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Putting our Thoughts in Their Rightful Place

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Surely he will realize how disruptive he is being.  For heaven’s sake, church has started!  The lights are dimmed.  The opening video is playing.  People are seated quietly.  Why does he keep talking…and laughing…and talking some more?  And who is he talking with?  It takes two, right?  Who is the other person who is not ending the conversation when it is clearly a time to quiet down and pay attention.

I think I may have to get up and punch someone in the face.

I think I will have to quietly slip out of my seat, walk to the back of the sanctuary, tap this man on the shoulder, point his direction to the video screen that is being used at present, then ball up my fist, rare back, and punch him.

Then I will walk back to my seat and try to get my focus back where it should be.

Nope… nope…wait a minute.  It seems that he is finally closing his mouth and going to his own seat.  Lucky for him, huh?

But wait a sec.  I was so caught up in my plan to get violent at church that I totally missed what the video was about.  I just completely missed out on the introduction to our sermon for the morning.

So who is the winner here?  or better yet, who is the loser?

Me.

I’m the loser because I didn’t recognize what was happening sooner and I allowed my thoughts and feelings to lead me down a path that completely distracted me from what was right in front of my face.

And now you know that I think I could get violent if I had too.  In church.  That doesn’t make me a loser.  Just a human.

Have you ever been so tied up in what’s going on in your head that you completely miss out on what is right in front of you?  Ever let your thoughts run away from you and before you know it you’ve put yourself in a bad mood and possibly everyone around you too?

God’s word says this about our wandering thoughts…

 “… we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5b

When I was in elementary school, my family and I were sitting quietly in our den watching TV together.  Suddenly, my mom started screaming and grabbing at her shirt as if it were on fire!  It turns out that by brother’s hamster had escaped and thought that hiding in my mom’s shirt would be a good idea.  NOT!

We all scrambled to our feet to grab that little rascal as she flung it in the floor.  It scurried in fear but it didn’t stand a chance against all of us.  We knew we had to capture that creature and lock it up in its rightful home or else none of us would get any sleep that night.

Sometimes we may need to jump up and aggressively go after those thoughts which we are contemplating

This idea of taking them captive brings a few ideas to mind:

  1.  We can’t control that which pops into our minds.  Like that hamster, sometimes they just show up.
  2. Our thoughts have the ability to run away from us.
  3. We own those thoughts and therefore, they are ours to take.
  4. Sometimes we have to be aggressive and maybe even a little sneaky to grab them up.

What would this world look like if we let our feelings lead us all the time?

Thoughts of skipping school or work because we just don’t feel like going.  Thoughts of withholding forgiveness because we just don’t feel someone deserves it (even though we want forgiveness when we’ve been out of line).  Thoughts of fear when it comes to trying new things.

We’d all be in some trouble.

And I might end up in jail.

As we grow in wisdom and stature, we should be recognizing when those thoughts pop into our head that aren’t worth pondering.  Those things that need to be taken captive immediately or else they will serve as distractions to what is right in front of us.

If you or I are still reacting to our thoughts and feelings the same way we did in high school, maybe we need to work on this.

It will certainly save us some grief, wasted time and energy.

The result of doing this more quickly each time should also be a pat on the back.  That means that we are learning and growing…and staying out of jail.

Let’s pay attention to our minds.  Don’t beat ourselves up when something irrational pops in our head but instead, speak to it, lasso it and get it out of our head.

What God’s word tells us to do, He will give us strength to accomplish.

Let’s keep the clutter out so there’s more room for the good stuff! It’s something we learn.  Let’s be about the business of putting it in to practice.

 

I’m praying we all do better at this today then we did yesterday.

Blessings,

Kellie

 

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Featured

Bumper Cars and Closed Doors

Real Talk About the Beating We Can Take When We’re Trying to Find Direction

 

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We’ve all been there.

Decisions need to be made.  Clarity is elusive.  Discernment is on vacation.

What school should I send my kids too?  Where should I work?  Should I work at all?  Should I start that business?  Should I invest in this relationship anymore?

Sometimes when I’ve got a decision to make and there are  multiple choices in front of me, jumping up and down with hands raised chanting “Pick me!  Pick me!”,  I can feel like I’m in a bumper car.  You know the place where the track is oval shaped and there are people all around driving like crazy.  It’s loud from the antennas screaming across the ceiling.  It’s lonely because I’m in this small car all by myself.  And if I don’t keep moving, I’m a dead man!

THAT’S how I feel sometimes.  Only there’s an exit sign pointing the way out with 2 0r 3 or 4 doors standing there.  I’ve got to figure out which door to push on in order to escape the madness.  I stare down door #1, grab the wheel with both hands, put the pedal to the medal and VROOOOMMMM!  Only to find out that that door was made of hard steel with no give.  I’m thrust back with my shoulder bruised from the seat belt and my head spinning from the impact.

No time to think…there are other cars on the track eying me down.  I grab the wheel, brace myself and head for door #2.  BAMMMMM!  I thrust back AGAIN into the chaos of life.  Feeling discouraged.  Feeling even more bruised and battered.  Feeling a little confused.

Anybody else?

Sometimes it may take ramming into a door or two before remembering that my map is right there in the glove compartment.  Maybe it’s been sitting there since I was a child.  Maybe I just threw it there a few months ago.  Either way, it’s there and the lay of the land has not changed.

THE map.  God’s word.

Before you say “that’s too big of a book, how will that help me make a decision by Friday?”, listen.  That book may not tell us exactly which door to pick, but it does tell us how to make that decision.  It does tell us how to get those other cars that are zooming around us to pull together, using them for leverage as we formulate a plan.  That book tells us who to call on for prayer support and wisdom, how to look over our shoulder and learn from our past and what the peace of God feels like when we’re on the right track with Him.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
John 10:27 

In life, we will get a little beat up from time to time.  We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world surrounded by imperfect friends and family.  We will cycle through times of cruising along, doing the speed limit with the wind blowing through our hair and a smile on our face.  We will also cycle through times where we are white knuckling the steering wheel at a fork in the road, begging God to show us which way we should go.  Sometimes we may knock on a door that won’t open.  Other times, it will open for us before our hand even gets to the handle.

I can’t tell you steps one, two and three to take in order to avoid having a fender bender.  It’s not that simple.

What I can challenge you to do is to stay close to your Heavenly Father.  And trust Him.  The One who designed your road.  The One who drew the map.  The One who holds the keys to all the doors.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6

Surround yourself with people who also look to Him for guidance.  People who recognize who He is and who love Him.  I can challenge you to look for the positives in every situation and to stay in continual conversation with Him.

These are the things that will help us heal from those bruises.  These are the actions we can take that will help us make wise decisions.  These are the real-life VERBS that we can incorporate into our life style.

Life can be hard.  Decision making can be hard.  Let’s stay close to the One who is eager to lead us and has our best interests in mind.  Let’s forgive ourselves as quickly as He is willing to forgive us.

Take a breath and tighten that belt.  I’m sure you’ll be faced with making some decisions before the end of today that will matter.  You’ve got this!!

Reflect & Respond:

**Can you relate?  

**If you’re trying to make a decision right now, get with a trusted friend and ask her to begin helping you to pray for direction.  You’ll be encouraged.

Blessings,

Kellie

 

 

Featured

We Are Built for Friendship

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If you don’t consider yourself a “runner”, have you ever tried it?  Have you ever laced up your tennis shoes, thrown on a hat and taken off down the street for a jog?  You probably figured out real quick that it’s not as easy as it looks, especially when you’re alone.

After just a few minutes the body starts to warm up, the calves start to stiffen, the shins start to burn and the lungs just can’t keep up!  That’s when you slow back to a walk and start asking yourself “what on earth was I thinking?!”

 

On the flip side of that, have you ever gone out as a new runner and taken a friend or two with you?  You meet up at the local track, do some stretches in the parking lot, and start with smiles and a warm up walk.  After a few minutes of that, you’re ready to jog.  You can hear your friends breathing just as loud ( YES Jesus!) as you and you identify with their struggle.  You may be ready to slow down but there’s just something about running with friends that helps keep you going further.  By the end of your time together, you’re high-fiving and proud of your accomplishment, even if it takes a few minutes to catch your breath.

There’s something about doing it together that makes it a little easier.

When I am walking through something hard, my closest friends are a source of encouragement.  They send me texts with just a few words to push me forward and keep a smile on my face.  They let me know when they’ve prayed for me and they make sure I’m not isolating myself and I try to do the same for them.

The flip side is we have fun together!  Human contact is priceless.  We solve a lot of problems when we go antiquing or grab a meal together.  We go back home to our families feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

Friendship.  Camaraderie.  Belonging.  People who “get you”.

This is a gift that is meant for you.  A rich, fluid gift that God uses at times to take care of our needs, to bring us joy and to encourage and lift us up.

God’s word says this…

” And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”

Hebrews 10:24

We were created for relationship.  That whole “hands and feet of Jesus” thing, this is your playground for it.

Jesus himself did life with friends.  He had 12 who walked with him throughout his ministry.  He held 3 of those closer than the rest.  He had one betray him in the end.

Can you relate?

A large circle, a smaller circle within those and one who loses their way.

I relate.  Jesus gets this, He’s been there and I can talk to him about all of it.

I have been reminded this season just how unpredictable our lives can be.  That they can be cut short in an instant.  These relationships, this is where the good stuff is.  This is where our souls can find satisfaction and the thirst we have for deep conversation and authenticity can be quenched.

Can I encourage you to step out?  To send that text or speak to that mom in the carpool line?  Even if with fear and trembling.  We need each other.  We were built to need each other.  But, sometimes, you and I have to take the first step in starting a new friendship.

“By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round-up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (The Message)

 

The enemy would have you isolate yourself.  He’ll use your weaknesses and try to convince you that you should keep your distance. The enemy will also keep you too busy with good things to make the time to spend with others.  He has a big bag of tricks and he’s not afraid to use them.

A friendship that reflects Biblical principles is a dangerous thing in the eyes of your enemy.  You may think that he could care less…that’s another lie.

Be on guard.  You may have to fight to keep some people in your life and they may fight for you to be in theirs if you’re putting up walls.

If I could sit down with you over a coffee and implore you to make the effort to engage and seek out these relationships, I would have my purse in hand already.

Put friendship on your priority list.  Ask the Lord to send those that you need  and to push away the ones that are meant for someone else.

You need this.

They need you.

We are better together.

Blessings,

Kellie

 

Featured

Parenting Pre-Schoolers

We Weren’t Meant To Do It Alone

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“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  James 1:5

“What in the world were you thinking?”

This was a staple of my prayer life when my children were young.  Yes, I questioned God many times.  I feel like He probably got tired of hearing it but I had to be real, right?  I mean, what was He thinking putting me in charge of two live humans?

Scripture tells us that we are all sinners so that includes me, duh, and I know that perfectionism is non-existent on the planet.  I get it.  So when we were given the blessing and responsibility of raising two children, how in the world was I, an imperfect person, expected to “train them in the way they should go” and somehow keep them on the straight path and help them be who God created them to be?

At times the task felt impossible.  At times I thought we would all be on Oprah (I know, I’m dating myself) one day airing our dirty laundry for all the world to see.  I mean, surely I was messing them up somehow.

Ever felt this way?

What I learned over time was that my thinking was prideful.  Pride.  Full.  Full.  Of.  Pride!!

Parenting has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it?

Your infant pees on you during a diaper change.  Your toddler comes to wake you in the night with an upset stomach only to vomit in your hair while they’re beckoning for help.  Your preschooler points to someone in the grocery store and asks you why they look like they do.  You begin to lose your temper with your elementary age child and they begin to tell you about the character trait of self-control that they are learning in school.

These are just a few of the physical challenges that come with being a parent.  Just wait until they become young adults!  The physical challenges diminish greatly but the emotional pull that comes with watching your children launch out can be just as great.

Now that I’m on the other side of having small children, here are a few things I learned:

Mothering preschoolers, at times, was lonely.  I was isolated.  I was schedule driven.  Sometimes, I was limited financially aka broke!

*Find a community.  I found mine through my local church.  I deliberately surrounded myself with women who were in my shoes and with those who had already walked out of them and were on to parenting older children.  Both have value.  I attended some play dates, library readings and gym sessions for moms and toddlers but I found that authentic relationships were built in the security of other christian women.

I felt unequipped.  After reading all the books and those wonderful magazine articles found at the pediatrician’s office, every family is unique in its own way and while I found some good tips through those avenues, there was only one solid source for teaching me how to parent MY children.

*This time in my life is when I got more serious about my faith.  I had to ask myself if I really believed in Christ or was I just riding the coat tails of my upbringing.  I had to choose if I was only going to use Him when I needed answers or was I ALL IN on placing my faith in Him.  He created the institution of family, the first mom and dad, the first set of children…He is the designer of it all and He is the deepest, widest and most rock solid source of how to parent.  He proved this to me over and over as I walked through these years.

I am blessed.  I’m acutely aware that there are some out there who long to be a mom and are just not able to be at this time.  Not all get this privilege to parent and we shouldn’t take it lightly that we were chosen to guide these little human beings for 18+ years.  To be the place where they launch off into adulthood and return to when they need to steady their footing again.

*God chose us to do this task.  Being hand picked by God..now that is a blessing!

God chose you!  Rest in that friend.  You are your child’s parent on purpose.

Do what you can to prepare.  Do what you can to just simply do your best.  But know this, this journey of parenting isn’t just about those babies.  It is about you and your relationship with your Creator too. This is a time to lean into Him, trust what He says about finding community.  Trust what He says when He tells you He will never leave nor foresake you.  Trust His instructions in the Bible about parenting.

We can get so wrapped up in our children.  We’ve all been there or been tempted to do so.  But, everything that we experience in this life is about strengthening our relationship with Christ and inviting others to do the same.  All of it.

So keep your focus on Him.  Keep Him at the center.

We are lonely at times because He longs to spend time with us.

We feel unequipped at times because He longs to equip us.

We are blessed always because He is just waiting to give us whatever we need and it’s all for our good, the good of our children and to bring glory to Him.

So, lean in.  Lean hard.  Beware of the trap of thinking you can do it all on your own.  We are designed to need Him and when we give in to that, well that is where we will find freedom.

Blessings,

Kellie

 

 

Turn The Page

FeaturedTurn The Page

Choosing to Trust the Author of Our Stories in the Midst of Hard Chapters

I recently took a day to put the top down and take some back roads.  I love taking in the sights of small town America and imagining how those towns first came to be.  Who settled there first, and who keeps the livelihood going.  I love old buildings and dirt roads and sunflower fields…all of it.  It fills me up spiritually and I’m able to reflect on those moments and noticings for a while and draw inspiration from those places.

I imagine those first generations that came in and settled had a hard time.  They had to endure financial barriers and sickness, planting and harvesting on new soil and just flat-out fatigue.  I wonder if they were ever tempted to just close the book on their lives and be done.  I wonder what kept them going and inspired them to keep turning the pages and moving on in the stories that they were a part of.

 

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These people were working for something better.  They were building a future for their children and their children’s children.  They were creating changes on their own and having to endure changes that just came with the wind.

Change.

It’s inevitable and it’s annoying and it’s beautiful and inconvenient, it’s stressful and it’s welcoming and it’s unwelcome and it’s scary.

Oftentimes changes will take place in our lives that we have no control over.  The flip side is that there are sometimes changes that need to come into our lives in which we have a choice about.

This is where it can get sticky.

We may not always like the choices that lie before us.  Sometimes we don’t even know what choices we have as we have to close a door behind us before we can turn to look at the other doors before us.  Does that make sense?

I believe oftentimes a choice stands before us, one we may not even see yet, and God is waiting for us to simply wet our fingers, reach out, even if with eyes closed, and turn the page.

In Philippians, Paul tells us this…

 “…By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

The Message

No one is an expert, just move onward.  Run…no turning back!

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A sweet friend of mine says frequently “God is writing my story”.

Think of your life as a book.  It’s unique and beautiful on its own.  Like any good story there is joy and sadness.  Suspense and intrigue.  New characters are introduced and old ones leave. There are stories within the story.  Battles fought, some wins, some losses, always a lesson learned.

But the ending.  This is where turning the page will get you.  You have to turn the page to get to the ending.

 The ending is where the good stuff is.  Where the author takes all of the pieces of our story and ties them together for a finish that we could never have imagined.

That doesn’t mean it always appears to be a happy ending in our eyes.  But, it does mean that the Author is pleased with the finished product.  That the masterpiece that He created which is YOU (and me) is complete.

Our lives, our stories, aren’t to be tucked away on a shelf to collect dust and stay hidden from the world.  They’re a testament to the Author.  They are a word of mouth endorsement for others to take interest in and see the work of God and the hope that living a life for Him brings.  Even during the moments of the unknown, suspense and sadness, if it’s too much to read that chapter out loud as it’s being written, share it with others once the page has been turned and you have the gift of hindsight to go along with that part of your story.

God can stun you in hindsight when you discover the careful orchestration of events in your life.”

-Priscilla Shirer

Remember, those hard times are only a part of you, not the whole.  Every story intertwines the good with the bad.  You are no exception.  But you and I get to choose whether we are going to park ourselves on the negative or just glance there and set our gaze on the positive.

I’ve seen what this Author can do with a willing participant.  I’ve read His other works that are scattered throughout history (HIS-story).  I’ve seen friends and family make hard decisions that they NEVER regretted.  But ask them about the choosing, and they’ll tell you that in the flesh, it wasn’t always easy.

Some days I’m still learning to keep moving and trust.  To turn the page even when I’m afraid of what may be on the other side.  If you feel this way, you are not alone.  This has been going on from generation to generation.

I imagine the people who settled on these lands first had to make hard choices and they had to make them quick.  They didn’t always have the luxury to watch a fever for a few days before making the trek to the doctor’s office.  They couldn’t watch their crops be swarmed by locust and spend a few weeks contemplating on whether they should burn or just stand by and wait and see.  They didn’t have choices in their homes on counter tops, flooring and paint colors to peruse from as they built.  They had to move quickly, making split second decisions, not always knowing what the outcome would be for their families as they flipped the pages in their lives.

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Look around at how far these little towns have come.  You’re living in one now.  We have the people who were here first to thank for that.  They kept turning the pages in their lives, moving forward, building something for the rest of us to reflect on and be thankful for and continue building from.

When we are given choices, it’s a gift.

Even though making a choice can be excruciating, if we stand by paralyzed with fear, like any good book, we will grow stiff.  Cold.  Our stories can become uninviting for others who want to be a part of our lives.

Where are you at today?  Is there a choice staring back at you that has to be made and you are crippled with fear?  Your fingers feel stricken with arthritis and you are unable to move towards that top right corner of the page to move it over?

You’ve been given a choice.  Stay on the page you are sitting where dust will collect and the beauty of the words will soon fade, or perhaps reach out with your other hand to do the turning.  Maybe you need a friend to come alongside and help you turn your page.  Perhaps you need to pick up the book, shake it out and attack that page turning like you never have before.

God is writing your story.

It’s not over yet.  The momentum is building and there may be people around you just biting their lip to see what the next chapter of your life holds.  They aren’t fixated on YOU, they’re looking to the author.  They’ve read His stories before and they know that He never disappoints.  Never.

I’m praying for us all to keep moving forward.  To view turning pages as a privilege and highly anticipate what God is going to reveal next.  I would love to pray for you if your next page seems too heavy to lift.  You’re invited to private message me.  It would be a privilege to be that friend that helps pray you through your next hard choice.

Kellie

Featured

Finding Purpose in Our Scars

“Well, that will leave a mark!!”

Have you ever injured yourself and thought or said those words to yourself immediately following?  It’s no fun.  Pain that has been inflicted on us, whether intentionally or not, leaves a mark.

Here’s what Merriam Webster says about it:

MARK

-an impression (as a scratch, scar, or stain) made on something :  a distinguishing trait or quality

We all know what a scratch or scar is.  We’ve had them.  We have them now.  Everyone has experienced something in their life that has left a scar.  Whether emotional or physical.  But Merriam calls them a “distinguishing trait” or “quality”.

They are unique to who we are.  We are the only person who has the exact scar that we have.  No one else has what we do and it’s part of what makes us who we are up to this point.  Like it or not.  Would you agree?

 

Scars appear after we’ve been wounded.  Time has passed allowing us to heal all that we can.

The location of that injury will always look a little different.  It may feel a little different.  It may react to sunlight or other outside influences a little different.  But nevertheless, you carry it with you.  Though it may fade, it never goes away.  You will never look the same in that place as you did before your injury.

 

Whether emotional scars, or physical scars…

“He heals the brokenhearted

    and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

He heals and He binds.  He doesn’t heal and wave a magic wand to make the mark disappear.  He holds it together.  He holds you together, and me, right in that very spot.

 

Ponder these things about scars:

  1.  They indicate survival.  Whatever it is that caused that wound, whether deep or shallow, you have survived the source of that wound.
  2. They make your story unique.  No one has the exact scar that you carry.  Your experience was YOUR experience, not someone else’s to tell.
  3. They spark conversation.  When you recognize someone else who is carrying a similar wound, it’s oftentimes a safe place to share stories.  To encourage.  To laugh at the past.  To cry together.  To be thankful for survival.

Perhaps the most significant truth about our scars is this…

4.  They are something we have in common with our perfect savior.

Jesus has scars.

Physical scars in his hands and feet that came with tremendous emotional and mental anguish.  Your scars give you a connection to Him.  A very personal connection.

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And although Jesus suffered on the cross and bears the physical scars of His horrific earthly death, He suffered at other times too:

*He was distressed when He announced at the last supper that one of his disciples was going to betray him (John 13:21)

*Jesus’ soul is troubled when he predicts his own death (John 12:27)

*His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38)

*Jesus was troubled and wept when Lazarus died (John 11:33-35)

These experiences brought pain and anguish to Him.  They left a mark.

Take note that despite the fact that Jesus led a perfect, sinless life, He still endured troubling times.  Although our scars are sometimes an indicator of consequences from our own decisions, they aren’t always.  Sometimes, they are just souvenirs we’ve picked up from our life journey.

I can’t help but think that in searching for some purpose in our scars, we are brought closer to Him.  They create common ground with Him.  They help us identify with His humanity.

What are the scars that you carry?

*Hurtful words that left a mark when spoken to you earlier in your life…

*Relationships broken and crumbled that once held great strength…

*Decisions made in your past that had consequences leading you down an unwanted path…

*Ever been physically abused?  Ever been the abusive one?

What is it that ripped through you at one point but has healed since?  What is it that is now healing but still feels fresh when bumped or when you run your hand across it?

The markings on your life, those distinguishing traits, use them as conversation starters with Jesus.  Use them to explore how Jesus may want to use your life to draw others closer to Him.  Use them to foster a sense of thanksgiving every time they are bumped or exposed unexpectantly.

They make up the fabric of who you are and God loves you no matter how or when you acquired those scars.

All scars carry purpose…that is truth…ask the Lord what that may be when you talk to Him.

And thank Him for your survival while you’re at it.

Praying for us all to embrace every part of who we are,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Be Easy On Yourself

 

I was recently talking with a friend and she said something that resonated deeply with me.

 

We were talking about goals and dreams and what may be out in front of us that we want to attain.  We were talking about how to get to those places and how sometimes we have to muddle through other things, let other things go, clear a path etc. before we can reach those goals.  It was wonderful conversation soaked with truth.

I thought we were going to keep talking about big, personal goals and encourage each other to keep pursuing them.  I thought we were going to go big picture.  I was wrong.

 

She said something that rang a bell deep in my heart…

“I’m learning to give myself grace in the small, every day things.  To celebrate those accomplishments, even if they’re small”.

 

Isn’t that good??

Don’t we wait until the BIG thing is checked off of our list before we cut ourselves a break and celebrate?  Before we acknowledge that we’ve accomplished anything at all?  Aren’t women known for being their own worst critics?  For being so focused on the big, giant goals that we push aside the small steps that had to be accomplished before reaching that destination?

 

Here’s what I’m learning the older I get and the more that I make relationships with other women a priority…we are too hard on ourselves.  Way too hard.

 

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

If you struggle simply getting out of bed some mornings because of anxiety or depression, and you actually get up…cut yourself a break.  Acknowledge that you just accomplished something.  It doesn’t matter if it is a “hard” thing to anyone else.  If it is “hard” for you, and you pushed through…give yourself some grace.

 

If you are fighting with your spouse 5 or 6 times a day and you have a day where you only fuss 4…don’t linger over the 4, celebrate the absence of the others.  It’s a small thing that can lead to bigger things.

 

Mothers of young children, I hear many of you voice your desire to have your quiet time in the morning and get in your work-out, shower and start breakfast all before that baby wakes up.  Some of you are drowning with guilt because you haven’t had your child’s 30 day pictures taken like everyone else has (bahahaha..ask me how many times I had my children’s pictures taken when they were babies) and now your child will grow up with low self-esteem because you didn’t document every inch that they grew!  Stop!!! There are more of you than you think only getting a shower every other day and barely managing to feed your husband a bowl of cereal after coming in from a long days work.

 

If you’re that mom and you got out of bed and loved on your children today, celebrate that you took care of what was most important.  If at the end of the day only 1 out of 8 things is ticked off of your to-do list, celebrate the 1 thing and start fresh tomorrow.

 

It’s important to set goals.  To reach for the stars and move forward with vision and purpose.  But, while you move forward, give yourselves some grace and acknowledge that even the small accomplishments are still accomplishments.  It takes plowing through the small things before the big things can be attained.

 

God is in the small things and it’s in those achievements that sometimes our intimacy with Him is more tangible than others.  It’s those small tasks that when achieved, draw out a quiet “yesssssss” and will draw our gaze to our Father, who is so pleased and just tickled, when we include Him in those mini celebrations.

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He sees when we struggle to get out of bed but we do it anyway.  He sees when we are unhappy with our jobs but we go and give it our best anyway.  He sees when our anxiety tells us to stay home but we push through and call that friend anyway.  He sees when we push away the cake in an attempt to care for our bodies.  He sees when that baby has kept you up all night and it’s all that you can do the next day to simply brush your teeth.

 

“…my power is made perfect in weakness…”

 

In our weak moments, let’s let Him in and share that.  We have a tendency to beat ourselves up and assume that God is disappointed when we struggle.  That He is somehow never satisfied with our small steps.  Not so.  It is in our weakness that He has room to work.  It is here that He shines through.  It’s this place that we realize our need for His power and comfort and He delivers.

 

Every.  Single.  Time.

 

Let’s lean in.  Be more like my friend and celebrate the small things.  Celebrate with Him.  He’s right there lending His power to help us push through.  Then, let’s throw a little praise party as we accept the grace that He is handing us!

 

Praying that we give ourselves even a portion of the grace that He longs to give us.  I believe we’d be blown away if we realized the grace He’s made available for you and me.  Blown.  Away.

Kellie

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Sometimes Tears Are Necessary

                            Image result for Psalm 126:5-6 green

Years ago, my husband was doing some contracting work on a home and he fell off of the roof landing on his head.  He was working alone (which we had a long talk about later).  After he woke up,  I got a phone call from him telling me that “something has happened” and “I don’t know where I am” and again repeating “I think something has happened”.  Before he spit out his second sentence I already had my shoes on and both my children were being shuffled out the door so that we could get to him quickly.  I feared he would wander off and get lost!  I calmly told him to sit down and stay put so I could call 911.
After that call, I burst into tears for about 30 seconds, took a few breaths, and sucked it back up like a big girl does.
Have you ever had your mind reeling with fresh news but you know that you can’t cry just yet?  Ever gotten a middle of the night call that a loved one is on the way to the hospital but you’ve got to get the details before you can have a mini break down?  Ever taken a call at work which would require you to tie up lose ends before exiting to sit with a loved one?  I got one of those calls lately.
What do we do in those times?  We hold it together until we scoot behind the wheel of our cars, punch in our GPS where we need to go so that we can let it do the work for us, and belt out a good cry!  We may whale and sob and keep our eyes open just enough to see the road for about a minute but then it’s time to take a few breaths and suck it back up.  Am I right?
Those moments where we have to get the stuff done before the cry, do you get a headache holding it in?  Boy I do!!  I can only hold it for so long before I NEED to have a good cry.  And sometimes, a good cry isn’t a long, drawn out thing, sometimes it’s just allowing it to come through for a brief moment to release pressure and then all is good!
Also, do you ever get mad at yourself because a cry just came out of nowhere?  Like you thought you had held it all together just fine until you have to talk to someone about what you’re having for dinner and suddenly you feel it just well up in your throat and burst through your eyes and nose?  Almost like a mini explosion just under the surface of your face has occurred and you have absolutely no control when it comes to holding it back.
UGGHHHHHH!!
The older I get, the more I realize how freeing it can be to just go with it.  To realize that even if I am in a good place mentally and emotionally that sometimes my physical body is still going to react to whatever it is I am going through.
It’s good.
If you are ever looking for at least one thing to be thankful for in this life, be thankful for this…God knit our bodies together so intricately that He put things in place to help us when we need to release.  When we need to de-stress.  When we need to blow.
Tears.
I did a little research on tears.
Studies have been done and tears were tested and compared between those who cried because of emotional stress and those that cried while slicing an onion.  The people who cried over some type of sadness or stress had much higher levels of stress inducing hormones in their tears than those who were with the vegetables.  As our stress increases, certain hormone levels increase and having a cry can be our bodies natural way of disposing of that overload of hormonal yuck.
Also, did you know that tears contain a natural painkiller called leucine enkephalin?  That when this is released, it can actually ease pain and work to improve our moods?  It gives a whole new perspective on why we may feel better after a good cry.
It’s things like this that make me in awe of God all over again.  That He would construct our bodies in such a way as to feel such deep emotion, to have the ability to compartmentalize if necessary, and then to supply our need of having a release from it all.
What about you?
Were you raised to think that it’s not lady-like to cry when you’re upset?  Or when someone has hurt you?  Were you taught that if you cry you are simply weak or that “tough girls don’t cry”?
It’s ok friends.  Male AND female.  Our bodies were designed with a pressure guage and sometimes no matter how hard we try to hold on to that handle and keep in the steam, we need to let it go.  It’s healthy.  It’s a natural healer.  It’s cleansing.
Let’s agree that if we need to take a moment to open the valve and let the stress stream out of us for even a minute or two, we will not apologize.  If we have to do it in the car or in a bathroom stall or even with our head buried in a pillow, it’s ok.  It’s ok!  The key is to listen to our bodies and give in to it.
Tears are a gift.  And sometimes they are necessary to our well-being.  We were built that way…on purpose.

Praying for those who have held it in way too long, it’s time to let it go.

Kellie

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When “Mother’s Day” Is Hard

Sometimes Mother’s Day is tough.

Being a mom isn’t always fun, some days it’s just hard.  Unfortunately, some of those hard days or seasons may fall on or around Mother’s Day.  I know they have for me.

I’ve had a Mother’s Day or two that I faced with dread.  I’ve been in the trenches, battling for the well-being of my children, struggling to hold my ground as the parent when a child was trying to take over and show me who they thought was really the boss.  I’ve had a Mother’s Day or two where I fought with a child over disobedience or disrespect and had to wake up on this special day questioning my parenting skills.   Wondering where I was going wrong.  Playing over and over in my head the strong words that were exchanged a mere 24 hours earlier in my home.

If you look at social media today, you’ll only see the good stuff.  It’s easy to look and compare and envy and wonder why your child would rather be somewhere else.  Why these other families seem to have it all together.   It’s easy to question if you’ve been left out of those parenting classes that your friends on social media obviously attended.

HA!

Moms, don’t fall for it!  Don’t let yourself tumble into the trench and spend your energy questioning what you are doing wrong.  Just don’t.  At least not on Mother’s Day.

Parenting is hard, beautiful, messy and sometimes even a breeze!  It can be rewarding and exhausting all at the same time.  Especially during times of adolescence for your children, or those high school years where they are trying to find their own way, and for those of us who were “gifted” with a strong willed child, well…it can be hard, beautiful messy and a breeze all within 5 minutes of any given day!!

Real talk.

Have you ever wanted to give it up?  To tell that pre-teen to stop threatening to move out and just get on with it?  Does it ever look easier to let that 14 or 15 year old just GO ON and be someone else’s child to raise because you’ve “done all you can” and you’re just over it!

We were there at my house.  I’m telling you, parenting a strong headed child is exhausting and after so many years with everything seeming to be a battle, it would have been much easier on our family to just let the child go!

But…that’s not what a mom is called to do is it?  We’re given this child to raise and unless they walk out on their own, we need to be in the business of hanging on, of persevering, of sticking it out.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12

Moms, your worth is not found in how well your child is behaving.

Your value as a mother is not to be judged on the basis of whether your kid likes you on any given day.  Your worth is found in who YOU belong too.  In being a child of God.

Think of it this way…as God’s children…If He looked on us and judged His own worth based on our actions, where would He be?  What kind of self-esteem would He have.  What kind of father do you think He’d think He was?

Do you see what I’m saying?

We are to love our children unconditionally, guide them towards what is right and good and keep on loving them no matter how they respond to our efforts.

Isn’t this what God does with us?

His worth is based on who He is.  Our worth is based on whose we are.  Nothing else.

That is good news!!

Being a mother is a blessing, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

This is where we find our joy on Mother’s Day moms!  In that He hung this title on us, on purpose, for a purpose.

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Yes, if your children are around, celebrate.  Celebrate big!  But don’t let what took place the day before wrap you in a wet blanket.

And if your children are not around, celebrate you!  Do something you enjoy.  Eat the cake.  Drink the coffee.  Take the long walk.  Talk to Jesus about what’s on your heart and soak up the rest that only He can offer.

Our job is a privilege and children are a blessing…even if it some days it doesn’t feel like it.

Enjoy your day moms, it’s all yours!

Praying for those weary moms tonight,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Chill Out Daughter”-Love, God

Have you ever thought you knew just exactly where God was taking you and before you knew it, you were nowhere near that place?  Maybe you can see it coming and it looks so “good”, it looks so “right” and it just “makes sense” that that’s the door which will open and you shall walk through it and you shall be light and salt and you shall be ever so pleasing to the Lord but before you know it, you are nowhere near that door you were waiting to open for you?   In fact, you aren’t even in the same building.

 

I hit a cross roads a few years ago in my life.  That sweet space where my children were outgrowing their need for me and I had some options about how I was going to spend the rest of my working days.  I went back to school, started working in a profession I had always wanted to try, and found after a couple of years in that it wasn’t where I wanted to spend the next 15+ years.

 

So…alas I was at another cross roads.  That occupation was reaching a place where I could place a period or a comma and after praying and searching my heart I decided to put a period.  It was the right move, it just caused my life to hit return a couple of times so that a new paragraph could start.

This is where I thought I knew what to do next.  Ha!

After much prayer and seeking counsel from those who know me best, I realized that I could best serve God in a corporate environment.  Send me Lord!  I’ll be salt and light and I’m old enough now that I know what I believe and why I believe it and you can really use me out there in the world.  I’m ready to go!

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His purpose prevails.  Ya’ll that is GOOD news!

After multiple job applications were filled out, recommendations were made on my behalf at several locations and interviews were even had, it became evident that I had it all wrong.  Frankly, I was exhausted at the amount of time I was spending trying to figure out which direction to place my efforts and I had made the decision to just sit tight and wait on the Lord.  Did you hear me say I was exhausted??

 

Within 48 hours of deciding to sit tight, my phone rang with an opportunity I DID NOT GO LOOKING FOR to work where I NEVER THOUGHT I’D BE to do things I’VE NEVER DONE with people I DID NOT KNOW.  Instead of getting all nervous and anxious about this, I GOT EXCITED!!  It was a choice I had to make early on as my guts were dying to twist up inside of me but I told them NO (sometimes we have to remind our guts who’s really in charge)!!

It was obvious God had orchestrated this opportunity and following Him along on this ride called life is exciting!  It’s exciting because no matter how high up the coaster track He takes us, He is right there with us and has nothing in mind but to take us places that are for our good and His glory!  I knew I was right where He would have me be and there is no better feeling than when we grasp and sense that He has plans for us that He intends to follow through with, no matter how hard we work to figure them out for ourselves.  No better feeling.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

I thought I’d work out in the public, I now work with a bunch of Christians.

I thought I’d work in my hometown, I now work 25 minutes away.

I thought I’d be using my post-high school education, that’s gone out the window.

I thought I had a grasp on where I was headed.  No.

One thing Christians can count on is that following Jesus is ALWAYS…interesting. 

How about you?  Has there been a time in your life that you fought hard to stay on First Avenue but in hindsight, you ended up on West 53rd Street?  Did you clamor to stay in that relationship and ultimately end up single and happier than you’ve ever been?  Have you stressed yourself out over an unexpected move or an unseen lay-off and later found that God had you the whole time?  That He actually knew what He was doing?  Even though He tells us He has good for us, did you doubt His plan?

 

I ask these questions because I’ve been a Christ follower for a long time.  You would think that by now this question of whether or not He is ultimately in control and has my good in mind would’ve been settled a long time ago.  I’m here to tell you that I have to re-learn it from time to time.

Been there?

I have story after story over my life that I can look back and see the providence of God even though I was a nervous wreck and each time I reflect on those times, I tell myself to chill out!  Not to let myself get knocked off my feet so easily when the unexpected comes.

That He’s got this.

 

I must have some chill.

We must have some chill.

Know what I mean?

If I put my child into a new school system because I know it’s the best place for them, I want them to trust my actions and walk in with a fresh hair cut and a smile, not sweaty palms and a doubting attitude of my love for them.

If my child wants 30 people to show up for their birthday party and only 8 come, I want him to embrace those 8 and take advantage of the smaller crowd.  Get to know the ones who came and trust that those were the friends meant to be there.

If my grown child is looking for a job, I want them to talk to their heavenly father daily about it, get out there and push on doors, and trust that the right job will open up at the right time.  In the meantime, maybe use their spare time to grow closer to God, to invest in some relationships or take on a DIY project.

I get it, it’s easier said than done.  I just lived through this.  But, can we do this?  Can we trust Him a little more today than yesterday?  Can we look back at the stories of His faithfulness in our lives and make the decision to believe that HE’S GOT THIS?  Can we do these things with some chill?

I’m going to try better next time.  Less worry, more thankfulness through the process.

One thing I know too, no matter how well or horrible I do this, I will be met with grace.  When our motives are in the right place, He parents us with gentleness.

Ya’ll, He’s just the sweetest.

Praying we trust Him more with each new day,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

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A Crisis of Faith

Got your attention didn’t I?

Recently I wrestled with knowing God can but not knowing if He would (fill in the blank).  I caught myself wanting to “name it and claim it” when I was unsure of what God was doing.

And I’m NEVER sure of what He is doing.  He doesn’t inform like that.  Not typically.

If I’m being honest, it messed with me.  Big.  Time.  I’ve struggled with this before but after this go around…I think I just might, just maybe, possibly be learning something about placing my faith soley and simply in one place.  No matter the situation.

 

Doesn’t that sound so simple?  Placing our faith in only one thing?  Isn’t that like God?  To love us so much as to not make things too complicated for us?

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!…”

I John 3:1

 

The definition of faith according to Merriam Webster is this:

a (1) :  belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) :  belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

b (1) :  firm belief in something for which there is no proof clinging to the faith that her missing son would one day return (2) :  complete trust

 

Faith-I see nothing here that says that our believing will accomplish anything tangible.  What I see is that to have faith is to simply believe.  The crisis comes when we try to spread our belief all around instead of keeping it concentrated on HIM.

 

The Bible tells us in Hebrews  “ Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” NIV or “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” The Message

 

This confidence…hope…assurance…trust

Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that these precious expressions of our faith are to be placed in that we see in front of us.  That if we wrap up our desires in fancy words then what we are so focused on will simply come to pass because we believe it will.  That this is how faith is played out, expressing a sense of done-ness to that thing that we want done and telling God at the end of our sentence, that since we’ve got faith, it shall be done.

Wrong.

We’ve lost our focus.

That thing or this person or the situation has taken over our vision.  It has consumed us and distracted us from the One who has all of it in His hands.  We’ve got to turn our necks back up.  That’s where we are to place our faith.  Not in anything we can see, but in the One who is invisible.

Enter crisis.

 

Merriam Webster defines crisis as this:

a :  an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially :  one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome a financialcrisis the nation’s energy crisis

b :  a situation that has reached a critical phase the environmental crisis the unemployment crisis

 

 

This is where we can have a crisis of faith.  We’ve all been there.  I was just there recently.

Twisted guts, headaches, even nausea.   I love God.  I believe in Him.  I believe He will allow only what is good for Him and me to occur in my life.  But the crisis, the sense of urgency in my circumstances, were a huge distraction for me.  They took my eyes off of the One who has it all under control and had my mind racing over things that I had very little control over.

Wow!  Do you see it?  I had put myself front and center of my little world leaving myself exposed for the enemy to come in and knock me out at the knees!

Been there?  Yeah, not a great place to be.

Honestly, this is selfish thinking.  Who am I to believe that this thing that I need will be done to the degree in which I have faith?

Crisis.  This is part of life.  A cycle that will come and go.  Oh, you may not experience the same one over and over again but they will come.  They will be hurled your way from every direction until you die.  Guarantee it!  And your faith will be tested.  And sometimes you’ll pass the test.  And sometimes you won’t.

The goal is to move our necks upward, even if they’re stiff from the stress and knotted muscles, and keep our gaze on the only One that deserves to have our faith placed in it.  Our eyes aren’t made to look two directions at one time.  One way.  Fix them there.

His Will

 

 

He loves us ladies.  And He has nothing left to prove to us.  He’s done that already.  Let’s cheer each other on to keep our faith, our belief that “HE CAN”, front and center and the question of “but WILL He?” linger in the background so that it doesn’t trip us up.

  • Faith is a loaded word and can be an ongoing conversation…would love to hear from you on this.  What helps to build your faith?  How would you define what faith is?

 

Blessings,

Kellie

 

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Finding Strength Through Intimacy

Have you ever needed to talk to someone to get something off your chest and your spouse or bff just weren’t going to satisfy that need?  Ever felt like no one really knows you?  At least not all of you?

We crave it.

We were built for it.

We need it.

Intimacy.

  1. 1:  a state marked by emotional closeness

  2. 2:  a quality suggesting closeness or warmth

  3. 3:  something that is very personal or private

God created us.  He created that need for intimacy within us.  He longs to fill it for us.

He created a God sized hole in our spirit that only He can fill.  That’s why when we try to fill that emptiness with other things or other people, they don’t stick.  They can’t satisfy long-term.  HE wants that spot!

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16 kjv

I liken that intimacy, that closeness, to having a tiny infant in my arms.

When my babies were newborns, I swaddled them up in one of those cloth carriers that would allow me to be hands free while they rested against my chest.  I had a living, breathing human-being strapped right against me.  What a responsibility!

I stayed away from cigarette smoke, cursing and harsh noises and odors.  I spoke softly, giving thought to what I would say since my lips were only inches away from those small ears.  I kept my hands clean and sanitized for fear of leaving traces of germs or illness on that baby.  I talked to them throughout my day, whispering “I love you so much”.  Introducing them to smells and informative sentences like “now this is what red velvet cake smells like and It’s your daddy’s favorite” or “I hope this song I’m wooing you with is something you sing to your own children”.

I took the presence of that baby very seriously.  I didn’t want to grieve it.  To make it uncomfortable.  To cause it pain or disappointment in me.  I took the intimacy of having my babies so close, where they felt my heart beat, as a privilege that not all were afforded.  I tried not to take that for granted.

God doesn’t need us to be His life-giver and protector and to introduce Him to new things like a child, but, we need to remember that just as those babies are held against us, His Holy Spirit is even closer.  It’s not outside of us, but inside.

Intimacy with God

Super natural strength…

This privilege that we have…this gift…this responsibility…this is where our strength abides as believers.  We were created in His image and were gifted His Holy Spirit to help guide and move us.  He is more powerful, more discerning, and stronger than we could ever be and He desires to be intimately involved in our lives, filling us up to over-flowing with Himself.

Ever done something on His behalf that you thought you would never be able to do?

Ever had a conversation with someone and wondered later where those words came from?

Ever done that thing that seemed out of character for you but was the right call?

That was His spirit, working through you, pushing, strengthening, filling you with boldness and courage.

This privilege comes with responsibility.

Who likes to be told that we could grieve God?  No one.

Who needs to be reminded that it’s possible?  All of us.

 

“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”

Ephesians 4:30 The Message

 

 

Goodness, we don’t like to talk about this do we?  We like comfortable.  We like encouragement.  We like pats on the back  and “sometimes you just have to’s” and “I couldn’t help myselves” and “everybody else is doing it”

I love how The Message puts this verse “…His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life…”  Sometimes I think that we forget this.  That as believers in Christ, His Holy Spirit is dwelling IN us.  Another way to think about it is that He sees what we see and hears what we hear.

I’m completely awestruck by His design!

Are you?

Let’s take a deep breath today and acknowledge His handy work.  The craftsmanship that went into building us as only He could do.  The fact that this need we have for intimacy isn’t just an impossible desire that we have to go through life with, but that He offers the solution in Himself.

Let this be a reminder…

**He longs to be closer than any other

**He wants to share with us His strength and help us do hard things

**He is holy

**What an honor it is to be called His

This.

Ponder this and see if your heart rate doesn’t go up a little bit.

Reflect & Respond

**As believers are we keenly aware that the Holy Spirit dwells in us 24 hours a day?

**What can we do to honor His presence in our lives?  How can we flesh that knowledge out into our day-to-day living?

Praying that we draw our strength from Him and represent Him well,

Kellie

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I’m Sorry About Your Marriage…

This is hard stuff.

 

It seems that every circle I am in, someone’s marriage is in a slow crumble.  Every.  Circle.

 

Some married for a short time, others for years.  Some without children, others with kids.  Some young, some older.

 

When we are preparing to marry we dream BIG!!

 

Those dreams can begin to play out in our minds like a film.  The engagement period where we are eager to show everyone our shiny ring and the wedding planning begins.  The day comes, vows are exchanged in front of God and witnesses and before you know it, the week is over and it’s back to reality.  Most women I know are planning out the next phase and then the next of life in their little family (because women are planners you know!).

 

The hum drum of life sets in and the daily routine rocks along.

 

This is where the mystery begins.

 

I’ve never been in these shoes, but I know many who have.  Unhappiness, discontent, anxiousness…shock, unbelief, helplessness…panic, fear, worry…anger and hurt…loneliness.

 

The dreams dreamed years before don’t just disappear.  They’re still there.  Only now, they’re not in color, they’re in black and white.  There’s no life left in them when the reality of what is happening sets in.

 

When I hear of another friend whose conversations with their spouse now include the “D” word, my heart sinks.  It’s like when someone dies and there just aren’t words.  Only hugs.

 

Divorce is a death.

 

It’s the passing of a dream, shared goals and the most important relationship in someone’s life.  Feelings of denial, anger, sadness and eventually acceptance pass through.  It demands to be mourned just like any other great loss in our lives.

 

When the marriage ship has crashed into the rocks and is splintering into a million pieces, most don’t want to hear “God has a plan” or “hold tight to Jesus”.

 

2 words.

 

I’m sorry.

 

I’m sorry!

 

It’s not for pity sake.  It’s a genuine expression that I’m sorry your dream has died.  I’m completely, fully sorry.  I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re facing.

 

I would like to share some observations I’ve had the privilege to witness.

 

May I do that?

 

A marriage that is trembling, one that has lost it’s way…I’ve seen one spouse turn to their faith in God and lean in with everything they’ve got.  They lift up their spouse to the Lord thinking that He will change their spouse.  Surprisingly, change usually occurs in the one doing the praying first.  I’ve witnessed patience creep in.  A more positive attitude.  I’ve seen walls of defensiveness slowly be chipped away.

 

A marriage that is over…the women I know who have walked through a marriage and ended on the other side of divorce, I’ve seen them find their strength through the journey.  I know, it’s a horrible way to realize how strong you are…horrible…but it just is.  I’ve witnessed it first hand.

 

 

He can take the things in our life that some meant for our harm, and He can turn them into something wonderful.  Something we could have never predicted.

 

” And we know that God causes everything to work together[m] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Romans 8:28

Can I make an attempt to encourage you here?

Whether your marriage is shaking, whether the gauntlet has already been thrown down, whether the counselors just aren’t working or your spouse refuses to even give them a try…whether your court date is next week or you’ve been on your own for a while now…whether you’re just plain unhappy and you haven’t said the “D” word out loud, but you’re thinking about it…

Romans 8:28 tells us that God will work things out for our good-but only for those who love Him.

Do you love Him?  This may not sound like an “encouraging” question, but it’s key.

Do you love Him?

Get close to the One who knows you and your spouse (or ex-spouse) better than you know yourselves.  Let your closest friend or friends hug you and baby sit for you and go to court with you and pray with you.  Make sure you can trust who you confide in, make sure they are a friend who will talk to God about you, that is the mark of a true friend.

romans-1212

I’m sorry about your marriage.

But there is hope.  There is always hope for better days ahead for those who love God.

Always.

Praying for those walking this hard road,

Kellie

Featured

Come Away With Me-A Sacred Invitation

“…Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Luke 5:16

 

Years ago I was involved in a study that focused on spiritual disciplines.  My kids were small and life was busy but once a week Tim and I met with a few other couples to do this.  The end of the study culminated in taking a half day away just to pray.

Four hours.

We spent four hours at a beautiful local park. I sat near the lake.  Spent time near a covered bridge.  Cozied up to a tree with a view of a water wheel.  Notebook.  Bible.  Water.  Pen.  That’s all I needed.

It.  Was.  Marvelous!

Nature is a powerful thing.

There’s something about being out in nature that soothes the soul.  Would you agree?  Wind, birds, squirrels, butterflies.  You notice the little trail of ants carrying their food from place to place.  How the trees can take on a different look as the sun shines from a different angle throughout the day.  How the clouds change shape as they skim across the blue sky effortlessly.  The wind relaxes and the muscles let go of their tightened state.

Something happens when we get outside, to a lonely place, and just look about.  His power becomes more evident.  His creativity shines everywhere you look.  His attention to detail.  All of it is a reminder of what a great big God we serve.  All of it!

Jesus prayed often.

Even to say that seems like an understatement.  But, there were times that He had to break away from the noise and get to a quiet place.  Doesn’t that sound marvelous?

Be alone to talk.

Be alone to listen.

Just.  Be.

 

I see three important truths in this verse that we can take in and flesh out.

**Jesus withdrew

He drew away from the pressures of His life, detached Himself, became removed

**He did it often

He did it frequently, repeatedly and consistently.  He made it a habit.  A lifestyle.

**He chose lonely places

He struck out unaccompanied.  He went solo.  He isolated Himself.

If this was a part of Jesus’ lifestyle, I’d say that we should incorporate this practice into our own lives.  Especially in the world that we are living in that is so inundated with noise and movement and visual stimulation everywhere you look.  Every.  Where.

I need this.  You need this.

  • High school or middle school student who attends church each week but doesn’t really know how to pray.
  • College student who studies your Bible in your dorm room each day while listening to nearby students crank their music and holler down the hallway
  • Young mama who can’t even use the bathroom without interruption
  • Mom of teens whose door revolves around your kids and their friends
  • Empty nesters who aren’t quite used to the sound of an empty house
  • Retired older woman who putzes around all day trying to keep yourself busy

Ladies, some of us seem to need permission to get away by ourselves, for even just a couple of hours.  This is it.  This is your permission…your encouragement…your convincing argument that you MUST…WE must, make this a practice.

It was important to Jesus.

It should be important for us.

And I believe that it will not only benefit our relationship with God, but it will ultimately benefit our family, our work, our church, and all of the other parts of our lives.

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Let’s get out our calendars and mark a date or two to get started.  Pick a nearby place-away from home-grab your Bible and a coffee and keep that appointment.  There is nothing as important as keeping that line of communication with God open and active.

This could be the thing to take your walk with Him deeper than it’s ever been.

This could be the thing you need to hit re-start on your relationship with Him.

This could be the habit that is the catalyst to hearing from God more clearly.

This could be the first step to self-care that you’ve taken in a long time.

I promise if you miss a T-ball game or an hour or two of sleep or don’t get your man’s dinner cooked for one night, it will be OK 🙂

I’m not suggesting you start with a four-hour retreat, but I am suggesting that you start.

The goal is to be alone during this time but there is nothing wrong with carpooling with friends to a wide open space and splitting up once there.  In fact, it could be a great way to connect with other women on a more personal and spiritual level.

Imagine driving out to somewhere spacious with a few friends, splitting up to spend time with God, and then coming together to flesh out a little bit of your time.  Maybe you come away feeling challenged and you need your gal pals to hold you accountable.  Maybe you leave with a few less things to worry about on your plate because God convinced you that He’s got it taken care of.  Maybe your appetite for His word just grew and you’d like to bounce some reading ideas off of your friends.  Maybe you just need them to keep you in mind during their own prayer times.

However you choose, I challenge you, and I’m challenging myself, to take one hour within the next 10 days to drive away from home, to a secluded place.  To plan this ahead of time and let your people know that your cell phone will be in your car and that YOU WILL NOT.

We can do this ladies!  Who’s with me?

Reflect & Respond:

**Have you ever considered that this should be a part of the life of a believer?

**Mark your calendar within the next 10 days.  Text your bff’s right now to plan to go with you if you’d like.  Otherwise, just get it done!

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you already do this?  Frequently?  Are you planning to now?

If you’re nervous about doing this alone, reach out to me!  We’ll grab some girls and make it happen!

Praying for us to not just skim over this example from Jesus, but to plant it deep and flesh it out,

Kellie

If you need some help getting started with your prayers, here’s a simple way to think about it.

P.R.A.Y.

Praise!  Beginning your conversation with your Heavenly Father by praising Him. It takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on Him.  It begins a vertical conversation.  It recognizes that He is in a position of honor and respect.

Repent!  I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  After we’ve lifted praises to Him, take some time to ask Him to bring any sin to mind that you need to ask forgiveness for.  He will be faithful to forgive.

Ask!  Once you’ve taken the time to praise Him and start with a clean slate, ask Him for the things that you need.  He tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Ask for yourself as well as any other needs that are on your heart.

Yield!  No matter what you’ve talked to the Lord about, ultimately, you need to yield your own will to His.  He knows more.  He knows best.  He knows it all!  As Jesus prayed right before His crucifixion, He Himself said in Matthew 26:39 “…“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  He is a good, good father and He knows what is best for us.  Trust that.

Featured

It’s All About Who You Know

True Talk about Knowing the Right People in the Right Places

My children are now adults (eeekk!)  One is married and the other is finding their way as the youngest.  They’ve all 3 (I claim my DIL) been on a job search at different times over the last year.  Application after application has been filled out with no response.  Not even a “thank you, but no thank you” courtesy call.

Here’s what we’re learning…it’s all about who you know.  Two of the three obtained positions because of their past experience and their character, but they were only given the opportunity to get their foot in the door because they knew someone who could help crack said door open for them.

Anybody been there?  Am I speaking the truth?

We’ve all been in situations that seemed to almost require that we have an inside link in order to move forward with a plan.

  • In order to get noticed for that promotion, we have to know someone whose pay grade is above ours.
  • In order to get the best deal on the car, it helps to know a salesman at the local dealership.
  • In order to get an appointment with the specialist you need to see, your primary physician has to make that call.
  • In order to get a reservation at that restaurant you’ve been wanting to take that special someone too, you’ve got to know someone who works there to make it happen.
  • In order to get that book published, you’ve got to know a publisher
  • In order to get an interview, you’ve got to have a recommendation from someone your potential employer will listen to.
  • In order to know if you’ve met “the one”, you’ve got to acquire the opinions of everyone around to weigh out how you feel

It can be overwhelming.  It can make a situation seem hopeless.  It can even discourage you from trying.

There comes a time where we have to put our blinders on, focus on the One who knows it all and tune in intently to His voice.

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
    there is no help for you there.
When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
    and all their plans die with them.

Psalm 146:3-4 (NLT)

From an early age, we taught our children that even though we are the parents and we just “know stuff”, that ultimately, we don’t know it all.  We simply know the One who does.

As the kids got older we told them that “hey, one day we won’t be here anymore.  You never know when our lives may be over”.  Who then would they turn to for advice or direction?  Who would be around to point the way that they could always rely on to not only know what to say, but have their best interest in mind when saying it?

There is only one.

THE One.

He knows it all.  He’s already seen how it will all play out.

He knows your heart.  He knows your contact. He knows the job, the restaurant, the doctor, the publishing company, your boss, He knows how that new position plays out down the road, when you will really need a doctor and which doctor is going to be best specifically for you, who you’ll marry…I could go on and on with this.  He knows it all!

As women, we like details.  Can I get an Amen?  We like to figure it out and play scenarios through our head.  Lots of what if’s and but then’s.  It’s how we’re wired and I think that it does have purpose.  The problem that can come with this is that we (I, ahem) can get so fixated on these possibilities that at the end of the day, we’ve drained our energy. We’ve started leaning towards a “whoa is me” attitude or maybe even a “this is going to be great!” frame of mind or “now how in the world will that ever work?” mindset.

Exhausting!

Sometimes I think that God is shaking His head at me thinking “silly girl, I’ll wait for you to finish all of these scenes in your head and when you’re done, we’ll get to work”.  That’s not necessarily biblical, but I sense that I get in the way of myself a whole lot more than I should.  Anybody else?

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We only need to know HIM.

We’ve got to trust Him ya’ll.  It’s as simple as that.  Really.

This is where our freedom lies.  This is the sweet peace that God promises to those who have placed their trust in Him.  Don’t we want that?  Peace and freedom?

We won’t understand it all and we’re not supposed to.

“I don’t have God all figured out but I’ve learned to trust Him more than I trust myself”

Michelle Myers

The key is to stay close to Him.  That’s it.

” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

Dive in.  Eat it up.  Devour it.  Drink it.  This is where He is. That longing that we all have to connect the dots, it is found in this place.  His word brings it all together.  This is where He is.

*Let me be so bold as to say this too…there are great, gifted Bible teachers out there and it’s okay to use their resources to help us think about and apply scripture, BUT, there is no substitution for the Bible.  THE word.  There is only one book that “was with God” and “was God” and we need to be careful not to be so wrapped up in the stack of books by our bedside that we neglect the one true book of truth that may be propped up on a forgotten shelf somewhere else.

When we are grasping for that break in life, that promotion or soul mate or answer to even the smallest question, His word is always the answer.  That’s where He can be found.

Always.

No, the name of your doctor won’t be there and the inside information you think you need for that job won’t be written on those pages.  But, the One who has the answers and is already working on our behalf will be found here.  He will be found with instructions on what to do while we wait.  How to handle things when we feel wronged.  When we should move and when we need to sit still.  It’s all there.

Trust Him.

This life is all about who you know, and there’s only one…THE One…who is sufficient enough to fill in ALL of the gaps, hold us up when we can’t stand alone, and keep us moving in the direction that was marked out for us before the beginning of time.

Let’s rest in this, that if God is all we have, we will have all that we need.

Reflect & Respond:

**What is it that you are dealing with that has you convinced that you’ve got to know someone before you can move forward?

**Fix your focus on Him, His word.  Start each day asking Him for understanding as you take in a little spiritual breakfast before beginning your day.

Praying for us all to trust Him more,

Kellie

Featured

How Beating Up On Trees Brought Me Some Perspective

“Don’t talk to me right now.  I’m feeling very punchy and I might say something I will regret”.  This was how I greeted my husband recently when he arrived home from work.  Nice, huh?

 

Have  you ever been in a place where you were constantly waiting or looking for the “next thing”?  Maybe you’re travelling along on Hwy “OK” but you are longing to be on what looks like “Better Boulevard”.  At least from a distance.

 

That’s where I got recently.  I became so focused on finding the exit ramp that would bridge me over to what I could see in the distance that I lost my peace.  I became very frustrated and dissatisfied with my present circumstances (in just a few areas).

I found myself with a stick in the yard whacking on whatever innocent tree was standing nearby.  I will admit, it felt good, blowing off steam without giving anyone a tongue lashing.  It was dark outside.  Most of our neighbors sit off of the road.  Except one.  And dangit, he was standing in his driveway watching my outburst!  He doesn’t know me very well…wonder what he thinks now?

 

I realized then that I should have never let myself get to that point.

 Sweet conviction.  God’s grace lovingly swept me back inside where my husband gave me a kiss and told me he was taking me out to get a good piece of red meat!

 

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

 

This scripture is something I use regularly in my prayer life.  I’m good at letting God know what I desire (as if He doesn’t already know).  I know from experience that if I am delighting in the Lord-as a lifestyle, a natural reaction to my love for Him-that He places desires in my heart purposely.  The more I invest in my relationship with Him, the more I sense Him preparing me for that “next thing” He has coming for me.

 

Sometimes I think that we can begin to settle our gaze on those desires.  We don’t just glance at them, we camp out on those things over on Better Boulevard and start clamoring our way over, barreling down shrubs, looking for a way around those lane guards that are SET UP FOR OUR PROTECTION!!

Just like a distracted driver, if we stay focused on those things way out in the distance, we will eventually run over something, or someone, in our path.  We will hit  mail boxes, run over nails or even worse, eventually winding up with a virtual concussion and thus forget where we were heading in the first place.

 

 

It’s OK to have dreams.  To set goals.  In fact, it’s healthy.  And if we are delighting in the Lord, we can be assured that He probably placed those dreams in our hearts.

 

But, if we can rely on knowing He put those things there, deep into our soul, we’ve got to trust that WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT, He will reveal the exit ramp to us and move us onto the next lane.  And I would much rather look back and know that HE put me onto those goals and that it was not of myself.

 

What are you setting your gaze on?  What is it that is distracting you from focusing on the Lord?  From focusing on what is right in front of you right now.  From focusing on WHO is right in front of you.

 

**A husband that hasn’t walked into your life just yet

**A pregnancy you’ve longed for

**An adoption opportunity

**A new job or promotion

**That next stage your kids will enter soon

**Getting that baby to sleep through the night

**Your ministry to expand by number…more followers…more likes…more attendees

**A bigger house

**A new car

 

What is it?

 

Now, turn your neck from the right or left and look straight ahead.  Where are you right now that you can honor God?  What has He placed in your hand?  Who has he put in your life right now?

 

 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…”

Luke 16:10a

I have some dreams for down the road.  Big dreams.  Financial goals, ministry ideas, trips to be taken…there is more, but for now, my focus needs to be on what is right in front of me.  The people in my life right now, not the ones that are coming.  The finances I have right now, not the future budget.  The little town I’m in, my circles, my friendships and family members right now, not the ones that will cause my heart to expand down the road.

I have some dreams for down the road.  Big dreams.  But it’s a dangerous thing to get so caught up in what they may look like when they come to fruition.  It is a PEACE STEALER when I start trying to figure out how to get out of my current lane over to where I think the “bigger” stuff might be.

It breeds discontent.  Turmoil.  Dissatisfaction.  It makes me punchy.

It minimizes the precious souls that are in my life right now.  And I believe it’s offensive to God when I begin to pay less attention to my present and more attention to my future.

This life is fleeting.  I feel that fact more and more each day.  Let’s get a little perspective here and bring things back into focus.  God’s perspective is the proper perspective.  When I realized my punchiness was of my own doing, I had some confessing to do.  I had some scripture to start rolling over in my head like the verses above.

The dreams we have over there in “Better Boulevard”…if God planted them in us, they aren’t going anywhere.  In fact, I believe He’s still putting them together which should motivate us to WAIT so that we get the WHOLE blessing and not just a portion.

Let’s agree to stay focused on where we are right now.  To enjoy whatever stages our children are in.  To work our hardest at the job we have even if we know it’s temporary.  To use our stories to shine a light on Jesus to the one or two or four that He has put in our path for such a time as this.

This is where pleasant peace abides.  Right here on the “OK Highway”.

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Reflect and Respond:

What is it that you need to re-focus on and pour yourself in to?  Who is that precious soul you need to call for coffee this week?

Confess that you have been distracted and get back on track.  Thank God for the life that you have.  Write your blessings down today so you can see them in black and white.

Praying for pleasant peace for us all,

Kellie

Featured

Finding Hope In the Hallway

We’ve all stood in the proverbial hallway.  Waiting on doors to open.  Not knowing which door to choose.  Putting our hand on the handle only to find that it’s locked.  Listening to what’s going on behind closed doors, trying to discern if that’s our cue to move on or move in.

Waiting…waiting…waiting…  Crickets.

What do we do while in that hallway?  When we are waiting and wondering and even worrying about which direction to go or if we should pull harder on the handle…how do we wait…and do it well?

 

Hallways can seem dark and narrow.  There aren’t any windows.  They can seem lonely.  Stuffy.  Even dingy.

But, look around you.  In that hallway, that place of holding and waiting and wondering.

Raise up your chin and look around.

I bet there are family photos hanging on those walls, telling story after story of God’s faithfulness.  New babies being born into young excited families.  School pictures depicting proud young children sporting their braces and glasses.  Families of 4 or 6 or 8 or more posing together to capture that time in their lives that they will never get back again.

A few steps away, there’s another framed memory but this one is from a trip taken with a loved one.  Maybe a sunrise or sunset.  Perhaps it’s just two smiling faces exploring new lands, tasting new foods, getting good rest in the midst of recreation.

You spot another picture.  A photo of someone who left a legacy in your family.  One of dedication to God.  A man or woman of great faith who taught their children who taught their children how to pray.

Take another step or two.  A hall table sits with an open Bible and a pair of old reading glasses placed right on top.  Scripture has been underlined in red on pages that are soiled from oily fingers and tear stains.  Perhaps a metal cross hangs above that table.  A reminder of God’s love for us that is so vast we can not even comprehend it all.

**In Acts 1 and 4 Jesus tells his followers to wait on the arrival of the Holy Spirit

**In Psalm 37 and 7 David tells us to be still and wait patiently for the Lord

**In Deuteronomy Moses leads God’s chosen people around the desert for 40 years before their arrival at the Promised Land

**In Genesis Abraham had to wait 25 years before having the child God had promised him

Waiting on the Lord is nothing new.  But, there is purpose in it so embrace it.  Learn from it.  Grow in it.

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.”

Psalm 130:5

What do you see in your hallway?  Where has God been faithful to you in the past?  What lessons has He taught you?  Whose legacy can you follow while you wait?

When we’re in a holding pattern, let’s look around and take note of the snap shots of God’s faithfulness in our lives.  Every memory, every recollection of God’s hand at work in our past.  Let’s take the time to thank Him.  Praise Him!

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As you lean against the wall, slide down and take a seat. Grab a journal and a pen and begin writing down those stories.  As you take in the sights, reminiscing on how God has built your faith over the years, tell Him how thankful you are.

When we take our focus off of those closed doors, something happens.  Our eyes shift to the walls which are graced and laced with memories and memorials all pointing us back to God’s faithfulness.

When we meditate on Him and His steadfast love for us in the past, we are reminded that a door will open when He’s ready to reveal what’s behind it.  When we are ready to receive what’s there.

Until then, there’s hope in the hallway.  Let’s get so lost in praising Him for His faithfulness that we have trouble even focusing on closed doors.  I believe sometimes he closes us off so that He can have us all to Himself.  So He can point us to His faithfulness and grace.  So He can have our undivided attention.

Let’s take a few deep breaths.  Raise up our eyes and slowly look around.

Hope resides where you are.  Jesus Christ is our hope and He is there with you.  With me.  In your past, in your present, He’s behind those closed doors and His words are at your fingertips.

Let’s lace our fingers around His.  Turn the pages, read and meditate on Him in the here and now.  Let’s think back on His faithfulness through generations past with laughter and tears and contemplation as we wait.

For the waiting is temporary.  A hallway is merely an avenue which leads us somewhere else.  Somewhere different.

What He intends for us will come to pass in His timing.

And we need to be ok with that.

Let’s be ok with that, shall we?

Reflect & Respond:

**Think to a time that you waited on the Lord to move, and He DID!

**Take time to reminisce on what He taught you in the waiting and thank Him for it.

Praying we all learn to wait well,

Kellie

Featured

Be Kind To Yourself

Jesus told a lot of stories using agricultural references to make His points so that people could easily relate.

He talked about soil.

He talked about planting seeds.

He talked about watering.

He talked about being rooted.

He talked about pruning.

He talked about harvesting.

 

We talk a lot about planting seeds into the lives of other people.  The words we use, the actions we take to show how we really feel about someone or what we think they’re worth.

 

Have you ever given thought to what we plant into our own lives?

 

Do we scatter healthy thoughts like these into ourselves?

**Words of bravery and strength whispered under our breath when we feel weak

**Taking time to care for and love ourselves…spending time alone or with friends, getting that pedicure, lifting those weights, reading a good book, getting good sleep

**Are we quick to forgive ourselves when we mess things up, extending the same grace to ourselves that we would give to our loved ones?

**Seeds of “You can do this!”?

**Words of kindness when we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see…words like “beautiful”, “able”, “strong”, “work in progress”, “capable”

 

Or

 

**Do we punish ourselves with words like “what’s wrong with me?”

**Do we dwell on the past and let it stunt our spiritual growth?

**Have we let seeds of bitterness take root and contaminate the soil of our soul?

**Do we look in the mirror or at the scale and chastise ourselves (me) for enjoying an ice cream with our child?

 

We have to be intentional with what we plant in our hearts.  If the Holy Spirit lives there, He deserves the best, and He only wants the best for you and me.

 

If you wouldn't say it to a friend

I have this on my bulletin board in my office.

When my work is going slow or my pants are feeling too tight or I’ve blown it with one of my children or I’m wrecked with worry over a situation I can’t control…I’m working on planting good seed into my own soil.

We have to be intentional.

Storms will come and force us to react.  Let’s protect the good seeds we’ve planted.  Fight for them.  Let’s not allow our temporary circumstances to rip our seeds of truth from the soil of our souls.

People will come and try to trample on that which we’ve planted.  We can post a “no trespassing” sign.

Drought will creep in.  Let’s recognize it quickly and reach back for the living water which is God’s word.

Bad seed can be thrown on us by others.  It can take root before we’ve realized it’s there.  Get out the hoe and get that out before its roots go too deep!

 

We have to be patient with ourselves.

Sometimes…some dreams…some desperate prayers…they need to work underground before they can burst forth.

A wounded heart may take some time before it is healed.

Bad self-esteem can steer us wrong more times than we’d like to admit before that seed has been removed.

The soil of our heart may need tending to.  Ten good seeds for every one bad.

We have to be hopeful.

We have a Master Gardner who knows exactly when those seeds will sprout.  He tells us in His word how to care for what has been planted inside of us.

He won’t let any good seed go to waste, we can count on that.

His words are the good seed.  We can’t rely on people for this.  Our worth, our purpose, our courage, it all comes from Him.  All of it!

 

“…my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:11

That which has been planted through the leading of the Word will eventually bloom.  It will eventually show itself.  And, it will be good.

Very good.

So let’s be kind to ourselves.  Let’s remind each other to be kind to ourselves girls!  Let’s remember whose we are and that He thinks the world of us.  We don’t like seeing our own children beating themselves up when they’re feeling a little low, so let’s not do it to ourselves.

We are children of The Most High, daughters of the King chosen before the beginning of time to come into the family of God!

Let that sink in…

Reflect and Respond:

*What are some  ways you can plant “good seed” into your own life?  Here are two good seeds to get you started.

 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us…”

I John 3:16a

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:14

 

*What are some bad seeds that were scattered into your life that resulted in something beautiful?

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Genesis 50:20

Praying for us all to prune away the bad, water the good and to be selective in the planting,

Kellie

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Learning To Love Without Limits

 

love-never-fails-source

In the first book 0f Peter, Peter is writing, instructing the church in a number of things.  Do’s and Don’ts. How to live a holy life.  Warnings on avoiding sin.  etc. etc. etc.

Towards the end of the book, he seems to wrap up all of those details with this…

” Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

God knows that even though He can tell us how to live, He can show us how to live and He can motivate us on why we should live in this way…we.  need.  simple.

And there is nothing more simple than loving someone.

I lost some of you there didn’t I?  We’ve all had someone we tried to love and it just seemed difficult.  May I suggest it was not in the loving them that was difficult, but in our expectations of their reaction to our love that made it so?  God doesn’t ask us to love according to how the other person will respond.  He just tells us to love.  Unconditionally.  Like His love for us.

 

Why should we love without limits?

God’s love for us is the thread that is woven throughout scripture.  Every story.  Every word.  It all boils down to His love for us.

Before our very existence, we were loved.  Unconditionally.  Out of our own experience of being loved without any strings attached, we love others.  Taking what has been freely given to us and passing it on.  Good stuff in, good stuff out.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Who are we to withhold our love from others in light of what Jesus has done for us?

Indulge me for a moment and allow me to string some words together that I see in the good Book.  I’ll reference where they are if you’d like to look at them in context.

 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31a

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”  Luke 6:32

“Above all, love each other deeply…” 1 Peter 4:8a

“…love covers over a multitude of sins”  1 Peter 4:8b

“…love never fails”  1 Corinthians 13:8a

Love never fails?  Doesn’t that mean that it always wins?  That’s good news!

Who do we love without limits?

Everyone

 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31a

Who is it that you have a hard time loving?

That neighbor who comes and goes at all hours?

That boss who takes advantage of his/her flexible schedule?

That new friend of your child you just don’t like?

That family member who keeps disappointing you?

That ex-spouse who won’t pay their child support?

That father that walked out when you were a child?

That counselor who keeps giving you homework in your marriage?

That teacher who plays favorites in your child’s classroom?

That person staring back at you in the mirror every morning?

No one is exempt.  No one has used their sin card too many times.  No one is so despicable or deplorable that we are not to love them.  God doesn’t withhold His love from anyone and we are to follow His lead.

How do we love without limits?

He makes this so easy for us that He even defines what love is.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

“…it keeps no record of wrongs…”

“…it does not dishonor others…”

Ouch.

As believers in Christ, we are to be conduits.  A pipeline of sorts.

Think of a storm drain.  The fresh, clean rains pour down and those drains have the task of funneling that water from one place into another.  But, sometimes they get clogged with trash and muck.  When they do, the pipes aren’t able to do what they were made for.  Water backs up.  The source of the water keeps pouring in and the pipe becomes stressed and bloated.  The water that was supposed to run through is now sitting, attracting insects and becoming stagnant.  On the flip side, the areas that desperately needed that water are left thirsty.  Soil sits dry.  Pipes begin to age and crack.

The love Christ has poured into us…let’s be careful not to slow down that flow with a bunch of trash in our pipes.  Trash like pride,anger, jealousy…

 

I’ve had a name or two on a list before.  People I did NOT want to even THINK about loving.  Content to let someone else throw them a smile or be kind.  Holding wrongs against them seemed, and seems, like the intelligent thing to do, right?  Aren’t we supposed to judge people by their fruit?  Yes.

But…

Just because I love someone, doesn’t mean they are my new best friend.  It doesn’t mean I agree with their choices or we need to start meeting for coffee.

Loving them simply means that I recognize that I am no better than they are in the sight of the One who gives us both breath.  We are on a level playing field.  There is only one Judge and I am not it.

I’m learning that I can love someone up close and I can love someone from a distance.  I’m learning that people are in my life on purpose for a purpose.  I’m learning that while I learn to love, even when I don’t want to, it changes me.  I become less self-centered and more thankful for the grace that God extends to me on a daily basis.

This is walking in the freedom that faith provides.  He loves.  I love.  It will never fail.

I’m learning a lot about this and it’s all good.

Why do we love without limits?

Because we are loved without limits.

Who do we love without limits?

Anyone with breath in their lungs.

How do we love without limits?

With perseverance and constant hope.

Reflect & Respond:

**  Are you withholding love from someone?

**God tells us that love covers over a multitude of sins.  Thank Him for that and begin praying for whoever is on your list.  But be fore-warned, your prayers may not change that person, but they will almost always change you!

Praying for you all,

Kellie

 

Featured

The Art of Letting Them Go…

d336453e5fb3808a440bcdad6d1bf2c8

When I think of creating art, words like messy, beautiful, creative, frustrating, expectation, intentional and unique come to mind.

If you were creating a piece of art, what would you think of?  What would your process look like?

This is how I am beginning to view my duty of letting my adult children go well (I want to do this so well).  It’s a process that began as early as their elementary school years.  But, we are rounding the final corner of this journey here at our home.

We’ve all heard it before, even if you’re not a believer.  “Love your neighbor as yourself“.

This passage of scripture is one of the most quoted pieces of the Bible.  Ponder it.

Now, step back and filter your children through these words.

“Love (child’s name) as yourself.”

Just like creating a piece of art requires purposeful thinking, letting our children go requires intentional planning.

I love my children fiercely.  Achingly.  Desperately  Blisteringly.

I love them with firmness.  Decisiveness.  Determination.  Purposefully.

If we are loving our neighbors, our children, as ourselves, won’t we love them like this?

With desperation, determination and with purpose.  Fiercely and firmly.

It’s a choice we all have to make.

Don’t you want to be loved like that?

 

 

Just like creating a piece of art requires constant motion, letting our children go requires continual plodding.

If we love our children with fierceness and firmness can we still give them the freedom to fly or fall?

I say yes.

But this is also a choice.  A verb.

To give them the freedom that is.

And it is necessary to their development.

If they fly, they will own it like a rock star!  “Look at me!  Look what I did!”  The self-esteem and confidence that comes with that flying can’t be taken from them.  Ever.

If they fall, they will learn.  They will self-examine.  They will re-examine.  They will know next time, and they will OWN the success that comes when they choose differently down the road.

 

This is how they learn.  This is how they mature.

 

Just like creating a piece of art stirs emotions from deep down in our souls, letting our children go will wreck us with a passion words cannot even describe.

Here is just a glimpse of what I’m learning in this season…

I’m learning how to view my children as adults.

I’m learning that although they respect me, they will make their own decisions.

I’m learning that if they don’t take my advice, it doesn’t mean they’re making a wrong choice.

I’m learning that they need to come to terms with their own faith in God.

I’m learning that that is a process.

I’m learning that although it’s scary to watch, I would rather they own their own faith than to piggy back off of mine.

I’m learning that although I was once physically exhausted from running our household and raising these children, it is sometimes just as mentally exhausting now.

I’m learning that my mom must have kept her mouth shut A LOT when I was a young adult!

I’m learning when to keep my own mouth shut.

I’m learning to be ready to break their fall but still let them feel some of the effects when they trip.

I’m learning if I shelter them or assume responsibility for their negative consequences, they’ll never learn or mature.

I’m learning they were listening even when I didn’t think they were.

I’m learning to encourage and take a step back.

So.  Much.  Learning.

Love your neighbor as yourself

Matthew 22.39b NIV

We can love our children with fierceness and firmness and still give them the freedom to fly or fall.

It’s in the flying that we feel the kiss and approval of our Heavenly Father.

It’s in the falling that we feel His forgiveness, His unconditional love and His grace.

Oh, His beautiful grace…

I want my children to experience that.  I want it to be personal for them.

Most importantly, if I love my children as myself, I am going to pray for them.  Fiercely and firmly.  Daily.  Hourly.  With passion.

Don’t you want to be prayed for in this way?  To have your name called out and laid down at the Father’s feet like this?  I sure do.

praying-for-kids

“Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.”
Psalm 127:3

Moving through this season of life can be hard.  Messy.  Sometimes stressful.  It’s also satisfying.  Joyful.  A privilege not all are afforded.

It involves purposeful planning, constant plodding, and explosive passion.

I still have a lot to learn.  At times I will fly.  At times I will fall. That simply means I’ll have even more in common with my children.

It’s all good.

And God is good.

He will guide, teach, comfort, encourage…He honors our efforts to do this well.  He loves our children more than we do, so stick close to Him.  Gather with friends who are walking through this season.  Encourage one another.  Share wisdom with one another.  Pray for one another.

Like an artist working on a masterpiece, make yourself step back frequently, stand still, and admire what God has already done in the lives of your children.

 And thank Him.

He loves that stuff 🙂

Reflect & Respond:

**Have you ever viewed your children as your neighbor?  How does it motivate you to let go of them well?

**Ask the Lord to show you how to apply this scripture, the second most important command, into your daily life.  He will be faithful to do it.

Praying for you all but especially those who are in this season with me,

Kellie

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Keeping a Focused Faith in a Frenzied World

 

leap-of-faith

 

“Am I over thinking this or are all of these valid points that should be explored?”

My husband has heard me ask this more times than he would probably like over the years, but, I can’t help it.  I’m detailed oriented.  I’m a list maker.  I’m a pro’s and con’s gal.  A “what if” thinker.  I must explore all of the scenarios of a decision before moving forward.  I can’t help myself.  But, I wish sometimes that I could.

I am in the midst of some decision making right now, like, some big decisions.  It’s important that I run down all of these details, right?  What if I mis-step?  What if I get ahead of God?

I’ve got to step out of the boat. I know it’s coming.

What about you?  What are you contemplating…what are you seeing come from a distance…that will require you to step out in faith?

*A new job opportunity

*A goal set to get out of debt

*Starting up a new business venture

*Re-dedication or renewal to your marriage

*Turning away from an addiction?

*Walking away from a toxic person or relationship

*Committing to mentor someone

What is it for you?

 

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Matthew 14:28-30

 

Here’s what I’m learning in this stage of my life…sometimes you just have to jump!

 

Think about Peter in that boat.  In the dark.  He sees Jesus.  He asks Him to just confirm that he’s not seeing things and that it really is Jesus ON the water.  Jesus says “Come” and out of the boat Peter went!

Peter didn’t make a list of pro’s and cons.  Peter didn’t ask his friends in the boat if they thought it was a good idea.  Peter didn’t ask Jesus about the forecast.  He just went for it.

In that moment Peter had faith.

Fast forward a few moments later and Peter had doubts.

The Bible says that he saw the wind and became afraid.  If he saw the wind, that meant he wasn’t looking into Jesus’ face.  He averted his eyes. He let himself become distracted and the thing that was a distraction he saw a saw as a threat to his well being.

He immediately began to sink.

Now, I am in no way saying that there aren’t times to make lists and seek wise counsel.  Times to pray and wait.  Times to weigh it all out.

But, if we see Jesus in front of us with his hand outstretched telling us to “Come”…we best go.  And we best keep laser focused on His face.  And we better show a little self control when we begin to hear the wind with our ears and see the effects of that wind with our pereferial vision.

 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33

This is so simple and yet I can be so bad at it.  When we seek something out we are scanning, listening and moving in a forward motion.  The bible tells us right here in Matthew that if we keep Him, His character, His spirit, His purposes, if we keep this first, these other things on our lists will be given to us.  Not handed over in a box with a pretty bow on it, but the things on our lists will be taken care of just as they should.

“in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:6

Here it is again in Proverbs.  Although sometimes we don’t like the word “submit”, this is actually where freedom lies.  In submitting to Him, we are handing over that thing that we think He may be calling us to do, we are handing our lists, our pros and cons and the opinions we retrieved from others, and trusting that if we are indeed following Him, He will take care of any consequences headed our way.  Any bumps in the road.  Any distractions or road blocks.  In submitting to Him, we are freely handing Him our doubts and worries and He is making our paths straight.

There’s a decision to be made or a change is coming and it’s got you all nervous, anxious, mind-blown, wrecked with worry, head spinning with “what if’s?” and crumbled lists in the waste basket.

Take a breath.  If He is telling you to “Come”, then go.

What an adventurous moment that must have been for Peter.  He walked on top of the water!!  I can’t even wrap my mind around that!

An adventure awaits you and me.  I’ve about made a decision I’ve been putting off.  I don’t know exactly how it will effect my husband, my children, my calendar, my chores, my friendships, my bank account, my sleep, my who knows what!  I’m nervous, I’ve got crumbled lists and I’ve about talked the ears off of my husband.

 

I’m about to exit the boat I’ve been in where there is security and predictability.

I’m choosing to stay focused on the One who is calling me out…at least for today.  Would you like to go too?

If you continue to read on about Peter you’ll see that when he began to sink, Jesus reached down immediately to rescue him.

If we begin to doubt, He will help us to re-focus, but we may wind up missing out on the rest of the adventure.

I’d love to hear from you.  What is He calling you out to do?  Do you sense Him saying “come”?

He will lead and He will rescue you in your weak moments.

Reflect and Respond:

**What is it that came to mind as you read this? Where does your faith jump lead?

**What step do you need to take today?  Continue to pray…or jump?

Praying for you all,

Kellie

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Purposely created to BE, not to DO

quote-rick-warren-a-purpose-driven-life

 

“It’s not about you.”

Last week we talked about putting the mirror down and getting the focus off of ourselves.  Not the most popular line of thinking these days is it?  We love to talk about our issues, our challenges, our past…but for this series we are exploring why we were created in the first place.

Now that the mirror is put away, let’s talk about love.

Before I even get started, I bet I can read your mind.  You’re already thinking that I’m going to tell you that you were created to love others.  That we are here to lavish love onto those that are less fortunate and to give of ourselves until we are empty.  That in loving others, we will find our purpose.

Wrong.  And right.

Today we aren’t talking about our performance.

We are talking about being loved.

Love.

One of the most over used words in the English language.  One of the most weighted words in the English language.  One of the most desired titles in the English language.

Why a title?

Don’t we all want to be loved?  To be cared for and thought of?  Don’t we all long to have someone who is wise, caring, discerning, someone who keeps our best interest in mind, who is fair and gentle to love us?

I say yes.

Look around.

Television movies are always centered around a relationship where either love conquers all or someone is looking to be loved.

Authors make millions of dollars selling books telling stories of two people not meant to be together who find their way through every roadblock until they intersect in the last chapter and live happily ever after.

Women young and old let things go too far too quick in dating relationships hoping they will be loved in return.

Our culture is inundated  with stories and photos and music that awaken something deep within us that says “somebody love me!!!”?

Where do we think this desire to be loved comes from?

Why are we wired this way?

God.

He placed in each of us the desire to be loved.  He did that.

Why?

Because He wants to be the one to fulfill that longing.  He wants for me and for you to open our hearts up to Him to fill that hole.

 “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”

Ephesians 1:3-6 The Message

Read this again.  Read it slowly.

“...long before the earth’s foundations…” He envisioned us.

“...he had us in mind…” He thought of us.

“…settled on us as the focus of his love...” He chose to make us his center.

“…adopt us into his family...” Before we were born he knew He wanted us.

“…He wanted us…” His mind was made up.

“…his lavish gift-giving…” He planned to demonstrate His love for us.

None of this has anything to do with our performance.

None of it.

One of the reasons you are here on this earth is for God’s pleasure.

So He can love you.

He takes pleasure in loving YOU!

It you are a parent, think of it this way.  Don’t you love your children just the way they are?  Especially if you planned on having them, don’t you cherish the fact that you have this child and that they are yours. They carry your name.  They resemble you in appearance.

What if they were laying in a hospital bed and were unable to do their chores.  Would you love them the same as when they could hold a broom?

What if they got caught up in the wrong crowd and went astray for a while.  Would you love them the same as when they were under your wings?

What if they lived their lives pursuing their dreams.  Would you love them any less if they did not?

That parental love…it’s not performance based.  It doesn’t come with conditions.

I John 4:8 tells us that “God is love”.  It’s His nature.  His character.  We were created in His image and that love resides in us.  Both our desire to love and our desire to be loved.

Let’s settle on this for now…you exist so that God can love you.

He loves you whether you want it or not.

He loves you whether you think you deserve it or not.

He loves you whether you are walking in His ways or not.

He loves you.  Period.

Like a loving father, even if you push back, run away or turn your back on Him, He still loves you.

He has since before the foundations of the earth were set.  Before.

So let’s rest in that.  Breath it in.  Believe it.

Reflect & Respond:

**Perhaps you were taught that the purpose of your existence is solely to please God through your actions.  Reflect on the scripture above.  Read it and ask Him to help you believe it.

** What’s your response to this good news?  I’d love to hear about it!

Praying for you all,

Kellie

Featured

Put the Mirror Down

quote-rick-warren-a-purpose-driven-life

“It’s not about you.”

Ever heard of The Purpose Driven Life?  This is is the first line of the book.  Kind of a let down right?

It was written by Rick Warren in 2002 and sat on the New York Time’s Bestseller List for over 90 weeks!  That’s nearly 2 years!  That’s a lot of people seeking to find their purpose.

Ever heard of What On Earth Am I Here For?  It’s an updated version of Purpose Driven Life released to culminate the 10th anniversary of Warren’s best seller.

The first line in the new book?  “It’s not about you”.  Seems things haven’t changed.

 

We have been enveloped with ads and quotes and books and commercials that keep our eyes on ourselves.

You need this phone so you can stay connected to the world.

You need this nutritional plan so you can stay focused on your health.

You need this car so you can impress your coworkers.

You need this line of credit so that you can purchase your dream boat.

You need …

“It’s not about you”

Why would Warren open with such a statement?  Does it make you want to keep reading further?  To be told that maybe we’re not all that important?  That maybe our lives don’t really matter?

Isn’t there a small part of us that thinks “really?”  If it’s not about me, then why am I even here?  What’s my purpose?  When is it going to be about me?

When someone hurts us we ask “what did I ever do to you?”

When a loved one passes away we ask “why is this happening to me?”

When we lose our job we say “what was the point of that?”

When someone else gets that promotion we ask “when is it my turn?”

I.  Me.  My.

 

”  It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

  The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal…”
John 13 1-4a

 

This passage gets to me.

The scene here is that Jesus is at what we call “The Last Supper”.

Jesus knows that the hour was here for his death.  The hour.

He knows that the devil has already spurred Judas to betray Him.

So, Jesus gets up from the meal…

I stopped the scripture here because I think we should pause and ask ourselves what we would be doing if we were in Jesus’ place.

Would we get up and make an emotional speech about how we were about to die?

Wouldn’t we want some sympathy or for people to know what a martyr we were about to be?

Wouldn’t we want to stand up and point at Judas and let everyone know that he was about betray us and so “ya’ll make sure he gets what’s coming to him!”

What does Jesus do here?  Let’s pick up where we left off…

“4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

John 13:4-7

My goodness can you see it?  Do you feel it?

I would be trembling too hard to tie anything around my waist and pour water into a basin and kneel down so calmly.

I would be nauseated with fear of what was coming.

I would be busting at the gut to tell everyone what was about to happen.

But if I did, all eyes would be on me.  All compassion, sympathy and protectiveness would be centered on me.  Feel sorry for me.  Look at me.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

It’s not about me.

It’s not about you.

Everything Jesus did while he walked the earth was at the direction of his Father.  He knew his Father had a good plan, that it had a purpose that would make an eternal impact on lives until the end of our time here and he knew that we would be better served if he pointed us all to his Father rather than to his own life.

Everything.  All of it.

Jesus didn’t hold a mirror.  He didn’t keep glancing at his problems and his frustrations and the unfairness that kept coming his way.  He didn’t lean in to his own reflection (like I’ve done so many times) and question over and over again “why me?” or “what now”.

Jesus didn’t gather his friends around and ask for their pity.  He didn’t manipulate others into constantly asking him if he was ok.  He didn’t.  It wasn’t about him.

It’s not about us…the question is, do we understand that we still have purpose?  That there’s a reason we’re all here and breathing?  That we are a part of God’s divine plan?

We have purpose.  We are important.  We are so loved by the Creator that He chose to demonstrate that to us through the sacrifice of His son.  His beloved.

Let’s follow Jesus’ lead and serve others without the expectation of return service.

There was purpose in the life of Jesus.

There is purpose in the lives we lead.

I’ll say more about that next week.  But for now…let’s just put the mirror down.

Reflect & Respond:

**Do you ever find yourself so focused on your own life that you almost nauseate yourself?  I have.  Examine your more recent thoughts and turn it around if necessary.

**Serve.  Be intentional and do one thing every day to serve someone unselfishly.  Let’s see if our problems start to shrink as we put that into practice.

Praying for you all,

Kellie 

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The Choice is Yours

 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. “
I Corinthians 10:23

 

When my children were really small, they had to do whatever in the world I told them too.  Get in the car.  Get in the bath.  Stay out of the refrigerator.  Bring me your book bag.

 

There came a time when one of my sweet children (who shall remain nameless) began asking me after my directions “what will you do to me if I don’t do that?”

What??

This child was weighing out the consequences.  They were deciding whether it would be worth the adventure to just flat out do it their own way and take the punishment rather than obey and keep peace in our little family.

The reality is, that child could literally choose not to get in the car, get in the bath, stay out of the fridge or bring me said book bag.

It was their choice.  They had the freedom to choose in those moments.

 

I wasn’t delving out instructions because they needed to know who was boss.  I didn’t take pleasure in pointing my finger with “go here” and “sit there” and “do it now”.

 

Everything I told my kids to do was in their best interest.  Whether short term or long term, it was to their advantage to just obey.

 

Loading up in the car was the pathway to school or Mimi’s house, a bath kept them clean, unnecessary trips to the fridge would spoil their dinner and there were things in the book bag I was expected to sign and initial or else my children would suffer consequences the next day from their teacher.

 

You see, it wasn’t always about right and wrong and being bossed around, it was about knowing what was best for them and keeping them on the right track.  A track that would ultimately be for their good.

 

Today we have laws and rules and convictions we are told to follow, but like our children, we are tempted to do things our own way.

We like to question.

But, there is an authority who knows what’s in our best interest and we’d be wise to listen to Him.

Very wise.

 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

I Corinthians 10:13

Whenever we are tempted to take action that contradicts with His word, He helps us to flee from that temptation.  That is great news!  Temptation is going to be a part of life.  He calls us to lean into Him during those times and ask Him how to escape that thing.  Whatever it is.

Here’s what I know, the directions He gives to us are for our benefit.  It’s not to restrain us from becoming  the “real us”, it’s to keep us away from the things that will keep us from becoming who we were made to be.  We are His creation.  He knows what’s best for us.  He knows what’s coming around the corner of our lives.  He knows how we need to be prepared best.

But alas…

I’m free to stand on railroad tracks.

I’m free to drive at high speeds.

I’m free to walk across a busy highway without looking both ways.

I’m free to view pornography.

I’m free to charge up my credit cards.

I’m free to gossip.

I’m free to yell at my husband and children when I’m angry.

 I’m free to ignore the Holy Spirit when it nudges me to do something.

I’m free to stay away from church.

I’m free to cheat on my spouse.

I’m free to lie to my boss.

What is it in God’s word that you struggle with the most?

freedom

 

What if we stopped looking at God’s book as a rule book and instead looked at it as a play book?

 

Like a coach teaching and training their team, when the players execute the plays as they’ve been taught, more ground is gained and the coach is pleased.  The team is heading in the right direction.

Doing things God’s  way won’t come without obstacles and challenges, but it will produce more wins than losses.

 

He gives us the freedom to make our choices, just like my children had freedom.  But, the consequences are never worth the rebellion.  Never.  Trust me.

I’ve heard the Bible referred to as a “book of instructions” or an “owner’s manual for life”and those labels have some significance to them.  But, the difference in using the book as just a manual or instruction book and reading it for it’s overall purpose is very different.

The One who wrote the book…He is the book.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

When we read and study the Bible, the best part of our learning isn’t in the rules or commands, it isn’t in the answers we’re looking for or the list of do’s and don’ts we may find.

It’s in those pages that we see who God really is.  How He loves us.  His character.  His heart.  The motivation behind Him giving us those commands.

Mama’s have their children’s best interest in mind when they teach them.

Coaches have their team’s best interest in mind when they instruct them.

God has our best interest in mind when He gives us wisdom through His word to help us make wise choices.

We make our own choices but then our choices make us.

Let’s be careful.  Let’s be teachable.

Let’s be grateful for the freedom to choose and the knowledge that the One who helps us to make our choices does so out of love.

 

 Reflect and Respond:

Have you always seen the Bible as just a book of rules?  Do you imagine God pointing His finger with a never-ending list of to-do’s? I challenge you to turn your thinking around and see it as a play book.  A book with direction and wisdom meant for your benefit.

Are you curious when you see Christians study the Bible?  Are you wondering where the freedom is in that?  Ask someone you know to help you understand why.

Praying for us all to to rest in the security of His Word,

Kellie

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You Can’t Make Me Go To Church

 

Ever heard that before?  From your children?  Maybe even a close family member?

I don’t want to convict, condemn, or guilt anyone into going to church.  I want you to go because you want to be there.  Because you enjoy it.  Because you long to please our Father.

My heart is bursting today with a love of the church that I hope I can convey to you in 1,000 words or less.  I’m not busting out about the 11a.m.service on Sundays with three praise and worship songs followed by a 35 minute sermon and an altar call.

My heart is exploding over the literal church and what it has meant to me over the years. What it means to me now.

Let me explain.

I had a conversation today with a friend about something very personal.  Something I can’t talk about in this place yet.  All I can share today is that someone I love with every fiber of my being is walking down a path never meant for them.

My friend listened intently as I let my burden leak out.  She did not judge.  She offered practical advice.  She told me specifically how she planned to help me pray over this situation.  Then, she wrote out the most beautiful, powerful prayer and sent it to me so that I would know exactly what she is saying to the Creator of the universe, God, on my behalf.

She went above and beyond the “I’ll be praying for you” quote we all use.  She is standing in the gap for me and she’s pulling me along.

This kind of friendship will only be found between two people who share the same Father, use the same book as a compass for living and live with the same goals in mind.  This type of relationship only happens when we have been directed by our Father on how to forgive, how to love, how to encourage, how to hope, how to pray…you name it…we are standing on common ground and that is a only a small part of why I love “the church”.

You see, the church isn’t the building and the programs and the schedules and the suits and skirts.

The church is made up of people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  People who acknowledge that God is head over all and that His son Jesus died in order to, once and for all, pay the penalty for our sin.  The church is made of people, imperfect people, who live for God because He sent His son to live and die for us.

The church has one head, God the Father, which makes us all spiritual brothers and sisters, and we strive to simply follow Him wherever He takes us.

When we share a common belief and faith in the one true God, something special takes place in our relationships.  God has a vested interest in them and pours out blessings on them.

As my children have gotten older and are now young adults (what?!) I hear them reminisce about being a part of the body of Christ.

They will recall when they were preschoolers being smiled at and played with by Sunday School teachers who were the same age as their grandparents.

They will recall as middle schoolers tagging along with Tim and me to Bible studies and cook outs and ball games with other members of our church.  Helping out in Vacation Bible School and stacking chairs after a Sunday dinner on the grounds.

They will recall as high school graduates being honored with a slide show at church and being prayed over by the congregation as they began this next leg of their life.

My kids are old enough to understand the blessing of hindsight now.

They are grasping that for 20+ years we surrounded our little family with other Christians that we were doing life together with, that our friends were praying for and mentoring our kids and we were doing the same for them.

The relationships that we built over the years of choosing to be an active member of the local church have been the most lovely, meaningful, authentic, blessed relationships we’ve ever experienced.

The church.  God’s design.  Our home away from our heavenly home.

If you are a Christian and you are not attached to a local group of authentic, enthusiastic, Bible believing Christ followers;

” If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…”

I Corinthians 12:26a

We are still a member of the same body even if you aren’t actively involved.  You are still attached but you’re not enjoying the benefits of contributing to the direction the body is trying to move and the other parts (including me!) are suffering for it.

                                                                                    images

You.  Are.  Missing.  Out.

I.  Am.  Missing.  Out.

Come into fellowship with us.  Come see who your spiritual siblings are.  Get to know us.  Take the time needed to see who you connect with deeply.  Who you can confide in.  Who can pray for your children while you pray for theirs.

Come on.

There is no part of the body of Christ that can work in full capacity alone.  Not one.

You need me and I need you.

Like my friend I mentioned above;

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I want this for you!  This kind of friendship.

You don’t have to make me go to church. I’ve experienced the goodness there that keeps me going back.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Psalm 34:8

There is a place for you in the local church where a future close friend or two awaits. A place where your gifts are needed in order for the body to function properly.  A place where someone else may need you to bring your experiences and listening ear to stand in the gap for them.

Come, see for yourself.

Reflect & Respond:

*If you are not a part of a local body of believers, I urge you to decide today to find one.  You could start by asking someone whose life you admire (because of their faith) where they attend and start there.

*If you are already in a local church, are you making the effort to connect with others in your congregation?  If you only attend an hour each week, inquire how you might take a step towards meeting others there on a more personal level.  Step out of your comfort zone.  You will be blessed.

Praying for you,

Kellie

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What Does It Mean To Be Broken?

light-through-cracked-jar

“We are broken”

“Bring your brokenness to Him”

“Come all who are broken”

“In my brokenness, I can ______________”

I see these statements a lot lately.

We don’t like to think about it, we don’t like admitting it, but it’s the truth.  We aren’t just imperfect people, we are broken people.  We have cracks.  We have flaws.  We are not whole.  Things can leak in and out.  We are vulnerable at those cracked places for further damage.

The Bible makes several references to God being the Potter and mankind being His clay.  References are made about how He is shaping us, how we came from the dirt and how He knows what He wants to make us be.

 

If you’ve ever made pottery you’re familiar with the process of going from what looks like a pile of mud to something beautiful that has purpose and attracts the eye.

 

It’s a beautiful picture of the intimate care God takes in planning ahead what it is He has for us, what we will look like, what purpose we will serve, and working all of that out through the moving of His hands.

 

*A potter has a vision before they start working.  They know what they are going to do with a particular piece of clay before they even turn on the wheel.

*A potter knows what ingredients are needed to make the clay pliable.  Water.  You gotta have water in order for the clay to move at the direction it is pulled and pushed.

*A potter doesn’t takes its eyes off of the piece it is crafting.  Imagine looking over your shoulder while trying to form and fashion something beautiful.  One small slip of one digit and the entire piece can get all out of wack.

*The clay has to remain centered on the wheel.  If the potter allows it to slip and move about, the piece will tilt and in one quick second, it can be demolished as the wheel continues to spin.

*The potter sees when there is too much clay in one area of the pot.  He can pinch off what is unnecessary and will keep the piece from achieving its full purpose and throw it into the trash pile.

Ever felt like life was pinching you?

When  a potter makes a pot, each one is different…unique.  And if you look close enough, most have flaws or weak places.  But to the potter, each piece he has made with care and time is beautiful and was worth getting soar hands from kneading the hard clay and the re-starts or do-overs necessary to get the piece exactly how he wanted it.

 

Do you see how intimate this process is?  God, the Master Potter, has His hands on you and on me with a vision in mind and His foot on the pedal while constantly massaging and pinching and shaping us so that He can use us for His purposes.

This process will go better for us when we relax and don’t try to buck what He is doing.

He knows we are flawed.  He uses those broken and weak places to bring all eyes to Him.

When I study scripture about being broken, it takes me back to this being a sin issue.

We all know that we are in fact people born with a sin nature, but we don’t like talking about it do we?

Psalm 51:17 says

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

 

To say that we are broken simply means that we are cracked.  We are not whole.  Only Christ is whole and complete.  Our sin makes us in need of repair.  In need of some TLC from our maker, the One who lovingly crafted us.

Psalm 51:17 says that He will not despise (dislike or turn away) a broken (shattered or cracked) and contrite (remorseful) heart.

To say that He will not turn us away implies that He wants for us to come to Him with our brokenness.

Do you see it?

We have cracks but He longs for us to come back to the Potter’s House and have those repaired or reworked.

As we go to Him with our sin and remorse He knows just how to make the repairs needed to our spirit.  It may feel uncomfortable, it may require a little heat or scraping, but it’s ultimately for our good.

What does God get out of it when we go to Him with our brokenness?

He gets to be intimate with us again.  It seems that when we have sin in our lives, it pushes us away from our maker.  We’re embarrassed or busy doing things our own way and it takes us out the door from Him.  Taking our brokenness to Him brings us back into fellowship with Him.

He gets to show off.  God is the only one who can take our cracks and weak places and make something beautiful out of them.  Only He can take our imperfections and mistakes and suddenly turn them into something that will get the attention of others to turn His way.

When He begins to work on our brokenness, His spirit that lives inside of us will shine through our cracks.  Others who are broken in their own way can will watch from a distance.  They will see His light inside of us shining through those cracks.  Healing.  Restoring.  Relieving.

You see, clay is solid in color.  It’s impossible to get a glimpse of what is inside of a clay pot.  But these cracks, these broken places,they allow people to see inside.

Cracks in clay can be mended with more clay or some type of putty.  Sometimes He fixes our cracks and it’s just between He and us.  Maybe only a small scar is left behind that no one else would ever know is there.

Other times, He fixes our cracks with something that is opaque.  Something that will strengthen us in what used to be a weak place, but causes us to keep walking around with a visible crack.  A reminder of our past.

It’s all so that others can see what a great work he does re-working, restoring and re-purposing what we once thought was bad enough to cause Him to just throw us to the side and dispose of us entirely.

We are His masterpiece. He set us above even the angels.  He longs to help us in our broken places.

He knows what He’s doing.  And there is nothing we can do or experience that is so bad that He cannot fix, re-enforce our weak places and continue using us for something beautiful.

Brokenness is the place where God works to make us more like Christ and in which other people see that only He is perfect.

There is no one who doesn’t have cracks.  There is no one who isn’t susceptible to being broken.  No one who doesn’t have weak places.  No one.

There is no cracked-pot that the Master Potter doesn’t yearn to hold in His hands and sooth and repair and re-purpose for His glory and our good.

Let’s not let our cracks keep us from Him.  The longer we stay out and expose our weak places to the elements of this world…the opinions of others, our own insecurities, the lie that we have to fix ourselves before going to Him…the more damaged we will become.  The more fragile we will become.  The more worn and tired we will become.

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

Galatians 3:3

We cannot fix ourselves properly. It would be like trying to dress a wound in the center of our backs.

I’ve got some cracks of my own that need tending to, will you meet me at the Potter’s House?  He is watching the door waiting eagerly for our arrival.

Reflect and Respond:

**What are your cracks a result of?  Your own doing or something that was done to you?

**Talk to Him right now about your brokenness.  Call a trusted friend who can pray with you if you don’t want to do this alone.  You don’t have too.

Praying for us all to recognize our cracks quickly and respond by falling on our knees, oh how He loves you and me,

Kellie

 

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Hope For the Weary Mama

Anyone who has been called out by the Lord to write words to point people to Him know how hard this can be.  He asks us to expose our lives for the sake of others.  To lay down and become vulnerable.  To reach into the deep places of where we have been and where we are and use our journey…our imperfect lives…for His purposes.

 

 

I now have the privilege of something called hind-sight.  It’s a beautiful thing!  As I look back at the triumphs and struggles we have had as a family, I see things we did well and things we did not do so well.  I see people who stepped in to encourage me and people who just kept smiling while slightly turning their backs as if to say “we don’t have problems over here so you stay over there“.

 

I don’t want to be in that clique.  They had problems too, they just didn’t want to admit it.

 

I read a lot of other blogs and books.  I need inspiration for my own daily life and it helps me to see how other people write.  I learn from their stories as well as their writing styles.

 

Recently, I realized that most of the material I’ve been reading has sometimes made me feel like they’ve got it all together and I just don’t.  What I was doing was reading from moms who still have school aged children.

 

Do you ever catch yourself comparing your life to someone else’s only to find out you’re not comparing apples to apples?  I know we’re not supposed to compare but let’s face it, it happens.

 

When the light bulb went off, I was both relieved and terrified.

 

 

You see, my children are college age.  The days of “hand me your cell phone” and “we don’t like that friend so NO MORE” and “apologize to your sister” are OVER!

 

 

I can’t write much about this new place in my life because my children read my posts.  But, they know, I am struggling with some of the decisions they’re making.  Not all.  In fact, most decisions are going to turn out well.  But, although they honor me with respect, they respectfully disagree with some of my opinions now.

 

Double edged sword.

 

I want for them to make their own decisions.   But, often times it takes falling on your face to learn.  This is that time for them.  They fully own their actions now.  The good and the not so good.

I find myself thinking “if they would just keep doing what I say, it will all be okay!!”

 

If you are here with me, feel free to reach out privately and let’s get a coffee!  I’m being dead serious.

 

I share all of this with you to say this…those of you who still have your children under your wings, in your nest and under your authority, your parenting privileges will change at some point.  You will always be your child’s mama but your role will change after high school.  Your opinions will be just that…opinions.  NOT the authority.  NOT the bottom line.  NOT the giver outer of consequences.

 

A friend of mine posted today that she wished we (Christians) could be more vulnerable with one another.  That we could share hard stuff without worrying about judgment.  Hard stuff that is internal.  A mental struggle.  A family struggle.  Things we keep quiet most of the time.

 

This is a platform for me to do just that.

 

I have two great kids.  But, when they were in school, we had struggles that I did not talk about very often.  There are still things that I’ve never spoken of.  Words vomited out that hurt.  A teenager landing their fist through a wall.  Threats of “I’m leaving!” and “There’s the door!”

 

This wasn’t every day.  But, it was here.  As I get older and allow things to spill from the cracks of my heart, I am learning that there are a lot of good families who are struggling.

Like, really struggling.

 

I’ve been there.  I’ve questioned whether my child needed professional help.  Whether I needed professional help.  Whether these things, these confrontations, went on in other homes.  The list could go on and on.

 

If you are a weary parent…like, you are reading this alone and you think you’re alone because what would everyone else around you say if they even caught a glimpse of what may be happening in your home weary…you are not alone.  You are not alone!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

 

matthew-11-28-weary

 

If we were sitting at Dunkin Donuts together in our yoga pants curled up in a corner booth together, let me tell you a few things I would be saying to you out of this place of hind-sight I’m now in…

 

*Do not give up!  There may be times that it would be easier to set your kids in front of the TV or send them to live with their dad or let them quit high school at 16 or let their attitude rule your home-DO NOT!  Your children do not know the long-term consequences of their behavior when they push you like this.  But, YOU know the long term consequences.  You’re the adult.  It’s your job and mine to stay the course.  No TV until chores and homework are done, keep them close, do whatever you need to for them to finish their education and if they are seniors in high school who STILL think they can get their way by bullying you, you stay on your feet and hold your ground!  Call a friend.  Call a grandparent (we did!), call a coach, call a Youth Pastor, reach out for help.  Get creative.  Find ways to discipline that speak to your child.  God honors our efforts when we don’t give up.  He’s got your back, I promise.

 

*Keep trusting Him.  God wired the brains of our precious little people.  He knows what’s going on in their heads better than we do.  He purposely made you the mama to your little tribe.  Purposely!  That means He has equipped you to do what you need to do.  He’s given you resources.  He’s placed the right people in your life at the right time.  He knew you would struggle.  He knew your child would challenge you like this.  It always helped me to keep in mind the big picture-it’s not even ALL about me-it’s not ALL about you-it’s not ALL about your child.  Every bit of the struggle is to bring you and that child closer to your Creator.  All of it. Those challenges you are facing, they are temporary.  I promise.  Not only that, but it is in our struggle that we get more and more desperate for God and as we lean in to Him and in to those that he has placed in our path, we will grow.  We will learn.  You will one day encourage another parent that it will all be okay.  Not perfect, but okay.

 

*Pray.  We went through some times here that I call “dark”.  I call it that because I couldn’t see the light.  I had to rely on my faith.  To make the conscious decision to trust what God says and anticipate each time we turned a corner that the light might be waiting there.  I prayed “Lord, I believe, but please help me in my unbelief”  A lot.  Stay close to Him.  It’s okay to get mad and question Him, just keep talking to Him.  And be thankful. Be thankful for the privilege to parent that challenging child (or children).  Be thankful for your resources and that you can trust Him.

 

When we were being faced with challenges early on, I told a friend that I was continually hoping that my child was going to turn out alright.  She too was in the midst of her own parenting challenges.  She responded by saying “honey, I’m not hoping this turns out alright, I’m counting on it!”

 

That was a turning point for me.

 

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

Do you see the wording here?  They.  Will.  Not.

God never promised not to give us more than we could handle.  He will.  We were not made to handle it all on our own.  He wants in on the deal.  Invite Him in to your life and family and watch Him work.

Reflect:

Are you struggling in your home and in your mind with parenting issues?  Reach out to someone you can trust and let it pour out of the cracks.  Relieve the pressure.

Can I pray for you?  It’s possible I’ve walked down the road you’re on now.  Reach out, I would love the privilege to take your name to the Father.

Praying for you specifically today who are barely holding it together,

Peace, hope and courage,

Kellie

 

 

 

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That Time God Asked Me To Be Carried

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.  When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.”

Luke 5:18-19

 

A few years ago my husband took a bad fall at work.  He fell off of a roof while working alone, landing on his head and knocking him out cold!  When he came too, he had no idea where he was but he did manage to call me in his drunken stupor.  That was one of the scariest days of my life!

 

After racing to be by his side, with our two small children at my hip, we watched him be transported to the local hospital.  I drove as quick as I could and arrived at the E.R. just moments after my guy.  To my surprise, I was greeted by a handful of men from our church.  In all the frenzy of getting Tim help, our church was alerted to begin praying and all of the staff jumped in a car to meet us as we arrived.  Wow.

 

By the end of that day, we were all back home.  My man had a lump on his head the size of a baseball, but no permanent damage was found.  We contemplated that if he had fallen just a little to the right or left, he could have easily been stabbed by the tools in his belt, or something worse.

We were blessed.

 

My husband and I are servants.  We make dinners.  He uses his skills to bless widows.  Our home is always open to those needing some rest.  We especially enjoy taking care of things and people when no one is watching.  When no one is aware.  We are perfectly content to find out later how an anonymous blessing effected someone rather than tie our name to it.

That’s our wheelhouse.

But that day…

That day, God asked me to take help instead of give it.

Can I tell you, it was a little uncomfortable.

He asked me to stop worrying that I may be putting someone out so that they could help our family in our time of need.  He asked me to relax, to be thankful and to let the people in our lives take care of us for a day or two.

He asked me to let our friends and family carry our mat.

The details of that day were taken care of without an utterance of concern from my lips.

My husband’s truck was retrieved and deposited back into our driveway.  I still don’t know who did that.  My children were taken care of by someone else while we waited on test results.  I honestly can’t remember who had them.  Our dinner that night was taken care of before we ever arrived back home.

 

Looking back, it was as if we were literally being carried on all 4 corners.  We were given the freedom to focus on what was most important that day.  My husband’s well-being.

 

I’ll never forget how loved we felt.

 

Most women I know are mat carriers.  They jump in and do the work.  They bring the meals.  Watch the children.  Organize the help.  Prostrate in prayer.  Fill the gap.

 

Have you ever been asked to lay down?  Have you ever been put on a mat involuntarily?

You keep trying to get back up but the Lord has someone place their hand on your proverbial forehead and tell you to lie still?

 

Sometimes it’s necessary.

 

Not only for you and me to lie still, but there is a blessing in store for those carrying your mat.

 

We have to be careful not to steal that from others.

 

There is a time to serve and a time to be served.

 

Let’s try to do a better job at recognizing where the Lord would have us.  If He says to pick up someone else’s mat, let’s pick it up.  If He says to lie down, let’s lie down.

 

*Do you carry your friends when they need help?

*Have you ever struggled with being carried?

 

Praying for you,

Kellie

 

I’m participating in #livefreethursday today.  Link in side bar if you’d like to check it out!

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Marked…On Purpose, For Purpose

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“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

Acts 17:  26-27

 

The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts that beginning with one man, God marked our appointed times in history and our boundaries.  He knew from the beginning when you and I would appear and how far He would allow us to go.

 

He providentially marked it out.

 

Have you ever been in the right place at the right time and it was just magic?  I have!

As the Summer of ’88 was winding down I got a call from a friend.

“I’ve got a date tonight.  We were fixing up my date’s best friend with another girl and that girl just bailed on us, can you be ready in 15 minutes?  He’s super cute!!”

I threw my hair up in a pony tail, brushed on a little mascara and ran out the door.  That night was unforgettable…sighhhhhh.

28 years later, the young man I met that night has been my husband for 26 years, father of my 2 children, my dreaming partner and biggest cheerleader.

There are other stories to share, but that one is my favorite.

 

Everything that comes into our lives ultimately has one purpose…to shift our gaze towards Him, to move closer to our creator and bring as many with us as will come.

That one night has resulted in a million “thank you’s” in gratitude and two children who have been brought up to love Jesus.

 

These moments, these seasons we are in, God knew before the beginning of time we would be here.  Nothing catches Him off guard.  Nothing surprises Him.  He is in all and over all.

 

Whatever circumstance you are in today, you’re there on purpose.

 

When we are running around in circles trying to fix everything and make things happen and cause what’s already in motion to stop, we wear ourselves out.

I’ve been there.  I’m there now as a matter of fact (but I’m working on it).

 

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
Psalm 15:5-6

When we don’t get it, He does.  When we can’t see the big picture, He can.  When we can’t see the point, rest assured, there is one.  When we’re scared to death, He’s already handled it.  When nothing makes sense to us, it all comes together perfectly for Him.

Whatever circumstance you are in today, it has a purpose.

Sometimes those magical moments happen and it’s easy to look back and see God’s hand all over the whole deal.

 

Most often though, we have to walk through something hard before we can look back and answer the “why me?” and “what for?” questions.

 

Sometimes he allows us to walk through something because He knows ahead of time how many other lives will be influenced by our actions.  Sometimes He allows us to walk through something because He knows it will draw us closer to Him.  Sometimes He allows us to walk through something because He knows the eternal effect it may have on someone 50 or even 100 years from now.

It’s not always about us!

Those boundaries were marked out before any of us were born and they apply not only to us, but to those that we love and the unlovable.

Those kids you are worried about…

That family member who is going off the deep end…

That boss that is treating you unfairly…

That teacher that your child was purposely placed into their classroom…

They have boundaries too!

They are here, in our lives, on purpose, for a purpose.

He has set the example of a loving father, setting boundaries up for His children.  If we, or our loved ones, get too close to those lines, He will gently correct us.  He will mercifully turn our shoulders back in the right direction.

He made the map, the boundary lines, the people.  He knew the history before it ever came to pass.

History is HIS-story.

There is freedom in knowing that He drew the lines before the beginning of time.

Let’s take a breath and trust that He knows what He’s doing.

Reflect:

*Have you ever felt like you were in the right place at just the right time?  Thank Him for His graciousness.

*Have you ever felt God nudge you away from someone or something?  Thank Him for His mercy.

Praying for us all to rest in this,

Kellie

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Finding Joy in the Midst of the Unknown

Child swinging

 

“Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 86:4

Look at the joy on that little girl’s face!  She is enjoying the freedom that comes when we choose to sit down, grab hold, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

 

Do you remember when you were younger going to amusement parks?  Log rides, giant swings that lifted you upwards of 100 feet into the air and parachutes that dangled narrow benches below that you hopped right on with a sparkle in your eye and a knot in your stomach.

 

Roller coasters were my favorite.  They clicked slowly up those steep hills.  With each breath I would glance down to see how much further we had gone.  Eventually, we’d reach the top and the weight of the front of the coaster would pull the rest over the hill.  I held on for dear life while screaming as loud as I possibly could!  I learned that screaming would actually help keep my stomach from dropping so drastically and I ultimately enjoyed the ride even more the louder that I screamed!

 

Have you ever ridden on a train?  You rock along for hours at a time gaining ground at great speed.  You have the freedom to walk around, talk to friends, grab a cold drink or even lay your head over and catch a nap.  The gentle shake of the train car brings rhythm and white noise to the sleepy parts of the mind.  It’s easy to grab a pillow and find a comfortable spot to doze.

 

These things.  Rope swings, roller coasters and railways.  Although we can see them from the surface, we really never know what they are rooted in.

 

That swing is tied to a tree.  Is it a healthy tree?  Has that branch been compromised in the past?  Is the rope of good quality?

 

That roller coaster was built with man-made materials and maintained by strangers.  Has it been serviced lately?  Are all of the parts in working order?

 

That railroad track has been there a long time.  When was the last time that someone did a thorough inspection on every inch of it?  Have the brakes on the train been checked recently?  Did the conductor receive adequate training before yelling “ALLLLL ABOARD!!!”?

 

We don’t like to think about these things, so we don’t.  We put them out of our minds and make the conscious decision to focus on the good.  The fun.  The unknown.  The absolute joy that is found when we swing high, fly down and rock and roll along those metal rails.

 

When we place our beating hearts into these seats and onto these cars, we are extending trust to total strangers.

 

Why is it so difficult to do the same when it comes to trusting God?

 

This is where faith walks in.  Making the choice to trust and acting on it with full abandon.

 

“Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 86:4

When David wrote this Psalm, he was in a bad place in his life.  He was scared.  He had enemies pursuing him.  There were unknowns.

When I read this one small verse I hear a couple of things in his heart.

**David’s desire is to be joyful, despite his circumstances.  He doesn’t want to be dragged down or to walk around in defeat.  He doesn’t want to complain.  He doesn’t want to whine.  He wants to feel alive!

**David has no problem reminding the Lord that he trusts in the One true God.  It’s as if he’s saying “hey, I’m doing what you’ve asked of me, could you fill me with joy in return?”

If we are in fact placing our trust in the Lord, we can ask the Lord to fill us up in return.

It’s okay.  It’s okay!

I believe it’s an honest prayer.  I believe He will honor it.  I believe when we are full of His joy despite our circumstances, He is well pleased.

It’s a win win!

Even when we have a knot in our stomach, even when we look around us and see danger, even when we have zero control over how fast our circumstances are changing, we can still have joy.

Joy!

Full Definition of joy

  1. 1:  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires

  2. 2:  a state of happiness or felicity :bliss

  3. 3:  a source or cause of delight

 

 

Think about that swing, that roller coaster, that train…at any time something could go wrong.  Any time.

 

“…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33b

We aren’t called to weigh out the “what if’s”, the worries and wonderings of where God has us.

 

We are called to trust Him.

 

Nothing comes our way without first filtering through our Father.  He knew.  He knows.

 

Rebellious teenager?  He knows.

Your spouse trying to quit on you?  He knows.

Lost your job?  He knows.

Undiagnosed health issue?  He knows.

You’ve lost all of your friends?  He knows.

He’s asked you to give something up?

He’s asked you to give someone up?

He’s asked you to step out of your comfort zone?

 

Can we place our faith in Him, with full-on, wide-eyed, unrestrained anticipation of where He’ll lead?  Trusting Him with every push, turn and bump we may will encounter?

Yes we can!!

 

His limbs won’t break, He won’t let us run off the track and He knows where He is taking us.

 

If we’ve let our circumstances steal our joy, let’s do as David did…place our trust in Him and ask Him to bring joy into our lives despite where we may be…this is where true freedom lies.

 

-Praying for us all to grasp this…

Kellie

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Keep Your Sword Sharp, Ready For Battle

 

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Have you ever had a dream that was so real that there was actual truth to it?  A dream where you knew even in the dream that God was in it.  In the story, in the lesson learned and in the thoughts that lingered once you woke up?

 

That’s the kind of dream I had recently.

 

 

This dream was an attempt by the evil one to convince me that God leaves us in times of fear.

 

Ya’ll, he didn’t say a word, all he had to do was to look at me.  He used fear and intimidation to chase me away from my security, and he had me running scared for a minute.  Just for a minute.

 

 

This is what I woke up with…these principles…they are truth, they are timeless, and they are transforming if we allow them to be.

 

  1.  There are two powers that are at work in the unseen.  Two.  They both have abilities that we cannot even fathom.  Abilities that would blow our minds!  We have to know who to grab hold of.  Who has our best interest in mind.  Who can hold us safely from the other.

 

“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12

 

2.  Satan has 2 tools that he loves to use on us.  Fear and intimidation.  Let’s be aware when we feel these creeping into our thoughts. They are not from God.

 

It might look something like this:

 

“If you leave this boyfriend/girlfriend, you’re risking being alone for the rest of your life.”

“If you take that job offer, you may fail and wind up with no income”

“If you leave your abusive husband, he’ll come find you.  May as well stay put”

“If you stay in your young marriage, you’ll never experience being wild and free”

“If you post that blog, no one will read it”

“If you start that ministry, people will talk about you.  You wanna live in a fish bowl?”

“Adoption?  Fostering?  Too expensive!  You could never afford that!”

“Get that t.v. on credit.  You’re expecting a crowd over for the game, right?  You’ll look dumb if you don’t have top-notch equipment”

“Gotta watch your back everywhere you go now, people just can’t be trusted anymore”

“Better not let people know you’re a believer, they’ll think you’re all ‘odd for God’ and back away”

“Don’t speak to those people at church, they stink and have no teeth.  They’ll think you’re taking pity on them and everyone else will be staring at you”

“Homeschooling?  Ha!  He’ll never be smart enough for college.”

“Public school?  Ha!  He’ll lose his sweet innocence and be indoctrinated by the government all on the same day.”

“Private school?  Ha!  You’ll never be able to afford it AND your family will think that you think you’re better than they are!”

 

Do you see how this plays out?

Fear.  Intimidation.

 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:17

 

3.  When we are in the company of those that do NOT have our best interest in mind, we will eventually begin to look more like them and less like ourselves if we stay there.  Our outer appearance can change.  We can become unrecognizable in a matter or sheer moments.  We have to know who we are, whose we are and surround ourselves with those that will encourage us to stay close to the Lord.  We have to pay attention and recognize when we are being taken down a path God never planned for us to take.

 

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

I Corinthians 15:33

 

 

4.  The Word is a literal sword when it comes to the devil.  It scares him off.  Stay in it.  Memorize it.  Eat the words.  Keep it sharp.  Swing it.

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:17

 

5.  We who are born again believers of Jesus Christ, we are never alone.  Never.

This is where satan would like to have us thinking that we should be afraid.  He wants to create an atmosphere that has us convincing ourselves that God has left us to be tested.  Like He’s standing over to the side rubbing His chin, shaking His head thinking “let’s see how she’ll do now…bahahahahaha!”

No.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

When you feel fearful or intimidated, there are some things you can do immediately.

  1.  Pray.  Call on the Lord.  Talk it out with Him.  Tell Him what’s going on, how you’re feeling and what your fears are.
  2. Trust.  It’s a decision.  It’s intentional.  It’s a verb.
  3. Move.  He will lead you away from those fears.  Follow quickly.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 56:3

What are you afraid of?

What is satan using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

Who is he using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

The evil one is  not afraid of you.

But he IS afraid of your heavenly Father and THAT is the good news!

Let’s quickly recognize when we are being bullied and remind the master bully-er who we belong to…and then let’s act like we believe what we say and keep moving even if we are trembling when we do!  Let’s lean hard into God’s word-which is unchangeable, immovable and trustworthy.  And let’s let others see, especially in the wake of recent events, that even through our own concerns, and yes, sometimes, fear…that we have an anchor that holds us in a place where peace and comfort are found.

For those of us who intimately know the only true source of security and peace, we must swing our sword for those who just can’t.

Prayer.

It’s an obligation and a privilege to do so.  Jesus did it.  Let’s follow His example.

Praying with and for you,

Kellie

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Keeping Your Chin Up In the Dressing Room-The Struggle Is Real

Why do clothing manufactures pick swimsuits to skew the sizes on us?  Why can’t it be something like socks-or bras-that you have to buy 3 X’s your size to get a good fit?

 

But the bigger question is, why do I let that 5 minute time span in that 2X2 room of mirrors still affect how I feel about myself when I know my true worth has nothing to do with clothing sizes or mirrors or smiling store employees who take those rejected suits (that are my actual size #) and ask with a slight tone of pity “these didn’t work out for you hun?  Oh, I’m sorrrryyyyyyy”.  blah blah blah

 

Recently I wound up buying a swim suit 3 X’s my regular size.  3 X’s!!  That will mess with you!  It’s whatever.

 

So why?

 

And what do we need to do about it?  What can we do about it”

 

The why is simple.

 

We live in a performance based, sight-driven society.

 

A preacher who gets ready for Sunday morning services at his church can’t even stay 100% focused on teaching God’s Word and loving on people.  In preparation for his time on that platform, he has to make some decisions, and no matter what he chooses, someone will judge.

 

Tie or no tie.  Jacket or no jacket.  Ripped jeans or slacks.  Keds or loafers.  Clean shaven or scruffy.  Stand or stool.  Dimmed lights or bright.

When in fact it’s the heart…the Pastor’s heart and the congregation’s heart, are all that matters.  All.

 

We all know what a visual society we are living in.  We all know (as believers) that we should be living for an audience of 1 and He does not care what size the tag on my swimsuit states.

 

So, let’s get to the good stuff.

 

The what.

 

When we are in that booth with fluorescent lighting, standing all alone, mirrors on all sides, our senses seem to heighten.  In the booth to the right of us, we hear a mom saying “wouldn’t you like to see if they carry a longer version of this skirt?” to her eye rolling teenager.  To the left, we hear 2 friends giggling because they’ve just found the perfect dresses to wear to an upcoming party.  Let’s take a breath (3 or 4 if necessary) and remember who we are…and it has nothing to do with what size a total stranger thinks we need to be in.  The size is just a number, it’s not tied to our worth.

 

As a believer, the spirit of truth lives in you.

 

I love one of the definitions in Merriam-Webster for TRUTH.

truth

noun \ˈtrüth

(1) :  the state of being the case :  fact (2) :  the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized :  a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality

 

Truth just is.  It’s like when God said “I am that I am” Ex. 3:14

Truth cannot be argued.  Well it can.  But, that won’t change anything.

 

 

” the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

John 14:17 NIV

The Lord does not look at the things people look at…

“7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I Samuel 16:7

 

Now, we only get one body and one life to take care of it all.  Scripture tells us to do everything as if we were only doing it for the Lord and I think that applies to caring for our temples.  Eat right…exercise…yes.  I’ve always said that we never know what God may require of us some day and we need to be prepared.  If we had to jump in a raging river to save someone’s life could we do it?  If He asked us to spend a Summer in a dry dusty country to tell others about Jesus, could we do it in the body we have now?  Let’s be ready.

 

” you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

I Corinthians 6:20

 

His truth is what we should be focused on.  This is good news!  The BEST news!

 

This is where freedom lies.

 

When we’re having a bad hair day, our panty lines are showing or we’ve discovered the spinach that’s been between our teeth since lunch.  When we look in the mirror and our eyes go straight to the spare tire developing around our waist or those acne scars that we can do nothing about.  God whispers…

 You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.”

Song of Solomon 14:7 NIV

Beautiful.

No flaw.

Darling.

 

At 46, the Lord had to remind me of this TRUTH in the dressing room.  As my thoughts began to run away to focusing on my physical flaws or the glares I might get if I wore this or that to the pool or the beach, He brought His words to my mind.  Now, I had memorized them years earlier.  THIS. IS. KEY.  Scripture memorization isn’t just for our small children in their cute Bible classes.  We HAVE to plant it into our own minds because we NEVER KNOW WHEN WE WILL NEED TO SHOUT IT OUT!

 

“During our moments of fear and panic, God is whispering promises to us.”

                                                                                                               -Stacy Reaoch

 

When we remind ourselves of these truths about who we are and whose we are and what He thinks of us, arguing becomes a waste of time and energy.  We can’t argue with the fact that God is only interested in our heart.  We can’t argue with a pine tree until it turns into an oak tree.  It’s just pointless.

 

His truth wins every time.

 

If the spirit of Christ lives in us, we are His, and as some of us were taught from a very young age, God don’t make no junk.  Let’s not argue with our maker that He made something ugly or flawed or inferior.  He takes offense.

 

Let’s not let what other people (clothing manufacturers, billboard designers, commercial makers, sit-com writers, soccer moms, dressing room attendants, ______) beat us up.

 

Let’s not beat ourselves up with our own thoughts either.

 

beat-us-up.png

 

Let’s deposit these truths into our hearts and minds (scripture memory)  and stop arguing with God.  It’s a struggle I know (as usual, I’m writing from the heart, exposing my own issues).  In reality, it may even be an ongoing process before we realize that the best “looking” people out there are the ones with an inner confidence that no one can touch, and this confidence that has been placed into believers, this truth, is the ultimate source of confidence.

 

This confidence is not man-made or self-made, it’s directly from God.

 

Let’s keep our chin up and encourage and build up that which God hand crafted…that would be YOU and ME!!

 

If you are looking for this kind of truth to be planted into you and this confidence that no one else can touch…reach out to me or another Christian in your life.  Ask them how to tap into this.  Don’t brush it aside.  It’s the only place where true freedom can be found, His name is Jesus!

 

Praying for you,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes My Words Get In The Way

shhh

“Just keep your mouth shut.”

This has been my mantra to myself in this season of my life.  I’ve never been accused (by an adult) of using all the words or babbling excessively or writing something in 800 words that could really be written in 200, but…the older I get…I seem to be getting a little more opinionated and I’m catching myself wanting to “fix” things that are broken with my nuggets of wisdom (that’s sarcasm people).

 

More specifically (and most transparently) I’m wading through the waters of watching my grown children make their own decisions.  Some of which I know I cautioned them to make differently.  GASP!!

 

I know I’m not alone in this.  Come on now.

 

I’ve been reading a book this Summer with some other ladies and it is stretching my faith.  It’s challenging me in many areas of my life but this one issue about my words…my tongue…yeah.

 

What I’m learning first hand this season has got me kind of excited though.

 

“Too much talk leads to sin.
    Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”

Proverbs 10:19

The only way I know how to explain it is just to say that the more I keep my mouth shut, the more room God seems to have to work out His plan.

I’m visual…picture this:

We have planted seeds into our children for 19-22 years.

Some have started to break through the soil, others are still being worked underground.

They were quality seeds, they were planted in good soil, we’ve watered them consistently over the years, they will produce vibrant, healthy character traits.

If I try to talk those seeds out of the ground, my efforts are futile.

Sometimes when I’m so focused on waiting for something specific to sprout up, I miss out on something else blooming to my right or left.

Does that make sense?

(Side note:  Seeds are cool, we can learn a lot from them, but that’s another post for another day)

Now, I know that God is much too big to let me get in the way, but there are times that I know I’ve spoken up when I shouldn’t have and I sense that He is sitting in a comfy chair in the corner of my mind saying “go on…you seem to know what you’re doing…let’s see how this works out”…ahem.

While God does care deeply about the details of my life, I remind myself that it’s really not even about me.  As Christians, it’s about Him.

Its about pointing people to what He has done for us (and them).  Pointing people to the fact that He set all of this up down here and His ways are best.  Pointing people to the fact that while we can get so tangled up in the details of raising our children, bettering our marriages, climbing the corporate ladder, and doing whatever we need to do to move past our past regrets or hurts, this life is fleeting.

I’m realizing that this “pointing” is better accomplished with fewer words and more action.

**I love that Chick Filet cooked on a Sunday to nourish those grieving in Orlando recently.  They didn’t announce it in a news conference.  They just did it.

**I love that our dear friends sold everything and moved to another state to feed the hungry.  They didn’t make a 6 month business plan for this, they were serving the poor within their first week.  They just did it.

**I love that my church doesn’t just pray for those in need around us, they actually reach out and contact these people.  They give away free clothes and hygiene items and pet food.  They just do it.

**I love that my husband doesn’t talk about the importance of good work ethic with our children, he walks the walk.  He just does it.

Actions speak loud.

Here’s what I know.

When I feel tempted to use all my words, it’s usually because I’m anxious about something.  The Bible tells me not to worry.  Frankly, this takes practice.  It takes discipline.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…”

Matthew 6:25

The Bible tells me to roll over what’s got me bothered onto Him.

“Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22

The Bible tells me it doesn’t go well for the one with the most words.

“The wise in heart accept commands,
    but a chattering fool comes to ruin.”

Proverbs 10:8

This is just a smattering of instructions along this vein of my mantra in this season.

What I see happening around me is that God has more room to work things out that my words were probably making little impact on anyhow.

When we do things the way He set up before the beginning of time…it just works.

Kinda like this…

I have a burden or strain or a time of confusion…which leads to reminding myself that He tells me not to worry…which leads me to rolling it over onto Him to take care of…which leads to me using fewer words with those around me…which leads to my faith being built up and strengthened in Him…which leads to Him being pleased with me…which at times, leads to  Him using my words to point others to Him.  Humble privilege.

I’m less stressed, less burdened, the people I am so worried about are hearing from God (not me), I’m out-of-the-way, He is leading, He’s more pleased with me and I feel closer to Him than ever.

This is where freedom lies.

He is glorified—not me—and when that happens—it’s really indescribable.  I feel like we’re in this secret club together.

Would you like to join?

What is it that you are trying to fix?

Who is it that you are trying to fix?

Take it to the Lord.  Roll it onto Him.  He not only can handle it but He tells us to do it.  Then, walk away from it.  Seriously.  Don’t talk about it unless it’s in a positive light.  A light that says “God’s got this”…”I’m not worried about it anymore”…”His timing is perfect”…”That person doesn’t need more of me, they need more of Him“.

Our goal as believers should be to grow closer to Him.  No matter our circumstances, that’s the goal.  The ripple effect will include the rest of the Book.

Oftentimes, we aren’t growing closer to God because our hands and hearts are so full of our own stuff.  We can’t grab hold of Him or keep up with Him because we are weighed down.

Let’s roll our burdens onto Him.

Open our hands and release whatever it is we are gripping so tightly.

Trust Him with that thing that has got us so tangled up inside.

Trust Him with that thing that tempts us to babble over and over and over about.

Speaking for myself, I’m gonna work on just keeping my mouth shut.

Blessings,

Kellie

Featured

Fear vs. Confidence-And The Winner Is…..

Ya’ll, I’m a visual person.  Sometimes when I’m letting my fears hold me back, a picture pops into my brain.  Please humor me here, but this is a glimpse of what I see sometimes.  I have a feeling I’m not alone.

You have a goal.  You have a dream.  You feel a calling.  But, fear has kept you from moving forward.  Here we go, ring the bell…

Classic Vintage Boxing Ring

 

Round 1.

Fear steps out of its dark corner.  Approaching the center of the ring, its chin is held high and it’s eyes are wide open.  Fear is a champion.  It’s beat you before.  It’s wearing a big, shiny gold belt to let you, and everyone else around you, know, that it’s got your number.

 

Fear has faced you down before.  It knows your weaknesses, your insecurities, your past regrets, your circumstances and your companions.  It has a history of simply walking your way just to see you slink back to your corner.

If you are a Christian, it knows your potential.  If your owner is God, it knows your resources.  If your trainer is the Holy Spirit, it knows your strength.  If your eternal fate has already been sealed, it knows deep down, you have nothing to fear.

 

But it comes.  It tries.  It makes an effort.  A great effort.  It is standing between you and your dreams.  Your goals.  Your calling.

 

You want to go back to school, but you’re afraid you’re too old for that.

You want to change careers, but you’re afraid of the shift in income.

You want to reconcile with someone, but you’re afraid of rejection.

You want to learn to play an instrument, but you’re afraid you’ll stink.

You want to give to the poor, but you’re afraid you can’t afford it.

You want to expand your family, but you’re afraid you’ll lose your mind.

You want to start a business, but you’re afraid it will fail.

You want to start writing, but you’re afraid you’ll look stupid.

Fear approaches and you run back to your corner of the ring.

Round 2.

You’ve had a moment to catch your breath.  Your nerves are on the very edge.

Your trainer has loosened up your shoulders and wiped the sweat off your brow.  He’s reminded you that you’re bigger than your fears.  He’s reminded you of your previous wins against this very same opponent.

Your owner has already paid a price for you which guarantees that you can beat fear.

Guarantees!

What stands on the other side of that fear is something that you cannot even imagine!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

Ephesians 3:20

What stands on the other side of that fear is a better understanding of God’s love for you!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

What stands on the other side of that fear is confidence!

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6

Stand up!  Look it in the eye!

Round 3.

The bell rings and you’ve decided to believe what you’ve been told.  You’re going to believe that what is waiting on the other side of that fear is something so great, so wonderful, that it’s worth the temporary feeling of nausea.  You make up your mind that once your bottom leaves that stool, you’re in the match.

No. Going. Back.

Leaving the comfort of your corner, you come out swinging!  Spit flying, sweat dripping, heart racing, feet shuffling-all of it!

That’s it!

Suddenly you realize that you are the only one left in the ring…

Kind of anticlimactic huh?

Listen, I’ve been a Christ follower for a long time and I am still learning this concept.

When we feel a call or have a Christ honoring goal  that has gripped our hearts, sometimes all we have to do is MOVE.

It is that easy.

Seriously.

The Lord honors a willing and obedient heart.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”

Isaiah 41:10

The devil uses fear to keep us from our purpose.  To keep us from growing our confidence in Christ.

When we sense a call from God that involves facing a fear, we’ve got to move.  Even if we do it with fear and trembling.  Even if we do it with one eye closed.

And each time we do this, God’s faithfulness will grip us with such force and assurance that we will learn to trust Him a little more than we did before.

We’ll have experience to draw from.

We’ll know that we know that we know that the fear that kept us from striving towards our goal or calling was just a trap to keep us from the plans that Christ has hand drawn for each of us.

confidence

noun con·fi·dence \ˈkän-fə-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\

Simple Definition of confidence

: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something

: the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true

” So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”
Hebrews 10:35

This is our prize.

Confidence.

Not in ourselves, but in the One that put that dream in our heart.

In the One that called us out of the corner.

Confidence that nothing can keep us from God’s plans for us if we will only move.

I’m facing a couple of fears of my own right now.

I’m in the ring with fear.

Are you in it too?

Can we step out of the corner?

We’re in this together.  Same trainer.  Same Owner.  Same guaranteed total KO if we will only trust Him.

I’d love to hear what some of you may be facing right now.

Praying for you all,

Kellie

Featured

I Have A Confession To Make

It’s a common misconception that because someone is a “Christian”, a “born again believer”, a “________”, whatever you want to call those of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, that we are perfect.  That we are trying to be perfect.  That we are holding others to a standard of perfect.

Perfect.
I loathe that word when it is used to describe a person.

perfect

adjective per·fect \ˈpər-fikt\

Simple Definition of perfect
  • : having no mistakes or flaws

  • : completely correct or accurate

  • : having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc.

 

 

I’m not perfect.  I will  never be perfect while I’ve got breath in my lungs.  I will never know anyone else who can hang this description on their hat.  Ever.

 

In fact…sometimes…I cuss.

 

We (Christians) are here to point others towards Christ.  To share what He offers.  To tell the news that their creator wants a one on one relationship with them.

 

This should come naturally in our every day living.  We do this through our actions and our attitudes.  We do this through our reactions.

 

In our work places.  At our family gatherings.  At our dentist appointments.  When we buy a car.  In the grocery store line.  When we rock our babies.  As we discipline our children.  While we love our spouses.  When we greet the UPS guy at the door.  As we sit in traffic.

 

 

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Luke 6:45
This is where the rubber meets the road.
“…what the heart is full of.”
You and I have most of the control over what we fill ourselves with.  Most, because we cannot avoid the billboards with scantily clad women and the bosses who manage with control and anger.  Most, because we cannot predict what language will come out of our new friend’s mouth or the pessimistic attitude of someone that we may even live with.
So, how do you and I store up good things in our hearts?
We are proactive.  We are intentional.  We set goals.  We make good choices.
We read books with a good take away message.  We listen to music that reminds us how blessed we are.  We surround ourselves, the best we can, with people who are encouraging and uplifting.  We hang out with truth talkers-people who will not just agree with everything we want to do or say, but will speak up and correct us if we are heading in the wrong direction.
We spend time outdoors, soaking up God’s creation.
We listen to pastors who speak God’s word along with practical application for living.
We talk to God (prayer) and read His word.
 Screenshot_2016-05-18-07-19-38~2
I’ve learned over time that the “do’s” and “don’ts” in the Bible are there for our good!
His directives…they’re not there to make us perfect.  They’re not there to make us feel like children.  They’re not there to make us feel like we can’t measure up and never will.
They are there to teach us about His grace.  They are there to move us into the plans He has for us.  They are there to keep us inside of boundaries where there is safety, freedom and purpose.
Yes, even inside of boundaries, there is freedom!
 
 So even though the Bible tells me not to, why do I sometimes cuss?
Because I’m human!  I’m a normal person just like anyone else!
It’s not often that something slips, but, I don’t mind admitting that sometimes it just happens.
It’s important that you know that there is no one perfect.  If striving for perfectionism is our main goal here on earth, we are going to be sorely disppointed in ourselves.  Over and over and over.
What we should be striving for is simply more of God.
More time with Him.  More of His presence.  More understanding of His word.
If we have a one on one relationship with Him, and we are doing our part to get to know Him more, the rest will work itself out.
We don’t become sinless.  We don’t become perfect.
But, our hearts will fill to overflowing with more good than bad.
More love, less hate.
More optimism, less pessimism.
More inclusion, less exclusion.
More mercy, less mercilessness.
More patience, less rage
More joy, less sadness.
More purpose, less indirection.
More calmness, less cussing
Let’s try it.
1.  Admit we are not perfect (aren’t we all ready to see more authenticity and less acting in ourselves and others?  Can I get an amen!)
2.  Acknowledge that God’s plan for us has boundaries, and they’re for our good.
3.  Choose to at least try things His way.
4.  Celebrate our successes-because when we do things His way-success always follows!
Let’s take our focus off of the thing we want out of our life, and put that time and energy into what’s good.  Holy.  Right.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Phillipians 4:8
Let’s see if filling ourselves with what is good won’t push out that thing which is bad.
Yeah, sometimes I cuss, but I’m working on it.
What will you fill yourself with today?  How will you proactively strive to fill up with good instead of that which is bad?
Praying for you all,
Kellie
Featured

The Times They Are A Changing

“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’”

Bob Dylan.  1964

Wow.  Do you think he knew?  Do you think he knew what we would be experiencing today, in 2016?  Could he ever have predicted the internet, botox and legalized marijuana?  Do you think he thought about public restroom discussions, gun control laws, Isis and smart cars?

One thing you can always count on, things change.  Always have.  Always will.

I don’t know about your home, but in mine, we have had discussions over the last few years about things I didn’t see coming.  With the onset of social media and real-time video links across the world, the changes around us seem to land in our living room pretty quickly.

And I don’t know about your home, but, even though I know what I stand for, I haven’t always had a quick answer to some of the questions I’ve had to face.  Sometimes, I have to research or contemplate or sleep on it before responding.

What I can tell you, is that there is one thing that has never changed and never will.

He knew the changes that would take place from 1964 to now and He knows what changes will occur over the next 50 years and beyond.

Nothing catches Him off guard.  Nothing surprises Him.  Nothing “occurs” to Him.

He has been in the past, He’s here in the present, and He knows the future.

He knows how all of this will end.  And be assured, one day, it will all end.

“Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

There is a tree here in Georgia that is pretty popular to plant.  The bradford pear tree.  I love the shape and how fast they grow.  What I cannot get past though is that they seem to topple over quicker than any other tree around.  They come up at the roots if the winds are too high and the ground is too wet.  They are beautiful from the grass up, but they have a weak and shallow root system.  One bad storm and CRACK!  They topple right over!

But take the oak tree for instance.  It can withhold a small family climbing all over it and not shift at all.  It waves its branches in the wind, but it stays in tact.  It can withstand numerous attacks of weather, weight and even age and still stand tall and beautiful where it sits.

Its roots run deep.  A mature oak can have roots that total up to 100 miles long.  They anchor the tree well.

What are you rooted in?  How deep do your roots run?

deep roots

 

Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.”

Colossians 2:7

Bob Dylan wrote those lyrics in 1964.

The book of Colossians was written around 80 A.D.   “Plant your roots in Christ…”.

Wow.

 

God knew what was coming.  Not only that, but He wanted us to be prepared.

That’s some serious love in action.

 

This gives me hope and comfort.  I don’t have to worry about what the next political argument will be or what question may be asked of me by my children.  I don’t have all of the answers and I don’t need to, because I know the One who does.  Jesus Christ.

 

So…let’s make sure our roots grow deep.

 

If you need to plant yourself somewhere, put yourself in the rich soil of Christ.  There, you will find stability and security.

 

If your root system is shallow, start watering there.  God will meet you right where you are.

 

If your root system seems deep already, I assure you there’s room for more growth.  Be intentional.  Don’t get complacent.

 

“… He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing.”
James 1:17

When our world starts to shift with change, let’s agree to stop talking about it, and take it to God in prayer.

Roots grow over time, underground, in secret.  Our prayer life can be a lot like these roots.  Developing over time.  Behind closed doors.  Just between us and Him.

When the winds of change blow, let’s stand firmly with confidence knowing we won’t topple over because of weak roots…a loose anchor.

More praying, less chatting.

More believing, less doubting.

More freedom, less fear.

Stronger faith.

Deeper roots.

More Jesus.

He’s got this.

Always has, always will.

 

Blessings,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

You Are Tougher Than You Think

 

Have you ever felt like you were losing your mind?  Like…losing your flipping mind!!

 

Shortly after my first child was born, I found myself back in the work place.  I had just taken 6 glorious weeks to be home with my newborn baby.  We rocked.  We ate.  I sang.  He cried.  We walked.  We visited.  We slept.  We walked the halls at all hours of the night.

 

I.  Was.  In.  Heaven.

 

I returned back to work like we had planned with a best case scenario.  A grandparent was watching our baby.  My employer allowed me to go at lunch and check on things (like I needed too, it was for ME).  I was off work on Fridays by noon.  Great job.  Understanding boss.  Happy baby.

 

Only, I found myself in turmoil.  My mind was doing things I had never experienced before.  I would forget where I was going when I was driving.  I was forgetting phone numbers.  I began to question myself at work which resulted in me triple and quadruple checking my assigned tasks.  I cried myself to sleep.  My mind felt like a heavy, black, wet blanket was draped over top, suffocating me and effecting my every thought.

 

After a conversation with my doctor, I realized that I was simply unhappy.  I wanted to stay home and take care of my baby and it was just not going to happen for a while.

 

I’ll never forget how I felt during that time.  Weak…controlled by my circumstances…frustrated…sad…scared.

 

Fast forward 20+ years later.

 

There have been other times I’ve felt out of control and powerless.  I’ve felt unimportant, wondering if God was paying attention.

 

How about you?  Right now.  What are you going through that has you wondering what in the world is going on?  What is causing you to feel like you may be losing your mind?!  What are you facing that has you feeling weak, powerless, and maybe even a little unimportant?

 

Life is tough but so are you

 

 

These women in the Bible, God had his hands all over their lives.  He worked through them to accomplish His purposes.  Put yourself in their shoes for just a moment.  Ask yourself if you are facing such tasks as these women did.

 

*In Genesis 21 Sarah bore a child at the age of 90.  Labor at 90!

 

*In Numbers 26 Jochebed placed her 3 month old son in a basket and put him in a river for his own protection.  She watched him float away.

 

*In the book of Esther, Esther risked her own life for the life of others, because she knew she had been placed in a position “for such a time as this”.  She risked her life.

 

*In I Samuel, Hannah, whose womb had been closed up, prayed fervently for a son.  When God granted her one, she placed him into the hands of the priest to be raised as she had promised.  She gave her newborn away.

 

*In Matthew, Mary finds herself unwed, young and pregnant.  She goes on to give birth to a man named Jesus.  Unwed teenager…pregnant.

 

We who are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are strong!  These women were strong!  They didn’t just survive these challenges, they were able to look back and see purpose in them.

 

They were made in the image of God and so were we.

 

You CAN make it to the end of the school year.

 

You CAN single parent with excellence.

 

You CAN survive the divorce.

 

You CAN survive medical treatments.

 

You CAN survive the death of a loved one.

 

You CAN parent your strong willed child without harming them (I’m living proof of that!)

 

You CAN forgive, even when your trespasser doesn’t seek forgiveness.

 

You CAN overcome addiction.

 

You CAN lose or gain the weight that is making you unhealthy.

 

You CAN weather a winter season in your life and live to smell the flowers of spring!

 

You CAN!  You CAN!  You CAN!

 

“He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.”

Isaiah 40:29

strength

noun \ˈstreŋ(k)th, ˈstren(t)th\

Simple Definition of strength

  • : the quality or state of being physically strong

  • : the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force

  • : the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way

According to Merriam Webster, strength is a quality that allows us to deal with problems in a determined way.

He gives us this when we feel weary.

Are you weary today?

Let’s be determined!  Set our minds to it.  No giving up.  Pressing on.

We CAN do this!

There has to be rain before there can be a rainbow.

We have to climb the mountain before we can enjoy the view.

There must be sickness before there can be healing.

We have to walk through the dessert before we can really appreciate the water.

That season of working my job while my baby was with someone else, it was just a season.  I can look back and see that God was teaching me a few things.

I talked to Him more that year than I ever had.

I grew closer to my husband.

I learned a little more about trusting God’s plans.

And my baby…he was just fine.

We’ve all seen this quote-

“When life gets too hard to stand, kneel”

 

Let’s get on our knees and ask God to remind us who we are and whose we are.  Let’s surround ourselves with those who will encourage us to keep pressing forward.  Let’s be determined to walk through whatever it is we are walking through now with grace and confidence that comes with knowing that every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

And oh, how sweet that last chapter of whatever struggle we are facing will be when we can turn the page, having grown a little closer to our Heavenly Father and having learned just how strong we really are.

I’m praying for you this week, blessings,

Kellie

Featured

Just Go Home

 

 

Our son was around the age of 4.  Sitting in the shopping cart in our local Walmart, long legs dangling, as he smiled and spoke to every single person within ear shot.  Yes, he was friendly then and he is friendly now at 22.

 

After hearing him politely ask over and over if he could get down and walk with his dad and I, we reluctantly set him on the ground.

 

Fast forward literally like 3 minutes and poof!  No where to be found!

 

We began calling out his name, scrambling around the department we were in, searching frantically to no avail.  I rushed to the front of the store to stop any predators from exiting with him and Walmart issued their security protocol.  Code Adam!  All doors were shut and locked and all employees put on alert!

 

We continued searching for what seemed like an eternity, but I think was about 5 minutes, and then, there he was.  A stranger who was shopping came towards us with her hand in his.  He had the biggest grin on his face and we had to decide whether to strangle him or squeeze him to death!  We chose the latter.

 

Our son didn’t choose to leave his parents…he was playing a game.  He was hiding in the clothing racks to see if we could find him.  We were the one’s responsible.  We had lost him.

 

Jesus used to tell stories, called parables, whereby He would explain things in a manner that was simple…understandable…relatable.  I love that He knew we needed that!

 

He tells us in Luke 15 two different stories of things that were lost.

 

You may be familiar with the first story.  A shepherd is tending to his flock.  One hundred gloriously, dumb sheep.  One sheep loses his way while under the shepherd’s care and the shepherd leaves the other ninety nine to search him out.  Out of one hundred, only 1 was lost, and he left the others to seek him out.  I don’t know, but I imagine when he found that sheep, he simply tapped it on the behind with his staff and pointed it in the right direction.  Back to safety.  Back to a place of security.

 

The second story tells us how a woman owns 10 coins and she loses one in her home.  One tenth of her money.  She lights a lamp, sweeps and cleans house until she finds it.  Once found, she calls her friends over to celebrate!  I may steal her idea the next time I lose something!  Jesus tells us that just like this woman, there is rejoicing in heaven amongst the angels when one of God’s children turns from sin back into fellowship with Him.

 

Now this third story is where I’ve been parked all week.  I can identify with this for myself and I’ve seen it in friends and loved ones over the years.  This next story is an invitation.

 

It’s not about a coin or a sheep.  It’s a person.  The only thing that was ever created in the image of God.  The thing that God wants to have relationship with.  The thing that has been given free will, to think and plan and plot, even if it decides to walk away from its creator.

 

This is you.

 

This is me.

 

This man in the story is living with his father and brother.  He goes to his dad and asks to have his inheritance early.  Like, “I know you’re not dead yet father, but can I have my money?”

 

The father agrees (gasp!), gives the son his inheritance, and watches him walk out of his life.  Off the property.  Through the gate.  Gone.

 

Over time, the young man spends every last penny he has.  He has to take jobs that are nasty and degrading.  He contemplates eating the slop the pigs are eating because he is so hungry.  He loses his friends.  After all, who wants to hang around someone who has no money?

 

I’ve seen “friends” like that come and go in the lives of my kids, but I digress…

 

In desperation and humility, he turns to head home.  Destitute.  Embarrassed.  Regretful of his choices.

 

He knows who will take him back.

 

“So he got up and went to his father…But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20

 

From a distance, his father sees him coming home.  He meets him with an embrace and a kiss.  As his son confesses that he has sinned against his father and God and feels that he is no longer worthy to be called “son”, his father reacts with commands to those around him.

 

Prepare to party!  Get my boy some shoes, a coat and jewelry for his hands!  Prepare a meal, we are celebrating my son’s return!!

 

Read it for yourself.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-24&version=NIV

 

He does not condemn his child.  He doesn’t issue a consequence.  He doesn’t scold or embarrass him, he simply loves him.  He puts him right back where he belongs…back into the family…not as a servant, but as a blood relative.

 

This is an invitation for you, for me.

 

Girl-at-gate-11_16_12

 

Is your hand on the gate?  Are you contemplating seeing if the grass is greener elsewhere?  Another place to put your hope?  Are you thinking of exploring other avenues of pleasure and success?

 

Do you have one foot out the gate?  Are your friends wooing you away from your faith?  Is an old habit or addiction calling your name?  Are you tempted to go where there’s less accountability?

 

Are you already out?  Working hard to find peace and joy.  Perhaps you’re using busyness to fill yourself up.  Maybe even “church work” or something else that’s good, but it’s just not God.

 

He wants all of us.  He wants us to choose Him.  Not the stuff He can give us, but Him.

 

He chose us before the beginning of time.  He has made a way for us to talk one on one with Him and enjoy the security that comes from being His child.

 

This is your invitation.

 

It’s never too late and you’re never too far away to turn back.

 

Take your hand off the gate.

Step back inside the fence.

Turn back towards Him.

He is waiting eagerly for your return.

Just go home.

 

Blessings,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dry Bones

What once was alive, is now dead.

 

Ponder that for a moment.

 

Maybe it describes you.

 

rebirth, regeneration, rejuvenation, renewal, reutilization, resurrection…revival.

Do you long for these things?

 

“…I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ezekiel 37:6b

 

A little background on this story…In the Old Testament, there was a man named Ezekiel who was a prophet.  God spoke into Ezekiel many things that were going to be happening in the future.  All through the power of God alone.

 

In Ezekiel 37, God has taken Ezekiel to a grave full of dry bones.  They represent the Israelites, God’s people.

In this moment, God instructs Ezekiel to speak to these dry bones…and so he does.

Ezekiel tells the bones that they will come to life-that breath will fill them again-and in that very moment, he heard the clanging of bone on bone…he saw tendons and flesh begin to wrap around those bones!  God told Ezekiel to continue speaking into the bones and as he did, the 4 winds rushed in and gave breath of life back into the bones!  They came to life and stood up on their feet!

This story is found in Ezekiel 37:1-14.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+37%3A1-14&version=NIV

 

You can’t get much more dead than being a pile of dried up bones in a grave.  No flesh.  No tendons.  No muscle.  Dead.  Door nail dead.

 

Since “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16, let’s look at what God had in mind for His people and bring it to our own lives today.

 

*God showed Ezekiel the bones. He made him walk by them several times and take in the valley which was now being used as a grave yard.

God will show you what is dead.

*God asked him if those dry bones could live again.  Ezekiel answered with humility and awe with “Sovereign Lord, you alone know”.

God will point you to Himself as our only hope.

*The dry bones themselves were suffering.  They cried from the grave that they were dried up, they had no hope, and they were cut off.

The thing which is dead will cry out for restoration.

*God told Ezekiel what to say to the dry bones.  He was going to open their graves, lift them out, put His spirit back into the bones, and cause life again.  He proclaimed exactly what He intended to do.

God’s words have power and He is a man of His word.

*He goes on to say that once life has reentered these bones, He will place them into the land He wants them in, and He will settle there with them.

God doesn’t just revive what’s dead, He gives it direction and sticks around and settles there with it.

*”…Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” (14b)    This is our testimony, when God takes something that was once alive, was then cut off, without hope and dried up, and He has breathed new life into it.

He wants all of the credit.  All of it.

 

Hopeless, dried up, cut off…He wants to breath His spirit into you and bring you back to life.  His breath reaches to every part of who you are.  Your relationships, your work, your purpose, your dreams.  He longs to bring you up, set you back on your feet, breath His spirit back into you, direct you where you should go next and settle with you there.

I believe He wants us to see just how powerful He is and that without His power living in us, we are spiritually dead.

 

Dry bones…call out to God and tell Him how you’re feeling!  His ear is bent towards your prayers and He alone has the power to bring life-giving change!  Reach up, He will reach back.

 

Let’s let go of our own ideas of how to bring back to life that which is dead.

 

His way is better.

His way is permanent.

His way is eternal.

His way points people to Him, and that is the point!

 

This song quotes a lot of Ezekiel 37…click on it…and thank Him for the life-giving power that His words hold and the invitation that we have to invite that power into our lives.

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Shutting the Door on Unnecessary Guilt

I was recently explaining to my husband why I had spent money on a purchase for our home “just because” in a tone that screamed “I KNOW I SHOULDN’T SPEND THIS MONEY!”. My husband shook his head, clearly upset that I felt like I had to justify why I would splurge on myself.  I think what he heard me saying was “we don’t have the money for me to spend on something fun like this”.  A clear jab at his ability to provide (some may call us old-fashioned, but that’s just how we roll).

 

But, that’s not even the real story here. We have plenty of money.  We both work hard.  We both want the other one to enjoy the fruits of our hard work.  He celebrates when I buy myself something.  He TELLS me to spend on myself because I usually won’t do it!

 

Occasionally, I suffer from unwarranted, unmerited, unreasonable…guilt.

 

I used to call it “mommy guilt”, but you don’t have to be a mommy to experience it.  Women from all walks of life can suffer from it, and it can be crippling.

 

I’m just wondering, do you ever feel that way too?

 

I’ve admitted that this is still an occasional struggle  (I’m much better now than I used to be with this), now let me tell you what I’ve learned thus far about this “mommy guilt”.

 

*It’s quite common among mothers, especially moms of littles.

*It’s a mind game more than something you would see outwardly.

*It’s a joy killer.

*It’s a stealer of our self confidence.

*It presses us down.

*It’s unhealthy…and our children are learning from our example.

*It’s NOT God’s plan for women to think this way.

*It IS something the devil loves.

 

I believe the devil knows our worth better than we do sometimes and he does whatever he can to try and keep it hidden from us.  I think he uses guilt as a tool to pry us away from God’s promises and the power that the Holy Spirit gives us.

 

But God…

 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10

 

Life to the full!! That is good news!

 

A full life will involve helping others and our work and taking care of our responsibilities, but part of that puzzle is taking care of ourselves. Nurturing our souls.  If we don’t do it, then who will?

 

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Genesis 5:14

 

Most of us are familiar with this scripture and we hear the “love your neighbor” part, but do you see where it says “as yourself”?

 

That. Is.  Powerful.

 

Would you want your neighbor feeling downcast after they’ve just gotten a pedicure? Would you want your neighbor feeling guilty if while their baby napped, they exercised for 30 minutes instead of going right to the laundry pile?  Would you want your neighbor, your friend, your relative, to put off spending time in God’s word because they felt that was time spent selfishly?

 

 

I’m talking about turning off your phone for 30 minutes and taking a cat nap, putting in your ear buds and walking laps around your subdivision, giving yourself time to read through a good book. Maybe for you it’s painting, writing, giving yourself a manicure, calling a friend on the phone while you’re on your porch alone.  Maybe it’s splurging and buying yourself a rooster for your kitchen (isn’t he handsome?)

 

rooster2 (2)

 

If you had 30 minutes a day to yourself, what would you do? Take a minute and let yourself go there…without guilt.

 

“The wise woman builds her house,
    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Proverbs 14:1

Part of building a home is filling it with love, is it not?  How can we love others if we do not first love ourselves?

Let’s choose to be wise and build something strong in our homes.

Women are the thermostats at home, not the thermometers.  We have the ability and privilege to set the tone. Let’s make it one of confidence and strength and value.

Let’s be intentional.  Mind.  Body.  Soul.

*Schedule that yearly check-up

*Check out that library book

*Paint that picture

*Snap that photograph

*Join that Bible study

No.  More.  Guilt.

You are important and so is the task before you.  Be the best that you can be and let God fill in the spaces you are unable to fill on your own.  He will meet you right where you are.

And on the days that we blow it, we are still important and so is the task before us.

Especially on the days that we blow it, let’s be on guard for the guilt that will try to slip in.  Let’s love ourselves first so that we can then love our neighbor, our children, our spouses, our friends and our enemies.

Think of this…when our children are beating themselves up over something, whether it is warranted or not, don’t we try to encourage them and lift them up?  Don’t we desire to see them come out on top of that attitude and see the value in themselves?

This is what God desires for us.  We are His children.  We are precious in His sight.  Let’s remember our worth in His eyes.

And in the words of Ms. Aibileen Clark, remember this too…

the_help_you_is_kind_you_is_smart

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Fasten Your Seatbelt!

When my children were young, and we were in parking lots, I had them hold my hand as we walked. It’s just what a parent does.  But, on occasion, one of my children (who shall remain nameless but has the initials ttj) would wriggle his hand out of mine and bolt across the lane.  As he would attempt his escape, I would yell (yes, this is an appropriate time to yell at your children!) for him to stop and catch up to him real quick.  I’d place his hand back into mine and off we’d go.  He was safer with me, he just didn’t know it yet.

Some things in life take the passing of time and the gaining of wisdom to realize that there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about things. There’s a way that may look more enjoyable, maybe easier or more exciting in the temporary, but in the end is truly not in our best interest.

 

When the laws changed in Georgia requiring drivers to wear their seat belts, I felt the rebel in me puff up. I’m a rule follower, but I don’t always like being told what to do (who really does?).  There were times, and as much as I don’t like admitting it, there still are, that I would purposely not put it on because it was “stupid”.  Some people have actually been trapped by those belts in an accident and it didn’t end well!  Those stories are few and far between, but I held onto them when the law passed.

As I grew older, and more mature, I realized that if I was going down the interstate at 80 mph and was in an accident, my belt had better be on. It would not end pretty if it was not!  I realized over time, that I would be safer following the law, and so I began to obey it.

It’s only by God’s grace and mercy that I was given chance after chance to follow the law.

Screenshot_2016-04-10-09-10-21~2

 

If there are instructions and guidance available before we make a decision, why wouldn’t we consult that?  Why wouldn’t we want to find out what the best way to proceed would be and do that thing which is more likely to bring success?

 

“23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”

Jeremiah 7:23

Go well with you…Go well with me…hhmmmmm.

Accepted, alright, fine, good, nicely, respectably, satisfactory, sufficiently…these are all synonyms to the word well.
So if we do things God’s way, we will be His people and it will go well with us?  Yes.
There will be trouble in this life, but if we have a heart that follows after God, the thread that will weave through our story will be one of goodness..satisfaction…acceptance…it will be well.  It will be ok.
Wearing my seatbelt will not prevent me from ever being in a car accident, but having it on will lessen the chances of serious injury or even death in the event of one.
Holding my hand as a child didn’t fully prevent my son from falling down or being injured, but it lessened his chances of getting hurt.
Obedience to God will not take away our temptation to do things our own way or follow after someone else who seems to have it all together, but He has our best interest in mind when He tells us to do things His way.
He makes a promise to us, and He is a promise keeper.
His mercies are new every single day.
Let’s hit the restart button if we’ve started down a road based on our own agenda.
Make a U-turn.
With our head held high and a smile on our face knowing that we serve a God who is loving, kind, merciful, forgiving and has our best interest in mind, let’s dial it back.
And when we are at a cross road, let’s seek His direction before we act, not using Him as a last resort, but as our authority on what’s best to begin with.
Seek His wisdom through His word.
Ask Him for understanding.
Follow His lead.
It will go well for you…not my words…but His.
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Where There’s a Problem, There’s A Solution

“Don’t complain unless you have a solution!”

Have you ever heard this before?

 

I have. I heard it growing up at home.  I heard it in the work place.  I’ve spoken it to my own children.

 

Don’t you hate it when someone has used up their energy griping and complaining about someone or something, and once they vent it, they have no solution. No possible resolution in mind?  There are only negative words just lingering in the air.  Stale.

 

What should be done about it? What can we do?

 

Unfortunately, we can’t control what someone else will do or say. As much as that would satisfy our human nature to grab hold of someone’s tongue…we just can’t go there.

 

What we can do is look in the mirror, and start with ourselves.

 

Fortunately, our God didn’t just tell us what not to do in His word, He instructed us in what to do.

 

For instance…

 

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Phil. 4: 6-7 NIV

 

Do not…but instead…and as a result…

 

 

No need to break it down, read it again, it’s self explanatory!

 

However, personally, that whole “do not be anxious about anything” part is much easier said than done. Much.  That’s why we can’t stop there.  We have to keep reading.

Philippians-4-8

 Do you see it? How cool is God that when He tells us not to do something, he wraps it up with telling us what to do instead?

 

When I catch myself worrying, like habitually worrying,…honestly, I might put on a little Michael Jackson and distract myself with a little dance party.  I can get in my car, roll down the windows, crank up the tunes…music is good for the soul.

In between songs, I can direct my thoughts with something like this:

 

Truth…God loves me unconditionally, He wants what’s best for me

Noble…My husband is well respected, and I’m blessed to call him “mine”

Right…God is just, I can trust Him, it’s not what He does, it’s who He is

Pure…falling snow, newborn babies 🙂

Lovely…It’s springtime, the flowers are blooming with magnificent color

Admirable…Who do I admire right now? What are they inspiring me to do?

I’ve been guilty of telling others “stop worrying”, “stop stressing”, “you can’t think that way”…and I’ve been there myself (and I’m sure will be there again). Sometimes bad things just happen and it can be overwhelming.

 

But God…

 

He gives us a way out. A child can do this.  It is attainable.  But, it does require some discipline on our part.  It’s that whole “take captive every thought” thing.

 

Since we can’t control those around us, let’s ask ourselves, do we enjoy sleepless nights? Headaches?  Body aches?  Ulcers?  Do we enjoy having people ask us how we are?  Are we alright? What’s wrong?

 

These are hard questions, but I think we have to go there.

 

Then go to His word.

 

Then put it into practice.

 

Then put on a little MJ (or whatever gets you moving).

 

Then go and be a blessing to someone else!

 

It would be one thing if we were racked with worry and anxiety and there was no way to move past it.  It’s another when we are given such clear instructions on how to deal with it.

 

Now that is what I would call excellent and praiseworthy, wouldn’t you?

 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll come to you with a few more examples in the Word where we are instructed to not do this but instead do that.  A problem partnered with a solution.

 

Where do you feel stuck?  I’d love some feedback (either here or privately) and I’ll see what I can find.   I’m not the expert, He is.

 

What scripture do you go to when you need help moving past a situation?  Comment below and you just might be a blessing to someone else reading.

 

Blessings to you all,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

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Come…Drink Up

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“Lord, I feel like a wash cloth that has been soaked in vinegar and wrung out and twisted in an attempt to dry me completely and after being wrung out, I feel like I’ve been tossed to the side to dry up stiff as a board.”

 

This was my journal entry recently.  My first words in my prayer journal weren’t “thank you” or “forgive me” or I love you” but, a complaint…honestly, that’s all I felt I had to offer at that time.

 

Life is sometimes hard.  Just.  Hard.

Although scripture says “do not be anxious about anything…” that’s sometimes always (at least for me lol) easier said than done, can I get an “Amen”?!

 

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters…”

Isaiah 55:1a

 

 He is our source of hydration and He calls us to drink up.

As I was digging in to scripture for some encouragement and help with this dry, crusty, stiff, depleted body (and mind) of mine, I found just what I needed.

 

Hydration.

 

“The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Isaiah 58:11

 

Following Him leads to satisfaction, strength and healthy growth.

 

Maybe I had not tapped into the source of this strength as I knew I should be doing.  Perhaps I’d let anxiety and worry overtake my mind so much that I’d left no room for even a small stream to flow through and offer me a cupped hand full of fresh water.

 

I was allowing my thoughts and these hard things in life to crowd out the only nourishment I needed.

 

Like throwing dirt onto the slightest trickle of water, I was creating a barrier between myself and my only hope during this time of hurt and heartache.  I was letting my circumstances and thought life stand between me and a gushing, continuous flow of living water.

 

Have you ever let life just pick you up and toss you around?  Ever let your circumstances push you here and there…even the good ones?

 

A deadline at work or school

An event that needs planning

A drive towards success that pushes you somewhere you shouldn’t be

Pressure you place on yourself that you shouldn’t

Burdens you sincerely carry for others that overwhelm you

 

What’s overtaking you now, drying you up, sucking the moisture out of your mind, body and soul?

 

There’s a story in John chapter 4 that is told.  A woman goes to the well to draw water for her family and encounters Jesus there.  She is drawing tangible water from below to quench her thirst, but Jesus offers a different kind of refreshment.  If ingested, it creates a never ending source of water for her.

 

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

 

Inviting Jesus Christ into our lives creates a continual flow of refreshing hydration even beyond our earthly existence.

 

Although I felt a little guilty that I had let myself get so dry…so wrung out…I was encouraged when I read the scriptures.  God is so full of grace, He wasn’t interested in laying a guilt trip on me, He was interested in rehydrating me.  In pointing me back to His direction.  In reminding me of the resource that I have inside of my own spirit.  I sensed that He was eager to dip me back into the living waters that only He can offer.  These waters don’t offer temporary relief or refreshment.  They are permanent.  Eternal.

 

17 “For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7

 

Even if we feel we’ve lost touch with the living water, He is waiting to lead us back to it.

They say when we are down, or struggling with our own circumstances, one of the best ways to get out of that funk is to go and be a blessing to someone else.

 

I think it’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves that we can lose sight of those around us who may need us.  Or, it can cause us to simply forget how it feels when someone encourages us.  Everyone can use a pat on the back or an uplifting word.

 

Maybe it’s not that, maybe it’s preparing a meal for someone or baking a cake and delivering it over.  Buy someone a meal.  Surprise a friend with their favorite coffee (DD small, cream & sugar with a vanilla swirl would be my suggestion, if you’re clueless about that sorta thing!).  Put a note on someone’s windshield at school, at work, or even at home.

 

I read a book years ago called “Splash the Living Water”.  It was a call to take the streams of living water that live inside of believers and share!

 

Our stream will never dry up, it is eternal, and it continually flows.  Not my words, but His.

 

Ever felt like a worn, wrung out rag that’s dried out stiff?  We don’t have to wait on someone to throw us in the wash.  We have the resource inside of us to rehydrate.  To become so soaked that we are literally dripping with a water that refreshes and quenches thirst in a way that tangible streams never can.

 

Let’s don’t be selfish with that.  If you’re dry, tap into the scriptures, remind yourself what God has placed inside of you if you are a believer.  Once you’re rehydrated, go and bless someone else.

 

You will come back to life…you will feel refreshed…you will witness what it’s like to offer someone who is parched a glass of cold water.  You never know who is dry on the inside.

 

Go…splash!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keeping Up With God-The Strain Is Always Worth It!

In my lifetime, there are things that I’ve asked the Lord for and have had to wait to see them come to pass.  Not just wait a few days or even weeks or months, but years.  YEARS PEOPLE!!

 

When I’ve prayed for something for so long and it finally happens, sometimes I just don’t know what to do.  Literally.

 

I’ve gotten so stuck in a mindset that when things began to change for the better, I almost didn’t recognize it.  Or I recognized what seemed too good to be true, and my mind kept taking me back to how things always were.  To the comfort zone I had created before God moved.

 

I’ve assumed the change I saw in someone was false.

I’ve hesitated to relax when a work situation finally resolved itself.

I’ve planned and spent as if I was still a broke young newlywed.

I’ve held my breath waiting to get sick AGAIN.

I’ve kept my distance from people instead of investing in a new friendship.

Am I the only one who has done this?!

This way of thinking isn’t good for anyone.   It doesn’t demonstrate my faith.  I don’t think it pleases the Lord.  It does not please the Lord!

 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

Phillippians 3:13

Forget what is behind.

forget 

verb for·get \fər-ˈget, fȯr-\

Simple Definition of forget

  • : to be unable to think of or remember (something)

  • : to fail to remember to bring or take (something)

  • : to stop thinking or caring about (someone)

Strain toward what is ahead.

 

strain

verb

Simple Definition of strain

  • : to injure (a body part or muscle) by too much tension, use, or effort

  • : to try very hard to do or get something

  • : to be pulled or stretched in a forceful way

I don’t want to offend God when He holds out His hand with something good or when He is leading me into something new and I am so bent on living in my comfortable state of mind that I’m hesitant, or even unwilling, to accept what He is offering or follow where He is leading.

I don’t want to let my past fears or failures dictate how quickly I respond when I sense His leading.

I don’t want to be left behind when He is doing a new thing in my life or in the life of those that I love.

As we approach this weekend where many believers will be focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus, let’s think back to this passage in Isaiah.

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43: 18-19

This passage was written after God had delivered His people out of slavery, parted the red sea, provided their food from the sky, guided them with fire… now He’s promising to do even more for them.  More!

This proclamation in Isaiah was referring to a coming Savior.  Someone who would make a way for us to have relationship with the God of the universe.  The ONLY one who could take on the sins of the world…past, present and future…and bury them for good.  It was a place to fix our eyes and look up…not back.  He was making a way to bring hope for our future and for us to have a one on one relationship with Him.  It was coming!

And come it did, in human form…Jesus.

If God was willing to make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland for his children so many years ago, how can we not think that He is interested in changing our circumstances today?

“See, I am doing a new thing!”

For those of us who are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, who have placed our faith in Him, let’s recognize when He is working in our lives.  Acknowledge it.  Smile about it.  Get to steppin’!  Chin up!  Strain towards that door He has opened up.  That new thing!

Take a look around…where is the ground shaking in your life?  What new thing has He brought you to recently?  Where is He going now that you need to follow and keep up?

A new job opportunity?

A travel adventure to go serve others?

Want to go back to school?

Been eyeing a local church to go visit?

Are you tired of being quiet about your faith?

Feeling impressed to invite someone to coffee?

Can’t shake the desire to start a healthier way of life?

The most peaceful, safe, adventuresome, fulfilling,  place we can be is right behind Him.  Looking to the future, not the past.  Straining to keep up.

When the sun seems to shine a little brighter, a relationship eases in tension, a job begins to bring joy instead of stress, a child leaves behind their bad choices and turns toward goodness, the money begins to roll in, a new friendship begins to form,…do not look back…run to it!

He’s doing a new thing,

He’s making a way.

Leave the past behind,

Strain towards the future.

It’s a call of obedience,

a call to trust Him!

Someone told me many years ago that life with Jesus is a lot like a roller coaster ride.  You can either watch it go by and miss out, get on it gripped with fear, sweaty palms and closed eyes, or you can put your hands in the air, take in the view and enjoy the ride!  Let’s trust the conductor of this life, hop on and ride with abandon…even if this life makes our stomach drop from time to time, just let out a good scream and keep moving forward!

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What To Do When We Have More Questions Than Answers

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When I sit and think of all of the ways that God has blessed me, I always think about the people in my life.
Relationships.
Over the past 26+ years of our married lives, men and women, and even children, have waltzed into our paths and grabbed hold of our hearts in a deep, rich way.
Its humbling…
If my family were ever in crisis mode, there are those in our lives right now that we would call on for support, and even those who we only touch base with once or twice a year, that I know would hop a plane or rearrange their schedule if we shouted for help.
These people…they are not in our lives by accident.  We know that God caused us to not only cross paths, but feel comfortable and extend trust to one another in our conversations.  In our time together.
I hope that these people know who they are and that we would drop everything and rush to their side if they needed us too.  I think they do.
Relationships are work.  These deep, meaningful, abiding friendships…they take time and effort from both sides, and when God is in it, it’s always, always worth the time.  Always.
Have you ever been in a season of life where there were just more questions than answers?
Maybe its questions you have about your own life.
Maybe its questions you are carrying for a friend.
Sometimes, life just happens.  Spouses walk, our children make choices that we cautioned them not to make and are shouldered with the consequences, our parents become ill, a friend goes in for a biopsy, someone loses a job because of down sizing…the list can go on and on and at times seem overwhelming.  I’ve heard bad things happen in 3’s but sometimes it’s 5’s and 6’s, do you know what I mean?
What do we do?  What CAN we do if it’s not even us with the question, but someone we love dearly?
In the Bible, Matthew chapter 6 lends some practical direction.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Are we not much more valuable?  It’s like he knows we have to be reminded of this, and he’s right, we do.  We forget our value.
We are loved and cherished by God himself.  The creator of the trees in our back yard.  The maker of the moon and stars.  The One who came up with colors and animals and the beach.  The One who created relationships, who gave us the desire to connect with other people and ultimately to have relationship with Him.
Sometimes we need reminding that we are not just more valuable than the birds, but we are much more valuable.
I love the way that The Message translation says it…
” Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.”
Matthew 6:26
Not tied down to a job description.  You are more than a wife, a mother, a sister, a Receptionist, a homemaker, a teacher…You are the apple of God’s eye.  You are His focus.
When you have questions for your own lives, dig into the relationships you’ve been blessed with.  It’s no coincidence that during this time in your life, these people are surrounding you.  Reach back and grab an old friend too if you can’t get them off your mind.  Don’t isolate yourself, you’re already surrounded, now grab hold and hang on.
Let those around you support you when you feel that you can’t stand on your own.  Lean into them.  Take a breath and allow God to use these people to help carry you through your questions.  They may not have answers, but they may have wisdom, strength and endurance when you feel you are lacking.
You count far more to God than any other thing He ever created.  We all do.  Let’s grab hold of that truth, stick it deep down into our soul, keep our chin up, lock arms with whomever is there and keep moving forward.  Together.
No worrying about our needs, God’s got us.  Wherever we are heading as we face those questions head on, He has already been there.  He has prepared us for such a time as this.
And although we may never really have the answers to all of our questions, we know the One who does, and that’s really all that matters.
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Loose Your Grip: Take 2

 

handI wrote last week about a storm the Apostle Paul weathered in the book of Acts, chapter 27.  There was so much to learn in that story…I wrote my guts out over it for three days.  But then, I had to go in and trim and cut so that I would have your attention!  This is a one page blog, not a chapter in a book, I get it.

 

As I read and studied that passage, I kept asking the question “what is the most important point of this story”.  I couldn’t come up with just one point.

 

As for me, I keep pondering those men cutting those anchors and leaving them in the sea.

 

 
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”
2 Timothy 3:16

 

I love movies that take place on the ocean.  There’s something about the power of water that intrigues me.  Big wooden ships that creak and sway, flags flying in the wind, waves higher than the vessel itself.  Men shouting over the noise of the ocean and wind.  Put that stuff on the big screen and hand me a Kit Kat and I’ll buy a ticket!

 

This week at church, our Pastor said to fill in this blank, “if mama ain’t _________, ain’t nobody happy”.

 

“Happy”?  No.

 

Secure.

 

Let that sink in.  I think it’s true.  I’m speaking from experience.

 

We all like to feel secure, especially women.  But, imagine being on a giant ship with nearly 250 other passengers, battling wind, rain and waves, when everyone is hungry and hopeless and the decision is made…cut the anchors.  Cut.  The.  Anchors.

 

SAY WHAT?

 

This passage in the Bible is a true story and I believe we can learn something here.

 

Where does our hope lie?  In whom or what do we trust?

 

It’s nice to see our income add up and be enough to equal our outgo, but it usually doesn’t work that way.

 

It’s nice to go to our jobs and know without a doubt that we’ll work there until we retire, but it doesn’t always work that way.

 

It’s nice to build a life with someone and count on them to stay with you until death comes, but it doesn’t always work that way.

 

It’s nice to have a plan for a particular college education with the perfect job to follow, but it doesn’t always work that way.

 

That money, those jobs, those people, that college, those anchors…we can touch and see those.

 

In reality, they’re not reliable.

 

They’re temporary.

 

They bring a false sense of security.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;”

Proverbs 3:5

 

If my finances crash do I trust Him with my needs?

If my job ends, do I trust Him with my retirement years?

If my spouse walks, do I trust Him to make it right and stick with me?

If my plans take a turn out of my control, do I trust that it was no surprise to Him?

If the anchors I’ve tethered myself to are cut loose, will I live in a state of constant suspense like the men on that ship had been in, or will I relax, lie on my back and allow the Holy Spirit to keep me afloat?  Will I surrender to what He is allowing to take place in my life instead of my own plans?

 

The Holy Spirit is invisible.  He’s like the wind.  You know He’s there and you can see the effects of his presence, but He can’t be seen with our eyes.

” Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

 

If we call ourselves “Christians”, “believers”, “born again”…whatever term you choose, are we living a life that expresses our complete dependence on Him?  No matter what?

 

It’s a choice and it takes knowing God to begin leaning into Him.  That’s why spending time in the Bible is important.  As we grow closer to Him and learn his character, we will trust more quickly…with our whole heart…with our actions.

 

Security.  Trust.  Faith.  The only anchor that these can be tied to from now through eternity is unseen.

 

When our tangible anchors are cut, whether by our own doing or not, there is no need to fret.  For those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, there is an anchor which will never cut us lose.  An anchor which is firm and secure.  An anchor which transcends our  limitations here on earth.

 

 

“Do not be anxious about anything…”

 

 

If you are eternally tied to this anchor, live a life filled with hope and assurance in the unseen.

 

If you are not tied to this anchor, ask someone about Him who is.

 

Blessings,

Kellie

 

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Loosen Your Grip

handWater is powerful, especially when it comes in the form of a storm.

Lightning.  Thunder.  Wind.  Is it just me, or does it seem that the worst storms come at night?  Those tornado warnings or threats of wind damage rear their heads when we can’t see what’s coming.  Adding to the anxieties of the darkness, if the power cuts out and there is little access to news broadcasts, we have a decision to make.  Do we take cover, flee or just shrug our shoulders and go back to bed.

 

Lightning…thunder…wind…darkness…these are things that are out of our control.

 

Sometimes things come along in our lives that create fear and a feeling of helplessness.  Maybe it’s an illness.  An unexpected loss of a loved one.  A job loss.  A financial need that you have no idea how to take care of.  A sick child.  An adult child who is going through their own struggles.  A relationship that’s on the rocks. etc. etc. etc.

 

There is a story in the Bible about a storm that raged for weeks.  A man named Paul was on board a ship in that storm and the story of that experience is told in the book of Acts, Chapter 27.

 

While these men are out to sea, they begin to be slowed down by some winds that have set in.  The sailing had already become dangerous and then a northeaster wind came and swooped down on them.  They had to give way to it.  The ship was out of their control and they were forced to go wherever these winds pushed them.

 

Survival Mode

 

After two days of hanging on for dear life, they threw ropes into the sea and wrapped them around the ship to try and hold it together.  They threw cargo overboard to lighten their load.

 

On the third day, they threw their tackle over, giving up their ability to fish.  They saw no sun or stars for days in that storm.  For.  Days.

 

After fourteen nights had passed, they were still weathering this storm.  They were exhausted.  They had lost hope.  The scriptures say that they were in such a state of “constant suspense” that they had not eaten in all of those days.

 

Constant Suspense

 

Have you ever been so pushed around by your circumstances that you felt like you were in a state of constant suspense?  Your muscles are tight.  Your stomach is in a knot.  You couldn’t eat if you tried.  Headaches.  Anxiety.  All of this together with a feeling of helplessness.  You’ve tried to hold it together the best you could , like these men stringing rope around their ship, you pull in tight whatever you can control.

 

But rope frays.  It’s support can only be temporary.

 

What are we to do when the storms of life come?  When they’re out of our control, and it’s dark, and we can’t see, and we’re scared and feeling helpless…what are we to do?

 

Letting Go

 

The men on that ship tried to hold things together the best that they could.  At the same time, they let things go.  Things that could hinder.  Their cargo.  Their grain.  Towards the end of their journey, they even cut all four of their anchors loose!

 

There is freedom when we loosen our grip on our stuff.  Sometimes God can’t take from us what may be holding us in our storm if we are holding on too tightly.  He’s a gentleman, He won’t always pry our little fingers off of whatever we have in our hand.  Our children, our finances, our marriages, our jobs, our health…Let’s take a deep breath and loosen our grip a little today.  Let’s offer up whatever it is that has us in constant suspense and everything else that could be keeping us there.

 

What can you let go of when you’re in a storm?  What could be weighing you down and causing you to suffer longer?  An item you’ve gone in debt over that keeps your finances strained?  A friend who feeds you negativity every time you talk?  A job that you hate?  Even something that’s usually meant for good, like those anchors…what might you need to cut temporarily to ease the voyage through your storm?

 

 

“…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Isaiah 43:1-2

Keep Up Your Strength

 

After two weeks of weathering the storm, Paul urged everyone on board to eat something.  To build back their strength.

 

Women are especially bad at this.  When we are busy trying to take care of everyone else around us, we often neglect our own health.  Don’t do it.  Keep up your strength.  Eat healthy, maintain your exercise routine and continue to make time for yourself.  You need the strength to weather the storm.

 

Once they ate, they tossed the remainder of the food overboard, cut the anchors, untied the ropes and drifted to land.

 

drift

verb

:  to become driven or carried along (as by a current of water, wind, or air) <a     balloon drifting in the wind>b

:  to move or float smoothly and effortlessly

 

A land where they were welcomed with fire for warmth and food for nourishment.  They were extended the hand of hospitality.  There was rest.  There was relief.  The storm had ended.

 

Let’s hold together what we can and let go of what we can’t.  Even if it doesn’t make sense in our mind, like those men cutting those anchors, let’s let go of anything holding us back from fully trusting what God’s word says.

 

Once the storm has passed, we will find rest and relief.  I believe that same rest and relief can come in the midst of our storm too if we stay close to God.

 

Let’s hold tight to Him, let go of any dead weight, take care of ourselves.

 

He will be with us.

 

The waters will not take us over.

 

We will not be burned in the fire.

 

The flames will not set us ablaze.

 

 

 

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Hopping Fences

 

YooniqImages_103407862

My daughter is a wanderer. She sings, draws, paints and is a gifted photographer.  She practically lives out of her car, much like a gypsy.  She hops fences.  If the best angle for the photo she wants to take is on the other side of the fence, there is no question where she is going.  She’s a bit of a risk taker.  I’m more of a rule follower.

 

It takes all kinds to run the world. To raise children.  To teach.  To be a friend.  To lead.  Don’t get hung up on whether you are more of a wanderer or a rule follower.  Embrace who you are, who God made you to be.  You may be a little bit of both.  I think Jesus was.

 

A Fence With Purpose

 

When Jesus walked the earth, He didn’t always follow the rules. He was a bit of a fence jumper, but, only if it had purpose.  Only if it was at the direction of His Father.  Only if it would ultimately point others to their need of God.

 

In Jesus’ day, the Sabbath (day of rest), was honored very differently than many of us do today.  There were ceremonial laws in place to be kept and the church leaders made it their business to watch and see who might break these.  One of which, was not to do any work.

 

But what is the definition of work? In those days, it was argued that work could be picking up your child, putting in your false teeth, lifting a large cup of water to your mouth.

 

Helping others out in a time of need…that was also considered work.

 

I imagine that those rules created quite an obstacle for someone with a big heart…a moral dilemma…a barrier…a wall…a stumbling block…a fence.

 

But Jesus jumped the fence.

 

There are several accounts in the New Testament that tell us that Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He healed in spite of the rules.  He healed knowing full well that the religious leaders would see.  He knew the risks.  He healed because he is compassionate.  He healed because it was the right thing to do.

 

10 “On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”

                                                            Luke 13:10-13

 

 

Jesus Went Against the Grain

 

Where am I going with this? Jesus broke the rules because He knew the big picture.  He knew that when He went against the grain, the man made grain, the reward far outweighed the risks.  It was more important for Him to follow his Father’s directions than to worry about what others may think.

 

Healing on the Sabbath is just one example of Jesus doing things His own way.

 

But for today…

Do you have your eye on a fence?

 

Is there something in your life that you are contemplating right now?  I’m not talking about breaking the laws of your local government, I’m speaking of taking a risk on something that is burning inside of you.

 

Is it something that is out of the “norm” for your family and friends?  Are you afraid that people will “talk” or be critical of what you’re doing?  That you’ll be laughed at.  Are you afraid you’ll fail?

 

Maybe it’s a God given calling that you’ve pushed aside.  Perhaps it’s a different job or hobby or the pursuit of a relationship with someone who is usually overlooked.  Maybe it’s taking an unpopular stance in your parenting, or committing yourself to that volunteer position you’ve had your eye on at church or in your community.

 

Maybe you have a relationship with Christ, but you haven’t told anyone yet.  You’re stuck.  You’re on the fence.  You’re a straddler.   You’re allowing your fear of failure or your fear of what others may think of you to keep you where you are.

 

Perhaps you’re putting off to tomorrow what you need to do today.  I’ve been guilty of this.  I’ve got my eye on a few fences myself right now.

 

Do you want to know the man made consequence of Jesus healing on the Sabbath?  The church leaders began plotting his death when they witnessed his work.  His murder.  I don’t know what your fence looks like, but I doubt that it will cost you your life to jump it.

 

Take time and pray about that fence. Make sure that the Lord is summoning you towards it before you go.  You should know that you know that it is a call to climb that will bring your relationship with Christ a little deeper, make it a little sweeter, and bring glory to Him…before you go.

 

You may get a few splinters.  You may exercise some muscles you haven’t in a while.  You may get tired.  You may get talked about.  You may lose some friends.  But God will give you the strength you need to get over it.  Your wounds will heal.  You’ll become stronger.  You’ll make new friends.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

 

You’ll never know what’s waiting on the other side unless you move.

 

So…lace up your boots.

 

Pull back your hair.

 

Block out all the haters.

 

Get moving!