A Week In Review {The Highlight Reel}

Here we are sitting on the cusp of a brand new weekend.

Friday. Already.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as ready for the weekend as the rest of you. But, as weeks go, this wasn’t my best one. And I’m pretty sure Monday didn’t even bother to show up this week. At least I don’t remember it.

Sick day. Long staff meetings. Regular weekly battle against the doubts inside my head.  It was just an ordinary week.

Until something happened.

About a month ago I was asked to share during the Chapel time at my church’s Weekday Early Education (WEE) ministry. There are very few things that I could think of that I would rather be doing besides spend my morning with a room full of preschoolers. I know. I’m among the minority. So, of course I accepted the invitation and immediately began to think of things to share with these children.

I had a book ready and a little song picked out. I was good to go. I wanted to give as much time as I could to this little project and make it great!

Except that the day before Chapel, I had a migraine and was out of the office. I completely forgot about my commitment until I was headed to bed the night before. I began to feel guilty for not spending more time to prepare.

The next morning I went in to my office, found the book I had planned to share and ran over the words of the song one more time. I prayed for the Lord to bless my efforts and headed down to Chapel.

I greeted the children and began to read my book selection on God’s grace. It was a sweet reminder that God loves us regardless if the things we do or don’t do.

It was in those moments when the Spirit pressed on my heart that it wasn’t how much time I spent “making something great.” It was my willingness to share the love of Christ that mattered the most. Big or small, everyone needs to know how much love the Father lavishes on us.

It doesn’t have to be a room full of preschoolers, you have the chance to share the love of Christ with someone today too.

We often fail to realize that a mission isn’t always foreign. It starts in your living room with your own children, or at the coffee shop with a friend.  It’s at your favorite grocery story or gas station. Maybe the neighbor you’ve known for years could use a helping hand. It’s in the classroom at your church.

Whatever it is, I want to challenge you to be intentional about sharing God’s love with someone today. God will use it. And I promise it will be the highlight of your blase week.

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Like Falling In Love: 3 Reasons Why I’m A Christian

 

It doesn’t take much these days to start an argument. Recently, I had a tweet explode and all I said was  I wanted to go to church to give back to a God I believe in. You can join the discussion here.

It was a simple comment. Truthful, and my American right to do so. THOUSANDS of strangers reacted and hundreds attacked my statement telling me I was a fool. I ignored most of those comments because even as I have a right to my opinion, they also have a right to theirs. But arguing with strangers online does nothing but prove their ignorant opinion of me. It is indeed a foolish practice.

I responded to only a few comments and those were the ones that were genuine questions of why I believe in something I cannot prove. I believe that if any one ever asks that question of a Christian we should always be ready to answer gently. 1 Peter 3:15

After I answered those strangers’ questions, I wondered if I could answer them in real life. After all, there is a pretty little delete button I can use if my words don’t quite come out right on Twitter. Plus, there’s the comfortable anonymous factor. So I started thinking of my reasons for the hope that I have. The hope that no one can take from me and is undisputed among strangers and friends alike.

Why did I decide to follow Jesus and not look back?

I mess up. A lot.

Many non-Christians have a hard time understanding how anyone could be so devoted to someone or something that has a strict list of Thou Shalt Not’s. They seem to have this image of God where He is sitting in Heaven just waiting for us to screw up so He can punish us.  This is so not at all who God is.

Grace.

He’s amazingly full of it!  It’s when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Forgiveness. Love. Eternal life. And He never runs out of grace or allows it to stop washing over us. No matter what! My pastor painted such a beautiful picture of grace in a sermon last year.  Like waves in the ocean, grace is constantly flowing. It meets us exactly where we are on the shoreline washing over us if we are willing.

As part of my Twitter attack one stranger accused me of living a perfect life, so “how convenient” it must be to have God on my side. The perfect one.

I will never understand why Christians are accused of assuming things about others but non-believers can get away with assuming we think we got it all together.

If I had it all together I wouldn’t need Jesus!

Life is hard. Pray harder.

Did you read my last post? Last year was a doozy of a heartbreak year. So many challenges came upon me and my family last year.  I found myself hiding away a lot. I cried a lot. And I prayed a lot.

There are no doubts in my mind that those tears during those hidden moments and the prayers I prayed were not ignored. I have so many incidences that I shared with only my closest friends where I knew my prayers fell on God’s expectant ear.

When there simply wasn’t the money to pay the bills, God sent unexpected refund checks in the mail. (From our health insurance company no less!)

When drought threatened the foundation of our home. God sent the rains to repair it.

When my heart felt like it just couldn’t hurt any more, God whispered reminders of His love and restored what I thought I lost.

Those are just a few examples. I found so much rest in Him through a year filled with one trial after another. Matthew 11:28-30

One of my online accusers wanted me to provide ’empirical’ evidence that God exists. To me, a Christian, the evidence is obvious! Go back and reread the last few paragraphs! The evidence is only revealed to me through my faith in prayer. Anyone who has no faith in prayer could never be convinced ’empirically.’ It’s not worth arguing over, but certainly worth explaining at least once why I believe in the power of prayer.

I’m a hopeless romantic.

I love a good love story. What could be more romantic than a helpless girl rescued by a valiant savior? Ok, maybe valiant is a little sacrilegious when describing a humble Christ. But He certainly was brave, courageous and unrelenting in His love for me. And for you.

That’s the kind of person I want to know. That’s the kind of person I want on my side. That’s the kind of person I can stand up for and not back down.

Christianity is the ultimate love story.  It’s not a rigorous list of do’s and don’ts. It’s not a check the box kind of deal or a yes or no black and white answer.

It’s a relationship with the One who created imperfect me. It’s a love story between two people who strive to know one another brilliantly. And the way I do that is to read the Word and be still to know He is God and wait for Him to nudge me in the right direction.

Maybe that’s hard to understand because you can’t really see or feel God. Or maybe it’s hard to understand because relationships just never really work out for you. Maybe it seems foolish to put my faith and trust into something I can’t ‘prove.’

That’s really ok. Because it’s not about you and me. It’s about the love of my created life and the story He writes for me to share with you in the hopes that maybe one day you’ll fall in love too.

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Gift Giving Made Easy {No Obligation Required}

It’s gift giving season again.  Are you ready?  Do you have your list made out for all your family, friends, and neighbors? What about for those people you might need an “oops, I forgot you” gift?

Have you ever been on the receiving end of one of those gifts?  A gift given out of obligation.

Last year I was prompted to make cookies for my entire cul-de-sac. You can read more about it here.  It was an assignment designed to get to know the people I’ve lived next to for years but never bothered to introduce myself.  It was an exercise in building community.  And it worked. But I didn’t bake the cookies to receive anything in return.  I just wanted to bless people. 

The response from that was mixed. Some people didn’t even answer the door. Some stopped to talk for awhile.  Others gave us a few of their own cookies. But the woman who felt like she needed to respond by bringing over wrapped gifts for my entire family is what made me stop and think. Why was she compelled to do that?

She was giving out of obligation. If I had never  given her my gift, she never would have given me hers. It made me feel like the gift I gave her became a burden for her to return the favor.  She didn’t allow me to just love her without expecting anything in return.

Consider this:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life! John 3:16

How many times have you read that verse? Maybe this is the first time. If that’s the case, read on because I’ve read it and recited it dozens of times, but sometimes when you’ve grown accustom to something you begin to take it for granted.

I did that with this verse. It’s been presented to me over and over again throughout my life that it became dull. Lifeless. Meaningless.

Maybe you’ve felt this way at times too.

What a travesty!  It’s the most life-giving, meaningful verse. Why do you suppose it’s made it’s way onto so many billboards, fast food cups and bumper stickers?

Because it expresses exactly who God is.

He’s a life giver. A soul seeker. He’s a loving father.

God gave because he so loved whoever. That’s you! And that’s me.

It doesn’t matter what this year has done to you. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself. You were never the forgotten one. You were never the one God pulled an “oops” present out for. The prize has always been there for you to take, without obligation. Because you are loved. So loved.

There’s nothing you have to do to earn this gift. There’s nothing God expects from you other than to trust that this gift is wrapped in the perfect package. A sweet, innocent baby. An approachable child born just for you and I to be able to relate to and get to know intimately so that we will not perish. So that you and I could live an abundant and eternal life.

If you accept no other gift this Christmas other than the one sent from Heaven to a manger in Bethlehem thousands of years ago, you will have received nothing better. It’s beautiful and simple, yet filled with wonder and hope.

Allow yourself to be a whoever. Allow yourself to be loved.

 

For more Biblical insight, Bible verses and encouragement, check out my posts and many others over at BibleVerses.com.

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The Warning Signs of Motherhood

They warned me. I have no one to blame but myself for this.

They may not have been able to warn me about the time my 3-year-old pitched a fit so enormous it woke the entire childcare center at naptime. As if suddenly possessed with a burning passion for furry monsters, she screamed and kicked all the way down the endless hallway over my old Elmo doll.  It was mine from my high school days and she never paid any attention to it. Until I started a new teaching job and tried to leave it for other children to play with. They don’t warn you when you’re snuggled in a hospital bed with your sweet cooing baby how they will one day be the cause of your life’s most embarrassing moments.

And they never mentioned the amount of patience it would take to help my 1st grader with her homework as she struggled with undiagnosed ADD.  The agony and frustration we both felt while my six-year-old would spend hours at our kitchen table just trying to do one ‘simple’ worksheet. She’d have to turn the neighbor kids away when they came to the door to play because she was still doing her homework. How could someone so smart struggle so much with school work? No one warns you of the feelings of inadequacy and concern when you can’t teach your own child but you can command a room full of three-year olds. “She’s so smart,” they’d say. “She’s got a bright future!” They don’t tell you about the times when the house falls silent and all those doubts begin to creep into your mind. Any confident strides you may have made that very afternoon with time managing the homework demons sink deep with sorrowful sighs into your pillow.

But this? Seems even strangers warned me about this:

“They grow up so fast.”

But when you’re in the trenches it’s hard to see the horizon.

“Don’t blink. Before you know it they’ll be grown and gone.”

It’s hard to hear that over your kicking, screaming, Elmo-obsessed three-year-old.

“Cherish the time you have with them now. Soon they won’t want anything to do with you.”

Somehow cherishing doesn’t seem to fit in the same realm as crying over 1st grade math.

And yet here I am wishing I had listened to them.

Both of my girls have milestones this Spring.  I am not sure how I missed this when I signed up to be their mom. Abby Faith finishes middle school, and Lucy will be spreading her wings and flying from the safety of her elementary school nest. This year they stacked the deck against me. I should have seen it coming.

They warned me after all.

I find myself weeping over the most common of scenarios. Like when my tiny baby girl forgets her English book after school. And this time she doesn’t need me to go with her back into the school to get it. I literally sobbed in the car while I waited for her to return. She looked so grown up! But I wiped my tears and gathered my composure before she returned. She wouldn’t understand. And if I warned her now about how this whole Mothering gig goes down, she wouldn’t listen. Just like her mom.

Or when my sweetest baby-faced child suddenly wants to trade in her Disney princess dress-up dress and go shopping for a dress to wear to her school semi-formal dance I lock myself in the bathroom for several minutes and just pray for time to stand still. Tomorrow she’ll ask to go shopping for a wedding dress. That will be an entire tear-stained blog post in itself!

Some days I feel like I just won’t make it. Some days I just feel like it’s not fair at all the way this life works. You pour every ounce of love from the very essence of yourself into someone just to give them away. And you pray that whomever you give them to will love them as much as you do or more.  I want to believe that’s true. There’s got to be some hope in that. But, I really don’t think there’s any love deeper, stronger or more poignant than that of a mother for her child. We loved them first after all. Before a name, a face and a birthday. We loved them first.

So excuse me if I get emotional over high school registration forms and 5th grade ceremonies. Because the time I have with them to do their hair and talk about boys will one day come to an end.

But my love for them goes on forever.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways To Tell Your Child You Love Her Without Speaking A Word

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Abby Faith is on a youth trip this weekend which gave Cooper and I extra time with Lucy to do whatever she wanted to do. I could have planned the whole day for her without asking her first. Shopping! Naturally. She wanted to go out to lunch at the mall and then hit the clearance racks at the local department store. It’s better than the movies, skating, bowling and ice-cream all on the same day to Lucy. So we piled in the car and headed to the mall. It was a really great day together and we were able to find some really nice things at really great prices. Always a win!

Lucy gives the best hugs. She gets it from her daddy. So after we got home I hugged her and asked her if she knew that I loved her. She said, “Yes, because you buy me things.” That may seem shallow to you, but I know my daughter and I know that her love language is gifts. This weekend I spoke her love language which filled up her love tank to where she felt the most loved by me.

Maybe you are familair with the concept of love languages with your significant other and maybe you speak it well. But each one of us has a love language and it’s important to learn what it is in our relationships so they will flourish. This is true even with our children. It would be a travesty for me to think I was conveying love to my child the entire 18 years she’s under my roof only to learn that she spoke a different language and never understood that I truly love her. So, I’ve honed in and asked questions to determine what language my children speak. Whenever I ask Abby Faith how she knows that I love her, the answer is always the same; “Because you do things with me and take the time to listen to me.” Her’s is quality time. So whenever she comes to me with a middle school issue I make sure to turn off all gadgets and focus only on her. We also schedule dates together just the two of us where she will talk. my. ear. off! That is generally the only time when she’ll open up that way to me. She knows I’m all her’s for a couple hours or so.

How can you figure out your child’s love language? It might be a little difficult to pinpoint. And keep in mind that she may speak more than one.  Below is a list of the 5 love languages and ways you can begin to determine which one your child speaks.

Quality Time:  If your child is always asking for your attention, wants to show you something or opens up the most when it’s just the two of you she might speak quality time.

  • Plan a date at least once a month and don’t let anything else interfere with it. Let your child choose where to go and what to do (within your budget). If your child likes surprises, plan something you think she’ll like and do it! Be flexible with this and have fun! You only get 18 years!
  • Spend at least 10 minutes each day alone with your child. Don’t have your phone with you or any other gadget unless she’s showing you the most hilarious YouTube video she’s ever seen over and over and over again. Not that I would know what that’s like!
  • Be prepared to drop whatever you are doing when she says, “Mom, can we talk?” Those moments are priceless and rare. But they do happen. Especially if you’ve been intentional with speaking her language in the passed. She’ll know she can come to you and you will listen.

Gifts: Birthdays, Christmas and what she’s getting for Valentine’s day really matter to her. Even more so, she loves to give gifts to others. She is thoughtful about her gift-giving and excited about what others are getting too. Even the smallest things mean a lot if it is heartfelt. It may seem materialistic, but spoken the right way it’s a very loving language.

  • Buy something your child has been needing, i.e. a new hairbrush, new jeans or a new pair of shoes and wrap them up for her to find on her bed when she gets home from school.
  • Items from the grocery store can be a gift if you announce, “Lucy, I bought Cheerios for you today because I know you love them.” (With cut up bananas! Mmm!)
  • Budget for small “I love you” gifts throughout the year. It doesn’t always have to be “no” when shopping at Target. (But it also shouldn’t always be “yes!” More on that in an upcoming post).

Acts of Service: Your child loves to do for others and she’s constantly thinking of ways to help you.

  • Do her laundry for her one day while she’s at school or let her out of doing the dishes one night. (Yes, your children should have these regular chores).
  • Help her clean her room one Saturday so she can hurry the process and move on to the fun part of the day.
  •  Set out her breakfast for her so it’s easier for her to make the next day. Help her pack her backpack when you see she’s running late. Ask her where she could use the most help and then do it.

Physical Touch: Your child is always hugging you, kissing you, and needing to be in your lap. She always wants her neck rubbed, back scratched, or just wants to hold your hand. They can’t ever seem to get enough of your touch. This one is easy.

  •  Hug your kid! Hug your kid a lot! Those 18 years are ticking away.

Words of Affirmation: She is always looking for your approval. Did she do a good job? Do you like it, Mom? What do you think about this or that? And she’s always telling you that she loves you.

  • Tell her that you love her. It’s never too many times. I heard a woman at the mall this weekend telling her child in almost every sentence that she loved her. At first I thought it was kinda overkill, but then I thought, maybe that mom is clued in to her kid’s love language. She’d say, “I love you, but we have to go.” And her child would say, “But I love you better!”
  • Tell her that she looks beautiful today! Especially when she first wakes up. Tell. Her!
  • Even when she’s made you mad, give her a list of reasons why you think she’s fabulous. “I can’t believe you made an ‘F’ in Algebra! But what a good job you did in English!”

Keep in mind that even if your child mainly speaks one language she understands them all and still needs you to speak them all every now and then.

What is your child’s love language and how are some ways you speak it? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.

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Send A Love Package

LovePackage2

Rainy Monday.

Is there anything much worse? Aside from maybe a root canal?

It was a beautiful weekend here in Alabama, so when I woke up to rain this Monday morning I hit the snooze button so many times that my husband actually said, “Are you getting up today?”

I dragged myself out of bed, showered and went on with my morning routine. All while secretly wishing Monday away. Poor Monday. I wonder if it ever goes and eats worms?

I dropped my daughter off at school, but I didn’t head straight to work as I usually do. I needed to run to the post office first. I know. I can hear you now. Rainy Monday AND the line at the post office. Thanks for the sympathy. I feel it.

So, I walked into the post office and it was maybe 2 minutes after they were supposed to be open and about 5 or 6 people were already waiting in line with no employee in sight. The counter was locked down and there was a bit of a Fort Knox vibe going on. Not the most inviting scene. By the way, it’s a felony to rob a post office at gunpoint. I mean, just in case you didn’t know.  There are plenty of signs to remind you.  I lamented to myself about this crazy stupid world and the need for such reminders as I let out a silent groan and settled into my place at the back of the line.

Stupid Monday.

Then the craziest thing happened. The man with the keys opened the door and the people in front of me felt like it was their job to heckle and torment him. They said things like, “I guess you don’t want to work today, huh?” “What took you so long?” “All I need is to pick up one package!”

And he ignored all of their selfish remarks. He didn’t smile. He didn’t even look their way. Which made me think this was a typical day in his world. It made me sad.

No wonder the place didn’t feel inviting. There was no love there. So I decided I would put it there.

The man with the keys went behind the counter and started calling people up. They’d do business and leave. One at a time without a smile and barely a greeting they’d move forward like grumpy un-caffeinated cattle. Finally, I was glad to be next in line because I couldn’t really wait to get out of that unpleasant place. Then one man came up behind me to wait his place in line.  So I turned to him and said, “Please go ahead of me.”

The look he gave me could have stopped traffic. He was truly dumbfounded that someone would do that. “No, he said. It’s ok. I have a lot of mail to pick up after being gone for 10 days.”

“You must be tired then,” I said. “After such a long trip. Please go ahead of  me.”

“What’s wrong with you? It’s Monday morning. Aren’t you supposed to be grumpy and in a bad mood?” (Yes, he actually said that to me) “Besides, you’re next!”

“Look, I’m not going to argue with you. Please go ahead of me. I am not in a hurry. Now, you’re next!”

He finally stepped ahead of me and it was then that I could tell he really was weary. So I asked him if he had been on vacation or if he had been on a business trip. He proceeded to tell me that he had been gone to work on a house he was trying to sell in North Carolina. No doubt a tiring adventure.

And then Love showed up. The woman standing at the counter who had been so grumpy before joined in on our conversation while she waited on her package. She talked about her recent trip to the beach and how pleasant it was there. And I mentioned how I couldn’t wait for my own beach vacation coming up in a couple weeks. She got her package and very pleasantly told us good-bye and to have a great day.

It was time for my new friend to gather his 10 days worth of mail and he still expressed his gratitude to me while he waited.

“See, I told you this would take awhile. You could have been done by now.”

“It’s really not a problem. I promise I am not in a hurry this morning.”

He gathered his mail and left. But not before he turned to me one last time to thank me for giving him my place in line.

I felt a rush of deep satisfaction wash over me. It’s not every day that I can make people smile. But it was very humbling to see how my decision to step aside and let Love flush through a listless building changed the attitude of the people around me. My hope is that they felt it too and had no other choice but to share the smile with someone else on this rainy Monday.

 

 

I Love Love.

I picked up my oldest daughter from a sleepover this morning. It’s a gorgeous Saturday here in Alabama and I was just itchin’ to drive. To top all that off, TobyMac released his latest CD yesterday and of course I snagged a copy. So when my daughter got in the car  I said, “Hey, you wanna take the long way home?” She threw her bag in the back seat and emphatically said, “Yes!” I love that about her. She’s my best driving buddy!

So we turned up the music and headed anywhere.

It’s really hard to describe how I can have a quiet time with the music as loud as I like it and driving aimlessly. But truly those are the times I hear God the loudest.

My life verse is 1 Corinthians 13:13.

I wear it around my neck as a reminder that God will remain forever. God is love after all. And He’s given us hope if we will just have faith. That little verse speaks volumes to me. I don’t expect you to understand it fully.

Well, Toby’s gone and done it again. He’s made me fall in love with a new song and wouldn’t you know it’s based on 1 Corinthians 13:13. And to top it off he’s collaborated with dcTalk to do it. (For those of you who are diehard Toby fans you understand the significance of this). The song just spells out exactly how I feel about my favorite little word. It’s exactly what real love feels like.

I can’t do much more than to just let you listen to it if you want. I highly recommend the whole album. I think it’s his best yet.

A Letter To My Daughter On Mother’s Day

 

Letter to my DaughterIt’s Mother’s Day. But I can’t stop thinking about you, my sweet daughter. Being a girl is a tough job.  I can’t stop thinking about how life for you must be so difficult. I forget that sometimes.  I forget what it was like to be a girl  and growing up with crazy hormones, stupid boys, mean girls and math class. I forget what it’s like to be insecure in your own skin with so many questions about the future.

But I can remember. And I want you to know that the choices you make today matter tomorrow. So choose wisely, dear daughter.

The world is so different from when I was your age, but the worries are the same. I can still hear the harsh words spoken to me by girls who  were just as insecure as I was. I wish you could understand now and not later that those who hurt you are often the ones who are hurting. So love them now. They need it now.

Choose to love.

I wish you would believe me when I tell you how beautiful you really are. Because I see you comparing yourself to other girls. Why? There is no comparison to you, my sweet love. No one else has your sense of humor, your laughter, your ideas, your hair or your smile.  Those are yours to cherish forever as your own. Flaunt them. Don’t hide them! You are so beautifully unique it would be a shame to hide who you are from the rest of us who wish we had been braver when we were young.

Choose to be brave.

Life is so strange sometimes. There will be times when you just won’t be able to see your way through the weeds. I want you to know that I am here for those times. I’m here because I’ve been there. My heart has been broken. My hopes have been dashed. I’ve been disappointed, let down, forgotten. I’ve loved and lost. I wish you could see those invisible scars because they are what drive me every day to be a better mother. I wish I could tell you that you don’t have to go through those hurts. But you do. This life hurts. It’s ugly. It leaves you wishing for the next sometimes. But what you don’t know yet is that pushing through the pain only makes you stronger. Don’t resist the hurt. It’s ok to hurt. Learn to persevere and lean on your Savior through the hurt.

Choose to persevere

Most importantly, whatever your choices,  I will love you through them all. It’s a privilege – this big ole’ job God gave me to be your mom. It’s the most gut-wrenching emotional thing I have ever done. It’s the biggest responsibility I’ve ever had. But there is no way I would ever give it up!

Maybe one day you will have your own gorgeous gift from heaven and you will wish you could tell her all will be ok because you’ve been through it. Maybe then you will have a better idea of my undying love for you. Until that day be the girl God created and not come fabricated notion you saw only God knows where. Be genuine. Be gentle.  Choose to live your life in such a way that others seek to find you. Embrace your flaws. Sharpen your strengths. Forgive others. And if you ever need me, I’ll be right here cheering for you.

Love,

Mom

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When All I Am Capable Of Is Being Unloved

Beautiful sunny sea view, Blue sea and sky with clouds

I was recently making a playlist to add to my collection. I was searching for certain songs to help get me back after a couple of days of wandering off. I struggle so much this way! I think I can manage things on my own and do things my own way. I do this way too much. It’s inevitable that I will stumble and begin a downward spiral into a very dangerous place. A place of doubt.

So I gathered all the songs I thought would calm my restless soul and help lead me back to still waters. I labeled the list “doubt” and set it up in my phone. It was then that I realized I had already made a playlist a few months ago with several other songs and also labeled it “doubt.” Hmm. I guess I am a creature of habit.

There are a few meanings of the word ‘doubt’, but the one I struggle with is listed as an inclination not to believe or accept. This pretty much describes my inward daily battle.  I doubt God’s provision and wisdom. I doubt the truth. There are times when I doubt that God is good enough or that He is here. But what I struggle with the most and also think is the most dangerous of all for me to doubt is to doubt that I am loved.

If I feel unloved I can’t love others. If I can’t love others, the kingdom cannot grow.

I had a great childhood. I grew up with two  great brothers and both of my great parents. I am married to a godly man who sharpens me and praises me daily. I’ve never been abused or neglected and I have no  reason to doubt my worth.

Ah, but I do! Because I am a sinner. A really good one. And Satan knows this. He knows what has made me stumble and he just loves to throw it back up in my face in an attempt to counter me worthless. He’s really very good at whispering lies to me that the things I have done make me unlovable. He knows I am a doubter and he uses it to fight the battle for my soul. He would love nothing more if I believed his lies that I am worthless, ugly, useless, a fraud. Unlovable. He would love it if he could cripple me that way and leave me wallowing in my own pit of self-destruction. He knows that if he’s crafty enough, I’ll believe him. And I have so many times. But he doesn’t love me, so why believe him?

I wrote a few days ago from 1 John 4:16 that God is love. He’s the very definition of it. Which to me means that he can’t not love. I’ve been trying to remember this truth over the last several days, but again, I doubt. So it was during a quiet moment with me and my savior as I listened to Hawk Nelson’s newest release, “Drops in the Ocean” that He gave me a beautiful vision to help me remember how much he loves me. I’m pretty sure He won’t mind if I share it with you.

The vast ocean is spread beneath our feet. My sin has been cast into the depths never to be retrieved. My Savior holds me close and leads me in a dance across the surface of the water. Because He’s capable of doing that. If I just allow him to lead me in the dance, we’ll move in harmony together. I’ll never have to doubt again. And in His arms is where I feel the most loved.

 

If you wanna know how far my love can go

Just how deep. Just how wide.

If you wanna see how much you mean to me

Look at my hands. Look at my side.

If you could count the times I say you are forgiven

It’s more than the drops in the ocean.

Hawk Nelson

 

 

 

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If Jesus Could Comment on Facebook

BlueLike Hand

Hot topics. I usually try to avoid them because I don’t gravitate towards controversy. Usually. Unless it directly affects my life I have other things to worry about.

I respect those who can debate. I respect those people who have the drive to stand up for what they believe in, can articulate what they have to say, and wisely express themselves. Politics aside, everyone has an opinion. And everyone is entitled to it. I welcome an educated discussion because I know what my feelings are, what my beliefs are based on, and it will have to be anything resembling a rapture to change them.

But this is where things get messy. Because I hate coffee. I don’t like the smell of it. The taste of it is nasty. And it’s just really gross when my husband leaves the grounds in the sink. Yuck! I have a hard time understanding why there is a whole culture devoted to coffee.

Did I just lose you, coffee lover? Are you about to share this post with all of your friends on social media, swear me off as incredible, and vow never to associate with me because I don’t love the same thing you love? Surely you aren’t outraged by my lack of coffee affections simply because you love it so?

But don’t we do that all the time? Our world has become so ridiculously dogmatic that I think we are letting the second greatest commandment slip through our fingers and the end result will be tragic.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 12:31

Sometimes I wonder what Jesus would say if He could comment on Facebook. If someone posts something against Him would He “unfriend” them? Would He say, “Well, I’m never listening to them again! They don’t agree with me!”

No! Jesus did not come into this world to condemn it. We do a really great job of that ourselves. He came into this world to save it. And that is not something we as humans can do.

My opinion of your habits, lifestyle, comments, friends, job, parenting skills, where you live, whether or not you go to church, your beliefs, your political affiliation or anything else DOES NOT MATTER. Opinions are not love. I don’t love my neighbor based solely on agreeing with the same things.

I love my neighbor by being a helping hand. Even if they are gay. I love my neighbor by taking them a meal. Even if they are unwed and pregnant. I love my neighbor by watching their children for the afternoon. Even if they are living on welfare. I love my neighbor by buying them lunch. Even if they can’t speak English.

This is really hard to do. I know it is. I struggle with this every day. And I fail at it every day.

The truth is that not a one of us doesn’t need to change something about ourselves. Not a one of us can cast the first stone.

So can we please, for the love of God, stop with the attitude that if you are not on my bandwagon you don’t deserve a wagon of your own?

 

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