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,
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.
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,
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.”
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,
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!
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,
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
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,
*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,
*This article was originally published at GraceCentered.com
I think I’ve used the phrase, “I sometimes feel like a square peg in a round hole” to describe my feelings about how I fit in with “typical church people” more times than I care to admit. And it’s true. For the most part, I don’t really feel like the typical church goer. I think I’ve made the generalization that most Christians have been going to church their whole lives. They are good people with spotless pasts, perfectly happy marriages, well behaved children, and squeaky clean lives.
When I compare myself to that, I feel a little less than. And I feel inadequate. And maybe I even feel a little judged.
I think I feel those ways because I don’t fit the mold. I didn’t start going to church until my early 20’s. The ONLY reason I even started to go to church was because my life was pretty much a train wreck (entirely because of my own choices) and I was desperate for some kind of change. I had pretty much exhausted my supply of ideas to fix things and knew that I needed to turn to something bigger than myself to get me out of the pit I had dug.
Salvation wipes our past clean and covers it in the sinless blood of Christ, but sometimes there is still a mess left over from the sin and bad choices. My past was far from spotless and I had a big mess that took a little while to get cleaned up. There were things that I struggled with for a while. Not only that, but new things crept in too. My marriage hasn’t always been perfect and neither have my kids. My life has never been squeaky clean.
Instead, it has been a process. This coming to Christ and letting Him be the Lord of my life, has been a journey. Sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I fall. Sometimes I am faced with the frailty of my sinful flesh compared with the power of His holiness, and I am overwhelmed.
But Jesus walks with me. His love, grace, and mercy sustain me. He is the teacher through this process and he guides me along in this journey. He is patient with me. He loves me even though I am a slow learner and he understands my weakness apart from Him.
And do you know what else? He has shown me something so powerful lately that it rocks me to my very core. It makes me rethink my ideas.
I’ve had some wonderful conversations lately with some very dear friends. These friends are ones that I look up to. They are strong Christians. They are leaders and warriors and pillars. They reflect Jesus in a way that I find humbling and beautiful.
And sometimes they feel like a square peg in a round hole.
That makes me wonder about something that I haven’t ever really considered before. You see, I always thought that other Christians made me feel like I didn’t quite fit in. It isn’t always something that they do or say directly, but more just the indirect comparison of the way the story of my life looks versus the way their’s looks.
Maybe that has been very unfair of me. Maybe the reason I feel a little like a square peg in a round hole is because I was looking at the wrong people when I was doing my comparison. I was looking at other people and feeling like I don’t measure up to them. In reality, it is Jesus that I’m trying to be like. He is shaping me into something that looks more like Him. To do that, He has to weed out some things and sand off some rough edges. So that I fit His mold for me. So that I can become what He wants me to become.
And here is the kicker. The reason my amazing friends, who are stellar people, also feel like they don’t fit the mold either, is because we are all going through the same process. We, as a whole, collectively, as brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t fit the mold. We ALL feel like we don’t fit because WE WON’T FIT PERFECTLY into what He has called us to until we get to Heaven. It is going to be a journey and a process until we get there. That’s why it feels so uncomfortable sometimes. That’s why it feels like it doesn’t fit. It is the battle of the flesh to become more Christ like that makes me feel that way.
And just maybe I should quit looking at how I compare to others, and begin looking at how I compare to Jesus. And just maybe when I do that, I will realize those Christians, who felt so distantly perfect, have way more in common with me than I realized. We are on that same journey and going through that same process.
We are all trying to become just a little bit more like Jesus and we all feel the growing pains.
Love and blessings!
I’m a home school mama. (Yes, that’s me in all my yoga panted, head banded, hoodied glory on a typical day.) I have two sweet, wild, chaotic boys that I am beyond blessed to spend my days with. Every Day. I love it. Really, I do. But, can I be honest, just like any other job, sometimes it is HARD WORK!
These boys refine me and test me and try me. They challenge me and make me a better person, a better mom, and a better Child of God. They question me… about EVERYTHING… and make me really think about things. They stretch my patience to the limits. They make me laugh and sometimes they even make me cry, because being a mama is a tough job!
Can I be honest again? Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it right and if it’s worth all the effort. I know I fail a lot. I know I get a lot right too. I hope that the scales balance and that these boys get the best I have to offer more often than not. These challenging and amazing fellas have been trusted to me by my Father and I desperately want to do right by them and by Him, so I just keep pressing on and praying hard and leaning on God for my strength.
But did I mention that it is hard work?
Things that matter typically are hard work! Things that are meaningful take a lot of effort. They are difficult because they are shaping us, growing us, and challenging us to be and do better. They require us to lean into Him for encouragement, support, and help. I think that is kind of the point.
Do you know what I just love though?
When things get tough and I get weary and begin to question myself, it is just like my loving Father to send me a little “hang in there girl, you’re on the right track” message. He did that this morning. (He does it a lot, but sometimes I’m too caught up in the craziness to notice.)
I was sitting at my usual morning spot, reading my Bible and writing out a verse in my journal that spoke to me, Zechariah 13:9 ironically enough, when my sweet 9 year old walked in with his Bible and sat down beside me and began reading from his. He didn’t interrupt me. I got a quick smile from this dimpled cheeked, bed headed cutie and he opened God’s word and dove in. It was just what I needed this morning to give me that boost to keep on keeping on!
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will put this third into the fire,and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
So today, whatever it is that you are pushing through, whatever work God has called you to be faithful to; I just wanted to give you a little encouragement. It can be tough. It can make you weary and you may question yourself. It is hard work and it is suppose to be.
Hang in there. You’re on the right track. Keep your eyes open for little messages of encouragement from God. Keep on keeping on because he is refining you, growing you, stretching you, shaping you, and teaching you to lean into Him.
Love and blessings,
I saw this quote floating around on the Internet and I loved it for so many reasons. A blank page, depending on your view point, can be a cage to imprison you or wings to give you your freedom.
I love to write so I’m pretty familiar with the feeling of sitting down and opening up to a blank page. Honestly, sometimes, I can let that page tie me up and hold me hostage. It can be a little intimidating. There it sits, a wide open space, just waiting for me to fill it with whatever I chose. That blank page can be scary if I start to wonder what people will think about me and what I write. I can let their opinions shape the words I’m putting on the paper. I can start to feel insecure and limited.
The pressure to make this blank space into something worthwhile and beautiful can weigh on me as well. I want to be relevant and encouraging. I want to show love and character. I want my words and the use of this page to matter. That beautiful blank page can become like a cage to imprison me, if I let it.
Or I can shift my perspective.
I can look at that beautiful blank page as wings to give me freedom. That blank page is mine. I can dream, hope, think, process, and connect with people through that page. I can shake off the insecurities and the fears. I can kick aside the expectations. And I can just write about the things that I hold dear. I can express myself and enjoy the freedom that comes from just putting pen to paper.
Each time I open up my notebook to a fresh, new, blank page; I get to make the choice as to which perspective I will view it through. In 2016, I choose to fill my blank pages with the murmurings of my heart. I choose to not be improsioned by my own or someone else’s thoughts. I choose to use the blank pages as wings to fly!
Love and blessings!
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,
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…”
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,
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,
Have you ever placed your trust in the wrong person or the wrong thing? Have you ever been let down by someone or something? I think we all have. I’m pretty sure that at one time or another we have all experienced the pain of broken trust.
I know I have. Even as a child, I learned the risk that comes with putting your trust in people. I came from a divorced home and I would often sit, dressed and with an overnight bag in hand, waiting for my Daddy to come and pick me up. Sometimes I’d wait for hours. It was a hard lesson that taught me that sometimes people will let you down. They often do not intend to. My Daddy never really meant to cause hurt. People are broken and flawed and sometimes react out of hurt or to protect themselves. Sometimes, even with the best intentions and with love in their hearts, they fail you. As Christains, we are called to forgive and to continue to act in love regardless.
We’ve all had friends that have failed us. Maybe a confidence has been breached. Maybe you’ve been betrayed. Even the truest friend isn’t infallible. People simply can’t be perfect. We understand that basic fact of human nature and we forgive and move forward in love.
Maybe it’s a spouse that has broken your trust. Marriage is hard, friends. When two flawed people come together, there is bound to be some difficulties. Even the strongest and most loving marriages have experienced some level of hurt.
I adore my husband. He is one of the best men I’ve ever met. He is so kind and caring and compassionate. He is so forgiving and so loving. He is generous beyond belief. However, our marriage has been littered with issues that involve hurt or broken trusts. Every marriage is to one degree or another. We’ve both made mistakes and we have both caused hurt. Regardless, of the challenges that we faced, we embrace our Christian duty to forgive, to be united, and to daily walk forward in love.
Just maybe, it is your own self that you don’t trust. There may be some thing that you are struggling with that has caused you to be the one who breaks trusts or causes hurt. Hurting people sometimes hurt people. It’s often unintentional. I know I’ve been guilty of this. I know that I’ve acted out of pain in a way that has caused hurt to people that I love. But I also know that God can forgive, redeem, and restore.
Here is where all of this gloom and doom takes a beautiful turn for the better. People will fail us. We will even fail ourselves. It is a given. We are sinful people in this flesh. However, that doesn’t mean that we should ever become hard hearted. We should never allow bitterness or unforgiveness to take root in our hearts or in our relationships. We should always seek forgiveness, restoration, and love.
Our hope doesn’t lie in people. Our hope lies in a God who is powerful enough to walk us through any hurt or broken trust that we may face. He is who we look to. We know people will fail us, but we know that God never will.
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
If you are in that place where your trust has been broken or your heart is hurting, look to the one who takes brokenness and makes it beautiful. Pour our your heart to him. Let Him be your refuge. He has the power to forgive. He gives the power to forgive. He has the power to redeem and restore. He has the power to change hearts and minds. He specializes in taking situations and people that seem too far gone, and turning them in to a beacon of hope. He is trust worthy.
He does that in each and every one of us when we trust in him for salvation. He promises that if we call out to him in our brokenness, ask him for forgivenness, repent, believe in Jesus, trust in His name, and follow him; he will save us from death and hell. If He has the power to save our souls, He has the power to redeem any situation or relationship here on earth.
He is worthy of trust. He is strong and mighty. He is good. He is forgiving and loving. He is merciful and full of grace. He is the God who redeems and restores. He takes our brokenness and makes it beautiful.
And He desperately wants you to trust in Him. First, He wants you to trust in Him for salvation. After that, He wants you to realize that you can trust Him to redeem and restore other areas in your life as well. He wants to heal broken hearts and broken relationships and broken people.
The verses leading up to Psalm 62:8 are a beautiful example of why we can trust him. As you read these verses, meditate on them. Remember His saving power. Think about the fact that He is the only rest for our troubled souls. Trust Him to redeem and restore. Turn all of that brokenness over to Him. Trust in Him to make it beautiful.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Love and blessings,
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,
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…)
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.
“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,
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…)
Don’t judge me today because I’m just keeping it real. I’m pretty sure that the m&m’s and the caramel that I just ate for lunch were totally a coping mechanism. Comfort in an uncomfortable place. Chocolate and caramel can do that for a girl.
Have you ever been in that place where you just feel a little out of your element? Maybe you doubt your abilities. Maybe you doubt you can do what you know you’ve been called and created to do. Maybe you feel inadequate. Maybe you are feeling a little insecure. And just maybe you are more than a little tempted to comfort yourself with chocolate and caramel too!
You know what though? That didn’t really work. As a matter of fact, I’m a little hacked off at my self for eating that candy, especially since I’ve got skinny jeans laid out to wear this evening.
The thing that finally allowed me to get outside of my own head was a sweet and gentle reminder from God, my Father, saying that HE HAS GOT MY BACK. I am exactly where He wants me and I am exactly who He has called me to be. He has a specific purpose and a plan for me. He’s lined up every detail of who I am because He wants to use it. He will equip me for all that He has called me to. If He has called me to it, He promises to walk me through it. I just need to quit the worrying.
And so do you. He takes that burden for each and every one of His children. When we are walking in His ways, He promises to stand beside us and strengthen us for what He has called us to. He doesn’t want us to stay bound in insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. He wants to free us from that bondage and fill us with strength, boldness, and courage.
Man, that lifts my wavering heart and I hope it lifts yours too!
“The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
Love and blessings,
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,
Man, lately my life just seems to be hovering in the unknown. Have you been there, in that phase of life when things just don’t seem to make a lot of sense? I seem to be there a lot lately. It’s not even a bad thing. It’s just different for me.
I’m pretty good at just rolling with things. Although I love order and a control, I’m not to shabby at just flying by the seat of my pants sometimes too. This is different though.
This is not flying by the seat of my pants. There is still a bit of control in that. Most of the time, I still get the choice of where, when, and how to fly and when not to.
This is a little more out of my control than that. This phase of life almost seems like a roller coaster ride. There is a track and a destination and I’m barreling down it at full speed with lots of really high highs and some places where the bottom just drops out. Sometimes I’m thrown for a loop. There are some tunnels and some places where I get turned upside down a little, and sometimes I’m tempted to close my eyes when it gets a little scary.
But, I’m also tempted to give in to the ride. I want to just throw my hands in the air and scream and enjoy myself. I want to give in to the complete freedom! I don’t know exactly how this roller coaster works, but I don’t really need to. I mean, I am pretty sure I saw the end destination when I jumped on board, but every twist and every turn and every thrilling moment in between is new to me. So I just hang on tight. I mean, the operator knows what’s going on, so there is no need to worry. I can just sit back and enjoy the ride, even if I’m a little scared and a little confused and a little nervous!
Been there? Understand at all?
I know God has a plan and I can see where the destination might be, but I really don’t understand the path that’s leading me there. There are a lot of unknowns along the way. Sometimes I am at the peak and sometimes I’m down in that valley. Sometimes I’m in that tunnel where things look a little dark and I can’t see my hand in front of my face. At other times I’m turned upside down or thrown for a loop, but the operator of this ride is in total control.
After all, he isn’t just the operator, He designed the ride just for me with every detail along the way. Each high and each low was put in place for a purpose along the journey. He mapped out each turn just for me!
This roller coaster ride never surprises the operator. He knows every twist and turn, every peak and valley. All of my unknowns and completely known by him. I know he’s in total control and I trust him.
So, here’s to giving up control to the one who knows all, operates all, and designed each detail and JUST hanging on for dear life and enjoying the ride!
“Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In the days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass.”
2 Kings 19:25
Love and blessings,
Sometimes during my quiet time, word just jump off the page of my Bible and connect deeply to my heart. They get me thinking and feeling and really understanding God’s character.
Yesterday, I wrote about wanting to have faith to just bravely step out into God’s plan like Rebekah did. I mentioned that sometimes I question and sometimes I even doubt.
Then today, these two verses just flew off of the page and landed squarely in my heart. They were like the part b to my thoughts from yesterday. These verses were like a healing balm for a questioning soul. They comfort me and remind me that God cares for me enough to encourage me when I’m weak. I love when God does that!
“…Do not be afraid, for I am with you…” Gen 26:24b
“…Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it…” Gen 28:16b
I will admit it. I have trust issues. My past has given me many opportunities to doubt people and their words. However, God is not ‘people’.
God is God.
His promises are true.
He is faithful.
He promises to be with us and he gently reminds us that even if we don’t SEE or FEEL him, He has been there the whole time.
I don’t know about you, but those words cover any doubts that I might have. They show me that I am completely safe in trusting My God in ALL things. He is my constant and He has proven himself trustworthy.
Love and blessings,
Man, sometimes life can be difficult! It seems like so many people that I love are under attack right now. I’ve been under attack. Sometimes things get hard. It can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the chaos and strife that is just an ugly part of life.
Sickness, loss of loved ones, hurt, discontent, job loss, distraction, discouragement… The list can go on and on. And it often does. Sometimes the casualties of life just pile up and we lose heart a little.
I was reading in 2 Samuel today and just felt really connected to David. He just struggled sometimes. This poor guy has gone through it all. He came from a poor family. He spent the better part of his life under attacks from his king, his enemies, even his own family. He failed God is some pretty big ways and had to deal with some pretty big consequences as a result. He lost loved ones. He was shamed and ridiculed and his people turned against him. He just seems to be constantly dealing with life. He had every reason to get discouraged and lose heart. But through it all, God stood beside him and walked him through his trials. God loved him, disciplined him when necessary, and blessed him when he did right. And through it all, David kept his eyes on God and never forgot who He was.
This morning as I was sitting here just honestly feeling a little overwhelmed, I came upon 2 Samuel 22. Phew! If you ever need a little pick me up or some encouragement, read it and let it remind you who God is.
David reminded me this morning that God is flawless. He is my rock, my shield, and my salvation. He is alive! He is my savior who delivers me and preserves me. God is mighty. He arms me with strength and stoops down to make me great. He is God and He is worthy of praise.
He is my fortress, my refuge, my support, my stronghold, my salvation, my rock, and my shield. He rescues me from my enemies.
He is faithful. He is blameless. He is pure.
With My God, darkness is turned to light. With Him, I can advance. With Him, I can scale the walls that hold me back. He avenges me and gives me victory.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of deep waters . He rescued me and delights in me. When I call out to Him, He hears me.
God lives. He is my rock. He is exalted. He is my savior. He shows me unfailing kindness.
When I sit and read 2 Samuel, I’m reminded that He is in control of the chaos. He brings beauty from ashes and He works things for my good because He loves me. He is on my side and fights for me. That discouragement and distraction that I was feeling just flee in the face of who He is.
Love and blessings,
Today I was reminded of two little words that instantly create a bond. These two little words can quickly turn strangers in to friends.
I spoke at our local MOPS meeting on repurposing. More accurately, I spoke about the work of repurposing furniture and drew some parallels to the way that Jesus has repurposed my life.
I was a little nervous. Speaking doesn’t really bother me. What made me nervous was that I really felt led to drop any pretenses and just be vulnerable and transparent. Just putting myself out there has always been a little difficult for me. I have a lot of baggage and a lot of junk. It’s not always easy to just leave all of that exposed.
It’s also beautiful in the hands of God. And sometimes necessary.
You see, by sharing our story- even the ugly parts- we can show the work that God has done to repurpose us. We can show the way he has turned messy into a masterpiece. We can show that nothing is ever too broken to be remade into something beautiful in His hands. And maybe, hopefully, we can give a little encouragement to someone who knows all too well what it means to be a little worn and tattered.
As I spoke today, I looked out into the faces of His beautiful daughters and I didn’t see looks of condemnation or judgement. I saw smiles and some tears. I saw nods of agreement and lips mouthing “me too”. I felt such love and encouragement. I felt such connection and community. I felt my walls crumbling.
Those walls that we build around ourselves as protection crumble a little when people are brave enough to be vulnerable . I think sometimes, God calls us to that type of vulnerability and openness as a way to not only point to His love and mercy and grace, but to connect us to others. Aren’t we all part of the same body?
Reach out. Be bold. Share. Encourage. Uplift. Point to Jesus. Connect with people. Let them see that you are an imperfect person, living your life to glorify a perfect Jesus, so that they can look you in the eyes and say “me too”.
Love and blessings,