Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I think it’s because we compare. We compare ourselves to someone who is better. Someone who is more beautiful, more eloquent, more gifted than we are.
Stop minimizing who we are and what we can contribute.
Monday, September 26, 2011
There are certain Christian leaders that I look to - to encourage and to advise me in life. Certain leaders that I know will speak from a heart that is led by the Lord. Max Lucado is one of those leaders. A man who speaks words that I trust.
Max has a new book out called, "God's Story, Your Story." Take a look....
Doesn't that sound great? I don't know about you, but I want to know what my life looks like when God's story becomes my own personal story. To be reminded that I'm not just witnessing something or reading about something - but that I'm a part of that something.
"All of us long to know where we came from...and where the stories of our lives are going."
According to Max Lucado, there IS "a cohesive story line to the chaos, confusion, and clutter of our daily lives."
I'm so excited to read this book and to share it with you, as well. I am giving away one copy of "God's Story, your Story!"
Just leave me a comment below - briefly telling me why you'd like to win the book. I will randomly pick a winner by this weekend.
(I received this book free from the publisher.)
Friday, September 23, 2011
I don’t know about you, but I want to always be moving forward. And I want my daughter to learn how to move forward as well.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
*Originally published at DevotionalChristian.com
Monday, September 19, 2011
Everything seems to be “amped” up.
I want to linger.
Lingering means something. It focuses outward instead of inward.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Life is for keeps. There are no re-runs. No repeats. We can’t just wave away things in the hopes that they don’t matter. In the desire that they’ll go away. For we are in a fight whether we like it or not.
I know a lot of people get freaked out and really scared when they think the “devil” will aim for them. And rightly so. He is clever. Deceiving. Yes – powerful. He knows just what our buttons are and how to push them. The thing is; no matter how much we might be afraid of him, it doesn’t protect us or make us safe to pretend he’s not out to get us. It doesn’t arm us or give us strength to battle him. No, it only makes us easier targets.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I’m a French fry lover. I’ve never met a French fry I didn’t like. I like them skinny, fat, with skins on, crinkled, curly, and spiced. They are just delicious.
I think I’m also a chip fanatic. Now – chips don’t quite rate up there with French fries because I don’t like all chips. No – not all chips were created equal. The dill pickled flavor – nasty. Pork rinds? Gross. No – there are only a few varieties that are outstanding.
What I find humorous is that I decided I wanted to cut back on my chip intake. I’m laughing inside as I type that – because it’s an almost impossible task. I have a chip-loving family so chips are always around.
But I think I tried to fool myself for awhile with my chip-loving ways.
I decided instead of eating chips with a sandwich, I would make a hearty soup. I throw in some Progresso chicken noodle (which I love), corn, garbanzo beans, onion, extra chicken broth, fresh shredded chicken – and I’m good to go. Except that I usually have to throw in some tortilla chips or barbecue chips on top. May sound weird, but it’s very delicious.
I started enjoying rice. So I would buy those little Minute brown rice cups at the store. You pop them in the microwave for about a minute and your rice is ready. I’d add some beans, chicken, onion, red pepper – and scoop it up with a tortilla chip.
Are you starting to see a trend?
We make these rice and chili tacos that are rolled up in a flour tortilla with cheese. Yep – tortilla chips to scoop out the middle are a delight.
Taco spaghetti? Gotta have some tortilla chips to either mash in or scoop up.
I think I’m a chip-scooper-aholic.
And I won't even begin to tell you how much I love chocolate covered chips at Christmas time...
I don’t resort to putting chips on my sandwich though, so there is hope for me, right?
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Can you imagine things the way they “could” be if you’d only handled them better or made the right choices? For example, can you imagine things the way they “could” be if you thought less of yourself and more of your spouse? Can you imagine things the way they “could” be if you truly enjoyed raising your children and spent more time with them? Can you imagine things the way they “could” be if your swallowed your pride and called that person or sent them a note? (You know – the one whom you haven’t spoken to for a long time because of “issues?”)
I just wonder how much happier we would be.
How much more joy would live in our hearts if we “could” do that thing that we wish we could do? Or even that thing that we dread doing but we know we need to do?
Could’s can be can’s. You CAN. You can humble yourself to repair a broken relationship. You can fall in love with your spouse all over again if you look for the good instead of the bad. You can enjoy housework if you think about the people you love and who you are tending it for.
The way it could be is the way it should be. It’s the way it can be. You just need to believe. Pray. Dream. Muster up the courage and do it. Do it afraid. Do it with joy. Just do it!
No more wishing. No more whining. No more putting it off. Your life is here. Today. Now.
Are you going to make the most of it? Are you going to be that person you know you “could” be?
Go for it. Smile along the way. Laugh. Cry as your heart heals. Ponder. And thank God. Thank Him for second chances. And third.
No more longing for the way things could be. God can empower you TODAY to change your “could’s” into “can’s.”
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I think it’s amazing. How quickly you can fall.
Just when you are finally feeling empowered, Satan has a nasty way of toppling your renewed spirit to the ground. In pieces. Tiny ones.
Why don’t we see it coming?
It’s like we finally can see things from the perspective of a mountaintop only to realize that someone snuck up behind us and pushed us off the cliff.
Then we’re looking up again and wanting so badly to feel strong and victorious once again. To feel like nothing can defeat us.
I hate how quickly those moments can pass. I hate that as soon as I feel a spiritual victory; Satan knocks me off my feet. And I’m on my knees again.
Forever climbing. We’re forever climbing to get back up on that peak again, aren’t we? Maybe that’s the point. To never feel so steady on our feet that we’re able to have the wind knocked out of us. To never be so sure of ourselves that we stop looking at what is coming up behind us. Maybe the climb is what brings us victory – not the standing at the top, part. Maybe.
I have learned that being on my knees is not a bad thing. In fact, that is where I find my source of strength when I am on my knees before the Lord in prayer. That is where I can truly lift my head up and see Him and see a glimpse of His perspective. Even if it’s only a glimpse, it shows me that the climb is worth it. The climb is necessary.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
There is no such thing as a perfect friend.
I think we are hard on those around us at times. We expect a lot out of them and then when they let us down, rise up short, or fail to meet those unsaid standards, we are disappointed, discouraged, and frustrated. We fail to see that people are human. They will say the wrong thing at times, hurt our feelings, and even let us down with – or without intending to.
It’s imperfection at its best.
I think that’s what’s so precious about parenting. We love our children regardless. We know ahead of time that they will make mistakes – yet we love them. We expect them to be angry with us at times and we forgive them. It’s built inside of us; that ability to love despite being hurt. We could use some of that sometimes in our friendships. Our friends are just as human as our children are. They have their own quirks and personalities that are pre-built. We can’t change them. We can inspire them, love on them, encourage them, and pray for them – but we can’t change them. We need to understand ahead of time that there will come a moment in time where they may not be there for us in our time of need.
If we are always looking for perfection in a friend, I think we may just always be looking for a friend. There is no perfection to be found. But there is laughter to be found in the cheer that someone else’s charm brings your life. There is a special bond that can be found when someone doesn’t understand your heart and yet still loves you and supports you. There is freedom to be found when you share something you feel silly about or something that deeply humbles or embarrasses you and you are met with wisdom or camaraderie in the disclosure of an equally silly or embarrassing thing from your friend’s heart.
Friendships need room to breathe and grow. We only suffocate them if we put confines on them. We stifle any natural blooming that could otherwise take place.
We all could use some slack when it comes to our own role in friendships. We let our friends down at times or fail to be there for them. We don’t call or write as often as we should and we forget birthdays. We say the wrong thing at the wrong time and we get our nose bent out of shape too easily. We could use some grace extended our way at our “less-than-perfect” ways. And so do we need to offer it in return.
There is no such thing as a perfect friend but there are really GREAT friends. We just need to see that sometimes they are standing right in front of us – imperfections and all.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I watched part of a movie recently that my girls had already been watching. It was about a teen girl who was dating an abusive boyfriend. Her friends knew, and only one of them tried to get the girl away from him. The rest did nothing. The end result? The girl was murdered.
Not very uplifting is it? Even if it was just a movie – it brought up a good discussion between my girls and me. Not only to talk to them about being in an abusive relationship, but what to do if they fear for a friend.
If It’s one thing I’m trying to get across to my girls it’s that they need to speak up.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King Jr.
How many times do we have a friend who wants a divorce and we fail to speak up? We are more afraid of them getting angry with us or losing their friendship than we are of trying to help them salvage their marriage.
How often do we witness a parent being overly critical or harsh with a child? How about someone joking about hurting themselves…or someone else? Do we see a friend “sext” someone else – or receive one?
How about some situations that we’d call the “lesser evil?” Yet they are still wrong. When someone obviously “works” someone else and takes advantage of their love and kindness – time and time again? Do we speak up when we witness someone being dishonest about paying a bill?
There are so many scenarios. And yes, there are situations that are none of our business. But if we care about someone and we see him or her morally, emotionally, or spiritually in danger – it is our responsibility to speak up and in love – confront them.
It is one thing to respect someone else’s privacy and choices in life – it’s another thing to simply be afraid that we’ll damage our image or lose the relationship.
I think we’re all in danger of living in a society that is so used to “to each his own” that we’ve lost sight of being our brother’s keeper. We’ve forgotten that we are here for each other – to take care of one another.
You can’t take care of someone else without sometimes saying and doing the hard thing.
Speaking up doesn’t have to be harsh or unkind. It can be done with a gentle voice and a loving hand. As long as it’s done.
I think we’d all agree that we’d hate to look back and think that we could have done something to intervene on behalf of someone in a positive way. Love someone enough to speak up for them. Sometimes that’s the best way you can show you truly care. They might not see that right away – but some day, they just might thank you for it.
Friday, September 2, 2011
I’ve been on 3 mission trips. I’ve gotten just a glimpse, just a taste of what is out there in the world. I’ve felt what working for the Lord feels like. I’ve relished in it.
It’s hard to come back to “normal” after serving on the field for the Lord. Even if it’s only temporary. It’s hard to find motivation and purpose in the “little” and the “every day.”
The first time I came back from the field – I saw how I had developed ambition in my heart. How I was looking to build a name for myself. God changed my heart and turned my ambition into ministry for Him. He turned wanting glory for myself into wanting to impact others.
The second time I went on the field, I came back simply wanting “more.” I wanted more of God and I wanted others to know Him more. I wanted others to be able to feel and experience what I had.
The third time? God simply grew the desire in me to want nothing more than to love on others. To hug them. Laugh with them. Touch them and encourage them.
But as time has gone on, each one of my experiences have taken root in my heart and started to grow even further. The seeds that were placed there are blossoming. There are other things in life that have watered what has already been placed there. Conferences. Devotions. Godly counsel and advice. God’s Word. All of these things have stretched me. Nurtured me. Guided me. And taught me.
I am now sitting in a place where I have decided I don’t want “normal” anymore. I don’t want to wake up and simply face a day of folding laundry, doing dishes, and cleaning house. (Although these are blessings because of who I am doing them for and the health and financial means to be at home to do them!) But no – I want an extraordinary life. I want a life of adventure for God.
So I find myself looking outside of the normal. I find myself looking for opportunities where God can use me more and more. Where my days may be a little upside-down but they are exciting and fulfilling because I know God is using me to impact others more and more.
It’s hard to go back to normal once you’ve been in “God’s zone.” When you’ve seen and tasted what it’s like to be in full-time service for Him. “Normal” changes. You’re always looking to give away, get away, or grow. You’re looking for further, deeper, and longer. You’re looking for “more.”
I don’t want “normal” anymore. I want to be generous. I want to be in service. And I want to constantly have something on the radar that I can be doing for Him. Not in a “busy” way but in a “this is what He’s called you to do” way.
My new normal is to look for what might not be normal and see God in it. And know He’s speaking and seeking….me.