Check That Verse Off

 

So I failed my husband. NO, not in the way you might think. Let me start with a verse that I thought I had down. A verse that I thought I could check off the list of what a “good” Christian looks like.

Read with me –

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Don’t conform? Check (I don’t live a life like culture dictates)

Be transformed? Check (I have had a complete transformation)

Renew my mind? Check (I am much nicer and read the Bible)

Test and approve what God’s will is? Check (He IS in control after all)

THEN, life happens and this verse took on a whole new meaning.

Back in December of 2015, my husband’s company decided to move his division to the East Coast. We had the opportunity to go, but after prayer, we stayed. Since that point, I have been a “model” loving and supportive wife. Rather than jump in and constantly question him about his job search, I have stood back and been quietly supportive.

That is NOT in my natural character… It has been tough…and then…

I started letting little things that bother me pile up. I started feeling fear creep in…and I BLEW UP. Not in a nice way, but in a way where I was bringing up anything and everything that I had stuffed inside. I brought up that it had been eight months and if it were ME I would have had a job in 2 weeks. AND that I would have this or that and how he wasn’t doing any of it.

I blew up.

I then left for some school shopping and started praying for God to help HIM because boy did HE need it. I prayed for God to help me – the saint – to endure this difficult time. I prayed for God to teach HIM whatever he needed to learn so we would be over this challenge.

And then, God hit me…with Romans 12:2

Read it with me, again…

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Do not conform to the pattern of this world. – Do what it takes to get what you want?

Be transformed. – Had I really been transformed that much, to react in such a horrible way?

The renewing of your mind. – Was I constantly renewing my mind? Or did I think it was a one and done?

Able to test and approve what GOD’S Will is. – So I put a time limit on what I thought should happen. I was counting the days and at eight months it still hadn’t gone the way I though it should. Was I doubting God’s will being good, pleasing and perfect?

As I walked through all of this in my mind, I realized I had to apologize to my husband.

When I walked in the door, he braced himself for what could only be another beat down by his wife as it had only been a couple of hours. I proceeded to apologize. I told him how very sorry I was for putting a time limit on him. I apologized for playing a good wife for eight months, rather than just becoming one. I apologized for thinking that I HAD been renewed and transformed, rather than realizing it’ll be a lifetime of continual renewal and transformation.

I let him know how much I love him and how I will try and be a better wife.

What I learned…I need to embrace the whole journey. There will never be a point where I “arrive” this side of heaven. I need to keep score less and love much, much more.

In what ways can you stop keeping score with people in your life?

In what ways can you love others better?

 

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Grouchy People Everywhere

grouchy

I have always been intrigued by others. Who they are. What made them who they are. Are they really showing who they really are. etc….

Again, don’t judge me, but when my husband and I go out, I like to profile people. Guess who they are, where they came from, what the relationships around them look like.

For me, it is fun as God created me to be observant. When I was a little girl I remember telling my mom our priest had angry eyebrows one day and I wanted to know why because usually they were happy eyebrows.

Some people wear their emotions on their face, others have become skilled at tucking them away.

Which are you?

I walked in to a conversation today of 2 people talking about the “grouchy lady at the Del Taco drive-thru”. She has been labeled grouchy. When I asked if they asked if she was okay, they replied NO. Their response was to be overly happy back to her, to maybe push her in to realizing how she was behaving. Sadly, that didn’t work. It’s something that I have tried, too. Let me try and “show you” how to respond. Or give you a good example of how I think you should be acting at this moment…

I am not proud of that. I just REALLY like good customer service.

I suggested asking if she was having a bad day. That of course could go over just as poorly, but I have learned a couple of reasons they might look grouchy are they-

  1. Don’t think they are seen
  2. Don’t realize their emotions are on their face

Sure their could be 1,000s of other reasons, but lets play with these two. 🙂

Believe it or not, not everyone was brought up in a loving and encouraging home. Some people are in horrible situations. Some people are made to feel as though they are invisible. Some people NEED to be seen. Look at them and ask how they are. They matter! If you are aware of someone acting “off” ASK THEM HOW THEY ARE. Don’t just push it aside or talk about them, talk TO them. You could change their life!

Sometimes people just don’t realize they are letting their emotions show or they have the permanent “not nice” face that we talked about before. Let them know by asking how their day is going, then LISTENING to the response. PUSH IN. I have a friend who has her eyebrows waxed and she never knew that the way she styles them makes her look angry…all the time. Where she is from, that is how they are worn. She had never even thought about how the style was probably started to look intimidating. CRAZY right? It took someone asking her, to help her realize that the look DID intimidate people, but it was the ones she was trying to attract as friends.

How can you show grace to someone that is irritating you? How can you remind yourself that you have NO IDEA what someone else might be going through.

How can you remember to push in…even if someone is always smiling, and ask how they are doing…then stop to LISTEN to what they say.

What I learned today…I am not always the best and pushing in. God expects me to. Not to become best friends with everyone, but to show that others are seen and heard.

 

Stuck Up Much?

Have you ever seen someone you know and smiled at them, or waited for them to acknowledge you…and they don’t? You feel like a crazy person or wonder why they would be so rude to you? How DARE they not say hello! Did I do something to upset them?

This happens to me ALL the time, but I am the one that isn’t saying hello, or ignoring you, or not saying anything…I can’t say I don’t smile as generally 80% of the time I am smiling. My problem is the other 20% of the time I have resting…lets call it “wench” face.

You know, that face that Scarlett O’Hara had in Gone With The Wind?

Resting Face

The look that is 1/2 smirk and 1/2 reallllly?  I don’t mean to, I really don’t. Most of the time, 50,000 things are going through my brain at one time and I am not even recognizing that I am looking at someone. I am usually looking through them.

BAD ON ME.

The other part of the time is I truly have no memory. I’m like an amplified Dory from Nemo. I can meet someone and within seconds totally forget everything that was just said. Luckily, my son found that I have “fibro fog“. Being diagnosed with Fibromyalsia, I am learning more and more what that means. He was excited because when I have asked him the same question 5 times within 5 minutes and have no recollection that he responded, it can get frustrating.

Well, I’m sure it gets frustrating for those I have met as well! I can meet someone, have a great conversation with them, here their story and truly be touched…and then days later not recognize their face.

If I have done this to you, I apologize. Because I don’t remember to put the face with the story, doesn’t mean our time together wasn’t impact-ful because it was. I just truly can’t put a name to a face or to there where and when we had the discussion.

If someone has done this to you, show a bit of grace and forgive them. Start conversations with them that remind them when and where you talked last. Hopefully this will jog their memory. If not, you can be old friends AND new friends at the same time! (Get it? 🙂 )

What I learned today…God will bring to mind things I NEED to remember. The rest of the time I have to pray for others to be merciful with me and for God to help me remember as much as I can to honor those around me. Also, I need to stop and really look around me more. I need to SEE the people God is putting in my way, not just look through them.

 

Tantrum (Woman)? vs Righteous Anger (Man)?

So I know I have been fairly open and authentic with you. At times, I have gone a bit silent as there are points in our lives that need to be lived before shared, and I am in the middle of one of those.

Today I want to share about strategy. Intend AND unintended. This will upset both feminists and whatever the opposite to feminists are.

I am okay with that, in honor of just being honest and truthful in my own brokenness.

As a leader in business I never had to worry about offending a man. I consistently led in the way I was built to lead. Strong, fast and hard. Someone’s sex or age didn’t bother me as I didn’t worry about emotions or feelings or caring about others. I worried about more money and more power not caring on who I had to step on.

After giving my life to Christ, I have shared about how I thought the traditional Christian women was to be seen not heard. Pushing past that as I grew in my own walk with Jesus, it still has not been a completely overcome issue it is a journey as I find my place in His church.

As a passionate person, I tend to build and blow. I’m not much at keeping things in, but have learned, over time and a LOT of prayer to only “blow” when God says, “Go for it, sweetie!”.  In a male-led church I haven’t felt comfortable in truly letting my anger and frustration show. Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and church, but in LIFE we don’t agree with everything that happens. It happens in the church as well.

When I have gotten upset, I have used the word tantrum. I would say I am throwing a tantrum as it is a word that men would associate with an angry woman. (I know that some of you will not continue reading out of shear anger at reading that. That is fine.) While being upset, I tears would be shed. OH NO, you think. NOT TEARS!!!! That shows weakness!!! They won’t take you seriously!!!

I hear you. HOWEVER, my heart IS hurt when God’s people are hurting. My heart IS hurt when their is injustice. The tears I shed weren’t to be humiliating, but a release of pent up emotion. I would share that I needed to throw a tantrum AND cry. I know… you might feel that has set us back, but it hasn’t. It is what God had me do, until the culture was strong enough for me to change.

And it has.

With time and being tested, both by God and His church, I felt a shift. I felt the shift yesterday in a discussion with one of the pastors. I was fed up, hurt, frustrated and teary. He let me “throw a tantrum”, paused and then told me to, “Grow up”.

He has no idea that in that moment their was a shift. Without even knowing it, he was the catalyst that had the Holy Spirit put a hand on me and say, You got this.

I now hear God whispering, that I can be who He made me to be. I don’t need to “throw tantrums” anymore. I can stand firm knowing that I love Jesus and I love my church…but I will get mad at times. I will get frustrated and need to share my frustration and anger…and the people over me are strong enough to take it, hear it and not hold it against me, but help me walk through it with change or understanding.

We all have moments like this. Where God has us walking in one direction because He needs us to be obedient for either our benefit or for the benefit of others around us. They aren’t always easy times, but God will change the direction. It won’t always be hard. You won’t always have to fight to be heard. Lead with your actions, the ability to share the words will come.

As long as you are doing it all for Jesus, allow yourself to be humbled to the point of being difficult to handle, and then watch the growth that can happen when you are low enough to see that He is in everything. He is in all directions, you just have to see Him and follow His lead.

What I learned today…We have to trust the people around us to be strong enough to feel our anger over situations, but not hold it against us. We also have to have a solution to every problem or injustice we see, we can’t just get angry and not give direction. That is whining.

 

Ooooooh, Eve

This is not a deep theological post…it’s more of a quick note regarding my frustration at the loads and loads of laundry that seem to multiple daily!

So, when Eve took that bite of the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, that God said not to touch, and then realized she was naked and put on fig leaves to cover herself…do you REALLY think she realized what she got herself in to?

Do think that God, though upset, smiled to Himself thinking, “Oh, honey. Fig leaves now…but wait until people fill their closets with clothes to wear each week. You just took hours and days and years away from the lives of people in the future!”.

Pains of childbirth, ruled over by our husbands AND laundry. God knew what He was doing.

What I learned today…Not to expect chores to be done unless I ask for them to be done. I need to be specific as in a house full of boys, NO ONE can read my mind.

Laundry

 

The Story of Seminary

I am stubborn. I am so stubborn that when I hear from God that I am supposed to be doing something, I’ll dig my heels in and say “Maybe tomorrow”.

There was a Pastor I had been working that was AWESOME. My heart is completely consumed for Jesus and His people, and I could tell this guy’s heart is as well. So, when I would get frustrated about injustice or passionate about a team not loving people well, he would calmly listen and direct me wisely.

After a couple of months working for him, he asked if I had ever considered seminary. I laughed as I had never considered working for a CHURCH, much less going to seminary! He told me I should pray about it and talk to HR regarding steps. I smiled and nodded and left.

A couple months later he stopped me in the parking lot and, fairly firmly, asked why he hadn’t gotten a call from HR stating I had started seminary. I shuffled my feet, made excuses and nodded and smiled, again. He made me promise to at least get information about it.

YEAH! My way out!!! I could get INFORMATION about it and tap out.

I could tell God was shoving me to get this done, but feelings of inadequacy and my stage of life told me it would be a reallllly stupid decision. Soooo, I stalled. Then because I had made a promise, I talked to HR and let them know my Pastor wanted me to get some “information” on seminary. I was promptly sent an invite to HR for a 15 minute meeting. AWESOME, I had kept my promise and I’d scoot out of there ASAP.

When I arrived, I saw the smile on the HR ladies face, and got a tad bit nervous. As another woman arrived, her eyes landed on me and she excitedly said, “You are going to seminary, too!”. I of course said, oh NO, I was only there for information. Looking back at the HR woman, I now distinctly remember seeing a twinkle in her eye that filled me with dread.

We prayed to start the meeting and then HR slid over a folder to each of us. As I opened it, there was a letter saying “Congratulations, we acknowledge you as a Minister…”etc… I was in shock. I said, “WAIT. I am only here to get some information on seminary!” HR looked at me and said my pastor, and the church, wanted to give me a temporary license while I finished seminary. Not to worry, I only had to take 5 courses to make it official.

WHAT?!?!?! I remember pushing the folder right back at her and said NO THANK YOU. I am in NO way a minister. I don’t need a title…I could NEVER imagine being Pastor Julie or Minister Julie or ANYTHING like that. I would like to stay in my little world downstairs encouraging, equipping and empowering God’s people to do what God built them to do. Thanks, any way!

I will never forget…she looked me straight in my eyes and said,”Everything this paper says, you are already doing. You are already a minister of God. This is just us, saying we acknowledge that.” I replied that I thought that was really nice, but lets keep it at that, and not worry about anything else.

She then rocked my world by saying, “I hear you. Again, you are already doing what God put you here to do and I hear that you don’t ‘NEED’ it. I want you to pause and think of the women who come after you. The ones that will grow up in this church and need strong women to look up to. This will help THEM.”

At that point, I acted in a very mature and professional way and started crying.  Me?!? A minister?!?!?! Me crazy, wild, prodigal, partying, loose, Julie….a Minister?! But if it’s to help others….

I could never imagine those words together. Minister Julie Sathoff. Nah-uh.

I told her I would pray about it, talk to my people then get back to her.

Sooooo, I called my husband. I said, “You will NEVER believe what happened!!”
As I explained the meeting to him, he was silent. Finalllllly, he said, “Well OF COURSE this happened. Can’t you see the path God has you on? This is You.”

That was a dumb answer, so I ignored it and planned to talk to my small group that night. THEY would agree there had to be some sort of joke! When I went over it with them, they were exchanging “looks”. When I asked their thoughts, they echoed my husband. “Julie, we are surprised it took this long. You are so good at helping other people on their paths, why can’t you see God has a path even BIGGER than this for YOU.”

That was REALLY stupid.

So I called an old long time friend. She responded by first laughing hysterically, then agreeing it sounded about right…then threatened to post old “Prior to Christ” pictures on social media. (I love her).

My last phone call was to my Mom. She was the one who cried and was upset. Born and raised in the Catholic faith, for me to officially be turning from it would break her heart. She wanted me to REALLY think about it and pray about it as her opinion was NO.

Sadly, this was the push I needed to say, “Yes”. Weird, I know, but we are all broken and my brokenness showed me – sometimes it takes opposition to strengthen my resolve. I am working on it.

Seminary hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would. I am learning by leaps and bounds. I was done with the 5 courses needed to be “official” months ago, but I am continuing as I know that is what God wants for me.

What I learned today…I thought there was no possible way I could be in school and work and have 3 boys in sports and activities and small groups and be in a small group and be a present mom and present wife, all while in school…but hanging on to Phil 4:13 I am seeing GOD is the one making it all happen. I love Him.

 

Work in Progress

As I am reading through the Bible, trying to learn how to be the best leader I can, I am stuck on 1 Timothy. In Chapter 3 Paul talks about how an overseer must be temperate and self-controlled among other things.

Those two ways of being are both VERY hard for a passionate, impulsive person like me!

Now I can use the cop-out of, that is how God made me…OR I can understand that I want to obtain maturity be being able to be temperate and self-controlled.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean subdue and a passive doormat. It just means there is a time and a place.

What I learned today…To remember that the Fruits of the Spirit show Maturity in Christ. I can say I am following the Bible…but in less I am growing in each of these areas, I’m not growing in my maturity as a believer.

Fruits of the Spirit

Pride vs Humility

Prior to giving my life over to Christ I did not battle with pride. I WAS prideful. I thought, though I am not better than the next person, NO ONE was better than me. I could stand on a stage and talk in front of 1000s and be fine as I couldn’t care less what they thought of me and/or what I was saying.

When I became a Christian and had the opportunity to teach, I FREAKED OUT. Why? Well, in reading the Bible I learned that teachers are held accountable, by GOD! (Check out Paul’s letters to Timothy).

As I learned more about abilities give at birth or learned vs spiritual gifts, given at baptism, I learned that I do have a gift of teaching. I can let the enemy use it and do it to get all the glory for myself, or I can let God use it and point all the glory up to Him.

What I still battle with, which you can read in 1/2 my earlier posts, is pride. God gave us abilities and we should not be prideful in them, yet we should be confident in them, right? How do you be confident in them, while not being prideful, while expressing humility?

I know that was written in a circle, as that is what my brain has been stuck on…until last night. We went to church and it was a terrific service. Check out “God Can Use Anybody” from April 3rd.

Pastor Rick talked about my favorite subject, how everyone is necessary in the Kingdom of God. We are all built to serve, using our God given abilities, to help others grow.

In the sermon, he said something that was a BIG AH-HA for me…

“Humility is not denying your strengths, it’s admitting your weaknesses.”

What I learned today…I can be CONFIDENT, not prideful, in how God made me. I can be humble in the fact I have a LOT of weaknesses. A LOT.

 

Whining or Winning?

I have decided to turn the whining of my family in to a win. For example, when I say we are going to a museum for a family activity, all of my boys tend to start whining. As their mom, I know that one of the best things I can do for my family is open their eyes to new experiences. I can take them places they wouldn’t normally choose to go, to learn things they wouldn’t learn otherwise.

Now, my husband is NOT thrilled when I suggest these things, but thankfully I do the same thing with him that I do with my kids…

I replace their whining words with my own.

For example if my kids say, ” I can’t believe you’d MAKE us go do something so stupid! You obviously hate me if you don’t let me stay home and hang out with my friends!!”.

I translate that in to a winning response and reply, “What I just heard you say was, Thank you, mom, SO MUCH, for broadening my horizons and taking me places I might not have thought to go!”.

Then my husband will say something like, “I can’t believe you are forcing them to go with you. Just let them stay home and do whatever they want.”.

What that translates into is, “I am so thankful you allow us to do things with you. That you have the strength to push through all of our whining and be a great mom to our kids. I love you and your determination.”.

At this point, you might be thinking this is craziness. Or you might think it won’t work for me and that is okay. This works for ME.

When I verbalize the things above, and other ways of responding in a way I wish happened, it changes the feel of the conversation.

I remember that this won’t last forever.

I remember that I only have my family for a limited amount of time.

I remember I am their mom and they love me, even if they aren’t showing it in the moment.

I remember, these are memory making times.

I remember the days are long and the years are short.

How can you protect your heart when you KNOW you are doing the best thing for your family.

What I learned today…Look for the best in all situations. You can find good, or push through knowing, the negative will end. Be patient and do your best to be the best YOU you can be.

You are not responsible for what they say….but how you react to it.

Day 8: HE IS ALIVE!!!

On Resurrection Sunday we reach the culmination of Passion Week.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event, the crux, you might say, of the Christian faith.

The very foundation of all Christian doctrine hinges on the truth of this account.

Early Sunday morning several women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and Salome are all mentioned in the Gospel accounts) went

to the tomb and discovered that the large stone covering the tomb’s entrance had been rolled away.

An angel announced, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” (Matthew 28:5-6, NLT)

On the day of his resurrection, Jesus Christ made at least five appearances.

Mark’s Gospel says the first person to see him was Mary Magdalene.

Jesus also appeared to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later that day to all of the disciples except Thomas, while they were gathered in a house for prayer.

The eyewitness accounts in the Gospels provide undeniable evidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened. 2,000 years after his death,

followers of Christ still flock to see the empty tomb, one of the strongest proofs that Jesus Christ actually did rise from the dead.

As you celebrate Jesus today, make sure to pause throughout the day to say , “Thank you!”.

 Happy Easter!

He is Risen!

He is ALIVE!!!!

 Read More – Sunday’s events are recorded in Matthew 28:1-13, Mark 16:1-14, Luke 24:1-49, and John 20:1-23.

What I learned today…I am so very thankful He is ALIVE!