Thursday, June 18, 2015


We put categories on our faith and "place" in the church.  "Good Christian" vs "Bad Christian" and we tend to use those labels  to look up to other Christians in a way that, at times, can put a barrier between us and Christ. We approach our relationship with God like a degree at a university; we have to go through the "internship period" before taking on the label of a "good Christian". While fellowship and relationship are essential; there is no "graduating" in your relationship. There are no levels. We are all at level 0 and if we know that, that's where God can use us best.

In John 3 Jesus speaks to Nicodemus, who was a teacher of the law in Israel, about being born again. He would have been considered by the Jewish people a "level 10" in experience and knowledge in religious matters.  Jesus tells him (v3) "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." Nicodemus questions him by saying (v4) "How can a man be born when he is old?", "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born.". So Jesus scolds him by saying (v10) "You are Israel's teacher, and do you not understand these things?" 
Nicodemus was a skeptic. A man of knowledge and of study. His heart was resistant to the wisdom that Jesus was sharing with him likely because he felt he already knew a great deal.

Jumping ahead to chapter 4 we find Jesus at the well. He is resting; waiting for his disciples to return from getting food and a Samaritan woman came to the well. To the Jews, the Samaritans were considered "unclean". They did not associate with one another; let alone share food and water. So when Jesus asked for a drink of water she said (v9)"You are a Jew and I am Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?".  Do to social status she immediately felt humbled and unworthy. This opened a door for Jesus to share with her. He explained to her about living water. (v13) "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  She didn't mock him. She Didn't argue. She didn't say "psh... there is no such thing as water you only have to drink once!"  She took a leap of faith and figuratively said "where do I sign?!". Jesus went on to tell her who he was (which was an honor) and about her own life and who she was so she would have a testimony to share.

She did too!! She immediately shared with everyone; and as a result a multitude of people were saved!

John 4:39-42

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

She was "unclean", "lower class", "ignorant", and a woman but because of her willingness to humble herself and be taught at the foot of Jesus he was able to use her in a powerful way. He was able to do more with that Samaritan woman than he was Nicodemus, a supposed religious leader of his time.

There is no graduating to a higher level Christian. There is only the Grace of the Lord. The grace that covers us all the same. There is only our humility to gulp at Christ's living water and hungerly pursue wisdom while knowing in our hearts that no matter what we learn at his feet we are ignorant. The only graduation is the one in which we graduate from this world into the presence of Jesus.

Accept God's Grace. Stand shoulder to shoulder with both your elders and those who are infants in Christ; for we should all be on our knees in humble pursuit of the same wisdom that only comes from Him.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Slow and painful

We are but a chrysalis of what God has in store for us. Being made new in Christ is not often a flash of light followed by a flood of wisdom and epiphanies. It's slow and sometimes very painful growth. God can change a heart in a moment, but a mind is stubborn. Our thoughts must be refined in fire; burn away the sinful nature to purify our focus. Where are thoughts go; we will follow.

1 Peter 1:6-9
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith -- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith the salvation of your souls." 

Sometimes grief can hit us so hard that we don't want to move forward in faith. Somewhere inside of us there lies a fear that if we keep growing- something else, equally or more painful, might happen. As if we are navigating a minefield of sorrow and with each step we risk our own or someone else's destruction.
Our mind tells us that if remain dormant we can freeze frame the moment.  I know I can handle where I am. I may fail if I move forward.  

The reality is that in remaining dormant in an attempt to control your environment and hide from the unknown; you are roadblocking your faith which is roadblocking your relationship with God.

With growth there are inevitable growing pains.  

My daughter is 4 and is reaching a growth spurt, shooting her up in her clothing sizes and making her ridiculously clumsy.  We're talking running into walls, knocking over drinks, tripping over her own feet... clumsy.  She falls down, cries, and picks herself up. She spills, gets frustrated, and cleans up her mess.  I encourage her and advise her.

Imagine if  she just gave up. She fell down... and just stayed there. I'm tired of falling down so I am just going to sit here for the remainder of my life! 
or if she left her messes... spilled and then allowed it to sit there rotting away her surroundings and endangering others who might slip on that spilled water or milk sprayed all over the floor.

In the conditions where you can see the immediate results; the solution is obvious but when it's less obvious consequences we think we can ignore the problems. Bury them, or worse  let them build walls between us and others or us and God.
Nothing is more debilitating in your relationship with God than building barriers between him and your heart.

Don't fear the growing pains. Don't condemn yourself for them. Learn, grow, and accept God's grace.

Love and trust in the One you cannot see.  Don't be afraid of trials; being made new in Christ may take patience, but  it is a celebration.

Monday, June 1, 2015

what do you want?

In John 1 Jesus was being followed by two of the disciples and he turned and asked Jesus turned and asked "What do you want?"  they asked where he was staying and followed him there.

If Jesus were to look you in the eye and say "What do you want?"; what would you say? What would you tell him? Would you have an answer?

Matthew 7:7-11

Ask, Seek, Knock

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

We must determine what our heart's desire truly is. What is it we want?
Is what we want something that God would want for us? 
That is to say... will it bring us closer to God? 
Have we considered desires impact on our relationship with God?

Are we first and foremost desiring just to be where the Lord is? Content to follow him in his work?

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

... or is the your relationship with him a footnote on your desires.
"Give me this promotion at work and I will have more time to read the Bible!"
instead of...
"I make time for you Lord to teach me to be the best employee and provider I can be."

I pray today that my desires are at the heels of Jesus. That there is no inhibition in my requests  because they are primarily to glorify God. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014


... just as you are ...

For years I've struggled with thinking that I am not intelligent and that I am too "ditzy" and too "scatterbrained" to really accomplish anything. I struggled in school, because staying focused on the task at hand was always difficult. As an adult I was accused of having "Adult ADD" because of the way I have difficulty staying focused. It wasn't until very recently that I've realized that my image of myself was inherently wrong and what I thought was a weakness was actually a strength. There is nothing wrong with the way I process things and when used correctly it can be my biggest ally. 

There is saying that men think like a waffle; compartmentalized and structured and women think like spaghetti; everything running together and connected.  Me? I think like popcorn. Constantly moving; jumping from thing to thing absolutely FULL of new ideas and mental energy. 
This way of processing is very frustrating when you are trying to study for a big test or writing a research paper but when you are planning events for children's church for the year or putting together a fun event; it is fantastic. I am able to seamlessly jump from item to item without feeling stressed or flustered; like popping popcorn. I am never lacking in fun and creative ideas. My imagination runs wild and I let it!
The point is that I spent 27 years inhibiting myself from success because of what I thought successful people looked/thought like. Only in the last  year have I realized that God INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED me to be this way for the purposes he has planned for me. As long as I follow Him instead of asking Him to follow me; He leads me right to my purpose and I thrive like a flower planted in the sunlight, or in this case, SONlight.

Don't be like me!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please!!!!!!!!! Don't mistake your assents for weaknesses. God doesn't want you to be like the person sitting next to you or even like that leader that you really respect. He wants you to think like yourself, act like yourself, and use the tools HE GAVE YOU to follow him obediently and fill a need somewhere.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

praying for rain

When I met you
 your faith was like an ocean 
Immeasurable depth and impossible to cross 
Sometimes it would rage on
Forcefully lapping the earth into submission 
Sometimes it would be quietly rhythmic
But even when foul weather would roll in 
and cover it from sight
I always knew that it was there
Beneath the cover of fog and wind
I could hear it's steady rhythm
Like a heartbeat
Pulling me that much closer to God himself
But lately I can't hear the waves
The steady lapping on the shore
Replaced by eery silence.
There is no fog and yet I can't see the water
There is no wind yet I hear nothing
Did the earth swallow your ocean?
Did the skies cease to rain upon your waters?
Did you separate yourself from the life spring?
Will the salt water of my tears
be enough to dampen your earth once more?
Will my prayers return your ocean to you?
I will wait upon my knees and pray for rain. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fear is a Thief

I had a visitor knock on my door just the other day. When I opened the door I saw piles of luggage littering my porch and a oddly familiar face staring back at me. I couldn't remember how I knew them, but before I could piece together my recognition, they barged in, bags in hand; making themselves at home. As just the tip of their left shoe crossed my threshold, I knew their name. It was fear. Uninvited. Unwelcome. Here to make themselves at home, none the less.

Tossing their bags here and there, covering my once clean floor with their clutter and nonsense. I didn't want to be rude, so I made Fear comfortable. I walked around the minefield of hazardous clutter and brought Fear a beverage while entertaining its rantings. Somehow with every moment Fear stayed my home got messier and messier, and louder and louder. I could no longer see the lovingly polished floors, and the delicately placed memories gracing the walls; instead I saw nothing but piles and piles of unorganized junk that I could hardly walk around. The soft sounds of soothing music, replaced indecipherable white noise.

I tried sorting the piles of junk into organized totes, and dusting off the pictures on my walls so I could see them more clearly, but with every well placed item a scattered, haphazard one took its place. I, in frustration, finally gave up. I allowed all of the junk to cover everything I cared about until I forgot what a clean house looked like. Fear had stolen my home. Fear had stolen my peace.

I looked up and saw a stream of light shining through the corner of a window thickly covered in dust and grime. It felt so warm. It looked so bright. I remembered! I remembered a clean home. I remembered peace. Through the piles and piles of garbage I saw one familiar book. A book that I love.

I stretched out my arm, and grasped a corner of its cover. I pulled and pulled until at last it broke free and toppled into my lap. Feeling a flutter in my heart, I opened the cover. and with each new page, a new truth bore into me. "Do not be afraid", "I am your fortress", "Do not fear, I will help you", "Ask and it will be given"... so many statements of hope and truth. As tears made a path down my cheeks, I reached my hands to the sky and pleaded for help. There was no way I could do this on my own.

As soon as the words left my lips, the door swung open with enough force to send various items flying everywhere. Fear, who was perched in a comfortable chair, droning on, suddenly grew silent. Its eyes wide, fists clenched. A team of workers, dressed in white burst in with tools and supplies and began methodically addressing every item, and wiping down every surface. I began to, with a smile on my face,  helping the crew. There were a couple moments that I tried to hold onto a trinket or item that I thought was of value, but each member of the crew assured me that all items had to go. Before I knew it I was looking at my clean home, with my beautiful photos beaming from my walls. Everything was clean, and peaceful. Fear was no where to be seen, and I vowed to myself that if I ever saw fear again, I would open the book of love first. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Confessions of a Real Mom

None of us are perfect and we all have "days". Sometimes the best thing to do is pat each other on the back and say "I've been there". Here my  little list of confessions.

  1. I yell. I try not to... but it happens.
  2. I have a "stash" of chocolate in one of our cubbards that my children don't know is there. I have also consumed said chocolate double fisted whilst hiding in the bathroom.

  3. I have told my children that their toys are broken when the reality is that I really really don't want to replace the batteries...
  4. I have woken up thinking "How long until nap time???"
  5. I have accidentally disciplined my children for things they haven't done. 

6. I still  will get up in the middle of the night from time to time to make sure my kids are OK.
7. I have said and done things I told myself I'd never do as a parent. 
8. I have made empty threats and then immediately regretted it.
9. I have used the phrase "Because I Said SO" on multiple occasions.
I mean... let's be honest... there are times when they don't really care what the answer is.
10. Sometimes my kids know how to get on my last nerve.
11. I get separation anxiety every time my son climbs on the bus.
12. I'm pretty sure my kids have learned to use affection to manipulate me.
13. I drink a lot of coffee 
14. Bribery is a tool in my parenting arsenal 
15. I try to push my children into hobbies that I enjoy doing with them.
16. I have literally cried at the sight of some of their sentimental creations (ie mothers day)
17. I don't keep the dandelions they pick for me, but I'm always moved by the gesture.
18. My kids learned phrases like "what the heck" and "holy crap" from me... I can't even blame it on public school.
19.... although my kids think the "S-H" word is "Shut up!"
20. I once started crying when I caught my son lying to me. I didn't mean it as a guilt trip... I was just sad, but let me tell ya... that has more of an impact that any other discipline I could come up with. 
21. When I see myself in my kids, my reaction varies from being tickled to mortified. 
22. I've jokingly threatened my children with duct taping them  to the wall.

23. I feed my kids boxed mac and cheese.
24. and hot dogs

25. I love encouraging my kids to be independent, but sometimes, standing back and watching them struggle is very very difficult
26. I get the biggest euphoric high when people compliment my children's behavior and/or personality.
27. I prep my kids before going to someone else's house. ie "You will do.... You won't do...."
28. I spend most of my time at home in my husbands t shirts
29. I sometimes just stare at my kids and marvel at the people they're turning into.
30. I sing "Do you wanna build a snowman" loudly and off-key with my children on a semi-regular basis.
31. I, in fact, sometimes sing just about everything to my children when I start to get frustrated with them not listening.
32. Sometimes I forget to brush my kids teeth.
33. My daughter is sooo clumsy that I have pretty much given up most levels of sympathy when shy falls down.
34. She is also so cute that I have been somewhat desensitized to compliments on her adorable-ness :)
35. I tend to believe my son is a genius. 
36. I used to be impatient about watching other peoples' kids, but since having my own rugrats... the more the merrier.
37. I tend to procrastinate going on dates with my hubby (even though I love it), because it seems like too much work.
38. I never want anyone watching my kids by force or guilt. I always want the "babysitter" to actually want to spend time with my kids.
39. This is why, if I'm babysitting someone else's kids,  I tend to make sure they know that I'm truly happy to do it. If I'm not; I won't agree to it.
40. Our shower is at the back of our house and I'm terrified to take a shower when it's just me and the kids, because I can't hear the house. I always imagine the very worst.
41. I'm not a morning person!!
Enough said.
42. I screen my calls. Not because I don't want to talk to people, but because I can be a bit "phone shy".
43. I'm always in yoga pants, leggings, or skirts.... so I am lost when it comes to "pants size"
"... How come these jeans don't come in medium..."

44. I always day dream about having my kids pile in bed with us and snuggling up... the reality is never as good as the fiction...
I usually get fought over, sweating, and unable to move.
45. My minivan usually looks like a trashcan on wheels. I keep telling myself "this time I'll keep it clean!" Has yet to happen!
46. I always owe the library money... They never loose that one book that you've read so often you no longer have to look at the words, but they will instantaneously loose the one book you must return on time. 
47.  My kids' runny noses are so much more tolerable than other kids' runny noses.
48. I can't turn off my nurturing instinct, and I'm lucky enough to have people in my life that don't mind too much. 

49. I love taking naps with my kids. I don't get to do it very often but I feel spoiled when I do.
50. My kids are turning out pretty darn good despite all of my failures! :) They are resilient little buggers. I adore them.