Tis the season of giving, thankfulness, and compassion. Spending money and eating lots of food seems to make people more likely to volunteer, donate, and say thank you. Schools have food drives, people don’t snarl at the Salvation Army person outside the grocery store, and most will even donate that dollar or five at the checkout counter – sometimes without even knowing the name of the charity. Generally speaking, this is a very positive thing. Giving to others not only helps others, but it also releases endorphins in the giver that makes them happier. There is literally a chemical response to giving. So, for those of you who find ways to go above and beyond in your giving or service to others this time of year, be blessed to be a blessing.
But, here’s a crazy idea, what if you extend your blessing – to the guy holding a sign on the side of the road or the woman asking for spare change in the parking lot? It’s good to give and serve intentionally and as a Christian you should desire to do this, but what about the unintentional times? What about the times when we aren’t thinking about it or we’re preoccupied or we’re judgmental toward the asker? What about those times?
Continue reading “Come, Pass, Shun”
As I sit and prepare for the upcoming holidays, family gatherings, and the approaching birth of my own first-born son, I can’t help but be amazed at the simplicity and humbleness of Jesus’ family and his birth story. Extravagance and fanfare no doubt existed during that time period, as it does today, yet they lived by the voice of God and not what was in fashion.
In these final two months of pregnancy, baby bottles, soft blankets, furniture, the cutest trending baby clothing and play accessories line my home in preparation for our son’s arrival. Though we humbly make do without creating a decorated nursery, my husband and I still have the luxury of buying and being gifted with the finest baby accouterments. Our son will be welcomed home to a warm, safe, and outfitted home even while we await the building of our forever home. Continue reading “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
Have you ever wanted something to happen RIGHT NOW but it seems to be blocked at every turn? Well, you’re not alone in that experience. The Bible tells us that God will give us the desires of our heart but it doesn’t say when. That’s where the frustration comes in. We whine, throw tantrums and question God by saying things like “WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG!?” The frustration can be so overwhelming that we feel like simply giving up on the promise being fulfilled.
Continue reading “Though it tarry..”
For most of us, Christmas is easily a season of expectance. Receiving gifts, eating delicious food, spending time with friends and family we may not often see – whatever your favorite part of celebrating, we anticipate it, look forward to it, and try to savor it as long as possible.
When I had children, I decided to revisit how we celebrate this amazing holiday. As a Christian, it is a pivotal moment for my faith. To celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of my Savior, the fulfillment of God’s greatest promise to mankind, the miracle of a baby born to a virgin, a baby who was both God and man. For centuries, thousands of Israelites had been waiting expectantly for the Messiah, the suffering servant, the promised King. How did thousands of dollars spent on decorations, food, and gifts celebrate that? All I felt I was celebrating was consumerism and gluttony. Sure, we read the Christmas story before opening gifts. But which of those things do I remember with more excitement?
Have you ever given that response as a reason for doing something? You either encounter people thinking that you are so in touch with God or thinking you are a little out there. Do you choose who gets that answer and who gets a response like, “It’s what I needed to do” or “It just felt right”? Maybe you’re not sure how the other person is going to respond. You don’t know their faith walk or their spiritual beliefs.
My family recently moved to a new city in a new state simply because God told us to move here. We didn’t hear an audible voice or have a vision, we just knew, deep within our spirits, that this is the place God wanted us to be. But even then, I felt unsure. We knew this city. We had friends here. Maybe we just wanted to move to this city. So I started praying for confirmation. And confirmation came. It came in a prophecy from one friend and a dream from another. It came in the form of answered prayer regarding employment. I mean, supernatural, very specific answered prayer. Even after moving, confirmation has continued to come in so many forms.
We hear countless stories of battles won by God’s hand in the Bible. Samson defeating the army, David defeating the giant, Moses defeating the Egyptians, so on and so forth. But there is one that sticks out to me the most.
In Exodus 17, the battle of the Israelites and the Amalekite army is briefly touched on. The story says that Moses sent Joshua and some other men to fight while he stood on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands. Moses, his brother Aaron, and friend Hur went up the mountain and if Moses held his hands above his head, the Israelites were winning. If his hands dropped, the Amalekites took the lead. As any person’s body would, Moses’s body began growing tired and his arms would periodically drop. When they noticed him tiring, Aaron and Hur put a rock underneath him to sit on, and they held his arms up for him. Because of their actions, Joshua was able to defeat the Amalekites.
This story never rang truer in my life than it did during my recent battles. In 2015, I found myself amid a battle that would cost me time, money, friends, and ultimately forced me to make a faith decision I didn’t know I was prepared to make.
I walked up to my mom friends as my kids joined theirs for open play at a local gym. We are three stay-at-home moms who all live in the same suburb of a suburb of a major city in Tennessee. “I just felt so judged, you know?” I heard one friend lament as I approached. The night before, she had been at a function for her husband’s company, meeting the wives of some coworkers. She went on to tell me about sharing with them what she “does” and where she lives, and how their faces became less and less interested in her with each answer. Apparently, most of the women she spoke with worked outside of the home and lived in just the first suburb.
I turned 37 years old a few months ago. I am officially in my late 30’s which means I’m almost 40! I know some people might not see that as a positive statement, but I am really looking forward turning 40 years old. As I approach that age, I feel like I’m becoming more and more of who God created me to be. I can only imagine how fabulous, fierce and favored I’ll be at 40!
Every year, my mother asks me how it feels to be ___ years old. Most of the time, my answer is, “The same as yesterday.” As I reflected on that question this year, I definitely felt different as I turned thirty-seven. I feel wise. Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. I am finally able to crystallize (no pun intended) many of the lessons I’ve learned on my journey… so far. I see exactly how to apply them to my life in order to achieve my goals. I’d like to share some of them with you.
Once upon a time…
Don’t we just love that? The feeling of slipping into a rose-colored daydream where the sounds of commercial printers and the smells your coworker’s interesting lunch are replaced with the sweet song of a hummingbird and the gentle breeze of the fall wind? I loved that so much, I committed time to escape to that place daily for several years of my life. Each day, I’d go deeper into this fantasy land in my mind where I scripted fanciful interactions with people who don’t exist. I’d create circumstances that were only minorly an irritant and that could be resolved with a handsome prince falling in love with a beautiful commoner (i.e. me). It was the end of my mini-novel I crafted in my mind. It was the beginning of a series of stories I never knew needed to be explored. Isn’t that the thing though? All our princess stories end in a happily ever after that we have never seen, for the most part. And just like those stories, my daydreams ended the same way. I didn’t know that there could be more.
Sitting here in the quiet, reflecting on the remnants of a busy day, I am reminded of His presence and how little time I spend just sitting with Him. At one point in my life, I was a practiced yogi and regular meditator, but since I’ve turned back to Jesus and away from the false gods that the west has somehow seemed to more readily embrace, I have been unsure how to get quiet like that again. I say my prayers when I need the stillness before an impending conflict or the wisdom before a momentous decision, but I no longer have a regular practice of just sitting and listening for His answers. Social media, television, chores, to-do lists all jockey for my attention. I’m left feeling ragged, while saying to myself, “Once I get this done” or “After one more page scroll, I’ll be able to relax.” But isn’t that just when Jesus is at our side, beckoning us to just be still? I don’t know why it’s so different, now that I’m a reformed Christian, to incorporate those times into my daily routine. It’s like I feel like I have to perform, even though I know the Bible warns us against busy minds and that our best will never even be better than filthy rags.
I’ve said it a thousand times, “An hour a day, keeps the psychiatrist away.” As a mother of three children under the age of 10, a wife to an entrepreneur aka MY BOSS, the founder of a non-profit organization, and a traveling minister it can get pretty hectic. The same is true for you. Our lives are BUSY to the umpteenth power.
As mothers, or soon to be mothers, the demand on us to meet everyone’s needs is exponential. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is beautiful….similar to dancing behind a cluster of butterflies in a field of daisies whilst sipping on pink lemonade, but the real truth is, moms are often last. Last to eat, last to shower, last to shop for herself, last to shave her legs, last to pluck her eyebrows….you get my drift.
Here are 7 easy steps to help bring you back into some state of normalcy and much needed mommy time outs:
Our church has been focusing lately on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s basically every Christian’s superpower – the voice of the Holy Spirit. There have been individuals who have come into great wealth by praying fervently and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit to guide their business transactions. Others have avoided potentially fatal situations by following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Chances are you don’t fall in either of those categories, but you still have that superpower.