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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

 

 

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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

“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

 

 

 

 

Featured

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

 

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

Passing Through Troubled Waters Without Getting Sea Sick

Have you ever just taken a step back from your life and looked around and thought “what in the world is going on here?”

Life is good.  I’m breathing, I’m healthy and I’m blessed.

But…

Recently, whilst in my own little bubble, doing what I do on a daily basis, I realized that very near to me there were storms just a brewing.  I was seeing through my pereferial vision a little here and a little over there.  Cue the wind, cue the rain and cue the thunder.

We’ve rowed our little boat of life through storms before, but never like this.  Suddenly I realized we had things brewing in all four corners and it wasn’t going to be enough to just grab a paddle and make our way through.  At least, not a quick pass.

These storms, these challenges, were not going to be fixed with a three step program.or just blow through quickly like a Summer pop-up storm.

They may take some time.

In the midst of storms, in the midst of blinding rain and giant waves that bring on fear and nausea…don’t we want to grab hold of something solid?  Something unswerving?  Then, to squeeze tightly and refuse to let go?

 

When the initial shock and reality sinks in that storms will be walked through, our bodies can react before our brains process.  Ever experienced this?  Mind numbing moods…blank stares…deep, distracting thoughts…muscle tension…even nauseau (I hope that’s not just me lol).

After realizing I was in danger of being tossed to and fro by some of life’s storms, I knew that I had better get a game plan together.

I dug deep into scripture.  I grabbed onto Jesus and His words and refused to let go without seeking wise counsel.  He’s my anchor.  He can be your anchor too.

And ya’ll, He’s faithful.

He.  Doesn’t.  Swerve.

As I read, wrote, prayed and read some more, I realized just how good I had had it for so long.  The gentle waves of life had lulled me into a rut.  A place where I could manage things just fine with very little help.

Now I was feeling like the person sitting on the edge of one of those blobs at summer camp and I had just been shot helplessly into the air.  Kinda like this lady, only I wasn’t smiling!

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13

I’m a visual person, here’s what I began to see as I scurried to Him for protection from these storms.

As a believer, a child of God, a christian, I’m not in a little dinghie in the middle of the sea all alone.  I’m on a big ship with God as the Captain.  A large vessel that is incapable of sinking because the one who crafted the ship is the same one who created and controls the waves and wind.  I see myself now looking over the rail, peering down at what has me bewildered, standing on the solid ground of faith.

When we are battling storms and feeling overwhelmed and afraid, He says “fear not”.  He says “trust me and I will fill you with joy and peace”.

Maybe you are facing an approaching storm.  You can see it coming and there is nothing you can do about it.  Or maybe you’re already in it.  You feel helpless, a little beat up and afraid that you’ll get knocked in the head with flying debris.  Or, you’ve been in a storm for a while and you’re just tired.  Feeling hopeless.

Like those people who are lost at sea in their little yellow rafts, you want to just lie back, close your eyes and hope it all goes away.

And what do we do in the meantime?  Sit?  Cry?  Pout?  Complain?  Moan?  Whoa.  Is.  Me.

No.

Believers…we know the Captain.  We know the maker of the wind and waves.  He allows trials and tribulations to come if they will draw us closer to Him.  If they will throw a light in His direction, pointing others His way.  Our momentary troubles have purpose.  A purpose greater than we will ever know in its entirity.  So for now, it’s  not about us, IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM (It may come as a shock that our lives aren’t all about us to some, but it’s the truth)!

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

We know that trials will come.  Let’s be ready.  Let’s read the manual, get close to the Captain and listen and follow His instructions.  Let’s put on our protective gear.  Let’s rally with our fellow brothers and sisters and encourage and pray and advise and focus on the joy that is offered in the middle of these storms of life.

Let’s thank Him for the shelter He offers in the storms.

Let’s thank Him for keeping us on track during blinding rains.

Let’s thank Him for comforting us when the thunder claps catch us off guard.

These storms are temporary.

I guarantee it…better yet…HE guarantees it 😉

Praying that we all choose HIM when the storm clouds begin to gather,

Blessings,

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