Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shhhh.....Don't Tell!

As wives, we need to be careful at times. I know we need to fellowship and gather together with other women and “girlfriends.” We have this innate nature that God created within us to talk things out with them. But there are certain things and issues that we need to be careful about divulging.

We need to be careful about not jeopardizing the trust that our husbands have in us. They trust us, and they can confide some tender things to us at times. Things that they don’t want the whole world knowing (that includes your best friend).  Our husbands trust that what they tell us about their fears, their heart’s desires, their thoughts about things, jobs, people, etc. will go no further than our hearts, minds, and ears. But sometimes we just feel the need to “share” a bit too much outside the walls of our own home and in doing so, can injure the one we love the most.

There are lots of things we can discuss with girlfriends. And at times, we need to bend their ear on things that are truly bothering or hurting us. That’s why good friendships are so vital and important. But we need to implement some boundaries when it comes to our husband’s heart. He needs to know that some things are safe with us – that HE’S safe with us. If we want our man to open up and communicate to us, we need to be careful not to run to the nearest friend and repeat things that have been said.   Of course the same should be true for our man. We should be able to expect that unless permission is given, that some topics are just off limits outside of our marriage.

Intimacy is more than uniting in the bedroom as husband and wife. It’s also uniting our hearts and souls. Our dreams and wishes. We need to be able to vent, hypothesize,  speculate, dream, and ponder with our spouses without being afraid that our innermost thoughts are going to be broadcast elsewhere. Everyone needs a safe zone with someone else!  And we even need to be careful when sharing prayer requests with other women or at small groups that we don’t betray something that our husband wished was kept private and personal.

Communicate together as husband and wife if you are ever unsure if a topic can be shared or not. Get permission or the “ok” if you really feel led to share a burden with someone else and guard each other’s hearts. The time you take to invest in protecting and nurturing your special feelings, needs, and concerns with one another will grow your bond strengthening and enriching your marriage along the way.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In Those Empty Moments

Those moments in life when you just need….something.  Maybe you are feeling lonely and long for close friendships. Maybe you don’t feel as beautiful as those around you. Sometimes those moments are full of grieving over a loss of a loved one. You can feel less than happy with your current lifestyle or struggling with parenting, marriage, or family relationship issues. Sometimes those moments are merely boredom. Bored with doing the same thing in life.

I’ve had those moments. You’ve had those moments.

We all turn to something when we are lonely, depressed, grieving, or angry. For some of us, it’s food. Food can be a great companion and comforter. Just a bite here or there and before we know it, we are constantly turning to food to “fill” what is empty inside of us. For some of us, we turn to the Internet or television. We tune out and just mindlessly escape into a world that accepts us and loves us just as we are. There are other escapes too – alcohol, drugs, cutting. Some people like to stay busy so that they don’t have to think or feel. Others sleep it away. After all, dreams can be preferable to the real thing sometimes!

We all long to be filled. To feel full.

I find it interesting that in those empty, private moments in life – that we often fail to turn to the thing that will fill us up and satisfy us the most. God.

Opening the Bible can seem dreadfully boring. Listening to Christian music – mundane. Or kneeling down in prayer can seem like a waste of time. Yet it’s not.

If I can stop and have a conversation with the Lord, He can give me the strength I need to not indulge in that fried or sugary food. He can help me bite my tongue instead of lashing out on an innocent loved one and He can help me grasp peace and forgiveness in a heart that would otherwise reach for anger and bitterness.  In the quiet (or loud chaos) of my home, God can hold me up and hold me together. He can love on me in a personal way that no one else can. He can send me the most perfect song that brings tears falling from my eyes in gentle submission to His prodding. He can realign my priorities through His word in a way that makes me feel like it was my idea. He’s good and He’s good TO me.

Those empty moments in our lives will come. We will hurt. We will sigh and we will long for things and people. But nothing will fulfill our hearts or desires like Him. We just need to give Him a try. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm Not Going To Use Swear Words To Be "Edgy"

I’ve noticed a trend. A trend in blogs. In churches. In social media. Out of the mouths of believers.

People are trying to be “in,” “cool,” “edgy.” Or so it seems.

I used to be able to tell the difference between Christians. Believers. God’s chosen people and the rest of the world.

Not so much anymore.

I go to blogs and see words and phrases being used that (to me) just shouldn’t be used. Words used in such a way as to look hip, trendy, relevant, and edgy. As if being a Christian immediately means we aren’t trendy.

I’ve gone to church websites and seen the same trend. I’ve even seen church names that make my eyes go all buggy and my mouth drop open. All in the name of being seen as hip and “with-it.”

I think we are missing the boat. God does not need to be made to look cool. He IS cool. We do not need to act like God is relevant. He IS relevant. He always has been! We do not need to swear, drink, or do many other things in order to be seen as “cool.” In fact, for me? Those very things immediately turn me away and turn me off. I immediately think “how uncool.”

The world WANTS us to be different. They may not act like it – but they long for it. Just as a child longs for boundaries and rules even though they will never tell you that. People want authenticity and a genuine heart. They don’t want us to be like their next door neighbor or the guy at work. They can get that anywhere.

And in all honesty? It’s a compromise of values.

I believe in calling a spade a spade. And Jesus would never swear. Never. Nor will I. I won’t even come close. No edgy words for me. I will just stand on my own boring two feet and let God do the talking for me.

For He’s far more eloquent and never once had a problem drawing a crowd. Just by being Himself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do You Need Inspiration?

What brings inspiration into your life? Has it been awhile since you’ve felt inspired?

Inspiration comes to us in many ways. It comes through others, our environment, or through the lens in which we see the world. And sometimes we can only find inspiration through that lens if we have a certain attitude.

Apathy and complacency can become friends in our lives, if we let them. They sneak in and before we know it; are old friends.  A lot of it is because we refuse to change or be changed. Some of it is due to our circumstances.

I am of the firm mind that everyone needs inspiration in their lives. Without it, you can stagnate easily and life becomes habit instead of awe. It becomes routine instead of adventure.

Everyone has different personalities. Some people like a slower way of living and a quieter life. Some people love action and are constantly moving in one way or the other. Yet, still, both types of people need inspiration for it fuels and brings joy to an otherwise colorless life.

If you find yourself in a position without inspiration, maybe it’s time to look for some. Look and decide if your environment needs to be tweaked and changed a little bit. See if  your friendships need to be concentrated on more, or your heart needs some work.

Inspiration is like a soft breeze in a weary soul and sometimes it can be a full force wind that blows a hardened, bitter, or complacent life right out of the water!  Don’t be afraid of it – but embrace it. For it is there to bring goodness into your heart, soul, and life.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Motivation Being????

Prayers. They are very eye opening, sometimes. We often ask God for everything under the sun. We ask Him to intervene on our behalf and help us.

As a parent, I have tried to encourage my children to pray. I don’t like “cookie cutter” prayers because they tend to become habit instead of requests from the heart. But I also am very cautious when I hear my kids ask for God to help them win things or help them do good on a test. I have to wonder about their motivation.

It’s the same for me and for others I observe in life. We ask God to help us with various things that are in OUR best interest. What does it benefit our faith life for God to honor those requests? For instance, if I ask God to please help me win the lottery – why would He do that for me? Would it draw me closer to Him? Would it honor Him?  If my child asks God to help them do good on a test – yet they did not study for it, I have to wonder at their vision of having a God that is simply there to bail them out when they need it. However, if they ask God to help them remember what they studied for the test….then to me, that is a more fair and honorable prayer.

We ask God for so many things. But if we look inside of ourselves a little bit, most of those things are selfish requests. We don’t want to go through hardship or we want God to simply swoop in and rescue us from disaster.

We don’t own up to our own responsibilities that have been placed on our shoulders.

We need to take a look at our motivation when we come to the Lord in prayer. First of all, He is worthy of our respect.  And He is worthy of our worship. But He is not going to simply cater to us all of the time for He loves us. He wants us to learn and grow.  He may rescue us sometimes out of His great love for us, but it won’t be an “every time” kind of a thing.

As a parent, we need to teach our children how to own their own actions. Consequences follow actions –whether those are good or bad. God can help us through either one of those outcomes, but we can’t come to Him all of the time asking Him to help us avoid all the bad ones because of our own foolish or selfish choices.

Prayer isn’t simply “request for me” time. It’s conversation time. Time to honor. Love. Share our deepest feelings. Thank. It’s all of those.  

We’d be wise to look at the motivations of our heart before we ask God for something.  For even if we deny we have wrong motives; He can see right through us. When our loving God has to say “no” to us – if only for our own good.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's Ok To Want "More" For Our Lives

I go through seasons and phases in my life where I’m unsatisfied with where I’m at. I want “more.”  I want more for my family and I want more for me.

Do you ever feel that way?

It’s not easy to put into words what it feels like when these moments of time come for me. Nothing may be wrong with my life. I just feel this need to move on to something “more.”

Don’t get me wrong. That something “more” may not always mean a new location. It might mean a “new” anything. Yes, sometimes a new location. Sometimes a new church, a new school for my kids, a new job, a new neighborhood, new friendships – but it usually means something in my life is coming to an end and making room for something new and different.

I’m not referring to greed. Greed wants a different kind of “more.” The kind that is there for image and esteem. The kind of “more” I’m referring to is deeper, and more intense. It’s a God-kind-of-more. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s as if the Lord is pulling me to a new path, a new calling (or challenge as the case may be.)

I think it’s ok to want more for our lives. We shouldn’t ever settle. We shouldn’t feel content in mediocrity or going through the motions from day to day. We SHOULD desire “more.” For God has so much more to show us!

When I desire that something “more” it’s a hunger that just can’t be squelched. Only God can feed me. Only He can show me what direction He’s trying to point me in. Only He can satisfy.

I’m not sure we are ever meant to be in the same position forever. I think it’s too easy to stop growing when we stay where we’ve always been. God often led men and women in the Bible to new lands – new causes. Why should we expect any differently?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Complaining About What Our Kids Don't Do Instead of Rewarding What They Do Do

Sometimes we get on our kids for what they DON’T do instead of for what they DO do.

It’s easy to do. They forget their homework or forget to do their homework and we can get on their case about it. But WE forget all of the times they DO do their homework and even forget what good grades they have.

They forget to call us and so we get on them about that. But we forget all the other times they call to let us know something when they didn’t have to.

Our kids are not perfect. I know – surprise –right? They are going to forget things. They are maturing and growing up. They have lots of distractions in their lives. Friends, boys, tv shows, books, ipods, facebook, family, chores, church, sports, and it goes on and on. They forget.

We forget.

I’ve forgotten things. Haven’t you?

It just seems to me that we are so good at griping about what expectations haven’t been met that we lose sight of all of the ones that have. We don’t often reward our children for making their beds every morning or never once forgetting to bring their sport outfit on game day. It’s an oversight on our part.

I think we need to correct that.  I think we need to start rewarding and recognizing what things ARE done. Even if they are little ones. Our children NEED that. They need to know that what they do is noticed. Appreciated and valued. They need encouragement!

They will still forget their homework sometimes. They will still forget to give us that permission slip to sign or totally “space” the fact that it was their turn to take care of the garbage or the pets. But they will also totally do something out of the blue for you sometime. They will show you the goodness in their heart and they will TRY to get something right.

And that deserves to be noticed.

Monday, October 15, 2012


We live in a narcissistic world. We have been trained without even realizing it, maybe, that our focus should be all about our image and ourselves.

I’m seeing this type of environment affect us in very real, unflattering ways. And I’m not immune – but I’m trying to fight it off.

For the most part, a lot of us don’t seem to be on time anywhere.  -  Impression shown? – my time is more important than your time.

We commonly fail to reply to invitations or get togethers with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ we will or will not be there. – Interpretation? – I don’t care about how much effort it takes you to make food or prepare, I just want to see if anything else better comes up in the meantime. If not, I’ll be there.

We pride ourselves on owning the latest brands, fashions, and trends. Result? We think we matter more because of what we own or wear – instead of because of who we are as people.

We “charm” others as much as possible to get as many fringe benefits as we can from the relationship.  Free dinner? Great. Professional courtesy? Better. But the relationships are shallow and temporary. For people don’t like to be “taken” for only what they can give someone else.

There are so many more examples of our growing selfishness and “me-focused” living. We have become a society of “takers” and if things don’t meet our personal schedules or demands, we complain or whine. We flit from church to church, friend to friend, job to job – in the same quest. To find fullness. Happiness. Acceptance. Perfection. Yet only God can provide those and He often only does it once we submit and accept the imperfection of things in our life. In the process, we need to learn to find a way to give back for Him and be content and joyful amidst those same circumstances.

I don’t really hear people address selfishness much anymore. It’s hard to tell a friend or family member that “you are being selfish!”  But we can refuse to feed into it. We don’t have to keep inviting someone over who cares less about our time or efforts. We can buy clothes that don’t have a name-brand and still be trendy and pulled-together. We can refuse to be pulled into peer pressure to have to maintain a certain image and we can be blessed when others give to us…yet blessed more when we give to others of our time, talents, or possessions.

I don’t want to be a selfish person. I don’t want to be so focused on my own little world that I fail to see what someone else is going through. And I certainly don’t want to raise selfish kids.

It’s not about me. Even though at times I can be encouraged when I am appreciated and I SHOULD surround myself with those who add to my life in a positive way….I still need to remember it’s not about me.

I am not more important than the next person. My needs do not matter more. And it’s okay if I do without sometimes.

That is real living. Real loving.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for all of those times you protected me when I made a mistake or had an error in judgment while driving the car.

Thank you, Lord, for saving that friendship when I foolishly said something unkind.

Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer and healing me from that ailment that caused my spirits to plummet.

Thank you, Lord, for humbling me when my pride starts growing too large. I may not want it – but I need it.

I’m so thankful, Lord, for all those nights you listened as I prayed laying in bed; unable to sleep. It’s so reassuring to be able to pour my heart out to you.

Thank you for saying “no” when I asked you so many times to say ‘yes.’ You truly knew the better answer for my life. Oh – and Lord? Thank you for the times you DID say yes! I continue to feel blessed by those moments.

There are so many things I could thank you for. So many times you have done something for me out of love. 

Today I want to remember. Today I want to acknowledge.

You are my Lord. My KING.

And I will serve you.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do You Ever Just Want To Be A Priority To Someone Else?

Do you ever just want to be a priority to someone else? Sometimes it just feels like we always come in second – or third with other people. That they care, but not quite care ENOUGH to put you first. That they love, but not quite love ENOUGH, to prioritize you.

I hate it when I feel that way.

And feel that way, I do. There are times for me – just like for you – that I long to feel like I’m a priority to someone else. I long to not just be told that I’m special to someone else; but to see that by their actions I am special to them. I long to not just get lip service – but to be reached out to.

Don’t we all feel that way sometimes?  I’m sure we do.

I think the thing is that we have hidden expectations. And then reality just doesn’t measure up. To that other person, they may think they ARE prioritizing us but are just unaware that they are overlooking our needs, wants, and desires. Or, maybe they ARE aware, in which case the relationship isn’t what we hope it would be. Either way – on our end – it can be discouraging, frustrating, and sometimes hurtful.

Of course I can spout the Christian thing to say – that we ARE a priority to God. And we ARE. But knowing that doesn’t always alleviate the loneliness or the human feeling of rejection that we so often feel because of the inactions of others.

We all want to feel special. Valued. Prioritized. Adored.

And yet the thing is – we won’t. Not on earth, anyways. Not always by everyone in our life. We just won’t.

People disappoint. They always have and they always will.

So you DO have to believe what God says about you. You DO have to have a strong enough self esteem to withstand those times – lest you crumble and believe you aren’t loveable and don’t deserve to be valued or placed first with anyone else.

We can focus on all of the people who let us down. All of those people who fail to love us the way we want to be loved. Or we can focus and remember all those times when someone DID prioritize us. That card or phone call we got out of the blue. That person who wanted to meet us for lunch – to be with us. That special note left behind by your spouse or your child shouting how much they loved you.

There ARE moments where we are prioritized.

Let those times carry you through the moments where someone let you down. For those times will come. And then lift your head and look forward to the time that will soon come again where you are given love out of the blue with abandon and innocence by someone who had no idea you needed it.

And thank God – for He sent it to you.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Do I Even Dare?

All those dreams. Wishes. Longings of the heart.

At times it can seem like they will never happen. Never come to pass. It can be so easy to give up on them. Quit. Abandon what our heart truly desires.

But then…in a way….we abandon who God has created us to be.

There are moments in time where I feel weak, doubtful, and lost. And I wonder….do I even dare to hope? Dare to risk?

What if I fail? What if it all turns out horribly? What if everyone tells me, “I told you so?”

But sometimes you just got to go for it anyways. Dare to dream the impossible dream. Hope despite the odds.  For it makes you feel alive. Inspired. Motivated. Whole.

So, yes. The answer is yes. Dare! Dare again! Dare to try. Dare to wish.

Dare to dream.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Are You Merely Saved, Or Are You "Sold Out" For God?

Being a Christian. It’s a title so many of us claim.  We use it when asked to check a certain box on a form or when asked about our faith. But does it go further with us? Does it go deeper?

I have been saved since I was 5 years old.  Saved. To me that means that I asked Jesus into my heart to save me from my sins. It means that I believe He came to earth and died on the cross for me to save me from eternal damnation in hell. It means I’m going to heaven.

But my faith means more to me than that. It means more to me than simply being saved.

It means being “sold out.” 

It means that in all my decisions, all my choices, and all my actions – they will come from a heart and mind that first asks, “How would God feel about this?”  and “How does this stand up against my moral convictions?”  It means I’m dedicated.

I don’t want to be JUST saved. I want to live for God every hour, every moment, every second of my life. I want to serve Him, love Him, believe in Him, and seek Him.  And I want to love others, serve others, and encourage others based on that same heart for the Lord.

I want to worship Him. And I want to obey Him.

For me, that means trying to live a life of integrity, honor, and morality. It means I am careful about what I watch, what I read, and what I listen to. It means I’m careful about where I go, who I hang out with, and how I speak. For I’m not simply saved – I’m trying to be “sold out” for God.

There is such a huge difference. I want the Holy Spirit with me always. I want to find favor with the Lord and have Him bless my life. 

I think I would miss out on so much by simply living life “saved” and yet not growing and pushing for a more vibrant, alive faith day in and day out. I could go the easy way of course. Yet, I choose to go the way of a deeper faith. A faith that pulls me, awes me, and blesses me. I choose to get as much out of living life for God as I possibly can instead of staying at an “entry level” pace all of my life.

Sometimes it hurts – being sold out for God. Sometimes He asks me to do things I just don’t want to do. I’ll be honest. It’s not always comfortable. But for me, it is safe. It is safe in the fact that I know I’m always trying to walk in His will instead of my own. It’s safe in the fact that I don’t try to incite His anger or wrath against me, and I enjoy my life on a much higher level because I know I live safely within the boundaries He’s set for me.

I AM saved. I’ve been saved for a long time now. But I’m also “sold out.” My heart, my dedication, and my lifeblood go to the One who gave it all for me. So now in return, I give my life to Him every day – by living it the best I can solely for His Name and Glory.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Value of Our Reputation

Our reputation.  Sometimes it’s all we have. 

Material things can break, fade away, tarnish, or fall apart. Relationships come and go.  But our reputation – it’s something we carry with us always.

I think many of us forget or fail to recognize just how important our reputation is. When we are constantly late – that affects our reputation. When we are flippant in our speech – that affects how others see us and view our heart.  When we dress in an impure or sexual manner – that affects our reputation. All of it does.

I have always put a high value on my reputation.  Of course I’ve messed up and made mistakes – I’m human! But I’ve tried to quickly set about and repair any damage that was done. I’ve brought things out into the open at times just so that Satan couldn’t use something that was hidden in the dark.

There are so many “grey” areas in life as a Christian. Things that the Bible doesn’t clearly speak against. Yet when I look at some of these things, I always have to evaluate what it will do to my reputation and my witness as a follower of the Lord. After all, I am His representative! Will it damage my reputation? Will it damage His?

Fleeting fun isn’t worth ruining my reputation. Being accepted superficially for how I dress, what I say, or how I act isn’t worth ruining my reputation. For when I give access to my heart and soul in this way I only end up feeling guilty and empty inside because I’ve sold a little piece of myself. And that never feels good.

In general, I think people have grown colder and tougher. They don’t seem to care about how others view them. Maybe that exterior is something built to protect themselves. The thing is, when you damage someone’s view of who you are, you also damage yourself. Because regaining a good image is hard to do.

We can’t “own” what everyone in the world thinks about us. Not everyone will like us and not everyone will see into our hearts or understand our motives. But we CAN work at being honorable people. We can try to have integrity wherever we are and build a good reputation. It feels good, it works in our favor, it’s a good representation of our Lord and Savior, and sometimes it brings us opportunities in life simply because of how we have presented ourselves.

It’s priceless.

And wherever you’re at today; it’s not too late to rebuild your reputation. It may just take some time and effort. You never know – in the process, you may just discover some hidden jewels about yourself that God has been waiting to uncover.