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All In

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“So they pulled their boats up on shore,

left everything and

followed him.”

Luke 5:11

” Come on now, jump! One…two…three!”

As our son stood on the edge of the swimming pool, I did my best to coax him to jump in. He stood, watching the other children do what their swim teachers were instructing them to do.

They were laying on mini boards, kicking their legs. Some were practicing blowing bubbles in the water. They were laughing and splashing. He wanted so bad to please his teacher and his mama, but he was afraid to come all the way into the water.

“Try again. I’ll count to three, then you jump, and I’ll catch you!”

Our mommy and me swim lessons were off to a great start so far. I was going into my 9th month of pregnancy with my daughter and struggled to stay upright. If I could handle keeping my balance in an Olympic sized pool full of children, surely our son could at least come into the water. It’s not that he was resistant to pools, it’s that he didn’t have his water wings. He was simply afraid.

After a little more coaxing, he finally threw one leg out and leaned in. Only, he didn’t jump up and out. As soon as his momentum began to pull him to the water, he quickly twisted his body, and grabbed hold of the side of the pool.

He was in, he just wasn’t all in.

How often do we do this?

We want to go back to school or go after a new job but there’s no safety net.

Perhaps we have a dream that has been nagging at us for so long that it is beginning to seem impossible.

We want to lean in to our faith a little harder but we’re afraid of where that may lead.

We look down and stare at our toes, right on the edge of the line. We see the sweat drip from our brow down to our feet. In our peripheral vision, we see others who have taken the leap. They’re jumping and smiling and are in their element. They don’t even look back at the side of the pool anymore because the good stuff is found out in the deep.

Maybe we’ve taken a half leap into that next step, and we are suffering for it. Things don’t go as we think they should so we question what we are doing. We’re sore, feeling beat up as we stick our toe into our future, only to pull it back at the first hint of discomfort. We’re tired because we have half of our time spent on moving forward while our other half is spent in the comfortable.

This is when we have to make some decisions.

He is beckoning us to trust Him.

Completely.

He’s asking…”are you all in?”.

Am I?

Are we?

After a few of these leans into the water, his little fingertips began to feel raw from the concrete pool edge. He was getting winded as he would jump in and immediately swing his leg up on the edge to pull himself right back out. There was no fun in it. He wanted more.

Don’t we want more?

You know how this ends. Once he finally took a real, genuine leap into the pool, he realized there was nothing to fear. I was always within arm’s reach. His teacher kept his focus on her eyes as she instructed. He felt secure. Safe. He knew he could spread his arms and extend his legs and experience the freedom that a swimmer has. All without fear of sinking.

When Jesus called His disciples, they dropped what they were doing and followed the call. Luke 5 tells us that Simon, James and John literally pulled their boats out of the water, and left them behind. No looking back.

Christ gave His all for you and for me. He didn’t turn around and grab hold of the edge when his Father called him to lay down his life for us. He trusted that his Father’s plan was the perfect plan and He kept his eyes on Him while constantly moving forward.

Because Christ gave His all, I believe He calls us to do the same. An even exchange. When we experience unrest in our spiritual lives and have difficulty leaving the ledge, perhaps it’s because we want everything He has for us while we only hand him a portion of ourselves. It’s in handing him only pieces of ourselves that we can begin to feel pulled apart.

If Jesus is calling us out, we need to be all in.

That job.  That dream.  That life of faith.

Let’s leave the ledge. Leap out. Let go.

Even if we do it scared. We can’t go wrong. He won’t let us sink.

Lord,

Thank you that you love us right where we are, but that you love us too much to let us stay there. Help us to stay focused on you as you lead us to strengthen our faith and love you more. Help us to jump BIG and to be all in.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

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When Our Plans Get Interrupted

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Plans.

We make them. We keep them. We break them. We are informed of them. We look forward to them. We dread them.
I remember years ago making plans to go away to college and pursue a degree in education. Instead, God interrupted my plan with a man and a hard right turn. I landed a great job which led me to schooling in a completely different field which resulted in a great career.
More recently, my plans have been interrupted by way of a cancer diagnosis in my mom nearly two years ago. As my adult children were leaving home, my plans were to have more frequent shopping and lunch dates with my mother and take a trip or two to visit far away relatives. Instead, we spend time together at doctor’s appointments, crossing T’s and dotting I’s on a plethora of paperwork and relaxing on the back porch of her beautiful piece of land.
The way we spend our time together now…I’ll take it! But, it’s not what I thought we would be doing together had you asked me a couple of years ago.
In each of these times in my life I had a choice on how I would respond to the shifts and shoves.
The shift to change my career path so that I could be with my man sooner was easy.
The shove of making any time planned with my mom fenced in my doctor’s appointments and recovery times…not so much.
But, I still get to choose how I respond and my response is rooted in the One that I know loves me more than anyone else ever would or could.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

When our circumstances begin to shift or shove us, we won’t always understand in the moment the what or why. We may not even understand it when it’s all said and done. It’s times like these that we cling to our faith and trust that God knows what He is doing, and what He is allowing to come our way.
We cling to what we know.
We know that God is for us and not against us (Romans 8:31).
He has plans for us and they are good (Jeremiah 29:11).
He supplies all of our needs (Phillippians 4:19).

We know these things are true because He didn’t just speak these things with words, He actually did something to demonstrate His love for us. He allowed the one thing that was priceless in His eyes to act as payment for you and me. He used His son as a bridge to bring us over into fellowship with Him.

Do we think that He would give over His son and then let our circumstances just blow around in the wind?
No! He has way too much invested in us to just shrug His shoulders and sit back.
That addiction, that divorce, that unplanned move across country, that friend that dropped out of your life, that health issue you never saw coming, that unplanned pregnancy…the sudden windfall of financial blessing, the new job you were just offered, the debt that disappeared unexpectantly, the healing that took place in your body, the reconciliation you experienced with your wayward teen…you may have never seen any of this coming.
These weren’t necessarily in your plans.
As our scripture says, His ways are not our ways. If we will accept that, we will be able to not just deal with the shifts and shoves, but experience them, be fully present through them, and make them count for something.
When things aren’t going quite as we had planned, let’s loosen our grip and allow God to do His thing. Scary? Yes! But can we trust Him? You bet!
What about you? What is it that you may be missing out on because you’re working so hard to squint your eyes and turn your head just right in order for your own picture to come into focus? What is your response when you see your plans shift or get shoved in a different direction?
Sometimes handing God what we think is best results in Him handing back to us something even better.
My career change and young marriage sent me on a trajectory I could’ve never imagined for myself…and the conversations my mom and I have now are more intimate and deep than we would’ve ever had while antiquing and sipping latte’s.
He’s good ya’ll.
Let’s choose to trust Him when life gets interrupted. He just might blow our socks off if we will lean close and look for the blessings.

Kellie

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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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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

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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

Come Sit With Me

It was early December a few years ago.  Tim and I were riding down the road.  I was in the passenger’s seat with pen and paper as we discussed what we wanted to buy our people for Christmas that year.  The issue we were having was that our loved ones basically have everything they need and most of what they want.  We were straining our brains trying to come up with things to spend our money on that may or may not be wanted or even appreciated.

In that moment, something came over me.  It was as if God was cracking open the door, ever so slightly, and giving me a glimpse into the life of a single parent.  For just a brief moment in time, my feelings shifted from strain and frustration to desperation and worry.  I saw a flash of faces, all of the single parents in my life.  Like a dream that only lasts about 30 seconds but would take 30 minutes to describe.  It drove me to tears.

That moment was life changing for me.  I began asking myself what I could do to come alongside single parents to encourage them.  Little did I know that God was going to blow the doors off of my small minded thinking.  Not because I’m someone special, but because these parents are.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18 NIV

Unfortunately, the perfect world He originally intended is no longer in existence.

Does it matter why they are a single parent?  Only to God.  It’s not our business.

God is looking for people who are willing to leave the comfort of their own friendship circles and embrace these single parents.  I am sure of it.

Those who are reading this and are married, take a journey with me for just a moment…What if you were suddenly left alone to care for your home and children?

  • Who would help you clean house, buy groceries and shuffle kids to the ball park on a typical Saturday…after putting in a 40+ hour work week?
  • Who would share yard work with you?
  • Who would help you pay your bills and save for a vacation?
  • Who would pick up your kids from school when you’ve been in bed with a fever all day?
  • Who would let you get a little sleep when you’ve been rocking a sick baby for 2 days?
  • Who would tag team parent with you when your teenager starts to rebel?
  • Who would help you on Sunday mornings to get the kids up, fed and ready for church–on time?
  • Who would you sit with in church on Sunday morning while your children were in their own classes?
  • Who would you tell about the day you’ve had at work after you’ve finally gotten the kids to do their homework, shower and get to bed?

Who?

I’ve never been a single parent but I’ve had the privilege to come alongside many and observe and participate in life with them.  They are strong.  They are over-comers.  They inspire me.

Single parent

I’ve personally been asked, and told, by single parents…

  • Can I sit with you in church so I’m not sitting alone?
  • Can you go to court with me? I don’t want to face my ex husband alone.
  • Can you arrange a time for me to meet other single moms in my area? I don’t really know any.
  • My car is in the shop, can you pick me up Sunday for church?
  • I don’t feel comfortable in Sunday school with all of the married couples; can you help me study my Bible?
  • I’ve been sick for 3 days and my kids are living off of microwave popcorn and Capri sun!
  • I’m looking for a second job so that I can afford to buy Christmas for my kids this year.

 

 “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

Mark 9:41 NIV

Our response…

  • Yes you can sit with me; I’ll save you a seat!
  • When is that date? I’ll do whatever I can to support you.
  • Let’s put something on the calendar. I’ll gather some help and provide some childcare and we will make it a girl’s night!
  • I’ll be there at 10:30.
  • Yes! What do you want to learn about?  I’ll pick us up a study guide and we’ll get started.
  • I’ll bring you dinner tomorrow night, while I’m there, I’ll help you fold clothes too.
  • I know people who have more money than they know what to do with. Let me see what we can do to help. Do NOT take time away from your kids to buy them STUFF!  We’ll work this out, that’s what the church is for, and I’ll be in touch.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 68:5 NIV

Can we make the effort to reach out?  Single parent families can benefit greatly from spending time with families where both parents are present.  Their kids can see what a two parent household looks like.  Single moms and dads can ask for advice and even give it to two parent homes.  They’ve had to be creative in ways that two parent homes don’t have to be.  They have a lot to offer.  We can learn from each other. They don’t want pity.  They need us.  We need them.

Let’s step from our comfort zones.

Speak up.

Reach out.

Follow through.

Especially at this time of year.

Who can you ask to sit with you this Sunday?  Start there.

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The Art of Letting Them Go…

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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