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!

 

Advertisements

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.

20160223_131455 - Copy

 

 

Chad vs Julie

Okay, so my husband and I are both very competitive. What helps? HUMOR.

Back when I was doing everything I could to work on our relationship, I read a book called The Five Love Languages.

It basically talks about how we all have a different view of what love looks like. Some feel loved by affirmation, some by receiving gifts, physical touch, time spent, and acts of service.

I talked about it with Chad, way back when, and realized, his love language is absolutely physical touch. That mixed with time spent. UGH. Mine are the opposite. I’m more of an affirmation and gifts type of person.

When I realized how different we are, and how I was doing to him what I like, I realized I needed to make a change. I started touching him more. Yes, I did hope that meant he’d start working on showing me he loved me the way I feel it, but that isn’t how it works.

I started touching his back more. Grabbing his hand. Holding his arm. Sitting close. It wasn’t something I was used to doing, it was something I was made aware he needed.

As I started to purposefully touch him more when I was around him…and be around him more, I noticed, he became happier! Isn’t that funny how it works.

He wasn’t even aware I was purposefully doing it, until a funny interaction happened today.

The conversation went like this…

I walked by while he was shaving and I started scratching his back lightly.

He said, “Thank you. I love when you do that.”

I said, “I know. I do it purposefully.  You told me you liked it so I do it.”

He said, “That is so nice!”

I said, “I had to learn to do it…kinda like I was hoping you’d learn to affirm me and give me gifts. Ha Ha”.

He responded with, “Wow. That must mean I’m a much better teacher”.

BWHAHAHAHAH

I couldn’t stuck on what I wasn’t getting, but look at that humor. I love the man. It could’ve gone south, but his response was perfect!

What is something you do for your roommate, sibling, parent, spouse, etc… that you do because you know they like it, not because you get something out of it?

What I learned today…Remember what makes my people happy and do it. The joy I can find in their happiness is priceless. AND continue to remind them what makes me happy. Especially if they aren’t natural inclined to do it.

 

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.

Don’t Feel Loving?

If you’ve stopped feeling love, the first step is to remember what it is like to act with love and then do it.  The Bible has the perfect verse to keep handy in these times.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galations 6:9)

I know I go through waves of not “feeling” like loving some of the people around me. Can you relate? Are you suppose to be loving that person? Spouse? Parent? Child? Sibling?

Don’t skip over this as you grow in your walk with God! I know it’s hard, but I bet God is putting someone on your heart who applies…”we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. The more we are learning, getting closer to God, the more He will give us chances to be the loving people we are meant to be.

The challenge today is to pray that God will help you be more loving to whoever He put on your heart. Don’t expect a response from them. Don’t do it because you want anything reciprocated. Do it because God does it for us every day. When we are unlovable, He still loves us. Our goal is to be the best “lovers” of God and His people that we can be. Sometimes that means humbling ourselves in relationships and becoming better at loving.

Pray for your relationship with God to grow. It will! As that happens, you will automatically see those relationships around you change.

What I learned today…I can’t let a busy lifestyle rob me of growing in my relationships. Life is all about relationships.

Love Is Not

10 Ways to Love

Love is not reciprocal; love is sacrificial. Look at the verses above. A lot of the time, a couple of those are REALLY difficult for me.

(If you have started opening your Bible, make sure you look up the verses and underline them!)

We all tend to love “if you” or “when you”… right? If you do this____I’ll be able to love you. You don’t love me…you never_____. Are you with me? We wait for something to allow ourselves to love. We want to make SURE that person will love us back. I think that’s mostly because we are in such a broken world. Most people have been hurt by friends or family and that has caused us to put up a wall.

“Try to show as much compassion as your Father does” Luke 6:36

Jesus asks us to love sacrificially. When I think of the word sacrifice. I think pain, hurt, uncomfortable. What do you think of? We ARE expected to love EVEN WHEN it is uncomfortable. Even when the person might not feel the same. Think of the people that are in Rwanda. They continue, through God’s love, to forgive each other in such amazing ways. A neighbor forgives another for killing HIS ENTIRE FAMILY. That is continually happening through Christ! Now, you can’t tell me (if you live in the US) there is no hope for you loving unconditionally. If God can help people love others who have killed there wives and children/ husbands and mothers, etc… Whatever you have gone through…It’s possible. Now, I’m not discounting what you have gone through. A lot of you have gone through death, abuse, rape, and the list goes on. I am VERY sorry for all you’ve been through and my heart breaks for your pain. Speaking from experience…it IS possible to forgive and love those people, as God’s children, again.

Remember, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. The Bible doesn’t say it’s the verse to use at weddings, thought it fits. These verses are to guide us with everyone, everyday.

1 Corinthians 13

What I learned today…I need to work on more of the above, daily.

Memory Makers

Excited to see what adventures await our family today. The hardest part of making memories with your family? Making plans and being flexible.

You have to make plans to make memories. Even if some of your family whines. KEEP GOING with your plan. 99% of the time they will enjoy themselves and maybe find something new that they like.

Some of the time the plans will change. That is okay too. Don’t let any hiccups in your plan get you down, just make changes. I know that is easy to say, but for some of you very hard to do. Personally, I shivered as I wrote the word plan down as I work best on the “fly”.

If you are a planner, get involved with the plans. Make sure your input is heard. Don’t just look for direction from others, if you need a plan.

If you are a spontaneous person, remember others aren’t. Sometimes our family members can get grumpy at a change in the plan. Understand they are built that way. They are not anti what you are doing, it just takes them awhile to catch up with the change in plans.

As a person who loves spontaneity, who married the plan-iest planner alive, I get frustration. What I have learned is to WAY over plan. Have lots of ideas with cost, time it will take to complete, directions, etc… all on a list on an app like Wunderlist or Evernote. Then share it with your spouse. They’ll know some of the ideas you are thinking about and be able to speak in to them.

If you have a plan laid out and something occurs to change it, remember that it might frustrate your planner. Take that in to consideration and be understanding.

Once you get to the point of understanding how your spouse is, if you have kids, you’ll start to see the similarities in your kids and be able to work with them too. If you know your spouse gets grumpy without eating, chances are one of your kids will too.

Now go make some memories!!! It doesn’t matter what you do today, just do something!!! Even if it’s visiting your local park. Make it happen. It might sound corny, but who cares!!

What I learned today…prepare, prepare, prepare and then be very understanding. We are all built different and when you feel irritated by someone you love 9 out of 10 times it’s just because you think differently. Not wrong or right, just different.

 

 

The Ideal

We all have an ideal we’d like in all situations.

The ideal family.
Job
Kids
Parents
Grandparents
Friends
Vacations

As we sit and wish things were different…lets remember –

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life– and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (Romans 12:1 MSG)

I have the ideal life in my mind…the ideal family, the ideal house, the ideal friends. It pops up around the holidays the most. I tend to want the situation I’m in to be perfect. My kids smile at me warmly as they self-sufficiently finish their homework, my maid lovingly doing the laundry, while my husband gets home excited to try a new recipe he’s heard of…while I read (to better myself of course) walk with friends – who have the same wonderful families at home – down our tree covered, quiet streets that lead to a pretty stream…. Okay, so this is not reality. I have to CHOOSE not to be upset when my “ideal life” is no where close to where I am. How would I grow if life was “perfect” like that??? God wants us to be happy today, right now, with what we have. Again, living in the U.S. we are BLESSED with all we have. Today…look at your healthy family. If you have sick ones in your family, I’m sorry…enjoy that you HAVE family. Do you have a roof over your head? Enjoy it! Even if it’s mortgaged to the gills and you might loose it…enjoy it TODAY while you are still in it. Is your car broken? Enjoy the fact you have legs to walk or a wheelchair to get you where you need to be. We could go on and on. Enjoy the blessings God has put in your life TODAY.

Today I learned…to look around and be content. Right where you are.

Mamas with Attitude

I have enjoyed 2 meetings in the last 3 weeks with mom’s with kids in high school and with parents at a soccer meeting. Years ago, I had the privilege of leading PTA, being a room mom, soccer mom, etc… anything I could do to be a “Super Mom” when I wasn’t working. During that time, I had my share of attitude, judginess (that is now a word) etc… At one point I was so bad, I actually approached a women who looked like she’d be fun to hangout with and said, she seemed like a blast, but I could never hangout with someone who married a guy that drove around in a T-top Camaro. I. Was. Horrible.

Since I decided to give my life to Christ and truly work on becoming a follower of His not just a fan, He has been working on my heart and attitude. When I went to the first meeting, I was floored to not have 1 person welcome me with a smile. I watched has snarky comments were thrown back and forth between a couple of the moms and was FLOORED when 2 of them were HORRIBLY rude to another woman who just lost one of her children tragically. She hadn’t called them back regarding a silent auction basket. An auction basket!

WHAT?!?!?!

Second, at the soccer meeting this morning. There was a woman who consistently interrupted the coach at the day 1 parent meeting for the spring season. Every time someone would ask him a question, she would answer. He was VERY gracious each and every time. It got to the point where a couple of the parents, stopped looking over at her when she would speak because it was disrespectful.

Both times I was saddened and realized that each case there was obvious communication problems. At the high school, it was the lack of communication, heart and understanding, and at the soccer meeting it was over communication, heart and understanding.

Something I try to do in these circumstances is to try and imagine what might be on their mind to make them act this way. For example, the ladies who were so hurtful in the high school meeting, maybe they have never dealt with death. Maybe they had just found out one of them has cancer and they just can’t wrap their brains around someone else’s problem Maybe they know a million people and have no idea about the tragic loss this woman was dealing with. Maybe their identity was wrapped up in how well the auction went and they couldn’t look past it.

What about the soccer mom? What if her whole identity is in her kids activities? What if no one at home listens to her, so when she is out at meetings, it’s her time to shine?

Rather than become part of the problem by not asking questions and/or pushing in, what if we actually talked to these people? We can be bold and taking time to help in these situations. Maybe pose a question like, “I’m not sure if you had heard, she just lost her son. I can’t imagine the pain that must create and how she could even find the strength to come to a meeting”. It is a gentle reminder and gives the woman a chance to collect herself and apologize to the one in pain.

I am still working on not being judgy. It is hard. But I have to remember, it is my job to love God AND love others. I am not responsible for their actions, but for my reactions.

What I learned today…we ALL have a story. Before we judge others for their actions, we need to remember they have a story, too.