Friday, September 28, 2012

Being Found Faithful In Small

I've had an ongoing conversation with God for the past couple of years. It goes something like this

Me: Hellooo?
God: I'm Here
Me: Kids are in school now, sooo if you have a special calling for me, or something I could be doing now would be a great time to show me, I'd like to get started.
God: I have plans for your future, Daughter. And I'm working all things out for your good.
Me: OK, thank you. But....what are those plans??
God: Wait on me, I am going before you, do not be afraid, be courageous and be ready
Me: Speechless

So, I wait. Not sure what he's up to and getting a little frustrated that it's taking him so long, I mean come on, I could be doing something!

Lately, when I start asking God to show me His will and to give me some sort of vision for my life, this verse started popping up all over the place.

Matthew 25:23 " You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities."

What in the world could He mean by that?!

I started searching my heart trying to figure out am I being faithful in small things? Is there somewhere where I'm not being obedient or a good steward of my time or money or things?

Today in my Proverbs 31 devo that came through my email, there that verse was again.

I almost didn't even read it, because the title was something about an Empty Nest and I have a few more years before I get to that stage, but I opened it and gave it a read anyway.

It really wasn't what I was expecting.  The lady was asking the same questions I was, what is God's calling on my life? She says she has raised her kids and they are off living their lives on their own now, but what about me?

A counselor helped her see she had done her job, she had been faithful in the small things (raising her kids) and now God was getting ready to bless her with bigger things, but she had to stop looking back and mourning what was lost.

She started to remember her goals and dreams pre-kids. Who she was and God was showing her who she was without the kids.

But for me, I'm still in the season of raising kids. God is telling me to wait because it's not my time yet to come into fully whatever He has planned for me {whatever it is, he must know my kids need to be grown before I can handle it :)}

So now, I'm praying for patience to keep plugging away and taking on small things to occupy my time, and prayerfully all these small things are just preparation for something bigger.

What about you? Are you waiting for God to show you what's next? What has He shown you?

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Wish I Would Have Told Him

Job 28:13 "Man does not comprehend it's worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living."
The Devil pulls no punches, when a battle of the mind is taking place,  he arrives early to the ring, he feels out his opponent, and zeroes in on their weakness to make it easier to deliver that final blow.

His lips salivate when he sees self-doubt and insecurities.

He knows he can deliver a punch to the heart that will make you feel unloved.

And the mind, it's next.

He will tell you lies; "No one likes you," "Oh my gosh, why did you say that? Now they think you are stupid!" "Your a LOSER," "It doesn't matter what you say or do, you'll never be good enough."

He's there to win and he will play dirty if that's what it takes to destroy your mind.

All he has to do is make you believe, believe just one, and he knows you're his. You will fall because he will beat you with his lies.

"Does anyone love me? Because everything i post gets no attention but everyone else's get lots of likes and comments."
This is was my 13 yr old nephew's status update on Facebook last week.

And I cried, y'all! Maybe I was just having an overly emotional day, but I sat there speechlessly staring at the screen with my heart in my throat, thinking how in the world could this child wonder if he's loved based on Facebook likes?

How at 13, and how at 33 can we buy into this lie? That we need others approval in order to feel worthy or seen?

At 33, I know my worth is more than followers, comments, and Facebook likes, but, oh how I can forget sometimes.

Matthew 10:31 "So don't be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows."

 But at 13?! In this age of instant communication, silence would have withered me.

My 13 year old heart couldn't have handled it

That devil, he's not playing around, he knows what he's doing!
He's been around long enough to pick up when someone's doubting their self worth and he has all the right tools for his dirty work.

Facebook, I love it and I hate it; if used for it's purpose it's great, but not so much if I'm using it to get others to validate me through  "likes."

John 12:43 "For they loved praise from men more than praise from God."
I wish I would have told that sweet boy to look up. Look up to the One who loves him deeply, passionately, and endlessly. He will give you an infinite number of "likes" if that's what it takes to know you are loved.

I wish I would have told him not to find his worth in small meaningless things, like Facebook.

Cause you know, people, they're imperfect and will fail you every time. But not God, no, not God.

I cried for my nephew but I also cried out to God. That God would show him love in a tangible way he would know and accept.

I cried for all the times I've drawn my own worth from things around me, just like this child.

For all the times I've asked God to show me his love and reassure this girls heart.
 Psalm 86:13 "For great is your love toward me.."
How do you tell a young heart that they are so loved by the unseen, when they live by what they see?

In that moment if I could have reached through the 800 miles that separated us and looked into his big brown eyes I would have told him how deeply he is loved and wouldn't have stopped until he believed me.

Oh friends, how tempting it is to "go there" and want people to "like" us, and if our worth isn't firmly rooted in God, the silence from others will wreak havoc on our fragile hearts too.

Our acceptance can only come from God and anything else is less than his best.

It's a good thing for a 13yr old and a 33 yr old to remember.


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Disconnect to Connect

We celebrated my son's 8th birthday over the weekend. I. Can't. Believe. My baby is 8.

Birthdays make me nostalgic. They make we want to stop time and hold still the day so that it won't become a distant memory so soon.

And they make me think, am I doing everything with my kids while they are young that I can? Am I investing enough? Do they know how deeply they are loved?

Or do I rush around trying to get one more things done and treat them as one more thing to do and deal with?

So many times I do-guilty.

As we sat on the couch yesterday talking about our day and Jackson was telling me what he liked the most about his birthday, I sat quietly listening and holding on tight to the little boy that is growing before my eyes into a young man. A man that will one day have his own wife and children. And pride and tears well up at the same time.

Will he look back and think of the times we sat and talked, laughed and enjoyed sitting around shooting the breeze? I hope so. I hope he knows how we took time to listen, to soak in every word and smile and laugh.

I hope times like these will stand out more than the not so cozy and sweet times.

As I sit and listen I think isn't this what it is all about? To not run around like crazy people with never enough time?

Sitting and breathing deep each others presence, squeezing every ounce of time and life out of each other before they both slip away.

We live in a world where busyness is praised and is the standard of living. The busier you are the more full your life?

No time to sit. No time to just be. Will we regret all the times we let time slip by? Thinking there's always tomorrow?

I want to grab hold of the day and the people that mean the most. They are life. They are God given, they are our daily blessings.

I don't need more time. I have just enough. The same as everyone else, everyday.

I don't need finish my to do list, or do one more load of laundry or read one more email.

I do need to be fully there wherever I am, and be in the moment and capture it in my heart.

In our age of technology and staying connected it has made us more disconnected than ever.

Our kids talk and we absentmindedly nod and sigh and give out uhuhs, just so that they think we hear them. But I don't. Am I really to wonder why they don't seem to hear me?

Their small school dramas are their world right now and when I haphazardly dismiss my daughters latest drama, she will soon stop talking about the small and the big.

What is going on in their little world is a big deal to them. We know they will grow up not to even remember so and so's name, but right now, in this moment, so and so is a big deal.

I sometimes feel like my phone is my biggest detriment. It's too easy to get on Fb, Twitter, or email and connect with the world, but what about connecting with my kids?

Am I taking up the same time with them? Making sure I connect and that they know they are more important than the latest breaking news?

One way I've found that I can do this is to put my phone on charge once my kids come in the door and leave it there.

They are home from being away at school all day, I've had my time to connect with the world, now my time is theirs.

It's amazing what you hear when you listen with your full ears and heart. You hear the message behind the drama. What's really going on in their hearts. It's the perfect time to instill Godly truths into them because all day long other things have been battling it out for their hearts and minds.

I wish I could say I do this all the time, but I don't. But I'm challenging myself to do it more often. I'm challenging you too!!

Let's disconnect to connect. Let's let our families know that they are more important than the latest status update and latest tweet, let's fully engage and be fully there, in the moment.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

True Freedom Isn't Found In A Cage

Blu from Rio

While watching the movie Rio one night over the summer I was struck with how ironic that little bird is. He's a bird that can't fly! But, he is content in his cage and couldn't believe that the other birds wanted to escape... to get out and be free!

Blu: You see, who needs flying? 
Jewel: Birds! Birds need flying. Flying is... err... freedom, and, and not having to rely on anyone. Don't you want that? 
Blu: Hmm, I don't know. Sounds a little lonely. 

To him these birds were crazy. Didn't they see how much safer it is inside the cage? You got fed, petted, had a mirror and a little bell, a bed and the room was always a comfortable 86 degrees. What more could you ask for?!

I'm that bird!! well I was once.
John 8:32 " You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free"
The truth is our walk with God can become a cage if we let it. Until we step out and let abandon fly in the wind and in the face of what we "think" is right and everyone's opinions of what we should and shouldn't do, we will never experience Jesus' freedom.

A while back I started pulling back from the church and the people in it. Some of it was my fault and some of it was others. I was starting to feel like the church cared more about the way things looked and seemed rather than how they really were.

It felt like a gathering of let's make sure everyone is neat and tidy and our sin is covered up so as to not be a stumbling block to others. But all this does it keeps our sins tightly tucked away and out of view from everyone else and hinders us from being real with those that want it and need it.

It's makes us self righteous and prideful and we give ourselves big pats on the back for our sin management, we're so puffed up on our own pride we start to feel like we have the right to point out others shortcomings who don't so as well a job as us.

But you know what? We secretly are wishing we could not cover up so well. That people could see the real us and like what they saw. We get to a point where we finally get tired of playing pretend.

The turning point might be you are the subject of church gossip, without even realizing what you did, or you have a friend going through some tough life issues like an upcoming divorce and those in the church are gossiping and pointing. Whatever it is, and it may be nothing, just a self awareness, eventually it will happen, you will give up the try hard Christian life, because quite frankly it is HARD.

Never letting anyone but your family see the "real" you and even they comment "Why do you act so nice in front of so and so?" You burn out and slowly pull away from the church, from the people that once fed your spiritual needs.

You stop your quiet time and you even start to pull away from God because you think if this is what it's like to be a Christian, well no thank you. Cause really, those in the church don't act much different from anyone else.

But, my friends that isn't the answer either. One morning you will wake up and you will miss the closeness you once had with God and the connections with those in the church. You will go back to the reasons you turned to God in the first place...your brokenness and neediness for something more in life.

You went to church because you enjoyed the fellowship with other believers, the music, and the preaching left you feeling revived and ready to face the world! When did it all get so complicated?

When did my love and passion become me working so hard to "prove" myself?

And then you will start to pray. Pray for your heart and faith to be renewed, for His truth about what it means to live in freedom and love to become clear to you. And it comes. The vision of love. The vision of what freedom looks like when you drop the mask and start to be real about who you are, for the first time.

Like those other birds from the movie that knew what freedom was like, they had tasted it and experienced it.

In Psalm 34:8 it says "Taste and see that the lord is good.." He tells us to test me, try me...then you will know for yourself that I am a good God.

The fear of other's judgment becomes pity for the cage they have allowed their own walk to be kept in and they do not even realize it. You who dared to taste and see had faith to believe, that God is good, are now FREE.

For the first time you feel free to be used by God because you aren't scared or worried about what others will say or think of your mess, you live to please God now!

"Am I know trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

Don't worry about being perfect or looking like you have it all together because that's what Jesus is for, to fill in all the gaps of our shortcoming and weaknesses.


What's keeping you from experiencing freedom in Christ? What would it take to get you to take that leap of faith? Christ is ready and waiting.....for YOU!

***Please don't think I'm against the church, I'M NOT, I believe in the church and am blessed to be a part of a really amazing church now, but the church is made up of imperfect people, and sometimes that is easy to forget.. I once put too much faith in the church and it's people instead of the saving redeeming grace of God. This is just part of my faith story.

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