What Does Sweetness Feel Like?

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Recently I attended a weekend away with one of my closest friends and about 158 other women I did not know.  Mealtime was full of wonderful foods prepared by in house chefs and large round tables where we sat and ate family style.  The introvert in me could have easily sat off at a table on my own.  Just me and my friend.  But, that’s not what this weekend was about.  Every time we broke bread with a new table of smiling, beautiful women, I walked away having learned something new or having been encouraged in some way.

 

One meal in particular, I met a really special lady (I’ll call her Meredith).  Her big eyes just sucked me in as she smiled and asked me about myself over and over again.  She didn’t want to talk about her life.  She wanted to get to know me.  Where was I from, what was my story, what was my family dynamic etc. etc. etc.  She knew how to make you feel special.  She never turned the conversation to herself.  Not once.

 

Until…her grown daughter sitting with her began to share with us that her mom was a recent breast cancer survivor.  She had been to hell and back.  Surgeries.  Lymphnodes.  Double mastectomy.  Chemotherapy.  Radiation.  And yet here she was, smiling, hair back in place, healthy, putting the spotlight on me and my friend.  So selfless.  So full of life.

 

Once her daughter spilled the beans, we turned to Meredith and smiled and she smiled back.  She shook her head yes, confirming what her daughter had shared, looked down at her lap, then back up to me, rubbed her hands across the table, and then she said…”God is so sweet.  So.  Sweet”.  Not the reaction most would expect.

 

Sweet.

 

I love that word.

 

Since I’m a word nerd I looked it up.  The definition wasn’t too impressive, maybe because we already know what it means, but the words listed in Merriam Webster related to sweet bring a deeper meaning.

 

Related to sweet

When Meredith used that word to describe God, it took me back to some of the times in my own life when I’ve used that word to describe Him.  It encapsulates many feelings and emotions…too many to list.
Surprisingly, those times that came to mind weren’t necessarily the “good times” in life.  They’ve typically been when life is a bear.  Schedules are full.  I have unanswered questions.  I’m worried about my kids.  I’m battling my own thoughts of fear or having a crisis of low self confidence (everyone does, right?).  Times when He has shown me mercy or He has revealed something to me that He didn’t have to.  Moments where I’ve been corrected gently, nudged with His strong, chivalrous hand back into the lane paved just for me.  Moments where the fears of the unknown are trying to take over my  thoughts to the point of physical illness.  He swoops in to bring me peace and contentment.  To remind me I am not alone.
Like when my husband comes home and hands me a sweet coffee or a donut (we don’t do flowers, I like donuts lol), he is being sweet.  He knows what I need and just when I need it.  God is sensitive to us in that way too.
  IMG_20150312_062622
“What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?”
1 Corinthians 4:21
Are you sensitive to the sweetness of God?  Did you know that He is gentle, loving, kind, compassionate?
Or, have you only heard about the fire and brimstone, the wrath, the anger, the “you must perform this way in order to be my child” gospel?
God is well rounded.  That perfect father that you’ve always longed for here on earth, He is that.  He fills that gap.  Some of you may have a bigger space than others to be filled, but no one has a perfect earthly dad.  If you are in a relationship with Him, He is your perfect Father.  Which means that being gentle and sweet is part of his make-up.
Those words above that are related to sweet…He feels that way about you and me.  Go back up and read them.
Did you know that?  Isn’t that sweet?  Ponder it.  Let that soak in.  If you’re reading this, I believe He wants to remind you of this.
He is Abba, Father.
And He is sweet.
Have a blessed day,

Kellie

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Lay It Down and Let It Out

 no guiltRegret.  Shame.  Guilt.

These are just a few emotions that I’ve felt throughout my life.  Even into adulthood.

I remember a day so vividly when I was a young mom.  We lived in a home with two staircases.  When you walked in the front door, you either went up 8 or 10 stairs, or you went down 8 or 10 stairs.  There was only a landing at the door.

As I went into my bathroom to put on a little make up for the day, I placed my young son into his walker. We always fastened a baby gate at the top of those stairs, we felt like prisoners at times in the second story of our home.

I’ll never forget hearing the sound of that walker bouncing down the stairs BAM, BAM BAM, BAM…all the way to the landing.  By the time I exited my bedroom and flew down the stairs, the walker was on its side on my left and my precious son was laying on his back on my right. He had been ejected and I still have no idea how his neck wasn’t broken. He rolled over on his belly while crying and I could see he was ok.  I scooped him up with trembling arms and by the time I reached the top of those stairs, he had quieted down.  He was fine.

I know what could have happened to him.  The absolute worst.  But, I don’t go there anymore.  He’s OK.  And I learned a very valuable lesson.  One I never repeated again and one I share with other new moms if given the opportunity.

God had given me this precious gift to raise and care for and my neglect nearly cost him his life.  I confessed to the Lord that I was sorry, remorseful, regretful…I can tell you without any hesitation that He never made me feel like a terrible mother.  Never.  Ever.

He wants us to know that when we mess up, He provides a way to escape that guilt and turn something negative into something that can be used to shine a light on Him and His mercy.

When part of our story carries the weight of regret, let’s be careful.

I learned long ago that condemnation doesn’t come from God.  It does not.  It comes from the enemy…satan himself.  With condemnation, there is no escape.  No way out.  We keep quiet, suffering in silence.

If you are a follower of Christ, there is never condemnation from the Father.  Only conviction.

conviction

  1.  :  the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth

We have to admit that something is going wrong before we can come up with a new plan.  A better plan.  Conviction provides a way of escape.  It is temporary.  It is in place only to point you in the right direction so that you can leave whatever you regret behind and move on.

He is a good father.  A good, good father.

If you had your father, or a father figure growing up, you know full well the difference in conviction and condemnation.  Do you remember how you were made to feel when you were caught up in something wrong?  Were you made to feel as if there was no way you could ever make right one of your mistakes?  Or, were you lovingly scolded and encouraged to make a different choice next time?  See the difference?  Can you feel it?

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
Romans 8:1
 

Do you ever feel weighed down with regret?  Shame?  Guilt?  Perhaps it’s not even over anything that you did, but something that was done to you.  Something that someone else did and they’ve shifted the blame onto your shoulders.  Maybe you’ve shifted the blame onto your shoulders all on your own.

When we are talking to God, confessing the weight we are carrying, it’s natural to feel embarrassed or ashamed.  Like a child standing under the shadow of his father.  Our head is down, we are looking at our shoes, shoulders stooped, voice mumbling.

But our Heavenly Father places his hand on our chin and says look up child.  Look up.
He says that the consequences of our actions will come, but that He will walk with us as we face them.  Every step of the way.  He says that we are not to live in defeat, but in victory and in freedom.  He paid a heavy price for it.

There is a song that describes how a lot of us feel when we are carrying guilt.  Click the link below and give yourself just 5 minutes to listen to the words.  I hope it speaks to you.  Believe what it says.  Hide these words from Romans 8:1 in your heart and when satan tries to make you feel ashamed, quote it back to him.

Here are just a few lines in this song…
I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

 

In the days that followed my son’s walker incident, God comforted my frazzled spirit.   He reminded me to always be thankful.  He asked me to share that story when necessary, even though it embarrassed me to do so.  It could save a life.  It could encourage another mom who has made mistakes of her own.

We all have stories like this.  Ones that might make us feel a little uncomfortable to tell, but could bring comfort to someone else.  Satan would have us keep these stories to ourselves, but our Heavenly Father means to use them for good.

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

I’m praying for us all to tuck this in our hearts.  Hand Him our guilt and shame.  Live thankful lives.  Be willing to share our stories.

We’ve been forgiven.  Let’s believe it.  Let’s live like it.

Blessings,
Kellie

Keep It Simple Sister

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I don’t know about you, but my mind can get so consumed with life that it effects me negatively.  Even if most of my thoughts are positive, they can be all consuming.  Over thinking can cause me to doubt my abilities, worry about things that are completely out of my control, and physically drain my energy.  When my mental energy is sapped up by too many thoughts, it can make me physically exhausted and spiritually weak.

 

But I’m working on that.

 

Our thought life sets the attitude and direction of our spiritual and physical lives.

 

When we are consumed with concerns and worry , it can take a toll on our physical bodies.  Our eyelids tend to get heavy earlier in the evening.  Our muscles can ache.  Headaches will come and go.  We may turn to food or cigarettes or pills or some other vice to look for relief from the pressure that has built in our minds, even if it is temporary.

 

When we are consumed with concerns and worry, it can take a toll on our spiritual life.  If we haven’t made reading the Bible and prayer a discipline in our daily lives, it’s easy to just skip it.  Or, we read a Bible verse and immediately think “so and so sure could benefit from that one!” rather than ourselves.  We can doubt our faith.  Doubt our God.  We might even gravitate towards others whose minds run a mile a minute as well and we can commiserate together instead of praying for one another.

 

33″ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:33-34

This.  Is.  So.  Simple.

If you’ve  ever wondered what God’s will is for your lives, here ya go!  Yes, there is more to it than just this…but this…this is where our focus should be.  He tells us clearly that if we seek Him out, the other things in our lives will be given to us.  They will fall into place as they are meant to.  He will take care of the details.  He says not to worry about tomorrow.  Don’t.  Worry.  About.  It.  Don’t.

I know this is so much easier to read or say than to apply it.  Like I said, I’m working on it.  The struggle is real.  But, we must make the effort.  We’ve got to keep our eyes on Him…not just because He says so, but because there’s a blessing that comes when we do.

His kingdom…the family of God.

kingdom

noun king·dom \ˈkiŋ-dəm\

Definition of kingdom

:  the eternal kingship of God

:  the realm in which God’s will is fulfilled

 

His righteousness…His character.

righteous

adjective righ·teous \ˈrī-chəs\

Definition of righteous

: morally good : following religious or moral laws

:  acting in accord with divine or moral law :  free from guilt or sin

 

I want less stress.  I want less worry.  I want less wondering about what tomorrow will bring.  I want more peace, more confidence and more freedom in my mind.

 

Am I the only one?

 

When we are feeling consumed by our circumstances, remember the K.I.S.S. method ladies.

 

Keep              

It              

                                Simple                                           

                                Sister                                               

 

Take things one day at a time.  Focus on Him.  His leading.  Trust Him.

 

The more I study and write and live, the more I feel He is asking me over and over “do you trust me?”.  I’m trying to stay focused on Him and let Him worry about my tomorrow.  After all, I don’t know what is coming, but He does.

 

What is it in your own life that you need to hand over to Him in exchange for keeping your focus on who He is?  One thing that your worrying will do nothing to change.  One thing.

 

I have my one thing for today that I’m handing back over to Him.  Won’t you join me with your own stuff?  He tells us if we do, that “all these things will be given to you as well”.

 

It’s really all about trusting Him.

 

“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

 

Seek.

Trust.

It’s so simple.

 

 

 

 

 

Your Time Is Now

I was in the nail salon a few weeks ago.  Often times there is a language barrier between me and the nail technician and this time was no different. But, she wanted to talk, and so talk we did.

As the flat screen T.V. played in the background, news reports were being aired of another tragedy in our country involving innocent lives being taken in the name of evil.  Just because.

This precious woman kept looking up to my face to talk to me.  Oftentimes, she rolled her chair away to take a few seconds to accurately pronunciate what it is she wanted to say.  I understood every word.

purpose

 

Her young son had just told her that morning that there was no hope for our country.  He was asking her why he should go to school and continue to move forward with life when so much tragedy and fear was gripping those around him.

 

She assured him that he was safe, gave him a hug, and sent him out to catch his school bus.

 

She was heartbroken.  What mother wants to hear their child tell them that there is no hope?  What I discovered while speaking with her was that she was grasping for some hope herself.

 

“… who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:14b

 

There is a story told in the Bible about a young woman named Esther.  Through circumstances that only God himself could have created, she was placed in a position she never saw herself in.  During this particular time of her life, she had the opportunity to voice her opinion to someone of power.  An opinion that could cost her her life.  She could have chosen to keep her mouth closed.  To fade into the background.  To leave it to someone else.

 

But her dear friend Mordecai urged her to speak.  He proposed to her that perhaps she had been put into this hard place, at this time, “for such a time as this”.

 

She boldly spoke.  She risked her life for the sake of others.

 

Her obedience changed the course of history.

 

Have you ever felt like you were placed in a moment that had a bigger purpose than you had planned?

 

God has His eye on you.  He knew from the beginning of time that you would be here, in this moment.  He knew what your address would be today, the hurts and triumphs that brought you to this place and most importantly, the people that would be in your life…even if for a brief moment in time…to offer hope…to offer truth.

 

“Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones.”

Proverbs 15:30

 

I was getting a pedicure.  Who knew that I would leave there feeling humbled that God would allow me to encourage this sweet lady…that I would have had the opportunity to point someone beyond what is happening in our brief lifetime…to deposit words into her that would continue to work actively even if I never saw her again.  To give a smile.  A hug.  And yes, a big tip.

 

God has brought us to this place.  For this time.  With these people. Let’s guard against worrying what others might  think of us.  Let’s keep our eye on the only One who really matters.  What a privilege it is to know that the creator of all things wants to use you and me to bring hope and light to all people!

 

He is the only one who offers a hope that is everlasting, that surpasses the momentary troubles of this world.  So keep your eye out.  You never know when or where an opportunity will arise.  Where God will place you.  Whose heart is hungry for encouragement.  Whose soul is longing to be connected with their creator.

 

When you question your circumstances.  When you’re not even paying attention.  When things are going good, and when things are going bad.  Perhaps it’s not about you…it’s not about us.  It could be that we were placed in those moments for a greater purpose…”for such a time as this”.