*Winter Retreat is a weekend getaway where students and leaders come to get closer to God and make lasting connections with one another.
I keep waiting for this feeling to come over me but God gave me a gentle reminder just now that faith isn’t a feeling. I think sometimes I get caught up in remembering the moments when I did “feel” something. They’re so powerful that they have the potential to carry me through to the next BIG THING -or- they can fizzle just as quickly as they came.
I’m tired of waiting for a feeling, for hoping something or someOne will pick me up when I’m struggling and completely worn out from not fighting the battles in my head hard enough. You see, when I fight to stay focused, to not let negative thoughts stay in my head, to be who God has called me to be, those “feelings” aren’t far behind. The saying goes, “Fake it ’til you make it” but what if we were to FIGHT until we make it? What if, instead of giving up when we’re tired and things aren’t easy, we get up and start fighting?
Things are coming from every angle and just when you feel like you’re finally breaking through, the enemy comes at you again. he knows your weaknesses, where you struggle and exactly when you’re at your breaking point. This is when you realize there’s no rest for the weary. If you give up now, what was the fight even for?
I want to be in the muck because that’s where people are hurting but I can only survive there if I have the STRENGTH to. Not strength that’s my own, but the God given, Holy Spirit driven, never going to give up kinda STRENGTH. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I’m giving it to God today so He can use me His way. I’m not waiting on a feeling, I’m fighting for one and along the way, I’ll be creating one.
I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way, feels this way. If this is you today, time to put on those big girl/boy pants, a pair of boxing gloves and fight the enemy who’s working hard to get in your corner. You have too much up ahead to give up now. It won’t be easy and it’s going to take work but trust me, it’ll be worth all the effort you’re putting in.
Next week I will take the stage at church to speak to middle and high school students. First of all, I’m sure there are a few of you who have known me for years who will be surprised by this. I have been fearful for most of my life to be on stage. God made me a writer, NOT a speaker. When I want to convey my feelings or say something profound, I write it down. It’s why I started a blog several years ago and also why my home office is filled with dozens of journals. The very thought of standing in front of a crowd made me nervous. Aside from the times I stood on a small stage with a beer in my hand, singing karaoke, I would have never pictured myself being a part of a group on a stage, much less standing alone on one.
Six months or so ago, I joined the worship team at church. Two things I love stood a far better chance at helping me overcome my fear than any courage I could muster up on my own. God and music. That’s it.
A friend told me many years ago that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. So I guess you could say, God has been preparing me for this moment on stage for some time now. From all the decisions I made many years ago, to the countless hours of writing, from the times I used beer courage to step foot on stage, to the God confidence that calls me to sing there today, I FINALLY feel like the fear is gone. He has been equipping me all this time to do something I would never have been able to do in my own strength alone.
I guess what I’m trying to share this morning is that you can’t be continue to be held back by the things that scare you. What you’ve been fearful of for so long might just be what God is trying to build on in you now.
I saw a church sign last night that said this:
"Forget the mistake, remember the lesson."
For all those times you’ve struggled, take note. Who you are now isn’t who you were then. Use your lessons, take hold of your fears, and be who you were called to be.
Do you ever feel like a moment, maybe even this moment, is meant for someone else? It’s an odd feeling really, like you’re living that very second for another person — be it a tiny human being, a friend, spouse, or even a total stranger. You may not know at the time or you may never know for certain but something right where you are needs to be shared with someone else…spared for someone else.
Ephesians 3:17-19 says,
I pray that you...grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
What if our offering in such moments was to give unto others, do unto others, be unto others — just as we’d want for ourselves? You can give a little or you can give a lot, be it your time, money, or most importantly…yourself.
Why not get creative in times that need not be reserved for you and you alone. Think of a way you can spare that moment so you can share it.
That leaf hanging in mid-air, blowing in the breeze.
That flower with the sun shining so perfectly on its blossom.
The timing of your arrival upon a situation where you can be of assistance.
The situation that you knew nothing about that seemingly called your name.
You can take a picture, lend a hand, offer yourself. But no matter what the moment, what the situation, if you were called to be there for someone else, recognize it…do something about it.
I’m not the most punctual person. I get it from my dad’s side of the family. Most of them will admit it because, well, there’s no denying it when you’re always late. My dad, on the other hand, would take it to the extremes some days. Whether it was because he lost his keys, ran out of gas, or because he just got side-tracked, he always made it…eventually.
I vowed to myself that I would not run out of gas EVER and my plan is to stick to that. Running out of gas more times that I can count as a kid and having to walk in not-so-good neighborhoods at night weren’t always the best memories. However, I learned a thing or two in those times that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.
I learned how to trust my dad that everything was going to be okay.
I learned how to believe we would get there, even if it wasn’t “on time”.
I learned that the most important thing isn’t necessarily that you arrive at a specific time.
However, we’re led to believe that timing is everything. I might agree with that if I understand whose timing we were talking about. There’s always our timing, your timing, and everyone else who thinks they have a handle on the right time.
There are birthday parties, dinner dates, flights, movies and other activities that you can’t argue…have a specific time. But what about the rest of the things that seem timely? We’re given the idea that it doesn’t matter what it is but if we want it, we can get it now. We see messages like:
“No money down!”
“Buy now, pay later!”
The thought instantly comes to mind, if I want it I can have it.
It’s not always about things that cost us in paper money either. There are things that can cost us in other ways if we choose to go for them when it isn’t the right time or in the right way. There’s a time, a place, a purpose for each and every single thing we do. We’ve come so used to getting what we want when we want it that we don’t have the patience to wait for anything anymore.
What does that say about our future? Are we handling things in our own time to suit our desires verses waiting until a time that might just be best for us? What if we took a step back from the situation, wrote down pros and cons, wants vs. needs and truly assessed if whatever it is, needs to happen now or is just something our minds are trying to convince us is a necessity when in all actuality, it’s a want that can wait until a better time?
Often, if we wait patiently, opportunities will present themselves in such a way that we can see our movement would have been detrimental to the overall outcome. It doesn’t give us the best result when we push to have something that could have been so much better had we waited.
What about that house…
The perfect man/woman…
It can be about the little things just as much as it’s about the big things. It all adds us to be a sort of timing that will never be our own. This doesn’t mean we sit complacent, never making a move. But it does mean listening to that still, small voice and the urging inside that tells you to wait when everything in your head is telling you to GO! GO! GO!
That yearning inside makes us feel like we won’t be able to handle waiting any longer, but I promise you friends, our heart can handle the wait if we get control of our mind. We have to step out of certain situations or away from what keeps our mind thinking thoughts of want vs need. But in some cases, we are to learn patience by remaining right where we are until the opportunity presents itself. You don’t have to jump. You don’t have to be the first. And I promise you’ll never be the last.
There’s something out there for you. It’s pulling you in a direction that may seem wonderful but not quite right. There’s a timing that’s better. It’s a timing that has withstood all the tests. It’s proof that things happen for a reason, at a time, in a season. It’s why you’re here reading this and why I was led to write it.
You see, this purpose, this plan, it’s something that has been laid out for you. The good, the bad, the confusing, the sad. Each and every experience is leading to something greater, something stronger, and something longer-lasting than anything you could muster up yourself.
Trust in this timing. It’s God’s timing. Have you truly given it to Him and asked Him to lead you? Have you asked for His guidance or walked in His confidence? It doesn’t have to be a life-changing event but I promise, even the small things can be if done at the wrong time. Before you take that medicine, before you buy that couch, before you reach out…look up! Ask God what He thinks. Give it to God and watch Him work. He’ll guide you if you allow Him too.
I don’t know who this was for. I don’t even know where it came from, but you know what? God does. And it was in His timing that you were able to see it! Now believe it!
Love you all!
A wife is something special. If she weren’t, what would be the point of marriage? I mean, if two people love each other, what is the point in standing in front of a few (or many) people we know, exchanging rings, and saying vows to one another? Simply put, marriage has meaning. Therefore, your role in marriage has a significant purpose.
The cool part about it is that every, single person brings something special into their marriage. There isn’t a gender role description out there that says, one must do this and another that. In fact, things can be shaken up a bit with one person better at cooking and another a master at household maintenance, especially if the so-called traditional roles are reversed.
I would venture to say that many people like to put their own ideas out there based off of scripture but that’s a topic I’m not going to touch today. But it is on my list of discussion topics — stay tuned!
Anyway, I was thinking about one phrase the other day that has taken such a negative tone over the years. I don’t even know where it originated but I have read blogs by Christians who think that by saying, “Happy wife = Happy life” we mean that husbands should put their wife’s desires above their relationship with God.
Of course you can interpret things as you wish, but here’s how I see it…
Everyone may bring something physically different to the marriage but there is one thing that a wife has that her husband just can never “get”. I put get in quotations because I don’t mean it’s something he won’t acquire (even though it isn’t) but it’s something he simply won’t understand. Guess what?
No one does!
There’s a tone in your house. It’s either positive or negative…sometimes neutral. One day it’s hot, another it’s cold. Some days it’s full of passion and others it’s cool as a cucumber. It can be playful, crabby, full of tension, energetic, clean, dirty, picky, helpful, constructive and critical all in the same day. But there’s something to say about all of those emotions. Yes, they are all emotions.
We can safely say that when the wife is happy, there’s something in the house that smells good and it’s not necessarily because she has cookies baking in the oven!
You see, we women have this innate ability to insert a tone into a situation that doesn’t already have one. Without us, life can be drab, mundane, colorless. Then again, some days with us can be just the same!
I truly believe that there is some power women have that controls the mood temperature in our homes. When we’re up, everyone’s up. When we’re down, everyone’s down. When we’re cranky, everyone’s cranky or they just leave. When we’re mad, they tend to be scarce. See the cycle?
Of course all homes are different and if this doesn’t apply to yours, your free to stop reading. HOWEVER, over the years of friendships, love and learning about life, this is one thing that I believe with my whole heart to be true…at least in my case. It wasn’t something I just woke up one day knowing though. It just happened to be something my husband AND my daughter brought to my attention.
There we were, in the kitchen having perhaps the most influential conversations the three of us have ever had. It was serious. I was crying. They were both looking at me with what seemed to be amazement. They saw something that I didn’t.
I know I won’t get the words exactly right, but it went something like this…
"When you're not right, this whole house isn't right."
I didn’t know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult. I was already crying, so why not take it as the latter? How could they tell me I’m not right. And why in the world were they letting their moods be dependent on mine?
That’s when they both began to explain. What was said came with so much love. The feelings in the house weren’t constructed because it was a nice house with all the right furnishings. It wasn’t because we had food in the fridge and dinner on the table. It wasn’t even because of the furry, four-legged children we brought into our home.
It was because of the people in it and my role was perhaps the most significant. I hadn’t thought about it before but they were right. Unintentionally, I set the tone in the house day in and day out. When I wasn’t feeling quite myself, I often wondered what was wrong with everyone else. Were they mad at me? Did something happen? Was someone hiding something? When I was tired, I often had those same thoughts. When I was sad, the whole world was sad with me. Happy, just the same. And the list goes on and on. They didn’t choose to adopt my attitude, it just happened.
I instantly flashed back — time and time again, I can remember that their reactions were a reflection of my attitude. How can I blame them in times when I’m tender or frustrated that they too have a complimentary emotion, lending to either a favorable or unfavorable reaction.
So I probably should say that the conversation was about work and whether or not I should quit my job. Not because I had something better lined up, but because I was overwhelmed and felt a sense of “I need to be home” but felt guilty without having a reason why. They both agreed wholeheartedly and I instantly felt a weight lift off of my shoulders.
I contemplated what I would say to people or how I would explain being a stay-at-home-mom with a teenage daughter. I do want to write a book. I do want to keep up with my blog. But most importantly, I wanted to feel less overwhelmed so that I could put my all into the important role I played in my home.
Many people don’t have the option of staying home, I get that. Believe me, I know how blessed I really am. I have a whole list of things I could say right now to justify deserving this opportunity but it isn’t about that at all. Those things don’t even matter. What does matter is that I know the significance of my role in this home. I know what I bring and on many days, what I don’t. One thing is for sure, I love my husband and daughter more than life itself. They deserve to have me, the real, honest-to-goodness me, that is happy, hardworking, creative and at peace. That’s all they want.
So you can say it however you want…
When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!
Happy wife = Happy life
But no matter how you put it, it all comes down to knowing how significant you are. Your influence is so much greater than you could ever imagine!
Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
I’m fat. I’m ugly. No one really listens when I talk. I have no purpose. I have no direction. I’m boring. No one really likes me. I wish I were more like her. I wish I were stronger like him. I don’t matter.
Now that I have your attention, I want to ask you a question. Have you ever said any of those things? Have you ever wondered if you’re ever going to amount to something?
I’m talking to people of all ages here, from the teenagers to the adults. And it’s important so you’re going to want to park it for a few…
This has been on my mind for quite some time. I hear students and grown adults alike, who don’t understand their value here on earth. Too often we look to someone else’s talents, achievements, direction and assume that if we don’t have the same ambition, we just aren’t worth it. SO NOT TRUE!
There are days when we are down and quite frankly, those days SUCK! But you know what? You can CHOOSE the thoughts you allow to stay in your mind. I’ve shared that with my daughter a time or two but definitely have to remind myself often. We have an enemy out there who wants to take our joy and replace it with all those negative comments up there ^^^. And you know what? YOU HAVE TO TELL HIM NO!
Each and every one of us here on earth brings a certain unmatched charm wherever we go. We are all smart in different ways with the chance to make a difference in each other’s lives just the same. Here’s the kicker though —
1. We have to believe and know in our hearts that we’re worth it.
2. We have to CHOOSE to say NO to those thoughts that try to creep in and tell us otherwise.
3. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others because our journey is different than their’s.
4. We have to remember that we can have one of the greatest qualities a human can possess.
#4 is special. These two words were put on my heart yesterday out of no where. Many of you know how I work and so you’re not surprised to hear me say, it has to be from God. My faith has gotten me a long way, but it’s my process of being who He’s called me to be that has kept me strong.
Those two words — perhaps the greatest quality we can possess — HUMBLE CONFIDENCE. Having confidence is one thing because you can be confident but arrogant. You can be strong but ignorant. And you can be smart but not compassionate. Humble confidence describes a quality that allows us to see our strengths, to pursue using them, nurturing them, and using them for their intended purpose. Each purpose will be different, but it will be for the greater good. You may not touch thousands of lives, or you just might, but I guarantee it will be more than just about you. It’s never just about us. It’s never just about us and our chosen few. It’s about those that God puts in our path to learn from, you love on and to share with. He brings us people to help us through our ups and downs but when it comes down to it, we have to know how to reach out in our own strength and know that we DO MATTER.
Your uniqueness is what sets you apart from everyone else — from your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, siblings, parents, friends, etc. Of course you’ll have similarities and qualities that you’ll get from someone else you’re close to, but your skills, your desires, your direction is uniquely yours.
Don’t worry so much about 20 years from now — concentrate on what’s in front of you. Make the most of today and what’s next will come naturally. Realize that your strengths are there for a reason, even if you don’t know exactly what that is yet, and learn to walk with HUMBLE CONFIDENCE.
I, for one, am so glad to know you. I am so thankful that God put you in my life. Whether I see you every day or never at all, you did make some sort of an impact on my life or you wouldn’t be here. Know how important you are. Even if we don’t have everything in common or follow the same path, our paths did cross for a reason. We may travel together for awhile then wave goodbye at the fork, or we may be on a journey together that will take us through to what’s next — who knows. But I do know this…
You are smart. You are strong. You have purpose. Your life has meaning. It doesn’t matter who or how many like you. You are uniquely you and that is the best news! You will make a difference.
I want you to know how special you are. I’m praying today that this verse empowers you in your walk with humble confidence. Love you!
It’s never really THE END but I think next week it’ll be time to focus my blog on something else. Time to just get Beyond the Fast and on to what lies ahead.
We tend to stay where we are [mentally] for as long as we can until pressured enough to make a move. Why do we wait often for something significant to happen before we choose where we’ll go next?
God’s timing is everything but so is our follow-through. In order to stay in a certain state of mind, we must keep moving forward or we’ll start to get behind.
Those changes you’ve made, however big or small, they did make an impact on your outlook. You are now seeing things through a clearer set of eyes and in a way that gives you an opportunity to look beyond your current situation.
You can’t beat yourself up for taking a step back or over indulge in whatever your weakness is just because you made a mistake. Pat yourself on the back (because you certainly can’t wait for someone else to do it!) and say, “It’s going to be alright.”
Then just start where you left off and don’t turn back.
In James 1:2, we see that our perfection isn’t and expectation. We are going to have trials, tribulations and temptations along the way. It’s what we do when in those situations that tells God where your heart is. And where your heart is makes all the difference in the world.
I don’t know who this is for today, but I sure hope whoever you are, you’re reading this with an open mind. I’m praying for you today because something inside is telling me that you’re hurting and all you need is a hug to take that next step. So consider this prayer your hug from me!
Dear Heavenly Father, your child is hurting. Their choices haven’t always shown your best work in them and they recognize it. Their path has been curved for way too long and they are ready to surrender to whatever it is that You have prepared for them. Show them the direction they should go. Give them the wisdom to know when they have arrived and lead them continuously so that they may grow to be the son/daughter you’ve called them to be. When the moments are difficult, I pray that they remember you’re there. When the temptations come, and I know they will, I pray they remember you’re there. When the path seems to curve more than they’d expected, I pray they remember you’re there. Today is a day that they will make a choice to follow Your voice; Your voice that You so eloquently chose just for them. Thank you for helping me to hug my friend. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.