in our lungs, the song on our hearts, the comfort that upholds us.

 

His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.*

 

Where do we find hope? Upon the Rock.

 

Isaiah 44:6-8 The Voice (VOICE)

 

6 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,

King of Israel, who paid their ransom, has this to say:

 

Eternal One: I am at the beginning and will be at the end.

There is no God except for Me.

7     If you know any God like Me, tell it now.

Declare and demonstrate any who can compare to Me.

Or if you know and have announced events before their time,

told what is to come, then speak so now.

8     Don’t be afraid. Let your minds be clear of fear.

Haven’t I announced events and revealed what is to come?

From the earliest days, I have done so. You know it—you have seen and know.

So, go ahead, My witnesses: is there a god out there other than Me?

Witnesses: There is no other rock like God. I don’t know a single one.

 

These are not fighting words, these are cool cup of water words. These are not burning coal sentiments, they are a roaring blaze for those groping in darkness. These are not weak words, these are words to bolster and provide balm for the hurting. These are not words of judgment, they are words of life, of grace, of freedom.

 

The world cries out. The people mourn.

 

O God, may You excavate hope in the midst of sinking sand. Like you called Lazarus from the grave, may You call forth Your church to rise from the ashes and come forth, as gold. Like You were raised from the dead, may we witness the resurrection of Hope.

 

You don’t change. You don’t leave. You don’t abandon us. You don’t lack. You Are. You remain. You dwell within. You are enough.

 

Jesus, we desperately need You, every moment—good and bad. Forgive us for turning against one another. Forgive us for misplacing our hope. Forgive us for throwing stones and bypassing grace. Forgive us for being wise in our own eyes and misrepresenting you to a hurting world.

 

God, we need You. Set us straight with Your Word. Purify our lips with Your Truth. Deliver us from apathy, prejudice, and complacency. Return our hearts to Yours.

 

Restore our unity with You and one another. Heal our land. We have dirtied ourselves with blood, pride, and idol worship.

 

Lord, help us! We have turned our back and we feel the harsh reality that comes from distancing ourselves from You. Help us remember Who You are. You are Love. You are Peace. You are Holy. You are Just. You are Perfect. You are able to do anything!

 

We take a moment and bow before You Jesus.

 

We stop.

 

We turn back to You and we find hope.

 

It might just be a glimmer at first, but as we return, like the Prodigal, the light of Home becomes brighter as the Father’s arms open wider and we find Grace in the eyes of the One who calls us His own.

 

When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.*

 

Now, let’s go forward…through Jesus, by faith, with hope!

 

*”On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” hymn by Edward Mote.

 

**I heard this phrase “Jesus put skin and bones on and came to the planet” on an album of Judah Smith’s messages.

 


“My faith was real but it wasn’t perfect. Because of that, I had built too many walls around my heart and life to even consider the possibility of authentic friendships. Those kinds of friendships would require me to be open, vulnerable, and to be authentically myself. That would also mean that these other Christians who would be my friends, the ones who seemed to have it all together, might realize that I wasn’t very together at all.

I was pretty sure I didn’t need those kinds of friendships. I was much better at having acquaintances than having friends anyway.”

Click the link below to see what changed all of that for me!  I had the privilege of posting this article over at iBelieve.com and I’d love for you to give it a read and see if you can relate.

http://www.ibelieve.com/relationships/just-because-you-ve-never-had-friends-doesn-t-mean-there-isn-t-still-time.html

Love and blessings,

Bobbie



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


It’s become a bit of a tradition to choose a word for the New Year.  This word is supposed to be one specific word to focus on all year.  Honestly, I’m not big on this.  It feels a little like boxing myself in.  My mind goes one hundred miles an hour in a hundred different directions.  How on Earth do I choose just one word to represent all that I want to embody in a whole entire year?  That just seems plain impossible.

Unless, of course, God writes that word on your heart countless times over the last several weeks.  It seems every time I turn around one word keeps being presented to me.

GRACE

Let me get a little wordy nerdy and define it for you.  According to Oxforddictionaries.com, one of the meanings of grace is “(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”  It’s synonyms are:  goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, beneficence, and indulgence.

That definition, that deep truth behind the meaning of grace, has lodged itself in the forefront of my thoughts for weeks.  It has taken up such real estate in my thoughts that I wake up at night pondering God’s unmerited favor and his constant bestowal of blessings in my life.

I’ve been thinking back to trials and struggles in my life and have been sifting through the evidence of God’s grace through it all.  His goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, and indulgence is overwhelming.  Just focusing on finding the obvious ways that His grace has been present in every situation has caused a perspective shift in my heart and mind.

Looking for grace is simply seeing glimpses of His little gifts, evidence of His love and favor, in everything.  Keeping my eyes open for it makes me humble and grateful.  It keeps me attentive to God’s goodness and blessings.  Hunting for grace in each moment allows me to see the hand of God at work when I might otherwise miss it entirely.

My blog has always purposed to talk about honoring God in the craziness of our lives.  I truly believe that no matter how messy, how chaotic, how absolutely crazy our lives get; we can choose to honor God by the way that we live it.  That’s why my little tag line has always been “Honoring Him in the Craziness of Life”.

I still firmly believe that, but I’m adding on to that thought in 2017.  I’m narrowing my focus, or maybe broadening my view, depending on your thinking.

In 2017, I’m choosing to honor him by looking for evidence of His grace in every moment of this crazy life that I’ve been given.

This verse has been etched in my heart.  I’m making it my focus verse in this new year.  John 1:16 ESV says, “For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

GRACE UPON GRACE

What a beautiful truth!  I want to be more aware of His grace.  I’m going to search for evidence of His grace upon grace in every situation, in every moment, in all of the craziness of my life in 2017.

If you would like to join me, my social media posts and blog will feature the hashtags #honoringhim and #graceupongrace in 2017.  When you see evidences of grace, use these hashtags and share it with me.  I’d love to see how you experience His grace upon grace this year!

Love and blessings!

Bobbie


 

Honestly, I’ve never really paid much mind to the weeks of Advent.  I knew that in the liturgical calendar they celebrate the coming of Christmas, but aside from that and the recognition of The weeks of Advent at church, I haven’t really given Advent much attention.  Maybe you’re the same way?

That’s something that I’m changing this year.  It’s so very easy to get caught up in the festive holiday spirit and put all of my focus into gifts, meals, parties, and family celebrations.  Those things are all wonderful things, however, if they are all that I’m focused on in the weeks leading up to Christmas, then I’ve missed the whole point!

This year I am choosing to use the celebration of Advent as a time to focus on God’s word, prayer, and a real celebration of the reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ.  I hope that you will join me.  Together we can really get to the heart of Christmas and truly appreciate the gift of our Lord and Savior.

I had the wonderful privilege to write four Advent prayers for iBelieve.com.  There is one prayer per week with scripture reflections to dive into throughout that week.  I will be posting the prayers each week, and my hope is that you will choose to follow along with me.

Let’s not miss it this year.  Pray along with me.  Dig into the scripture with me.  Click the image above or copy and paste the link to your browser and let’s get to the heart of Christmas together!

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/advent-prayers-week-one-the-hope-of-advent.html

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 

 


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My heart aches this morning as I scroll through my news feed on Facebook.  So many people that I know and love are hurting.  I see so much heartbreak and pain and confusion.  I desperately long to hold tightly onto the shoulders of each person that is broken and look deeply into their eyes and tell them of the hope they have in Jesus.  He’s the only thing that makes walking through the trials bearable.  He’s the only constant and steadfast hope that I’ve ever found.  He’s the only one that will never ever fail.

If I were with you right now and I knew that your heart ached for something better than this world can offer, that is just what I would do.  I would lovingly tell you that this world can be hard and God never promised that living in it would be easy.  I would tell you that although He doesn’t offer you a life of ease, He does offer to make life a little easier by shouldering some of the burden for you as He walks with you through your trials.  He promises to be a comfort, a friend, and a constant companion to all who trust in Him.  He is good no matter the situation.  His love endures no matter where you are.

I would encourage you to turn to Him and to seek Him and I would do by very best to point you towards Him.

That desire spurred this prayer in my heart this morning.  I shared it with my Facebook small group and I felt led to share it here as well in the hopes that it might be a blessing to a hurting heart.

Love and blessings,

 Bobbie

31 DAYS OF CHANGE GROUP Day 26:
Prayer:
Father God,
Help me to have a heart for your people. Give me eyes to see them as you do. You see the affliction of your people. You hear their cry and know their suffering. You feel the weight of their burdens and you long to redeem them. Your desire is that your children would know you, love you, trust you, turn to you, and be restored to you. You gave your only son, Jesus Christ, for that purpose. You love your children that much.
Father, help me to look at my brothers and sisters, and all of the people of this world, and see them as you do. Fill me with love for people. Open my eyes to see those around me who are hurting. Break my heart for the broken. Give me a tenderness and a compassion for people, but Lord, I also pray that you would give me the ability to be a help and an encouragement to them. Fill my heart with prayer for them so that I can lift them to you. Let me be a witness of your saving grace, and of your love, compassion, and mercy. Help me to act as your hands and feet while I’m on this earth. Help me to be compassionate and merciful to others because you’ve been compassionate and merciful with me, Lord Jesus.
I know that this world isn’t an easy place to live. You never promised a life with our trials. In fact, your Word tells us that we go out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Yet, you still call us to walk in love. Give me discernment so that I can be as wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me a sensitivity to respond to its’ stirring in me. Fill my heart with your love and my mouth with your words in the specific moments that I need them. Work through me to show your love to all that I encounter.
In Jesus precious name, I ask these things.
Amen.

Bible Verses:
Exodus 3:7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings.
Exodus 6:5-7 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Psalm 55:17-18 Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more.
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
James 5:11, 15, 19-20 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Matthew 10:16-20 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Discussion Question:
How can we be more aware, sensitive, and compassionate to those who are hurting that God has placed in our lives


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My friends and I been putting in work each and every day this October over on my Facebook group called 31 Days of Change and it’s been amazing!  I’m loving the community there and the way that we all encourage each other and can share and talk about how God is working in our lives this month.  What I’m loving the most, though, is the way that God has been working on me!   I’m learning so much as I study the scriptures and write the posts for each day.

Today we talked about renewing our mind.  This is something that’s always been a little bit of a challenge for me.  OK, it’s been a BIG challenge for me!

I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to my thought life because I’m driven far too much by my emotions, feelings, and the thought patterns of my past.  I let myself get trapped in that cycle way more than I’d like to admit.  Renewing my mind when it’s stuck in that place is hard.

I’m learning to trust what’s God’s word says about who He is, who I am in Him, and what I’m capable of as HIS beloved child.

I was challenged by today’s post and I hope you will be too.  Studying the verses for today and praying over them was powerful for me.  I’d like to encourage you to give it a read if you’re at all like me in this area.

Here is a little peek into what we are discussing over in the Facebook group.

Change Is In The Air: 31 Days Of Change

Day 21:
Prayer:
Father God,
I am ready to put off my old self that was driven by my past, my feelings, my emotions, and my own desires. Renew my mind so that I can fully embrace the new identity that you’ve given me as your child. I want to be more Christlike.
Set my mind on the things that are above and not on the things of the world. I don’t want to be someone who is consumed by worldly thoughts and desires. I don’t want to be conformed to this world. Lord, transform me by the renewing of my mind so that I’m more closely attuned to follow after your good and acceptable and perfect will.
God, fill my mind with thoughts that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Help me to put aside thoughts that are selfish and self serving. Let them be replaced by thought of things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Those are the things I want consuming my thought life.
Your Word says that you will keep me in perfect peace if my mind is focused on you and I believe that promise. You did not give me a spirit or a mind that is a slave to fear, shame, hurt, anger, bitterness, or worry. You adopted me and gave me a spirit and a mind full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The moment I cried out to you and became your child, I became a new creation. The old things lost their grip on me in that moment.
My thoughts and feelings don’t have control over me. I submit my thought life to you, Lord. I don’t want to be double minded and live a life focused on fulfilling my own selfish desires while claiming to follow after you. Father, renew my mind every time it turns from you. Help me to love you with all of my heart, with all of my soul, and with all of my mind.
I ask this in Jesus’ holy name.
Amen

Bible Verses:
Ephesians 4:22-24 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:2-3 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Psalm 119:113 I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Discussion:
Is your thought life surrendered to Jesus or do you still let the your feelings and emotions control you? How can we renew our mind every time we feel that familiar push of our past thought life creeping in?

 

If this hit home for you, you may enjoy joining one of my online small groups.  Be sure to like my Facebook page to see when there are more available!

http://www.facebook.com/bobbieschae

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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I think something that I just absolutely LOVE about our Father is that he never ever gives up on us.  Even when we deserve nothing but his judgement and anger, he offers us forgiveness, restoration, and matchless grace, mercy, and love.

I’m currently doing a Facebook Group where we are focused on committing to 31 Days of Change.  We are reading and praying God’s word every day this month.  I am just loving all that we are learning and the community that we are building.  (You can learn a little more about that at this link:)

Change Is In The Air: 31 Days Of Change

I had something different written to post today, but during my quiet time in prayer and Bible study this morning, I felt led to share this instead.  Maybe you need this reminder of God’s desire to draw you back to him.  He’s ways seeking your restoration.

Here is today’s FB post for the group

31 Days of Change:  Praying and Reading God’s Word

Prayer:

Father, God
You are a mighty redeemer. So often I’ve chosen my own way and my own path. I’ve sought after my own heart and not yours, yet you always offer me the chance to turn back to you. You are so good, so merciful, so forgiving, and so loving God. You are always seeking my redemption and restoration. You never give up on your children.
Father, I want to choose you. I want to seek your heart the way you diligently and relentlessly seek mine. Help me not to turn aside after empty things that will not and can not profit or deliver. God, you are what fills me and gives me purpose. Turn my heart fully towards you.
Help me to stand still and trust in you.
Quiet my spirit when it’s turbulent and give me the peace to know that you are doing great things even if I can’t see them.
I know you will not forsake me, Lord. You are sure, strong, and steadfast. Help me to seek you in prayer and through your word. Instruct me in the good and right way. Help me to love you, serve you, and follow after you with all that I am.
God, you’ve been so good to me. Thank you for your love. Thank you for never giving up on your children. Thank you that you seek to restore me and draw me close.
In the name of Jesus, I pray.
Amen

God’s Word:
1 Samuel 12:14-16, 20-24

If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.

Discussion Question:
These verses were written in the Old Testament to the Israelites when they rebelled against God and looked for a King, yet he still offered reconciliation, redemption, forgiveness, and blessing.
Have you seen God’s faithfulness in your life when you’ve rebelled, yet he was still faithful to offer you a chance to come back to Him and be fully restored?

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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I just love new beginnings and fresh starts.  I love the opportunity to wipe the slate clean.  Today is the first day of a new month.  We are in a new season.  Change is in the air.

And I’m so ready for change.

My heart aches for it.  My soul longs for it.

I want to truly grasp Christ’s love for me and rest easy in my identity in Him.  I want His love to overcome all the muck that weighs me down.  I want to understand the character of God and trust in Him fully.  Just like the seasons are visibly changing, I want to see real, evident change in my heart and in my life.

Don’t you?

I’m a tough nut to crack though, and change doesn’t come easy for me.  I’ve learned that on my own, I tend to just make things a big ol’ mess, so I’ve come up with a plan.  This time, I’m turning to the one agent that always produces a truly changed heart and a changed life.

I’m turning to God’s word

I want to invite you to come along on this little journey of change with me.  I’m committing to reading and praying God’s word EVERY DAY during the month of October.  I’m going to let His word sink deep into my heart and pray that over myself and my circumstances.

I’m trusting in the power of His word to bring about a change in me.

Come with me.  Let’s walk this road together.

I’ve created a Facebook group here:  31 Days of Change Facebook Group

so that we can really walk through this together.  I’d love it if you would join me.

Change is in the air and it’s going to start with you and me.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


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To the Woman Who Feels Alone,

On the outside things looks just fine.  No one knows the hurt that is constantly bubbling just under the surface.  No one understands just how hard you have to work to keep it hidden.  Your smile is firmly in place but your eyes show a tenderness that I recognize.

I see how you keep your friendships superficial so that people can’t get too close.  People seem safer at an arms’ reach, but I remember the loneliness that kind of distance creates.  It feels like it should be freeing to not have anyone really know you, but after a while the solitude begins to feel suffocating.

Maybe your business or your marriage or your dreams have failed.  Maybe you have some shameful secret that seems to be consuming you.  Maybe you are just desperately insecure and fearful.  Maybe you’ve been hurt one too many times in the past.  It could be a multitude of maybes.

Whatever the reason, you have been hiding behind a mask and it is wearing you out.

The loneliness and the hiding is exhausting.

It is time to shake off the shackles.  Don’t let them weigh you down anymore.  Shame and guilt have no power over you.  Insecurity and fear cannot hold you down.  You were not meant to carry that weight.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8:1 “So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

No Condemnation.  None.

If you are a sinner saved by His boundless and abundant grace, you are no longer a slave to all of those old things that use to weigh so heavily of you.  You have complete freedom to live a life released from sin’s bondage. 

Come out of hiding. 

Live in the light.

1 John 1:7-9 CEB tells us “But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.  If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.”

It sounds like it’s too simple to be true, but dear woman who feels alone, it isn’t.

 It really is that easy.

 And it is less lonely than you think because the Bible says we’ve all missed the mark and fallen short.  Every one of us.

Matthew 11:28-30 CEB says “Come to me all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  Put on my yoke and learn from me.  I’m gentle and humble.  And you will find rest for yourselves.  My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”

Easy. 

Light.

Doesn’t that sound so refreshing?

If you haven’t ever trusted Him as your Savior, what is holding you back?  What do you have to lose by letting go of it all and trusting in a God who loves you enough to give His Son as payment for your sin so that you could walk in Freedom?

Galatians 5:1 says that Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, we are able to stand firm.  We don’t have to submit to the bondage of slavery again.

Think about it for a moment. 

Wouldn’t it feel so good to walk in the light?  Wouldn’t it feel so good to stop struggling beneath the weight of it all.  It would feel so freeing to hand your burdens and struggles and sin and shame and pain to the only one who can help you bear it. 

Christian woman who feels alone, release it.  Claim your name.  You are Redeemed.

Lonely woman who doesn’t know Jesus, meet him.  He is the game changer.

I see you, woman who feels alone. 

Because I’ve been you. 

But now, I’m learning to choose freedom.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

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Life is full of trials, stuggles, and stress.  It’s so easy to get bound up in all of the things that are out of our control and to just anxiously toil and struggle our way through.

This morning, while reading in Exodus, I was reminded, yet again, that isn’t God’s plan for His beloved children.  He has a better way for us.  He calls us to trust in His plan, to rest in His provision, and to believe that He is working on our behalf.

I know not everyone is as in love with the Old Testament as I am, but, trust me people, it is so full of applicable truth and encouragement!  Stick with me for a minute and listen to this example.

My reading this morning was centered around the time when the Hebrews were fleeing from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  It must have been chaotic.  The people left in a hurry without much time to prepare.  It also must have been terrifying to leave all that they had ever known for an unknown wilderness.  In the midst of all of that, their enemies, the Egyptians, were in hot pursuit of them.  Fear and doubt were running high!

Have you been there?  Maybe you’ve not been feeling from your enemies into the wilderness, but I’d be willing to bet that you’ve experienced fear and doubt.  I would guess that you’ve felt like you were struggling looking for answers.  I’m sure you’ve looked into the unknown and wondered how on earth God could have led you to the place you found yourself and how in the world you could safely make it through the trials you were facing.

The Hebrews sure felt that way and they let Moses know about it.  Yet, right there, in the middle of the chaos, God gave Moses a simple command for the people.  It’s one that’s just as applicable to us today.  He said, “Fear not.  Stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

That’s about as simple as you can get, yet it’s one of the most difficult things to do.  It must have been so hard to trust God and walk across that sea, but as always, God came through.  He stood between the people and their enemies.  He provided an escape.  He crushed their enemies.  He kept his promise and fought for them.  All they were required to do was to trust Him and obey His command.

Lord, help us to be able to do the same.  Help us to be able to claim that promise in the middle of seasons of chaos, fear, and doubt. Calm our hearts.  Help us to cast out cares at your feet.  Remind us to not be fearful but to stand firm because we know that you fight for us.  Give us the wisdom to not anxiously toil and struggle, but to be silent and trust in you.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


Here’s a little gift for all my friends! We recently had a great discussion on my Bobbieschae Facebook Page about what we are reading this summer. I’ve created a Friday Faves Summer Reading List with 20 of the suggested books just for you!
*I haven’t read all of these books. They are recommendations from friends on the page, but I’m sure they are all great!

Love and Blessings,

Bobbieimage.jpeg


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Hello friends!

Guess what?!?  I’m going to the Declare Conference (an amazing conference focused on being a #digitalevangelist) in Dallas in a little over a week!  I’m so excited!

The Declare Conference is hosting a blog link up!  It’s such a fun way for you all (and all my soon-to-be-friends at the conference) to get to know me a little bit better!  They asked some fun little questions and I’m sharing the answers on the blog today!

Here goes!

1. If we were meeting in person, how would you introduce yourself? (job, family, career, ministry, where you live … share whatever details come to mind)

– My name is Bobbie.  I live in Missouri.  I’ve been married to my high school sweet heart, Scott, for 16 years.  We have two boys, Brayden 13 and Gavin 9.  They are wild masses of chaos and I absolutely adore them, most of the time.  I homeschool my kiddos.

I ❤️Jesus, women’s ministry, and words.  I like to combine all of that into a blog and online community at www.bobbieschae.com and www.facebook.com/bobbieschae

I believe Jesus loves me and died for me in spite of the fact that I’m a hot mess most of the time.  Because of that, I love encouraging women who feel a bit messy and disconnected.

 

2. What is your favorite thing to write and why?

-I love to write whatever God lays on my heart.  I’m typically inspired to write after my quiet time.  I just write whatever the Holy Spirit has started bubbling up inside of me.  I try to be very real, organic, and authentic.

 

3. What is your favorite thing to read and why? (If this question is too broad for you avid readers, what’s a favorite book or blog you’ve read lately?)

-I LOVE to read!  Some of my faves lately have been Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson, For The Love by Jen Hatmaker, Wild and Free by Jess Connoly and Haley Morgan, Chasing God by Angie Smith, and Misfits Welcome by Matthew Barnett.  I’m currently reading Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall.

 

4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

-Lay on the couch in yoga pants and watch Netfix for HOURS while I drink coffee!  Um.  I mean, do something spiritual and productive. 😉

 

5. What’s one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve?

-I love that it gives me the opportunity to connect and share with people from all over the world.  It’s a place where I feel like I can just sit down and put my heart out there to my friends and offer them a little encouragement from my personal experiences.

I would love to improve the functionality and design of it so that it’s super user friendly for everyone who stops by.

 

6. [Lightening Round] Would you rather …

Read on Kindle or paperback?  -Always paperback!  I love a hard copy of a real book!
Drink coffee or tea? -Coffee in the am and tea in the pm.
Go to a musical or a movie?  -Movie
Vacation at the beach or the mountains?  -Mountains!  I love to hike and I hate swimming suits.  😉
Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in?  -That’s a tough one!  Depends on the week!

Watch sports, play sports, or no sports?  -I do crossfit (although not super well), but aside from that, no sports please!

That was so fun!  😉  Feel free to share your answers in the comments !  I’d love to get to know you better too!

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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Today would be my Dad’s birthday.  Mine is right before his.  This is a picture of us celebrating together a few years ago.  He’s been gone now for about a year and a half.  It sure doesn’t seem like that long, but at the same time, it feels like forever since I’ve seen him.  I miss him often, but especially today.

I don’t understand why God allowed him to die.  I don’t understand how taking him was a better plan than doing a miracle of healing.  I still struggle with that.  Honestly, there is only one way I know to deal with that kind of pain.

This morning, with a heavy heart, I prayed a version of the same prayer that I pray every time I feel a little overwhelmed by the grief.

“Father, God,

I don’t understand your ways.  I hurt and I miss my dad terribly, but I’m choosing to trust you in the midst of the hurt.  I know you are good.  I know you are love.  I know that you see the beginning and the end and that your plans are greater than my own.  I don’t understand why God, but I understand who you are.  Help me to trust fully in your character and in who you are in spite of how I feel.  Fill my hurting heart with peace.

Amen.”

That prayer gets me through the things I can’t understand and the things that aren’t easy.  I’m hoping it can help someone else today.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 

 


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I have a fun little herb garden out by the side of my home.  It’s made from old pallets and leans back against the house in our flower bed.  My hubby built it for me last spring and we filled it with lots of fun little herbs.  Last year I enjoyed fresh basil, dill, mint, and oregano.  It was wonderful to go out and harvest all of these fresh little herbs to add into some of my favorite recipes.  I enjoyed it so much that when winter rolled around and all of my little herbs died off, I was a little sad.

I had a little surprise though, because when spring came around again, so did my mint.  It came back tall, and strong, and abundant.  In fact, it has out grown its little pallet planter and is spreading out into my flower bed.  I’ve even got a few little shrubs that have sprigs of mint peeking through their branches.  They are like little ninja mint shoots that are popping up in rather unexpected places.

My mint has already gown so much that I had to prune it.  I climbed into my flower bed one day and began to pull up some of the plants that were intermingling with my flowers and shrubs.  As I pulled and tugged on this hearty little herb, I began to expose this vast system of roots that had spread through a fair amount of my little bed.

You see, during the season when it looked as if my mint had withered and died, it was busy doing something meaningful and productive that I couldn’t see .  Down deep, where important things happen, my mint was growing roots.  Because of these well established roots, I had a rather had a hard time loosening their hold on my flower bed.  I would tug and pull out the little green herb and then up would come what seemed like an endless root system.  They were stronger, stretched out farther, and were much tougher to unearth than I would have imagined.

In fact, after some serious labor, I thought I had taken care of them all, only to look a week later and find new shoots springing up from the ground.  The root system was established so even when I pulled up most of the plants, they were still able to keep growing.  It almost looked as if the pruning had made the herb stronger.  The fresh, new shoots were popping up everywhere.

Can you see how this really isn’t about mint?

This morning I was reading in my Bible in Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, ROOTED and BUILT UP in him and ESTABLISHED in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

As I read this verse, thoughts of my mint and its root system flooded my mind.  This isn’t about mint at all, its about being rooted, built up, and established in our faith.

Do things to grow roots.  Establish a habit reading God’s word.  It’s like fresh water and fertilizer.  That habit will help your root system be strong so you can stand firm.  Pray.  Connect with a good community that will help build you up.  Get established and keep growing stronger.

Harsh seasons may come but as long as we are growing those deep roots, we will be hard to unearth.  We will come back even stronger that before.  Not only that, but as we grow and  establish our roots, we may start to influence those around us.  Maybe our faith will spread and pop up in unexpected places as well.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


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There is something beautiful and powerful about a light shining in the darkness.  I’m guest posting over at From His Presence today and sharing about a time recently when God really impressed something special on my heart when I looked out the window of an airplane and saw the twinkling of lights below me.  I’d love for you to read Light It Up! and see the way that God has called me, and calls each of us, to shine!

Read it here:  Light It Up!

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


Have you ever felt like you didn’t quite fit the mold?  Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in?  I had the wonderful opportunity to share at iBelieve.com about how I’ve felt that way and what I’ve learned about being a part of the body of Christ.

Read more at iBelieve article


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It is Father’s Day, Dad.  I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately as this holiday had been drawing near.  I’ve been remembering some of the times we spent together and some of the things you taught me.

Do you remember the time I was in middle school and you were driving me home?  I was complaining and sassing and just having an all-around ugly attitude.  You sat silently, driving the truck, while I went on a teenage hormone infused rant about the unfairness of life.  When we turned onto the gravel road that we lived on, you quietly pulled over and told me to get out.  You suggested that I use the time it would take me to walk the mile and a half down the dusty road to our house to think about all of the things I had to be grateful for.  Then you drove away and I was left to start walking and thinking.

That was a good one, Dad.  I used that recently on my teen age son while I slowly drove behind him as he walked the block and a half to basketball camp after he gave a particularly surly tirade about my driving and time management skills.  He was right, but he was disrespectful. You weren’t a fan of disrespect.  I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Thanks for teaching me to be grateful and to be respectful.

Do you remember that time I was a 20-year-old newlywed and had made a string of really bad choices that had turned my life from good to bad very quickly?  I was in a tail spin and had pushed everyone that I loved away so that I could just keep on going on down the slippery slope I was on without having to hear from everyone what a mess I was making of things.

In the midst of all of that, you drove an hour up to see me.  We went to a park and we just sat side by side in the grass.  You didn’t ask all of the details.  You didn’t blame, condemn, or shame me, but you didn’t coddle me either.  You lovingly and firmly told me that I couldn’t ride the fence between teenager and adult any more.  You made me take responsibility for my decisions and called me out to make a choice to be better than I had been.  You were a rock for me when things were in chaos.

That was another good one, Dad.  You always had a way of knowing just what to say and how to say it.  It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to see what a train wreck that I was.  I am already trying to teach my boys how to own up to their mistakes and look at the consequences of their choices.  I hope I never have to help my kids really see and understand the mess they’ve made of their life, but I’m filing this little memory in the mental rolodex of stellar parenting moves just in case because it meant the world to me.2015-12-11 08.41.49

Don’t forget about the time I came home at nearly 30 because marriage and family were so much harder than I ever imagined they would be.  I wasn’t sure how on earth I was supposed to do and be all that I was supposed to do and be.  I sat curled up on the couch in your living room tearfully telling you how things were just too hard sometimes.  You sat across from me, wrapped in a blanket in your favorite recliner, and shared some of the times that you had felt the same way.  We laughed and we cried and then we watched Gunsmoke.

I’m going to remember that one too, Dad.  I know there will come a time when my boys will feel overwhelmed by all of their responsibilities and will need a soft place to land.  They will want me to nod my head in agreement and then comfort them with some quality time together.  I want to remember to always be that place that they can come back to when they need encouragement.  Thank you for teaching me to take the time to listen and to care.

I won’t ever forget how hard you worked when you were in physical therapy all of those months.  You would get so frustrated at having to learn to do things that were once so simple for you.  You hated having to re learn how to pick up a spoon.  Learning to walk again was so difficult, but you kept pushing until you got it.  I’ve never seen perseverance like that before.

That was amazing, Dad.  My boys were right there.  They watched you try and fail and never give up.  You taught them about hope and hard work and fighting through every obstacle.

We probably looked a little crazy that one day when the boys and I were down sitting with you when you were really sick.  I was making Christmas ornaments out of paper and hot glue.  It was ridiculous.  It took forever and I was constantly burning my fingers. You just sat in your wheel chair and giggled at me as I growled and rolled my eyes.  After a few hours I had made a handful of beautiful ornaments to hang in the booth I was renting at a local antique mall.   You relentlessly teased me about all of that time and labor plus the money I would need to spend on band aids for my fingers. We both got tickled when you said that I would only end up making about a quarter an hour after all of that.  We laughed until we cried as we looked at my poor blistered fingers and the piles of supplies around me.

That was a good one, Dad.  That still makes me smile.  Thanks for teaching me to laugh at myself.  You could always take any situation and make it a reason to smile.  I loved that about you.  My boys are going to need to know that they don’t always have to take themselves so seriously.

You passed away before Christmas that year and I hung one of those paper ornaments on my tree last Christmas to mark the second Christmas that you had been gone.  I miss you every day, but especially on Father’s Day.  You were such a good man.

There are so many stories, Dad.   There were so many little things that made you so special.  The thing that stands out the very most was how much you loved me.  You loved me when you didn’t have to and you loved me when I was very hard to love.

2015-12-11 08.38.03You weren’t my biological father.  You married my mom and automatically became a step parent to a child who wasn’t entirely sure she needed or wanted you around and wasn’t afraid to make that abundantly clear.  Despite all the ways that I pushed you away, there was never a single moment that I felt like anything other than your dearly loved daughter.   Even when I was too young and too immature to see it, even when I doubted it, even when I didn’t understand it, you were always pouring you heart and soul into loving me as best as you could.

Out of all the things that I remember, Dad, that is the thing I will remember most.  I always knew that I was unconditionally loved.  That is also the thing that I most want to pass down to my children.  It taught me about accepting a love that I did nothing to earn and didn’t really deserve.  Your love for me opened the door for me to begin to understand the kind of love God has for me.  I want to show that kind of love to my boys every day.

Thank you Dad.  That was a good one.

Happy Father’s Day.  I miss and love you more than you know.

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie

Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there.  May your day be filled with love and may you leave a strong legacy for your children.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

There sure seems to be a lot of darkness these days.  Everywhere we look people are hurting.  Chaos and tragedy seem to be around every corner.

It can overwhelm us if we let it.

OR…we can overcome it.

We can drive out the darkness.  We can be light.

WE CAN SHINE BRIGHT!

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Every very time we walk in the love of Christ, we drive out the darkness.

Every time we show the boundless grace and mercy of Jesus, we drive out darkness.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”

Keep doing good.  Shine bright.  Be a light.  Walk in Love.  Push back the dark.

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie

 


Hump Day Happiness:
I usually like to share a funny little story with you on Wednesdays to give you a smile mid week, but today I want to share something that makes me happy every day!
I love to get up early to spend some time in my Bible, journaling, and in prayer.
Ok. Honesty check. I DON’T LOVE waking up early, but I do love being up before everyone else. My kiddos and hubby are usually still asleep when I stumble into the kitchen to grab one of my favorite mugs of coffee and sit by the window and watch the sun come up. It’s so peaceful. This time is like a balm for my weary soul.
It’s really the most important thing I do every day. It prepares me for a joy filled day and gets my heart in the right space to be able to face all of the challenges that a typical day brings.
If you’re a busy gal, it’s really hard to carve that time out of the day, but I promise it’s well worth it. Try to set your alarm 15 or 20 min earlier for a week. Spend a little time in your Bible or favorite devotional. Treat yourself to some precious quiet time, and see how this little change to your day can fill you up with joy!
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For today’s Mondays in a Minute, I just have a quick thought for you.  It’s small, but powerful.

You are known.

Wow.  Let it sink in deep.

2Corinthians 5:11b …But what we are is known to God…” (esv)

It’s so easy to feel forgotten and overlooked.

Mama, it is easy to think that folding that mountain of laundry in the laundry room or cooking dinner for your family or even playing outside with your kiddos isn’t important.  Career lady, it is easy to think that showing up every day at your 9-5 with a smile on your face and doing your best in the job you have doesn’t do much besides pay the bills.  Single lady, it’s easy to think that you’ve slipped through the cracks and no one really sees you.  Divorced woman or widow, it’s easy to think that without a husband to care for, you no longer have a real purpose.  Young woman, it’s easy to think that while you are preparing for the life you want, the one you have is a little meaningless.

Friends, those tasks that you do, day in and day out, that feel almost worthless sometimes; they matter.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, it is known to God.  He sees you.  Each day, every minute, in all things.  He sees.  He appreciates the love that you pour into everything you do.  He sees that care you take to do your best to honor Him in the mundane tasks.

He sees.  He knows.

Because, you are known to God.  Not only that but he loves you.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


I want to start a new series called Mondays In A Minute!  These will be short little posts that will only take you a minute to read, but will hopefully encourage and uplift your Mondays and give you something to think about!

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The thought for today’s Mondays In A Minute is:

AS FOR ME, I AM ALL IN!

This may sound silly but yesterday I decided to finally start a Facebook page for my blog/ministry activity.  I’ve been told by several people that I needed to do it, but honestly, I was scared.  What if I did and NO ONE liked it?  What if I published it and I only heard crickets?  What would that mean?

But, I’ve been studying God’s word and doing a lot of reading (right now it is Follow Me by David Platt and the book of 1 Cornithians).  I’ve been continually reminded that if we are really following him, then we need to be ALL IN!  We can’t just dip our toe in the water.  He wants us to jump in!

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So…nervously I hit that publish button.

The support and encouragement has rocked my world!  WOW!  Thank you!!!❤️❤️❤️

AS FOR ME, I AM ALL IN!!!

Are you?  What is God calling you to do that makes you squirm?  I challenge you to go all in too! Tell me about it, if you do!

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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Hello friends!  I’m stepping up my game!  I launched a new Facebook page for the blog!  I’d love for you to stop by, like it, and say hello!

https://www.facebook.com/Bobbieschae/

Thanks!

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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You know those old pains that cut deep and leave scars?  We all have them and no matter how old they are, they seem to still be a little tender.  The slightest bump or bruise to them aches deeply.  I hate to even think about sharing them because they come from a part of me that doesn’t like to be vulnerable and fears rejection.    However, like most scars, they signify a lesson or two learned from life.

My relationship with my Daddy (my biological father) is one of those old scars signifying lessons learned.  There has been a lot of pain and a lot brokenness.  I love him deeply and I know that he loves me.  There is no condemnation and no fault here.  We’ve made amends over the years and we love each other as best we can now, but it’s far from ideal.  His absence in my life has left a void that still rings with a hollow emptiness when I think about it.  I think the same is true for him.  It’s complicated.

We would like to right things, and we’ve tried, but our relationship just seems irreparably distant.  However, this broken relationship, though painful,  has done me more good than I can even begin to describe.  It’s part of what drove me to seek Jesus.  It has forced me to look into hurting places and evaluate.  It’s caused deep growth and change in my heart.  It bubbled up a wealth of forgiveness, love, grace, and mercy that I never knew existed in my own heart.  It gives me compassion for the broken because I am one and I love one.

Although I would like to see total restoration, maybe some things require a longer season of learning .  I think that’s the case, because God is still is bringing beauty from these ashes.  He isn’t done in this story yet.

That’s was obvious to me yesterday, when a simple moment helped me remember the power of compassion.

And it came in the sweetest form.

Like most interesting things, it happened at Wal-Mart.  I had been dealing with a family matter and needed to speak to my Daddy.  He called while I was with my boys frantically searching for a school project that we needed to have ready to present in a couple of hours to our homeschool group. (Procrastination at it’s finest, but whatever.)

My boys walked behind me, randomly picking up things from the craft isle shelves and playing while I was talking and searching out supplies.  They were relatively non-destructive, so I paid them little mind.  I shopped and talked while they did their thing in the aisle behind me.

When I hung up the phone my youngest came up behind me while I was still frantically searching for jumbo craft sticks.  He asked questions and I gave distracted, half hearted answers without really even looking his direction.

Gav:  “Mom, who was that?”

Me:  “My Daddy.  Remember, you don’t know him, but we’ve talked about him before.”

Gav:  “He called?  When did you see him last?”

Me:  “When Grandpa passed away.”

Gav:  “When before that?”

Me:  “When Grandma passed away.  Before that, maybe years.  Maybe my wedding.  I’m not sure, buddy.  Not often.”

Gav:  “Do you FaceTime since you can’t visit.”

Me:  “No buddy.  We don’t.”

Gav:  “Why?”

Me:  “For lots of reasons.  He has just never been very involved in my life.  It’s complicated.”

I turned the corner and started down the next isle when I heard my oldest ask my youngest why he was crying.  I stopped and turned around to see what was going on, and Gavin walked towards me with tears in his eyes and wrapped his sweet arms around my waist, laid his head against me, and said what my heart didn’t even know it needed to hear.

“Mommy, I’m so sorry.  I’m sorry that happened to you.”

And we both had a moment right there in Wal-Mart.  Because sometimes you don’t even know you need compassion from someone or for someone to understand that your heart aches.  You don’t know you’re swallowing a hurt that needs to be acknowledged.  Sometimes, you forget the power that compassion has.  It’s a simple as someone one saying, “I’m so sorry that happened to you.” and feeling that pain with you for a moment.

I needed that beautiful lesson on compassion.   As I race around in my busy life tending to the day to day, I don’t often stop to wrap an arm around the people who I know are hurting and comfort them.  I know so many people who are going through hard things, and my heart hurts for them.  However, I often let it stop right there.  I don’t often take that next step toward reaching out.  Most of us don’t.

Those little arms and those little words were unbelievably meaningful.  That was real, beautiful, true compassion walked out by my tender-hearted boy at Wal-Mart.

Lord, help me to offer that sweet compassion more.  Help me to see when hearts ache and to reach out my arms in compassion.  Help us all to.  Amen.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


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I’m a work in progress.  God is continually refining me and I’m grateful for that.  I love that He is working on me, pruning me, and helping me to grow.  I don’t know about you, but it seems like, for me,  one of the areas that requires the most refinement is parenting.  Being a mom is a  challenging job.  It requires us to be selfless, patient, loving, generous, tender, and all of those other wonderful qualities that seem to go against all that is natural in us.  For me, there has been a learning curve with this.  My boys are 13 and 9.  I was kind of hoping I’d have it all together by now.  I don’t.  I love my kids and they know this, but I also make some mistakes parenting.  My kids know this too.  We are on a journey together and they know that we are all growing and learning through the process.  Tonight I learned some things and I thought just maybe someone else might find them meaningful too.

These lessons came after a rough start to our bedtime routine.  (Please tell me you’ve been there and that this doesn’t only happen in our home.)  It was going so well, and then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t.  Meltdowns ensued.  Consequences and corrective conversations had to happen.  The correction wasn’t really very sweetly given and even less sweetly received.  Earlier in the evening, the boys had asked to sleep in my room, but I had taken away that privilege as a consequence of the craziness that we had all just participated in.  Tears were shed.  By the time I had both kids in bed, we were all a little frazzled.

I was frustrated and worn, but was trying to bring a little peace back into our night before we all went to sleep.  I asked the boys to sit beside me in Gavin’s bed, and I reminded them that today had been a little rough and we needed to all work a little harder at being loving and respectful tomorrow.  I pointed out some of the areas that we struggled with throughout the day and mentioned that we all should try to do a little better tomorrow.  The list wasn’t a short one.  It hadn’t been our very best day and I wanted to use this as a teaching opportunity so that we could all improve in the areas that were problematic for us.  I wanted to drive this lesson home so that it stuck because I wanted tomorrow to be better for all of us.

My tender-hearted and wise-beyond-his-years 9 year old stopped me and said something that has been on my mind ever since.  He looked at me with very sad eyes and said, “Mommy, really, it has been a pretty good day.  There was way more good than bad. Right?”

You know what?  He was right.

It actually had been a pretty good day.  It wasn’t perfect, there was way more good than bad.  However, in my frustration, I was focused on all the bad moments that had happened.  Not only that, I made sure we were all focusing on them.  I was wrapping up a pretty good day together by dwelling on all of our mistakes.

Don’t we all tend to do that sometimes?  We forget about the day’s blessings because we let ourselves be consumed with the frustration of the moment.

I am all for looking at the areas we struggle in and finding ways to improve in those areas.  We all need to do that from time to time.  It is an important part of the growth process, but there is also a lot to be said for extending a little grace and mercy sometimes too.  God does that for us so often.  I am afraid that I don’t do it nearly as often.  I thought of the verse that I had read earlier that morning in Romans 2:4b that says that God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.  Maybe a little kindness sprinkled in with my correction would do more to encourage a repentant heart in my kids than my list of wrong doings.  Hmmmm, God, are you trying to tell me something?

I finished tucking in my boys and then jumped into the shower to just physically and literally wash away the day.  Some of my best thinking happens in the shower, and tonight wasn’t an exception.  I couldn’t get Gavin’s words out of my mind.  I was reminded of my tendency to look at the frustrating moments and forget the bigger picture.  I was also reminded of God’s mercy and grace, and especially His kindness.  I thought about the times my heart was most often turned toward repentance, and I saw that it was most often due to His kindness.  He doesn’t throw my mistakes back in my face and make me confront them over and over again.  When I’ve asked for forgiveness and owned my failures, He forgets them and loves me like they never happened.  He’s way better to me than I deserve.  He is so patient and longsuffering with me.

I finished my shower and went back into my kids’ rooms.  It was obvious that both boys were having a hard time falling asleep after the emotional evening.  I told the boys what the Holy Spirit had pressed upon my heart.  I told them that most often, when we need God’s kindness the most is when we deserve it the least.  We had obviously had a rough night, but what we all needed was a little grace, love, mercy, and some kindness.

So, here I sit, typing away.  I’ve got one boy curled into his sleeping bag on the right side of my bed.  The other is sprawled across the top of his sleeping bag at the foot of my bed.  My heart is full as I reflect on the pretty good day that we had.  We definitely had a few hard moments, but, those few hard moments allowed us all to be reminded of the grace, love, and mercy that is always there waiting for us.  Those moments reminded me of God’s continual kindness that draws me to repentance.  Those moments, the words of my sweet boy, and the Holy Spirit,  taught me a lesson tonight that I hope sticks with me for a long while.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 

 


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Here it is.  This is what you have waited for your whole life.  Permission.  Permission to breathe.

This is the first post Funk blog entry, and there is something that I’ve really wanted to share with you.  I think the reason that it weighs so heavy on my heart, is because it is something that I needed to be reminded of as much as I needed to write it.

We don’t keep the world spinning.  We don’t run the show.  We are not responsible for everything nor do we need to be.

Whew!  What a relief that is!  Do you feel the weight lifted?  Can you breathe a little easier?

We have permission to put the brakes on when life gets a little too crazy and make a space to just breathe.  It is absolutely ok for us to take a moment to stop and settle ourselves.  Even if the world around us is running at full speed, which it always seems to do, we can break from the race and catch our breath.  Even if it feels like we are drowning under the weight of to dos and expectations.  We don’t have to stay on the hamster wheel and run.  We can hop off and pause for just a moment.

We have permission to breathe.

In that space, that pause, you and I have permission to call out to our loving Father and to ask, to question, to struggle, to wrestle, to rest, to be weak, and to just let it all go for a moment.  In life, so often it seems like we have to be so strong, but not with our God.  He is strong for us when we are weak.  He’s got our backs.  We have permission to crawl into the lap of our loving Father and lay our head on his chest and rest in his love, strength, care, and provision.  He will keep the world spinning while we just catch our breath and refocus ourselves.

He’s got us.  He’s got this.

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When we take that moment, when we allow ourselves the chance to break the cycle of constant motion, we are often worried that we will lose out.  We might get behind.  We might miss out on something.  We may not look like we have it all together.  We worry that if we don’t keep the world spinning, it might tilt right off its’ axis.

And sometimes, we run ourselves ragged trying to keep up.

That’s not God’s plan for us.  He wants us to come to Him with our burdens and our loads.  When we feel like the weight of things is getting too heavy, he wants us to Him and hand it over to Him.  He doesn’t want us to weary ourselves trying to bear everything alone.

And when we do that, the opposite of what we worry about happening actually happens.  When we hit pause and take a moment or two to stop the striving, we don’t fall behind.  We don’t miss out.  Instead, we are refreshed.  We are strengthened.  We are renewed.  We pause and take that time to renew ourselves through him and then we have the ability to jump back into life ready for the marathon.  We have the energy for the long haul now instead of wearying ourselves in the sprint.

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So, sweet friend, there it is.  There is your permission.  When it all gets to be a tad too much, allow yourself the grace to just take a moment.  Pause.  Climb up in your Heavenly Father’s lap and turn it over to Him.  Ask Him for what you need to keep running.  When you’ve received your full share, hop back in and finish strong.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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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


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*This blog post was originally posted at Bronwyn Lea’s blog (www.bronlea.com). I had the wonderful opportunity to guest post on her blog yesterday. She’s a wonderfully talented and inspirational writer!  You will love her blog!

That’s Not My Name
Posted by Bronwyn Lea
Please welcome Bobbie Schaeperkoetter to the blog!

Maybe I’ve let myself be defined by the wrong names for long enough. And maybe you have too.

Unworthy. Unloveable. Unattractive. Selfish. Spoiled. Out of touch with reality. Irresponsible. Snob. Untalented. Liar. Cheater. Judgmental. Failure. I’ve been called these names and many more. These, and others, are words that I’ve heard spoken about me nearly all of my life. They are words of hurt and pain. They are words that cut deep. They are words that I’ve felt have left a scar on my poor tender heart. Sometimes those words were spoken by others. Sometimes I just felt them because of a person’s attitude of actions. Most often though, the words that have cut me the deepest, are the words that I’ve spoken to myself. The worst names are the ones I gave myself.

This isn’t the regular state of my heart, but I have been my own worst enemy at times. I’ve doubted my heart, my worth, my skills, my actions, my looks, my motives, and my talents. I’ve focused on my negative qualities far more than my positives. I have let fear and doubt rule me for so much of my life. I’ve stood in my own way far more than anyone else ever has. I’ve let my past, my failures, my mistakes, and especially my sins define me for far too long. I’ve been a slave to the names. I’ve often felt locked in the prison of these words. I’ve let myself believe them. I have believed that I am unworthy and unloveable. I have believed that I am a cheat and a liar and a failure.

And for some reason, I’ve never fought back against those names. Maybe I kept letting myself be defined by those names because a small part of me believed each one of them for one reason or another. Maybe it is because no one knows me like I know myself. No one knows every detail of my past and every struggle that I have walked through or every mistake that I have made. But just maybe, I have listened to the lies that the enemy has whispered into my ear for far too long.

Maybe I’ve let myself be defined by the wrong names for long enough. And maybe you have too.

This morning, I woke up to a text from a dear friend who is in the middle of a very difficult situation. She is feeling defeated. She is feeling defined by her circumstances and her situation. She is believing the names. She is believing the names that others have called her, but most often, she is believing the names that she has called herself.

And my heart broke for her. And it broke a little for myself because I have done the same thing so often.

I have so many friends and family members who are in the middle of very difficult situations. Some are there as a result of their own choices but some are just a victim of circumstance. Regardless of how they got to where they are, many of them have one common bond. They’ve let the names they have been called define them.

They have believed the lies too. They’ve believed the lies that they are their circumstances or their situation or their mistakes. They’ve believed the lies that they are their sin or their faults or their failures. They’ve believed the lies that they are what other people have said that they are. They have let those names define them just like I have.

That is not the case for them, it is not the case for me, and it is not the case for you sweet friend.

I am not unworthy, unloveable, unattractive, or untalented. That is not my name. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a Heavenly Father who specifically designed me for a purpose and with a plan. (Psalm 139:13-14)

I am not a cheater, a liar, or a failure. That’s not my name. I am redeemed and forgiven. I am a child of my Heavenly Father and I am loved beyond measure. He has taken my past and nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 1:14, Colossians 2:13-14, John 3:16)

I am not selfish, judgmental, out of touch with reality, spoiled, or a snob. That’s not my name. I am learning to walk in newness of life. I’ve laid aside my old self and have been given a new heart. The road may be a little bumpy and I may fail sometimes, but my Father is patient and loving. (Ephesians 4:20-32, Ezekiel 36:26)

I am not those names that others have called me. I am not those names that I have called myself. I am not those names that the enemy has whispered in my ear. I am not defined by my past or even my current situation. And neither are you. If we are a follower of Jesus, then those names do not define us. His name does.

We are defined by a God who loves us more than we can even begin to fathom. We are named by the one who calls us chosen, loved, redeemed, beautiful, precious, forgiven, and new. Let go of those old names and embrace the name that Jesus has given you!

Blessings and Love,

Bobbie


 

Matthew 14:22-33 is a lesson on faith from Jesus. He teaches Peter about real faith in the face of danger.

Source: Why Did You Doubt?

This article is my most recent post for Grace Centered Magazine.  It addresses issues of fear and doubt, something that I sometimes struggle with.

Why Did You Doubt?

Fear is the enemy of faith. We’ve heard it said a hundred times and it is so very true. I can feel God speak something into me during my quiet time with Him in the morning and I am fired up and ready to tackle whatever it is that He has for me. As the day goes on, and life’s troubles come at me, fear sets in, and my resolve wavers.

Have you been there in that moment when fear starts to creep in and dissolve away your commitment? I know I have and I also know I am not the only one. No doubt, you have been there. Peter has been there too.

The story of Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus is one of my very favorite passages in the New Testament. I just really love Peter. He’s a little rash and bold. He is a little impetuous and reckless. Maybe that is why I like him. I can relate to him. He loves Jesus in a way that is beautiful and powerful, but he tends to act a little irrationally. Yep. That hits close to home. I also think there are a lot of practical applications that we can make about fear, our response to it, and Jesus’ response to it. Let’s take a look at Matthew 14:22-33 and see what we can learn.

I’m going to summarize that passage from Matthew. This is the Bobbie revised version.

Peter is in the boat with the other disciples while Jesus is alone praying. The waves and the wind have kicked up enough that the boat has drifted far from the land and is being tossed about. It is late and it is dark. I’m sure the disciples were getting a little nervous out there on the sea just waiting for Jesus. They may have even been squinting out into the distance wondering how on earth he could get to them.

Then they see a little movement and rub their blurry, sleepy eyes. They may have even wondered if their eyes were playing tricks on them due to the hour and the conditions. They look again and realize they were right. Someone or something is walking across the sea, right to them. They tremble in fear because they are sure it is a ghost. They were scared enough that Jesus had to tell them not to be and to calm down because it was only him.

Then, Peter acts in true Peter fashion. “Prove it Lord! If that really is you, call me out to walk on the water too!” Jesus obliged and called to him. So, out of the boat jumped Peter.

I can just picture it in my mind. He hops out and begins confidently walking towards Jesus and he is thinking, “This is awesome! I would follow Jesus anywhere and do anything that he told me to do.” But then a big wave crashes close to his feet, distracting him for a second. As he watches that wave, he notices the other waves around him. His ears become alert and he hears the waves crashing against the boat behind him. He hears the wind howling around him. He shakily looks down at his feet and fear over takes him. The more afraid he gets, the quicker his feet begin to sink into the sea. Sheer panic sets in as the fear of all that is going on around him overtakes him. Then he remembers Jesus. Out of desperation he cries out to him.

He raises his eyes from his situation and looks. There is Jesus right beside him. Jesus is close enough that all he has to do is reach out and take hold of Peter. Peter is pulled back up above the water and Jesus just gives him that tender look and says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Jesus is basically telling Peter, ‘I’ve got you. Don’t worry. Just trust me. You don’t have to be strong because I’m strong enough for the both of us.’ Then hand in hand, they walk together to the boat where all of the other disciples are just standing there in sheer amazement of the mighty power and sovereignty of Jesus.

Obviously, I have taken a little liberty in the retelling of this section of scripture. I do that on purpose. I think we sometimes look at these disciples and think that they must have been holy and perfect men of God. We make them unrelatable and think we can’t learn from them. That is far from the truth. These men were everyday people and they often had to be corrected and taught by a patient and loving Jesus. That is exactly what happened here. Peter needed to be taught about fear and faith. His story is one that can serve as a model for us.

Here are some things that this passage of scripture can teach us about fear and faith.

Life is going to get crazy. It’s pretty much a given.
When we are trusting in Jesus, we don’t have to fear. We can just jump out of the boat.
When we take our eyes off of him and start to look at all that is going on around us and our inability to fix it, we get distracted and fear sets in.
If we give fear a foot hold, it can sink us pretty quickly.
When we get overwhelmed, our best bet to get out of our mess, is to cry out to him.
He can pull us out, no matter how desperate the situation.
He is strong enough to hold us and keep us steady.
He is capable of walking us through the trial.
Trusting him in spite of our fear not only builds our faith, but it builds the faith of others and brings glory to God.
Jesus doesn’t get mad at us when fear creeps in and we stumble a little. He gently reminds us that He’s got a hold of us and will bring us through.
I am so very thankful for this lesson. It is one that I need to remind myself of often. I tend to be a little like Peter. I dive into things with full faith. Sometimes, though, the troubles of this world distract me and for a moment and I take my eyes off of him and focus on my own incapability to fix things. It isn’t long before I cry out to Him because I can feel myself starting to sink. Every time, he is faithful to reach out his hand, hold me close, and walk me through.

I pray that if you are facing something that has you feeling like you are sinking in fear and helplessness, that you will focus your eyes on the one who can save you.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie
bobbiescahe.com


 

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I’ve been sick all week.  I don’t like to use the F word, but this feels an awfully lot like… the FLU.  I have turned my living room into my school room/office and have taken up residence on my couch for the last 4 days.  All school work and regular work has been conducted from this place that is adequately stocked with tissues, hot tea, cold medicine, blankets, and pillows.  It has been my little refuge and I’ve been very grateful for a comfortable place to ride out this yucky virus.

This could be the Day-Quil or maybe even the fever talking, but God has been speaking a specific verse to me this week that I wanted to share with you.  It involves birds and penguins and couches, so give me a little grace and mercy here.  Maybe I should warn you that I’ve taken cold medicine and have a little fever.

Each morning, as part of our homeschool curriculum, my kids do some copy work form the Bible.  Monday morning, when I was feeling particularly cruddy, our verse to copy was Psalm 91:4a.  From my little alcove on the couch, I read aloud,

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge…”

My oldest son was particularly interested in this verse and it started a pretty great conversation about the character and qualities of God.  That is one of the things that I cherish about homeschooling.  I love the way when something peaks our interest, we can take the time to delve into it.  On Monday, we took the time to do just that.

I shared a story with my kids that I remember hearing somewhere years ago.  It isn’t really Biblical, and probably not even factual, but I love the way that it illustrates this verse.  Because I was delirious with fever, I even acted it out for them.  You can imagine that as you read the story, if you would like.

Here goes.

A mama bird was in the forest when a forest fire broke out.  Her little babies were not big enough to fly yet and she knew they were not fast enough to get away from the fire.  The mama feared for her babies lives.  As the fire got closer the mama saw her only chance of saving her precious babies.  She opened her wings and crouched low to the ground and welcomed them under her feathers.  She gathered them tightly into her and wrapped them in the shelter of her wings.  The fire swept rapidly through the forest and the mama fell victim to the flames.  As the firemen came to put out the fire they saw the mama bird crouched there and heard a muffled noise.  The firemen picked up the mama bird and the babies were still there, unharmed, wrapped in the protective shelter of her wings.

I can’t remember where I heard this.  I’m not even sure it is possible.  But I love illustration that it provides.  Pretend with me for a moment, that it is possible.  Can you imagine being that baby bird?  As the fire rages and the world is in chaos, you are safely tucked in a place of refuge.

My oldest was a little skeptical about this story.  Wouldn’t the babies die too?  Why didn’t they all burn up?  Maybe.  I’m not really sure.  I hated to leave him questioning, but God, in His very cool, God like way, gave us another example yesterday.  I love when He comes through for me in those little ways that build up my faith and the faith of my kiddos.

You see, unfortunately, Sunday and Monday were just a little introduction to yuckiness that I was feeling.  Yesterday I felt awful.  In sheer desperation for some quietness, I turned to my very favorite substitute teacher, Amazon Prime.  We are studying zoology this year for Science, and the video, March of The Penguins, would not only tie in perfectly, it would give me an hour and twenty minutes of quiet.

God used this very interesting movie to illustrate this verse again for me and for my boys.  He gave us a perfect example of a real life scenario of the mama bid and the baby birds.  Penguin mamas lay one egg a year and then must rush off to get food.  The Daddy penguin is responsible for caring for the very delicate egg in the harsh Artic winter for months.  To do this, he sets the egg down on top of his claws and tucks it underneath of his tummy.  He snuggles down on top of it to completely envelop it IN THE SHELTER OF HIS FEATHERS.  As the ragged winter rages on and the artic winds blow, the Daddy penguin safely shields the egg from the cold and the storms.  His feathers trap in enough heat to keep the egg warm and they also provide protection against the elements.  His protective feathers keep the egg alive and safe so that it can hatch in the spring.

My boys and I discussed this and talked about how God is that place of refuge for us.  I compared it to my little sick bed that I had set up in the living room.  It was my place of comfort in the chaos of sickness.  It had everything that I needed and was a place that I felt safe and cared for.  Tucked away there, being sick wasn’t so bad.

As I explained to my boys, this world is a crazy place filled with chaos.  Fires tear through.  Cold winds blow.  Storms rage on.  But, Psalm 91:4 says that in the midst of all of the things that happen around us, God wraps us in his wings to offer us refuge and protection and shelter.  He is our calm in the storm.  He is our shelter from the forces that could harm us.  He is that comfortable, safe place to find rest.

When life gets a little crazy, we have the opportunity to be like those little baby birds.  God, like that mama bird, opens his wings to welcome us into His protection and provision, but we must go there.  We must be like that little penguin egg and stay nestled under our Father’s protective embrace.  He promises to be our place of peace, provision, protection, and comfort if we rest in Him.

So, maybe it is the Day-Quil or maybe it is the fever, but I can totally relate to the little egg and the baby birds.  I love knowing that my God offers me a refuge.  When I face trail and chaos in this life, I run into the open arms of my Father.  I look to him to provide that place of shelter and protection.  I look to Him to lovingly care for me, and I don’t fear because I’m nestled safely under his wings.

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


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Good morning friends!

This morning I was reading out of the book of Daniel and a sweet little nugget of truth just jumped out at me!  It was an encouragement to me and I wanted to share it with you.

Daniel 3 is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Most people are familiar with the story of King Nebuchadnezzar, the big golden idol he created, and three Jewish  friends who refused to bow down and worship it.  Most people are also familiar with the story of how the King threw these three into the firey furnace and a fourth man with the appearance  of “a son of the gods” delivered them from the fire with out even the smell of smoke on them or a hair on their bodies singed.

I love this story for so many reasons, but this morning I thought about it a little differently.  This morning my heart picked up on the important message that God is showing us about the value and influence of good and Godly friends.

These three men stood strong and untied against a King who wanted them to renounce their God.  Their lives were at stake, yet together, they had the courage to stand up for right and truth.  We have so much power when we join together with other believers. Matthew 18:19-20 says, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  He definitely  showed up for these three friends!

One of our greatest and most underused weapons are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  They are our adversaries who should come along side of us and encourage us to stand strong.  Together, we can have such a beautiful influence for God’s kingdom.

Just look at what happened when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood together.  They changed the heart of one of the most powerful kings ever.  Their influence was amazing!  Daniel 3:28 says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

This morning I am so thankful for the community of believers that God has put me in. They lift me up, strengthen me, encourage me to stand strong for Jesus, no matter what is going on in this world.  If we all looked at ways to do that for one another, we could be a powerful influence for the kingdom!

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


 

imageI’m a little bit of a country girl at heart.  We always had some type of livestock that we were raising when I was a kid living at home.  I can remember having cows, hogs, chickens, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, and more.  I grew up in the country where raising and caring for animals just kind of came with the territory.

We never owned sheep, that I can remember, but I imagine it is much like owning other livestock.  When you are responsible for the care and well being of livestock, they are completely dependent on you for all of their needs.

I can remember my Dad and my brother getting up early and going out to feed and water in the mornings before school.  Before dinner, they would make another round to tend and care for whatever animals my dad was interested in raising at the time.  (Side note on my dad:  He liked to hop around from one animal to the next depending on the year.  One year he might raise hogs.  One year he wanted cows.  We almost always had horses, mules, and chickens.  We even had a little pot bellied pig that lived in the house until it ran away!  But I digress.)

The animals required continual attention for their provision and their protection.  They depended on my dad and my brother for every aspect of their care and well being.

This morning I was reading in Ezekiel.  Most of chapter 34 is written to Ezekiel telling him to speak to Isreal and remind them that they are God’s sheep and He is their shepherd.  Much like my dad and brother (and even more so since my dad was a little wishy-washy as a farmer) a shepherd’s priority is provision and protection for his sheep.  God was judging those people who had led His sheep astray and was telling them that He would be their good shepherd and was giving them a promise for their future.

I just selected a few verses from This chapter to give you an idea of what God is saying here:

Ezekiel 34:4, 11-12, 16, 31 “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.”  “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”  “You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Wow!  I was a little overcome as I remembered my dad and my brother chipping away ice from the horse trough on a frigid winter day, or cleaning the barn in the brutal heat on a humid summer day.  No matter the conditions, with no regard for their own comfort, they cared and tended their animals.  Because that’s what a farmer and a shepherd do.  They provide care for the livestock in their possession.  How much more so will our good shepherd care for us?!?

Father God,

Thank you for being the good shepherd.  Thank you for understanding that I’m a little sheep easily led astray and prone to wander.  Thank you for your loving guidance, your tender care, and your divine provision and protection.  Help me to trust you more and to fully rely on you as my shepherd.  Help me not to stray, but to stay safely by your side.  Father, I look to you for my needs.  I know that your love for me is true.  You truly are the good shepherd and I’m so thankful to be a sheep in your pasture!”

Amen!

Blessings and Love,

Bobbie

 


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I don’t often write “How To” posts, but I’ve been repeatedly asked how I do my quiet time and how I make time to write.  This always makes me smile, because I love a good, well laid out plan for some things.  I also really enjoy the chaos of flying by the seat of my pants.  And I’m a little bit of a drama queen.  My quiet time just happens to be an interesting, quirky mix of those characteristics.

As a warning, before I share my morning game plan, I want to point out a few obvious things. First, I’m not any type of professional at Bible study and prayer.  Secondly, what works for me, may not work for you.  And Third, I know that this is going to sound a little odd, so just humor me and go with it.

Ok.  Here it is.  My game plan.

The Night Before:

As I mentioned, I’m an odd combination of OCD, chaos, and drama.  The OCD in me really enjoys an organized, regular, predictable plan.  I love lists and journals and organized approaches in some specific things.  I like to start my quiet time in a very predictable, well planned out way the evening before.

Before I go to bed at night, I lay out all of my materials.  When I have my time in the morning to study and pray, I like to have my journaling Bible, my binder, my journals, my pen, and my coffee.  I have one of those amazing coffee pots where you can make your coffee the evening before and set it to start brewing at a specific time.  I set mine for 5:10.  That’s 5 minutes before my alarm goes off.  That means that when I wake up in the morning, I can already smell that delicious Three Story Coffee percolating in the kitchen.  It’s pretty glorious!

Those are my necessities.  They each have a purpose that facilitates my time and how I use it.  When they are all lined up like that on my kitchen table, they are very hard to ignore in the morning.

The Drama:

Here is where my drama queen tendencies really help out my morning routine.  It’s also where I start to sound a little crazy, but hey, we all do what works best for us.  I like to imagine that I have a little coffee date with Jesus in the morning.  I’ve set my spot up and I picture his spot right there beside me.  I know he really does meet with me there each morning, so I go ahead and take the liberty of imagining that it’s our daily little coffee date.  (I don’t think He minds.)

I set three alarms five minutes apart.  5:05, 5:10, and 5:15.  (I really like my sleep, ok?!?)  when my last alarm goes off, I tell Jesus good morning and that I’m on my way.

I am aware that all sounds a bit silly, but here is why it works for me.  I am a super relational person.  Friendships and relationships are supremely important to me.  I would NEVER make a date with a friend and not show up.  I want to be a good friend, and Jesus just happens to be my best friend.  I dare not miss our morning coffee dates!

How I Study:

As I said, the OCD in me loves to wake up to a perfectly laid out table and a steaming coffee pot, but the chaos in me like to have a loose approach to the way that I actually do my study time.  There are a few standards that I like to follow, but my actual routine is flexible.

I always begin my time praying.  It’s not a big, deep, scholarly prayer.  Most often, my prayer is often just a little “thank you for meeting me here again this morning Jesus.  I’m ready to listen to you speak”. After that, I dive in to my Bible reading.  Currently I’m reading the Bible through from front to back, so I just pick up where I left off the day before.

I like to use a journaling Bible so I have space to underline, jot notes, ideas, and verses.  Beside my Bible is my journal.  I keep it open and as I’m reading through my Bible, I like to write out specific verses that jump out at me.  Reading them and then writing them out really helps me to to solidify them in my mind and store them in my heart. I learn best by doing, so I write a lot as I study.

I don’t like to have a specific reading schedule.  I read until I feel like God has spoken something to me.  When He has, I stop.  I make notes in the margin of my Bible.  I think on it a bit.  I write out the specific verse that struck me in my journal.  That’s it.  It’s not rocket science, but it has been what works for me.  Sometimes I will read chapters and chapters before something specific really grabs at my heart and sometimes it’s much shorter.  I try to just be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.  When He prompts me to think about something, I take the time to really consider it and then I process through it by writing out notes.

That consideration usually culminates in my prayer time.  Along with the OCD tendencies, I’ve got some serious ADD tendencies as well.  I get distracted easily and prayer can be difficult for me.  My mind wants to wander.  My solution is to write out my prayers.  It keeps my mind more focused.  I simply flip to the next page in my journal and write out whatever is in my heart.  It’s like my coffee time conversation with Jesus.  I write it as a letter to Him.  I have found that it is the easiest way for me to have focused prayer time.

I also keep a journal of prayers specifically regarding my hubby and my boys.  When there is something that I feel like requires specific prayer on their behalf, I pull that journal out and pray for those needs there.

The Rest of the Plan:

I’m a fan of lists and I love my handy dandy binder.  It’s like my little organizational hub.  I keep our weekly and monthly calendar in my binder along with our dinner menu, our weekly chore charts, info on work and homeschool projects, and my ever important to do list.  After my quiet time, I like to take all of this before God.  I thumb through my plans and look them over to get my bearings for the day.  Then I flip to a my blank To Do List for today.  I say a quick prayer asking God to give me a vision for what I need to do and then I jot down my priorities for the day.

Writing:

This is may all sound a bit out there, but it’s how I like to start each morning.  I intentionally get up a couple of hours before my kiddos and even before my husband.  I spend some focused time alone with Jesus and then I plan out my day.  It is what works for me and it seems to bring the level of crazy in my day down to a more manageable level.

I also have a hard and fast rule that I force myself to stick to.  I don’t allow interruptions during this time unless it’s an emergency.  (That’s easier to enforce because everyone in my house is often asleep.). I don’t look at my phone until after this time is over.  I don’t check Facebook or Twitter or my email or anything else until I’ve had my quiet time in the morning.  After I finish my quiet time and my to do list, then, if I feel inspired, I write.  That’s when I may log in to WordPress and blog.  I might log into Facebook and post on one of the ministry sites I help manage.  I may log into word swag and create some memes for social media ministry. My creative juices are usually flowing after some sweet time with Jesus and my mind is calm enough to write after I’ve tackled my daily plan.

The Challenge:

I’d love to encourage you to make your own game plan for each day.  I’d also love to hear about how you spend time with Jesus and how you start your day.

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


The hospice chaplain just left my grandpa’s bedside and I can’t stop thinking about something he said in his prayer. He said “At the end of this life, Father, we only leave behind three things that matter: our faith, our family, and our friends.”

A dear friend of mine is also currently dealing with the loss of a loved one and when we were chatting on the phone last week, she also mentioned that she was struck by the truth that in this life we take nothing with us when we go.  The only thing that we leave behind is our legacy.

That has gotten me thinking.  What kind of legacy do I hope to leave behind?  When I’m ready to go home to be with Jesus, who and what will I leave behind?  Will it have mattered that I was here?  Will I have made an impact?  When I meet my Jesus face to face will He be able to say “well done”?

The chaplain’s three things and my friend’s observation combine to summarize the I hope to leave. I hope that the who and the what that I leave behind are wrapped in together beautifully in  the legacy of faith that I leave with my family and my friends.  I want people to say, “Man!  She did her very best to be the hands and feet of a loving God to everyone that she came into contact with.  She loved Jesus and she loved his people.”

My Grandpa did. He was a faithful man. He loved Jesus and he loved others. He was gentle and kind.  He was so sweet.  He always had a smile for everyone he met.  I can’t recall him every saying a negative thing to anyone or about anyone.  He was truly a good man who walked out Jesus’ love by the way that he loved people.  The legacy that he leaves is the same legacy that I want to leave.

That sounds so simple, really.  But, we all know that it isn’t.  Loving people means opening up to them and letting them into your life and your heart.  It means going out of your way to invest time and energy into building a meaningful relationship with them.  It means daily living in a way that brings honor to God and points people in His direction.  That takes real dedication.  Heaven, help me because I have so much need for improvement in this!

I know with the Christmas season, we don’t want to dwell on things like this.  But what if the gift we gave to Jesus this year was one of a lasting legacy of love to the people He loves?  What a difference we could make if we decided to take steps daily to leave that kinds of a legacy of faith and love! What if we each focused our energy, time, and attention to leaving a legacy of faith for our family and friends?  I don’t know about you, but that is something I’d love to live out just like my grandpa did.

Blessings and love,

Bobbie

 

 


Last week was one of those weeks that just left me reeling in exhaustion and emotion.  Have you had those?  Those are the weeks where, when they draw to a close, we look back and think ‘How on Earth did I just make it through all of that?’  Everyone has those weeks, where you are pretty sure the world has slipped off of its center and everything feels a little wonky.

I hesitate to lay out the details because I know that some of you walked through weeks that were so much more difficult than mine.  However, because I really want you to see what God is working on in me, I want to share some things with you.

I am just starting to get over a bout with pneumonia.  Pneumonia is no joke.  I felt awful and so run down all of last week.  Some of that still lingers into this week.  Along with all of that, my grandpa, whom I’ve been in charge of caring for the last several years, is on hospice in the nursing home.  He’s battled Parkinson’s Disease and Dimentia for a long time and took a turn for the worse about 2 months ago.  It’s been a very long battle and has been so very heartbreaking to watch.

Just to make things a tad more interesting, all of this is happening on the same week that my Dad went into the hospital last year.  The one year anniversary of his passing is this coming Saturday.  That alone has been a very hard milestone to approach.  The emotion and the memories that just hit me out of the clear blue have been enough to knock me clean off of my feet at times.

Needless to say, I’ve been a walking train wreck on the inside all week.  I’m physically feeling sick and worn and emotionally feeling very raw.  I’ve been trying very hard to take care of my family, move past my own health stuff, and be there with my grandpa.  I’ve been trying to keep everything running smoothly.  On the outside, things probably didn’t look too bad, but on the inside I was a mess.

The results haven’t been pretty friends.  And would you like to know why?  Because I was trying to do it in my own strength and for my own benefit.  I was wearing myself into a frazzle trying to keep everything from falling apart all around me while keeping a smile firmly etched into place, because that’s what we think we are suppose to do.

Can I just be honest?  That’s an exhausting game to play.

Yesterday, I went to church and then came home and watched my boys decorate our Christmas tree.  When that was over, I packed my bag to go spend the rest of the day and evening with my Grandpa, by myself.  When I got into the car, I realized how tired I was, so I put on a podcast by Francis Chan to keep me awake and alert while I was driving.  It was so good.  I love when God just gives you this little random thought, like ‘maybe I will listen to this to stay awake’ and it turns out to be exactly what you really need to hear.  He’s good like that.

Anyway,  Francis Chan was speaking at a retreat for leaders in the church and asking them to quit trying to be something that they are not.  He was asking them to lay aside their phony facades of perfection and be real with their people.  He was calling them into transparency and authenticity because sharing our struggles is one of the most sure fire ways to help someone feel like they aren’t alone in theirs.  Not only that, but it shifts our perspective from one of ‘I must do all and be all’ to one of ‘God help me’.

It was just what I needed to hear.  I had been running myself into the ground all week desperately trying to keep everything around me from plunging into chaos.  I hadn’t asked for much help and hadn’t wanted to even admit how difficult the week had been.

So, last night when I pulled into the nursing home, I picked up my Grandpa’s hand and opened my Bible and gathered as much wisdom, peace, love, strength, direction, correction, and inspiration as I could find. When my Grandpa’s sweet nurse came in and asked how I was doing, I fell apart a little and told her how hard it was to watch this, especially after I sat in this same place exactly one year ago.  I readily accepted her hug and words of comfort.  I reached out to my personal friends and some of my sweet friends on Facebook and asked for prayers for comfort for my Grandpa and peace and strength for myself, and they responded in ways that bring tears to my eyes.  I came home and crawled into bed and was graceful to myself by letting myself sleep in a little later this morning because my body desperately needs the rest.  I’ve allowed my self time to read my Bible, reflect, process, and write this morning because that is the way I feel most connected to God.  I let go of the ‘do all and be all’ and starting saying ‘God help me’.

The weight of perception can be crushing.  Trying to keep all of the plates spinning in this circus act can be utterly exhausting.  We often refuse to give ourselves grace and mercy.  We don’t want to take off the mask of perfection because it’s possible that people will see that we really don’t have it all together.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I DO NOT have it all together.  I never have.  I’m sure I probably never will.  BUT yesterday and again this morning, I was reading through Isaiah and was so encouraged that I DONT HAVE to have it all together because I serve a God who does.  He is the beginning and the end.  He is my protector, provider.  His plans have been laid since the foundation of the earth and He never fails to keep his promises.  He loves me.  He has this whole great big world, and even my little tiny existence in it, firmly in His grasp.

I have no idea why last week was so rough.  And it’s entirely likely that this week could be equally as difficult.  But I know the one who created the moon and the starts and knit me together.  He loves me and my grandpa.  All that happens in this world and in my life will ultimately bring Him glory.  I know that I don’t have to be perfect or understand His plans because He is perfect and His plans are perfect.  As much as I can, I’m going to rest in that this week when things get difficult. As much as I’m able, I’m going to leave my mask off and show that the only hope I have of making it through is by clinging to the one who loves me and has this all firmly in the palm of His hand.

Isaiah 43:2-3a, 4a

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”


Be careful what you pray for.

In the last year God has been almost palpable to me.  I’ve felt His presence in a new way in my life.  I think it started when my dad got sick.  I begged for God to just wrap me in His arms and give me comfort and strength because the ache from losing my dad just left me reeling.

Through out this last year, my family has dealt with some things that have caused me to draw into those same arms time after time.  They have become a place of refuge and comfort for me.  I’ve come look forward to time in my Bible and prayer each day because I long to be in His presence.  It is peace.  It is encouragement.  It is a reminder of unfailing love.

Or at least it has been until recently.

It is still all of those things, but the more time I spend in my Bible and prayer, the more I realize how far I am from loving like Jesus loved and living like Jesus lived.  It is convicting and uncomfortable sometimes.  The discrepancy becomes more pronounced the more I study it.

Several months ago Heather Gillion (author of Dancing on My Ashes and speaker) spoke at one of our Inspire meetings about being interrupted.  Her message was powerful and I prayed for God to interrupt my plans with His own.

Mission Accomplished.

Enter a plethora of crazy God moments that have lead to amazing Christian friendships and connections, ministry opportunities, and a renewed passion for my relationship with Jesus.  I was definitely interrupted.  And He keeps interrupting me by drawing me out of my comfort zone and into opportunities to put hands and feet to what I believe.  It is amazing and terrifying and utterly awesome.

Then, fast forward to now.

I read Jen Hatmaker’s For The Love and fell head over heels for her writing style.  She’s hilarious.  The book was so much fun to read but also full of good, Godly insight.  I loved it enough that I picked up another one of her books  called… Interrupted.  Jen is not the only one with a sense of humor because here comes God with the same message months later, after I already felt like I had already been pretty darn interrupted.

I read her book on a flight to LA last week.  As I took off from a layover in Denver, I looked out my window into the darkness and saw thousands of porch lights and street lights and city lights twinkling.  I was reminded that each little light was a home or a business full of people.

And I prayed, “”God, Open My Eyes To Really See Your People.  Interrupt Me.”

And because He’s gracious and I am a slow learner, God continued to spell out what being interrupted actually looks like during my flight as I read through the book and in the following days.  I spent that week in LA working with my ministry friends, Shari Rigby and Claire Lee  (authors of Beautifully Flawed), as we hashed out plans to share stories of lives redeemed by our loving and merciful Savior.  I visited The Dream Center and was shaken to my core by the beautiful testimonies of broken lives made new by our gracious God.  (This place has my heart!  Look it up.  www.dreamcenter.org  It is one of the boldest, most beautiful examples of Christ’s love in action that I’ve ever seen.)

I came home and I’ve been a little crazy.  I’ve been unsettled and stirred up.

Then yesterday, my kids and I went to our regular weekly work day at our local food pantry.  My heart was a little raw.  I can’t even tell you how much these people have ministered to me over the months we’ve worked there.  I’ve had many people speak a blessing over me as I helped them carry out their bags.     I’ve been invited to church several times.  I’ve even been preached to a time or two.

But yesterday was amazing.  I met this woman who was a warrior for Jesus.  As we walked out to load her bags into her car, we talked and I learned that she is a recovering addict and drug dealer.  Two of her three children are in prison and she is raising her grandbabies.  She’s been clean for 18 years.  And she is one of the most beautiful examples of the heart of  Jesus that I’ve ever seen!  She talked about the love of her Jesus like he was standing there beside her holding her hand.

She explained how hard it was fighting through her addictions and then leaving a profitable life as a drug dealer.  She talked about how Jesus has been her rock every moment of every day since then.  She shared the passion that she has for sharing her story with others because she knows that many other women struggle with overcoming their past and sometimes even their present. She praised God because nothing is ever too broken for Him to make it beautiful.

She cried as she wondered if her boys saw too much before she was saved and were too tempted by that lifestyle.  She told me how fervently she prays for her children, her grandchildren, and her community.  She told me that we have to help those who get out of prison because way to often, they go right back because they have no hope.

She told me we have to do more.  We have to spread His hope.

She and some of the other ladies in her church feed kids in the projects over summer break and school vacations because a lot of people are hungry.  She gives a testimony in church every chance she gets because someone may need to hear her story to see a chance for redemption in theirs.  She asked me to help her reach others for Jesus and she pours out her desire to serve others because she is so grateful for all that God has done for her.

And my heart turned inside out because I’ve been interrupted.

Once again, He tells me to loosen my grip on my plans and to let Him work out His own.  Jesus reminds me that His heart is for those who are on the fringes.  He doesn’t see the world or people like we do.  He desperately wants to love people and wants them to turn to Him.  He aches for those who are lost and hurting.

Those are the very people He met with when He was on this Earth.  The woman at the well.  The adulterer.  The tax collector.  The leper.  The woman with an issue of blood.  The hurting, the lost, the sick, the broken, the poor, the needy, the outcast, the lonely, the unloved, and the struggling.

Those people who were an awfully lot like me before I met Jesus.   And maybe a little like you use to be too.

Just like my new friend from the food pantry, He wanted to reach those who need Him most  .And now I do too.  And it has interrupted everything.

Mark 2:17

“On Hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

 


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Father God,

This world is hurting.  It is everywhere we turn.  This whole world is groaning and crying out for its Savior.  People are reeling with heartache and confusion.  Lord, in the midst of chaos, help us turn to you for the peace that passes all understanding.  Help us to look for your comfort. Let us diligently seek your hope.  Help us to continually turn to you for strength.

Father, in a world that’s gone haywire, help us to remember that you are our constant.  You are our rock.  You are our good Father.  You heal broken lives, broken people, and broken hearts.  God, you are creator, sustainer, and ruler of all.  Lord, God, you are sovereign.  You are strong and mighty.  You are righteous and kind.  You are holy.  You are just.  You are near to all who call on you.  You are faithful and true. You are judge and jury. You redeem and reconcile.  You pour out unmerited mercy and grace.  You are love.

We praise you for all that you are Lord.  We love you and we trust you.  We know that you watch over us.  You don’t rest Lord.  Your eyes are continually upon your children.  You are our shield, our fortress, and our protection.  You hide us in the cleft of the rock.  You hem us in, behind and before, and your hand is upon us.  You are our refuge.  You are everywhere.  There is no where that we can go that you aren’t present.  Let that be our comfort.

Lord, when this world is madness and confusion, we turn towards you as our strength, hope, and comfort.  Father, give us peace in our hearts and our minds.  God, only you can bring peace in our world.  Give us the peace that passes all understanding.

Amen

Encouraging words from His word:

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 141:8 But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—leave me not defenseless.

Psalm 139:5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

Psalm 144:1-2 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,who trains my hands for war,my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge

Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, (more…)


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Do you know what I just love?  I love authenticity.  I love it when what you see is exactly what you get.  I’m not a fan of false pretenses or underlying meaning.  I don’t really like fake.   I like to be able to take things at face value and trust that something or someone is who they claim to be.  I kind of just like people to be real.

Because of this love for all things genuine, I just adore Jen Hatmaker right now.  To be honest, I wasn’t really familiar with her until last week when a friend mentioned that they were reading her new book and loved it.  The friend quoted some of her work on a Facebook post, and I was immediately hooked. I could tell that she was the real deal!

I bought her book, For The Love, and I just LOVE it.  Jen is hilarious!  I actually woke up my son the other night because I was reading her book in the living room and was just laughing so hard.  Not only is she just really funny, she has a way of boldly and unashamedly  getting to the heart of a matter. Her manner is bold and brave but she is also very transparent and therefore very vulnerable.  She is a straight shooter and I very much appreciate that!

I think I love that quality so much because God is such a straight shooter in His word.  He pretty much just tells it like it is.  He gives us some clear direction and clear commands in His word.  There are things that He leaves mysterious because we cannot understand His ways, but when it is time to lay out expectations, He takes most of the guesswork out.

Not only is He clear, He is repetitive.  He knows that we need to hear things over and over for them to really sink in.  I’ve been reading through the Psalms over the last week and God keeps hammering in one clear message to me.  He used Jen Hatmaker’s book to reinforce that message.  Like I said, he like repetition.  He’s good like that.  He likes to give us the old one-two to really be sure we are getting what He has for us.

He repeatedly showed me this week that He wants to use US to deliver HIS message to OTHERS.  He calls US to sing His praise, to declare His goodness, to speak of His might, and tell of His works.  He calls US to think on Him and share our thoughts with our children and our families and our communities so that we can make Him known.

He calls US to extol Him.  I had to look that word up.  It appears in the book of Psalms a ton and I wasn’t really sure what it meant.  It means to lift something up and praise it highly.  All throughout the Psalms, we are called to praise and extol Him.

I don’t think that God is calling us to a passive thing.  I believe He is calling us to take bold action.  He is calling us to stand for Him and tell the truth of what He has done for us.  He wants us to use our story to show Him to others.  He has given us each a specific story to share.  We get to be the connection for people!  Wow!  That’s just plain crazy!  We have the privilege to introduce others to Him by sharing what He’s done for us.

Psalm 145: 4-7, 10-12 “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.”

That’s kind of a big deal.  And it’s not a responsibility that we should take too lightly.  It is a privilege and an honor.  Can I be honest?  It’s also a little intimidating.  If I’m going to introduce people to Jesus, then I want the introduction to be a good one.  I want to share my story in a way that compels people.  I want to show other’s how much Jesus has done for me.  I want to share His goodness, love, mercy, and grace.  I want others to be drawn to His saving power like I was.  But, that requires a lot of bravery and a lot of courage.  It requires me to be authentic and real and vulnerable.

I can’t really tell you of His grace and mercy without telling you what He’s done for me.  I can’t show you how He unconditionally loves me if I’m unwilling to show you how often I’ve failed Him and how often He extends love to me in the midst of that.  I can’t really show you the power of His redemption unless you see how far He has brought me.  And I can’t really show His strength until I show you my utter dependence on Him.

To follow that call to praise Him and extol Him and declare His works, we must be uncommonly brave and bold.  We have to be willing to share.  And it’s scary because being vulnerable is hard.  It’s hard to just put ourselves out there for the world to see because the world can sometimes be a harsh and judgmental place.  But there is also a lot of love and grace and mercy there.  And there is freedom in the sharing because our boldness not only gives glory to God, it breaks down our own walls and it gives courage to others.

My favorite quote from Jen Hatmaker’s book addresses this specific thing.  She talks about telling our truth to the world regardless of our hesitations.  She says, “Just tell the truth because it sets us free.  This first domino unleashes a chain reaction of liberation.  If we tell the truth in the small things, our honesty is well-practiced when stuff gets dire.  This creates a sincere community for which the earth is starving.  In a world full of the fake, artificial, pretend, and superficial, we have the sustenance to nourish starving hearts.  I promise to be gentle with your truth-telling, and you’ve already demonstrated tenderness with mine.  And as we witness this beautiful community, we aren’t just observing vulnerability but rather chains breaking, darkness receding, victory rising.  We are watching the light win truth by truth, and when enough bright places are created, the dark has no where else to hide.  Show up.  Be seen.  Tell the truth.  Be free.”

I seriously love that!  What a bold deceleration of our responsibility to share our story and to be the ones pointing others to Jesus!  This morning I prayed for a renewed boldness and strength to stand for Him.  I prayed that He would give me the courage to be authentic and to share.  I’m praying that for you too.  I’m praying that we all will take Jen’s challenge To Show Up.  To Be Seen.  To Tell The Truth.  And To Be Free.  After all, I think God calls us to the same thing.  Let’s Extol Him.  Praise Him.  And Declare His Greatness.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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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


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One of my favorite weekends of the entire year has come and gone.  The Inspire Heart Retreat always seems to rush past me in a blur of emotion and activity.  It drew to an end way before I was ready to let the messages and the images from those sweet days leave my thoughts.

I have spent any quiet moments that I could claim today just sitting and reflecting.  I let the images from this weekend run through my mind like an old film reel.  I closed my eyes and remembered the feelings and let them sink deep into my heart.  The presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable throughout our praise and worship time.  It engulfed me.  With a heart full and hands raised, I closed my eyes and let my voice join in with the sound of over two hundred women raising their voices to praise our Savior.

Our speaker, Nicole Johnson, delivered messages that were like a balm to the aches in my heart!  My eyes were continually brimming with tears of laughter, tears of brokenness, and tears of healing.  Her authenticity was refreshing.  Her willingness to join into our little community and minister was inspiring.  Her ability to point out our need for God’s healing and His love in the broken and hurting areas of our lives was just simply beautiful.  I could feel my Father calling out to me through her words.

The entire weekend was just enveloped in Christ’s love, grace, and mercy.  I got teary eyed as I moved throughout the weekend and caught glimpses of His pure love in action.  Going though the foyer, I glanced out the glass of the front doors and saw two friends huddled close and deep in conversation.  On my way down the stairs I watched a group of ladies sitting cozily in arm chairs sipping coffee and sharing their lives.  In the kitchen I saw our speaker bowed in prayer over a tearful woman.  During one of the messages I looked to my left and saw a woman protectively place an arm around the shoulders of her friend as she wept.  I watched friends taking selfies to capture cherished moments together. I witnesssed women giggling with each other over a meal.  I saw strangers becoming friends during a game.  I saw women standing in unity during an ice breaker game and realizing that we have so much more in common than we think.  I listened to women talk about staying up late into the night with friends and sharing their hearts.

Everywehere I looked this weekend, I saw examples of the kind of real, authentic connections that we all long for.  I saw women showing each other Christ’s love, mercy, and grace.   The walls that we, as women, tend to put up were crumbling because of all of the love shown in that place.  That kind of love only comes because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  He knit our hearts together all weekend long.  He forged new friendship and strengthened old ones.  He filled our hearts with love and He reminded us that when our focus is on Him, we can be vessels of love.  He healed broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships.  He encouraged and strengthened us.  He gave us faith in the power of our supernatural sisterhood.

Nichole Johnson used her last message of the weekend to talk a little bit about the separation anxiety that she gets as these types of events come to a close.  That resonated deeply with me.  I hated to see our Heart Retreat weekend come to a close.  I knew that the moment that I stepped back into the busyness of real life, I would miss that sense of being enveloped in such a loving community of women.  I would miss those intimate times spent engulfed in Christ’s presence.  And I would miss the times that I simultaneously spilled tears of laughter, brokenness, and healing.

This morning was a little bittersweet when I woke up in my own bed.  I was so grateful to be back at home with my family.  It was wonderful to wake up to my husband and my boys and to jump back into the frenzy of everyday life.  However, I wasn’t quite ready to let go of the beauty of the weekend, so I sat down and I journaled.

I wrote down some of the things I learned about myself and my Savior this weekend.  I acknowledged the areas where I felt the Holy Spirit’s stirring.  I poured out my brokenness and described how He administered healing.  I confirmed some of the decisions that I had made.  I put all of those beautiful memories down on paper so that I could reflect on them and store them away like the treasures they are.  I didn’t want to forget.  I wanted to hold onto those sweet memories as long as possible so I wrote every single one of them down.

I built myself a little memorial with words.  My journal is now a place where I can go to remember the work that Christ did in my life this weekend.  I can look there and let those feelings be stirred any time I need a little rekindling. I can return to it when I need the encouragement that these memories will provide.  I can go there and be reminded of His love when I am discouraged or hurting or just apathetic.

When we have those types of beautiful encounters with one another and with God, we need to be able to go back and look at them and remember.   All throughout the Old Testament, men of God built alters to remind themselves of the work that God did.  Often they returned to these alters to worship God for what He had done in their lives, to remember, and to be encouraged.

I challenge you to do the same.  Build a little alter with your words.  Create a way to remember the work God did in your life this weekend.  Create a way to hang onto those sweet memories.  While they are still fresh in your minds and in your hearts, I encourage you to write them down. Process through the events, the memories, and the feelings from those precious times with God and with His daughters.  Recall the sense of peace and love you felt when you rested in His presence.  Tuck them away like the little treasures they are and pull them out when you need encouragement.  When real life is roaring around you, let them be a reminder to you of a time when you felt totally engulfed in God’s love!

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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Today is Thoughtful Thursday at The Women In My World!  I want to use these days to give you something to read, watch, or listen to that will really cause you to pause and think about your relationship with God and your Christian walk.

Today, I’m thinking about thirst.  Have you ever been in that place where you are just thirsty for God?  This morning I was reading in Psalm 42:1-2 and I realized that the more God meets with me, the more I see Him moving in my life, the more I crave His presence.  It becomes like an unquenchable thirst.

Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?”

There are times in our lives when we know God is present but we do not physically feel Him or sense Him.  He seems quiet and distant.  But, because we know God’s character, we know that isn’t accurate.  We just aren’t as in tune with Him sometimes as we are at others.  In those times, we long to feel that divine connection to our Father and sometimes we chase after Him by filling our plate full of God things and hoping to impress Him.  We hope that by checking all of the God like items off of our to do list, we will please Him and He will want to connect with us.  That’s not how God operates.  God is not impressed by our to do lists.  He’s impressed by our focus on an authentic relationship with Him.  When we set aside all of our pretenses and truly seek a relationship with Him, above all else, He meets with us there.

I have been reading through, and co leading a small group, on the book Chasing God by Angie Smith. She tackles this issue in such a real and relatable way. (Plus she is just terribly cute and hilarious!  I adore her writing style and humor!).

She reminds us that often times, when we are thirsty for God we exhaust ourselves by doing all of the things that we think will allow us to catch God, instead of simply allowing ourselves to seek Him where He will most often be found.

Those times when we feel His arms of love wrapped around us, when we can literally feel Him guiding, protecting, and leading us, those are the times when we are meeting with Him in the way He calls us to.  He wants us to seek a relationship with Him instead of making our Christain walk about doing certain things, looking a certain way, and living a certain life.  He doesn’t want us to chase Him.  He wants a real relationship with us.  He seems to penetrate our thoughts and our daily activities in every way when connect with Him in prayer, His word, and an attitude of worship.  In those places, we will meet with Him in such a real and divine way!

Because I know what it feels like to physically feel His presence, I just don’t want to ever feel the distance come between us.  It’s like the psalmist writes.  My soul just thirsts for Him.  I want to feel His continued presence in my life and His hand upon me.

I’ve loved Angie Smith’s book, Chasing God.  It has helped me to take a look at my relationship with my Heavenly Father and to identify the areas where I’m involved in a relationship with Him and the areas where I am just chasing Him.  It has changed my quiet time, my prayer life, and my thoughts on my Christian life.  It is a must read if you’ve been in that place where you are doing everything that you think will make you a good Christian but you are missing out on that relationship and you are thirsting for him.

Think about it and grab a copy of this book. 🙂

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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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! (more…)


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I have been reading through the book of Psalms this week and I’m about to wear my highlighting pen out!  There is just so much truth and so much wisdom stored up in this book of the Bible.

This morning I ran across this little nugget of truth and my mind just kept going back to it.  Psalm 20:7-8 was just such a great reminder that I do not need anything else to trust in besides God.  I don’t need to do enough or be enough because my God is more than enough.

Psalm 20:7-8

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”

There are so many things that we tend to trust in.  Horses and chariots in that day symbolized power, strength, wealth, status, and success.  When war was upon a nation they often sought help from neighboring nations who had many chariots and horses.   Trusting in those things was trusting in all that a nation had been and had done.  It was trusting in their power, their strength, their wealth, their status, and their success.  Trusting horses and chariots was trusting in the physical instead of the spiritual.

When those hard times that we are in spiritual battle come to us, where do we seek our help from?  Sadly, sometimes I looks to the things that make me feel powerful, strong, and important.  I sometimes look to the chariots and the horses as my first help.  That’s a lot of pressure!  What if my chariots and horses aren’t enough?  What if I haven’t been enough or done enough?  What if those physical things I’m depending on aren’t strong enough?

Luckily, we aren’t called to trust in chariots and horses.  We don’t have to feel the pressure to be sure our physical things are enough.   My battle plan for overcoming the wars that I face should never hinge on those things.  God’s word says that those things will fail me.  They will make me fall and bring me to my knees.  Things have no real power to save us.  Only our Heavenly Father has the power to save us when we are in a battle.

Father, God, help us not to trust in horses and chariots or the power, strength, wealth, status, or success they symbolize.  Help us to remember that the only way that we will be able to rise up and stand firm is by trusting in you.  Father, we can’t trust in physical things to save us.  We can’t trust in ourselves and our own merit.  Lord, we don’t need to have enough or do enough or be enough because you are more than enough.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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. (more…)


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Yesterday I told you how much I love the book of Esther.  Today I began the book of Job.  Can I be honest?  It’s one of those books that I’ve always struggled with.  I just don’t really understand it.  I’m not a big fan of reading about how my good and loving God allows one of His finest men to go through such an awful time.

I mean, God himself, tells Satan that there is no one on earth like Job who is blameless, upright, fears God, and shuns evil.  This guy got up every morning and offered a sin offering to God for his children just in case they had sinned or cursed God the day before.  Every day.  He was that good.

I’m not that good.  Not even close.

But God still allowed the enemy to attack Job.

I just really struggle with that.  Maybe because I know I can’t really compare to Job.

I understand that God is righteous and holy.  I also understand that every one, no matter how good they seem, can’t stand before our righteous God.  He is so holy that even our most honorable and good acts are like filthy rags in front of Him.

But he also loves His children with a fierce love.  He is graceful and merciful.  He is good.

I think that’s where I get a little stuck when I read Job.  I have a hard time reconciling those characteristics of God.

I know that the book of Job kind of rubs me the wrong way, so I really prayed for understanding this morning as I read it.  When I got to parts of the life of Job that trip me up, I paused to pray again.

This time, as I read through the first half of the book of Job, I noticed something that I’ve never really seen before and suddenly things shifted in my thought process.

I want to share this thought with you in case maybe you struggle to reconcile the holy, righteous, blameless God in the beginning of Job with the God of love, mercy, goodness, and grace that we enjoy reading about.

It’s just a thought.  It by no means, makes this awesome and powerful and incomprehensible God understandable, but it does point out a truth that really spoke to me today.

Job 9:32-35   “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.”

Poor Job lived during the Old Testament times.  Before Jesus.  He feared God and honored God.  He accepted God’s blessings as well as God’s curse because He understood that God is God. He is awesome.  He is mighty.  He knew he had no way to stand before a holy and righteous and just God and ask for anything.

Our sins separate us from Him.  Even our most righteous acts fail in comparison.  He is righteous.  He is just.  He is holy.  Job was pretty awesome, but he knew he couldn’t even begin to hold his head up in front of God. On our own, we really can’t either.

BUT JESUS

We have something that Job didn’t have.  Job didn’t have an intercessor to come between he and God to arbitrate on His behalf.  He sure wanted one.  Look at that verse again.  He didn’t have the blood of Jesus covering His sin, making him pure and blameless before God.  He didn’t have Jesus, friend of sinners, to lay his hand upon him and reconcile him with the Father like we do.  He didn’t have anyone to bridge the gap between him and the Father.

No wonder Job begged for his life to just be over.  He loved God and knew of His majesty and understood that there was nothing he could say or do to deserve God’s grace and mercy, just like there really isn’t anything we can do or say on our own.

The difference is Jesus.

Once we trust in Him for salvation, we can stand pure and righteous before God.  It doesn’t matter how filthy we were before, or how good.  Christ’s blood covers us.  He creates the bridge between us and God.

God is good and if you know the story of Job, you know God blessed his ending much more than his beginning.  He restored Job and all he had and blessed him greatly.  But Job went through such a time of despair and hurt and pain.  Although he knew God was there and with him in his trial and he never cursed him, he didn’t have the same comfort that we can have.  He  knew, just like us, he didn’t deserve God’s goodness at all and he accepted his trails because he understood how he compared to God.

We may have trials too.  God doesn’t promise us an easy life just because we’ve trusted Christ as our savior.  Trials still come.  Maybe you’re there.  Maybe you’re feeling a little like Job.  I’ve been there.  I’ve felt like my world is crashing down and I’ve been brought low.

BUT JESUS!

One thing that we have that poor, old Job never had is the hope, comfort, and friend that we have in Jesus.  He’s on our side.  He stands before the Father and pleads our case.  He makes us righteous and pure because his sinless blood is on our account.  He stands in the gap for us, while Job had no one to do that.  No wonder he was in such a place of despair!

I’m so comforted by this truth.  It brings me so much peace to know that when things get hard, I don’t have to be in that place of total and utter despair like Job.  I may not always have an easy time.  Let’s be real here, life just gets hard sometimes.  After all, the book of Job tells us that Satan is in this earth just roaming through it and going back and forth in it.  He’s a trouble maker.

But, we have the hope that our Jesus is working on our behalf to arbitrate between us and God.  He’s bridging the gap.  He has made a way for us to stand in front our righteous and just Father and receive love and goodness, mercy and grace, poured out in abundance.

Because of Jesus, we can have a hope that Job never had.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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My favorite book of the Bible is Esther.  I love the drama.  I love the story.  At the risk of sounding trite, Esther is a fantastic script with a twisting and turning plot, rich characters, deceit, love, betrayal, an underdog overcoming great odds, and a beautiful story of grace and mercy.  It’s a script that could only be written and directed by our mighty God, and produced in real life through his awesome power.

I love this biography of a young orphan girl, raised by her cousin, suddenly thrust into the palace with the chance to be a queen.  She must hide her identity because her people are looked down on.  She finds favor with everyone, including the king, and is made queen.  In the mean time,  her uncle saves the king’s life by uncovering a conspiracy to murder him.  Simultaneously, the King’s main advisor is planning genocide for the queen’s people but he doesn’t even know the queen is one of them.  It’s scandalous and the intensity is palpable!

In the face of her death and the death of her entire race, Queen Esther is warned by her cousin that she has two options.  She can choose to stand by, try to protect herself, say nothing, and allow her faithful God to send another deliverer for the Jews.  Or, she can rise to the occasion, and risk her own life for the chance to save her people.  It’s a nail biter!

All this intensity leads up to one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible.  I’m a sucker for a good plot, and when reading about these events in Esther’s life, I’m always on the edge of my seat.

“…and who knows but that you have come to the royal position for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14b

Wow!  What a thought for Esther to ponder.  Her cousin Mordecai reminds her that God has been in charge of this scene from the opening act.  He loves His people and will deliver them with or without her.

But, Esther has the choice.  Will she just watch as God raises up a deliver from another place, or will she bravely step up and accept her divine calling.  After all, it’s quite possible that this one moment is the entire reason that God allowed her to become Queen.  Every detail, every event, has been leading up to this climactic choice.

Isn’t it amazing when you sit back and really think about it.  This is a true account from the Bible.  It’s not a script or a work of fiction.  God actually called this beautiful, young orphan girl into a royal position and gave her the awesome opportunity to provide deliverance for her entire race from complete genocide.

Now, maybe God isn’t calling you to something quite that intense.  Maybe it’s a smaller step of faith and obedience  in marriage, your career, or your ministry.  Who knows, maybe He is calling you to something monumental.  Regardless of the fork in the road that you are standing at, God does give us opportunities for Esther moments in our lives.  He brings us to a crossroads of sorts and allows us to choose which path to follow.  We can meekly sit back and allow God to find another person to fill the role that He has called us to.

Or we can boldly step out in faith and obedience.

We can choose to let our Esther moment become the defining scene of our story where we choose to follow God’s call regardless of the risk.  We can choose to bravely accept His plan and His will for our lives.

My prayer today is that we will each come to our Esther moments with purpose. We will gladly accept the challenge to follow where He leads.  We will step into our calling, whatever it may be, without hesitation because we trust that it has been His plan all along.

Esther did.

Imagine that moment I described earlier.  The ultimatum is given by Esther’s cousin.  She is forced with a heavy decision.  She can let God use her or watch someone else fill her divine calling.

Now picture yourself there instead.  The ultimatum is given to you.  You stand at your own personal fork in the road.  You know that God has called you for such a time as this.  Sister, boldly step into your role.  Take courage, because God has a plan for you just as He did for Esther.

Embrace your Esther moment.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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Don’t you just love this?!?  The God of all grace wants to come to us, in the midst of our suffering, and restore us!  He wants to make us strong, firm, and steadfast!  I love that!  I love that even in the middle of our pain, struggle, and trials, God has a plan for our restoration.  He is working in our situations to make us strong, firm, and steadfast.  The suffering isn’t in vain.  It has purpose.  It grows us into trees whose roots are deep, whose branches reach heavenward, and whose trunk is powerful enough not to bend or break in the storms of life.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


I often find such encouragement when I read my Bible.  Honestly, this is a new thing for me.  I use to look at Bible reading more as a chore.  It was just another thing to check off of my Christian to do list.

Read a chapter or two from my Bible today.  Check.  Next?

But a while back, I felt convicted to really get back into God’s word in a more serious way.  I love to read.  You can almost always find me with a great Christian book.  I’ve got a crate of them beside my bed.  They are stacked in piles on my desks.  My easily distracted self prefers to have a few of them going at a time so that if I hit a dry spot in one, I can stick in a book mark, and pick up where I’ve left off in another.  I study these books.  They are a wealth of knowledge.  I love how writers have the ability to take lofty Christian principles and put them into terms that I can relate to and easily understand.  The authors feel like friends to me.  They just get me.

The book pages are pen marked.  The pages are dog eared.  The covers show wear because of their constant handling.  I pack them to read on trips, tote them along in my purse, and keep them handy in case I have a few spare minutes to read.

Can you see how much I love them?  On our trip to California last week I packed six.  I was feeling ambitious and Heaven forbid that I not have just the right one to fit my mood.  As a matter of fact, I spent the better part of two days alternating between the couch in a hotel bathrobe and my bathing suit on a lounge chair in the sun, all the while with a book.  It was heavenly!

There are many books that I’ve read this year that I love!  Some of my most well loved books sit on a desk in my kitchen because I enjoy referencing them again.  I love to pick them up, turn to a page that’s worn and underlined, and find a nugget of knowledge that relates to exactly what I’m feeling or thinking or dealing with.

These books are so great!  God has divinely spoken through some amazing authors and I’ve been so blessed by their work.  Please don’t misunderstand me in this.  I adore Christian authors and the way they put pen to paper to flesh out stories that truly speak to me!

But, I had let these books replace my time in God’s word.

The Bible was a little hard for me to understand.  I just couldn’t bring myself to mark up these holy pages.  I didn’t know how to study it.  I didn’t think I could relate to it.  The language and even sometimes the principles were lost on me, so I had set my Bible aside in search of easier reading.

Until about eight or ten months ago.  I’m not really exactly sure of the date, but I remember the situation.  I was struggling with the passing of my dad.  It was brutally hard.  I remember realizing that I was seeking wisdom, comfort, advice, and guidance from Man instead of God.  And honestly, it wasn’t working out too well for me.

For some reason, it hit me like a brick, that  what I really needed to do, was get back to God’s word.

It was the best decision I’ve made in a really long time!

I pray each day over my Bible.  I pray that God will speak to me through His word.  I pray for wisdom to understand His truth.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see His character and open my heart to receive His teaching.  And I pray for people and stories that I can relate to.

I can’t honestly say that every time I open my Bible, I am awe struck by what I read.  (Some of those genealogies are a little long.). However, I can tell you that God’s word has come alive to me in a way that I couldn’t have imagined before.  Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and David have become like dear friends to me as I’ve studied the Old Testament.  Their stories resonate with me in such a real way.  We share some of the same struggles and I’m encouraged as I see God’s faithfulness to grow them and use them.  I’m moved to tears by His unrelenting grace and mercy towards a people that continually fail him.  I see a parallel there and am awe struck that He shows the same grace and mercy towards me.

This morning I littered the book of Ezra with underlines and notes.  Who would have thought that I could relate so much to this man of God?  Who would have known I could find so many answers to the questions that trouble me today in these pages penned so long ago?  Who would have known that these heroes of the Bible struggled with so many of the same things that I do?

I just want to take a minute today and encourage you to go back to basics.  Don’t give up all of the amazing books that God is using to reach you.  They have an awesome purpose and are instrumental in our growth.  But, turn back to that old black book too (well, mine is actually hot pink) and see what truths it holds for you.  Find comfort, wisdom, encouragement, and guidance in its pages.  Understand that God’s word is alive and active and still so applicable to us today.  Ask the Holy Spiri to give you understanding and immerse youself in conversation with the Father.  Allow Him to speak to you through His word.  Find what you’re looking for there.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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There are often times I sit before God in total awe of who He is and what He does.  Today is one of those days.  Today I bowed my knees in humble adoration before a God who loves so lavishly, gives so freely, and delights in redeeming even the most tragically broken and flawed.

This Holy and Righteous God has taken a hot mess like me and has chosen to use me in spite of myself!  His love over comes my weakness.  His forgiveness, grace, and mercy redeem me.  He brings beauty from my big, dirty pile of ashes.

And if he can do it for me, he can do it for anyone!

Our Father doesn’t require perfection from us.  He doesn’t require us to be flawless, sinless, or righteous.  He knows we are dust.  He understands our weakness and our frailties.  After all, he created us!  Jesus walked among man and faced temptations and trials.  He didn’t sin, but He understands that we are not God in the flesh.  His word says no one is righteous, so he doesn’t hold out a measuring stick with unattainable standards to judge us.

What He does require from us is a trusting and repentant heart.  He asks us to love Him whole heartedly and to follow His will.  He wants us to turn from our mess and turn to The One Who Is Able.  He wants us to be willing to be molded and shaped into His image and He understands that is a process.  I believe that He even understands that for some of us, myself included, it is looooong process!

He is sovereign and mighty!  He is good and holy.  He is powerful.  He speaks life into dust.  He brings beauty from ashes.  He gives new hearts, new life, and new purpose.

He can take our flaws, our imperfections, our failures, our frailties and use them for His honor and glory if we let Him.  He is a God who redeems.

No one is too messy.  No one is too broken.  No situation is too difficult.  No one is too far gone.

I’m so overwhelmed by His love this morning.  I’m floored that He would choose to love someone as messy as me.  I needed a lot of work.  Sometimes I still do. It would have been so easy for God to find someone who would have been an easy little project instead of someone who would be such a fixer upper.

But He seems to delight in taking the biggest projects and doing a complete overhaul!

Moses was a murderer with a bad temper.  Aaron let the people influence him.  Rahab was a prostitute.  Sarah laughed at God.  David was an adulterer.  Paul persecuted Christians.  Peter denied Christ.  The list goes on and on.  Sinner after sinner.  Failure after failure.  All repententlay turning toward God and bathed in love and forgiveness.  All then used in spite of their past.

God uses the broken who turn their mess over to him and commit to loving and following Him.

I’m just so thankful for that.  I’m thankful that we can look to our perfect Father and know that He looks at us with eyes full of love.  He sees our hearts.  He sees our love for Him and our desire to follow Him.  He sees our potential.

And he knows His plan to bring beauty from the ashes of our brokenness.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie