“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


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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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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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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 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!

Bobbie


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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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.

Psalm 62:8

“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.

Psalm 62:5-8

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,

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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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


Today I was reminded of two little words that instantly create a bond.  These two little words can quickly turn strangers in to friends.

me too

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 scary.

but

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,

Bobbie