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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Why Wait?!?!?!

Just Say Yes

Some people wait until the last second. They wait until they land in the hospital. Until they find out they have a life-threatening disease. They wait until they have more time. They wait until their death bed…to say, Yes, to Jesus.

Why? A lot of the time it is because they don’t want to follow all the “rules”. They don’t want to be held accountable, or KNOW that they will be held accountable. They don’t want to take the time to be “good” and follow what the Bible says…all of it.

They are also missing out on all of God’s promises.

They are missing out on years of being blessed in extraordinary ways.

They are missing out on hope.

They are missing out on an eternal family, that starts NOW.

What I learned today…I am so thankful I didn’t wait until the last minute. I had NO idea how amazing it feels to be in my forever family. Even the lows aren’t so low. I have HOPE.

Praying we are overwhelmed with people prepared to take a leap of faith and say YES, JESUS, now. At Easter. All over the world.

Holy Week is Coming!

As we head in to Holy Week preparing for Easter. Let’s take a look at what the week looked like for Jesus each day.

Take time in your day to pause and reflect as you read. If you find yourself with a few more moments, go to your Bible and look up the “Read More” verses at the bottom of each daily blog.

This is what our week will look like –

Sunday – Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

Monday – Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Tuesday – Day 3: Mount of Olives

Wednesday – Day 4: The Bible is quiet about this day…was it a day of rest and anticipation for Jesus?

Thursday – Day 5: Passover, The Last Supper…if you haven’t taken part in a Passover supper, find one in your area or Click here for directions as it is a VERY moving experience.

Friday – Day 6: Trial, Crucifixion, Death, Burial

Saturday – Day 7: A day in the tomb

Sunday – Day 8: Resurrection Sunday!!!

Moving through this exercise for this week, I pray God speaks to you through the verses. I pray He prepares your heart by helping you get one step closer to Him.

I pray that as you walk through the week, you remember Jesus Christ died and rose for YOU. That you are loved and can have hope that you will be able to thank Him when you get to heaven.

I pray that you are so firm in your faith that you reach out to invite others to go to an Easter service with you. I pray those people find a connection with Jesus and give their lives to Him.

What I learned today…we need to walk through this week every year. Slowly and intentionally.

 

Who? Me?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have walked in to a situation and thought, “What in the world am I doing here?”.

I do that at work, a LOT. I look at God incredulously a LOT and ask Him, “Do you REALLY think I belong here?”. You know, those days were you feel SO different.

Not smart enough. Not young enough. Not old enough. Not thin enough. Not “Holy” enough. Not male enough. Not female enough. Not “hip” enough. Not quiet enough. Not “soft” enough.

I do alllll the time. Now, I know you can say, we need to remember God created us all beautifully for a specific purpose! And I hear what you are saying because I get it. I just feel completely under-qualified 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time, I think I’ve got it.

Last night Chad and I were invited to a function. It felt like a hush-hush deal so I didn’t bring it up much at work. I felt privilege to have been afforded an invite. I was excited to see who would be there.

When we arrived, it was a small, narrow building and I saw some familiar faces right away. (Now remember, I am VERY socially awkward with small talk, even with people I love.)  I saw wonderful people from the worship and production teams and only a few others. People that I REALLY like and admire…but rarely have words to use around them in my awkwardness, so Chad and I were thankful to have a couple faces that we could connect with.

As the evening began, I was YET AGAIN in awe of the leader of our worship team. He truly has a heart for God. I am not close enough with his wife, but I can safely assume she does as well. As he started the evening, he took time to thank each and every person that had helped with the release of their first EP (“First” ironically is the name and you can click here to purchase it on Itunes now). As he walked through each name, you saw each person feel honored and hold their head a little higher because they were SEEN and Valued.

As I was looking around thinking, what am I doing here, I was praising God for such amazing people. We were in a room full of people that use their time, energy and gifts pouring their talents back out to the Lord who provided them all of those things.

And then, the leader said MY name. What?!?!? He said he was thankful for my support. Through the thick and thin they new I was always cheering for them and praying for them. Soooo, I teared up, because I couldn’t believe he’d point that out!!! Isn’t that what we are suppose to do? Love and support each other? Pray for each other? I felt like it was a privilege and honor to have a position where I can support and pray for them. Shouldn’t we all be doing that for each other?

So as I stood there praying my heart out, asking for God to show people His love and His mercy. I felt God strongly say there is someone here that NEEDS to know THEY ARE SEEN. I looked behind me and thought WOW, God must love her a LOT to be having me awkwardly step over and give her a big hug in the midst of it all. He wanted HER to know that she is KNOWN. Did I have a chance to truly explain that? Nope. But I am hoping she felt it through my look and hug. Sadly, she left before I could get to her again. I prayed God would stay with her.

Who in your life are you not SEEing? Who did He put in your life that you can support and pray for. Not in a big way, but in a way that says YOU MATTER.

What I learned today…Be thankful for those in your life. Acknowledge and honor the gifts God gave them. I need to always thank God for the opportunity to work for Him. And to constantly ask Him to show me who He needs me to tap on the shoulder, hug and let them know they are SEEN.

 

Get EXCITED About Jesus

Okay, Easter is coming. Working at a church, we are going through the process of branding, preparing, messages, projects, ministry opportunities, etc…

That does NOT negate the excitement we feel over why we celebrate Easter. We wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for Easter.

Jesus rose from the dead after three days!!!!!

I leave myself little reminders each day that point to Jesus and all He did for ME. It is mind boggling.

As you walk into making plans for your Easter, where you will celebrate, where you will go to a church service, who is bring what food, what you’ll put in Easter baskets, if you’ll take a Spring Break, etc… Let Jesus settle in to your soul.

Remember, HE is the reason you have an opportunity to make all those plans.

He came and faced even more than you will ever face. Because He chose to. He chose to because He loves you that much.

He was ridiculed, beaten, deserted, mocked, etc…for Y O U.

Make sure you say a pray of thanks, then GET EXCITED ABOUT JESUS. So excited that people ask you about it.

Today I learned…To try and be the best reminder I can, helping people see Jesus in me and remind them what Easter is about.

READ THE STORY OF EASTER HERE!

 

Highs and Lows

I don’t know about you, when I have a REALLY good day, I forget that all things are temporary. On the same note, when I have a REALLY bad day, I forget the same thing.

This weekend was pretty amazing. Sitting down with someone I didn’t know who was able to take my life and remind me of the truth of how God made me. Coming off the high from the weekend, I forgot that I generally hit a low soon after.

Personally, I believe we can be such a positive force for good that evil has to throw a wrench in wherever he can. If I am loving how God made me, and sharing how knowing what you are built for puts you even closer to doing what God has for you, of COURSE there will be opposition. Today, it felt a bit overwhelming.

Now, I have a choice to crumble under the pressure of 3 things that happened today, that each on their own could be debilitating. I did take moments throughout the day to cry out to God. AND, to be honest, physically cry whether it be in my office, a stairway, or in my car. After each release and pause, I turned my face up, wiped away the tears, and carried on.

Though my day could have crushed me, I choose to be joyful and ask God to show me all the blessings around. He reminded me of what my husband shared in our small group, “If there is breath in our lungs, we have a chance to rejoice. God gave us another day and another breath”.

Today had it’s highs and lows. I am CHOOSING to take a moment and pray about the lows, asking for direction, guidance, support and wisdom. I am choosing to put another step forward and rejoice, thanking God for always being faithful.

Today I learned…I cannot control my families thoughts or actions. I can pray and keep praying. I have to remind myself that God loves my family even more than I do, though I can’t understand that!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”

Don’t “Pray” for Me

Have you ever come across people that say, “I’ll pray for you”, and as soon as they walk away, you have the feeling like that was just a parting Christian term that they say all the time? Me, too.

Are you someone who has said, “I’ll pray for you”, and then TOTALLY forgotten to actually do it? Me, too.

I have found the very best thing to do is –

  1. STOP and pray for them, with them right then and their.
  2. As you walk away, take a moment to pray for them, while you are walking away and it’s fresh in your mind.

With the first suggestion I have found that their is generally enough time to pray for someone. Why? Because that is what God would want us to do, so He extends the time for us! Tell you what, grab a watch with a second hand or a timer and watch 30 seconds go by. It’s actually quite a long period of time! If you wait for each second to pass, you see how a little can go a long way. Pray, even if it’s for 30 seconds, pray.

With the second option, make sure you take a moment and pray for them as you walk away. If people you are walking with start a conversation right up, say, “Hold on for just a second.”. You don’t have to say you are going to pray, or maybe you do.

God still listens to “microwave” prayers. You know, the quick ones that are “Please, God”. The goal is to talk to Him more!

What I learned today…To NOT be someone who just talks about praying for someone, but to consistently PRAY FOR THEM.

Helpful Hint – Wherever you seem to stop and pray for the longest time, or whatever area you look at the most, put up post-its of who you need to pray for. My list around my computer has names I change frequently, as I hear of prayers being answered, and others stay consistent as they are always in my prayers.

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Try vs Trust

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

How can I trust Jesus in a relationship that seems impossible?

We are ALL God’s children. Even the people that hard hard for me to love. Rapest, abusers, killers, etc…they are God’s children, too. I know. VERY hard to love them. What about taking a step out and praying for them as God’s children. My life has been TRANSFORMED in this area. The first step was praying for them. “God, I know you love them because they are your children. I DON’T, but I pray they grow and learn in you as your child, just as you want me to grow and learn in you. I don’t like them, but I LOVE you and I know you still love them. Help me get rid of the hate and bitterness. Amen”

What I learned today…All relationships have a chance for forgiveness.

Not the Lord’s Prayer!

I grew up hating the Lord’s prayer. Why? Because whenever something bad would happen, I would be told, “God says to forgive” “You HAVE to forgive, we say it in our prayers”. Regardless of how I felt about being hurt or taken advantage of, I was constantly reminded of the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive others” Matthew 6:12.

When I heard our Pastor was going to teach on the Lord’s prayer, years ago, I didn’t want to go to service. Though I had told God I would go to every weekend service, I didn’t want to go, just to be made to feel bad that I didn’t forgive people that had been hurting me as a child.

Of course, I went. And God did what God does…He showed me something new in the Lord’s prayer. Well, I learned a lot that is new, but what changed my trajectory, was hearing someone say the verses out loud to me. Read Matthew 6:12 now…

“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”

What does it say BEFORE it talks about forgiving others?

Forgive US OUR sins. CRAP! All the years I spent not loving this prayer, pointing fingers at others, holding on to resentment, anger and hate. All the years spent VERY angry that God wanted me to forgive, when I didn’t want to…

Jesus, in this prayer, taught us to ask for forgiveness first. Man, He has always worked overtime forgiving me for all I have done. I had not been a great person. I was the prodigal daughter out to please myself in the world for a long period of time. Here God was, speaking to me through this prayer. Telling me to remember that I have a lot of baggage on my shoulders that I should be working on, not worrying about pointing fingers at people who have wronged me.

Think of the verse Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

I started praying….God, I am so very sorry for all I have done. I know I have made HUGE sins against you. I know in my heart you can forgive me right away, but please help heal my mind. Help me grasp on to the truth that you already knew what I’d do and have already forgiven me because you love me so much. Thank you for sending your Son to pay for all of my sins. God, help me work on myself more. Help me learn to be as forgiving as you. I love you and trust you.

I now absolutely love the Lord’s prayer. I encourage you to read Matthew 6 and see what God has to say about someone you haven’t forgiven. And start praying.

Matthew 6

What I learned today…To remember to recite the Lord’s Prayer and be thankful Jesus came to be and example and teach us how to live.